Bridging the Gap
Recently, I was speaking to a friend about representation on contemporary television. We had just discovered our mutual love of The Golden Girls and it prompted us to discuss recent shows that, in our opinion, were doing the work to present well-rounded midlife characters. Unsurprisingly, we could not think of many. In this moment, I realized how distant I felt from this subset of the population. Aside from my parents and a few of my extended relatives, I don’t have the opportunity to substantively interact with people in their 50s.
It is the mission of the Bridging the Gap campaign to address, and begin to alleviate, this chasm that exists between 20-somethings and mid-lifers. Bridging the Gap is all about breaking down the generational divide between millennials and mid-lifers by opening the lines of communication and providing an opportunity for connection. I was eager to participate in this campaign as it would afford me a rare opportunity to converse with women in their 50s and learn how they experience the world.
Fashion Trends and Friends
Julie, Lori, and Cindy started Fashion Trends and Friends (FTF) in April 2016.These women truly embody fashion and friendship as they are not only fashion lovers but old college buddies. The three fashionistas met as freshmen at Northern Illinois University in 1979 and have been friends ever since.The idea for FTF was spawned at one of their annual “poolside chats,” a term they use to refer to their yearly reunion where they catch up with each other’s lives over food and drinks, and of course, laughs. At their poolside chat in the summer of 2015, they found themselves discussing the challenges that they faced as women in their 50s but also fashion-forward. They realized that there was a void in the fashion blogosphere. While there are hundreds, if not thousands, of fashion blogs on the internet, few of them take mid-life women into account. The fashion industry by and large over represents younger people and thus disproportionately caters to their younger body-types and younger style preferences. Despite the youth-centric bent of the fashion world, Julie, Lori, and Cindy understand that there are women of all ages who love fashion. At this moment the dynamic trio set out to create a space where fashion-forward midlife women can come together to find clothing options, outfits that are on trend, flattering, age appropriate and minimize problem areas.
An amazing aspect of Fashion Trends and Friends is that it showcases three unique perspectives on fashion. When scrolling through the FTF Instagram, there are outfits that represent a variety of trends and cater to a wide array of tastes. While Cindy prefers to be casual but still “on trend,” Lori gravitates towards a more classic look (think Grace Kelley and Jackie O) and Julie characterizes her style as “a little bad-assy.” Because the three besties alternate writing posts, FTF gives its readers three unique style perspectives as well as three different bodies modeling and reviewing the clothing. These posts aim to encourage women to stay trendy, step out of their fashion box, and solve fashion challenges by experimenting with fun items.
Although Fashion Trends and Friends primarily focuses on fashion, the blog also opens a conversation about midlife experiences. With posts such as, “Marriage after 40, Debunking the Ageist Stereotype” and “The Rocky Road to Menopause and How Essential Oils Can Help,” FTF acknowledges their unique beauty challenges of their target audience while simultaneously challenging readers to do away with limiting ideas about age. By showcasing their love for fashion, travel, and laughter they demonstrate just how fabulous and fulfilling life after 50 can be.