Fashioning age: dress, identity and the changing body: Dress, Identity and the Changing Body

Linda Shearer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter examines the ageing female body and the transformative functions of dress during the renegotiation of identity at various life stages. Biological changes (such as weight gain, hair loss/gain, physical movement, skin texture, altered posture) can impact upon self-esteem and demand a reconsideration of dress in accordance with fluctuating body image, self and social perceptions. Strategies of concealment, adjustment and camouflage help to ‘manage’ the ageing body and, in so doing, can re-negotiate identity and determine place and status in social relations and interdependencies. While ageing can be reflected or resisted, it can also liberate from socially constructed expectations of fashion and dress and provide scope for transgression. Considering dress as a situated bodily practice, the chapter explores the social, psychological, gendered and stigmatised associations of the ‘disrupted’ ageing body.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFashion and Its Multi-Cultural Facets
EditorsPatricia Hunt-Hurst, Sabrina Ramsamy-Iranah
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781848883093
ISBN (Print)9789004371439
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • age
  • body
  • change
  • dress
  • fashion
  • Identity
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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