Simple pleasures, but maybe not so simple after all.Where do we find that glossy magazine or, more to the point, does it exist? (Thank goodness we have a wide range of wine choices, ne-c’est pas?.)
Welcome to our world, a world in which occasionally we cannot help but wonder if we belong to some mysterious and secret society in which only its members, by some wink of the eye or complicated handshake, recognize one another while the remainder of society believes we are invisible.
The subject came up again recently when my wonderful friend Susan, Une Femme, and I received an email from one of our readers with the simplest of questions, as you’ll see below. So once again we decided to respond in tandem. (If you’re looking for a femme d’un certain age fashion fix, Susan has figured it all out.)
In Cece’s words:
Hello Susan and Tish,
…I am wondering if either of you could recommend a fashion magazine, French or American, or otherwise, that is consistent with both your fashion styles…
I do love the chance to curl up with a nice glossy magazine and a glass of wine.
Unfortunately, most of the fashion magazines focus on one or more of the following:
1.) High-fashion straight from the runway –unfortunately I would require a detailed road map to see how I could get from runway fashions to what would actually work for me.
2.) Fashion designed for those under 30 – enough said.
3.)What I call an “assault to the senses,” bright colors, loud patterns, etc.
I love Ines de la Fressange’s Parisian Chic book, in part because she has her daughter model her recommended wardrobe pieces, and despite the fact that she is so young, I could wear all the same clothes (at 57).
So, any suggestions? ….
Thanks again to you both for all you do.
To answer Cece’s question, I went directly to the source, Lesley Seymour, editor of MORE magazine, the only publication I know of in the United States that is dedicated to women over 40.
“There is nothing.” Lesley said. “That is why we do what we do. She [Cece] can look at the fashion we post on our site — though the site itself doesn’t match the upscale look and feel of the revamped mag yet. But the look and feel of the fashion and the information is right. As for the rest: Good luck. There is nothing. Sorry.”
Then Lesley sent me to Murièl Roos, founder and editor-in-chief of Femme Majuscule, a French magazine dedicated to women 40 and beyond. Of course I immediately called her to see what she had to say about the market and her special niche. Here is part of our interview:
1.) Why did you start your magazine?
“I created Femme Majuscule because as I was approaching 50, like many of my peers I realized the panorama of what the press for women was proposing was far away from who we are.
We do not wish to be rivals to our daughters, nor are we ‘asexual seniors’. . .
For me, we are simply women who are conscious of our experience who are always wishing to understand, discover, share [our experiences] and at the same time be beautiful in our epoch.
FM is made for women like us. It covers a diversity of subjects: fashion, beauty, questions about society, psychology, health, l’art de vivre. . . the magazine opens a dialog wherein we provide information about our life choices, questions and also what makes us happy.
I wanted to create a magazine for this new generation of women, strong and proud of their experiences, but also with humor and with a real desire to invent a new stage in their femininity.”
2.) When did you start your magazine?
We launched the magazine on March 8, 2011, we have published 30 issues, and we are totally independent! (Ed. Note: In other words, there is no publishing house behind the bi-monthly publication.)
Our next issue, celebrating our fifth anniversary, will be out on March 15.
3.) What does Femme Majuscule mean?
Femme majuscule describes exactly who we are, women ‘un peu plus grandes‘ because of our maturity. Majuscule comes from the Latin word, magnus, great, and usculus, diminutive, thus slightly greater.
Women recognize themselves in this reference because their experiences are a plus.“
None of us is naive, we know that fashion in all its myriad manifestations is a business. Take away the element of glamour that heightens our desires, and la mode, whether in magazine form, a dress or a bottle of perfume and it’s all about the bottom line.
Still, within our demographic, our buying power and influence are unparalleled according to Forbes, Time and this website which has gathered an impressive collection of data that shows the vast and varied areas in which women spend their disposable income.
But here’s my question: Apart from the products now strategically aimed at us (bonjour anti-aging creams and serums), why aren’t we better served in the media, in fashion, in films?
Who, beyond the marketers of hope in a jar and specially formulated makeup products, is addressing us?
Do designers envision us in their clothes when creating their collections? (Doubtful.)
Do film companies think of us as romantic leads? (Very rarely.)
Every day, in France and in the States, I see stunning women of a certain age, but it is rare to see beautiful women over 50 or 60 modeling clothes in a woman’s magazine.
Why are we always the exception, the one-off annual “age” issue within the pages of Vogue for example? Yes, the cosmetic companies are using older actresses who they believe will “speak” to us through their photo shopped pictures. But do they? I really don’t know.
I have a subscription to French Elle and Figaro Madame, both of which I look forward to it every week; I also have a subscription to MORE, which I love because it does “speak” to me. Take a look at this, fashion in words, but fun. I think I appreciate Elle partially because it is still slightly exotic for me as an American in France. Like all other fashion magazines, it does mainly feature younger women, but not always, and even when it doesn’t, like Ines using her daughter in her book, there are lots of clothes, not necessarily worn in the same way as the models, that I could imagine owning.
Figaro Madame usually feels quite grown-up and sophisticated.
Sometimes I cannot resist buying American Vogue and if I’m disappointed by the clothes, I enjoy the articles and the newsy bits sometimes give me a little frisson of feeling “in the know” which I once loved when I was part of the fashion business.
I’m anxiously awaiting the delivery of Femme Majuscule, which Murièl has promised to send me. Then I’ll subscribe out of solidarity. When the magazines arrive and I look through them, I’ll write another post and fill you in on the remainder of our interview.
Please tell me some of your favorite blogs for women of a certain age so we can feature and support them moving forward.
I seem to have posed more questions than answers. Your thoughts will be greatly appreciated, as always.
Thank you for writing, Cece.