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Lorraine Kelly and JD Williams – why I am disappointed at the reaction

Article by Ceri Wheeldon

Constantly here at Fab after Fifty we are urging brands to have more realistic models representing women over 50. We are a huge market, and often feel ignored by major retailers and brands.

Lorraine Kelly for JD Williams

Which is why I am so disappointed at the reaction to JD Williams appointing Lorraine Kelly as brand ambassador, who will be helping to design a range of clothes specifically addressing the issues women over 50 face when looking for clothes that fit and flatter.

Why am I disappointed? Because the comments from readers in the mainstream press such as the mailonline and even by some on our own Fab after Fifty Facebook page were so negative. They appeared to be a personal attack on Lorraine herself. Why? I think they are missing the point entirely.

Why do we complain?

We complain when clothes aimed at our demographic are modelled by stick thin, 6 ft tall 20 somethings -knowing that there is no way the clothes will look anything like the resulting images when we wear them ourselves. Yet when a brand takes the step of engaging with Lorraine Kelly, a normal sized 54 year old celebrity and a working mum who has built trust with women over decades of appearing on our TV screens, still people complain. Lorraine has never been a ‘supermodel’, she does not have legs like a giraffe, and has to face all the midlife challenges re bodyshape that the rest of us do.

Yes, she probably has the benefit of stylists to help her select clothes for her TV and public appearances, but none the less Lorraine Kelly and JD Williams are putting their heads above the parapet and trying to deliver what we say we want. And yet still they are criticised.

Why should more brands even bother taking the risk if this is the reaction they receive.

As it happens I was invited to meet Lorraine at the launch dinner for the range- unfortunately I was unable to attend but Judith, who contributes to the Fab after Fifty style section attended in my place. I know Judith found Lorraine to be incredibly down to earth, and genuinely excited to be involved in this project.

Rather than criticise their choice of brand ambassador, surely we should applaud the fact that in selecting Lorraine, JD Williams have chosen somebody who many women CAN relate to, whose style IS achievable , and who will help deliver a range of clothes many of us will actually want to wear.

If we want more representative role models we need to support these initiatives and not make personal attacks on the individuals selected.




Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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  1. Alessandra Smith

    July 24, 2014

    Very well said and you are absolutely right. Unfortunately, quite often women are women’s worst enemies.

  2. Carol May

    July 24, 2014

    I just thought it was sad that there was very little colour in basics like coats, msny dresses are still sleeveless and no longer length dresses/skirts.

    No problem with Lorraine BUT clothes designed to fit her frame and height will be useless for me. So although it’s a start, which I applaud, the designers have still not really listened to what older women want.

  3. Morag

    July 24, 2014

    Well said, I was a tad surprised at some of the ‘backlash’ too. I think the acid test will be, will be buy it? I have – the top version of the dress above. The collection has to start somewhere, you won’t please everyone but lets at least give it a chance.

  4. Deborah

    July 24, 2014

    She looks like she’s just got out of bed!

  5. Barbara Eaton

    July 24, 2014

    Lorraine is a fantastic “role model”. Yes she has stylists, clothing allowances for TV etc, but she isn’t 6ft tall and over the years she’s struggled with her weight, had bad hair days etc. All suffered in front of 100s of 1000s of people on TV of a morning.

    Her collaboration with J D Williams will allow us to take advantage, as Lorraine has, of all she has learnt over the years from the stylists, designers etc.

  6. Bernice

    July 24, 2014

    I’m really glad that Lorraine is fronting this line. I liked the look of the line however I wouldn’t buy any of it because it’s not in my colour range nor does it suit my shape

  7. Sara Thompson

    September 18, 2014

    I think its apalling that there is even such a thing as asking for a specific type of clothing for women over 50. Its the same tactics saga magazine use, apparently once you’re over 50 you’ll need a stairlift, a hip replacement , a walk in bath oh and dont forget to sort out your funeral costs. Because you are just literally waiting to die. Women in your fiftys get a grip you should want to look the best you possibly can you should be setting an example that 50 does not mean frumpy not opting out and demanding a special type of clothes line for your age

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