Christine Morrison is a freelance writer whose work centers around her achievements and passions, often seen through the lens of aging: fashion, beauty, wellness and fitness.

Feeling invisible as you age? Introducing the Invisible Woman Syndrome

Feb 29, 2024


While I am aligned with Brene Brown who said, “Never underestimate the power of being seen,” studies reveal 70% of women experience a sense of becoming invisible as they age.

Invisible Woman Syndrome is a genuine phenomenon; women as young as 52 begin to feel overlooked in social situations, the workplace and in media. Some feel this is a side effect of menopause, others simply of aging. It can be disparaging. And lonely.

But, to quote Nobel laureate Bob Dylan, times are a-changin’.

The decade-old pro-aging movement has gained real momentum — slowly eradicating “anti-aging” in its wake — and while we still have far to go, multitudes of aging women are stepping out of the shadows and living a renaissance in the second half of life. This week alone, Harper’s Bazaar featured 90-year-old Carol Burnett in a fashion spread with an accompanying interview touting her creative genius, a menopause ad ran on the Superbowl and a fashion designer, the lovely Batsheva Hay, cast her NYFW runway solely with women over 40; Molly Ringwald, at 55, led the charge. One model, Racquel Chevremont, 52, told The New York Times, “I’ve had so many friends who are like, ‘I’m in my invisible stage now.” By owning the actual stage, this giddy group did more than showcase a fashion line, they showed friends — and the world — that aging women are no shrinking violets. “It’s about a sense of self,” another model declared.

Fashion Forward

Visibility absolutely surpasses fashion, but what you wear does play a role. As 102-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel has said, “You have to dress for yourself before you dress for your age.” Shape shifting bodies be damned; wear what makes you feel good about who you are — and where you are in life. Right now. When we allow fashion to be fun, rather than act as camouflage, we have greater confidence. We can always find flaws — regardless of age — but as the birthday candles increase, we know better than to cower.

I subscribe to Diane Von Furstenberg’s approach: “When I look at myself in the mirror, I find my strength there,” she says. The acclaimed designer has also declared, “Every woman should have a black turtleneck,” and “…as long as you’re true to yourself, you’re free.” 

As I am pitching a fashion essay collection — tales of love, loss, working in fashion and ultimately finding my authentic self, all told through what I wore — I find reflecting back on the fashion that shaped who I am today is a parallel process to rediscovering style in mid-life. As we evolve and allow ourselves to lean into our “proof of living” (what DVF lovingly calls aging) we can dress for the world in a way that says we are not to be missed.

Preserving Power 

While much has been made about the collective spending power of women over 50 — exceeding $15 trillion annually and earning us the moniker “super consumers” — our influence, and ability to shine into our golden years, is much greater. But it starts at the grassroots level. It begins with us.

The more we show up for ourselves, the more we can be seen.

recent Goop podcast with heavy hitters Allyson Felix, Amy Griffin, and Cameron Diaz was a brilliant reminder that our power comes from within. It comes from experience and how you weather the storms; our resilience strengthens over time. No one can take that away.

Coming Clean

Despite striving to be seen, I have recently stepped back from writing that has brought me great visibility — beauty editorial. With category chaos that has accompanied the influx of influencers, subsequent miscommunication and myths surrounding beauty and incessant launches, and disingenuous press demands, I bowed out. I value authenticity over visibility; trust trumps noise.

The beauty of aging is that we are nothing if not true to ourselves.  It took us so long to find out who we are; there is no turning back to be anything less than purely authentic now.

Rather than slinking away, I remain engaged in my love for the business of beauty and have since steered my writing there — exploring and exposing the grey areas that muddy women’s decisions. I have also joined THE BOARD, a community of highly vetted fractional consultants transforming brands and the category. I find myself among legends in business, mentors who shine brighter with each passing decade, and while our culture will always admire youth, by staying true to our values and leveraging experience, we will not be dismissed.

I will forever strive to convey the truths about aging so that we can change the narrative. Coco Chanel agrees: “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

Use your voice.

We’re listening.

Christine Morrison is a freelance writer whose work centers around her achievements and passions, often seen through the lens of aging: fashion, beauty, wellness and fitness.

Her writing has appeared in print and online vehicles, as well as advertising campaigns. She is currently writing a fashion essay collection reflecting the meaning behind, and the humor in, what she wore while forming her identity, navigating her way to true love and discovering her authentic self.

The Style That Binds Us


you said:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.