Wednesday, February 29, 2012


At a recent fashion show in Madrid, models strutted the catwalk dressed in the latest autumn/winter collection by designer Maria Barros. It would have been like any other fashion show, except for one thing - all the models wore GREY wigs and were made up to look very much older.

I am not sure what the designer had in mind, whether it was to honour older women, or to start a new trend. Whatever the case may be, I am not too sure it had the intended effect. I just feel that this only adds to the perception that old is grey, and grey is old. I would prefer grey is BOLD. That would send a more positive message.

What do you think? Wouldn't it have been better to use older women to model the clothes, and show that women in their 50s or 60s are still beautiful and can carry themselves just as well as younger women? (Click here to view more photos from the Daily Mail.)

A few days ago, TODAY reported that a group of 15 students from the Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore had started a Facebook campaign to 'embrace ageing'. Their aim - to create awareness and promote social inclusion and acceptance of the elderly in Singapore.

They are encouraging people to show their support by either changing their Facebook profile picture to a photo of an elderly person (I wonder whose photo they will choose, and for how long it will remain there) or post on their Facebook status the number of years and days they have before turning 65. (A countdown? Sounds ominous, doesn't it?).

And to mark the first month of the "Embrace Ageing" movement on March 10, supporters are encouraged to wear either grey clothing (urghhh!) or accessories. (Here we go again, grey = old.) The idea of seeing grey everywhere on March 10 is kind of depressing. It's time we stopped these negative associations with the colour grey. A change in mindset is sorely needed.

Their Facebook page has garnered over 700 likes, and close to 1500 people have said they would be wearing grey on March 10. Come that day, Singapore will be a sea of grey.

I applaud these young people for drawing attention to the elderly, and for sending the message that we should all embrace ageing. So they have my support. I will wear grey on March 10. But I will accessorize with something bright and bold to show that senior citizens are like young people. They too love all the colours of the rainbow. But grey is a colour they love least of all.


Pak Idrus said...

Thanks for this posting. Now I know why you want to live till nineties with black hair eh! Take care.

seniorsaloud said...

During the six months when I was caring for my mom after her hip surgery and after her diagnosis of dementia, I was under so much stress that much of my hair turned grey. I was prepared to let it remain but young people started guiding me around in public. Yikes. I know they were being kind and helpful, but they made me feel so so OLD! Until such time when society can accept that grey doesn't always mean frail and old, I'll keep my hair black.

Embrace Ageing said...

Grey is simply a neutral colour. There exist negative associations with the colour grey because grey is linked to being old. So fundamentally, it reflects the negative connotations of being old.

The mindset change required should not be directed at de-linking the association of grey=old, but to fundamentally change the meaning of old from something negative to positive instead.

So, one day if society sees old as positive, then grey will no longer be dull or depressing anymore, but can be bright and vibrant.

To age is constant. People age, communities age, populations age, societies age... This is part of our life journey and there is nothing to be fearful about. We should start to view ageing as normal and positive, and embrace it fully :)