The Style List

A whole window display on Oxford Street is rather pleasing location for an initiative that gives women like you and me the chance to comment on the desire to see models that look like them occasionally.

The idea to use women exclusively over 40 was hatched with Debenhams (one of my favourite stores) to do exactly that! The Style List created a huge stir simply because women enjoyed seeing a woman they could connect with. The Debenhams core customer is between 40 - 55, sadly, she is given a streamlined teen to look at most of the time when she is engaging with fashion.

So...We shot three delicious women over see 40 Maxine 42, Caroline, 52 and Valerie, 67 all from Close Models to showcase the season's looks. We were bringing a bit of much needed reality to the marketing messages out there.

And we showed these images in the flag ship windows and women went mad for it. Social networking comments loved the fact that we had not used copious airbrushing and our women looked funky with Valerie the oldest fashionista wearing the shorts. My partner in crime Jane Galpin and I like to do that!

Debenhams 40 plus models Caryn Franklin

Yes pensioners can wear funky shorts and purple tights as model Valerie proves here!

Debenhams Power Dressing The Style LIST with Caryn Franklin

Diverse women are delicious women!

Debenhams All Woman - The Style LIST with Caryn Franklin

Self esteem AND sassy party dresses.

Comments from the Debenhams blog post at the launch.

Russ King

September 24th, 2010 at 9:22 am

It’s great news that middle-aged women are featuring as models for you. The comments in our forums have shown that many women from the 30’s onwards find it hard to see if the clothes will suit them when they are always shown on young models.

Your photoshoot shows that women of all ages can look fab.

Can we use the main photo here for an article on your photo shoot for activagers?

Jane C Woods

September 24th, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Brilliant and brilliant! At last, (along with Guardian group) some sensible models. I have long ranted on -sorry, I mean discoursed, on the topic of femageism so it’s great to see a store of major influence like Debenhams taking a proactive role. THANK YOU! Jane


September 27th, 2010 at 9:31 am

Next time I go to UK I will be heading straight for Debenhams because you SO deserve support in this, as I just said on my FB page.

From what I see here you prove that women can dress stylishly regardless of age. Something I have always known, but that you are doing this promotion will help so many women who seem to think they are condemned to cardis and elastic-waisted pants after 50!

Your models are also proof that older women don’t have to give in to “middle-aged” spread, but can be elegant and fit!!

Jayne cox

September 27th, 2010 at 9:32 am

What great news for mid life women! So many women feel invisible and fearful as they are not realistically represented on the high street. I know my clients will appreciate this step forward, as do I. Thanks so much. Jayne


September 27th, 2010 at 11:02 am

Thank you so much. As a mid life women - I shall definately be looking at Debenhams to be the first place I go when clothes shopping - we are not invisible and want to be stylish

Ceri Wheeldon

September 27th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Delighted to see that Debenhams are taking the initative in using women over 50 in their campaign. We DO buy clothes and it is far more realistic to see those clothes modelled by women we can relate to, rather than by girls young enough to be our daughters (or even granddaughters)! We are not invisible and do like to be stylish. Well done Debenhams for recognising this!


September 27th, 2010 at 6:06 pm

This is a great idea. It is about time that retailers woke up to the fact that women over 50 still love fashion and do have considerable spending power. I am sure many women will identify with the photographs as it will give them confidence to buy stylish clothes when they see them worn by real women.

Anne Johnson-Cheverere

September 27th, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Amen,amen — we all (ladies over 40)want to look, feel and behave stylishly. I think women of age simply think we can not have fun, even fashion fun anymore. I ready for a different sort of fun without looking like I am trying to be a teenager AGAIN. Down with dowdy.


September 28th, 2010 at 6:22 pm

This campaign looks wonderful and I am confident will garner Debenhams lots of goodwill that will translate into sales. These models are beautiful and elegant and the clothes look great on them. I believe that not everyone could be a model, but that models should represent a much wider range of ages, sizes and ethnic groups than is generally the case.

Coreen Jans

September 28th, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Congratulations…..a store with style and good sense. We over 40’s, or I should say 50’s, probably have a lot more spending power than most think. Good to see a business making a sound ‘business decision’ and filling a huge hole in the market at the same time. Well done from across the other side of the world in New Zealand.

Jan [summerdaze] Spooner

September 29th, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Am a great fan of Jasper C, Matthew W, John R, to name but a few of Debenhams designers - BUT almost felt a guilty mutton/lamb syndrome when buying them, so WELL DONE! Caryn & Debs for promoting the older woman especially those over 50, 60, and as I am, 70….!!! And for making them look so splendid!!The discerning customer recognised at last!


October 2nd, 2010 at 8:29 am

At last fashion tips for the over 40’s. A forgotten group for too long have now been put back on the map. women all over the country have been asking for this for years. Thank you Caryn and Deb’s for listening.

claire cotton-may

October 3rd, 2010 at 9:16 pm

about time too - well done Caryn and Jane…. heres to a long standing campaign representing real women with real spending power.


October 4th, 2010 at 8:14 am

How fantastic! I think the ‘middle years’, when our bodies suddenly seem bent on their own new course, are often a really difficult time for women on many levels. Finding a style which reflects who we have been, who we are, and who we are going to be can be challenging and we need key players like Debenhams to inspire and respect us. Thank you!

Teresa Morgan-Jones

October 4th, 2010 at 8:21 am

Well done Caryn & Debs for promoting over 40s fashion and models of all sizes to show those fashions! Love it, keep up the good work!!

elizabeth john Ogwutum

October 4th, 2010 at 10:19 pm

40+? That’ll be grate! Girls can still look pretty @ 60. That is if you know what I mean…

Patti Boulaye

October 4th, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Brilliant!!! I am so proud of you Caryn. Congratulations to Debenhams too for leading the way. Now we can trust and know that the dresses we see on the shop windows reflect real women. Thank you for this great, stylish and elegant fashion for women over 40. After reading about this promotion, I was encouraged to go into my local Debenhams for the first time. Well done! here’s to a long and successful campaign! Thank you Caryn! Thank you Debenhams!

Kyoki Dee

October 4th, 2010 at 10:36 pm

of course thats fantastic stuff . well done caryn and …Debenhams, i must admit, i would never had expected you to sign off on this but i am humbled but the fact that you have.

i defintiely advocate for models of all shapes, sizes and ages…


October 4th, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Brilliant Caryn. Good on you Debenhams on taking this forward, a return visit to shop is definitely in my diary

Jessica Lauren

October 4th, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Congratulations and thanks all round for this most welcome and important project. Keep it up!

Lady Oon

October 5th, 2010 at 1:54 am

The new middle age is now 70 years old! Bring it on for the older models. I am 59 and still rocking! Older women have more spending power and should be represented in the fashion stake. Well done Caryn for championing for the older woman in the fashion world.

Glenmore Trenear-Harvey

October 5th, 2010 at 3:23 am

Caryn Franklin is typical of the many elegant and stylish women I see aboard the top cruise lines in the world. Seabourn, Crystal, Regent, Silversea and Cunard. These ‘cougars’have the time, money and inclination and flair to maintain wardrobes that reflect their enviable lifestyle. Debenhams are to be commended for their commercial nous in recognising the value of this market and providing such an ideal ‘guide’ in Caryn. Well done!

Liz Brewer

October 5th, 2010 at 9:05 am

I totally agree. We need to see real glamorous models of

50+ I am sick and tired of having to have a stylist to produce the right look from elegant feminine clothes completely misrepresented on the usual skinny - far too young models. Women of a certain age who have the money to spend on clothes need to see how they actually do look

All best Liz

Louise Burfitt-Dons FRSA

October 5th, 2010 at 9:23 am

I think this is a wonderful initiative. Here are my reasons why.

Despite the fact that most young women are focussed on the moment and what’s happening NOW, my experience is that most of them are motivated , inspired and encouraged more than anything by hearing and seeing for themselves that they will still be cherished and admired when they are older. ‘You do not have to do it all by 21.’ Your world is just beginning.

The idea that ‘life is over by 25’ or that ‘no one will look at you unless you resemble an 18 year old reality star’ is fuelling a massive increase in psychological disturbance amongst all age groups of women, an increase in cases of anorexia and a spate of completely unnecessary breast implants and facial surgery.

Therefore any campaign to promote older women can only be seen as being beneficial to all. By only featuring young models we are grossly distorting the facts of how wonderful life can be as a n older woman.


October 5th, 2010 at 9:40 am

What a fantastic idea and why hasnt this happend long before now? Marks & Spencer have been using Twiggy for sometime now in their ad campaign so why not keep the momentum going. Well done Caryn and Jane for having the balls to launch this and to Debenhams for getting behind it. I am on the cusp of 40 and long to see realistic images of women in their late 30’s, early 40’s. I am a self confessed walking fashion disaster and need some direction so please keep it going!

Lisa Henshall

October 5th, 2010 at 10:15 am

I think this is a splendid idea - M&S & now Debenhams starting to use older models - we need more fuller figure models too & models from all ethnic backgrounds to represent this diverse country. I’m nearly 40 myself and find it very hard to see if an outfit will suit me if it’s on some skinny young model. This is a wonderful step forward and let’s hope all the other high street shops will follow suit.


October 5th, 2010 at 10:36 am

Another great initiative taken up by Debenhams and let’s hope it stays and is adopted by other stores too rather than being a short term publicity stunt. Young girls and young women in this country need to see positive images of wonderful women of all ages and shapes and sizes. It’s so obvious but sadly so invisible in magazines, stores etc that our country’s girls and young women grow up with body dysmorphia, eating disorders and ambitions of achieving impossible looks and bodies. Big up the over 40s!! We’re beautiful in all our guises and still have a lot to offer!

Barbara Campbell

October 5th, 2010 at 10:47 am

Fantastic. After losings six stones in six months with 3 more to go and plans afoot to rekit my entire wardrobe I hated the idea of going seeing fashion on the catwalk or modelled by under 30s as I have no desire to dress like lamb when I am a seasoned and beautiful (smile) piece of mutton!


October 5th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Fantastic idea! Congratulations to you and to Debenhams for leading the way. Everyone wants to know that the outfits we see in the shop windows are a reflection of us - real women. Thank you, therefore, for an amazing, stylish and smart fashion for women over 40.

I rarely shop at Debenhams, but after reading about this initiative, I am compelled to visit my local Debenhams (in Croydon). Hope this is a long and successful campaign and thank you for starting it! It’s long overdue!

Kym Mazelle

October 5th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

This is a wonderful thing!!!!!! Call me if you need me to model. I totally support this!!! sincerely Kym Mazelle

Linda Cooney

October 5th, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Great ! I’m 74 . Hate anything but cotton and refuse to wear deep plunging necklines. Crepy decolage is revolting. I seem to live in jeans and rather boring “T” shirts. I shall definitely visit Debenhams.

France Noveck

October 5th, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Brilliant . Well done , I applaud you Caryn and hope that US Stores will adopt and duplicate pattern..Copy as Debenhams’.

At 65 ,stylish and fashionable elegant, can make any 25 years old overlooked.

Time for change and realities…Congratulations.

Nicki Barclay

October 5th, 2010 at 5:05 pm

This is long overdue and a welcome arrival. Well done ladies - and Debenhams for taking the vanguard. I will now explore your store!

Ceri Wheeldon

October 5th, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Great to see so many women get behind the campaign!

Kay Ellen Consolver

October 5th, 2010 at 6:37 pm

This is an excellent and inspirational initiative- not only for those over 40 now but those under 40 who will one day, with luck and grace, be 40, 50, 60, 70. 80, 90 or even more!

Liis Windischmann

October 5th, 2010 at 9:24 pm

As a 39 year old model (and consumer) with no intention of retiring anytime soon, I absolutely applaud this campaign! Caryn and Debenhams, thank you for showing the beauty and power in an often neglected segment of fashion. The 40+ consumer is confident in her buying power and her fashion look. She knows what she wants so why not reflect her more in advertisements and on the runways of the world? Debenhams, please continue to reflect a diverse range of women in your campaigns - it is refreshing and much appreciated. Thank you!

Patti Boulaye

October 5th, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Brilliant!!! I am so proud of you Caryn. Congratulations to Debenhams too for leading the way. Now we can trust and know that the dresses we see on the shop windows reflect real women. Thank you for this great, stylish and elegant fashion for women over 40. After reading about this promotion, I was encouraged to go into my local Debenhams for the first time. Well done! here’s to a long and successful campaign! Thank you Caryn! Thank you Debenhams!


October 6th, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Thank you Caryn. Thank you Debenhams - for being brave - for standing up for women. At last an approach to stylish, sexy and dynamic dressing that does not require a woman over 40 to squeeze into the fashion mould of a twenty-something.

Kate Stein

October 6th, 2010 at 12:40 pm

As much as I would like to support a campaign for more older models, I have to say I was very disappointed to open the link to the Debenham’s campaign page to find yet again, tall thin ladies with cheekbones near their eyebrows. I don’t know the age of those models but I’m guessig that they all are older than they look. Meaning, the young,thin, tall look is still being subtly promoted. What about regular women of all heights and shapes? Not everyone is 5′11” and underweight.

So until even Caryn Franklyn gets realistic I’m not going to support this campaign. I have no doubt these issues will continue to be ignored.

Claire Dobinson

October 6th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

About time that someone recognised that women 40+ can be just as stylish and fabulous as their younger counterparts, well done Debenhams for kick starting this!


October 6th, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Caryns Campaign For 40+ women is just so wonderful, as statistically women in this age group and beyond; are looking even more fabulous in their mature years; coupled with great style.

I think those campaigning against ageism need to know be told; and be reminded that they will be OLD for evermore; and never be classified as young……from the moment they emerged from thier Mothers womb…..

The Typical Question that has NEVER changed in centuries:

“How OLD Is Your Baby?”


“baby is one day OLD”

“baby is one week OLD”

“baby is one month OLD

“baby is six months OLD

“baby is one year OLD……………………….and so on


“How YOUNG Is Your Baby”

The morale of life being, we have ALL been groomed to be OLD from birth to grave.


Old to Young!!!!!

Its just about maturing, ageing wisely with passion for life and living life to the full; maturing in wisdom thru all lifes challenges also.

I KNOW I AM GRACED TO BE AGEING AND MATURING NOW WITH SUCH GRACE AND STYLE…that maybe Caryn should now get us all together modelling,designing, being photographed etc, and shock reality into people with these antiquated thoughts and ideas


Much Love To You All


Jan Shure

October 6th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Absolutely brilliant Debenhams - 60&Sensational applauds you for your clever Style List. Like Debenhams and Caryn, 60&Sensational recognises that the women of the baby boomer generation are not yet ready for a cup of cocoa and a pair of stretch-waistband polyester trousers. We want to stay looking fabulous forever, and the fact that one of the UK’s biggest department-store chains believes, like 60&Sensational, in providing gorgeous clothes and beauty advice, for this “sensational” generation is a truly welcome development. Well done Debenhams!

Kim Thomson

October 6th, 2010 at 1:52 pm

How refreshing to see woman of all ages in such a campaign. It actually represents society honestly for once. Well done Debenhams!

Tracey C

October 7th, 2010 at 7:22 am

Halleluyah! Grown up fashion for grown up women in grown up sizes. Thank you for treating those of us over forty and over size 10 as the real women we are….Debenhams here I come! TC

Alisa H

October 7th, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Love it! Beauty is present at all ages if we can just open our eyes and see it. I applaud this initiative and everyone involved.

Kudos to Debenhams and Caryn Franklyn!

Ana Lucia Alves

October 11th, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Great. I am a model and older then 40. I think it’s lovely to keep working as we age naturally. Airbrushing should be banished as it ruins the female selfsteam. It’s ridiculous; people are fulled by wrong advertising. So we must thank for this campain. Bravissimo!!


October 12th, 2010 at 12:05 am

I am only sorry that the U.S. is still behind in this thinking. What I like is that all women can be beautiful; each in her own unique, comfortable way, without needing to try to ‘fit’ into a ‘model’ look. To me that means we should feel attractive and happy with own looks-without having to put on tons of makeup, squeeze into tight sausage undergarments, wear 6 inch heels, and follow the trendy young outfits that look as ridiculous on the young as they would on us (remember, we probably wore those looks 30 years ago!). These are MY ideas and i appreciate a forum where we can have a discourse, not just an article in a high fashion magazine that gives lip service just so they can remain relevant.

Jane Buckle

October 12th, 2010 at 7:34 am

Hooray……………I have been living in France for six years where older women are adored and dress so elegantly even if they don’t have much money. I am now selling up and coming back to live in the UK…………..Debenhams here I come!!!!!!!!

Jane Buckle

Lesley Smith

October 12th, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Great news!! for us girls over 50… some thing to really look forward too (and feel confident) when going shopping at Debenhams now. Let us hope that ALL other stores follow soon? Thank you Caryn for showing the way.

Sylvia Lawson

October 12th, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Great news, at last we can see how clothes will really look on the more mature woman, rather than trying to imagine how the clothes on a 20/30 something will be on me!

Keep using these models, they also give us confidence to try and hopefully buy the styles we might shy away from.

Suzanne Duckett, Good Housekeeping magazine

October 12th, 2010 at 7:23 pm

And more the point, whatever their age the models used for this smart campaign are simply gorgeous women full stop. Well done Debenhams.


October 13th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

That’s fantastic! Hoorah! About time! A real representation of real women – finally! Well done Debenhams for leading the way and making a change on behalf of everyone over 25!


October 13th, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Real women make you look, then look again. Well done Debenhams. This kind of campaign is long overdue but it took you to do it.

Caryn Franklin

October 19th, 2010 at 10:29 am

Couldn’t help smiling when I read all these comments. It just goes to show doesn’t it that as consumers we really appreciate this approach. Beauty and aspirational imagery means different things to different age groups.

Getting older is to be celebrated in the same way that youth is so thoroughly iconised. The more imagery there is to look at, the more it engenders a feel good factor. Not just about ourselves but also about the store. Debenhams are smart!

June Potts

October 19th, 2010 at 11:27 am

What a great idea to use models of 40+. I am in my 60’s and haven’t found much interest in shopping because you feel overwhelmed by so much fashion aimed at the very young and finding nothing to give me the confidence to even go in a try out. But Debenhams have certainly proved it can be done and I am definitely planning a visit to my nearest Store. Hope you and the Store will continue providing this much needed service which I am sure will encourage my age group to get out and shop again! (instead of just making do). These beautiful models are a credit to Debenham’s forward thinking and positive action.


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