The world of Mrs Exeter: The older woman of fashion in mid-twentieth-century America | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 4, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2050-0742
  • E-ISSN: 2050-0750



In the summer of 1948, the American edition of magazine invented a fictional character named Mrs Exeter. Her purpose was to provide fashion advice to women aged 50 and beyond. Articles focusing on Mrs Exeter were a repeating feature in the magazine until 1962, giving unusual attention to the clothing needs of older women. The figure of Mrs Exeter had considerable influence, spreading to British , newspaper advertisements and the home sewing network. Using publications, contemporary newspapers and memoirs, this article traces how the United States’ premier fashion magazine envisioned the well-off older woman. While the fictional Mrs Exeter was white and privileged, she nonetheless provided a way to address changes in all women’s bodies as they age. This is something that contemporary discussions of fashion for older women often ignore.


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