A natural optimist, I was excited by the notion of clothing designed to combat night sweats, expanding waistlines and heat surges. I did wonder how much commercial cynicism I would find.
Menopause clothing is resolutely safe. Jersey style fabric is everywhere – presumably allowing pieces to skim and disguise thickening areas – and muted pastel shades. Why? Remember: the mantra is Do Not Fade Away! I’m not an adventurous dresser. My wardrobe is a sea of black and navy, but even I like a splash of colour.
Women who are older should not feel driven towards a neutral palette. Choosing a different shade does not mean ‘soft’ colours that put them in the background. Dressing strategically to balance out areas of their bodies is not dressing to hide the menopause. They don’t have to.
Below I’ve summarised my thoughts about three sites which sell clothing aimed at menopausal women. I’ve identified which items I’d personally order and personal style is exactly that. You may fervently disagree with my choices. Read on. Decide for yourself and leave a comment as part of the Do Not Fade Away dialogue.
Presenter Lisa Snowdon is brand ambassador for Become. You’ll see her modelling items. The size range is more inclusive than other websites, but the models lean towards being slim. The blog includes an interesting piece about recruiting models for menopausal clothing which is worth a look.
Clothing is based around functional pieces to help with heat surges. I would use the HydraDerma long-sleeve T-shirt in black and relaxed fit leggings. At £34.95 a pop, the technology would have to match the claim that the ‘Hydra Derma’ technology (a coating within the fabric) reacts to surges in body temperature and evaporates moisture away.
There isn’t a great deal of day wear, but there are items great for lounging or sleeping in if they really work. I’m struggling to sleep, so cool bedding is of genuine interest. These appear costly (from £89.95), but the fact everything bar the flat sheet has sold out suggests they’re a worthwhile investment!
Become is visually lovely and features an excellent guide to the menopause. With an engaging blog, this is a site to visit regularly.
- tested on real women
- diverse models
- comprehensive guide to the menopause
- science-based articles
- 60 day risk free try
- 10% email sign up, code: SAVE 10
51 Apparel has an attractive site which is created using calm, muted tones. The homepage features older women (Hooray!) lounging together and obviously all wearing clothes from the site. The clothing has the mantle of ‘Defy the Menopause’ which is exactly the rebellious spirit we need so the ‘Big M’ doesn’t defeat us!
According to the makers, NASA (yes, that NASA!) developed technology ‘controls the production of moisture before it starts, keeping your body temperature stable and helping you to stay cool, unlike other clothes for hot flushes which wick away the sweat.’
The Rachel Lounge Pants in black look stylish enough to loll about in without feeling unattractive. They are £45, so NASA technology doesn’t come cheaply. However, they do have an air of sophistication which makes me tempted to try them.
Sizes go up to a 20 which isn’t particularly inclusive, especially given how shapes change during the menopause. If jersey style separates appeal to you then you’ll like what’s on offer here. Clothing skims and most styles allow for an extended tummy area.
On the site’s blog, menopause articles are varied and interesting. I particularly enjoyed Office Banter – Offensive or Productive? about depression and anxiety, widely acknowledged as the two most common reasons women take a trip to the GP not realising what they are going through is the menopause.
- NASA technology
- Age appropriate models
- Models are life sized
- Diverse models
- Postage is £4.95 but free on orders over £50
- 30 days refund policy
Visually Cucumber‘s website is stunning and the clothing here has far more whizz about it. The brand has a plethora of press endorsements, but the site isn’t dedicated to clothing for the menopause; rather it has a section within it.
There are cleverly designed pieces which float or avoid a tight waistline. There is also colour! Models are young. They look to be in their late 20s and early 30s which reflects the target audience, i.e. not just women shopping for menopause clothing.
Cucumber‘s clothing for the menopause includes volcanic mineral technology which keeps the body at an ideal core temperature of 37 degrees. Technology like this doesn’t come cheap, though Cucumber is all about sustainability and ethical supply (it reminds me of TOAST), so prices probably reflect what we should actually be paying for our clothing.
I didn’t really see anything in Cucumber‘s menopause section I’d want. From the ‘tops’ section I like a couple of sweatshirts and particularly cover the Shell Button PJ top (£89). I’d wear this over a striped T shirt with jeans, but why does this item only go up to a large (a 16 on Cucumber)?
The site has clothing categories including yoga, après gym and curve style. I looked at curve style. The models here are not curvy. One is admittedly larger than the others, but has a very flat stomach! I doubt anyone feeling ‘curvy’ could generate a functional wardrobe from this selection. The owners are not plus size and I think that shows.
This is a really gorgeous site, however, with a great ethical stance and beautiful styling. I got really excited and then felt somewhat excluded. If you go up to a size 16, this is worth a visit as there are some lovely pieces.
- visit production sites
- UK fabrics
- recycled and sustainable
I don’t know where I stand on clothing specifically for the menopause. With women talking openly about it and seeking and expecting support, it is inevitable that marketing and retail opportunities have multiplied. I’m on constant high alert. Anything designed for us really needs to suit us and help us through this challenging phase in our lives.
I think it’s time to put my money into this challenge and buy some menopause items. I’m not overly convinced by day wear. I think layering is the best approach, so maybe a smart technology base layer would make sense. Nightwear is my most pressing concern. A useful purchase would be menopause leggings and top for heat surges during exercise classes!
What are your thoughts about menopause clothing? Have you tried any items? Leave a comment and join the dialogue.