Glance, and it looks like every other fashion blog. Pictures of a pretty blonde, mid-stride, casually tucking a strand of highlighted hair behind her ear. But scroll through Tanya Foster’s site and the differences are obvious. At 53, Foster is twice the age of most fashion bloggers. She’s written posts promoting Talbots, about her nonsurgical face-lift experience, and a lengthy entry about her luxurious stay at the Trump SoHo Hotel in February—a partnership few twentysomethings would have sought out just a month after the new president took office. For a middle-aged Park Cities mom, however, it’s all on brand.
“I can’t wear those tiny shorts and whatever you’re showing me for skincare. It’s a different ballgame in your 50s. I started thinking, Why isn’t there anyone my age doing this?”Cathy Williamson
Foster is one of a handful of over-40 fashion bloggers who have cropped up in Dallas over the last few years, and most have similar stories. They live in or around Highland Park. They were full-time moms, busy with side gigs and social lives, but now their children are teens or grown. They loved following fashion blogs but didn’t see themselves represented. They had no previous online experience beyond occasional Facebook posts. They had no idea what they were doing at first.
“If there’s one thing I’m known for, it’s that I’m not going to half-ass anything,” Foster says. “I’m not going to half-ass the luncheon I’m chairing, I’m not going to half-ass my obligation with The Crystal Charity Ball, and I’m certainly not going to half-ass something new I start. So I just kept picking people’s brains until I figured it out. Then it took off.” Foster now has more than 36,000 Instagram followers and regularly gets invited to events along with socialites and press; she attended Moll Anderson’s book party at Mirador recently and tried out the new SoulCycle for a WFAA Channel 8 news segment.
“There’s definitely been a huge spike in this space, and I think it’s because it was so needed,” says Suzanne Droese, CEO of Droese PR, who frequently calls on bloggers to attend (and, hopefully, post about) her clients’ events. “After a certain age, women don’t have an interest in dressing like 20-year-olds. They still like to follow fashion and trends, but in a way that’s relatable to their lifestyle. They also tend to have a higher level of discretionary income, so they are more inclined to seek out more elevated offerings.”
Indeed, you’ll find Tiffany Davros of Street Style Squad posting $675 Louboutins and a $1,550 Chloé handbag. But although her older readers can afford them, they are often more accustomed to shopping at brick-and-mortars and don’t always know how to buy them. Fashion bloggers earn profits when readers purchase merchandise through the rewardStyle links on blog posts. So Davros, 46, often has to explain to her followers that they can simply click on the blog post links to shop the items. Or, if they follow her on Instagram, they can register at LikeToKnow.it. Then, whenever they like any of her posts, the service will send an email with links to buy.
It’s serious business. Heather Anderson—a 43-year-old mom who had a two-year stint in sales after divorcing and dabbled in wardrobe consultation after remarrying—is well-versed in SEO best practices and her Google Analytics stats. While she declines to disclose her profits (as did all the bloggers contacted for this story), she says it’s “not enough to pay a mortgage in Highland Park but enough to shop in Highland Park.” Anderson prefers to focus on her average income growth—200 percent each year over the last three years—and says she’s well on her way “to making six figures.”
For one mom and grandmother, a fashion blog is also a place to make a point. In 2013, just two months after she started The Middle Page, Cathy Williamson, 56, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She only briefly considered quitting. “Just because you’re trying to fight, why not go ahead and live your life?” she says. “And for me, that was to get up, book my photographer, and put my wig on.” Posts back in those days included such titles as “What to Wear When You Look Like a ‘Suicide Bomber’ ” with a picture of her post-mastectomy drains. Williamson is now cancer-free but still writes openly about her troubles with IBS and other personal topics. As she says, “I like to keep it real.”
Perhaps that’s an honesty that comes with age.