November 13, 2012 05:43 ET

Practically Perfect in Every Way

But polished mums despair at younger Brits' exposing midriffs and wearing pyjamas in public

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Nov. 13, 2012) - There may be more beauty aids and maintenance shortcuts today than ever before, but being well-turned out is a dying art. Research revealed today by home shopping retailer shows that four in five (78%) 50+ women believe that standards in appearance have dropped dramatically since they were young.

The growing tendency of younger women to "dress down" certainly shouldn't be blamed on poor example: according to the research almost three-quarters (72%) of 50+ women have a basic routine and checklist for clothes, hair and make-up before they go out. This 'polished generation' wouldn't be seen dead going out looking anything less than perfect.

Instead they have named and shamed untidy celebs they blame for lowering standards, namely leisure-wear fan Katie Price (59%) and the frequently-dishevelled Kerry Katona (27%).

An overwhelming majority (61%) rated the Duchess of Cambridge as the shining example of a young woman who meets the standard of looking well maintained at all times. In second place came Holly Willoughby (16%) with Cheryl Cole third with 9%. Meanwhile, popular reality stars such as Tulisa (1%) TOWIE's Gemma Collins (1%) Lauren Goodger (0.2%) barely registered votes for their presentation.

Shockingly 70% of the 50+ women questioned said they've had to stage an 'intervention' to prevent their adult daughters going out looking unkempt. Nearly a quarter (24%) have ironed clothes for their grown-up kids, knowing they wouldn't do it for themselves. A further 14% have taken to a needle and thread to mend tears, missing buttons and dropped hems.

Going far beyond the call of duty, one in ten mums have even booked daughters into a hairdresser or beauty salon to force them into taming neglected nails and tresses. Top appearance bugbears are actually much more basic however. These included un-brushed hair, badly applied make-up and even the unfortunate trend for wearing nightwear and slippers in public:

Top 10 bugbears of the polished generation:

1. Pyjamas or other 'home wear' worn out in public 86%
2. Exposed 'muffin tops' 84%
3. Stained clothes 82%
4. Streaky fake tan 82%
5. Smudged or badly applied make-up 74%
6. Un-ironed clothes 73%
7. Un-brushed hair 73%
8. Torn clothes 71%
9. Chipped nail polish 53%
10. Roots showing 47%

Julie Donnelly, Head of Womenswear Buying at commented on the findings: "Our customers truly are the 'polished generation', having grown up in an era when looking scruffy in public simply wouldn't do. They were raised to take real pride in themselves and are the true champions of style that transcends trends."

"Some youngsters may roll their eyes when their mums tell them off for looking untidy, or complain if she stops to check her hair and spritz some perfume before leaving the house. This generation maintains high style and standards and perhaps daughters should start taking a page out of their book!"

About the research:

  • Research of 1,000 women aged 50-65 conducted by OnePoll in October 2012

Notes to editors:

isme is part of Shop Direct Group, the UK's leading online and home shopping retailer, which operates across 49 countries, including the US and Canada.

The Group has 5m active customers. Shop Direct Groupbrands receive over 600,000 website visits every day.

The group delivers more than 25m parcels a year.

Shop Direct Group sells more than 800 brands – including leading fashion labels andown brands.

Lynda Bellingham is isme's celebrity ambassador.

Our brands include:

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