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OMG! Over Forty and Still Fashionable

Posted on | May 25, 2009 | No Comments

By Holly Buchanan

I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a bold statement.

Most women over 40 enjoy wearing stylish clothes that make them look and feel good.  And they’re willing to spend good money to do it.

OMG – Get out!

What could cause me to spout such blasphemy?  It’s the truth, and no matter how painful, you need to hear it.

Women do not wake up on their 40th birthday, throw out everything in their closet and shop for an entire new wardrobe based on a fitting pattern that can only be described as “pajamatization.”

Shut UP!   My grandma, like, LOVES that pajama look – don’t all old people over 35?

No.  Do women’s bodies change?  Do their tastes change?   Sure.  But they still care about fit, fashion, and style.

Say it with me ladies, say it loud and proud, “I’m over 40 and I don’t wear clothes that look like pajamas.”

When I go out, my clothes are sophisticated, fashionable, and flattering.  Even my butt looks good.  There, I said it.

But aren’t you just, like, trying to look younger than you really are?

No amount of money could persuade me to relive my 20’s.  I have no desire to look like some runway fashion model.   Would I like to look a little younger?  Sure, but through clothes that fit my current style and flatter my current body.

Why the rant?

Because I’m standing in solidarity with Christina Binkley, author of the recent Wall St. Journal article- The Forgotten Market Online: Older Women.   The article discusses the fact that many new fashion sites focus on youth, even though most web apparel sales are to women over 35.

Article author Christina Binkley has this to say about one of those new youth-targeted apparel sites:

One group may not feel so welcome on StyleCaster: women over 35. The styles featured there appear to be largely designed by and for twentysomethings. The way the technology works, the outfit suggestions should improve as I click on more stuff I like — but so far, the clothes have been so young and casual I haven’t found much to click on.

Here lies a problem common to most of these otherwise forward-thinking fashion sites. After the initial fun is over, weather forecasts, friends’ groups, and video can seem gimmicky, and when the sites present youthful styles like that pintucked T-shirt and tights to a grown woman headed to the office on Monday morning, they can seem downright disconnected.

Here’s why what what Christina Binkley is saying is so important – look at the chart below of online women’s apparel spending by age group:

It’s a really interesting article, and the comments are even better.   I really enjoyed hearing from folks from the fashion side who explained why they aren’t creating clothing, websites, etc. geared towards “older” women.  (By older, they’re often talking about women over 35.  No, I’m not kidding.)

There were lots of interesting points, but what I don’t get is, since the 25 and under space is so competitive, why NOT focus on the 35 plus crowd and reach a massively underserved marketplace who feels very few apparel makers are speaking to them??

Read the full article and be sure to click on the comments tab to see the discussion.

Nuf said.

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