Baby Boomers Feeling Shafted By Fashion

September 25, 2008 • Fashion

Emmys_brooke_shields_2                                                            Brooke Shields looking ravishing on the Emmy’s red carpet

If last Sunday’s Emmy Awards were any indication…all of a sudden, being middle-aged is somewhat trendy.That’s rocking good news for us right? Well maybe not so much.

As much as Baby Boomers might want to follow these stars’ lead and turn to fashion to stay young, they’re having a hard time doing it. Retailers are not keeping up with Boomers’ demands, according to an enlightening article at

Let’s face it, we have coma long way baby. We have taken it upon ourselves to stay young-looking as we age, and we have the credit card bills to prove it!

"Men and women in their 50s are taking care of themselves–eating healthy, exercising–and look younger than their parents did when they were their age," says J. Elias Portnoy, chief brand strategist at The Portnoy Group, a marketing consulting firm. The U.S. anti-aging skin care market reached $1.6 billion in 2007, an increase of 63% from 2002, according to Mintel, a market intelligence firm.

Not only do Boomers want to look young, they want to dress young. Boomers areEmmys_julia_louis_dreyfus
therefore finding themselves trapped between two worlds. They are desperate not to become their parents and don’t want to dress like their children. The challenge is finding clothing that is age-appropriate and fashionable. And it’s a challenge indeed.

Unfortunately, there are few retailers that carry appealing merchandise, and one-third said stores catering to their demographic have unstylish clothing.

This has forced Boomers to forego traditional department stores and specialty retailers like Chico’s and Ann Taylor for youthful counterparts like Abercrombie & Fitch, H&M and Forever 21. But these retailers aren’t necessarily doing a great job of attracting and keeping the business of Boomers, either.

Worse yet, many of the brands and retailers that once targeted the Boomer demographic are disappearing.

Ann Taylor and Talbots plan on closing stores. Forth & Town, Gap’s attempt at mid-age fashion, was shuttered after only two years in business. Liz Claiborne has discontinued Sigrid Olsen and started selling Dana Buchman as a brand for Kohl’s. The consolidation of department stores also has left a hole in the market.

Additonally, it’s the Boomers who have the most money to spend. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the current 83.4 million Boomers have a collective spending power of more than $2 trillion and hold 50% of all discretionary income.

Do you have any ideas? What are your suggestion?

Read "Retailers Leave Baby Boomers Dry" here

Photos: WireImage

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One Response to Baby Boomers Feeling Shafted By Fashion

  1. I also posted my comments on the excellent Forbes article.
    But I also prompt my Boomer readers (“Forever Cool”is my latest book for men and women Boomers)to do their homework by being more curious, aware and observing of what would constitute the style they would have for themselves.Celebrity watching is great (especially the beauties in their 40s who really haven’t encountered the real challenges of aging)..but doesn’t serve the public except at times as inspiration.(

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