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August 15, 2008


Ronni Bennett

In an coincidence with the fashion references in your post today, David, my post yesterday at Time Goes By, titled Elder Fashion - An Oxymoron is about the near total lack of clothing designed to fit the shape of older women's bodies. Even a couple of men chimed in with comments relating similar difficulties in finding clothes to fit their newly old bodies.

You're right, David, that older women are less concerned with au courant style than when we were younger. But that doesn't mean we don't want to be well-dressed and appropriate both to our age and to individual occasions. Nevertheless, fashion houses have ignored us and even the few who purport to outfit older women take their cues from what younger women want.

For example, the only way I've been able to find sweaters that aren't clingy, cut too low or are transparent is to shop in the men's and boys' departments - not an ideal solution, so I spend the bare minimum.

What puzzles me is the economics. Can it be true that our culture is so deeply ageist that fashion corporations are willing to forgo millions or, more probably, billions in cash register ring-ups by ignoring an age group that is about 38 percent (and growing) of the entire female population to be perceived as kewl?

Thank you for the shoutouts for my blogs.

David Wolfe

Ronni, I did read your blog on fashion. Thanks for bringing it to my readers' attention.

You said: What puzzles me is the economics. Can it be true that our culture is so deeply ageist that fashion corporations are willing to forgo millions or, more probably, billions in cash register ring-ups by ignoring an age group that is about 38 percent (and growing) of the entire female population to be perceived as kewl?

The answer is yes. The sad thing is that rejection of these markets is more reflexive than rational. When asked why they ignore these markets marketers who do so come back with groundless assertions they have never examined critically. It's selective perception at work that is not directly willful. Belief follows need. They need to construct arguments that keep their present beliefs intact. To change those beliefs means a lot of intellectual destruction and reconstruction. It's a helluva lot easier to keep believing what they already believe.


Ronni Bennett

If that's so, David, I don't have a lot of confidence in U.S. business in general. The speed of change these days is breathtaking and businesses that don't keep up (just my untutored opinion) will fail or, at least, will see their revenue drop.

What frustrates me is that I know a lot of what needs to be designed for elder women. But I can't draw a straight line, so can't sketch them and I don't know the first thing about the fashion trade or business. So I wait.

I keep thinking someone will come along soon and see the money to be made off elder women. Or maybe not. Maybe I'm doomed to die in ugly, badly-fitted clothes.

David Wolfe


My mother might have had complaints about being ignored by the fashionista crowd every bit as much as you only in her time I could offer no hope. However, as America becomes more accustomed to an aging society, the values of older people continue growing more prominent, marketing becomes more intergenerational (ageless), and the idea of co-creation (providers and customers collaborating on product design and delivery) become commonplace (as is already beginning to happen), you will be able to avoid the ignominious fate of dying in ugly, badly-fitted clothes. I promise you that.


Ronni Bennett

Tee hee. I can only hope you are right.


Labels and categorization are used and abused everywhere -- not just marketing -- over-simplification. Keep trying to educate the advt./marketing folk to think outside their cramped box.

Jake B.

Lumping a large number of people in too a label is essentially the foundation of marketing as we knew it. However, more and more niche markets are becoming increasingly important. Cutting threw the fat of a "baby-boomer" group you are going to find numerous different groups with-in and on either side of the so-called age range. Many marketers miss out on an untapped market because they only focus on mass marketing. This economy may just spur a more niche related focus.

"Focusing solely on your base will lose another's face."

~Ditley SEO Company

mike m

I agree with joared labels and categorization is used and abused everywhere. Staying innovative is getting more and more difficult in these "internet" times.

- web design studio

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