Today, WSJ's Christina Binkley writes, "Here was my ideal outfit for Monday morning here in Los Angeles, according to my daily, personalized StyleCaster email: an oversized gray T-shirt and black tights." The problem? Well, she works for the Wall Street Journal. And she's over 35.
Binkley complains that many sites, like ShopFlick, StyleCaster, and SmashingDarling aim to make fashion shopping sites more than just online catalogs, but do so with a target customer between 18 and 34 years old.
Are online marketers so youth-conscious — because it feels right — that they're ignoring lucrative markets just when they're most needed? The Internet is neither new nor young. The fastest-growing segment of Facebook users is women over 55, according to the Tracking Facebook blog. And the underlying assumption that young people are still the Web's most fertile market doesn't hold up to scrutiny.
In fact, 65% of online apparel sales go to women over age 35, according to market researcher NPD Group. Among these, the fastest-growing sales are to women between 55 and 64 years old — a boomer population that has always been known for its willingness to indulge.
In addition, she publishes this graphic:
Which clearly shows that there's way more money to be made in the over 34 demographic than there is in the younger age groups. Yet the choices seem to be slim: When it was announced that the First Lady, 45, would be shopping at Boden, commenters said stuff like, "Boden is the costume of a particularly smug brand of privilege..." And a writer for the Telegraph proclaimed the brand "too frumpy" for Michelle Obama. And while Cloris Leachman's line of clothing fills a certain — niche — women don't immediately turn tacky because they've aged!
So why are older women being overlooked by the fashion industry? Why is fashion a young woman's game, when it's clear that ladies of a certain age have the interest — and the financial means? Why is our culture so youth-obsessed? (And is it any wonder that anti-aging products are being shoved down our throats?)