The Fashion Industry Just Doesn’t Get It – 3 Huge Fashion Bloopers

Boomers' Style Revolt

Boomers' Style Revolt

There are about 75 million women in the Boomer generation alone. They’re not spending because they don’t like the choices the fashion industry offers.

By: Jeannette Cole

Ask a woman how she feels about clothing choices and you’re likely to get an earful.  Little of it positive!  So I have to wonder, if so many of us feel this way, why hasn’t the fashion industry changed?

As far back as I can remember it’s been a love-hate relationship with fashion.  I love pretty clothes and the feel of fine fabrics but I hate shopping.  No actually I love to shop but hate that I rarely find quality clothes that fit.  And mind you, I was a size 6 or 8 most of my life.  Adding a few years and a few pounds to the picture made the selection process even more difficult.  Each year it seems to get increasingly challenging to find what I’m looking for.  And cost doesn’t seem to be a factor.  From Nordstrom’s and high end boutiques to discount stores, the picture is the same – Bleak!

How can you run a multi-billion dollar business like this?

1.    They don’t understand their market.  Yes, teens and twenty-something’s spend more than any other group on clothes and fashion items. Let’s face it, looking good at that age is imperative.  It is part of social belonging.  But older women, by that I mean anyone over 30, like to look good as well.  So why don’t they buy?

2.    They can’t seem to design clothes for maturing bodies – you know, someone over 30.  Like it or not, the body changes over time.  Having children causes body changes as does the passage of time.  Designers, taken with slender youthful bodies don’t seem to be able to appreciate the grace and refined look of older women.  So they keep designing for their target audience and ignore a huge potential market.

Possibly no other item of clothing takes on more significance than pants in today’s society.  We live in them, from jeans and shorts to dress slacks and everything in between.  However, it seems designers don’t understand that pants for a lean twenty-something won’t fit a robust twenty-something let alone a more mature figure.  All I want is a pant that goes to the waist.  Now is that too much to ask?  Apparently so!  Designers seem to feel we all look good in a contour or dropped waist.  Have they met anyone who’s had several children or is over 50?  Our tummies don’t look good with a band going around its fullest part.  Is it any wonder we don’t buy clothes?

3.    They don’t understand age-appropriate design.  Fashion-forward clothes are exciting and fun, but they’re not always appropriate for every age. What may be darling on a 25 year old is probably not something a 50 year old would relish.  Some things do translate across the ages but the majority does not.  And size has nothing to do with it. A size four 50 year old woman recently told me she doesn’t want tops that make her look like a kid or like she’s pregnant. Those days are gone.

Fashion after all is a business. Twenty-something’s will always spend more than their older counterparts.  Women with growing families may have other priorities but they still have a social life and like to look good.  And then there’s the boomer group. There are about 75 million women in the Boomer generation alone. They’re not spending because they don’t like the choices the fashion industry offers.

This isn’t Rocket Science, it is Business 101.  If each one of the 75 million boomer women spends an additional $100.00 per year, that’s 7.5 Billion dollars.  Most business schools consider that a large market.

Well, it’s time to wake them up.  If enough voices band together for change, we can have a positive effect.  As a market research professional, I’m donating my time and effort to create a platform to make our voices heard.  It’s easy to participate.  Go to http://www.stylerevolt.com and take the 20 minute online survey.  Survey results will present a large collective voice that will cause the Fashion industry to stop, think, and act differently!

Future articles will focus on what consumers want and the response from the fashion industry.

Live long and look well.

About the Authors:

Jeannette Cole heads the team and has worked in numerous corporate and consulting positions throughout her career.  She has an extensive background in Marketing and Market Research. After years of corporate work, Jeannette is turning her attention to her real passion, clothing design and all things related to fashion.

Jeannette is joined by Karen Wolff and Penelope Hecker.  Both women with strong business and marketing backgrounds and a love fashion and sewing.