Saturday, 21 November 2015

Why the Negativity Towards Brands That Target the Older Woman?

Why the Backlash Against Brands That Target the Older Woman? | Why is it a problem for some women to be recognised as older and enjoy products that meet our needs...?
In the past few weeks I've noticed a little bit of negativity towards brands that specifically target the older woman, namely, the 40 plus market. This may seem strange to some of you considering that the majority of my audience are over 35 and I receive a number of comments talking about the need for more to be done to cater for the older woman.

However, it has highlighted the fact that a few of us are not so keen on being recognised as being old.

There, I said it: We're old. And I've said it before but I'll say it again:

This is NOT a bad thing.

"Old" is not a bad word. It's only a bad word if we let it mean something bad.

Since I questioned why some women lie about their age, and subsequently featured new 40+ clothing brand Hope, some of the feedback I've received about anything that targets and recognises older women has been a bit negative. I get that we don't want to be constantly reminded that we're no longer 20-something, or that we "need" anti-ageing products, or that our waistlines are thickening... But WHY is it a problem for some women to be recognised as older and simply enjoy products that meet our needs?

I GET THAT WE DON'T WANT TO BE CONSTANTLY REMINDED THAT WE'RE NO LONGER 20-SOMETHING, OR THAT WE "NEED" ANTI-AGEING PRODUCTS, OR THAT OUR WAISTLINES ARE THICKENING...

I don't think there's any denying that we ARE different to how we were in our 20s or 30s. Yes, I know I often say I don't feel different to how I felt in my 20s, but we have to be honest with ourselves. How many of us are living exactly the same life we were living 20 or 30 years ago? Are we living in the same house, with the same partner, with the same job, with the same household income, with the same children (who haven't aged, or who didn't exist then)?

Are we watching the same TV shows, going to the same places at the weekend, reading the same magazines and newspapers, walking the same dog, enjoying the same hobbies - and had no new life experiences, good or bad?

What I'm saying is that although many of us don't feel any different, we are different, whether we like it or not. Life rarely stays the same over that amount of time. We're always affected hugely by life events. Therefore, if you are older, you are different - and that's not a bad thing, either.

I think the problem lies within the negative connotations that ageing has. The word "old" = bad.

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to be featured in the Sunday Times Style magazine, and one of the other women featured was British fashion expert Caryn Franklin. Most British women aged about 35 and over will remember her on The Clothes Show, an innovative fashion show from the 80s and 90s. In the magazine she was quoted as saying:

"I'D DESCRIBE MY STYLE AS 'FEISTY'. IT'S GREAT BEING OLD. FASHION IS ON MY TERMS." - Caryn Franklin

So there you have it - a stylish, incredibly attractive older woman describing herself as old. There was no apologetic tone about it; just a positive message of "I'm old, and it's great".

I think we need to stop apologising for being old. I'm guilty of it now and then, joking about my age on Twitter for example when I tweet something to a 22-year-old. However, it doesn't make any sense why I do. There I'm communicating with others who have the same common interests as me (fashion, in my case), we're all reading the same articles, enjoying the same runway collections, seeing the same celebrities in the gossip magazines.

But generally speaking it's our lifestyles that are different. Some brands like Zara or Topshop have a target market of women in their 20s and early 30s and therefore present their collections, stores, advertising, website and tone of voice in a way that'll attract that age group. And why shouldn't they? If they tried to cater for women between 18 and 80 their marketing would be all over the place and make no sense to anyone.

So it shouldn't be seen as a negative thing that other brands do the same for women in their 40s, 50s and older. We tend not to want loud music in stores. We tend not to want to show off acres of flesh as we get older. We tend to value comfort as much as style (nothing wrong in that). Brands who create a product that addresses these needs aren't dictating to us how we should shop or what we should buy - they're giving us an alternative that is more likely to appeal to us.

WE TEND NOT TO WANT LOUD MUSIC IN STORES. WE TEND NOT TO WANT TO SHOW OFF ACRES OF FLESH AS WE GET OLDER. WE TEND TO VALUE COMFORT AS MUCH AS STYLE (NOTHING WRONG IN THAT).

The problem is not enough brands are doing this, and older women are losing out as a result. When I talked about a new 40+ clothing brand that really appealed to me and received a few comments from readers saying they don't like people being 'put in boxes' or that they 'don't believe that women of different ages should dress differently', I got a little frustrated.

I agree, but not where brands and their products are concerned.

Brands have to do it, otherwise they will fail. It's known as target marketing, which is identifying your target customers by asking whose problems your product or service solves. Older women have their own set of problems, just as much as young girls have their own, very different set of problems.

If you think about, no one has a problem with brands specifically targeting teens and 20-somethings.

Maybe it's time we stopped trying to fight our age and made ourselves more willing to embrace brands that want to make us [even more] fabulous?

Remember: If you don't ask, you don't get.

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Let me know your thoughts in the comments below (or tweet me @notlamb if it's easier)...!

Catherine

P.S. Like this post? You might also want to read Dressing Without the Fear of "What Will Others Think...?"

Linking up to: Let It Shine, Brilliant Blog PostsFriday's Fab Favourites
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57 comments

  1. Well said, Catherine. Nothing wrong with having a target market - so long as they remember we still want to be stylish and creative! xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    1. Of the few who are doing it, Patti, some get it right and some don't - so it makes our choices even more limiting. I'm more than happy to shop in Topshop, but not every woman of my age or older is. Thanks so much for commenting sweetie x

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  2. Great post. I'm 35 and I love it when a brand figures out how to produce stylish (I still think I'm mid twenties) clothes for older women (my waist is NOT the same as it was in my twenties). Being old isn't bad at all...I know myself better and although I might not be as slim, I'm much more comfortable in my skin :)

    Ally // Digital Diva xx

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    1. Hehe I know what you mean about forgetting your age, Ally - that's what I meant about not feeling different to how I did when I was 20-something!

      I think if you're comfortable in your own skin, as you put it, you don't object to brands targeting your age group. We just need more choice of brands actually doing that!!

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  3. Yes, exactly! Brands don't just target age demographics, but style demographics (preppy, bohemian, minimalist, hipster) too. In this new fashion world where "anything goes" it's probably smart business to find your niche and cater to it.

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    1. It's all good business sense, isn't it Sue...? A brand can't target teens AND 50+ women effectively, it just wouldn't work.

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  5. Agree with you totally Catherine, and as you said, it's the meaning WE put on any given thing. I am 53 and sometimes shop in TopShop and Miss Selfridge - I am WAY off their target but being 5'2'' and slight, the clothes FIT me physically (which many 'grown up' collections don't) and suit my 'creative' style. But I wear the TopShop jacket or necklace MY way, and not how it's shown on the mannequin in the window. Shops must have their target audience but I know I have the option to go off piste and play with fashion to my own advantage. Sx

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    1. That's exactly right, S - you have options!! No one is saying you have to shop in ANY particular store. I just want there to be more choice for older women because that's what they're asking for...!!

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  6. Well said, Catherine. I always love to hear your your opinion on ageing. It's a great day to have brands targeting our age group. I love being 57 as much as I loved being 37, and 17. But one thing I remember from my younger days is that I never wanted my mother to dress like me. And I'm happy she didn't! But she still looked amazing. What a role model. Thank you, brands, for understanding that we women age, but can still rock style.
    beth

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    1. I think that some think that a brand targeting older women is automatically going to bring out frumpy, old fashioned clothes, Beth... Why does this have to be the case? And yes I know what you mean about not wanting to dress like your mum when you're young. Yuo don't want to shop in the same places, either!

      That's why younger brands target younger girls and make their stores places that YOUNG girls want to be. Now we just need the same for our age group - we just need more choice. Just as you can't treat teenagers like babies, you can't treat older women like teenagers. Thanks so much for your comments! x

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  7. Another great post Catherine! Off course is great to have brands creating stylish cloths that are more friendly to mature women. Our body proportions are frequently different, our life style changed, our budget and shopping habits is different. And although we can feel the same energy, enthusiasm and joy of younger girls, much of the times we are more grounded, more self confident, knowing ourselves and what we want better than wen we were 20. And this is truth also in respect to what we dress, and makes the difference. Totally agree also with Being Lois: great to have shops thinking of what we need and also can pick this and that and give it a twist (our twist).
    Manuela
    Girls Just Like Us
    https://girlsjustlikeus.wordpress.com

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    1. Hear, hear, Manuela - I think you've summed it up better than I did!! Fashion brands aren't just selling things to wear. They're selling a lifestyle, a brand that people want to be associated with (or not). Environments that people want to shop in.

      As an example, I personally don't shop in Primark because I can't stand the jumble-sale vibe they have going on in their shops - and I rarely go in H&M for the same reason. The changing rooms are awful too. They both sell plenty of clothes I'd probably wear, but the last thing I want to do is step inside their shop :((

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  8. I have no problem admitting my age, but I do get what women mean when they're less than fond of revealing their age, let alone embracing brands targeting older women. You're right we're old. And being old is not easy. Being put in that box: OLD can be actually a very terrifying thing. One thing is sure though, your post made me think and I like that:)
    Abby

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    1. Abby I hear you, but you'll only end up in that box if you let others put you there. I'm pretty sure women like Iris Apfel and Linda Rodin don't feel like they're in that box, and it's only terrifying getting older if you let it get to you and give up.

      And I wouldn't go back to being young again for anything: Being a TEENAGER is terrifying, if you think about it.

      But I'm glad it made you think, and although I don't know how old you are I've always assumed you are younger... If that's the case, please don't fear getting older. It's a waste of time and energy! x

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    2. Dear Catherine,
      I wish I could say I'm younger, but "unfortunately" I am 41:) I'm flattered that you thought I was younger, I guess it's my mind that comes across as young (at least I don't have to do wrinkle flattening there then:). Again loved the thought-proving post!
      xx Abby

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    3. Damn that auto-correct. I meant of course "thought-provoking" post! xx

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  9. For some reason, maybe my browser settings, I can only see the home page - not the categories. Anyway, I don't quite feel the need to shop at a store targeted for my age group. Plus, the store name "Hope" is quite a turn off .. like there's 'hope' that at my age I'll be able to find clothing .. lol. Oh, well .. I wish them well :-)

    Monica

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    1. Yes - but Monica, that's fine if you're confident enough to shop anywhere - but many, many women are not. I'm happy to shop anywhere, but not every woman is putting photos of herself on the internet for others to see what she's wearing - the brands need to target older women as a whole, not fashion bloggers.

      And the name Hope was the name of the founder's mother - and it never occurred to me once that it was a negative: I think of Hope as a gorgeous, positive girl's name. You've only got to see the happy smiling (older!) models on their website to see that :)

      Maybe I didn't explain myself enough in the post, but it's this exact attitude of not feeling the need to shop in a store aimed at older women that means we don't get what we want. But by constantly shunning it we'll never end up with LOTS of choice of brands for the 40+ market, rather than the tiny handful we have to pick from now. We have to show them we want these brands for more to be created, and therefore more choice for us.

      I therefore "hope" that we get what we want, one day...! ;)

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  10. I agree that there's nothing wrong with a brand that understands their target market which is important from merchandise offering to marketing. What I find funny is that you would think there would be more brands geared towards 40+ women since their disposable income should be more than a 20 year old. As long as the clothes fits my lifestyle then I am okay with it.

    Thank you for joining TBT Fashion link up and hope to see you next week. Have a great weekend!

    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

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    1. I think it's taking brands a long time to realise that the older woman has more disposable income, Alice - you're right! Our age group is apparently the biggest growing market, so maybe there's hope for us yet :)

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  11. I dont think clothing should be age branded. If I like it and it looks good, makes me feel good I will buy it.Regardless of where it comes from .
    Laurie x

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    1. I know that clothing itself shouldn't be age branded, Laurie - as you know I don't believe in age-appropriate dressing - but as I said selling clothing is so much than just what clothes to design/sell. As I mentioned to Manuela above, I won't go into H&M because I can't stand their shops with all the clothes in a big mess everywhere.

      Take the same clothes and put them in a store that's calmer, better presented and easier to navigate, and I'd probably go in. The clothes aren't different, it's how they're presented that IS different. That's why women want more brands for their age group - the stores and the marketing aren't speaking to them so they don't get as far as the clothes.

      Yes I will buy clothes from anywhere, regardless of the store's target market - but even I have my limits...!

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  12. Catherine, I like this post VERY much.
    In my opinion the "problem" is, that some women, despite what they say, are actually VERY uncomfortable with aging and being older.
    And it is not their fault!
    Our society and media favours the young and youth culture..
    Look in any magazine and the models are in their teens (ever advertising items targeted to older women)...even blogs for "older women" have posts about "looking YOUNGER" and being young.
    Looking young is marketed as a good thing, old is bad...a dirty word.
    Compliments are always aimed at being younger and thinner "Ooo your new hair makes you look younger" or "those jeans make you look so skinny".
    AND society makes it Okay for women to put other women down for looking to fat or too old.
    Look in the gossip magazines...women hating on other women, in order to feel better about themselves.
    And, the media fueling that hatred.
    It makes me sad....and angry.
    Confident women do not hate on other women.
    I think the "older" brands are fighting a losing battle....and I don't know the answer.
    I buy things I like from places I like, regardless of the age range....the only reason I avoid "older" shops is that there is quite a lot of "Vanity Sizing" and the clothes don't fit me.
    Or, if the brand is trying too hard to be 'trendy' and just ends up looking even more frumpy.
    That is the worst.
    I know that I have rambled on a little here (hahaha :a lot!) but I honestly believe that if we, as women, started SUPPORTING each other and celebrating our individual beauty instead of criticising and tearing each other down...dressing and looking good would be so much easier.
    Bravo to you for flying the flag for us, and being such an inspiration!
    XXX
    Samantha
    Fake Fabulous

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    1. I think for all the reasons you mentioned above, Samantha - which you are quite right about - it's even more important that older fashion bloggers have a duty to show older women that ageing is NOT a dirty word! You are a wonderful example of someone who is doing her thing and doing it with energy, and enthusiasm, and a "youthful touch".

      Not to contradict myself with the old word, but to say that your attitude is more ageLESS. And we need more like you, and for you to be spreading that enthusiasm everywhere to show that the media is wrong to show older women in a negative light.

      You set the bar high when it comes to support, my dear - and thank you so much for your (very insightful) comments! x

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  13. I think that we should have more Brands that design clothes for older women. We are a growing demographic and it is big business for them if they get it right. Our bodies change as we get older and we need clothes that work for us and our possibly changing lifestyles. Personally I am fine with my age and don't take any notice of what people might say.

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    1. Quite right, Josephine! Hopefully we'll see more brands like Hope popping up and realising that we're a resource just sitting waiting to be tapped into...!

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  14. Surely we should buy clothes that suit our own particular lifestyle, figure and budget,and taste, rather than our particular age. As a 69 year old, I shop in a variety of places, on line and in physical shops for example Boden, Toast, Marks and Spencer, H & M, East (until my local shop closed down earlier this year) to name a few favourites.

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    1. Age is just one of things that brands need to consider as part of their target audience goes, Jaycee - that we should shop for our age is not what I'm saying at all in this post! The point of the post was to question why some women feel so negatively towards brands that are wanting to cater for the lifestyles of older women (which are greatly affected by our age, whether we like it or not) by designing clothes and a shopping experience that is more likely to appeal to them.

      As I said we can all shop wherever we like - no one can stop us doing that - but it'd be nice for those women who WON'T go into younger brands' stores to have more choice when it comes to shopping somewhere that is speaking to them. And that is why I support these types of brands!

      So you're absolutely right, but I'm pretty sure the majority of women who are not confident about where to shop think the same way...!

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  15. Personally I don't see 40 as "old" I am 37 and not far off and I can't say it bothers me. I like getting older as without a doubt you do gain confidence with age!
    I don't like the term anti ageing, I'm all for looking the best we can for our age. I'm also up for the idea for more options, more clothing stores for women. I'm not a teenager so yes a shop for grown women can only ever be a good thing.
    I do still shop in topshop etc and I cherry pick what will suit me. It's good to have more options for women as we age.
    Being old is a good thing, not everyone gets to be old, so it's something we should be thankful for.

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    1. "Being old is a good thing, not everyone gets to be old"....Amen to that! XXX

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    2. I'm all for looking the best we can too, Rae - I've always maintained I'd rather look my age but look fabulous with it!

      And I second what Samantha said. Being old IS good, and no one should ever think otherwise. As someone said on my Facebook page, "Age is a privilege denied to many".

      Thank you for your comments x

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    1. Milly I think you have missed my point ENTIRELY. I also take offence at your tone, especially when you have accused me of supporting the very thing I wholeheartedly oppose on my blog.

      Heck, I even started a campaign on Instagram and host a weekly link up called #iwillwearwhatilike - started because I couldn't bear the sorts of lists and style rules that dictate what older women should and shouldn't wear.

      I don't know if you're a regular reader of my blog but if you were to look at my tagline at the top of my sidebar, you will see that it says

      "Opposing the term "age appropriate" and encouraging women to be fabulous at any age".

      Please don't imply that I support age-appropriate dressing - as the person who started the #iwillwearwhatilike campaign I am the first person to stand up and call it BS. I have also written many posts on the subject.

      As I talked about here I am proud of my age. I do not see it as a negative. Just as I loved being at school and loved being a teenager, I embraced each decade that came along and will continue to do so.

      Brands who target the 40+ are NOT saying that XXX is what you "have" to wear, just as Topshop is not saying that XXX is what 20-somethings have to wear. I don't see you shouting about the fact that Topshop and Forever 21 target a younger audience - young girls don't want to shop in the same places as their mums, and understandably so.

      The point is that we don't have a lot of choice. It's not just about the clothes that brands sell, they have a lifestyle to sell as well - this is a basic rule of advertising. Again, as I already said, brands that do not work out what their demographic is WILL FAIL.

      No one is saying you "have" to shop in any particular shop aimed at the 40+ and can no longer go to places that have a younger demographic.

      Therefore please do not come onto my blog and start preaching to me what I fully support here for women of all ages without doing the necessary research. It is too obvious from my tagline that I challenge age appropriate nonsense.

      Please see the categories in the sidebar and read a few of the posts I have written. It may enlighten you a little.

      I don't know if you realise but your negativity is the very thing I'm questioning in this post. Don't you see what I am saying? If we had the choice of many brands for our age group, then we would have brands that offer vintage-style clothing, sexy clothing, cover up clothing, put-her-in-a-sack clothing, and so on and so on - but we DON'T have that many brands to choose from.

      Brands don't just sell clothes, they sell LIFESTYLES. What is just as important is the style of their shops, the atmosphere in the shops, the music they play, the type of changing rooms - then there's the advertising: They have to choose models who will attract the sort of customer they want to attract. I WANT to see older models, and I'm sure most women would agree with me.

      I'm now only repeating what's written in the post - but please, do your research before you go mouthing off to someone who's written many articles opposing the very thing you've accused her of doing.

      I challenge the nonsense you mention every single day in my blog posts and social media, and am thankful to say I get a LOT of positive support in favour of it. I don't appreciate you spreading negativity on my blog as it seems you have a lot of it to give out. This is a positive platform and would like, in future, to keep it that way.

      Catherine.

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    3. Milly Fashion:

      I have deleted both your comments as they were the very sort of rude, personal and negative comments that I don't wish people to have to read as they too will end up feeling badly about themselves through your negativity.

      If you feel so strongly about what I am about - and what this blog is about - then can I suggest that you no longer follow it.

      Any further comments from you will be deleted.

      P.S. And "JFTR": YOU BET I'M PROUD OF MY AGE. I intend to shout about it even more now, if that were possible. I'm proud to have reached my 40s feeling fabulous and am proud to have encouraged so many other women to also feel positively about it. Ageing is a privilege denied to many and should not be regarded with the disdain you have for it.

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  17. Personally loved the post you did with Hope - I'm 25 and would wear a lot of their stuff! A great perspective - and you look blooming marvellous and stylish as always ;)

    Felicity x

    www.prettyposhohmygosh.com

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    1. Thanks Felicity - and there you go: You've just proved that we have the choice to shop wherever we please... No one is stopping you from shopping at Hope, are they?! Just as older women are not being forced to shop there and there only!! xo

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  18. Great post, thanks so much! I smiled when I read about the loud music playing in the shop…I totally agree! I'm 49, proud of it, and yes, my body is not the same as when I was 29. I really enjoyed your campaign #IwillwearwhatIike, you are a great inspiration, keep up your great work!

    Isabelle, Toronto, Canada

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    1. Music is a great example of the type of customer that a retailer is trying to attract, Isabelle, you're right! I always say I don't feel that different to how I did when I was 20, but geesh if a shop is playing loud music I just can't stand it. (Especially if it's someone god awful like Rihanna: I'll walk straight out.) But younger brands are going to play that sort of music because that's what younger girls listen to!!

      And thank you for the lovely compliments, so glad you've been enjoying #iwillwearwhatilike! x

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  19. Old can mean a lot of good things. No one is horrified when a tree is old. Or a building. On the contrary. Unfortunately, in terms of humans, old has become a very negative thing. But with age comes wisdom and often a certain kind of grace and liberty. One only has to embrace it. Not be afraid of it. Or discard it.

    Besides, a certain kind of avantgarde and edginess in clothing only starts to look sophisticated when worn with the air of a queen, rather than a princess, non?

    Alex - Funky Jungle

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    1. OMG Alex what a fantastic way of putting it - yesssssss, I definitely want to be a queen!!!! hehe ;)

      You're absolutely right, it's such a shame the word old has become so negative. But the more we embrace it the more likely attitudes will change, no...? x

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  20. Totally agree with you Catherine. I don't care if a brand says it's aimed at 40+ or 18-25 women, I'll buy the clothes if I like them regardless of the target age. I buy clothes from Top Shop, H&M, M&S, Simply Be and many more (I'm 37). I look at the clothes not the marketing bumpf. I don't understand why people get so annoyed at it, if you don't like it, don't buy it.

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    1. And there you have a super-sensible attitude, people! Like anything, if you don't like it, don't buy/watch/listen to it.

      Thanks TBR, I shop the same way as you...! No brands targeting the 40+ wouldn't actually make a difference to me personally, but it'd make a huge difference to a great many women who DO want to be catered for directly - and that's why I will always support brands specifically for the 40+ :))

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  21. Great post. As a 40-yo, I appreciate brands targeting me and thinking about what I want from my clothing. Yes, I'm old but I'm youthful and vibrant. I don't want to dress like a 20-yo. And there are some shops I don't like to enter (thank goodness for online shopping). Btw, I love being old. I'm much happier and confident now then I was at 20.

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    1. I do the same with shops that I want to buy FROM but don't want to buy IN, Elfa... Go home and buy it online!! The thing that so many people need to realise (which you do!) is that it's all about choice. Teens and 20-somethings have plenty of choice, older women do not.

      I too feel better about myself than when I was 20. Old IS good, and I'm proud of being the age I am! Thanks sweetie x

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  22. Fascinating discussion, thanks for starting it Catherine.

    I'm interested that you feel that there aren't many brands targeting 40+ women. I'm sure most of them don't use 40+ models, but ones that come to mind on the high street are: Monsoon, Laura Ashley, M&S (some of their range), Next, Boden, Phase Eight, Wallis (then the ones I can't stand, Fat Face, Joules and White Stuff). Debehems and John Lewis are full of clothes aimed at 40+, as far as I can tell. I'm only mentioning brands who have comfy sizing - there are the ones aimed at thin rich people too. Do you think they're too similar to each other, or not really aimed at older woman? Not criticising, just curious!

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    1. I totally agree with you, Eleanorjane, that there are brands who include some older models (M&S with Twiggy, for example), but it's all a bit hit-and-miss and there is definitely a lack of brands that *only* target older women.

      As far as I know... Next's target market is 25-45.
      Laura Ashley 30-35.
      Monsoon: Not sure but I think 30+.
      Phase Eight: 35-55.
      M&S and Debenhams are of course department stores so tend to have a wider range, especially Debenhams with all the concessions selling everything from Miss Selfridge to Windsmoor.

      However if you take Phase Eight, for example, rarely do they have a 55 year old model - they tend to look 25-30. So *that's* why I'm so in favour of brands that are directly (and unapologetically) targeting the 40-70+ market - I can't actually think of many stylish, modern ones that are!

      So in answer to your question - yes they are sort of aimed at the older women, but they still use younger models. And I want to see models who are middle aged, with white or greying hair, not just "older" 30 year old models! They need to up their game if they really want to target older women... It's as if they're just a bit scared to do so. Nice to see Hope sticking their neck out a bit with it - I hoping that other brands will follow!

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  23. After I had my first son at 23, I hated low-rise jeans. All that bending, and squatting, and general being down on the floor had me showing off my buns on a regular basis! I began looking at what the 30+ brands were offering to find mid-rise and high waisted jeans (this was before all that rose in popularity), what a life saver! Now that I'm in my 30s I kinda smirk over having a jump on knowing how to dress my lower half while most gals are just having to figure it out.

    JJ
    www.dressupnotdown.blogspot.com

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    1. I think we definitely know our bodies better as we age, JJ - that's for sure! It's interesting that you recognised that the slightly older brands would cater for small details in what you wanted to wear. The brands have to guess what we want to buy/wear, and our lifestyles and what we do on a day-to-day basis will influence our choices, as you've just proved :)

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  24. Very interesting post and one that I've only just got round to commenting on because I was pondering it so please excuse my essay!

    It seems there is a conflict at the heart of the matter that is unnecessarily causing confusion and perhaps some negativity. As someone who is going to be 50 next year I really don't think of myself as old. And none of my friends of similar age do either. Maybe a previous generation would've thought they were old at that age but not these days. Yes, I'm old-er but not old. I think old as being 70+. So I guess that a brand that tries to associate itself with an age bracket beyond say 35 isn't necessarily going to be on many people's radar, even though as you've rightly said, places like Topshop don't have any problem in pitching themselves at a particular age bracket.

    It's a difficult dilemma for brands to negotiate. I see this in the business (health & fitness) I work in and it's the same thing. I know that if I put on a Pilates class targeted for the over 50s say, I'd barely fill it. Many 50 year olds would think it would be too gentle for them, too old for them and aimed at the more geriatic and shy away from being put in an age related box!

    The very things that frustrated me at 20 are the very same things that frustrate me at nearly 50 – poor lighting in shops, loud music (and even brands that supposedly don't target younger women are also guilty of this), few mirrors on shop floors or if there are, there's a bloomin' mannequin stuck in front of them! 3 changing rooms that you can barely swing a cat in; disengaged, unwilling and unknowledgeable shop assistants; poor choice of sizing – the number of times I've tried to buy something and there are 4 size 8's, no 10s/12s and 6 size 18s on the rail! Debenhams are notorious for this one. If brands concentrated on these things, then I'd be a happier shopper because I actually do think there is an incredible choice out there.

    I'm also petite and shopping in my 20s was a nightmare. People forget that 'shopping by fit' is still a relatively new thing. It's only in the last 20 years and particularly more in the last 10 years that there's there beginning of decent choice for Tall, Plus and Petite. My parents generation had far fewer brands to choose from. So in a way I'm more interested in 'shopping by fit' rather than brands that target the older woman. I appreciate that that's my own perspective but I wonder if that also isn't true for a lot of other women???

    The older population supposedly has more disposable income but they're careful about how they spend it – much more so than younger people (generalisation I know). Even though I'm part of that target market, I don't have £250 to spend on a cashmere poncho however beautiful it is and however perfect it would be for my style. There are many women of my age who don't have a disposable income and some of the brands that would be a fit for them in terms of lifestyle, cut, print, etc.... are still too expensive.

    Thank you for posting this, Catherine. It's been an interesting debate and I've really enjoyed reading all the comments. We're a lively lot, us bloggers, aren't we!

    http://petitesilvervixen.blogspot.co.uk/

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  25. Yes to this-hope brands are reading this. My Mum shops in Topshop and Zara as do I so I wonder if it's about the key high street brands creating wider rangers for all too as well as specific targeted brands becoming cooler. There are some getting it spot on and others who don't understand what women want post 30's, 40's and older. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

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  26. Catherine, I love this! I am older, but I am feisty, I still call myself a girl and I probably always will. I have a different body and needs than I did when I was 20 or 30, I still wear jeans and tshirts, but I top them with a blazer. I don't wear short skirts or leggings. I love when I see a post about stylish clothing that fits my needs and I love that you are calling attention to this. I think that the person reading is the one putting the 'box' around the topic, we all need to just have an open mind and a great attitude. Thanks for this, love that it's making more people think!

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  27. My problem with brands that target older women is that they always seem to create clothes that cover the body up. I'm 53 and I work very hard to have a healthy, strong body and I don't want to cover it up in clothes that drape and flow all over the place. I do realize, that my body shape is unusual for my age. But when I see twenty-somethings that are forty pounds more or heavier than me and they are "allowed" to shop at Forever 21 because they are "young" and I am not because I am an "old", it infuriates me! Clothing should be about body type, not age. Companies that target older women shouldn't immediately assume that were all heavy and out of shape. Do you know how hard it is in my country to even find sizes in the women's department that fit me? Next to impossible! The smallest size is the women's department of most department stores is a size 6. If I find a size 4 it's a miracle. And to find a size 2 is next to impossible. So most of the time I either buy an item thats too big, or I am forced to go to the "Junior's Department" where women my age are told not to shop because were too old. But if nothing fits in the "Woman's" department, what am I suppose to do? It's very frustrating. I would actually love to see an older woman's clothing line or store that offers us fashionable, and trendy styles that don't cover every square inch of our body up in flowing, drapey clothing and also offer sizes that fit us. That's what older women really want and really need. If there is a company out there that provides that, you bet we'll be shopping there!

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  28. This is the first time I've read your blog and I thought this was a great blog. If we ourselves have a problem with our age, then so is the rest of the population. I have never had a problem with telling people my age but I know a lot of people who do and have a problem with every coming birthday! I'm not twenty something anymore and wouldnt want to be. Being old is a state of mind. Keep up the great writing xx Dora

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