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2006.09.05

Comments

Shotrock

Ah, I see: "A cashmere tank top with spaghetti straps 'reads sporty,' she added, but does not scream Nike.'" Funny, that description sounds familiar:

http://www.landsend.com/cd/ov/prod/0,,2_17273_17277_30703_137094_115501_9:view=59,00.html?sid=4569187077904152070&CM_MERCH=SRCH

Besides, I'm fascinated by their so-called 25-40 year old target market. I'll be 40 next year, and fashion-wise, I've got very little in common with those kids. (Seriously, it's time for ME to "grow up"? Kiss it, Mr. Martin.)

Same thing with Forth & Towne's 35-55 market or whatever the hell range it is. The problem with these decades-wide "target markets" is that they include very different generations. And that's because us Baby Busters are the smallest group - it's not worth targeting us specifically, so retailers throw us in with the Boomers or Gen Y and try to please everyone, and it fails horribly.

marylynn

I think there is a valid point about 30-somethings wearing clothing that's too young for them when they want to be casual but I'm not sure if that's entirely because of a lack of available options or because so many people want to believe they're younger than they really are in general and act that way (and are just dressing the part as an afterthought). It is entirely possible for those 50 year old women I see in airports wearing Juicy sweatsuits to find other options now - they just aren't because in their minds they're in the same demographic as Jessica Simpson.

I will say that in larger sizes there is definitely a big gap I see between teeny clothes, or things geared far too young though not expressed designed for teens, and old gramma stretch mumus. I'd like to see that rectified but I suspect I'd get to be a size 0 before that ever got addressed by retailers.

I basically shop with this question in my mind: Would I be embarassed to wear this on the streets of a major European capital? And it's hard to find clothes that meet those criteria in my sizes. Is it really true that that's the same for regular sizes as well?

Shotrock

I basically shop with this question in my mind: Would I be embarassed to wear this on the streets of a major European capital?

Bless you, marylynn. This is going to be my shopping mantra from now on.

ginger

An indignant digression:

They based their impressions on what people wear in airports? The same airports where you can't wear lipstick, these days? The airports where I have to be prepared to take my shoes off in front of other people? The airports where I wait to get on airplanes where I'll be sitting in very close confines with complete strangers, eating peanuts and other crumb- and bloat-generating "snax" while being jostled incessantly by my fellows and external air pressure?

I wear nothing I care about to the airport. My favorite travel pants are these loose white corduroys that make me look like Moby Dick, but that let me curl up if I need to, or swell up from the ludicrous diet of salt and alcohol that sustains me on aircraft. I would not wear an entire outfit that cost $168 at the airport, much less a single sweater.

Back to the topic at hand.
I don't need a goddamned experience. What I need is business clothes that are well-constructed and designed classically enough to last more than one season, casual wear that doesn't require dry cleaning or pressing, and workout clothes that aren't built for a teenager. (What adult female looks other-than-lumpy in low-rise capri stretch pants worn with sweat socks and sneakers? I understand those are "yoga" pants, meant to be worn with bare feet, but where the hell did all the non-yoga sweat pants go? To the airport?)

Anyway. I'm willing to pay for these things, but I will not fork over for a wardrobe "experience" or for clothes that don't make sense. Oddly, though, those focus group recruiters in the mall never seem to want to talk to me about clothes. Tear-jerker movies, sure. Diet food products, absolutely. Clothes? No.

Grrr.

Jecca

Wait, now I'm not in J.Crew's demographic either? Man, I had no idea I was doing so much wrong. My first thought upon seeing "Madewell" was: "Well, is it? Made well?"

And I know this was addressed in your posts about Forth & Towne (the name that always makes me think of the Sally Forth comic strip), and above by Shotrock, but I must repeat: What does a 39-year-old have in common with a 25-year-old? More Ann Taylor Loft would be good, but this sounds ridiculous. And patronizing.

Lisa

"Forth & Towne" always makes me hum "Funkytown," only with my own lyrics about picking up sweater sets and long, arty-printed skirts. (Note: I actually own neither.)

Yeah, I was kind of shocked to learn that I'm not in J. Crew's demo anymore because, hi, the catalogs are crammed with dress-up clothes and office outfits! Don't a lot of thirtysomethings have to go to office parties and work? More importantly, don't we have the money to afford the $88 merino sweaters and $50 chino skirts?

molly

I actually felt a little sorry for the marketer in the article. Could you imagine how difficult it would be to target clothing to GenXers? They aren't into "experiences" and are turned off by overt marketing. I mean, how would you design a GenX clothing store and its campaign?

Although, I must admit recently I have had to venture into the most absurd clothing world known on earth...maternity. Talk about an unholy rip off! I am thinking those gramma stretch mumus Marilyn mentioned might be an attractive alternative...business casual workplace be damned!

Lisa

MOLLY! That is such excellent news!

Congratulations, congratulations. Please share the details!

drunken monkey

God, maternity wear. Pregnant women have it rough. (Congrats!)

I don't know where the hell I'm supposed to fit. I'm almost 25 and a professional, but I don't feel I can be lumped in with the 39-year-old demographic that easily. At the same time, I've got no interest in dressing like a 16-year-old.

I don't go to any store for the experience; I'm not going to sit around and hang out, like the aim seemed to be with F&T. I just want a store to have clothing I want to buy, that is reasonably priced for what I'm getting and marketed in a way that makes some kind of sense. I suspect that's what 39-year-olds want too.

lilybart

I'm not so thrilled with Lands End - the prices may be good, but the styles make me feel dowdy.

I make it all work with clothes from Banana Republic and Ann Taylor and what I can pick up at Neiman, Barneys and Saks during their sales. (I used to live in Tahari suits, but that seems like another lifetime.)

My style is creative/conservative, and I too, like to think that I'd look well put together on any street in a major European capital.

JCrew clothes stopped working for my body type right around the time I hit my mid thirties - and quite frankly this was a good thing. I had to develop my own style, and I'm proud of the results.

May I also say that I love this blog - books and shopping in the same place. Is that not heaven?

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