how 40+ women feel about being ignored in the high streets and what we can do about it!

by Sylvia

how 40+ women feel about being ignored in the high streets | 40plusstyle.com

I recently shared a British research by JD Williams on my Facebook page that claims that women over 50 feel ignored on the high street.

Of course, that comes as no surprise to me as I have heard your complaints for 3 years now.

Let’s have a look at some of the finds from the research.

just 20% feel the high street caters for them well – despite 90% of British retailers seeing most growth from the 50-plus sector

61% feel that they are forgotten by the retailers. That is no surprise. Many retailers are still very much focussed on younger women. However, I find it interesting to see that they do acknowledge that the 50+ sector is growing. Perhaps retailers will soon start to realise that we still like to have FUN with fashion and feel more confident than ever before. All you will need to do is provide clothes that cater to our changing bodies!

Three out of five women do not feel their age group is well represented on television (57%) or magazines (58%), and 76% do not think they are well represented in advertising

No surprise here either. I actually think it’s shocking how little we see 40+ women in ads or in magazines. Even those brands that cater to 40+ women usually feature much younger women. Luxury brands especially seem to be afraid of us.  I have had zero invites from luxury brands at their media presentations, despite my traffic numbers being many times higher than the bloggers that are invited. Even though I feel my age group will buy most of their products, these brands seem not to want to associate themselves with older women in any of their advertising and PR.

52% of women feel most confident aged 45+

That is so encouraging to read! We actually feel more confident than women in their 30s. However, we do feel more scared (91%) of the health problems associated with growing older, particularly losing independence and having to rely on others (69%), and memory loss (64%). I can relate to that.

10% of mature women said they worried about getting wrinkles, while almost eight out of 10 (77%) mature women said they would never have any form of cosmetic surgery

This is encouraging too. It’s good to know that we do not worry too much about the aging process.

This is what Angela Spindler, chief executive officer of the N Brown Group – parent company of JD Williams, said:

There are more women in the 50+ bracket than ever before and it’s abundantly clear that they have felt let down by the fashion industry. We’ve made it our mission to address this. Shopping for clothes should be easy and enjoyable, whether you’re 16 or 60. Recent years have seen this population of women emerge as the most powerful consumer group and the fastest-growing fashion sector. No longer does 50 signal the start of the slow decline into old age, it now marks the midpoint of a woman’s life.

It sure does! Many of us have never felt better and we want to look good and stylish for many years to come!

Let’s hope that designers and retailers take these words and this research to heart. I already created a wishlist of clothing 40+women want a while ago to help retailers cater to what 40+ women want. You may like to share this with your favorite retailer! If you have something to add to that list please let me know in the comments of that article and I will include it.

How do you feel about this report? Are some of the findings in line with how you feel about shopping in the high streets?

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Rita

I think you previous list hits all of the highlights, especially quality and substantial fabrics. In those cases, though, I can’t help but wonder if, rather than targeting a certain age group, the manufacturers are trying to save money by cutting corners and calling it “fashion”. They make thin fabrics and low cut v-necks, then when I tell a retailer that it is too thin or low cut they say, “Oh, you just wear a cami under it.” Ta-da! Now they’ve sold you two things instead of one. Apparently the buying public falls for it and they keep doing it because it makes money.

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Sylvia

Yes I’m sure these reasons play a role as well… Still I do think when retailers make the right clothes, they will end up making more money as we will keep coming back for more at the same brand.

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Suzanne

I think one of my pet peeves is most certainly the fact that so many manufacturers design clothing without sleeves. Fine for summer. Not great for the rest of the year though. This doesn’t have so much to do with aging ( although many women choose to cover their arms as they age) as it does with the manufacturers saving money on their designs.

bisous
Suzanne
http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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Sylvia

Well apparently Betty Holdreich has been telling designers that for years but somehow they seem to think that sleeveless means youthful and will not listen!

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Aileen Wrennall

Yes I can identify with the report. When I walk around the stores I see lots of summer weight sleeveless dresses, many florals and many far too short for me (60+) I live in a cold damp climate so those dresses are impossible to wear in winter. It’s also difficult to find skirts which aren’t either tight pencil styles or Bohemian. It’s a minefield and takes all the pleasure out of clothes shopping. The only safe items which are easy to find are coats and jackets.
When I can’t find what I’m looking for in clothes, I turn to jewellery, bags and sometimes shoes if I’m desperate for some retail therapy.

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Sylvia

Yes it’s a pity. I really also like to wear dresses in winter but that is only possible when there are some good warm ones to choose from!

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Greetje Kamminga

Which is why women like shoes so much Aileen. LOL

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Aileen Wrennall

Ho! Ho! Greetje, now I understand your love for shoes.

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Emma

One thing that really bugs me is the abundance of very short skirts and dresses. It isn’t just that they are not age appropriate, but that a lot of them look cheap on a woman of any age. I’d like to see classier clothing in shops that we can all feel and look good in.

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Ann

All of this is so true. The sleeveless clothing, tops and dresses, are one of my main complainants as some of you have mentioned. It could be 0 or -20 degrees and I see our local newscasters wearing no sleeves or tights. Half of the dresses in in high end stores have no sleeves. The other thing I noticed is tops with really big neck openings in the over 40 options, why is this? Not fond of this either. I do see many more jeans that are great fitting in a positive note.

blue hue wonderland

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Sylvia

Thanks for pointing out some developments Ann. You are absolutely right!

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Claudia

I higly recommend Elizabeth Cline’s “Overdressed” (I had the e-book from Amazon). She explains the business workings of fast fashion very nicely, how profits are increased and growth achieved. It is not only by exploiting labour on the other side of the globe, but also by accelerating the turnover rate of clothes. Novelty is achieved at the cost of quality. Desingn elements which are sold as fashion are often nothing but clever cost savers – black plastic buttons on every colour of coat, visible zippers sans plaque, open fabric edges, NO SLEEVES, cheap fabric. A lot of the stuff is more or less single-use and deteriorates after a few washes. So no wonder that women – men, too! – who appreciate good fabrics and a tidy, classical workmanship feel they find nothing on High Street! I find myself buying more and more used high-priced items on ebay and have increased the amout of clothes I sew myself.

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Sylvia

Interesting Claudia. It’s a pity that brands start thinking this way and put profit before quality so much. I still think that will backfire though. It’s also up to us not to buy these poorly made clothes…

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Sabina @Oceanblue Style

Just read an article the other day: men at a certain age also feel ignored because the styles is for 30somethings. But an other idea that has been on my mind is that I feel 40+ fashionbloggers are being ignored. Great discussion. Would love to continue it. xo Sabina @Oceanblue Style

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Greetje Kamminga

Keep up the shouting about this complaint Sylvia. You are an influencial. Maybe they will start listening.

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Allison

This article is dead on! Focus on the baby boomers has switched over to targeting youth far too soon. I am at the tail end of that generation at 58. We still have a good amount of expendable income. The millennials are unfortunately still weighed down paying for their education. What puzzles me is how Coldwater Creek went bankrupt. Those individual designers like Johnny Was and Bob Mackey have focused on our market and get unbelievable prices for their clothing. They also have a very loyal following. We aren’t retiring until 70 now, so why has our demographic been abandoned? Great article. Thank you for acknowledging us.

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Julie

I find it remarkable that retailers ignore the statistics, like your blog, that is so fantastic and has such traffic. It to my mind, is just bad, bad marketing. I also have noticed and find it highly annoying that as soon as a retailer/site claims to be for mature women the price tag shoots up.

I hear in France, women of all ages are appreciated for their beauty particularly mature women. I can remember myself, being in awe of mature women. Thinking one day I’ll grow up to be like her! Can you believe that! Now it seems we are dumped by the wayside. Well no longer!

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Sylvia

Yes I find it remarkable too. There are some positive developments but things are moving very slowly….

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