The lament of the invisible woman over 40 Message Board

  • View author's info Author posted on Aug 31, 2005 06:14

    Hmm we all have a tendency to want to turn back our personal odometers and this invisibility phenomena applies equally to both sexes, enjoy..

    "The lament of the invisible woman, that is, any female over the age of 40"


    There is a joke among women over 40 that isn't funny: that is that we're invisible.
    We say that because at about this age, waiters stop flirting with us, clerks talk past us and - if we're particularly invisible or did something horrible in a previous life - husbands of 20 years zoom out of our lives in new BMW convertibles seeking women 20 years their junior.

    What is most galling on a daily basis for the invisible woman, though, is the fact that here we are with our higher incomes, cash in hand, dying to purchase clothes and makeup that would make us visible again with nowhere -- absolutely nowhere! - to spend it.

    Well, nowhere that we want to spend it, anyway.

    Oh, we can spend it at any of the stores catering to teens and twenties (TnTs) - but then we look ridiculous in crop tops with low-slung jeans sliding beneath our caesarean-section scars.

    Or we can shop at some of those boring "plus-size" stores where they clearly think bigger is not better, or worse, stores that think they're catering to women who are more "mature," but actually appear to be catering to women who are dead. (In what other state would anyone be caught in those shapeless boring dresses, skirts and tops paired with sensible pumps?)

    No, there was nowhere that a girl with some miles on the chassis, but lots of horsepower still under the hood, could find some clothes that made her look good - and maybe even sexy.

    That is until now.

    Now we have (if we can fly to New York) Forth & Towne, the first of a new chain of Gap Inc. stores aimed at women over 35.

    Where have they been?

    Gary Muto, president of Forth & Towne, notes women over 35 "have the highest mean income and spend the most on apparel, and they are underserved."

    Not to mention under dressed.

    Think, retailers - think! - of our potential market share if we actually had stores catering to our needs.

    And it's no different in Canada. Baby-boomer women account for a disproportionate amount of spending in fashion and cosmetics, says retail analyst Len Kubas of Kubas Consultants, for the simple reason that we make more money than younger women. And, as he gently points out: because we're "trying to combat the ravages of time."

    This is not news. So where have the retailers been?

    Perhaps with their heads in the same sand hole as fashion and beauty advertisers, who though their biggest markets are women over 35, insist on spending their advertising dollars on magazines aimed at the under-35 set.

    "I'm not saying there's a sense of desperation," Kubas says of the plus-35 market, "but when you're trying to look good for a school reunion, money is no object."

    It's not that advertisers can't read the numbers: that older readers buy more cosmetics (think of those $100-plus skin firming creams) and spend more on clothes than younger readers. It's that they don't want to be caught dead in the middle of editorial pages aimed at the Invisible Woman.

    This puts boomer-women's magazines in a precarious financial position, thus depriving boomer women not only of "real women" fashion and cosmetics, but real women reading material.

    Think of the demise of Mirabella Magazine - an amazingly intelligent read of a fashion magazine aimed at the plus-40 market. It had the readers, but it couldn't attract the advertisers, so it went bust.

    This won't change, Kubas says, until advertisers start looking at the return of investment on their advertising and realize they're putting their money in the wrong media for their markets.

    But as Bob Dylan noted - a bit prematurely for boomer women - "The times they are a changin'."

    Some brave companies are featuring "real women" in advertisements, so can real clothes for real women be far behind? Not, we hope, with Gap - the largest chain of clothing stores in the U.S. - leading the way.

    While Forth & Towne isn't in Canada yet, Gap is responding on another front. Or should I say flank.

    Recognizing that older women aren't built like their junior wannabes, the Gap is offering three types of jean styles this fall, including a new "curvy" fit - presumably for the female shopper who has passed puberty.

    Thank you Gap.

    Now could you please open a Forth & Towne in Montreal?
  • 4Comments

  • View author's info posted on Sep 02, 2005 03:57

    weelassy1 write:
    f*uck did anyone ever tell you Ecam that anything longer then two pages including a cover letter g*ts thrown in the trash or put to the bottom? long to read me Lad.....delete....delete

    Mon dieu such an expression of passion lol whatever..
  • View author's info posted on Sep 02, 2005 03:46

    Toonces write:
    AMEN! I hope they will be coming to our town soon, soon, soon. That is a great article. Thank you.

    Thank you. The article had many connotations for me one of which reminded me of an old adage "Give the people what they haven't got and you will get rich". Be safe out there now..
  • View author's info posted on Sep 02, 2005 00:59

    f*uck did anyone ever tell you Ecam that anything longer then two pages including a cover letter g*ts thrown in the trash or put to the bottom? long to read me Lad.....delete....delete
  • View author's info posted on Sep 01, 2005 21:59

    no no wait toonces do what i do -- each day set your age back a works u feel younger and look younger today im what 39.. oh let me change it now
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