Companies Target Boomers Wanting to Look, Feel Better

Melanie Ulricksen says she likes being 53 and likes the way she looks. What she doesn't like are the pleas and products trying to make her look younger.

"I don't want to be 55 trying to look like I'm 35. Give me something that just makes what I have look nicer," she said.

Tomorrow the cosmetics giant Revlon will launch what it calls the first mass makeup line specifically for women over 50, called Vital Radiance.

"It is a large group of women," said Stephanie Peponis, Revlon's chief marketing officer. "It is growing all the time. I think they are underserved today."

The packages have bigger print, the brushes reach under eyeglasses, and the makeup is designed for older skin.

'Audience Ready to Be Plucked'

"Here is this audience that is waiting to be plucked," said Wendy Liebmann, president of WSL Strategic Retail. "They have a lot of money to spend, so they are a really big deal."

Retail chains are getting in the game. The Gap, Liz Claiborne and JC Penny are all now targeting the boomer market. One boomer store, Chico's, grew 33 percent last quarter with a record $359 million in sales.

The key, experts say, is to provide options for the boomers who have been part of every fashion trend for 40 years, without making them look ridiculous.

Even the venerable men's store Brooks Brothers is changing -- it's not just blue and white shirts for middle-aged men. This year the store offers 25 percent more color choices than last year.

But they don't forget the boomer's age. Their slim-fit shirts are not so slim as to alienate the realistic 50-year-old.

"Sometimes we talk about slim or fitted and people are like, 'Oh, God, I have to sausage myself into that particular shirt.' That is not what our slim shirt is about," said Louis Amendola, executive vice president of merchandising for Brooks Brothers.

With better products and more choices, shoppers like Melanie Ulricksen should see fewer moments like this: "This is the right size and everything. But hello!" she said, holding up a skimpy, age-inappropriate shirt.

ABC News' John Berman filed this report for "World News Tonight."

null
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...