Ever Wonder Whether You Have an Expiration Date on your Forehead?

How do you feel when you read an article that says, “Look stylish in your 30s, 40s, 50s, and, yes, even your 60s”? I don’t know about you but, at 68, I think “OMG! In two years I’ll have to forfeit my wardrobe for potato sacks and paper bags.”

Who comes up with these tedious lists? (Note:  I never felt they were tedious until I was beyond the last group being wooed — now they’re just darn insulting.)

Let’s face it; seniors are not the target market for advertisers.

It’s sad but true. Most companies aren’t trying to get our attention. By virtue of our birthday, not our attitude or outlook, we fall outside the highest of many of these style-by-age groupings. Even if style isn’t your thing — and I’m not saying it should be — my point is that we’re being ignored as viable consumers.

That is a big mistake!

I’d think retailers who fabricate “parameter lists” would want to extend them to include us older folks. Not only would doing so make a lot of seniors feel important and included, but it would give the younger set a look at what’s up ahead.

Only a few years ago, a survey showed that the 65+ age group was the fastest-growing group on Facebook. We’re surfing the net, seeing what’s trending, messaging friends and family, and actively participating in a whole host of online sites.

I can’t speak for all seniors, but I’m pretty sure we have more disposable income than the twenty-something fashionista working as an administrative assistant in some trendy downtown law firm. She’s probably shopping at T.J.Maxx whereas I’m heading to Nordstrom when I need a nice dress for the wedding of my friend’s daughter. (Oh, who’s kidding here. Any outfit I’d wear — dressy or not — would be created around black pants, not a dress!)

Furthermore, what age group consistently goes on cruises? The seniors! And rest assured, they want to look classy on the high seas whether to catch the eye of potential suitors or just for fun!

Don’t judge a book by its age (or cover)

I’ve heard that 60 is the new 40 and that more people are working into their 90s. Presidents have served into their 70s. People aren’t even starting their families until their 40s. So, aren’t we short-changing those who are 60 and above? Isn’t the older age group still viable in making financial, sociological, civic,  and political contributions to society?

Experts say fine lines begin their journey across our face in our 30’s when we begin to lose collagen, but the media seeks solutions for people only up to the age of 60. Are magazines afraid to show a picture of a 70- or 80-year-old because it doesn’t represent the hip image they want to present? If only they took the time to listen to seniors who, believe me, have a few tricks of their own!

Not being included in age-specific media serves to increase our sense of invisibility as we age. This is only amplified when we are absent from TV and film. We are marginalized, and, I’ve certainly felt, very invisible. I can’t ever forget Kathy Bates in a recent movie where she’s waltzing through Macy’s with a friend and starts scooping cosmetics off the counter and blatantly putting them in her purse. While her friend is aghast, she states, “I’m old, no one is paying any attention to me!”

There’s always time to change

I think it’s time for the media and retailers to extend the parameters — to well into the 90s — when it comes to looking good and dressing nicely. After all, I’ve seen some pretty sharp-looking 80-year-olds who care a great deal about appearance and would be interested in an article dealing with style that includes their age group. I’d like to see more regular suggestions for those of us in our 70’s. We deserve the same expertise, whether regarding fashion or diet.

Retailers, are you listening?

Contact me at Antonia@TheJoyofAgingGratefully.com