Active Agers’ Inclusion in Ads Should Be More Fashionable

by Anna Porter

Fashion has a way of being interpreted differently by everyone. It also provides a window into our individual attitudes and personalities, so can represent much more than just our taste in clothing.

We saw an opportunity to better understand what fashion says about the active aging audience, so we asked members of our Revolution55 community (Revolutionaries) about their fashion styles and personas.

We learned that a ‘Basic’ (simple, unobtrusive, and predictable clothing) fashion sense representing over 40% of our Revolutionaries was the most popular style, followed by the 21% who like a ‘Conservative’ style (classic, modest, classy and elegant). Even though Basic and Conservative styles are the most popular, we also found Revolutionaries who represent other fashion personas too (i.e., trendy, bohemian, and adventurous).

Despite their interest in fashion, many companies still aren’t appealing or marketing to active agers. The insights we gathered from our Revolutionaries suggest active agers aren’t being effectively targeted or represented from a fashion perspective.

For example, we found nearly one in five (18%) active agers have adopted an ‘Athleisure’ style, which has become increasingly popular within the last few years. It provides comfort and practicality for people who aren’t in the office day to day. Yet, the majority of athletic wear companies (i.e., Lululemon, ALO, Gap, Fabletics, OFFLINE by Aerie, Adidas, etc.) use younger models making their brand and clothing less appealing, attainable and/or realistic for Revolutionaries.

Interestingly, we also found under 1% of our Revolution55 community adopts a ‘Hipster’ (clothing that falls outside of the mainstream) fashion style. Yet, how often do we see a Hipster style used in imagery to reflect supposedly “cooler, hipper, older adults.”

Marketers, especially within the fashion category, have slowly learned how to appeal to a broader audience (i.e., plus size, extra tall, and petite) or how showing models in all their sizing options actually increases sales. So, why is it that active agers aren’t represented more often, or more accurately in fashion-oriented marketing campaigns and websites? While a powerful consumer audience, there is rarely any visual representation when it comes to their age group.

There is a big opportunity for marketers to better understand and represent a consumer market that is independent, confident, and fashionable. By understanding active agers’ fashion trends and styles marketers can also gain insights into older consumers from a much broader sense, which has obvious benefits far beyond the fashion category itself.

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