Friday, August 22, 2008

Then again, maybe mom jeans are actually a statement of radical individualism

Just when I began to dismiss baby boomers as a caricature of themselves -- what with their Dennis Hopper retirement plans and their "don't trust anyone over 90" hair color -- I may have to change my mind. It started a few weeks ago when Grant McCracken wrote: "I believe some contingent of boomers will refuse all the stereotypes associated with age, and keep on going to defy the social stereotypes of every kind. In the process, they will be a new motor, much resented, for cultural change."

And then this, from a story about Sigrid Olsen and the demise of her brand: "clothing labels like Olsen's, made by and for the baby boomer generation, are among those being hardest hit by the current economic turmoil....from a retailer's perspective, boomers' tastes and attitudes are so varied that their fashion choices are no longer age specific or dedicated to one designer, which is having an impact on where they shop."

No loyalty to labels? Eclectic, maybe even quirky, tastes? Behavior that can't be stereotyped? Hmm. Are boomers more indie than their children?


Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

I am distraught over Sigrid's demise, Irene (but look forward to the discontinued stock sales) As for boomers being more indie than our kids...hmmm...I seem to remember us adhering to pretty strict dress codes when we were young...(older relatives made fun of us "doing our own thing" in denim uniform.) Mabye I'm cynical but I somehow suspect that our "deviant" dressing has less to do with indie-ism than it does with forced creativity in concealing aging figures.

sherrie said...

As a boomer,style consultant ( and author of "Forever Cool", a style guide for women AND men over 50...I believe "ad broad" may well be correct that boomers have physical AND I think psychological issues that really hamper them in achieving good (even decent!) style.
Boomers are people who haven't benefitted from the cohesive styles of past generations prior to 70s.They are confused by the choices they do have and in a way the lack of GOOD choices available to them.Chico'sor Coldwater Creek are bad options (Sigrid was a bit better-on par with Talbot's I think)
These are difficult, and tasteless times utterly entrenched in celebrity culture. Mommy jeans are worn by ladies who simply don't care,or haven't noticed styles have changed in denim---I think they are hardly a statement of independent stylishness.