Marketing: Boomer Chic

WHY ARE SPECIALTY RETAILERS LIKE GAP AND CHICO'S TARGETING THE SPENDING POWER OF WOMEN OVER 35?

Barbara Deneen, a 58-year-old public defender from St. Paul, Minn., gets downright intimidated when she goes to department stores looking for clothes. "They're all so teenybopperish," she says. "I end up buying a size 14 or a 16, and I'm not that big. It's embarrassing."

Like many women in her age group--whom fashion marketers refer to as the baby-boomer generation of women, 35 and up--Deneen has money to spend on clothing but doesn't feel there are many options on the retail horizon. Department stores such as Macy's and Dillard's, where Deneen and her contemporaries have traditionally shopped, fall short. The common...

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