I noticed over the last year or so that my favorite catalogs have changed.
Or perhaps I have.
There are two retailers in particular where I used to buy almost all my clothes. They were stylish but age-appropriate. What I used to call “Classic with a side of Funk.”
But I have been gradually and increasingly disappointed in their offerings.
“Classic with a side of Funk” has become “Classic with a big side salad of Boring.”
Why ever would I want a boxy seed-stitch cardigan in olive green?
And I’ve been thinking about it and I have come up with an explanation, which of course must be completely accurate because I can picture the board meeting where the decision was made:
President (Age 40): “Twenty-five years ago when we founded this company, our average customer was forty years old. Sophisticated and stylish.”
Vice President (Age 35): “Just like you.”
President: “Yes, of course. And our customers have been very loyal. But now they are in their sixties.”
Vice President: “Just like the old President and Vice President who were asked to retire to make way for new blood like us.”
President: “That’s right. So we have to make a decision. Do we design clothes for us new stylish women, or do we adjust to the advanced age of our long-time customers?”
Vice President: “Well, I’d love to see us sell cool clothes. But our current customers are used to shopping here, and cool people like us actually shop elsewhere. It would be more consistent with our image to just follow our customers into old age.”
President: “And easier too.”
Vice President: “Sure. We will only have to make three colors a season: Navy, Brown and Olive Green for fall and winter. And Pink, Lavender and Baby Blue for spring and summer.”
President: “And we don’t have to worry about an exact fit either. Old ladies don’t want body-conscious clothes. Let’s make sure that size small is big enough for ladies with very big bosoms. But that our pants are extra short.”
Vice President: “And we can add a line of sensible shoes.”
President: “Great idea. Maybe something like a sneaker with velcro fasteners. Once you get to be sixty, you need something comfortable and easy to get on an off without having to bend over.”
Vice President: “Our customers will love that.”
President: “Thank God we’re not old. It must be so depressing to be sixty.”
Am I right or what?
Why ever would I want to be stylish? I am already sixty-three.
So the problem is not the catalogs. They have nice comfortable age-appropriate clothes.
The problem is me.
I DON’T WANT TO BE AGE-APPROPRIATE!