Does my age define how I spend my money? Am I presumed old by where I shop?
The other day a conversation on TV caught my attention. I don’t know about you, but often I have the TV on for background noise. All of a sudden I heard something and it grabbed my awareness. This is what I heard… “I am not that old, I am not my mother! I do not shop at Chico’s and Ann Taylor.” Now I must admit that I do not know the context of this conversation nor do I remember what program was being televised. I think it was an excerpt from an actor’s performance on a short clip being featured on one of the talk shows. But this statement definitely caught my attention…after all, those are my favorite fashion sources! I never thought that my buying choices and shopping preferences defined my age. Am I defined as “old” because of my buying choices? I wonder how the CEOs in those franchises feel about that statement?
I will admit that I seldom shop in Ann Taylor stores…I shop Ann Taylor online. The reason…I wear a size 14 or 16 and the store is seldom well stocked in those sizes even though most styles are offered up in size, a practice that the company may want to reconsider.
I have, however, analyzed many of the reviews of the styles that I have liked online. In the reviews an age group is reflected, and I have noticed that many of the reviews are from customers over 50. Interesting observation and one that I never noticed in the actual brick and mortar stores. There the customer always seemed to be more of a young professional.
I do shop at Chico’s stores, and after listening to this off hand TV quote I became much more observant during my last visits. The stores were busy, the customers (at least mid day when I was there) …well over 50. I never thought about “being old” by shopping there.
I never considered myself old by shopping at Ann Taylor either.
Actually, I have found that I have moved on from AT…AT provided my wardrobe for work for the past 15 years. Nearly everything in my closet is from AT. When we relocated, I moved virtually everything, but I seldom wear most of it. My lifestyle has changed. No longer do I need to wear suits, blouses, and black. My location and life have changed. AT seems to cater more to a corporate lifestyle. That wardrobe has been retired, just as my job.
Chico’s however caters to a more leisure, comfortable lifestyle. Another thing I love about Chico’s attire…most of it is washable.
I can remember being exposed to Chico’s long, long ago and not being particularly impressed.
My parents retired and lived in Cape Coral. We often retreated to Sanibel Island and “shelled” on the beaches. We would have lunch and do some touristy shopping. Chico’s was there…selling cotton oversized sweaters and Mexican folk art. I was not impressed.
Chico’s was founded in 1983. Who knew it would grow the way it has? It also grew in family of brands: White House/Black Market, Soma, and Boston Proper. I think a big key to their success is that they offer private branded clothing, non sized, casual to dressy, comfortable, and easily cared for. They also offer accessories that compliment their soft goods extremely well. Their stores are so well merchandised that add on sales are easily accomplished. Private branding in this day and age of internet sales prevents price shopping, so they have a captured customer. Chico’s sizing 000 to 4.5, constant and simple once understood, does not package a customer into SIZE that varies from vendor to vendor or style to style. They also do many of their pants in extra short, short, medium, and long length so that if you are not a true petite but need a shorter pant, it is available.
Clever, right. So why is it considered a place frequented by an “older” clientele. Personally I would like to think Chico’s is frequented by a “wiser” clientele. Actually….older is wiser!
So, for those of you out there who aren’t inclined to shop at Chico’s, or Ann Taylor for that matter, I think it might be worth considering a visit. Even if you leave with a fabulous piece of jewelry or a belt (well priced I might add) it will be worth the effort. You might find out that where your mama or Grandma shops isn’t so bad after all!