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One day last week, I was chatting with someone who asked what I blog about. When I shared my fashion-over-50 focus and vintage style slant, she answered, “I guess that’s sort of a niche within the fashion blogging world.”

That’s true for the vintage part. Not so much for the fashion-over-50 part. How can it be a niche when women in this category represent so much of the buying power and private wealth in this country? We’re the healthiest, wealthiest, most active, educated and independent generation of women in history.

“Boomer women are the marquee players in our country’s culture and commerce,” says Karen Vogel, The Women’s Congress and president of New Generation Event Solutions. “They are educated, have a high income and make 95 percent of the purchase decisions for their households.”

Other she-conomy facts:

  • Senior women age 50 and older control a net worth of $19 trillion and own/control between two-thirds and three-fourths of the nation’s financial wealth, depending on whose statistics you believe.
  • We’re also expected to be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history, in part due to double inheritances from parents and husbands.
  • Between the ages of 55 and 64, we spend more on apparel than any other age group.

That makes boomer women seems like a not-so-nichey group of consumers that many brands (especially luxury ones) would be crazy to ignore. It doesn’t seem prudent to marginalize a group that practically rules the world. Make no mistake: companies that sell financial products and luxury goods are all over this demographic segment. Talbott Teas gets it. I just completed an exhaustive survey that was clearly aimed at finding the sweet spot in marketing to women my age. For $5, I’ll help them figure us out!

The paradox of bias

Some people and organizations will still shrug us off. The creative types who craft marketing messages and shape media still see fashion as something that belongs to people in their own demographic profile: young. That’s the funny paradox of personal bias, isn’t it? We’re so often deceived into thinking that our world-view is the rest of the world’s.

My dad’s friends, for example, were appalled when he accurately predicted that President Obama would win the last election. Whether he agreed with the president’s views or not, Dad recognized that this country is comprised of something much more diverse than the retired Republican voters who frequent the coffee shop where he and Mom hang out two mornings a week.

It’s much the same thing with women’s fashion. When fashion-minded people and companies ignore a huge segment of their audience (the over 50 crowd, the plus-sized crowd, or even the average-sized crowd) they only hasten the exodus away from mainstream thinking. We’ll seed the blogosphere with our own ideas and questions, taking our cues from people and brands who embrace us. That’s another great thing about maturity: you don’t waste time nearly as much.

Veteran vogue

Once upon a time, I thought I should relegate all fashion-over-50 content to a separate blog for the sake of relevancy. I bought a distinct domain name and invited some friends to be the faces of the blog. In no time, I had six friends ready to support me in that effort, all of them shown in the photo at the top of this post. I soon realized that a separate blog wasn’t really necessary and probably had the potential to dilute the time and effort invested in this blog. (Remember what I said about wasting time?)

I’ve always regretted that I didn’t publicly share how much their support meant to me. So with today’s post, I’m tipping my hat to Brenda, Rena, Cathy, Christy, Denise and Kris. They are all vibrant champions who mix it up daily in their respective worlds—law, academia, not-for-profit, business, public policy and association management. Whenever I think I can’t do something, I don’t have to go far for inspiration.

As part of the veteran style category, tomorrow I’ll introduce you to another favorite 50+ fashion blogger. What are the best marketing campaigns and fashion blogs you’ve seen that reflect our culture’s boomer-quake?

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.