Why Aren’t There Any Baby Boomer Models?
by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)
The other day I got an email from a Baby Boomer reader:
Hello, I am a woman nearing 55 and seriously looking for tips on what swimsuit to wear at my age, and your models for women over 50 in swimsuits are all less than 50. Why?
I get emails like this all the time. Yes, my wonderfully discerning readers like to blast me for using photos of young, perkily ta-ta-ed fashion models young enough to be my granddaughters. And, I totally understand... I really do. I don't want to use pictures of 16-year-old models when I'm writing for my Baby Boomer pals. But, I need to use SOME type of photo to show you different styles of swimsuits or dresses or jeans or coats... or whatever I think might look good on you.
But, why do I use pictures that have teenybopper models? Well, there's a good reason. Those photos are free.
I Use Free Photos
Unfortunately, my website doesn't make enough money (yet) for me to hire high-end models or world-class professional photographers, so I can't create my own photos with older models.
Most of my free photos (including my swimsuit photos) come from prshots.com, a great British website, which has lots of good examples of trendy clothing. The rest of my photos come from websites with free photos, like wikipedia.com and the creative commons section of flickr.com.
For each article, I spend hours wandering around the "internet jungle" looking for free Pinterest-worthy pics to help perk up my fabulous, one-woman website. Hey, Boomerinas.com is a labor of love. This site was created to fill a void, but I'm doing it all by myself... with a tiny bit of help.
Look at the photo above. The picture on the left is a copyright-free photo from flickr.com. The one on the right is a typical photo used to advertise swimsuits on a clothing website. In this case, the photo shows a cute swimsuit from Marisota.com... and I think it's supposed to be a plus-sized swimsuit.... scary.
But, which photo should I use? Which pic do you want to see? Be honest.
I just felt the need to explain to you why I use photos of young girls even though my website is, indeed, written for women who are so freaking old they can sing all the words to "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" in their sleep… in both harmonies… while doing the twist with a Hula Hoop.
I Would Love to Have Swimsuit Photos With 40 or 50-Year-Old Models
I can’t afford to put together a swimsuit photo shoot in order to get high quality, high-res photos.
Imagine how much it would cost (and how much time it would take) to hire older fashion models, younger fashion photographers, adorable gay hairdressers, and formerly zit-faced makeup girls... just to pull off a Boomerinas.com Lookbook. In addition, I’d have to come up with bathing suits, coverups, footwear, and accessories. HolyCrapoly, I’m just a smart little sassy chick with a keyboard… this is not a New-York-Times-subsidized blog.
Stores Need to Give Us Baby Boomer Model Shots
Over the years, I have seen a few clothing photos with older models at prshots.com. And, I wish more brands would use models over 30 or 40 or 50 for some of their promo photographs. It would be absolutely super to show the same swimsuit (or the same dress or the same jeans) on two different models, one photo with a standard model and the other photo on an older model.
Companies wouldn't have to do this with every item, but it would be wonderful to see two photo options every now and then. And, I DON'T mean photos of "old lady" clothes. I mean photos of older chicks wearing the cute, trendy outfits that Baby Boomer chicks so desperately seek.
I know it is possible for companies to find cool, hip older models.
Just look at the example from Debenham above. That older chick with the gray hair is fabulous. She could walk into a dance club with those two younger women and fit right in. And, I know guys would hit on that grey-haired woman in the photo, because young guys in their 30s sometimes hit on me and I'm not nearly as gorgeous as she is. (By the way, those dresses look somewhat silly on those 15-year-old girls. Those frocks are designed to be worn by women MY age... or women who are at least HALF my age.)
Marketers: Baby Boomers Don't Want to Look Like Margaret Thatcher
PR and marketing people: If you can't find a bathing suit and cover-up that looks good on an older chick, skip the swimsuit. We'll understand.
Instead, try putting the older model in a fuchsia jumper, a royal blue infinity scarf, a black mini skirt, a pair of black tights, and a pair of rockin' royal blue stiletto booties... or something like that. Something sexy, something cool, something "Tina Turner"... but not something crazy. Don't post a promotional photo with an older women in sequined shorts. (On the other hand, I think we'd all rather have a pic of an older woman in sequined shorts than in some Queen-Elizabeth knockoff... if you know what I mean. Not that QE looks bad. It's just that we don't want to dress like her... except for the hats. That gal knows how to rock a hat.)
Dear online stores: I have a feeling Baby Boomers everywhere would look at a photo of an older model in a fab outfit, and jump up yelling, "Holy carpe diem, I could wear that cute outfit! I wonder what else Debenham (or Nordstrom or M&S) has for me."
So, PR-marketing people, why not give it a try? What have you got to lose?
Swimsuit Photos with Older Models
Well, if we can't get famous clothing websites to give us free PR photos of older models wearing swimsuits, maybe my readers can help out.
Readers: If you have a favorite bathing suit, send me a photo of yourself in your swimsuit. I will post your photo on this site, because I sure as hell ain’t gonna put my own swimsuit pictures online. (The photo above is not me... I look much better in a swimsuit than that, but I'm not tall enough to be a model.)
Remind Stores That Boomers Love to Shop Online
Well, my little chickadees, if you want to see more photos of older women showing us how to wear trendy outfits, email the good people at clothing sites and tell them you love clothing, but you want to see what their wares look like on a female over 12, someone who looks a tiny bit more like their average customer.
We know there are tall, willowy, beautiful women over 40... and I think clothing companies want our money, don't they?
Let's start a revolution. We've got nothing to lose by asking companies to make a few small changes, and it doesn't cost a penny for you to help. If you agree that fashion photos of clothing, styles grown women might buy, should occasionally include models over 30 (every now and then), you should email people other than me. Here are some possible things you could write, but it would be better to come up with your own words.
- Try Martine Reardon on Facebook. I believe this is the page for the Marketing Director at Macy's. I can't find a good Macy's email.
- Customerservice@chicos.com: Tell Chicos you appreciate their use of adult women in their advertising campaigns.
- Ann Taylor Customer Service: Look at the models on their site and tell them what you think.
You can find contact info at the bottom of the page on most websites, but you don't have to contact anyone unless you like to do that sort of thing.
Clothing for Women over 40, 50, 60
Actually, I'm hoping a few marketing and advertising people will stumble across this article and give the subject some thought. I understand that clothing stores want their fashions to look young and hip, not old and dowdy, but "over 40" does not necessarily translate into boring and dowdy.
Baby boomer women (ages 50-70 or so) are a huge market. And, they do a large part of their shopping online.
Readers: If you feel like taking a stand, leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Someday, I will email this page to various clothing sites, like a petition.
UPDATE: Dunnes, a UK clothing store, did use a beautiful older woman as a model last season, which is great. I want to give them credit for their attempt. However, they put her in several outfits which were "appropriate" for an older woman... if you know what I mean. The clothing was standard "suburban lady" style. It wasn't bad for everyday wear, but they should have put the model in something memorable and fun. If they had shown the model wearing younger, hipper styles... which they do carry at Dunnes... I would have used those photos in my blog. And, lots of other bloggers would have used those photos.
Baby Boomer Models
In truth, the women in this photo are not models, but they are Baby Boomers. All three of these chicks are British actresses over 50, but many actresses started out as models. Maybe these chicks have younger (or older) sisters who are in need of a little cash and would like to make a name for themselves in modeling.
Maybe, marketing people don't understand Baby Boomers and how negatively we respond to their techniques. I'm not saying all photos need to have older models. I'm saying what they are doing is similar to showing ONLY white models with blonde hair (and using no models of color, such as African-American or Hispanic models). Younger people may not remember that in the 60s we never saw any non-white models (except in specialty magazines).
This age-discrimination issue can be changed and it should be changed. It's not like there are no beautiful women over age 30.
Note: Things are getting a little better. I am seeing a few older models on the sites I use for promotional photos. However, it would be great if you could continue voicing your opinions. You know how to do it. You are the customer and you are, after all, Baby Boomers.
Leave a comment at the bottom of the page if you want to see change.
More Articles for Baby Boomer Women:
- Main Photo: Heatons, Asos, Heatons. Prshots.com
- Baby Boomer Models: Wikipedia credits - Georges Biard, Damien Everett, Florida Supercon.
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