Clearly, capitalizing on a booming sector of the market is smart, from a business perspective, and I have continued to support people who choose to buy the louder AE offerings. I've even considered quite a few of them myself. However, I think your point of AE maintaining its classics and maintaining that quality level is incomplete. Over a period that spans beyond the last few months, they have actually reduced the classic styles they offer. For instance, they used to offer wholecuts and lighter variations of shell with greater regularity, but they've redirected their emphasis toward this newer demographic to which you allude. I believe our posts, if seen by the AE design/marketing department, would suggest that they not let those other staples fall by the wayside as they attempt to capture this new market share. For one, that new market share may bring more people to the brand, but the ability to turn that into long-term profits may improve if those new buyers are exposed to timeless styles that will endure into their later years. Basically, I applaud AE's decision to reinvent itself in an unsure/unstable market, but I wish it wouldn't forget who it is.
Note: I certainly hope that, in my mid-twenties, I'm not sounding like a retiree.
While that might be true, it ignores the fact that AE is currently offering an extensive amount of traditional dress shoes. In using the filter "dress shoes" on the website, I came up with 81 different pairs of dress shoes currently in production. I don't see how you can argue that AE is losing track of its identity when it offers 81 different styles in dress shoes. That's unprecedented for most modern day shoe companies.