Originally Posted by a-rock
No offense, but I think your comment about short-term thinking also applies to the argument in your second paragraph. It presumes that LE customers will simply grow old, die, and no one will replace them.
But existing LE customers will indeed grow old, die, and no one will truly replace what they represent. The supposed replacements are the next younger generation. However younger generations have different attitudes about life, fashion, and consumption due to different experiences growing up. Unlike the boomers their lives were not defined by Vietnam War, the 60's counter culture, etc. Companies like LE have to adjust to match the younger generation's different tastes if they want to survive. But how can they do this without alienating their existing cash cow customer base in the process? And how can they overcome the negative stereotypes younger generations have rightly attached to their brand name? Thus far, they have not demonstrated much of an ability to shift their demographic.
Originally Posted by a-rock
Right now brands like JCrew are still my go-to, but I acknowledge that will change as I get older. More and more I'm starting to pick up pieces from RL on the higher end and LE on the lower end. Haven't gotten to BB yet, those extra slim fit oxfords will probably eventually lure me in. And eventually one day you end up on the trad forum in AAAC. That's how the cycle works.
I'm not sure I agree with the notion that as people grow older they tend to brand hop in a progression towards brands representing increasingly more elderly styles. Instead I'd propose that as people grow older they become more resistant to change, causing their style to become more static. Ultimately their fashion seems elderly not due to their specific clothing types (i.e. suit vs. graphic t-shirt), but because the styles are not current and instead rooted in the past. Thus a large number of brands appear to "age" (i.e. stay static) with their customers as they grow older, as this is the surest way to continue selling product to your already established customers. Such company's styles are heavily based on the past, yet they still add a small dose of the current into their designs. Confirming the belief that older people like to believe they look somewhat current, yet prefer to do so on their own terms-- using the outdated styles they feel comfortable with. A prefect example are some of the jeans sold by companies like LE and LL Bean. Most of their "mom jeans" cuts are basically 1980's style fashion that's been slightly modernized. Most of the baby boomers today are wearing stuff similar to what they wore years ago. Jeans represented rebellion to many of this generation, and look how they continue with it today, believing wearing jeans to the office is a sign of success (or rebellion against the system). How many of these boomers would fit in with the "trad" misfits at AAAC anyway? That you are posting in SW&D today, yet can envision yourself wearing Brooks Brothers and posting on Ask Andy's as your inevitable future makes me think you're not very old-- i.e. you're basing your concept of what growing older means more on a stereotype and less on experience.