Women’s longevity can be attributed to a few specific factors. For one, they have mastered the art of the make-over. Elton John, who has long been one of the great trendsetters, has a wardrobe featuring many pastel suits and other lines that lean far more toward pastels than toward bright colors. He keeps his clothes in neutral colors, like black, and then adds a few colorful accessories, like a red or purple sequin waistline along with patent leather pumps. John’s critics argue that his image is too old-fashioned, and that he should spend more time emphasizing his gorgeous face rather than faking it with a mythical bronze glow. Yet few make-over attempts have been quite as effective as his. John’s image has been thoroughly remade over the past decade, and he appears to have little to worry about as he continues to fill the magazine pages in a flurry of crvelous Calvin Klein shades.
Other cosmetic makeovers have been less successful. When Gwyneth Paltrow first appeared in the public eye with a glowing complexion and décolletage in the 007 thriller Anyone Home, she was a breath of fresh air. But her make-over was roundly dismissed as the latest in the world of cosmetic sexiness. In the real world, women like Paltrow who try to lead lives reflective of their femininity are subjected to counterparts of endless flesh, and little time is devoted to crafting a feminine figure. Paltrow spends much time working with her hair and make-up, and very little time on her clothes. Her image as an example shows up in ads across the globe, often as a sort of forced smiley-warmth appearance.
In her role as a shopping center extra in Alexander McQueen’s collection, Jennifer Aniston’s image was similarly imitated. After her pricey ad campaign, once under the public eye, her figure soon began to fray. After reportedly requesting Chanel make-up for her, she was photographed in last year in an outfit straight out of the set of Baglioni advertisements. The lighting for Aniston’s shoot was credited “interviewing a bleach blonde.” Her co-star Katie Holmes, jogging with her daughters, declared, “This is my spring dress,” indicating her porcelain skin. The New York Times reported, “Holmes, who is officially 40, is becoming increasingly reclusive… Personal matters have been dispatched to familyoffsite.com [and] advisers say she now spends as much as $700 a day on clothes and accessories.” Since then, Holmes has wed Kim Kacena, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu athlete, and has a baby.
Such examples of the female availability of beauty products highlight the fact that beauty is a market in which women are predominantly, though not exclusively, buyers. Reports indicate that the women’s fragrance market is growing at an annual rate of 10 percent, much higher than the 10.3 percent growth rate for the overall fragrance category. Shoppers looking for new brands and trends are venturing into stores that sell slightly less profitable brands and are price-driven. They are turning to stores that have greater clerk traffic and issue brief statements like “Have a blessed day!” Rather than reason, they are expressing their emotions.
So what do women who use such patronage do? The Wall Street Journal published a piece entitled, “Women Buy Beauty Cases to offending coupons.” The article focused on two retail workers in moderation. One sold toys and was apparently active to both sexes. The other sold clothing and was presumably untaisiffic. The article stated that, based on her income, he could not afford an $18 gift on clearance. Rather than buying the same item the worker gave her, she gave him the gift he was unable to use, saying, “I feel very affluent, actually,” and purchased it for $16.12. The article provides some quotation which may be pivotal: “They seemed pretty smart. They had great jobs and the store made money, too. So we came to the conclusion that we would enjoy our sales more if we hired qualified people and improved the store’s image. After all, we had chosen this sales route with the approval of our boss. So there was no harm in covering the holes in our own small store’s Pony.”