The Millennial Female Buyer: Three Key Personas

The Millennial Female Buyer: Three Key Personas

Thursday, June 12 2014

Millennials have become the most powerful, brand savvy consumer group around the globe. These hyperconnected, collaborative consumers are not consumers of traditional media. They are not interested in traditional women's magazines like Cosmopolitan or reality TV shows like The Real Housewives of Orange County. Today’s millennials watch Netflix and skim BuzzFeed.

In order to run a successful fashion brand or retail store, the most important thing for a designer or buyer to know—and understand—is the people for which they are designing or buying apparel. Trends have a big impact on what women wear now, but also on what they wear over the course of time. What women wear represents who they are as people. Below, we have created three profiles of millennial women, ages 18 to 34, to show you who they are, what they value, and what is in their closets.


“Look at us, we’re beautiful!”

Personality Traits: Digitally connected, these women live #thegoodlife, sharing their experiences for all to see. These new luxury millennials are trendsetters and socialites who explore the world with their youthful spirits. These Revenge watching women truly live the Kardashian lifestyle. It is important to note that these G-Lux ladies are “luxury-brand loyals” who buy what they want; they don’t simply admire it, as a “fan” would.

Icons: Kendall Jenner, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, Jane Aldridge of Sea of Shoes, Aimee Song of Song of Style, Chiara Ferragni of Blonde Salad, Aureta Thomollari and The Beckerman Sisters.

Where They Shop: G-Lux millennials believe in purchasing luxury items via ecommerce (e.g., YOOX, Net-A-Porter). These women feel comfortable shopping for Burberry runway collections on as long as they trust the brand. At the same time, they are looking for the next up-and-coming designer according to the CFDA. G-Lux millennials’ in-store expectations are high; they expect some type of unique value as a reward for shopping in store.  These ladies are put on influencer lists in order to ensure their attendance at special retail events and locations.

G-Lux millennials also love to uncover unique vintage pieces from around the world that have a pre-loved feel about them. Amongst their collections, you will find classics from Tom Ford era Gucci and hard-to-find, vintage quilted Chanel handbags. Decades in Los Angeles is one of their favorite vintage treasure troves.

Beauty: To G-Lux millennials, nails are conversation starters. Printed nails with themes, 3D images, multi-color or stiletto nails are all in.

Wardrobes: These brand and trend conscious consumers shop Opening Ceremony collaboration, The Row, Citizens of Humanity Premium Vintage, Alexander Wang, Charlotte Olympia, Marc Jacobs, DSquared2, Proenza Schouler, BCBG Runway, Chanel, United Nation of Nude, Junya Watanabe, limited collaborations with Nike or Adidas, and vintage.

Events/Interests: G-Lux women spend much of their money on experiences and remain in the circle of highly-influential friends who have the free-spirited attitude that disposable income provides. You will find these millennials at private events supporting good causes, gallery openings, fashion weeks, and VIP pool parties at Coachella.

Activities: The G-Lux millennials are considered influencers who are paid to attend events and fashion collaborations. These women travel in style and socialize in real-time.


“We can do it, but we do it our way!”

 Personality Traits: Girl Boss millennials are empowered and passionate—not self-entitled—individuals.  They are female entrepreneurs who are determined to make it before they turn 30. These millennials believe that they can achieve their goals; however, they want to do it their way.

Girl Boss millennials have already started out on their path to success by creating their own small businesses, which might include things like opening an Etsy shop or eBay store, freelance styling, blogging, or writing.  Their interest in breaking into the fashion world began while watching the reality TV show, The Hills, where Whitney Port held a position at Kelly Cutrone’s PR firm, People’s Revolution, and interned atTeen Vogue.  Girl Boss millennials continue to be inspired by the female characters in shows like Revenge, Scandal and GIRLS.

Books:  These millennials’ Instagram feeds are full of what they are reading. These books focus on the stories of self-made entrepreneurs such as Amoruso’s #GirlBoss and Skait-Levy and Nash-Taylor’s The Glitter Plan.  

Icons: Girl Boss millennials’ icons are self-made and are much more than just another pretty face. Icons include Sophia Amoruso, CEO/Founder of Nasty Gal, and fashion blogger Leandra Medine of Man Repeller.  These new entrepreneurs ride solo when it comes to learning how to run a business.

Where They Shop: Girl Boss millennials are brand aware, but may not have the budget to buy designer labels at full price, so ecommerce sites like and allow these women to shop the closets of the women they admire most—such as stylists, editors, models and socialites. These millennials do frequent Forever21 and H&M, but tend to find a lot of their unique pieces by shopping resale locations like Buffalo Exchange and What Goes Around Comes Around.

Wardrobes: These women have designer labels in their closets, but they never pay full price.  Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, TopShop, DKNY, Helmut Lang, Kate Spade, and Dian Von Furstenburg are some of their favorite brands. Several good pairs of jeans are a must; brands include Hudson, Rag & Bone and or J. Brand. Girl Boss millennials yearn for a pair of Valentino Rockstud Leather Slingbacks and a Saint Laurent Classic Sac de Jour Bag.

Events/Interests: Girl Boss millennials love new technology and can be found at Lucky FABB blog conferences, Fashion Film Festivals and TED Talks.

PROFILE 3: Sport Gurl

“We work hard and play hard!”

Personality Traits: Sport Gurl millennials only wear sport-inspired clothes since various athletics are a huge part of their lifestyle. You can spot these gals from afar wearing conspicuous and expensive sneakers, designer sweatshirts and versatile knits. These millennials care about what they put in and on their bodies, and this is reflected in their favorite brands and go-to hangouts.

Music: Music is key to Sport Gurl millennials. Must-attend concerts would be the Vans Warped Tour, Governors Ball (Randall’s Island), Coachella (via tents) and Lollapalooza.  They love EDM DJs, such as Calvin Harris or Tsiesto; but they especially praise the work of some of the top women DJs, such as J. Phlip, Tokimosta and Miss Kittin.

Icons: Sport Gurl millennials respect women who are not afraid to take a risk or enter an arena that was traditionally dominated by men. A favorite icon of this group is Cara Delevingne, who began her modeling career at ASOS before moving onto the runways of Burberry. Delevingne’s off-duty model style features a tomboy look with sportswear cues. Another favorite, Rita Ora, also has an athletic fashion sense, which makes her perfect for her upcoming collaboration with Adidas. Female jock Emily Fields, played by Shay Mitchell, on Pretty Little Liars is also a Sport Gurl idol.

Where They Shop: These women shop in a seasonless way, based on their moods and desires, instead of a way which would be deemed appropriate by traditional fashion experts. They are incorporating “normcore” into their personal style. Sport Gurl millennials are brand loyal when it comes to the active market, and search for clothing from 1990s vintage collections. These women love American Rag, Urban Outfitters, Jet Rag, Supreme, ASOS Marketplace and open air flea markets. They also embrace the idea of locally made events such as UNIQUE LA|NYC|SF.

Wardrobes: Sport Gurl millennials covet UNIF, Minnetonka, Bumpy Pitch, Adidas and NIKE collaborative pieces, DKNY, Edun, and Dr. Martens. Their closets consist of Reverse destroyed boyfriend jeans, an extensive collection of of contemporary graphic T’s, rare sneaker finds, a Nike Fuelband, and even quilted Palladium boots. Items of interest may include the '90s revisited with vintage-style backpacks with patches to indicate where their travels have taken them. 

Events/Interests: These women use “fitspiration” as a lifestyle mantra, taking on activities such as aerial yoga, pilates, surfing, snowboarding and hiking. Sport Gurl millennials are happy to skateboard down to their favorite local coffee shop. They follow two or more sports and are loyal to their own teams.

See the full infographic here:

Written By Professor Wendy Bendoni and Macala Wright, Sketches By Erin Perry