I’ve often heard comments about whether it’s still worth caring about style at a particular age (related to the age of the person making the comment) and whether or not they are too old at this point in their lives?
I will always remember an experience where I was helping a lovely client sort out her wardrobe and her mother came to visit and she said “I”m not buying a new piece of clothing for the rest of my life, I’m too old to care about style and nobody cares anyway”. Now this woman was not in her 80s or 90s, she looked to be in her 60s (at most) and unless she had a terminal diagnosis of some sort, I could imagine that she could easily live another 20 years or more and I found it a rather sad statement as she may not need to go shopping (no idea about the size of her wardrobe, but clothes do wear out over time and do need to be replaced), it was an attitude of “I’m not worth it” that I heard in her voice as she said this.
Unless You’re Well Over 101 Then you Are Not Too Old to Care About Your Style
Icon of Style Iris Apfel has just turned 101 and she is always a style 10 in her own unique way. Her style may not be your style, but this centenarian can sure teach us younger women a thing or two about style. I’ve collected a bunch of her quotes that share her thoughts on the value of style and how, no matter what your age, you can take a light and fun approach to it (as she has).
Iris only became a style icon when she was in her 80s after the Met Museum in New York presented an exhibition of her clothing and accessories in 2005 titled a Rare Bird in Fashion and the documentary film Iris about her was made when she was already in her 90s, which shows that you are never too old for style and taking on something new in life. Iris has given so many of us both inspiration and also the feeling of permission to be bolder, to try something new, and to be our authentic selves with our own style.
View this post on Instagram
“When we were small children we all played dress-up and everybody had a good time. So why stop?”
This is such a great thought, one that can help you think about style as something lighter and more fun. Why not take a playful approach like you did when you were a child playing in the dress-up box, piling on the accessories and mixing prints and garments in combinations you’d never tried before. In the morning take a “dress-ups” approach to putting your outfit together, try a new combination, wear something you wouldn’t normally wear, add accessories you tend to shy away from. This will really help you get out of any style-rut you’ve gotten yourself into over the years (and my Evolve Your Style program is a small, easy-step way to do this too).
‘When the fun goes out of dressing, you might as well be dead.’
Since you have to get dressed every day (nudists excluded), why not make it a more fun or creative endeavor. Take a style challenge if you want an easy approach laid out for you, or just use something like Pinterest to inspire new outfits from your existing wardrobe.
Iris is never opposed to having fun with fashion and using it to add humour to her and our lives.
View this post on Instagram
“The worst fashion faux pas is to look in the mirror and not see yourself”
I think this is so true. Your style may be more understated, or more elegant, or it may be more relaxed or feminine, you don’t have to dress in a way that is “out there” if that’s not your personality. What I know from talking to thousands of women about their style, is that if your style is naturally more bold and dramatic and they have to tone it down or relax it up too much, they don’t feel right, just like the women who have a more understated style feel like their clothes are shouting if they wear something that is too bold. There is no right or wrong here, it’s about finding your personal style, one that makes you feel like the very best version of you.
“I don’t dress to be stared at, I dress for myself”
Iris has a very bold style, it’s creative, it’s dramatic, it has incredible flair and yes it catches attention, yet if you watch the Iris movie, where she talks about her approach and attitude to style, it’s all about the process for getting dressed, the fun she has putting her outfits together, rather than how others will react to
‘When you don’t dress like everyone else then you don’t have to think like everyone else.’
I love this quote, it shows her personality so authentically and one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that the older you get, for many, the less you care about other people’s opinions. You’re more settled in your skin and with who you are having lived more years. Who wants to be a clone? Not me. Be the original you are.
If you want to discover who you are at your core and your approach to style this is part of 16 Style Types Your Type of Style program – find out more about it here.
‘If your hair is done and you’re wearing good shoes, you can get away with anything.’
Want to be more bold and more outrageous in life? Dress well and you’ll be forgiven a lot! (This is why criminals wear suits to court, because what you wear does impact on how others treat you and how you are perceived, no matter what my client’s mother believed, as we do judge books by their covers and here is why).
‘Great personal style is an extreme curiosity about yourself.’
This is so true. It’s something I’ve seen in action in my style program 7 Steps to Style – that the more you learn about yourself the more your style improves.
‘Clothes are not frippery. Properly done, they can be an art form.’
Like any visual art form, style and fashion, gorgeous clothing and accessories, are being seen as the art form that they are. Galleries around the world curate fashion exhibitions regularly. Millions have admired the art form of self expression that you see in Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style photos and film of the everyday style choices of the 50+ style mavens.
View this post on Instagram
‘Colour can raise the dead.’
As a lover of colour no truer statement was said, wearing colour makes you happier, along with those who see you. We are psychologically affected by colour in a subconscious way, so why not learn about it, find the colours that make you shine and sparkle from the inside with a personal colour anlaysis and then use those colours in your everyday life in your outfits.
‘Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. They key to style is learning who you are, which takes years. There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s about self-expression and, above all, attitude.’
You have style, you may not yet have uncovered it, but it’s there below the surface just waiting for you to reveal it. Like the angel inside Michaelangel’s marble block, it’s a matter of chipping away until it’s revealed, and this takes time, and a little patience too. It’s a learned skill for many of us (there are some who are “born with it” but I can tell you that’s not me and it’s not the majority of women), and as it’s a science it can be learned and then applied in a systematic way. Most of us never got the education in style and dressing (we just were taught how to physically put on a garment and wonder why we have such a hard time with “getting dressed” when what we really have a hard time with is style – and putting together outfits that reflect our personality and work with our physicality.
“I say, dress to please yourself. Listen to your inner muse and take a chance. Wear something that says ‘Here I am!’ today.”
This is such a great message. It’s so easy to fade into the background, to not stand out as it takes less courage. Yet those who are considered lucky put themselves out there more than those who don’t. Rather than spending your life as a wall-flower, find your way of wearing something that says “here I am” in your own way, whether that’s a bolder way or a quieter way (we notice both).
“An outfit isn’t complete without a signature accessory, or many, to show off your individuality. Mine are glasses—the bigger and brighter, the better,”
I never used to wear anything but the smallest, most discreet accessories, for fear of standing out or looking a fool. Yet now I’m known for my large-scale necklaces and bolder jewellery choices (not quite on Iris’ scale, but my version of large, as I have much smaller features, whilst she has large facial features so can easily carry off her big pieces), and they have become a signature of my outfits, even when I’m wearing jeans and a tee. Find your own way of using accessories to add that tasty icing to your sartorial cake (and if you want heaps of tips then grab a copy of my ebook The Finishing Touch: Perfecting the art of accessorising.)
“My mother worshiped at the altar of accessories”
No matter you age or stage of life, no matter where you live or what you do, your style is something you can use every single day to express your personality, to use as a creative outlet, to help start conversations and connect with others, and to show your competence and leadership. Your style is a visual expression of your personal brand (and a personal brand is what others think or say about you when you’re not in the room, which means you can’t not have one, you just get to be the one who has more control over it if you dress in a more conscious way or not if you choose to ignore your style).
View this post on Instagram
“The worst thing when you take a risk is that you fail, but you won’t die”
Failure is just feedback, it’s not an end of the road, or a death sentence. I can tell you that I still put outfits on some days where I’m taking a risk, trying something different and I think they don’t work as well as I’d like, they are a bit of a fail, what I get from that is the feedback of where I’m going wrong so I can keep on improving rather than deciding to quit (I will still have to get dressed again tomorrow, and the day after that) so there is no quitting from getting dressed. Instead, small incremental improvements as you slowly figure out what does and doesn’t work will take your style to a whole new level. Getting a style education will speed up that process tenfold.
If you want to stay young you have to think young”
Said by a truly young at heart 101 year old who can inspire you, even if you just don’t get her style (which many don’t). This is why style is truly personal, because it’s now about copying others, it’s about being true to yourself and chipping away at the marble around you to reveal the style angel inside you.
More Tips on Style as You Age