“How did this happen?” a friend recently asked over birthday drinks (her birthday). She was lamenting growing “old,” and worrying about a future of style-starved clothes and sensible shoes.
I probably should have been more concerned (or perhaps slightly annoyed) as she looked at me expectantly, awaiting an appropriate sympathetic response, considering I’m close to ten years her senior.
But my perspective is skewed. My personal style icon happens to be over 90. She’s 94 years old, in fact, as of last Tuesday. And while her heels may be a a bit lower to the ground these days, she is certainly not ceding any ground in the style department.
At 90, Iris is a muse for fashion designers. She once had an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum in New York dedicated to her wardrobe, and this year has had a range of colors named after her from MAC cosmetics along with a line of accessories from Jimmy Choo.
Iris is a solid guess. But my icon is my grandmother, Frances Lux, and she could give Ms. Apfel a run for her money.
While she does not require a warehouse to store her wardrobe, she did once coerce my grandfather into building a free-standing cedar closet (more accurately described as a ROOM) for her in the basement to house her hat collection, etc.
I believe my grandmother was born stylish. A former “runway” model for hometown fashion shows, she has always been admired for her fashion sense and she is certainly not shy about dispensing unsolicited advice. An example from a previous visit,”… with that top, dear, you should really put on a necklace, or let your hair down.” It’s been fun to trade zingers like these with my sister and cousins over the years.
I used to spend hours at her vanity trying on all her lipsticks. She has always had a thing for orange/coral (J. Crew could have tapped Fran instead of Poppy King for their wildly popular signature lipstick shade). Below her vanity she had boxes and boxes of jewelry. Each was filled with small baggies of necklaces with coordinating earrings tied together with a twist-tie. Her closet was organized in a similar fashion, by color and by outfit. At 94, my grandma has downsized to an apartment in a nursing home but she is still rocking her coordinated outfits and accessories and has her fair share of admirers among her gentlemen neighbors.
So, if I were to channel grandma Lux, I guess I would say to my friend, “Buck up, sister. Style knows no age.”
And then I’d point her to Ari Seth Cohen’s street style blog, Advanced Style.
Ari chronicles the stylings of the eccentric senior set in New York City and beyond. Here’s a video from Nowness featuring the stars of his blog: