Spring officially begins next week, but in LA you wouldn’t know it. Ninety degree weather accompanied by the lingering scent of wisteria in the air, find us channeling Spring slightly ahead of schedule. And I couldn’t be more excited!
This season, I’m eager to incorporate more light and airy clothing into my personal style. When I came across this look (at left) while killing some time on Pinterest, I immediately got inspired. I hardly ever wear white. Outside of the fact that it’s an incredibly difficult color to keep clean, it’s also a very hard color to pull off, highlighting every flaw imaginable (unlike my BFF, the color black). Not only am I always concerned about spilling something on myself, I also can’t stand how that once crisp white blouse inevitably starts to look dingy, with those not-so-attractive yellowing armpit stains.
It’s a new season, and with it, time to take more chances…even if it’s just confronting the color white. The model here does everything right, perfectly showcasing everything I’m loving at the moment: dark aviators, layered gold jewelry, strategically ripped boyfriend jeans, and strappy heels. It’s an impeccable blend of polished set against casual, the archetype for California chic in my book. What unarguably brings this ensemble together is the fresh, structured white blazer, an item that could easily be dry cleaned. This should help with my aversion to wearing/caring for a light color. A white blazer just officially made my closet must-have list for Spring.
The takeaway from killing a little time on Pinterest? This Spring, conquer your fears and brave white.
On a dreary, rainy Saturday afternoon the weekend before last, I found myself in bed under the weather, making it the perfect recipe to kill some time exploring the never-ending streaming cosmos of my Netflix Queue. In a documentary sort of mood, the moment my eye caught the bright red feather boa laced around the neck of a lively looking older woman, I settled in for the afternoon’s entertainment.
What started out as a passion project for blogger Ari Seth Cohen, has sparked a book deal, a documentary…a movement. Ari’s blog, Advanced Style, is a celebration of aging, told through the expression of personal style. Unlike most fashion blogs of today, it chronicles women over 50, well into their 90s, who choose to defy the notion that aging means a woman cannot still savor a sense of style. It challenges the perception that the fashion industry, which unapologetically continues to cater to younger generations, shouldn’t discount women “of a certain age.”
In a collaboration with filmmaker Lina Plioplyte, Ari’s blog comes to life in documentary narrative form, following 7 of the New York women made famous through Advanced Style, ranging in ages 62-95. While their eclectic style, set against the vibrant background of New York City is the film’s premise, there’s something much deeper being explored here. Our youth-obsessed culture continues to create the belief that aging, something that’s as natural as breathing, is an experience to be feared. A culture that perpetuates the idea that over a certain age a woman should “tone it down,” effectively losing a part of herself in the process.
Sure, society’s preoccupation and constant nostalgia for youth, do drive certain facets of a woman’s relationship to fashion and beauty as she ages. Then again, maybe there are women that hit a particular age and simply decide that their priorities have changed, or perhaps fashion has never been a big part of their lives to begin with? What palpable comment is Advanced Style making when it comes to aging and appearance?
What the film does brilliantly that puts everything into context as I questioned this, is to address the concept of style. The message is clear: Style is eternal – it cannot be bought. Of course, you’re buying things in a monetary sense to help subsidize an expression, but true style is born out of how you choose to present yourself to the world. It’s your voice before you even open your mouth. It’s what you’re wearing. It’s how your hair is styled. It’s the statement made through bold lips, lined eyes, and brush strokes. Most significantly, it’s your attitude, how you carry yourself. Your attitude is directly linked to your appearance.
Throw on a pair of sweats to run errands (which I’ve been known to do and thoroughly enjoy!) and you’ll manage just fine; but take the time to style your hair, do your make-up, and put on something that makes you feel fabulous, and even I, can feel the difference in how I interact with the world. Your style…essentially, your brand, is what a woman should not lose as she ages.
Advanced Style is about those women who choose style, who choose to hold onto their brand. Their version just happens to be more colorful than what we’re likely used to seeing on most women in their twilight years. Alternatively, mature women who opt for a less colorful or eclectic approach to their style shouldn’t be discounted either. As long as they envelop their version of “style,” in whatever manner that means to them, that’s really what it’s about. Although, I can’t help but wonder given the number of women featured in Advanced Style throughout the years and its growing popularity, that perhaps…just perhaps, there are more of us colorful, eclectic types like the women featured in the documentary than there are not?
As I watched the film, it also got me to thinking about how I wanted to age. I have some time before I should even entertain the idea of freaking out about it really, but already, I can see it. I can’t say I look forward to birthdays with as much enthusiasm as much as I used to. I’ve already surpassed many of the big, celebratory milestones of youth-hood when I turned 30. The great news is that the 7 ladies profiled bring a fresh, affirming approach to aging.
It’s not about re-claiming your youth, it’s about being who you are, where you are, and not going quietly. It’s leaving this earth knowing you honored your truth. Even if it’s as simple, yet complicated, as how you present yourself to the world everyday. The takeaway is simple: Find your style and honor it. Rock it to the end. “Style is ageless.”
Advanced Style is available on Netflix streaming. It’s the perfect way to spend a dreary, rainy Saturday afternoon should you find yourself in a similar situation in the near future.
I am what you call a late bloomer. Suffice to say that I’ve always been this way across many areas of my life. What someone accomplished at age 16, I didn’t until 18. What someone achieved at 28, I probably won’t until…well, I couldn’t say. The one area it seems I crossed the finish line “on time” or before many others, was that I graduated from college (cum laude!) with my Bachelor’s Degree at age 22 and had a full-time job offered to me as soon as I walked off the stage practically (but even this began another 2 year journey toward finding my dream job in the industry). The point being that blooming later in life can be disappointing or liberating depending on what subject we’re talking about at the time.
What I find most fascinating as I get older, is how much more I find myself embracing my femininity. This could open a world of debate about what is defined as “feminine” and whether or not women should even be boxed into such stereotypical terms. So for the sake of opening that can of worms, I’ll acknowledge this off the bat and share my story anyway.
While I’ve always managed to keep myself looking presentable when it came to style (though mine was of the jeans, t-shirts, and even overalls variety in college), I wasn’t one of the first girls to embrace bras, make-up, and dresses as some of my peers were during my developmental years. While yes, I eventually was forced learned to become friends with bras (and now consider them BFFs, in fact), my relationship with dresses didn’t really take off until recently. Unless there was a special celebration (or I was 5 with pigtails) you wouldn’t catch me in a dress too often.
Somehow, very likely due to mass media, fashion blogs, magazines, films, TV…Society…The Man!…I feel like I’m finally embracing a new style and it’s turning out to be much more feminine that I’ve ever experienced personally. There were a lot of reasons looking back that it took awhile for me to be comfortable enough in a casual dress while running errands or getting to a place where I even wanted to wear a polished dress to the office. That’s another post, for another time. The interesting thing is that while I have grown of love the perfect summer dress or a great skirt, I find that I’m still slightly more conscious of myself than if I were in a pair of jeans. Perhaps there is still part of me fighting “The Man.” This means, you likely won’t ever see me go full Zooey Deschanel – though she totally rocks that look.
When I came across these awesome looks above*, it got me to thinking more about how to incorporate my new evolving style as we move into the warmer season where dresses are a great piece to have handy. My number one rule in anything I purchase moving forward is function and comfort.
Cheers to embracing whatever your definition of femininity is (or is not) while still managing to fight “The Man.”
And to all you late bloomers out there, our time will come. xx
here’s what i’m lovin’ right now
|| ShoeMint’s Lindsey Heels. Though I, personally, could never walk in them.||
A sweet and unexpected surprise came my way recently. A colleague of mine and I were chit-chatting away and somehow got on the topic of shoes. She looked at me and said, “What size do you wear? I have a pair of gray patent leather pumps that I can’t wear anymore.”
Now, I’m a size 10 (huge feet, I know) by trade, so when she mentioned they were a 9.5 it didn’t stop me one iota when she told me she’d bring them in for me to try on to see if I liked them. Note: I can wear a 9.5 when the shoe is designed slightly too big or they’re cute enough (and free) to deal with a bit of a snug fit!
Say hello to my new gray, patent leather, mary-jane, peep-toe pumps (whew!) What I love about these shoes is that yes, they actually do fit (who-hoo!) and typically, this is a shoe that if I saw sitting on a display, I wouldn’t even consider wearing. When I got home and tried these guys on with a few looks, I was pleased that I actually had something different from the heels that are my closet. Ironically, I’ve been itching for a bit of a tweak to my look and I know these shoes will carry me from the office to any plans I might have after work. A win on all fronts and a lesson learned about being more open with your style! Maybe my tastes are simply changing. A huge thanks to the kind fellow shoe-lover that passed them on rather than let them collect dust in her closet.