Advanced Style

February 10, 2012

Do you ever see a woman of a certain age and stop dead in your tracks, whispering to yourself with a smile and a little awe, “That. That’s what I want to look like someday.” I love when that happens!

I honestly believe that women get better with age, don’t you? Especially in the case of 90-something Iris Apfel, who has somehow managed to grow even cooler with every birthday she celebrates. She’s instantly recognizable for her owlish eyeglasses, endless bangles up each arm, and happily saturated lips. Ms. Apfel recently partnered with MAC Cosmetics to create a collection that includes colors like Pink Pigeon and Morange, which is described as a loudmouth orange.

This interview, shared on my hairdresser friend’s brilliant blog, is pretty wonderful. Among the many gems on aging gracefully: “I think if women put some more of the time and money they put on their heads in their heads, they’d be better off. I mean, nobody’s going to think you’re thirty-two, so what’s the point?”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on aging with style. Also, who is your inspiration for how you hope you’ll look when you grow up?

P.S. For more advanced style inspiration, there’s a blog named exactly that, devoted to women aged perfectly.

Image of Iris and her turquoise found via LifeStyleHunters.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 everton terrace February 10, 2012 at 4:33 am

Oh I have a new girl crush now. She is fantastic and I want all that jewelry! The quote about putting things in their heads is wonderful. I think I might like to look like her when I grow up. I’ve just decided I need to wear lipstick more!


2 Mary February 10, 2012 at 4:37 am

As a silver haired, unbotoxed, surgically unrepaired 60 something, I found Iris’ interview to be refreshing and sane. I don’t get the need to try to recapture youth. This isn’t to say I am always thrilled to look in the mirror and see my turkey neck or deepening wrinkles, but it is part and parcel of accepting oneself which is a healthy way to approach life at any age. I use a minimalist approach to skin care (cream morn/night) and makeup (blush/gloss) and, as Iris suggests, I spend more time and money on improving my brain using it on family, friends, books and work. Go Iris!


3 Pamela February 10, 2012 at 6:13 am

I love Iris! A few years ago I attended an exhibit at a museum in Salem Mass which showed many of Iris’ collections. She is an inspiration! It’s wonderful that she’s pairing up with MAC!!


4 Lauren@BaylorSays... February 10, 2012 at 6:17 am

I’m definitely going to read the interview, but is she not the BEST example of a lady with style?! Love her. And my husband always says he hopes I look like Blythe Danner when I’m her age…which, good luck buddy. She’s pretty gorgeous.


5 julie whitley February 10, 2012 at 6:24 am

I’ve seen her over the years – truly just gets better with age! Fantastic! Makes me happy that I rock a african robe my daughter brought back for me from her trip around the house and right on out the door as a swimsuit cover up. I get some looks and I just wave! If it makes you feel lovely/stylish, even ornery – put it on proudly and own it.


6 lisa February 10, 2012 at 7:04 am

A teller at my bank has beautiful silver hair styled in a sleek angled bob with bangs. She wears bold framed eyeglasses and dresses simple and modern with a bit of sparkle. This is the person I look at and hope I have the courage to look that beautiful at her age. In my opinion, it does take courage. I am 40, and I color my hair regularly to cover grays. I often wonder at what age I will find the courage to let it go natural.


7 Sharon @ Discovering blog February 10, 2012 at 7:34 am

I recently discovered Into The Gloss, and love checking it out daily.
Iris Apfel’s interview was cool beyond words!

“Now since I’m older, I don’t do my eyes anymore because when you’re older, your eyelids wrinkle. If you use blue or green, and you’re not really expert, you end up looking like a turtle.”


8 Francine February 10, 2012 at 8:11 am

I think this all the time!
I work in my family’s restaurant. We have many older gals who come in wearing adorable silk scarves and vintage pins. I often compliment them on their look and they seem sweetly surpised that the girl behind the counter appreciates their style.


9 Cathy February 10, 2012 at 8:12 am

“If women put more of the time and money they put on their heads in their heads, they’d be better off.”

At age 72, I was the second-oldest in my April 2011 BYU graduating class! I attended school on campus from 1956-1959. When I decided to finish my degree online, it took me 5.5 years to complete 16 courses (one at a time). There were a few difficulties along the way, but mainly the challenge was exciting and very satisfying. My husband was very supportive, and I still get a happy glow whenever I think of what I accomplished.


10 Barchbo February 10, 2012 at 11:34 am

Way to go, Cathy! That’s really exciting!


11 Amy3 February 10, 2012 at 8:19 am

She’s great! I love it.

I decided years ago that I wouldn’t color my hair or do other things (e.g., plastic surgery or botox) to appear younger. Despite my earlier disagreeable post about how everything French is magically better, I did read something years ago about how French women aged in a dignified and beautiful way by just allowing it to be a natural process. Sort of celebrating, albeit in a quiet, understated way, the elegance of growing older. I’ve tried to adopt that for myself.

I wish more women saw aging as something to embrace rather something to fight.


12 Barbara February 10, 2012 at 9:03 am

I just love a gorgeous, stylish older woman. For me, Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Ann Bancroft & Helen Mirren are women who inspire how I hope to see myself as I age.


13 cari February 10, 2012 at 9:09 am

Absolutely gorgeous, love the bright colors, the life in her eyes and her fantastic jewelry !


14 Janet Oliver February 10, 2012 at 9:14 am

Yes, I want to look like my maternal grandmother, who at the age of 92, shortly before she died, still “put on her face” every day, and had her hair done every week. She was looker. My grandfather was fond of telling the story of how they met, in the 1920s. He was at an outing at a local lake with friends when he spied a long-limbed, pale-skinned, raven-haired, bathing beauty on the other shore. The unconstructed bathing suit she was wearing left nothing to the imagination. He knew instantly that she was the one. And she was. They spent over 65 classy years together.


15 Jadah {Family Sponge} February 10, 2012 at 9:33 am

What an eclectic, beautiful and fantabulous woman! I heart her big time!

I would say my mom inspires me for aging gracefully with style. She turned 50 last year and wears it well. She loves to travel has a sense of adventure and stays active. Although fifty is still young, I hope to keep a joyful and youthful spirit like my mom.

My mom celebrated her 50th Birthday in Bora Bora:

Now, I’d like to emulate that. But as far as style goes I want the glasses, bangles and bright colors like Iris. I’m an artsy mama, so Iris’s style resonates with me.


16 Joy {Beyond Fifty} February 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Thank you for the lovely words my wonderful daughter! I can definitely see you, my artsy girl, aging with Iris’ style, of course with the balance of your mom’s zen :)

I plan to keep on growing through life in my natural skin, hair and body. And will do the “right stuff” to keep it in peek form through the years.

I am looking forward to rocking my next 50 years all the way!


17 gina vide February 10, 2012 at 9:35 am

Fabulous! I absolutely love this! I agree – many women get better with age — more comfortable in their own skin. Amazing. Thanks for sharing this!


18 Sarah February 10, 2012 at 10:58 am

oooh, I just love her!


19 Barchbo February 10, 2012 at 11:38 am

Carrie Donovan was always my aging icon but I love Iris, too.

My mom has always encouraged us to be “good stewards” of our body, hair, and skin – she says we have a responsibility to take care of our most valuable resources. Sunscreen, sleep, exercise, water, healthy food – my mom’s beauty secrets. And Carmex. Until you broached this topic I hadn’t really thought about it – but I guess I’ve adopted my mom’s philosophy.

Also, I can’t control my age – why worry about it? I’m alive and that’s a blessing!


20 leslie w. February 10, 2012 at 11:44 am

I don’t need glasses right now (which is good), but I secretly hope that as I get older I’ll need them, so that I can rock some stylish ones like Iris. Although, I’m not sure I am brave enough to go as bold as her. And I want to have long silver hair, too. I’ve purposely rocked the short hair now, in my younger years, and plan to enjoy long hair when I’m older. It seems like such a given that when you age, you cut your hair short, but I find it so refreshing and beautiful when an older woman has long silver hair. That’s my plan.


21 Annie February 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I love this post! Aging in our society is such a ‘terrible’ thing, but how beautiful it is when we accept it and embrace our age. I hope to instill this to my daughter too. Thank you!


22 Christi February 10, 2012 at 12:32 pm

LOVE THIS!! I work with the elderly population and I am SO inspired by the way confidence and individuality get stronger with time. She makes it look fabulous to grow older, doesn’t she?!


23 ann February 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I will be 50 soon. I don’t feel older – honestly, I feel more secure, satisfied and content while still seeking new adventures and interests. It is a good feeling. I enjoyed my younger years and also enjoy these years. I also very much enjoy reading your blog. It is a delight.


24 sue glader February 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm

She is groovy beyond words, and I love that you’ve called her out. I saw a “little old lady” in my town not so long ago with crazy high heeled booties on, and it made me love her on the spot. It’s that unexpected jolt of someone being unique. Lemmingless. Yum!


25 Jillian in Italy February 11, 2012 at 2:13 am

What an inspiring lady. I love her philosophy on putting the time and money you spend on your head IN your head instead. Words to live by.


26 Jillian in Italy February 13, 2012 at 12:31 am

I also find this 82 year old Japanese artist very interesting…polka dots are my fave!


27 Jess (Where My Heart Is) February 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Iris reminds me of my grandmother. She was dressed similarly to this and as you can imagine her house was divine. She was years ahead of her time!


28 christina February 13, 2012 at 1:53 am

I just love that it’s called “Advanced Style” – women embracing their age, and doing so with such grace. My idol is Hellen Mirren, oh if I could look like that when I grow up!


29 Erin February 13, 2012 at 7:01 am

Love it! There is just something about a woman who is completely comfortable with herself, isn’t there? I love the interview, and the thought of her sharing the same big jug of perfume, out of the fridge, with her 97-yr-old husband makes me totally smile!


30 Kate The Great February 13, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I live in Oregon, and there’s a breed of woman here that I’ve never seen anywhere else I’ve lived. She’s older, like Iris Apfel, but she’s always got long, waist-length, silver flowing hair. She’s riding a bus or a bike or walking. She’s got something colorful or she’s carrying a plant of some sort. These women all wear different things; some of them wear flip-flops and neutral colors, but some of them are in running shoes and jeans. They all have long, flowing, straight silver hair.

That older woman is what I want to be. A chameleon who is content with her surroundings and seems so serene with where ever she is. She used be a hippy, I think, but now, she’s an all-woman who flows through each stage of life.


31 kage February 28, 2012 at 5:14 am

I have a large photo of Iris on my vision board, and I hope she stays there all my days, until I am her.


32 Roslyn Tanner Evans July 20, 2012 at 3:57 am

At age 68, I created a second career- creating handcrafted beaded jewelry. After awhile my artsy daughter joined me & then my son helped me design a website. We packed, loaded & setup @ craft shows for 5 years & now @ 73, I am doing email & social media marketing. Who woulda thought…. from a woman who was petrified of the computer. I take people on my journey into beading thru my blog, Ageless Explorer Over 72 & I hope I can be an inspiration to others that it is never too late to start again, & again. In my former life I was a career counselor & now I live my own passion- Beading.


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