Hi buddyroos! *Sigh*. I’ve been mulling over just how to start this post because it’s a subject that I’m so torn about.
It’s the “Advanced Style” movement… I’ll tell you what prompted my thoughts to write about this.
It was my hair, my love for shift dresses, and reading tons of articles about the latest book tour for “Advanced Style: Older and Wiser” by Ari Seth Cohen, the creator of the blog and documentary film, Advanced Style.
If you get the chance, you should check this documentary out. It really was interesting and the women were fascinating. But I think this movement has taken off in a wild direction.
Let’s talk about the hair first:
My hair was in need of serious cutting. . The ends were in such awful shape and my hair just wasn’t holding a decent roller set for more than two days. The split ends resembled the hem of some intensely frayed jeans! It was nasty.
Just for the hell of it, I flat-ironed my hair to see how long it got. Check out the ends in the pic on the left. O.U.C.H! That is some nasty stuff there!
Adam did another great job and he cut a bit of an angled bang. My hair looks so much healthier. There is just something about a great cut. It makes you feel so much better about yourself and gives you more confidence!
And I have to add that Adam, who is well-aware of what an old crone I am, never tries to get me to cut my hair short. He never goes scissor happy. He listens to my hair needs and I trust him. And the result is always a great one!
See my new cut? Back to my waves and quite happy with how much healthier the hair is! Who says you can’t have long hair when you are older?
Despite the fact that the experts seem to think that women “Over 60” should keep their hair shorter…and color it that blonde/gray for the most part, women over 60 can rock the longer locks, and can go against the granny look grain.
Believe me, I LOVE both Judy Dench and Helen Mirren. They rock their looks so well, but I’m just not ready to go short and light!
I’m so not that woman
Which bring me to this second issue:
If you aren’t familiar, Advanced Style is a movement celebrating the older woman from ages 60 through 80 and above. Photographer Ari Seth Cohen is to be thanked for bringing this woman to fruition in fashion and as a feisty voice. I admire Mr. Cohen for he is a pioneer against ageism. And he is helping us older women to be noticed and that’s great!
Let’s get serious. Are these women REALLY that stylish?
In fact, I really enjoyed the documentary “Advanced Style” and thought each of the women was amazing in her individuality!
But, as usual, I have a few issues with this movement as a fashion statement.
It seems that a woman over 60 doesn’t qualify for this Advanced Style sorority unless she is quirky, an artist or some other sort of self-proclaimed artesian, flamboyant, has hair dyed fuchsia, lavender or some hint of a fun-colored hue on those gray ends, loves to dress in clownish costume. Or she has decided to color her hair completely in one of the primary colors.
I’m sorry but these outfits, ensembles, costumes do NOT come at a discounted price. If the average woman over the age of 60 walked the neighborhood streets like this, people would be concerned about dementia. Just sayin’!
I’m not ready to color my hair like this either!
As far as dressing goes, these women of Advanced Style costume rather than dress. These are the women who can, for the most part, financially afford to be somewhat different and get away with it. The great majority of them have been privileged to be able to have luxuries that are not attainable for the average woman.
I just can’t stop thinking of one of my favorite movies, “Hocus Pocus” when I see photos of the women of “Advanced Style”!
Advanced Style doesn’t speak for every older woman.
Quite honestly, I’m just so passive-aggressively torn about this whole thing!
While I can be joyful about Advanced Style in its embracing women over the ages of 60, I’m also a bit wary of the undertones of this seemingly “only-if-you-are-a-doyenne of-the-fabulous-and-unusual” can you be accepted into our group, movement, sorority–whatever. It’s weird.
I’m so in love with Sarah Jane Adams, a presence in this movement—and we were born on the same day, in the same year!!!! I love what she wrote about her wrinkles (Here). She embraces them! How can you not love that???
And I will admit her way of dressing may be a bit too much for me, but I LOVE her clothes and she wears them so well. In fact, I’m jealous of her lean body.
Oh look! Could it be?? Sarah is wearing a Madras Plaid shirt!!!! OMG. She IS a tad of a prepster–just like me!!!
Yet, she makes me feel so inferior! The way she wears my favorite color, red, makes me green with envy! And she lives part-time in Australia and part-time in London. Her living arrangements don’t speak to the woman of average means.
She wears red so well. I prefer a two piece though! Does that make me more advanced?
Do you understand where I’m coming from on this?
This whole movement makes me feel like the outsider. Like the girl who wants to be a part of the cool group but just doesn’t make it. I remain on the outskirts because I’m not that flamboyant girl.
That’s right! I just don’t seem to fit in with this group of women. I’m not cool–and that’s ok! I would like to know just WHERE I fit in though!
I’m the one in the madras shorts and loafers.
Yes. This would be me. Madras shorts and loafers. So basic. What would Sarah Jane think?
What would Jackie O think of the Advanced Style movement? Do you think she would trade in her shifts for a bright pink hat; hair dyed bright purple, a neon yellow dress with multi-colored, oversized polka-dots?
I just cannot see my beautiful Jackie dressing up in anything more edgy than this! And by edgy, the dress has pockets!
What would Catherine Deneuve wear?
I love this pic of my girl Catherine by Nan Goldin. Hey wait! Deneuve IS a rebel! Check out the tattoo on her foot! She’s demure and edgy at the same time–THAT’S what I like!
Although advanced in age, my tastes are pretty much basic. In fact, while doing a bit of shopping after my hair was cut, I drove to Marshall’s, the happy place of low-budgeted and discounted shoppers. My goal was to score an inexpensive 2-piece bathing suit, which I did. (Future bathing suit post in store!).
And on the way to the dressing room, I spotted a dress. The dress was a colorful shift. My love for shift dresses is epic. A good shift will hide bumps and jiggles while remaining just ever-so-slightly fitted. I took it off the rack and noticed the “size 8” tag.
This is my colorful shift! Hey. Shift happens–and it happens that this is the craziest I get–with a print! See how well it goes with metallic heels?
And instead of putting the dress back on the rack, I threw it over my arm and channeled my inner Tim Gunn with whispers of “Make it Work”. Yes Tim. I did!
Yes Tim, you can always be honest! I’m making SHIFT work! What do you think of my Advanced Style?
The dress fit and came home with me. And while I was home, I decided to try two other shifts that I hadn’t worn since last summer. I realized that this is my Advanced Style.
Simple and basic. Classic and quite possibly boring compared to the splashier, flashy and bombastic women of my age. But I’m making an effort to prove that even though my version of Advanced Style may be more subtle. It is who I am and what I’m comfortable with.
Left to right. Banana Republic shift dress that I purchased two or three years ago. The chambray is so soft and comfy and the darts at the bustline give it a nice shape. The middle dress is an old favorite from J. Crew. I think it’s over three years old. I wear it on out trips to the Cote d’ Azur and it is worn practically every day. I can throw it over my bathing suit then go see the sights later on. I’m wearing it with J. Crew Gemma flats. On the right is my $29.99 shift from Marshall’s. The brand is Artisan NY. I can tell this will be another fave because there is a tiny bit of stretch. THIS IS MY ADVANCED STYLE!
And look! The white dress has pockets. Just like Jackie’s shift!! This is some great shift!
And that’s it. Every woman over the age of 60 has her own style. Whether your style is loud or whether it’s subtle—it’s who you are. Own it and own it well! I may be more classic and subtle, but the flamboyant is still entertaining and fun!
Let me know what you think! This is as flamboyant as I go lovies! I’m over 60 and too boring for Advanced Style!
So what do you think? I would LOVE to hear some comments on this. I could be very much in the minority for my thoughts—or I could be the one who opened my mouth and wrote what others didn’t want to write! Lemme know!
OH–I was supposed to show up for Jury Duty yesterday. I was excused! It’s a good, good day!
I know it’s about a guy, but I can’t help thinking about “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” whenever I think of Advanced Style! My love for The Kinks never ends…
Hi Catherine! I follow Advanced Style on Instagram, not because I have reached that age yet or dress like that but it makes me feel good to see older women own their fierceness and not settle into what’s expected for “old age”. I love seeing women like this walking with their backs straight owning it and I’m talking into their eighties. I know it’s definitely not in my tax bracket but it reminds me of how there was effort our into what you wore more than the necessity of it. That’s fine if you aren’t akin to dressing like that, there are many different types of advanced style, it’s just that the colorful outfits photograph well. At least they aren’t wearing sleeveless mumus with slippers. Ha-ha
Good points Trudy! LOL. Although there are a couple of women who look like they are wearing very expensive mumus with very uncomfortable footwear! I thank you for a different take on it! XOXOXOXO!!!
It also makes me hold on to my boyfriend jeans even though I’m not in my twenties anymore. Ive realized, style is what is comfortable and works for me. As far as graying hair, mine has been completely gray since my twenties and so I’ve always looked older than my age. I might dye it blue….
Trudy..and that’s why I love my Weejuns and madras so much. I can’t let go! If you go blue with your hair, get a great blue! XOXOXO!
Cobalt, there will be no pastels!
I absolutely LOVE your style – I am really trying to take some of your recommendations to try to get out of the total frump that I have been in. I even followed your advice about wearing shorts – shomething that I have not done in public in a really long time. I was in the US a few weeks ago for business and was on the hunt for some of the maxi dresses that you posted about – I was able to pick up a few and I’m looking forward to wearing them! I think you look amazing from head to toe and hope that I look as good as you do in 15 years! xoxox Suzanne
Wow! Suzanne! Thank you so much! I’m truly happy to be able to influence you! And that’s a good thing because I think my style is more pragmatic than flamboyant! I want pics of you in those maxis!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I prefer classic and classy for adult women. Like you. To me, the advanced style is ludicrous. I could never take them seriously. Jackie would never ever ever
Hi Jean. Yes. That’s what it comes down to. Taking it seriously.You summed it up in one sentence. While I want–and demand that the woman over 50, 60 and older, be taken seriously by the beauty and fashion industries, I just can’t stop but think that this movement makes us almost comical! XOXOXO!!! Oh..and there is a difference between humorous and comical!
Jackie O. Audrey and Sophia..classy and classic.. I would say Ari “ladies” are silly ..amusing but over Iris’d.
I think if you were thinking of going to shorter hair, I wear mine short at 64 with carmel and red highlites. And what we call DYKE Spikes ya I know. I think carmel highlights and shorter not too short would be awesome on you!
Hi Debe. Thank you for your suggestion! I think I’ll keep my hair longer because the upkeep of highlights would be too much $$ and time for me. But..I’m not crazy about the definition of the Spikes. I have very close girlfriends who are lesbian and I just don’t like the dyke word. I get the description, but not fond of that word!XOXOXOXOXO
Catherine – you are cool and you are part of a group! I like the hair and everything else about you! Stay cool my friend! 🙂
Hi Terry! Thanks! I’m happy to be a part of YOUR group!!! I’ll stay cool my buddy! XOXOXO!!!
You make some good points and for the most part I agree with you. I could never dress the way those women do, but I admire their fierce independence. Perhaps we should view them the way we view clothing seen on runways during “Fashion Week,” beautiful in a sense, but needing some adaptation for everyday looks. I would also like to add how much I have been enjoying your blog. Thanks for your honesty and your own fierce brand of independence.
Hi Sherrie. And a big hug and thank you! I’m glad to be discussing this advanced age subject. You’re certainly correct in admiring the fierce independence of these women..and also the fact they don’t really seem to care what others think. That’s a good thing. But you’re also correct in needing adaptation for everyday looks. Excellent points! It always makes me happy to hear when readers enjoy the blog. It keeps me going! Thanks again!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I’m with Sherrie on this – I admire their bravura but don’t want to be like them, yet I’m not one to wear beige or grey – unless I wear huge splashes of cobalt, red, emerald etc with them! I have just stopped colouring my hair, something my husband has been on at me to do for years : “Let the real you appear” he says, bless him. So my normally dark brown hair will soon be a different colour, but that’s OK, very definitely OK. Catherine, you always write something thought provoking and I’m proud to be in your group! You look great in your shifts. BTW, congratulations on your day off jury service!
Hi Judy! It’s all good–and that is what I love about our circle of friends here! We can discuss and agree and disagree and we do it so well! And you nailed it. They are admirable but we don’t have to want to be like them! I would love to know how the color growing out process is going for you. I’m telling you, shifts are an easy way to dress. They are great for royal laziness! Glad you like them!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I agree. I agree. Those outfits on advanced style are both expensive and to much for New Jersey.
Julia. I almost needed a Depends from laughing so hard at your comment. So true. So very true! I used to live in Jersey and the bridge and tunnel crowd just wouldn’t approve!XOXOXOXO!!!
I think you look terrific and I believe that each person has their own unique way of expressing themselves. My project is really about an expression of vitality. When I walk down the streets of various cities I look for people who are fighting against the idea that you need to be become invisible as you grow older. You have chosen to show only two examples from my project but if you really look I photograph men and women who dress in many different fashions from elegant and classic to creative and eccentric. My blog is not a style guide. Advanced Style is an attitude, a optimistic and joyful approach to aging. It’s about doing whatever you feel is best for you and not be afraid inch to express yourself whether you are more Deneuve or what you call ridiculous. It’s not my place to judge but to rather showcase the spirit of aging with incredible engery and life force. The women do not all come from wealthy beck grounds. They thrift store shop, make things, and rework items that they have had in their closets for many, many years. I very much respect your opinion and think you look absolute fabulous. Advanced Style is more about how you feel rather than what you look like. My grandmother was my best friend and she always told me to move to New York if I could wanted to do something creative. When she passed away I was filled with a profound sense of loss. I moved to NYC a few months later and the first people I was drawn to were older men and women that I saw walking around the streets with confidence and joie de vivre. I started taking pictures as a person project and never expected that I would be fortunate enough to publish to books and make a film about an expression of the love I had for my wonderful grandmother Bluma.
Let’s continue to create a conversation about aging, open and hopefully accepting of every kind of style, shape, size, color and attitude. Thanks for sharing your story! By the way, my mom has long hair like Stevie Nicks, which she will never, ever cut!
WordPress.com / Gravatar.com credentials can be used.
Hi Ari! And welcome to the neighborhood! I’m glad that you took the time to respond to my thoughts and opinionated opinions of your project. You know what? I admit when I can be a bit too…um…judgey. And perhaps I am being a tad judgey. But sometimes I just want to be that voice for the woman or man over 60 who HAS gone unnoticed. Ageism runs rampant in our country. I mean, we have three contenders for President, all of whom are seniors and they don’t say ONE word about our ageist society. I’ve written a few posts about ageism and –ugh– it drives me up a wall that we are put out to pasture like a bunch of grazing cows. Cows who are seemingly better taken care of than senior citizens.
But–I’m rambling and going off topic. Your words were like a love tap on my fat ass–I need to take a step back and realize that AS is, in fact, more about attitude and that joyful approach toward ageing. You’re right! (But I still like to blend!)
Your words about your grandmother got me misty-eyed and runny nosed. My own grandmother wasn’t a granmanista, but she was that sweet old lady who worked in a Manhattan office for years as a cleaning lady. She was at home and comfortable in her slippers, house dress and apron–but she had the spirit of someone so much younger. She adored Twiggy! Adored Twiggy–can you believe it? My grandmother was always happy to be around the young ones in the family and she was feisty and her Irish brogue was adorable and I miss her. And her version of dressing up was a navy crepe dress with turned up cuffs at the sleeves and buttons, black with rhinestone trim down the front, those “nun” shoes of black leather that laced up and a simple black bag that was filled with tissues and Pep-O-Mint Lifesavers. I can still smell the inside of her purse!I just miss her so much!
You’ve done a great job in being a voice for those of us 60 and over (and even younger)! We need more people like you on our side. But can you do me a kindness (did you see Winnebago Man?) and …….maybe in the future write a bit about the Deneuvian’s and Jackie O’s ians? Please?
Again, I’m so glad that you responded. We DO need to keep the conversation about aging going. And we need to get the fashion and cosmetics industries to see that older women are a huge part of their demographic and they need to start incorporating more older women into everyday ads!!!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!
PS. Your mom better never cut her hair!!!
One of my favorite mottos is ‘Do You’, and I add…whatever that you is in that particular moment. And Cathe, you do YOU very well! As for hair length, I’ll be turning 50 soon and I’m in the process of growing it out long again. 🙂
Hi Lori! THANKS!! Thanks so much because I do try to be myself at all times. And I’m thrilled that you are in the process of growing your hair long again!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
You look beautiful in your own style! Just like Jackie O., you fall into the “Classic” category, even though I hate labeling and categorizing human beings. We should all wear what suits US best and makes each of us feel at home in our own skin. I also follow Advanced Style on Instagram, have both books and worship at the feet of Sarah-Jane Adams! She is my idol! When I first read her views on aging and her wrinkles, it was the first time I had heard from another what I had been saying myself all along and I felt validated. Isn’t she the woman we all wish we had for a close friend? Not all the women in the books are dressed like the women you see on the book tours. Some look classic, just as you do. What I feel is the best thing about Advanced Style is that—in my opinion at least—it’s an in-your-face response to the automatic cloak of invisibility that people over 60 have had to deal with for too long. These ladies, and some gentlemen, refuse to be “invisible”. They force you to look at them. I do agree with you that many (not all) of these women have lived very charmed and fortunate lives, but I’d like to think that the bottom line is that we ALL count and have much to offer, even as older people. I’m 57 and haven’t reached the Advanced Style age yet, but i pray I’ll make it to one of the next books in years to come! I have a hot pink tutu waiting in the wings, just in case. HAHA! By the way, you rock both the shift and those madras shorts. I love your honesty about yourself and your style, too!
Hi Terri Lee! I have to admit. I do have a tendency to label people–which is odd because I can’t stand labels on clothing or handbags–I mean logos, which end up labeling anyway.
But I have to admit–Sarah Jane Adams IS the woman I want to be BFF’s with. She’s THAT friend that we all have who is a bit of a rebel and slightly naughty but in a great way. She’s the one who talked you into sneaking out of the house when you were a teen–am I right???? Her views on aging are spot on and I am a bit envious of her. I admit it. She’s the real deal!
And I know that the AS movement IS an in-your-face, look-at-us way of dealing with the invisibility of ageism. But it isn’t working with corporations and it isn’t working to get we over-60’s rehired into the work environment we do so miss! I swear to god, I’m really torn about this. I just can’t help it!
But I’m so glad that we all have different opinions on this subject and I’m even more thrilled that we are discussing this in a mature fashion! It’s wonderful! XOXOXOXO!!!
No, no! I completely understand your ambivalence! And many of the things you pointed out have fleetingly crossed my mind, as well. I hear you about the rehiring situation. Ageism still exists everywhere, but I hope, with blogs such as yours and with the AS movement, we can begin chipping away at those preconceived notions we have about older, mature people, especially we women! All that we have accomplished throughout the years and still, the biggest compliment is supposed to be that you look younger than your actual age? Pfffttt!!! (We all tend to “judge” or “label”, too, but when I realize I’m doing it, I stop and remind myself how I feel about being labeled. It usually works!) I can’t stand logos, either, as you stated. I am as likely to shop from Kohls, JCPenney or Target as I am Nordstrom or Bloomingdales. Vintage clothing stores are my weakness! I don’t want to be someone’s walking billboard.
Come on, Catherine! Until we get to meet Sarah Jane in person, we’ll be each other’s “partner in crime”, sneaking out of the house together! HAHA!!! Enjoy your weekend, Madame! XOXOXO!!
Oh good! Terri, I’m happy that you get my ambivalence on this subject. It’s just such a touchy subject these days. Look at all the “isms” but ageism is the one swept under the carpet. Nobody stops to think or ponder that “Hmmmm…older people have been around and sowed their wild oats and are wise and sage”. Where’s the respect??
But you are right–until we get to met our elusive BFF, Sarah Jane, we CAN be each other’s “partner in crime”. Shhhhhh. Bonaparte’s taking a nap. Let’s sneak out for a glass of wine–or in my case a glass of whine! LOL! XOXOXOXO!!!
Nothing as lovely as seeing matured women comfortable in their skins and looking good too 🙂 You rock the shift.
Thanks Jacqueline! I saw that pic of you on your post. You are one beautiful woman! XOXOXO!!!
Aww! Thanks dear Catherine. You make me feel good. Have a great weekend and keep looking gorgeous 🙂
CATHERINE, I have been following Advanced Style for some time. And I would agree that it does seem somewhat elitist. But I think that probably that is the only way attention is going to be drawn to the fact that women over the age of 60 still have style and are not to be overlooked. Personally, I also favor the Jacki and Catherine classic way of dressing, and I think you exemplify it marvelously, but I really consider what the woman of Advanced Style are doing is almost like spreads from Vogue when it gets its most outlandish. But being in Vogue gets the attention, right?
Hi Bernadette! That’s what I’m loving about the comments on today’s post. I never even equated the women of AS with the outlandish spreads in Vogue–and I LOVE Grace Coddington’s visuals. But boy oh boy–you have great thoughts of the fact that attention being drawn to the over-60’s be being out there! Thank you so much for giving me more insight into this!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I like the Advanced Style women, if only for their example of exuberance at an older age. Better than retiring to the rocking chair on the front porch.
Perhaps they represent higher socioeconomic status, but I think most of their looks could be reproduced from a good thrift store. Probably it is more the time they have to play with their appearance, rather than the actual clothes that represents higher status. In any case, it seems like harmless good fun to me.
I am well over 50 and have longish hair and it’s currently bright indigo blue, but it has been purple, green, pink and red as well. I don’t dress flamboyantly like the AS women, but I don’t dress particularly traditionally either.
IMO we should wear what we like and be happy for others to find their own way. 🙂
I think you hair looks wonderful, no need to cut it or lighten it if you are happy!
Hi gk. I’ll tell you, with every comment, I’m beginning to realize that I need to be a bit actually less judgmental in some of my opinions! I sometimes just feel that one shouldn’t have to be so loud in appearance to get a point across. But, you’re correct in the fact that many of the looks can be obtained from thrift shops! I guess I’m just trying to be the voice of those who are more in the background!
Thanks for your comment and enlightenment! And damn–I’ll bet you rock that indigo hair! XOXOXOXO!!!
I’ve said this before …You Rock Cahterine Style Beautifully!!! I have absolutely No Style….I just wear what I’m comfortable in, regardless of ‘age appropriate’….and I’m doing a 2 piece leopard suit. As for hair, I’ve been wearing mine short for years….has nothing to do with age…I Look Dam Good in short hair!!! ☺️☺️☺️☺️
Get outta here Linda! You have style. Nobody can rock a hat better than YOU can!!! And yes! You are one of the few women who absolutely, 100 percent, in the universe rock that short hair and look great in it! I love you! XOXOXOXO!!!
Thank you Catherine!!!! 😘😘😘😘😘😘 can’t wait to see how my hat is gonna look with that bathing suit! 😁 Loveeeeee youuuuu!! XO
Hey Linda. I want a suit that’ll make me look like your mermaid! XOXOXO!!!
When I found it I’ll let you know, cause I want…NEED one too!!! 😘😘😘
Thanks for explaining Advanced Style to me. I had not heard that term before. There is always something to learn on your blog.
That very colourful style is not for me though. The colours are just too “restless” and the combinations too flashy. These ladies remind me of Vivienne Westwood; not something the average person can pull off.
I like your new green/blue/white shift. I want the same!!
My grandmother was a librarian but she loved exposing me to creativity and culture. Also Jackie and Denueve had stylists (Diana Vreeland) and access to incredible wealth. I also very much appreciate your critique but if you are trying to fight ageism than please don’t compare women who dress colorfully to to witches dressed in Halloween costumes.
Hi Ari. Let’s take a step back here. I’m not here to disrespect you, nor am I here to dis the women of your project. It’s just my opinion on clothing. But. You need to look at my past posts on ageism. I do ageism with a bit of humor. To me, the Sanderson sisters of Hocus Pocus do not bring to mind at first thought, witches, but three eccentric women who dress a bit different and are unusual. And that is how I compare their outfits. Hocus Pocus is one of my all-time favorite movies–and I find Midler’s, Najami’s, and Parker’s characters endearing because there is a bit of me in all three.
As stated previously, I write about ageism. And if you read what I say in previous posts, I think you will realize that I am not being offensive.
Let’s start over.
Ari. I’m Cathe. I am opinionated. I don’t like the way people over 60–especially women, are seen through Corporate America, the fashion industry and the beauty industry. Ageism must stop. And I try to get my point across with humor.
I will continue to be basic–to be a voice for the boring. And that is cool. It’s who I am.
You are a force of greatness in the fight against ageism but you do it in a different way. I respect that. Our tastes are different and that is cool. We are on the same page as each other in this “ism” fight. I shake your hand. And I hope you shake mine. We don’t have to agree on everything–but we can agree on core values.
My hand to yours,
Hi Miss Bougie! AS has been around for quite some time. I was “introduced” to this project by watching the documentary–which I enjoyed very much. But I did notice, too, that there were differences of thought on dressing for me. My own tastes are much more subtle. To each her own! I’m glad you like my new shift! It’s so comfortable and flattering too! XOXOXOXO!!!
Loved this post!! You do you!
Hi Faye! Thanks so much! XOXOXOXO!!!!
I love the women of Advanced Style not cause I want to be like them but they inspire me to not be afraid to be ME and not who/what I think I should be at my age. Being true to yourself is the most flattering look of all! I love simple looks- white skinny jeans, black flowy tunic and turquoise jewelry; colorful tunics and leggings AND always a great handbag. Purses are my weakness! You look great in your shifts and the new, colorful one is fabulous! Thx for another thought provoking post!
Hi Lynna! This is good! I’m seriously loving all the comments. And I think what you have to say is something that I hadn’t thought of. It’s an incredible experience in writing that we all have different views–but at the same time can manage to have that same thought process! XOXOXO!!!
Really interesting post AND comments. I just love your blog – partly for your gorgeous style but also for your opinions (don’t ever pull back on the judgements, ideas, thoughts etc – because look at all the chit chat going on because of it, fantastic, not a single beige/old lady comment here and all despite the different ideas really positive and thoughtful, how fantastic is this?)
While I can celebrate and applaud their style, I am not sure I can relate to it, which is fine – as it is the woman and not necessarily the clothing that speaks. Personally I think it is great they want to push their boundaries and ideas of what women wear, but I also think it is great others want to be classic, or whatever – the greater the breadth of opinion and expression allowed the healthier the society. Love the shift dresses and the hair (you look amazing with those gorgeous waves AND with straight hair). Keep expressing your opnions hon, otherwise there will be not be such interesting conversation
Imagine us all in a room – that would be brilliant
Oh Juliet! Right??? This room of conversation is absolutely incredible! Incredible! Look at the different views! It’s almost outrageous v. reserved. It’s cool. It’s getting us talking and I love that so much!!! I’m really glad that I decided to write about this! XOXOXOXO!!!
Me too!!! What a great bunch of women and what an interesting range of thoughts
Right??? This is some seriously cool shift! XOXOXOXO!!!
I thought it was a great blog and would echo your sentiments exactly — though I seldom wear dresses of any kind except to church on special occasions. I loved what you said about hair. I’ve always been one to just wear what feels good and keep my hair cut simple. Ii guess I’m not out to impress anyone these days. Even Drollery!!! LOL I’m a jeans and t-shirt girl.
Hi Catherine. Yeah. I’m a fan of dresses in hot weather because I’m too lazy to actually bother to put a look together when it’s humid and gummy outside! I call it “one-stop” dressing! Hey–keep rocking those jeans and tees! XOXOXOXO!!!
I can’t believe that guy responded to you! Do you know him?
Hi Catherine. No. I don’t know Mr. Cohen at all. But I wish I could spend a nice long lunch with him to converse about the entire Advanced Style project/movement/cult. Seriously. I think it’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious that he’s brought notice to a group of women that is all but ignored by beauty/fashion industries AND corporate America (or add country here). We need to be noticed. We need to be hired. But I sincerely wish he would touch upon the women who chose not to be so flamboyant.
Working in Retail Hell, I see tons of women of all ages. And I see a large amount of older women. Some of the women look ridiculous IRL with their overly-Botoxed faces (I have since changed my mind on wanting it) as though trying too hard to recapture youth. Yet, so many of these older women are elegant in the most simplistic way. I mean it. They are normal women who look great in jeans and a simple shirt. They are perfectly coifed. They may wear just a hint of lipstick. They are older and beautiful but not “out there”. It’s weird. I get the feeling he just didn’t like what I had to say. But it’s cool. We all have our differences and we can come here anytime to voice them because we do that so well! XOXOXOXO!!!
What a great blog plus the replies – and 2 from Ari Seth Cohen – wow! OK, first, your hair is looking really good and it so suits you – it is your style. An observation from a Brit. It appears that women in America do tend from what I see in the media to have longer hair than us Brits. Hair is worn long as a young woman here but as we get older in the UK the pattern is (and more so than the States) to have it short. But not ultra short. It’s a sharp often, near collar length, bob with fringe that is the go-to style here. I so wanted a slightly different look to the ubiquitous fringe that I got rid of mine to reveal my full face – don’t hide away, I say. And I note those two mature women you feature with their grey hair are Brits. And as far as I’m concerned they look great because they have gamine faces. But that short white haired look is not for everyone. Actually I’ll be writing about this soon, I’ve lightened my hair by a shade and have gone very blond at the front – it’s nearly white there, but not everywhere as my wonderful hairdresser puts in warmer highlights elsewhere – he’s a great colourist.
And as for Advanced Style – I’ll be writing about this shortly. I very much admire Ari Seth Cohen’s stance on ageism but I kind of agree with you that it’s a difficult look to pull off based on a very artistic take on dressing. But be who you want to be, and wear what you want is my motto – the most important thing is to not fade away. Which you are certainly not doing and neither am I!!!!
P.S. Great news about the jury service I did wonder!!
Hi Penny! I’m really glad that this post has started a little spark of sorts. It’s great to see the different opinions–although I am a bit sad that Ari Seth isn’t crazy about my opinion–but it’s great that we are all discussing this in a civilized manner! That’s one of the great things about ageing–you CAN actually discuss like adults!
Oh the hair–it never dawned on me about Dench and Mirren being British. Mirren is one of my girl crushes anyway. She rocks the red carpet better than anyone else and she looks GREAT in a bikini! And speaking of hair–I’ve noticed that many women in France outside of Paris mostly, will cut their hair short and closely cropped and dye it burgundy. I’m wondering if that is an homage to red wine!
It’s also funny because I had fringe (bangs, here) for years. YEARS–but I like a longer one these days.
I can’t wait to read your post about Advanced Style. Cohen should be so proud of himself for the discussions and articles both favorable, in the middle, and otherwise about his project. He’s gotten a great many people to notice the older generation. Now actions need to be taken like hiring olders, and the cosmetics and fashion industries taking us seriously and not patronizing or exploiting!
Oh yeah. I was thrilled to get out of jury duty. My next effort is to get out of retail hell! XOXOXOXOXO!!!
Awesome post. 🙂
I love your style. And I love that you wear your hair long.
Thanks Strawberry! I’m glad that you are liking the post and have that positive feedback! LOL–I’m more comfy in long hair–especially since I’m so lazy! XOXOXOXO!!!
Loved what you wrote! Loved all the comments and agree with what Sherrie wrote! I love shifts, too, and I’m definitely going to lose 10 pounds so my shifts from last summer don’t hang up/pull/stretch across my butt!!! Seriously!!! My hair is way short now and looks much better on me. Also, as my surgerized foot heals, I’m re-reading my 1930s Nancy Drew books and loving every minute of it! AND, I just ordered a vintage The Borrowers! Carry on!!!
Leslie. If your hair looks great shorter, more power to you honey. It’s all about what makes us feel and look better. But–and a huge but. I cannot believe you ordered a vintage copy of The Borrowers. Beth and Joe Krush’s illustrations were an epic part of those books. Oh. Did you every read “Magic Elizabeth”? It was one of my faves and Joe Krush illustrated. I’m lemming your books!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Wow, you touched on a sore subject with me! The flamboyant look, including big hats turn me off.They’re great if you’re 80+. So what is appropriate for us? I don’t dare let my knees show since I’m told it’s a no-no for women of our age. Why do shops like Chicos assume that all “older” women look best in boxy clothes with huge prints? I’m petite and so need tailored blouses but can’t find them. I can go on and on. So I just stay with my black and navy blue and show off my toned shoulders and arms…very inappropriate!
Oh jd. Please. Don’t get me started on Chicos girlfriend! I. Am. With. You. 100% on that. Chico’s could be a great retail establishment if and only if, they would embrace the fact that all women over “a certain age” don’t appreciate boxy clothing with no shape. If Chico’s embraced fitted clothing, skinny jeans–and tight ones at that, and sweater with a SHAPE, we would all be in great shape.
And NO you are not inappropriate for showing off toned shoulders and arms. You are very appropriate! It surely is a sore subject. We have the flamboyant, we have the basic. we have the tailored and fitted but yet, the fashion industry wants us in boxy clothing and pants with that *ugh* elastic waist! I’m sooooooooooooooo glad you commented on this. Thank you so much! XOXOXOXO!!!
Oh yes, Catherine, I agree with you entirely on this post. But I’ll go a step further and risk being torn to shreds; these Advanced Style women look RIDICULOUS, and I think that they, and Ari Seth Cohen, are having the last laugh on us. I’m from Australia, own a fashion boutique, and I can assure you that if any of these ladies walked through the centre of Sydney, people would fall over themselves laughing. Saramai is an exception, her look is more toned down and wearable. Have a look at another Australian’s Instagram; Sharryn, of “The Stylish Woman”, a good example of slightly more daring, but extremely wearable fashion.
(By the way, I certainly feel I have the right to comment- I’ll be 70 this year!)
Bodie. Edging on 70 you are totally validated in any comment you want to write!!! I’m not tearing you to shreds, although I get the feeling we may be in the minority with our thoughts.
I honestly don’t think Ari Seth Cohen is having the last laugh though. I sincerely believe that the humble beginnings of Advanced Style came about because of his closeness to his grandmother (I had read that quite a few times) and his photographs of the unusual and flamboyant older women of NYC took off. But it goes deeper on that note for me. I used to live in NYC. Many of the more colorful people of all ages were artists and in the creative fields and many were financially able to afford the luxe ensembles that they wore. Trust me. I’m not dissing them nor am I writing this with any bitterness. It just is what it is–facts. Yeah–there were the thrift shoppers but you can just tell who is thrift and who isn’t.
But again, I’m rambling.
Saramai IS an exception. She is charasmatic, talented, beautiful AND yeah, her clothing is a bit out there but she puts the clothing together so well that you want to see more of her! I love her!
It’s just weird. Different is great–but different also comes from the heart and the soul and is a state of mind. I just don’t feel that putting that emphasis on dressing bombastic or is going to redefine you as an elder. We need our voice to be heard for sure. But we also need Corporate America (or Australia or Europe) and the fashion and beauty industries to take us seriously.
Sorry my reply to you is so long but I’m really torn on this movement and I’m pissed about ageism and our ageist society! XOXOXOXO!!!
I am with you totally. I’m subtle, neutral, heathered. Classic with a boho twist. T-shirts, chambray, & well worn jeans for me, & preferably barefoot. My gray hair will never be colored, because I’m lazy, cheap, & I love my grays – I earned them. Katharine Hepburn & Lauren Hutton are my style icons. I enjoy the Advanced Style posts, but I’m not that dramatic. And that’s fine. My style fits perfectly in the Florida woods & barrier island where I hang. Love your post – there’s room for all the Advanced STYLES. P.S. Jackie O would assume she had some new Grey Gardens relatives.
Hi Julie! Firs of all, I have to comment on your PS. Holy shit! I love Little Edie Beale. Even though she was completely out there and back, her eccentric “wardrobe” choices still managed to show some class and refinement! Did you get a chance to read what I wrote? I love that you included Jackie O assuming she had some new GG relatives! https://atypical60.com/2016/04/08/icona-am-in-love-with-little-edie-beale-and-her-fashion-style/
Anyway….I’m with you on the Lauren Hutton, Kate Hepburn style icons–we all need to be our true selves when it comes to our personal style. And I do enjoy the AS posts, but am still torn about the flamboyance. It’s all good!!! And thank you so much for your comment!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Little Edie actually lived her last years down here in my neck of the woods—South Florida. You want to see overly-Botoxed and overly-plastic-surgeried women? OMFG, this area is numero uno! I also love Lauren Hutton and Katherine Hepburn—Lauren Bacall, too. I also used to abhor elastic waists and such. However, and this is just to put things in a different perspective, I’m not being argumentative or anything, when I hit menopause just a couple of years ago, every joint in my body began aching and stiffening up. I literally became crippled by it and then began losing weight. I reached 86.5 pounds and finally received a diagnosis of Crohn’s. (I wish it was just Crone’s–haha!) Amy sickest, I could not manage to do up buttons or grasp zippers. I couldn’t even reach behind my back to undo anything or slip my arms into blouse sleeves. You take these things for granted every day until suddenly, you can no longer do them at all. I had no choice but to wear elastic waists and big, baggy shirts. Gradually, I began regaining my health, regaining the weight and the range of motion and use of my extremities. I was back to wearing stylish clothes again and then suddenly and unexpectedly, my husband of 34 years passed away last October. It’s been so difficult without him. I think, no matter what our personal style is, we can ALL agree that what is most important in this world is having your health, love and dignity. Many of those flamboyant women have battled diseases and have lost their husbands, too, (you need to read their life-stories in the books) and I applaud anything that gets them out of the house and keeps them alive and vital. We women need to support each other and lift each other UP, whether we have similar tastes or not. I am not as “out there” as some of those ladies, but they make me smile and they inspire me and give me hope as I struggle with my grief over the loss of my husband.
Oh, and one more thing—haha!—I believe that women (young and old) who are debilitated by arthritis, autoimmune conditions or other issues, deserve to have a super stylish line with elastic waists and such. Just because one is physically limited does not mean their sense of style vanishes (in some cases, the plain, unattractive clothing may be all that’s available to them because they cannot fasten buttons, zippers, etc.). I’d like to design a line of amazing clothing that is—for lack of a better term—handi-capable. “User-friendly???” I don’t know!! HAHA!!! Whichever sounds better, all of us who can get up every morning and dress ourselves without giving it a second thought should be grateful and count their blessings every day. I found that out the hard way at the age of 55. XOXOXOXO!!!! Terri Lee
Hi Terri Lee. LOL-I have crone’s! I’m glad that you have made a recovery from Crohn’s!! And you are not being argumentative! We are discussing! Please. My stomach is so disgustingly blubbery. I would love to design a line of clothing for women that has a build in spandex front built into the inside structure of the clothing to push that belly in without being like a cumbersome girdle or pair of spanx! And shhhhhhhhh. I DO have one pair of elastic waisted pants. Lilly Pulitzer used to make Travel Pants that has been since discontinued. They are as comfortable as all get out! But you’re absolutely correct. Some women who may be physically limited may have no choice–which brings me back to clothing and fashion manufacturing. WHY ARE THESE WOMEN UNNOTICED???? It sometimes surpasses ageism. The fashion industry only things of the young, the ones who can afford and the ones they want to notice!
My sincere sympathies on the loss of your husband. It sucks when we lose those we love–and when it is unexpected it is like a knife through the heart. And you’re also correct in that we all need to support each other. Who really cares how we dress or look or wear our hair. Women need to be their own supporters. Health, love and dignity ARE more important. Thanks for bringing that to light!
Oh..and if I lived in So. Fl near my little Edie, I would have been on Edie watch constantly! I would even buy her some scarves! XOXOXOXO!!!!
I just don’t get this. Aren’t you a native New Yorker? Why are people so against others that chose to look different? Such a bland sorry world we live in now. As far as what New jersey thinks, they are the least stylish people of all. Talk about Soccer mom heaven. I’d rather dress like the ‘Advanced Style’ set any day. Can we all just live at let live, please?
Hi Lynn. Yes. I am a native New Yorker. And there is absolutely nothing against others that chose to look different. I think you are misunderstanding my post completely. All I am saying, that as an over 60 year old woman, I feel that the tone of the AS movement is a bit exclusive in it’s “you must look flamboyant and costumish” Not every older woman is comfortable dressing in a flamboyant way. And it’s great that we can debate this subject in a mature manner. Different opinions do not mean disrespect. I wouldn’t say that New Jersey’s residents are the least stylish people of all. In fact, some of the women I know who are from NJ, have tremendous style. They aren’t the women you see on reality TV. As far as soccer moms go–that’s who they are. It’s their choice. If you would rather dress more the AS style, it’s your choice–go forth and wear it well and live and let all the others live too! Thanks so much for your comment and feedback. It’s great to receive challenging thoughts and gives us all food for thought! XOXOXOXO!!!
I agree with you. I mean live and let live, people should wear what they like… What do you care what other people think and all that.
I think it’s that when people talk about flair over fifty eventually the advanced style look comes up. Certain fashion bloggers of the mature set like that look, it’s so out there! So fun to talk about! Unlike the Jackie look, which is almost fifty itself.
My fashion mantra is “would Jackie wear this? ” Thank goodness not everyone thinks that, it would be very boring. But your post articulated for me what I’ve been fearing, “Do I have to dress like that to have style when I’m older?” Because to my eye a lot of those outfits look crazy. So there.
I see what Ari is saying. I saw the documentary and more power to those ladies but I think it’s setting a standard that doesn’t fit some of us.
Hi Liz! Bingo!!! You hit it! I see what Ari is saying as well and, although I’m a fan of the documentary and I do get a kick out of the photographs and the AS blog, I do think that standard is just not befitting of more than some of us. You can still be fashionable over 50,60,70.80 and upwards without being flamboyant. It’s like vegan. vs. carnivore, I suppose. We will always have these debates..and the debates are what keeps our minds thinking!! XOXOXO!!!!
Finally! Someone has the guts to mention this! I have followed Advanced Style for some time and I respect these women’s right to dress as they like, but — seriously????!!!!!! Women of a certain age REALLY have to walk the line between original and silly. Honestly, I think these women look silly. I have often wondered myself why Ari Seth Cohen did not include other examples — the Audrey’s, the Jacquelines, the Catherines. You were right on with your observations. And I am with you on shifts. A lovely way to dress — especially for the femme d’un certain age with a thick middle.
Thank You Elisabetta! Thank you. I also follow Advanced Style and am perplexed at some of the looks on the women. An Instagram photo today, in particular, had a photo where the clothing was just very much out there and one comment was “perfection”. I realize Ari Seth Cohen’s intent IS to project an attitude. However, I’m with you in the exclusion of the majority of older women who DO look classically fashionable and who stay within the perimeters of tasteful dressing. They have as much of a voice as the louder ones. It really does tear me apart–on one hand it’s great that older women are showcased. On the other hand, not every older woman needs to be showcased in costume. It’s just weirdness.
I’m also quite surprised that a couple of my more entertaining and flamboyant friends didn’t respond. My guess is that they don’t agree with me but I welcome debate of all kinds on this. This discussion has made me incredibly happy that we ARE talking!
LOL. Yeah. THIS femme certainly knows about that thick middle! XOXOXOXO!!!
With all due respect, I just don’t understand how some people can say they’ve been following Advanced Style and yet cling to the theory that ALL of the women and men featured dress in “costume”. Have you read the books at all? Chances are, the women who are showcased the most on social networks are the ones who receive the most questions or interest from followers. But, if you give the books a read or even just a “look-through”, you will discover MANY classically dressed people inside. To dismiss them all as being “silly” is to blow off many who dress in your preferred style. But, I’m guessing that most of them, by the time they’ve reached their age and with what they’ve dealt with in life, probably don’t give a hoot what any of us think. If we want to discuss ageism and start a movement to eradicate it, why are we expecting someone else to do it for us? Ari Seth Cohen is entitled to produce his own work in his own way. Instead of complaining, perhaps we should take it upon ourselves to begin fighting ageism in whatever way we would rather do it. Begin featuring older women who dress the way you want them to be dressed. There is much work to be done to change opinions and we all have to shoulder the load. Terri Lee
Hi Terri. Ari Seth Cohen definitely is entitled to produce his own work in his own way. And he does, and it’s fine. But, I don’t think anyone is being snarky. This is a debate. And yes, Ari does photograph the elegant–as he did yesterday or the day before, I believe. A beautiful older woman dressed in black. But that isn’t the norm is all.
And yes, I’ve seen the books and watch the doc more than once. I do know there are elegant women but for the most part it is the other dressers who stand out more.
Eradicating ageism begins with the cosmetics companies being transparent in their anti-aging ads. They need to start showing older women in ads–not teens and twenty-somethings. Same thing with the fashion industry. The demographics are that the older woman can afford the designer clothing more so than the youngsters. But yet, when an older woman IS used in the ad campaign it is either some bizarre form of exploitation or the use of an older celebrity.
Do not even get me started on ageism in corporate America. And nobody will “get” it until she or he is over 50 or 60 and on the hunt for a decent job. I know this.
Politics will talk about racism and bigotry against the LGBT community with nary a thought of the bigotry toward our older population.
I agree with you 100% about ageism. In fact, at 57, I myself have been trying to do what I can to fight against it. I’ve written letters to cosmetics companies, television networks, etc. explaining to them how they and the advertising companies are woefully behind in the times, using outdated and irrelevant criteria to aim at their “targeted demographics”. I also politely point out that what they are doing amounts to perpetuating a harmful and unfair stereotyping of older people. It’s like the cosmetics companies that claim to support women’s health, especially breast cancer charities, but continue to use potentially harmful parabens in their products. Parabens have been discovered inside breast tumors. I speak up about that, as well. We need to all do our part, though, and not rely on someone else doing the work for us. It’s like that saying: “If you don’t like how something is, then BE the change you want to see.” Ari Seth Cohen’s artistry—his photography—has nothing to do with the reason politicians ignore the ageism issue nor why older people in general have difficulty finding jobs. The bias against older women has been in place far longer than his pictures have existed. There is nothing wrong with AS—we are aiming our debate in the wrong direction here. The women and men who dress flamboyantly get more attention in the same way a flamingo will attract your attention more than a common mockingbird will. I believe mockingbirds are also beautiful, but I see more of them every day than I do flamingoes. (Unless I go to a special attraction down here in Florida.) Advanced Style has never proclaimed to be a cure-all to ageism, it’s only one PART of the battle. Older women being noticed, being admired and inspiring younger women (due, in large part, to AS) should be embraced. Getting younger women involved in our battle is a step in the right direction and to do that, you need to get their attention. Women being photographed wearing bright colors or over-the-top ensembles are not the reason older women can’t find decent jobs. Many of the women in the AS books are in their 80s, 90s and aren’t even in competition for jobs with “younger” older women. I’m also against the implication that the only way an older woman can be considered attractive is if she has subjected herself to injections of toxic substances and multiple plastic surgeries to wipe out as much of her “age” as possible, as if it’s something to be ashamed of. My stance against that caused me to cancel my subscription to More Magazine, a periodical geared toward older women. They’d have a page called “This Is What—insert age—Looks Like”. Uh, no. That’s what—insert age—with mucho plastic surgery looks like. The interviewer would ask what they do to stay so young-looking. Well, it was pretty obvious to me, although the women would never utter one honest word about having had surgery! It would always be “organic food and lots of water”. Yeah, right. Also, the women they’d choose would always be someone who has a gazillion dollars or was a CEO with some Fortune 500 company. Give me a break! I buy designer brands only when they’re on clearance at Nordstrom Rack. I felt so good when I wrote “CANCEL” on the renewal form. “And that’s what 57 looks like, More Magazine!” HAHA! Now THAT is what we should be complaining about and taking action against. If more women stood up and started fighting back—taking real action instead of complaining—we would be one hell of a formidable group. So, where are all these older women? What steps are they personally taking to combat TRUE ageism? XOXOXO Terri Lee
Terri Lee! Another letter writer! And I thought I was the only one!!I’ve written to magazines, cosmetics companies, ad agencies and clothing manufacturers. All go unanswered because nobody wants to believe that they are ageist. Yet, these very same people will take a stance against other kinds of “isms”. And do NOT get me started on MORE magazine. Don’t!
I stopped reading that rag over 8 years ago because of the crap that is self-righteously pontificated. I always thought the idea of a magazine geared toward the older woman was well-needed. And I thought a magazine with entertaining articles–i.e. good shit about getting old, was also sorely needed. However MORE is not that magazine. More is LESS!
It is a magazine about: the disease of the month. Women in their forties and sometimes fifties. Sixty and over is way to old for More. And you are 100 percent about the women they write about. ________________ is the founder and creator of _________________ company. She attended Princeton and Harvard for graduate school. Her husband owns the _____________winery and they split their time between their homes in the Napa Valley, New York, and Iceland. They have 2 children–both of whom are gifted and talented! _____________ maintains her great looks with a daily 5K run, plenty of water from the springs behind their home in Iceland, and eats only protein and veg to keep her body lean. Her good looks come from within. She meditates and does yoga to keep her face wrinkle free. Her favorite word is Namaste.
What MORE FAILS to tell you is that __________________ maintains her lean body by sticking her finger down her throat after every meal. Once every 8 weeks she visits her dermatologist for the latest and greatest in fillers and Botox. In five years, she will go under the knife for an eyelift and possibly a chin lift. Her husband is fooling around with the marketing coordinator and her children are entitled brats.
Yes. MORE magazine takes itself way too seriously and speaks with a condescending tone. I’m rambling! But I see your point beautifully! XOXOXOXOXOXO!!!!
Absolutely!! I’m afraid when this issue of ageism came up, it unleashed the soap box-er in me, for it’s an issue I’ve long been passionate about. I have been a letter writer since I was a child—my mother taught me that was a way to make myself heard. My late husband would always think I was wasting my time. His standard remark would be, “Do you think they really care?” All I knew is that I cared and that was what mattered. He was shocked many times when I would receive replies or even, a few times, get them to change a policy or whatever. He couldn’t believe it. But, that’s the problem, too. Instead of standing up to ageism or fighting back, so many women just accept the limitations or unrealistic standards placed on them in this warped society. You and I are fighters and letter writers, but so many other women are just going along with the program and drinking the Kool-Aid. That’s probably part of the reason Sarah Jane Adams appeals to us—she has that “My face and body are real because I’m a real woman, this is who I am and tough shit if you don’t like it.” attitude. When I see a naturally aged woman, her face retains that softness, expressiveness and character of her essence. It isn’t the tight, hard, mask of a face altered by surgeons and paralyzing chemicals, where the eyes are blinking and the mouth moves, but all else is frozen. I’d love to see a backlash against altering women’s faces and bodies. Sure, there will always be those who are terrified to be real, but I see more and more natural breasts walking around all the time and frankly, they look a hell of a lot better than the fakes. (I live in a state surrounded on three sides by beaches, so you see a lot more bathing suits! lol) The same is true of faces—if you take fairly decent care of yourself, of course.
It’s also been years for me, too, since I read a More Magazine! (I canceled it back when I was around 50.) You had me cracking up at your description of the articles. “Yes, my secret is organic yogurt made with the milk from yaks in the Himalayas!” Really? Where do you eat this yogurt? In your plastic surgeon’s office? HAHA!!!! There does need to be a realistic magazine for women our age. One magazine I enjoy reading is Mary Jane’s Farm. It may not be to everyone’s taste—-it emphasizes healthy recipes, growing your own food and DIY projects. Many of the women interviewed own their own farms or small businesses where they sell their handcrafted gifts. I find it inspiring, seeing as how it shifts the emphasis from a woman’s appearance to what they can actually accomplish when they put their minds to it. Oh, and they are not all rich nor do they all come from money. Some of them started out with hardly any money at all, freshly divorced or widowed and having to raise children on their own.
Well, we are just going to have to assemble our own Anti-Ageism Movement! We can start small and I have no doubt it will build momentum. Are you up for it? 😀 XOXOXOXO!!! Terri Lee
Hi Terri. Of course I’m up for it. I also comment on “generic” fashion sites. You know–the collaborations of “style” internet magazines telling you how to dress when the articles only showcase younger bloggers. I go batshit crazy. Ageism exists in every nuance of the media and everyday life. It is the most smug form of bigotry. It is pandering and exploitative and downright disgusting. Politicians go after the youth and minority vote but they dismiss the senior vote. Some politicians want to do away with Social Security. WTF? A group of people who have worked for years and years and decades and decades and they NEED the social security and these morons want to take it away????? Watch the news on TV. Every “ism” group will be in your face about why they matter. News reporters sympathize. But yet, the elders are all but ignored. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh…don’t get me started! XOXOXOXOXOXO!!!!
I prefer simple and classy over flashy any day because unless it’s done right, flashy looks clownish and sloppy. The Marshall’s dress looks absolutely beautiful, and like it costs much more than $30. What a great find! I agree with the hair thing too, tried short hair a while ago and it wasn’t for me, so for now it’s just below shoulder length. Have fun preparing for your trip!
Hi Margaret! I’m with you on the classy over flashy! Glad you like the dress. I’m so in love with it! LOL–I started to prepare for the trip already. Stopped at Barnes and Noble to pick up some books and journals. Can’t wait!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Fabulous post, Catherine! I loved so much about this. I love that you bought a bikini and want to see a pic. I love your shift dresses. I also am a simple styled woman and admire Jackie O. Very cool that AS creator himself left a comment, too.
Hi Lisa! Thanks so much for your positive view! It’s amazing the differences of opinions this one post brought to the neighborhood! One thing I’ve learned from this seems to be that we are split down the middle on fashions for women over a certain age!! Ahhh. Jackie O. Her style was timeless and I think she will remain an icon forever!!! XOXOXOXO!
Wow! Talk about a conversation starter. I agree with everything you said. I like a simple, classic look myself. I do believe in live and let live though. So…if one chooses to dress outlandishly to please themselves or to get attention, I will not judge.
Love your hair just the way it is 😉
Hi Joanna! Thanks for joining the conversation–and what a convo it is!! Although many of us here have that “live and let live” train of thought–it’s always a good thing to discover what differences and opinions we all have. Opinions aren’t necessarily being judgy–from either side. It’s all in good fun with an underlying message. We need to stop ageism! Glad you like the hair. Thanks so much!!! XOXOXOXOXOXO!!!
I have discovered your blogsite and I have been reading some of your stories. I am a couple of years shy of 60 but thought I would comment on aging. For most of us who may have been certain of our own sense of style while we were young and our bodies were holding against gravity, our faces accepting of any hairstyle, and lashings of makeup totally acceptable. I had friends who couldn’t give a hoot about any of the above and other friends that like me, felt great if we looked great ( well we thought we did ). Although I could never walk out my front door dressed like the ladies in your story, I can’t help but think that aging has been easy for them. In their minds and clearly their eyes they still look fabulous and can afford to. The old adage of growing old gracefully has no definition nowadays, it is the person looking in the mirror that defines how they choose to grow old, not the observer. In a way I envy these women and they intrigue me, but I have become much like my friends that never and still don’t give a hoot, with the exception, I think great hair no matter the style ( as long as it is styled ) is a must for me anyway , I honestly think less is best with makeup
( lippy is a must once again for me ), but here’s the part I struggle with and that is fashion. My body is giving way to gravity and Warm Muffins and fresh whipped cream and my budget has plummeted, I don’t do a shift as fabulous as you do Catherine, ( you look amazing ). The mere thought of slipping on the bikini for me is mortifying, so I’m starting to think I might grow old disgracefully. Dash this growing old stuff, it sneaks up on you so damn fast…well Catherine perhaps a clown suit, purple and pink hair, white round framed glasses and a handbag almost bigger than me might put me back in vogue…I will follow your stories, it’s fun and I am enjoying reading your blogs
Warmest Regards from
Annie in Australia 🌞 🌴 🌊
Hi Annie. Thank you so much for such a thoughtful comment. Like you, I also had friends who really didn’t care much about how they looked. That’s not me. Perhaps it’s because of my crossed eyes but I’ve always been a bit self-aware of my looks. But you brought up a great point. The women of AS ARE intriguing and fascinating. And I also think that many of them did have the affordability that many of us do not. But–they’ve made people notice older women. We still have a long way to go!
As far as hair goes. YES! As long as you have a great haircut and style, life and looks are good!, I agree wholeheartedly.
Now. I do a shift, but I got a lot of junk in my middle and my ass. I just don’t care what others think when it comes to that. Those are the clothes that make me comfy! Also, I can’t wear a one-piece bathing suit because I’m so long-waisted that I would be walking around with a permanent wedgie! I’m dressing for comfort but in a fashionable way.
Seriously Annie. Thank you. Thank you so much from me for enjoying my writings. And I welcome you to the community with open arms! XOXOXOXO!!!
I enjoy reading your articles and your photo’s are a variety for ages. I am 49 but I don’t feel or look it. The fashion trends shift back and forth as I have noticed, and yes, I wear leggings. My 22 year old daughter says I look good. Thanks for coming by my blog….Jackie Happy Memorial Day weekend today is 5/28/2016 from Grayslake IL.
Hi Jackie! Thank you for your positive comment! Fashion trends do shift back and forth and hey, I wear leggings too! We need to let go of age when it comes to fashionable attire and go with what works for us! Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! XOXOXOXO!
I have to agree with you that “Advanced Style” has degenerated into the clowns have come to town. While I love the use of color in fabric and accessories (even hair sometimes), some of these women look like clowns. There, I said it.
It’s a slippery slope, it is. Because we should all be able to dress the way we want, but shouldn’t be exclusive about it! It’s all in the tone (and I’m not talking the tone of the color either! )!!! And you said what you mean and I love that! XOXOXOXO!!!
Thank you so much Catherine. 🙂
You’re welks!!! XOXOXOXO!
Well, this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. While I understand the pain of feeling excluded amongst the “cool kids” I feel the real point is being missed. Acceptance of each other, no matter the style, religion, age is the real issue. Learning to appreciate our differences is where happiness and joy lives. If we all dressed the same wouldn’t life be boring?
I have met a few of the women in Ari’s book in person and had have had dinner with them, many of them are not wealthy, at all. Many of them are struggling daily. Their passion is their clothing and they often create what they are wearing.
Showing off the extreme versions of creativity and artistic dressing as we age is simply a means of ensuring that you aren’t overlooked in this ageist society.
While I may not dress quite as flamboyantly, I don’t dress like your average 50 year old. To each his own.
Hi Suzanne! Bisous to you too. I like what you have to say. Besides clothing, I want to be noticed in our ageist society for the skills that I have and what I can contribute. Oh…don’t even get me started on how ageist our society is. It is a thorn in my side!!! XOOXOXOXOXO!!!
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At my last job, I worked with a gal over 60 who was very into clothing and clearly put a lot of thought and effort into her personal style. She stuck with mostly neutrals, plus a few pale colors. But her outfits had a ton of interest because she was a master at layering interesting patterns and textures. Not to mention jewelry–she could wear 2-3 contrasting necklaces plus several rings and bracelets and still look chic and pulled together. (If I did that, I’d look like a little kid playing dress up.)
This gal would look ridiculous, in the “advanced style” ensembles because they don’t suit her figure or personality. The thing that this gal had on every day, regardless of whether she was wearing her fanciest outfit or her simplest Friday Casual ensemble? Confidence. She loved dressing and had found a style that worked for her. And it showed.
Wear clothes that you love, that fit you, and that you feel confident wearing. THAT is advanced style.
Hi Courtney! Thanks so much for your comment. It was nice to return from France to comments such as this! I think I would have been good friends with your co-worker! And I love your thoughts on what advanced style is! XOXOXO
Hi Cathe, I enjoy reading your blog, I agree with you on almost everything. But I feel that what counts most for anyone, no matter what their age, is good grooming, having a positive attitude, a sense of humor, keeping our minds and bodies active and having compassion and doing for others. For me, I prefer jeans and Tshirts, sweaters, flip flops and sneakers and ballet flats. A good haircut is important-my hair is gray-I’m 67, I retired at 63 from working as a nurse in a nonprofit setting. A good moisturizer, mascara, and lipgloss do it for me. I express my individuality with perfume. I wear it for me, I have different perfumes for different moods and occasions ( even for purposes like cheering myself up). I often get compliments from others on my scent of the day. To me, my scent is as important as my visual appearance.
The older I get, I am becoming less judging of others’ physical appearance.