I have often heard older people say that they have given up on style. They weren’t talking about designer wear or mini-skirts. Their need to express themselves had simply vanished for various reasons (worried about the opinions of others, becoming a parent, their jobs). A few years ago I had a rather in-depth discussion with a group of elderly ladies. We discussed clothing and nearly all of them said that dressing up wasn’t something they did anymore but they secretly wished they could wear some of the clothes they saw young people wear. So, although they say they feel comfortable in their skin there is an element of a little girl in there, dying to open that dressing up box.
I came across the blog Advanced Style a long time ago and was absolutely astonished at how unique and beautiful these people were. They were walking pieces of art. They were mixing and matching fabrics with textures and metals and paper and anything they could find in order to create a style that was extremely unique to them. It is abolishing the opinion that once you hit a certain age then it is tweed and slacks for you. The more I delve into this world the more I think that for some people; style comes with age.
The owner of Advanced Style is Ari Seth Cohen, as per the site he dedicates his time “to capturing the sartorial savvy of the senior set.” He says, “I feature people who live full creative lives. They live life to the fullest, age gracefully and continue to grow and challenge themselves.”
It was a bit of a joke to us students in school because we always saw older people in tweed and pop socks. Even today all those years on, some older people are still wearing the same. Is it a generational thing? Do they feel they have to dress down in their twilight years? Advanced Style points to a big fat no. I understand that people evolve into what they want to be and if that is slouchy trousers and a pair of trainers then that is fine but I know deep down, there are few people that want to let themselves go, release their true selves and become a walking piece of art. There is also the case of people dressing to attract lovers and when they get older and have been married for years, they feel they don’t need to do that anymore. Wrong. We always need to dress for ourselves, be ourselves and if that means wearing an emerald green gown to the supermarket then so be it. The key is wearing what fits you and what suits you. Oh and please ignore that horrid question: am I too old for this? The key to all this is creativity. You are creating yourself every day, you are dressing up to go out every morning. You are living life to the fullest. Not to sound cheesy but: the world is your stage.
I believe, deep down we all have a secret little self that wants to be brave and come out. It wants to dress you in Tibetan bangles, dye your hair purple, pierce your nose or wrap you in a multicoloured Pashmina. Let it out of yourself, don’t hold anything in, this life is too short to live by rules or most importantly other peoples opinions. Care less, live more.
Oh…and dress exquisitely.
All photographs belong to: Ari Seth Cohen