Monday, April 4, 2011

When I Grow Up

Personal style evolves outside of the trends Vogue deems fashionable at the moment, or beyond H&M's newest displays. The best fashion acts as a commentary on the times, a moveable artform that represents a reaction. It's unfortunate that so much of fashion (and the fashion economy) is driven by the 'necessity' of now—the latest cut, the trendiest colours, the newest shape—which I guess can be taken as a reaction to feel connected to something larger.

I find those with their own distinct style, honed from years of experimentation, the most exciting additions to style conversations. People that cultivate a look outside of the norm seem so brave to me, especially when it's paired with a sense of ease and openness. It's not necessarily about attracting attention, but it's about how a perspective can change the way you interact with the world. And that makes people with unique style, especially style that falls outside of what's expected, so inspiring.

In browsing through Advanced Style, a blog dedicated to stylish elders, I came across artist Victoria MacKenzie-Childs. While her technicolor hair is certainly eye-catching, what really draws me to her is her sunny disposition and warm interview—doesn't she just seem so kind?

I found it so interesting when she talks about first dying it, and how happy her colourful hair made everyone around her. Her response was, "This is my job now." I love the idea of sticking with a style based on enjoying what it provokes out of others. Her look encourages a sense of play, of lightness, and interaction. Her look encourages conversation, and challenges ideas of what hair should look like, and especially ideas of what old people should look like.

Maybe she was always so sweet, or maybe it's been years of delighted reactions to her hair that have made her such a confident and charming woman. When I grow up, I want to be brave and bold in my sartorial choices too. And I especially want to have laugh lines like hers, that run so deep and leave no spot unmoved when she smiles, lines that speak of a life well lived.

For more on stylish older women, watch this wonderful little video from Nowness, produced by Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style and filmmaker Lina Plioplyte, featuring stylish older women discussing style. Fearlessness! Let's embrace it girls, until we all become glamorous old dames like this crew.

Advanced Style: Age and Beauty on

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