My style icon launch!

The time has come for me to launch my new identity as a style icon.

This decision seems inevitable after a wave of articles in the past few weeks about how women of a certain age are finding a place in the fashion world.   First, this headline in the Wall Street Journal  declared that “Older Women Ruled New York Fashion Week,” with "modeling’s silver wave” (that is, women between 40 and 70) prominently featured in several shows.   

The article featured photos of very elegant, astonishingly thin older women rocking looks in bold colors of red, white and black.   

The next day the Journal ran this article about how the world of fashion is waking up to the existence of women over 50 (the fashion industry having realized, presumably, that once our kids’ orthodontia and summer camp are behind us, some older women have disposable income).   The article featured a series of fabulous photos of gorgeous 65-year-old model Jocelyne Beaudoin, with killer red lipstick, sporting in a series of magnificent outfits in… red, white and black.   

And then, a few days ago, the New York Times ran this piece about 70-year-old fashion icon Lyn Slater,   formidable and fabulous in a series of outfits in – you guessed it – red, white and black.

Could my path to style icon-hood be more obvious?  Consider:

  • I am over 50
  • I have a long and well-documented affinity for red, white and black clothing.  (If you missed them – and almost everyone did – check out these music videos from my Closet Songs series:  Red Dress, White Shirt, Black Pants.)

To be fair:   I am ambivalent about white.   It’s definitely a big color for the older fashionista.  Writes Fashion Icon Lyn Slater:  “White shirts are like the white, blank pages in a diary, full of potential and ready to re-conceive themselves and become something they never were before.”   Blank pages in a diary:   exactly!  In my case, ready to record what I have for lunch.  

About red, however, I have no doubts.   As a Winter (remember that?) I have always loved wearing red.  Culturally, it’s an important color for older women.   Look at 74-year-old Miucci Prada on the cover of this month’s Vogue: 

 You may have encountered the Red Hat Society, a network of women of a certain age embracing a common quest to “get the most out of life.”   Who can imagine the fabulous Isabella Rosselini at any age without her bold red lipstick?  Red is the color embraced by women of a certain age when we want to celebrate our power and agency.

Of course, there have been others who have embraced the color red as a symbol of power and agency. Chairman Mao, the Kremlin, and the Third Reich all come to mind.

But I digress.

There may be reasons why I should not, at this point, make the style icon leap.  For one thing, I am not really buying new clothes at the moment, since I have decided to spend all my money replacing my kitchen cabinets.  For another – and some might say this is more to the point – I don’t really have a sense of style.

Let me qualify that.  I definitely lack “style” where style is an abstract noun meaning “fashionable elegance” (definition 3.b. in the Meriam Webster Dictionary).  However, I do have a sense of “style” in the sense of Meriam's definition 1.a, “a particular manner or technique by which something is done.”    Because I do, in fact, have a very specific technique that I use for dressing myself, and it is this:

Find something comfortable, and then get it in a lot of colors.   

Mac jeans, available from that store on Newbury Street I really likeGarnet Hill long-sleeve Essential Tees

The corollary is that you then need to pretty much wear the same thing every day.   My winter style consists of jeans, a long-sleeve t-shirt, and a cardigan.   

Jeans by Mac.   T-shirt by Garnet Hill.   Cardigan from one of those sustainable cashmere places.

Jeans by Mac.  Tee shirt by Garnet Hill.   Sweater from Nordstrom's Rack, circa 2016.

Jeans by Mac.  Tee shirt by Garnet Hill.   Can't begin to remember where I got the sweater.

Look at that super-red lipstick, purchased specially for my new fashion icon identity!   I'm on my way, no?

So please stay tuned for more fashion advice that you will do well to ignore; I have at least three posts in me before I get bored and move onto something else.  

Miucci Prada made it onto the cover of Vogue at 74.   That means I only have 15 years to jockey for that cover photo, so I’d better get cracking on establishing my fashion icon credentials.   I am also working on inheriting a luxury brand that I can reposition into a global fashion powerhouse.   I'll let you know how that goes.