Friday 5 April 2013

Age is just a number

Last weekend The Guardian published their 50 best dressed over 50 list and as Jess Cartner-Morley comments: "It's more interesting than your average best-dressed list, because style over 50 has a depth of character with which no youngster can compete, however good she may look in hotpants". Hear, hear.

With the world at large, and particularly the fashion world, obsessed with youth and hanging on to it, it is refreshing to celebrate people who are often erroneously considered 'past it', and whilst I'm not so sure that beauty does fade as Jess suggests, style certainly becomes more important. There's a real smorgasbord of style amongst the 50 over 50 - here are my favourite ladies from the list, in no particular order:
Photo: Ari Seth Cohen

Iris Apfel, 91: One of Ari Seth Cohen's Advanced Style favourites, Apfel recently said: "No amount of money can buy you style. If someone says, ‘Buy this – you’ll be stylish’, you won’t be stylish because you won’t be you. You have to learn who you are first and that’s painful… I don’t try to intellectualise about it because it tightens you up. I think you have to be loose as a goose.” I love that. Being Iris means owl-sized glasses, necklaces, bangles and bright colours that all add up to "Manhattan's coolest and oldest it-girl" - proof that age really is just a number.

Photo: Linda Nylind

Lucinda Chambers, 53: The fashion director of UK Vogue has that unique British ability to mix and match prints and fabrics and always look totally individual and true to herself. Her Vogue photoshoots are an extension of her style and self expression. Sheer class.

Photo: Sofia Sanchez & Mauro Mongiello

Charlotte Rampling, 67:  Here is a woman who holds no truck with ageing or with fashion and yet commands complete authority through the power of her image. She is the very epitome of the stylish and supremely sexy older woman. I am in complete awe of her.

Photo: Marco Grob for Time

Julianne Moore: 52: Moore keeps things simple and real. Hers is an unadorned beauty, and when she does glam up for an awards ceremony she usually blows away the competition. Definitely one of my major role models for ageing gracefully.

Photo: Rex

Mary Berry, 78: Homely and glamorous en même temps, Berry has become a national treasure thanks to "The Great British Bake Off" and something of a style icon with her colourful scarves, jackets, and perfectly coiffed hair. I would adopt her as my second Mum in an instant. This blue evening dress is a triumph and she knocks spots off many women half her age - way to go Mary.

Photo: Billy Farrell Agency/Rex Features

Tilda Swinton, 52:  Ah, Tilda, be still my beating heart. Here is a woman to confuse, subvert, upend and flount every fashion diktat you thought you knew, and still be breathtakingly stunning. She pushes the boundaries with her fashion choices, does androgyny like no-one else (but can also be amazingly feminine) and dances to her own tune in all aspects of her life. Respect.

Photo: Ben Quinton for The Guardian

Kirsty Wark, 58: One of the mainstays of BBC2's Newsnight for the past 20 years, Wark knows her Marni from her Dries van Noten and firmly believes that feminists can and should care about fashion. Here she is totally rocking this season's taffeta Dior skirt and top - a woman supremely confident with how she looks and how she is perceived. Brains and beauty, a winning combination.

Photo: Suki Dhanda

Kristin Scott Thomas, 52: The English think she is French, the French think she is English. Forever in our psyche as the haute English aristocrat, in real life she is more the classic, cool (albeit adopted) Parisienne, all trench coats and white shirts with a cool reserve, and that je ne sais quoi that just makes her all the more interesting. Femme fatale and English rose all rolled into one.

Photo: Getty

Diana Athill, 91: The last word has to go to the wonderful Athill who told The Guardian three years ago: “However old one is, one still feels inside like the person one used to be. It’s a foolish mistake to try too hard to look like that person, but it would be a bit sad to look very much like something else.”

That pretty much sums up perfectly how I would like to carry on ageing into my 50's and beyond.  Whilst you cannot keep your youth (and let's face it I don't want to revisit the 80's again, truly I don't), you can still be true to yourself at any age and all of the above women are setting a fine example of doing just that. Ladies, I salute you.

No comments: