Old Guard, New Icons
For seemingly as long as any of us can remember, we’ve been taught to combat age (“defy it!”), not celebrate it. It’s a curious phenomenon is a world where everyone — read that again, please: everyone — can only get older. It’s also a proposition that’s a little insane: akin to asking someone to hold their breath indefinitely. The mind boggles at how much unhappiness, misery even, this simple idea — of feeling somehow shamed between the ages of 18 and 99 (roughly 80% of our lives) — has created. But good news is here: we may all soon be able to breathe a sigh of collective relief.
The mind boggles at how much unhappiness the idea of perpetual youth has created.
Along with a host of other aged-and-proud fashionistas, a new wave of style influencers has attracted the spotlight in the last decade. One scroll through Instagram’s fashion and beauty feed or a single glance at the beauty bloggers or vloggers is enough to understand the amount of young, pretty faces saturating the fashion world.
There seems to be a uniform “look” dominating our computer and phone screens: porcelain skin, flawless makeup, and unbelievable bodies. It is the age of Kardashian-esqe perfection; one look at Kendall Jenner and the age-old mantra of accepting one’s age as it is doesn’t seem to suffice. Of course, there are exceptions to this formula for online fame; but it still seems to be the overarching attitude.
There seems to be a uniform “look” dominating our computer and phone screens.
Among these exceptions are some fabulous femmes over forty. After Iris Apfel’s successful documentary, Iris, aired on Netflix, her popularity soared, even gaining her an exposition in Le Bon Marché in Paris. In her documentary, she stresses again and again her love for originality and eccentricity, turning from the uniformity of many new-age fashion influencers.
After Iris Apfel’s successful documentary, Iris, aired on Netflix, her popularity soared.
In fact, she rejects the obsession with beautiful things, on account of their transience, saying: “I never felt pretty; I don’t feel pretty now. I am not a pretty person. I don’t like pretty, so I don’t feel bad. And I think it worked out well because I found that for instance all the girls that I know, pretty girls, that got by on their looks — as time passed by and they faded, they had nothing.”
Of course, no one should be shamed for their natural-born beauty; quite the contrary! What Iris is getting at, and what many others have been getting at, is that there is a lack of appreciation for creatives with something to offer beyond a fresh and profitable ten years of youth.
Also on Netflix — and perhaps the harbinger of a new trend of such films — Advanced Style reflects on the carefree wisdom of older fashionistas. Far from caring about the masses and their collective opinion, these women seem to have mastered how to live stylishly and happily. In fact, they’ve compiled them on a convenient blog.
Advanced Style reflects on the carefree wisdom of older fashionistas.
Meanwhile, Lyn Slater — the Accidental Icon — runs an Instagram account, a Facebook page, a Twitter, a Tumblr — you name it — just as well, if not better, than the millennials who dominate the platforms. With a crisp, classic, and absolutely enviable style, her blog features well-written and introspective posts paired with, frankly, iconic photos in muted urban environments.
Lyn Slater — the Accidental Icon — runs an Instagram account, a Facebook page, a Twitter, a Tumblr
Certainly, older women are beginning to shake the fashion world, but their male counterparts would be remiss if they were left behind. Enter Giampaolo Alliata, Italian Instagram personality. With a considerable following, Alliata shares his clean-cut taste in photos that feature a refreshing smile more often than not.
Frank Muytjens, head of menswear design at J. Crew, records a more relaxed look on his Instagram feed, along with the contents of his home, environment, and even his cheery pup. He is the city slicker with a sense of style, without the aftertaste of gentrification.
As much as we all hate to admit it, our parents are usually right. The same goes for the older generation of fashion: they’re usually right. Sure, the younger generation brings new ideas, concepts, and attitudes to the fashion industry, but it hardly means that older stylists should be excluded from the dialogue.
Welcome to the New World Order.
With any luck, it’ll soon be a nicer, safer place for all of us.