Next month we will begin our Heroines Quilt project again, celebrating our childhood heroines. These are the ladies who inspired us when we were girls, but I don’t believe there is ever an age limit on having a role model. We continue to grow and change throughout our lives and I think these ladies are fast becoming my old age inspiration.
Advanced Style is a blog run by Ari Seth Cohen documenting “the most stylish and creative older folks” that he meets. The emphasis of the blog is on style – check out this post on 80 year old Rita’s amazingly OTT sunglasses collection! – but just because this is ostensibly a fashion blog, that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed as frivolous. Reading about these ladies has been inspiring to me. Many of them have led amazing lives, travelling all over the world, working as activists and pioneers. Zelda Kaplan (who sadly passed away on 15th February this year) once told Cohen, "If you look well, then you heighten the atmosphere of a place, but remember to always be yourself. You can't turn marble into silk." I think that’s advice that has merit in many aspects of life, not just fashion!
In Western society, age is something that has been treated as something to be feared and fought at every turn. Women in particular are under enormous pressure to hide the signs of aging with creams and make up and even more drastically with surgery. The ladies featured in Advanced Style wear their age proudly; none of them attempt to hide their wrinkles but that doesn’t mean that they feel or act "old." Watching them talk about their style, I’m reminded of the sense of playfulness that little girls have when they play dress up. The difference here is that when little girls dress up, they are pretending to be someone else; when these ladies dress up, it is to better express who they are themselves.
I would love to see more role models like these: ladies who have life experience, who aren’t afraid to be individuals and who aren’t afraid of aging! Who is your "old-age-spiration?"
Girl Museum Inc.