|Photo by Martha Camarillo taken in the 70's|
Iris Apfel is a 91 year old New Yorker and long time interior designer. Her wardrobe is so eccentric, flamboyant and memorable that parts of it have been displayed at the Metropolitan Museum. During recent years, I have been impressed by interviews with this very vibrant and intelligent woman. I am also awed by her daring style. She has become so well known in her later life that she refers to herself as a "geriatric starlet." Her best fashion hint for anyone is to "accessorize". She clearly doesn't believe that "less is more", but rather, the bigger, bolder and brighter, the better.
I suppose what appeals to me most about Iris is her zest for life. I'm reminded of a quote by Loretta Laroche, "life is short, wear your party pants." Iris always seems to wear her party pants. She lives life more fully than some people half her age.
"In The Gloss", January 2012, quoted Iris as saying, "Getting older ain’t for sissies...You have to push yourself when you’re older, because it’s very easy to fall into the trap....I think doing things and being active is very important. When your mind is busy, you don’t hurt so much."
Words to live by.
So now, Iris is "pushing herself" with lines of cosmetics and eyeglasses, by lecturing at a university and by selling jewellery on a home shopping channel. Way to go Iris!
Some time after retirement, I disposed of my thematic shirts, socks and jewellery. The style I once had could best be described as "early primary teacher" and was now no longer appropriate. Gone are the penguin socks, the scarecrow shirt, the carrot earrings, the duck necklace....well, maybe not the duck necklace. I noticed that my former fun and playful clothing items were being replaced by somewhat dismall looking dark and dreary clothing. Short of running out to the dollar store, buying a red boa and tossing it over whatever I wore, (something on my bucket "to do" list), I began to consider. How could I become more trendy, if not vivid? How could I better present myself in a way that matched what's inside my head?
I looked around at some young people in the hopes of finding direction. The droopy drawer pants style wasn't for me. Neither was I interested in becoming ***" The Illustrated Man" or in this case, woman, despite the overabundance of local tattoo parlors. Spikey moussed blue hair was a possibility, but why push it? It'll be that colour soon enough. Piercings? I have some those and I'm not good with unnecessary pain. Besides, these are fads which masses of people follow, all the while claiming that they are trying to express their individuality. As Iris says, "If you don't dress like everyone else, you don't have to think like everyone else."
Finally, I made a decision. I will make over my wardrobe one piece at a time. I will adopt the Iris Apfel "rules"...do not go sleeveless when you're older, mix, match or mismatch everything, add texture. Cheap clothes are just fine BUT you MUST accessorize!
Thanks Iris. I believe I have found a new me. What do you think?
|Hilde Von Apfelkroft|
***a book by science fiction author Ray Bradbury, penned sometime around my birth year