Your Community

Fashion-savvy seniors flaunt 'Advanced Style'

Categories: Community, World

Image courtesy Advanced Style by Ari Seth Cohen, published by powerHouse Books 

Street style photographers are known for documenting the extraordinary fashion sense of ordinary people, but many focus on dapper young men and women with nary a wrinkle or silver hair. 

Ari Seth Cohen, a 31-year-old photographer in New York City, bucks that trend. He is more interested in fashionistas who are old enough to be his grandparents, and his popular blog, book, and forthcoming documentary all pay homage to the "Advanced Style" of  "stylish and creative older folks." 

The women he has interviewed in collaboration with Lina Plioplyte are memorable characters who explain their pomp and pageantry without apology. 

"I am dressed up for the theatre of my life," says one. 
"I don't want to go around like a dreary old lady," says another. 
"Young women, you're going to be an old woman someday. Don't worry about it," chimes in a third. 

The women interviewed emphasize colour, character, and the freedom that comes with dressing according to one's own moods and preferences without worrying about what others think about them. 

They advise others not to be scared of standing out, of breaking rules, and of expressing a bold individuality. 

In a recent reflection on Cohen's work for the New York Times, Mireille Silcoff describes the young man as "one of New York City's more unlikely tastemakers." 

'This is how I want to be when I get old'

Silcoff also argues that the interest and enthusiasm over Advanced Style is not being fueled by aging boomers, as one might expect, but rather their thrift-store-loving children. 

 (Ari Seth Cohen/powerHouse Books) "Scratch the surface of youth culture, and a kind of Eldertopia is revealed, a pro-aged paradise lovingly promoted by people who are themselves not even close to middle-aged," she writes, going on to describe a digital universe dotted with Bubby glasses and granddad cardigans. 

The ubiquitous caption below countless "Cool Old People" and "Geezer Chic" posts, she notes, is some version of "This is how I want to be when I get old." 

"The twilight years thus appeal as a time when a kind of paradoxical freedom can be located, a time thought to be beyond the petty concerns of hotness and coolness, where you can finally, truly, really be yourself," writes Silcoff.

Similarly, in a recent post for BBC News Magazine, Tamsin Smith explores pro-aging experimentation in a youth-obsessed culture. Cohen is one among many who are exalting older people, especially women, who are aging gracefully amid the constant onslaught of anti-wrinkle cream ads and belly-aching about getting old. 

In the introduction to Cohen's his blog, which he first launched in 2008, the photographer states that elders can teach younger people "a thing or two about living life to the fullest," and prove that personal style can not only continue but also evolve with age. 

Are you an older person with a highly developed sense of style, or do you know one? 

If you have not yet reached your golden years, can you imagine them as a time of increased creativity and daring? Why or why not?

Tags: Community, World

Comments are closed.