I’m amused by the many people on my Twitter timeline who think that old age begins at 30. That doesn’t surprise me; I felt the same way. (Now 30 is the good old days to me. Oh, if only I knew then what I know now, etc.) It’s human nature. In 1827, the almost-49-year-old English writer William Hazlitt pondered this in an essay titled, “On the Feeling of Immortality in Youth.” He wrote:
“We look round in a new world, full of life and motion, and ceaseless progress, and feel in ourselves all the vigor and spirit to keep pace with it, and do not foresee from any present signs how we shall be left behind in the race, decline into old age, and drop into the grave.”
I expect all of the young tweeps will feel differently about 30 once they celebrate that birthday, if they’re lucky enough to reach that milestone. Not everyone does. Dying before you get old sounds sexy in songs like Blondie’s “Die Young Stay Pretty” and The Who’s “My Generation” …
… but it’s not so hot in real life. As the proverb says, “Old age though despised, is coveted by all.”
I had a genuine laugh-out-loud moment while reading a blog that posted about my WENDYB by Wendy Brandes diffusion line. One commenter declared there could be no customers for my swear rings and similar pieces because they’re too expensive for teenagers, but inappropriate for, say, a 35-year-old woman. (I’m paraphrasing.)
I hate to say someone is wrong (no, I don’t), but most of my customers for this line have been 30 and older. In fact, I just shipped an IDGAF necklace to a badass 51-year-old.
Now I have a new potential customer thanks to Ari Seth Cohen, who blogs at Advanced Style. Ari’s blog focuses on mature fashionistas. The “About” paragraph on his blog says:
“I roam the streets of New York looking for the most stylish and creative older folks. Respect your elders and let these ladies and gents teach you a thing or two about living life to the fullest. Advanced Style offers proof from the wise and silver-haired set that personal style advances with age.”
Yesterday, Ari tweeted, “Finish this sentence- You are never too old to______” I clicked on the link in the tweet and immediately fell in love with Carol Olten.
Oh, do you have opinions about “age appropriate” fashion? Well, Carol has zero fucks to give you. The lipstick! The t-shirt! THE HOLOGRAPHIC JESUS GLASSES! So fabulous. All she’s missing is one of my new STFU necklaces, so any haters she encounters know they should keep their lips zipped.
I’m more inspired by Carol’s photo than by anything else I’ve seen in the fashion world for ages, no pun intended. Carol makes me feel like getting out of my uniform of jeans and a black t-shirt. If I’m dressed a little crazier next time you bump into me, all the credit goes to Carol. And you probably will literally bump into me, because I’ll be weaving all over the sidewalk due to my impractical but mind-blowing holographic sunglasses. Get out of my way, bitches! Fashion comes first.
UPDATED TO ADD: The world of IDGAF fashion lost a great one today: Italian Vogue contributor (and one of my personal Wear What You Want icons) Anna Piaggi died in Milan at the age of 81.
You can see some of her earlier looks in a Style.com slideshow here. There are two photos of her with her friend Karl Lagerfeld.
In 1994, legendary New York Times style photographer Bill Cunningham called Piaggi “one in ten million.” Cunningham quoted Lagerfeld as saying, “She dresses the way one plays a role. She’s a great performer, but she is also the author of the play.” In 2006, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum drew from her extensive clothing collection for an exhibit called Fashion-ology.
If you want to see more photos, Miista.com has a lot of good ones here. Note to the folks who frequently find my blog by searching for variations on “what age should women stop wearing red lipstick”: Piaggi never stopped. Red lipstick forever!