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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

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.)

Swear rings in sterling silver. Click to purchase.

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.

“I Don’t Give a Fuck” necklace in sterling silver. Click to purchase.

And here’s how my hashtag ring looks on gorgeous 69-year-old blogger Judith of Style Crone.

Click for Judith’s original post.

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.

Photo by Ari Seth Cohen. Click to see Carol’s whole outfit.

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.

Sneak peek! They’re not on the website yet. Email me if you want to purchase.

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.

Photo of Anna Piaggi from the Daily Beast. Click for source.

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.

Piaggi in the 1970s. Photo from Style.com. Click for source.

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!

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24 Responses to “With Age Comes Wisdom … and IDGAF Style”

  1. jesse.anne.o says:

    Zero fucks, indeed.

    I’ve just racked up 38 years and I know that sounded old when I was 16 but even if I’m seeing mini-jowls, surprisingly I’m just wistful about looking like Jagger.

    The idea that I have a tattoo older than 50% of the bloggers I read…

    Also that skull ring in your header is slaying me. It’s hands-down (har har) my favorite piece of yours but it is also (and rightly so!) one of the more expensive ones. I admire from afar.

  2. hahaha, i am in love with this post! My favourite part : ” Well, Carol has no fucks to give you”. So true. If anything, badass jewelry looks WAY better on people with more maturity than scabby teenagers like me 😉 What a noob this guy must be.

  3. sulky kitten says:

    Hilarious post Wendy – Carol so needs that IDGAF just to complete her look! Well, maybe she doesn’t need it, but she deserves it! I will never be that adventurous with clothes, but I’m hoping my filthy language makes up for my sartorial deficiencies.

  4. Poochie says:

    As a new 40 year old I 100% support people dressing however they want. But then again I have your swear rings and I just ordered Japanese mind controlled cat ears! I’m sure some people think I’m ridiculous but they don’t have my shoe collection.

  5. Brava! Carol is spectacular and so are you for this post.

  6. Bonnie says:

    She is a total bad-ass. I love that hashtag ring. I’m a huge fan of fun, tongue-in-cheek jewelry.

  7. HelOnWheels says:

    And Carol should have zero fucks to give! She’s my new heroine! I’m over 40 and have owned your Swear Rings for almost 2 years. It cracks me up when women my age, seeing those same swear rings, say “You’re so brave. I admire that you don’t care what people think and wear what you like, regardless of how old you are.” Pppbbbttthhh!!! I wouldn’t have had the confidence or the IDGAF attitude to carry off my current sartorial choices when I was younger. Here’s to being “old”, confident, indifferent of stupid opinions, and wearing plaids with floral prints!

    • WendyB says:

      I’m the same way. I was much more conservative when I was younger. Wore a lot of practical, basic black and would have hated it if anyone stared at my clothes in public!

  8. My children and I designed a bumper sticker for their (almost 80-year-old) grandmother’s car: *I’m old; I’m gawjus; deal with it.*

    “gawjus” is written in hybrid Brooklyn/New Jersey dialect. Alas: she never used it, but she lives the sentiment daily.

  9. madeleine gallay says:

    28 bothered me. A ton. Suddenly there were people younger than me. And then it was over.

    Very sad that Anna Piaggi will be noted today for her eccentric wardrobe. She was so much more than that, perhaps singularly the most important catalyst for Italian fashion breaking its high fashion mold into pret a porter and centralizing it, promoting it in its infancy. Her clothes were often Haute Couture, rare pieces all, mixed with the ready to wear from her friends. She was muse in the same adored way as Carine Roitfeld would later become. Lacking the rather banal qualities of an Anna Della Russo who welcomes commercialism, she gave back and nurtured an industry and its population.

    Beautiful lady.


    • WendyB says:

      I do see people online fretting about feeling old at 26. Ha! If you put that much emphasis on age, it’s going to bite you in the ass pretty damn fast.

      Always love getting your perspective on the great influencers of fashion.

  10. Lara says:

    Oh gosh… I’m 33 now and feel like I’m just getting started and love the older style icons… such inspiration for not giving a F!

  11. silvergirl says:

    i am always surprised that younger people think that us “older” people should be in rocking chairs or playing bingo somewhere wearing a polyester pants suit.

    • WendyB says:

      I guess we thought the same at their age. I just enjoy the fact that they’re going to feel the same as we do in a few years 😀

  12. GTFOMWB charm bracelets are next, right? 😀

  13. stacy says:

    The necklace is fabulous, Carol is fabulous and Anna was fabulous. Very said to hear about her today 🙁

  14. Lipstick says:

    Great post! I’m about to be 38 and have no concept of it. When I’m checking prescriptions at work and I see date of birth in 1995 or so and it’s for capsules, I instinctively think, “wait this child should be getting a liquid-too young to swallow pills” and then I have to remember what year it really is. Saw I great pinterest the other day…”You still believe 1990 is ten years ago”

  15. Thank You Wendy for sharing the pictures of these lovely women. As a gerontologist (aging researcher) it always makes me so happy to see positive pictures of aging and not least older women! Your jewelry is cool too!

  16. liz says:

    When I turned 30, I threw myself a New Orleans wake- the guest wore black, started the evening with Dixieland Jazz, NO red beans and rice plus… Friends and family from up and down the Eastern Sea Board came, and we scraped guests out of the basement two days later. It was a great party- an impromptu Bach harpsichord concert upstairs, handstands in the dining room to “scientifically” prove it was possible to drink a bottle of bourbon and still perform college gymnastics routines plus Russian and Chinese friends doing vodka and grappa shots in the kitchen…etc. 44 now, I am inspired every day by my parents who make me look slow and tired (but they don’t have teenagers). Old age is a priviledge not everyone is given.

  17. The Jesus glasses — gotta love her.