GOOD

These Older Women Will Forever Change the Way You Think About Fashion

The forthcoming documentary Advanced Style spotlights a group of inspiring women who don't allow their ages to dictate their fashion choices.

A few of the filmmakers' favorite subjects

Street style is really nothing new. From Berlin to New York to Mexico City to the suburbs, regular people have long been hopping out of bed, adorning themselves in clothing that make them happy, and peacocking down the street. But modern street style culture, like its refined older sister high fashion, is yet another victim of Western culture’s obsession with youth—young women in particular.


Our male gaze-driven society has made sure to hammer home the idea that women only have value up until their first wrinkle appears. The images that bombard men and women daily carries a subtle message that aging means you should defer to earth tones, bring down the hemlines, and generally make yourself invisible.

Ari Seth Cohen, the inspired blogger behind the wildly popular Advanced Style website-tuned-book and Lina Plioplyte, director of its brand new feature-length incarnation, find that notion to be utterly ridiculous.

“The average woman is so beaten down and so indoctrinated and besieged. Everywhere she looks there are pictures of sweet young things,” 93-year-old style icon Iris Apfel, the subject of a 2005 exhibit at the Costume Institute, tells Plioplyte. “[They’re] wearing these gorgeous clothes and all this makeup and everything else. Now, how could you possibly look like that?”

There's always time to live it up in New York

Plioplyte, 30, and Cohen, 34, met at a coffee shop shortly after having both moved to New York City. She, originally from Lithuania, and he, a student from San Diego, struck up a charmed friendship that day. Cohen mentioned to the budding filmmaker that he was interested in starting a photo blog about elders with style and the journalist-turned-documentarian volunteered to make short videos of the ladies he was training his lens on.

“I’d like to pick their brain about style,” Plioplyte mused at the time. Six years, one book, and an inspiring Kickstarter campaign later they have a movement on their hands.

Equal parts fashion documentary and empowering punk manifesto, Advanced Style has humungous heart. Plioplyte and Cohen followed the lives of more than a dozen sartorially bold New Yorkers over the age of 60 for the film, eventually whittling the pool down to seven captivating subjects. Plioplyte made sure to portray the inspirational women as real people—not hackneyed archetypes.

“Being 30 sometimes I’m still like, ‘Oh no there’s another wrinkle!’ Seeing these women flaunting their experiences on their faces—their freckles and wrinkles, their wisdom. Everything tells a story,” Plioplyte explains over the phone. “Every day means something and growing old is a beautiful thing and a privilege.”

Tajah Murdock

From 67-year-old DIY queen, yogi, and newly-in-love Debra Rapoport, who thrifts and personally constructs all of her eclectic pieces, to 81-year-old Jacquie "Tajah" Murdock, original Apollo Theater dancer and current—legally blind—Lanvin model, these women refuse to give in to ageism.

“These are real women who are actually not perfect,” Plioplyte says. “I needed to show them as real individuals.”

Tziporah Salamon, 62, darling of the New York fashion scene and a favorite subject of renowned street style photographer Bill Cunningham, asserts that she still can’t seem to land a job as a restaurant hostess due to her age. Salamon also wishes to marry a man with children one day, since she has none of her own. “The hats, the bags, the shoes, the jackets, all of that. They were my children,” she explains with barely a hint of regret.

Boutique owner and all-around firecracker, Lynn Dell, 81, is particularly candid, devilishly confessing past marital infidelities while fixing lunch for her blind husband of 61 years in the next room.

Nonagenarian Zelda Kaplan, a classy lady who believes “good style improves the environment for everybody,” traveled around the globe seeking out cloth for her tailor-made ensembles for years. Her particularly touching storyline is one that you’ll have to see for yourself to appreciate.

Perhaps the most active and electric of the gang is 94-year-old redhead Ilona Royce Smithkin. A tiny Polish woman who fashions her trademark fake eyelashes from clippings of her own hair, Smithkin has a gigantic personality and appetite for life. She is an accomplished painter and teacher, cabaret singer, and world traveler who says she only came into her own “about maybe 12, 10, 13 years ago.” She didn’t used to be so comfortable in her skin.

Joyce Carpati

“I would call myself now an artist,” she declares to Plioplyte. “At one time I had no self confidence and I did not think that I could do anything. But seeing so much art around and seeing what I can do and what I’ve learned and represent, I am an artist. And I’m a teacher.”

But don’t think that loud ensembles, zany patterns, and over-the-top accessories characterize all of the featured women’s individual styles. Eighty-year old Joyce Carpati, a trained opera singer and retired magazine industry professional who pioneered a place for women in the business, tends to stick to a few classics—pearls, Chanel, and a “good suit.”

“Ladies, life gets better. It’s up to you. Don’t think about aging,” she advises. “Just go ahead, look good and enjoy the moment.”

Advanced Style opens in select U.S. cities on September 26th.

Articles
via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
Pixabay

Offering parental leave for new fathers could help close the gender gap, removing the unfair "motherhood penalty" women receive for taking time off after giving birth. However, a new study finds that parental leave also has a pay gap. Men are less likely to take time off, however, when they do, they're more likely to get paid for it.

A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

Keep Reading Show less

Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet