Style fetish

Heather Narwid

Aging doesn’t have to be unfashionable

Tavi Gevinson and Iris Apfel lead the way on the ends of the young-old spectrum
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Iris Apfel
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Iris Apfel

As we live and gain experience, we should allow our personal styles to evolve as we do. We wear lots of different things for different reasons. We tell these stories through our clothing and there is potent style value in both youth and maturity.

Growing up with the internet as an easy, ubiquitous source of information has given young women early sophistication – unlimited, globe-spanning access to street style, high fashion and influencers. There is so much to be inspired and validated by, no matter what your age or specific style. Having access to everything in the known universe is a wonderful situation that earlier generations missed out.

Women young and old get plenty of shade thrown for the stereotypical and unfortunate fashion choices common to certain ages, common for the older dressing “too young,” or vice versa. When we challenge ourselves to evolve in our styles, we can best reflect the beautiful women of whatever still-relevant age we happen to be. Leaving certain cuts and styles behind with our younger selves frees our mature selves to take full advantage of the attributes available and appropriate to our particular ages.

Youth can get away with trendiness more; their innocence allows for pop trends to fill space where experience and knowledge will later make the style decisions. There are almost no youthful Fashion Don’ts that can’t charm their way out of looking tacky by the freshness of the young person wearing it, and almost no styles that are disallowed by younger, tighter figures.

Maturity brings the confidence and self-awareness earned by time and experience. After years of critically looking at clothing on ourselves and others, we know our body types and what to wear and what to avoid to feel our best. Having gone through style and trend cycles more than once, we can see that one piece of seasonal trendiness per outfit is probably enough. We can tell the difference between good quality and poor quality garments and material, and the discernment to know when it matters. We have lived so long to know that our styles can communicate volumes, even while our advancing age begins to render us ever-so-slightly invisible to the eyes of Western society’s youth obsession.

The internet holds wondrous and inspiring examples of incredibly stylish “regular” women of all ages. Two are Tavi Gevinson and Iris Apfel, solid examples of both youthful and mature perspectives on fashion and style. They also show us how they holistically and artfully blend their enjoyment of fashion, work, music, writing, art and culture to influence and hone their personal styles.

Style blogger wunderkind at 12 years old, Tavi Gevinson is probably the most influential young fashionista to date, showing the world that a tweener with a keen and creative sense of style could become a highly respected tastemaker at a ridiculously young age. She snagged invites and tickets to the best couture shows at New York and Paris Fashion Weeks while still a kid, and caught jealous shade from industry insiders threatened by this prodigy of fashion commentary. Gevinson now writes more on culture and feminism and her online magazine thestylerookie.com is rarely updated while she currently collaborates with musicians and acts in theatre productions at the fresh age of 20. Check her out on Instagram @tavitulle.

Iris Apfel is a wunder-elder of style and the subject of films and books, and garners worldwide fascination and respect. At 96, Apfel’s experiences in art, textiles, international imports, interior design, and fashion leaves her an enviable and award-winning fashion icon with a wardrobe of museum quality. She is the glorious subject of the much-recommended 2014 documentary “Iris,” by Albert Maysles (who directed the docs “Gimme Shelter” in 1970 and “Grey Gardens” in 1975). Apfel is also featured in interviews and photos in the new book “The Eccentrics,” by Dallas boutique Forty Five Ten. Follow her @Iris.apfel on Instagram.

Another style tastemaker of a certain age I recently discovered and now love is the Accidental Icon, a woman in her 60s with intense and relevant ideas, links, reading lists, essays and beautiful photos. Read her empowering list of proclamations on the “about” page at accidentalicon.com and follow her @iconaccidental on Instagram.

Heather Narwid owns and operates Sideshow, a vintage and modern clothing store for men and women, located in northeast Durango at 208 County Road 250. Sideshow is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Find Sideshow on Facebook and on Instagram @Sideshow411Vintage.