It’s not like I intend to congratulate myself, but I am truly convinced that I dress better in present days, cooler and more personal than I ever did. The 90s prewashed jeans, lycra dresses, cropped T-shirts in fluorescent colors, shoes with bulky and jagged soles – been there, done that. Slip dresses with floral prints, oversized grunge pullovers, straight maxi dresses, black T-shirts with the logos of the 2000’s popular rock bands – same here! I had a few horrible hairstyles as well: a perm that I didn’t manage to remove for years, a bang that was too short, a failed attempt to redheaded and then a blonde, a season in which I experimented, at the same time, hair wax, mousse, and fixing spray… As Sinatra used to say: Regrets, I’ve had a few!
Nevertheless, I had numerous stylistic reincarnations in time, something that allowed me to understand what suits me and what doesn’t work that well in my case. I like to believe that my age, years and time will allow me many other alternatives still so that in the end to declare myself truly liberated by any style restriction. Until then, I am perfectly aware that my style continuously evolves, a building in progress, a permanent exercise of trial & error. I look around me, sometimes on the streets but more often online, and I notice that of all those gorgeous women – meaning elegant, refined, colorful, eccentric, relaxed, at peace with their style, body, and life – are those that have over 60 years old. I am not rushing to get to that age, but I am sure that I am going to enjoy it to the fullest, leaving behind all the fuss related to possible or actual stylistic dilemmas.
These being said, I want to share with you 5 pieces of advice concerning style I received, discovered, or read in the past years.
“The creases of rumpled clothes are irrelevant, focus on cuts and silhouette. And wrinkles are irrelevant as well since we brought it up…”
One of the smartest advice I discovered was in an interview with Linda Rodin: “stop taking into account all the creases and wrinkles, take only the silhouette into account”. Linda appears to apply this principle sacredly. In almost every photo she appears in a pair of straight jeans, which dress her long and thin legs, a top with an architectural collar or sleeves and necessarily an ovoid or multicolored coat that can take your eyesight. Alternatively, she wears a simple top, with a denim jacket and wide-leg pants, but with every outfit – studied or not – what is left underlined is her exotic physiognomy and silver head, put up in a ponytail. #Stylegoals, if I can say so when I will confidently be 70 years old.
“To look natural requires a certain degree of effort”
This was the conclusion of a discussion with an 80-years-old lady, who I met last summer in a museum in London and enjoyed an on-the-spot conversation. Comfort is vital, without making reference to outfits with a careless or messy appearance. Sometimes it can be demoralizing to put your bet entirely on comfort because you can easily slide toward stylistic laziness. Speaking about myself, I have to admit that, as years went by, I started to pay more attention to comfort and I can begin to hardly bear the efforts required by a certain style: very high heels, corset dresses, ultra-slim-fit coats, and heavy necklaces, just to give a few examples. I’m not in the mood, nor have I the time for fancy apparels, dolling myself up, or tinsel.
I do pay a lot of attention to a clothing item made out of exceptional materials and flawless cuts, but I stopped worrying if and how much it creases. Everything that means beauty and grooming are activities scheduled in advance, and only done by reliable people. I’ve ended the asymmetric brows chapter a very long time ago (one of the most respected and talented people in the industry takes care of them now), I know the exact formula for my hair dye, I have the most meticulous manicurist, and I’ve decided, a while ago, to let only real professionals take care of these aspects. Finally, I prefer using the most appropriate creams, serums, and lotions lately, instead of loading my face with makeup.
“The most serious faux pas is to look in the mirror and not to recognise yourself anymore”
I forgot who told me this, but it became a sort of mantra for me. I am “for” simplicity, easiness, natural, even if they are sometimes accompanied by embarrassment, small flaws, or butterflies in the stomach. I like myself infinitely more than I did 10 years ago, I am more confident on who I am, what I know, what I want, and how I want things to unroll in my life. Maybe because now I am preoccupied with things that are more important than wearing a certain size, having a perfect hairdo, owning a particular handbag brand, or collect a certain number of likes.
From a stylistic point of view, I find it clear where I am at the moment, I am like a Venn diagram: I have an area of white shirts, grey T-shirts, black pullovers, beige trench coats and grey overcoats worn with boyfriend jeans, overlapped with multicolored midi skirts, with attractive prints and made out of fluid materials, overlapped with sneakers (white or grey) and various shoes with high or medium heels, and over all of these reign spectacular, exotic, troubling, even proverbial, earrings. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t tried other clothing items, outfits, and combinations, some of them still exist in my closet: utilitarian overalls, tube dresses, sequined bomber jackets, brocade cigarette pants, satin platform sandals with an 8 centimeters thick sole…
“From time to time, confuse them like Jagger and Richards”
I was never the type to wear full-on glamour, but I do resonate with the “high-low mix” principle, old and new combination, designer and fast fashion, simple and glitzy, practical and fancy. With all my sincerity, I think that this is the (semi)secret key to having an original style – as far as, in our days, a style can still be original. Thus, I will wear a Petit Bateau or a Mango T-shirt with a Stella McCartney spencer, Lee Cooper jeans with Humiecki&Graf perfume, a Zara dress with Celine sunglasses or Dries van Noten shirt, Superga sneakers and porcelain earrings. As the reference to the Rolling Stones, it came from a good friend that is a music enthusiast (classical, rock, and everything in between), who told me that Jagger graduated the London School of Economics and Richards is known as a softie, who called his mother on a daily basis. Surprising, isn’t it?
“Pay attention to trends, but not more than it’s worth it.”
This line was served by a friend in a conversation in which we were debating how a well-dressed woman should look like, in our opinion. On the other hand, we were talking about the (im)possibility of having a truly authentic style, original, and in total harmony with yourself (also see the pieces of advice provided earlier!), when trends appear and disappear with the speed of light, and their impulsion and dispersion seems to depend more on pseudo-influencers, a certain market niche, marketing budgets of brands, and other purely commercial interests, mercantile, momentarily, and not of an educated taste, alignment of society or aesthetics. Under these circumstances, where can we fit the real personal style, which doesn’t copy street style ideas from Pinterest, shop window silhouettes, or magazine editorials? Most likely outside the trends. Iris Apfel said, at one point, in a documentary with the same name: „If something’s in fashion and I look like a horse’s ass in it, then why would I buy it?” Interpreted in my key, this piece of advice has something to do with your personal continuance: to know what represents you, to adjust in time, but not to let go of your own identity. By the way, a “multiple stylistic personality” can be easily diagnosed as “I like everything I see, I but a bit of everything, in my closet you can find fragments of each and every style…”
The previously offered pieces of advice are of common sense, obvious, and logical. We all know that style doesn’t depend on how large or full our closet is. We equally know that the more time we spend stressing ourselves what to wear, the more we stray from the essence, the more we try to mold on others’ dictates and expectancies (our mirror), instead of looking within ourselves. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t experiment, in time, with various cuts, lengths, colors, textures, prints, styles, combinations! On the contrary, it is okay and it is recommended to do so, but up to a point, with a sense of measure. Until the preoccupation for style is replaced by a preoccupation for clothes if you get what I mean…