Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Advanced Style and Ageism

I kept trying to figure out what it was about Advanced Style that was rubbing me the wrong way because it's not like I don't love the clothes/fashions (heck I still have my fashion scrapbooks from the 70's), they are fantastic. I love the blog and visit frequently and drool over some


Advanced Style is Ari Seth Cohen's blog-based ode to the confidence, beauty, and fashion that can only be achieved through the experience of a life lived glamorously. It is a collection of street fashion unlike any seen before-focused on the over-60 set in the world's most stylish locales.

 of the hats, and sunglasses. I love the whole attitude of wearing what we want and on our own terms.  However it's NOT Advanced Style that is the problem but some of the comments, and the articles/ memes/posts telling us this is how we "should" age that really started to rub me the wrong way. So this isn't a criticism of the blog, or anyone who enjoys using fashion/stylish clothes.  My criticism lies in the implications that others have placed on older people who don't choose or can't afford to wear stylish clothes. 

24 Seniors Who Said "HELL NO" to Old-People clothes. The first thing I thought of was what the hell are "old-people" clothes? If old people clothes are easy to wear stuff, then hell, young people wear those too.  The statement that they are doing it right implies that anyone who doesn't dress like this is doing it wrong just comes across as an ageist dismissal and it adds to the superficial expectation that an older person's validity is only relevant if they dress stylish. As Ashton Applewhite stated on her blog yo, Is This Ageist,  "there is no right way to age or to dress". 

Even though Advanced Style has exposed how being older doesn't stop us from being stylish or creative, the downside is that many are dismissing women who are deemed as dowdy and therefore boring.
What is wrong with DOWDY, whatever that is?
Isn't it kind of sad that the only way we can feel empowered and visible is by wearing fashionable eye catching clothes. Isn't that really just a societal band aid solution and not really about accepting ageing.  If we want to change the perception of ageing doesn't it start by accepting us as we are, as we choose to be, stylish or not.
I have to include this because I LOVE this project. Check out the article in the Boston Globe - The Old Bags Project spotlights the insidiousness of Ageism.

I leave you with a fashion tip by Advanced Style Ilona Royce Smithkin from Life's Lessons From a 94 Year Old Model
"When you feel comfortable in your clothes, you look good. When your shoes fit right and your dress isn’t too tight, you can forget about your looks and show off yourself. There’s so much concentration on exterior beauty, you can wind up saying “I can’t go to this party, I have nothing to wear.” Who the hell cares? If you’re bringing yourself and you’re a nice person, you’re the life of the party."


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