The Art of Aging with Style

bracelet ladyPhotograph by Ari Seth Cohen

“Timelessness and true style are born out of confidence — and that never expires.”
Erin Riley, Vice President of Marketing for ColeHaan

Older adults who enjoy fashion and continue to dress with panache defy the stereotypical model of aging. Despite living in an era where the media is obsessed with youth, older adults are gaining recognition as icons of style.

Fashion and Age

Julia Twigg, a Professor in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent, released her new book, Fashion and Age: Dress, the Body and Later Life last September.

According to The British Society of Gerontology, “Fashion and Age is the first study to systematically explore the links between clothing and age. The book explores the significance of embodiment in dress and in the cultural constitution of age”.

Professor Twigg maintains that clothes are “central to the ways older bodies are experienced, presented and understood within culture”. Older adults can use their clothes to express social and cultural meanings as well as their changing identities; therefore, dress is an important but often ignored aspect of old age. Twigg also believes that age is an increasingly important driver of change within the world of fashion, even replacing class as the primary engine of change.

The Clothing and Age Project, created by Twigg, is a series of research projects covering topics such as ‘Clothing, Age and the Body’, ‘Consumption, Baby Boomers and Later Life’, ‘Dementia and Dress’ and ‘Hair and Hairdressing in Later Years’.

AriCohenAdvancedStyle-04copy2Advanced Style

Ari Seth Cohen roams the streets of New York photographing stylish older adults and posting them on his blog Advanced Style. “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.”

More recently, Cohen captured the flamboyant ladies of Advanced Style on film. The documentary opens with the statement, ‘everyone grows old, but some get there in style!’

The older adults featured in the documentary are energetic, outgoing examples of aging creatively. As one woman states, “I am dressed up for the theatre of my life every  day.”

o-MAYA-ANGELOU-COLE-HAAN-570ColeHaan Campaign

To celebrate their 85th anniversary, ColeHaan launched a new ad campaign featuring images of famous older adults who are also 85 years old. Erin Riley, Vice President of Marketing for ColeHaan, explains the decision to use older adults as models: “We’re more about attitude than an age group”. Bravo!

 Here’s to a healthy, happy new year filled with spirit and panache!



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