When you really think about it, old women tend to put themselves together with more care than any other demographic. And if the trailer for Advanced Style, a new documentary about a select group of sartorial seniors, proves anything, it's that wisdom—about style and everything else—really does come with age.
Like Julie and Julia before it, the film is based on a book that's based on a blog of the same name launched by photographer Ari Seth Cohen in 2008. A book deal followed in 2012, and now the Kickstarter-funded documentary he produced with director Lina Plioplyte (a budding talent who's worked on projects for Balmain, Moncler, and Vogue, among others) will debut at the end of the month during the much-anticipated Toronto Hot Docs film festival.
So what can men learn from watching octogenarians put on ruffled shirts for an hour? Read on to find out.
Aging gracefully isn't about looking young. It's about looking great.
In Cohen's view, brands tend to think that "just because a woman is 80 years old means she doesn't think with a youthful approach to fashion and lifestyle." As it turns out, clothes can be just as effective for improving your looks as you get older as those anti-aging products you started using in your late 20s—ven if that means putting giant red feathers in your bright pink hair.
"There's no time limit to anything," one of the ladies in the trailer says sagely. "When you look good, you look good."
Timeless style is all about individuality.
The reason the subjects in the film are so full of life is because they know what works for them. While an armful of lacquered wooden bangles and a floppy flower pin will set you apart, that kind of statement doesn't work for everybody (and probably wouldn't go over so well in your boardroom). Knowing how to stand out from the crowd is about more than just wearing loud clothes; it's finding the style that defines you—and that can take a lifetime.
All life is an experiment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson may have originally said that, but it holds true here: when you really want to make a statement, you do have to go a little off the wall. "I take it to the nth degree," says another woman featured in the film. "Not everybody does."
Not everyone is going to wear floral prints or patterned shirts, either. But who knows? Slipping into garments that seem a little outside of your comfort zone at first might be the key to unlocking a truly signature style. If it's not an immediate hit, breathe deeply and remember: it's just clothes. And besides, do you really want to wait until your 80s to start experimenting?
—Details associate online style editor Justin Fenner.
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