Without limits

‘Vast army of dames’ storm social media to show that style has nothing to do with age

Sue Kreitzman wearing a necklace she assembled herself, in a photo tagged #NYTstylenotage. (Instagram)

After columnist Julia Baird wrote an uplifting opinion piece for the New York Times, titled ‘Don’t Dress Your Age,’ calling out “mutton shaming” of older women for their sartorial choices, a glorious thing happened — hundreds of women over 40 took to social media to celebrate their personal style choices.

Contacted by That’s Not My Age blogger Alyson Walsh, Baird said she was not surprised by the reaction. “Women are tired of being told to shrink and conform or ‘normalize’ themselves once they hit 40,” she said. “Like a vast army of dames they are refusing to be told what to wear and how to behave. They are taking selfies in tiaras, sequins, leopard print, high heels and a variety of frocks, looking extremely cheerful and quite pleased with themselves.”

 

Baird writes in her column that she looks forward to the age when she can finally “reject rejection.”

“All this nonsense is why I adore the funky grandmothers you can find on Instagram who dance about in baubles and proudly sport turbans. They refuse to fade, hide or match their attire to the wallpaper.

“But my greatest mutton-fantasy is just to wear and do what I want. To not have such preoccupations even cross my mind. Isn’t there a point when one can simply be a dowager, a grand old dame, or just a merry old boiler? When we can refuse to kowtow to prescriptions and permissions, but just march on in the shoes we fancy wearing?”

Baird, also the author of a forthcoming biography of Queen Victoria notes the monarch “ditched those suffocating corsets without blinking, much to the horror of her doctor. Instead, she wore exactly what she liked for half a century: mourning-black, with diamonds.”

Walsh, writing for The Telegraph, said she had watched the fashion industry catch up to the idea that “style begins at 40” since launching her blog eight years ago, citing recent examples including H&M’s use of 60-year-old stylist Gillian McLeod to front a swimwear campaign, and 72-year-old Lauren Hutton’s turn on the Bottega Veneta catwalk. British Vogue recently published its first model-free issue and earlier this year Ari Seth Cohen produced a second book generated from his style blog about older fashionistas: Advanced Style: Older and Wiser.

But perhaps no one says it better than the sisters (aged 92 and 96) who, inspired by Baird’s column, posted their photo to Instagram in matching T-shirts emblazoned with ‘Old is the New Black.’

 

Read the full story at The Telegraph.

Related:

British Vogue to feature academics and businesswomen for special issue

Pied Piper of glamorous oldsters’ Ari Seth Cohen debuts a new set of stylish seniors

The first centenarian in Vogue: ‘I certainly don’t dress up for the boys

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