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A Sudden Spurt of Senior Style – and Why I Love It

Joni Mitchell models for Yves Saint Laurent. -Image from
Joni Mitchell models for Yves Saint Laurent. -Image from

All of a sudden, “women of a certain age” are hot.

This, perhaps more than any other phenomenon I have witnessed in my 44 years to date, showcases that fashion trends are just that…..trends.

They are literally meaningless until the masses (aka us) give them meaning.

If no one pays attention, the trend doesn’t catch on, and the fashion industry moves on to something else, hoping for a better response.

Somehow, when 14 year-old British model Twiggy was first introduced to us masses in the 1960’s, her look caught on, especially amongst other kids her age, who could see themselves in her somewhat androgynous, boyish appearance.

This ushered in the “age of thin,” which has persisted to this day (although recent fashion trends of a different sort are beginning to signal a shift here as well).

But now, all of a sudden (or for at least a year or two back as the fashion industry has been planning for its own future trends) we see Helen Mirren, age 69, as the face of L’Oreal Cosmetics in the U.K.

Jessica Lange, age 66, is representing Marc Jacobs. 

Joan Didion, age 80, models for Celine fashions.

Joni Mitchell, age 71, is posing for Yves Saint Laurent.

There are plenty more examples where these five ladies came from.

IrisApfelDocumentaryBut perhaps my favorite of them all is 93 year-old Iris Apfel, subject of an upcoming documentary and style trendsetter for most of her 9 decades to date.

She has worked in design for nine U.S. presidents, been the subject of a New York Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit, and even a visiting professor to my alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin (this she did at age 90).

About age, Apfel says,

In America, everybody wants to look young, young, young, young. I never think about age. I can’t believe I’m the age I am – it’s just a number. It’s a false thing. I mean, you just go with the flow. If God is good to you and gives you more years, then that’s wonderful. I’m glad I’m not young anymore.

About style, Apfel states,

The greatest faux pas is looking in the mirror and seeing somebody else.

She is right. I know this because I am still getting to know the whole person behind the face I see when I look in the mirror.

Yet happily, whether I am dressed to the nines (almost never) or in “tortoise play time on the lawn” sweats (almost always), I can always happily identify the mirror’s reflected image as “me.”

Today’s Takeaway: If someone came to you – a brand, a film maker, a photographer, and wanted to feature you in their work, who would they be featuring? Would you feel totally comfortable in your own skin, with your own inner perspective and sense of personal style? Would you care what you were wearing or if you had makeup or jewelry on? What message would you hope to convey in your “15 minutes of fame” about age, life, love, and what matters most?

A Sudden Spurt of Senior Style – and Why I Love It

Shannon Cutts

Freelance writer. Author. Cockatiel, redfoot tortoise & box turtle mama.

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2015). A Sudden Spurt of Senior Style – and Why I Love It. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 18 Apr 2015
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