Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fashion’s Latest Vogue: Older Adults

Today’s release of Ari Seth Cohen’s new book Advanced Style points to a new trend in fashion that suits Generations United just fine: younger fashionistas finding inspiration from stylish older women and men.

Based upon Cohen's blog of the same name, Advanced Style showcases the put-together fashions of vibrant and confident seniors. The book features wardrobe photos, interviews, stories, and advice from a cadre of his most chic subjects, many of whom are over 80 years of age.

Inspired by his own grandmother’s unique personal style, the now thirty-year-old Cohen noticed a lack of older adults in street style blogs. He moved to New York City after seeing the documentary Hats Off in hopes of meeting the film’s star, Mimi Wieddell, a 95 year-old-actress.

During his free time, he began taking pictures of well-dressed women and men whose age seemed only to refine their fashion taste in his opinion. “I was walking around and seeing all of these incredibly dressed older people ... I’ve always had a positive perspective on aging,” Cohen said of his older fashion icons.

Through his unusual project, Cohen has forged strong relationships with his muses and picked up a few life lessons as well. In a recent interview with the LA Times, he explains, "I’ve learned how to live my life more fully from the women I have met who are 100 and still doing Pilates. I have a new sense of freedom, and have learned to  let things go and just accept myself."

Cohen’s book and blog also point to how younger people can give back to older adults as well. In a New York Post interview Cohen explains, “There was always a lack of older people in advertising and magazines,” says Cohen. “I think it’s changing, and hopefully I’ve been a part of that.” For example, MAC released a makeup collection inspired by 95-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel earlier this year.

As a young adult, I find Cohen’s implications that style improves with age to be true. My own grandma always looked distinguished and was never seen without a silk scarf wrapped around her neck. She found a look she liked and stuck with it. After looking through the pictures of Advanced Style, I was pleasantly surprised that many older men and women have completely unique and ever changing wardrobes.

Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that Fashion Week and Generations United’s week long celebration of Grandparents Day overlap this fall. Both events are relevant to young and old, and can serve as a source of appreciation and inspiration as well.

Could the favorite fashion trend for Fall 2012 be grandchildren and grandparents flaunting their favorite looks together? Très chic, indeed.

Images: Ari Seth Cohen via Advanced Style

-Annie Cleary. Cleary is a National Academy of Social Insurance intern for Generations United this summer and a student at Miami University in Ohio.