When it comes to fashion there are an overwhelming amount of norms making it not too hard to fall outside of societies expectations and become some kind of daring rule breaker or outcast. One of the biggest constraints on women’s dress is age and we are constantly being judged as to if our clothing choices are ‘age appropriate’. A study undertaken used conversational data collected from a group of women aged between 34-46 to explore attitudes towards clothing and the body in relation to ‘grown women’ (Grimstad Klepp: Storm-Mathisen 2005). The results were not exactly surprising but definitely disappointing. This was not another demographic judging these women but these women judging themselves and rather harshly at that. When talking about appropriate dress the women spoke of issues such not wanting to embarrass their children, not wanting to appear desperate for attention, not wanting to seem stuck in the past or as if they were hanging onto their youth (Grimstad Klepp: Storm-Mathisen 2005). So with all that taken into consideration where is there room for individual expression, experimentation and flair in their fashion choices?!
One women choosing to define for herself what is ‘age appropriate’ is 61 year old Australian Instagram sensation Sarah Jane Adams.
Images via @saramaijewel
With her radical style and unwavering honesty Adams inspires her 80,000 + Instagram followers to fully embrace the aging process and celebrate individualism through fashion, free from ageist judgement.
My clothes reveal what is going on in my head. My wrinkles do not scare me; they show me and therefore my experience. – Sarah Jane Adams, Advanced Style 2015
Adams following skyrocketed after she was photographed by Advanced Style blogger and photographer Ari Seth Cohen who is a firm believer that “style advances with age” (Cohen) and is at the forefront of celebrating style of the older generation. Cohen’s most recent collaboration is a campaign shot for New Zealand designer Karen Walker entitled ‘Magic Hands’ starring Phyllis, 93 and Robert, 78 (Campbell 2016). The campaign featuring Karen Walker’s latest jewelry range celebrates age, style and a life well lived.
These rad older ladies are a refreshing reminder to not let social norms but you in a boring fashion-less box as you age and that your best fashion moments may still be yet to come.
Campbell, Leigh. 2016. “Karen Walker’s New Campaign id the Definition of Age Equality” Huffington Post, 18 August 2016. Accessed 22 August 2016 http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/08/17/karen-walker-s-new-campaign-is-the-definition-of-age-equality/
Cohen, Ari Seth. Accessed 22 August 2016 http://www.advanced.style/about
Grimstad Klepp, Ingun and Ardis Storm-Mathisen. 2005. “Reading Fashion as Age: Teenage Girls’ and Grown Women’s Accounts of Clothing as Body and Social Status” Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture 9 (3): 323-342 Accessed 22 August 2016