It’s something Ari Seth Cohen hears all the time. “Why would you want a picture of me? I’m old!” He didn’t realize the attitude was so common when he started his senior-focused street-style blog Advanced Style in 2008.
Today, he’s stopped hundreds of women ages 50 to 106 on the streets of New York City and is still shocked at how accustomed his subjects are to being ignored. “I want to reinforce in them not only that they are stunning and that they have something that attracted me to them, but that old is not a bad thing,” he says. “Why would that be a reason why I wouldn’t want to take your photograph?”
In a documentary about the blog, also called Advanced Style, which is now available on DVD ($29 at Amazon), Cohen’s favourite subjects take the spotlight, showcasing their flamboyant personal style with a confidence sure to inspire women of all ages. Cohen curated his favourite Advanced Style photos exclusively for The Loop. Here, he explains how these women can inspire anyone to live with unapologetic style.
Age ain’t nothin’ but a number for these inspiring seniors
True YouIt’s hard to spend so much time with women who are so stylish without picking up some pointers. “I think what I’ve learned about style is to be myself and not care about what other people say,” Cohen says. “Wear what makes you feel good.” Photo Credit: Ari Seth Cohen/Advanced Style
Timeless BeautyAt 94, Royce Smithkin’s signature is her flaming orange eyelashes, which she makes herself using locks of her own hair. “There is no time limit to anything,” she says. “When you look good you look good.”Photo Credit: Ari Seth Cohen/Advanced Style
Express YourselfCoco Chanel said to remove one accessory before you leave the house, but the women of Advanced Style beg to differ. “Accessories are always a great way to express yourself,” Cohen counters.Photo Credit: Ari Seth Cohen/Advanced Style
Reach for the TopStreet-style star Tziporah Salamon was cast in Lanvin’s Fall 2012 campaign at age 62. One accessory she never leaves the house without: a hat. “If the painting is not finished, I don’t take it out into the world,” she says in Advanced Style. “This is my art. This is my passion.”Photo Credit: Ari Seth Cohen/Advanced Style
Designing WomenJudging from their one-of-a-kind pieces, it might not come as a surprise that many of the women make their own clothes. “They are pretty amazing at manipulating fabrics,” says Cohen. “A lot of them are artists and creative people.”Photo Credit: Ari Seth Cohen/Advanced Style
Haters Gonna Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate“I read comments that say ‘these women aren’t stylish-they’re garish.’ ‘They look like clowns’,” says Cohen. “Why are we tearing women down for being themselves?”Photo Credit: Ari Seth Cohen/Advanced Style
A New Face on AgingJoyce Carpati, a former editor at Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping who wears her grey locks in a braided crown, immediately fell in love with Advanced Style’s philosophy. “I never wanted to look young,” she says. “I wanted to look great.”Photo Credit: Ari Seth Cohen/Advanced Style
Ode to JoyCohen hopes that even women who don’t think a turban or leopard-print coat is for them will be inspired by his photos. “I’m just sharing a certain perspective on aging, a joyful phase of life,” he says. “You can be creative in so many different ways. It’s not only about dressing up.”Photo Credit: Ari Seth Cohen/Advanced Style
You Already Own Great OutfitsA great thing about growing older is searching out vintage finds without ever leaving the house. “A lot of the women shop within their closets and reinvent what they’ve had for 30, 40 years,” Cohen says.Photo Credit: Ari Seth Cohen/Advanced Style
Self, Centred“Really get to know yourself, what you like, and don’t let other people distract you from that,” says Cohen. Photo Credit: Ari Seth Cohen/Advanced Style
Never Stop Growing“The film’s not only about fashion but about the spirit of these women,” says Cohen. “How they are getting older with so much joy. They have their struggles but I think it’s the attitude in which they approach those struggles. They don’t sit back and give up—they’re continuing to grow every day.”Photo Credit: Ari Seth Cohen/Advanced Style