Surprising style icon Sarah Jane Adams: Other 60-plus women are my harshest critics

Mar 16, 2020
Sarah Jane Adams, pictured in some promotional snaps for Priceline, says her motto is 'dress for yourself'. Source: Priceline

You might imagine that by their 60s, most people have embraced the live-and-let live ethos when it comes to fashion.

Not so, says Sarah Jane Adams, the 65-year-old historian and antique jewellery dealer who’s developed a devoted following as a style icon, with more than 800,000 Instagram fans, features in international fashion magazines and a job as ambassador for Aussie beauty and wellness retailer Priceline.

Adams, whose wardrobe choices range from funky Adidas tracksuits to brightly coloured, ethnic-inspired coats and dresses and layers of Edwardian frills, says that she gets plenty of looks when she’s in the streets, but most of the disapproving stares come from women in their 60s.

“A lot of women of my age when they pass me in the street look at me like I’m something stuck to the bottom of their shoe, which I really enjoy,” she says. “I love winding people up. I really love it when people look at me like I’m a piece of s**t because actually, I’m incredibly strong and I’m a successful business woman and they don’t know that.”

 

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Adams says she’s been dressing to please herself rather than the herd from a young age, which she puts down to growing up in England where schooling at a boarding school and an equally regimented home life (her father was in the air force) made her keen for any opportunity to show some individuality.

“I’ve always done strange things with my clothes,” she recalls. In her teens, rock stars such as Keith Richards and Jimmy Hendrix were her style icons and Adams remembers creating looks out of vintage clothing, particularly from the Edwardian era.

“I just think it’s so romantic and so beautiful,” she says. “It’s a look that suits me. I’m a historian by business, because I’m an antique jewellery dealer, so I’m very aware of styles and influences, how every discipline blends in with another, how architecture influences jewellery, then influences clothing.”

Last week the fashionable Baby Boomer showed off her quirky look as part of Priceline Pharmacy’s Festival of You, a campaign that aims to celebrate women of all ages, by walking the catwalk at Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Week in a cool pinstriped suit, alongside fellow Princeline ambassadors Ita Buttrose and Chrissie Swan.

 

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But for a professional model, Adams is surprisingly low key about her looks, saying she prefers to take care of her skin than wear heavy make-up. And while she has gorgeous naturally white, curly hair, which she often styles in braids, buns and even pigtails, she’s nonchalant about her locks, saying that going grey was “no biggy” for her because it started at the age of 14.

“I find it a bit off that people make such a big deal about it, it’s only friggin’ hair,” she says.

 

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When it comes to choosing clothes, Adams has one motto – what you wear should be your choice, not anyone else’s – and a few pieces of down-to-earth advice: shop alone and ignore what any shop assistant may say about your appearance.

 

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“Look at your body shape and go into an op-shop where you can try on [clothes], or go into somewhere where you can try on without people giving you a hard time, a place where you’re feeling invisible because then you can have a really good play and no one gives a s**t,” she says. “You have to feel OK about yourself. That’s where it comes from. It’s not about other people’s opinions.”

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What do you think of Sarah Jane's style? Do you like to think outside the box when it comes to fashion?

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