I have my own “advanced style”, thank you very much! 0



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Hi buddyroos! *Sigh*. I’ve been mulling over just how to start this post because it’s a subject that I’m so torn about.

It’s the “Advanced Style” movement… I’ll tell you what prompted my thoughts to write about this.

It was my hair, my love for shift dresses, and reading tons of articles about the latest book tour for “Advanced Style: Older and Wiser” by Ari Seth Cohen, the creator of the blog and documentary film, Advanced Style.

Let’s talk about the hair first:

My hair was in need of serious cutting. The ends were in such awful shape and my hair just wasn’t holding a decent roller set for more than two days. The split ends resembled the hem of some intensely frayed jeans! It was nasty.

Just for the hell of it, I flat-ironed my hair to see how long it got. Check out the ends in the pic on the left. O.U.C.H!  That is some nasty stuff there!

Adam did another great job and he cut a bit of an angled bang. My hair looks so much healthier. There is just something about a great cut.  It makes you feel so much better about yourself and gives you more confidence!

And I have to add that Adam, who is well-aware of what an old crone I am, never tries to get me to cut my hair short. He never goes scissor happy. He listens to my hair needs and I trust him. And the result is always a great one!

See my new cut? Back to my waves and quite happy with how much healthier the hair is! Who says you can’t have long hair when you are older?

Despite the fact that the experts seem to think that women “Over 60” should keep their hair shorter…and colour it that blonde/grey for the most part, women over 60 can rock the longer locks, and can go against the granny look grain.

Believe me, I LOVE both Judi Dench and Helen Mirren. They rock their looks so well, but I’m just not ready to go short and light! I’m so not that woman.

Which bring me to this second issue: “Advanced Style”

If you aren’t familiar, Advanced Style is a movement celebrating the older woman from ages 60 through 80 and above. Photographer Ari Seth Cohen is to be thanked for bringing this woman to fruition in fashion and as a feisty voice. I admire Mr Cohen for he is a pioneer against ageism. And he is helping us older women to be noticed and that’s great!

But let’s get serious. Are these women REALLY that stylish?

In fact, I really enjoyed the documentary “Advanced Style” and thought each of the women was amazing in her individuality! However, as usual, I have a few issues with this movement as a fashion statement.

It seems that a woman over 60 doesn’t qualify for this Advanced Style sorority unless she is quirky, an artist or some other sort of self-proclaimed artesian, flamboyanthas hair dyed fuchsia, lavender or some hint of a fun-coloured hue on those grey ends, loves to dress in clownish costume. Or she has decided to colour her hair completely in one of the primary colours.

I’m sorry but these outfits, ensembles, costumes do NOT come at a discounted price. If the average woman over the age of 60 walked the neighbourhood streets like this, people would be concerned about dementia. Just sayin’!

As far as dressing goes, these women of Advanced Style costume rather than dress. These are the women who can, for the most part, financially afford to be somewhat different and get away with it.  The great majority of them have been privileged to be able to have luxuries that are not attainable for the average woman.

Advanced Style doesn’t speak for every older woman.

Quite honestly, I’m just so passive-aggressively torn about this whole thing!

While I can be joyful about Advanced Style in its embracing women over the ages of 60, I’m also a bit wary of the undertones of this seemingly “only-if-you-are-a-doyenne of-the-fabulous-and-unusual” can you be accepted into our group, movement, sorority–whatever. It’s weird.

I’m so in love with Sarah Jane Adams, a presence in this movement—and we were born on the same day, in the same year! I love what she wrote about her wrinkles. She embraces them! How can you not love that?!

And I will admit her way of dressing may be a bit too much for me, but I LOVE her clothes and she wears them so well. In fact, I’m jealous of her lean body.

Yet, she makes me feel so inferior! The way she wears my favourite colour, red, makes me green with envy! And she lives part-time in Australia and part-time in London. Her living arrangements don’t speak to the woman of average means.


Do you understand where I’m coming from on this?

This whole movement makes me feel like the outsider. Like the girl who wants to be a part of the cool group but just doesn’t make it. I remain on the outskirts because I’m not that flamboyant girl.

That’s right! I just don’t seem to fit in with this group of women. I’m not cool–and that’s ok! I would like to know just WHERE I fit in though!

I’m the one in the madras shorts and loafers.

Madras shorts lets get preppy

Yes. This would be me. Madras shorts and loafers. So basic. What would Sarah Jane think?

What would Jackie O think of the Advanced Style movement? Do you think she would trade in her shifts for a bright pink hat; hair dyed bright purple, a neon yellow dress with multi-coloured, oversized polka-dots?

Although advanced in age, my tastes are pretty much basic. In fact, I did a bit of shopping after my hair was cut. My goal was to score an inexpensive 2-piece bathing suit, which I did (future bathing suit post in store!)

And on the way to the dressing room, I spotted a dress. The dress was a colourful shift. My love for shift dresses is epic! A good shift will hide bumps and jiggles while remaining just ever-so-slightly fitted. I took it off the rack and noticed the “size 8” tag.

marshalls find

This is my colourful shift! Hey. Shift happens–and it happens that this is the craziest I get–with a print! See how well it goes with metallic heels?

And instead of putting the dress back on the rack, I threw it over my arm and channeled my inner Tim Gunn with whispers of “make it work”. Yes Tim. I did!

The dress fit and came home with me. And while I was home, I decided to try two other shifts that I hadn’t worn since last summer. I realised that this is my Advanced Style.

Simple and basic. Classic and quite possibly boring compared to the splashier, flashy and bombastic women of my age. But I’m making an effort to prove that even though my version of Advanced Style may be more subtle. It is who I am and what I’m comfortable with.

Shift Happens times three

Left to right. Banana Republic shift dress that I purchased two or three years ago. The chambray is so soft and comfy and the darts at the bustline give it a nice shape. The middle dress is an old favourite from J. Crew. I think it’s over three years old. I wear it on out trips to the Cote d’ Azur and it is worn practically every day. I can throw it over my bathing suit then go see the sights later on. I’m wearing it with J. Crew Gemma flats. On the right is my $29.99 shift. I can tell this will be another fave because there is a tiny bit of stretch. THIS IS MY ADVANCED STYLE! 

Detail. Pockets.

And look! The white dress has pockets. Just like Jackie O’s shift! This is some great shift!

And that’s it. Every woman over the age of 60 has her own style. Whether your style is loud or whether it’s subtle—it’s who you are. Own it and own it well! I may be more classic and subtle, but the flamboyant is still entertaining and fun!

I love this dress from every angle

Let me know what you think! This is as flamboyant as I go lovies! I’m over 60 and too boring for Advanced Style!

So what do you think? I would LOVE to hear some comments on this. I could be very much in the minority for my thoughts—or I could be the one who opened my mouth and wrote what others didn’t want to write! Lemme know!

OH–I was supposed to show up for Jury Duty yesterday. I was excused! It’s a good, good day!

I know it’s about a guy, but I can’t help thinking about “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” whenever I think of Advanced Style! My love for The Kinks never ends…

Originally published here

Catherine Urbanski

Empty nester. Over 60. Striking back at "Ageism" and all things ageist. Humor and pathos are my weapons of choice! A born New Yawka whose better half is a born Parisian. Opinionated and honest. And the door to my heart is always opened!

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