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The Schmooze

Iris Apfel Lists Her Major Fashion Don’ts For Older Women

Iris Apfel has some choice fashion advice for older women.

The style icon, who celebrated her 95th birthday on Monday, told Fashionista that there are a few major fashion don’ts she thinks need to be avoided.

“There are just some certain things that older women shouldn’t do,” she said. “…Older women shouldn’t show excess flesh. They should wear sleeves. They shouldn’t wear mini skirts. They shouldn’t wear very high heels. They shouldn’t wear too much makeup. They shouldn’t have long, flowing hair. Things like that which are just common sense.”

Then again, she’s not mad if you throw all those rules out the window.

“I want you to be happy. I always say it’s better to be happy than well dressed.” the designer said. “Do your own thing. I don’t sit and judge anybody.”

She does, however, have some major qualms with the fashion industry’s “youth-oriented” approach to older women’s fashion. Apfel explained that she feels the older generation gets neglected when it comes to affordable, fashionable clothing.

“I think a lot of designers create very expensive clothes for women [in their] 60s and 70s — people who wear them — and they create them for 16- and 18-year-old bodies.” Apfel said. “The kids can’t afford to buy them and the women look like a horse’s ass if they put it on. So it’s all out of whack.”

But don’t go throwing around the term “age-appropriate.”

“I think if a woman has her own style and knows who she is, she doesn’t have to dress for being 60 or 20 or 90,” she said.

Damn straight.

Thea Glassman is a Multimedia Fellow at the Forward. Reach her at or follow her on Twitter at @theakglassman.




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