Iris Apfel just turned 96 this week. In a society where everyone wants to stay twenty something forever, she’s living proof that age really is just a number. Traditionally, once you pass the age of 65, it’s not done to be still into fashion. Your career is over and the best place you can be as a women is behind the stove. You have to start wearing those flowered aprons that look awful but will prevent your “other” clothes from being full of grease stains. This may sound a bit hard but for the biggest part of the women from Iris Apfel’s era, it was reality. She’s a rare unicorn compared to her contemporaries and even subsequent generations.
Iris Barrel was born in Queens in 1921. Her dad was in glass-and-mirror business and her mom owned a fashion boutique. Let’s say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. At the age of 27 she married Carl Apfel. Together they launched the textile firm Old World Weavers. But that wasn’t the only thing she did during her long and interesting career. As a young women she worked for Women’s Wear daily and interior designer Elinor Johnson. Also, she took part in diverse design restoration projects, including several ones at the White House. Even after she retired in 1992, she kept working on different projects.
As we already said in the introduction, Iris Apfel was a pioneer in many ways. While other women followed the traditions (whether or not willingly), she made a difference.
Besides her great sense of style and the iconic round glasses, Apfel is also well-known for her remarkable statements. We made a selection of our favorite ones. We suggest you read them carefully because you might need some of them in the future.
- I don’t see anything so wrong with a wrinkle. It’s kind of a badge of courage.
- There’s no how-to roadmap to style. It’s about self-expression and, above all, attitude.
- Self-exploration is very painful, but unless you do that, you will never know who you are and who you want to be.
- When you don’t dress like anyone else, you don’t have to think like anyone else.
- My father told me once not to expect anything from anybody so I wouldn’t be disappointed. If somebody was nice and did nice things for me, I should be overjoyed, but I shouldn’t go through life expecting it, which is very good advice.
- In my view, you can’t go to the future if you haven’t come from the past.
Photo credits: Stylecaster, Vogue, WWD, Pinterest