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Why it's important to have style icons like Vogue Williams' Mam to emulate

We need to see more older women looking fabulous.

LATE LAST WEEK, Vogue Williams put up a picture on her Instagram of her mum, Sandra Wilson, along with a link to Sandra’s Instagram page.

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Blue tones for me today 💙 #styledbysands

A post shared by Sandra Wilson (@sandrawilson3614) on

What followed was a glorious cache of flamboyant and elegant looks. 

Here’s Sandra channeling her inner Cher from Clueless. 

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Mellow yellow...💛 #styledbysands

A post shared by Sandra Wilson (@sandrawilson3614) on

Sandra knows the power of a good colour blocking outfit. 

Here’s Sandra making a Zara top look a million bucks.

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Happy Wednesday 💙 #styledbysands

A post shared by Sandra Wilson (@sandrawilson3614) on

And making Savida from Dunnes Stores look like it’s Gucci.

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A bright outfit for the dull winter evenings ❤️

A post shared by Sandra Wilson (@sandrawilson3614) on

Okay, so it’s very easy to see that Vogue was genetically blessed with glamour genes inherited from her Mam.

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Monochrome with a statement earring 🖤 #styledbysands

A post shared by Sandra Wilson (@sandrawilson3614) on

Christmas Mass did not know what hit it when Sandra showed up like this. 

Okay, note to self: must accumulate a hat in every colour to be a style icon. 

Scrolling through Sandra’s page, it was strikingly refreshing to see image after image of an ‘older’ woman having fun with fashion, dressing with style and posing with confidence.

But why did her page feel so refreshing? I thought back to comments that Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman made in November.

…there [is] a time in this industry when they go ‘oh well you’re…past your due date,’ kind of thing

DESTROYER PREMIERE SYDNEY Source: AAP/PA Images

Kidman was specifically speaking about ageism in the film industry, but her point can be applied to a wider societal context. With women in society often valued and appraised only by what they look like, it can feel like women are erased from the public when they’re past the age of forty. This is due to the focus on the ‘attractiveness = youth’ equation.

The media praises women who are attractive in their 40s (and older), but often they’re praised for how ‘youthful’ they look. 

christie Source: Hollywood Life

jennifer lopez Source: Cosmopolitan

Advertisements tell us in order to ‘prevent the appearances of wrinkles’ we have got to start slapping on the anti-aging cream as soon as we hit 25. If not before. Despite it being an entirely natural part of life, ageing is sold to us as a ‘war’ that we have to fight?  

As there ever been a more fruitless battle?

battle Source: Olay

This leads us all to feel huge anxiety about what is an entirely natural process. We need more representation in the media of older women.

It’s encouraging that more women are speaking out about the benefits of aging and that more women are continue to dress fashionably instead of hiding in black sacks, but we need to amplify their voices and praise women when we see them for who they are, wrinkles and all. 

Here are five women on how they’ve embraced the inevitable march of time. 

1. Diane Lane  

CFDA Fashion Awards 2018 - New York City Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

I wouldn’t go back to being 20. Because here’s the thing … there is something wonderful about coming to terms with time — that it is finite. You want to have as much joy in your life as possible, and you take responsibility for your own joy. 

2. Isabella Rossellini  

Blue Velvet screening - New York Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

In interviews, the first question I get in America is always: ‘What do you do to stay young?’ I do nothing. I don’t think aging is a problem … I’m so surprised that the emphasis on aging here is on physical decay, when aging brings such incredible freedom.

3. Anjelica Huston

Vanity Fair Oscar Party 2015 Source: DPA/PA Images

“This great fear of laugh lines and wrinkles and getting old is really unnatural. It happens to the best of us — what are we going to do? It’s a matter of whether you want to go to war with that and have surgery. Ultimately it’s a slippery slope. I think you wind up looking like a thing rather than a younger version of yourself. I think you have to make peace with what you have and keep it all in order. 

4. Michelle Pfeiffer

UPI 20180420 Source: UPI/PA Images

Honestly, there’s certainly a mourning that takes place. I mourn the young girl, but I think that what replaces that is a kind of a liberation, sort of letting go of having to hold on to that. Everyone knows you’re 50. So you don’t have to worry about not trying to look 50.”

5. Irish Apfel

2016 Fashion Group International Night of Stars Gala Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Aging gracefully is about no heavy makeup, and not too much powder because it gets into the wrinkles, and you know, to not get turtle eyelids, and to not try to look young. You don’t have to look like an old fuddy-duddy, but I believe it was Chanel who said, ‘Nothing makes a woman look so old as trying desperately hard to look young’.
I think you can be attractive at any age. I think trying to look like a spring chicken when you’re not makes you look ridiculous. 

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