and then there’s Iris

Iris Apfel – The Accidental Icon
If this centenarian supermodel and muse isn’t an inspiration to women everywhere, I don’t know who is. 

She was told “you’re not pretty and you’ll never be pretty, but it doesn’t matter.  You have something much better – you have style!”

After watching a documentary about her life 8 years ago at Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) I became obsessed with her.  She’s someone to admire, simply fascinating and lives her life with a joie de vivre like no other. At 102 years young, she’s still going strong.  We should all be so lucky.

Her claim to fame as an American businesswoman was having an interior design business with her husband, Carl, from 1950 to 1992. She founded Old World Weavers in 1950, a small interior design textile company to recreate original fabrics from the beginning of the 19th Century and reproduce fabrics they found while traveling the world. Their career in textiles got them a contract with the White House that spanned nine presidencies.  She helped nine first ladies decorate the White House according to their taste, combined with a “touch of Apfel”.

She obviously has a flair for fashion and great personal style.  Some credit her for creating personal style. A trendsetter who follows no trends – a trend starter!

Apfel is the first living person who was not a designer to have her clothing and accessories exhibited at the Costume Institute Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in 2005. She is also the first woman over 100 to make a collaboration with H&M. Previous designers for the multinational fast-fashion clothing company (based in Sweden but pretty much all over now) have included Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld + Comme des Garçons .

She’s also the only person over 100 to have more than 2 Million followers on Instagram. 

Married for 67 years, her husband Carl passed away on August 1st, 2015 at age 100. Apfel will celebrate her 103rd birthday on August 29, 2023.

Iris Apfel resides in Palm Beach.  One day when I go back there, I’m going to find her.

It’s well worth watching this 2015 documentary trailer:
Photo: Couture Consultancy. She even has a doll in her likeness!

The woman who said “A woman is as old as she looks, but a man is never old until he stops looking” still offers hope to women everywhere – even if they’re not pretty and never will be.  It’s all about how you present yourself.


Personally speaking…I need more SPACE

What is SHE doing in MY closet?? My dream room (minus the kid).
What is SHE doing in MY closet??  Gwen…GET OUT!
My dream room (minus the kid although he is real cute).

I’m trying to make the best out of a tiny situation, namely my closet space.  The fact is I have more clothes than closet.  My closet is a walk-in but not very deep – more like a “stand in” and now it’s time to edit everything – for the change of season.

A lot of stuff I’ve given away and I used to consign but decided it’s now better to put it into the clothing bins.  I still have closet envy but short of moving to a bigger closet house, I have to make the most of a small situation. That was part of my spring cleaning promise to myself – to clean up my act closet and re-arrange my life it all.  Not an easy task.  Have you done this recently?  Maybe you’ve been thinking about it too.

Hooks help to arrange some hats, scarves & a few bags.
Hooks help to organize a few hats, scarves & bags.  Hanging shoe racks are a good idea too.

RULES.  The first step…

Time to get some of those thin Velcro hangers like they sell at Costco – then you can add a few more items.

Edit your closet. Really take a good look at your lifestyle and realize that some pieces (like the mesh studded crop top) will never see the light of day again.  Divide into 3 piles.

1) Keeper

2) You want to keep it but be strong because you know you won’t wear it – possibility pile)

3) Definitely Not!

2+3 – Giveaways   (if clothes are in good shape, washed and/or dry-cleaned & still in style you can probably consign them).  I’ve consigned many times in the past & after almost forgetting about it after several months would get a phone call to say there’s a cheque for hundreds of dollars (because you won’t get more than 50% of what they decide to sell them for).  Great news.  Of course you can take the money and go buy more clothes right away with it.  But be strong….because remember why you’re getting the cash?  You had to clean out your closet.

4)You’ve heard it before but it’s true…..if something doesn’t fit right but it’s worth keeping have it altered to fit properly.  If not, give it away.  Nothing is worse than an ill fitting outfit.  Your body changes so if something that once fit now doesn’t think about giving it away unless you plan to hire a personal trainer & work really hard.

5)Separate into piles the type of clothing & what you wear most often.  Jeans, other pants, blouses, t-shirts, blazers, cardigans and put them in order of what you’re most likely to wear – so you can grab & go.

6)In the end you’ll feel so much better that you edited your closet.  Then try to resist feeling like you wasted so much money, time and effort in choosing waaay more than you realized you’d have to part with – but know that it’s true.  You wasted so much $$$$.  Some of your friends will benefit from this & vice versa.  You’ll feel good about giving it to someone who wears it better (although a bit envious).  You realize you may have either lost or put on a few pounds (most likely) or that you no longer look good in a teeny Brazilian string bikini (not that you ever did – ouch).  Good news: one pieces, especially retro style that cover up more skin are back in a BIG way. Realize you don’t need to sweat the small stuff.  A well edited tiny closet is a BIG deal.  Simplifying things is much easier…..yeah, yeah that is what my head keeps telling me.  I still want a big walk-in.

Catchphrase: Make the most of what you have

I love this corset hanger for containing some earrings & pendants.
SPACE SAVER:  I love this corset hanger for containing some earrings & pendants.  You can hang necklaces on the back.

You can hang some necklaces on the back.