Personally: speaking about style….

This goes to prove that true STYLE HAS NO AGE.

photo: Elle Decor
photo: Elle Decor

I admire Iris Apfel – she’s the real American Idol! 

Most “it” girls fade into obscurity well before their first wrinkle but Iris found fame in her mid-80’s, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute mounted a show in her honor.  The almost 93 year-old (her birthday is in August) who just recently learned how to use the internet, answered a few questions for Allure magazine about retaining style in her tenth decade.

 Can you remember your first major purchase? 

“I’ll never forget it.  It was a brooch I found in a basement shop in Greenwich Village when I was 11.  I didn’t have a penny, so I saved and I saved.  I would return often to visit it. When I finally had 65 cents, I proudly went over there and haggled over it.  I still have it, by the way.”

 Do you agree with the adage that before you leave the house, you should look in the mirror and remove one accessory?

“I say put another one on.  I like simple, architectural clothes.  With accessories, you can make 50 outfits.  I learned that from my mother because I was a child of the Depression.”

 What’s your everyday makeup look?

I don’t do very much for beauty. I use very simple things on my skin. I haven’t got time. I would always get facials, and then come home laden with product, and pay a lot of money and never use it. Anyway, one day a dermatologist told me to use Cetaphil to clean my face, and as a moisturizer, and that’s what I do.  “I only wear Cetaphil moisturizer and lipsick.  When I was younger, I did my eyes up like Miss Piggy, with heavy, big lashes, which we got with mustache wax.  You put a chunk of it in a spoon and held it over a flame, then you took a brush and you kept building the lashes layer after layer, and beaded the ends.  It was great-looking.  But as an older woman, too much eye makeup emphasizes wrinkles, and makes your skin look like a turtle.”

 What’s the secret to aging gracefully?

“Don’t show your décolleté or wear low backs or heels you can’t balance on.  Worrying about getting old is the kiss of death – you have to be busy and engaged.  I can feel lousy until someone says: Let’s go to the flea market.  Once I’m there, no one can keep up with me.  You cannot be interesting if you’re not interested.”

The Huffington Post  has this to say: Iris Apfel is one of the most stylish, unique, energetic people you’ll ever meet in your life. While many of us go around in a fog of “What will people think?”-type thoughts regarding everything from clothes to decor choices, Apfel surrounds herself with what makes her happy. That’s it.

Now that’s someone worth admiring. 


Born Iris Barrel in Astoria, Queens, New York.  Apfel is the only child of Samuel Barrel, whose family owned a glass-and-mirror business, and his Russian-born wife, Sadye, who owned a fashion boutique. Apfel studied art history at New York University and attended art school at the University of Wisconsin.. As a young woman, Apfel worked for Women’s Wear Daily and for interior designer Elinor Johnson. She also was an assistant to illustrator Robert Goodman.