senior-style

Age-defying style secrets from fearless, fashionable 'glam-mas'

Jan. 26, 2012 at 2:11 PM ET

By Bobbie Thomas

Our modern society is inundated with flawless images that idolize youth. In spite of our culture’s impossible quest to ‘"top the clock", TODAY style editor and Bobbie.com’s Bobbie Thomas offers some inspiration on growing old gracefully, thanks to the women and everyday icons of Advanced Style.

Ari Seth Cohen’s must-visit blog Advanced Style features photographs of stylish women over the age of 60 and beyond that prove  you really can wear that! There is an obsession with perfection, specifically numbers when it comes to what we wear – “if I was 10 years younger, 20 pounds thinner or 3 inches taller” – and these ladies exemplify not only how to have fun with fashion but how to embrace who you are, as is.

Advanced Style /
TODAY style editor Bobbie Thomas poses with fashion-forward Joyce Carpati, 80.

Confidence and attitude

At 80 years young, Joyce Carpati believes “to age is a privilege” and her style secret is confidence and attitude. “I don’t want to look younger. I just want to look as elegant as possible,” she told Bobbie. Joyce wears classic color combinations like black and white because they have a “chic, striking effect,” and her signature hairstyle is a crown braid. Joyce also adores accessories: “I look for the brightest colors in shoes – don’t be afraid to wear them with a dark dress. And fishnet stockings? Incredible.” Her essentials include gloves, jewelry and a scarf. "That’s all I need – and, of course – my pearls.”

Advanced Style /
Jaqcuie "Taja" Murdock, a dancer, relies on vintage stores for unique fashion finds.

Be yourself

Jaqcuie “Taja” Murdock, a legendary dancer from the famed Apollo Theatre, is not afraid to wear heels in her 80s, and she knows how find fashion for less. Always stopping into second-hand stores, Jacquie says “I want to look different from anyone and have my own unique style. Style has nothing to do with money!” She loves to wear flowers in her hair like Billie Holiday, and says “Dressing up and playing with clothes, color, and accessories can be healing as you age.”

More: Senior style: Glamorous older women embrace turbans

Advanced Styke /
Ilona Royce Smithkin, 91, makes her own fabulous eyelashes.

Self expression

The vibrant Ilona Royce Smithkin makes her own eyelashes at 91 years old and has even had a song written about the flirty red statement that matches her hair. As an artist, fashion is an art form for her.  “If you try to imitate too much, you will look like nothing," she said. "Never compare. You are you! Feel beautiful inside, and you will be beautiful outside.” She cherishes the feeling of being “free” and says after decades of insecurity, “a weight has been lifted,” and she has felt better in the past 10 years than ever before.

Advanced Style /
Ruth Kobin's beauty secret? She believes in a strict regimen that includes taking off her makeup before bed.

Keep moving

Last but not least, "keep moving" has been the mantra that’s moved Ruth Kobin to the celebrated age of 100. "I make myself go out every day, even if it’s only to walk around the block. You are never too old to exercise," says Ruth of her routine. In fact, she practices Pilates weekly, and does exercises on a floor mat at home with small, pink hand weights. She prefers not to look at a calendar, but instead wants to “celebrate every day.” Ruth is also a big believer in having a beauty regimen and references an old Elizabeth Arden ad that said, "If you want to look like this when you are 40, start when you are 20."

When asked for advice, she shares, “I never go to bed with my makeup on. I dress up every day and I don't wear blue jeans. I dress up even to mail a letter, you never know who you will meet.” One more tip: "Invest in quality pieces, they never go out of style."

More: Senior style: Glamorous older women embrace turbans

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