My mom (better known as “Miss Fancy Pants”) had a sense of flamboyancy about her that at times would tickle our funny bones, and at other times, just plain embarrassed us. How many moms did you know who had a gold lame’ bib at the ready just in case she happened upon a restaurant she liked?
As she grew older, and her taste for the less than bizarre but more than normal did not wane, we merely just shook our heads or pretended we didn’t see it. We would never have been so generous as to call her a “fashionista,” but she was still wearing platform shoes and other wild articles of clothing well into her ‘70s, so I guess she was.
She was a little woman, but a proud woman, who held her head high even when some of the neighbors in her Floridian retirement community would give her the stinkeye. And so it was Mom who I thought of when I first saw the clip from “Advanced Style: the documentary.”
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Ari Seth Cohen makes his way around the streets of New York City with a photojournalist’s eye–searching for colorful birds with beautiful plumage–stylish and creative “older folks.” Their wisdom about aging and living life to the fullest can fill a book. Hence the book of the same name that started it all. And now, these “geriatric starlets” are the stars of the documentary.
“I dress for the theater of my life everyday.” — Lynn Dell
Cohen was able to finance the film through a company called, Kickstarter, an all-or- nothing funding platform that helps creative projects get up and running. (Until all of the needed funds are raised, a project gets none of the funds that have been pledged.)
It’s a very innovative and collaborative phenomenon called “crowdsourcing,” and I find that very comical, since I’m sure many of the ladies in the film have never even heard of the concept.
“Life is very gray, and when you dress up, it makes you happy.” — Iris Apfel
There are very few films that I would watch everyday, let alone recommend that my friends do the same, but this film will be on that short list. It sends a message of empowerment, and inspires those of us who are not anywhere near the “geriatric” stage of life to forge ahead with a positive attitude. The women in the film approach aging just as they approach everything, with gusto and confidence. Their vibrancy of mind and dress debunk the belief that when you grow old, you become invisible.
They sing, they dance, they dress up. They make themselves happy and in turn do the same for others who see them. If this is the shape of things to come for us, than I say, bring it on! We too can approach our golden years with a flash of color, wrapped in a fabulous shawl, wearing clutches of beads that would make Wilma Flintstone covetous. And on the inside we will be wearing hearts of gold, wills of steel, and minds of brightness and light.