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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top Ten Advanced Style Moments of 2011

2011 has been an amazing year for Advanced Style.I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to travel the world photographing and sharing the inspiring stories and wisdom of stylish older women.Thank you to all who have commented on, shared, and supported my work over the last year. Happy New Year from me and all of the Advanced Style ladies! I hope you enjoy my Top Ten Moments of 2o11 below and look forward to many more in 2012.
1.Finishing The Advanced Style Book out April,17, 2012 now available for preorder on Amazon HERE

2. Debuting the Advanced Style Documentary (Trailer) Short at the A Shaded View of Fashion Film Festival in Paris
3.Attending Pilates class with my 100-year-old friend Ruth4.Shooting an Advanced Style spread for me.style magazine


5. Randomly running into two ladies from England on a quest for Advanced Style inspiration
6.Spending more wonderful afternoons with Ilona Royce Smithkin, and learning how to make stylish accessories out of a discarded umbrella
7. The Advanced Style Fashion Week Party at The Ace Hotel
8.Hearing 20 of 99 year old Rose's Fashion and Style Tips:
1.Find your perfect perfume, people will remember you by your scent. Rose is known for her Pauline Trigere fragrance.She tells her granddaughter "I'll give you anything in the world, but I won't give you my perfume."
2.Belts and Beads. Rose believes that a belt or unique strand of beads can really make an outfit and they don't have to cost a fortune.
3.Take care of your feet and wear good shoes, but when you are going out for a night on the town "Fashion comes before comfort" At 98, Rose goes out every single night!
4."Walking is a must, its better than doctors or medicine"
5.No need to use expensive moisturizers, Rose swears by Oil of Olay which she has been using for decades.
6."Inexspensive lipstick is as good as expensive, only better!" Rose has tried every brand from Chanel to Lauder and has recently been turned on to Revlon.
7.Be Unique: "If Everyone is wearing it, then its not for me"
8."Be smart enough to know what you don't know"
9.If you have trouble reading the dinner menu, Lorgnettes are a fashionable and elegant alternative to reading glasses.
10."Be Happy, enjoy what you have at every moment!"
11.Stay Organized "If you take a toothpick out,or a pair of pantyhose, or a hundred dollar bill,always put it back where you found it, because if you add up the the time you spent looking for it later, that's a waste of time."
12."Always tell the truth because if you don't you'll have to think of another lie."
13."Be More, appear Less."
14."Always take the phone off the hook when you're in the bath."
15."Make friends with the maitre de'"
16."Never loan, Never borrow."
17."Never keep anyone waiting. Always be 15 minutes early."
18."Never look back. always look forward."19."Don't be afraid to tell your age, that's silly. Be proud of your age."
20."Don't frequent a restaurant where they don't crumb the table."
9. Traveling to Helsinki and Milan to shoot for Advanced Style

10.Meeting Iris Apfel and shooting her for Vogue Japan

Friday, December 30, 2011

Holiday Cheer

Check out Alice Carey spreading some Holiday cheer throughout the West Village, in her festive vintage Christmas pin and earrings. For an extra reminder of why you don't always have to dress so lady-like watch the short video with Alice below:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Healing Power of Style

This stunning lady was walking down Park Ave when I asked if I could take her photograph.She smiled and told me that a few weeks ago her picture was taken on the street, for New York Magazine. When I was finished she thanked me and told me that I had made her day, but it was she who truly made mine.

I started Advanced Style to present a fresh perspective on aging.The ladies I photograph take pride in how they look and their style is a reflection of their vitality and spirit. One of my favorite ladies, Debra Rapoport, believes in the healing power of style. Dressing up gives her joy and in turn her colorful outfits inspire creativity and merriment in others. Debra lives by the mantra, "Look Good, Feel Good. Feel Good, Look Good." The fashion she and the other advanced style ladies display is merely a reflection of the care and thought they put into every aspect of their lives. The energy they expend towards dressing is manifested in their passion for living life to the fullest. 

The Healing power of style is a reciprocal process that can benefit each one of us. Let's all try a little harder to dress up, feel good, and appreciate beauty in others.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Most Perfect Purple Winter Coat

The Advanced Style ladies are never afraid to wear a little bit of color. This woman looked absolutely striking walking down Madison Ave, in her stunning purple coat, and matching scarf.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Advanced Holiday Style

I was on my way out of the Met for lunch, when I spotted this lovely woman across the street. She was perfectly dressed for the holiday season and happy to pose for a quick photo.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Holidays From Advanced Style

New York is full of holiday inspiration, from the decorated windows of 5th Avenue department stores, to all the festively dressed people around town. I stopped this woman walking down Madison Ave on Christmas Eve. I loved her joyful and fun holiday look, and it turns out we have a mutual friend, Maryann, a regular of Advanced Style. I am celebrating the holidays with my family in Cancun and will be posting all of last weeks holiday outfits over the next few days. I hope everyone I has had a wonderful season so far!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Rita's Style Influences(VIDEO)


A few days ago I got great feedback on a photo I took of Rita Hammer. You guys asked for more, so I made a small video of Rita talking about her style influences. I hope you enjoy and look forward to some great new shots of her next week!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Color Coordination

Mary has mastered the art of color coordination. Each outfit she puts on is a masterpiece full of wonderful accessories and beautiful,harmonious colors and textures. A while back I asked Mary her opinion on dressing age appropriate and she answered," I think that saying women can’t wear color at a certain age says step back and die. Most important is to develop a sense of objectivity. I go by an instant reaction--if it's negative that I don’t do it. Obviously you shouldn’t wear super short skirts. You don’t want to look like a crazy old lady.In short avoid those Baby Jane moments."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Menswear is Not Only For Men


Yesterday writer, Alice Carey, and I had lunch in the West Village at Cafe Cluny. We caught up on all of our upcoming projects and I asked Alice for advice on how to publicize my upcoming book. After lunch we took a walk down Perry Street and sat for a minute to talk about her love of menswear and why young women dress the way they do. One of the reasons that Alice loves men's clothing is that its comfortable and allows her to feel free and unique.She says, "I feel me, I'm not imitating anyone. This is the look." 91 year old Ilona Royce Smithkin expresses a similar view on style when shes says,"If you try to imitate too much, then you look like nothing. Never compare yourself, YOU are YOU."

Many of Advanced Style ladies lament the fact that so many people look and dress the same these days. Alice and Ilona no longer feel the need to conform to other people's ideas of what a women should wear. Their rule is that there are no rules. They dress to impress themselves and look at style as a means of personal expression. I have learned to become more myself through my interactions with these wonderful, confident women. I hope that they can inspire you as well! For more on Alice's style check the video above, and if you are interested you can find her childhood memoir HERE.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Glamour at Any Age

I have photographed singer, Rita Ellis Hammer several times now. As she has gotten older, she has felt more free to experiment with fashion and style.Rita is proof that you can be elegant and glamorous at any age!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Give Joy, Get Joy (Video)



People sometimes ask me if I have any friends my own age. I always find this a great opportunity to explain that I have friends of all ages, but I am especially privileged to have incredible older men and women in my life. Over the past three years I have become great friends with 91 year old Ilona Royce Smithkin. We get together at least once a week to enjoy wonderful conversations about life, love, and our creative ventures. I always love to share Ilona's wisdom. I hope you enjoy our latest small video above, where Ilona explains why we shouldn't worry about perfection.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Wonderful Hat


I was style scouting in front of the Met yesterday when I saw Maria from afar.She looked absolutely stunning in her animal print hat and elegant trousers. I am always excited when I see someone that inspires me, so I was thrilled when she allowed me to take her photograph.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"But I'm an Old Lady."

"But I'm an old Lady." This is a response I hear all the time, when I approach people and ask if I can take their photograph. I always reassure them that they look wonderful and are exactly what I'm looking for. It saddens me to think that these gorgeous,vital, and creative women are made to feel less important and less beautiful as they age. The woman above started off by questioning why I would want to photograph her. After I was finished she thanked me with a big smile on her face and told me that I had made her day. There is no question in my mind, why I would be inspired by this elegant woman. I don't want my photos to be spectacular and original, in fact I want them to get so familiar and boring that we all get used to looking at age in a new light. Maybe if we shift our attitudes towards getting older a little, the ladies I meet will start replying "But of course, I'm an Old Lady" instead.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Should We Ever Stop Playing Dress Up?

[Interview by Maayan Zilberman]
Debra and Maryann share a love of fashion and creativity. Like many of the women I photograph, they feel that style should be fun and not taken too seriously. Each one of them has a unique sense of personal style, but their approach to life and dressing is very similar. Both of these wonderful ladies will have a featured section in my upcoming book . Do you think that we should ever stop playing dress up? Check out Maayan Zilberman's great interview with the Debra and Maryann below and decide for yourselves.

What are some of your earliest memories of expressing personal style?

Debra: I grew up in a very creative and open household, my parents encouraged my sister and I to play dress-up with clothes and to express ourselves. I was always very opinionated about layering. When I was 4 yrs old we moved to Florida, and I had a cotton harlequin jumpsuit that to me said, “THIS is Florida!”… It was my first favorite item; it was freeing and made me feel like I could do no wrong in it. Dressing up was always fun, it was never precious or formal.
MaryAnn: When I was a child, my aunt was a buyer for the upscale department store Gimbels (this building is now the Manhattan Mall in Herald Square!) so I got to browse her closets and have access to all the high fashion items. She would send me boxes and boxes of outfits, and every time they would be more fantastic. I got to learn early how to play with style, and none of it felt precious. Because it was a gift, nothing ever felt off-limits to play with.
Debra: (chimes in after we realize how similar their approach is): If you want an item in your wardrobe, you have to enjoy it…. Don’t be too precious with special items, make them casual- like a diamond brooch on a t shirt, or a tutu as a shawl… its about incongruity!

Do you feel like age should affect how much skin you show?
Debra: I have a great neck and shoulders, thanks to yoga and good genes, so I like to bare them. I’d say that every woman should try things on before purchasing them or leaving the house, because sometimes you think it looks like too much but its gorgeous.
We have to get over these outdated assumptions, that women (or men) can only wear certain things.
MaryAnn: A smart woman knows how to play to her good side, with the operative word being PLAY. Dressing up should be fun; you can’t take it too seriously.

Many women I talk to have a hard time putting together an outfit, or as we might say, “building a look”. How do you get dressed in the morning?
MaryAnn: Dressing up is a creative process that brings me closer to my “Self”. It doesn’t really occur to me that people would have a hard time with this; it’s a natural part of my day. My husband asked me recently “What would you call that look?”, and I answered, “It’s just me!”
Debra: Building an outfit is a morning meditation. It gets me prepared for the day ahead, and is what will determine my mood for the day.

What would you say to someone worried about age taking a toll on his or her appearance?
Debra: Wrinkles? If you have wrinkles I’d say… So what?! If you eat right, you’ll feel right. You have to keep this consciousness into your 40s, 50’s, 60’s and on…
MaryAnn: In order to keep looking young you have to do youthful things, like dressing with expression. If you feel young mentally, you will look young.
Debra: As you get older you have the confidence to take different style risks, which is inherently youthful.

How do you transition your look into hotter summer months?
MaryAnn: I wear a lot of leather layers all year, but I play with it, less layers and lighter weight. It’s the same aesthetic though. The jewelry I wear changes, I use more seasonal materials, like shells, for summer.

Who are your favorite designers?
MaryAnn: I’m in love with the Rodarte girls. Those sisters are the most creative designers right now; I love their aesthetic and fabric combinations. My dream would be to meet them.
Debra: I love the look of Rick Owens, and Comme des Garcons, but its more for inspiration- once a year I splurge on a designer item, but for the most part I like to work with what I have and just explore different looks.

Do you swear by any beauty regimens? How do you have such amazing skin?
Debra: I really don’t buy products, my main rule is to only use on your skin what you would consider putting in your mouth… so I use a lot of oils like jojoba, olive, etc… I just recently started using Weleda products; they make a lot of creams for babies.

What items do you think every woman should have? And does this change as you get older?
MaryAnn: You always have to have accessories, and lots of jewelry…. And black ribbon. I often have some in my purse if I need to tie something, or I put it in my hair.
Debra: Yes, everyone should have layers of accessories, and recycled items (things you use for more than one purpose)…. I always have velvet ribbon or elastic ribbon around to use as a belt, headpiece, bracelet, or for my hair.

What about someone who’s never tried dressing this way, what if they want to try something new?
MaryAnn: So much of the time people are cemented in their ideas of dressing and don’t want to change their look to be more creative- I used to try giving more friends advice, but its hard as you get older to change these habits!
Debra: To succeed with this I think you need to take it 180 degrees… go to thrift shops so the changes are less of an investment. Spend very little on just a few things so you can play and see what you want to do to express yourself. Go buy some new eye shadow, get a free makeover… anything that feels like PLAY!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advanced Style Profile: Carola Boxer Vecchio

I asked Carola, from yesterday's post, about her style influences and evolution. When I first met her, she was all dressed up for the Easter Parade, in a beautiful vintage dress and hat. She told me that although she loved fashion, that her style was usually a lot more casual. Since that day Carola has told me that she has been inspired to dress up more. She loves to see how the ladies I photograph dress up and finds inspiration in their personal style. I started Advanced Style in order to challenge stereotypically-held views on aging and style. I am honored that Carola has been influenced by my photos and has rediscovered her love of style and color. Carola is an Advanced Style lady in her own right. Check out her wonderful life and style advice below.


Name: Carola Boxer Vecchio
Age: 70
Career: Retired - try to paint T-shirts with scenes of beautiful cities or flowers or animals on them

When I first met you, you told me that you don't really dress up.Has this changed and if so why?
Because of you, Ari, I now think much more about dressing up. I have always loved clothes, but now that I am retired I tend to wear "easy" clothes like jeggings !! But when I have a chance to go out I wear dresses which I love. I love color in my clothes and relate to so many of your wonderful women who also love it.

What do you like in regards to style?
In regards to style I tend to like classic lines - I suppose I might be described as a sixties fan - also forties. I love to see people experiment and express themselves through their clothes and really love all fashion because of its beauty and its gift to people to create and express themselves.

How would you describe your style?
I guess my style is casual except when I go out and then I love dresses and jewelry. And color, color, color - bright and rich.

What are your secrets to staying vital, healthy, beautiful as you age?
Trying to stay healthy is so important - I walk a lot - I took dance lessons quite a bit - I especially love belly dancing! I wish I could still ride horses which I did as a child and teenager, but this hasn't been possible for years! I love swimming. My father went for very long walks twice a day until his 90's and he was always healthy and strong until he got Parkinsons disease - but very late in his life.

Did your mom influence your style?
My mother wasn't obviously an influence to me as I grew up. I think because we were in boarding school and wore uniforms - but I think her love of color in her clothes influenced me and the fact that she exposed me to beautiful clothes and even that she dressed me up a lot when I was small although I didn't enjoy it much then!

Any advice for people stuck in a style rut?
If you are stuck in a style rut, take a chance and dress from your wildest imagination or fantasy - please yourself!

Anything you want to add?

I want to add that you have enriched my life and many others and I want to thank you profoundly.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Story Behind Style

[Carola's beautiful mother]
The ladies and gentleman I photograph always have great stories to tell. Oftentimes they will have things in their wardrobes that they have kept for many years. These special items carry with them, memories of the past. The other day Carola asked if I would like to see some Chinese coats that her mother had passed down to her. We met up in a small city park and I took a few shots of her in her mother's coats. As a girl Carola always looked forward to special gifts from her mother.I asked her to share some words about her mother below:

Our mother, Emily Hahn, was a dazzling, beautiful adventurer and writer. She had spent some time in Hollywood as a screenwriter and then, on a trip around she discovered Shanghai. She stayed in China for 9 years, teaching and writing. She had a love affair there with a Chinese poet and when this relationship deteriorated she met my father who was stationed in Hong Kong as a British intelligence officer. I was born from this passion. At the behest of my father, who feared for our lives and who had been imprisoned by the Japanese after being badly wounded in the battle of Hong Kong, my mother and I took a refugee ship to New York. We were joined there by my father after Japan surrendered at the end of World War II and he was able to escape from his prison camp when the prison guards abandoned it.

While my mother survived some war years in
Hong Kong, she told me that a fur lined chinese robe kept her warm through savage weather and deprivations of food and heat.

My mother was not vain and she enjoyed a life of the mind. Still, her glamor and beauty touched me I remember the gifts my mother would bring back to my sister and me from New York. We lived in England at this time, after my father came to get us in New York and bring us to his home in the English countryside. She brought us dresses. My favorites were a billowy skirted white dress with red roses scattered over it and a persian turquoise summer dress spangled with gold stars. These dresses remain in my memory linked to Rome, city of gold and apricot, where my mother had taken me at the perfect age of 14, for a Roman holiday!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Prada Shades

A few days ago I shared the photo above in a post about self expression.It's always lovely meeting people on the street and starting up a conversation. I stopped this stunning woman on Madison Ave and we chatted for a few moments.She asked what I do and I told her that I was working on a book about age and style. She told me that she is teacher for disabled children and that she will look for the book when it comes out.

Floral Suit, Leopard Print Bag

I'm inspired by a very wide range of style, from the most chic to the most eccentric. This stylish lady was impeccably dressed for an afternoon stroll down Madison Ave. I love the combination of her conservative floral suit with a more attention grabbing leopard print bag. The Advanced Style ladies have taught me that sometimes all it takes is one great accessory to complete a look.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ilona Royce Smithkin's Advice for a Rainy Day

When I need a little bit of cheering up I call up my great friend Ilona Royce Smithkin. She always has the best advice and helps me to put things into perspective. The other day we were having lunch and I was showing her  all the comments on a post I had done about her. She loves the fact that she can share her lifetime of experience with others. Ilona is an artist, a teacher, and a style icon. She wanted to share a few words with anyone who is having a hard day, so we made the short video above. If you want to tell Ilona anything feel free to comment here or on my facebook site HERE .

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Advanced Style Loves OMHU

I love any company that considers smart design when making products for older people. I remember going out to help my grandmother buy a cane and all we could find were those grey and silver, very clinical looking, walking sticks. My grandma Bluma loved color. She felt that as long as she needed a cane, that she should find something beautiful that would lift her spirits. My mother and I always considered this when we would go out shopping for her.

The ladies and gentleman of Advanced Style have offered proof that style advances with time. Wouldn't they want their canes, walkers, and other aids for daily life, to be just as stylish as their carefully coordinated accessories? This is why I was thrilled when I first heard about Omhu, a wonderful company offering groundbreaking designs to support people’s abilities as they change throughout life.I had the great opportunity to shoot Lynn Dell, "The Countess of Glamour" modelling one of their stylish canes in the ad above. At 78 Lynn Dell knows what works best for her.When it comes to style she says,"I like strong colors and I like strong people. All colors work if the intensity is strong enough." The bold color and sleek design of the Omhu cane suit Lynn Dell's style philosophy perfectly.

If you would like to order one of the Omhu canes,available in six different colors, they are offering free shipping for the month of December. Check out some more great holiday gifts at http://omhu.com/ and enjoy more of Lynn Dell's style below .

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