The Spirit of Style

 I have been thinking a lot about what draws me to photograph certain people. Sometimes it’s the way they have fixed their hair or an amazing accessory, or a wonderful smile that catches my eye. More than style, I am trying to capture a sense of vitality and creative spirit in the people I photograph. The other day I was walking uptown when I noticed a woman wearing a large brown coat, black beanie, and a hint of a yellow printed dress. Even from across the street I could tell that the dress had to be vintage and thought that the woman must have been wearing it for years. I decided to approach her and ask if I could take her photograph.


Frances was standing with her son, near Lexington Avenue, when I stopped to talk to her. I told her that I appreciated what she was wearing and asked her how she felt about style. She replied, ” I don’t care about style, I make style. I want to try and look the best I can, depending on the weather and my mood.” I asked if she wouldn’t mind telling me her age and she smiled and pointed to her son and said, ” Guess how old I am if he is 75 years old.” She continued by telling me how her doorman is so interested in always talking about her age and that she has grown tired of talking about it. Her new trick is to ask him his age every time she sees him. She then asked me how old I was and when I told her, “31” she laughed and said, “I’ll be 103 next month if I make it. My clothes are probably older than you.” Frances and I talked and joked for a few minutes and she thanked me for taking her picture and asked me to send a copy to her apartment. Later that day I thought about how witty and full of life Frances was and realized why I was initially drawn to approach her.

  • Mel

    What a great story! She looks great! Thank you for approaching her and asking to take her picture. I love your blog; even though I am also 31, I get so much inspiration from these beautiful & lively women. My grandmother never looked her age and loved fashion; I regret not keeping it when I had the chance (I am her same shoe size). My mom is 62 and my dad will be 70 this year, and you would be hard pressed to believe it from either of them. 🙂

  • You have an amazing eye. Thank you for being the JOY in my inbox!!!

  • Look at that beautiful smile! She is so precious. Good Job Ari!

  • What a beautiful smile she has! she is so precious. Great job, Ari.

  • Meribeth

    You not only have a great eye, Ari, but a huge heart!

  • great post. her vitality jumps out at you! thanx

  • btw, I am 54 years old today! when do i get to be included in your 'blog of beautie'!

  • I definitely think you are intuitive of the energies that these women give out. I think you can see more then just with your eyes. Because of this the rest of us get to see it too.

  • What a strong and georgeous woman she is. Her smile illuminates the day! Ari, thank you for introducing this wonderful woman. Smiles to you

  • Anonymous

    frances is gorgeous!

    thanks for sharing your encounter with her. i always love hearing about their views on life.

    great spirit! it radiates from her eyes and smile!


  • Once again you've brought a smile to my face because of these beautiful ladies you capture so well!

  • She is beautiful! Thanks for the cool post.

  • she is realy so precious… look what a beautiful eyes she has i love it

  • she is realy so precious… look what a beautiful eyes she has i love it

  • Old is gold and the old lady is getting fashion freak

  • I love it, I fan, j'adore !!!

  • Love her – 102 years young and full of life and style!

  • The first thing that caught my eye was this woman's beautiful smile. You have such great instincts in choosing people to photograph.

  • Love her! Great photo and story!

  • Love her! Great picture and story!

  • omg, She looks great 🙂 love that look!!! here is my blog

  • thank you for your artistry – you are our eyes, ears and senses on the streets of fashion!

    and yes, you are right; it is the soul that is most compelling for the well dressed…I love France's style.

  • she really made a great style…best part is you created her style more attractive by your narration…Keep it up!!!

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  • What a women, she has more oomph than some people half her age.

  • I am lilu, i am age 77 years old. thank you sir. your post is nice. but you are talented person.

  • wow nice post i like .

  • wow

  • Good news. Old people are also beautiful. And they are very fashionable. Congratulations.

  • What a lovely lady.

  • Frances definitely makes her own style and ironically she is on trend with her beanie and printed dress!!! Great photo Ari!!!

  • Ditto Joni.
    Thanks for posting these remarkable Advanced Style folks!

  • Ari, your senses must be getting more finely tuned to pick up the vibrations Frances was sending out into the universe. At 103, she still has a lot to share with us and we have a lot to learn from her. Fabulous post!
    Jean & Valerie, The IFs

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Ari. I have only just discovered your blogsite while lying in bed recovering from an illness. I am enjoying it so very much and it has inspired me to get into my closet when I am over this setback. Am already seeing some of my old things in a new way and can't wait to put ideas together and get back out there. Thank you beautiful ladies and gentlemen for bringing spring time onto the streets every day of the year.

  • This is one of the most beautiful posts you have done, dear Ari…
    This gorgeous lady is precious, and the joy and vivacity emanates from her eyes and smile…love love love.
    – Irina

  • awww I absolutelly adore You. Dont stop just keep moving forward ! I wish You best of luck – You have my support

  • She is just fantastic. And, she's probably right about the age of her clothes. When you buy good stuff, it lasts.

  • This is such a marvelous post, on my birthday no less. But I'm a paltry 60, as opposed to this amazing woman who strong at 103. Inspiring, as always.

  • This is really a great story to read. These pictures are very inspiring. These show that age don't effect upon the style. The people who love fashion and styles do not leave it even after getting old or aged. I really impressed with this great story and also share this blog with me friends. I am really appreciating your work. Newcastle wedding photography

  • 103! And what an amazing face! Also, she looks so comfortable, and up-to-date.

  • Oh granny!Young in old age.Amazing.

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  • granny granny cool!!!!!

  • An elegant woman! Something we can all aspire to1 thank you for such a wonderful blog!

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  • The photos of old women is really looking live in this picture and I enjoy it very much. mwd pulser