An Afternoon Stroll with Dancer Jacquie “Tajah” Murdock

[Photos: Ari Seth Cohen, Text: Maayan Zilberman]

We first introduced you to the regal and statuesque 80-yr-old Jacquie Tajah Murdock earlier this season, when Ari met her while walking in Manhattan. She was casually dressed in rolled up trousers and a Chanel-like baby blue jacket. You were all so taken with her elegance that we thought it would be extra special if we brought you a more in depth look at her wardrobe, and showed you what inspires her.

Jacquie, or “Tajah” as she is also called, was one of the original jazz dancers at the Apollo Theater and Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, a part of her life you’d find hard to miss if you visit her apartment in the Village. Her most vivid memories are of these times, dancing with some of the greats and being photographed in gowns of every fabric, length, and color…. She tells us that she has always loved fashion, and describes her personal style as “glamorous”, and “just being me”. Some of you may think “just being me” is more flamboyant if you have the heart of a dancer, but for Jacquie, dressing up can mean anything from a splash of rhinestones on the lapel of a collar to a wide rimmed summer hat while strolling through the courtyard.

Jacquie loves wearing flowers in her hair like Billie Holiday. She also loves her white petticoat, which once worn as a layer of a dance costume, now appears as an everyday spring “peasant style” skirt.

She insists that this look is not complete without her Kangol hat to match the coral suit.
“It’s what all the younger women are wearing these days, I see them out in the Village with this kind of hat.” Jacquie loves to thrift shop, (where she got this designer ensemble), but admits she likes very expensive things too… “though price has nothing to do with it!”

We love how Jacquie has all of her inspirations around her, like an artist who creates a mood around them.

Jacquie’s smile shone brightest when we sat out on her new balcony and talked about how dressing up makes her feel. We were especially excited to hear how she shares the same ideas some of us at Advanced Style like to address… that dressing up and playing with clothes and color and accessories can be healing as you age. Jacquie emphasizes education, it being a big part of staying true to yourself and your style as you mature. We applaud her, and look forward to learning more!