Date Archives September 2010

Freedom of Expression

[Fashion Consultant Tziporah Salamon ]

Another great thing about Advanced Style ,besides the stories behind the clothes, is the freedom with which older people express their personal style. At a certain age there are no more rules to follow, no more dress codes beyond the ones set upon oneself. I have 80 year old ladies email me that they finally feel the freedom and permission to wear colorful socks. Where many might think of this as overly eccentric, I feel it’s a great expression of personality and independent spirit. Just because you are older doesn’t mean you can’t wear bright colors and patterns. When I ask people why they choose to dress in vibrant clothes or color their hair wild shades, the answer is pretty much always the same. It lifts their spirits and the spirits of others and they no longer have to dress to impress other people.

I was recently interviewed by the UK Telegraph about Advanced Style. Here is an excerpt from the piece:

Cohen moved to New York from Seattle and one day, he says, he saw a documentary about an actress called Mimi Weddell, who died last year. She was addicted to wearing hats, and her style credentials were so shimmering she even appeared in Sex and the City. “She was so stylish and elegant in her early nineties,” Cohen says. “She had a sense of personal style and freedom.” The word freedom, I sense, is the key. “Older people wear their clothes with confidence because they no longer have anyone to impress,” he says. “I see more beauty in them. These pictures are not just images. Each one tells a story.” I agree with him. No one, for me, looks more like a woman than an old woman.”One of the best examples of this sense of freedom is 90 year old Ilona Smithkin. She is a fearless lover of color and does things her own way. She has always dressed up, but with time she has learned to be confident in her artistic expression. Advanced Style is about personal style and living life to the fullest. No matter what your style choices are learn from these brave spirits who do it their own way.

The Story Behind Style

There is something about seeing an elegant older man or woman that makes you want to know the story behind their clothes.I think that’s one of the reasons I do what I do. I saw this beautiful woman walking on the Upper West Side the other day, but didn’t have the time to chat with her.
The people I meet are great storytellers and they actually take the time to share their thoughts and experiences with me. As a 28 year old man, this wisdom is invaluable in a world full of texting,twitter,face book and email.

Every time I see a photo of an older man or woman I instantly begin to think about their life, who they have met, what they have done. This is especially interesting in New York where you have so many opportunities for enriching experiences and the chance to meet some many amazing people.

Asking someone about their coat or why they chose to wear a certain accessory can ignite an hour long conversation, a history of New York through the eyes of people who know it best.
My experience with the Steinberg Sisters, back in August 2008 is a great example of how this can work.

My friend Jill and I met the Steinberg sisters while walking around Brighton Beach. The sisters were more than happy to stop for some photos and share some stories with us as well. Both ladies attended FIT when they were younger. They wanted to follow in the footsteps of their father who came from Poland, studied in London and worked in the Garment Industry. They proudly announced that he could, ” Whip up a winter coat in a half an hour.”

We caught the sisters on the way back from a shopping adventure and a trip to the library where they were looking at fashion books. They told us about exciting encounters with several celebrities including Liberace, Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller, Valentino, and Yves Saint Laurent, who they described as a “quiet man”. When I told them how much I admired their style, they replied that their clothes don’t cost much, but that they have many very pretty things.The Steinbergs, who live in the same apartment building a few floors apart, were thrilled to meet us, as they meet few people who they can share their stories with. Check out these wonderful ladies below.

Matching Accessories,Madison Avenue

One of things I admire most about the Advanced Style set is their expert accessorizing. Whether matching a scarf to a blazer or adding a pin and gloves to an outfit, these folks really know how to coordinate and have fun with their clothes. I saw this lady walking down Madison Ave and she reminded me of another lady I photographed, earlier this Summer, in London(see below). Both ladies look absolutely charming and elegant!

A Gentleman’s View On Style

This man was sitting by the tents in Lincoln Center during Fashion Week. I asked him what he thought about fashion and if living in New York influenced him to dress up. He told me that in the morning he puts on whatever is lying around, but walking everywhere and riding the bus forces him to see a lot of inspiring things that inevitably influence him. Many of the older men I talk to tell me that they dress up , not necessarily to be fashionable, but because it is what they have done for years. They come from a time where men wore hats and suits to ride the subway. These traditions have remained and been adapted for today. For these stylish gentleman, dressing up is a reflection of character and pride in their appearance. I hope to one day be as be as dapper as these fellows.

Mary’s Shades

My friend Mary always has the best accessories. At 70, she doesn’t let her age stop her from making a statement in these show stopping red sunglasses. She doesn’t give advice about fashion,believing it to be personal expression, but she did tell me that you have to balance parts of an outfit.She says,” If you are wearing something busy on top, then pair it with simple bottoms.” Its always a pleasure to see Mary and her latest acquisitions. Below is one of the first videos I ever took, not great quality, but a great message.