Advanced Style – A Fashion Blog that Advances the Image of Women

Picture:  Caitlin Bussey

There are so many great fashion blogs on the web these days, it’s difficult to keep track of them all. One blog that stands out is Advanced Style, which celebrates the fashion flair of older women. 

The blog’s creator, Ari Seth Cohen, roams the streets of New York taking beautifully styled photographs of older people with creative personal style.

The success of this blog has been phenomenal. It attracts around 150,000 visitors a month. It’s featured on television many times, there is an upcoming documentary and Advanced Style coffee table book and colouring book. One of Cohen’s favourite subjects is Ruth, a 100-year-old woman who dresses elegantly every day, exercises daily, travels overseas with her boyfriend and still does Pilates.

There are so many reasons to love this blog, but it’s what it avoids doing as much as what it achieves that makes it so radical.

Advanced Style doesn’t talk down to its readers. Just the opposite – it invites their participation. For the women who regularly showcase their outfits on the blog and have become friends with Cohen, it often becomes a collaboration. Their involvement helps to shape the blog.

There’s hardly a tight forehead in sight. No judgement on those who succumb to ‘enhancement’ such as Botox or plastic surgery, and I’m sure a few of those featured have had the odd nip and tuck, but it’s refreshing to see women who aren’t trying to look young. Instead their aim is to look great and stylish at whatever age they happen to be.

It encourages diversity of expression. Traditionally the only option for the stylish woman as she grew older was to choose the elegant, refined route – pearls, linen, crisp suits and so on. Luckily that no longer applies. The blog includes plenty of traditionally elegant women, but this is just one option. And often a chic line is combined with a bold use of colour and shape to provide eye-catching looks that are both elegant and adventurous; in other words, elegance doesn’t have to be boring.

It encourages creativity and fun. Advanced Style demonstrates that as we grow older, style can become more individualised. These women dress to be noticed, but they also dress for themselves and for creative freedom. The approach is lighthearted. Too often fashion is presented as a serious business. This blog celebrates the creative, fun aspects of fashion.

All this has important implications for both the cultural image and self-image of older women. The point is not to look alluring to a man, but to dress for yourself and, if you are so inclined, to create your look as a work of art. Attention, originality, detail and experimentation are the catchwords here.

This has the potential to lift the confidence and self-esteem of older readers. Not that all readers need such a nudge of course: the women featured in the blog have truly come into their own, and this is where the message to the wider community – that older women are to be respected and their power acknowledged – comes in. (The blog doesn’t exclude stylish men – they are in the minority of course, but some extremely stylish older men are featured.)

Younger readers also get the message that not only is it okay to get and look older, but getting older is an opportunity to grow as a person, and to develop a stronger sense of self. In a sexualised, youth-obsessed culture, these women are role models for younger women.

There are a few drawbacks. Many of the women do wear clothes that are, well, pricey; New York’s well-heeled are not absent from Advanced Style, and sometimes the lifestyle aspects are, ahem, aspirational. However, there’s also a fair bit of upcycling and op shop chic, and plenty of vintage and alternative designers. Overall the blog is refreshingly free of fashion ‘snobbery’.

You don’t have to be rich to gain from this blog. You just have to love the idea of expressing yourself through what you wear – you can do this at any age, of course, but the older you get, the better you’ll get at it.

Advanced Style is not the only blog to celebrate getting older with flair. Pilgrim’sMoonNot Dead Yet Style and The Style Crone are also well worth a look.

Until next time!

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Plastic Surgery Thailand said...

Hello Catherine, I am following all those blogs which you have been mentioned in your post. Thanks for making this post because I usually do not follow the fashion blogs but yup I will read them out.