Iris Apfel is fashion in it’s truest form. She embodies endless curiosity, creativity, playful delivery and understanding of the entire industry itself. At the age of 95, Iris continues to this day to hit the streets with a style that inspires humans over the entire planet. The most remarkable and undeniable thing about Iris isn’t just that she was an incomprehensible success in her business with interior design, nor is it her work within the fashion industry or the education of up and coming artists. What is so special about Iris is the fact that she unshakably values human qualities and ideologies that are lost on so many of us in this pew-pew modern world.
Iris Apfel is the female ambassador for individuality and the idea that you are what is in your heart and not on your face. Iris Apfel is the perfect Devil/Angel combination to always place on your shoulder to guide you through your days on this planet and that. She has the ability to wheel you in the direction of integrity and true ‘follow your goddamn heart’ spirit. Who gives a flying popsicle, be you and be you good.
1. She doesn’t encourage the pack mentality. Discourage is the word.
With the world and communication getting faster and faster, we are getting our hands on the latest fashion trends the second they come off the runway- at affordable prices. While it is wonderful that all of us can get a taste of these fashionable pieces/so-hot-right-now items, the whole easy-access thing is kind of killing the creativity. My mother’s teens consisted of her snooping her afternoons away in second hand stores and fabric shops in order to take home and create her own looks and wardrobe. It took time and work and reflection. Dressing oneself is an opportunity for expression of your inner workings. If you dress like her and she dresses like you… what of yourself are you giving exactly? Play with fashion and disregard the local mags. They are cramping your style! Bikini Body Guide can now be filed under the ‘bullsh*t you don’t need’ category. Your style is an expression of who you are- go out and have fun with it and never push yourself into wearing trends just because the cool kids are into it. Feel happy in it, feel comfy in it and you’re good to go.
When you don’t dress like everyone else you don’t have to think like everyone else.
2. She doesn’t value pretty.
Iris knows that in life you have to work to earn what you have. If you spend you life working solely on your exterior and placing your self worth on that of your own youthful beauty, you shall grow old and be left with nothing. Work for your dreams, follow your heart and read a goddamn book. Looks are not forever. Point your money towards your brain and you will be investing in a future that lacks that bullsh*t pressure of judging yourself based on how high your tits sit.
I never felt pretty, I don’t feel pretty now; I’m not a pretty person. I don’t like pretty, so I don’t feel badly. And I think it worked out well, because… when you’re somebody like myself, in order to get around and be attractive, you have to develop something, you have to learn something, and have to do something, so you become a bit more interesting. And when you get older, you get by on that. Anyway, I don’t happen to like pretty. Most of the world is not with me, but I don’t care.
3. She breaks rules and absolutely never makes them.
I saw this lovely article the other day on 24 Things Women over 30 Should Wear and I had a sweet, little cackle. We wear clothes to represent our inner selves and identities that we choose to expose and disclose to the lucky few who get to gain the experience of our presence on the daily. Style rules or commandments are a big middle finger to what your heart says and feels, and Iris knows not to bow down to those silly deities.
I don’t have any rules, because I’d only be breaking them.
4. At the end of the day- shes knows its always better to be happy. Choose to be happy.
What is with this whole idea of ‘no pain, no gain’ when it comes to beauty? We wear things in order to make ourselves feel more. More ourselves, more fabulous and more more more in touch with our own individuality. You would never wear pink if it were your least favourite color… so why wear something that actually makes you feel shitty? Iris may never make any rules, but she does follow the school of happy thought. As in: do what makes you so.
If it’s going to stress you out to have a sense of style, don’t do it. The important thing is to be comfortable so you can get on with your life. But I do feel — people miss a lot, if that’s how they approach style. They miss out on this whole creative experience.
You have to look in the mirror and see yourself. If it feels good, then I know it’s for me. I don’t dress to be stared at, I dress for myself.
5. Shes sees beauty in the simple and real things.
Iris isn’t going to fool you and tell you that the only way that you may ever gain true inspiration as a fashionista/artiste is to douse your pubis with a warm trickle of honey whilst lying in a pile of freshly cut lilacs post passionate coitus. No. She sees her life, her existence and her relationships as the simple joy and source for all happiness and inspiration. What is more real and more beautiful than just being alive. Iris says: nuttin’ fool.
I am inspired by everything around me. It’s not like I stand out on the moors or any of that romantic crap they throw around. I’m just inspired by being alive and breathing and meeting people and talking to people and doing things and absorbing what’s happening. I think if more people did that, there would be better fashion.
6. She believes in knowing who you are. But knows it can be tough.
Iris knows that under no circumstances can someone tell you who you are. You must spend all day and endless nights tirelessly pursuing that knowledge, and no, there is no 1,2,3 step method. We live in this insane world where we can never ever truly be alone with ourselves to really get down to the nitty gritty. The old dirty and not so dirty truths about ourselves are buried in daily trips to the supermarket and a swirling tornado of text messages and news feeds and cat videos. So, spend the time. Sit with yourself to ponder. The faster you know who you are and what you want, the faster you can actually just go get it. Uhhhhh.
To find out who you are is like putting yourself on a psychiatric couch, but you have nobody to help you. Really it isn’t easy. I was talking with my nephew this morning and he gave me one of the best quotes I’ve heard in years, ‘Personal style is curiosity about oneself.’
7. She’s always learning and she LOVES it.
Iris knows that life is all about growing and learning with every new experience and person. You can never reach a point in your life when you have learned enough about people, about places and about yourself. We are ever growing beings and it is basically in our DNA to develop, change and constantly evolve. If you actively stop that process, your petals will wilt as will your imagination. Learn (Rock) on!
If you don’t learn constantly, you don’t grow and you will wither. Too many people wither on the vine. Sure, it gets a little harder as you get older, but new experiences and new challenges keep it fresh.
8. She doesn’t waste time worrying about whether people support or agree with all her decisions.
The big decisions in our life, and in most cases even the smaller ones, should always come down to our very heart and soul. Yes, consider others. Yes, be generous and YES be kind…. but you are always going to be the one to live with it. Learn to do what thrills you and to do it without looking over your shoulder for approval. Ask yourself- do I want this? Answer yourself. Ask again. And the conversation goes on. You must feel in your heart that you are saying and doing exactly what you feel to be right with you. Right for you. Glove and hand. Pea, pod. Going to bed as a portrayal of your identity rather than who you truly are is not only disappointing, but to the very core it is exhausting. Do your own thing, grow in your own way and be true to your ticker.
I don’t care what people think…I learned a long time ago…I was 19 and had a very traumatic experience….and I learned that I have to go to bed with myself at night and that I have to please myself…and as long as I don’t go out of my way to offend anybody that I love, upset my mother or my husband…I’ll do my own thing. And if the public doesn’t like it, it’s their problem, not mine.
Iris is an inspiration to all of us, and if you are ever interested in learning more about the miraculously fabulous life she has lived then most definitely check out her documentary.
Who is your secret best friend/style icon/ life and general living icon? Let us all know, and I shall let you know… how cool your furry brows look today. Bye!
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