Icons: Modern Gamine

modern gamine style

Lately I’ve been leaning toward simple, sleek looks…Audrey with a modern twist.

peacoat | earrings | top
bag | pants | shoes

I get questions and comments from time to time about “age appropriate” style. I prefer to think in terms of “ageless” style, of finding a look that we can wear through the decades, tweaking as necessary to keep it fresh. One way to achieve this is to develop a style that’s so unique it defies definition. Iris Apfel has done this very well. If that’s your inclination, go for it. For me, something simple, chic and accessible is the goal, and I keep circling back to iconic looks for inspiration. Here’s one example, and I’ll share a few more in upcoming weeks.

How do you define “ageless” style?

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26 Comments

  1. ceeamm
    November 9, 2016 / 3:12 am

    Doing the basics and doing it well 🙂

  2. Sherry
    November 9, 2016 / 3:29 am

    I have had this peacoat (navy) for several years and I wear it all the time. Great selection.

  3. Becky
    November 9, 2016 / 4:49 am

    I love how you have tweaked this look to make it feel fresh and current. I am loving the deep forest green for fall/winter.

  4. Trice
    November 9, 2016 / 5:12 am

    Those Everlane shoes are great.

  5. November 9, 2016 / 5:24 am

    This is my preferred style as well, but I struggle with the shoes when the weather turns colder and I have to give up the ballet flats. I’ll probably stick with ankle boots. I love pea coats–so classic. Ines de la Fressange for Uniqlo just came out with a nice one that I bought a few weeks ago.

  6. bellsonme
    November 9, 2016 / 6:21 am

    In the past I’ve expressed it as “not looking like I’m making a pathetic attempt to dress like I did when I was younger.” Now, I think of ageless style with words like “classic” and “polished.” Also, “mid-Atlantic” which I personally define as American practicality combined with a little Parisian flair.

  7. Kathryn
    November 9, 2016 / 7:21 am

    The word “ageless” means never appearing to grow old. (That’s never going to happen!)
    The word “style” means elegance, sophistication and distinctive look. (Absolutely sisters!)
    And so, in my mind, going for ageless style means mindfully embracing the sophistication and distinctive look that I really like while understanding that as I age, it is my privilege, ( in this ‘first world’ economy in which I live), to do so with fresh and timeless clothes and accessories. I don’t think “age appropriate” comes into play here.
    And perhaps most importantly, this ‘ageless style’ has to be underpinned with the best under-garments possible: self-confidence and joie de vivre.

    Thanks Susan, once again, for your inspiration!

    • Susan B
      November 9, 2016 / 7:52 am

      You’re welcome! I should clarify I’m using ageless here more in line with the second definition (timeless, eternal) or as “non-age-specific.” And yes, confidence and joie de vivre!

  8. Linda B
    November 9, 2016 / 7:50 am

    To me, at 59, ageless means feeling free to dress to please myself–and that means different things on different days. I love the elements pictured in the post and own my own versions (including those fabulous Everlane loafers, except I have them in burgundy.) Some days I wear just the sort of ensemble pictured–classic and tailored. Other days, I let another persona come out and play–my old boho favorites. Sometimes it is a mix.

    Today, I had to choose really favorite things to wear to try to cheer up, because I am pretty devastated from the election results and it was one thing I could think to do to face the day. I am wearing cropped wide leg jeans because denim is my favorite, in so many ways; a black tee (from Everlane, which is a favorite source); a black and white plaid sleeveless dress that I wear as a long vest (that gives a feeling of autumn even in the warm weather of the desert SW); and cognac ankle boots. I popped on an enameled metal golden flower pin that was a Mother’s Day present from my kids a few years back; and fun earrings I bought on a trip to Oregon to see my daughter. My outer layer was a soft, vintage piece of indigo-dyed cotton fabric, that serves as a loose wrap. The ensemble is eclectic and artsy and comfortable, and so very “me”–on a day when I wonder who we all really are.

  9. Pink Azalea
    November 9, 2016 / 8:14 am

    Ageless style means that certain items of clothing look good across the board and can be worn by women of all ages. I’m thinking of the pea coat you showed, a well cut pair of pants, a good jacket, etc. Clothes that are classic but can be tweaked – a mini skirt for a young woman, a knee-length skirt for an older woman. Accessories – shoes, bags, etc.- many choices that, depending on styling and design, could work across a wide range of ages.

  10. Sookee
    November 9, 2016 / 8:24 am

    To be pedantic, ageless of course means to never age…I had to get that off my chest first and foremost. At 53, I am honestly and truly comfortable in my skin and I know that while I am aging on the outside and maturing on the inside, I have embraced a lifestyle that makes me feel good inside and pretty darn good on the outside. After being an adult caregiver for my parents for many years, I figured out that I needed a healthier lifestyle so I wouldn’t wind up like my mother and have a massive stroke at 65 or like my father with dementia brought on by excessively high blood pressure. This revamped lifestyle has been in effect for 13 years. I practice yoga, weight train, mostly eat organic and whole foods, keep our home mostly ‘green’ without any chemicals, and most importantly, I’ve learned to practice both self love and love and gratitude for every new day. While I am saddened by what is happening in our world today, I try to do something positive every single day.

    As for my style; well, when I was younger, my style expressed who I was on the inside as I was horrifically shy and introverted, so from my teen years on my style has been what is now affectionately referred to as Boho Chic and I’ve sort of evolved into a more mature and classy version of that label and have learned to incorporate good quality pieces that defy trends and last for years, hence I am ageless in my opinion. I’ve also learned to maintain a capsule wardrobe of pieces that I am supremely comfortable wearing in a neutral color palette (grey, black, beige, off white) so on any given day and any given situation, I have a pulled together look that I top off with statement pieces like scarves, belts, a piece of jewelry, a unique shoe/boot, etc.

    Here’s my nod to you, Susan B and many other beautiful bloggers of a certain age, who have given me inspiration and validation! Thank you.

  11. Sisty
    November 9, 2016 / 9:23 am

    Brogues! They’re a great solution.

    • Susan
      November 12, 2016 / 1:25 pm

      I second that!

  12. Sisty
    November 9, 2016 / 9:25 am

    I intended this comment as an answer to Leeann, who was wondering what to substitute for ballet flats when the cold weather rolls around.

  13. Lyn Mowles
    November 9, 2016 / 10:59 am

    This look epitomises why I love your blog, Susan. It is so elegant and co-ordinated. I am starting to realise that it is important to keep my look up to date with shoes that are ‘in vogue’ but to base my wardrobe on classic items that can be worn again and again.

  14. Mary
    November 9, 2016 / 11:11 am

    Just love this look…it’s very “me”. I could transport all these items into my wardrobe and feel great every day. Thanks for the inspiration.

  15. Maria
    November 9, 2016 / 11:16 am

    Ohhhhh, just PERFECT !

  16. November 9, 2016 / 6:18 pm

    Susan. I’m so upset at the results of the election that I can’t even think of a comment relatable to Timeless Style. But I DO want to thank you for a wonderful post that took my mind off my misery and brightened my evening. Thank you, Merci and Bonne Nuit!

  17. November 9, 2016 / 7:13 pm

    Great piece. Should gamine style require a great short haircut , a la Breathless? Gamine d’un certain age – I absolutely adore that style. I love the handbag.

    Could this style be translated to a top-heavy retiree with a wool allergy?

    • Susan B
      November 10, 2016 / 7:11 am

      No, I don’t think a short haircut is particularly required here, though I do think something very “done” might look a bit incongruous with this style. 😉

      I think it could absolutely translate…look for tops with more open necklines, and similar jacket styles in fleece or other materials. (And those pants are also available in stretch cotton here: http://rstyle.me/n/b5mjerrdpn
      which I have and love.)

  18. Ellen
    November 10, 2016 / 6:15 am

    Sometimes “ageless style” verges on boring. I am 70, and while I am not Iris Apfel, I also don’t want to look boring, and I don’t want to disappear into the sea of women dressing safely. If I had to label myself, i would call it Boho Senior, or Eccentric Grandma. My life only very rarely calls for “business wear”, I live in a a casual midwestern city, I travel a lot, but only occasionally to European cities; my wardrobe needs to be flexible (and packable), but it doesn’t need to be safe. I will never have access to the clothing that the Accidental Icon owns, but I love her spirit and adventure, and willingness to keep pushing the edges of the box to be ever more adventuresome both in her clothing and her lifestule

    • Susan B
      November 10, 2016 / 6:21 am

      Hi Ellen, I would also consider Accidental Icon to have ageless style, and love how she pushes boundaries.

      • November 10, 2016 / 6:28 am

        Love what you both have to say. I am a total fan of the Accidental Icon, but never will have her budget. (Nor yours, actually, Susan!) But you all inspire me. Thanks so much!

  19. Glenda
    November 10, 2016 / 12:27 pm

    Such an elegant look! Truly ageless, as you said. Also, I am crushing on that purse. Big time!

  20. January 6, 2017 / 11:28 am

    I am around young fashionistas often, due to my line of work. I find that I feel ageless (and flattered) when one of them complements me on my style.
    Having said that, I strive to develop a fine blend of current fashions (that I find interesting) and ones that fit properly, combining them with pieces I already own and love. I suppose this would comprise my definition for ageless style.

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