[Film] Advanced Style – and a contest

The other night we were treated to the new documentary “Advanced Style” based on the New York blog.

From the official site:
Advanced Style examines the lives of seven unique New Yorkers whose eclectic personal style and vital spirit have guided their approach to aging. Based on Ari Seth Cohen’s famed blog of the same name, this film paints intimate and colorful portraits of independent, stylish women aged 62 to 95 who are challenging conventional ideas about beauty, aging, and Western’s culture’s increasing obsession with youth.


It’s an engaging and life affirming film about some very interesting women and how they choose to dress.

Their age is irrelevant though: these are creative people who like to express themselves, and have fun with their look. For them, it’s not about “challenging…ideas about beauty”, it’s about enjoying life.

I liked Joyce Carpati’s attitude: “I never wanted to look young. I wanted to look great.” I’m sure she didn’t wait to reach age 80 before looking fabulous, it’s a way of life for her: an elegant and classic style, she resembles an aristocratic ballet director. Inspirational. She’s like the glamourous grandmother of your dreams – ladies like Joyce used to run finishing schools for young ladies but now thanks to the internet she can inspire us all.

It’s only the young that are surprised that older people can be interesting and stylish – we get so hung up on age, but you are who you are throughout your life, only more so as you get older. You’ve had more time to experiment, to discover yourself and your strengths. You’re less scared (hopefully) of the slings and arrows of others shallow opinions.

Those who are over sixty remember what it was like to dress in the age of hats and gloves, and knew better how to put an outfit together, to dress for your figure and make the most of accessories. Perhaps they’re better educated, well travelled and have developed more life skills purely from having more time to do so?

Some of the ladies in this film are in their prime, and far too young (I thought) to be “Advanced” but the title is a respectful one, even if Ari himself seems to feel as if old age is something that happens to other people. I think it’s easy, when you’re young to feel that there’s a lot of distance between you and your elders but time passes much more quickly than you expect (or would like) and it happens to all of us, assuming we’re fortunate to live that long.

The stars of “Advanced Style” are a reminder that life goes on, and can be as rich as you wish it – they’re a diverse bunch and part of the fun for me was seeing how different they are, and how put together into a group, they’re no more likely to get along than any other bunch of strangers but they share a joy of fashion, a love of colour and texture and are happy to invite us into their world.

Madman have sent me five double passes, valid at most cinemas screening the film around Australia – to win one, please leave a comment about the older woman who inspires you the most – she can be any age, because really, I believe that style is not about age at all, but an attitude. Entries close Saturday midnight and winners will be chosen at random – good luck!

Advanced Style premier 475
The stars of “Advanced Style” at the New York premier, photo reproduced courtesy “Advanced Style” blog.


  1. My grandmother – Annie Mills. She wears bright red lipstick, her wardrobe is full of colour, she has a wicked sense of humour and definitely subscribes to the ethos that age is purely a number. She is very well known in her town of just over 1,000 people in NZ’s South Island. She used to embarrass me as a child as she wasn’t like other people’s nanas but now I am hugely inspired by her and love that she is different. She is mad in the very best possible way.

  2. Hello Nicole!
    I hope you have been well.
    Congrats on your new book first & foremost.
    Advanced Style looks like a wonderful movie!
    The older woman who inspires me the most is
    actually my mother. She has great personal style
    & is looking fabulous at 70+.
    Would love to win a double pass & take mum
    along with me to thank her for being such an inspiration.
    Take care
    Suzi x

  3. Mine would have to be my (now passed) grandmother. She started out in a chorus line during vaudville days and went on to be an awarded actress, singer, dancer, comedian and even ran away with the circus and worked on the high wire. She never followed any fashion “rules” and she was a big woman. She covered herself in her favourite luxury scents, was always coveting the perfect coral lipstick and had bright orange hair into her sixties. Everything seemed to have sequins on it. She lived to be noticed and in her “screw fashion rules” and screw dressing like an “old person” attitude made her my ultimate style icon. (the best resemblance to both her personality & fashion sense is Endora from bewitched). She made me realise that clothing should make you happy and represent your personality.

  4. All of the women in Advanced Style inspire me. They inspire me to look different but be myself. They inspire me to want even brighter hair, to accessorise to the max and to embrace life and live every fabulous moment. It’s not just about the way these women look it’s their whole persona. Like the song says…….some people are old at 43 don’t let it happen to you don’t let it happen to me. I adore all of these women. X Joy

  5. My grandmother, Cira Varraso! She taught me so much about how it wasn’t about what was new and trendy, it was about how it suited your body shape! Classic is always stylish and current! And ofcourse my mum as well (she’s not very old though!!!)

  6. I can’t go past my mother who is now 81 for style. She has always been my inspiration in so many ways but her sense of style, no matter what is perceived to be ‘ín fashion’ has left an indelible mark on my own sense of self and style.

  7. Definitely my boss! She’s a senior scientist and professor in a male-dominated area of research and academia. Not only is she brilliant, but she is glamorous every day. She inspires me to rise above with confidence and have fun with fashion and style.

  8. I am inspired by a heroic woman. She’s not much older than me (I am 49) but her experiences are varied, her vivacity and joy for life is almost unmatched and her taste in fashion is eclectic.

    About five years ago she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and then recently she was diagnosed with secondary cancers. Most mere mortals would be devastated and some would despair and give up, but not my friend and colleague.

    Her fight against cancer has further inspired her fight against the mundane. We never know what she will wear to work next…She may choose a beautiful colour, pattern or fabric – even a combination. She brightens our days with her style and her attitude.

    If I was chosen to receive a pair of tickets, I would give them to my everyday hero. She teaches VET fashion and design at our college, so she would very much love and appreciate seeing this film. This is also a way for me to say thank you for being an inspiration to everyone who knows her.

  9. Oh my gosh. I thought commenters would name well-known people, but no! And now I wish we could attach photos! I wanted to comment on an exquisite elderly Italian couple I saw recently in Fairfield. They were shopping but had dressed in splendid style. He was wearing a smart suit, beautiful (Italian?) shoes and a neat trilby. She was dressed simply but elegantly with great shoes and handbag. Their outfits weren’t dated and yet spoke of a bygone era. They were the epitome of ‘styles change, but style doesn’t’. I remember as a child one would dress like this even when going, on death’s door, to the Doctor. How times have changed!

  10. Thanks for all your entries ladies – I love your stories, it’s great that you have inspiring women in your life (famous or not).

    The winners according to a random number generator are as follows:
    – Miss Fairchild
    – Jeda
    – Elizabeth
    – Sarah
    – Sharon

    I’ll send you all an email – congratulations ladies, I hope you enjoy the film! Thank you, too, to Madman for the tickets.

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