This week was literally all about powerful women in my life that just kept showing up. The Queen herself, Beyonce, live and in concert!
Serena Williams on the cover of InStyle as #1 in the badass women addition. When asked what it takes to be a badass, she stated: “Confidence. Some who’s a badass is incredibly confident and unapologetically herself. She doesn’t care what other people think but in a positive not negative way, standing up for yourself and others”.
Minette Riordan on how making money isn’t a bad thing. Did you know that female entrepreneurs are starting business at a rate 1.5x what men are, but are failing at a much higher rate? Yes, her mission is to understand why and help women find the success that she has. Pretty awesome!
And of course, the lovely lady pictured above, Iris Apfel. She is one of my favorite finds of the week. A fashion and design icon. An incredible leader for women. Living her life in full color. I have a new fascination with her. Which means yes, I have already ordered her book, watched her documentary and studied her top 10 life lessons below. What an incredible women, amazing advice for women everywhere. I aspire to be as cool as her.
1. Don’t obsess over your age
“I never think about my age. Maybe that’s the ticket. I never think about it — it’s a passing thought. It’s just a number. … I’ve found that work is very healthy for me. I love what I do and I put my heart and soul into it,” she says.
It’s true, “Gettin’ old ain’t for sissies,” Apfel admits. But so what? “You start falling apart, but you just have to buck up and paste yourself together. You may not like getting older, but what’s the alternative? You’re here. Embrace it. I say put your experience to work, to give something back to other people.”
2. Pick a partner who celebrates your successes
“Everyone he ever touched knows he was truly a Gentle Man,” Apfel writes of Carl, who died in 2015 at the age of 100. “His humor and generosity were legendary. We did almost everything together. His encouragement and unwavering support made this book possible. He pushed me into the limelight and then basked in my success. He got much more of a kick from the accolades I received than I did. I miss him madly. Sleep well, sweet prince.”
3. When something excites you, go for it
“I never expected people to know my name or recognize my face. I never expected to be called a fashion icon. I never expected museums to exhibit my clothing and accessories. I never expected to be a cover girl or the face of a cosmetics company in my nineties….” Apfel writes. “I never expected anything. I just feel things in my gut and I do them. If something sounds exciting and interesting I do it — and then I worry about it later. Doing new things takes a lot of energy and strength. It’s very tiring to make things happen, to learn how to master a skill, to push fears aside. Most people would rather just go with the flow; it’s much easier. But it’s not very interesting.”
4. “To stay young, you have to think young”
“When you get older, as I often paraphrase an old family friend, if you have two of anything, chances are one of them is going to hurt when you get up in the morning. But you have to get up and move beyond the pain. If you want to stay young, you have to think young. Having a sense of wonder, a sense of humor, and a sense of curiosity — these are my tonic,” she says. “They keep you young, childlike, open to new people and things, ready for another adventure. I never want to be an old fuddy-duddy; I hold the self-proclaimed record for being the World’s Oldest Living Teenager and I intend to keep it that way.”
5. Care about your own opinion above anyone else’s
“I never tried to fit in. It’s not that I went out of my way to be a rebel or do things that were not socially acceptable — unfortunately, I did have to learn how to play bridge when I was younger — but I learned early on that I have to be my own person to be content,” she says.
“If you have to be all things to all people, you end up being ‘nothin’ to nobody.’ The way I dress may be ‘different’ or ‘eccentric’ to some who feel the need to label, but that’s of no concern to me. I don’t dress to be stared at; I dress for myself. When you don’t dress like everyone else, you don’t have to think like everyone else.”
6. But don’t isolate yourself, either
“Here’s the critical part: I know I’m not an island, but rather part of the main, to paraphrase [the poet] Mr. John Donne. I fit in, but in my way. I have never been much of a conformist on any front, actually, and it hasn’t hurt me yet in my ninety-some years, so I think I’ve been doing something right…But if you don’t try to be part of things, forget it. That’s when your originality is going to work against you. Fit in first and then step out. There is a difference between being perceived of as original and being accepted, even loved for it, and being perceived as different and resented for it. You can have your cake and eat it, too.”
7. Money doesn’t buy success
“If you’re happy, have found love, are surrounded by good people, doing what you like and giving back to others, that’s success. Selling your soul for a buck is not worth the real price you pay — not to me, anyways,” says Apfel.
8. Style is not about spending money
“Style is not about wearing expensive clothes. You can have all kinds of money and have no style at all. You can be dressed in the latest couture, shod in ten-thousand-dollar shoes and be baubled to the nines, and look like a Christmas tree,” she writes. “It’s not what you wear but how you wear it.
“I’m just as happy to wear bangles that cost me three dollars as I am to wear valuable pieces — and I like to mix high and low, putting things together to wear as the spirit moves me. When you try to hard to have style, you look uncomfortable, like you’re wearing a costume, like the clothes are entering the room before you do. If you’re uptight, you won’t be able to carry off even a seemingly perfect outfit. If that’s happening, I say abandon the whole thing. It’s better to be happy than well dressed.”
9. Start new endeavors with one small step
“You only fail if you do not try,” says Apfel.
“I never thought that I couldn’t do something because I was a woman. I wanted to start a fabric business, so I just figured out how to do it. If I and thought about opening Old World Weavers too much, I probably wouldn’t have pursued my dream. Sometimes you just have to take action, even if it is a small step. In my ninety-some years of walking planet Earth, I have applied this philosophy to living — and dressing — and it has never steered me wrong.”
10. Don’t pretend you are younger than you are
“There’s nothing wrong with wrinkles. When you’re older, trying to look years younger is foolish, and you’re not fooling anyone. When you’re seventy-five and you get a face-lift, nobody is going to think you are thirty,” she says.
From Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon by Iris Apfel; photograph of Iris Apfel by Daniela Federica, courtesy of Blue Illusion. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2018 by Iris Apfel.