The 3 Style Rules Iris Apfel Still Follows After 101 Years

Photo: Iris Apfel/Instagram.

Iris Apfel is an absolute force. At 101 years old, the fashion mogul is busy. She’s busy pulling together fabulous looks, launching a clothing collab, a glasses collab and now, a makeup collab. You know what she says — more is more and less is a bore. The “geriatric starlet” (her self-appointed nickname) has influenced multiple generations of maximalist lovers, breaking down ageist stereotypes one oversized pair of frames at a time.

Born in Queens, New York in 1921, Apfel turned her fashion dreams into a reality in 1950 when she opened and ran the international fabric company, Old World Weavers, alongside her late husband Carl Apfel.
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Decade upon decade, the outspoken woman has never shied away from a bold style and makeup look. Unlike the rest of us, she famously veered away from sweatpants during the pandemic. Instead, her signature style sees her happily clashing and layering eclectic pieces. It's not only her eye-catching looks that have caught the attention of the public, but her unabashed and unequivocal truth bombs she's known for dropping.
Like a good wine, wisdom ripens with time. So ahead of launching her collaboration with Ciaté London, we spoke to the fashion icon to hear some of her best style secrets. 

On creating your own aesthetic

“I think you stay original by being yourself, not falling into the trap of following trends and trying to be like everybody else, look[ing] like everybody else and say[ing] what everybody else is saying. If you know yourself and you stay true to yourself — I think that's the answer.”

On breaking fashion rules

“I always dressed for myself. I don’t care what anybody thinks. I’m not a rebel and I don’t do these things to shock anybody. Everyone should feel confident express[ing] their personality or mood through how they present themselves to the world and have fun while doing it. That’s what I’ve always tried to do.”

On her ever-evolving style 

“My beauty and make-up style has grown along with me. As I've grown and evolved so has my beauty style. I love wearing brightly-coloured lipstick, and interesting eyeshadow colours to complement the fashion I wear."
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Image supplied by Ciaté London.
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