When does loving fashion end? At what point do you need to “grow up” and stop being adventurous in what you wear? I definitely had an age limit in my mind for fashion and I’m sure a lot of you do too but someone special made me dramatically reconsider that notion…This is my Grandma Joann… and to put it lightly – she is my fashion icon. This woman has a new colorful pair of glasses every time I see her, she always has on the most unique pieces of jewelry and her shoes are to die for. This woman not only knows how to create a perfect wardrobe but she also exudes a confidence that I one day hope to achieve. She is never afraid to rock a bold pattern and assembles the most unique pieces of clothing. She is a one of a kind woman and her clothing reflects that.
So how did she come to be such a fashionista? “I couldn’t afford clothing like this when I was your age. My family never had much growing up so it wasn’t even a thought in my mind.” My grandma never had it easy growing up but she lives her life with such grace and joy knowing that ‘All is Gift.’ She and my grandpa love each other so profoundly and it has been so beautiful for me to see growing up knowing what real love looks like. A love that isn’t based in lust or beauty or anything of this world. A love that sees the person and wishes the best for him/her even if it’s hard. A love that is selfless and can simply be without any insecurities or fears. It’s a love I hope to achieve one day. I don’t know if you have ever heard of the woman, Iris Apfel, but if you haven’t you should definitely look her up. She is 96 years old and has been my fashion inspiration since freshman year of college. One day I randomly commented to my grandma that her glasses reminded me of her and I knew from her reaction that we had reached a whole new level of friendship.
For her, she loves Iris because she only buys pieces that she likes and is never afraid to try something bold. My grandma, like Iris, is fully herself in everything she wears, something she wants to share with all of you, “My fashion advice is to be yourself. Choose clothing that looks good on you, not on your friends.” Fashion isn’t about trends or what other people are wearing or how something looks on something else. If you live your fashion experience in comparison to others then it will always be stressful and you will never find joy in it. Yes, those pants are the latest trend and a lot of women look great in them, but that is okay if they aren’t made for your body type. That doesn’t mean that you are overweight or less than the other women, it simply means that God has designed your beauty in a unique way and you have the gift of finding out how to dress it. So where does my grandma find all these unique and beautiful pieces? “Search out a small clothing store with an owner who does the buying. If she is good at fashion she will be truthful about what looks good on you and will buy with her clients age and taste in mind! (Not oversell her merchandise).” And if you can’t find that, start going to flea markets and thrift shops like Iris does. Find a bold piece of jewelry or a fun top or pants and try to rock it this next week.
I’ve always been close to my Grandma Joann but it was through discovering our shared love of fashion that we really started developing a friendship like it never has been before. It’s crazy how fashion opened a door to dancing crazy together at weddings, talking about life, and living fearlessly together. She has truly been a gift to our family and her sense of style is one I shall always look to.