How to make one piece of clothing work for all ages
Can you really wear the same clothes as your 93-year-old grandmother? Yes, you can – and should. Fashion is finally crossing the age divide. So what are the ingredients of generation-crossing style? Luxe fabrics, hard-working silhouettes, ideal cuts and – as the families in our style portfolio display – a certain individual flair.
A boyfriend jean is an easy style for any woman to wear: they’re timeless
Even if the Hoppen women borrow with abandon, by sticking to a principle they learnt from their mother (‘She always said to have our own sense of style and be adventurous,’ Daisy remembers), the same piece looks different on them all.
Case in point: these jeans. While Daisy shows how to do denim as cocktail attire by pairing hers with a Molly Goddard dress and D’Orsay pumps, they look as apt with a fluid silk top on Jenny or a faux-fur-collared jacket and trainers on Plum.
Long Pleated Skirt: These days, Josephine Clark spends Wednesday nights at home, but in her heyday, weeknights were for balls. Proper, Masonic balls at The Dorchester, with a different cocktail dress or gown for every event – and sometimes fantastical headgear to match.
‘Once I made a tiara out of a lampshade. There were little pearls on it and it was absolutely lovely,’ she recalls.‘A sense of style infiltrated my brain at an early age, thanks to my mum and Nanny,’ says Virginia Norris, the brand strategist and publicist behind Aisle 8. Faith Norris, her mother, agrees. ‘Even when Ginny was little, she was looking for something different.’
The grey Chloé skirt they’re wearing today is the ultimate blank canvas. It’s the kind of item that can ground a bustier and platforms, transforming those pieces into daywear, while also looking fluid with Josephine’s embroidered blouse and Faith’s cosy knit. ‘It’s absolutely lovely and very flattering,’ Josephine says – even without a tiara.
Designer and creative director Alex Eagle’s shops may be retail destinations on an international scale, but when it comes to personal style, she finds inspiration closer to home: from her mother and grandmother. ‘Hugging Ma is delicious, because she always wears cashmere,’ Alex says of grandmother Patricia Alen-Buckley. ‘Even when I was a child and up at 7am, Ma would always be beautifully dressed; it never seemed like any effort.’
Silk Shirt: Gathered in Alex’s Soho loft for the portrait shoot, all three women wear a scarf-neck blouse from Alex’s range (though, technically, Alex opted for the dress version to accommodate her 35-week bump). Alex’s mum, Catharine, says the shirt works on them all because it’s in keeping with the family’s style mantra of ‘fabric, fit, classic with little masculine touches’.
As Alex says, ‘We’re not afraid to invest in something beautiful, we care about the way fabrics feel against our skin, we don’t have wardrobes crammed full of clothes…‘ She reconsiders, laughing. ‘Well, maybe we do, but we all have a uniform.’
Emily Cronin, fashion features editor, The Telegraph UK
As I slid into the chair opposite Darlene, I realized that she embodied the person I wanted to become.
Attitude: Darlene is satisfied (for the moment) in her accomplishments and happy to focus on her goal to visit 100 countries by the time she turns 70. Darlene, age 67, is well on the road to achieving her goal — she’s off to Ethopia this fall.
Passion: After 22 years of working hard running her event production company, she packed it all in and went on an around the world trip with her husband. Darlene started traveling at a young age. Her first trip was in 1972 visiting India and Nepal after the Vietnam war to study Buddhism. Her ideal happiness comes from traveling and being able to ask the question, “What the heck is that”?
Fashion: When our conversation turned to fashion (as it always does with me), Darlene said traveling has been her fashion inspiration. She loves finding interesting fabrics and designs in the world markets. “Vietnam and Korea have the best designs and fabrics!” Our American markets lack creativity and diversity for Darlene, so if she does shop at home it’s at Goodwill, Salvation Army and Thrift Shops!
Age: At 67, How does Darlene stay young? Besides traveling and hanging with her husband and friends, she takes to the water. Twice a week for the past 20 years, Darlene is out on the Bay with her outrigger paddling club.
This Pro-Ager considers herself a “citizen of the world” and is happiest on the road, meeting new people and immerseing herself in different cultures.