Three 80-Year-Old Women Tell Us What They've Learned About Style

Three 80-Year-Old Women Tell Us What They've Learned About Style

Some things never go out of fashion. In our May issue photographer Martin Parr captured this season's hottest gems on the coolest older ladies, whilst the ladies themselves let us in on their top style tips.

At what age in your life have you felt the most stylish?
Jane: "Now – age 80! I don’t feel threatened by anyone or anything now"
Wendy: "For me it was in the 1960s when I was in my twenties, I felt good, I was working in fashion and I always felt stylish"
Jean: "Age 40, I felt so sophisticated"

Which piece of clothing in your wardrobe have you had the longest?
Jane: "A pair of black accordion pleated culottes that I bought in the 1960s – probably from C&A! But I must admit…I've got dresses in my wardrobe with the tag still on that I bought about 30 years ago."
Wendy: "I've got a red silk puff sleeve Bellville Sassoon evening gown that I had in the 1980s that I still love to wear"
Jean: "A black leather skirt that belonged to my mother in law given me to me in 1980"

Tell us about the piece of jewellery you've had the longest. Where does it come from?
Jane: "A beautiful pearl necklace that an aunt left for me"
Wendy: "A butterfly brooch with pearls and turquoise from my mother"
Jean: "An Amethyst gold ring that belonged to my mother, that was given to me when I was 21. She died in 1936."

What do you think has changed about the way young women dress today as opposed to when you were in you twenties?
Jane: "They were in hot pants then and they are in hot pants now - it hasn't really changed that much!"
Wendy: "It's good that people are more casual today people were in gloves and hats when I was in my twenties!"
Jean: "When I was in my twenties clothes were still rather drab. It was 1953 when I was in my twenties, so post war, everything was plain and un-inspiring. Today I would say fashion is a lot more fun and trendy, but maybe a little untidy!"

Which item in your wardrobe never lets you down?
Jane: "A scarf or pashmina to dress up any outfit."
Wendy: "A white skirt and black top"
Jean: "A black trouser suit/tuxedo with a white silk shirt. You can wear it anywhere and it shows off fur or jewellery spectacularly."

If you were to give your 21-year-old self a single piece of style advice what would it be?
Jane: "Find your colour! And if you feel good, you most probably look good too!"
Wendy: "Dress appropriately for where you are going"
Jean: "Finishing touches add flair – whether you are wearing jeans or channeling a gypsy look scarves and adornment add interest." 

Favourite piece from today's shoot?
Jane: "It had to be the Valentino orange kaftan – it was very forgiving and I felt FABULOUS!"
Wendy: "The Etro trousers were to die for!"
Jean: "The silk turban with the amazing brooch"

Photographs by Martin Parr

Interview by Hannah Vere

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