Iris Apfel is a style icon, a tastemaker and a true sartorial original. Initially a decorator (some of her most significant jobs were to redecorate the White House), Iris Apfel has captivated the minds and hearts of many due to her incredible style. Colorful, youthful and always surprising, Iris Apfel is a true jewel of her time.
For decades she has gathered a collection of accessories and clothes that she loves to wear. In 2005, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York unveiled an exhibition dedicated to Apfel’s timeless style. The exhibition became highly successful.
Now in her 90s, Iris is always a front row guest at fashion shows and has redefined the concept of “dressing for your age”.
Here are 18 quotes from one of our favorite ladies, from which we’ve learned more than from an encyclopedia.
“You don’t find out who you are unless you work at it.”
“Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. The key to style is learning who you are, which takes years. There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s about self-expression and, above all, attitude.”
“I say, dress to please yourself. Listen to your inner muse and take a chance.”
“I was never hurt by what anybody said about my clothes, because I dress to please myself. If somebody doesn’t like what I’m wearing, it’s their problem, not mine.”
“You don’t have to look like an old fuddy-duddy, but I believe it was Chanel who said, ‘Nothing makes a woman look so old as trying desperately hard to look young’. I think you can be attractive at any age. I think trying to look like a spring chicken when you’re not makes you look ridiculous.”
“Style is attitude, attitude, attitude!”
“I just never want to completely grow up.”
“I do have a dominant shopping gene but, unlike a reasonable person, I never plan for what I need each season. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt, the discovery and the endless search. In another creation I was, perhaps, a hunter/gatherer. After all these years, I’ve learned that it’s not the end result or finished product but the process I most enjoy. If my experimenting, searching and juxtaposing turns into an exciting outfit well, it’s just a big fat bonus!”
“If you hair is done properly and you’re wearing good shoes, you can get anyway with anything.”
“I think jewelry can change an outfit more than anything else. Transformation, punch, individuality: One or all of the above are why you should wear jewelry.”
“There’s different shopping in Paris than there is at a bazaar in Istanbul, but they’re all wonderful.”
“You learn as you grow up, if you’re intelligent – or even three-quarter witted – that there’s no free lunch. You pay for things in various ways. Living, loving, everything else is a matter of the same principles: you learn to work with what you have.”
“The fun of getting dressed is it’s a creative experience.”
“It’s more important to be happy than well-dressed.”
“My look is either very baroque or very Zen – everything in between makes me itch.”
“You can’t try to be somebody you’re not; that’s not style.”
Iris Apfel’s style is definitely a true lesson in beauty. Her way of mixing things and always styling clothing and accessories in a way that is unique is something we can all use as a great source of inspiration. Moreover, the fact that her way of being and her environment are as much of a reflection of her as Iris’ clothes are is a true testament of how true style connects all the dots in your life.
Fraquoh and Franchomme
P.S. We want to hear from you! Which is your favorite Iris Apfel quote? Have you seen the documentary based on her life? How does Iris inspire you? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!