AND NOW, A SYDNEY STYLE FILE
The portfolios of women’s style in Paris and London by Rachel Ward and Maggie Alderson, respectively, have been lovely and inspiring to behold.
But they also got me thinking: hang on a minute, what about Australian women?
I moved back to Sydney last year after 30-plus years away in New York and London, and among the many impressive changes I’ve noticed since returning is the effortless style I see among women who are past the age of dressing according to the latest fads.
There are plenty of older Sydney women who overdo it, of course, with their brassy highlights, drum-tight foreheads and puffy trout pouts. But from where I’m sitting, they appear to be in the minority. I am constantly spotting gorgeous grown-ups who look casually chic, confidently cool and just plain comfortable in their own skin. So let’s celebrate our own natural style.
I spotted Donna as I was leaving the Saturday market by the El Alamein Fountain in Kings Cross and practically chased her down the street to get her photo – which she told me absolutely made her day.
First of all, I just love the way she owns her white hair, which she wore pulled back in a neat, high ponytail. And her style – just cool as hell. “I call it my ageing rock-chick look,” she laughs.
Donna’s outfit is a who’s who of high-street-meets-designer hip: Mango leather jacket, J Brand jeans, Gucci belt, Converse sneakers and “an old black turtleneck, which I wear every day – not the same one, of course.” I admire her perfect market-morning bag, which is by Bally. “A hands-free bag is a must for women who have to grab 12-year-olds before they run away,” she admits.
Donna says her fashion icon is New York’s legendary nonagenarian style guru Iris Arpfel. “She rocks the leopard really well.”
In my neighbourhood in Elizabeth Bay, Norma has constantly caught my eye.
She was tickled pink when I finally approached her to discuss her style – which, as it happens, is entirely appropriate. Norma is always elegantly turned out in impeccable clothes accented with a pop of pink that works beautifully with her frosty silver-white hair and peaches-and-cream complexion. She paints her lips and nails to match as well. “I love pink,” she says. “It makes me feel good.”
Norma loves her classic labels: Her coat is by Trent Nathan, her pumps by Ferragamo and her bag is Gucci.
I love the way her burgundy gloves, also by Ferragamo, and double-strand pearls polish off her smart, sophisticated look. While Norma admits the details are very important to her, I suggest her best accessory is the fact that she’s always smiling. “I like to be happy,” she says with a gentle laugh, “because I don’t want to be a grumpy old lady.” She is my new role model.
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