This month I’m reviewing a blog, not a book. It’s one that many readers have recommended to me, and which I’ve been following for some time.
(Disclaimer: if you have no interest whatsoever in the use of clothing and colour as part of a creative personal style, that’s absolutely fine, don’t bother to read this, go do something else.)
Advanced Style, written by Ari Seth Cohen, is devoted primarily to photographs of older women (plus a few men) who dress stylishly. You’ll also find videos, written interviews and blog posts.
I have mixed feelings about it. But before I write about them, here’s what it’s all about, in Ari’s words:
My name is Ari Seth Cohen, the creator of Advanced Style. I roam the streets of New York looking for the most stylish and creative older folks. Respect your elders and let these ladies and gents teach you a thing or two about living life to the fullest. Advanced Style offers proof from the wise and silver-haired set that personal style advances with age.
Now some of my “mixed feelings” are simply down to personal taste and personal priorities. Some of the women appear to be stuck firmly in 1950s air hostess mode, others try far too hard, while still others tip over the precarious line between eccentricity and idiocy (you’ll have to guess which ones!). And the thought of bothering with nail varnish now, let alone at 90, makes me feel quite weary!
I find it slightly disturbing that Ari frequently refers to the women featured in this blog as “ladies”. For example:
I often get asked how the Advanced Style ladies stay so beautiful and active as they age (my emphasis)
This comes across as anachronistic at best and condescending at worst. It seems to me an unconscious nod to the prevailing mores of days before second-wave feminism, when many of us were growing up. I mean really, outside of ballroom dancing, how often recently have you heard women referred to collectively as “ladies”?
Transform the site design already!
Ari’s site is very successful, he’s about to publish a book on the back of it. He must be making money from it. So why oh why is the design such a disaster visually? It looks like he’s just stuck together the first crappy free Blogspot design he came across with no thought to how it would frame his lovely photos. Ari, I beg you, get the site redesigned. Get a proper domain name. Go to WordPress. Make us love the look of your blog as well as the photos in it.
On the plus side, the standard of photography in the blog is fabulous. Just as good as its younger and more famous cousin, The Sartorialist. Given that most of the photos are shot in the street, not in the studio, they really are excellent and full of life.
And the overwhelmingly positive thing about this blog for me is that it’s such enormous fun. The women in it are incredibly positive role-models for anyone interested in clothes and personal style. They all look as if they’re having a whale of a time. Check out this glorious lunacy, for example.
And if you ever needed some encouragement to wear bright colour and put clothes together in new and unexpected ways, this is the place to go. Such joie de vivre.