Ageless Like Them

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I love stories about splendid women of a certain vintage who are slipping the petty conventional bonds of age. Their techniques for getting and staying splendid, the years be damned, are inspiring – and can be mastered by almost any woman.

Here are some, gleaned from three age-defying splendidas currently in the headlines:

Iris Apfel, 93-year-old style sensation:

  • Have money.
  • Make more money.
  • Have a husband who couldn’t agree with you more.
  • And helps make even more money.
  • Don’t have children.
  • Don’t have to run a household.
  • Have decorating clients like the White House.
  • Live at home in style till you drop, with a platoon of staff and two guys to help you walk.
  • Have houses with enough room for everything you ever bought.
  • Never stop shopping.
  • The older you get, the more things you should wear at once.
  • Never fewer than six mismatched colours, a dozen pieces of clothing and a couple of pecks of jewelry.
  • When in doubt wear everything in your closet.
  • Make sure those two guys are always available to help you walk.
  • Don an orange monkey coat, clashing pants, shoes, hose, gloves, scarf etc., thirty hunks of unmatching jewelry, and eyeglasses that look like you’re wearing a gas mask.
  • Have the balls to look people in the face and say: I have great style.
  • Have the sangfroid to keep a straight face when they say it to you.
  • Keep on keeping on having money.
  • The nub: Plain and shameless with money at 93 is way better than gorgeous without.

Gloria Steinem, 80-year-old activist-beauty sensation:

  • Have money.
  • Float pictures of yourself at each decade saying “This is what 30/40/50/60/70/80 looks like.”
  • Serenely but firmly ice anyone who says, “Uh-uh; this is just what Gloria Steinem looks like.”
  • Don’t have children.
  • Make more money.
  • Give out or have acolytes give out that you and your hair remain preternaturally perfect solely because of genetics.
  • Say you’re not against plastic surgery and would certainly go for it if you ever happened to need it.
  • Make sure your nails are done when you make the feminist power fist.
  • Lead the poor, but don’t live like them.
  • Don’t date obscure/non-rich men.
  • Don’t get married or if you do, keep it short.
  • Don’t stop having money.
  • The nub: Gorgeous with money at 80 is way, way better than gorgeous without.

Hillary Clinton, 70-year-old grandmother-presidential candidate sensation:

  • Have money, of course.
  • Go into a profession that makes money.
  • Marry a man who becomes president.
  • And makes lots of money.
  • Ignore what else he does.
  • Distance yourself but don’t dump his valuable name when you go into politics.
  • Make sure he’s there to wow your lady constituents.
  • Make a virtue of shiny pantsuits.
  • A strong confident female leader can show a bit of cleavage.
  • Don’t ever have been a housewife.
  • Don’t ever have been a full-time mom.
  • But make sure your daughter finally fixes that hair of hers.
  • If at first you don’t succeed in politics, try try try again.
  • You can afford to, because apart from a campaign chest, you…
  • Have lots and lots of money.
  • Use the grandmother thing as political fodder.
  • But never be or look anything like an actual one.
  • Through genetics; money has nothing to do with it.
  • The nub: Shiny pantsuits with power and money at 70 are way, way, way better than shiny pantsuits without.