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Omaha Magazine

Express Your Creative Self

Apr 25, 2013 10:32AM ● By Bailey Hemphill
This is my third of a series of advice articles for women 60+ who want to style themselves fashionably and age-appropriately. In my first article, I gave women guidelines and a must-have list of fashions and separates that work in any wardrobe and could be personalized with accessories. In the second article, I talked about the fact that there are no rules in fashion, just relationships…meaning you can make almost everything work if you know how to properly coordinate and accessorize.

Now, it’s time to address the women over 60 who are not comfortable dressing like their counterparts…the ones who have a want and need to express their unique selves through fashion. These are the women who don’t care what their friends are wearing because they dress for themselves. Women who have advanced style, which is also the title of a blog and recently released book by Ari Seth Cohen.

Advanced style has stunning photos of older women—some into their 90s—all dressed to express and entertain themselves. They don’t all look good because there’s a fine line between fabulous and foolish. In New York, many creatives of all ages dress on the wild side every day! They keep Bill Cunningham of The New York Times dashing from one corner and event to the next so that he can photograph them for his New York Times stories and videos. The harmony of exceptional clothes, attitude, and flair makes them interesting and attractive.

I love being creative with pieces I know are exceptional. If you have the flair, the right pieces, and the courage to dress as a work of art, do it! But it’s not easy to do it right. Most people spend years collecting before they have enough to work with. You don’t just go out shopping one day and find amazing, one-of-a kind designs in Omaha, or anywhere, and internet finds worth having can be costly and not guaranteed to fit. Another very important thing is that if the pieces you play with are not quality, you end up looking like a clown rather than a woman of advanced style.

It was fun styling me for my picture (above). The hat is one I bought in 1981. I designed and made the silk taffeta jacket in 1983. I had the gloves custom made in New York in 1985. The skirt is the bottom half of a dress I designed and made in 1997. Each piece individually looks proper in my everyday wardrobe. Together, they become artistic expression!

Think about the following quotes from the book. They’re all true.

“It always pays to invest in quality. It never goes out of style.”

“Style is about the right clothes, the right jewelry, the right know-how, and the right attitude.” “Fashion says ‘me too,’ style says ‘only me.’”

If this is what you’re about, go for it at any age!

I welcome your feedback and invite you to send questions to [email protected].

Mary Anne Vaccaro lives in Omaha. She designed and made couture clothing for an international clientele of professionals and socialites of all ages. She created ready-to-wear collections that were sold from her New York showroom, and she designed for the bridal industry. She designed for three Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation Balls and ran a fashion advertising business in five states for a number of years. Invisible Apron® is one of several products that she has designed and developed. She still designs for select clients and works as an image consultant, stylist, personal shopper, and speaker on the subjects of fashion, art, and style. For more information, visit or call 402-398-1234.

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