You run the street style blog Advanced Style. Could you tell us a little bit about the concept and how you came up with the idea?
Advanced Style is a street style blog featuring the lives and looks of stylish seniors. I was best friends with my grandmother growing up and have always had an affinity for older people. I wanted to start a project that would show a positive and inspiring picture of aging.
Is there something that changes in one’s attitude towards fashion with age?
Yes, you no longer have to dress for others or worry what they think. There is a freedom and expressiveness that comes with age.
You don’t just want to document the fashion sensibilities of the 50+ generation. You are aiming to really change the way we look at older people. Why is this so important to you?
Older people are often forgotten and made to feel invisible, yet they have so much to offer.
How has working on Advanced Style changed your opinion of or behavior toward the elderly?
I have always had a positive view of the elderly because of my grandparents. What I have seen in my subjects is how active they still are in their 80s, 90s, and 100s. This has truly inspired me to take better care of myself, so that I can be as vital as they are.
When you approach the ladies on the street. How do they react?
The reactions are always different. Many of the ladies are quiet surprised as they aren’t used to being asked for their photos. I definitely have been yelled at, smiled at, but usually they tell me that I have made their day, which is very gratifying for me.
Do you ever also photograph men?
Yes, definitely. I concentrate more on women because I think they are judged more harshly and unfairly when it comes to aging. Men are called distinguished as they age, but I don’t think society applies the same standards for women.
Has spending so much time on the streets shifted your perspective of the city?
Definitely. It’s a great way to get to know a city, discover new places to hang out, and hear wonderful conversations. I also love the variety of people I see walking by and how everyone has something unique about them.
Being amongst people all the time will get you a clear feel for a city. How would you describe the vibe of NYC?
New York is full of energy. It is sometimes very intense and always inspiring.
What aspect of cities do you think is important for elderly people?
I think it’s important for older people to have access to culture and inspiration. Transportation is key, but also engagement with their communities.
You are currently working on an Advanced Style documentary. Why did you want to make a film?
I wanted to show much more than the style of the incredible women I was meeting in New York. They have such great stories and wisdom to share.
What can we expect from the Advanced Style film?
Lina Plioplyte and I have been filming the Advanced Style ladies for over three years. We started out by making small fashion videos but realized that their life stories and philosophies were too inspiring not to share with a wider audience. We have focused on a select group of ladies who have captured the interest of my readers and who have amazing stories to tell. The film will discuss their lives, careers, styles, and how they feel about death and their newfound fame.