Geriatric starlets

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Meet the new breed of style makers (who’ve been around the block a few times).

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Photo courtesy of Madman Entertainment

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As Coco Chanel so eloquently put: “Fashion changes, but style endures” – a philosophy no better embodied than by New York’s silver-haired, oversized eyebob touting fashion icon Iris Apfel. And it would seem that the leading lady of Iris, a documentary directed by the late and great Albert Maysles, has an Australian counterpart – fellow veteran stylista and antiques dealer, Sarah Jane Adams.

“Iris is truly a unique individual, a woman who has had a remarkable life and who seems quite bemused by her new found fame at the age of 93,” says Sarah. “She truly believes that life should be fun, and that we should take on opportunities that come our way, with gusto and courage.”

With a penchant for Adidas Originals (that has the activewear giant saluting, and often reposting Sarah’s snaps on their feed), this “Instagram It Girl” has the world at her Pharrell Williams shell-topped heels – but we managed to pin her down on her way to the Iris premiere in Sydney.

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How would you describe your personal style?

It is actually just me. There is no differentiation between me and my style. The same look is found in the jewellery I am attracted to, the place where I lay my head, the tribe of people who I choose to hang out with, work with, and create with. It is a sense of being comfortable in my own skin, comfortable with how I live my life, comfortable with the journey I am on… Not to be complacent, I constantly question and re-invent aspects of my life. I call it self-sabotage, and maybe this is reflected in my style… There is always colour, texture, a mixture of cultural and historical referencing, vintage, pre-loved pieces, generally an air of scruffiness or wear, all put together with what some people have labelled an #idgaf attitude. It’s not that, but other people’s opinions on how I dress have never really been of interest to me.

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A photo posted by @saramaijewels on

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You are regularly featured on Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style blog. Why is it important to spread the message of ‘beauty and style at any age’?

It’s Ari’s Advanced Style blog which has really ignited this ‘old is the new black’ revolution which is gathering momentum worldwide, and for this I applaud him. For me, rather than ‘beauty and style’ it is more about self-acceptance at any age. ‘Beauty and style’ implies the external, but to me it’s [more] than that. It’s about having a certain attitude to life, to the ageing process, acceptance with grace rather than fear, enjoying the journey and living life to the max. If in some small way I can show people that growing old is not to be dreaded, but rather, embraced, in your own particular way, well then that is my role within the Advanced Style stable. 

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A photo posted by @saramaijewels on

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Your tagline is fast becoming “my wrinkles are my stripes”. What do you mean by this?​

I often wear​ ​the [Adidas] three stripes. In the military, the higher the rank, the more stripes are worn. I often post pictures on Instagram showing myself makeup-free, tired, with lines, saggy bits etc. – otherwise known as my stripes.​ My wrinkles do not embarrass me – they show me and therefore my experience. Hopefully there is a little wisdom which comes with these stripes. I see them as a badge of honour and a mark of roads travelled and experiences had. Why would I not be proud and happy to show them? I am growing into the face I deserve and the face which reflects who I am; what I have been. ​It is not a mask.

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Your account was named in the top 10 to follow by Vogue US. What are your top three pieces of advice for creating an engaging Instagram post?

Keep it real. Don’t have a formula. Don’t think you’re important. The day you start to believe your own bullshit is the beginning of the end!​

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Iris is released in VIC on August 20th and all other states August 13thWatch the trailer here.

Follow Sarah’s stylish shenanigans at @saramaijewels

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