Tavi Gevinson and Iris Apfel on Why You Shouldn't Give A Shit

Yesterday afternoon Tavi Gevinson, editor of RookieMag.com (age 16), and style icon Iris Apfel (age 90) had a discussion at the Met. Moderated by New Yorker writer Judith Thurman, they rapped about what it means to be chic today. But if you came to get style tips then you came to the wrong place. The discussion instead turned inward even, dare I say, feminist  (although Apfel claimed much of feminist theory to be 'bunk', I would pin her as a feminist positively). In a refreshing change of pace from the typical fashion dialogue their discussion revolved around empowerment and the power of fantasy, highlighting the importance (and challenges) of digging deep into oneself in search of personal style. Apfel likened the process to as difficult and self revealing an experience as a session on the psychologist's couch.

In terms of her own style Iris said, "I put together everything in a gigantic rush...I am the world's oldest living teenager." She also said that since she's a self-proclaimed "accessories freak", she relies on architectural clothes that can be embellished. While Tavi described her outfit planning process as more cerebral - her pieces often selected and put together for individual significance, in a collage sort of way.  Both women expressed sadness at fashion being a form of stress and disparaged  'rules'  laid out by women's magazines. Apfel said, "Dressing is great fun and when the fun goes out of it you might as well be dead." Hear, hear! She also said that she learned a long time ago "if someone doesn't like how I put myself together it's their problem, not mine." THANK YOU IRIS!

Iris and Tavi both agreed that ageism is a horrific epidemic, seen even more in the beauty world than in fashion.  But Apfel noted the fact she was asked to speak yesterday, was recently part of a wildly successful MAC campaign, and is 90 years old and just now getting tremendous accolades, as proof of a significant cultural shift. Women are yearning to be relevant no matter what their age. (I'd even add that it is our social responsibility to fight ageism by celebrating ourselves, and our beauty, no matter our age.)

Most of all I learned something I've always kind of known but these two woman put especially well...

Photos: Me, Rachel
How to not give a shit about what other people think about you and/or how you dress:

TG: "The fact that something appeals to you and you're drawn to it. That should be enough."

IA: "The fashion police aren't going to take you away and, if they do, you might have some fun in jail."

TG: "Confidence came after I started forcing myself to wear things I was shy about."

IA: "In the '40's I was probably the first woman to wear jeans. I'm not a rebel. I don't do things or not because I'm trying to be rebellious. But I don't live to be trendy. You can't live to be trendy and live to have personal style. Nobody can wear everything."

TG: "I just try to stay busy so I don't have time to care about what people think..And then I ended up finding similar like-minded weirdos."

IA: "If someone doesn't like how I put myself together it's their problem, not mine."

All this said, it's still nice to get a little approval. Iris pointed at me and said she liked my outfit (goes well with the hot dog truck, right?)

I can die happy.