“I don’t give a damn of what people think of me or the way I dress, I dress for myself because I love style and design and color.”
This statement may sound like the devil-may-care attitude of a stylish twenty-something, but this sentiment actually comes from the mouth of Bridget, a seventy-five year old Brit, one of six older women featured in the TV documentary Fabulous Fashionistas, which recently aired on Britain’s UK Channel 4.
As the title suggests, each of these six women is excited about her wardrobe (some shop at charity stores; others order from catalogues; others buy from fancy boutiques), and throughout the film, each woman explains the evolution of their personal style. Some of their choices are distinctly their own, yet each of them says they are past the point of caring what others think—instead, they dress for themselves and their own tastes. “Style, as one gets older, is more noticeable,” Bridget says. “How I look is to do with my identity and the fun of it. It’s nothing to do with looking younger.” The fifty-minute documentary moves beyond the wardrobe, and is ultimately a heartwarming account of women, ranging in age from 73 to 91, who are still active, engaged, and excited about life.
Director Sue Bourne pulls truthful, raw insight and paints inspiring pictures of each of the six women. Bridget, 75, spends her time fighting tirelessly against ageism. Daphne, 85, is signed with a modeling agency and is Britain’s go-to older model. Jean, 75, works in a high end clothing boutique and runs three times a week. Gillian, 87, is a professional choreographer for productions such as CATS and Phantom of the Opera on the West End, and she still works countless hours a week. Sue, 73, is an American transplant who made a name writing low-fat cookbooks, but she now focuses on creating art. Lady Trumpington, 91, is the oldest woman in Britain’s House of Lords. All six women have aged gracefully, without Botox or plastic surgery, and all embrace their lives with enthusiasm and wisdom.
Many of the women are widowed, and though the aches and pains of old age are ever present, none of the six embrace the stereotype of the little old lady. Instead, by the end of the documentary, you see that these inspiring women take life one day at a time, and they choose things that make them feel happy and fulfilled. The concept of death is addressed, yes, but none of these women are frightened by the thought. As one of the women says in a particularly poignant moment: “Yes, you think about death. But you choose life.”
The Fabulous Fashionistas:
(from left) Sue, Daphne, Lady Trumpington, Jean, Gillian, & Bridget