I couldn’t believe my luck when I found out that I had the opportunity to speak to top New York stylist and author, Kendall Farr, about her new book “Style Evolution: How to Create Ageless Personal Style in Your 40s and Beyond”. I was a huge fan of Kendall’s first book “The Pocket Stylist” and thought that nothing could top it. But Kendall’s second book is even better than her first. It covers the hot topic of how to create an ageless personal style without feeding into our culture’s obsession with looking young.
We spoke for over an hour and it was utterly delightful. Kendall is eloquent, warm, down to earth, a good listener and nothing short of absolutely fabulous. I have transcribed the highlights below. I didn’t record the conversation, so this is a reconstruction from my notes and memory.
Angie: What do you love most about your job?
Kendall: I love it all but I really like that it’s varied. One day I’m on a set, the next day I’m shopping, consulting with clients, or writing notes for a new book. It’s great.
Angie: Your first book, “The Pocket Stylist” was a huge success and caters to women of all age groups. What motivated you to write your new book, “Style Evolution”, which targets women who are 40 plus?
Kendall: Need! Where are the clothes for real women? What can we wear that looks cool and takes age out of the equation? Why is everything sleeveless, capped sleeved or puffed sleeved? The fashion industry needs to develop clothing for the strong and bold woman who looks remarkable in simple and clean designs. At a certain age, we need to accentuate what needs to be accentuated, and cover up what needs to be covered up. Clothing with a little more coverage in the right places goes a long way. You don’t need to expose lots of skin to look youthful. Michelle Obama is the epitome of what I’m talking about. She is a great visual template and role model for this age group at the moment. Also, this is not just a book for women who are over the age of 40. It’s book a woman in her mid thirties can use as she starts to figure out how she can evolve her style and look grown-up.
Angie: What is ageless style?
Kendall: The goal as you get older is to look effortless, sophisticated, current and cool. It’s about not looking too young or like you’ve given up. A woman with ageless style looks individual and plugged-in to what is current, BUT she interprets things her own way. She has a good understanding of what the trends are and makes the right ones work for her. She looks grown-up AND youthful. The heart and soul of the book lies in the trend section. There you’ll see how little it takes to actually look current. Choose flattering shapes for your body and look for interesting fabrics. Buy fewer, better things and embrace the power of clothing. It’s an important social currency. And make sure you keep shopping the unbelievable sales we’re having.
Angie: Which are your favourite and least favourite trends?
Kendall: Hollywood as a style influence is the worst trend. It’s an unreal place and there are too many middle aged actresses copying the style of twenty year olds and few embodying ageless style. On the upside of trends, fashion is finally abandoning the look of the girly girl and moving back to stronger and more graphic lines on the body. We have the reworked 80’s influences and the recession to thank for that. I like that there is more structure and the return of the waist, soft trousers, big bangles and statement necklaces.
Angie: Which women do you believe embody great ageless style over the age of 40?
Kendall: Women like Catherine Deneuve, Julianne Moore, Vera Wang, Helen Mirren and Ellen Barkin get it right. And of course Michelle Obama.
Angie: What is one thing every woman over 40 can do right now to create an ageless personal style?
Kendall: Before you reevaluate your wardrobe, get a great haircut and add colour. Then go out and get a professional bra fitting. After that, reexamine your footwear collection. I have a philosophy about hair and heels. If those current elements are in place, your style quotient is on the way up. If they are not, it doesn’t matter how good the stuff in-between is, it’s not the best picture. And if you can’t wear heels, go for a comfy one inch wedge. If you can’t do that either, do the best that you can for your fussy feet, but pay attention to wearing good footwear. If you can, go for a tame yet strong looking simple gladiator sandal, either heeled or flat, in a nude or metal for Summer. It does wonders to transform last year’s outfit.
Angie: Which are your favorite wardrobe items to purchase? Any retail weaknesses?
Kendall: Accessories, accessories, accessories. I love handbags and I am a shoe addict. I also have the magpie gene. I love shiny things. I just purchased two fabulous coin necklaces from H&M for $12. You’ve gotta go take a look!
Angie: Any final savvy style tips?
Kendall: Never stop having fun with fashion. Who wants to stop having fun with her clothes at any age, right?
Thank you Kendall for imparting your wisdom. I’m positively tickled to have made your acquaintance and hope that you sell millions of copies of your new book. I look forward to meeting you for tea the next time I’m in New York.
And on that note ladies, go get your copy of Style Evolution. It’s killer.