Iris Apfel: More is More & Less is A Bore

When it comes to expressing your individuality through fashion, there is no authority more seasoned (or well known) than Iris Apfel. The 96-year-old starlet’s career as an American businesswoman, interior designer, textile maker and fashion icon has taken her around the world. From having her explosive, exuberant personal collection of accessories, fabrics and garments showcased in the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2005), to the debut of Iris, a documentary about her life, she and her signature look have become an iconic symbol of rebellion and a reminder to enjoy life and to stay true to the person you are, no matter how odd that may be.

And since we at A Gold Lining are all about the seeking inspiration, I’ve gone ahead and rounded up a few pearls of wisdom from our dear friend - Iris. A legit book could be written with her quotes. After all, she definitely has her priorities straight. According to Iris, great personal style is about knowing yourself, staying curious, and maintaining a sense of humor. Who would dare to disagree?


"There is really no substitute for experience. You must have experience and be open to experience — that helps. That helps a lot. Most importantly, you have to be yourself, be who you are and take time to be open and honest with yourself. That is what it's all about. If you don't know yourself, you'll never have great style. You'll never really live. To me, the worst fashion faux pas is to look in the mirror, and not see yourself."

“What’s my style is not your style, and I don’t see how you can define it. It’s something that expresses who you are in your own way.”

"I'm a hopeless romantic. I buy things because I fall in love with them. I never buy anything just because it's valuable. My husband used to say I took a piece of fabric and listen to the threads. It tells me a story... I have to get a physical reaction when I buy something. A coup de foudre — a bolt of lightning. It's fun to get knocked out that way!"

"I'm not pretty, and I'll never be pretty, but it doesn't matter. I have something much better. I have style."

"You have to look in the mirror and see yourself. If it feels good, then I know it’s for me. I don’t dress to be stared at, I dress for myself.”

"If it’s going to stress you out to have a sense of style, don’t do it. The important thing is to be comfortable so you can get on with your life. But I do feel — people miss a lot, if that’s how they approach to style. They miss out on this whole creative experience."

“Great personal style is an extreme curiosity about yourself.”

"Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. The key to style is learning who you are, which takes years. There's no how-to roadmap to style. It's about self-expression and, above all, attitude."

“It's better to be happy than to be well-dressed.”

“I don't expect to find inspiration. It just sort of comes. Sometimes you step on a bug and you get inspired.”

"I am inspired by everything around me. It's not like I stand out on the moors or any of that romantic crap they throw around. I'm just inspired by being alive and breathing and meeting people and talking to people and doing things and absorbing what's happening. I think if more people did that, there would be better fashion. "

"When the fun goes out of dressing, you might as well be dead. You need to pursue your own fancy."

"I don't have any rules because I'd only be breaking them."

"I love to dig and search and find. And if I’m shopping…You know, if it’s a piece of fabric, I listen to the threads. It’s not intellectual at all. The price is nothing. It’s the emotional content: I have to feel it in my gut. I don’t know how to explain it other than that."

"I don't see anything wrong with a wrinkle. It's kind of a badge of courage.”

“Being well-dressed is a wonderful thing, but I don't think it should be life threatening.”

“I'm not a collector of clothes. I've got clothes to wear.”

“I never buy what someone says is 'in' or a 'must-have.' I buy what makes me happy.”

“I'd rather go to a flea market than just about anything. It's the process I like - the same with getting dressed. If I've got someplace to be, I'll spend more time getting dressed than I spent at the actual event. Sometimes. Even in my own closet, I love to dig and search and find.”

"I mix everything up. A museum curator once said to me that there is a great jazz component to the way I do things because good jazz is improvisation and draws elements from all different cultures. And that's the way I do everything - the way I dress and decorate."

Can’t get enough of Iris? 

Head to Bergdorf Goodman and check out the Iris Apfel x BG windows! And, the fun doesn’t stop there. Go up to the third floor through Tuesday, March 27th, to discover her specially-curated shop of hand-picked clothing, accessories, jewelry, and cosmetics. Apfel will also be signing copies of her new book “Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon” on Thursday, March 22nd from 4:30 - 6:30 pm and March 24th from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. #COOL

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