Here at LFF we are always on the lookout for older women we think you’d be interested to meet. So far all our Ambassadors have been Brits, so it’s with great pleasure that I introduce you to Tziporah Salamon, a wonderfully eccentric New Yorker whom I had the great pleasure to meet on a sweltering Sunday afternoon in July when we took tea in a hotel near Piccadilly Circus.
I had first seen Tziporah a couple of years ago when she appeared on stage at the Curzon cinema when she participated in a Q&A after the premiere of a film about the work of Ari Seth Cohen. Ten years ago, Ari Seth was a 26 year old who had just lost his beloved grandmother. At her urging, he moved to New York to seek his creative path in life.
Inspired by his stylish grandmother, he decided to start a blog called ‘Advanced Style’ because:
“I wanted to show images of older people that would inspire others to look at aging differently – to change the visual language around growing older from images that focused on decline to an archive that would show advancement, growth, and increased freedom of expression, creativity, wisdom, and vitality.”
As you can imagine this philosophy chimes very loudly with everything we are doing at Look Fabulous Forever, so I was particularly delighted to be meeting Tziporah who is one of Ari Seth’s muses and whose photographs are often featured on the Advanced Style blog.
Tziporah has had a truly fascinating life. She was born in 1950 in Israel to Hungarian Jewish parents who were both survivors of the Holocaust.
Her father was a tailor and her mother a seamstress, so it is little wonder that young Tzippy was always beautifully dressed in clothes sewn by her parents (even down to her pyjamas!) When she was 9 years old the family moved to New York and after college she initially trained as a psychologist and was actually a couple of years into studying for a PhD in psychology before she decided this was not for her.
Clothes have been a lifelong passion and slowly but surely she has evolved and honed her highly individual style.
Early inspiration came from Coco Chanel and Diana Vreeland and Tziporah’s short, head-hugging cropped hairstyle dates from the 1960s when she first started exploring the world of fashion and design. Now in her late 60s, Tziporah has finally found her true metier, teaching a course for women called ‘The Art of Dressing.’
How to sum up Tziporah’s style? On the day we met she was wearing a pair of loose fitting silk pyjama-style trousers in a green stripe teamed with a flowery patterned loose fitting silk blouse, also in green.
Around her neck she had the most beautiful (what I can only describe as) a lacey neck ornament in pink and green (see below), which she said was Chinese and on her head she was wearing a pale pink silky ‘hat’ in the shapes of the petals of a flower. On her feet she wore a pair of kitten-heeled mules. Pretty earrings and bangles completed the ensemble. Oh - and a bright red lippie! As you would imagine she looked highly original and quite bohemian but she also looked elegant and cool and ‘all of a piece’. She told me that everything she was wearing were favourite pieces that she had owned for years and all were ‘finds’ which she’d discovered in various places selling vintage clothing.
It became clear during our conversation that Tziporah is both a magpie and a squirrel.
She obviously has that rare talent for spotting the very best items for sale in vintage collections and flea markets and she never throws anything away. So, over a long life she has amassed an amazing collection of original and beautiful garments which she mixes and matches with great flair and a painterly eye. Tziporah told me that she had really enjoyed having her makeup done by Linda (see photo below) and I have listed the products we used below. Here’s what she said about our approach and the makeup:
“I totally agree with and approve of your challenge to ageism. We women always want to look our best - regardless of our age. It’s part of our DNA. I am as eager to get dressed and look fabulous today at age 68 as I was at age 14 or even 9 for that matter. Beauty is a turn on and makes me feel good! I love the Look Fabulous Forever makeup because it’s natural looking - not overdone. It simply highlights my best features and allows me to be the best version of myself.”
Here are Tziporah’s Style Essentials which I have taken (and slightly adapted) from her book ‘The Art of Dressing’.
Know Your Body. Go to a department store and try on different shapes, patterns and colours. Experiment. Top Tip? Pants (trousers), regardless of shape, should always end at the ankle bone so that you can see the shoes and socks. This adds another dimension and element of interest to the overall effect.
Invest in Staples. When building a wardrobe choose a dark colour - black, navy or grey - that will go with most things. A crisp white blouse, a black turtleneck sweater. A well-made fitted jacket. A good pair of shoes. A great bag. That’s all I had when I was first starting in the fashion field in my early 30s. I varied these with accessories - jewelry, scarves and hats.
Buy the Best Your Budget Will Allow. Quality Over Quantity. Better to have one great well-made garment that will last a lifetime than five inferior ones that will disintegrate and fall apart after a few seasons.
Timeless and Classic Rather Than Trendy and Of the Moment. Remember that fashion is fickle but style endures. Style gives you character. Style is yours and yours alone.
Accessorise! Accessorise! Accessorise! Be creative with jewellery: mix high and low, real and fake. Load up your arms with bangles, add a necklace or two or three and always wear earrings as they frame the face. Add a scarf, wear a hat. Change the buttons which are an easy way of transforming a favourite old piece and giving it new life: instant pop.
Good Shoes and a Good Handbag Are a Must. This is worth the investment. Protect leather goods with regular polishing and repairs. Buy shoes that fit and that you can walk in comfortably.
Enlist the Services of a Good Seamstress and Tailor. I employ at least three dressmakers to alter and repair my clothes which, because they are mainly antique readily fall apart. I also have favourite pieces copied.
Consider the Whole Effect: You Are Creating a Work of Art, a Painting. Every element in the ensemble has to work with other elements: they all have to tell the same story. This is one of the principles of design: harmony. Both our eye and our mind crave this. Dressing is an artistic endeavor with you as the painter, your body as your canvas, the various components of your outfit as the paints, and your eyes as the brush.
Consider Adding Colour. Many women are afraid of colour, but it’s a great way to spruce up your wardrobe. Start by choosing a favourite colour and adding it to your black and white basics. Combine black pants (trousers) with a red sweater, add red shoes and a red lipstick and voila, a work of art. I like to repeat the colour in bundles of three; this way there is some sort of order and method to your scheme.
Pattern. I love stripes and polka dots. Blue and white, black and white. Winning combinations which are always chic and never get old.
Texture Is Another Element to Consider. The different materials in an outfit have to work with one another. Silk goes best with silk; cotton goes with cotton, denim or linen; wool goes with wool, cashmere or silk.
We Now Come To An Important Element of Design: Balance. There are two ways to achieve this: one is through perfect symmetry which is achieved by straight lines that impart force and formality and command authority. A well-fitted suit is a perfect example of this. The second is informal balance where a gathering at the right shoulder is counterbalanced by a gathering at the left hip.
The Last Important Element of Design is Proportion. This requires that a woman takes into account her height and build when assembling an outfit. A tall thin woman can carry a large handbag which would totally overwhelm a short woman with a small frame. This is where a mirror and a seamstress are your best allies. However there are no absolutes here and the best bet is trial and error. I work with my seamstresses and have them pin up the hem of a dress or jacket until we arrive at the perfect scale.
Consider dressing for the Occasion. Where are you going? I dress casually to run my errands; artistically and colourfully to visit a museum; and festively to go to a party.
“Always dress as well as you can, and in a becoming and thought-out outfit. Dress well so that you can look down at your body and it will give you joy. Dress well so that you can have the confidence to take on whatever challenge life may throw at you. In return you are likely to get smiles and compliments from perfect strangers, to meet people you would otherwise not meet, perhaps even get invited to events and parties. Most importantly, you will feel good about yourself knowing that you are doing your small part in making this a more beautiful world.”
Tziporah also posts great images of herself looking wonderful on Instagram.
To celebrate Tziporah Salamon joining Look Fabulous Forever as our newest brand ambassador, we'd like to give one lucky person the chance to win a copy of Tziporah's book 'The Art of Dressing'. If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning, simply enter here.