Vibrant Style Over 70: The Role of Jewelry

By Cynthia Sliwa — May 14, 2015

Publicity photos strive to capture the essence of an individual, or at least one particular facet of his or her personality. Good styling, perhaps with the assistance of a good stylist, can create a strong visual impression. Several celebrities of a certain age, through their recent publicity shots, leave no doubt that they are vibrant and fascinating women. Part of the impetus for this impression is their jewelry.

0515 Jane Fonda Lily Tomlin Over 70 72dpi REV

The May 18, 2015 issue of People spotlights “Grace and Frankie,” a new comedy on Netflix starring Jane Fonda, 77, and Lily Tomlin, 75.  In the publicity photo in the magazine, Tomlin wears a black and white optic print with a chunky black stone bracelet and a statement necklace etched in a design that picks up the spacing of the print fabric. The ensemble is all about visual energy, a complement to the smile on Tomlin’s face.

Fonda wears a bright blue poet-sleeve blouse accented with a short necklace and matching earrings of what appears to be light, slightly iridescent material of a lighter blue along with what appears to be a Cartier gold bracelet and a chunky gold ring. The light blue of the necklace suite draw attention to Fonda’s eyes, the flattering hue closest to her face. A gold suite of jewelry would have had more gravitas that might have countered the lighthearted vibe of the photo.

In both cases, well-chosen apparel sets the stage for the impression of vibrant energy. The jewelry brings the message home.

0515 Iris Apfel Over 70 REV

A doyenne of the art of using one’s apparel as a backdrop for jewelry is New York fashion icon Iris Apfel, 93, the subject of the new documentary “Iris” by Albert Maysles and the subject of a piece in the May 18, 2015 issue of People. Apfel became world-renowned when the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art displayed an exhibit of her clothing and jewelry collection in 2005.

In an interview in the U.K.’s Telegraph  in 2011, Apfel discusses her jewelry style:  “Understated jewellery is not for me. It’s too itsy-bitsy. My husband is lucky as I’ve never had a yen for real jewels.” She continues:  “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.”

Jewelry can indeed speak volumes, going well beyond clothing, shoes, and handbags– the perfect accessory for an outspoken fashion icon of any age.

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