Iris Apfel Loves Fake Jewelry And Men’s Jeans

Iris Apfel is, simply, the coolest. We’ve written about her time and again, and now the style icon is the subject of an interview in June’s Architectural Digest. She, like us, digs costume jewelry, jeans, and thinks that “properly done, [clothes] can be an art form.” Here are some words of wisdom from our favorite octogenarian.

On why fake jewels are better than the real deal:

My husband, Carl, is a very lucky man: Diamond necklaces don’t appeal to me at all. I prefer fun jewelry with big stones—so large they would be untouchable if they were real. Now, don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate Daddy Warbucks–size stones, like a big, flawed emerald. I love stones that are inherently flawed: rock crystal, turquoise with big veins. It’s like Rodin once said, “More beautiful than a beautiful thing is the ruin of a beautiful thing.” I think that’s a great observation, and most of the time so very true.

On why jeans rule, though the cost can suck:

Have you seen the prices? Scandalous. I mean, yes, if they are embroidered or beaded or made special in some divine way, but honestly, jeans are jeans. I live in them most of the time, but I had a helluva time getting a pair of jeans around 1940, when I was at the University of Wisconsin. I thought I’d wear jeans, a turban, and some old earrings. So I went to an Army-Navy store, but you have to remember, back in those days, all the men in Wisconsin were the size of Paul Bunyan. Then the salesman told me, “Young ladies don’t wear jeans.” He wouldn’t sell me any or have them cut down. So I kept going back to the store, and they kept throwing me out, so to get rid of me, they finally ordered me some boys’ jeans. I love men’s jeans; they fit me better.

On what her clothes reflect:

Just me. I’ve never tried to be a rebel or upset anybody. I just figured if I pleased my husband, and my mother didn’t get upset, then I was okay. Fashion really is women’s liberation in a lot of ways. Look at how many women in this country are depressed about how they look and how they think they have to look! It’s really sad. And it’s not about money. People with a lot of money don’t dress as well as people who have to make do, who have to be inventive. Those are the people who are always more interestingly dressed, I think. Everything I do, I do with gut instinct. If I think too much, it won’t come out right.

Obsessed with her yet? Just wait until you read the entire thing, and then you’ll know for certain why she tops our list of favorite fashionable ladies.

[Architectural Digest]

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