Style SOS with Martha: Who needs labels – great style is ageless!

by Gazette Reporter

This week, our style columnist Martha Gilheaney discusses what words she would use to describe her style.

Do you remember Bridget Jones’s method of introducing people with thoughtful details? Well, a favourite fashion inspiration of mine is a poodle-owning, 70-year-old, former model called Linda Rodin. Now park that thought a minute.

I have this comedian friend. When we meet we talk digital marketing, social media platforms, creative content and the likes. It’s refreshing because she never questions why I want an outfit picture. Likewise, I never urge her to ‘say something funny’.

In this wonderful friendship we support each other in our complementary, creative pursuits of comedy and fashion.

The other day, this friend, lets call her Emma, because that’s her name, told me that in order to build a name for yourself you need to identify your personal labels. Ones that Bridget Jones or Ryan Tubridy would use to introduce you.

She explained that hers were ‘Female comedian,’ ’Mother of three’ and ‘Ginger.’ “They’re not necessarily the tags you particularly identify with, but ones the public remember,” she informed me before proceeding to tell me that mine were ‘Leitrim lass,’ “Rose of Tralee contestant’ and ‘Irish dancer.’ “Aggghh,” I groaned.

“Why so twee? I’m a border- free fan who has lived in Dublin more than a decade, I was on the Rose of Tralee years ago and ok, I LOVE Irish dancing, but not the flashy costume, wig-cladded kind!”

“You can’t choose them,” she shrugged.

Later it got me thinking, given the choice, what labels would I choose? I am a personal stylist, a fashion blogger, an English language teacher, a volunteer, a cute cat owner and a city-centre dweller. Still, when you turn the page, I wonder which ones you’ll remember… Was my funny friend right?

I pondered this some more when I caught myself telling someone about the poodle-owning, 70-year-old, former model I admire. I wondered if there was ever an introduction for her that didn’t reference her age.

I’m guilty of it myself, having just referenced her age. It shouldn’t be so surprising that a 70-year-old is trendy. I wish it weren’t, but I guess until we have more people like Rodin in her vintage denim, bright faux fur and funky footwear or the zany but brilliant Iris Apfel who delights us all with flamboyant prints and extra accessories, it will be.

We need more women like these who are breaking boundaries and lessening age labels by showing us all that maintaining a cool sense of style needn’t go out of style as you age.

By the way, what words would introduce you?

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