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8 Life Lessons From A 94-Year Old Style Icon

Iris_3This is the incomparable Iris. Isn’t she incredible?

So, I had the honor of watching a documentary about Iris Apfel this past weekend. She is a true style icon. Inside and out. I’ve been waiting patiently to watch it for months. Well, it didn’t not disappoint. It was honest and endearing.

I loved her unapologetic and bold spirit. Which came through loud and clear with her fierce style and grace.

Even though she was into fashion, she didn’t buy into the superficial premise that you have to uphold a certain image in order to gain some sort of external validation.

She didn’t question her style because it was a natural extension of her. She was true to herself. She didn’t care about what people thought about her daring style. As long as it made her happy, she was good.

And that’s what made her magnetic. She was expressing her soul in an honest and real way. She is a true artist and for her, style was her way to express her voice and creativity. It was her fantasy. Her freedom.


I was truly moved by her spirit and wanted to share 8 lessons I learned from Iris:

  1. Honor your individuality. Don’t try to be the same. Iris said there is too much sameness and homogenized way of being in the world. Be brave and stand out.
  2. It’s more important to be happy than to look good. It doesn’t matter if other people don’t approve of what you are wearing. As long as it makes you happy, that’s what matters. Iris said that it’s not her place to judge others for what they wear because if it makes them happy, that’s what counts.
  3. There are no rules to expressing yourself. Give yourself permission to express who you truly are. Iris said that she doesn’t bother to make rules for herself because she would just break them.
  4. What God gave you is perfect. Iris is strongly opposed to plastic surgery. She said why mess with what you were naturally given? There is no guarantee that you will look better after plastic surgery, so enjoy what you already have.
  5. Pretty only takes you so far. Style is everlasting. Growing up, someone told Iris that she wasn’t pretty, but it didn’t matter. Because what she had was more valuable – style. As she grew older, she realized that as external beauty fades, she will always have the ability to create with her unique vision. And that gift will always endure.
  6. Go with your gut. Iris said that how she lives her life and creates her style is not intellectual. It’s all gut. Trust your instincts and create from a place that gives you pure joy.
  7. Focus on what matters in life. Even though Iris loves style, she always keeps her life in perspective. She doesn’t let material things get in the way of what matters most to her – family, health and being happy.
  8. Stay humble and engaged in life. With all of the incredible success she has experienced in her 94 years, she is very grateful that she is still working and able to share what she loves to do with others. With her humility and genuine curiosity of life, she continues to grow with genuine style and grace.


Would love to know your thoughts. Which of these 8 lessons resonated with you and why?

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2 Responses to 8 Life Lessons From A 94-Year Old Style Icon

  1. Sheila Billingsley July 15, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

    Great reading, Iris reinterated on what mother always told me. Love God, love who God created you to be, love yourself , love life and people.

    • Jenn July 15, 2015 at 8:24 pm #

      I’m glad u enjoyed it, Sheila. Yes, both your Mom and Iris are very wise. Thank you for sharing. <3

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