Style at any age

People Style

April 30, 2024

Style at any age group shot, all wearing black

Young or young at heart, Charlotte women show that elegance is ageless – and wearing what you love is empowering.

Production: Whitley Adkins
Photography: Olly Yung
Photography assistant: Aaron Cress
Set assistant: Sydney L. Gallagher
Makeup: Lindsey Regan Thorne
Special thanks to Farah Karim 
Photographed at the home of interior designer Laura Archibald

Comments have been lightly edited.

Martha Jones, 50, chief operating officer at SHOWROOM
Grazia Walker, 86, educator and author

Martha Jones
50, chief operating officer at SHOWROOM

Sometimes I want to match the vibe, sometimes I want to be the vibe. I’ve always loved fashion. It’s one of the reasons my mom enrolled me in a uniform-required private school, due to me arguing with her every day over what I wanted to wear in kindergarten.

Getting older has given me a great amount of self-confidence that I didn’t have before — not just in how I want to dress, but in life. I’ve learned I’m stronger than I thought, and I don’t worry about how others view me. You really do begin to make your own rules.

Grazia Walker
86, educator and author

Being from Milano, Italy, I love clothes. My mother told me that the older I got, the more attention I needed to pay to my attire. Her style was conservative: St. John suits. I started with a conservative style but, after meeting [friend Berhan Nebioglu], I became more and more free. I do not have a particular style — I feel very comfortable in Armani but also wearing a pink fluffy miniskirt and patent leather boots. I am careful to dress for the occasion.  

In Italy, because of my age, I have to wear Armani-style clothes, but in Charlotte I feel free. I wear things that make me feel good. I wear my age as a badge — I love clothes, I love people, I love life! My idol is Iris Apfel. I cannot copy what she wore, but I do copy her feelings about clothes.

Ashley Martin, 35, hype woman of good people, places and things, communications strategist
Abbey Crouch, 25, thrift queen, sales associate at Five One Five boutique, avid creative, fairy in another life

Ashley Martin 
35, hype woman of good people, places and things, communications strategist 

My style is classically eclectic. As a lover of old things, my closet is a colorful, nostalgic mixture of meaningful mementos. Whether I’m wearing a pair of my grandmother’s clip-ons or a statement blazer that once belonged to my mother, the pieces I wear tell a story. 

Over the years, my style has evolved. Experiences and awareness have led me to a more thoughtful and intentional wardrobe, but one tried-and-true staple is a statement earring. I feel polished and empowered in an oversized earring. Tennis shoes are my pragmatic approach to staying comfortable, and being comfortable is the most important aspect of personal style.

Abbey Crouch
25, thrift queen, sales associate at Five One Five boutique, avid creative, fairy in another life

I have been thrifting secondhand clothing since I was 12 years old, when I began to cultivate my own personal style collecting pieces that made me “feel something,” so to speak. I get most of my street-style inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest, but I’d say my style icons are Bella Hadid and Iris Law.

I love mixing prints, textures, and feminine and masculine pieces, but I always stay true to myself with comfort and ease. My style evolves day to day depending on what character I want to play, but thrifting my closet has changed the way I see fashion.

Berhan Nebioglu, 76, professional modeling coach, fashion show producer
Kathi Graves, 65, artist and beauty bringer, happy cat and husband herder

Berhan Nebioglu
76, professional modeling coach, fashion show producer

My style is based on simplicity and elegance with a touch of drama and mystery. I believe a woman should express a sense of aloofness and independence. It was influenced by the fashions of the late ’40s, especially the ’50s, and early ’60s.

While I like to follow fashion trends, I believe each person has to develop their own style. Your style has to reflect you, your personality, identity and values.

Kathi Graves
65, artist and beauty bringer, happy cat and husband herder 

Accepting my limitations is a key factor for living with contentment. Creatively expressing myself through personal style is important and very possible, as rigid fashion rules have relaxed and cultural norms around how women of a certain age are “supposed” to present themselves is also changing. Anything goes, and everything goes with everything, which means many stylish options are available as I embrace my aging body. 

Today, it’s still a given that I will outdance you at every wedding, even if my feet demand a gentler shoe choice. And I will look good, just in a different way.

Laura Landera, 41, business development, country music obsessor, runner and boy mom

Laura Landera
41, business development, country music obsessor, runner and boy mom

My style philosophy has remained the same throughout my life: I choose what I feel fits me best, and even though I love following fashion I don’t choose what’s “in style.”  My mother‘s generation always said you need to “dress like a mom,” and there is nothing more confusing. My life changed in my 40s, but my style didn’t — a birthday shouldn’t put us in a muumuu or long flowery skirt.  

Having worked in law and, now, medical education, suits and jackets can be a little restrictive. My personal style is more fun, daring and colorful, so I try to throw in some color or accessory that ties in my current vibe, location or season. Our style as women might change, but what remains the same is that we need to feel happy and confident in what we’re wearing.  SP

Feature produced by SouthPark Magazine Style Editor Whitley Adkins.


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