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The Advanced Style Movement & Sue Kreitzman

Here at Retropeepers, we love eclectic and quirky style; so many of our lovely customers style our glasses with the most amazing outfits and we love to see ourselves tagged on style images on social media. As fashion lovers, one movement which has always fascinated us is the ‘Advanced Style’ series by Seth Cohen.

Advanced Style is a project that is devoted “to capturing the sartorial savvy of the senior set,” Cohen says, “I feature people who live full creative lives. They live life to the fullest, age gracefully and continue to grow and challenge themselves.” It started out in 2012, with a book which sold over 150,000 copies worldwide and was quickly followed up by a Colouring Book on the same subject. Cohen’s blog, is a must see, with accolades from the New York Times, Vogue and Forbes. This was followed by the Advanced Style Documentary, directed by Lina Plioplyte, which interviewed some amazing men and women, such as the iconic Iris Apfel, and allowed us a glimpse into their incredible wardrobes and homes. Cohen’s work has led to the fashion industry using many more senior models and has definitely contributed to fashion brand’s ad campaigns being more inclusive.

Here in the UK, we have our own set of stylish seniors, who are blazing a trail and brightening up this sometimes monochrome world. One of these is the incredible London based artist, Sue Kreitzman, who was featured on Seth Cohen’s ‘Advanced Style’ blog in 2015.

Sue montage

With her incredible multi-coloured kimonos, thick framed red glasses and unbelievable ‘neckshrine’ necklaces, she is one of the most unique and inspirational style icons we have ever seen. She told Cohen that: “I am not really an old lady, just cleverly disguised as one.” No matter what age she was, Sue’s style and vivacity would stand out in any crowd. We were lucky enough to interview her about her style.

Tell our readers about you.
I am an Outsider Artist, (working way outside the margins of the conventional art world), and I am a curator and a mentor to younger artists. I was, for decades, a food writer and broadcaster, but the menopause, more than 20 years ago, triggered a huge epiphany, causing me to suddenly put down my wooden spoons, and take up paint brushes and sculpting materials instead. I have loved art and revelled in colour all of my life, but knew, without question, that I had no actual talent for it myself, But surprise! Here I am, at the regal age of 80 years, an elderly star of the Outsider Art world; an eccentric London character; the leader of a colourful band of vivid and flamboyant followers. I did not consciously set out to be eccentric, it just developed naturally.

When did your interests in fashion and colour start? How did you learn?
I live in art, I dress in art, I am art. There is no separation. I wear simple long kimonos worn over longer black dresses. Classic. Timeless. I mix up colours and patterns on each kimono. They are dazzlingly, brilliantly colourful. I mix up ethic and vintage fabrics that I source in flea markets and thrift shops. This style fits any era. I design the garments, and a local independent tailor stitches them up for me. I have been dressing in handmade colourful clothing for more than a half a century. I am self-taught. It is always about art and colour.

Do you wear colourful fashion full time? If not, what other styles do you love to wear?
When I am working in my studio, I wear paint stained rags. Otherwise, I dress in my classic style every day. I add a ‘neckshrine’ of my own design every day, a different one to match each kimono. I am quite enamoured with them, and create them obsessively. They are loud, proud and in your face.

How do people react to your look?
With joy, sometimes incredulity, often with envy.

Is your home also extremely colourful? If not, what style is it?
Art, art, art, from wall to wall, floor to ceiling. Paintings, sculptures, embellished mannequins, strange chandeliers, reworked vintage dolls, and colour, colour, colour. 

Do you wear glasses? (if so, what kind of style do you like to wear which suits your style?
Eyeglasses are essential to my look. I wear big red spectacles. They are something of a trademark.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Be brave. Avoid beige, it might kill you. Splash out on colour and pattern. It’s good for your mental health, and the mental health of those around you. Don’t worry about rules. Make your own rules. Spread joy, even in dark times. The universe will thank you.

Featured above is Sue in a pair of Retropeepers Francois oval sunglasses in vibrant red with black and white stripe 'eyebrows'. Why not be bold and pick up a pair yourself!?

Follow @suekreitzman on Instagram

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