At 64, Lyn Slater managed to break down age stereotypes. Sober colours, classic garments, discreet accessories… Far from the image of a woman in her sixties that we might portray in our minds, Lyn vindicated ageing by proving to the world that style, passion and attitude have no expiration date.
Vindicating age stereotypes
The fashion influencer devoted several years of her life to social assistance. At present, she serves as a graduate professor in social work practice and law at Fordham University, New York. Several years ago, she started to write her blog, Accidental Icon , thanks to pupils and professors who complimented her style and insisted that she wrote about fashion. Her claim to fame was a surprise. After that event, she said to Cosmopolitan, “I was meeting a friend at Fashion Week and I was wearing a Yohji Yamamoto suit and a very obscure Chanel bag. Photographers came and started taking pictures of me. So, when the friend I was meeting came upon scene she said, ‘Oh, look at this, you are an Accidental Icon’. That story is how I named my blog.”
As regards fashion, Lyn stands out for dressing in a particular way, since she manages to transform street style into a display of elegance. She experiments with sportswear and lush textures, intense colours, flashy and glamorous accessories, but always preserving comfort. This style is also reflected upon the content she creates, spontaneous and relaxed. “My approach is very much in the moment, and it‘s still that way. If I started being too contrived, I think I would lose my most important ingredient, which is this ‘in the moment’ attitude of just this is who I am, and this is what I‘m doing now.”
Her success? Inspiring others to accept themselves
It is clear this accidental icon does not consider age an obstacle to achieve anything she puts her mind to. Not only did she prove she is not afraid of ageing, but also, she inspires others to accept themselves, to identify the added value of diversity and not placing limits on their wishes. “Based on my experience and literally thousands of comments and e-mails, I have been able to influence culture. I’ve been able to begin to change peoples’ perceptions about what it might mean to be older, what it might mean to be a woman. I am very much, and always have been, an anti-authority, social-category-buster,” explains in an interview.
In the end, age stereotypes are nothing more than that, stereotypes, a simplified image. Lyn‘s proposal, apart from breaking with stereotypes related to age, translated this way of thinking to other social constructs also present in our sociocultural imagination, such as gender and beauty stereotypes. Gradually, thanks to people like her, these established categories start to break, inspiring others to break them too, and free themselves from homogenous images that do not reflect the plural and diverse reality proper of modern societies.
Using influence to improve the world
The blogger does a lot more than expressing through her garments. Instead, she organizes debates and works in conjunction with brands and organisations, addressing issues that have nothing to do with fashion, such as poverty and diversity. On one of her debates, she explains the importance of accepting differences and identifying the added value of diversity. She also mentions she has managed to develop her creativity thanks to the contribution of women she had worked with in her years as a social worker: women with poor resources who magically could make something wonderful out of nothing.
Lyn‘s message awakens the admiration of anyone who knows her story, and inspires many people to free themselves of prejudice, stop interpreting reality in old ways and simply be who they are. In her own words: “I turned my everyday life into an example of how being happy with who you are can make you a champion that inspires others. Tell me what you do in your everyday life that makes you a champion.”
Photos: Carlos Felipe, Cara Gordon, Sam Gilling/Lyn Slater