If you haven’t heard of Dorrie Jacobson yet you’re in for a treat. Here at the Mutton Club we’re in awe of Dorrie. At the tender age of 80 she decided she needed a new challenge and set up the Senior Style Bible blog.
In just over a year she’s created a new media phenomenon which reaches a global audience on a daily basis. As well as providing daily style inspiration, she’s on a mission to celebrate and empower women later in life. Here she tells us why she does what she does. We want to be her.
An interview with Dorrie Jacobson Senior Style Bible founder
Tell us how you came to set up the Senior Style Bible.
When I turned 80, I realized that I wanted to do something meaningful that I was passionate about. When I looked around, I saw a lot of unhappy older women who felt unattractive and defeated. The word that I repeatedly heard over and over again was “invisible.” It made me angry, and I wanted to do something about it, so I decided to use social media to address ageism.
It’s a real problem in our society, but one that people rarely talk about. I think it’s important to recognize that women are aging in a much different way than our grandmothers did. We think differently, behave differently, and our style should reflect that.
I launched Senior Style Bible because I wanted to inspire women over 50 to reclaim their confidence and their sexuality. I understand the cult of youth is not going to magically vanish anytime soon, but I think there needs to be room in there for older women to be seen as beautiful, sexy and stylish, as well.
I want women to recognize that this last chapter can be an exciting one. Senior Style Bible was launched to take away the fear that women have about aging by proving that we still have allure and value. I have a t-shirt that says “Old is the New Black” and I honestly believe that.
What or who helped you get started?
When I started this I didn’t even know what a blog was. Facebook and instagram were a mystery too. It has been a challenge learning all of this social media business. I have the help of my very talented daughter who is in “social media marketing.” She has been my teacher and collaborator as well as my photographer.
It has truly been an incredible experience being able to develop all of these relationships with my fellow bloggers, Instagrammers and my followers. I feel like I have made so many meaningful connections with so many people through the magic of social media. It’s been quite a journey.
How did your family and friends react?
When we first started this, I think everyone considered it a bit of a vanity project, something that would keep me busy, but not something to be taken seriously. I don’t think anyone was really prepared for how quickly it was going to take off, especially on a global level the way it has. Now of course, everyone is very proud of what we’ve accomplished, but we had to really stick to our guns in the beginning because we had a vision and not everyone understood it.
Sometimes projects are valued by the amount of money they generate, and it’s difficult to convince people of a brand’s value when it isn’t pulling in the big bucks. I think if you have an idea, and it’s a good one, you just need to have faith in it, and tune out what other people think, because trying to change the status quo is always going to meet with resistance, even from the people who love you.
How did your life change going down this path?
I think the biggest change to my life has been the relationships that I’ve been able to develop through social media. I have become friends with some incredible people, not only other fashion bloggers, but with some of my followers as well. It’s incredible how supportive and generous people have been, not only with their kind words, but with their stories.
I am so fortunate to be able to connect with people from all over the world who want to share their lives with me. It makes me feel like we’re all in this together, and that what I’m doing is actually making a difference to people’s lives. That’s an incredible gift, and something I truly cherish.
Why is it so important to you to champion older women?
We live in a youth oriented society and I think a lot of older women feel completely invisible and demoralized by it. I decided to launch Senior Style Bible because I wanted to redefine the way we view aging. I think we need more mature women as role models for aging in a positive way.
In order to change the way older women are perceived by society, we have to find a way to promote mature beauty and sexuality, and that begins by making older women more visible. I started the blog to demonstrate that you can still be sexy and stylish and cool in your 80s. No one else out there was doing that.
You clearly have a head start in the looks department . What is your top advice for those if us who are not so blessed, so we can look our best?
Coco Chanel said “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” I believe that you can be devastatingly attractive, without being genetically blessed. Some of history’s most glamorous women have not been the most beautiful. Greta Garbo, Anjelica Houston, Mae West, even Marilyn Monroe….none of these women were naturally drop dead gorgeous, but they cultivated a signature style and learned how to accentuate their best features.
I think the key to being attractive is attitude and self-confidence. When you feel good about yourself that is what you project to the world. That begins with looking the best you can every day regardless of whether you have plans or not. I get up every day and put on a full face of makeup and put on clothes I love and that make me feel pretty. If you think that you may have fallen into a rut, then it is time to do a makeover. A new hairstyle, updated makeup and a few new outfits in the wardrobe can make a world of difference.
I think it’s important to remember that makeup and pretty clothes aren’t just for special occasions but for something we do for ourselves because it makes us feel good. Investing in our appearance is an act of self-love and that translates into how we feel about ourselves and how we view the world.
What’s your best advice for staying healthy?
My motto is: all things in moderation. I eat all of the foods that I love but in moderation. I try not to eat processed foods and I’ve never been a fan of junk food. I drink plenty of water but have a few glasses of wine with dinner to keep me happy. I keep my weight in check by weighing myself every morning and if I’ve gained a pound or two I put myself on a diet and immediately take it off before it becomes an issue.
Regular checkups are also essential to staying healthy. No one likes going to the doctor, but it’s important to keep on top of your health as you age. Exercise is also very important to keeping a healthy, active body and lifestyle. If you don’t move it, you lose it. I have to force myself to work out on a regular basis, and find it easier to stay motivated by doing classes with other people so it feels more like a social outing and less of a chore. Exercise is an important commitment, and more than anything else, it will keep you healthy and mobile in your later years.
What do you like most about being the age you are?
I don’t really think much about my age. Age is just a number, it doesn’t change the way I live my life at all. We all know people who are old at 40 and those who are still young at 90. I think I have chosen to embrace my age by defying expectations of what 81 looks like. I wear trendy clothes with stiletto heels and I’m out there dating again.
I enjoy an active sex life and have a very busy professional life as well. I don’t think my life looks any different to that of a 50 year old, except I may be having more fun. If I can help women fight the fear of growing old, by showing them what “aging well” can look like, then that’s a wonderful bonus.
What do you hate most about being the age you are?
I don’t hate anything about the age I am. I’m 81, not everyone gets the privilege of making it this far, so I think it’s important to practice gratitude for that gift and view life through a positive lens. There are physical changes and limitations that we all experience as we age, and that’s something we need to accept and make the best of.
If you take care of your body, and stay active and engaged with the world, aging can be a positive experience. Yes, there are more years behind us, than ahead, so we should use them wisely. I can’t say that I have any regrets, I had a lot of fun getting here.
What do you know now that you wish you had known in your twenties?
I would have definitely thrown away the “rule book” at a much earlier age and been more of a risk taker. I would have not lived my young life in the way that was expected of me, but would have followed my own path instead.
What are the most important business/or personal lessons you’ve learned along the way?
I think the most valuable lesson I have taken away from this experience is that you should never stop learning. Before I started this business I was a dinosaur when it came to the wonders of modern technology. I wasn’t sure that I could master social media, but I’ve learned that if you really want to reach your goals, then you simply need to be focused on achieving them and do whatever it takes. Age is not a barrier, our own fears are. Nothing is impossible.
Do you have a mantra that has guided you more than any other?
Be true to yourself.
Which women do you most admire and why?
I truly admire the incredible, self-proclaimed “geriatric starlet” Iris Apfel, who at the age of 93 is busier than ever with her fashion accessories line, documentary, and modeling contracts for Kate Spade and Alexis Bittar. She became a fashion darling well into her 80s, and has never looked back.
Is there anything that people consistently misunderstand about you?
My name really is Dorrie. Not Dorthy. Not Doris. Not Dari. It’s an unusual name and people tend to want to call me something else, especially in interviews. Luckily I’m used to it.
How can Mutton Club readers find out more about what you do?
People can follow Senior Style Bible in a number of different ways….
Come be part of our great community of fabulous women over 50! (MC note: And younger! Please!)
You may also like Midlife Reinvention and Michelle Pozon, Closet Guru – Helping Women Love Their Clothes.