What Happens to Your Mind When You Dress Like Iris Apfel for a Week

There are many wise things Iris Apfel has said over the years, but her quote—"I never buy what someone says is 'in' or a 'must-have'; I buy what makes me happy"—has always resonated with me, despite my career status as a fashion editor. While I'm always writing about what's new, I always try to avoid those two terms—what is one woman's must-have is another woman's fashion nightmare, and I believe all should have the freedom to choose what feels essential to their wardrobes at any given moment.

While I share some of the same sentiments on style as the nonagenarian starlet, our personal outfitting techniques are quite different. I don't wear an excess of jewellery. In fact, I don't wear an excess of anything since I turned 30. My wardrobe used to be an entirely more avant-garde place when I was a fashion design student—thrift shopping and charity stores were my daily rummaging hot spots, I made tiered gypsy skirts out of whatever fabric I could salvage from my university creations, and I was never shy of wearing something bonkers to a party. I still have leftover gluts of leopard-print jumpsuits, 1980s knitwear and clip-on earrings because of my former fashion attitude. 

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These days, my attire has streamlined somewhat: I'm still partial to a bold print, a frill here and there, and some jumbo earrings, but on a regular basis, I'm a navy culottes–and–white blouse kind of woman. So I set myself a challenge in the spirit of a Pinterest board we're curating right now on fashion's risk-takers. I wanted to see how dressing like the one and only Apfel would feel for a week. Could I stick to it? And what if my own, relatively pared-back wardrobe held enough stock to create her look? Keep reading to find out how the style test went down.