Our 5 Favorite Inspirational Quotes From Tavi Gevinson And Iris Apfel


What do a 16-year-old midwestern internet sensation and a 90-year-old style icon from Queens have in common? In the case of Tavi Gevinson and Iris Apfel, style. The pair came together yesterday to talk in honor of the Costume Institute's Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations exhibit at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Titled “Good Taste/Bad Taste: The Evolution of Contemporary Chic” and moderated by New Yorker journalist Judith Thurman, both ends of the generational divide had their own opinions on a woman's personal style, how wearing what you love can affect your life, and what style means to them. See some of our favorite quotes from the panel (thanks to Racked), ranging from the allure of fantasy to the art of confidence, and get inspired for your personal style blogging:

Tavi Gevinson: “In middle school it was weird because I probably had stranger style then and I was ostracized more for it, but I found a similar group of weirdos[…] I look back at some of the things that I wore and I don't really like them now but I like that I wore them and I think it's kind of cool that a bunch of adults, you know, appreciate it that a young person was trying to make a really bleak day in middle school more interesting.”

Iris Apfel: “To find out who you are is like putting yourself on a psychiatric couch, but you have nobody to help you. Really it isn't easy. I was talking with my nephew this morning and he gave me one of the best quotes I've heard in years… ‘Personal style is curiosity about oneself.'”

Tavi Gevinson: “[…] personal style is an opportunity to kind of create your own fantasy. And that can be—and this word is so overused—but empowering in a way, especially when you feel like you have to have a certain force field around you to the outside world.”

Iris Apfel: “I think you have to have self-confidence, or you just can't pull it off. And fantasy is something that is so, so lacking in this world today. I think that's the reason that all of my museum shows were so successful. I mean, it just showed people that there was something other than just encasing yourself in fabric. Fantasy is powerful, powerful, powerful. And everybody can't handle it in big doses but you can try little bits at a time.”

Iris Apfel: “If you put something together and it doesn’t look so good, the fashion police are not going to come a take you away. And if they do, you might have some fun in jail.”


iris apfel


Apparently good (and bad!) style isn't limited to an age range. How do you feel about conveying personal style?


[Image credit: Titina Penzini]


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9 Responses

  1. Donna

    Great quotes! So true. I’ve been following Tavi on Twitter but I never really knew who she was. This makes her more interesting to me.
    And I love the thing that Iris’ nephew said about personal style being curiosity about yourself. That’s great. To me style really is a way of expressing who you are or want to be.


  2. Kathleen Lisson

    I think Iris Apfel’s quote on confidence absolutely applies to wearing hats. “I think you have to have self-confidence, or you just can’t pull it off.”
    First, have self confidence, then try on hats.
    I also allow myself to be on a fashion journey with my hat wearing. A hat that seems too over-the-top this year may look fantastic to me next year. I found that this is true with fascinators. When I first saw them at Duchess Catherine’s wedding, I wasn’t sure how or when to wear them. Now I own a fascinator and a cocktail hat. I enjoy chronicling my hat journey and look forward to the new hats I will find in the years to come.

  3. Tariana

    To be true to yourself through your style is at times, being brave. Iris is inspirational and proof that a big part of being stylish is not taking yourself too seriously and letting go. Most important, to just have fun and enjoy it as something that makes you happy. It’s the little things you know…

  4. Sabina

    There’s too much to say about personal style to fit in one measly comment box so I won’t bother to get into it too much, but I do want to say both Iris and Tavi make some great points. In particular Tavi when she discusses looking back at what she used to wear. We all do the same thing when looking back–cringe at the things we wore when we were just finding our style and think how could I have thought that looked cool? But that doesn’t mean it was wrong to wear them. You have to experiment to find your style and that means being bold, going with an idea and taking risks!

  5. Libertad

    As Iris said, ‘Personal style is curiosity about oneself’; adn I SO agree in that. I’ve always had a different style, very personal and sometimes unique; and when I was younger (and even today) I’ve been rejected because of it. I think people at my country doesn’t understand what innovation and risk is about in the fashion world; I don’t like to look like all the bloggers around me and is because of that (plus I don’t have the ‘tipycal bodyshape that brands wants as their image) that maybe I don’t have a big audience. But I wouldn’t sell myself for a bigger traffic being another person who I’m not.
    So, this was very inspiring, thank you.

  6. Diane Miller

    How wonderful that a woman over 80- now over 90, has come to national recognition as a fashion icon.! Makes me want to throw out everything in my kitchen and turn it into a fashion gallery of my own funky favorites. I’m 73, what the hell, my cooking days are over- I think Iris Apfel would approve.