Legendary supermodel Pat Cleveland doesn’t let her age dictate what she wears.
The 69-year-old, who was one of the first African-American models within the fashion industry when she achieved success in the ’60s and ’70s, has shared her advice on getting older in a piece for Refinery29 and urged readers not to let their age hold them back from enjoying clothes and wearing what makes them feel good.
“I don’t dress for my age – I choose to dress according to the occasion,” she said. “My style philosophy is, at any age, go for what makes you feel good. The key to ageing and personal style is to keep your mind in a state of bliss, even through all of your ups and downs… Never lose that wonder about yourself and the possibility of joyfulness as expressed through fashion. And don’t let anyone steal that away from you, no matter how old you are.”
Cleveland described fashion as a “tool for healing”, as wearing something beautiful has the ability to make a person feel better, and insisted a person should be free to experiment with self-expression through fashion and not be ashamed to dress for comfort.
“There’s also the physical impact of ageing to consider. If your body is breaking down because you’re ageing, how does that affect your style? Should you even participate in fashion anymore? I say yes!” the model mused. “We tend to become more aware of our mortality as we get older, but the truth is, everyone dies a little bit each day. You don’t have to stop living or embracing those things that bring you joy.”
In March, Cleveland was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent emergency surgery. However, she is still working, having walked the runway at a New York Fashion Week show earlier this month.
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