The Hearty Soul
The Hearty Soul
March 22, 2018 · 3 min read

21 Life Lessons, From A 90+ Year Old Woman Who Knows Her Stuff

At 96 years old, Iris Apfel is not what you would picture any other 96 year old to be. Her signature big glasses, flashy clothing, and confidence have defined her as an icon for all those who want to stand out and be different. Not only has she become an icon in fashion, modeling for brands like Kate Spade, but also a light for those who have felt different and unsure about themselves.

There’s a story about a younger Iris, who was shopping at the now-closed Loehmann’s department store when she was spotted by the owner, Frieda Loehmann. “Young lady, I’ve been watching you,” Mrs. Loehmann told Iris. “You’re not pretty, and you’ll never be pretty. But, it doesn’t matter. You have something much better. You have style.”

Iris is a true example of a person living her life for herself and not for others. Here are some of her most recognizable quotes that teach us that life is not only for living, but for living truthfully – your truth – whatever that may be.

iris apfel

1. “Life is gray and dull; you might as well have a little fun when you dress.”

2. “There is really no substitute for experience. You must have experience and be open to experience — that helps. That helps a lot. Most importantly, you have to be yourself, be who you are and take time to be open and honest with yourself. That is what it’s all about.”

3. “You have to look in the mirror and see yourself. If it feels good, then I know it’s for me. I don’t dress to be stared at, I dress for myself.”

4. “You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.”

5. “Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.”

6. “Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.”

7. “I like to do things as if I’m playing jazz.”

iris apfel

8. “It’s better to be happy then well-dressed”

9. “I don’t see anything wrong with a wrinkle. It’s kind of a badge of courage.”

10. “I am inspired by everything around me. It’s not like I stand out on the moors or any of that romantic crap they throw around. I’m just inspired by being alive and breathing and meeting people and talking to people and doing things and absorbing what’s happening.”

11. “Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’”

12. “Time heals almost everything. Give time time.”

13. “Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.”

14. “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.”

iris apfel

15. “I don’t have any rules, because I’d only be breaking them.”

16. “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.'”

17. “More is more and less is bore.”

18. “If you’re not interested, you’re not interesting.”

19. “You have to try it. You only have one trip, you’ve got to remember that.”

20. “All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.”

21. “Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”