Silver Foxes and Equestrian Boots

The 19th century Scottish-English writer, Margaret Oliphant famously said, “Oh, nevermind the fashion. When one has a style of one’s own, it is always twenty times better.” And, you know what? She was not wrong. When I was younger I thought that cresting the forefront of trends, whatever they happened to be, meant one was chic. Over the years, I suppose my definition of style waxed and waned to suit the times and my budget, until one travel-weary day, when I saw a woman walking the concourse at the airport and for me, this narrow and meandering vision of ‘style’ was shattered.

The woman was average size and build. She had a silver asymmetrical bob—not so asymmetrical to make one wonder just what axe was she (or her hairdresser) trying to grind, but rather, just ‘off’ enough to make one side frame her jawline like a parenthesis. She had tortoise nerd glasses, a long grey cashmere sweater over a button down oxford, which she had cuffed up over her forearms, gold hoop earrings, a man’s watch, some assorted bangles, black leggings, and then, in what appeared to me as a stroke of genius, over-the-knee riding boots. In this moment, I thought, this is the most stylish silver haired fox on earth. From her waist up to her chin, her look said “Talbots.” From her chin up it said “Vidal Sassoon and Bobbi Brown.” And, from the waist down it said, punky-pirate-equestrian. The sum of the parts said in a non-ironic and utterly tasteful way: Sexy Grandma. I say that with a bit of cheek because we’ve all seen a woman in a bedazzled “Sexy Grandma” t-shirt, who is, in fact, the antidote to sexual desire.

The point is that the woman in the airport had touched upon the right balance of quality (cashmere sweater and pricey boots) and quirk (chunky spectacles and fun haircut), and though she clearly knew who she was, she also did not ascribe to what we, the world at large, think women of a ‘certain age’ should be. I do not know where this woman was going or where she came from, but I only imagine that her whole life was peppered with juxtapositions that defy expectations and replace them with surprise and delight. The mind reels imagining what her home looks like.

What juxtapositions, quirky pairings, or other unlikely aesthetic partnerships surprise, delight and inspire you?


If you are the sort who can pepper your preppy with punk, this dining room has your name written all over it. At first glance, the dramatic chandelier evokes formality, but the bold blue crystals convert “fancy” to “fanciful.” The juxtaposition of this dramatic light over a mid-century tulip-style table thumbs its nose at conventional dining rooms, saying this room may be beautiful, but it’s not too precious for fun. The aqua and chartreuse-y accents bring surprise pops of color into the neutral cream and gray palette of the room and the assorted classic chairs in black keep things unexpectedly fresh and crisp. A little classic, a little fun, a lot unexpected, this room is the perfect pastiche!


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