She has an eye for style and a passion for hats. Meet Judith Boyd, creator of Style Crone.
The 70+ blogger from Denver, Colorado, is a true original who never ceases to inspire her readers with her creative vintage looks and charming collection of hats. I recently got a chance to chat with Judith about her style and her love of hats. Here’s my interview with this Fabulous After 40 Styleblazer.
Deb: You say you love to wear clothes to express yourself. What do you think your style communicates to others?
Judith: I don’t think very much about what my style is communicating to others. I dress for myself and my own pleasure. It’s a form of self-expression and art and comes from my creative center.
Deb: You have a fabulous vintage wardrobe? How did you become interested in vintage, and what does it mean to you?
Judith: I began purchasing vintage in the ’70s. I had a friend who had a vintage shop during that time, and I became familiar with pieces from earlier eras. I began searching for my wardrobe at estate sales, vintage stores, and thrift shops. I wore vintage to work and for play, usually mixing it with contemporary pieces.
I love wearing clothing that has a history. I appreciate giving a piece a new life, and at times I wonder about the adventures experienced by a dress or a pair of shoes in their past. Also, wearing recycled items matches my value of protecting the environment.
At this point, I have a collection that I draw from and wear as I did in the ’70s, with modern pieces. I love the designs, silhouettes, and details. The designs from the ’30s and ’40s are very appealing to me, although there is something to be found that I enjoy from every era.
Deb: Hats are a big part of your look? What effect does wearing a hat have on you?
Judith: I wear a hat every day and feel undressed without headwear. A hat contributes to the mood of the day, and changing my hat can instantly transform my look. It provides the finishing touch. Hats became a part of me in the ’70s when I began wearing vintage.
I believe that hats can provide a better seat at a restaurant and many times evoke a smile from strangers who cross my path. Most importantly, they are fun to wear, and for me, the most important accessory of every day.
Deb: Tell us about some of your favorite hats and why they are so special to you?
Judith: I don’t have a favorite hat because they all have their own personality and are special in their own way. I display some of my more ornate hats in a secretary in the dining room, which has glass doors. For example, I have a straw cloth cone-shaped hat from the ’50s, with three blue colors that twirl upward like a sculpture. It happens to go perfectly with a light blue suit from the ’40s and is so much fun to wear. However, it could be worn with several other backgrounds if I decided to search through my inventory. Perhaps I’ll do that this summer because this piece of art deserves more outings!
Deb: In a day and age, when hats aren’t a routine fashion accessory, how do people react when you wear your hats?
Judith: The response that I get from others is very positive. I hear, “That’s a great hat!” regularly. Or I experience smiles from those around me. Sometimes my hat initiates a conversation with a stranger or a nod from another hat wearer who crosses my path.
I’m sure that people don’t appreciate hats, but it isn’t a problem for me. At the age of 73, I have learned that you can’t please everyone, so pleasing myself is more important than constantly seeking approval from others.
Deb: You approach to fashion the way an artist approaches creating a masterpiece. Tell us more about that.
Judith: Yes, I do believe that putting an ensemble together is art. It is also similar to meditation, and it flows mindfully. Usually, I start with the hat and add from there. I have been known to start with another accessory, such as a pair of gloves or shoes. But the underlying process is the same.
I don’t have a favorite outfit from the last year. I’m always moving forward to the next day and the next creation. I haven’t looked back on my posts since I launched Style Crone in 2010. That’s a lot of outfits!
Deb: Where do you find your fashion inspiration?
Judith: I find inspiration everywhere. Nature, the diversity of cultures, travel, art, museums, theatre, street style, dance, other bloggers, and Instagrammers. My style has developed over time and is constantly evolving. It’s an analogy for life.
I admire the style of Rossy de Palma, Eartha Kitt, Maye Musk, Prince, Daphne Selfe, Anna Piaggi, Audrey Hepburn, Iris Apfel, Josephine Baker, Grace Kelley, many of the women on Advanced Style and people who I encounter every day. The list is endless!
Deb: This year, you’re focusing on practicing “Age Pride.” What does that mean to you, and how are you embracing it?
Judith: “Age Pride” is important, no matter your age. Ageism enters the picture for older people, and it becomes even more important to embrace and accept one’s age. There is a movement afloat to change the perception of older people in our culture. Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style blog, books, and documentaries have impacted me and many others. However, there is a long way to go, and valuing ourselves and remaining visible at this stage of life is, in itself, contributing to “Age Pride.”
New research indicates that mindset is important and that the better you feel about aging, the healthier you become. In this year of focusing on “Age Pride,” I’m learning more about how I can confront my own inner ageist, and I’m becoming active in changing policies and beliefs that reinforce and strengthen ageism.
Deb: You grew your hair out last year. Tell us about your decision to go gray. Any tips for women who are considering going natural?
Judith: I thought about growing my hair out from red to natural for several years and decided to do so about a year ago. I was ready and felt committed to giving it a try. I decided that I could go back to read if I didn’t like the color that emerged.
I’ve been thrilled with the results. I have a short cut that is low maintenance. Wash and wear without care! Of course, I continue to wear hats, but my natural hair makes me feel more of who I am.
Regarding other women deciding to go natural, I think it’s a personal decision, and you have to be ready to take the plunge. There are Facebook pages and websites out there that provide support. But the bottom line, whatever a woman chooses to do is fine. Color or not. It’s a choice to be respected.
Deb: Blogging is a process of self-discovery. What have you discovered about yourself via photographing and writing about your style?
Judith: I’ve been blogging for almost six years now, and it’s part of the rhythm of my life. Because of Style Crone, I’m more interested in style than before I started blogging. I’ve become more experimental and feel comfortable taking risks. It’s not life or death, and you can always change your outfit or your hat.
I also see writing as a form of self-expression, and I have fallen in love with words. Creating a post every week helps me reflect on my inner world and process whatever is happening through style and writing. In this way, I can document and more clearly understand my evolution. I see this as a priceless gift. The wonderful people who I have met through blogging are life enhancers who contribute to my growth.
I have a friend who is my photographer, and we’re always trying to improve. I’ve become more interested and passionate about photography, which is new for me, allowing me to stretch in unfamiliar areas.
Deb: Do you have any tips to pass on to midlife women who are struggling to find themselves and their style?
Judith: I believe that it’s important to feel passionate about something that interests you. It doesn’t have to be style, as it is for me. It can be gardening, cooking, or anything that enhances your life. Focusing on passion is a journey that can be life-changing and facilitates growth. I believe that this improves health and increases longevity. Most importantly, have fun and express yourself. Be willing to be “101” at something and get better at it over time. Making one small change can impact one’s entire life in ways that you could never imagine.
Deb: Anything else you’d like to add?
Judith: Thank you so much, Deborah, for giving me the opportunity and honor to express myself and participate in your Fabulous After 40 Styleblazer Series. I appreciate all that you do for the over 40 blogging community.
Deb: Thank you, Judith, for sharing your expressive and artful style with us. Ladies, be sure to visit Judith’s blog, Style Crone, where you’ll find more of Judith’s creative style and her fabulous hats!