Sarah-Jane Adams aka Wrinkles Are My Stripes
Sarah-Jane Adams aka Wrinkles Are My Stripes

#BODYHONESTLY

“I dress for myself, not my age”

At 60, Sarah-Jane Adams, aka My Wrinkles Are My Stripes, became a social-media sensation. Celebrated for her personal style, here she explains her ethos 

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By Sarah-Jane Adams on

It is a happy accident for me, at the age of 61, to suddenly be in the spotlight for something I have been doing for a greater part of my life. That is, with regard to my clothing, following my own path, my own trend, my own sense of dress.

Eighteen months ago, my daughter posted a picture of me on Instagram wearing an Adidas jacket and a scowl. Since then, I have become a poster girl for campaigns which, among many topics, discuss ageing and age-appropriate dress. While I am bemused by the attention, I am excited to be following this new direction my life has taken.

At this particular moment, my personal philosophy of clothing synchronises with the trends evolving in the world of fashion, something I have never felt a part of. Terms such as slow fashion, bricolage, maximalist, cultural appropriation, along with buzzwords like boho chic, street style, gypsy style and gangsta granny are used when people comment on my choice of dress. But the core of my dress sense has not changed since I was a very young girl. At the age of five, I was sent to boarding school and much of my childhood was spent wearing a uniform. Once I was given the choice, I dressed for comfort, freedom and individuality. I spent school holidays in tatty jeans, a checked cowboy shirt and a green turtle-necked sweater.

Being a tomboy meant that my choice of clothing had to be functional. Away from the confines of boarding school, with its stiff, itchy uniforms, I was free to climb trees, play with boys, scrape my knees and discover myself. As I was growing up, high-street fashion for me was either too bland, too expensive or too restrictive; something most people followed, rather than something which reflected a personality – kind of like being back in school. Instead, I chose rather to scour the flea markets of London and the regular Saturday jumble sales, to find my clothes. My heroes were Bowie, Richards and Hendrix.

Sarah-Jane as a 17-year-old in Rotherham
 

For as long as I can remember, I have chosen to wear pre-worn, mended garments. As a young teenager, I embraced the hippy philosophy of handmade unisex clothing. I experimented with natural tie-dye, Afghan coats, military jackets, 1920s silk scarves and flapper dresses. And when punk burst on to the scene, I mixed in these elements, too. It was quite a multi-faceted look.

Sarah-Jane at 30 years old
 

My style now is a reflection of street style. I l have spent most of my adult life living in the inner city suburb of Newtown, in Sydney, Australia, which has a very vibrant and creative look. I spend very little now on clothes, a little more on shoes. I have all I need to clothe me until the end of my days. My favourite piece is a tattered, threadbare, 1920s satin jacket which, I believe, was modified in the 1940s. It came with me when, in 1972, aged 17, I made my first solo journey, to France.

Sarah-Jane's 1972 passport picture and now
 

I never buy fashion magazines. I don’t like being dictated to, being bombarded by advertising; I find no reality or pleasure between their glossy pages. And rarely do I shop in high-street stores. The exception is Adidas Originals. I love their trainers and enjoy mixing their collaborative pieces (Jeremy Scott, Rita Ora, Mary Katrantzou) with my eclectic wardrobe.

My clothes reflect my mood, my attitude, my task and how I feel I need to face the world each morning. I don't plan tomorrow’s outfit today – a mood can change overnight. Our clothes are indeed a second skin. Mine have served as my home, my protector, my form of self-expression, my camouflage and my messenger. Inside my clothes and inside my body, I am ageless.

I have more wrinkles, more scars, more experiences and more stories. I continue to wear the same pieces of clothing, some of which have been with me for 40 years. Layer upon layer upon layer. What does my age have to do with this? I believe it is more important for us to know and dress for ourselves, than to be concerned with age appropriateness. To know yourself is to grow old with grace, with attitude and with acceptance. I dress for myself and myself alone, as I always have and I always will.

@saramaijewels

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fashion
fashion honestly
Body Honestly
Style

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