The need to express ourselves is ageless. And, if anything, our individuality grows with age. We figure out who we are over time. Time and experience re-shape us, both inside and out.
Our clothes reflect who we are and what we want to share with the world and that, too, is ageless. This couldn’t be better represented than by Denver-based designer, Brooks Luby. Brooks has been designing custom garments for stylish women in Denver since 1974 and is the founder of Brooks Ltd. As well as developing her distinctive style, she has always espoused inclusiveness. In the 1970s, she offered innovative wedding dresses, including maternity. Brooks uses diverse models and has recently designed a collection, Golden Dreams, with older women in mind (see more on her Instagram @BrooksLTD). She was the exclusive designer showcasing her collection “Golden Dreams” at Mayor Hancock’s Diversity & inclusion Awards Presentation.
Brooks likes “traditional design lines, quality fabrics, and excellent construction– always with a touch of whimsy”. If a garment is well made and fabric is beautiful, she says that you can do so much with it.
Making a great garment takes talent, skill and a practiced eye. A good designer can do a lot to make a garment look and feel right on an individual. Style is not a matter of the size or shape of a person, but what you make of the possibilities. Brooks helps people express themselves. “People come to me because they want to be their best self”.
How aging impacts style – and doesn’t
Style has a lot to do with confidence. “As we age, we often become more confident in who we are. Most contemporary women don’t care what other people think.”
Older women think about fashion differently than younger women. We all gain and change perspective over time, something Brooks appreciates in herself as well.
“As we all age, we adapt to our situation. What was good for me when I was a college student is not necessarily good for me now. As a designer, I’ve noted a need for women to help define their sense of style as they age.”
Plus, everyone’s style is different. “Fashion is not all things to all people, we get to pick and choose what’s right for our lifestyle, body type and environment. As we age we know how to choose what’s right for our own figure. We realize what makes us feel good. As Yves St Laurent said, ‘Dressing is a way of life’.”
Fashion can support and expand our personal narrative. “There comes a point when we need to take the reins of our well-being. When we experiment with a new fashion concept and it makes us feel good, we can embrace it. Take color for example. If you are used to wearing black because it is safe, I suggest you try adding a pop of color to elevate your mood and see if it works. Just adding a scarf or a handbag that is out of your comfort zone will have an effect on how you feel. It’s a small step, but it can create a larger boundary. An openness to try something new can be refreshing.”
Even the fashion industry is starting to notice older people. Take the recent cover story of Vogue, featuring Judy Dench. The industry is starting to realize that older people are vibrant and relevant. “The industry has a lot to do with the narrative,” acknowledges Brooks. “However the industry is now catering to a broader base and noticing that style is ageless.”
Style in a pandemic
Like every other business, Brooks Luby and her business Brooks Ltd. has had to pivot with the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis brought a unique fashion opportunity. It requires a new garment, one that everyone needs. As an experienced and creative business person, Brooks Luby was ready.
“With the pandemic, I began making masks for the front line. Many clients also began asking me for masks, so I am now helping with their personal protection. Masks have become an important self-expression, an everyday accessory that is part of our health and well-being. I chose to use both the traditional, beautiful fabrics that I’m known for, as well as some whimsical prints to elevate our mood during this crisis. Just like when we choose what we wear everyday, masks are now part of our daily routine. I think masks will be the embodiment of fashion and will be one of the historical significances of 2020.”
Whether people are wearing stylish masks or luxurious, comfortable lifestyle clothing, Brooks helps modern women express their individual style at every age, with confidence and ease.
Read more about people making a difference.
Sara Breindel, Changing the Narrative blogger