Let’s face it, at first glance, the social media universe is a wasteland of inauthentic imagery from a me-me-me generation, littered by pics of absurd fashion, outre cosmetics, and unrealistic travel destinations.
But dig a little beneath the firmament, and you will find content that will entice you to stop scrolling and take a closer look. Yes, Instagram has profiles from grown-up women with a fabulous sense of style, a keen self-awareness, and true confidence based on a life well lived.
This is a selection of 17 inspiring influencers over 40. They come from all around the world. Each account is quite different from the next, but they are all uplifting, and each one affirms that there is vibrant life amidst the social media wasteland, and yes, ladies: age is just a number.
Featured on the cover of the Elysian Spring 2021 Wellness issue, Carol Alt is not only one of the original 1980s supermodels, but also an actor, author, raw food and fitness enthusiast, and former host of A Healthy You & Carol Alt on Fox News. Called the “Most Beautiful Woman in the World” by Playboy Magazine and the “Next Million Dollar Face” by Life Magazine in 1980, the now 60-year-old wellness devotee shares recipes and health advice on Instagram to help followers look and feel young. Throwbacks to previous accomplishments together with reels of current photoshoots, fashion advice, and sneak-peeks into her life make this account an all-rounder.
Fifty-something, gray haired Lebanon-born Grece Ghanem from Montreal dares to be different. Think zebra pants with a Pucci-inspired print top, head-to-toe leopard print, or a swimsuit with cutouts in all the right places. A personal trainer, she is enviably fit, and her style defies her age. Despite undoubtedly receiving samples from all the big labels, her pictures are not hash-tagged or linked to advertising, although sometimes you can find out which label she is wearing from whom she tagged. Ghanem’s Instagram account is a little like sitting in the front row of an haute couture fashion show: a lot of it you
probably wouldn’t dare to wear yourself, but you take away inspiration to add a few more dashes of color and print to your everyday wardrobe, being a little more daring than normal.
Bibi Horst is a German blogger and author in her late 50s, best known for her online magazine Schokoladenjahre (https://schokoladenjahre.com/) , translated as “Chocolate Years.” Her sentiment is that the years around your 50s are the best years of your life, years to be relished and not dreaded, and her blog is full of fashion and style as well as advice on healthy and enjoyable aging. Her Instagram account is bursting with wearable European fashion, with clickable shopping links, a little bit of travel and food, and glimpses of her private life complete with her adorable dog. While the IG account is in German, the blog can easily be translated into English with a simple right-click, and is well worth the effort.
Kat Farmer is a stylist on the UK TV programme You Are What You Wear, where she helps people revamp their wardrobes and find their own personal style. Despite being a professional, her Instagram account comes across as very natural. Her outfits range from Boho skirts to pandemic-favorite sweatpants, all usually teamed with a trendy coat, and photographed while walking her puppy in the Kent countryside. Add a few inspirational quotes, and very candid shots from her family life, and you have a genuine, stylish account of a woman with a busy job and family, living a truly inspired life.
Tamu McPherson was born in Jamaica, grew up in NYC, and is now happily settled in Milan, Italy. She is a successful journalist, editor, and photographer. She also has an extraordinary sense of style and color which is not only evident in her fashion, but also in her home, which has been featured in Architectural Digest. Her blog All The Pretty Birds (https://www.alltheprettybirds.com/) covers fashion, beauty, wellness, and culture, and discusses topics ranging from racism to child hunger and environmental issues, as well as fun bits such as the fashions of Bridgerton. On her Instagram account, she models bold fashion in front of the backdrop of Milan and sometimes in her stunning apartment.
Grace Liang grew up in extreme poverty in China, left her village to become a teacher, and subsequently endured her husband’s death from cancer. When she turned 40, she realized that she needed to follow her passion: fashion. She started her blog Colour and Grace (https://colorandgrace.com/ ), and became an Instagram influencer practically overnight. She wrote a book about her life story and became a best-selling author. Having reinvented her life and successfully overcome so many hurdles, it is not a surprise
that she is also a motivational speaker. On her Instagram page, she motivates, inspires, and shares her life with her new husband and their children. She also talks fashion, and adds some travel as well.
A communications manager for a large company and graduate in international law, Silvia Berry started her Instagram to follow her daughters, but ended up making a career out of it and now uses social media more often than her offspring. Promoting fashion, accessories and style made in Italy, the Milanese influencer showcases an inspiring mix of everyday business-suitable fashion, leisure outfits, and robes for grand occasions, all displayed with an exuberant and naturally stylish approach. Reels where she is dancing down steps, going out with friends, or trying on outfits in a store transport her followers instantly to Italy, and have resulted in people wanting a piece of her. Now she has co-created a perfume and lipstick in her name and is the brand ambassador of an Italian jewelry firm, while still working her day job.
A former model, flight attendant, and commercial pilot, Sheree Frede has embraced the influencer life with aplomb. Calling herself Sheshe, because her step-grandchildren could not pronounce Sheree properly, Sheshe created a blog and impressive Instagram following doing what she loves: dressing in bright and cheerful fashions which reflect the warm climate of her hometown of Houston. In the shots of her walking on the beach or traveling the world, her style is always wearable, casual yet classic, and often with a dash of her favorite color, shocking pink. Who says you can’t be fabulous over 60?
If there is one account that gives you all-over lifestyle envy, then it is this one. Erica Davies is not just an influencer, but former editor, stylist, and interior designer, and also an author of not one but three bestselling books. When she wears a dress in a photoshoot it sells out pretty much immediately. Working with some of the big names on the UK’s high street, she does not model hugely pricey designer gear, but fashion you can wear every day, be it flip flops or floaty hippy-style dresses. But it’s those
doses of interior design that she injects into her account which make you truly swoon. Be it a blue-and-white striped beach hut or an orange lamp, a cupboard full of white plates or just a picture of her bookshelf, you’ll take inspiration from it all.
Folake Kuye Huntoon
Folake Kuye Huntoon is a designer for her own label: FKSP, and editor of the fashion blog Style Pantry with an aesthetically stunning Instagram. Fashion produced in Los Angeles, CA, for the everyday woman who wants something a little more eye-catching than what you can get from your average store. Folake Kuye Huntoon models her designs, always in a diptych showing the same outfit twice. The colors are fabulous, the tailoring superb, and the woman designing and wearing them: simply stunning. Be it camouflage pants, a bright red silky jumpsuit, or bright and cheerful voluminous skirts. She is her brand’s best ambassador and an inspiration to all of us to put more color and daring into our everyday wardrobe.
Linda and Leanne
Linda and Leane are neighbours living on Australia’s Gold Coast. Both come from an interior design background and happened to meet and realize that they both love fashion. So, they created the popular This with That blog and Instagram account. Summery, light fashion photographed in a gorgeous setting, and at times photobombed by Frankie the Dachshund. The account is typically Australian: sunny, relaxed, fun, and yet stylish and inspiring. Great fashion that you can easily emulate and wear on summery days or on vacation. All that’s missing is a ticket to Australia.
Former street-style photographer, blogger, fashion icon, and author of the best-selling Love Style Life style bible, French Garance Dorè has taken a step back from the fashion world recently, but that does not make her Instagram account any less stylish and inspirational. Living in Los Angeles, but regularly traveling the world, her account stands out because of the images. All the photographs are superb, be they of travel destinations, home interiors, fashion, food, or herself. It is a feel-good account, relaxing
yet inspiring, classy and stylish, and a mix of motivating quotes, slow travel, slow living, and regardless of where she is in the world, indubitably French.
Petra Dieners spent years working for global luxury companies before setting up her own international business. Having successfully sold the business, she is now concentrating on her family and her passion for fashion. Living between Düsseldorf in Germany and St Tropez in the south of France, her fashion choices cover all seasons, stretching between cozy winter knits and summery dresses, but are mostly perfect city outfits, suitable for business as well as leisure. Her selections are classic and classy, upmarket with a dash of luxury, but not overwhelmingly unaffordable. Running alongside her Instagram account is her blog, Lieblingsstil, meaning favourite style– which is available in both German and English–where she offers tips on fashion, interior design, and interviews with international designers and stylists.
Susi Rejano is the founder of Brilliant Barcelona , a luxury multi-brand fashion and accessories boutique in Barcelona and online. She is also a superbly stylish and elegant woman in her late 50s who models the fashion she sells, always elegant and well put together, from smart casual city wear to business outfits, up to the minute fashionable, yet classic pieces that you can wear for years to come. Mostly photographed in her boutique but with regular glimpses of Barcelona, Spain, and further afield destinations. And it seems style and looks run in the family, with Susi Rejano’s daughter Carla Hinojosa’s Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/carlahinojosar/ and her sister Rafi Rejano’s accounts being just as inspiring.
Isabella Thorpe, born and raised in the Philippines and now living in the States, embraces middle age, and does so in style. Her account is called Confessions of a Superager, and that is clearly what she is, aging superbly, and very enviously so. You would not believe she is the mother of two grown-up kids, stepmother to two more, and a grandmother. She works full time and goes to the gym every morning. Whatever she is doing, she is doing it right, and she shares some of her secrets and tips with her followers. Whether it is looking cool in a floaty dress, hiding under a giant sun hat, evaluating skin care, or giving nutrition advice, she has truly discovered the key to superaging.
What is it with Spanish women? Here is another truly classy, elegant, middle aged woman who inspires followers with her style and looks, all in the lovely setting of foodie-city San Sebastian in northern Spain. A graduate in Art and Medieval History, she decided to start her blog Pilar Code and her Instagram account after feeling that women over 45 seem to become invisible. Well, she is proving that needs not to be the case. Whether she is photographed wearing a tulle skirt, a business suit, leather pants or a pink sweatsuit, she is chic personified, and even if her account is in Spanish, the pictures tell you all you need to know.
Julie D. Harbour
Julie D. Harbour’s account looks like it was created by someone at least 20 years younger. Who says you cannot wear vibrant color over 50 and have so much fun living life? Authentic, unapologetic, joyous, and stylish, she proves that being yourself is the best way to age. Stylist, consultant, and content creator at Stylish Paradox she gives advice on fashion, style, self-care, and wellbeing, and offers various styling services, from closet cleanses to shopping services and virtual makeovers, while her Instagram account is an inspirational mix of fashion and motivational quotes
by Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey