By Rebecca Drew
STYLISH WIDOW is determined to ‘STAY VISIBLE’ to fight against ageism and has almost FIFTY-FOUR THOUSAND followers on Instagram where she showcases her most outrageous looks.
Former psychiatric nurse, style blogger and model, Judith Boyd (76) from Denver, Colorado, USA, has always had a keen interest in fashion – particularly statement headwear.
Working as a psychiatric nurse beginning in the seventies, Judith showcased her hats while working in mental health settings as a form of ‘meditation’ for herself but also to brighten the days of her patients, many of whom were going through the most harrowing time of their life.
As she grew older, Judith grew frustrated by the lack of positivity surrounding ageing and the terms used to describe older women. After doing research, Judith decided to reclaim the word ‘crone’ and turn it into a positive sentiment – with the support of her late husband, Nelson, as her photographer, her blog, Style Crone was born in 2010.
Nelson was diagnosed with cancer in 2005 and Judith cared for him until he sadly passed away aged 62, nine months after her blog was set up. Judith carried on with her blog in Nelson’s honour and says all her modelling opportunities since are born from ‘the ashes of grief’.
Judith now has an incredible 53.9K followers on Instagram under the handle, @stylecrone, where she showcases her incredible sense of style and taste in hats.
Social media has given Judith an online support system in addition to her friends and family in real life and despite some negative comments regarding her outfits, Judith, who turns 77 later this month, continues to stay active and visible online to stand against ageism as she cherishes the ‘gift’ of growing older.
“I started my blog in 2010, nine months before my husband died of cancer and he was my photographer which was something he had never done before. I blogged about outfits and cancer caregiving, outfits and death, outfits and grief and then outfits and my reinvention which all of this is part of,” said Judith.
“None of this would have happened; my modelling, everything what I’m doing now with Style Crone comes forth from the ashes of grief.
“I researched words to describe older women and there were none that were positive. There was only ‘mature’ but mature could mean a twenty year old, a younger person could be mature and so I was drawn to the word ‘crone’ because in the past, older women who the word crone was used to define were revered and considered to be a very valued part of culture.
“At this point, the word ‘crone’ in the dictionary was defined as an ‘ugly old woman’ so I thought it was time to reclaim it and turn that word on its head and turn it into a positive. My deceased husband was very supportive of me using that term.
“What we created together lives with me today and so I just keep moving forward even though sometimes it’s not easy as it takes a lot of time and effort, it’s a labour of love and I keep moving forward to see what’s going to happen next.
“I’m a mixture of introvert and extrovert. I think my confidence was built and the major change for me was my relationship with my deceased husband. He was just so supportive and adored me just as I was, and I feel that that was what created the anchor for me to grow and to stretch.
“During the time that my husband was sick and dying, I had this new support system. My friends in real life were supportive but online was a support system I hadn’t realised was out there. There was no one else blogging about style and death at the time.”
Incredible pictures showcase Judith’s passion for headwear, the number of how many items of which she owns would be too time consuming to count.
Judith went onto discuss how she deals with negative comments but praised her blogging and modelling career now for allowing her to interact with people from all walks of life, which keeps her curious.
“There are always going to be haters out there but they’re easy to delete. I just don’t pay attention to it at this point. Not everybody is going to agree with me, I’m not for everybody and that’s fine,” she said.
“If there’s an intensely negative comment, I have the power to delete it. I don’t have to see it. If someone doesn’t like my style, that’s one thing. I don’t have to see it. But if that goes to the extent of hate, I just delete it.
“There is ageism. Ageism is a very real thing and that’s part of what my blog is about. I will be seventy-seven this month and I’m very proud of it, so I flaunt it. I feel like it’s a political act to stay visible as an older woman. On social media, it’s my responsibility in a way.
“No matter where I travel now, there is always a blogger, an Instagrammer or a milliner wherever I travel, and it just makes life so rich and interesting. It’s important to maintain curiosity. Curiosity fuels my life.”
Judith shared her top tips to help other older women who might feel left behind by society.
“Number one, focus on your health and then from there just have a passion whether it be gardening, or painting or art, for me art is putting together ensembles, that’s my art,” she said.
“You don’t have to focus on style if that’s not your interest or something you want to pursue. If you are wanting to focus on style, let it be your own self-expression, and let it come from inside.
“I can appreciate the style of everyone I see, if you’re very casual, or you’re very understated, that’s fine. I just happen to be very into hats, headwear, sustainable fashion, and finding what I wear is very positive for the environment is something that’s important to me, climate change is something I’m very interested in now.
“Just be who you are, learn about ageism and educate yourself about it because that is a way to feel more empowered as we move through this time in our lives. We have value, no matter our age. Another thing I think is important is to form relationships with all generations and from all backgrounds, it will add so much value to your life.
“To be growing older is a gift because so many people I know have not had the privilege of growing older. I just focus on my own style and it’s my self-expression. I feel that feeling positive about myself and where I am today is the most important message I can convey.
“It’s ok to be the age I am or to be older or younger but it’s important to enjoy my life. It’s very important to have a passion or to feel as though I am giving back and my focussing on climate change is because I want my grandchildren to have a liveable planet.
“Fast fashion is very much contributing to climate change. That’s why I wear what I see to be sustainable. Buying second-hand and supporting artisans and small businesses is important as well. I’ve been doing that since the seventies and I didn’t even know about climate change at that point.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/stylecrone/