A while ago I discovered the fabulous website of Misja B, a streetstyle blog based in The Netherlands. She happens to live in my hometown of Haarlem so we had a chance to catch up when I visited in July and talk about all things style.
This lady has tons of it, as do the people she photographs. Find out more about her unique style and see photos both of herself as well as some of her subjects throughout this article. Enjoy!
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I’m Misja Beijers, I live in Holland, in the beautiful city of Haarlem. I’m married, we have two daughters and two grandchildren (boys).
Until September 2013 I worked as an assistant of the editor at Zin magazine, which is a human interest magazine for 50plus people.
Since that time I’ve been working full time on my blog MisjaB.nl
Besides that I have a photo column in Zin. Every month I take a picture of a (fifty plus) woman or man on the street and interview her/him, in order to write a little, personal story.
As a point of reference which age group do you belong to or perhaps you are willing to share your age?
Of course I will share my age, I was born in May 1952, so I’m 63 years old.
Can you tell us a bit more about your website Misja B and why you created it?
Some six years ago my daughters told me about The Sartorialist. The man behind is Scott Schumann and he’s photographing mostly young, fashionable people all over the world.
I immediately thought that would be interesting to do, and then focus on people my own age.
At the time there were already a lot of young people blogging about fashion and photographing themselves. But there were not many people of my age doing the same thing.
Till that time I did not have much experience photographing, so first I decided to learn more about it during a photo training.
For my blog I photograph women and men on the street, who are slightly older (fifty plus) and look stylish and beautiful.
I always ask permission to take a photo, which gives me the the opportunity to make contact and most of the time have a pleasant talk. During which time people tell me more about their clothes and style.
Every now and then I ask street style photographer Gaston Wals to take some pictures of me, to feature my own style on my blog as well.
As a motto for my work I use a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: ‘Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, beautiful older people are works of art’.
What attracts you in the style of others?
That’s difficult to explain. I think the most important thing is that you can see that someone feels comfortable and thereby looks confident.
Of course I like it when people dress like I do, in the sense of ‘less is more’. But on the other hand I love watching people who dare to exaggerate. They are, in my opinion, much more creative in mixing and matching colors and materials and creating a beautiful outfit or quirky outfit.
How would you describe your own style?
I would say my style is minimalistic, but not to the extreme, contemporary with a touch of the classic, and a little bit artistic.
What would you consider the most important components of your style?
I like special details and beautiful materials, quality is important
I prefer less = more.
I love statement pieces, like big rings. Ever since I had to wear glasses, I’ve always chosen a striking frame.
Where do you live and how does that influence your style?
I live in Haarlem, a beautiful, old city with about 160.000 inhabitants. It’s located near the North Sea, so we can go to the beach by bicycle.
It’s also near the city of Amsterdam and that city influences my style more than Haarlem does. In Amsterdam you find a varied population and a lot more shops, so that I can shop at COS but also at exclusive brands like Dries van Noten or high end shops like Van Ravenstein. And there are of course many markets, of which the Noordermarkt is the most important one for me, offering both secondhand as well as vintage clothing.
Do you feel you have a signature style?
If you can say that about yourself, I think I do. Like one of my friends sometimes tells me: “Oh I saw ‘a Misja-skirt’, the other day'”.
What inspires your outfit choices the most?
First of all I’m body conscious: I always look at clothes and think whether the shape will flatter my figure. I want to wear clothes that are suitable for work, so they have to be practical but at the same time look fashionable and stylish. I like items that I can style in different ways, so I can wear them to different occasions.
Details are important to me, I love the way clothes are made, the way clothes are sewn or look on the inside. Or well chosen lines. For example: the other day I bought a vintage coat, which has a ingenious blind closure. You can see that the designer has paid a lot of attention to it.
I’m not looking at colors so much, materials and fabrics are more important to me. I’m not focussed on brands or designers but on beauty.
And last but not least all items have to complement my wardrobe. I love good quality, rather than quantity. For me it’s important that my clothes are timeless, so that I can wear them for many years.
I like to mix and match, that’s the way my mother taught me. She used to say: “If you buy a piece of clothing, think about what you will wear it with.’
Do you take things like color profiling or body type into account when you dress?
Yes, certainly. I’m body conscious, but colors are not that important to me. I usually choose muted colors and make a combination with one colorful item, like a scarf, ring or necklace.
Has your style changed at all after turning 40?
I don’t think my style has changed, but there are some differences. For example I don’t wear short sleeves anymore and nowadays I only wear skirts at knee length or lower.
A plunging neckline was never a favorite, so that’s no issue. And I often choose flat, comfortable, but never the less stylish, shoes. Fortunately there is a lot of choice in that kind of shoes!
I only wear high heels at (very) special occasions.
My hair is getting more and more grey. I’m satisfied with it, I find it complements my skin tone.
Do you believe in dressing ‘age appropriately’ and what does it mean to you?
Yes, but I’ll speak for myself, because everybody has to make her/his own choices of course. But for me, I always wonder if an item is still age appropriate. It also has to suit my face, after all I have many more wrinkles than I did when I was in my forties!
Would you say that at this stage of your life you are now more, or less interested in fashion, style and the way you look?
I was always interested in fashion and looking good has been important to me at every age. But nowadays I have more time to pay attention to my clothes and sometimes I can afford buying something special.
Why is the way you look important to you?
Wearing something I feel comfortable in, gives me more confidence. Not worrying about my clothes, gives me the opportunity to focus on other important things or people.
Clothing is also a way of communication, it’s a language without words. For example, you make a statement wearing a big hat!
Do you follow trends? And if yes, which trends excite you at the moment?
No, not really, however I do like some trends. For example flat shoes with thick soles. I love them, because of the comfort and because the soles make me a bit taller!
Do you have any fashion and style tips for women over 40?
Take a good look at your body, where has it changed? Ask yourself whether or not it’s necessary to color your hair, because most of the time one’s natural color suits one’s skin tone perfectly.
What are your plans for your website and how do you see it develop over the coming years?
I love working on my website and I’m always excited when I get new visitors and followers.
It’s so special to know that someone, somewhere in the world, is happy with the photos I took.
I would also like to write in English on my blog. It’s a challenge for me, but sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone. It’s not easy for me to write in English, but I ‘m going to ask my followers to correct me whenever I make a (big) mistake.
In September I will visit New York during Fashionweek. Certainly I hope to meet bloggers, Instagram and FB followers there.
And of course beautiful and special women and men in the streets of New York!
On my wishlist are many more cities to visit. I think it’s interesting to see the diverse style of fifty plus people in different cities and countries. So next time it may be Milan, Hamburg or Kopenhagen. And, like Audrey Hepburn said: ‘Paris is always a good idea!’
Anything further you would like to add?
Be proud of your age! Life is great, also when you get older. You can still be attractive. Enjoy the good and beautiful things in life:
they make you feel good and that makes you look good!
And don’t forget to smile, because: “You’re never fully dressed without a smile!’
I adore Misja’s style and you can expect to see more of it as she will join me in New York for fashion week! Check out a lot more fabulous style from the Netherlands on Misja’s website MisjaB!
Which of the above looks is your favorite?