Advanced Style

There’s no getting around the feeling that Advanced Style is essentially just a documentary’s worth of free publicity for some guy’s blog. That’s the era we’re in. But the blog in question, also called Advanced Style, and also a bastion of free publicity, is well known and much loved for its devotion to the “sartorial savvy of the senior set.” For years the guy behind it, Ari Seth Cohen, has surveyed the streets of New York, photographing older women whose personal style he admires. “These were incredible people and I had to share them with the world,” Cohen says, and now this film from director Lina Plioplyte lets us get to know them. As for getting around the feeling that the entire enterprise might be a little patronizing, that just takes some patience. They really are some impressive ladies, with a diverse array of life stories, and their attire is nothing if not striking: here elegant, there flamboyant; sometimes tacky, but always unabashedly personal. Thankfully, the rah-rah spirit of Cohen and Plioplyte’s project doesn’t foreclose serious consideration of mortality, but it does make clear an attainable ideal of graceful aging: All of Cohen’s subjects seem upliftingly self-possessed. The movie lacks technical slickness, but there’s something classy about a consideration of longevity which, at 72 minutes in length, doesn’t overstay its welcome.