As Rockmore has said, 50-year-old women tend to know who they are and what they want.
The modern closet was initially a private space, where items could be hidden from public view. But it has been steadily reconceived as a repository of potential and dreams, a place from which a “true” self can emerge. Add enough wealth, and it can also be a museum of treasures; those of us unable to “shop” our closets as though they were luxury stores can do so vicariously in Rockmore’s. Her wardrobe also has the other appeal of a museum: It feels archival, historical, not amassed but curated. Combining its contents in new ways involves sharing her expertise with the youthful cohort on social media — the kind of fashion mentorship that used to be mediated through things like magazines, for which unseen adult editors might dictate the styling of teenage models.
Now, social media allows anyone to dig into her wardrobe and explain an intimate self to a public. There is, accordingly, no dearth of women and girls making jump-cut videos of their outfits. If Rockmore’s years set her apart, it’s not because she looks good “for her age,” whatever that means; it is because, at 54, she is very much dressing for fun and self-expression. This puts her in a category traditionally left out of narratives about what makes a woman fashionable — a category that has produced some of the most remarked-upon fashion influencers of recent years.
As Rockmore has said in interviews, 50-year-old women tend to know who they are and what they want. They are not alien to their own lives, roaming around confused about how everything got to be the way it is now, as if freshly emerged from cryogenic chambers. This is a vision of middle age that the inexplicable new “Sex and the City” reboot, “And Just Like That…,” leans into with surprising malice: Its characters spend the first few episodes being baffled by how the world has changed. In the original series, the fictional Carrie Bradshaw’s closet and wardrobe were major motifs — symbolizing her innermost self and her gutsy public persona. In the new series, a 55-year-old Carrie sorts through those same garments with the aid of her friend Charlotte’s teenage daughter, for whom they represent possible future identities. When Carrie meets a neighbor much like her younger self, she is initially intimidated, desperate not to seem old and square. But after the neighbor opens up to her, Carrie has an awkward revelation, putting on an Atelier Versace gown valued at $80,000, eating popcorn by her window and realizing “there are some things that should never be put into storage.” You get the feeling she is referring to herself.
Rockmore does not struggle toward this epiphany. Rather than mocking her for sticking around past her supposed sell-by date, online audiences — even on teenager-heavy TikTok — love her for it. She is, in fact, one of a handful of over-50 fashion mentors on social media to attract an all-ages crowd. There’s Trinny Woodall, formerly of the TV show “What Not to Wear,” who pioneered this type of madcap styling advice, livestreaming from her closet, or her bathroom, or Zara. There are also Grece Ghanem, Lyn Slater and Nina Garcia, among others — all over 50, all with social media followings well past the half-million mark, all rejecting the culture’s insistence that women become invisible 50 years before death.