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Jacqui Getz, 64: The Teacher-to-Stylist Pivot

Meet Jacqui Getz, a stylist who helps women unlock their confidence and embrace their authentic style. A lifelong learner driven by curiosity, she transitioned from a career in education to starting her own business in her 60s, and feels cooler than ever.

Jacqui Getz leads by example — and with a principle of style.

From her lifelong career as an educator and school founder to her current role as a pro-age wardrobe stylist, Jacqui’s journey is a testament to the power of embracing new beginnings. Her class is always in session, and we have so much to learn from her, with her signature sass, smarts, and natural ability to listen, guide, and inspire students and clients alike.

Jacqui is a serial optimist and learner. Unafraid to take risks, she combines her educational background and love for clothes to empower women, particularly older women, to unlock their authentic style with insight and honesty. Her mission is clear: to instill a sense of empowerment and confidence in women through fashion. Let’s meet her.

jacqui Getz

How old are you?
I’m 64.

Are you married?
I’m married 38 years.

Do you have children?
Three girls.

Where do you live?
I live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

What inspired your transition from school principal to personal stylist?
I retired in 2021. But in 2017, I got an image consulting certificate at FIT because I knew I wanted to work with clothes, but I had no idea how. Some people say it’s because of my grandmother. She sewed couture gowns at Saks for 40 years.

My grandfather was the head chef of Fifth Avenue Tennis and Racquet Club. Neither of them went to school for this. They were just lucky French immigrants from a tiny town in the Pyrenees. Were they my fashion influences? I have no idea. 

I never considered myself fashionable. Ever.  It is only now, in my 60s, that I feel cool.

As my career in education was winding down, I knew I wanted a new challenge. Many educators transition to consulting, but I wanted something different. I enrolled in grad school at Glasgow Caledonian New York University, a branch of a major university in Glasgow, Scotland, to pursue a master’s in sustainable fashion. While I believe in the movement, I was drawn to its impact on ageism and aging. The movement had overlooked older customers, and I wanted to change that. 

When we graduated this past December, I realized I was 40 years older than all my colleagues. I loved them for accepting me. I wrote my thesis on ageism and fashion and whether the sustainable fashion movement could disrupt ageism.

“I cannot turn off my curiosity, ability to reflect, and need to learn”

What’s the most challenging part of this transition?
The waiting. When you spend 36 years in a predictable field, even though you know when you get up in the morning that a child will do something so outrageous you’ve never even considered it, you still get it. This is new to me. I need to improve at waiting.

Waiting for clients, waiting for answers, waiting for information — trying to get the rhythm of having a business has been difficult. I’m making it up as I go. Thank God I went to FIT, stayed in touch with people, researched, and met people like you. So, it’s been challenging but humbling. I cannot turn off my curiosity, ability to reflect, and need to learn.

jacqui Getz

What did you discover from your studies?
First, the voices of older women in fashion are fairly muted. 

The sustainable fashion movement is more inclusive because it is looking for customers. Also, this is a fallacy: baby boomers have all the money. The brands that I focused on — small, women-owned brands — are smart. They’re saying, “Who’s out there with the money?” They need customers. They also curate a small collection that can be customized to a customer. It’s more classic and expensive.

When you combine all of those variables, you will land on an older customer. They have to listen harder, ask more questions, and adapt themselves. Will they disrupt ageism? I have no idea. However, they make it easier for older customers to feel included and shop if they can afford it. Their quality is better; their cuts are better.

“What’s so interesting about the small brands I worked with is their intergenerational vision”

Small brands can educate older customers more. Also, what’s so interesting about the small brands I worked with is their intergenerational vision. Their clothes look good on hipsters, millennials, older people, or mother-daughter stuff. It’s more gender-fluid, too.

Can you name a few?
Christine Alcalay in Brooklyn, Naomi Nomi. Minimalist NYC. Flora Animalia, for amazing gardening tools and wear.

Take us through what happened next.
The big question is: What do you do when you retire? I don’t want to be involved in those conversations. I hate them. Like, stop talking to me. 

But I went to grad school, an expensive transitional tool, and then I said, “Okay, now I’m going to do it.” I will edit people’s closets and work with older women; not high-end, fancy people. It is fun to work with women like me who have forgotten how to style themselves, possibly given up a little bit, and perhaps look schlumpy. 

I dress with intention. When you leave school, you get tons of cards. The one card I kept was from an 8th grader who said, “I’m going to miss seeing your outfits every day.” 

“I dress with intention”

It’s a good segue because I was going to say, have your experiences in education shaped your experience as a stylist? 
At first, I thought I didn’t know how to start a business. And then the career coach I hired said, “Didn’t you start a school?” I founded a New York City Public School, which, when you say that to people, they’re like, “How does that work?” I’m like, “I don’t know.” 

Someone gives you a Post-It and says they need this school in a year. And you’re like, “Okay.” So, I could do that because it was all I knew. I gathered the people way smarter than me, and we did it. 

How do you start your conversation with clients? 
I talk to clients on the phone, send a questionnaire, and send back an email recapping what we discussed. Then we talk some more. We set a date to meet in person. When I get to someone’s house, I tell them to make two piles: your regular go-to’s and the things you bought that you think are cool and love but have yet to figure out how to style. And then we go piece by piece.

I will take as much time as needed. Because you know what? Everything is a story. 

jacqui Getz, superage quiz

You have a very distinct sense of style. How do you balance your style with your clients’?
I go in wanting to learn. Teach me about your style. Why do you like that? What works for you? This is about you, why you bought it, what you want to do with it, and what works for you. I have to be 100% in their world.

And then we work with it. I can’t leave and say to someone, “Okay, so you’re going to have to go on the biggest shopping trip ever. So we work with what’s there, make new outfits, and then we can add on. 

Tell me a client success story.
I worked with two former colleagues, and they were going to school. We set up three outfits, and I got texts from them: “It worked. People noticed. I feel better. I got a compliment. Millions of compliments.” That’s great.

“I don’t want to take myself too seriously”

You share your outfits on Instagram. That takes a lot of courage, especially at our age when this idea of invisibility keeps coming up for so many women. 
I started a while ago when I was acting principal. My art teacher said, “You’re starting an Instagram page.” I think I do it to humble myself. I don’t want to take myself too seriously.

Also, my photographer is my husband; therefore, I’m laughing in many pictures. When I get clients, I want them to see the reality and the day-to-day and demystify it. 

I’m learning from people, and that’s the best part. So, it’s just me trying to connect and, as my neighbor always says, “Leave myself open to the universe.”

How has your style changed since leaving academia?
It hasn’t. I wore jeans every day and still do.

In the past, I wouldn’t wear my baggiest jeans to work but, by the end, when you’re working in the West Village as a principal, come on.

I worked with some of the smartest people in the city, and they dressed more conservatively. But I’m a jeans-and-heels girl.

Kids would say, “We hear you coming.” And I was like, “You better hear me coming.” 

“I think I look better now than ever”

I love G-Star Raw and NOVEMB3R, a tremendous Spanish brand. I buy Frankie Shop. I’m keeping them in business for life. I also buy J. Crew jeans two sizes up and Uniqlo. 

I watch and learn a lot on Instagram. I still get paper magazines like Vogue. Then, I see what appeals to me, and I replicate that.

I always tell clients to start a Pinterest page: “You can make that look within your budget; why were you holding back? Why did you think you weren’t worth it?” And that whole thing about invisibility is, I’ve never been a person who walks down the street and men whistle. I haven’t lost that moment in my life. It was never there. So, I don’t mourn and grieve my looks, and I think I look better now than ever. 

However, we are also doing this to ourselves and dressing as invisible. So, we need to work harder at dressing for ourselves, first and foremost.

Your style is bold. What small steps can women take to get bolder with their style? 
Stephanie O’Dell, someone I do the IG chats with, always says, “Red shoes. Just start somewhere.” 

Find someone you admire and follow their lead. That’s how we learn, right?

jacqui Getz

Take us through your day. 
I work out every morning. In the past, I would get up at 4 am as a principal and work out. I like barre stretching and have a stationary bicycle at home. Anyone who knows me knows it’s a bad day if I haven’t worked out. I do it for my mental and physical health.

If I’m not going to a client, I send them links or work on an article. I walk in Riverside Park every day. Wearing my headphones, I listen to a book, and I walk to see neighbors. I usually see a friend at least twice weekly and visit a museum.  My husband’s retired now, too. How fun is that?  

“Anyone who knows me knows it’s a bad day if I haven’t worked out”

What’s on your playlist?
I’m married to a man who is an obsessive music person. I love Jon Batiste and José James. We saw him in person; I almost died.  I listen to Adele. I still listen to Carly Simon and James Taylor. 

But when walking around the city, I’m not listening to anything; I’m people-watching. 

What are your three non-negotiables in life?  
Family. Second, I work on my health because I’m grateful, but I know that things can happen as we age. Third is moving forward with optimism, curiosity, and learning. I want to be optimistic that I can learn, take on challenges, and stay a problem-solver. 

Take us through a recent challenge.  
You walk into challenging situations when you’ve been an educator for 36 years and a leader for much of that. You don’t keep all of your opinions to yourself, and you’ve placed yourself in precarious places. I know many educators who have been so calm and successful working, and they could go on forever. I made mistakes. It’s like, stop looking back. Same with aging. I can beat myself up, but my rule of thumb is: if I wake up two or three days later, it’s not the first thing I wake up to, the gigantic mess-up or my fear. Now my blood’s not running cold. I’ve incorporated it into my being, strengthened, and can move forward.

“I want to be optimistic that I can learn, take on challenges, and stay a problem-solver”

I love that.
I’m so humbled. You must learn to apologize and move on because no one wants to hear you beating yourself up constantly. No one can make it better for you; you have to do it yourself.

What’s next for you?
My goal is straightforward. I love working with women and reassuring them they have worth: their bodies, clothes, and style. Don’t lose it. Use it. 

So, I’m delighted doing that. It fills me up, making it work for women in their closets. It’s so much fun to be interviewed and meet people. But at the end of the day, I went into this to work with older women to say, “It’s okay. You’re relevant. Let’s work on it.” 

What’s a signature beauty product for you?
I love Chanel face stuff, and this red lipstick I found in Spain is fantastic. I almost missed my train to purchase it.

Any parting words for the AGEIST audience?
Have a lot of bags when I come. Even if you think you edited, we will edit more.

To work with Jacqui Getz, reach out to her on her site here or follow her on Instagram here.

Main image by Susan Lang.

See medical disclaimer below. ↓

7 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for showing people this is possible as we age! I hope women everywhere read this and realize that we can live happy and healthy as we age but we have to take care of our bodies and minds and not fall prey to negative opinions!

  2. A truly inspirational interview. What amazing style and I love how no one is gatekeeping here but sharing and giving. Love her vibe and philosophy.

  3. One of my favorite–if not THE favorite–of these profiles….It’s easy to “give up” when it comes to fashion if you’re not working out-of-the home. As a CEO who has traded the desk job for a writing gig., I have hung up all those beautiful clothes and now wander the streets looking like a vagabond–which is NOT ideal. But fashion at this stage is different–the idea of someone who truly understands that–and also the desire to remain fashionable–is just such a bright spot in the stylist space.

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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

AUTHOR

Sheri Radel Rosenberghttps://unapologeticstyle.substack.com/
Sheri Radel Rosenberg is a Philly-born, Brooklyn-based writer who explores style, beauty, culture, and midlife with wit, warmth, and wisdom. Her story includes successful forays in the worlds of trend forecasting, ad agency photo production, ghostwriting, and strategic messaging development for fashion and beauty brands - all while amassing a slip dress collection that would make any Gen Xer proud. At the dawn of social media, Sheri launched her personal blog–which combines her passion for writing with her style obsession–and she hasn’t looked back. As Style Editor for the AGEIST, she’s inspired by the styles of the 70s and the 90s, along with all the beautiful people she sees daily in NYC.

 

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