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The Most Inspiring Fashion Icons Over 50 Right Now

Behold the impeccably dressed women we hope to look like when we grow up
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It's about time we laud the style triumphs of the 50+ crowd. After all, a legend can't be a legend until she's built an actual legacy. That's why we've put together this list of the 12 most influential fashion icons over 50 right now. These impossibly chic women have spent decades colorfully establishing themselves as power players in the fashion world. From the androgynous ensembles of Tilda Swinton to the vintage-inspired threads of Iris Apfel, these are the fabulous wardrobes we can only hope to have one day. Keep scrolling for a world of fashion inspiration that proves style only gets better with age.

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Tilda Swinton, age 54
Her style: Androgynous, minimalist, alien

This poised Scottish thespian is as daring and eccentric in her style choices as she is in her artistic roles. When she isn't stupefying audiences with modern performance art and complex indie film characters, she's gracing red carpets and photo spreads in futuristic, clean-lined ensembles by designers like Haider Ackermann, Lanvin and Jil Sander.

So what inspires Swinton's distinctive, gender-bending aesthetic? Her dismissal of conventional beauty started early. She told W Magazine, "Being beautiful was never really something I associated with people I knew -- certainly not girls. Boys, maybe. Horses, yes. And certainly my great-grandmother Elsie Swinton, whose imperial grandeur was like a watermark."

As Swinton's career has grown, so has her reputation as an unapologetic style icon. Think: slender, monochromatic pantsuits, sheet-like gowns and slick, bare makeup.

Photograph courtesy of Vogue

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Vivienne Westwood, age 74
Her style: Surreal, rebellious, Victorian-punk

This fiery-haired English designer has lived many lives in her 74 years. Jewelry maker, costumer for the Sex Pistols and haute couture designer have been just a few of her myriad titles.

In the '70s and '80s, Westwood helped pioneer the aesthetic of modern punk rock and New Wave music, and we have her to thank for the mini crinis and frayed tulle that continue to define punk style. Today, the anti-establishment legend herself is rarely seen without several bold pieces of metallic jewelry, a voluminous silhouette and her signature shock of orange hair.

Photograph courtesy of Spinning Bird Kick

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Michelle Obama, age 51
Her style: Bright, tailored, regal

Likened by many to Jackie O, the First Lady has established a trademark style over the years that includes bright colors and patterns, paired with feminine, tailored silhouettes. Style experts say it's this consistency that has allowed Michelle Obama to create an aesthetic that everyday women can recognize and relate to.

"She has taught us the importance of defining your dress code, the importance of developing a signature style that works for you," says Essence Editor-at-Large Mikki Taylor, author of "Commander-in-Chic: Every Woman's Guide to Managing Her Wardrobe Like a First Lady." "She made cardigans, which she owns in a rainbow of hues, youthful. She made sheath dresses fresh and revived the kitten heel.... She likes to mix classics with a twist." Think: Rocking an unexpected belt with a printed dress or a fun pair of bright suede pumps.

Photograph courtesy of Vogue

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Diane Keaton, age 69
Her style: Playful, dapper, menswear-inspired

It all started with 1977's "Annie Hall," where Diane Keaton inspired women everywhere with her high-waisted trousers, neckties and bowler hats to transcend traditionally feminine style. Since then, the Oscar-winning actress' fashion influence has earned her icon status.

Over the years, we've seen Keaton in wide leather belts, tweed blazers and shoulder pads -- but her loyalty to structured suits and other menswear-inspired touches has remained constant. What inspires her look? Keaton says she simply wears what she thinks looks good on her, regardless of trends or expectations. Finding what you like and embracing that individuality is key, she says. Hats, gloves, suits, ties, heeled boots, the color black -- these are the elements she has always loved, and her style has simply developed from there.

Photograph courtesy of Ruven Afanador, Random House

BY AMANDA MONTELL | JUL 15, 2015 | SHARES
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