Barbra Streisand "Too Old to Care" If People Think She Dresses Too Sexy at 81

The iconic star opened up about her style choices in a new interview.

At 81 years old, Barbra Streisand is done caring what other people think about what she wears. In an interview with The New York Times published on Dec. 25, Streisand opened up about her history with style in what the newspaper reports is her first interview "to be focused solely on fashion." The singer, actor, and director talked about how she downplayed her sexuality when she was younger, but now expresses herself however she sees fit. Streisand thinks that no one should be limited by their age when it comes to their style choices.

RELATED: Barbra Streisand and Don Johnson Split Because Their Duet "Made Him Very Insecure."

In the interview with the NYT and in her recently released memoir My Name Is Barbra, Streisand shares that she didn't feel attractive as an up-and-coming entertainer. This affected the way she dressed.

"No one would have looked at me and thought, 'That girl should be a movie star,'" she writes in her book (via the NYT). "I have a small head, a crooked nose, my mouth is too big, and my eyes are too small. Did I even think I was sexy? No."

Streisand told the newspaper that she developed a signature style early on.

"I didn't relate to the conventional kind of gown most nightclub singers wore," she told the NYT. "Instead, I took a men's wear fabric—a black-and-white herringbone tweed—and designed a vest, which I wore with a white chiffon blouse and a matching tweed skirt, floor-length with a slit up the side, and lined in red. I've been wearing a version of that suit ever since."

Barbra Streisand at the 1969 Oscars
Bettmann / Getty Images

Now, however, she feels free to be more expressive with her style choices.

"People should express themselves and wear whatever they feel on any given day. And that has nothing to do with age," she said.

Of appearing sexy, she added, "I was too afraid to be seen that way at that time. Now I'm too old to care."

Streisand also referenced a critique she received for the outfit she wore to sing at Bill Clinton's 1993 presidential inauguration gala. She wrote a pinstripe skirt suit with a low-cut vest and slitted skirt, which a NYT critic said sent a "disturbing signal" and a "coy mixed message."

"I thought that writer was reading a lot into that outfit, and it said more about her than about me," Streisand said in the new interview. "Like I wrote in my book, 'Why can't women be accomplished and attractive, strong and sensitive, intelligent and sensual?'"

RELATED: Barbra Streisand Says Marlon Brando Propositioned Her With His Wife in the Next Room.

Streisand also shared with the publication that it was her idea to wear just a shirt and no pants for her 2016 magazine cover. The memorable photo features the EGOT winner wearing heels, a white button-up shirt, and a black tie with a suit jacket tossed over her shoulder. Her legs are covered only in sheer tights.

In the interview for the magazine, she spoke about one of her most famous outfits: the sheer matching pants and top she wore when she accepted her Best Actress Oscar for Funny Girl in 1969.

"I had no idea that when the lights hit that outfit, it would become transparent!" she said. "I wanted a white collar and cuffs, which it had, and I wore my hair under my chin, because I thought to myself, I'm going to win two Oscars in my lifetime, and I'll be more conservative next time."

Streisand won her second Oscar—Best Original Song for "Evergreen" from A Star Is Born—in 1977. That time, she wore a bronze pleated gown with a capelet.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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