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Fashion Icon Iris Apfel Shared These Longevity Secrets Before Her Death at 102

The socialite was known for her original bold style and witty humor.

New York socialite and fashion icon Iris Apfel passed away on March 1 at the age of 102, a rep for her estate confirmed to The New York Times. Many will remember Apfel for her colorful clothes, chunky, dramatic jewelry, and of course, her oversized, bold spectacles. But the self-proclaimed "geriatric starlet" was much more than meets the eye.

At the age of 97, Apfel signed with IMG Models and became a bonafide influencer, partnering with mega-brands like MAC Cosmetics, H&M, Kate Spade, and Ciaté London. In her nineties, Apfel was arguably busier and more successful than ever before. She was a walking testament that age is just a number and embodied that mantra wholeheartedly.

RELATED: 116-Year-Old Woman With No Major Health Issues Reveals Her Longevity Diet.

"At 100, what else is there to do except sit around? I don't play bridge. I don't play golf. I love to work, and I really enjoy what I do," Apfel told People while celebrating her 100th birthday in 2021.

Apfel always regarded herself as somewhat of an open book. In the years leading up to her death, the style icon shared her long-kept secrets for aging gracefully. The centenarian noted that longevity is not possible without wrinkles, a good attitude, and the will to not obsess over your age.

"I never think about my age. Maybe that's the ticket. I never think about it—it's a passing thought. It's just a number," Apfel said in an interview with CNBC's Make It.

Although she acknowledged that one's body may start to hurt, the trick to staying young is to "move beyond the pain," Apfel continued.

"If you want to stay young, you have to think young. Having a sense of wonder, a sense of humor, and a sense of curiosity—these are my tonic," she said. "They keep you young, childlike, open to new people and things, ready for another adventure. I never want to be an old fuddy-duddy; I hold the self-proclaimed record for being the World's Oldest Living Teenager and I intend to keep it that way."

On that note, having a sense of humor is of the utmost importance, Apfel claimed during a Good Morning America appearance. The fashion mogul also stressed that "more is more and less is a bore." In other words, don't ever conform to the minimalist approach for the sake of someone else's preference.

If you want to live a large life, then do so authentically, she reiterated.

When it comes to diet and things of that nature, Apfel ditched certain vices, such as smoking, a long time ago. "I always eat well; I never eat junk food. I don't drink soda. I used to smoke four packs a day! But I gave it up; I just quit one day," she told the New Potato, as Town and Country reported.

While many rely on exercise to help them live longer, working out wasn't a priority of Apfel's. Then again, neither was consuming alcohol.

What did matter to Apfel was her appearance, but not in the way many would probably think. Though she adored makeup, Apfel wasn't a proponent of plastic surgery, noting she would rather show off her wrinkles than try to get rid of them.

"To me, wrinkles are a badge of courage. If God is good to you and gives you all those years, why try to hide it?" she said in her People interview. "It's so foolish, because after a while you get to look so pinched and nobody is going to think that you're 27 if you're 72. You can't make your hands look younger. And what's wrong with white hair?"

Similarly, her fashion choices were just as important. According to Apfel, personal style is "a matter of attitude" and it'd be an utter shame to waste it on clothes and trends that make you look like everyone else.

"Your originality is so important," she gushed.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Apfel once revealed the key to living a long and happy life is to never buoy oneself in regret.

In her People story she remarked, "If you make a federal case out of everything, you're going to be a wreck. You can't live in the past, because that's gone and you can't make it come back. It was lousy, it's finished, go on to the next mistake. As my husband used to say, 'You have one trip, baby, so enjoy it.'"

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. If you have health questions or concerns, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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