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Fashion’s focus has been on race and gender and shape, but what is also intriguing and inspiring is the growing incorporation of older models on the catwalk and in fashion...

Evolved Style

We keep hearing about diversity in Fashion….

Fashion’s focus has been on race and gender and shape, but what is also intriguing and inspiring is the growing incorporation of older models on the catwalk and in fashion and beauty advertising.  

This is nothing really new. Jean Paul Gauthier was the first to cast hot golden ladies for his runway in the 90’s.  And Iris Apfel set the world aflame in the early 2000’s with her wardrobe retrospective at the Met and is now heralded as the grand dame of taste and style and Instagram icon - at the age of 96!

But what these milestones really represent is how society’s ideas about age and beauty and fashion and style are being reshaped.

I was lucky enough to meet and interview three exceptional women in Calgary who have embraced their age, fashion and personal style:  Donna Pattullo, Christa Gravel and Kim Flanagan (L to R).  Their experiences are all different, but what their answers all have in common is an inspirational thread of what it means to have evolved style



DONNA Pattullo

A self-described style huntress, this beautiful 54 year old maven has set a sartorial standard inspiring her two sons (aged 25 and 24) and daughter (aged 22) to be as creative and stylish as she is. Donna has curated a life that has always involved the search for the unique and extraordinary.  Her time and travels to Kenya and Abu Dhabi particularly kindled her quest for signature jewelry pieces and one-of-a-kind items.  For Donna is it is all about the size and craft and statement, which drew her to Kate Hewko’s jewelry and aesthetic.  And she is all over Kate’s SS18 collection that just arrived!

What has contributed to your sense of style?

My mother.  She was very stylish, and as a young mother she was comfortable in things that were on trend at the time and would go to work in baby-doll dresses and a beehive hairdo etc.  It affected me as she also set the expectation to be properly dressed at all times.  I never had jeans until junior high, which I embroidered flowers on.

Has this changed?

Well, when in school we have a tendency to want to fit in, as it makes it easier on your life.  It was not until I was in my early 20’s that I adopted a more of a “who cares”, and a “the more outrageous the better” attitude.  Fashion was an artistic outlet. I was actually a punk and wore all black make-up.  That has definitely changed.  Ha!

I also have more confidence in my fashion choices.  Which shapes my style.

What would you tell your 25 year old self?

Don’t worry about what other people think about what you wear or how you present yourself.  It is their issue.  Be you.

What is your style philosophy?

Have fun.  Life is too short.  There are no numbers.  Dress as you feel is appropriate for you and for the event.

Try, experiment, explore as an individual.

And be adventurous.  I especially like vintage and the best finds are at estate sales where you can get cool stuff like old hats.  I like to mix eras and even delve into surplus stores.

I am a style hunter and get a thrill from the hunt.

Don’t worry about being on trend.  Don’t spend a ton of money.

Best quote:  Outlandish is never in, so it will never be out.




Stunning at 60, this enterprising lady never really stopped after selling her business.  She has an incredible love of animals and for her two children, a daughter who is 28 and a son who is 26, and currently splits her time between Calgary and California because “you can’t wear cute shoes in the snow” ;)   She quickly affiliated with Kate Hewko as she identified with Kate’s fearlessness and push to always be different.

What has contributed to your sense of style?

I would say my mother.  She was always well kept and presented herself well.  It was of the time and it formed my idea of taking time and care in appearance.  I always appreciated creativity and found my outlet in fashion.  I am always being inspired by what I see and experience.

Has this changed?

I now search for items that are different and unique.   This has become easier as we now have more access and choice.

I am glad that not everything has to be “matchy-matchy” anymore.

But now I do opt for black, black and black and I am more about accessories

What would you tell your 25 year old self?

Don’t worry about what other people think.  Enjoy your freedom.  Have no fear.  Be creative.  Trust yourself.

And this comes from the fact that in my early career as flight attendant where I had to wear a uniform.   My personal wardrobe then became my outlet as I travelled abroad in Europe and saw so many amazing and beautiful things.

What is your style philosophy now?

If I like it, I wear it.  I don’t care.  I dress to feel good.   And dress to my mood.  I just do it.  It can be glam or boho.  If you are going to wear it, then wear the hell out of it.

And we as women should empower each other and our decisions.  We should be more gentle and open to others personal style and choices.  We should watch and learn from the experts and embrace and try the trend, at least once.



KIM Flanagan

Fun, vibrant, with an infectious laugh, this fabulous soon-to-be 50 year old sexy dynamo has the world by the tail.  She balances being the mom to two active teens, her son 15 and daughter 13, navigating hockey and dance with her time as a personal stylist and volunteer for Fashion Forward.  Kim is an ardent supporter of fashion in Calgary and in her association with Kate Hewko she has found a kindred spirit who wants something new and exciting for Calgary.

What has contributed to your sense of style?

My dad.  He had a strong sense of style and tradition that he instilled in me and my siblings.  He was a hard-ass, hard working entrepreneur, very traditional, never wore anything casual like shorts - always pants.  He trained 4 kids in propriety and to always consider the occasion and who we were going to see or visit.  His style lesson was to respect yourself and your environment.

<laughing>  OMG…I dressed like a 50 year old woman all through public school, like no jeans.  I think of it as having my own style early.

And I know my father’s influence stemmed from my grandmother who was a well dressed lady of high manners and expectations.

Has this changed?

Actually no.   It is more of the “same-same”.  I embraced all of this and created my own private uniform.   Like in Grade 8 I dressed like Melanie Griffin in 'Working Girl' – I had a total boss babe outfit of a purple gaucho suit with yellow suede boots.  I felt like a million dollars.

And as I got older I wanted to respect other people and dress just enough to be different.

What I struggle with is to dress casually.  I am embracing athleasure and I now wear a lot more flats.  I still like to "event dress” and never preplan and dress to how I feel. But I do miss wearing heels as much.  

What would you tell your 25 year old self?

Don’t pass it up opportunities.  Be confident.  And always look good from the rear end. :)

Style Philosophy?

Dress how you feel.  Don’t make people feel uncomfortable. 

I respect  what my grandmother taught me, and the beautiful items she left me and wear them like a badge of honour.

Find your style tribe.  You will attract what you put out.  Your life will be easier for it.

And dress every day like you give a damn.


A big thanks to the #evolvedstyle team!

Styling @sheenaannestyling
Photography @darrylpollockphoto
Hair @brandenbeauty
MUA @makeupbyshirleye


x Shalene Yaskowich
for Kate Hewko



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