The Unlikely Style Icon Teaching Older Women to Be Fashion Rebels
Judith Rizzio has spent a lifetime on the frontlines of feminism. She thinks there’s nothing more radical than women of a certain age declaring fashion is for them, too.
Photos by Patrick Scott Bell | Edited by Shawna Kenney
Judith Rizzio steps back and eyes the blue floral-print dresses Joan Marquis holds up on hangers. Rizzio, a 65-year-old self-proclaimed “style activist,” is helping Marquis today with a closet cleanse, identifying items she feels most comfortable wearing and those she can throw out.
Marquis, 69, dressed in a black T-shirt and khakis, is skeptical. She’s afraid Rizzio is going to tell her to throw away everything and start over, which she can’t afford to do on the pension she receives from the public school district. Her broad shoulders are tense.
Rizzio puts a hand on her sharp chin. “Fantastic,” she says. “You aren’t afraid of patterns, which is great.” Marquis’s shoulders relax.
Through her Portland, Oregon–based business, Out of Our Closet, Rizzio helps older women realize the power fashion has to transform — which helps them realize their own power. She cleans out women’s closets and teaches them how to shop on a budget, drawing f…