Sarah Jane Adams: Expanding The Concept Of Fashion Beyond The Expected

She is not Givenchy, Yves St. Laurent, or Chanel, but she is a bold fashion influencer and Instagram sensation.

Welcome to the world of Sarah Jane Adams aka Saramai Jewels, where anti-aging is taboo and wrinkles are worn as proud stripes. Little did British-born Adams know posting a photo online would spark the beginning of a social media phenomena. Was it an image of a famous celebrity or soccer star? No, it was simply a photo of her sporting a red Adidas varsity jacket, a gift from her daughter.

The Beginning of Something Big

The photo was uploaded and tagged with Adidas and Advanced Style, a popular blog about older women with a sense of style. Surprised at how well it was received, she began posting photos and selfies on Instagram daily. Things took off like wildfire and four years later, she has an enviable following of over 182,000. How did she cultivate such as following? Turns out her non-conformist eclectic fashion sense appeals to a broad demographic of women, mainly aged 15 to 40.

Her mashup of vintage, hippy, sportswear, punk, and culturally diverse looks are such a hit, she’s attracted the media’s attention and getting oodles of publicity, pumping more interest and followers to her Instagram page. She’s done campaigns for H&M, WWD magazine, L’Oréal, and Miu Miu. Buzzfeed calls her “one of the top Instagrammers over 60.” In her interview with ABC’s Lateline, she says she’s doing this to let people know “to just be yourself, be comfortable in your own skin.”

A Style All Her Own

She calls her fashion sense the “me style,” a blend of age and culturally appropriate looks independent of current trends. Adams’ own flair for fashion style started in her youth and she still wears clothing worn when she was 18. How many of us boomers can say that!

She draws inspiration from her own atelier, a wardrobe filled with assorted cherished pieces collected over the years. Continually mixed and matched, she reinvents them into a new look for another day’s posting on Instagram.

It isn’t difficult for Adams to come up with new looks, she’s been doing it all her life. She loves combining colors, patterns, contrasts, hard edge, and soft flowing styles to create that perfect look that is so natural to her and desired by her followers. She calls Keith Richards her “style guru,” but her true inspiration lies within her own creative genius.

She embraces her age, calling her wrinkles her history and feels every woman should. She says, “Making the best of one’s life even if it is just through fashion gives you self-confidence in the way you present yourself to the world.”

Old Things Have Stories

Although Adams has an innate knack for fashion wizardry and connecting with people, she has not considered herself to be a style influencer. As a seven-year-old child in England she was fascinated with baubles, trinkets, and odd bits she came across, adding them to her box of “old things.” To her, they each had their own stories to tell, just like each clothing piece she wears today, such as the satin jacket she found in a trunk in an abandoned garage when she was in her twenties.

Her world broadened during the 70s when as a teen, she was able to shop the markets of London with their variety of goods from the exotic to the bizarre, new and old from all over the world. College days were spent in London living with musicians. They started playing gigs around Europe when she was 19 and she began picking up bargain clothes at flea markets and jewelry at antique shops. Needing to make money, she sold what she had at a London market and had to keep replenishing her supply of antique jewelry. Fascinated with their history, she picked up knowledge and gradually became a jewelry dealer.

Later, in Australia, she formalised her gemstone knowledge by studying Gemmology and Diamond Technology at the age of 40.

Eventually she started traveling the world finding all kinds of unique pieces for her collection. She says, “I was delighted to realize that just like me, people around the world had a quest for beauty and meaning, and I was enthralled with the symbolism found in jewelry everywhere.” She learned to buy and sell objects that sustained her during her travels.

Life Down Under

Settling in Sydney, Australia in the 80s, her love for beautiful old jewelry grew into her becoming one of the biggest antique jewelry wholesalers in Australia. Adams created her own brand, Saramai, a line of exquisitely designed jewelry based on the timeless pieces she collected over the years. She has manufactured over 4,000 antique styles. A small selection of her offerings are available through her Saramai website. In 1989 she became a single parent to twin daughters, and is now happily married to her husband of 22 years.

At age 60, she started a modeling career with IMG, the international modeling agency. She jets to top destinations modeling her “me” look and seeing the world. She says in a recent interview, “Nobody’s past it at 60 years old. That’s out-of-date thinking and this attitude needs to be discouraged. Everyone has a contribution to make — it doesn’t matter how old you are.”

Seeing her age as an advantage, Adams made another Instagram page, @mywrinklesaremystripes, “to show the real me and because I’m proud of my old, saggy face.”

Eventually, Adams decided that her life was becoming too stressful, so she sold her house and lives a more simplified life. She took up yoga and feels more revitalized and content. What is she up to next? She’d like to go back to her true passion, antique jewelry, and posting pictures of her beautiful creations and the stories they tell.

You can view more of her amazing fashions and jewelry by visiting her Instagram page @saramaijewels.