I was at a market recently, and I can not resisting people watching. This was in a rather affluent area, and interestingly, as I watched, it was easy to see even the moneyed make the same mistakes in the ageing department.
I saw a beautiful woman walking along. Her face was totally unlined, and firm. She had no (visible) makeup, long blonde hair, halfway down her back, a fringe, short denim skirt, pink tee, sandals. Sounds as though she is either young, or looks very young. And yet..... she looked older trying to look younger, to me. Why?
don't get stuck in a time warp
baby pink tee - this is a colour that most of us would wear when we are a child, or young teen. Add the short denim skirt, worn exactly as one would have worn it in their teens, and it just is like being stuck back in time. The sandals looked similar to the same era that she was recreating.
Her hair was cut like a child, or young teen, going back to the same time frame. Very high fringe, cut straight across.
make sure that your hair is not immaculate
Her hair was amazing. Cut straight across at the bottom, expertly coloured blonde. Not one single hair out of place. It didn't move, and I found it a bit unnerving to see a woman of about 40, wearing such a young person's hairdo, from another era.
These days, the look is for unstructured hair. Which means that hair does not stay perfectly in place. Is a bit messy, even. If you want to look younger, have good, flattering colour, a current hair cut, hair that moves and is shiny.
If you want to look old...... have immaculate hair, set it, spray it. One of the current looks is for "beach curls/waves", done by doing pseudo fat ringlets from eye or cheek level, but not ending as far down to as the end. At the same market, I saw a woman who had such a hairdo. But it didn't move, was perfect, sprayed in place, and ironically, made her look as though she was older trying to look younger.
don't go "matching" things
Apparently when we match our shoe and bag colour, we add 10 years to our appearance. For a minimalist like me, it makes perfect sense to have them both the same colour! But now I've changed that after The Great Biff Out that I had recently. I usually have black shoes. Because I like them. But with my bags, I now have a turquoise shoulder bag, small and gets lots of good comments. A very small rectangular red shoulder bag that I have had forever, very classy and if I pack it well, it holds heaps, despite being tiny. Both castoffs from friends. An outrageous fuschia bag, quite biggish, with handles, which I bought second hand at the above mentioned market. And a larger brown one that was a Xmas gift a couple of years ago. So I have broken the matching curse!
And, ladies, if you are still trotting around wearing suits or pants suits -mix them up! Wear your jacket with jeans and add a tee. Or, a nice blouse to be "dressed up". Wear casual tees with suit pants or skirts to make them less casual.
Wear your pearls with a tee and jeans, and don't go doing the tidy, dressed up look. Mix things up - try new ways of looking at how to wear what you have.
go more casual
I saw a recent photo of Sophia Loren, probably the most glamorous woman of all of her times, at a red carpet affair wearing a red long sleeved tee, floaty semi fitted matching red pants, and a red pashima type thing. Now I do realise that it was all matching, but at 80+, it was really youthful. Because it was current. And casual.
I asked a friend in her late 20s, what would be appropriate to wear for an evening out. Now I don't mean a formal occasion, and in summer in New Zealand, a dress is perfect for casual, but for the rest of the year? Jeans and a dressy top.
keep up to date, current
My biggest dressing horror is when sales people, friends, family, stylists, try to put me into dressy, floating stuff with big necklaces or scarves. I hate that look. And it screams of older lady being overdressed. It's not current, and I find it unflattering. On all levels.
And I looked at a recent photo of a friend, about 50ish, who was a model when she was younger, and probably the most youthful person, ever. She was wearing a short denim skirt which was probably second hand, and 3/4 tights with a loose, casual top. Long, slightly messy "beach waves". Casual. Fabulous.
And another friend, at a meditation evening, had long, casual hair, red lipstick, a really pretty and current red summer blouse, a slightly longer denim skirt (but still above knee length) with a brown belt. She looked amazing at nearly 50. And youthful. Because she was current.
Soften your hair colour
I went blondish. I was originally blue black, but there were a few too many white strands, so .... I bit the bullet and went much lighter. Which, actually, I had been gradually doing over the years. A friend told me that I looked over 15 years younger. However, she probably should have been wearing glasses when she looked at me! So I didn't take it seriously, but I have had many similar comments. Our skin tone lightens over the years and our hair colour softens. for me to dye my hair blue black would be horrible - I would look ghoulish.
Get some of that gunk off your face
These days I just use a fantastic Body Shop creamy foundation, or an Antipodes mineral powder. I have enough cheek colour to skip blusher, and I was advised to use bronzer (I am a Thin Lizzy fan) instead, if I was going to do the blush thing.
With my lighter hair colour, and an eyebrow pencil that keeps breaking, I now just use an old brown eyeshadow for eyebrow colour. It's softer. I've tried dark brown eye pencil but I don't like it, so I'm still using black. Black mascara and a soft and light fuschia or browny-pink lipstick, and I'm done.
Too much make-up is ageing. I had a full kit of foundation, powder, apricot blusher, brown eye pencil, brown eyeshadows, and bright apricot lipstick. All very flattering, but not The Look of The Moment. And when it's an older look.... we look... old.
Use less make-up, because nowadays: less is more.
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