It used to be that the only way to avoid looking older was to die young. Accepting the signs of aging seemed the only rational thing to do, since the other option never much appealed to me.
Lately, though, there has been a spate of articles and books aimed at teaching female baby boomers like me how to look young. (I’m sorry men. In my research, I did not find a single article about how you could look younger. I’m not sure if this is because men don’t care how old they look or because I only read women’s magazines.)
Women hoping to look younger must follow the evolving rules of fashion. For example, long ago women were told that their shoes must match their handbag. This is no longer necessary, thank goodness. If my shoes ever matched my handbag, it was purely coincidental.
Today, NOT matching is actually a style trick for looking younger.
“When you’re young, you can be finished and still look young,” said one fashion expert. “But when you’re more mature, imperfection looks much better.” Lovely! Based on my imperfections, I should look 17.
What follows are other rule updates for those who are young at heart but old everywhere else:
Old Rule: Jeans are for daytime only.
New Rule: Jeans are sexy for evening when you wear them with heels and a fancy top.
My Take: I never wear heels and my jeans are not sexy, but I still wear them every evening.
Old Rule: Never wear white after Labor Day.
New Rule: It’s a free country; wear white whenever you want.
My Rule: Never wear white if there’s a chance you could spill. And for some of us, there’s always that chance.
Old rule: Don’t wear black and navy together.
New Rule: Feel free to mix black with navy.
My Take: I’ve been mixing black and navy for years, but only because I couldn’t see the difference until I stepped into the sunlight, and by then it was too late to change.
Old Rule: Don’t wear different shades of black together.
New Rule: Mix different shades of black with reckless abandon.
My Take: My black sweat pants have retained their color while my black sweatshirt has not. I wear them together all the time and feel very comfortable, though neither stylish nor young.
Old Rule: Don’t wear costume jewelry
New Rule: Do wear costume jewelry.
My Rule: Make up your mind.
Old Rule: Red lipstick is sexy when you’re young.
New Rule: Pink lipstick makes more mature lips look plumper and more youthful.
My Rule: I never wear lipstick, though I do wear lip balm.
Additional Analysis: It’s a cruel joke of nature that as lips age, they become thinner. They are the only body part to do this. Obviously lip fat goes to the thighs, and all the lipstick in the world can’t stop that.
Along with following the rules, the experts warn us to immediately dispose of certain clothing items including baggy sweat pants, T-shirts with sayings, and three-piece suits, the latter being the only item on the list I don’t own. Rather than dispose of them though, I suggest you pass them on to someone you’d like to look older. I didn’t read this in a fashion magazine, but it seems to me you’ll look younger if you hang around people who look older.
Finally, the fashion police suggest long lists of products we must run out and buy before we look one day older, for example, high heels, microdermabrasion kits, and teeth whitening products. No mention of dimmer switches.
(For more fashion tips, contact [email protected] or see www.dorothyrosby.com)
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