• Christopher Hopkins

Aging Authentically and the Patina of Wisdom

Maturity is a badge of honor to be respected with good taste. There simply comes a time when all the extra bling and fabulousness of fashion, hair and makeup is best toned d

own.

When you were a younger Alluring, Innovative or Dramatic woman, those items of “look at me, I’m au currant” stood for something. Status, hipness, a woman in the moment who’s up on the trend. But wisdom carries with it a confidence and sophistication that allows you to do less and achieve more. A maturing face and figure carries a patina of wisdom. A statement in and of itself, it doesn’t require bright lips, over the top earrings or a crazy hip belt to bring it forward. It stands there, gently making its own beautiful statement.

Less is simply more as we age. To accentuate your second act best:

• Avoid drawing attention to your mouth with bright or dark lips.

• Avoid drawing attention to aging eyelids with frosted shadow.

• Avoid drawing attention to aging hands with bright nail polish and/or a multitude of attention-grabbing rings.

• Draw the eye to your face with neckline interest and earrings.

• When in doubt leave it out.

The Importance of Being Current

Keeping current is undoubtedly a constant and not inexpensive challenge. With all the technology with which we are bombarded, however, we still have the old standby; the monthly magazine. Magazine subscriptions are one of the most effective ways of getting information you can absorb on your downtime. The whole experience of sitting down with and perusing a magazine that inspires is a ritual that endures. Magazines are the great equalizer. No matter where you live in the country you have the same access to fashion, fitness and beauty that the most upscale, in-the-know New York socialite has, because she gets her “W” magazine the same time you do. When “O” comes out, you’re right there with all of Oprah’s associates on the hottest, latest and most suitable fashion, food, fun and inspiration you need that month. You just go to your mailbox, Oprah is waiting for you, and it’s your turn to dream.

What Were We Thinking?

We’ve all done it. Looked back at those embarrassing fashion photos and wondered, “What was I thinking?” I look back at my pinstriped jeans, permed hair and parachute pants and think “Hmmmm.” The more extreme trend, the more risk of later embarrassment. We may forgive the young. But it’s not so easy to forgive a second actor in a leather mini.

A woman in Act Two need never wear:

1. A micro mini

2. Combat boots with formal wear

3. White hose

4. Frosted eye shadow

5. Chunky platforms

6. Dark brown lipstick

7. Butterfly barrettes

8. Extreme low-rise jeans

9. Visible underwear

10. A spiral perm

What’s Age Appropriate Now?

In our Second Act it becomes difficult to find the balance between matronly and modern. Looking current and youthful should not translate into “mutton dressed as lamb.” I met a woman recently whose long, blonde, permed hair was pulled up on one side and suspended with a comb. For height she created gravity defying bangs with a curling iron and “Spritz Forte.” She wore a fitted navy knit tank, tight tapered pale denim jeans and a crocheted sparkly baby blue shawl tied around her hips. She was 48.

I liked her and enjoyed hearing her tales of woe in raising teenagers. But as I listened I was continually distracted by her image. It just wasn’t working in her favor. The reason it didn’t work was because it was expressing only a part of this woman. I obviously knew who she had been, but as she talked, the more interesting experienced and attractive parts were hidden behind a façade of fear of aging. Yes, she was attractive and sexy but she was also a 48-year-old single mother of teenagers who had quite a bit of sun damage, an advancing derriere, tan lines across her back and thinning hair. The look did not make her look younger; it made her look vulnerable and insecure. Our image must reflect who we’ve become, not who we were. That is age appropriate.

#agingauthentically

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