How NOT to look old-tips for hip boomers


A reader in New Orleans told me about a new book she got for Christmas. It’s entitled “How Not to Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better.” (Carla Krupp, author)

Now, who wouldn’t want that book? I was intrigued. My cyber friend has passed along a few things she learned from the book regarding practices we Boomers should avoid like the plague. I have committed every single one except the warning against wearing “Christmas Sweaters” – that will never happen in my house.

jeans and tennis shoes A few of my transgressions – wearing tennis shoes with jeans, dark lipstick, too much make-up and wire rimmed eyeglasses.

The book’s focus is the Boomer woman who is finding herself looking older than everybody else, and realizing that she’s very vulnerable.” Krupp knows her way around the beauty business: She was the beauty director at Glamour magazine and a senior editor at In Style; she’s appeared on dozens of national TV shows, including the Today show (132 times!) and the Oprah show.

I was relieved to learn that Krupp feels that plastic surgery is aging. My favorite quote in this whole book is from Isaac Mizrahi: “Do you want to look 70? Get a facelift.” People think, I’ll just go under the knife and I’ll look younger. That’s not the answer, because if you have a bad facelift and you look like you had a facelift and your skin is tight and you look like a frozen monkey, you’re going to look old! You’re going to look old enough to have a facelift, because young people don’t look like that. So we have to find the perfect balance of doing something to get rid of our wrinkles and lines and sagginess — but we can’t go overboard, because it doesn’t work that way.

Her thoughts on coloring your hair:

“I think that most women will look younger with colored hair. Now, there’s this big gray-hair movement. I understand and appreciate women who have silver hair, and I think that they can look amazing, but it’s such a luxury to be able to go gray. Because it is an aging look, and it means that you don’t care about people knowing your age. If you have to support yourself, if you’re going back into the job market — say your job was just eliminated, and you need to get back into the swing of things — you’re not going to do well with gray hair.

Her tips about eyeglasses.

Glasses are a really easy fix. They’re the first things that somebody sees on your face. So they should really be making a statement about how you want to look. There are glasses that are really aging, like granny glasses, wire glasses and glasses that are rimless. But when you wear a young, modern frame that’s rectangular, in a tortoise shell or plastic, your frames are very edgy. (I’m looking for some Sarah Palen glasses as we speak). They have a lot of style. Right now, a really thick temple is really hot. You’re giving up your style if you’re just wearing one of those classic frames. They don’t say anything, those classic frames. They just say old. A young person, a teenager or a 20-year-old, who wears glasses would not wear one of those rimless frames.

Women tend to think they need to wear more foundation on the face as they get older. In the book, she shouts NO!

Wearing less is the secret. So many women are really caking it on. The truth is that the best look your skin can have is to look like your own skin is just glowing. The further you get from that, the more you put on it, the less you’re going to have the shine and the radiance and the glow. So if you have good skin, you should put very little on it. One of the best products you can use these days is tinted moisturizer with SPF.

But wait! What if you don’t have great skin? Hello…..I guess I need to get the book.

What about lipstick?

Christmas sweater

This woman is committing several sins – dark red lipstick, gray hair and Christmas sweater all at once. I think she’s actually under 30.

That’s another really easy fix. Dark lipstick is SO aging. This dark burgundy that some people wear — it’s like Elvira! If you have any kind of cracks on the top of your lips, a dark lipstick with a dark pigment — like a red or an orange or a burgundy — will just find those cracks and seep in, and [your lips] will look worse. But if you’re wearing a light pink, no one will see what’s going into the cracks. Also, you should have a heavy-duty gloss on it, because it gives you this luminosity around your mouth. Light colors will make your lips look fatter.

She’s an advocate of teeth-whitening.

Yes, I think teeth-whitening is great. The older we get, the grayer or yellower our teeth look. It’s not a youthful sign. Young kids have big, white shining teeth. And now everybody does. Because we can all buy it! A lot of women are embarrassed about their mouth, and they cover up with their hands when they smile. It’s really kind of an aging thing. There are different price points for better teeth. This is a very American thing, by the way. Teeth are not that important in other parts of the world. (I need to move to Mozambique, I guess.)

Nails — long, short, fake, real?

Well, this is a very polarizing debate in this country. Women in the South love really long nails. And any woman who is involved in the nail industry likes really long nails. Because the truth is when you have these long, fake nails, you’re a slave to those nails, and it’s going to cost you a lot of money at the manicurist to get them done. Aside from the money it takes, I really don’t think it’s healthy to put a lot of glue and whatever it is they use to adhere the nails. Also, the look of a really long, dragon-lady nail is not youthful, because we need to use our hands for so many things, especially now with BlackBerrys and text-messaging. Long nails really get in the way.

(Since I’ve never had a professional manicure – really! – and certainly not fake nails, this is another area where I’m ahead of the pack.)

What about nail polish colors?

Dark nail polish is very hip and trendy right now. But if you do that, you just have to be careful that they’re not chipping. If you have dark nail polish, it could chip much more easily, or at least show up more easily than a sheer color. I think it’s just easier to stick with a clean, light pink sheer. It’s fun to wear a dark burgundy also — it’s much easier to wear that on your toes.

Do people also need to readjust their wardrobes as they get older?

bad dress day Yes. There is such a thing as clothes that are too young, and then clothes that are too aging. You want clothes that are totally right and age appropriate, and make you look young, hip and powerful. It’s also a matter of getting rid of things in your closet that really date you.

You’re a proponent of shapewear.

I love shapewear! I wear it every single day. If you want to look thinner than you really are, just slip on a pair of bike shorts. They really hold everything in, and they won’t give you visible panty lines — VPLs. It gives you a sense of control and competence to wear shapewear underpieces, and they’re not like your mother’s girdles that are so tough to wear. They’re actually really comfortable; there’s a lot of Lycra in them.

A tip from the deluded diva – don’t try to buy your Spankz too small like I did – it pushes everything down instead of up and you look like you’re carrying a hoola-hoop around your thighs.

What about hose?

Pantyhose are the devil! Nude hose is something that is very old-ladyish, because it bags up by your ankles. There are so many cooler things to wear, like dark, opaque stocking in the wintertime, or fishnet hose. (Me, I’m wearing socks – sure that’s not cool)

What would you say to the person who dismisses all of this as an excess of vanity?

I really, really believe that we have to stop thinking of beauty as superficial because it’s what makes us feel good. It gives you the confidence you need to exist in this world, and to survive. If anyone has any doubts about it, think of the days that you’re sick and you never get out of your bathrobe and you look like hell — you feel like hell! But the times you get dressed up and look in the mirror and say, “My God! I look fantastic!” — it’s such an up. I remember when I was sick and my aunt used to say, “Take a shower. Do your hair. Put makeup on.” It does make a difference. I just think if you treat yourself better, you’ll just feel so much better, competent and happier.

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