There is a trick to aging gracefully and it's not to simply roll over and accept it. (Notice we didn't write "roll over and play dead?") Why do some women look better than others as they grow older? Here are seven common mistakes women make:
1) Embrace elastic waistbands as the Second Coming.
Nothing shouts "I'm old" as loudly as an elastic waistband on a pair of baggy polyester pants.
We make one exception to the "never wear elastic waists" rule and it's jeggings, which indeed may be a gift from the heavens. We are partial to Hue brand because they come up to our waists and stay there, whereas many jeggings sit too low for our liking.
Jeggings give you the stylish skinny jeans look without the exposed butt crack when you sit down. Paired with a long sweater and a pair of riding boots, you will be good to go.
2) Wear the same makeup as you did 15 years ago.
Makeup style, like clothes, changes. Your makeup can date you as quickly as the rings on a tree trunk. But getting a fresher more contemporary look is as close as your department store makeup counter. Free makeovers may be the last great bargain out there. While the pressure to buy the products used can be as intense as what you find in a time share presentation, we usually buy one product and then head to the drugstore for cheaper versions of the rest. Being pushy, we also ask for little product samples.
3) Not using a personal shopper.
Again, you can't beat free. A good personal shopper knows your body type, keeps track of what you already have in your closet and isn't all about replacing your whole wardrobe. The good ones maintain records of what you buy and watch for price drops on items you've tried on, loved, but felt out of reach. They also help you accessorize and understand that sometimes, something as simple as a scarf or a statement necklace, makes the outfit.
4) Think that getting older is permission to stop exercising or maintaining a healthful weight.
Yes, our metabolisms slow as we age -- which makes weight gain pretty common. And sometimes, we can't do the same workouts that we once did; our knees hurt, our feet hurt. Swimming seems to be the perfect exercise for midlifers, according to an Indiana University study. We'd add that taking a water aerobics class is equally excellent; the water adds resistance and you are getting more of a workout than you realize. Just walking is a great way to burn calories, get some fresh air and get your heart rate up.
The buzzword is: adjust. Good health is the best currency you can carry into your older years and the best way to maintain it is through diet and exercise.
5) Search for a fountain of youth.
Aging isn't something that needs to be "cured." We want to look and feel our best, but there really is no turning back the clock. We are all a product of our genes and the care we took of our bodies for the early decades.
6) Think of yourself as old.
We meet a lot of women who sink into depression when they realize they are no longer their 20-year-old selves. So much of how we feel relates to how we see ourselves. The happiest midlifers we meet are the ones who live full, active lives. They are out and about, and keep themselves busy with jobs, volunteer work, pursuing interests that involve other people. You are as old as you think you are. The National Institute of Mental Health says that women, once post-menopause, are less prone to depression -- something to look forward to.
7) Discontinue a relationship with salt.
Salt has many names and sneaks into our lives in many forms. When taken in excess, it raises our blood pressure, cause our ankles to swell and creates deep wells under our eyes. But we need salt. The Salt Institute notes in older people, mild hyponatremia is the most common form of electrolyte imbalance and has been associated with walking impairment, attention deficits and a much higher frequency of falls. For those who aren't elderly, watch your salt intake and you'll feel and look better. In general, aging demands that we become more astute readers of food labels. Our bodies are still our temples and should be treated as such.