I knew when a man dropped a suitcase on my head that my 50s were going to usher in some significant changes. I was on a flight home from Atlanta and was struggling to get my carry-on bag in the overhead bin. Although I did not expect any help, a silver-haired man to my right who was a foot taller than me reached up to assist me. I smiled at him and fell in love with people all over again.
Before my suitcase was completely in the bin, I heard a slightly Swedish voice say, "Could you please help me with my bag?" I caught the sight of long blond hair and perky breasts and knew I was screwed. But I didn't expect for the man to simply release my bag before it was secured.
I ducked as the suitcase dropped onto my head like an anvil in the Road Runner cartoons. The man never even noticed or apologized. I wanted to say, "Hey, buddy, you jammed my neck and I'm already losing height!" But he was too busy looking for another way to help the blond bombshell. I'm pretty sure he offered to wash her car once they landed.
Some of my female friends had warned me that when they hit their 50s, a cloak of invisibility descended upon them and men began to stare through them. I refused to believe them. I mentioned women like Raquel Welch and Sophia Loren in my defense. Then I looked in a mirror and realized that I didn't look like Raquel or Sophia even when I peaked at 17. This could be it.
The next day I had a glass door slammed on me by a man who was going into WalMart and failed to notice me. And I even had on my push-up bra. It was at that moment I tried to decide -- Would I use this superhero power of invisibility for good or evil? Would I accept the fact that I was edging closer to my attraction expiration date?
Then I realized that the food with close expiration dates gets moved to the front of the refrigerated section. Perhaps it's my time to be moved forward and become a superhero, one who is propelled by new wisdom and a self-acceptance that borders on blindness. After all, I survived eighth grade with bicuspid fangs and bright red acne, and that was accompanied by the body odor and ignorance that eighth grade offers.
I have decided to be a little less plastic and a little more Georgia O'Keeffe, proud of my spirit and in love with my laughter. If laughter causes some lip wrinkles and laugh lines that create invisibility with some of the opposite sex, then so be it. My husband finds me to be beautiful. He told me that just the other night, though it was hard to hear him because his head was turned toward the television as he watched a Jennifer Aniston interview.
In an attempt to hide or cover up our bodies, especially if we've packed on a few post-menopausal pounds, we end up looking heavier. No matter what our size, a woman over 50 should have the right fit--not tight, but a fit that defines the waist. Best way to do that? Make a great tailor your new best friend.
We live in a world that's constantly shouting in our ears, "Young is better!" ... but don't listen! We've earned every crow's foot we have, and buying into that nonsense is the perfect recipe for a fashion fail. In Barbara Hannah Grufferman's book, "The Best of Everything After 50," she interviewed Diane von Furstenberg, who said the key to looking great is to be comfortable. If you're tugging at your too-short skirt you'll be more focused on covering your thighs than on what you should be engaged in. There are no style rules, but there are definite guidelines, the most important one being this: Just because you're over 50 doesn't mean you have dress like a frump. Update your wardrobe with a few essential basics and build from there.
The majority of American women wear the wrong bra size, and it shows. We just don't take the time to get properly fitted by an expert. The right bra can make all the difference in how your clothes fit, and how you look in them. Make sure to get a few different ones for specific clothes, including one specifically for wearing under a t-shirt or other smooth shirts, and buy them in colors that are close to your own skin color for wearing under white or light-colored tops.
There are no magic amulets for reversing skin damage, but products such as Retin-A are as close as you can get. They work to exfoliate the skin while you sleep, and help build collagen. (Using a retinol product on the skin makes it even more sensitive to the sun, so a product with an SPF of at least 40 is essential).
Women over 50 often try to cover everything up by applying too much concealer, foundation, blush, everything. Foundation should be applied very sparingly, and only then will you be able to see if concealer is even necessary. Keep it light, with pinkish tones for the lips, and rosy for the cheeks. Try a waterproof eyeliner and very lightly follow the last line, top and bottom. A lighter touch is key to a fresh, pretty face.
Using the single process approach to covering gray can create a single block of color, very often either too light or too dark, without any contrast. This can drain the face and be aging. Consider highlights along with your natural color (including the gray), or mixing highlights with the single process.
Diets don't work. Eating, and eating often, does. Diets that focus on a specific category of food (protein, for example) aren't sustainable. Eating small meals consisting of whole grains, lean proteins, dark leafy greens and lots of water go a long way in keeping hunger at bay, and the pounds off.
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