Monday, March 01, 2010

The Beauty Boomer Manifesto

Hello, invisible internet friends!

I have a confession to make. I'm older than you are.

I'm 53, and at 53, I have to work twice as hard and spend twice the money and time to look half as good as I did when I was 27. Well, I have two options; I can continue to fight the good fight, or I can give up.

I plan to keep fighting.

I plan to keep fighting because I feel better about myself when I do. I plan to keep fighting because it makes my husband and children feel better about me. Most important, I plan to keep fighting because it shows the world that I'm still in the game. My glory days are not over; they're just beginning.

Like it or not, people judge you by your looks--and they do it all the time.

One of the things they judge is your age. Another is your perceived level of hipness.

Here's the deal: age and hipness do not have to co-relate. Perceived age is the combination of the impression made by your size, silhouette, complexion, coloring, grooming, clothes, accessories, and makeup. Some of these things can be easily fixed. Others you have to live with. But hipness? Looking in the know? Can easily be tweaked. And that makes you come across as younger.

It takes work. You have to leave your comfort zone. Because let's face it; your comfort zone is frumpy. It's the same hair style for 20 years. It's the overcoat you bought in 1995 that still has plenty of wear in it. It's glasses from 2004.

And frumpiness sneaks up on you. Like age, a lack of hipness doesn't happen overnight. You get busy with other things, and you gradually lose touch. You look up and the 90s--the decade you were hoping to catch up on because babies and graduate school made you miss most of them--are already being revived.

Now, I may be a recovering frump, but at least I've developed some taste and discrimination over the years. Forty years of reading fashion magazines tends to have that effect. In this blog, I'm planning on sharing what I've learned.

I also want to find out what you've learned. What has worked; what hasn't. Some of you posted comments back when I first starting moving in this direction. I've got several posts in draft that are dealing with these issues, so please keep the comments coming!


Poppy at BlogHer BeautyHacks:

Shimmery Makeup: Not Just for Teens

Nail Polish Trends for Spring, 2010


I. The Five Cs of keeping your look fresh:

  1. Cull
  2. Coordinate
  3. Cost -- How to prioritize
  4. Change
  5. Compromise -- When a fashion from your past is resurrected

II. 30/10--a month-long series of posts--10 minutes to looking younger.

1. Find a MLBB lippie
2. Update your eyebrows
3. Establish a beauty triage
4. Curl your lashes
5. Perk up the girls
6. Exfoliate
7. Rethink your jewelry
8. Make friends with concealer
9. Loop on a scarf
10. Lighten up, Francis
11. Make new friends
12. But keep the old
13. Wear a camisole
Wear blusher
15. Bump up your nails
16. Rethink your hair products
17. Be a brownie
18. Grow
19. Be true to yourself
20. Think like a decorator
21. Back away from black
22. Blot, don't powder
23. Find a younger mentor
24. Be all wet
25. Break some rules
26. Bags are the new shoes
27. The legs are the last to go
28. Move on
29. Use your rear-view mirror
30. Play


  1. I share all these concerns. Thank goodness I have new glasses on order! I have had to give up contacts, and I know this pair of glasses predates our move to TX, in 2004.

    I will rely on you to guide me the rest of the way.

  2. Okay, well (1) EXCELLENT and (2) the same hairstyle for 20 years? HAHAHAHAHA! Oh POPPY. You know me better than that.

  3. Nope, I'm older than you. I usually start practicing a few months before my birthday, so though it has only been a fortnight I am almost used to being 56...

    I have very poor vision and have worn glasses since the first grade, but they are always up to date. Mine are late 2009, leopard skin rectangular.

    But what, is this going to be a fashion blog? I rather liked the general what Poppy was up to blog. Your writing is engaging. But I am too old for more than a smatter of fashion advice.

  4. New glasses soon. I am lucky that I get to update them every year!

  5. Size, silhouette, complexion, coloring, grooming, clothes, accessories, and makeup?
    I'm not sure I made it clear when I saw you last week, but this fascinates me and I very much look forward to reading what you have to tell us.

  6. I like this...because even though I'm only in my mid-thirties, I'm stuck in the 90's. I work at a place with casual dress and I still wear some of the clothes I wore in college. Yuck.

    If I'm going to get out of the place, I need to update my look to...look my age.

  7. bb sent me. I need help!

    I'm really excited about bookmarking this. I'll be 53 this summer. I work in a small store where I'm 20 to 30 years older than all the other employees. I spend my days wearing black and white and trying not to look like an old lady.

  8. Poppy, I'm 53 too. I've been a subscriber here for close to a year. I'd list a few of my fashion/style thoughts, but I write about this, almost exclusively, on Privilege, so I feel I'd overwhelm the comments. But I have a certain perspective, and don't even come close to covering the subject broadly, so am looking forward to reading your blog even more now that you are focusing on this topic.

  9. Having recently lost skeeteen hundred pounds, my eyes were opened to how people perceived me before and how they do now. I also work with people that are easily 25 years younger than I am. Biggest issue for me is make up and shoes.

  10. You are NOT older than I am. So there. And I've had the sale basic hairstyle for several years now, and the same eyeglasses for so many years that I can no longer see out of them. Please do not ask about how old my clothing is, because that is really mortifying.

  11. I bow to your wisdom, sensei. I will listen and learn.

  12. I just turned 30, and although I'm a few years younger than you are- I understand the aging process (youngest of 5 women- almost 50 year old SISTER). I love your honesty! fight the good fight. We are as old as we feel!!!


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.