A guide to looking fabulous at 50

Posted on: 20 August 2010 by Mark O'haire

Whether you feel comfortable in your skin as you grow older or whether you yearn to turn back the clock, there's no escaping the fact that post-50 we need to re-evaluate the image that we present to the world, says Belinda Morris.

http://owl-group-staging.s3.amazonaws.com/upload_datas/33384/landscape_large.png?1359638523I have to admit that whenever I see those features in magazines (and they crop up all the time – here I am, writing one myself) about what style to adopt for each decade, my heart sinks. Of course, in the space given, how can the writer account for the myriad of women out there; all those different shapes, sizes, lifestyles, taste levels, budgets? But I find myself gazing at the page and thinking "why can't I wear what the 30-year-old is wearing (just a bit longer maybe) instead of that dreary and sensible ensemble that the 50-something model has on?"

Is it so inconceivable that at 52 I might want to wear combat jeans with vertiginous pink and purple shoe boots and a sequined jacket? And I don't think my mother, who is 77, owns anything that might be described as beige, safe or conservative. So I reckon it's probably a genetic thing. But I can't be the only post-50 woman who is 37 in her head.

On the other hand... there is a 'but' coming here. While I definitely fall into the live-a-little, rules-were-meant-to-be-broken camp, even I have to admit there is such a thing as ageing well (if not necessarily gracefully). There's no getting away from the fact that as we get older certain bits of us drop, droop, change shape, change colour and generally shift us away from that pert, perky, slim, shiny being that we once were. And apart from scary and dramatic action like surgery, there's not a d*** thing we can do about it! Even gym-bunny Madonna (52) with her macrobiotic lifestyle can't escape the process – just look at her hands.

So it's only common sense (and a kindness to those who have to look at us) that past certain milestone ages it's worth taking a closer look at the various aspects of our appearance. From the top: hair tone and length; make-up intensity and colour; décolletage display; waistline emphasis and leg exposure should all come under a little scrutiny. It's not so much a question of whether we should be still be sporting a ponytail at 60, 70 or 80, but does it still suit us? Is it making the best of our (possibly thinning) hair and our changing features?

It doesn't have to be bad news or a downward spiral. For instance when I was in my 20s and 30s and had a shape, I wore – as fashion dictated – shapeless clothes. Now that my waistline is a bit of a blur, I find that curvier dresses, without being unforgivingly clingy, give me a more womanly silhouette that might even, given the right light and a prevailing wind, look – dare I say it – sexy. It's all about making the most of what you have.

And with that in mind, there are just a few pointers towards being the best we can be as we mature:

Hair

  • Think about cutting very long hair to shoulder length. But if it's in great condition don't feel you have to. Long hair is more versatile than short...
  • Regular trims and conditioning will help keep long hair healthy looking
  • Try and avoid the time-warp factor - if it's been long since you left school, consider updating the style, perhaps with layers for added texture.
  • If you're glad to be grey, because it suits your skin tone and it's a fabulous, glossy, even tone... great, keep it that way
  • But if like most women you find those pesky grey hairs make you look washed out and older, go for colour (which will also add gloss)
  • Steer away from a dramatic change from your natural, pre-grey shade
  • Highlights rather than all one colour will look more natural
  • Too dark a colour will emphasise wrinkles

Skin

  • Now is not too late to avoid sun-exposure
  • If you're not wearing a moisturiser with an SPF, START NOW!
  • Post-menopause skin can become drier, so now would be a good time to try a richer moisturiser and cleanser
  • Smoking leads to wrinkles and sagging
  • Too much alcohol can cause broken
  • A diet rich in vitamins A, C & E and skin creams with anti-oxidants will help to protect against the attack of free radicals (created by our bodies, but also in various pollutants) which results in visible signs of ageing
  • Go gently with exfoliators on mature skin – particles like ground-up nut kernels might scratch the skin
  • Don't forget your neck and chest when applying moisturiser – a much neglected area that is prone to dry crepiness
  • Treat yourself to a hydrating facial from time to time (no more than once a month and avoid if you have problem or sensitive skin)

Make-Up

  • Less is definitely more – too much can highlight wrinkles
  • But a good foundation can even out patchy skin tone
  • And it's never too late to start wearing make-up if you've never worn it before – a more mature skin can look washed out... it needs colour
  • Look for creamy, moisturising foundations and, post-70 try tinted moisturisers which will look less mask-like
  • Sometimes a concealer, applied with a brush only where you need it (under eyes, round nose, on chin...) is enough, with a touch of powder over the top
  • Use a powder rather than a pencil (too heavy) to define or fill in eyebrows
  • Use an eye-liner to define your eyes, but avoid back – use browns, greys, charcoal for a less severe look. Ditto for a smokey eye look.
  • If you have grey or white hair, you may find that you need to re-think make-up colour – cooler tones like lilac, blues and greys rather than browny shades
  • A creamy blusher will blend in better on older skins, but a touch of powder blusher on top will help it to stay put
  • A lip liner helps to define lips and prevent lip colour from feathering – but make sure it blends with the lipstick – avoid super glossy lippies, but do add a hint of shimmer on the lower lip
  • Treat yourself to a magnifying make-up mirror with a light

Body

  • It's never too late to get in shape: exercise a little, eat better, stop smoking, drink less alcohol
  • Good posture adds height, improves silhouette and is good for you generally
  • Try yoga, pilates, t'ai chi, Alexander Technique as effective and gentle ways to improve posture
  • Use a body exfoliator once a week and a body cream or butter to keep skin smooth and supple
  • Keep a hand cream by every tap in the house, plus in your handbag, on your desk, in the car....
    and one with an SPF will help to prevent age spots

Wardrobe

  • Don't be scared of colour and wearing it near your face can brighten up a tired (ageing) complexion
  • Black can be slimming, but it also be ageing if it's near your face
  • Baggy, shapeless clothes do not disguise a fuller figure – they make it look bigger
  • Disguise a wrinkled neck with a turtle-neck sweater – but avoid too high and tight necklines that create bulges
  • Cover up a crepey neck and chest with a statement necklace or several ropes of faux pearls
  • Get created with fine and gauzy scarves
  • Exposure a little cleavage or leg if they pass muster – but never both at the same time (this applies to all ages!)
  • Bare tummies (other than on the beach) to be avoided by anyone over 30!

IMG_2175-4By Belinda Morris

Belinda Morris is an award-winning fashion and beauty journalist who has an impressive CV working with national newspapers, glossy magazines and even helped to style some of Britain’s best loved celebrities.

Belinda is 52, lives in Norfolk and has her own innate style and belief that you get more fabulous after 50!

Article sponsored by ReplensMD.

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ReplensMD-logoFurther Reading: Feel Fabulous Forever by Josephine Fairly & Sarah Stacey (Kyle Cathie) . 

 

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