I wrote a makeover book for women over 45 because I like them. We “get” each other. Younger women tend to gravitate towards the trendy and trivial whereas women who’ve sort of “been there, done that,” like I have, are impatient with hype. My clients are smart and they’re ready to hear it. I wrote my book, Staging Your Comeback: A Complete Beauty Revival for Women Over 45, as a labor of love–focusing on techniques I’ve used for over 20 years in my professional career, and addressing the specific challenges women face as they grow older and as their bodies change.
Here are some of the lessons women 50+ can learn from makeovers in my book:
1. Growing old is optional
Rici is the perfect illustration of what happens when you do next to nothing because “it’s just too much work.” Looking natural does not mean doing nothing, especially after 60! It takes makeup to look naturally attractive.
Rici’s “before” look evoked granny in the rocking chair with the knitting–but that image simply didn’t match the Rici I met. With a great hairstyle and highlights, shaped brows, and yes, makeup–we see the true Rici, a woman who wants more from life, who wants to live.
2. Your hair speaks volumes
Nancy has a great personality that her “before” look didn’t come close to capturing. Technically, there was nothing wrong with Nancy’s look–but, as I suggested, she might want to save it till she’s 70.
Much of Nancy’s transformation had to do with simply getting rid of her grey and going for a cut that truly suits her. Short, blond, and bangs all promote a youthful look. The spirit of who Nancy really is radiates in her “after” photo, and that’s what any makeover is all about.
3. Classic doesn’t have to mean boring
Her “after” look is still classic, but it lets Linda’s vibrant personality shine through. To me there is nothing sexier than a woman in a straight black skirt, a beautiful silk blouse opened one extra button with a killer pair of heels. Plus, the matching hem, hose, and heel work together to elongate her legs. Bam!
For example, Carol thought she needed shorter layers on top for height. In truth, she needed color for texture and more length on top for support. Take control: Give yourself some lift and keep it there by back-combing and using a fine mist hairspray, preferably aerosol.
5. Dress the woman you are today
As you try to find the balance between growing older and looking modern, don’t fall into the trap of becoming “mutton dressed as lamb.” You won’t look younger, you’ll simply look vulnerable and insecure.
Cheryl’s transformation shows the importance of dressing age-appropriately. Rather than tell a story about our past, our image must declare the person we’ve become. In her “after” photo, Cheryl shows just a hint of cleavage (all that’s needed!) and her skirt length, just below the knee, is flattering as well as sexy.
6. Build a foundation
Maybe in the 1960’s and ’70s you burned your bra and let it all hang out, but as time passes, the spirit may still be willing, but the flesh does become weak. It’s time to recognize that the single, most important garment you can wear under slim-fitting clothing is the appropriate foundation.
Lynette’s makeover shows how the right shapewear smooths, slims, and firms. Also, choosing an outfit that creates a monochromatic line slenderizes and balances.
Lynda told me she hadn’t really “gone out” since the 1980’s because she’d been self-conscious about her weight. But after weight-loss surgery, she lost 155 pounds. And although I thought Lynda was beautiful, she couldn’t seem to see it.
In Lynda’s makeover, warm colors brighten her face while monochromatic color blocking is slenderizing. The lapels draw the eye up and out, away from her midsection. The V-neck elongates, and the necklace draws the eye to Lynda’s face. Finally, fuller leg pants help balance a bigger top.
8. Keep it current
Gail started out with home hair color from hell and a dated hairstyle, plus dark makeup that was aging–and a little scary. Part of the problem was that Gail had spent her life spending money on her children’s clothing, makeup, and haircuts–but had trouble feeling that she deserved those things for herself.
Gail’s makeover stayed true to her beauty buzzwords–simple, clean, and natural–but the softer hair and makeup are much more feminine and the trapeze silhouette works well for her A-shape body.