Why do all the “How to Look Fabulous at Any Age” Articles End at 50?

Oct 2, 2011 | Uncategorized

Glamour, Vogue, W, Cosmopolitan, Savvy.  We expected it of them.  But MORE — the magazine for mature women?   They all do fashion and makeup articles for looking good at any age.

Really?  ANY age?

Rarely do they even go to 60.  As the baby boomers are now in their sixties we should expect differently.  But do we really need their advice anyway?  You know what looks good don’t you?   What looks good is self confidence, good posture and a certain attitude.  Eat your veggies, wear sunscreen and smile.  Bah humbug!  I know very nice women who do that and are really very lovely but,  let’s face it, they do look OLD.    You are comfortable with your age and you have the attitude and so-called “inner beauty”.  Can you do more to not look old?  Of course you can.

I’m a lawyer and I have no experience in style, make up or mental health counseling but I do have some observations and I read.  So here goes totally MY opinionated read on it.  You are free to ignore and choose to look frumpy.


My observation is that older women go to two extremes:  Give up on makeup altogether or stay frozen in time.  Neither of you is making you fabulous.  While it is true that less is more as you get older that does not mean none.  Here are some ideas that I have either tried or read about:

The no makeup day

If you normally wear makeup, have a no makeup day.  Get used to facing the world in your natural state.  I recommend this only for a day in the woods or errands to the dry cleaner.  If you engage in professional activities this way, people will inevitably say you look tired or ask if you are alright.  Then you would have to admit you aren’t wearing any makeup which means you are admitting that you normally do wear makeup which is a secret we are supposed to keep.

The makeover

Take yourself to a department store makeup counter.  Best to do this on a slow week day when the clerk’s have more time for you.  Look around to a counter that seems to resonate with you.  You are not looking for the most trendy with runway looks.  The old stodgy brands are probably best choice here.  I happen to like Bobbi Brown as her approach speaks to me.  Some stores have makeup artists that supposedly work across all lines but I haven’t tried that.  Ask for a makeover.

Don’t panic, it’s OK to not buy anything but I believe out of courtesy you should at least buy a lipstick or mascara.  Unless you really do need it, skip the skin care spiel.  You are looking for the superficial, not the inner glow.  You want makeup.  Say it.

Now, breathe and remain open minded.  This person who is probably younger than your own children is your current expert.   Let this woman (or perhaps man) know that you do want a minimalist look you can wear every day. If you have ever watched “What Not to Wear” you know what I am talking about – think Carmody.

It is OK to say that you need to wear your new look around for a while before you buy anything but I bet you are going to love a couple of items.  You might be able to duplicate this at the drug store but in my experience, I spent more money buying the wrong thing cheaper.  Go ahead splurge.

If you absolutely hate it, you can try another store on another day but if you keep getting the same results you hate you are probably in a time warp and it really is time to change your look.

One more thing:  I know there are on-line sites where you can order out of stock colors.  DON”T.  There is a reason those colors are no longer at the counter.  Love That Red must be banished from your makeup table.


I thought it was just me.  I have the worst hair.  Thin, stringy which takes on the look of an old fashioned permanent in the rain.  I finally found a hairdresser that gets me and I have learned a lot from him.  What I’m talking about here, however, is not looking old and that means a few simple rules.

There are no rules

First rule is that there are no rules.  Long hair, short hair, curly, gray, blonde etc. etc. can all look great or can look frumpy.  The point is do you look as vital and fabulous as you can.  Remember, we are not trying to fool anyone or look younger.  So here in my opinionated way, are my rules.

Have you changed your hair in the last five years?  Please do.  There is no such thing as “classic” that never changes.  Audrey Hepburn, Mary Tyler Moore,  Princess Grace, Jackie Kennedy – all classic ladies changed their hair as they got older.  All stayed fabulous.

To color or not to color?  That is your choice but I have observed that most hair color needs some enhancement.  Is it shiny and healthy looking?  That’s what you are looking for.  A good hairdresser is worth his weight in gold.  You can improve your natural color, add some highlights or “cover the gray”.   Your skin color changes over the years and your hair color can help you look better.

Here are some ideas to keep you from looking old and frumpy:


If you participated in the summer of love and have not changed your hair, you should.

If your hair is so long you must always pin it up in some way, you will be amazed at how good you can look with freer hair.

Home hair coloring can really look old and frumpy.  This is where you must get professional help.  Really.  Take a look around you in a crowd.  I bet you can recognize the drug store hair color.

Don’t get me started on “permanents”.  It does not cover your thinning hair or enhance your appearance.  Ask your hairdresser to be honest with you and not just give you what you have always asked for.

You can be too blonde.  Even in southern California.

OK, you really don’t give a damn but do you have to look that way?


So the message about hair is the same as makeup – Find the balance between too much and too little, get professional help, and don’t be afraid of change.

Next:  Fashion, technology, manners for the truly modern mature woman. 


  1. Sara Roller

    A female Andy Rooney. I love your writing Karin!

    • kqkirkland

      Thank you. Still working out the technical stuff but I am having fun with it.

  2. Linda Secretan

    I do like your straightforward take on our issues, but Andy Rooney? Your style is much more approachable.

    The curious thing is that our demographic has no name! Too early to be a Boomer (a name that I don’t like much anyway), too late to be in the Greatest Generation, the only label that I’ve found is The Silent Generation. It was a great childhood for most of us, but silent? Not so much.

    You’ve definitely hit the niche on the head, but it will be hard to find you unless we come up with some really usable and obvious seo words. Any ideas?


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