10 WAYS NOT TO LOOK FRUMPY OVER 50 - 1010 Park Place
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10 WAYS NOT TO LOOK FRUMPY OVER 50

BRENDA COFFEE & SANDY LINTER, 2011. Sandy did not do my makeup the day this photo was taken. We were talking about her new book, Makeup Wakeup. The first time she did my makeup I was 21.
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Before the holidays a reader sent me a message: “I went to see Stevie Nicks last night and I was so surprised at how frumpy all the women (in the audience) looked, and I wondered how I looked. I don’t want to be 16 again, but I want to shake up my “look.” I don’t need to look like Stevie Nicks, but I would like to look less… old. Do you have any suggestions?”

My answer to her got me thinking about this post. Here are 10 things all women over 50 should think about.

I was honored to be featured in my own clothes in Lois Joy Johnson’s book, “The Woman’s Wakeup, How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life and Love After 50.”

  • Let’s start with how we look even if we’re a work in progress with our weight, hair, etc. My friend, Lois Joy Johnson, founding editor of MORE magazine says, “The best you is the real you in its healthiest state, whatever size you wear.” FYI a size 14 is the “average” size for a woman today.
  • Many women over 50 don’t know how to update their look so they do nothing or resort to dressing like their mothers… or daughters. If you find yourself in this situation you might pay a visit to a store like Macy’s, Nordstrom’s or Chico’s and ask a mature sales associate to give you some ideas about updating your style.

It was a dark rainy night in NYC and I was playing dressup! The jacket looks like something Michael Jackson would have worn, but I was experimenting with new looks and wanted to see how it looked like on me. I was having fun! I have a tendency to be a bit flashy, but even this was too much for me although the suede pants and the fox sweater, hanging on the hook are mine.

  • Don’t wear baggy clothes. Some women think bigger clothes hide their weight, but it does just the opposite. It makes us look bigger. Besides plus size is in, girlfriends, so don’t be afraid to wear belts and tuck in your shirts. Look put together, not like you just threw something on and you’re trying to hide your shape.
  • Undergarments are key. Wear shape wear! It covers a multitude of sins regardless of your weight. Get yourself some panties with little rubber strips on the inside that hugs your butt. They’ll keep you from jiggling, and they’ll give you an invisible panty line under your clothes.
  • Add something trendy to your wardrobe like ankle boots with low heels, a leopard print scarf or a pair of leopard print flats or slip-ons in animal print or a color like silver or blush.
  • Buy a statement necklace or two, some earrings and a bracelet. They don’t have to be expensive or dangly, but they do have to make you feel good about yourself… even when grocery shopping. 

How many of you know someone who’s had the same hairdo since high school?

Me and Juan Carlos Maciques, celebrity stylist, 2014. I love this man!!

Rita Hazan doing my color. NYC, 2016. At least once in your life treat yourself to a haircut and color by “the best.” Yes… You’re going to gulp when you see your credit card bill, but it will give you a template to follow. So worth it! 

  • Get a great haircut for your face shape and get regular trims and a hair color that flatters your eyes and skin tone. As they age a lot of women go too light with hair color which makes them look washed out and older… especially if they don’t wear makeup. Use conditioner and keep your roots done!

Me and Sandy, 2014. She did my makeup that day. Always so great to catchup with her! Photograph by Jennifer Denton.

  • Wear makeup. Another friend, iconic makeup artist, Sandy Linter, says a lot of women think they look better with less makeup as they age when in fact… It’s just the opposite! Without makeup we look older and like we’ve quit trying. More than ever our eyes and brows need defining, especially if we wear glasses. Add some soft color to the eyelids, a soft line of eyeliner at the roots, some mascara and a blush and lip color in the same color family that complements your skin tone. If you need help stop at a Bobbi Brown makeup counter for a free tutorial and color suggestions. I’m recommending Bobbie Brown because her palettes are soft earth colors that look great on everyone, and her pigments are rich enough not to fade as the day goes on.

A selfie in my NYC hotel room after a Rita Hazan color and a Juan Carlos Maciques haircut. I’m feeling happy and confident!

  • Update your glasses frames. Glasses are the one thing we wear every day. They play a major role in defining how we look. Don’t buy cheapies online because you don’t know how they’ll look on you. Instead find a good eyeglass shop near you and get fitted by a professional who will help you decide what’s best for your coloring and face shape. When we talk about “investment dressing,” glasses should be the first thing we buy.
  • Stop putting yourself last. Most of us are long overdue to spend time on ourselves whether it’s a yoga class or some regular form of exercise or how we put ourselves together on a daily basis.

It’s time to start taking care of ourselves and how we look. No more “throwing any old thing on,” and if you say you don’t have time…

I think you’ve gotten lazy!

We don’t have to look like Stevie Nicks, but let’s take pride in how we look! It’s okay to wear leather pants… or not. It’s not okay to look frumpy! We are what we eat, who we associate with and how we take care of ourselves.


22 Comments

  • Kim Alexis January 4, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Thanks Brenda..
    You are so fun and have so much life!
    I love your last tipoff putting ourselves first because that is what I forget to do!
    I have to remind myself that it is okay to take care of myself!
    Keep having fun!
    xo
    Kim

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      Hi Kim, Thank you sweet friend for the wonderful comment. I just came from getting my haircut and colored and my stylist is having physical problems and panic attacks that have all been brought on by not taking the time to care for herself. We need to all remind ourselves that unless we’re in good shape, we can’t do our best to care for and love anyone else. xoxox, Brenda

  • Barbara January 4, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Great advice, Brenda. I’ve always stayed up on trends and make a point of not looking like the old lady I am. 😉 I’m getting very close to 70 (yikes!) but, I will not become a frumpy old lady! When we no longer keep up with fashion we lose our identity. It’s like giving up. I will never give up!
    Thanks for your advice, as always.
    xob

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2019 at 1:32 pm

      Dear Barbara, NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER GIVE UP! NO MATTER WHAT! Yes! I agree. I know women who’ve given up on how they look, and it’s dominoes into other areas of their lives. They’ve resigned themselves to their age, weight, thinning hair and all of the other things they didn’t deal with when they were younger. They’ve become depressed. The light has gone out of their eyes and their voice, and it breaks my heart. We should take care of ourselves inside and out for no one other than ourselves. xoxox, Brenda

  • Anonymous January 4, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Hairstylist to me: “Why do you think you want that style?”

    Me: “I don’t THINK I want it. I DO want it. I know it would work for my face shape, hair and personality.”

    My sister is going through the same thing, Despite switching to a new stylist, they always seem to switch back to what they think you should look like by appointment #3. And what they think you should like is a frumpy old lady. I might think this is limited to just the two of us, but I’ve started discussing it with friends, and they are experiencing the same thing. So frustrating! Why don’t they listen? Greying hair is different for all of us. All of usvhave different face shapes. Why must we end up with a round ball for a “hairstyle”? My stylist is the same age as me. I don’t get it.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2019 at 1:43 pm

      Oh Anonymous!!! I hear you! I’ve been there! I changed stylists several times because they didn’t listen to me and give me what I wanted. In one case I knew of a number of women who left the same stylist. In his case he hadn’t kept up with continuing education to learn new styles and how to cut them, so he was a one trick pony. Young stylists attract young clients, many of whom have long, hair. In many ways those stylists are one trick ponies as well. I can’t afford Juan Carlos Maciques and Rita Hazan–and a trip from Texas to NYC–but when I was going there regularly on business I sucked it up… the pain of my credit card bill… because they saw me as a vibrant woman and gave me THE BEST HAIRCUT I’VE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE and great color. The main reason I’d like to win the lottery is so Juan Carlos can cut my hair. The stylist I have now does her best, but she’s not in the same league as Juan Carlos and every time I go… I just got back… I take a picture and remind her not to give me Mamie Eisenhower bangs (of course she has no clue what that means so I just remind her I still want long bangs swept to the side) and to just give me a trim. I don’t want a short, round haircut. EVERY TIME!!! I’m sorry you and your sister and friends are experiencing the same thing, but I think you’ve hit on something very profound here… How do we make them SEE US, NOT OUR AGE? xoxox, Brenda

  • Joanna January 4, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    I agree on staying informed on what’s in style. I follow many fashion bloggers over 40/50. It gives me the knowledge I need to dress current, but not young.
    I get regular haircuts and change my styling up often. I like to have some fun with my hair. But nothing too radical!
    I never leave the house without mascara, a light foundation or tinted cc cream, and lipstick.
    My advice to women is spend the money on yourself. It gives you confidence and puts a smile on your face. I know I feel good when I look good. Don’t we all?

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2019 at 2:02 pm

      Joanna, Such wise words and smart advice. If we give up on how we look it affects how we see ourselves and our confidence. We become the little old lady we feared of being our entire lives. I’ve seen it with women I know. Their lack of self care has even affected their posture… and it’s not the aging slump. Too many women wind up saying, “Why bother?” It’s because WE SHOULD MATTER TO OURSELVES! We need to love not disrespect the women we’ve fought so hard to become. Love your comment. Thank you! Brenda

  • Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski January 4, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Those are great tips and I need to do some refreshing. My gray is peeking through and I need to make time to get it done. It always makes me feel renewed.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2019 at 2:13 pm

      “Renewed!” That’s a great description, Rebecca! After a trim and some hair color, I almost feel like those sad little flowers that after they’ve been watered, they perk up! xoxox, Brenda

  • LA CONTESSA January 4, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    BRILLIANT POST!
    I AGREE……………ON EVERYTHING!
    XX

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2019 at 2:15 pm

      Elizabeth, Of course you do, my beautiful, stylish friend… with the flattering new haircut!! XOXOX, Brenda

  • Mamavalveeta03 January 5, 2019 at 2:01 am

    Great advice, Brenda! No one is ever going to accuse you or Sandy of being frumpy. Haha!

    I’d like to add the suggestion of snakeskin print ankle boots or a skirt in a silky snakeskin print worn with a black or camel cashmere sweater. It’s really in and we can make trends work for US at any price point! Your hair and makeup can do SO much to either age you or keep you looking fresh and modern. I can’t tell you how many women I see that are still holding on to a version 9f their high school hairdo! “Let it go!” in the infamous words of Elsa!

    (Thanks for the Bobbi Brown shoutout – I know I’m partial, but her advice and line is the BEST!)

  • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Hi Val, I’ve adored Sandy since I was in my early, early 20’s. I still remember the first time I sat in her chair… She was a Goddess in a pale, yellow, chiffon, vintage dress and short blonde hair. Love your idea of the snakeskin and ankle boots. High school hair… I saw a 60+ woman at Home Depot a few weeks ago with long, dirty grey/black hair and short bangs that looked like she’d just taken the roller out and not combed it. A very dated, country girl look. You just knew it was what she wore in high school. Thanks for your wonderful suggestions! xoxox, Brenda

  • Sandra Sallin January 8, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    You’ve got style oozing from every pore. Gorgeous you are!!!!!! Just keep on writing and reminding people. I do wear kinda baggy tops. You see i’m quite generously endowed. Runs in the family. love that Michale Jackson looks on you.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 15, 2019 at 11:28 am

      Hi Sandy, You are sooo sweet! Thank you for the compliments. I appreciate it especially since there’s not a man around to tell me if I look nice. I realize I dress differently than my girlfriends. The other night I wore black leather pants and a long black sweater… mid thigh… when I met some girlfriends for pizza and wondered what they thought? No one says a word…. I loved the Michael Jackson jacket… but unless you’re in show business, I know people would look at me like “Who do you think you are?” xoxox, Brenda

  • Beckye January 9, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    I love all of your fashion and beauty tips, Brenda! You’re my inspiration! Love you! Keep ’em coming!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 15, 2019 at 11:29 am

      I appreciate you, Beckye! You inspire me to keep writing, so “Keep ’em coming!” xoxox, Brenda

  • Hilda Smith January 10, 2019 at 6:29 am

    You talk/write a lot of sense Brenda. As always I love your posts and girl you got style.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 15, 2019 at 11:31 am

      LOL! Love you, Hilda! Thanks so much! Brenda

  • Pam January 10, 2019 at 11:08 am

    I love this post! I’m 61 and appreciate all of these great reminders. I think having a 24 year old daughter helps me look less frumpy, She has always helped me keep it fresh. (The shape wear tip made me cringe a little, because I bought some bad shape wear for my daughter’s wedding, and wish I had spent the money for the better one. It really does make a difference!) Thanks so much for sharing at Thursday favorite Things!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 15, 2019 at 11:37 am

      Hi Pam! I’m so happy to see you here! It does help to have the input of a younger daughter although I see fashionista women in their 50s and 60s who I think have gone too far, trying to look with it and trendy. The shape wear thing… As with most things, we get what we pay for. Sad but true. There’s a reason why some things… not all… are more expensive. The overall design, material and manufacturing is better. That said, purses are where I see lots of overpriced bags because you’re paying for the label. Then again, compare the lesser priced Michael Kors bags with the ones you buy on his site or at upscale stores and there is a difference. It all depends on whether it bothers you enough to buy his top of the line bag. Hope to see you, again! Brenda

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