How to Look 20 Years Older Than You Are

14 Jun

I’m no style expert, but I know what I like and what I don’t like. I see a lot of very attractive fifty-something women of all shapes and sizes wearing one of three things that makes them look seventy-something. I wish I could take them by the shoulders, give them a good shake, and scream ‘STOP THE MADNESS!’

Eighties High-Waisted Tapered Jeans: News flash — it’s 2012. Time to update your wardrobe. And don’t tell me you can’t afford to. I picked up a pair of nice-fitting Alfred Sung jeans for $10 at Value Village a few weeks ago. Nothing ages a woman more than old, ugly baggy jeans.

Ugly Sweatshirts: Please don’t wear sweatshirts with any kind of plant, bird or animal motif. Don’t get me wrong, I love plants, birds and animals, but they don’t belong on your sweatshirt. Seeing a woman wearing these makes me grit my teeth. Just because you’re a grandmother doesn’t mean you have to look like one.

Long Gray Hair: I have nothing against gray hair.  I have a head full of it, which I currently color. Someday I might decide to take the gray plunge, but it needs to be done right. In my opinion, no matter how pretty you are (like the lady on the left) if your hair resembles Mrs. Bates from Psycho, you’re doing it wrong.

I’d much rather look like Judi Dench or Jamie Lee Curtis. Their haircuts are chic, and Jamie Lee rocks her highlights. Or lowlights, or whatever the hell they are.

Since gray hair is the universal symbol of old age, why would you want more of it?

What’s your opinion about aging gracefully with style?

13 Responses to “How to Look 20 Years Older Than You Are”

  1. Krista Phillips June 14, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    I love Nora Ephron’s observation in the book “I Feel Bad about My Neck” that says that Hair colour has been the greatest boon for women in the past century. We know longer need to accept grey hair lying down. If i had hair that greyed nicely, ie. salt and pepper, I’d be on board, but nothing worse than mousy brown hair going grey. I echo your sentiments about “Mum” jean an d illustrated sweat shirts!

  2. kathleenkaskawrites June 14, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    This made me laugh because I’ve had the same thoughts. I, too, just want to walk up to these women and hold up a mirror in front of them. The new style of jeans might not be as comfortable, but they make my butt look smaller, really! I don’t own a sweatshirt and those given to me as gifts found their way into the Goodwill box. But mostly, Nancy, thanks for reminding me that I’m past due for a foil.
    P.S. I hate elastic waistbands.

    • nancyelizabethlauzon June 14, 2012 at 11:06 am #

      LOL – yeah, I could use a haircut, too. I actually find Not Your Daughter’s Jeans very comfortable. They fit just at the waist — the jeans made for younger women are too low for me. Don’t want to have my baby fat sticking out too far.

  3. Cyndi June 14, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    With all due respect, ladies – seriously? You’re buying into the thinness/youth-is-everything movement and choosing ambiguous ‘style’ over comfort and fit: ‘The new style of jeans might not be as comfortable, but they make my butt look smaller”?!

    I’m all for clean, neat, and put together, but I also prefer to be me, gray hair and all. I gave up high heels when I got tired of the unnecessary pain they cause, and makeup when the time involved cut into my too-little sleep. My butt is what it is, after bearing two children. I walk for exercise to be healthy, not unnaturally skinny so I can fit into the latest fashions – which, by the way, will change as soon as willing consumers have filled their closets.

    I’d much rather spend my few discretionary dollars on books or travel than on hair foils and new clothes every season. I won’t win fashion awards, but I don’t embarrass myself , or anyone I care about, with what I wear.

    And you can keep your mirror. I don’t use them other than to make sure my hair is combed once in a while.

    • nancyelizabethlauzon June 14, 2012 at 11:18 am #

      Hey Cyndi, thanks for stopping by. But if I may (respectfully) debate my point a little further – This post has nothing to do with championing thinness and/or youth, nor am I saying being unnaturally skinny is a good thing. (Maybe you should read it again?) And in my humble opinion, a trendy pair of jeans is just as comfortable as an ugly pair.

      I’m proud of every one of my 55 years. I just don’t want to look 75 any earlier than I have to. I suppose if some women don’t care either way, that’s their choice. It’s all good.

      P.S. I’m with you on the high heels. They can be excruciating. Although I found a very comfortable pair at Clarks recently, with foam insoles =)

      • Cyndi June 15, 2012 at 9:20 am #

        As one who has never fit in when it comes to clothes, etc., (or lots of other ways, for that matter!), I do tend to get a bit defensive over any perceived insult at my appearance. I’ve mostly-largely-finally-maybe overcome that tendency, but it caught me by surprise to see the boo-gray-hair, love-uncomfortable-skinny-butt-jeans, and such on a site I love which is dedicated to, and posted by, women who write and love reading about strong, independent women.

        I don’t want to look 75 yet, either. Unfortunately, the fashion industry doesn’t cater to us 50-somethings – we’re stuck with clothes for 20-yr-olds or dowagers. So I stick with my (comfortable) jeans and non-floral/animal print shirts as much as possible 😉

        Thanks for the discussion!

      • nancyelizabethlauzon June 15, 2012 at 9:30 am #

        Amen, Sister! The fashion industry needs to learn how to dress 50-somethings stylishly AND comfortably. When I was a young woman I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer, but had no sewing talent. Wish I did, cause I’d show them a thing or two 😉

  4. akismet-cbe64813afb3558cb5fe0975510f7a1a June 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    As someone closing in on fifty, too fast, I own my grey streak. Okay, some weeks more than others, but for the most part. I’m an advocate for all natural. This is not to say I never color my hair, just in more shades of blue, or green, or hot pink. Mostly I don’t color my grey or wear make up because, and don’t get me wrong, I don’t like fake. I will occasionally wear mascara, but never foundation and all that other.
    I’ve been known to wear mom jeans, they cover my ass when I’m working. I’m a mechanic and there is already too many ass cracks at work. Even a good fitting pair of jeans can show a little crack if you’re kneeling and bending all day. As for the tappered jeans, I know they make my hips look wider, but they also are more practical if you need to tuck your pant legs in, go for a bicycle ride, or… I’m sure there are other instances.
    Even when I go out off work, I’m not a fashion statement.
    I agree Jamie Lee Curtis is a knock out for her age. Not everyone can wear a short doo like that and get away with it. or feel comfortable with it. Another thought on that subject…woman in my field are often called, bullied, as being a dyke if they wear short hair, not that I care about that, but I like reminding the men I’m not a man.
    I can also agree that we do not want to look older than we are, but something I’ve learned over the years. Except for the passerby, how we appear to others, age wise, has as much to do with how we act. Ones personality can smooth away wrinkles and wash away grey, or make a gorgeous person ugly if there character is ugly. Just a parting thought.

    • nancyelizabethlauzon June 15, 2012 at 8:17 am #

      Love your comment about ass cracks, LOL. I never thought about times when tapered jeans might be a good thing. But if I was a mechanic, I still think I’d favor overalls over tapered jeans. Another good point about the butchy hair cut, working in your field you must be sensitive to that. And I agree regarding personality – I’ve met much younger people that act like they’ve got one foot in the grave, and I’ve met eighty year olds that acted like teenagers.Thanks for stopping by =)

      • ljfetters June 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

        OMG, no overalls… wait, oh, I read bib overalls. There’s a few guys at work who look pregnant who wear bib overalls because pants don’t work. Course, there’s one who wears nothing but sweat pants too. Should we talk about men looking old? But, overalls don’t work. Too hot and I don’t get greasy dirty, I work on mail sorting machines, mostly just dusty.

  5. nancyelizabethlauzon June 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    LOL – great idea – I promise I’ll write a blog about what ages men, too =)


  1. Men: How to Look 20 Years Older Than You Are « The Chick Dick Mysteries - June 20, 2012

    […] is a follow-up to my post How to Look 20 Years Older Than You Are (for women). In the spirit of fairness and gender equality, I promised to blog about what makes an […]

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