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Tuesday 6 February 2018

Five ways not to be invisible as an older woman

Image showing four famous women over the age of 50: Robin Wright, Sarah Jessica Parker, Madonna and Elle McPherson
Four ladies over the age of 50 who I greatly admire - not just for their talent and intelligence, but their determination to look wonderful for their age.

Yet even the likes of Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker have had "off" moments when they've been pictured them on their way to the gym or shops without any make-up on and, shock horror, looking their age.

Unfortunately once we're over 50, it takes a lot of effort to look good. Unless your face or body provides your living, few of us have enough time and money to look fantastic all the time.
Frankly, becoming invisible has its advantages sometimes. We are no longer judged solely on our looks and appearance. When I was young, I hated wolf whistles so much that I would go on long detours to avoid building sites where it happened.

But if we have a special event to attend, a reunion, an interview or a wedding, we don't want to be invisible. We want to look fabulous for our age and turn heads for the right reasons.

My five tips are about working with you've got, and being a fabulous version of you.

1. The power of bright colours

Wearing black, grey. beige or navy blue is a comfort blanket. It's easy and safe, but on an older women most of these colours make us look tired and sallow. However you can wear these colours with alacrity if you have choose more flattering tones next to your face in the form of tops, scarves or jewellery, and if you make your makeup more colourful.

The fastest way to be noticed is to wear bright colours.  When you're wearing a colour that suits you, your skin and eyes come alive and you feel positive and energetic.

Colour analysis developed a bad reputation in the 80s and 90s but to have an objective stylist finding colours that suit you is fabulous. It can be done virtually, via questionnaires and photos.  Pamela Graham from Style Yourself Confident resolved my years of colour confusion after I'd had different interpretations. When I wear lilac, fuchsia and certain shades of green, I get lots of compliments. Below are the bright colours which Pamela recommended for me.
Image showing a fair haired woman surrounded by colour tiles representing the shades that suit her best as chosen by colour consultant Pamela Graham

2. The magic of makeup

I've talked before about how to use makeup to restore radiance. For me, bright lipstick is a game changer. I spent years looking for the perfect nude lipstick, but even when you find it, it will do less for you than a perfect pink, red or orange. But "look at me" lipsticks are undoubtedly challenging to wear, particularly if you're not used to it. I wrote about lipsticks here.

Giving your eyes more drama, sometimes more than you feel comfortable with, is also a game changer.  A professional make-up artist, Joyce Ademasa, used eyeliner under my eyes in a shoot last year, which I have always avoided, but along with false eyelashes on the outer edges, it made such a difference - see below. I would highly recommend booking a session with a makeup artist like Joyce. Again, it's that third party objective advice and know-how.
Image showing a woman sipping a glass of Bucks Fizz

Check out my tips on how to take years off your eyes.

3. The statement accessory

Become known for your striking necklaces, huge rings, scarves or shoes. I was thrilled when, five months into my new job, my boss said that in my 360 feedback, colleagues - mostly all millennials - had mentioned my cool shoes. My mum, 85, is known for her stunning scarves.
My mum in bright colours and trademark scarf 

4. Stand up straight at the back

Over time our shoulders have a tendency to become rounded, or rigid around our ears. The habits become engrained and before we know it, our heads are forward, like a pigeon's. I'm a great believer in good posture. Check out my tips on how to achieve it in my article on posture.

5. Try a new hair stylist

We're usually told to try a new hair style.  I'll go a step further and say find a new hair stylist.  If your stylist encourages you to have the same style and doesn't suggest changes according to the season or fashion, then he or she is doing you no favours.  It's very easy to stick with the same style all your life in the belief that it suits you. But it can quickly date you. A new stylist will give you a different perspective.

You'll find lots of hairstyle inspiration on Pinterest (check out my board on hairstyles) and a good stylist will talk you out of something that is impractical for your hair or lifestyle.

A few months ago I decided I wanted to be less blonde and to go a little darker.  I suddenly thought that most women my age have highlighted hair and perhaps that was ageing in itself. But I quickly realised that darker hair was more ageing on me. So now I'm gradually going back to blonde.

Sharing this post with Spread the Kindness at Shelbee on the Edge, Emma at Stylesplash, Jess at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Wordless  Wednesdasy at Claire JustineFabulous Friday at A Pocketful of Polka Dots,Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style and Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style

Do you have any great tips to add? Do tell in the comments below.


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  1. Your No 4 is the one I try to follow as I scoot towards my 7th decade. Some years ago I heard June Brown's tip, walk from the diaphragm. That was a game changer for this old bird!
    You always wear colour so well and with confidence and perhaps knowing what works for you is what it takes to get that confidence. So that's a great tip for me to work on.
    Love the bit about your 360, how nice to hear!
    You and your mum, wow, what onlookers!!!
    Hugs, x.

  2. Here's some first class pointers Gail, Thanks so much. Will remember these and use them in the future. Looking lovely Gail, I hope you're well. x Jacqui

    1. Thanks Jacqui- you always wear bright colours very well!

  3. Great points Gail! I will be 50 this july and dont plan on being invisable! love the makeup you are wearing and if i didn't say yet, what a charming colorful blog pic ( of the colored sheep) for your blog.
    thanks for linking!
    jess xx

    1. Thanks Jess - with your striking colouring I don't think you could ever be invisible! I was hunting around for a new blog header and thrilled when I found the pastel sheep!

  4. I'm 55 and I still get looked at by both men and women wherever I go. I don't think it has to do with age, a well dressed, put together woman will always get looks. But you are absolutely right, it does take a lot more effort and time! I spend a lot of money on my hair and clothing that I didn't do when I was younger (because I had no money). I also spend a lot of time picking out outfits. I usually pick out my outfits the day before because it takes me so much time and I don't want to feel rushed the day of. These are some really great points, and I agree with all of them. Oh, and I LOVE Robin Wright...her body is amazing! I'd love to know her training routine and diet! What an inspiration!

  5. I loved reading this Gail (and I love the new graphic at the top of your blog---as a knitter that is right up my alley!)
    I'm always being the devil's advocate, and I might not agree that it takes more effort and time.....maybe we put more effort and time into our appearance because we realize that it makes a difference? Because I look back at some of my old photos, and realize how I've evolved (in a good way)!!

  6. I'm 58, and agree with Amy. You can still get the admiring looks with the right tools. And it's also got a lot to do with confidence. Makeup, hair, accessories all help though! And yes...it's time consuming! But at our age, thankfully, we have more time, hopefully! So really, no excuses! Great post. Thankyou! Mimi xxx

  7. What great advice, Gail! I've always loved a bright lipstick but what I can't bear is having to re-apply it all the time, hence my wearing a nude more often. I've tried long lasting lipsticks too but have yet to find the perfect one!
    Hope you have a fab week!
    Suzy xx

  8. Gail, so many wonderful tips! I have been thinking of booking a session with a professional makeup artist for an unbiased opinion and ideas. Like you, I have always avoided under-eye liner, so I enjoyed hearing your thoughts about giving it a try. Thanks for linking up with Fabulous Friday, Gail!

    Jennie - A Pocketful of Polka Dots

  9. Gail, I love these tips so much! We should never be invisible at any age! This post is a featured favorite on my new link up post today! Thanks so much for sharing it.


  10. 5 great points Gail. We all need timely reminders, too easy to think 'that will do' as we get older and begin to disappear. You'll never do that with your fabulous colors. Oh and adore your dip-dyed flock of lovelies.

    Pamela xx www.style-yourself-confident.com

  11. Hi Gail
    Some great points and I specifically agree with the hair colour, I used to be naturally dark with chestnut bits! No longer my natural colour now drains me completely!
    looking good in your bright colours as ever!

    1. Thanks Ashley! The hair colour thing was quite a surprise - I figured that I wouldn't go back to a really dark brown (which was my original colour) but even mid brown drained me.

  12. Some good tips here Gail> I remember the eyelashes. I must get myself some and keep forgetting! They did make a huge difference. I'm with you on the colour, although all the ones you advise to shy away from are my favourites.What you put with those colours can make a difference I think. I'm quite shy and I'm sure that's why I head straight for those colours! xx

    1. I did think about you as I was writing, because you always look fabulous in beige and cream colours - you're very lucky, because I would love to wear those colours more.

  13. Those are all very viable options and I love how you've showed off that it can work no matter your style!!


  14. What a wonderful, encouraging post. I would love to have a little tuck here and there but could never afford it. And feel certain everything would slide back to where it was very soon. I need to remember to wear more bright colors. I tend to migrate toward earth tones and they don't do me any favors. Just trying LipSense lip color for the first time and loving it. It brightens my face all day. Great post!!!

  15. Great points Gail! Yes, lately I've felt the need to "adorn" myself more with makeup colours and textures, especially lips and eyes and sparkle, and jewellery etc, to make myself more visible!


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