Are you a Fashionista? We’re not, but there are tricks to add some chic that’s affordable as we age

Both of us lead really busy lives with little time to primp every day. We try to go with the flow when it comes to fashion trends, not necessarily buying and wearing the latest. 

On the other hand, we care how we look; we’re each a little vain as long as it doesn’t cost big bucks and take up too much time. Overall, we’d say we like to be presentable, our benchmark for how we’re adjusting to aging and sticking to our strict budgets. 

Many of you may have a different playbook and say, whoa, now is the time to indulge ourselves. We don’t agree totally in the fashion and appearances arena. However, we admit, every so often we think about updating our style even if we aren’t quite sure how to do so.   

Hair. We think it’s best to start at the top—our hair, and then work our way down. When our hair looks terrible—too long, no style, dry—it makes us look older and tired. When we’re having a bad hair day, a friend might say, “You look exhausted.” Translation: you don’t look well. We both like to color our hair and cover the gray, add some highlights periodically and get a good cut, which in our cases means an affordable one, not the $300 and $400 kind that’s easy to do in New York. 

One of us has a cut that requires no maintenance, just blowing it mostly dry but not styling it; the other is not good with her hair and goes for frequent professional blow dries. Our hair we believe helps us look young-ish without looking too young. We wear it below our ears and above our shoulders; long enough to cover our ears and our future accessory—not gorgeous earrings but hearing aids with wires and pods we suspect. 

Skin. When it comes to our skin, our goal is to hide wrinkles and brown aging spots as they start to appear. But we’re loathe to undertake any cosmetic surgery. That’s fine for others but not for our pocketbooks and fear about potential problems since we’re both fairly cheap and skittish when it comes to pain. 

Yes, we hate our necks as much as Nora Ephron did but not enough to go under a knife. So, we listen to what others, including our dermatologists and aestheticians say about regularly using moisturizers and vitamin C and good cleansing agents. These can add up financially. One of us does love a good periodic facial to remove dead skin better than we think we can do at home. We wear minimal makeup but are always excited to have someone at a cosmetic counter guide us with some new choices such as a tinted moisturizer, new colorful lipstick, mascara, blush and concealer. 

These cosmetic accessories, we feel, are smart steps to add life and color to our skin, so we look healthy and a tad younger. We also are big into sunscreens of the 30 or more SPF level and regularly visit our dermatologists as part of our health-care team to spot bad moles that might be early signs of cancer. 

Flabby parts. There’s not much we know we can do about those sagging arms, but we try by avoiding sleeveless tops and dresses and favoring coverups if we do venture out in a swimsuit, which is highly unlikely. We also like to walk to firm up lower extremities, do Pilates for tightening our core and stretching classes that tone glutes and abs. One of us loves a dancing Zumba-style class that keeps the brain going as we try to follow the class instructor. The other is considering joining a Zumba class for the first time. 

Nails and toes. Though we admire a good manicure and pedicure, we are not into these luxuries except occasionally when we might attend an important event. Other times we’re busy cooking, typing, gardening or wearing our sneakers, which cover up our toes. We also don’t enjoy taking the time to sit, have nails worked on and wait for polish to dry. Worse than waiting for Godot. 

Clothing. We aren’t into the latest styles, whether it’s the length of skirts and dresses, style of pants, type of sweater and even colors. We don’t want to look frumpy and dumpy, but we leave what’s in and chic to our grown daughters, some very fashion-forward friends, the sister of one of us and the celebs we see on TV, on the covers of magazines and TV shows such as the lawyer stars on Suits when we did ooh and aah over the dresses that Donna wore to the office. Would we ever buy these outfits? Doubtful. It’s just fun to observe. 

We also pay heed to what fashion writer Vanessa Friedman has to say in her weekly New York Times column since she has some down-to-earth advice for what to wear where, especially when it comes to serious fashion questions. One of us has very skinny legs and doesn’t want them to appear like sticks; the other has bigger hips than she’d like so we try to accentuate our best parts. “Play up what you love is our motto.” But what do we love? We’re still trying to figure that out. 

We also try not to be too judgmental and sound like our mothers but occasionally we do when the lengths show off too much leg and upper parts, when the necklines plunge too close to the navel, when the middle sections of outfits are missing so the entire midriff is exposed and when bikini bottoms are so minimalistic that lots of the tush shows! Certainly, none of these looks are for us in our mid and late 70s. Long ago we gave up stilettos for sensible heels, flats and now sometimes cute sneakers that are okay to wear for many events, even fancy affairs. 

Do we wish we cared more about our appearance? Maybe, at times, but we are happy that so many do. Our goal is to look appropriate, not feel embarrassed that we look out of place but blend in like those who wear combat outfits for battle in a jungle. Feeling camouflaged and invisible is pretty much the look and feeling we’re after. 

1 comment

  • Audey Steuer

    Agreed, but not easy to do when you have a daughter who is critical of every aspect of your appearance!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published