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To Look Old or Hip…Is That the Question?

Welcome everyone…I have decided to put on my Julie Powell (of Julie and Julia fame) hat and blog us through a book.  How Not to Look Old by Charla Krupp, former beauty editor for Glamour, gives us so much to discuss and I hope you all will join in the girl talk.  In an effort not to drag this out too long, I will be discussing two-three chapters at a time.  She brings us so many ideas with merit; however, she clothes the ideas in words which, as far as I am concerned, evoke much controversy.  I am not going to discuss every idea in the book.  You might consider purchasing through our affiliate link HERE. As I said there are some excellent, doable guidelines. 

Let’s begin with her prologue through chapter three.

aging, how not to look old, charla krupp, looking hip, staying attractive as you age

Prologue – It’s in the semantics!

Let me ask…how many of you really want to look ten years younger and have a goal every day to look that way?  I rarely think about looking younger.  I constantly think about looking my best…each day…where I am right now.  Krupp describes her book as “the boomer manifesto: a comprehensive plan of attack on aging: all those beauty and style tweaks that you can (and should) do to look younger and hipper…”  Y & H (young and hip) is a concept she uses throughout the book and is the opposite of looking OL (old lady).

For me, looking “hip” made me cringe a little. I do not like the word “old” but I also am not looking to be “hip”. There are many things I want to communicate but hip is not one of them….perhaps, the word “current” would resonate better with me. Now, she promises real, instant, and visible results with all of her ideas…and I can get into results which send the message I am enjoying a vibrant, confident, joyful life.  So, I suppose, we should not get hung up in the semantics.

Maintenance – That’s Just Where We Are!

Krupp writes, “Many of us are on our own, and we need to stay in the workplace until we say it’s time to go.  And let’s not fool ourselves: looking good is a key to keeping our jobs.”   I agree, we are in a time when we need more maintenance to look and feel our best.  Some weeks I feel like a car constantly on the lift!  However, I know there are some of you who will flinch at this quote, “But shouldn’t we be showing off our wrinkles? Shouldn’t we be proud to go gray? Yes, that would be awesome in an ideal world. But that’s not the way the world is today. Only when women who look as good as Morley Safer or Andy Rooney are allowed to thrive well into their seventies and even eighties on the public stage. Will it be safe for us to let ourselves go without endangering our livelihoods and our legacies?”

Anyone want to discuss that statement??  I wonder if the author is revealing her own insecurities through some of her beliefs.  I have seen some fabulous ladies who accept their wrinkles and gray hair with confidence and great style.  Both are a reality of aging and not necessarily “letting ourselves go.” However, do we need to mask those things in order to stay in the career-world?

In Chapter One, readers take a Maintenance Quiz and I was not surprised to learn I am a woman of medium maintenance…with more time and money, I might hit the HIGH level!  If you read my blog, you know it is all about feeling and looking our best…so I am on board for more guidance and tips.  I love the pictures she includes of celebrities who have updated their looks and even look better now than when they were younger!

End with a Bang!

So, excited…I got this one right!  In Chapter 2, Chris Cusano, stylist of the Red Door Spa at Elizabeth Arden NYC, “confirmed that once you reach a certain age, you look better with bangs. Almost everyone does.”  Krupp writes a new hairstyle with bangs will immediately take five years off your current age.

For the record, I did not cut bangs to look younger…I have worn bangs the majority of my life and cannot remember when I did not have them.  But, I agree, bangs provide a youthful look…Just ask Michelle Obama.  In this chapter, Krupp also discusses hair length, thinning, and when to know if we need a new stylist.  All good discussions.

Ok, I have given you much to ponder.  Grab your coffee…pull up a chair and join our book club-portion of the Joy Boutique.

Where do we draw the lines between looking young, old, hip, or dated?

Do you feel pressure to look more modern to keep your job?

Are you open to learning more?

See you next week for Chapters 3-5!

midlife boulevard, columnist, midlife women, middle-age, midlife crisis

Pamela Lutrell

Pamela Lutrell began her blog, over50feeling40, July 2010 with a desire to encourage women over 50 to walk in strength, confidence and joy. Of course, head turning style makes each day fun!

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Wednesday 2nd of April 2014

I would read this book. I stopped working two years ago but up to that point, definitely did feel the pressure to stay young and fresh - in my looks, my thoughts, my grasp on technology, all of it! I kind of don't mind that though. I prefer to look young for as long as I can within reason. There won't be any surgery but I sure do embrace hair color and taking care to dress well.

Walker Thornton

Wednesday 2nd of April 2014

This is not a book I would read. We can't turn back the clock. As for looking 'younger and hipper'? I want to look like I fit in my own skin--meaning that I don't want to look artificially enhanced or that I'm trying to be something I'm not. I want to look like I like who I am and am content with my life. I also don't work in a corporate or business environment so I'm not in that whole world; I've always worked in nonprofits or helping professions. This emphasis we have on anti-aging isn't helping stop ageism in this country. It seems to me that if we keep buying into this be younger trend we will be doing a huge disservice to the understanding of what it means to be older in American society.


Wednesday 2nd of April 2014

I have had Charla's book for years and have shared it with friends. I used to enjoy seeing her on the Oprah show. I recently learned that she passed away a couple of years ago and was so shocked. Somehow I missed it in the news and I literally see her book every day sitting on my closet shelf. She was so full of life.

Charla did have great advice and I literally saw a great transformation with one of my friends from her advice. It's a great book, just don't get caught up with the labels.



Tuesday 1st of April 2014

I have a copy of that book someplace, I'll have to revisit it.

For the record, not only do I reject the hip label, I'm also not interested in looking edgy. I think that's replaced hip today. I associated edgy with someone who's cranky and hard to get along with. I think that's what we're tying to avoid as we get older!

As for gray hair. I'm a contract employee on-site at a Federal government site. If you line up women who work in the building those with gray/un-colored hair are mostly Federal employees. When you work for an employer where the main way people leave the workforce is retirement, as opposed to lay-offs or terminations, it's fine to go gray. You're there until you drop. When you work for an employer whose slots are competitively re-bid every 2-3 years you've got to keep your game up in all regards. That means re-training and making sure you look as bright and intelligent as the next gal. So no gray hair for me.

D. A. Wolf

Tuesday 1st of April 2014

Maintenance? Sure. But we have maintenance at 35 as well, just of a different sort - and some of us more than others.

Her manifesto? UGH UGH UGH. Huge turn-off for yours truly. I think it sends the wrong message from the get-go.

How about a little tweaking and tuning at every age? How about the reality of appreciating our health, our relationships, our meaningful contributions?

This is not a book I would purchase. I'm certain I would much prefer your thoughts on the subject...

And one last UGH for that dreadful manifesto. Way to be dismissive of our demographic, and our elders!

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