Taking My New Sunglasses On A Trip

When we polled you to ask which of 9 sunglass frames you liked most on me, this style came in 3rd. I couldn’t order the styles that came in #1 and #2, because they weren’t available with prescription lenses (although I loved them, too!)

The name of these frames is She Moves, which is spooky because I’m moving next week from the Manhattan co-op apartment that I’ve lived in for 24 years to Brooklyn! You can read about why I’m making this big move at 69 right here. (more…)

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Meet The One, The Only, The Inimitable Isaac

“Color is the biggest luxury there is. It affects you on a deep emotional level that most people don’t think about. If you get the color right, you have the whole thing. If you get it wrong, it becomes a big distraction.”–  Isaac Mizrahi

Isaac-imageThe fashion uninitiated might think J. Crew’s designers dreamed up the edgy concept of mixing basic cotton tee shirts with glamorous, floor-length taffeta skirts, but a young fashion designer, Isaac Mizrahi, was doing it brilliantly over two decades ago. As a matter of fact, many of Isaac’s creations in the 90s were forerunners of the looks that are immensely popular today.

Isaac knows how to ‘mix it up’ like no other designer in the peripatetic world of fashion. “Uniting opposites is a Mizrahi signature, which arises in his many combinations of evening and sportswear, formal and casual, and couture and mass market,” says the copy that introduces Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History, an exhibition at The Jewish Museum in New York, running through August 7th. (more…)

I’m In The 86% Group. Are You?

I was interested–and intrigued–to see the results of a one-question poll we posted last Thursday. For those of you who didn’t see it, the question was:

How do YOU want to look:

● I want to look as good as I feel
I want to look as young as I feel
I want to grow old “gracefully”
(aka embrace my wrinkles & gray hair)


Best Shapewear for Women

Ever since I scrunched into a Spanx contraption, years ago, I swore off shapewear. Five seconds after putting it on, the thing rolled up my thighs and down my torso, making it supremely uncomfortable to wear and creating lumps and bumps that didn’t exist before. The fabric was unbreathable and felt slippery. The whole thing was a yicky experience.

When I recently heard about a new line, called Hooked-Up Shapewear, I decided to give the mid-thigh style a try  (it’s also available as a slip and a brief.) Now I’m hooked, literally and figuratively, since the piece hooks directly to my bra to create a smooth, flattering look, and can’t roll down. My muffin top won’t pop out, simply because there’s no space between my bra and the garment.  The legs of the garment also stay put, and move when I do, so I don’t have to worry about bulging inner thighs.

Joan Didion Is NOT My Icon For Aging Women!

That’s the famous writer, Joan Didion,
in the Céline ad.

She’s 80, and Céline has lately decided it’s cool to “celebrate” age. So they’ve chosen a “model” who they believe suits their “understated look.” (BTW, those are fashion buzzwords usually synonymous with over-the-top expensive.)

My cool 33-year-old daughter thinks Joan looks “totally chic,” as does FabOverFifty’s cool 25-year-old art director. As a matter of fact, so does my stylish FOFriend, Marla Ginsburg, who is the hottest fashion designer on HSN right now.

Call me vain (don’t become more disagreeable than that, please). I’m just not into that kind of “chic,” at 67, and I don’t want to look that kind of “chic” if I live to be 80. Although Joan’s writing is certainly inspirational, I don’t find her wispy thin hair, jowls and turkey neck especially inspirational, chic or cool, even if they are accessorized by trendy big black sunglasses, an oversized pendant, and a simple black (undoubtedly $4,000) sweater. I’m also not a fan of the anorexic look at Joan’s age. (One fashion writer called her “cigarette thin.”)

I know many women would think Joan is growing old “gracefully.” I’m not sure what that means. Does that make you unrefined, uncouth, unsophisticated, graceless, and unattractive if you color your hair, buy a wig, have your jowls eliminated, wear makeup, and shoot your wrinkled forehead with Botox?

Please don’t misunderstand me. If Joan Didion doesn’t mind showing off her crepey neck, good for her. Katherine Hepburn hated her neck but didn’t want plastic surgery, so she covered it with lovely scarves and high-necked sweaters, and I think she looked gorgeous, at 40 and at 80.

I think pretentiousness is the only thing the Céline campaign “celebrates,” something at which
the fashion industry excels.

On the other end of the “let’s celebrate age” spectrum, Dolce & Gabbana brings together two nonnas and throws four of its hip bags and a teddy bear into their laps (chic nonnas never leave home without two handbags each AND their teddy bears!). I’m not sure what message the creative geniuses at D&G are attempting to communicate (Be young again with D&G? D&G: Ageless?) but I also think its campaign is affected.

The last ad, from American Apparel (below), gets it right, as far as I’m concerned. Sixty-year-old with a great body modeling underwear.

I would not want to see a 60-year-old with a
jiggly stomach modeling panties. So why do I want to see an 80-year-old with jiggly jowls modeling eyeglasses and a pendant?

Then again, you don’t need to care what you look like when your eyeglasses cover your entire face.

Tell me, my FOFriends, which approach do you favor?

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Are You Starting To Let The Physical Changes In Your Body Change The Way You Think and Act?

Kirstie Alley looks marvelous again, having lost 50 pounds during the past year. She was beautiful when she was on Cheers in her mid 30s, and she’s still beautiful—and sexy—as she approaches 64. Without playing psychiatrist, I can safely say that Kirstie Alley didn’t feel too good about herself for many years, when she “let herself go,” as my mom would have said. She gained loads of weight, dressed slovenly, had messy-looking hair and didn’t wear a lick of makeup.

Kirstie recently told Matt Lauer on the Today Show that she was motivated to change this time because she wants to continue acting, “hook up,” and feel good about herself during this period of her life. She vows she will finally continue to take care of herself.

Although most of us would never dream of “letting ourselves go,” like the talented actress and comedienne had done, many women over 50 do, indeed, start to let physical changes in our bodies change the way we think and act.

“Not one of us has ‘come of age’ without weathering bumpy periods and having to make adjustments to a life’s plan. Each of us has matured through the life events that have shaped our characters. Now, as we meet new and inevitable challenges and opportunities, we can draw on a lifetime of experiences,” writes 70-year-old Anne Reizer in the introduction to her smart new book, Beautiful Encore, Makeovers For Mature Women.

“Women in our generation have worn all manner of clothing and hairstyles in our lifetimes,” Anne continues. “We spent our twenties in miniskirts. We have worn culottes, maxi dresses, wrap dresses, dresses that looked like nightgowns, power suits with dramatic shoulder pads, western and bohemian styles. We have idolized women like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Audrey Hepburn. Why are we now limiting our style and grooming to a much more narrow menu. Do we feel minimized by our ages? Do we feel that only young women have a right to feel beautiful? Have we decided, for the sake of convenience, to give up—to let apathy dictate that we let go of our curiosity and our commitment to looking good?”

I am not crazy about the term “mature women,” (at least it’s better than “senior” AARGH!) but I am crazy about the message in Anne’s book. If we relax our commitment to “looking good” on the outside, it won’t take long until we feel crappy on the inside. “Without a polished exterior, your interior is in shadow. Illuminating yourself by caring about your hair clothing, makeup, and most important of all your health is neither a superficial pursuit nor an insurmountable goal. Looking good leads to engagement and success in other facets of your life,” Anne explains.

Think about it this way: Have you ever known a put-together woman, in her 50s, 60s or 70s,
who didn’t care about her health, her work, her family, her friends? I haven’t.

Although Beautiful Encore presents before-and-after photos of 27 “real” women over 50, this is not a how-to book, Anne explains in the introduction. It doesn’t tell us what cut is best for our hair, what blush is best for our cheeks or what sweater and slacks are best for our shape. Rather, the photos are designed to inspire and empower each of us to “reinvest” in ourselves, “physically and emotionally.” Each of the featured women has a different story, body type and lifestyle. But all of them share the “curiosity and positive attitude necessary for change,” Anne writes. “A sense of curiosity keeps life interesting,” she explains. “New people, new experiences, new goals and new ideas add to my belief that life is expanding, not narrowing.”

Besides the stories and photographs of the women, the book includes 10 health and beauty articles, written by experts, that explore topics such as exercise, nutrition and hearing. “Older Wiser Happy,” the first article, by psychotherapist Pamela Benison, talks about the challenges of aging that we all face—no matter who we are or where we are—and how we can unlock and use our inner resources to welcome and overcome them, and “create a happy, healthy future.”

Pamela quotes Eleanor Roosevelt:

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence
by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself,
‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’”

Praise These Panties

“Well, this is depressing. I love sugar snap peas but just discovered that I can’t tolerate them anymore,” FOFriend, LaDonna Hale Curzon, posted on Facebook.

“What happened? Getting older is not for sissies,” she added, in her usual no-nonsense attitude.

If LaDonna’s tummy told her to modify her diet, my bladder notified me to change the style of my panties! I’ve written about many subjects during my long career as a writer and journalist, but in my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined I’d be writing about underwear I’ve found for my stress incontinence. Not a very sexy subject, but an important one, since the condition (also lovingly known as LBL, light bladder leakage) affects one in every three women over the age of 40, most commonly after multiple births or during menopause.

When muscles weaken in and around the bladder, activities or movements like exercising, sneezing or laughing usually will trigger a trickling of urine. Other causes include damage to the pelvic region or sphincter muscle. I had a hysterectomy at 44, part of the reason I have this pesky problem two decades later.

Although I take a drug to control the situation, once in a while—if I wait too long to pee—my muscles don’t work like they once did. So it was nice to discover panties with an inner lining and slim, hidden pad built into the crotch that wick moisture away from my body, and quickly absorb it, so I stay comfortable.

The panties I’m wearing are from Wearever. It may not be an especially romantic name, but the styles are definitely pretty and include soft prints, solids, and lacy numbers. They’re made of fabrics such as nylon, cotton blend and polyester and will hold their own for up to 250 washes, the company says. At $15.00 for a single pair, and less per pair for a pack of three, I save an average of $500 a year compared to the cost of disposable pads, panty liners or adult diapers. That’s a big savings!

From L to R: Wearever’s Lace Trim & Cotton Panties, Lovely Lace Trim Panties, and Floral Fancy Panties.

No matter how fit and ravishing you are today, chances are that you won’t be the first woman ever to completely escape the aging process. You’ll do yourself a world of good If you can approach it with a bit of levity. Thank goodness, companies like Wearever are helping us stay dry while we’re laughing.

P.S. Don’t take my word alone. Read more real reviews by other real women, just like you and I, on Wearever’s Facebook and Pinterest pages.

Ready to buy? Enter code 10off at checkout for 10% off your Wearever purchase, good through the end of the year. Click here.

Mick to L’Wren: “Miss You”

There goes Sarah Jessica Parker, strutting down the red carpet at another Hollywood awards event. “Ooh Ahh,” the gawkers mutter.

“Who are you wearing?” a reporter asks Sarah Jessica.

“L’Wren Scott,” she answers.

Ooh Ahh, I think. L’Wren Scott must be on Cloud 9. I know I’ve heard her name before (didn’t Michelle Obama once wear one of her dresses?), but I don’t know much else about her, She’s got to be a hot-shot designer, what with all these “celebs” wearing and lauding her creations, I surmise.

By all appearances, 49-year-old L’Wren had it all: A former model (standing 6’3”), celebrity stylist and costume designer, she worked with renowned photographers, singers, and actors, from Helmut Newton and Herb Ritts to Madonna and Elizabeth Taylor. She was romantically involved with the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger since 2001. She launched her first clothing line in 2006 and handbag collection in 2011.

We all know appearances can be deceiving. And in the vacuous world of “high fashion,” where fantasy often does a superb job of masking the facts, appearances count for a great deal. Until they don’t. Unfortunately, L’Wren’s seeming success had no bearing on the facts: Her company was $6 million in debt; she reportedly refused to ask boyfriend, Mick, for financial help, and she was haunted by her situation. So haunted, she hung herself in her Manhattan apartment earlier this week.

“She wanted so badly for things to be a success. Whereas she got her outfits on a number of high profile people, the clothes were not a commercial hit and didn’t fly off the shelves. It was a huge burden on her and she didn’t want to fail,” a spokesman said for an article in a London newspaper.

“There was a delight to her that is hard to imagine extinguished,” Sarah Jessica Parker said, after receiving news of her death. “She didn’t reveal another side to me, but, of course, we are all complex as human beings and I wouldn’t have claimed to be privy to that other part of late.”

A few months from her 50th birthday, L’Wren’s act of suicide, like any suicide, unnerves me. I can imagine the extreme anxiety she must have felt, but what propelled her from distress to despair?

Life can be pretty brutal, even for
the happiest people, although I can’t imagine how things could get so bleak that you’d want to kill yourself.

I only know my own life. I doubt L’Wren made her decision on a whim, so things must have been a lot bleaker for her than anything I’ve ever experienced.

Yes, appearances are, indeed, deceiving. We might envy a woman for her connection to one of the most talented, famous men in the world, but we learn her relationship was as shrouded in fantasy as her business. Seeking financial or emotional help from her successful boyfriend apparently wasn’t an option. We might believe a woman basks in her friendships with the rich and the famous, but we learn that her fear of failure prevented her from being her own best friend. It just goes to show that you can never quantify someone else’s happiness or success. That’s something only they can do.

Please tell me your thoughts on L’Wren’s suicide

Talent Search

One of the best gifts the Internet gives us is the ability to “meet” incredibly talented people from all over the globe. Just check your Facebook news feed or YouTube and you might hear a bewitching seven-year-old Norwegian girl singing like Billie Holiday, see an enthrallingly realistic watercolor by the wife of your former Yoga instructor, or read a moving blog that makes you weep. How lucky we are to experience the wonderful talents of our fellow men (and women), as well as to share our own with others around the world.

After all, who doesn’t love to show off her “gifts,” even if just a wee bit?


Help Me Choose My New Readers

Back in the day, I used to wear the same pair of glasses every single day for a couple of years. What was I thinking? Now I have a collection of glasses that I call on to complement my mood and my wardrobe and change up my look. They’re my favorite accessories, and when I heard about a website called Readers.com with over 600 frames, most under $20, I knew there’d be no stopping me.

Help me choose the glasses that look best on me. I’m planning to buy the three styles that get the most votes.

Cast your vote below!

Do I look like a star in the color purple?

Cat eye shape and leopard print for the tiger in me. Spring-loaded temples.

If I can’t be in the Caribbean, at least I can wear glasses that look as colorful.

Orange is my favorite color. Spring-loaded temples let them keep their shape.

Attention getters or forget them?
Temples are white.

Smart or go to the back of the class?

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Click here to get a pair that looks fabulous on YOU.

Enter code FOF2014 at checkout to receive
an extra 10% off your order!