Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Styles That Defines"

Slimmer, Hipper, Smarter, Better

by Charla Krupp, author of bestseller How Not to Look Old

We all want to look younger and hipper—we just don't want to have to do anything dramatic or traumatic (or expensive) to do so. There's no need to, really. Freshening up your look can be fast, easy and effortless. For starters, get rid of everything in your closet that doesn't make you feel good as soon as you put it on. Go ahead, try it on. Anything that's too big, too small, stained, ripped, discolored, embarrassing—out it goes! You don't want to be tempted to wear it—and you never want to look frumpy, dowdy, shabby or old, even if there's no one else around. Because the most important person you need to impress is you. So here are a few other easy ways for you to feel fabulous and look years younger fast!

Shorten and Narrow Your Skirts

Once you reach a certain age, a long, flowing maxi skirt is not a good look. Neither is the micro mini. There is a skirt length that's universally flattering, and it's that spot at the back of your knee where your thigh meets your calf. Bring your skirts to the tailor and have them shortened to right there—every half-inch can make a big difference. And while you're at the tailor, taper those boxy, dowdy A-lines into more flattering, body-hugging straight or pencil skirts. They're younger, hipper and shapelier, too, especially when paired with heels—kitten, chunky or stilettos. Banana Republic BR Monogram pencil skirt, $115,

Faux-Tan Your Legs and Show Them Off

Nothing ages you like a wardrobe of shapeless pantsuits. (Sorry, Hillary, but you know it's true!) It's great to show some skin, and most of us still have legs worth showing. Before you bare, make sure your legs are de-fuzzed and are not pasty or ashy. The best way to get some color and cover up imperfections like veins, black and blue marks and scars, is a tube of faux tan. Apply it after your shower, and you'll be good to go in an hour. Don't have an hour? Spray on color with tan in a can. Just like makeup, it washes right off. (New this season: MAC's Skinsheen Leg Spray.) Tanned legs look slimmer, sexier, younger, better.

Paint Your Toes a Cool Color

While your fingernails are best kept a light, sheer pink, such as Essie's Limo-Scene, it's young to have some fun with your toes by going with a dark polish. For years, the shade of choice has been Essie's claret-colored Wicked. The hottest hue now is Chanel's inky Blue Satin, if you can wrestle up a bottle. Of course, you also want to keep your feet smooth and moisturized—cracked heels will give away your age! In between regular pedicures, shave away your dead, dry skin yourself with the genius Ped Egg, the best foot file you'll find for $10 (at CVS drugstores and Bed Bath & Beyond). Chanel Blue Satin nail color, $20,

Loosen Up Your Locks

If you've always had short hair, let it grow a bit. If you always wear it straight, see what happens when you let your hair go wavy and natural on its own. If hair spray is your styling product of choice, curb your addiction. Young hair moves; old hair doesn't. The every-hair-in-place look is dated. And hair condition counts. If your hair is dry and dull, buy a hot-oil shine product at the drugstore and give your hair a brilliant, lustrous sheen. Toss your head, run your fingers through your hair, let it go!

Pump Up Your Lashes

Long, lustrous lashes are young. As we age, our lashes get sparser and don't grow as fast—just like our brow hairs and the hair on our heads! Almost every star in Hollywood enhances her natural lashes with a few falsies. You don't need a whole ledge of lashes a la Carol Channing (too old of a look), just a few individual lashes strategically placed at the outer ends with eyelash glue and tweezer. It takes practice, but you can do it yourself. The results are sooo worth it. Best falsies: Shu Uemura's at Sephora . Camouflage the lash line with CoverGirl LashBlast, currently the best-selling mascara at mass retailers.

Slap on Tinted Moisturizer

The older you get, the less foundation you should use. A heavy foundation looks cakey, fakey and old. At this age, your skin should be clear, even-toned and blemish-free. If you have good skin, you want your natural glow to shine through. If you don't, you'll want to get your glow from a tinted moisturizer, light foundation or luminizing treatment product. This summer, you can finally buy a great tinted moisturizer in drugstores thanks to Olay Definity Colour Recapture available in three shades this July. Oil of Olay Definity facial cream, $24.99,

Switch from Dark to Pink Lipstick

Is there anything easier than
changing your lip color? Dark lip colors age you. They bleed into your lip lines. They make your lips look smaller and thinner than they are. Pink lipsticks give you a natural, shiny, glossy look that radiates lightness. At a certain age, you want everything on your face to be natural-looking. Pink lipstick is flattering on almost every woman. Try Laura Mercier's Stickgloss in Rose Water—the perfect shade that's not too light or bright. Laura Mercier Stickgloss, $20.00,

Find the Perfect White Jeans

Jeans that fit and flatter are your single most important age-defying piece of clothing. Slip them on and watch the years—and pounds—melt away. In the summer, you want them to be white denim, boot-cut and mid low-rise, with a bit of stretch (1 to 3 percent) and no embellishments, rips or holes. Labels that serve the over-40 butt well: Paige Premium Denim, Joe's Jeans, Citizens of Humanity, Seven for all Mankind, AG, Not Your Daughter's Jeans, Salt, Blue Cult and Chip and Pepper. Paige Premium Denim Roberson Wide leg jeans, $198,

Don't Give up on Sexy Heels

Just wear them when you absolutely need them—at a party, at a dinner, out to lunch, at a wedding, on the red carpet. I'm not talking 6-inch heels a la Gwyneth Paltrow. Three-inch heels will still make your legs look longer, leaner and sexier, without sacrificing comfort. (Try the Nike Dress Air pumps from Cole Haan with additional padding under the balls of the feet.) Yes, there are pretty flats out now, but there's nothing like a heel to give your confidence a boost and your whole look some rocket fuel. If you need to, wear flats when en route and carry your heels, then switch to sexier shoes when you reach your destination. Cole Haan Genevieve OT Air Pump, $295,

Wear Big Sunglasses

Big sunglasses are a great glam booster—not only for summer, but all year round. If you don't have time to put on your entire eye makeup, no one has to know. When you wear big shades (like the season's great wrap-around styles) they protect the delicate skin around your eyes from the damaging rays of the sun. And a bit of mystery never hurts. Also, if you're someone who keeps losing her glasses, check out the Isaac Mizrahi collection of sunwear at Target this summer. For less than $20, you can buy a gorgeous pair and not have worry when asking everyone in your household, Where did I put my glasses? Isaac Mizrahi for Target Glamour Oval Sunglasses, $17.99,

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