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Hottest Beauty Trend for 2016: Being 50+?

Fran Lebowitz, Yoko Ono lead the way in smashing the age bias of a famous pinup calendar

Annie Leibovitz and Yoko Ono

Courtesy of Annie Leibovitz/2016 Pirelli Calendar

Yoko Ono strikes a pose for Annie Leibovitz.

En español | Well, it's finally happened: If you're 50 or over, you can expect to be one of 2016's biggest style-and-beauty trends. For proof, just check out the pinup "girls" who made it onto the 43rd annual Pirelli Calendar: Yoko Ono, Patti Smith and Fran Lebowitz, all shot by legendary 66-year-old portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz.

Pirelli's decision to abandon its customary bevy of aggressively underdressed supermodels in favor of a dozen non-naked women renowned for their professional achievements moved Lebowitz to jest, "Perhaps clothed women are going to have a moment."

Whatever social forces persuaded the Pirelli boys to take women seriously for a change, let's hear it for things going our way! But why stop at calendar pages? Here are five more trends that I foresee giving us reason to celebrate in 2016:

Buy now, wear now. Remember when turtlenecks and boots meant winter, while sleeveless dresses and open-toed shoes meant summer? So do I, but now that the fashion industry has finally woken up to climate change, dressing for individual seasons is a thing of the past. That means no more fruitless searches for a sweater in February or a swimsuit in August — especially online.

Patti Smith

Courtesy of Annie Leibovitz/2016 Pirelli Calendar

A serene Patti Smith

Hang loose. Shift dresses, wide-leg culottes and midi-skirts are pushing skinny jeans, leggings and curve-hugging sheaths right off the racks. These relaxed-but-hardly-sloppy silhouettes give us breathing room — and a break from shapewear. There's a flip-it trick to flattery, though: Whenever you wear a wide bottom piece, keep the top lean and fitted to avoid drowning in oversize shapes. (This applies especially to those — like me — who are 5-feet-4 or under.)

High-rise everything. From muffin tops to camel toes, all kinds of social mortification fly out the window when you buy high-rise jeans with stretch. Want a new basic? Try a pair of tailored cropped pants that sit right at your waist, in a stretch blend fabric, with cropped legs that have a drape or a dramatic full cut. No more bulges, ripples or pulling at the thighs when we sit down or cross our legs — hurrah!

Yoko Ono

Courtesy of Annie Leibovitz/2016 Pirelli Calendar

Yoko Ono legs it up

Insteps are the new cleavage. With even millennials and Gen Xers now hailing ballet flats as "classic," low-rise shoes have become high fashion. So if you're looking for a trendy, dressy, sophisticated stand-in for high heels, consider rocking a pair of sexy, open-sided d'Orsay flats, or some pointy-toed, structured flats. (Both styles are also known as skimmers.)

Harry Potter specs. Talk about shape-shifting! The newest glasses have morphed from straight, square and angular to a rounder shape — which, depending on how you view the world, will make you appear either more conservative or more dramatic. If you decide to adopt this look, keep the line of the frame slender; only Iris Apfel can pull off those outlandishly thick, bold frames. Changing your frames seasonally, I think you'll find, can update your overall style faster than any other fashion move — and your peepers will thank you for whatever extra UV protection you can give them. 

Best wishes to all my readers for a happy 2016! To ring in some new beauty and style tips for women 50-plus, check out Beauty & Style (AARP's new digital magazine, available on tablets) or my new book, The Woman's Wakeup: How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life, and Love after 50 .