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We're Still Cool, Wrinkles and Weight Be Damned!

3 ways to free yourself from the terror of youth and perfection

Helen Mirren attends the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival

Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Getty Images

Helen Mirren attends the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival.

The 2017 Pirelli calendar, shot over the summer by a photographer known for his realism and lack of retouching (Peter Lindbergh), features some women who sound pretty fearless about aging: Helen Mirren (71), Charlotte Rampling (70), Julianne Moore (55), Nicole Kidman (49) and even Uma Thurman (46), to drop just a few names.

"The responsibility of photographers today should be to define women as strong and independent," Lindbergh has said. "[It should be] to free women, and finally everyone, from the terror of youth and perfection."

Now that's a noble goal! And it means the ball is in our court, so let's try striking these three power poses:

1. Stop trying to look "forever young." That's just crazy! Don't let the nternet, HDTV and Hollywood quarantine you in a state of panicky dysmorphia. Instead, give your face and body a chance to evolve.

Just look at Rampling, aging naturally — and beautifully — with wrinkles, lines and those hooded eyes shooting sparks. She's still one of the sexiest women around. "My style is very much toward the masculine," Rampling has said, "but I think I'm feminine in it. The androgynous look suits me."

Look, you're never going to be 50, 60 or 70 again, so … enjoy your age!

2. Borrow the Kardashian/Adele aesthetic. Some of the hottest stars in music, movies and TV flaunt their Curve Power, and you can, too. Patronize brands that celebrate the fact we see ourselves as sexy and glam, whether we're a size 12 or 24.

This may entail a shift in your priorities, from dressing to look thinner to dressing to look hot. Many websites and brick-and-mortar stores stand ready to help you make this pivot, from Eloquii and Ashley Stewart to Monif C. and Torrid. These four (plus the revamped Lane Bryant) have all embraced the concept of "dress to stand out" by stocking up on merchandise fresh off the runway:

  • buttery leather skirts and motorcycle jackets
  • colorful printed sheaths
  • on-trend ankle pants and culottes
  • cool jeans
  • decorative blouses and tunics
  • jumpsuits
  • off-the-shoulder tops
  • calf-friendly tall boots

There's not a frumpy look in sight!

3. Make peace with your imperfections. Don't rush into cosmetic surgery, fillers or Botox. No sooner have you pulled, lifted, lasered off or filled in one "glaring flaw" than another presents itself for correction. Rather, try reconciling yourself to the sort of reality that Mirren has come around to. "I am not keen on my nose," the Trumbo star has said of what many consider to be her facial calling card. "I don't like my ankles. I am unsure about my behind. I don't like my legs at all. I am not too sure about my chin, and my forehead is a bit dodgy. But overall I can live with it."

Hey, if a L'Oréal Paris spokeswoman can live with the passage of time, so can we. But if you're still determined to "take measures," don't overlook all of today's DIY options, from tooth-whitening strips to creams or serums that plump up skin and hair to the range of modern makeups that offer to define our features, restoring the glow and giving us creative playtime every day.

For more beauty and style tips for women 50-plus, check out The Woman's Wakeup and AARP's new Beauty & Style digital magazine, which is available for tablet.