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I Wanted to Look Glam Even After a Painful Fall

4 ways to stay fresh and stylish while your body is on the mend

Lois Joy Johnson, My Cane Mutiny

Courtesy Jennifer Horowitz

Columnist Lois Joy Johnson recovering glamorously after a fall

On a leisurely stroll down a New York sidewalk two weeks ago, I unexpectedly fell and fractured my pelvis. As I lay there on the concrete, struggling to get to my feet — which were clad in sensible sneakers, mind you, not towering heels — I couldn't stop the lyrics to "Dem Bones" from running through my brain. (You know: "Toe bone's connected to the foot bone" and all that.)

A serious thought quickly followed: Surely my daily yoga workouts — to say nothing of my monthly Boniva tablet — had spared my bones any serious damage? Still deep in denial, I limped into the emergency room for an hour-long MRI — and the unwelcome news that I had broken my hip bone.

If you were to pop in on me for a surprise visit these days, you'd find me gliding around my apartment with the aid of a standard-issue hospital cane — and cursing the fact that I lack a more fashionable appurtenance. (Paging Dr. Gregory House!) Yes, I realize physical therapy will be necessary to feel good again, but why can't I look good during the process, too? If you ever find yourself in the same battered boat, here are four ways to feel fresh and stylish after a fall:

1. Jettison your jeans. That familiar snug fit may seem to provide girdle-like support, but jeans are difficult to don or doff when you're functioning at less than 100 percent.

My solution? Long, full, midi-length skirts. These are practical and comfortable — and, when paired with a slouchy T-shirt, a sweater and some flats, midis are even downright chic. If you're trying to cope with an upper-body break or sprain, choose front-closure bras (easier to slip on and off) and super-stretchy draped tops with wide necklines and wrap or faux-wrap (aka "surplice") closures. For physical therapy sessions, wear soft, cropped (no tripping!) yoga pants with a fold-over waistband and slip-on sneakers.

2. Wash your hair in the tub. A bath lets you float on your back pain-free while shampooing and rinsing. Try a one-step conditioning shampoo that detangles, nourishes and adds luster in a single suds-and-rinse session, such as L'Oréal Paris Hair Expertise EverCrème 6-in-1 Cleansing Balm or Pert Plus Moisturizing 2-in-1 Deep Conditioning Shampoo.

3. Use bed rest as beauty therapy. You want to look great — not just for any well-wishers who might drop by, but for those selfies you'll be posting to keep friends and family apprised of your progress. Consider any of these three quick tricks:

  • A cloth or paper facial sheet mask. Just pull a single-use, pre-saturated mask out of the packet, and pat it in place. The openings may make you feel very "Phantom of the Opera," but at least the mask won't glop up your pillows if you happen to doze off. Choose a facial mask with line-plumping hyaluronic acid, soothing aloe or brightening botanicals.
  • Press-on nail stickers. Make manicures easy and cheery with a fun print: zebra, leopard or lace, anyone?
  • A peach or pink cream blush. Blend and tap on cheekbones and lips for a healthy look. Among the many possibilities here are Physicians Formula Super BB All-in-1 Cheek & Lip Beauty Balm and Boots No. 7 Pop & Glow Cream Blush.

4. Eat bone-building foods, and do weight-bearing exercises. This may be where I messed up. According to internist Andrea Singer, clinical director at the National Osteoporosis Foundation, "One of two women over 50 is at risk of an osteoporosis fracture, 70 percent of which occur in women over 65. So make sure your diet includes calcium, vitamin D, lean protein, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. Stay active with weight-bearing and bone-strengthening exercises, and get a bone-density scan to determine how yours are doing."

Message received, Dr. Singer: It's high time I added weights to my yoga regimen — and upgraded my skimpy diet!

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.

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