Should You Lie About Your Age?
Uh, no, says our fashion and beauty expert. So why does a little 'creative chronology' feel so good for the soul?
En español | Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere on this site, 50 is not the new 30 — it's simply the new 50.
And, unless you happen to be Christie Brinkley, 60 is not the new 40, either — it's simply the new 60.
But let's not overlook the silver lining here: Despite the ridiculous obsession with "agelessness" on the part of our media-industrial complex, beauty standards have finally shifted from looking younger to looking healthier, fresher and more contemporary. Still, that hasn't stopped Certain Women I Know from fibbing about their age. Before you succumb to that temptation, hear me out on why it's fine to fess up about your vintage.
How old do you feel? Your chronological age needn't match your psychological age. So ignore the birth date on your passport and driver's license — no one ever sees those, anyway — and purge the phrase "age-appropriate" from your mind. Buy and wear what you love, from shredded wash jeans to off-the-shoulder tops, from bare-back dresses to over-the-knee boots. Get inspired by 69-year-old Susan Sarandon and her cleavage-baring blazer and black bra at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, 53-year-old Demi Moore in minis and waist-length locks, or 49-year-old Halle Berry in those clingy sheaths.
Fat is the new fit. Because natural body fat fills in facial lines and wrinkles, a few extra pounds can be your new best friends. You'll want to eat healthfully and keep fit, of course — and it's never a bad idea to set a maximum-weight number — but say goodbye to "skinny" as a goal. As a way to keep your "firm and fabulous" effect going, oil-based treatments made by the likes of Elizabeth Arden, L'Oréal Paris and StriVectin Labs can nourish dry skin, protect against water loss and impart an overall glow.
Go ahead and lie about your age — by "inflating" it. I hate the phrase "Go big or go home," but it makes excellent advice when embroidering your birth date: Push it back, not forward, in time. This little deception will stun your B-list frenemies and connections, causing them to gasp, "Gee, you look great!" or "Have you done something?"
And let's be honest here: After the initial air-kiss or halfhearted hug, most of us (women, anyway) immediately start checking out one another's hands, neck, décolletage and legs for signs of wear. To inoculate yourself against such inspections, casually insinuate your inflated age into the conversation: If you're 59, for example, toss off something like "I know most 65-year-olds would never wear leather leggings, but I'm crazy about them!" If you're 49, try this: "I know cat-eye liner is so millennial, but it really makes my 57-year-old-peepers pop!" Drop your "age" this way, and you'll drop a few jaws.
Shave years off your résumé. In this case, at least, it's not just your imagination: Someone younger, hungrier and more ruthless — and, perhaps, a wee bit more tech savvy? — does indeed covet your job or promotion. So whether you're seeking a new job or trying to salvage a current one, don't list any work experiences from more than a decade prior; they are no longer relevant.
- Bullet-point your achievements — don't go on and on.
- List your education last, omitting any graduation dates.
- Comb your social media accounts and delete all birth years, unflattering selfies or photographic evidence you attended Woodstock.
Yes, Sir Stephen, there is a black hole in the universe — it's where our past belongs!
Tell the truth on dating sites. I understand the lure of "reeling in the years" when you're fishing for a mate online, but in this medium authenticity counts, and fudging backfires. (Some artful photoshopping, by contrast, is fine; not everyone's a photographer — or a model!)
For your profile pic:
- Make sure the flash is off.
- Wear everyday clothes (nothing too extreme or fashion-forward).
- Smile with your mouth and your eyes.
- Show your personality (laugh or pose with casual attitude).
- Include both full-length and close-up shots.
And when it comes to citing your age, let the true you out.
For more beauty and fashion tips, take a look inside my book The Woman's Wakeup: How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life, and Love After 50, as well as AARP's new Beauty & Style digital magazine (available on iPad).