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The millennials may have taken Miami, but elsewhere in the state it's impossible to avoid noticing the proliferation of older women who possess the spirit of Amazons. These stylish types zoom down the interstate at 70 (both miles per hour and years on the planet), sashay through Publix supermarkets in white jeans and cat's-eye sunglasses and stalk discount super-malls for trendy tops and sparkly accessories.
In other words, we now rule Glam-ma Land.
Whether you plan to head south yourself, here are five things every Florida insider should know.
Florida is not hair friendly. Those who perpetually fight frizz or color damage are going to need a strategy to survive in the Sunshine State. If your hair abandons its smooth blowout at the first sign of humidity, for example, get a formaldehyde-free salon keratin treatment. It gives you a three-month reprieve from heat styling, allowing you to shower and air-dry. (To lock in the treatment's smooth texture as long as possible, switch to sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners.) And if you dye, don't fry: Keep your tresses from turning brassy or drab by wearing a hat at the beach, pool and any time you're outdoors.
Prepare for arctic air. Public places — movie theaters, restaurants, office buildings, doctor's offices and stores — are all air-conditioned to subzero temperatures in Florida. Those who have lived there a while seem immune to this deep freeze indoors, but transplants should not attempt to go anywhere without an updated cardigan, especially one in a draped-front or wrap style; this single garment will make even the wildest temperature transition an easy — and fashionable — fix.
Sweatproof your undies. Whether you're hot-flashing or postmenopausal, the combo of heat and moisture here can cause irritation, rashes and even yeast infections. But forget about stuffing tissues in or under your bra or using baby powder on your vulnerable spots; both methods are messy and unreliable. Instead, insert thin, small panty liners in the lower bra cups to wick away moisture. To avoid chafing, wipe a stick antiperspirant in your cleavage, beneath your bra and between your thighs. Trading panties for silky, breathable, longer-line "girl shorts" or light-control biker-cut shapewear is a favored solution, too.
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Wear statement nail polish. When the sun's this bright, your hands and feet are always on display — tapping away on cellphones or tablets; or peeking out of sandals, flip-flops and peep-toe shoes. But these days there's not a ladylike nude or a simple red in sight. Edgier nail colors — right now they include chrome silver, molten gold metallic or dark, glittery navy — provide a sexy vibe and draw the viewer's gaze away from any brown spots.
Let go a little. Does living in a warm climate melt your inhibitions? That could explain why our tropical peers seem a lot less hung up about displaying their aging bodies. Snowbirds and resettled retirees flaunt to their hearts' content in sleeveless tops and even tanks, low-scooped shirts and V-necks. They bare their legs in above-the-knee shifts and golf or tennis miniskirts, even when (as I suspect is often the case) they're not playing those two sports. And with vibrant hues and wild prints prevailing, it's easy to spot anyone wearing all black — uh, that would be me — as just another New Yorker who hasn't yet learned the official state pastime of chillaxing.
For more beauty & style tips for women 50+, check out The Woman's Wakeup: How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life and Love After 50 and AARP's Beauty & Style digital magazine (which is free on tablets to members).