Your former classmates haven't seen you in 40 or 50 years and vice versa. Whether you've been eagerly awaiting or dreading this moment, check old inhibitions and grudges at the door. That buzz of anxiety and excitement — what actors call "stage fright" — is a potent energizer, so use it to mingle and rekindle acquaintances.
Here's how to look and feel ah-mazing at your class reunion, all the way from cocktails to "Friend me on Facebook."
Ooze good grooming and healthy sex appeal. In other words, be the best version of yourself — that grownup, sensual, stylish woman of substance. For better or worse, almost no one has the body, face or hair they had back then.
Expect to see a few familiar faces that have gone the Botox, filler or cosmetic surgery route; others will be happily gray or wear their wrinkles like medals. Some are gym junkies, others clearly Netflix couch potatoes. Resist judging or comparing. There's no need for a makeover or a last-minute face-lift ... just a countdown plan.
A month before: Commit to a daily fitness routine, balanced diet and whitening your teeth.
A week before: Touch up your roots, freshen or get highlights (they throw light on your face to soften expression lines, even if you're gray), sip peppermint or ginger tea to de-bloat, and lay off the carbs, salt, sugar and alcohol (no more cheating).
A day before: Splurge on a pro manicure and salon blowout. If the event is overnight, pack a mini dry shampoo (so the blowout lasts days), a top you feel gorgeous in to toss over jeans, and glam walkable shoes, such as jeweled flats or metallic slides.
Go a little wild. You don't need a tattoo on your wrist, blue streaks in your blond or gray hair, or pink cat's-eye glasses — but they're definitely conversation starters. There's one no-fail item for all: a leopard print jersey dress to show or create a purrr-fect hourglass shape, such as the Bardot Leopard Wrap Midi at Nordstrom, the knee-length Anne Klein wrap at Macy's or the Kiyonna flirty flounce version at Zappos.com for curvy or plus sizes. Show some skin — legs, arms, a hint of cleavage — whatever is your personal best. Own your size, and don't explain or apologize for it.
You're at your prime right now. No one peaks in high school. You're way cooler, smarter and self-confident … enough to laugh off yearbook photos, the guy who broke your heart and your lousy SAT scores. Wear an uplifting fragrance with summery notes like grapefruit, vanilla, coconut or fresh-cut grass (the lawn kind). Try Chanel No.19, Grapefruit by Jo Malone London or Bobbi Brown Beach, and transmit a feel-good vibe.
So what's your story? Radiate warmth, and ask questions. Connect with that dorky guy from homeroom, the geek who asked you out, the shy loner who ate lunch alone. Your classmates are way more interested in talking about their yoga class, Vitamix juicer, trip to Iceland or online dating calamities than rehashing the prom.
What are you waiting for? RSVP now.
For more beauty and style tips for women age 50+, check out The Woman's Wakeup: How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life and Love After 50 by Lois Joy Johnson and AARP's Beauty & Style issue.