As a beauty and fashion editor with hundreds of beach location photo shoots under my Ray-Bans, I know looking cool at the pool after age 50 takes tactical maneuvers. Wearing your usual black tank and a dorky baseball cap, and toting sunscreen in a plastic grocery bag, isn't the way to go. Here are seven smart tips keep your sunny side up.
Buy a Wonder Woman-inspired swimsuit ASAP. One-shoulder, one-piece suits are Amazonian fierce and empower womanly curves in every size and shape. Be a warrior queen with a confident sexy attitude and freedom from boob spillage. For extra armor, opt for an 18 percent spandex blend and built-in bra or removable padded cups — Hippolyta and Gen. Antiope approved! Amazon has the biggest selection, but check out Garnet Hill, Macy's and H&M, too.
Sunglasses are eye makeup. Swap the waterproof mascara and crease-proof shadows for new lightweight aviator frames. The teardrop shape (classic or oversize) with mirrored or pastel lenses (100 percent UV protection for lids and corneas, please) adds a style boost for all. Donate old outdated logo frames (I don't care if they are Chanel or Dior) at any LensCrafters or Costco to recycle for those in need.
Find your best "pool hair." If humidity and water launch curls, waves or frizz, you can choose to go with the flow or tame it. Boost texture and volume by misting dry, damp or wet hair with a salt spray such as John Frieda Beach Blonde Sea Waves Sea Salt Spray or Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray, then air-dry. For smooth control, spritz a leave-in oil with UV protectant — such as Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray SPF 30 or Phytoplage Protective Sun Oil — on wet hair, then sleek it back off the face (for short to medium lengths) or into a ponytail. (The combo of heat and oil work as a deep conditioner.) Pool and sea water can also turn dyed locks brassy or chlorine-green, so shower off after a dip or laps and then reapply.
Make your "dogs" into divas. Show off your tootsies with a pedicure and bright-pink or orange polish. Then add water and sand-friendly sophisticated jelly shoes that sparkle, such as the Jack Rogers Sparkle Alana Jelly, FitFlop Ringer WellJelly Flip-Flops and the Carmen Sol Maria Jelly Sandals.
Consider your beach hat an umbrella. A wide, floppy-brim straw hat shades your entire face, ears and neck (unlike baseball caps), while the breezy weave lets perspiration evaporate from your sweaty scalp. Plus, it's guaranteed movie-star glam.
Get tote smart. A lightweight structured canvas or straw tote keeps its shape and your privacy and won't get sticky (unlike mesh or plastic). An inner pocket for a cellphone or keys is a bonus, but Ziploc plastic bags make separating and organizing sunscreens, tech stuff, snacks and wet swimsuits easy. Target and Walmart have chic striped versions.
Drift away in a maxidress. Toss the towel, and come out of your shell in a long and loose print sundress. They are airy, slip on and off with ease, and go from sand to lunch to early dinner or cocktails. Your swimsuit strap peeks out? Smile — it's a style thing.
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.