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How to Wear Pink Like a Grownup    

Bright, muted or bold — this hue is not just for kids

spinner image Kyra Sedgwick in a bright pink, Cate Blanchett in baby blush pink, La Tanya Richardson Jackson in tailored pink top coat and Helen Mirren in tulip pink pants.
Jesse Grant; Mike Marsland/WireImage; Earl Gibson III; Brent N. Clarke/FilmMagic; via Getty Images

There are plenty of sophisticated women — from Jane Fonda to Oprah Winfrey (and, of course, Miss Piggy) — who wear pink. But others left it behind long ago with their Barbies and tutus. In my opinion, as a beauty and fashion editor, this a big mistake. If you choose the correct shade and right item, and pull it all together with attitude, pink can be a major ingredient in your lookin'-good-after-50 menu. Here's how to bring pink back and get it right.

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1.   Let pink lipstick brighten your smile

spinner image Tracee Ellis Ross with statement pink lips and Cindy Crawford in natural sandy pink lipstick.
Tracee Ellis Ross shines with statement pink lips. Cindy Crawford goes muted with a natural sandy-pink lipstick.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Love reds? Try vibrant blue-based pinks, such as CoverGirl's Exhibitionist Demi Matte Lipstick in Just Sayin' 445 ($8, or Maybelline's Color Sensational Vivids Lipcolor in Fuchsia Flash ($4,, that make teeth appear whiter and enhance every skin tone. Get inspired by Tracee Ellis Ross. Prefer neutrals or a softer look like Cindy Crawford? The secret is to never go lighter than the color of your gums or your authentic makeup-free lips. Gentle rosy pinks like Flesh's Fleshy Lips Lipstick in Chew ($18, or Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick in Cherry Pink ($9, will add just enough healthy color for a worthwhile update.

2.   Let your undies bloom

No more bubblegum-colored lacy demi-bras and "cheeky" thongs. Practical pink lingerie is the update to nude and a lot more fun. Full-coverage bras and T-shirt bras such as Warner's Simply Perfect Underarm Smoothing Underwire Bra in Pink Pearl ($22,, Victoria's Secret Body by Victoria Perfect Coverage Bra in Vintage Rose ($50, and Ava & Viv's Women's Plus-Size T-Shirt Bra in Dusty Rose ($22, don't show through white tops. Pairing them with comfy seamless panties like Xhilaration's Seamless Hipster in Daring Pink ($5, or Victoria's Secret Stretch-Cotton Shortie Panty in Sexy Little Pink ($10.50 or 5 for $29, makes daily dressing a calorie-free sweet treat. 

3.   Get boss-lady posh and polish in a pink pantsuit

spinner image Kyra Sedgwick in a bright pink, Cate Blanchett in baby blush pink and Mary Steenburgen in a peony bright pantsuit and black tank and bag
Well-suited: Kyra Sedgwick pops in a bright-pink combo, Cate Blanchett looks stylish in baby-blush pink, and Mary Steenburgen enchants in a bright peony pantsuit paired with a black tank and bag.
Jesse Grant; Mike Marsland/WireImage; Jim Spellman/WireImage; Via Getty Images

When nearly every celebrity over 50, from Kyra Sedgwick to Cate Blanchett and Mary Steenburgen, starts showing up on the red carpet in a pink pantsuit, you know there's more behind this than a good stylist. Pink pantsuits offer up a feminist statement, but they also make power dressing easy and flattering. Wear the jacket and pants together or break up the pieces as indies. Team the pants with a blouse or peplum tee, and the blazer over a dress, pencil skirt or with T-shirt and jeans. Pink pantsuits are everywhere — from Topshop to H&M and Zara — but you can put together a DIY version with any pink pant and blazer. If you do mix, don't aim for a match since pinks vary according to fabrics. A light-pink jacket and raspberry-pink pants send a pulled-together message with creative flair.

4.   Pink plus black is a can't-miss duo

Pink softens black, while black turns pink's innocent quality edgy. It's a good way to mix evening and casual, old and new, sporty and tailored, and also update your wardrobe with minimal new additions. You might wear a pink sweater with a dressy black skirt and black platform sneakers, or pair a pink sweater with black jeans, sneakers and bag.

5.   Splurge on a tailored pink coat for instant style

spinner image Nadia Sawalha in a dazzling pink notch collar bright single breasted topcoat, Katie Couric in light pink A-line coat, Garcelle Beauvais in light pink trench and La Tanya Richardson Jackson in tailored pink top coat.
A parade of pink: Nadia Sawalha dazzles in a bright-pink notch-collar single-breasted topcoat, Katie Couric blooms in a light-pink A-line number, Garcelle Beauvais poses in a lighter-pink trench, and LaTanya Richardson Jackson radiates in a tailored pink topcoat.
John Phillips; Monica Schipper for EPIX; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic; Earl Gibson III; via Getty Images

Gym clothes, your favorite dress or old jeans may hide beneath it, but your pink coat is the first (and often only) thing people will notice. You'll get the most 24/7 mileage from a structured knee- to midi-length in a classic cut. Try a single or double-breasted notch-collar style like Nadia Sawalha, an A-line shape like Katie Couric or a belted trench like Garcelle Beauvais. Any shade works, like LaTanya Richardson Jackson's bright magenta, and gives you a stand-out-in-the-crowd glow.

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6.   Choose paler pinks for elegance

spinner image Iman in light pink dress in 2006 and recent photos of Joan Collins in pale pink off-shoulder dress and Oprah Winfrey wearing a pale pink scallop trimmed dress
Iman dons a light pink dress in 2006, and recent photos show Joan Collins in a pale-pink off-shoulder dress and Oprah Winfrey in a pale-pink scallop-trimmed dress.
Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage; Dave Benett; Ian West/WPA Pool; via Getty Images

Twenty-somethings claimed millennial pink (aka Tumblr pink) as their color in 2015, but we already knew it was magical. Low-key pinks in the rose quartz range have always been urbane, chic and flattering favorites of ours. Just check out Iman in 2006 or recent photos of Joan Collins and Oprah Winfrey. Thanks to Essie Weingarten, who created the iconic Ballet Slippers shade of nail polish back in 1981 (fans include Barbra Streisand), our nails have worn this blush tint for decades. And yes, black makes light pink fierce, but you'll get a more muted tonal effect by pairing it with camel, beige, ivory or dove gray.

7.   Make pink a year-round closet staple

spinner image Helen Mirren in tulip pink pants, Jane Fonda with a hot pink scarf and Jada Pinkett Smith wearing has pink and white shoes.
Helen Mirren stands out in tulip-pink pants, Jane Fonda adds a flourish with a hot-pink scarf, and Jada Pinkett Smith showcases playful pink-and-white heels.
Brent N. Clarke/FilmMagic; Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic; Astrid Stawiarz; via Getty Images

Stop thinking of this hue as a flash-in-the-pan trend or a seasonal thing, and give it permanent wardrobe status. A touch of pink can elevate any outfit, such as Helen Mirren's tulip-pink pants with a simple white shirt and black pumps, Jane Fonda's hot pink scarf as a neckline filler or Jada Pinkett Smith's pink-and-white pumps with her white dress. Pink can make an outfit plush (think about a velvet tunic, a cashmere sweater, a silk blouse) or give it a casual trendy pop (like pink ankle jeans, a neon-pink leather tote, or pink suede loafers). Move over leopard print! Pink might be your new style soul mate.

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