En español | Holiday time is your big chance to give a five-star performance, land an appreciative audience and steal the show. Thanksgiving to New Year's is no time to worry about thinning hair, 10 extra pounds, lack of sleep, shoe blisters or wrinkles, that's for sure. Here are 10 tips — from practical to wild — that will make this year one to remember.
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1. Always make a stylish entrance. The coming weeks are crammed with a mix of excitement, nostalgia and anxiety from the first “Great to see you!” to the last “Buh-bye!” We never know what to wear or expect. The only fashion rule is ... when in doubt, it is better to be overdressed than underdressed. So, ditch the sweats and yoga pants and make the effort, because the real payoff here is increased self-confidence.
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2. Dress in one color to look slimmer. Who loses weight over the holidays? Next time your dress won't zip, think of Catherine Deneuve — who reportedly observed that at a certain age you have to choose between your face and derriere — and head straight for your best support bra and shapewear. That done, remember the easiest way to shed pounds visually is to dress head to toe in one color — any color from black to blue or winter white. Celebs do it all the time. This make you look taller, slimmer and instantly chic, but the lesson in mixing old and new, cheap and pricey, casual and tailored will last long past the season.
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3. Emphasize your best stuff. Your body proportions and so-called problem spots are not going to change overnight, so shift your focus to what's great about you. Do you have genetically slim or toned-from-the-treadmill legs? Who but you can wear a short, above-the-knees dress and look amazing? Got a still-trim waist? Wear a belt that shows off your hourglass curves and forget about your size 16 hips. Every woman — regardless of size or shape — has something worth showing off. Maybe it's sensational shoulders that merit a cold shoulder or off-shoulder sweater; a long, elegant neck that's worthy of Vs and asymmetrical necklines; or beautiful hands that deserve three-quarter sleeves and stacks of bracelets. Find your “best,” and skip the rest.
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4. Do something sneaky with your hair. Between having no time to shampoo, roots and thinning locks, bad hair days feel inevitable. Not so! Keep dry shampoo handy to freshen “dirty” hair and add a quick blast of body. Hide dark or gray roots by simply changing your part or adding texture and volume with hot rollers or a curling iron. (The looser and fuller your hair, the less obvious roots will be.) Turn thin hair “fatter” simply by snipping long, full bangs. Worn straight or swept to the side, they frame your eyes, camouflage a skimpy hairline and make your same old hairstyle look brand-new. While you're at it, slide on glittery hair accessories to glam up short crops, ponytails, buns and updos. Trendy? Sure, but if you can handle inky dark nail polish or leather leggings, why would this stop you?
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5. Give your nails star billing. Your hands are on display as you greet, hug, eat and carry a clutch. Choose a quick-dry polish in a red, berry or dark shade for a classy look that's easily retouched. Smudged your polish? No worries, just dip the pad of a finger (on the opposite hand, obviously) in remover and lightly rub the ripple in a circular motion to soften the polish and even it out. Then apply an extra topcoat layer over the entire nail. Fix a chip the same way. Fill the spot with the same color polish. Let it dry a few minutes and then smooth the seam with the remover, dab technique and a topcoat. At bedtime slather a heavy cream or petroleum jelly over your mitts and slide them into clean socks. Then snooze them smooth overnight.
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6. Fake a healthy, well-rested look. Looking tired is no excuse to skip out on the fun. So, RSVP “Yes” and grab your makeup bag. Wash your face and let the steamy water plump up lines, then blot and moisturize immediately to lock it in. Apply a warm peach-toned concealer beneath the eye and at the inner eye near your nose to cancel any blue-violet discolorations. Keep face makeup dewy and sheer, and finish with a rosy cream blush blended high on the cheeks to restore warmth and energy to your face. Any additional eye makeup and lipstick should be clear and crisp — this isn't the time for muddy dark shades or dense smoky shadows.
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7. Wear shoes your feet love. Nothing ruins a night more than party-shoe pain. Wear new ones around the house with socks for a few hours. If sore soles, blisters and achy arches show up, simply return them. Be smart and stick to low kitten heels or sturdy block heels. A comfy gel liner to cushion your weight, heel pads inside the shoe and gel deodorant or lip balm swiped on potential footsie sore spots provide extra glide and minimal friction. If you insist on high heels, do like runway models and tape your second and third toes together with Band-Aids or medical tape. This eases the fit of a narrow toe-box and the pressure on the ball of the foot and toes. And if all else fails, tuck fold-up drugstore ballet flats in your coat pocket.
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8. Avoid puffiness and bloating (not pictured). Lay off the alcohol and sodium during the holidays to avoid tummy and breast bloat, a puffy face, under-eye bags and swollen legs. If you can't resist, at least sleep with an extra pillow to keep your head elevated and minimize fluid accumulation. And keep a caffeine-loaded eye cream in the fridge. The combination of caffeine, which constricts blood vessels, and cold helps reduce puffy eyes. (You can also use chilled, wet caffeinated tea bags on the eyes instead for a similar solution.) Bathing in two cups of Epsom salts, which contains magnesium, helps deflate body bloat, as does nibbling on natural diuretic foods like steamed asparagus, cucumber, pineapple and ginger tea. But really, just skip the salt and eggnog.
9. Refresh your sparkle. Anything that boosts radiance is going to enhance your looks and counteract dry, dull skin and hair. Boost your wattage by adding highlights to your hair; doing masks for skin and hair; blending a shimmery, neutral eyeshadow across your lids; trading your usual foundation for a light-reflecting CC cream; and wearing absolutely anything in silver, gold or sequins. The only caveat: Stick to cool silver or warm gold when dressing, and avoid mixing your metallics.
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10. Match your shoes and lips. Yes, this sounds crazy, but it is an easy way to pull your look together — and also skim over body issues. Your eye bounces from lips to shoes and lingers on the color. If you're a red lipstick fan, this could easily become a signature. Fans include Nicole Kidman, Patricia Clarkson, Maria Conchita Alonso, Melissa McCarthy and Vivica A. Fox. And if they think it works, it probably does.
For more beauty and style tips for women age 50-plus, check out The Makeup Wakeup: Revitalizing Your Look at Any Age by Lois Joy Johnson and Sandy Linter.
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