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A slice of life: An ageless attitude

The self-assurance and style of today’s older women is an inspiration for us all, says Jo Seagar.

Iris Apfel is an inspiring older woman who does not let age define her.

My new motto is: ‘Now is my time, I’m going to love the age I’m at and the stage I’m in.’

I’m convinced beauty is not just about being young – it’s about being you; the best possible you – at whatever age you are.

If 50 is the new 30 then I’m fairly certain my recent milestone 60 may not even be middle-aged any more… especially as I read with great interest that centenarians are the fastest growing age group, with the number of people in the world aged over 100 expected to top six million by 2050. By my reckoning that makes 60 middle-youth, not middle-age!

All those over 50 can be happy in the knowledge we have grown up through some of the most vibrant and revolutionary decades in science, technology, music, fashion and beauty. We’ve learned to reinvent our image and style with every decade along the way – in fact we’ve spent our whole lives being ‘on trend’, and I’m not planning to change that any time soon.

With my motto in mind, I have a bit of an issue with the term we hear bandied around at every turn – ‘anti-ageing’. It’s so negative; as if ageing is some kind of problem. I wouldn’t be young again for quids, thank you very much – the very thought of having to re-do my 20s is a nightmare. All that angst and ‘I’m upset’ and ‘You have to guess why’ stuff – I just couldn’t be bothered with a re-run!

The lines on your face aren’t like rings in a tree trunk – they just show you’ve seen a bit of life, you’ve laughed a lot, shown emotion and expressed yourself.

I see them as badges of courage and experience: I’ve lived! And we all know it’s not the length of life but the depth of your life that really counts. Beauty is less about looks and more about confidence and self-assurance.

Age does not define these women (from left): 1960s model, Twiggy and an older model at a Duyos fashion show in Spain.
Age does not define these women (from left): 1960s model, Twiggy and an older model at a Duyos fashion show in Spain.

As most of the women I love have grown older, they have gained a better sense of humour about themselves; they’re more laid-back and not desperately trying to be perfect all the time. It’s that great attitude that I think is so attractive.

AgeLESS is the new mantra – and there are plenty of fabulous older women we can look to as role models.

There are my favourite actresses: Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, Candice Bergen and Meryl Streep – all of them 65 or older. Think also of Jerry Hall, Twiggy, Lulu, Jane Fonda… even Her Majesty the Queen.

It has been great to see so many older models promoting beauty products and starring in advertising campaigns worldwide – it just spreads the message that there doesn’t need to be an age limit. Did you see that wonderful programme on television about the stylish women in their 90s who were still modelling on the catwalk and being cover girls for fashion magazines? Let’s have more of that.

I’m not going to even try to turn back the odometer; I want people to know I look the way I do because I’ve packed a lot in and travelled a long way in my first 60 years.

It’s not grey hairs you see peeking through, those are platinum highlights thank you very much… and the really best part of being 60 is that I did most of my stupid dingbat stuff before the invention of the internet.

Jo’s handy tips:

  • Think of facials and massages as maintenance and repairs. I know my accountant husband files the receipts this way.
  • In the morning before you do anything, get your eyebrows on – just a few moments spent on eyebrow detailing gives your face great definition.
  • Be friends with the beauty counter – try new products, go to tutorials and seek expert advice. Remember, if it flatters, it matters.
  • Likewise with hairdressers – don’t get in a ‘same old, same old’ rut.

Words by: Jo Seagar
Photos by: Getty Images

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