You Do You
I was getting my hair highlighted recently when a woman sitting in the chair next to me announced (loudly) to her colorist, “No woman over 40 should wear tight leggings to do yoga.”
“I’m 51, and it’s just inappropriate. I don’t want to see it. No one wants to see it.”
I was sitting there in my Sweaty Betty leggings, biting my tongue. My colorist Caroline rolled her eyes at me in the mirror.
Now, this woman is entitled to her opinion, and if she wants to wear baggy sweats to Down Dog, that’s her prerogative. But she doesn’t get to speak for the rest of us. I know a number of women who are in better shape now than they were in their twenties or thirties and proudly wear a form-fitting workout wardrobe. I also know women who are a bit heavier than they were twenty years ago, but they feel confident—and comfortable—in their Alo Yoga leggings. Rock on.
As I left the salon, I walked slowly (okay, passive-aggressively) past that anti-legging lobbyist.
On the drive home, however, I started to think about my own decades-long career as a beauty editor. I’d recently read an acquaintance’s college thesis that explored how heavily-doctored images in beauty advertising contribute to making women feel inadequate and insecure about aging. These research findings were not news to me, but they did make me take a long, hard look at my own role in women’s worries about their aging faces and bodies. Beauty companies—and, by extension, beauty editors—are constantly telling women what they “need” to do as they age. Not unlike like the woman at the salon.
A few years back, my friend Elizabeth and I were talking about skin-tightenng Ultherapy, when she suddenly put her hands over her face, sighed (looooong and loudly), and said she wished the beauty industry would just stop coming out with new and better anti-aging treatments. With each new advancement, she said she felt pressure to keep up...that if she skipped Botox or Fraxel, she was slacking.
And more recently, I was at lunch with two girlfriends when one asked me about filler options for lines around her mouth. As I started to answer, the other friend interrupted, “Wait. Do I need that too?”
Here’s the thing: No one needs any beauty products or treatments. (Except maybe sunscreen. You do need that.)
The intent of MediumBlonde is to help you navigate all the beauty news propelled at us over-40s. To help you help yourself. I'm here to share knowledge (thanks to 20+ years as an editor), to answer your questions, and to dish on what I’ve done (which is, admittedly, quite a lot). But I hope you’ve never read one of my posts and felt like I’m telling you that your days of tight leggings are over. And if you have, please let me know. Because, when it comes to aging, there are no rules—just suggestions. And you can take them. Or you can leave them.
So, on that note, I thought I'd post a few photos of women over 40 who are aging on their own terms. In my opinion, they make aging look interesting. Consider them an antidote to the doctored images of Millennials who appear in ads aimed at us. I've personally met four of these eight women, and they're even more inspiring in person. With Botox. Or without. In tight leggings. Or without. Your choice. I'm just here to help.
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Top row: Helen Mirren, 72. Oprah Winfrey, 64. Diane Von Furstenberg, 71. Linda Rodin, 69. Bottom row: Iris Apfel, 96. Maye Musk, 69. Julianne Moore, 57. Christy Turlington, 49.