Fabulousness is not about looking like a twenty-year-old again. That’s never going to happen!
But whether we are in our fifties, sixties or seventies or older we can still take delight in looking our best, meet life’s changes with resilience and confidence, and have the best third age we possibly can.
‘Age is no barrier to fabulousness,’ is Tricia Cusden’s mantra in Living the Life More Fabulous: A handbook about beauty, style, and empowerment for older women.
There are many pathways to fabulousness: using the right makeup, finding your own style, keeping fit, healthy eating and confidence building.
The biggest hurdle we have to overcome is the ageist attitude prevalent in our society. It can easily destroy our self-esteem.
The fashion industry is one of the worst offenders. It almost invariably uses twenty-year-old models with never a wrinkle in sight, to model mature fashions so reinforcing the belief that older faces are not attractive.
And the latest fashions in the shops seldom flatter the more mature figure. I have heard so many older women complain that they can’t find a fashionable dress that fits them well.
When Tricia Cusden discovered in her sixties that the ‘age-defying’ products on the market did not deliver what they promised and were not all suitable for craggy older skins she decided something just had to be done. So she took the initiative and developed her own range of makeup called Fabulous Forever. Her YouTube videos on how to apply it have been hugely popular.
After having cataract surgery recently it felt wonderful to be able to see the world clearly again. The only downside was that when I looked in the mirror I could see a whole lot of wrinkles I’d been oblivious to.
But personally, I don’t feel the need to invest in primers, concealers, highlighters, blushers, and bronzers and spend up to 20 minutes each day applying make-up to get a serious professional effect. A splash of tinted moisturiser and some lipstick is all I need to feel ok about how I look now. But if it makes you feel fabulous why not?
Style versus Fashion:
You should not feel bound to follow the fashions of the day because ‘Fashion is fleeting but Style is an expression of who you are.’
So Tricia has divided older women into 7 tribes, each with their own style.These range from the Anti-fashion tribe to which the queen belongs (beautifully cut clothes in a single block of colour which works perfectly on her mature body) to the Bohemians who dress in a comfortable creative and arty way and may dye their hair a deep hennaed orange or plummy shade. That’s me, except for the hair!
Choose the tribe that you feel would best express who you want to be, consider your body shape and then make a start on updating your wardrobe. It doesn’t have to cost the earth. You can make a start by treating yourself to a beautiful scarf or a pair of new earrings. Or browse in op shops where you can often find expensive labels reduced to a few dollars.
I found the chapter on hair especially useful: how to prevent it from looking dry and lifeless, tackling hair loss, and how to transition graciously to grey. And for those who are not ready to embrace grey hair, there is also good advice on how to best to keep dyeing it.
Diet and Exercise:
You won’t achieve fabulousness unless you eat well and exercise. And it’s never too late to start!
If you think that sounds like too much of an effort considering the fact that we as Baby Boomers are different from our parents. Life expectancy has risen and it’s more than likely that many of us will live well beyond our three score years and ten. So with so much life in front of us, it’s worth making the effort to stay fit and healthy so we so we can enjoy those extra years.
Trisha herself strenuously avoided anything approximating a sport or any form of exercise until she reached 70 and realised that it was now or never. She did not relish the prospect of sliding into ever decreasing mobility and ever-increasing painful decrepitude. So she finally overcame her resistance to becoming a gym bunny!
I found it very reassuring that Living the Life More Fabulous was written by an older woman who writes from her own life experiences and not by a health professional or fitness guru. Her suggestions on how we can live the life more fabulous are practical and achievable.
She is one of a still small but ever-increasing number of older women who are challenging the negative stereotype of the invisible older woman and is following her passions and living her life to the full.
Title: Living the Life More Fabulous Author: Tricia Cusden. Publisher: Onion Spring RRP $60
Reviews by Lyn Potter
Parent and grandparent, Avid traveler, writer & passionate home cook