Feeling Fabulous at 50-ish: New You in the New Year

“9-1-1! Come over as fast as you can! Don’t tell anyone.” This was a text I received last week from my friend Rochelle. That’s weird, right? The next text had me running for the door. “Bring black trash bags!” Were we disposing of a body? Turns out it wasn’t a body in the foyer but a mountain of clothes. “I’m taking your advice!” She yelled, as blue eye shadow, shoulder pads, acid wash jeans and sweatshirts with sequins sailed through the air. I stuffed the bags. “Out with the old, so we can make room for the new.” “Thanks, but isn’t this a little over the top?” “Nonsense,” she said, “I need the space because the new me is going shopping!”

It all began a few weeks ago in Barcelona. I sat next to the most remarkable, much older woman on the plane. She wore bright patterned leggings, tall boots, a fitted vest over a flowing top and one glorious hat! I admired her youthful spirit, bold style and easy confidence. That’s when I decided 2017 would be the “New Year for a new you.” Here are some of the fashion trends I discovered.

Hairstyles for 50+ are no longer the (seemingly) mandatory “bob.” Anything goes — long, short, straight, curly or layered hairstyles are considered age appropriate. It’s fashionable to gray gracefully. However, for those of us who want to “wash away the gray,” there are stunning new trends in hair coloring.

Hair painting — Hair is quite literally painted with several shades, so that the colors flow showing no signs of where they begin and end, making applications less frequent. This technique creates dimension, unlike older dyes, that provided a solid, singular color. Because today’s dyes are gentler, your hair will look and feel more natural and vibrant.

Color contouring — Stylists choose complementary color shades specifically designed to contour and complement your facial features and skin tone.

“Ecaille” or Tortoise Shell — Hugely popular this year, stylists work three or more shades through the hair to create movement. This is also used to add dimension and volume to fine hair.

Fashion is bold and bright. To the untrained eye, it may even appear mismatched. It takes some getting used to. For example, pair a bright pink scarf with a rust colored top. Mix up your patterns and/or stripes with floral accessories. Or, with more monochromatic outfits, add mismatched socks or bold accessories. Are you going to the gym? Consider brightly patterned yoga pants or leggings with a long colored camisole and a different colored t-shirt. Fashionistas say we should stop hiding our curves. Thank goodness! I’m not sure my curves are all where they are supposed to be, but hey, there’s always Spanx, right?

Women are wearing fitted jackets, tailored tops and dress slacks (with supportive undergarments when warranted). They say “Avoid oversized clothing; it adds 10 years to our age.” If you are more comfortable in billowy tops, that’s okay too. Pair these tops with fitted leggings or skirts. Draw attention away from your trouble spots with a scarf, hat or jewelry.

Speaking of hats, you may want to hold on to yours for this casual wear trend. Buy a pair of well-fitting jeans with holes already in them. Seriously? Yes, it was a fundamental stretch for me too. Didn’t we throw out our torn jeans? Not anymore. Now, women spend perfectly good money on already-torn jeans. And, believe it or not, they look awesome. Try them out. Mine make me feel rebellious, even a little “edgy,” and that’s just fun!

Accessories are always a good idea. Bangles, layered necklaces, leather or silver cuffs, and hoop earrings are all the rage for our 50+ ladies. Footwear includes wedges up to three inches and boots — all kinds of boots. And last, but not least, hats! Wear them anytime, anywhere. They are not just for special occasions anymore.

Be bright, and be bold. Invite your bestie over, pour a glass of wine (or tea) and clear out your closet clutter. Ring in the New Year by toasting “out with the old to make room for the new.” I think you’ll be happy you did. Wishing you all the best in 2017, and always.