GROWING OLD DISGRACEFULLY
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GROWING OLD DISGRACEFULLY

 

 

 

Growing old gracefully may be a well-known concept, but it's a concept that's for wimps. Growing old disgracefully is much more fun. But growing old disgracefully doesn't mean you have to look disgraceful. Here are a few pointers which I hope will help you to avoid sartorial disaster.

 


Start with a good haircut. Whatever your gender, it will do wonders for your looks as well as your confidence.

 


Ladies, choose a style and length which suits the shape of your face and the build of your body. A gamine-type cut might look wonderful on a six-foot supermodel with cheekbones which ought to carry a health warning, but sadly it rarely does any favours for a real lady with realistic dimensions. Conversely, waist-length flowing locks may look stunning on mermaids, but on ladies above a certain age they're far more likely to make onlookers think of witches. Which is fine if that's the impression you want to give, but otherwise...

 


With regard to colouring your hair, you can get away with disguising the encroaching grey for many years, but eventually there comes a point when your face will catch up with it. When this happens, embrace your age and don't try to cling on to the natural hair colour of your youth. This isn't to say that you shouldn't colour your hair at all, but keep it subtle, such as a tasteful shade of pale gold (think Dame Helen Mirren or the Duchess of Cornwall). Keep in mind that grey or white hair is very porous and will absorb dye rather more thirstily than might first appear - with the unfortunate consequence that the end result can look horribly vivid or garish. Even if you do manage to avoid the dreadful "badger" effect as your hair grows and the white roots begin to show, the colour will just not look natural and will have the opposite effect to what you intend. It will make you look older, not younger.

 


Gentlemen - until someone finds a way of making the comb-over look anything other than just downright sad, don't even think about it. Even the mighty Julius Caesar, who is often believed to have invented it (and it's nice of him to take the blame), couldn't make it work without the laurel chaplet to hold the flyaway strands in place. Which might have looked OK in the courts of ancient Rome, but it might make you look a bit of a dork if you try it in Tesco. And please resist the temptation to make up for in length what you lack in thickness. The combination of thin on top and long at the back (or, even worse, the combination of a bald pate and a grey ponytail) will just make you look like a weirdo. Bill Bailey can just about get away with it, but then, he makes a living from being funny.

 


If you absolutely must wear a toup'ee, don't make the fatal mistake of assuming that the instant you put it on, it will halt the greying process in its tracks. Check regularly to make sure it still matches the rest of your hair. If it doesn't, then change it, or (preferably) ditch it. Nothing screams "wig" more loudly than the tell-tale tide-mark where the blond or brown hairpiece ends and the grey or white strands begin.

 


Unless you're required to cover your head for religious or cultural reasons, there's only one set of circumstances when it is acceptable to wear a hat whilst you're driving. That's if you're steering an open-topped car along the corniche and need a straw hat to protect the top of your head from the power of the Mediterranean sun. Otherwise, leave the hatted-driver look to those cranky old codgers who think the maximum speed limit is 18mph even on motorways, and whose copies of The Highway Code are still priced in old money.

 


You might be a grandparent, but that doesn't mean that you have to dress like one. Keep to simple styles and plain colours (patterns can be very unforgiving on any age-group), and you can get away with pretty well anything without ending up looking like mutton or ram dressed as lamb. You can even wear jeans, provided you choose the correct size and cut. Boot-cut or simple straight-leg are the most flattering if you have a slightly fuller figure. Avoid drainpipe styles, unless you want to walk around looking like a two-pin plug.

 


And always remember: age is not a number, it's a state of mind. If you think of your age in dog years, it will be a very long time before you even get out of single figures!

 

Val Truman is a freelance writer specialising in lifestyle and personal finance features. She has previously worked as an annuities advisor, and runs occasional walking tours in her home town of Tarporley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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