Feel fabulous at any age or size –An action plan!

Emme and Gracey Hitchcock “A woman can’t always look younger, but she can always look elegant.” This wonderful quote is from an elegant woman named Joyce Carati. She happens to be 79 years old and looks fabulous. She’s featured in the blog Advanced Style about stylish older women that Ruth Cohen and her grandson Ari started.  

Ruth is 100 years old. She does Pilates and looks fit and fashionable. I love her beauty advice, which Elizabeth Arden inspired: “Take care of your skin. Make sure and moisturize … If you want to look like this when you are 40, start when you are 20."
 
The same week that Advanced Style came on my radar, I attended a lunch with Emme, the first plus-sized super model, at the home of environmental activist Laura Turner Seydel. Emme is back on the fashion and beauty scene after recovering from cancer. She has launched her own blog and online forum as a spokesperson for “self-acceptance.” The diverse group of women in the audience related to her message of accepting your size and reveling in your own unique beauty.
 
As I looked around the room, it hit me: women need more than cheerleaders and platitudes to feel good about themselves. They need an action plan!
 
Getting the most out of life takes work. If you slump and shuffle through life in an endless parade of shapeless garments, chances are you will never feel fabulous.
 
However, if you embrace style and fitness, and decide to cultivate beauty, you can be fabulous at any age or size. Darlings, if you doubt me just look around. You will find plenty of women who prove my point.
 
So, if you are feeling less than fabulous because you think you are too fat, thin, or old, here is an action plan to get to fabulous:
 
Get moving
Vigorous exercise three to five times a week can improve any body type. Join a class, or get a trainer or a workout buddy. Do not try to go it alone; you need to be accountable to someone. Get moving. It will elevate your mood too.
 
I love classes or personal training gyms. I go to barre classes five times a week. It’s addictive. For the record, I am not in the least athletic or sports-minded, but I am fit. Ruth Cohen has been doing Pilates for 20 years, since she was 80!
 
Find a stylish friend or mentor
If you feel like a schlub, you are probably dressing wrong. There are fabulous clothes these days for all sizes, styles, and budgets. Not everyone one is born with style, but you can “borrow“ it until you develop it. Buy fashion magazines. Look for ones that have clothes for your body type. Marie Claire and Glamour have excellent plus-sized columns.
 
The Internet has good style blogs for all body types. Find one you like and study it. Find a good sales person. Many sales people are frustrated stylists who love to dress people. Do not shop in a hostile environment, ever. If a store makes you feel badly about yourself, leave!
 
If you can afford it, shop where they offer personal shopping, but interview for someone you really like. You know you have found the right person when you feel fabulous in your clothes.
 
Get a good haircut and colour if you need it
Ask friends with have great hair whom they use. Go for a consultation. Again, don’t settle for “good enough”. Never let someone you don’t like do your hair just because they have a great reputation. You need to feel good at your salon.
 
You deserve great hair, so keep looking. It took me — a professional beauty editor – three years to find the right salon in Atlanta. The right haircut and colour can take years off your face. A bad cut and colour can make you look worn and tired at 25.
 
Eat well and sleep
Darlings, I am not going give you another diet. There are scores of good ones. If you’re eating and your issues are emotional, get help with what’s really bothering you. If you need a diet, try one until you a get fit. We publish good food and diet info weekly.
 
Sleep seven to eight hours a night. If you sleep much more you may be sick or depressed, so see a doctor now! If you sleep less, it will age you and it may even make you fatter. Turn off, unplug, and relax.
 
Enjoy the process
Learn to enjoy fashion. Experiment with clothes and makeup. After all, darlings, you are your own work of art. Make time to try a new lip-gloss and budget for a new pair of boots. Try out new makeup trends with a mini makeover at the counter of your favourite brand. Make an appointment. Take a friend so you won’t be tempted to buy more than you really want.
 
Tune out negativity
Surround yourself with secure, life-enhancing people. Recently, a gorgeous friend told me she got upset when a woman she knows asked her pointedly why she was wearing white after Labour Day. My friend — a slim, stylish blonde — was wearing cream cords; she looked fabulous. Winter white also happens to be a very hot trend now. I suspect my friend’s good looks threatened the "fashion critic”, who then tried to shake her confidence.  That is exactly what I told my cute friend. I also told her to she might want avoid catty women.
 
Often people succeed because they have a talent for tuning out negativity. Darlings, sadly the world is full of unhappy, envious people who will — if you let them — pick you apart to give themselves a boost. Avoid them. They are soul destroying.
 
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