Saturday 16 December 2017

Some advice for Women d’un Certain Age!

Pauline Lawless explains why you shouldn’t be afraid to be sexy at 50+ and how a pair of killer heels can be a girl’s best friend

Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in ‘The
Devil Wears Prada’
Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’

Pauline Lawless

Getting old sucks! There's no other way to say it. But for us ladies 'd'un certain age', (50+), there is much we can do to hold back the tide and age gracefully.

I'm not talking now about botox and fillers, facelifts and tummy tucks. Who wants to look like so many of those disfigured Hollywood stars, with their trout lips and stretched-beyond-all-recognition faces? With a little effort we can look good and live a happy productive life, for far longer than our mothers or grandmothers could ever have envisioned.

We have raised our children and hopefully have cut the apron strings. (If not, it's time to do it now!) Most of us have worked full-time, as well as looking after the family and the home. Now, it's me time - time for ourselves at last, after years of giving to others. And no more feeling guilty about it either!

You may wonder what qualifies me, to dish out advice? Well, as I was raising five children, I also ran Superslim Slimming Clubs in the midlands. For almost thirty years I helped thousands of women to regain their self-confidence and feel better about themselves.

Beauty is all about self-confidence. It can give you a glow from within. A woman ‘bien dans la peau' (as the French so wonderfully put it) which means happy in her own skin, is beautiful. She exudes an inner glow. But how to achieve it?

There is no way of escaping it but as we get older, our metabolism slows down and we find the weight piling on - mainly around our middle. Sounds familiar? I have found that a woman's self-confidence fluctuates in direct relation to her weight. Gain a few pounds and you feel frumpy and unattractive. Lose a few pounds and you feel just great.

So, the first thing we need to tackle is that weight gain. I'm not, for a moment, suggesting that we must become size zeros. Is there anything as unattractive as those anorexic figures that are now the norm in Hollywood?

But if the waistline has thickened and we have nothing in our wardrobe that fits, then it's time to do something about it.

You don't have to starve or eat like a rabbit. I've tried Atkins and the South Beach Diet - among many others - and at the end of the day, the advice I gave my girls for 30 years, “Eat less and exercise more” is the only way to success. Diets are useless if the moment you stop, you start overeating again. We have to find a way of eating that we can live with for the rest of our lives, so that we can become happy and confident in our own bodies.

Exercise is vital, not just for your figure but for your health. The best exercise for you is the one you like doing best. Whether it's walking, swimming, cycling, playing sports or going to the gym, it is absolutely essential that you do something. It is so easy to get lazy and comfortable in front of the telly or computer, but we have to rouse ourselves and make the effort. Believe me it will pay off in the extra vitality and energy you'll discover.

So that's the body taken care of, what about the packaging? Your confidence can't help but be boosted if you feel you're looking good. For me, my hair has to be right. As the grey hairs increase, the big question is whether to colour it or let it go naturally grey.

In my case, after years of colouring it, I decided to let it go grey naturally. It turned out to be quite a lovely silver colour but although I liked it, it definitely made me look older. So back to the blonde - for another few years at least! It's easy to do yourself, as I do, at a cost of only about €1 per week. It is worth splashing out, however, on a really good cut, every six weeks. It can make such a difference and 'you're worth it'.

At fifty-two, I became an area manager for an international cosmetics company. I had never worn much make-up but came to learn just what a difference it can make to one's appearance. It doesn't have to be heavy-duty stuff and it can camouflage a lot of faults, especially as our skin ages. I also learnt the importance of skin care - moisturising, cleansing and nourishing. Even if you've never taken care of your skin, it's not too late to start. There are so many wonderful products on the market today that the problem is, trying to decide which one is best for you. Seek help from the professionals. They're in abundance in every department store and will be happy to guide you.

So that's body, face and hair sorted which should certainly have increased our confidence. Now all that's left is to gild the lily with our clothes. When you're young you can get away with wearing just about anything. As we get older we have to be much more careful about what we choose.

Quality, not quantity, is the key and it's important to have some classic, timeless pieces in your wardrobe. Hopefully, once you lose weight, you'll have a whole wardrobe full of clothes, that haven't fit you in ages, to choose from.

One thing we must beware of is looking like 'mutton dressed as lamb'. Certainly, if you're over 50, dump the minis and skinny jeans. You don't need to bare all to look sexy. A confident woman is the sexiest woman of all.

As a self-confessed shoe addict, (aren't we all?) I find that wearing killer heels makes me feel incredibly sexy. So what if I can't walk as well in them as I did 20 years ago? They make me feel great - teamed with a killer bag of course! So armed with all this super-confidence, it's time to go out and conquer the world. Maybe like me, you'll do something you've always wanted to do.

At 62, I started to write and my first book Because We're Worth It (my mantra) became a bestseller last year. My second book If the Shoes Fit (wouldn't you know!) is now flying off the shelves. Writing has given me a whole new lease of life!

So, what are you going to do? It's never too late. You can do anything you want to. At the end it won't be the things you did in life that you'll regret - it's the things you didn't do!

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