Some Simple Advice: How Not to Look Old

Although being “fabulous over 60” is about a lot of things – “looking good” is definitely near the top of the list. Most of us, I think, want to spend at least some amount of time on our appearance and would probably rather not look over 60.

So, when Patty joined me at the pool on one of our spa vacations several years ago and was carrying a book called How Not To Look Old, my first inclination was to chuckle. My second was to grab it out of her hands!


It was published in 2008 by Charla Krupp, a former beauty director at Glamour and at People: Style Watch, and a frequent guest on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Oprah and more. The book starts this way…

“All right, I’m just going to come out and say it. Aging sucks…… The question is, what are we going to do about it? We’re going to fight aging – and we’re going to look great doing it!”

She wrote the book for women in their forties, fifties and sixties (you’re old in your forties? Yikes!) to help us “climb out of our beauty and fashion ruts” and develop a “new mindset”. She goes on to say that “Our looks and our self-esteem are inextricably wired … you need to invest time, money and interest in you, because if you don’t look good, you don’t feel good about yourself.”

I agree. But looking good, of course, means different things to different people. So, in Chapter 1 she offers a quiz to help readers assess whether they are a high, medium or low maintenance woman. Here are two sample questions:

  1. You never leave the house without a
    1. Full face of makeup
    2. Some lipstick and mascara
    3. A clean face
  2. When you’re traveling, you wear
    1. Business attire
    2. Pants and a nice sweater
    3. Whatever is comfiest

(It’s pretty obvious what the High, Medium and Low maintenance answers are, right?)

I found out (surprise, surprise) that I am a Medium to High. In the book, Ms. Krupp points out that there are ways for any woman – High, Medium or Low Maintenance – to look better and less “old lady”. So, after each chapter on things like hair, brows, makeup, teeth, nails, wardrobe and jewelry, she provides suggestions for each level.

Some of the things I thought were most interesting at the time (almost 6 years ago) and that still makes sense to me include:

About Hair:

  • Cut some bangs.
  • Change your hairstylist (if you’ve had one forever)
  • Keep it soft and moving
  • Lighten it up the older you get!

About Eyebrows:

  • Get rid of the grey hairs
  • Shape them up

About Makeup and Nails:

  • Don’t wear dark lipstick – light is younger looking
  • Don’t use heavy foundations and powders
  • Keep nails short and natural and light-colored (dark toenails are OK)

About Clothes:

  • Un-match your wardrobe (no “outfits”)
  • Ditch the mommy clothes (baggy pants, elastic waists, holiday sweaters)
  • Get a great-fitting pair of jeans
  • Don’t try to dress “young” (it won’t work!)
  • Wear your shirts mid-knee and not too tight
  • Don’t show too much cleavage
  • Wear sexy heels (even if it hurts!)
  • Wear the right size bra


About Jewelry and Scents:

  • Don’t wear thin necklaces or tiny earrings
  • Don’t over-bling
  • Don’t over fragrance

There is much more advice in the book, as well as product recommendations called Brilliant Buys.  I loved the book in my late 50’s and it influenced a lot of changes I made as I was barreling toward 60.  It also introduced me to some products I hadn’t known about.

I wish I could tell you that there is an updated version of the book. Unfortunately, Carla Krupp died a few years ago of breast cancer at the age of 58.  I hadn’t heard about her death until Patty mentioned it in one of her blogs last year. How sad.

But if you want to consider some changes … the tag line of the book  is “Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter and 10 Times Better. Regardless of whether you are a high, medium or low-maintenance woman, check out her book.

Cathy Green

P.S. She has a companion book … How to Never Look Fat Again. I’ll write another piece about it soon.