Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Changing Face of Beauty

MAC cosmetics launched a new line of makeup recently.  Nothing unusual in that, as companies constantly change and update their offerings to sustain sales.  It was the face they used to promote this new line that was the stunner:  90 year old Iris Apfel stared out of the page with her black bug-eyed glasses.  An odd choice?  You'd think so, as beauty and fashion campaigns normally focus on the teen and twenties demographic...ironic itself, because young faces need the least embellishment.  A smart choice?  Totally.

If you haven't noticed the print ads over the last few years, there has been an increasing shift toward the more mature face.  Helen Mirren, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Ellen Degeneres and other older women have become flagship images for cosmetics and fashion designs.  Have the corporate mavens entered a kinder, more inclusive era and adjusted their mindset to be more accepting of age?  No, Virginia, there isn't really a Santa Claus.  It's all about following the money.

The baby boomer bulge has bulldozed its way through for decades, affecting nearly every aspect of society:  education, food, music, health care and culture.  As a group, we have benefited from better nutrition and exercise.  Wall Street hasn't gone all soft for us because we really are more beautiful.  They've just awakened to the fact that this generation has most of the wealth.  And even if we can't stop the clock of aging, we don't want to LOOK like our parents did at our age.

No one bats an eye when people of all ages walk or run through the neighborhood.  Fitness clubs are jammed with members of all ages.  If my mother had flown down the street in running shorts, a tee shirt and a baseball cap, we would have hauled her off for a long "rest".  There were no research studies (or if they were, they weren't widely publicized) to guide food and beverage choices.  My  mom baked pies and cakes relentlessly, laced her mashed potatoes generously with butter and seasoned her green beans with bacon fat.  Those things are now a very infrequent treat if eaten at all.  There was no sense of fashion residing in my grandmother's head once she entered her fifties.  She had her "good" coat that she kept for years, wore housecoats and gave up wearing bras (shudder).  I don't remember seeing makeup on her face unless she was attending a wedding or some other momentous occasion.     

Boomers have been enamored of plastic/cosmetic surgery in increasing numbers, but a shift is taking place.  The full-bore, hardcore facelift is being supplanted by "tweaking".  Looking good is making inroads on looking unnaturally young.  And let's face it, most of us would rather look like Diane or Meryl than Joan Rivers.

Weigh in...what's your strategy for aging well? 


Johanna Garth said...

So true! There's nothing worse than the 'wind tunnel' face look.

Connie J Jasperson said...

Oh yes - I would like to still be able to smile with my eyes! I am proud to be a grandma - not that I have embraced the look fully. But I will probably not have any thing lifted, tucked or folded!

Lisa Zhang Wharton said...

Fun article. My secret of staying young and healthy is outdoor exercise which I have
Been practicing for 34 years. It has been practiced in such a regiment that I can never miss a day, not Christmas, not Chinese New Year, not when the temperature is 20 below zero outside. It is a serious addiction. At least it I'd good for me and hopefully it also keeps me beautiful.

Nicole Antonia Carson said...

My strategy for looking young? Drunkenness. That dazed and bewildered look takes years off of me!