My birthday is today and I don't mind telling you I'm 40. It's funny to look back to the last "big one." On my 30th birthday, I was 3 weeks away from having my first child – things have changed a bit!
Between my recent back troubles, crazy early hours, husband with a restaurant and two busy kids, there's not really time for philosophical reflection. So I thought it would be fun to share what I've learned during the past decade but not about anything too serious.
So as I turn 40, here's what I've learned – about style. Yep, no diabetes, no health news, no community events. Just please remember, these tips work for me, but they're coming from someone who could go to work in her pajamas!
1. Listen to your mother – get your hair out of your face and put on some lipstick. I still struggle with that last, to the point that when I do put lipstick on during the day I feel like a different person. But I've compromised with tinted lip balm (I like Neutrogena a lot). I'm one of those people always putting on chapstick and at least this way I look more like a grownup than Suzy Chapstick (see I am 40!)
2. Stick with what works. I've been using the same moisturizer + sunscreen since I was 22. I've switched around but always come back to the Eucerin line. Admittedly, I have stupid sensitive skin but this is a great, inexpensive drug store line that my dermatologist also likes. I use the daytime sunscreen/moisturizer and the evening one that says it fights wrinkles. Wear your sunscreen! I am starting to make sure I cover my neck now too. Yikes.
3. I have never seen the need for an eyelash curler, but every makeup artist I've worked with has clamped one on me. I have one but I never use it. I switched to brown mascara for a while, but now I'm back to black. As long as you avoid that fab-80's blue I don't think it really matters. Did anyone ever get anything out of clear mascara?
4. If you straighten your hair, spring for the good flat iron. I have giant wavy hair and I've used the $18 ones. Finally bit the bullet and bought the high end. Yes, it was close to $100 but I've had it for 3 years now and it's made a huge difference. I spend less time doing my hair and it stays very healthy. No, I will not post a picture of myself with "before" hair.
5. Just once, treat yourself to a personal shopper or some kind of consult. I got this as a birthday present in 2007. Not that I'm counting the days since! The consultant (at Belk) put together outfits I would never have touched and while there were some crazy rejects (a billowing skirt, some Easter egg colors) she guided me into some great looks and advice that I still use every day.
6. Find a great tailor. I used Walid Nassar at Myers Park Tailorsor the folks at Belk Southpark when I shop there. You've heard this before, but it makes a huge difference and often only adds $10-$15 to the cost of clothes. I love Wally at Myers Park because when I lost my baby weight (plus about 10 pounds!) I brought quite a few pairs of pants to take in. Finally, he offered to call my husband and tell him to just buy me some new clothes! These days I'm back in the struggle of keeping that weight off, so I may have to visit him to let some of those pants back out.
7. Great shoes that hurt your feet just aren't worth it. I love heels and usually wear a 4". But I've learned that if they don't feel great, they just sit lookin' pretty in my closet. I'm not a shoe-snob. I buy most of my kicks at DSW or Off-Broadway and have no brand loyalty. I found a black-tie Nina shoe that feels so great I bought it in three colors. It's the kind of shoe I'll wear once or twice a year, so who's going to notice? Don't tell!
8. Finally, a bit of confidence goes a very long way. I think that's my favorite thing about getting older. At this point, I know who I am and I've got nothing to prove. I hear that keeps getting better for most women as we get older. Can't wait!
Honestly? I'm not crazy about the number 40, but who wants to go backwards? I feel great, I'm happy with the way I look and I love my grown-up life (thanks, Kelly Ripa).
If you're kind enough to leave me a birthday greeting here, add a style tip to the list! Love to hear what you have to say.