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Forty Something N Beyond Style

In keeping with our Fabulous Beyond Forty theme I'd like to ask what makes a woman stylish? Is it her hair, manicured nails, or the way she applies makeup? Is it a trendy swing jacket or a designer tote? Is style something that a select few are born with, or can it be acquired? In truth, style is an enigma, a nearly indescribable quality that causes people to want to look at one. It is a state of mind as well, an attitude that is paradoxically flexible, yet consistent. Style is ageless. It also causes one to appear classic even in a simple sheath, like first lady Michelle Obama, or due to it one can appear tailored and serene like the timeless style icon Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Style can also be sultry with a hint of heat, as personified by Salma Hayek, or it can be fluid and graceful as exuded by Cuban prima ballerina absoluta/choreographer Alicia Alonso. Style encompasses elegance, like the cachet seen when actress Phylicia Rashad appears on screen. Morning television's Robin Roberts showcases style, with her short 'do, fab career and down to earth persona. Suchita Vadlamani, morning show anchor also exudes beautiful sassy style.

The great thing about style is that it does not have to dissipate as one ages; often it escalates. It also translates into a certain je ne sais quoi an intangible quality that causes forty-somethings and those beyond to scoff at a little weight gain. With great posture, and the right under garments, one can yet appear statuesque. As we motor toward the years that used to frighten many, ethnic beauties realize we can't all look alike -- and really, we don't want to. We comprehend that if cuffed jeans, boots, and starched white shirts suit us, then we'll rock them. We'll wear A-line skirts, designer yoga pants, tailored separates, or fitted silk print tees, just as long as nothing hugs and appears snug in all the wrong places.

Stylish ethnic beauties are also 'selective showoffs.' And why not...when ours is an innate and nurtured sense of when -- and what, or what not -- to wear and bare? We don't display sagging skin, cellulite, or busted feet; yet if our hands are beautiful, although our arms may not be toned, then we play up our best features. Style mavens also know when to support or showcase the bazooms. And if we're prone to the muffin-top – that soft paunch that oozes over our waistbands -- then we avoid the low-riders and cropped tops that we can appreciate on others. We also know which shoes go with what, and most of all, we are now aware that looking great also means feeling great. We save the 'no pain, no gain' cliché for grueling workouts and fitness routines.

So...with all of that said, let us summarize. Style for the beyond forty set is comprised of a few simple things. One is a strong sense of self, minus the overbearing ego. Style also encompasses a positive attitude. Oh, and it's definitely comprised of the wherewithal to stay just ahead of trends and not get trapped in them. We’ll never be hopelessly hip, hippie, or even eighties. Think Dynasty, TV's prime time drama where the women had huge hair and shoulder pads reminiscent of football gear. Stylish ethnic beauties have navigated all these periods and more, borrowing the best and discarding the worst. Yes, and we have done it while maintaining the ability to laugh, even at ourselves, because every fabulous forty-something, and women who are 'beyond' [a little older] are aware that allowing one's inner light to shine never goes out of style!

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