I know I can't stop yammering about Time senior editor boffing, botox manifesto writing former Glamour editor Charla Krupp and her new bestseller, How Not To Look Old. There's a first-person take on Old by 40-something Mary Elizabeth Williams in Salon today, and Williams puts her finger on just why the book is so irksome to me. It's not just the parts where Krupp advocates unrealistic and "wackadoo" ideas, like Botox, $70 concealer and personal shoppers, it's that the good advice Krupp gives (and there is some in the book) could be gleaned for free by watched a couple episodes of What Not To Wear.
According to Williams, Krupp's "main mantra is a call to simple, unfussy elegance: loose hair, lighter makeup, restraint of embellishment." Williams has also taken her "frumpy, mid-calf skirts to the tailor to be shortened to knee length." This is advice that could be used by professional woman of any age, but her book has been packaged to play on women's fear of aging in a youth-obsessed culture.
An undercurrent to Krupp's schtick, and something she discussed when she was on the Today show, is that if you look old, no one will hire you. She wants to inspire fear in the hearts of baby boomers, telling them that "If you're wearing clothes that are dated, people are going to think your ideas are dated." But you know, wearing presentable, flattering clothing makes a better impression on employers no matter WHAT age you are, or, for that matter, what gender.
Staying fit, wearing flattering clothes, getting a haircut. These things make most women feel better about themselves whether they are 15 or 55. There's a way to grow old gracefully, to look your age and still look good. And anyway, like Charla's really a good role model for aging gracefully. With her bleached blond hair and Botox, it's clear she'd rather look like Heidi Montag than Anjelica Huston.