In Staging Your Comeback, Hopkins champions women over 45, teaching them how to command attention by looking and feeling great. With compassion and brutal honesty, Hopkins tackles and rectifies problems that women face as they age. Hopkins’s simple tips and tricks help women create their own self-expression and turnaround common mistakes they make in fashion and hair and skin care. Some topics include:
- Gray or nay? Your ideal hair color
- Working with over-40 skin
- Discover your image profile
- Second-act ground rules
- Your ideal silhouette
- When symmetry goes south
- Myths and misconceptions
- Long hair in act two: Does it work?
- Managing curl
- What you need to know about undergarments
|Publisher:||Health Communications, Incorporated|
|Sold by:||SIMON & SCHUSTER|
|File size:||20 MB|
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
When how you appear reflects who you are, you are beautiful.
-- Christopher Hopkins
Not long after my second appearance on Oprah, a woman flew to Minneapolis from Virginia for a makeover. She was a fifty-four-year-old pastor's wife who had grown her hair for six months to 'give me something to work with.' We didn't click at first. She seemed to contradict herself, explaining she liked the length (which was almost to her shoulders and very layered) but wanted to look classy. She didn't want a color change (it was salt and pepper) but wanted to look more youthful. She wanted easy care and to look natural, but she enjoyed setting it in hot rollers and liked the feel of moving, voluminous hair. She then wanted me to tell her what I would do if she hadn't said anything.
I told her that she should go short and blond. She dragged her feet and was extremely indecisive. There was more going on here than just a haircut. After much repetitious dialogue, I pulled out my last stop, which usually goes something like this: 'Well, you flew all the way here for a makeover. You can go home looking basically the same, or you can look great. Which do you want?'
'To look great,' she replied tentatively.
'Then you need to let go and let me make it happen,' I said.
She agreed, but with trepidation, which is not the best way to begin a new look. So, with more than a little concern, I spun her away from the mirror and began to cut her hair. First the nape, then the sides. When I turned her back toward the mirror, she began to cry.
'What's wrong?' I asked while taking deep, cleansing breaths.
'I don't know why I am crying,' she said.
Having gained the attention of much of the rest of the salon, I tactfully tried to find out what was bothering her. 'I'm so embarrassed,' she whispered. 'Wait, I'm not embarrassed. I'm crying because I love it! It's as if you've unlocked part of me that has been missing for years!'
With a sigh of relief, I turned to those who were pretending that they weren't really looking and said, 'Happy tears, tears of joyâchat amongst yourselves.'
Months later she sent me this letter:
On January 15 of this year, I came to your salon for the thrill and fun of a makeover. Little did I know you would work a miracle. Years ago, when I was a young girl, I remember walking into the local barbershop with instructions from my mother to get my hair cut and to make sure I told the barber that 'the back must be shingled.' He did it, and I walked out a captive to the haircuts of ease and lost to any sense of style. Over the years, some forty-six of them, a cry has gone on inside me for just the right look, the one that would suit who I was. As I sat in your chair that Saturday morning, you worked your expertise and I began to cry: You were working a magic that made me feel like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. I had been found. It's now almost two months since that day, and my sense of well-being has been constant. I am so grateful to you. It may have been simply a pairing of face shape to hairstyle on your side of the chair, but on my side it was a touching of the soul.'
Like many people, this woman had been in denial. Her mind was mixed with messages of aging gracefully versus fighting it every step of the way. At some point, howeverâoften in my chairâa woman is literally face to face with reality. Her self-esteem and self-image are inseparably intertwined.
Studies confirm that strong self-esteem determines, in large part, our personal and professional fulfillment. Certainly we all have good days, bad days, and days on which we feel more assured than on others. Managing the image you reflect in the mirror better equips you to face the day with confidence.
There is something magical that happens when you look right, when you say, 'That's so me!' You stand taller, and your best self seems to come out naturally. You laugh easier and are less self-conscious. The problem is that as we age, it is more and more difficult to define 'you.' Sure, we are supposed to have increased wisdom, inner peace, and self-confidence, but it is often just not that way. It was easy to be 'you' when you looked like you, but 'you' have changed, and with that change can come uncertainty. To look right, you need to know what right is for you, and what is right is what reflects who you are nowâyour best self at the moment.
Maybe you can't slip into size 8 jeans, throw on a cute blouse, and be you anymore. That sleeveless dress might not be you anymore, because those aren't your arms anymore. Perhaps you use to brush your long hair, fluff it, and go, but now you keep pulling it back, frustrated because you don't look right with it down. It makes you feel frumpy. Consequently, it is more and more difficult to say, 'That's me,' because what used to be you just doesn't work.
One of the first questions I ask a woman who sits in my chair is 'What do you want this haircut to say about you?' I want to know how she sees herself. Is she more natural and sporty or more romantic and feminine? Casual or elegant? Does she want people to perceive her as a free spirit with a unique sense of style, or does she prefer to look put together and sophisticated?
I have discovered something in this questioning process. Many women just do not know for sure. They want my opinion on what will look best. That gives me about three minutes to determine who they are. I glance at their shoes, handbag, nails, and makeup for an impression, but I can be misguided. What I know will look best is not necessarily what will feel best to them. Many women are not giving the message of who they are, because, for various reasons, they have not sat down and figured it out. More likely, they just haven't changed their style to match their growth as a woman.
We all want to express our individuality. When we are young, it is easier to be an individual because we can experiment more with our look and get away with it. We can give out messages about who we are by our choices of clothes and how we wear our hair and makeup. We have more color. We have more definition. Our individuality shines through naturally.
As we age, we begin to see signs of change. We begin to redefine ourselves as we mature. We're more experienced and seasoned, and hopefully our image reflects that. We don't want to go back. We also don't want to look outdated or 'out of the loop.' I often hear women say, 'I like who I am, just as I am.' Okay, great, but do people see who you are when you walk into a room? Being who you are is one thing, but letting others see who you are takes a little more thought. If I took a photo of you right now and passed it around, asking for words that describe you, would they be the adjectives you'd want to hear? If you could list five qualities you'd want someone to know about you, what would they be? If you want to be appreciated for who you are, it helps to present those qualities in how you look.
I have several long-term clients, but one stands out. I remember Candice, attractive and vivacious, telling me casually, 'Oh, I became invisible long ago.' I about fell to the floor. She was beautiful, sexy, witty, interesting, and magneticâfive qualities. Yet she saw herself as invisible. When she first came to me, she was a polished professional, a slim and sexy businesswoman in heels.
When the opportunity presented itself for her to leave the corporate world and become a lady of leisure, she started to fade. She didn't have the information or motivation to reinterpret the woman she had become in a way that kept heads turning. I see her now, and she still has all those qualities, but she hides behind a self-deprecating sense of humor and a 'that was then' attitude.
No matter how our lives change, or how unimportant it seems to make an effort, people who see us deserve to appreciate us without having to spend hours figuring it out.
You are a unique spirit and have your own idea about what makes you happy when you look in the mirror. One fun way to characterize who you are by how you look is through the process I call image profiling. Image profiling allows you to determine a consistent image objective. The first step in this assessment is to determine how you want to be perceived in relation to who you areâto be who you are and let people see who you are. Through this process, you will more easily achieve your unique expression of beauty.
As you go through the assessment, answer these questions the way you'd like to be seen by others. Perhaps how you've been dressing represents more of the 'old you' than the person you've become. Take a moment to really think about it, and be honest. We are all becoming. Some of us are happy with how we are seen, and some of us might want to start anew. It might just be about letting go of old patterns of self-image. . . "
©2008. Christopher Hopkins. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Staging Your Comeback: A Complete Beauty Revival for Women Over 45. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.