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The September “Issue”

The September “Issue”
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Photo: Scott Trindle/Allure

BY LORRAINE DUFFY MERKL

September means different things to different people: the end of summer fun, back-to-school, fourth quarter right around the corner, and the holiday season looming large. But, for those of us who are always interested in what color will be the new black, it means the phonebook-sized versions of all the fashion magazines.

I must admit, in the past few years, I have not met them with the same sartorial enthusiasm, as “been there, wore that” has set in.

I find myself stifling a yawn at headlines that read: “Live in Leopard!” (I began wearing that member of the cat family in 1981.) “The Camel Coat—A Wardrobe Must-Have!” (Mine is in winter storage.) “Black is Beautiful” followed by an interview with an actress who acts as though she invented her current signature color. (I spent the last half of the ‘80s and early ‘90s fielding the question, “Who died?”)

This year though, I read with interest the unusually slender issue of Allure with cover model Dame Helen Mirren, 72, looking both regal and badass.

In her cover article, she shares her views about social behavior involving aging: “If people treat me like the age I am, I get absolutely insulted, really cross…. No, no, no. I don’t want your seat.” Mirren also models sexy outfits to show off her enviable figure, and goes unretouched to display proudly her fine lined-face that has not been introduced to a plastic surgeon’s knife.

What a better way for the magazine to showcase its September theme: The End of Anti-Aging—our call to the industry.

According to Editor in Chief, Michelle Lee, in her monthly letter, “This issue is the long-awaited, utterly necessary celebration of growing into your own skin—wrinkles and all.” She wants to change the conversation about aging by refraining from using terms like anti-aging, as well as She looks good—for her age or –for an older woman, because it reinforces that getting older is something we need to battle.

Hey, I’m in. But thumbing through the rest of the magazine there are a number of ads for products that claim to wipe the aforementioned wrinkles away. I can’t lay this all on the doorstep of Allure, since this kind of thing is in all the glossies. The article on one page professes that you should love your size 14 body because it’s the size of the average woman, while the next page tells you the diet or exercises you can do to drop a dress size by the holidays or next year’s swimsuit season.

I used to think my vertigo was from perhaps a serious illness, then I realized it was from all the mixed messages.

I am all for society changing its view as well as its tone to not make people feel badly about aging; something that eventually everyone will experience.

Using creams and make-up, eating well and exercising—these are less about not wanting to age and more about taking care of oneself, which should be done regardless of what stage of life you’re in.

It feels good to feel good about yourself, even if your Oil of Olay has not erased every line from your forehead, and your fitness and eating routine still will not have anyone mistaking you for a teenager. Said Mirren: “You just want to look and feel as great as you can on a daily basis.”

I look forward to the success of the anti-anti-aging mission of Allure, so people will say of me that I look good without the “for your age” chaser. I think I’ll also absorb the astuteness of Dame Helen, who said the advice she’d give to her younger self (for our purposes, it’s little 50-year-old Helen): “Say ‘Fuck off’ more and stop being so bloody polite.” Something tells me that could shave years off.

 

 

 

 

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