Personal Style

Subtle or Bold? Figuring Out My Style


Keeping the hair (mostly) out of my face on a chilly hike in Red Rock Canyon, outside Las Vegas.

With everything that’s happened in the past year, I feel like I’ve aged a decade in a matter of months. In the past, my freckles and pale skin kept me looking younger than my age. Not anymore. My skin looks dull. My hair is grayer than ever. Everything feels saggy and just plain blah. My clothes have no style.

Needless to say, I needed a bit of a style overhaul.

Last year, I mentioned my increasing affinity for hats. Hey, they solve a multitude of problems, from bad hair days to weather-related issues. Better still, if you find a good one, random strangers will approach you and tell you how stylish you look. This is new for me. I can’t say that I had much style in my youth, unless shapeless mom jeans and “good enough” fit counts as style.

She looked fabulous with her regular hair, but this looks great on her.

She looked fabulous with her regular hair, but this looks great on her. 

Hats are also good for hiding my gray roots. This month, while trying to go dark blonde for the winter, the roots appeared only 2.5 weeks after my last appointment. It’s time to accept that I’m either going to have to become very blonde, or bite the bullet and just go gray.

I actually have a Pinterest board of gray hairdos that (hopefully) wouldn’t make me look like a senior citizen. Maybe I’ll have my stylist bleach it out completely, throw in some purple streaks and have the punk rock hair that my mother would never let me have as a teen. My friend Cami did this and I think she looks fabulous, but I am not nearly as cool as Cami.

But it’s not just hair and hats that have prompted my change in style. This is the year I finally made the switch to multifocal glasses. Aside from being a bit nauseating during the adjustment period, I have to admit that it’s nice to be able to read something on paper, type on my computer AND look up to see who just came into the office. That hasn’t been possible in years, not without a lot of glasses-on, glasses-off and squinting. But the whole multifocal, presbyopia thing (literal translation: old man sight) had me feeling like I had one foot in the senior center.

I got a pair of glasses at the eye doctor, and I was torn between a subtle, blends-with-my-face pair and the classic nerdy tortoise shell. I didn’t think I necessarily wanted the nerdy persona every day of my life, and I couldn’t stomach paying for two pairs at eye doctor prices, so I got the simple ones.

Nerdy girl glasses.

Nerdy girl glasses. And yet another hat to hold me over until my next hair appointment.

But the funky, trendy glasses kept calling to me. A friend of mine recommended Made Eyewear, an online eyewear company. It’s a little bit tough to gauge which pairs will look right on you, but I used my old glasses as examples: more here, less there, too round, too square.

In the end I ordered three pairs for home try-on, which they send with your prescription included. One was much too large, and much too dark. The sunglasses just didn’t look quite right on my face. But the final pair… after much consultation with family and friends on the internet, I decided to keep them. A colleague told me that her optician said there are only two options with glasses: “Go bold or look old.” Well, then. Let’s go bold.

So maybe that’s my new 40-something style: go bold. Maybe for my next trick I can actually start wearing colors that aren’t black or gray. Baby steps.

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2 Responses

  1. Lori says:

    I like the glasses! I have no input on hair. I haven’t even gotten mine cut since October. I go to a one-woman shop and she’s booked solid October-December for Marine Corps ball and then Christmas party appointments, then she goes home to Tokyo for New Years. But not having gone this month is just pure laziness/my hair is long enough to get away with some shagginess now. My grays are definitely coming in and while they’re still blending well enough, they sure do catch the light and will probably reach critical mass before too long.

  2. Alisa says:

    Thanks! Yeah, the gray situation is becoming unmanageable. Wide swaths of roots take over my head after a couple of weeks! Is a wig out of the question? Maybe I’ll just get a gray wig and wear it for a year until my hair goes all natural.

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