According to a Wall Street Journal article, we are embarking on an explosion of style advice books aimed at women who want to look younger. Add to the list Staging Your Comeback: A Complete Beauty Revival for Women Over 45 , by Minneapolis salon owner and beauty and style expert Christopher Hopkins, that hit bookstores nationwide in April. As the WSJ piece points out, the category is growing as boomers age and as the fashion industry continues to design for people under thirty-five, leaving older women with nowhere to go for style guidance. We caught up with Hopkins to get his take on the trend.
“The bottom line is, I love these women,” he says. “The older they get, the more attractive they become, but the less attractive they feel .” Hopkins would like to change all of that: He has dedicated his career to making over women in their second act because he believes many have developed an outside that doesn’t reflect what’s inside. “These women have put themselves behind everything else, and all of a sudden they’re fifty and don’t know what to do.”
Hopkins—who has styled the Twin Cities glitterati and performed makeovers for the Oprah Winfrey Show —does. His whole total image makeover system is laid out in Comeback , from the questions each woman should ask herself to reignite her style, to silhouette analysis to determine what clothing shapes flatter her body type, to makeup and mindset changes that need to be made. First, women have to ask, “Who am I now ?”
“It’s not a matter of vanity, it’s a matter of self-respect,” Hopkins says. Throughout the book, Hopkins dispenses with sugarcoating and instead tells the truth. The result leaves readers feeling inspired instead of paralyzed by the idea or act of reviving or reclaiming an identity. In a sea of media tearing women down (and only sometimes does it improve their appearances), Hopkins maintains a positive, humorous outlook.
The other refreshing angle: He never promises that a miracle will happen overnight, or within the confines of an hour-long show, or that it is a journey with a finite end. “Your beauty routine is not going to get simpler as you age,” he says. His words provide a verbal mirror for women to assess their reflection—concrete questions, step-by-step instructions, inspirational quotes from style mavens of Coco Chanel caliber, and honest coaching. “I don’t see a woman for what she should be, I see her for who she can be,” he says.
The proof is in the pudding: Hopkins includes twelve makeovers, and the results are nothing short of astonishing. Without using extreme measures—just cuts and colors, styling, new clothing, makeup, and the “OK” that he says most women are hoping to hear. He pulls the ladies from a (usually self-induced) cloak of invisibility to the center of attention, an impressive feat because the subjects don’t look as though they are going kicking and screaming into their “second act.”
“Not everyone is going for ‘more youthful,’ ” Hopkins says. “It’s about setting a goal and being appreciated.”
Staging Your Comeback is available at Borders and Barnes & Noble bookstores. Find more photos, tips, and Hopkins’s blog here, or schedule your own makeover at reVamp! Salonspa, Mpls., 612-341-0404, revampsalonspa.com