Vanity Is Not a Deadly Sin. It’s One of Life’s Last Vital Signs.

For these senior citizens, keeping up appearances is simply part of good health.

Comments: 154

  1. I love this article. I'm 39 - but I always go out of the house looking put together. I feel at my best with my best foot forward. If you want to walk around in sweats all day, be my guest, but not me. I miss the days of smarter dressing.

  2. I was discussing this with my daughters the other day - I spend more time putting on makeup and fixing my hair now that I’m nearing 60 than I ever did as a teenager.

  3. When we were teenagers, we didn’t need make up 😘

  4. The people depicted in the article are wonderful. The tone of the article? Not so much. To suggest that older people put no effort into their appearance years ago is false. Both of my grandmothers dressed their best until the day they did. Ditto my extremely dapper maternal grandfather. They were all born in the 1880s. My paternal grandfather died before I was born but photos I have show someone who always dressed his best. He was also born in the 1880s. The 1880s! My mother, born in 1915, also wore great costume jewelry and fashionable clothes until she died at almost age 86 in 2002. The opinions that older folks were frumps until recently is condescending and demeaning. How old is the person who wrote the article? The writer sounds somewhat stunned that people of a certain age still care about taking care of themselves and dressing well.

  5. This is really great for those seniors who have money to spend on how they look. The reality is that the vast majority of seniors are living on Social Security and investments, if they were able to hold on to any, and can barely cover their basic necessities. They really cannot afford designer clothes and designer face lifts and makeup. Old age is wonderful if you have the where with all. Not so fun if you don't.

  6. That’s nonsense. Taking care of yourself doesn’t require expensive designer anything. Only having the pride to maintain your personal appearance. There is no excuse for being unkempt. It can often indicate low self esteem, depression, or other psychological problems. Or even bring them on. Sometimes, simple acts of self care can brighten your entire outlook on life.

  7. @SamanthaI Some of the happiest people are those without financial wealth. All you need is enough to live on, and gratitude. Deep contentment is on the inside.

  8. I do care about my appearance, but not as much as the women in the article, and I buy lots of great-looking, good quality, clothes, especially dresses, which no one around here seems to want to wear any more, at thrift stores and Goodwill.

  9. I'm 65 and just went on my summer shopping spree. Yes, I want to look good, feel good. Out with the old, in with the new. I'm just beginning!

  10. Other joys of aging include learning as much about the natural world as you can, volunteering to support causes you love, giving daily time to thoughtful study, making new friends, and being thankful for the privilege of being retired, free from the daily grind, and able to pursue deeply-loved interests. I'll be 80 in July, and I'm thankful for every day of exploration.

  11. Looking ones best is all good if it’s balanced with not relying on outer sources to feel good about oneself. Everything in moderation as the saying goes. Women seem more obsessed with outward appearances than the male gender which is a cultural thing I don’t adhere to. I can feel good with or without makeup... it’s all in the mind and one should not be judge mental of those who don’t swallow that pill of obsession.

  12. @Margie Goetz I agree; there's a balance. We should take care of ourselves. We also should do our best to ensure that our financial decisions allow us to plant seeds - both seed money, or the seeds of personal, familial and civic responsibility - for the coming generation. Not speaking directly about this article, but that's a legacy of beauty that never fades.

  13. @Margie Goetz - Taking pride in one's appearance is hardly a "pill of obsession." It just means doing what is important to you, what makes you feel good, what makes you happy. Calling it an "obsession" is profoundly judgmental.

  14. @Margie Goetz - nurses in the plastic surgery area of my local hospitals say that it is 50/50 men/women. Men are just better at keeping their secrets. Look around.

  15. I am an 80-year-old gentleman and I have just three words to say to these ladies, "you go girl!"

  16. Whenever my wife is tempted by plastic surgery, she sits down and writes a check to a non-profit that corrects cleft palates and other birth defects. She says she 'had her moment,' and embraces aging naturally. Put her in any room, with any generation, and she is always one of the most beautiful women there. As within, so without.

  17. @Bill Prange Thanks! This is inspiring and heart-warming, to me. I've earned my smile lines, eye crinkles, etc.; and am unashamed of them. I'll do the same .

  18. @Bill Prange This is what fabulous is.

  19. @Bill Prange Good for her!

  20. These beautiful, stylish women are such an inspiration. I don’t know if I’ve ever had as much style and verve as they do!

  21. Too soon old and too late smart! Good for these women. What choice do you have? Live or die. Age or die. Today's 20 and 30 somethings should really know that they too will get to be 60,70,80 and beyond AND it will be before they know it. It is unbelievable that 5 minutes ago, I turned 50 and I will be 60 in a couple of months. Its startling. Hopefully, I will help to change the narrative on aging. I remember well when my own mom turned 60. She didn't even give it a thought and my thought is I will officially be a young "old" person. My mom is now 90, still living on her own pretty much. She shops online for groceries and has them delivered but she cooks and cleans and attends her nearby senior center almost 5 days a week. She volunteers at the front desk checking people in. Good health, no meds, a great attitude. Worked until she was 83. The company thought she was 80 and had hired her at 60 but she shaved three years off her age. So they let her go because they thought she was 80 and had no idea she was 83. She was an administrator of a Nursing Home. She made that place run and they knew it. There are different ways to be an experienced liver in this world. We should stop calling people elderly. It denotes infirmity, frailty, the inability to fend for yourself and nothing could be further from the truth. Those in their 30s could learn from and respect the more experienced generation since they will be taking our seats sooner than they know. The basket is coming for you too.

  22. My mother, who lived through Auschwitz, the death march and Bergen-Belsen, emphasized the importance of grooming and self-care as keys to survival. She believed that when people gave up on maintaining their bodies,it was a step towards death. Something as small as combing her hair or cleaning her teeth with a potato peel gave her motivation to endure. She was not much concerned about makeup, although she never left the house without lipstick and immaculate clothing,But using scent,moisturizer and eye cream, grooming her eyebrows and nails were basic nonnegotiable elements of her routine.

  23. All the subjects of this article are, as others have noted, rich, privileged, and white. AND none appear to be living with any cognitive disability which will come with the territory of late life for at least 50% of us. I encourage the nyt to focus on in-depth articles about the challenges of a wide range of disabilities which those of us lucky enough to live into late life -- or our family members -- will need to manage for us. It may be sexy and fun journalism to look at the make-up habits of the elderly, but how about dementia planning for late life?

  24. @Codysadis Eh, no. Not all the people interviewed in the article were white. Please re-read.

  25. Why do women need to wear make-up, have face lifts and wear expensive clothes to feel good about themselves? I'm 67 trim, fit, and don't care for make-up or fancy clothes to feel good about myself. I'm comfortable in my jeans, t-shirt, leggings or shorts when the weather is warm. Fashion magazines have always tried to dictate what I wear and how I look. I like to decide how to look and not try to hide my age. I feel that women who have face lifts try to hide their age, I'm proud to be 67.

  26. You at 67 are of a different generation from women who are 77 and 87. They keep up the appearances to which they were reared. You do not.

  27. @B. It's not strictly generational. I'm 77, and I'm with Janet. I am too busy with part-time work, volunteering, and cat rescue activity to spend time fussing with my appearance. I wear comfy trousers, T-shirts and sneakers, stopped using makeup decades ago, and spend about 15 minutes every couple of months on a haircut that I can style by running my fingers through it. Focus on fashion is fine for those who think it's important and that their identity is tied to their looks, but that's not me. Of course this is the Style section, so it's about style, not non-style.

  28. @B. You are so right! I'm 67 and moved to a building advertised as being for 55+. I was led to believe that there were many tenants in my age range. I should have realized that apt. mgrs. will say anything to rent an apartment. Most people are in their 70's--90's. I'm so depressed here that it's all I can do to take a shower.

  29. Oh dear, I must be an exception. I am 82, stopped using make-up years ago, dress comfortably in soft but nice clothes and nothing pleases me more than having my young and older friends tell me that I am beautiful, just the way I am.

  30. @Liesje yes indeed. I can't imagine living to look good for others; or letting anyone put a knife to my face. Beauty moves from the face to the heart or there is no beauty at all.

  31. @Liesje I agree! The so called "Beauty Industry" has brutalized the female. Instead of being able to focus on our gentle, nurturing, and intelligent social cooperation abilities we have been exploited, reduced to sex objects, painted, manipulated from the time we are born. The same old rotten double standard exists. If only the energy women spend on "looking young and female" from cradle to grave were used to make the world kinder for all, there might be hope to survive as a species to admire. I'm afraid most women have bought into the beauty myth hook line and sinker.

  32. Looking smart and well put together is an admirable goal many elders are also concerned with still contributing to society at large through political social and cultural engagement. Look at Warren Bernie and Biden.

  33. How about a piece on the hidden assisted living facilities across America where the elderly are warehoused. I have a friend who is 88 in such a place. She did everything right: saved copiously for retirement, purchased long-term care insurance at great expense. When she presses her bedside buzzer for help it can take up to an hour for someone to appear. She could be dead then. Eventually a very low paid, untrained but well-meaning staff person appears. There is no physician on staff and no RN on weekends. Look into that instead of how much fun the very wealthy are having with hair, make-up and clothes.

  34. @Suzanne Wheat Why change the subject? This article is not about deficient facilities, is it? Do I detect class envy?

  35. @Suzanne Wheat Brava, Suzanne! No one is going to get me to continue to waist my time and money on the very things that have repressed women: Social Bondage, making women a mere caricature of a human.

  36. @LarryAt27N No Larry, you don't. It's just a question of values, of priorities.

  37. The will to live is the most important factor in longevity, and keeping up your appearance can vastly increase it.

  38. @Marilyn Sue Michel - Seems more like the fear of dying. Either way, try mindfulness meditation for an appreciation of being alive.

  39. Also it's important to have a moral purpose for living longer.

  40. @A Goldstein how do you know she doesn't already practice mindful meditation?

  41. It would take a lot of effort for me at 71 to go down the path of looking less and less like I really am and more and more as if edited by Photoshop. But why would I do that? I'm thrilled with being relatively healthy and capable of experiencing life in all its fleeting glory through expanding my comprehension of the universe. That, for me, does not require vanity surgeries, even if I could afford them.

  42. this is a celebration of vanity disguised as a description of the maintenance of dignity. not a word about the deepness and resilience of the matured mind.

  43. @kate Its all connected. Keeping yourself looking your best, no matter what that is, is an outcome of resilience.

  44. @dlb makeup and facelifts? the literal and visual epitome of a frozen attitude.

  45. Here in the latter portion of my life, I think: If not now, when? It puts things into perspective. It makes you bolder. You are at last yourself. Frankly I wish the epiphany had come 40 years ago.

  46. A very small minority of the elderly can live in luxury, while many more lack the basics and live in poverty. This is shameful. Rich elderly can do whatever they want, there will always be industries designed to make money off them.

  47. “I have no one to please but myself.” You go, girls! Good for her and good for all of them. I wonder what the men think?

  48. @LarryAt27N First, I wondered what the men think. Then I wondered if requests for Viagra scrips went up.

  49. Oh, boy! I love seeing elderly people all decked out in a creative outfit! Any color, any skirt length,low cut blouses, big old wax mustaches on the men or checked that. They're giving the finger to the establishment and I adore it. But I want to do less fussing when I get older. I've always found it exhausting. Lipstick? NO WAY. I never figured out what to do with it when I'm eating. Just, like, eat it? Take it off?

  50. I had a 80+ year old neighbor who wouldn't answer her doorbell if she did have her makeup on--I agree that looking your best usually makes one feel better. However, IMHO the vanity of trying to out-do mother nature is absurd. I can't wait until I retire to spend my time/money aiding people and animals who desperately need help. Wasting the precious time I have left is more valuable than any ridiculous attempt to try and look like someone's granddaughter.

  51. @Linda Hanson Makeup is not about trying to look like a granddaughter or trying to outdo Mother Nature. Wearing it does not prevent helping people and animals.

  52. I've got sticker shock on those monthly prices!

  53. No men. I discovered somewhat recently that the only point is that you are still alive. Purpose, except to be alive, has next to nothing to do with it. Immortality rules. Almost.

  54. I thought this article was to the point of dressing very interesting leaving sweats and white sneakers behind What I don' understand why these seniors have not stayed in their homes I'am 85 years young living alone in New York City that is what makes seniors vibrant the culture that surrounds you, youngsters in the street and on elevator, not being surrounded by every one the same age. Where you have support from ages across the board. Today the aim is to keep seniors in their homes. There is a group called NORC naturally occurring retired community that works very well at home and all the cultural benefits living where there is culture. Hope my comments make a difference before enrolling in this way of life Just a little advice from a very active silver fox Barbara😟👍

  55. @Barbara Halpern perhaps these ladies don't want the isolation that can come from living alone, or the upkeep and headaches that come with home ownership. Maybe they didn't live in the same vibrant, awesome neighborhood you did, and this is their first opportunity to be with like-minded people and belong. I'm happy that you are active and love your life. What makes you happy may not be what makes others happy. You do you, and live and and let live.

  56. I have never been a glamour puss, in fact quite the opposite. But like the ladies in this article, and some of the previous commenters, I do find my interest in makeup, jewelry, clothing, etc. rising as I approach 65. I think it's because after so many years of struggling with low self esteem and a sense of inferiority acquired during a childhood spent as the constant victim of bullies, I am finally at a point where I find it easier to accept myself as I am, and I want to feel good about my appearance as well. It's almost as if I finally have a chance to experience the adolescence I never got during my teenage years ... glad to know I am not alone!

  57. People forget elders were young once so why shouldn't they continue to live how they have done all their lives? You don't just reach a certain age and turn into a bag lady.

  58. Geez. I appreciate good fitness and looking lively as much as the next person. A little balance please how much vanity money do men spend on cars and golf Everybody would have more personal joy if they helped others and added some laugh lines :)

  59. @Mary How do you know that these women have not done charitable work and donated money to causes that help less fortunate people? Perhaps you should address your concerns to folks in the 20-45 age group who adhere to buying handbags in the $1500-$5000 range, shoes for $450+. Take a look at the 'real housewives of anything' and you will see people in $10,000 bags, $80,000 rings, driving $250,000 to charity events that manage to raise $15,000 off of 500 people. Television shows such as these reinforce the joys of materialism.

  60. sounds like being old is going to be a blast!

  61. @Amalia: If you've got the money.

  62. Methinks they try too hard. Keep in mind - the suicide rate is U-shaped. Highest in young and old. I think growing old is good until you have chronic pain.

  63. Live your life, as you see fit. It is most certainly, YOUR life :)

  64. What's wrong with women wanting to look their best at any age? My mother died at 92 but always went to the hairdresser every other week. It made her feel cared for. Until she died strangers frequently commented on her beauty, which was not the result of vanity but a lifetime of healthy living and good grooming. As she aged getting her to the hairdresser became laborious for both of us but what I wouldn't give to take on that errand one more time. And when I see obituaries with photographs of elderly women looking unkempt I'm grateful that my mother took pride in her appearance.

  65. At 60 I still polish my shoes before I go to work. I don't polish them for others, I polish them for myself, that I care in my appearance. Mercifully the need to conform left me very early, I don't really care what others think of my appearance. I wear clothes for comfort, not style.

  66. I am nearing 60 and have recently learned a great deal from Dr. Dray - a terrific dermatologist who creates educational videos on You Tube. She teaches that great skin care does NOT have to come with a high price tag, and posits that a simple, minimalist skin-care routine using affordable drug-store products can do wonders for the health of the skin at all ages. She really cuts through the hype RE high-priced serums, toners and other nonsense. I have been following her advice for five months and have seen a dramatic improvement in my skin, after years of wasting my money on scrubs, lotions with fragrance, skin brushes, nose strips, and other harsh treatments trying to alleviate cystic acne. I finally feel comfortable in my skin, and it's fantastic! I'm getting compliments on my complexion for the first time in my life. And all the money I've saved is a big bonus. Best wishes to all of us in our wiser years.

  67. I'm closing in on 70. These ladies are some distance further on. But , although I still feel attractive and still have an enthusiastic partner , I am under no illusions about looking fabulous. Face it those of us who are old are only beautiful to those who love us which should be enough. Old age is a train wreck eventually. All systems deteriorate-vision, joints, digestion, hearing, skin elasticity. And often cognition and judgement. I guess that if you have always focused on appearance then a daily intense focus to still ' look great " is consistent. And probably fun and gratifying for the lucky ones who can afford the time and the expense. I'm trying to simplify in my own life. The jewelry mostly stays in the drawer-makes my neck hurt for one thing. I'm sentenced to comfortable shoes if I want to go anywhere. I confess though to having a very talented hairdresser and I use reasonably priced face creams. I watch more news, read more poetry, write more correspondence and plant more flowers. Not much time for fashion and the gentleman could care less . To each her own. I had a grandmother who was a Frietag in Kansas so hello to Shirley who does look great.

  68. You bet I want to keep up. I still have the same desires whether I'm 23 or 73. Things look a little blurrier now but that's fine because it helps me to not see the lines and wrinkles as much. I love wearing outfits that make me feel attractive and get noticed. I enjoy good looking men and those who know how to flirt a little. Long conversations and joking about life's ironies will always be fun. I'm basically the same girl I was many years ago and I also appreciate those same things that make life enjoyable like friends, nice clothes, parties and family.

  69. I'm 75. I am not buying expensive designer clothes but that decision is not due to my age, but to my lifestyle. But I do make a major effort each day to look "smart". I never come downstairs, even if wearing a nice robe, without earrings, my hair combed and styled, and lipstick. It's a matter of self-respect and dignity. I get my hair done weekly but no longer color it. Come on - who unearth believes a woman my age or older actually has blonde hair! But the style I keep my hair is very chic. I just prefer "au natural". Make-up? On an old woman with wrinkles, Tammy Fae Baker comes to mind. Lipstick, a touch of eyebrow pencil, feathered (we start losing our eyebrows with age and some are white), and if it's a special occasion, a touch of mascara. That's quite enough. I was getting my nails done every 3 weeks (my Shellac polish lasted that long). Manicurist left and I have not been able to find one, so I just file my nails, keep my cuticles in check, and make sure my hands are always very clean. I did pass on to my daughter on her birthday recently, 1/2 my collection of Hermes scarves. I rarely wear them anymore and she nearly always does. But I hung onto my fabulous large silk/cashmere Hermes shawls as they are my "signature" over a very basic dress or top and nice pants. My motto for old age is "less make-up and bigger jewelry (real)". It works for me!

  70. @India "less make-up and bigger jewelry (real) Love it! Thanks for the tip. I'm a few years behind you but I'll be following in your footsteps sister :)

  71. @India I love your approach to life. Bravo!

  72. The high end retirement communities, are a good argument for taxing the 1% more while others have so little. $20,000/ month rent can afford more tax. They may look nice on the outside, but a bit rotten on the inside.

  73. @jlcsarasota Perhaps these people contribute generously to charities and are not at all "rotten on the inside" You judge them without knowing them.

  74. @jlcsarasota Because no one should be able to reap the benefits of their hard earned dollars? Please.

  75. @jlcsarasota I agree. The idea that it is "their money" brings up lots of questions for me. How many lawyers did it take to pay less tax than many people making less than 20% of the area medium income? I'm happy they are celebrating their age and decisions to dress/look how they want. However, I think the income disparity...that also adds up to who gets to live longer...needs to be part of this article.

  76. Used effectively makeup is truly a wonderful gift as it can take years off a woman's face. Plus, it's much less expensive and time consuming than other more costly procedures. Estee Lauder and all the rest deserve our admiration. Absolutely nothing wrong with a little more beauty in the world. Enjoy!

  77. @TSV when fussing with my hair and makeup takes years off my *body* i will waste time with it.

  78. @bronxbee As the article points out, very important to remember to exercise as well.

  79. Wow, this article completely validates what I have been thinking lately. I had 4 brothers growing up, have always been a bit of a tomboy, yet the older I get, the more I love clothing and fashion. I had that same idea that I have more years behind me than in front of me so if not now, never. I love to create my own clothes or use fabrics that I find at thrift or estate sales. My own daughter's have taught me about make up. Sadly, my years in the sun did a number on my skin, oh well. Thanks for this great article. Thanks to all of the sages who are my image goal!!

  80. No facelifts for me. I'm too busy reading/writing, painting (I'm a life-long artist). Keeping up my surroundings is part of my physical fitness. I spend time waxing my maple floors, arranging art work, balcony gardening. I walk everywhere for food shopping, art supplies, medical visits, visiting people. I wear skinny jeans a lot with my flower print sneakers (a gift from my daughter.)

  81. I don't like make up; it's torture sitting in a hair dresser's chair and shopping is a bore. I've, however, driven across the US 4x and hiked Fitzroy, Patagonia in the last five years. And, okay, I did sit in a salon chair but only to get a purple streak dyed in my hair. And, oh ya, I got my first tatoo at 72. Becoming "senior" is the long game you have been playing along

  82. @Ellen You could have done all those things wearing lipstick. No doubt some do. For all I know, maybe some of them are men.

  83. I found this article thoroughly depressing! To reach the end of life and still care about shallow, vapid things like appearance. After decades of living to still think that things like that matter seems a tremendous waste. Not to mention all of the ways unscrupulous medical professionals and other "service" providers can take advantage by preying on the elderly. Very sad.

  84. @Sharon Caring about appearance doesn't mean they don't care about anything else. Appearance is one way to convey who you are. It's not always just a shallow gesture. We all need things to make us happy, and this happens to be one of the things that makes the people featured in this article happy.

  85. I love this! And IMO, many of the comments are missing the point. Yes, some of these women are spending lots of money. It's theirs to spend as they desire. But the will to look and feel great can be had at much more conservative price points. My 90 year old Mom, with Alzheimers, is a completely different person once she has her Revlon "Fire and Ice" lipstick on, a brightly colored shirt to brighten her face, and spends 60 minutes in the gym. In her mind, these things make her 35 and invincible!

  86. I am hip over 70 and found volunteering and learning about other cultures one of the most satisfying pleasures in the last 10 years or so.

  87. No thanks. Thrilled to give it all up. I’m into good enough for these delicious years.

  88. Elder communities that charge $300,000 to enter and $20,000 per month? I will be counting my pennies hoping to pay my real estate taxes, heat, credit card bills, groceries....just as I have been doing my entire life. "When I was deep in poverty, you taught me how to give" (Bob Dylan).

  89. I love this article. I'm almost 60, a widow, not looking for a relationship, but I like to wear make up and dress well because I like the way it makes ME feel. And guess what? It doesn't prevent me from doing other things like volunteer work.

  90. My mom wore her high heels, always coordinated with her purse, and everything coordinated with her dress until she was in her last days. She was always pestering me to wear stockings when dressing for an occasion, to coordinate my outfits and to never, ever, repeat the same outfit for the same place or with the same people. Now that I am in my sixties, I have given up on everything that makes me uncomfortable. I like to look nice but I will never sacrifice my comfort just for the sake of looking good. I do not see the people of my age, we who were so happy wearing jeans, tshirts and JC sandals, going with that idea of polishing yourself for the sake of it. I no longer wear high heels, I use the same purse all the time, I do not die my hair, and I am as happy as I have ever been. Additionally, I don't have that money and even if I had, there are plenty things I would prefer to do with it. These people are from my mother's generation.

  91. @CoquiCoqui my aunt, who passed away at 90, last year insisted on makeup, lipstick and coordinating outfits every day even if only going to the supermarket. her biggest heartbreak came when she could no longer wear high heels and made me promise that when she died, i would put high heels on her for the wake. although i loved dressing up for occasions and wearing makeup, i was a disappointment to her that when going to work and going food shopping, i would never wear makeup. her favorite refrain was "you never know who you might meet." she was a very feminine woman... my interests are more intellectual, and since i'm rarely invited to anything "dressy" any more (not that i wouldn't like to be), i rarely wear makeup. i gave up high heels and panty hose 30 years ago, while i was still fairly young. i loved my aunt dearly, but our styles were wildly different... for her funeral, i made sure to dress perfectly and wear makeup... still no panty hose or heels though. women of my aunt and mother's generation had to put a lot of store by their appearance -- i feel i'm liberated from that.

  92. @CoquiCoqui I'm glad you're happy. I'm a firm believer in people doing what they want as long as they don't hurt anyone else. But I wonder if you realize how judgmental you sound? I'm not of your mother's generation, but I am officially "old" (collecting Social Security). I wouldn't want to have a face lift or live in one of the very, very expensive communities described here even if I could afford to. But I don't think you're superior to me because you exclusively wear jeans, tee shirts, and sandals and I don't.

  93. yes, you can study the glamour magazines to know the trendy shade of lipstick. But how sad to get one's sense of self-worth and zest for life from trendy high-heels when babies are being locked up in cages and will never get back with their parents. Isn't that what we should be putting our efforts into? I'm 69 years old. I'm retired. I could not care less about trendy clothes and lipstick.

  94. @Loola Good for you. But unless you're doing something about those caged-babies - then you should not be accusing others of not doing it, and being interested in their appearance. Is it not possible for someone to care about how they look, and also be concerned about the caged-babies? Does one need to smell like a stinky hippy to be socially woke and/or active? You know, walk and chew gum?

  95. Hitting the gym? You go, girl! Getting a face lift? Puh-leeze...

  96. I'm 68, and 5 weeks into Invisalign orthodontia. I am trying to lose the extra weight my breast cancer treatment pills piled onto my frame. I color my grays and get conditioning smoothing hair treatments and regular bang trims. Cataract replacement gave me near-20/20 distance vision, but I still wear a multicolor wardrobe of glasses. Why? Because glasses hide undereye bags & circles better than concealer, and bangs are cheaper and safer than Botox. The day people stop gasping in disbelief "you're HOW old?!" when I tell them my age or show my I.D. is the day I throw in the vanity towel.

  97. @Sandy Good for you! Great attitude! I hope you're healthy again. People still think I'm younger than I am, but I've decided not to bring up age if possible because at some point I will look my age, and the compliments will cease.

  98. I send a quarterly check to our local “ Meals on Wheels” .Elderly residents need daily sustenance not embellishments. Sad to read the 1% fail to recognize the joy of sharing rather than preening and fawning.

  99. @Maylan How do you know they're not sharing?

  100. Driving passed a medical center in Michigan there was a billboard that said ״ The 1st person to live to 150 has already been born “ to which I being 70 at the time pointed to myself and screamed “it’s me - it’s me “ The point of this tale is that according to the-billboard of modern medicine and science 100 today is the new 60 or thereabouts and so this article is really about the 1st people ( oddly all women - must be a feminist thing ) to have throughly embraced this concept and have become its 1st colonizers and scientific vanguard of something propagated by science and not vanity .

  101. Everyone and everything is just a commodity. What? Do you really think you weren't going to turn into some millennia's profit center? If you tell people that something is "very exclusive" and charge them obscene amounts of money every month, you will never have a shortage of sleek, well-appointed, nicely cared-for sheep to sign up.

  102. It's nice to see happy old people. One cannot, however, escape the fact that being rich has, oh, pretty much everything to do with it. Good housing, good food, good medical care ... If only we could all grow old with such fat wallets.

  103. How about using some of those resources to leave the world a better place for your kids, grand kids, and the rest of society? I'm tired of hearing Boomers complain about Millennials when they're the generation that has taken and taken and are leaving the world in such a mess.

  104. @Chris How about letting them spend their money as they see fit. It's their money.

  105. @Chris, uh, point taken, but these people aren't boomers (the eldest would be 73, I think). I'm sick of the generational infighting and finger-pointing. There are plenty of boomers and silent generation folks who've fought hard all their lives to make the world a better place (the civil, women's, and gay rights movements come to mind). I have come to the conclusion that most people, including those much younger than the people featured here, don't care a fig about making the world a better place. Otherwise, why would we have an ignorant racist for president and other vile politicians racing to roll back human rights gained over the last 60+ years?

  106. @Chris when I go to the hairdresser for my monthly color and cut, my stylist is in her early 20s. So I am doing business with someone from the Millenial generation. When I go to Ulta for my skin care and makeup, most of the staff there are also Millenials, so I'm contributing to another day of income for them as well. We purchase books and music written and performed by people from all age groups (though most are Gen Xers when it comes to our music--we're growing old together, so to speak) My husband and I donate to a number of causes--one of them is a campus ministry at the university where I work--benefitting (you guessed it) Millenials. Oh, and we raised a Millenial--paid the full freight for her college degree and everything. She's out on her own now. Anyone who tells us that we are part of the problem can just sit down.

  107. Sad article for all kinds of reasons. We are no longer able to grow old naturally and experience respect in a culture endlessly fascinated by youth, and dismissive of anyone who doesn't remain so. Unfortunately, I understand what drives these women. When I was going through cancer treatment and court simultaneously, after my husband filed for a divorce during my first chemo, I refused to allow anyone to see how sick I looked, even judges. I wouldn't go anywhere bald or without doing everything I could to hide the illness. This attitude hurt me in court but I felt I couldn't allow my vulnerability to show. I wrote a book about my experience, Sorry I Was No Fun at the Circus. Like a wounded animal, I had to keep everyone at bay with whatever shows of strength I could muster. These older women probably feel the same and think they won't be viewed as strong, vibrant, or valuable, if they don't put on this face or look. While I understand it, I am deeply saddened.

  108. To those posting negative comments, I think you're missing the point here. These women can afford the luxuries they desire, and they are very much in charge. I don't for a moment think any of the ladies profiled are being duped by the senior living industry. If they want to wear makeup and jewelry or shop for the latest fashions, who are they hurting? If you live to be 80+ and want to dress up every night, why on earth not? And if you think it's a sad waste of time and energy, that's your opinion and just one way of living. Not THE way. I hope to live and die like Ms. Freitag and the others -- wearing clothes that I enjoy, my lips in MAC ruby red, and not giving a toot about what anyone else thinks.

  109. Taking care of ones appearance is a sign of good health. Caring about how you look in public and not going out looking like a slob seems to be lost on many people these days. Getting up and getting properly dressed to present yourself to the world is a good thing! Even staying home its a good thing to put on clothes and not stay in your sleepwear all day long. Being obsessed about ones appearance, where a "uniform" rules your time and ability to go outside is a whole other matter. Older people come from a time when you dressed properly to go outside. Its not a bad trait...we could use more of it these days where people, alleged adults, dress in all manner of slovenly...

  110. This really cheered me up and is inspiring me to toss out the old T shirts and such that I wear running errands!

  111. How many vintage lesbian women did you interview for this article? Here's my take: take the makeup off, let your hair grow grey, let your face relax into age, wear sensible shoes or go barefoot. This applies to all genders and ages

  112. Why?

  113. @mutabilis Why, why, and why?

  114. My guess is that you (and all those who “Recommended” your comment) are male and under 60. These ladies don’t honestly care what you think;)

  115. I plan to" rage, rage against the dying of the light ", and I consider intellectual challenges, good health, friends and family, kindness AND maintenance of appearance to be part of a larger lifetime plan.

  116. What saddens me about this article is the patronizing tone, as if it’s somehow adorable that women over 60 continue to apply makeup, dress stylishly, have cosmetic surgery and dental work done. In many cases, we were among the first to work full time outside the home, at jobs that used to be a man’s domain (e.g., advertising, finance and management consulting) and, after being man-splained into what dress for success was, we instead dressed to kill. Makeup, styled hair, beautiful clothes (not exorbitant) were signals that we meant business, not vanity or husband hunting. In business development and client management, the catch phrase of “eat what you kill” has become the domain of assertive women as well as men. The idea of embracing invisibility as I get older, and still work - or dressing in soft baggy clothes that are larger versions of toddler wear - would definitely make me feel un-alive, apathetic, and old beyond my years. The pharma, food, clothing and housing industries need to pay closer attention: follow the money, which my generation has plenty of, stop trying to fix us by making up diseases, and design more products that make us feel good. Plan to spend your marketing dollars strategically, not solely on cohorts that need to pay off other debts before adulting.

  117. Inspire is on 92nd street and second avenue in Manhattan. There are no upscale, neighboring amenities. There is also an enormous hill to climb to go to tonier neighborhoods. Tell, me, why would someone paying $17,000 per month want to live there?

  118. Aging has become is a lighting rod of approval and disapproval. At this point, haven’t we learned the proverb, live and let live?

  119. As a 70-year-old Ivy-educated PhD who fought for and sustained a very successful career when it was difficult for most women, especially mothers, to do so, I defy anyone to call me a victim of the beauty myth. But personal style has been a passion of mine since I began sewing clothes for my dolls as a young girl. Never a conventional beauty, I realized at an early age that I was going to have to work a bit if I wanted to hold my head high among all the pretty girls, and I have worn makeup every day of my life since my teens to balance out and define my asymmetric features. And I started designing and making my own clothes as a teenager who otherwise couldn't find -- or afford -- what she wanted to wear. Those days are long over, and now working only from home, I recently purged my designer professional wardrobe. That leaves more room for new acquisitions intended to please me! My wonderful husband of almost 50 years has never had much interest in style, but I think he is often tickled by the fun I have with it every day. I am and have always been a high-contrast person and a proud liberal. Why would I choose at this stage in my life to fade away into conservative convention with dull grey hair and no color on my pale face?

  120. @prickly You had me impressed until "dull grey hair." My hair started going gray in my 30's, a family trait. It's a pretty shade, silvery, not yellow, and retains some of the original black. I like it. I'm collecting Social Security and people often think I'm younger than I am. I see women over 60 with hair dyed red or black, and it's aging against older skin. Many women who were never blondes as young women dye their hair blonde as they age, and that isn't always becoming either. But if it makes them feel good, fine.

  121. @Linda not everyone's gray hair comes in as a "pretty silvery shade.' Mine is dull gray and you better believe I am not ready to stop coloring it. I'm 62 and still in the workforce. And I was a brunette who is now a blonde. It works with my coloring.

  122. I find nothing rewarding in this article, why don't these affluent women live in their own home and do things to cultivate their interests if it is just grooming they are nit the least to be admired. I'am an 85 year old silver fox living alone and enjoying all the good things NYC has to offer. Never thinking of how I look because I just took it for granted that one takes care of themselves hair manicure done weekly The goal today is to keep seniors in their homes and if help is needed there is an organization NORC Naturally occurring retiring community that will show the way to be independent.

  123. The way to take care of oneself is to eat healthy and you will shine outwardly. Looking good comes from within on all levels. Of course eating healthy and living healthy requires money and that's a shame

  124. Hmmm...I'm not even sure where to start on this one....think I'll just stop here.

  125. I don't understand all these comments espousing the idea that being fashionable into your later years means that you can't also care about society/help others/make a meaningful contribution to the world. You can wear Yves St Laurent red lipstick and give to animal charities. You can coordinate your shoes with your dress and write your Congressman about climate change. You can start Pilates at 90 and help your millenial grandson with college. If you want to continue to care about your appearance as you get older, great - more power to you. It's not vanity to take pride in wanting to present yourself well, within reason. (Maybe lay-off the facelifts in your 80s).

  126. News flash: make-up, hair dye, nail polish, and gaudy jewellery don't make a woman look glamorous. Too many women confuse tacky for glamour. Real glamour comes from exercising, eating right, and not smoking.

  127. And good genes and lifestyle.

  128. $78,000 a year for rent? Now wouldn't it be nice to have THAT kind of money?

  129. @Zetelmo I don't know how old you are, but I'm collecting Social Security. I'm really happy that I can live well and look fairly good for my age on a yearly income less than $78,000. Think of all the families that raise children on less money than that. I wonder if the folks who can afford these very, very expensive retirement communities give anything to charities?

  130. @Zetelmo The very moneyed women in this article are, surely, not my tribe, financially. However, I love the idea of getting older and deciding, after decades of being told how you should look, to look/dress how you want. I just hope they are spending time volunteering and contributing financially to causes/people less fortunate than they are. And: 76 next month, I've dressed for years to please myself and be comfortable. I live in subsidized senior housing and resist this insane government whenever I can and I will knock you out if you try to take away my mascara.

  131. @Zetelmo Actually, $204,000 for the soon to be opened Inspir. I could look much, much better on just a couple of months' rent!

  132. Lots of people here criticizing older women who want to look good. They get rejected by society for being old and past it, and then mocked for trying to look their best.

  133. I guess, if you've got money, it ain't so difficult, otherwise it is.

  134. I think for most older ladies I’ve seen, makeup makes you look older (if the point is to please others). And a wrinkled face (or an overly tightened one) with blonde hair doesn’t fool anyone. But I agree that this is a generational issue - what an 80+ thinks is vastly different than what I think at 64. To each it’s own, but give me the natural and comfortable - but I am going for another tattoo, tho.

  135. Funny. Polishing the silver means something kinda different to me.

  136. Most of the comments are puzzling. If you are over 65, you dont have to look older, take care of yourself. Many women commenting are so defensive about wearing no makeup, dressing casual and thinking they cant look great and read, or garden at the same time. lighten up.

  137. I like the people who were interviewed for this article.They're my kind!! I'm almost 86 and have been told repeatedly that I look about 20 years younger. Yes, I "keep up" my hair in a natural hair color. I make most of my clothes and they're classic and ageless. They are COLORFUL and they FIT. I'm a widow, live happily alone in my own house, have investments and income property. You're darn right I wear jewelry -- a lot of one-of-a-kind costume stuff -- fun. I'm a very active landlord and keep up a very nice "vintage" house. I haven't had any "face work"; I don't think I need it. I look like my aunts, and that's fine. Make-up? Not around the house, but if I go off my own block, you bet I wear makeup. I'm enjoying this stage of my life!

  138. What about men? I know that, statistically, we don't live as long as women, but the article doesn't mention men AT ALL. We still need to work out and see dermatologists and dentists and various medical folks. I'd believe that most men are not as concerned about their appearance, but there's no reason we shouldn't dress well.

  139. A word of caution about persons with dementia keeping up the ritual of applying makeup: my mother applied makeup to cover up a spot on her nose, making it not visible to others. Eventually my sister, a nurse, noticed it and it checked out to be skin cancer, which was caught early enough to remove with clean margins.

  140. I live by a quote in my 40s, back when I was getting old: Good grooming never goes out of style.

  141. To be terribly honest, people react first to your face. Poor teeth, and many of the gifts of age -- discolored skin and wrinkles - may be termed beautiful in a deeper sense, but daily encounters aren't deep. And if anything, our culture has become increasingly surface oriented ( See the Kardashians). So it makes sense to put forth the best face - and style - you can, while you can. But it should be of course, moderated by compassion for all, including yourself. And with an appreciation that most of us do not have $17,000/ month plus pocketbooks. A dose of reality is in order: old age is definitely a time when less ( less visible makeup) is more. But there may be a lot of unseen paddling to keep the skin looking as good as possible.

  142. Lots of goodness in this article. These women (and yes, I'd love to hear from men) are still excited about life - and isn't that really the thing? At 65 I've finally freed myself from makeup. Mostly because my chronic dry eye won't allow eye makeup. But I do take care of my skin. My teeth I take care of because I hate the dentist. And I run three miles every other day because I want my mind to be clear as possible as I age. Other than that, what I'm trying to do is be loyal to love in all things. A clear heart, a warm smile, a self-confidence born of knowing the love of God is all around me - now THAT's ageless.

  143. I really do love this article because just going thru the motions of sprucing up for dinner give purpose to a senior.....however, I couldn't help but wish this type of environment was available to seniors who are not wealthy, because, clearly, these women either have money or had careers that paid extremely well and could save for this type of lifestyle. What about all the "other" seniors across the country who have the same mindset but not the same bank account.

  144. that's why Carol and I created because we didn't have these kinds of role models when we headed into old age. Positive, upbeat and fun loving attitudes go a long way to daily joy and happiness.

  145. On the heels of the article last week about how middle-age women are living more boldly, I get the sense that NYT has finally discovered that older women actually have lives -- really good, creative, interesting ones. It's true! We have the time and resources to do and go -- we travel, shop, create, experiment. At 56, I just published my first book. My friends and I are more politically active than ever before. We feel youthful even if our crow's feet indicate otherwise. Personal style has no expiration date -- we continue to evolve and learn. So do what makes you happy - makeup, no makeup, colorful clothes, whatever. Carpe diem!

  146. What's missing here? Bill Cunningham! The man about town on a bicycle who celebrated real verve!

  147. When you are a senior woman, you are often invisible and treated as such. Yet you are frequently making very important financial and logistical decisions--sometimes the most substantial of your life. It helps if you project confidence and feel like you can make people take you seriously as an adult peer. If your looks help your confidence, where's the harm? It won't help the sad state of the world if you stop putting on lipstick when you go out to the store. For women a generation or so ahead of me (I'm 68) personal appearance was the only thing in their lives they could really control and, in any case, may be the last pleasure left. Aging involves a lot of losses. If fashion gives you a jolt of joy and power, again, where's the harm?

  148. Having read many of the comments, I find all sides have merit. I, myself, 67, early on in retirement, find the whole question of "what shall I wear today" a bit of a dilemma. I've always loved clothes and, from the earliest Carnaby Street fashion days, my make up goes on even when I'm home. But since I don't need to dress up for work anymore (I am a retired mental health counselor), what to wear? It generally seems to be athleisure since on any given day I might go to the gym. But, yes, with lipstick on. All that said, among the many things that irked me about this article about obviously very rich women, is the condescending attitude of "whoa, who woulda thought old women are STILL PEOPLE?" Our society accepts old men as still people. Well, guess what , dearies, so are women. And, as such, we can do and be whatever we want. The best take away for me is that attitude - that this is the time in life to explore all the roads not taken. I'm trying to look( and go) down as many of mine as I can.

  149. Many senior citizens don't have the financial resources to live like the women in this article.

  150. Lovely that these affluent women can continue to dress well, access cosmetic procedures and retire to communities that are beyond the means of most elder Americans. Living well when you can afford to isn't hard.

  151. Having reached 70, I am glad to be liberated from daily glamour. Yes, it’s fun to get dressed up to go out w/ friends, but I find the thrust of this article superficial. I am in good shape, exercise regularly, garden, and have a comfortable income, so this is not “sour grapes”, I just feel that as we approach end-times it might be more relevant to tend to the state of out soul than the state of our make-up.

  152. Chris— your irritation at boomers who supposedly ruined the world is a tired and oh so cliched lie. Every generation blames the one before, as the song goes. Let it go, and let’s see what greatness millennials bestow on planet earth. I truly wish you well. Really I do.

  153. $17,000 for a one-bedroom apartment? Readers and author all know, of course, that this is a tiny part of the democgraphic. You really don't need a face lift to be happy with your body or your life. Let's not confuse economy excess and indulgence with self-care.

  154. Vanity ... a necessary expense I am happy to indulge in. No money spared, no flaws bared.