Boomerangst: Turning Dilemmas into Discoveries – Updating Your Look

Do you want to spruce up your appearance, but not sure where to begin? Here, some great tips on how to update your look.


Q  I’ve always considered myself to be a reasonably good looking man but when I look in the mirror these days all I see is an old, balding fellow in out-of-date clothes, or at least I think they are. What I do know is that I’m a rather lonely 66-year-old widower considering joining a singles bridge club in my area, but before I do I would really like to spruce up my appearance. I have no idea where to start.

Barry, Waterloo


A  The fact you recognize the need is a start in itself. “Updating your look can make a huge difference in your self confidence and how you come across to others,” says Wilma Haerkens. She’s the owner of the Ottawa-based business, Personal Stylist, and has been doing makeovers for more than 25 years.

“If you’re open and vibrant and focused on a new beginning, rather than an ending, make your clothes and image project that.” Wilma believes hiring a personal stylist is well worth the money (her fees are $225 and up), but you can also steer the process yourself if you prefer, or can’t afford a pro. Where to begin? Ask yourself what image you want to project and pick three words that describe it. Then go after that look (maybe it’s youthful, put together, confident?)

Getting a new haircut is a great place to start. Wilma suggests consulting a different hairstylist or barber on alternative looks. (But never, she cautions, succumb to the comb-over. “It’s not fooling anyone. Shaving off your hair is a lot sexier than trying to cover the baldness with a few long wisps. Besides, bald is in.”)

Next, she says, go through your closet and get rid of everything that’s damaged, out-of-date, or doesn’t fit (we shrink as we age and men in particular are inclined to wear clothes that are too big for them). “People tend to gravitate to what’s familiar, so letting go does take a lot of courage,” she acknowledges.

After the purge, invite someone whose style you admire to come shopping and help pick out new clothes that suit you and reflect your image. Alternatively, ask a salesperson who’s stylish and well-dressed to offer suggestions. “You may have to step out of your comfort zone,” says Wilma, “but the result will be worth it.”

Diane-Sewell---photo Send Diane a brief description of your dilemma, along with your first name and where you live, to [email protected]

A professional journalist for more than 25 years, Diane Sewell has written for some of the top newspapers and magazines in Canada and is a baby boomer herself. Her new blog “Boomerangst, Turning Dilemmas into Discoveries” is interactive with readers and focuses on life issues – like aging, dating, second marriages, sex, death, family and fashion. Diane will use her expertise to find the right expert to help solve your predicament, unearthing kernels of truth and quickly getting to the heart of the issue.