Gray never looked so good, reports Jamie Rosen of W magazine.  In fact, gray is becoming the latest fashion — and social — statement:

Some women are understandably fed up with society’s insistence that they cover up, and the most confident among them have sworn off the dye bottle entirely. Lauren Ezersky is a prime example. The 52-year-old host of the Style Network’s Behind the Velvet Ropes is hardly a low-maintenance type, but she made the decision to let her dark mane — which she’d set off with a punky skunk stripe since her 20s — go au naturel three years ago. “Women are intimidated by their hairdressers, by magazines, by TV,” she says. “They say you’ve got to look 20 years younger. I’d rather look like a good 52 than a scary 32. I get more compliments now than I ever have before.

Jamie Lee Curtis concurs: “It bothered me that everywhere I looked everybody had fake colored hair. It’s a freedom when you let go of something unnatural that you use to define yourself.”

Gray is so trendy that “a handful of women are actually adding extra gray.”  Rosen provides the following example: “Yoga instructor Zara Wilke, 36, who lives in Nyack, New York, started noticing grays at the tender age of 21 and promptly plucked them. But after six years of literally pulling out her hair, she began adding extra silver streaks instead. ‘I found it very empowering and very sexy to embrace what my body was naturally trying to do,” she says, ‘rather than go against it.'”

While Rosen strikes a hopeful tone, hinting at a new openness toward looking one’s age, the reality might not be so welcoming, notes Margaret Morganroth Gullette.

Writing in Women’s eNews, Gullette argues that pressure for women to look younger has never been stronger — and that women are submitting to anti-aging regimens for economic reasons.

She cites statistics that the number of age discrimination complaints is rising (and the age one would likely be filing those complaints continues to get younger — and it is, of course, younger for women than it is for men).

Ultimately, Gulette calls for personal rebellions against the anti-aging obsession:

Natural facial irregularities, lines and spots are perfectly compatible with charm, expressiveness, good grooming or whatever is meant by beauty. Gray or white hair looks better on us as we move into our middle years and beyond. (Dye-jobs often clash with our skin tones). I can find beauty in older people. That is what all Americans should be doing: Trying to see aging-as-a-bodily-experience with eyes that can be pleased.

Maybe Hollywood — if the “silver foxes” are truly taking over — has something redeeming to offer us, after all.


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  • Carolyn Hahn May 7, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    We’ll need more than Lauren Ezersky and Jamie Lee Curtis to let women pull this off. For one thing…it’s big business, this whole trying to look 20 years younger thing.
    Since letting my hair go as salt and pepper as it wanted to 5 years ago, I’ve definitely been more aware of other people’s dyed hair–men, too–and MAN, does it take a lot of maintenance.
    We had this discussion a few weeks ago in the “Do-You-Lie-About-Your-Age” discussion, but it’s such a fraught topic. But speaking of people actually adding silver/grey to the mix (does anyone really do that?), I do find myself keeping an eye out for anyone on the street with REALLY silver hair–not my salt and pepper stuff–and noticing how they have it cut, what the total look is. And that’s what I want to look like–the fact they might be ten or more years older than I am = who cares. They look elegant & pulled together.
    The fact that I seldom see their images in MORE magazine, or in the one of the fashion mags when they dole out the style-whatever-your-age (yeah, fat chance we’ll even make it past 50, let alone a tottering 60)… Gotta take it where we can find it!
    PS–two words–ANDERSON COOPER. Ya think?! I actually noticed a couple of ads with youngish male models with Anderson-ishly grey hair! Maybe the whole thing will just get a little more relaxed, for all of us.