I Feel Beautiful When . . .

I believe beauty is more than magazine-cover deep. Even the women on the covers of magazines are not as technically “beautiful” before the Photoshopping begins. And that’s one of the problems, of course – we don’t look “like that” because nobody looks “like that.”

So what makes a woman feel beautiful? We agree it’s not flawless skin, cellulite-free thighs, lush hair, plump lips. Good thing, yeah? Those are rare quantities after age 30.

I reject that youth = beauty, or I’d have to give up on the idea altogether. I’m 58, I’ll never be younger. (Short rant: I think the internetz were unrelentingly cruel to 81 year-old Kim Novak at the Oscars. She’s had lots of plastic surgery, but as she was coming up in Hollywood, her looks were her whole identity. There was no compassion shown for an elderly woman who’d fallen for the myth that we have to stay young or die. /rant)

Here are some of the things that make me feel beautiful, and as always I’d love to hear about yours.

  • Wearing an outfit that fits, flows and feels like me.
  • Tying a boho scarf around my hair when it’s unruly.
  • Making eye contact with another woman of a certain age, and sharing a smile.
  • A new lipstick that’s just the right shade (yeah, beauty isn’t makeup, but lipstick is exempt!)
Maybelline Super Stay 14-Hour lipstick is a boss.
  • Walking around town with my handsome husband, and noticing that women notice him.
  • Dancing to Springsteen songs.
  • That first sip of a great Merlot on Friday after work.

  • My fresh face after a shower.
  • And more.

It’s comforting that none of these requires me to be 29 again, or rich, or celebrated. Over to you, when do you feel beautiful?

Have a wonderful Wednesday, and stay fabulous,

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  1. Maybe not necessarily beautiful, but it always confirms my own opinion when people tell me "that color really looks good on you." I've always known what my best colors are. Also, it's nice when you're told you look at least 10 years younger than your real age.

  2. Hmm, at the end of a great workout – which is probably when I look my worst outwardly, but feel my best mentally & physically. To me, that's "beauty."
    xo ~kim

  3. I never feel beautiful … maybe I'm just nit picking semantics, but that word packs so much power. I've never had a moment in life where I experienced the cultural norm of beauty in the mirror, so there's little hope of it now. I DO manage to feel like I look darned good for an old lady, and Dan's reaction to me often makes me feel like I can approach pretty some days. Cute I can often manage.
    But to feel at my best, I need a good hair day. And some touch of edginess or modernity to what I'm wearing. And perfume … at least a little. (I often spray on a little perfume before bedtime. Helps me drift off to sweeter dreams!)
    I was full of sympathy for Kim Novak. What distressed me the most was that she sounded addled. I was always a fan, and I was interested to see how she had aged. I admit to being as aghast as everyone else to see what she'd done to herself.
    Liza Minelli had a rough time of it as well. If we are going to honor the work of women like these two, it seems culturally mean spirited to drag them into the spotlight with less than kindness accorded their age and appearance and current life circumstances. It makes me sad to see the results of the callousness of current media culture. We can and should do a lot better.

  4. Hi Patti, I do have to admit ,I do feel beautiful when my hair looks nice, and I can style it like old hollywood. When I am in less pain from my disease and I can feel more comfortable going out.
    When i feel confident.

  5. Well said, per usual Patti. It's nice to think in terms beyond the obvious. I feel beautiful when my husband comes home from work and still lights up when he sees me. Thanks for reminding me to look elsewhere .


  6. Wonderfully written Patti and I enjoyed the varied responses. I think for me feeling beautiful is about health and happiness, what is inside shows on the outside.

  7. I agree with you on Kim Novak. People persecute women for getting older, persecute them for overdoing the plastic surgery the previous persecution drove them too … Enough already!

  8. Very well said. I adore you kind and beautiful spirit Patti. Thank you for this post.

  9. I'd say I feel most confident when I've exercised and slept a full 8 hours so I feel healthy and happy in my own skin.

    Beauty is so subjective and difficult to define, but confidence, that is unmistakable.


  10. I feel beautiful wearing certain garments and when I am smiling and when I feel physically good!

  11. Eye liner, red lipstick and colorful clothes is what maes me feel beautiful these days!

  12. Great post, seeing Bruce in May!!! Yipppeeee!
    I feel beautiful when I smile at a stranger (man/woman) and they smile back. I feel beautiful when my outfit feels good on my body and it looks well put together. I feel beautiful and loved when my husband reaches out to touch me or hold my hand (which is very often)
    I feel beautiful when my son and I share a laugh.
    I am blessed and grateful.

  13. Oh Patty! This is so good! Because ultimately, how we feel is stronger than how we LOOK, no? I feel beautiful when I get up in the middle of the night and catch a look at myself in the mirror. It's so spontaneous and I'm half asleep that I have no expectations of my reflection, just pure acceptance and a little surprise at "Hey, I look pretty good!!" I also feel beautiful when I've taken the time for myself. Taken time to put my make up on with care, thoughtfully put an outfit together that is just ME, took a few extra minutes to put on lotion AND perfume. I also feel pretty dang beautiful when my husband looks at me….he has a way of just stopping for a minute and REALLY looking at me in more of a gaze than a glance and in that moment, I feel absolutely beautiful! Hugs to you my friend! Serene

  14. I have just been to Morocca and seen their wonderful architecture. The outside of their buildings are quite plain and their beautiful courtyards are on the inside. They use the same saying for a person that their beauty is on the inside.

  15. Mmm, I'm kinda in the Curtise camp as I can't say I ever really feel beautiful. I'm also with Melanie in that I think the Oscars, like Hollywood, glorify youth and perfection. An ageing woman is just the greatest sin in Hollywood and unfortunately our whole culture seems to have internalized that twisted viewpoint. Novak should have been honoured, not mocked. Sigh, rant over. πŸ™‚

  16. Hmm, think I will be on my own here, but I wouldn't ever describe myself as feeling beautiful. Please don't think I am sorely lacking in either confidence or self-esteem, I have a good supply of both. Perhaps it's a matter of semantics, but I tend to reserve the word beautiful for a more rarified breed than me! I can look striking and well-dressed, I have strong and quirky features, I can appear confident and animated and at ease with myself, but these are different attributes, not beauty. The instances of feeling beautiful which you and others describe are what I would call happiness, contentment, satisfaction, pride, relaxation, appreciation, all delightful feelings, but they aren't what I think of as "feeling beautiful". In fact, is beauty a feeling? I have just been discussing this with the kids (philosophy before school, what are we like!) and my son said "beauty is a judgment", ie. a thought. He's got something there! xxxx

  17. I feel beautiful standing under the flattering fluorescent lights in my parking garage.There's far too much perfection at the awards for my taste. Gimme some Bob Mackie!! (That couldn't have been you because then you probably wouldn't be walking around with your handsome husband.)

  18. OMG you look amazing (always– absolutely always) and could not agree more beauty does not equate to youth. Youth is often pretty but beauty is wise, kind and sincere. Youth is often none of those.

  19. I feel beautiful when my confidence overrides my inner critic. I too love the feeling of comfortable clothes and the smell of my perfume, but when my new grandson smiles at me, I know I'm beautiful.

  20. I could say that I feel beautiful when my hair is just right or I look well rested. But I love what Becky said about feeling beautiful when people are super polite to her, and that made me think a little deeper.

    I think beauty goes with grace, so I feel beautiful when I'm most at ease with myself and in tune with other people.

  21. I'm with you on clothing that flows and moves! I've come to realize that more than va-voom, figure-enhancing, tight clothing, the sensuality of fabric that drapes and that I can feel moving with me is what feels attractive. Also catching a whiff of my favorite fragrance, and listening to my favorite music (whatever that may be at the moment).

  22. Age. It sure creeps up on you doesn't it? Hey, i just turned 60. And I'm so happy that I'm still here that I'll put up with whatever age tosses my way. Big smile and a wink to all the other "girls" out there.

  23. I feel beautiful when I wake up in the morning and realize I don't have to do a thing to my hair because my fab hairdresser cuts it in perfect layers. When I look through my blog pics and realize I have more than enough to choose from to create my collages. When my students compliment me on my shoes. When someone makes me laugh so hard I feel it in my belly. When my 8-year-old daughter tells me I'm beautiful. πŸ˜‰

  24. I felt bad for Kim Novak!

    I feel beautiful when:
    – I'm wearing something that fills me with glee, whether it's a long gown, a fabulous hat or a floofy skirt.
    – I have red red red lipstick on!
    – I'm working out – I feel strong and large and in charge!

  25. I feel beautiful, when:
    1. I turn heads (I know, I know, I hate to say this, but I'm being honest) I turn heads.
    2. When my grand-daughter smiles at me
    3. My husband smiles at me after a ridiculously long day at work
    4. When I remember picture my father telling me he loved me
    Lizzie .

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