How to Be a Hip Grandmother

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Embrace Yourself

Hip grandmother and granddaughter listening to music
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Grandmas used to wear buns and orthopedic shoes. Today's grandmothers are different because our attitude about aging is different. 

Previously we bought into a lot of myths about aging. As a result, most people dreaded getting old. Today we know that it's possible to live active, rewarding lives for many decades. And by making that possibility a reality, we are serving as role models for our grandchildren, showing them that life doesn't end when the hair gets gray.

Having a positive attitude about aging has multiple benefits. We're more likely to take care of ourselves, to get proper health care and to nurture our emotional and spiritual sides. Some may think that the suggestions that follow focus too much on outward appearance. The truth is, however, that our outer being influences our inner being. The key is to feel free to express ourselves, to have fun and to be happy with our bodies and faces. 

Do that, and you'll be a very hip grandma!

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Change Your Hair

Portrait of grandmother with gray streak in hair
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Maybe you're the hippest grandmother ever, but no one will believe it if you wear an outdated hairstyle. The next time you're with a group of your peers, take a look at their hairstyles. If everyone's is basically like yours, it's time for you to get a new do. Another clue: hair that doesn't move. 

If you have a stylist you trust, you may be able to work with that person to get a new look. Many times, however, a change of stylist is required for a really fresh look. The next time you see someone whose hair looks awesome, ask for a recommendation. This tactic works best if you zero in on those with hair similar to yours. Some people just have naturally beautiful hair, and the hairstylist may have little to do with it. 

Don't be afraid to go very short or even quite long. A classic pixie cut is great for older women with the right features. Shoulder length hair works for almost everyone, and many women can pull off even longer locks.

Another possibility is to do something different with your color. Lots of older women are letting their gray show, with beautiful results. Others are going in the opposite direction and adding a fun color, like blue, purple or pink. You don't have to go all in. A streak of color or colored tips can be striking and will be easier to deal with if you decide you hate the new look. You can also consider ombré or lowlights to give yourself a new look without going too far. 

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Get Some Ink

Couple hugging outdoors
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If you're one of those people who has always wanted a tattoo but never gave in to the desire, the time is now. A hip grandmother wouldn't hesitate, right?

The best places to get a tattoo at a (relatively) advanced age are those places that are least likely to be sun-damaged and saggy. These include the following:

  • The collarbone area is usually relatively undamaged by the sun, but getting ink there can be rather painful. This area is usually covered by clothing, which is good if your employer is picky.
  • The inside of the lower arm is usually fairly pristine, and you'll be able to see your own tattoo without a mirror, which is nice. But if your employer frowns on tattoos, you'll be condemned to a work wardrobe of long sleeves. 
  • The ankle is an attractive spot for a tattoo unless you tend to carry fat or fluid there. Getting an ankle tattoo can be somewhat painful. 
  • The middle of the lower back is good for larger tats, although a tattoo there has an unsavory nickname.
  • The shoulder or shoulder blade is a nice area for a tattoo if you don't have a lot of sun damage there.

Be aware that the pain experienced by those getting tattoos is intensely personal. Of the sites listed here, only the ankle is considered a painful spot for a tattoo, but your mileage may vary.

If you are concerned about the pain or the permanence of a tattoo, try a henna tattoo, which will fade in a few days. You can even do your own henna tattoos. 

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Have a Fashion Signature

senior women should find a fashion signature
Paul Simcock / Getty Images

Do you really love scarves or brooches or sparkly barrettes? Choose something that you really like and make it your fashion signature. Sometimes older women get tired of trying to be fashionable from head to toe, especially when being in style means being uncomfortable. You can get by with comfy shoes and even an elastic waistband if you consistently give your audience something pretty to focus on.

The fashion world is filled with advice about what older women should and should not do. Feel free to ignore all of it, or most of it. Buy what you like and wear what makes you feel good, but remember to add your signature piece. As a bonus, you may start getting gifts of lovely scarves and sparkly barrettes from the kids and grandkids!

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Indulge Your Funny Bone

grandmother and granddaughter laughing together
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There's a reason why people include a sense of humor on their lists of must-have attributes. People with a sense of humor are more fun to be around, and that goes double for grandparents. If you find yourself being a bit dour, cultivate your funny bone. It doesn't matter if it is cat videos or sophisticated satire. If it makes you laugh, it's a good thing. 

Besides making you a more desirable companion, laughing is good for your physical and mental health. It improves respiration and circulation, releases endorphins and other positive brain chemicals and decreases stress. Also, many forms of humor require that your brain be engaged, so you are exercising your gray matter, too! Now that may not be true of watching cat videos, but if you're watching with a grandchild, you are probably getting twice the endorphins. And that's got to be a good thing.

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Watch Your Posture

grandmother practicing yoga to improve posture
Thomas Schmidt | Getty Images

Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling well, moving freely and standing up straight, people smile at you? It turns out that our moms were onto something when they nagged us to stand up straight. Nothing creates a poor first impression like slouching and slumping.

As your grandchildren get older, especially in the teen and tween years, they will start to care more about what their friends think about their family members. When you meet the friends of your grandchildren, you can make a positive impression with good body language.

There may be reasons behind your bad posture. If so, correct them if at all possible. But even grandparents who are differently abled can strive for confident body language.