OPINION: Does there come a time in life when you just give up on your appearance?
Hillary Clinton set tongues wagging when she was photographed lightly made up and uncoiffed in Bangladesh last week.
For one of the world's most powerful women to attend an official engagement decidedly ''au naturel'' was newsworthy in itself but it drew global attention because Clinton has long been known for her ultra-groomed image.
Since before her First Lady days, she has consistently presented what is a very American look - heavily made up and groomed to the last hair. Glam even.
What prompted the new underdone look? Was it her punishing schedule (as Secretary of State she's racked up visits to 22 countries already this year) or, at age 64, has she just got different priorities? Maybe she just doesn't care any more?
There may be a clue in her response to CNN's questions about her makeupless appearance. ''You know, at some point, it's just not something that deserves a lot of time and attention,'' Clinton said.
''I'm relieved to be at the stage I'm at in my life right now. If others want to worry about it, I let them do the worrying for a change.''
I'm not worried (are you?) but I can't help but be curious about this sudden switch from a woman who once said it took 90 minutes to apply her makeup.
Does success and status bring laxity? Or does maturity? Or something more negative?
Women over 45 should be meticulous about grooming, according to the late golden Hollywood costumier Edith Head.
She said the older you get the more time you have to spend on ''repairs''.
''Neglect in middle age will accelerate deterioration of your looks with a speed that is horrifying,'' she wrote.
''Allot enough time in your schedule to the details of fastidiousness that add so much to the success of looking younger.
''The 'who cares' attitude towards fingernails, toenails, depilatories, underclothing, hair and figure is a dangerous sign that can be detected in too many women once they have given in to the ageing process.''
Do you think Clinton has ''given in''? Have you or has someone you know given in or given up on keeping up appearances? When - what prompted it? Another birthday or a life event? Does not attending to your appearance signal liberation from feminine restraints and societal expectations or does it signal depression? Or merely changed priorities? Should it be celebrated rather than pitied?
- Sydney Morning Herald
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