The other day, I was explaining to someone in my life that I don’t want to wear the equivalent of that babushka. In my sixties, I’m feeling more free, fun, and frisky than ever before.

From a sexy silk scarf in a convertible to a frumpy babushka, you have probably worn a number of metaphorical hats and held a number of titles by the time you hit (and travel past) 50.

Of course, I’ll always be someone’s mom (and now I also hold the title of nana), but many of us have spent a lot of years working, building careers, planning family vacations,  making school cupcakes, filling out college applications, and wearing those unattractive hair nets of life as we do “responsible things.”

But now, I’m ready to let my hair down — literally and figuratively. As girls, we grew up with Barbie Dolls and enjoyed picking out their outfits for various activities — prom, dates with Ken, that job (a nurse, teacher, or stewardess back in that era) but how do we now care for ourselves and “dress for success” in the second half of our lives?

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It all begins with that question, “Where are we going?” (The answer is NOT to the assisted living facility or the grave.) Then we need to pick out the appropriate psychological and physical outfits for that next phase in our journey. 

For example, I am now a writer, speaker, and consultant (with 30+ years of marketing experience and wisdom), a mother of grown daughters and a fun grandmother (who often gets in trouble for breaking rules) and still a bit of a spontaneous gypsy woman and rock-and-roll chick. I am a romantic and an artist, passionate about life. I am a caretaker (sometimes too much so). 

My own personal  Barbie trunk would include lots of floral patterns, a suitcase, a laptop, and a baseball cap (to wear backwards) a nurse’s cap, that sexy floral head scarf in vibrant colors, and a chef’s hats and perhaps a beanie copter.

Think about what’s on (and in) your head. Are you wearing the hats you want to wear or one that someone has clipped to your hair with bobby pins so it’s harder to remove?

As we age, we need to stop allowing others to pick out our hats and need to take control of the haberdashery of our souls and minds.


  • Nancy A Shenker

    The Silver Hair Playbook: How to Be a Bad Ass >50™

    Nancy A. Shenker is a marketing innovator, brand builder, writer, speaker, and self-proclaimed rule breaker. Over the course of her 40-year business and marketing career, she has been a C-level executive, an entrepreneur, and a mentor to hundreds of small businesses at all stages. Founder of theONswitch marketing, Nancy was formerly a senior executive for major consumer and business brands, including Citibank, MasterCard, and Reed Exhibitions. She has written four books, and publishes a women’s entrepreneur community (, as well as AI/machine learning/robotics site and travel and lifestyle site She also wrote a column for called Bots & Bodies (about the human side of tech) and is a contributor to a wide range of consumer and business media. She recently won the "Killer Content Award" for a major project for a fast-growing technology company.