Fashion designer Diane Gilman: Life begins at 60!

When she was only in her 50s, baby boomer fashion designer Diane Gilman found herself widowed, overweight, and in a slump. But not for long. Now in her 60s, Diane has sold more than seven million pairs of DG2 jeans, and is a fashion star on Home Shopping Network. How did she do it? Here’s an excerpt from her new book Good Jeans: 10 Simple Truths about Feeling Great, Staying Sexy & Aging Agelessly.

“What’s your secret?” is a question I get a lot. Let me be perfectly clear — it’s not a secret. So let me share with all of you what I believe is the essence of living an AGE-LESS life.

Fashion designer Diane Gilman, in her 60s.

Fashion designer Diane Gilman, in her 60s.

And it’s not purely about feeling or looking younger. Human beings do not get younger. I promise you — this is a fact. Google it. You’re either aging, or you’re dead. But aging doesn’t have to mean inevitably going into decline, either. Inspired is not a decade. Healthy is not an age. Beautiful is not anumber. Curiosity, sexuality, mental and physical flexibility, optimism, daring to dream— none of these comes with term limits. The goal isn’t younger; the goal is to be the healthiest, happiest, most radiant human being you can be at any given moment.

That is the essence of aging AGE-LESS. Life begins at sixty!

When we make that shift — in both vocabulary and mindset — we breathe into being an entirely new vision of the second half of life. Every day is a movable feast of opportunity, every opportunity is primed with a wealth of experience, and every experience takes on a delicious piquancy, a preciousness that we were just too damn dumb to see or feel when we were in our twenties.

Gilman_bookcoverThrough the call-in segments on my television shows and my Huffington Post blog, I constantly hear from women who are longing for mind-expanding work, earth-moving love, foundation-rocking sex, and soul-grabbing purpose.They’ve been taught to believe that those ships have sailed. But I believe women can unlearn these negative messages and embrace a new way of thinking.

So many of us lose the essence of who we are when we reach the transitional period called middle age. Suddenly, our body, face, energy level, libido — everything that adds up to our sense of female self — aren’t us anymore. We look in the mirror and see a stranger.

Worst of all, we blame ourselves. So many of us women step into the fitting room at a store that caters to twenty-somethings, and when the jeans don’t fit, we don’t see the jeans wrong, we see ourselves wrong.

Fashion designer Diane Gilman.

Fashion designer Diane Gilman.

Quite frankly, this is bull. The reality is (hope you’re sitting down for this), before menopause, women age only half as fast as men. Afterwards, they age five times faster. What’s to feel guilty about there? That’s science, genetics, Mother Nature — not a lack of willpower or some kind of deep personal failing. So stop beating yourself up about the passage of time. Work with it instead.

Exactly like a perfect pair of jeans, we’ve reached just the right fade. We speak that universal language: class, grace, experience. A twenty-five-year-old woman has plenty of assets we don’t have, but she can’t fake, buy, implant, or paint on wisdom, personal style, and richness of character. It takes decades to create what we’ve got. But it takes focus and effort to make the most of it. To enjoy it! To use it to our advantage. And to share it.

Excerpt reprinted with permission from GOOD JEANS © Diane Gilman, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Book Group.

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