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“Your image speaks before you”.

Zohra Chitalwala, founder of Image2Image Consultations, Mumbai, has been advising men and women on how to control their perceived image for the past six years. She developed her natural flair for grooming over 20 years, as she brought up her two boys. “One’s image is mostly visual,” she says. “It is important to learn the science and art of presentation, and create a lasting impact at any age.” In an interview, she says silvers look youthful and radiant when they are comfortable in their skin.

What does one’s ‘image’ comprise, and how does it depend on age?
Image is the belief we have about someone or something. It is the impression we form when meeting someone. Our impressions about other people may be based on how they look, talk, behave, and present themselves.

Why is maintaining image important, not just for silvers, but for us all as social beings?
Your appearance, behaviour and body language directly affect your credibility and the perception others might have of you. Your image speaks even before you have the chance to say a word.

When it comes to greys and wrinkles—the telltale signs of ageing—what is the appropriate balance between covering them up and revealing them?
Getting older is a tough reality to face, literally. A look in the mirror reflects a person you hardly recognise anymore. Styles change and so does your face.

What are the benefits of being the distinguished silver in the room vs. the silver who wants to be black?
The key to successfully looking age-appropriate and modern is paying attention to what feels right on you. It takes maturity and confidence to define your style. When people try to look or dress in styles that would be more appropriate for someone much younger, they paradoxically make themselves look much older. If you dress age-appropriate, it often has the effect of making you look younger—because people are not distracted by your clothing and instead can appreciate what great shape you’re in, or how healthy your skin is, or what a stylish haircut you have!

What image advice would you give silvers?
Stop fighting your body; instead, learn to work with it, and in turn love it. Learn how to use image to your advantage in a way that complements your body and your lifestyle. Embrace your age. None of us are immune to the effects of our bodies as time goes. What we can control is our attitude and response to this part of human experience.

Name a few silvers that radiate style and self-possession, people whose image has only become stronger with age?
Oprah Winfrey (62); Diane Keaton (70); Rekha (61); Javed Akhtar (71); Shashi Tharoor (60); Waheeda Rehman (78); Sean Connery (85).

—Natasha Rego

Dos and don’ts

  • Do try warm jewel tones that usually work with every skin tone such as emerald, ruby, pearl, coral, whose colours are timeless
  • Do emphasise the silhouette, not the fit
  • Don’t wear sleeveless or caped sleeves if you have flabby upper arms
  • Don’t shop by size; shop by fit
  • Do stick to classic clothing and accessorises
  • Don’t wear short, tight sari blouses
Photo courtesy: Zohra Chitalwala
Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
June 2016