Gray's Anatomy: The Color for Fall

Whether you let your hair go gray or just your wardrobe, it’s the color to wrap yourself in now: soft, elegant and flattering.
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Gray is a major player in fashion this fall; combining different tones and textures makes it yours. Here, on Cindy Joseph, 55, we’ve paired Theory’s cotton wrap dress ($180) with Agnon’s slouchy cashmere cardigan ($1,345). Frank Gehry Collection for Tiffany & Co. silver necklaces.

On Yasmina Rossi Zoughbi, 50, a shearling jacket that would look great with jeans gets an extra edge when it’s paired with a ladylike pleated skirt. Note the boots: Warm browns look fresh with gray now. Malo shearling jacket ($3,000). Boden wool tank ($58). Piazza Sempione silk skirt ($615). Frye boots ($305). David Yurman pearl-and-silver necklaces.

"I wear a lot of gray now — it’s my black — and always with silver jewelry." - Susan McGraw, 52

Forget the facelift: Cowl-necks such as this one by Autumn Cashmere ($500) are flattering throats and shoulders everywhere this fall.

Tailored shirts and pleated pants now have more softness, more drape. Theory cotton blouse with embroidered yoke ($230). TSE wool pleated trousers ($625). Felina lace bra ($30). Manolo Blahnik pumps ($315). Robert Marc Opticians NYC glasses. Barry Kieselstein-Cord belt and buckle. Movado watch. John Hardy bracelets.

Rethinking makeup: Going gray means warming up your makeup to compensate for the cooler frame around your face. Makeup artist Elaine Madelon suggests using a peachier blush (such as Nars’s Gilda or Stila’s Gerbera) to avoid looking washed out. On lips, instead of retro red, try a deeper version of your natural lip color, like Laura Mercier’s Baby Lips or M.A.C’s Skew. To give your eyes emphasis, Madelon suggests this trick: After applying mascara, run the flat, broad edge of a firm-bristle "flat liner" brush (designed to line eyes in smoky powder shadow) along your mascara wand, then press the edge of the brush along your upper lashes, at the roots.

"I love the way my white hair softens my features and lights up my face — it’s the best makeup." - Yasmina Rossi Zoughbi, 50

A cozy TSE triple-ply cashmere sweater dress ($1,795) gains body-shaping style with Carlos Falchi’s python belt. Tiffany & Co. Sevillana pendants on cords.

The Big Easy: Pairing a ball skirt with a simple tee was a 1980s trick that has lasted: We still love dressing down big-deal clothes and dressing up everyday ones. Banana Republic merino wool crew ($58). CH Carolina Herrera wool blend embroidered skirt ($1,320). French Sole suede ballet flats ($145). David Yurman bracelets and ring. John Hardy ring.

"Aging is so much more sensual and pleasurable than I thought it would be. The day after I threw out my hair color, I landed my first modeling job." - Cindy Joseph, 55

Put Together: A tailored coat and dress in similar shades of gray give you an instant suit without being too matchy-matchy. Ports 161 double-face cashmere coat ($1,495). Agnes b. cashmere jumper ($780). Etienne Aigner pumps ($69). Monet bangles.

Like a classy gray leotard, Strenesse Gabriele Strehle’s stretch knit top ($195) suggests curves but keeps them under wraps. Frank Gehry Collection for Tiffany & Co. silver ring.

Rethinking Hair Care: Keeping the color fresh and the texture healthy in gray hair takes a different kind of maintenance. "Gray hair picks up yellow from hard water, UV rays, and hair-product buildup," says colorist Brad Johns. "Using a violet-tinted shampoo once a month cancels the yellow out." We like Pantene Pro-V Silver Expressions, Clairol Shimmer Lights, or Davines Alchemic Shampoo in Silver. Stylist Thomas McGiver recommends leave-in conditioners and cream stylers to smooth and hydrate gray hair, which is thicker and coarser. We like Kiehl’s Leave-In Hair Conditioner and Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Leave-In Conditioning Cream.

Originally published in MORE magazine, September 2006.

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