Style Solutions

MakeUp Artist Jo Strettell’s Simple Tips

Jo Strettell has done everything there is do with with makeup: movies, TV, commercials, fashion shows, and many Chico's mailers. Besides making the world a more beautiful place, she has a stunning candle line, L'Eau de Feu. More on that later this week. When she's not globetrotting or candle-making, she lives in Los Angeles with her daughter.

I have been doing makeup for a very long time. I grew up in London. I loved colors and textures and painting, so I went to St. Martin’s School of Art, now called Central St. Martin’s, to study art and graphics. From there I got into fashion. But, I missed painting, and decided I was going to be a makeup artist—not that I knew what that meant. It just combined fashion and painting. I met a makeup artist in England who I began assisting. I taught her to drive and she taught me makeup. I moved to New York, and then I moved to Paris and did the shows. I’ve lived all over the world, and done lots of different things with makeup, from fashion to TV to movies to commercials. For the past 25 years, I’ve been based in LA.

I think women get really overwhelmed by makeup. I can, with a few products, teach a woman how to keep it simple.

  • Use one color on the eye, and learn how to blend.
  • Train yourself to let your skin look like skin.
  • The cleaner and fresher your skin is, the more fun you can have with color, on the eyes and the lips. It’s understanding your face and building from there.


The impulse is to use more to try and hide things. Don’t. I’m in my mid-fifties now. It’s all about learning how to deal with what happens to skin as you get older. Makeup can be aging. Take foundation:

  • Foundation isn’t meant to mask the whole face and cover everything. It’s really to even you out and get a film that makes your skin one color.
  • Just use a little foundation, and a bit of tissue to blot.
  • After the foundation is blended in with your skin, you can use a concealer to just do the problem areas. If you don’t understand that, you can end up with a messy mask.

Beauty routines are very, very important. As you get older, your cells hang on a bit longer, which is why when you’re older you have that gray tinge. You can do a little exfoliation at home on your own with a washcloth. Use circular motions. Or get one of those dry brushes. A good cleansing facial four times a year is really helpful because it cleans everything out. And I know it’s boring but sunscreen is hugely important. Once you have that down, it should be fun.

Makeup is fun, and it should be fun! We all want to look like the best version of ourselves. It’s about enhancing our natural beauty and not masking us.


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67 Responses

  1. Carol

    Thanks for this article. I am your hair & skin coloring. Eyes too. I am 60+ & feel energized but there aren’t enough
    articles out there about us older ladies. And I see many ladies in Chico’s shopping.

    1. Nancy

      I have shopped at Chico’s for quit sometime but lately I noticed the fabrics aren’t as nice or the quality they used to be.

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  3. Jo

    I’m 74 yrs. old & I still want to look the best that I can. Older ladies are who shop in Chico’s. We need clothes with ‘short sleeves’ reaching down to the elbow. We can’t wear all of these sleeveless tops & neither can we wear what your designers call ‘short sleeves’. Our neck area is not so flattering these days & tops that aren’t so low would look a lot better on us. I don’t know about all of the other Chico customers, but I’m really tired of all the bling. Enough is enough. Please get rid of the metallic threads, rhinestones, etc.

    1. Susan

      I am 74 (size 0) and I have been shopping at Chico’s since one of the first stores opened down at Sanibel Island, FL (yes that many years ago!) I agree with “Jo” since I have been having a problem in the last few years finding clothes at Chico’s that are not either bare or too “blingy.” If you look around when you shop at Chico’s most women are not 40 something that can wear clothes that are either sleeveless or short sleeved or items that only look good with “spike” heels! Who wears them anymore! I have often wondered if Chico’s was bought out by another company since until the last few years their clothes were very classic and of good quality that could be worn by women of all ages. It seems as if they have forgotten the age group that made them what they are.

      1. Sharon

        I and 73, size 2, 2.5 and I totally agree with Jo and Susan. It has been very discouraging shopping at Chico’s for several years now. The styles are not flattering, nor are they stylish as they have been in the past. I used to purchase several outfits at a time and now I find difficulty just finding one item! Please make some changes.

      2. Liza

        I so agree with Susan & Jo! Lose the bling! And, yes, the last few years Chico’s clothes have lost the timeless quality. So often these days, I browse thru a catalog & really don’t see anything I’m wild about. It never used to be that way.

    2. I agree so with Jo. Get some sleeves that come to the elbow and raise those ridiculous low wide necklines. Have. Some great sketches of designs if anyone is interested 585 588 7364

    3. Gretchen

      I agree Jo. While its more cost effective to have sleeveless or little sleeve, manufacturers don’t care that they lose huge profits by eventually not selling the garment because of the style. The only person that loses are retailers and consumers

  4. Hema

    Iam a 67 year old professional and I work full time and I really want to continue to look my very best and I agree with “Jo “

  5. Carol streich

    I love your chunky covers my old skin when I wear a V neck or shell. I’m 84 years old and love Chicos

  6. Mary J. Henry

    I am 71 and I agree that there are not as many styles and sleeves for us. I have not found as many clothes as I used to. I art used to buy my wardrobe there but not in the last 2-3 years.

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  8. Julie Goodacre

    It would be great to get product recommendations, especially drugstore brands and not just high end brands. especially for eye area.

  9. I too agreed models getting younger wearing five in spike heel. From reviews we are in out 50/60/70’s mostly with bodies referred kindly as CURVY. I can’t picture me in most of what they are showing. Don’t start competing with Sundance catalog. U Will loose us!

  10. Patty Read

    I love Chicos style. I’m 72 and have been a customer for many years. Pants & skirts that fit at the “natural” waistline are the most flattering & comfortable for me. They are in short supply at Chicos now. Also tops that are “long & flowing” and hit your 6 ft+ tall models thigh tops look dowdy on my 5’6″ average frame. Please add more tops, skirts and pants, that match, for your slim/average style conscience over 40 customers. We can then add one of your fab jackets and jewelry for contrast.

  11. Vera

    I stopped shopping at the malls years ago when I found Chico’s: finally a store for women and not teenie-boopers. So many of your pant and skirt lengths are for tall, not petite heights. Shorten the lengths a bit and elongate the sleeves a bit…ahh…just right.

  12. Corky

    I am totally surprised to see so many women my age saying the same thing I have been thinking. You would think the fashion industry would realize we are a very large part of the economy and have the money to spend on quality and understated clothing.

  13. Nancy

    Wow – all these posts state exactly how I feel about the declining quality and style of the Chico brand. I am in my 50’s and I feel exactly the same way as these ladies – who wants all the cheap looking bling and how many “real” women can wear SKINNY jeans. Same thing with tank tops – most of us want a little more coverage so these tops can be worn to work.

  14. Patt

    Julie – Mary Kay Cosmetics is the skin care recommendation I display on my face very day. I have used Mary Kay products for 26 years. I won’t put anything else on my skin, PERIOD! I am 63 years old, but you can’t tell by the skin on my face & throat. My skin appears years younger than others my age. You can find a Mary Kay Consultant near you at

  15. Chico's

    Thank you for visiting our blog to share this insight with us. We truly value feedback from our customers and have noted your comments to share. Thanks again! Chico’s

    1. Francine Feldman Lippiett

      I agree with Joe. To much bling ,sleeves not long enough, we want classic looks, maybe you need new buyers young 73 year old x

    2. Donna

      Thank you, Chicos! But when are you actually going to take our comments and recommendations serious? I’m also in my 50s, have a high-end salary and willing to spend it on quality when I can find it. So far, I stil cannot find it in your store in my area of FL.

      1. Jennifer

        Donna, this is off the topic, but I’m hoping you can tell me what field you’re in.. and what you do. I need to find something but it’s been challenging as I’ve been trapped by migraines. They seem to be letting up. Any advice?

  16. Mickie McCune

    Totally agree. I am in my 60’s and have shopped at Chico’s since it first opened. The quality and style have declined severely, particularly in the past 3-4 years. The pants are primarily elastic waistbands( yuk) , short sleeves are Far too short, material is getting cheaper in quality, skinny jeans do Not work for the majority of your clients, and while bling is fun in jewellery it is out of control on your clothes. Chico’s has definitely gone downhill in design and quality and we all wish they would come back!

  17. Sarah Cooper

    I agree with all of the above. Just spent over an hour in Chico’s trying to use my 50 per cent off and left empty handed. Please give us a choice of covering our arms. Better quality fabrics, and fashion for us under 5 ft. 8 lnches.

  18. Rosalie Frawley

    Yes yes I agree with the above, I’m 71 a size 2, I like the simple styles no bling, comfortable clothing, and nice fitting jeans, without HOLES…..I can always count on Chico’s to come thru.

  19. Jill Loch

    Size 2! Good Lord where are you women in CA?
    You would freeze to death in MN. But I agree…
    even in the large catalogues and stores all those cap sleeves and short sleeves are not soft and flattering. Say it like it is, no one wants their ‘bat wings’ showing. These designers are catering to the young, but the ‘Boomers have the money honey’. All I wish for is the dress or top that I love to come with a 3/4 sleeve…I don’t think it would
    ‘Destroy the design’. Just think of the customers you are throwing away…all to be a ‘martyr for your design’.

    1. KLN

      By “Size 2”, I believe she was saying is a Chico’s size 2. This equates to approximately a size 10 in regular sizing.

  20. I have never been to Chicos but I think overall the quality and shape of clothes have lowered over the years. I’m a 5’3 petite and could find pretty fitting dresses much easier years ago everywhere. These days I notice lots of shapeless dresses and those t-shirt type more loose on the bottom are everywhere. Ok. for Summer I guess but not very appealing. I’m fit and like fitted nice feminine clothes and do please skip the bling. Have always hated sweaters full of sequences. Lol! Bring back the classic.

    1. annie

      IKR ?! Wear sunscreen, blend your foundation. Click bait. But, boy do these Size 1 and 2 women have a hole burnt in their pocketbooks for Chicos!

  21. Live Fresh

    The fabric quality has declined dramatically at many stores. So many clothes are actually see-through, and not by design. Sometimes I snag something nice at JJill. They’ve improved their styles this year.

  22. Kathy See

    I am in my mid-50s and have shopped Chicos for many many years. I remember getting excited to see the new styles in the catalog.
    My husband knows my taste and could go in their stores on his own ( rare!) but no longer sees anything he knows I would like.

    I have stopped shopping Chicos altogether. It’s disheartening because they used to be such a great store to find unique items. The quality has gone way down.
    Something needs to be done if they want to capture the attention of the women who have the means to shop at Chicos.

    1. Phyllis Phillips

      Wow, well said! I’m 80, still want to wear nice looking, good quality clothes for older women, and there are a lot of us. Please cater to us as well as the young women.

  23. In my late 50’s and still follow fashion. Chico’s used to have unique clothes with even more unique styles and fabrics. Now, most are just cheap polyester tops that cost almost $100 that you can pay much less for anywhere else. Also the T-shirts that are such good quality are not long enough for the majority of your customer’s age group. Please bring back the uniqueness of Chico’s and also think about who your customer is just like all these comments above! Thank you. L. K.

  24. Chris

    One more echo from above. I have shopped Chicos since my early 50’s for 90% of my wardrobe for all the reasons already mentioned. Now, not so much….as mentioned. (No pants to fit my mature shape in several years). There is a big market for older women…please fill it! Let the other stores catering to the 30-40 somethings do their thing, go back to doing yours….with sleeves, good fabrics, flattering lines for mature women that don’t demand high heels, and a bit of trend. Basically, you are it in the price range for many of us!

  25. Jan

    Where do you ladies shop for flattering, good quality clothes for a 67 year/old 5’3′ not so thin professional when Chico’s no longer works?

  26. Theresa L. Castro

    Chicos, I would definitely listen to these women’s comments! From the sounds of things, you are losing your fan base by not catering to their wants and needs. Your’s sounds like a store that I would spend my money at, if you carried the items that these ladies are saying that you used to carry! I agree with them, we don’t want sparkles, glitter, short cap sleeves, or elastic waistbands! Take back your former designs and let everyone start spending their money with you!! TLC

  27. Kathy

    I am a 62-year-old professional woman and I have not shopped for clothing in a department store in at least a few years. I used to love Chico’s styles and fabrics but for the last couple of years, my experience has been the same that many women have described here – the styles and fabrics have gone downhill. I shop at Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. They have great fabrics but there’s a limited selection that I’m interested in, as I want the dress or skirt lengths to be age-appropriate and flattering, but I haven’t found any other places that really work for me. I also like Talbot’s and J.Jill but the fit at both of those doesn’t work as well for me as at Ann or BR.

  28. Sue C

    Agree with all the above. I’m mid 50’s and used to love Chicos. I haven’t found anything there the past couple of years. I’m not into the “bling” either. Agree the quality isn’t as good as it used to be. Now I’m back to my favorite since in my 20’s Talbots and Ann Taylor. Sue

    1. A.N.

      I have mixed feelings on Ann Taylor– an old favorite.

      I live in Washington,DC and the Connecticut Avenue branch in the heart of downtown has been entirely given over to millennials. Odd decision, because downtown DC has many Gen Xers and Boomers looking for clothes, too.

      Keeping my fingers x’d that Ann Taylor’ stores will continue to carry classics.

      On Chico’s: I have to look carefully, but good items can be found among the flood of cheaper garments. One rule: I never buy anything unless I can pair it with a jacket. That avoids the arm issues that others have mentioned.

  29. Jodie

    Ok so I’m 50, I
    Look 40, and I LOVE chicks AND the bling! I understand where you all are coming from, and my neck isn’t looking as great as it used to, so I get it. But I like the younger looking styles, the skinny jeans, and I’m a size 12-14. I try to dress pretty cool. I don’t like sleeveless much though.. But bling, and the funky styles, I love them and I know lots of friends who shop chicos who also love it!

    1. Zann Flusche

      How very nice for you! That you are a young and even younger looking woman! Oooh! But, seriously, your Cute Factor all aside….you’ve quite deliberately ignored it the thread here – .we are women who want appropriate quality clothes and will pay for it .

  30. Chico's

    Hi Cara. Thank you for writing. We hear what you, and the others that have commented here, are saying and have shared your thoughts with our design team. We appreciate that all of you took the time to write and share.
    Inside Chic

  31. Miriam Lejeune

    I guess I am with the majority of respondents. What I have come to miss most is cotton tops that do not cling. Those cheesy poly fabric tend to accentuate every flaw. Bring back supima cotton. I also think boatneck shirts with 3/4 sleeves are the most flattering and lend well with scarves and statement jewelry. And they look great under blazers and any sweater regardless of the neckline. And for goodness sake, I am petite and I hate, hate having to have pants, sleeves and shoulders taylored for a good fit. Bring back classic seperates, proportioned and in quality fabric. I am 67, still work a 50 hour week and manage a large department consisting of much younger people. I don’t want to dress like them,ever.

  32. I’m a very youthful-looking 70. Wear 0-1. Please stop with all the bling. Looks like Las Vegas! Go back to classy, beautiful and not all so boxy with the jackets.
    Thanks! Hope you really are listening to us.

  33. I seriously hope that the designers at Chicos are listening. I, too, am a 50+ professional woman who shops primarily at Chicos and Nordstroms. Ease off the bling, cover the chest and arms with nice classy fabrics. Casual long dresses and skirts are nice for spring and summer -cool and yet still covered up. Flattering pinks, navy, lavender and turquoise for work and casual clothing. My other request would be more of the smaller sizes available – “one size” does not fit all. A smaller version of “one size fits all” would be greatly appreciated.

  34. mari Neunzig

    I miss the “fancy” embroidered jackets you used to carry in silks. They were great to add to a plain outfit. You could look dressed up very easily. The linen/flax line was great! I used to have a hard time deciding which great outfit to buy. Now I have a hard time finding something to buy. I agree the original concept of clothes to relax and still look great has disappeared from Chicos. Please bring it back!!! Mari.

  35. Lee

    I’m in my 60’s, a creative professional still working, fit and slender and won’t even go into Chico’s anymore. Their clothes are boxy, frumpy, poor quality and stupidly revealing and tackily embellished with cheap bling. Who designs this stuff? And why don’t they survey their customer base? What I want in clothing are good fabrics, sophisticated designs, real waistbands, sleeves below the elbow or longer, fitted designs that show the female shape but not the lumps and bumps, no bling, pretty colors that are not black which is very aging. There you go, Chicos, your survey has been done for you without your even having to do it. Listen to all these accomplished here who are not spending money in your stores. PS: google LookFabulousForever for makeup for older skin. No, not my products, I just stumbled upon them recently.

  36. Kathie Martin

    I just can’t agree more heartily with the comments requesting less revealing necklines and less bling, and definitely want better quality fabrics. And please note, our age group does not wear high, high heels nor should we! Most clothing is far too voluminous for size 0 and 1. I used to buy all my clothing at Chico, but can seldom find anything any more. Talbots has wonderful quality, but a little more “staid” than I want now.

    1. A.N.

      I agree that Talbot’s is frequently too staid.

      On Chicos and others: I understand that most retailers don’t want their entire customer base to be 50+, but many Boomers have money to spend and prefer classic clothes. I wish that women’s apparel stores would diversify a bit to cater to a variety of tastes.

      An expensive option, but terrific– use as a splurge when they have a sale: Nina McLemore. DC, NYC, Seattle stores.

      Have also found some good items in Macy’s and in women’s line Zara at their NYC flagship stores. Sadly, Zara is doesn’t seem to carry quality in other locations: their Washington, DC area stores are down market in the extreme.

  37. Wanda Mohr

    I thought I was alone in my feelings about Chico’s. Thanks for validating my observations. I too have stopped buying much of my wardrobe at Chico’s, despite doing 90% of my shopping there — loving especially their Black Label line. Now they have really lost their way. What 50+ woman wants to wear skinny torn jeans? Sorry, let the Gap or A&F, or H&M do those. No sleeveless tops please. No midriff baring tops. No shapeless ponchos. No bull’s eye prints. No studded and rhinestone, see-through tacky cold-shoulder tops. Survey your base Chico’s and LISTEN. I’ve given this feedback to corporate and at their stores. The sales force knows this all full well. Corporate don’t care. I think they are trying to go for a younger demographic — who don’t want them. Then, when their stores don’t do well and their profits tumble, they blame the internet instead of themselves.

  38. LC

    I went to Chico’s for the first time in many, many years. I was looking forward to the store I knew before: tasteful, timeless, artful, and even practical – they used to group clothes by personal color seasons (type 1 aka spring, type 2 aka summer, etc). But this time…what a disappointment it was! It was much smaller and full of garish, cheap-looking garments. Presentation quality was poor: crappy intense overhead lighting, crowded aisles, crowded racks, no eye-drawing displays amidst the chaos. The sales staff was attentive, no problem there, but the products not so much. There may have been a few gems lurking in there, but It would have been an uphill battle to discover them…and as I was simply looking for what they had in the exact shades that work for me, it would have been an uphill battle to explain it to a salesperson who may not have been able to perform in the limited time I had. All I could see were clothes that were NOT in my palette, and Nothing about the store made me want to stay in it.