Life Lessons From GM’s Mary Barra

At an auto assembly plant in Pontiac, Mich., back in 1980, 18-year-old Mary Makela got a hands-on education about what life was like on the factory floor. It was noisy and dirty and rough. And then there were the catcalls. “Every time I turned this one corner,” she says, “this guy would kind of yell. Finally, I walked over and asked him, ‘Why do you do that?’” and he said, ‘I don’t know.’” She laughs at the recollection. Challenging him …

Eileen Fisher and Epsom Salts Changed My Life

Maybe it’s that the news has become an everyday nightmare, but lately I’ve been yearning for a little peace and quiet. So I was happy to walk into an Eileen Fisher store this week and find my island of calm: Quiet colors. Soft, easy throw-on clothes. And no high-pressure salespeople pushing me to buy. You and I can’t turn off world events. And we probably can’t untangle the complex politics that spark so much strife. But we can seek solace …

ISO the ‘Perfect Dress’

Dress trends have come and gone over the years. The Roaring Twenties were epitomized by the rise of Coco Chanel and the flapper look — short hair and short, shapeless shift dresses. During the late 1930s and early ’40s, the glamour of Hollywood prevailed — until, of course, World War II broke out, making couture seem inconsequential. More structured dresses — inspired by military uniforms and fitting the mood of the times — then began to be worn with pride. …

The Jolie Effect: A Jump in Breast Cancer Gene Testing

Just how big of an effect did movie star Angelina Jolie have on women getting tested for the BRCA breast cancer gene? A hefty 40 percent jump, according to the first study to look at the impact of Jolie’s announcement that she had undergone testing. The study by the AARP Public Policy Institute analyzed more than 6.5 million health insurance claims for women 35 and older during 2013. Researchers found that testing rates increased from about 350 a week prior …

5 Tired Trends Finally Bid ‘Buh-bye!’

I love being an “early adopter” of new style and beauty trends. For the novelty, sure, but mainly for the utility: It makes me feel useful when I get a chance to weed out the nonstarters for my posse of age-50+ girlfriends — and that includes you! But let’s be clear: I’m not all that cool, and I don’t fall in love with the newest vogue simply because some PR person urges it on me or because the media maven …

5 Ways to Get Fit and Fashionable in 2015

The sandwich generation — those of us (usually women over 45) squeezed by the competing demands of kids, aging parents, work, community, romantic partner and so on — rarely have time to think about the things that will make us feel fit and stylish. But we need to make that time, so I’ve listed a few action items designed to boost our health and happiness in the new year. Many of these are trends that came to light in 2014 …