Polishing the Silver

Shirley Freitag has her eye on a coat for next fall: a Norma Kamali sleeping bag model in a searing shade of red. “It’s the one that that fashion guy Talley is always wearing,” she said, referring to André Leon Talley, the high-visibility style world fixture.

Ms. Freitag had stopped last week at the offices of Inspir, an upscale Upper East Side senior residence she hopes to move into once construction is finished later this year. Trim in a bottle green St. John jacket, skinny pants and sparkly black sneakers, she lowered herself elastically into a leather banquette, and got candid.

Keeping up one’s image takes work, Ms. Freitag said. Still, “I don’t even walk my dog without putting my lipstick on.”

You might expect that Ms. Freitag, a retired real estate agent in her 80s, would be over all that. You would be wrong.

“I’m going to my dermatologist right after this visit,” she said, adding tartly, “What? You think I’m going to be sitting around waiting for my liver spots to come in?”

Like scores of her contemporaries, a style-conscious cohort whose numbers will only increase as baby boomers age, she is not inclined to shuffle, unkempt and uncared for, into her sunset years. Ms. Freitag represents the most senior of seniors in an aging population: a closely watched minority willing to make a substantial investment into their personal upkeep.

Armed with robust confidence and, often, a bank account to match, they work out, practice warrior yoga poses, paint balayage streaks into their hair, shop and dress with an undiminished purpose and pride.

Why not?

Keep reading this article on The New York Times Business.

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