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Elegant doesn't have to equal boring. 54-year-old Michelle Pfeiffer shows how it's done.

This is one of two fabulous pictures of Michelle Pfeiffer I could have used this week. Here she is on the red carpet promoting her new film - more on that later - looking casually perfect in a sleeveless dress. Sleeveless.

I emphasise the word as it is particularly weighted when we are talking about a 54-year-old woman. Why? Because it's well beyond the age by which we are all legally required (by the body police) to hide our arms away forever, for fear of offending people and frightening small children and animals with our repulsive bingo wings, chicken skin etc.

But as you can see, well into her fifth decade, Pfeiffer still has perfect arms, although they're not perfect in the style of younger actresses - say, Julie Bowen (who plays mum Claire Dunphy in Modern Family, my favourite TV comedy).

Bowen, 42, has arms that are very lovely but they are clearly gym-toned, with muscle definition.

Madonna - younger than Ms Pfeiffer - also has gym-toned arms, but while I admire the self-discipline it takes to achieve them, they're not so lovely. There's an air of desperation about them.

I'm sure Pfeiffer goes to the gym, too - it's part of her job description to look amazing - but her arms still look naturally perfect. There's no suggestion of rictus-faced sweating at the bench press.


So I can only conclude that Pfeiffer's arms are a lucky pick from the genetic bran tub. As is her perfect face. Also the deep-set eyes, the full-yet-sculpted lips, the high cheekbones. She really is something.

I've been madly in love with her since the Witches of Eastwick, but never more so than in Hairspray, singing Miss Baltimore Crabs.

Can you recall these memorable lines?

''Those poor runner ups might still hold some grudges.

''They padded their cups, but I screwed the judges.''

Any woman who can look so good in vintage clothes and play the baddie at that level of camp must be placed immediately on a pedestal and worshipped. I am not worthy, I am not worthy.

So Pfeiffer's a lucky woman: she was born with everything in the right place and so far it's pretty much stayed there. On a recent interview clip I watched, she even had a forehead that could wrinkle up a little.

But despite having a face and figure that most twentysomething women would dream of, Pfeiffer still dresses age appropriately, in the best possible way.

Not limiting herself - her arms out here on the red carpet and bare legs on show - but with an elegance that looks hot on her. An elegance that would be frumpy on a younger girl. She's making the most of being an older woman, not just getting by.

In the other picture I could have chosen, she was rocking Mrs Robinson cougar-chic daywear to the max, in a simple (i.e. very expensive) beige raincoat, cut just to the knee over a shift dress in the most fabulous acid yellow.

Not floral, not a print, not a tasteful shade, but a really strong, bold, out-there colour. And that would be a sleeveless shift dress, thank you very much.

She had swish-tastic, grown-up, blow-dried hair, proper film-star dark glasses and bare legs with very high-heeled bronze pumps. She looked really sexy, yet perfectly elegant.

The one thing that I find rather ironic about this is that the film that she's promoting in both pics (she's on her way to be interviewed on Good Morning America in the daywear shot) is called People Like Us.

If only.



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