Beth Djalali was a stay-at-home mom for 26 years. Today at age 64, she’s a major fashion “Influencer,” and running a very successful social media-based business in Athens with hundreds of thousands of loyal fans and millions of views!
Founder of Style at a Certain Age, with blogs, podcasts, videos, and other lifestyle content across a variety of platforms, Beth shares tips, tricks, and information about living and looking great, no matter what your age. In fact, her tagline is “…aging with grace, strength and beauty.”
So how did Beth go from mom to fashion icon? Well, it all started in Asia…
“I got into it accidentally,” she explains. “I was turning 50 and we were living in Shanghai at the time. My three boys were in high school or college, so for me it was, okay, what’s next – what‘s next for me? It has been 26 years, who’s going to hire me?”
Instead of starting a job search, Beth decided to reinvent herself and write a book. That would end up taking a couple of years and be followed by a move back to the United States. While the book didn’t get picked up, she did secure a New York agent who sat her down and told her one of the things she absolutely had to have in today’s publishing world was an online presence.
Living in San Francisco then and well into writing her second book, Beth felt it would be picked up and that she needed to get serious about having that social media presence.
“I was familiar with the 20-somethings posting an outfit of the day and I was like, I can do that,” Beth remembers. An outfit of the day is where fashion bloggers show what clothes they wear on a particular day or occasion.
“People stopped me all the time, asking if I was a stylist. I knew I could speak authentically to that, so I decided that’s what I am going to do. And that’s how my Outfit of the Day came into being.”
Armed with the idea, Beth began researching how to create a blog. But she initially backed away from it because it was intimidating – back then in 2015 you almost needed a computer science degree – it was very challenging.
“I didn’t have time to do that, but I discovered Tumblr,” she says. “It was easy for me to create a site – all you had to do was upload photos.” Tumblr is a microblogging site that allows users to post content to a short-form blog.
Beth’s husband, Mak, who was retired at this time, volunteered to be her photographer, so they would go out in the streets of San Francisco and snap these “not so great photos.”
“But for whatever reason they took off — I went viral on Tumblr,” she recalls. And with that she decided she needed to do some research and go about the process in a more thorough and thoughtful way. She needed to understand the social channels that would help her online presence.
Living and learning and monetizing
All the hard work and research paid off. Beth moved from Tumblr to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, even TikTok and, today, is found in Blogs, Vlogs, and Podcasts throughout the internet. She went from a start-up, low-budget Outfit of the Day micro-blog to a professionally produced, wildly popular, robust, and profitable blog now named Style at a Certain Age.
“When I started, I had no idea that you could monetize a blog,” she confesses. “I had no idea about affiliate links, which is a big part of the revenue. In the beginning when I was sharing the outfits, everyone was writing in, asking ‘Where can I buy this and where can I buy this?’ I would answer ‘this is just for inspiration!’”
It wasn’t long before Beth had two brands reach out to her. Talbots, a well-known clothing brand and Biossance, a skin care company. Although Biossance was just starting out, the company would go on to great success and now has Reese Witherspoon as one of their brand ambassadors.
Beth grew right along with them, noting “They reached out to me actually before I started working with an affiliate company for affiliate links. So, then I was off and running.”
For Beth, the technical side of the business challenged her and required a huge learning curve, but the business side seemed to come naturally. Mak, or “Mr. Style,” was a brilliant businessman, and sharing a life with him, just watching the inner workings of corporate life through his eyes, had given Beth a pretty good idea of how things work. She says her husband was instrumental in the early years of the blog and she still hears his voice when she’s negotiating a contract.
Unfortunately, Beth had just started her YouTube channel when her husband was diagnosed with liver cancer and, although they kept things going for a couple of years, eventually she had to put some things on hold. He died in 2019.
Now Beth has a team in place that work with her on a freelance basis, including, an entertainment lawyer, an assistant, a photographer, a videographer and several others who help with Instagram and Pinterest postings. Beth’s daughter-in-law, Kelly Djalali, is the graphic designer who handles the branding plus keeps things consistent and all the balls in the air. Jennifer Duvall, an Athens-based makeup artist, is the Beauty Editor (see related story).
While you’ll see loads of photographs of Beth in all kinds of clothes, casual to dressy, Style at a Certain Age is not just about fashion, it also covers lifestyle, beauty, and wellness. Her blog includes food and cocktail recipes, hair and make-up tutorials, home design, health and wellness tips, even posts on grief.
Of course, all that content creation is supported by various advertisers. To Beth, maintaining the brand integrity has been one of the keys to her success. She has a very loyal readership – they trust her and with good reason. Style at a Certain Age turns away about 97% of the brands that want to be affiliated with her.
Beth wants her readers to feel that brands she recommends have the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” so she and her team do their research. Beth says she wants it to be a win-win for the brand and for her readers and that she has never approached a brand, they’ve always come to her.
“At the end of the day I only have my integrity and that’s why I have a very loyal readership. We need to be delivering value each and every day.”
Style after Covid
Coming off of two years of sweat pants and t-shirts, many of us are ready for a change. So how do we get back to looking good?
“Style doesn’t define who we are or what we’re capable of, but it does influence how we feel and how we’re perceived,” Beth points out. “And it’s something that’s completely within our control.” She advises women to find their personal style by asking themselves how they want to be perceived. “Then take an honest look at yourself, your current closet, and your life –
then choose things that work with all three.”
Let’s face it, a look that takes 45 minutes to put together will not work if you generally have only 15. But figuring out your personal style ahead of time can have you looking put together, even if you are running late.
She says the first step to a signature style is a good closet cleanse, then shop for the basics. The number one reason you “can’t find anything to wear” is not having the basics. She’s emphatic that it’s almost impossible to put together a chic outfit without those basics.
Beth recommends having a style equation, a style uniform, depending on the occasion. This means you have all the ingredients on hand for each look – you just mix them together. And Beth’s Rule of Three for shopping makes this as easy as 1, 2, 3.
“Whenever I’m shopping and am looking at an item, I always try to remember if I have three things at home that I can pair it with,” she notes. “If so, I am totally onboard with buying it.” She recommends looking for quality items that will stand the test of time. These can always be paired with fast fashion accessories for a trendy look.
Beth is adamant that those of us over 50, 60, or 70 and beyond can still be vibrant women. She reminds her readers that if we don’t feel good in what we’re wearing, we’re not going to look good. She’s very firm that just because we’re getting older doesn’t mean we have to look stodgy or stale – we can be vibrant at any age.
On the other hand, she also doesn’t believe we have to be made up every time we step out the door or be ready for a photo shoot. She wore comfortable clothes and very little make-up for our interview, and still looked poised and ready to meet the world.
Beth Djalali is an inspiration. She took herself from mom to mogul and if anyone was telling Beth she was too old, or it was too late or too hard to start something new or to start over, Beth was not listening.
“We’re not too old – we don’t have to stop doing something just because there’s another year on the calendar,” she says. “As long as I have my health, my cognitive skills are still there, and I have a purpose, I think life needs to be lived and lived fully.”
Arlene Williams lives in Winterville and when she’s not dancing, riding her horse, selling real estate, or caring for her mother, she writes for Boom.
From a hobby to a business
Along with fashion and lifestyle, Style at a Certain Age also features skin care and makeup tips and products. The resident expert is local makeup artist Jennifer Duvall who is the beauty editor, providing a weekly column on Wednesdays and various make-over videos with Beth. Neither woman minds showing the audience their own before-and-after looks.
Some of her posts for Style include such topics as “Tips and Trends for faking fuller eyebrows” or “Fix these 5 makeup mistakes that could be aging you.”
Duvall says she’s always loved playing with makeup from the days she was a child watching her mother get ready to go out. She began her beauty business providing makeup for weddings, other special occasions, and photo shoots so that she could stay home with her children. Then she created her own website and beauty blog in 2008 – JennySueMakeup.com and now @jennysuemakeup. Now she also has her own YouTube channel.
In one blog post she writes, “Some would assume that throwing on a ton of makeup to conceal those age spots is the trick. Or that ignoring makeup altogether once you’ve hit a certain age is best. I’d strongly disagree with both schools of thought. I’d argue that a clean, bright makeup look that has some much-needed color injected into an aging face is what can make all the difference.”
Read the details of her “Five simple beauty tips to look younger” under the Beauty heading on the Style blog.