It’s kind of shocking to believe that Madonna is 56 and will turn 57 in August. That’s almost 60 for those of you who are good in math, and that means for half her life, Madonna has managed to remain relevant despite living in a digital age that’s all about moving on to the next hot thing within a matter of months. So how has this pop diva stayed in the zeitgeist when so many of her past rivals have faded into forced retirement? As always, the answer lies in the ways in which Madonna sells sex, vitality and reinvention as essential parts of her personality.

Fashion Sense

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Madonna often dresses for public outings as if she’s still in her 20s. Whether it’s ripped jeans, barely-there tops, or fingerless black gloves, she always seems to adorn herself in clothes that are risk-taking, bold and attention grabbing. In other words, she’s not going to wrap up in a nice warm cardigan, waiting for her social security checks. This is a woman who has made her living doing things her way, which makes her dress style unsurprising to those who’ve followed her career. It’s not unusual to see Madonna on the red carpet wearing thigh length stockings, high heels, and a fishnet skirt that reveals black underwear. This is a woman who will never stop trying to shock, inspire and provoke with her fashion sense, which keeps her looking young and vibrant to the public.

Some detractors complain that Madonna should stop dressing like a teenager, and act her age. What’s off about that complaint is that Madonna’s style has evolved over the years, from Material Girl to Blonde Ambition to Retro to Sophisticated. She’s never been interested in just one way of dressing, and the fact that she can still fit into clothes made for someone twice her age speaks to her healthy lifestyle more than any desire to look younger.