Perhaps you've had occasion to browse a newsstand recently (why) and you've noticed something odd. Take that first "d" and replace it with an "l" and you're well on your way to understanding a thrilling new trend in photos of notable women. No, that isn't softskinned Kentucky beauty queen Jennifer Lawrence on the cover of the latest issue of What's the Deal, Ladies magazine. Nor do those tap shoes with a Pilgrim buckle sit on the ankles of the nubile Scarlett Johansson as she poses like Venus on the Babes For Real bi-monthly. That woman you see, well, she is a woman of a certain age.

Women of a certain age—what are they? Who are they? Why are they? If you have to ask how old a woman of a certain age is, you're as fresh as my beebopping, skateboarding, mouthbreathing grandson. But with dignity, here's what we're talking about: Helen Mirren (69 (heh)), Jane Fonda (77), Judi Dench (80), Alfre Woodard (62), Susan Sarandon (68), Aretha Franklin (72). You getting the picture yet? These ladies are old, my man. But now—they are hot. En vogue. Juicy. Chic. Stylin'. And magazines and fashion campaigns are frigging littered with them.

As the olds always say, "Gimme an example to show your work. And no, Wikipedia is not a source!"

Joni Mitchell (71)

Joni Mitchell, the goddess of womanhood and menstruation moon-syncing, is on the cover of the current New York Magazine. She looks like a puff of smoke pushing a wall to the left. What is behind the wall that she pushes away? The idea that women of any age should not be considered venerable or powerful just because she has a dip in her chin or a crease in her neck. Joni Mitchell will abracadabra kaboom you into space and still look very good while doing it. *Poof*


Joan Didion (80)

This old witchy woman is the octogenarian inspiration behind whole writers' careers, pastel Instagram photos of books and nail polish, and a desire for many to "leave it all behind" and head into the Californian desert with a suitcase full of succulents and floor-length cream-colored skirts. She's also a beautiful writer herself but we've said goodbye to all that and thrown her into fashion-infested waters. Diddy, darling, you are looking foxy.

Carmen Dell'Orefice (83)

Come on, Dell'Orefice. This is an unrealistic standard of beauty for any of us to maintain. You are an 83-year-old supermodel and I am a 27-year-old blogger. Do you think my cheekbones will be as chiseled as yours in 55 years? Last I heard, staring at a computer screen all day every day for the remainder of my living years is not the way to look so good as you. But praise be to you, sister. You put us all to shame and we aren't even that old yet.

But these women aren't just pretty to look at—they have sharp minds, too. Perpetual big-screen siren Sophia Loren (80) has just published her first-ever memoir, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life. Though Loren owes some part of her life to Italian cuisine (otherwise she'd be dead by starvation), in a new interview she tells the New York Times about a quote often attributed to her, "Non è vero! It's not true! It's such a silly thing. I owe it to spaghetti, no, no. Completely made up."

She also spends a lot of time in hotels, which is probably what keeps her young. No wonder she looks so fine.

Readers, there really isn't anything sexier than an agéd lady with her shit right. Just ask this 31-year-old gentleman, who won't date any woman who is younger than 60 years old: "I love everything about older women!" he says. Us, too, pal.

[Images via YSL/Getty]