Posted by: stillironic | June 29, 2010

Looking Good Even When You Don’t

Women dress for other women. Except when we dress for men. But mostly we dress and groom ourselves for the approval, envy, and recognition of other women. And to show how cool we are. Or at least to show we’re not pathetic.*

But looking fab all the time takes time. Time few of us have. Or if we do—if we’re slothful like me—we don’t want to spend our time on the incessant hair styling, dieting, plucking, exfoliating, muscle toning, Vogue perusing, mega shopping it takes to look terrific.

girl with green hair

The thing is we don’t always have to be well dressed and well groomed to show other women we measure up. The goal is making our female friends, acquaintances and, especially, our enemies think we know the rules and regs of being well dressed and groomed. It’s all about image.

Take pedicures. The rule is if we’re going to wear sandals, we need a pedicure. Are we talking pedicures every week? No way. One or two a season should do it, depending on how long the polish takes to wear off. As long as there’s even the remotest evidence of a pedicure visible, we’re broadcasting the important message: we know the rules. That dab of polish implies we’re about to get a pedicure tomorrow. So what if tomorrow is next month. (Hint: durability of polish is key.)

Take clothes. Rules conflict here, depending on whether you emulate the look in Vogue, Good Housekeeping, or Dixie Biker Illustrated. But if we pretend we’re French, the rule is to dress in a way that enhances our individuality. And to spend more on less. Does this mean we have to like French people? No, unless we choose to. We simply need to wear a few really good pieces that attest to our impeccable taste. The payoff is other women will view whatever we wear as chic. Even that stretched-out t-shirt the baby spit up on. (Hint: belt it with a funky necktie from Goodwill.)

Take hair. The rule: hair should be styled so it complements our face. Does this mean we have to buy a wig if we have bad hair? No. If it’s unmanageable, cut it short. Less of a bad thing can only be good. Right? Then dye it a wild color that flatters the complexion. Try purple or chartreuse and forever put the kibosh on hair quality as an issue. Other women will sense this as daring and cutting edge. After that, any way we wear our hair will seem au courant and right. (Hint: go to a professional for colors not found in nature.)

The point is: get other women to believe you have style and it’s yours.


*The People of Wal-Mart are making an art form out of pathetic, so who knows.



  1. You are so right — it’s really all about attitude. I have a friend who always wears the craziest combination of clothes, but because she has this aura of “hipness” about her, it works. If I tried it, people would say “Uh, did you know that scarf has little polka dots? And you blouse is striped?”

    And, oh yeah, she’s got the hair thing going all right. And she often carries around a sketchpad, so there’s the artist angle, too. That will get you out of a lot of clothing disasters, I think.

    • Speaking of attitude, I need an attitude adjustment now that I’m going to start looking for freelance work.

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