If there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that sometimes, we women are our own worst enemies. Those of us who take a little bit of trouble to dress up are given the once over with a questioning look of “Where does she think she’s going?” and those who take a little bit more interest in makeup or fashion are quickly labelled superficial and shallow. Hey, beauty bloggers get it all the time so I’m pretty immune, because I know I’m not 😀 I’m a woman so I’m qualified to make this statement and I dare anyone to tell me otherwise! 😉
Yet, what I’ve found is that taking a bit of trouble with your appearance can do wonders for your confidence and self-esteem, and even your mood. When your mood lifts, everything else starts to improve. It’s the law of the universe. Besides, it isn’t shallow if you take that trouble for yourself, not merely to impress friends or colleagues or the general public. You aren’t shallow if you’re trying to better yourself.
I speak from experience, mainly because when I was languishing at the bottom of a deep ravine of self-doubt and emotional turmoil, I took no interest in my dressing and even in my makeup. Heck, even my skincare routine suffered. I’d slob along to work in a sloppy cardigan top hanging over pants that barely fit me anymore, or in an ill-fitting dress that did not fit 5 years ago and still doesn’t fit now.
My makeup was rudimentary. I’d apply the most basic of makeup, not caring if the colours matched or clashed, or if they made me look tired or old 😛 This carried on for over a month and from day to day, it seemed that my mood of despair kept spiralling further and further down the abyss. It seemed that there was no end in sight.
Until one day, I stared out over the twinkling lights of the city landscape from my balcony, and realised what a bum I’d become. Fittingly, I’d stopped blogging at that time or you could say that I was a failed beauty blogger, not practising what I preached and just being a right slob. So I picked myself up by the figurative lapels and decided to turn things around.
One of the hardest things you can do when you’re feeling down is to dress up. When your mood is low, it’s hard to take an interest in making yourself look good. But don’t underestimate how much better that will make you feel if you do.
Dress up to feel better
What I did was make some subtle but effective changes to my wardrobe. I didn’t go out and buy a new wardrobe. I just worked with what I had. To look a little more pulled together, I started tucking in my shirts or blouses into my skirts and slacks. I love the classic, simple style of Jean from Extra Petite and I recommend reading her blog for fashion tips and ideas because she dresses well in a good mix of mid, high and low end brands and makes them work. Hers is the only fashion blog I read 🙂
Tuck in your tops
Try it for yourself and see the difference. Tucking in your tops instead of leaving them loose, gives you a more defined silhouette, and makes you look neater and more pulled together. Leaving your top loose, whilst more comfortable, can make you look sloppy.
Wear a belt
A belt helps you accessorize with minimal effort, and also pulls your outfit together, giving definition where you may not otherwise have it. Instead of leaving a cardigan flapping lose, belting a thin belt over it gives your outfit a bit more definition.
Blazers add definition
If you can wear a blazer, it helps to create definition as well, while maintaining a professional appearance. But be sure to pick one that fits you well. A blazer that hangs loosely or that is ill-fitting looks as bad as a sloppy cardigan. The key here is to wear something that fits YOU and makes you look good.
Wear brighter colours or a pop of colour
While it’s tempting to wear black to match your mood, and believe me, I wear a lot of black and dark colours, adding that pop of colour to your outfit, whether it be a floral or colourful top, a scarf, a belt etc can help lift your mood. Colours are a great way to play around with your outfit, and the right colour can similarly lift your mood. So, pick a colour that makes you feel happy and wear it.
I know some people can’t wear heels, but if you can, pull on your prettiest pair of heels and go. I pulled out heels that I hadn’t worn in months or that I keep saving for “special occasions” and wore them. They made me feel like a million bucks!
I’d stopped wearing accessories for a while. It was partly due to laziness and partly due to lack of interest. But when I started dressing up a little better, I realised how important accessories could be to jazz up an otherwise plain outfit.
So, I started digging out my old necklaces and earrings and the odd bracelet and watch that I owned. I started wearing some or all of them at one go. Subtle touches of silver or gold on my ears and a delicate necklace. I started appreciating lighter, less bulky jewellery and soon, it became a habit for me to put on at least a pair of earrings or a new set of rings that I’d bought myself to finish off an outfit.
I noticed how much more pulled together I looked with a small piece of jewellery as opposed to not wearing any, and that made me feel better about myself. It’s also given me a brand new interest in jewellery which is an expensive affair LOL! 😀
Wear Makeup to feel better
With my change in my wardrobe, I took a greater interest in my makeup application. Which leads me to a little anecdote. When I was feeling down one day, I went for a walk in a mall to spend some vouchers that were expiring. I then stopped by the Dior counter to check out the Christmas collection and was invited to sit down for a short makeover and to try the new foundation. One thing led to another, and I received a general makeover. When I looked in the mirror, I was happy with what I saw, done by the expert hands of the makeup artist, and that lifted my black mood and I stayed happier for the rest of the day. It isn’t shallow to want to wear some makeup or to want to use makeup to look a little better. If it makes you feel happier, why not? 🙂
Wear bright lipstick
Bright lipstick almost immediately lifts your complexion and makes you look better and more alive. During my time down in the doldrums, I noticed I was wearing fairly neutral lip shades. Enough to complete my look but I looked faded. When I switched to a brighter shade, I immediately looked perkier and better and I actually felt better too.
Wear a bright blush
Bright doesn’t mean a red blush like that from the Chinese opera. It simply means a colour that lifts your complexion. If you don’t know what that colour is, head to any makeup counter and test their blushes. For me, pink blushes make me look fresher and younger and better. Rose blushes tend to make me look a little more tired or more dull. For some people, it could be a peach blush or a red blush. Find a shade that you know makes you look brighter and better and wear it.
Define your eyes
One of the things I neglected was my eye makeup, and that’s when I noticed how much better I look with eye makeup that makes my eyes look more defined. Neutral eyeshadow was fine, but putting on an eyeliner and pencilling in my brows almost instantaneously made me look more alive and perkier and more alert.
In the beginning, it was hard to be taking so much interest in what was otherwise a routine affair, when your mood isn’t all that upbeat. Yet, I started noticing that when I started making an effort to dress and look better and more pulled together, my mood started to lift. It is hard to feel down when you catch sight of yourself or your reflection and think “Damn, I look good today!” 🙂
And when your mood lifts, everything starts to look up again. It’s the law of the universe, believe it or not. You may get offers of help from unexpected quarters, what appeared to be a sinkhole in the road now shrinks to the size of a pothole, you get things done, you start feeling better and things start looking up in the world.
So, the next time you’re feeling down on your luck and slowly sinking into despair, make a conscious effort to dress up and put on some makeup. It may not change how things are, but at least you will feel better about yourself and believe me, when you catch that glimpse of yourself and think “Hey, good looking!” your mood lightens and slowly, things will start going your way. Try it and see 🙂
Have you noticed how dressing better or wearing some makeup can boost your mood and make you feel happier if you’re feeling down?
So often, we are told that an interest in makeup or wearing makeup or taking an interest in what we wear is superficial and shallow – I’m sure you’ve all heard it at some point in your life. If not said about you, about someone else. But it’s worth thinking about, because when you put your best self forward, people take notice, you feel better, and surprising as it is, you may even accomplish and surmount more obstacles than you thought you could. If you have an anecdote, do share. I’d love to hear your stories, and gentlemen amongst you, please let me know if the dressing up bit is true for you too! 🙂