Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fight the Drab - 12-step Glamour-chasing

Am definitely going through mid-life crisis.  Have started wearing hats and heels requiring stabilisers, and strange geometric mini skirts, that are crimson...I've started wearing colour for god's sake.   

What's going on?  well, I've worked it out.  It's a backlash to my introverted confidence-lacking youth.  That youth that saw me only wear various shades of black and neutral, only ever adorning my body in items that would cover my bum, in swathes, and reveal nothing in the way of contour, effectively large sacks.  I wore flat shoes, mainly converse and flip flops, pretty much all the time and, keen never to stand out, make up was always subtle, neutral, pointless.  My style could best be described as androgynous and non-descript, banal and dreary.  I would willingly fade into the murky background.

But now that i'm older, I realise with horror I am quite literally FADING INTO THE MURKY BACKGROUND on a run-away train to inevitable decrepitness and demise, and in response am fighting tooth and claw to cling onto that last little vestige of youth and prime, snatch it back, hold it high and shout to the world 'I HAVE CHANGED MY MIND!'.  I do not wish to be drab, live a life of obscurity, I want to be noticed.  I want, and this is very unBritish of me, to take pride in my appearance, before it's too late.  I WANT TO BE FRENCH.

*takes deep breath, composes self*

Hence the purchase of bowler hats, the blow-drying of hair, the odd-looking red minis against opaque tights, and general opting for more 'womanly' attire. I am attempting to scrub up, inject a little bit of glamour into the everyday.  But it's an art you know and not one I've ever learnt.

I have therefore been studying my friends more closely than usual.  I have friends - god knows why they hang out with me - who never leave the house looking anything other than GORGEOUS.  They always look, with my clunky grunge eyes, pristine.  They probably came out of the womb glamorous and it is something that you can't just acquire but I am INTENT and observing them closely for just how they do it.  Perfect make up perfect hair, good nails, coordinating outfits, comprising clothes that are always well kempt, hmm... probably because they look after them after they've bought them, rather than stuff them into tiny gaps of residual space in wardrobes - note to self.  They even iron them it seems...an I-RON, what's that..?? Either that or they routinely wear new stuff.

And then there's makeup, not just the same old eyeliner, mascara ritual that they've used for years (a la moi), but eye shadows, foundations, rouge, eyebrows neat and perfect lips.  Enhancing looks in a way that's not gaudy, or even obvious - all very clever - these women don't have it all rattling about in a dirty dusty bag but have pots and brushes, palettes and paints sitting fragrantly on a dressing table...an area set aside for making up, where one can focus.  I want a dressing table.

So, without further ado, I have drawn up an action plan, a twelve-step guide on being well-groomed and glamorous, that one can refer to at times of impending and suffocating drab.  It goes like this:

Step 1
Work out outfit day before.  Re-organise wardrobe such that all potential options are visible and not in too much of a state to wear off the peg.

Step 2
Accessorise outfit, with jewellery and/or scarf and/or hat.  Ensure nails are manicured, and preferably painted in this season's colour. 

Step 3
Sleep well.  Some people I'm told like to be in bed by 10 and it does wonders for their complexion.  Well you know what they say, go to sleep with the lark...every hour before midnight is worth double the hours after...etceterrrrrrrrrrraaaa, except of course when you need to go out to flaunt new found glam.

Step 4
Get up early and do exercise.  Frankly, this is something i never would have countenanced, or even advised once upon a time but such is my vanity and fear of lost muscle tone and general sag, you will see me out on a bike (never run anywhere, cycing gets you there much quicker) before 8am, and occasionally pilate-ing.  Makes you sparkier too.  Fuzzy is NEVER glamourous.

Step 5
Shower, ending session with cold shower for as long and as cold as can muster.  Refer to previously-mentioned vanity/pain equation - cold showers perk everything, and I mean everything, up - AND deliver instant sparkiness.  Particularly good for baggy eyelids.  Plus the rude shock to sluggish circulation in the buttock and thigh area helps stem the cellulite tide.  Ensure skin in trouble areas is angry pink before emerging from ice drench.

Step 6
Dry hair, even if not wet.  Using curling brush, other hair appliances, gels, glues, sprays, and sufficient time with head upside down to make it look bouncy and salon-finished again.

Step 7
Apply make-up.  Using brushes.  And a dressing table, like the kidney-shaped one with pelmets your mother used to have.  Actually pelmets not really required, just a nice space where you can sit and focus... 
Refer to online classes to find out how best to apply makeup, Lancome, Youtube lauren luke whatshername, am quite enjoying the max factor ads in the Model Agency break on Ch 4.  Very enlightening.

Step 8
Dress in Parisienne-inspired outfit organised (and where necessary pressed) the night before.  Adorn with accessories - refer to above - but not too many.

Step 9
Wear appropriate, not scussy footwear.  A heel is good and clean is vital.  If trainers must be worn ensure they are converse only and look brand new - wash in washing machine if need be.

Step 10
Sweep down stairs fragrant and flicking hair back as you go to breakfast on a croissant and coffee, and water, and fruit.  hold with fingertips and eat small mouthful at a time.  Try not to talk mid chew.*.

Step 11
Have mirror on wall near door and always check teeth before leaving house.

Step 12
Ensure tasteful Parisienne-style bag contains comb/brush, toothbrush/toothpaste and lipstick with mirror to re-apply on the hoof if necessary.

*In a forthcoming blog I shall be focusing on food and eating the glamorous way.....

Postscript:  although some may disagree, I find it is useful to have money in your pursuit of glamour.  If, like myself, you are financially challenged, you have no choice but to APPLY YOURSELF all the more to the cause.  There is no excuse. Not if you don't want to fade away into the murky background.

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