Last weekend after Mass, she remarked to me that I gave her hope that moms of big families could be stylish and wear something other than plaid or denim jumpers. I'm thrilled that she thinks I'm stylish, I try but have my doubts sometimes. Her comment got me to wondering why does having children automatically equal frumpiness?
We try to encourage our children about the wonders and joy of a big family, but what message does the way we look send to them? It is difficult to speak of the beauty of this life when the face we give it is outdated and unattractive. We say that physical appearances shouldn't matter, that it's the inside that counts. Let's be honest, the outside matters, too. It's not the most important thing, but if we are walking through life with grizzled, frizzy hair, ill-fitting clothes, and a sullen expression....who wants to be that?
It's hard to be a woman and understand how clothes are supposed to fit us. What looks amazing at 20 looks dreadful at 40 and ghastly at 60. Our bodies change radically after having babies, but we don't want to admit it even to ourselves. We keep wishing for that 20 year old body and so never learn to work with what we have. It's a shame, because grown up women can look amazing and feel so good about themselves if they are simply honest about what's in the mirror.
We need to not be afraid to try things on or to take a brutally honest friend to the store when we shop. (Have I mentioned the importance of an honest friend before?) It doesn't have to be as difficult as we let it become. We hang on to clothes we once loved but can't wear because some day we will lose that belly and they will look amazing. We won't ever totally lose the belly, and if we did the clothes would be outdated anyway.
So what am I talking about? Just basic good care and maintenance. Most moms aren't going to look like fashion models, but we can at least put as much effort into our own looks as we do into our children's appearances. (It drives me crazy to see little girls decked out from the flower in their hair to the cute shoes on their feet while mom tries to be invisible in her hole-y t-shirt and torn, frayed jeans and flip flops. Mom deserves better.)
We just need to begin and the rest will follow. (Me as much as anyone.) Here's my to-do list:
- Start with a bra that fits. It's shocking how difficult this can be. Victoria's Secret will measure and fit you for free!!!!! You don't even have to buy a bra there.
- Buy the best bra you can afford. It makes such a difference in how your clothes fit and how you feel about your body. The right bra can make you look 10 lbs lighter. Try them on.
- Fix your hair every day. Even the ubiquitous pony tail can be cute if you make an effort for it to be. It takes an extra 5 minutes in the morning. If you have time to read this blog, you have time to fix your hair. Hot rollers are your friend!
- Unless you have curly hair, then please use a pick and not a brush. You have no idea how jealous I am of girls with curly hair or how sad I get when I see those gorgeous curls frizzed out. Pick! Pick! Pick!
- Clothes with holes or stains should be mended or thrown out. (I'm so guilty of this.) There is no hole so small that it doesn't matter. T-shirts are cheap. Buy a new one.
- Buy fitted clothes. Seams make you look thinner. Big boxy tops and dresses make you look like a box. You're a girl. You have curves. Love them.
- Covered up is prettier than exposed, but modest doesn't have to mean frumpy. Experiment with layers!
- Invest in a jacket that looks good on you. I have denim and khaki ones which I love. They make any outfit looked pulled together just by throwing them on.
- Lipstick and mascara make a huge difference and take little to no time to apply. Why wouldn't you?
- Two words: eyelash curler
- DEODORANT!!!! (This is not an issue for me, but some of you.....you know who you are.)
- Cute shoes can lift up an ordinary outfit and make it memorable. They don't have to be mile high heels, but something you like.
- Polish those shoes. Shiny shoes just make me smile and feel good.
- Remember that in 10 years you'll look at pictures of yourself now and think, "I was so cute then. What was I complaining about?"
- Smile. It's free and it will improve your appearance and the way you feel more than anything else you can do. (Other than the bra thing. I was serious about that.)
I'll go first.