This advice is not based on science. It's rooted solely in my own hard-won experience, so take from it what you will. I am too stingy to pay lots of money for exotic makeup, too short to pull off anything fashion-forward, and usually too busy to dry my hair. At heart, I prefer pants with elastic waists and beauty that comes in a bottle from CVS. Oh, sure, I read all the magazines. I look at the pictures. I follow sartorially savvy people on Pinterest. And then I run to the GAP to search for a pair of jeans that don't make me look like a linebacker for the Patriots. If you are anything like me, read on.
1. Use mascara to hide your gray hairs. Not exactly kosher from a Vogue point of view, but it works in a pinch. I have a skunk-like white strip of mane that makes me look like Susan Sontag. I could color my hair for $250 every six weeks, or I could whip out my Cover Girl waterproof mascara and look about ten years younger for free.
2. Find a friend whoís your size and borrow from her. Do not lose this friend. For years, I spent impulsive money on unflattering frocks that Iíd wear once or twice, for holiday gatherings and baby showers, then cast off in despair. Some people can forage for vintage at thrift shops and unearth glamorous things in the chaotic aisles of TJ Maxx. Of course, these items are usually designed for people with size O limbs and no breasts. In the past, I always ended up paying full price for something that made me look like a well-tailored fire hydrant. With the friend approach, youíll save money (and find solace in the fact that someone else also has your body type).
3. A ponytail can mask many sins. Short, angular hair is great if youíre Posh Spice. If not, grow your hair long enough to whip into a ponytail to hide grease, split ends, and other follicular misfortunes.
4. Always buy Spanx a size too big. Never, ever buy your own size, regardless of what the package says. I learned this the hard way. All of my Holidays 2007! photos reveal me looking like a tube of toothpaste squeezed in many sad places. Spanx is not an instant diet; itís armor. That extra skin has to go somewhere. And if your Spanx are too tight, well, that skin will ripple over your pants and make you look like a melting cone of soft-serve ice cream.
5. From October Ďtil May, unless youíre a stripper or a swim instructor, you donít need a pedicure. Save the cash. So what if you could puncture someoneís aorta with your toenails? Thatís your little secret.
6. Always travel with tinted lip gloss and concealer in your purse. I, like you, read all those stories about fun little must-haves for your beauty ďarsenal,Ē but the truth is, I canít even find my keys in my purse. When Iím late for a meeting and stuck in traffic, I am not going to reach for my honeydew/insta-tan bronzer/shine-free mini powder-puff. It will explode on top of me in a $25-per-particle plume of disaster and make me choke. I want something that I can wield with one hand while steering, cursing at the driver in front of me, and eating a Luna bar.
7. Invest in one or two good bras, and treat them like gold. Wash them in the sink. Air dry them. Talk to them. Love them. They donít have to be fancy; they just have to be sturdy. You could be wearing the most luscious shirt of all time, but letís face it: Size A or Size F, if your breasts look like two sock puppets gasping for air, a designer shirt wonít matter.
8. Drink lots of water. I donít care if you use $200 moisturizer and get your makeup professionally tattooed every week. If youíre not hydrated, even underneath all those fancy cosmetics, your skin will resemble a pleather suitcase. Water is natureís moisturizer. Drink it in abundance.
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