I know it’s five days into March and I’m just starting to write about my March monthly challenge. But honestly, I’m a little embarrassed about this one. But the idea for this month’s challenge came from a lot of different random experiences:
-Frequently getting mistaken by clients for the analyst instead of the manager because of how young I look and the immature way I dress
-Always having trouble figuring out what to wear to go out at night in NYC (pretty much the only time I really worry about my appearance) and constantly feeling like I have nothing to wear (despite the fact that my two dressers and two closets are all overflowing)
-Getting shocked reactions from my girlfriends when they discovered that I have never in my life been to one of the famous NYC department stores (nor do I even know where they are located, aside from Macy’s in Herald Square)
I feel a little silly about the shallowness of it all, but it’s evident that I need to spend at least a little time focusing on my appearance. And so – that’s what I’ll be doing for the month of March.
I’m honestly kind of nervous about the month. I don’t want to spend a lot of money (and since I don’t tend to buy designer stuff, my expectations of “a lot of money” are probably much lower than those of my friends). I also don’t want to significantly increase how long it takes me to get ready for the day/night. But I do want to clean out my closet, keeping only the stuff that makes me look great (instead of the clothes that are just something to cover my body). I also definitely need to get some accessories, instead of defaulting to pearls and my oh-so-chic Nike Fuelband. And I clearly need to learn how to do my hair and makeup (quickly!) to look my best. Perhaps even a drastic haircut is in order? We shall see.
The adventure began last Thursday night (still technically February), when I hit up some department stores in Dallas to look for a formal gown. I started with some places that were new to me but where I was reasonably comfortable (Saks Off Fifth, Nordstrom Rack, Dillard’s) – but then migrated to some stores that honestly made me feel totally out of my element and like everyone in the store was judging me (Neiman Marcus). I didn’t find a gown that I liked, but I was able to make do with a dress I’ve had for years. It may not have been quite as chic as the designer dresses my friends got from Rent the Runway, but I still thought I looked pretty good, and I was very comfortable. Hooray for stretchy material!
That’s right, Saturday night found me at another place I never thought I’d be – the New York Junior League Winter Ball. I was honestly terrified in the cab on the way there, particularly because I had chosen to do my hair and makeup myself (hooray for this Youtube video of an easy updo!). But what if my hair looked like a rat’s nest and my face looked like a clown and I was the only one there not in a famous designer? Of course, none of that mattered in the least, and I had an amazing time dancing the night away with my friends. But I was still proud I pulled it off – first test, complete! (The next test will be when I go to Savor the Symphony in a few weeks with Blake and see if I can improve upon my all-dolled-up skills.)
I also put together what I think is a pretty cute outfit for work this morning. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a bit more effort than my usual jeans-and-a-polo at my very casual client. And, it all came out of my existing closet – so it didn’t cost a cent!
I was surprised that it wasn’t that hard for me to look a little bit better. It just took thinking about what I had and trying on a few things at home before packing them (instead of just grabbing the same old boring things and shoving them into my suitcase like I normally do). I think if I just spend a little more time up front figuring out what works and what doesn’t (and perhaps a lot of time clearing my closet of those “doesn’t work” things), I can look a bit more pulled together all the time, instead of kind of a tomboy-ish mess. Whether I like it or not, the way I look is the first impression I give off, so it really ought to be a good one.
So – and I can’t believe I am writing this call to action – any hair/makeup/fashion advice? Any tips on how to clean out your closet when you’re a totally sentimental pack rat like me? And, should I finally go to the New York department stores that scare me so, or should I take my friend Lacey’s advice and avoid them because it’s “adorable” and “quaint” (like a Luddite) that I live in NYC and have never been?