Instructions Needed

Mallory did one of those “Facts About My Mom” booklets for Mother’s Day. Among other things, she opined that “My mom’s personality is nice, quiet, and gentle.” Aww. Also: true! She also said “My mom’s hair is always perfectly in place.” Which: It’s nice she thinks so, but: false!

I took myself shopping on Mother’s Day, because I’m going to Atlanta next week for a conference and I have nothing to wear. Once I got to the mall, however, I realized that I didn’t know, at all, what to get. I really have no sense of style; I don’t know how to put an outfit together. I don’t know how to distinguish between “business casual” and “your elderly grandma.” I also don’t know what looks good on me. Bright colors? Black? Grey? I know to avoid, say, sleeveless tops, but should I also avoid v-necks? I found some pants that are super-comfortable and I think they look nice, but yesterday I wore them to work and spent the whole day worrying that maybe they looked too much like pajama jeans. (Also: I’m 5’5”, which means I am of exactly average height. So why are all pants too long for me? I take a pair of pants off the rack and they’re at least 5 inches too long. Even the “Short” lengths are sometimes too long. Do I have bizarrely short legs? Should I start wearing heels? I don’t know!) (Also: my new pants really don’t look like pajama jeans.)

I am similarly at sea when it comes to hair and makeup. I have never had a decent hairstyle. Some days my hair looks nice, but it’s not necessarily because of anything I do – it’s just luck. I think if I were able to say, with conviction and knowledge: “My hair is thick but doesn’t have much volume, and tends to frizz, [or whatever]” then I’d be able to guide a stylist into giving me a good haircut. But in fact I’m not sure what my hair “is.” And makeup? Sometimes I notice other women’s eyeshadow and think: That looks nice, but how on earth did she do that, in that way? And let’s not even get started on my nails.

It’s not that I’m fishing for compliments, by the way; I don’t need anyone to reassure me that I am, at least, presentable on most occasions. I’m not a great beauty and that’s okay; and if looking “better” would mean – as I assume it would – spending more than 12 minutes getting ready every morning then I’m not really interested. I just sometimes feel that I missed a memo, a magical memo that most girls get that explains all this stuff. If you have it, can you send it my way?


Chris said...

You always look good to me. But what do I know...I always look like a bum.

aimee said...

I think every woman (or at least the ones that don't have a personal stylist) feels this way. And yeah, sometimes I hate the fact that my hair my take a long time to style, so I just stuff it in a hat and go about my day. I don't know what I would wear if I had to go to a job everyday anymore. I love jeans. But maybe not pajama jeans.

Karen said...

I think that one needs to wear what she feels comfortable wearing. If you feel comfortable, you will look fine because you are not worried about how you look. Does that sound like circlar reasoning?