I've been gearing up to take our nanny to the U.S. Embassy for her visa application interview tomorrow. (We're going to the States in October, and my mother kindly offered to pay Diovine's way so that Mom could actually manage to talk to me this time--unlike last time where I had to spend every minute either chasing Sage around, or resting from chasing Sage around.)
This gearing-up process has involved not only tons of paperwork and bureaucratic hoo-ha, but also oh-so-important peripheral preparations like getting my hair cut and giving myself a facial and a pedicure. Not that the consul will ever actually see my peachy-perfect toes, mind you, but I know I'll be able to present our case better if I'm not worrying that someone somewhere is staring at my ugly feet. Quite simply, if I look good, I feel good; and if I feel good, I perform better. Which got me to thinking that maybe...
Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Fashion and Beauty
1. Never have a haircut or facial on the big day itself. In other words, plan ahead and get things done early. Just as your hair needs time to grow out before being at its best, your presentation, for example, may need several revisions to develop and mature before actually being presentable. And just as your face might be irritated from the facial process, your printer or email or whatever may not work at the very moment you need it to. In beauty or in business, leaving things for the last minute is never a good idea.
2. Buy shoes at mid-afternoon, not at night when your feet are swollen, or in the morning when your feet are smaller. Translation? Timing is everything. Don't sell real estate when the market is down; don't hit your dad up for a loan when he's been stuck in traffic for five hours; don't try to get your boyfriend to commit to marriage when he's between jobs.
3. Pick a focal point on your face to emphasize, like eyes or lips; soften the rest of your makeup to complement it. In copywriting terms, that means don't try to highlight every last selling point of your product or service. Pick a central theme to focus on, and arrange all the other attributes in such a way that they enhance and are enhanced by the focal point. Same goes for arguments with your parents, your thesis review board, or your bitchy editor. Scattershot logic is forgettable and often irritating; targeted messaging gets the point across.
4. Anchor your wardrobe around a set of quality basics; buy other selections or accents with this set in mind. In short, think big picture. Whether assessing a job opportunity or a prospective date, consider how well the prospect fits with your overall plan. It doesn't have to be a perfect fit, but if it forces you to change the plan entirely, make sure it's worth it.
5. No matter how long a day it's been, cleanse your face before going to sleep. Some things need doing, regardless of how tiresome they are or how tired you are. Putting them off will not make them go away, and the consequences of procrastination, like zits, may be ugly.
6. Don't wear tube tops if you're big-breasted; don't wear cargo pants if you're big-hipped. And don't consider a career in accountacy if you can't add. Find out what suits you, stick with it, and get as good as you can humanly be. This applies to nearly everything from careers to conversation. Find your niche and work it, baby.
7. Don't be afraid to experiment with your style; hair grows back. Or as someone famous once said, whatever doesn't kill you... It's okay to make mistakes; sometimes it truly is the only way to learn. It's better to take a risk and fall flat on your face than to never fail because you never even tried.
8. Update your look at least once every five years. Never stop improving yourself, in big ways or small. Pick up and read a non-fiction book, learn to do something new, listen to a different kind of music. If you don't, the next thing you know, you've turned into the type of person who can't figure out how to operate a DVD player.
9. Use conditioner on your hair; the softness and manageability is well worth the extra step. Take time out to indulge yourself once in a while, whether it's a day off with your loved ones, or a couple of hours to watch a movie. Remember, you've only got one life and one you! Take care of yourself and have fun.
10. Be quality-conscious rather than brand-conscious. At the end of the day, success and happiness are measured the way you decide to measure them. Don't let anyone else tell you how to live your life. Not even fashion magazines, and certainly not me.