I’m going to pass along some words of wisdom my own mother gave me when I was in my teens. Are you ready for it? Okay, here goes… never leave the house without lipstick and earrings.
Those were Nonna’s words of wisdom, you ask? Yes, those are just some of many, and while this particular advice may seem superficial, it’s actually quite the opposite.
I wrote a while back about why you shouldn’t wear pajamas to the final exam, the reason being that you should wear clothes that make you feel confident and respectable. The same applies to makeup. When my mother gave me the advice above, she was basically saying, “You can go without foundation. You can go without blush. But without lipstick and earrings, you’ll look and feel unfinished, unkempt.”
The emphasis should be on “feel,” because with all things related to beauty, what’s most important is how you feel rather than how you actually look, right? Clothing, shoes, makeup and accessories have this crazy power to influence a girl’s self-esteem (for that day, anyway). When you wear a clumsy outfit, you feel uncomfortable all day, and your mind is focused more on your discomfort than on other, more important things. But when you wear the outfit that best highlights your shape and color, you feel on top of the world, like you can do anything. Your outfit is an extension of the awesome you that you already are. And when you know that, you stop thinking about your appearance and start focusing on social and intellectual productivity.
According to my mother, lipstick and earrings are icing on the cake of all that awesomeness. They bring that last final touch, that extra boost of confidence, because of their subtle ability to make you look polished and put together. These little extras show that you care, that you take pride in your appearance and therefore in yourself. They command respect and dignity.
I’m not saying you should wear bright red lipstick and huge, gaudy earrings every day (in fact, please don’t). Even a neutral shade of lipstick and small hoop earrings will do the trick. It’s about so much more than looking pretty. It’s about taking the time to feel good about yourself.