Pretty Preparations

Yesterday, the Twitters led me to this article from the wonderful blog Already Pretty. Quick, go read it!

Ok, I’ll summarize (but then go read it). A reader of the aforementioned blog asked Sally (the blogstress) the secrets to looking “polished.” You know how some women always seem to look like they have it all together? Yeah. What do they know that we don’t?

Sally’s response was spot on. Looking polished takes time and effort (and, in some cases, money). Polished women hone beauty routines, buy quality garments, and make the most of every opportunity to readjust.

Lately, as I move into a new phase in my life both personally and professionally, I’ve become more conscious of my appearance. Nothing drastic, I just want to align how I carry myself with how I perceive myself (and how I want others to perceive me). For instance, the old, ratty fleece I used to keep in the office to ward off over-zealous airconditioning has been replaced with a sleeker wrap. 

Let me be emphatically clear on this point: I would never label myself “polished.” I would, however, call myself “prepared.” It’s simple, really: No one can be perfect. Everyone can be prepared.

There’s a reason wee boys are taught to Be Prepared whilst in scouting. Preparation is the first line of defense against potential catastrophes, large and small. While most Cub Scouts likely aren’t toting spare tubes of chapstick, you can bet I have one in every purse. In fact, I generally am in possession of a small arsenal of items to make my life easier.

At Work: I spend a lot of time in the office, so my workspace is pretty well-appointed. In addition to a small array of sinus medication, my office contains the following:

  • A comb
  • Lip gloss
  • Mascara
  • Lotion
  • Hair balm (for dry, frizzy fly-aways)
  • Tide “To Go” Pen for stains

Perhaps this sounds vain. Perhaps being concerned about one’s appearance rather than one’s aptitude at work seems trivial. For me, though, these are all “self-confidence tools.” Even if the post-lip gloss change is too subtle for most to notice, I’m aware of it and I feel better. Sometimes, that teeny bump of pride is all you need.

To me, Polish = Preparation + Pride

(also key are Poise and Posture… there are a lot of good “P” words, aren’t there?)

Finally, I sincerely believe that we are all our own worst critics. When I point out my perceived flaws to my sister or my friends, they always assure me that said blemishes aren’t nearly as noticable as I think. Perhaps I just have really supportive friends, but I like to think I’m also just a smidge prettier in real life than I am in my head.


About Helena

Helena lives in Chicago with her boyfriend and two cats. Her boyfriend thinks she's awesome. Her cats agree.

Posted on June 8, 2011, in Miscellany. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. i agree. A bit of lip gloss and some hand lotion go a long way toward making me feel more pulled together. I keep them around me all the time, for moral support as much as anything else.

    But, like you said, I think that we are ultimately our worst critics– and that when it comes down to it, we’re “already pretty” to begin with. 😉

  2. Even on the rare days I manage to feel somewhat polished in my outfit, I NEVER feel like I have it all together — I’m always juggling four bags or dropping my car keys or I have crumbs on my shirt or something. But I do try to be prepared, and I could probably stand to be a bit more so 🙂

  3. So true! And this post isn’t vain, it’s true to life. For the longest time – through high school and college – I would watch other girls my age and think, what do they do to make themselves look so pulled together all the time? Hair ties for those days when leaving it down just doesn’t work out, lip gloss, and weather-appropriate clothing and shoes are all necessary tools that I learned after careful observation. When it boils down to it, the thing that they’re doing that “polishes” their appearance is taking care of themselves, which is what I always tell my friends when they’re down on themselves, and what I try to tell myself when I’m feeling like a hot mess. Great post!

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