The biggest fashion event of the year has arrived. Thousands flock to gaze admiringly at beautiful, yet impractical items of clothing. Of these people, some treat clothing as wearable art themselves, whereas others see it as something to prevent hypothermia. Some use fashion to express their personality; others use it to avoid a conviction for indecent exposure.
For me, I lie somewhere in between. There are times when I take great pleasure in a pretty dress and a pair of heels. There are also times when I wear socks with sandals, unflattering Lycra, my favourite ‘low-self-esteem jumper’ and have my hair in a frizzy ponytail. Today, for example, would be one of those days. So was yesterday, actually.
It’s a delicate balance. Wearing nice clothes and a bit of makeup will, without a doubt, make you look more attractive. Drawing on a pair of eyebrows, because your DNA forgot to programme them, will enhance your features and make your facial expressions noticeable. When you are looking your best, life smiles upon you and the guys at the petrol station give you an affirming look-over.
The problem with painting yourself a better face and covering yourself with beautiful fabric on a daily basis is that it gives you a heightened sense of just how good looking you actually are. As you coat your lashes in black paste, or tame your hair with sticky goo, you start to convince yourself that this is your natural state. You gaze at yourself in the mirror and start making love to yourself with your smouldering, painted-on eyes.
But this level of self-loving is unsustainable. You start to acclimatise to your raised bar of hotness. Your sexy, best-presented self becomes the baseline; so much so that when you step out of the shower, having returned your face to its natural, featureless state, you punch the mirror, because some red, blotchy, featureless, straggly-haired cretin has invaded your bathroom, naked, with wobbly bits all over the show. Instead of feeling good wearing nice clothes and makeup, it can get to the stage where you start to feel like a monster when you don’t.
You are now faced with a choice. You can either make sure that you put 100% effort into your appearance for ever – or you can suffer from comments like “you look tired, are you sick?” if you drop the ball one morning and run to the dairy for emergency milk in your PJ’s.
But there is another option. You can reset your sexy thermostat. Be brave. Wear sneakers with jeans. Rock your bald forehead, pale lips and sparse eyelashes. Wear pants too small, tops too short and inflict your muffin top on the world! Let your bush pig out! Let her trample baby ferns like the hairy-in-all-the-wrong-places, cloven-hoofed mammal she is.
At first, you may feel down. You may consider reverting to your old ways. But stay strong, scruffy maiden; before long, ‘crazy and unkempt’ will be the new you. Friends will adjust. Best of all, so will you.
After one month of grossing it up, I invite you to have a wash and put on your favourite outfit. What was once the ‘norm’ for you will by contrast be a drastic transformation. Brushing your hair will make you feel like a supermodel. All you have to do is slap on a coat of mascara for co-workers to gasp and bow down to the drastic improvements. Unless, of course, you get addicted to the praise and the vicious cycle starts all over again. Where’s my home liposuction kit?