I love playing a girl. I embrace being a woman in the way I identify, heart and body. It’s been an evolution of style, trends, character, personality, and practice. Beauty, in the way we articulate our style to the world, is a balance between differentiation while still fitting in to the culture we claim. It’s taken me nearly three decades to find some approaches that suit me, while learning to let go of younger versions of myself.
In 2011, I had probably my greatest stretch of outward definition as I fumbled to find grace and elegance as a mother. With a new body, less time to primp, and a budding dating life, I felt like I was learning how to put myself together all over again. I thought it would be interesting for the record to note the things I learned and implemented this year, aesthetically. I’d especially like to hear what others have done in their late-early-adulthood (how else to define 29?) that bring a flair to their uniqueness and a class to the timelessness many of us start reaching for as we age.
In no particular order …
I started filling in my brows. I never did this before because I’d seen it done badly for so long. But thank god thin brows are out and I had to experiment. And thanks to good products and brushes. I’m using Benefit Brow Zings, an angled brush, and clear mascara to finish.
Green smoothies. I have to include this because it was the key to keeping me healthy and dropping my baby weight.
Lots of lingerie. The point is not that it’s ever seen by anyone else, but how you hold yourself when you wear it under anything. Balconette bras are my new favorites and I wear a thong under nearly everything. I try to keep lace or ruffles on my bikini cut panties. What I wear under my clothes often costs twice what I’m covering it up with, but it’s worth the way it makes me feel feminine in a t-shirt and jeans.
Pashminas. I realize this is nothing new to a woman’s wardrobe and I’ve had several basic ones for years. But only lately have I been wearing them often. I wear it as a scarf under my coat, as a wrap when a cardigan is too clunky or casual, and have kept one in my car that has been used on dozens of random occasions. Also a way to add a lovely print or color to an otherwise simple outfit.
In the past, I’ve tried to stick to very pale or very dark nail polish, but this year I’ve been all about sweet pinks, in the middle hues. It feels a bit vintage and so femme. I keep my toes and fingers painted at all times.
Getting back to the gym. No excuses. I kept saying I don’t have the time, but once I stocked a locker there with anything I need to shower and be retouched, it was a lot easier to run in and out within an hour. Even 20-30 minutes at a time makes a difference.
I found some simple feminine t-shirts that fit me just right. I have 8 of them and overall wear more basics now that I’m running after a toddler and need to be more flexible at home, at work, on the farm, on the town. My pants are slim. My boots are Frye or Dansko. I belt flowy tunics. My skirts are pencil or sit on my hips. I mix neutrals and layer. My wardrobe of big earrings, stilettos and bright shift dresses went to the back of the closet for occasions. I often wear separates now with less jewelry. I want to feel put together and not like I gave up, but it is a different ball game looking like a mom, as lovely as it can still be.
Keeping my hair long, dark, and blown out is actually less work and prettier than my shorter, lighter styles. My hair is healthier now that I only wash, blow dry, and curl every three days. The darker color just needs touched up once a month. I can pull it into a pony to work out, make it flat or tousled to look better, and wear it in a braid or bun when I don’t care at all. I see so many women cutting their hair off, especially after they have a baby or turn 30. I’ve been happily surprised with the other direction.