Last week I was chatting with my dear friend Olivia, catching up on what felt like forever. As usual I am always inspired by her style and grace. We talked fashion, comfort and still looking cool while managing a full family, business and life. So it just made sense today to reshare her post about low maintenance beauty. Shine on!
I’m on a low maintenance beauty kick these days. As I edge toward forty, I realize that I spent the entirety of my twenties and thirties consumed with staying skinny. It was truly pathetic how much wasted creative energy went into that one stupid cause. I wish I could have those years of creative energy back. What I would like to proffer here, is a new beauty regimen for women. It was actually very much in practice in the 1970s: the forgiving dress, and the groomed face.
The Forgiving Dress
In the 1960s and 70s, women wore what were called Hostess Dresses or caftans. They were often long sleeved, loose fitting long dresses. We might even call them MuMus nowadays. They flattered a woman’s neckline and skimming her ankles, revealed pretty shoes or painted toes. They were modest and also pretty and usually were sewn from a wildly colorful or amusing fabric. My mother wore some very pretty ones, usually from I. Magnin, the grand, now defunct California department store. I remember her cooking for a dinner party up until the last minute, her hair in curlers, until the doorbell rang and she’d say “Let them in!” and she’d race upstair to throw on her Hostess dress. In one fell swoop, she’d be changed and ready downstairs, looking gorgeous.
There is a current vogue for the Maxi dress, but many of these are sleeveless/strapless and look like beach coverups. I prefer the 1970s versions were more like the Moroccan Jalaba, caftan, or Indian kurta, but longer than that. They suggest rather than reveal every inch. They focus attention to the face. Not the ass. They are ladylike and fun. I want to have a wardrobe full of them.
The Groomed Face
I paid little or no attention to my face until recently. I used to slap on cover up and straighten my hair and be ready for work. But now that I am older but still want to look nice on a limited timeframe, I find a little more planning is required to look as I’d like to. Everyone has their makeup preference, and what they know looks good on them. For me, it’s heavy lashes, no lipstick, light gloss, blush. To look groomed, and feel my best, I focus on my hair and having a little tinted sunscreen or foundation.
A Final Note on Color
I am not sure people even realize the power of color in their wardrobe. I have this cobalt blue cardigan I got in a used clothing store that literally guarantees that I’ll have a good day. It makes other people happy! It makes me look pretty! I mean, who needs Prozac when you have Pantone color at your service? I’d like to suggest that people remember to wear a little color. There is always use for black in a wardrobe. But color in clothing is almost as powerful as makeup in making you look fresh and awake and attractive. To boot, it as much for yourself, as it is for others! The companies that provide the best color options are, C. Wonder, Kate Spade, and if it’s luxury, Jil Sander.
What is Vigilante Beauty?
For me, it’s been incredibly liberating to not focus on my body as I did in my youth. I enjoy taking care of myself, but not obsessing over a few pounds is a big relief. I probably weigh the same, but I think about weight less. I do care more for my hair than I used to, getting it colored and blown out more regularly. That seems like a fair re-configuring of priorities as I age. I like that I am not obsessed with looking young: I am interested in looking authentically like me, with some color and verve and on a good day, a certain chic. This is vigilante beauty: liking being in your own skin, and dressing/adorning yourself in an authentic way, sans celebrity-inspiration or trends. It’s just about what makes you feel good.