Monday, October 3, 2011

One Hot Mama Gives Fashion Advice.

An oldie (from when I only had one baby) but a goodie. Especially since it's only gotten nominally easier to get myself together after getting the kids to school.

From: "K"

I love your site! I have to tell you though that sometimes I feel like a pretender. I was a hot single woman, and even a hot pregnant one, but things have changed. Yes, after two kids, I've got a serious case of the frumpies. My long hair is too thick to wear up. I'm extremely chesty, yet I have narrow shoulders, so I end up looking like I'm wearing a tent. I've been eyeing your super-secret nursing shirt, but sorry a size 14 is not an XL! There are some good tips on your site (show off legs, get a uniform), but those tips are like a check-up. I need intensive care!

Dear K:

The ambulance is here, honey. But first, a little background music. As I first read your letter, I sat at the computer in my uniform of pilled-fabric sweats, worn with the waist below my expanding not-quite-big-enough-to-be-really-showing tummy and fuzzy-haired ponytail. I filed it away to answer when inspired. Later, I got a call telling me about a big audition for some network muckety-muck the next day. Since that's the whole point of living in Lost Angeles, I had to go to the mirror and take stock. The sweats and grubby socks were bad enough, but my eyebrows were beyond thick, my fingernails were many different lengths, and the nailpolish that I had applied for my birthday (in November) was no longer making my toes look so sexy. Add in the legs that are shaven one quadrant at a time (as Cameron stands in the shower door, crying, "mommy, mommy!") and you can see that I, too, was not a pretty picture. Why am I grossing y'all out in this way? To let you know that I am the same person who the next day walked out of here with clean, pretty hair, a nice outfit that covered the partially-shaved legs (just didn't have time to do the whole nine yards, y'know?), and freshly waxed eyebrows. I looked hot. I still had it, and so do you, but it really does take a fire drill or a cattle prod or a call from the old agent to work up the inspiration to do the legwork (no pun intended) sometimes.

Of course, the longer you leave the car without an oil change, the greater the chance that the engine will need overhauling, so even though we are all the world's greatest mommies and daddies (insert pat on the back here), let's use this email, or the first and fifteenth of every month, or whatever else you can remember, as a reminder to do some preventive maintenance. We know that self-worth doesn't come in a makeup bottle (or any other kind, for that matter), but a little swipe of mascara or lipgloss can make you feel, well, shiny. And shiny ain't such a bad way to feel, especially with spring around the corner.

So here's how to do a whole-look makeover for under 50 bucks! Ready, "K"? and whoever else is interested?

  1. While picking up wipes, fresh fruit and ice cream (a girl's gotta live) at the grocery, get the latest copies of In Style and Mode. We know that since you're pregnant or nursing you're not in the market for the actual clothes in there, but get them to find out what's what. Get inspired by the colours and photos (this is why Mode is crucial ... their models' bodies plus the In Style bodies are a real mix rather than a downer) and look at how different hair and makeup look from the last time you perused a non-parenting magazine. (Under $10.)
  2. While at the mall feeding the kiddies their nutritious food court dinners, eye the other chicks with an appraisers eye. Since your big dilemma is hair, "K," make sure to check theirs out. Whenever you see someone with (A) a look you like and/or (B) hair remotely like yours, ask for the name of her stylist. Don't worry about being able to afford anything right now. Just jot that name down in your filofax, and be sure to get the name of the person giving the recommendation. Call the salon and see if the stylist does consults. If not, find one who does and go for a wash and dry. Tell them that you want to look hot without taking a lot of time to do your hair. This last part is crucial, I'm guessing, because if you had time to do your hair you'd be doing it. Do not let anyone cut your hair until you're sure that they're right for you. A tip from my friend Tracey: she discovered a great stylist at The Yellow Balloon, a kiddie haircutters here in LA. They've already got toys and stuff there, so they're not as snotty as other salons can be about having your kidlets with you. (Consult: free to $30)
  3. Find someone who does eyebrow waxing in your neck of the woods. (Make sure that their brows aren't missing, though!) A pro can make your face look better, shape your brows so they frame your eyes even without makeup, and all in 10 minutes. That's a mom's dream. (Under $14)
  4. Go through your closet and take out the four items you wear daily (Bob and I, in fact, I'd hazard to guess, all humans, kinda reach for the same-old, same-old), then look at the rest with that critical eye. Let your babies play in the discards. Don't think you have to do any of this alone, by the way. I bet your dear hubby could also use a little making over, and maybe he'd be flattered if you suggested he toss the things that don't "play up his eyes." Or not. But anyway, there are probably things in your closet that you don't wear because they're not in front. Or, if you're in LA or NY, because they're not black. But look for the colours that make you look like you're glowing, and move those to the front. The stuff that doesn't fit? Alter it or give it away. It's time to move on. And don't obsess about the labels. Order a Super Secret Nursing Shirt in 2X if that's what fits (okay, that's a shameless plug) and then cut out the label (or just the X part!). Secret from my years on sets: the stuff that actors wear, whether from Contempo or Calvin Klein, is altered to fit. So if you're chesty and narrow in the shoulders, buy to fit your chest and then fix the rest. You don't sew? Find a local tailor and become his/her best friend. (Closet workout: free. Alterations vary)
  5. Dance! Turn on the radio or put on a fave cd or 8-track if you have one and "shake your booty" -- as Cameron says -- with your kids every day. With a light layer of sweat and the blood rushing through your veins, you won't feel frumpy at all. The more you move, the better you'll feel. And if you feel good, you'll look mah-vel-ous. (Again, free!)
  6. This will all make you feel like having some quality sex. Surprise your dh and go on the attack (of course, pick a day when you're not totally exhausted. For me, this will be Jan 4, 2016, but I have to push the schedule up a bit every now and then.) Grateful hubbies might actually start to compliment you, and the more you get those little pick-me-ups, the likelier you are to run a brush through your hair. Sure, not every day. You're a mom. But you're not dead.

    Have a great day, you great-looking mama you!