In the same way what we say matters, how we look matters.
Our aesthetic goal should be to focus on looking good, meaning: Healthy, well-groomed, appropriate, intentional, comfortable, and expressively, uniquely, you. That’s really all a sense of style is: Being intentionally, comfortably, expressively, and uniquely you.
Of course, style is yours to uncover. Some of us like a sporty look, others professional, still others very formal and others edgy.
This style series is meant to encourage you, both by dispelling the myth that style and self-care are shallow or irrelevant concerns, and by demonstrating looking good doesn’t have to an obsessively overwhelming concern.
So you have a sense of style. Or don’t (we’ll explore more later). But you’re open to discovering new things and enhancing the old.
Except, that can be tricky if you don’t know how to deal with certain challenges and aren’t too keen on exploring the fun of fashion trial and error fun during your adult years. Not for the faint of heart.
Below are a few stylish tips I’ve learned over the years that help you look good just about anytime. Remember, looking good is: Healthy, well-groomed, appropriate, intentional, comfortable, and expressively, uniquely, you.
Hair: It’s tough to look intentional, comfortable and well-groomed when it seems you’ve been wrestling with bears and blow-dryers all morning. Going from the gym to the boardroom is very much a matter of the right hairstyle. Essentially, if you can find a style that doesn’t war with your natural hair texture and develop a functional relationship with it, you’re on the right track.
I embraced my curls, and my naturally kinky texture because I realized with a really tight curl, you can dance, exercise, sleep, toss, get windblown all you want and still look like you styled your hair that morning… Why turn back?
The key to my tight curls is the wet set. I’ve tried this on all hair types and races: Every single hair type responds to the wet set. The size of roller dictates the size of curl you’ll have, until hair is wet again. Choose carefully.
Fans: Nothing says health-alert, frazzled and out of control like pouring sweat. These are such a wonderful, classic, feminine way to keep cool at all times.
I’m rarely without one.
They’re quiet and small enough to use in a meeting, in church, at a movie, on a date.
And they’re so inexpensive! Most Asian grocers sell them, and if you buy sandalwood material they have a lovely scent. Spray your favorite perfume on others and enjoy a heavenly breeze whenever you want.Wraps: It’s hard to look appropriate and be taken seriously when your neckline looks like a Hooters ad.
Take away the fuss of adjusting and self-checking with a wrap. Most wraps are 5-6 feet long and 2 to 3 feet wide. They often have fringe on the ends and come in a wide variety of colours, prints, and textures. Most urban garment districts sell them in bulk very inexpensively so I buy different colors and wear 2 or 3 at a time. Wear them with any and everything: a dress, tank top and jeans, suit.
You never have to worry about exposing more than you planned with one of these nearby.
And they’re all-weather: For warmth, wear wools or knits, or go sheer and light to stay cool and covered.
Mini-dresses: It’s always awkwardly inappropriate and uncomfortable to flash your legs and etc. at some innocent victim. There are places for short hemlines. And more often, not. You can wear a mini-dress anywhere appropriately by simply wearing a longer skirt layered underneath. Choose a complementary/matching color and be mindful the skirt beneath has a smooth waist. Adding a belt perfects the look. (No photos for the short skirt fix.)
Hats: Grooming isn’t always fail-proof, and whether your hair looks perfect or not, hats are an expressive way to top off a look. Disheveled hair, squinting eyes and peeling skin are not signs of inner peace. You can shield your lovely skin and eyes from the sun, and if needed, make an imperfect hairstyle look intentional. Wearing a festive fedora, beret, cowboy hat or sunhat works in every casual setting.
Hats can also eliminate worry about your style coming undone when you’ll be dealing with extreme weather.
Well-groomed: Finally, these two beauty products should be a staple for anyone who likes to appear put-together. More than a decade of trial and error doesn’t lie:
Smudge-proof, waterproof, self-sharpening eyeliner. Is there any more treacherous part of makeup than eyeliner? I don’t wear much else daily at all. No need to worry about racoon-eyes, smudges, or broken lines with these guys.
Having tried M.A.C, Chanel, Lancome, Smashbox, and more, I swear by Maybelline or Revlon for staying power: The photo below was taken in humid Jamaica, after sleeping through the night with eyeliner on.