There is no doubt that pulling off a glamour act in scruffy, beat-down shoes, or those hazed by a film of dirt and dust is near-impossible.
Make it a point to always sport neat shoes. Before wearing, eyeball the uppers and the heels to make sure they are free of marks, discoloring, stains or other issues, such as mud or grass. Wipe or brush any offending particles or, if the shoe is too sub par to be seen in public, take it to the cobbler for resuscitation or the trash can if you feel it’s beyond human help.
Also, store in your car, purse or briefcase, a few on-the-go type shoe polish wipes. These are fast and clean to apply: the material slips over your fingers; one side has shoe polish, which you apply to both shoes and let stand for a minute. The other side is a shoe polisher which you use to buff the surface of your shoes.You can buy these handy items in clear as well as black and brown, and they act as little confidence-lifters, as walking in a meeting with a super-spiffy pair of shoes is always more inspiring than drudging in with murky looking ones.
I like Shine To Go (www.shinetogo.com). These tiny packets can be found in supermarkets and drugstores, like Target, Rite-Aid, Walmart and others.
Note these polishing cloths are suitable for smooth leather and not suede or Nubuck, which benefits from a soft brushing and periodic stain lifting and protection.
As close as you can get to a universal closet staple is the Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Shirt. In basic white or black, patterned or printed or pin-striped–this is the most durable and sleek basic button-up I have come across.
Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Shirt (Fitted Cut). Will it rock your world? No. Does it always look good right out of the dryer and never needs to be ironed? Yes.
It is impervious to the chafing that infects most fine cotton after a few tumbles in a high-heat dryer, and always emerges smooth and unruffled and ready to coast out the door. The fabric contains something called “DOW XLA” which lends a bit of stretch.
It comes in three cuts: classic, fitted and tailored. The difference in cuts has principally to do with the presence of darts in the front and back, with the tailored cut being the most slim-fitting or Va-Va-Voom Office Version of the bunch. Also, the non-iron can be found in sleeveless, which is completely convenient for when you feel like playing the suit and it happens to be summer.
A completely reliable and good looking work basic to have in your wardrobe
I heartily recommend this shirt as a foundation piece in a work wardrobe, as it’s the most perfect marriage of low-maintenance and polished, alluring professionalism that I have come across. The price ranges from about $55-75.
As they grow, spider crabs naturally create a new shell to accommodate the increased size of their body. New skin is grown within the shell, so when the crab feels the time is right, he’ll flex his body, forcing the old shell to splinter off his body and onto the ground. The crab then walks away, leaving the remnants of his old self on the ground.
Now, what in blazes does a spider crab have in common with you? You both walk around with shells of a sort, a public identity. Yours is made up of items like your choice of hair style, makeup, clothes, shoes and accessories. Your movement, speech, behavior and manner are also vital parts of your shell.
And, like the spider crab, as you grow, your public identity should be revamped, reconfigured or, when needed, completely shrugged off and left behind for one that suits who you are today. And communicates your most attractive and authentic self to the world.
Unwanted catalogues and envelopes offering you junk you don’t need, stuffing up your mailbox and heaping more volume on the daily armload of stuff that you haul into your home each day is far from glamorous.
Plus, opening envelopes can be hell on nails. Oh, and perusing some glossy unrequested catalogue packed with gorgeous resort wear shot in some splashy locale is way too tempting an activity to engage in, financially speaking, on some dark and snowy Monday evening in January.
Reduce this daily bulk by contacting the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), where you can specify specific companies that you do not wish to receive direct mail from, or opt-out from all member companies with one-click. You can do this for catalogues, credit offers, magazine offers and “other mail offers.” Note that this opt-out will only be effective for those marketers that are members of the DMA.
Do this here:
As the Masters are underway, it appears to be an opportune time to mention style as it related to golf. Whether you are a regular golfer or have never stepped foot on the fairway (and have no plans to do so), know that golf is a goldmine of glamour as it relates to easy-on-the-eyes male style.
Among the many finely attired male golfers out there are Camilo Villegas and Sam Saunders, two young golfers who bring glamour aplenty to the greens with tailored, unrumpled pants, finely fitted collared shirts and an attention to belts, shoes and grooming.
And, as no presentation is complete without elegance of movement, their attire is not the only thing in place–they move along the course with fine posture and quiet energy.
In the sea of haphazard scruff that is sadly the default style of most males in their 20’s and 30’s (slouchy shorts that reach nearly to the ankles, droopy t-shirts, you get the picture), it is heartening to see these standout golfers look like something we rarely see out there–gentlemen.
How does this relate to glamour and, more importantly, to you?
Camilo Villegas--Style Improves One's Backswing
No matter what you are doing or where you are doing it, it is always possible to inject a bit more of personal glamour. Think of your grooming, style, movement and manner–and what you can do to make each of these areas even better.
While these golfers are undoubtedly under massive amounts of stress performing in such pinnacle-level tournaments, they must know that these are the times to ratchet up, rather than relax, their standards. And I’m betting that looking beautifully pulled-together helps, rather than hurts, their game.
Fill a small bowl with warm water and add three to four drops of gentle shampoo or liquid soap. Soak your nails for approximately five minutes.
Dip the nail brush in soapy water then remove, shaking off excess water. Gently scrub your just-soaked nails and fingers to remove dirt and surface stains. Dry fingers and nails.
Use the pointed tip of a nail tool (such as hooving stick) to remove debris from under your nails. Pass it under each nail, moving it gently from one side of the nail to the other, using a gently scraping motion. Remove debris from the tool before moving to the next nail.
Dull or stained nails can be naturally and safely brightened with a lemon. Cut the fruit in half and dig your nails into the flesh of the fruit for about a minute, letting the juice flow into your cuticles and under nails. Remove, letting the juice linger on your fingers for a few minutes. Rinse your fingers and nails with water and dry.
Apply the buff side of your nail file, or buffing chamois, to the surface of stained or ridged nails. Gently buffing the nails will smooth away ridges, as well as remove stains from the surface of the nails.
Whiten your nails with a white stick. Soften the sharpened tip of the white stick by running it under warm water, then pass it gently under each nail.
Your head itches and scalp flakes snow onto your hair and shoulders. Uncomfortable and unsexy. Is this dandruff or just scalp buildup?
While dandruff is a chronic scalp condition, scalp buildup is conditional and easy to treat.
Dandruff is caused by a yeast (Malassezia), which inflames the scalp and speeds the rate of skin cell production and shedding on the scalp. It causes visible scaling on the scalp along with itching and flaking.
Scalp buildup causes scalp itching and flaking as well, but without the scaling or flake composition of dandruff. It is brought on by the following:
Overuse of hair styling products and heavy conditioners, particularly those containing wax fillers.
Inadequate cleansing. If you do not shampoo regularly, or your shampoo does not clean thoroughly, in time, the combination of dead skin cells and oil will cause scalp buildup.
If you experience symptoms of scalp buildup, do the following:
Shorten the amount of time between cleansing and conditioning. Note that when you do, you will need to shampoo twice, particularly if you are heavy handed with the styling products. (The first shampoo will loosen oil and product residue on the scalp while the second shampoo will cleanse it from your hair.)
If more astringent cleansing is needed, use a clarifying shampoo no more than once a week. These shampoos typically contain acetic acid, which makes for a potent cleanser that can dry the hair if used too often. Alternately, if you need a more intensive treatment, ask your hair care practitioner about a professional clarifying treatment.
Maintain the beauty of this very visible (and vulnerable) part of your beauty canvas by a consistent regimen of protection and care.
Use a high-SPF sunblock daily, either in the form of lip balm or sunblock formulated for the face. (Go to the health food store for this one.) Keep it with you and reapply to your lips throughout the day as needed.
Massage a rich, quality moisturizer into the lips nightly. Use light strokes, making sure the product is well absorbed–note that the skin that covers your lips is thinner than that which covers the rest of your face, so be oh-so-super gentle.
As needed, slough off dead skin cells from your lips to keep them soft and lovely. This can be done via the use of a mild scrub or manually with a washcloth, loofah or the bristles of an extra-soft toothbrush.
The state of your health is reflected in the condition of your beauty canvas, including your nails, skin, hair and even your lips. Pale-colored lips, for instance, are often due to a lack of iron. If needed, supplement your diet with a daily multi-vitamin and mineral formula. Look for one that contains antioxidant heroes vitamins A, E and C.
Intake an adequate amount of fluid on a daily basis. A dehydrated system is evident in dry, chapped lips.
Be conscious of your lip movements, such as persistent clenching or tensing, which can speed the onset of wrinkles. Notice, for example, the pronounced purse lines along the upper lip of a longtime cigarette smoker.
And lastly: kiss someone who is nice, and do so gently, deeply and often.
A lovely mannered Italian designer I met recently passed along an interesting tip–this one for the males in the audience.
It is traditional in Europe to kiss, not shake, a woman’s hand when being introduced socially. This man, however, says he feels it is untoward to make lip-to-hand contact with a stranger.
To this end, he politely takes the woman’s hand, turns it over, palm down, bows his head and air kisses the hand. Close to the skin without making contact, this kiss looks (and to the woman, feels) just as courtly as the original, but without the potential for ick among giver or receiver.
I came across an unusual score in an antique store in Lexington recently. Though containing more vintage items than actual antiques (which seem like they should have origins earlier than the 1950s), the store had a bundle of unopened, never-used pillow covers meant to protect one’s coiffure and face from unhelpful night maneuvers. In modern speak they’re called anti wrinkle pillow cases.
How An Anti-Wrinkle Pillow Case Keeps You Beautiful
These are hard to come by these days, but these cheerful pastel pillowcases (usually made of silk and/or polyester) still serve a valuable purpose: providing a surface so soft and silky, that, when sleeping, one’s face will slide free from a scrunched-up pose.
The alternate is that this pro-wrinkle pose is held in place all night with a pillowcase of rougher material. And we have all seen the results of this in the morning when a sleep-wrinkled, creased face gazes back at us in the mirror
Similar for hair, as the silken pillow cover allows hair to spill and slide—not grab or frizz—thus extending the niceties of a high-styled hair design, such as an up-do or glassy blowout.
Do amend your beauty storehouse with several of these, and get in the habit of using them nightly. If you cannot find “anti aging” or anti-wrinkle pillow cases, do purchase the most silky, slippery and sexy feeling one you can get your hands on.
General skin care tip: Swap your pillow case every few days with a fresh one, particularly if your skin is oily or acne-prone.
King Louis XV’s official companion, the beauty Madame de Pompadour, is thought to have said: “Champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it.”
A practical and glamorous household habit then, is to always keep a chilled bottle of sparkling wine or champagne in the refrigerator. One never knows when one might need it on the spot to celebrate or commiserate. Or look a bit more beautiful.
Difference Between Brut Versus Dry and Extra Dry Champagne
Make sure the bottle is of decent quality, and is kept well-chilled.
Among champagne tips, here’s a biggie: I would opt for a Brut style of wine, which is quite dry as far as champagnes go. Many people beg off champagne because they experience an instant headache upon drinking it. This is due to the high sugar content of Dry and Extra Dry styles of wine. So check labels before purchasing, and assure guests that you’re serving them a dry wine, not a sugar bomb.
Two special occasion favorites are Krug Grand Cuvee Brut (approximately $130) and Dom Perignon (approximately $150 and up, depending on the vintage).
For an everyday wine that is festive, dry and goes well when enjoyed solo or with food — pizza and seafood work nicely; chocolate also — my all-time favorite is Chandon’s Blanc de Noirs (approximately $20).
Chandon’s Blanc de Noirs is a Rose style, which does not at all mean it is pink and sweet, but contains a higher amount of red wine than is usual. In this case, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Crisp, lovely and a tad fruitish, this sparkling wine is served at all White House receptions, yet easily acquired at a neighborhood grocery store.
About 50 years ago, scarves were ubiquitous on the heads of the female populace. And with good reason. A scarf positioned smartly in the hair sounds an instant note of femininity. If selected with adequate thought to your most flattering colors and unique style, a scarf also enhances the color of your hair, and transmits characteristics your personal style. Trendiness. Vivacity. Elegance.
When it comes to selecting a scarf, do not skimp in the quality or style department.
Two scarf musts:
A. The colors must flatter the tones of your hair.
B. The quality must be excellent to superb.
How To Pick the Best Color Scarf for Your Hair
Color. Like the approach to pairing wine and food, select scarf colors that either contrast with or complement the tones in your hair.
Complementary colors are those that match, emphasize and enhance hair tones that you wish to play up. For instance:
Warm chestnut highlights are enhanced by a scarf containing gold, yellow or copper brown.
Warm red tones and golden blondes are enhanced via a scarf with warm peach, yellow and pink tones.
Cool blonde hair shades, on the other hand, are enhanced by icy blues, pinks and green.
Dark, cool-tone red shades, such as burgundy, are complemented by a scarf that contains even deeper, cool-based shades of purple, blue and green.
The gloss and mystery of black hair is enhanced with jewel tones and shiny finishes. Think deep, royal colors such as china blue or deep plum. Select fabrics with gloss and shimmer, such as leather or those with a metallic weave or finish.
Contrasting colors are those that don’t meld in with the tones in your hair. Far from being at odds or clashing, though, they are more dramatic than complementary colors, and just as flattering.
To create contrast, select a light-colored scarf to be worn against dark-tone hair. Vice versa for light-colored hair. For instance:
Blonde hair stands out beautifully against the contrast of an elegant black silk scarf.
A shawl of ebony hair looks elegant and dramatic set against a scarf with a royal blue-on-cream pattern, or a block pattern of bold pastels.
Light to medium tones of brown look lovely against the contrast of a winter white or cream scarf.
Bold red hair is heightened by a scarf of bright jade green, icy pale blue or ivory.
How to Recognize Excellent Quality in a Scarf
Quality. A high-quality scarf announces itself with fine fabric, glorious colors and intricate patterns. If you want to train your eye in this regard, visit a Hermes or Burberry store. Or, visit a local department store and hunt down the best scarves in the house. Feel the material. Examine the edges of the scarf. Luxury-tier silk scarves typically feature a hand-finished rolled edge. Note the quality of the stitching.
Knowing this difference between a fantastic scarf and a pedestrian-quality one will help greatly when it comes to selecting scarves in off-the-beaten path places. (Many beautiful scarves from the past survive in quality vintage and consignment shops.) Also, being savvy about scarf quality will help you to spot the fake designer scarves from the real deal.
When you acquire a beautiful scarf, right in color and quality, treat it well. Dry clean it. Hang or fold it carefully and store it properly.
How To Keep a Scarf From Sliding Off Your Head
Silken scarves have a habit of sliding from the hair. Before tying a scarf in the hair, affix a stay-put headband in the hair to keep the scarf in place. The Goody Stayput Headband does the trick. It features plastic nubs along each side to grip material.
If you are a glamour girl of the makeup-wearing kind, invest in a central command center for your wares. Forget fishing dusty eye shadow brushes from the bottom of makeup bags or grasping at tubes of lipsticks huddled at the rear of a bathroom drawer. Keeping a messy makeup spot is not just a mammoth time-waster, it’s not good for your skin (as in, it’s gross) and also makes it hard for you to maximize your beauty—because you don’t know where in blazes to find anything.
Scared straight? I hope so. Time to invest in a makeup kit…and a tackle box does the trick at a great price.
Organize Your Makeup So it Makes Sense…To You
When you go to adorn your face, all of your cosmetic choices should be visible to you and then easily stored in a place where they remain clean and organized by category. Your makeup organizer should have lip liners separated from eye liners, mascara set apart from lip sticks and so on. It will make your makeup duty much more fun, creative and fast.
Don’t Need a Pro Makeup Kit? Try This DIY Makeup Organizer…
For this I recommend not a makeup artist’s box or teen-type “caboodle” but a fisherman’s tackle box.
Why? Tackle boxes are way more sturdy and serious than the toddler-ish looking makeup kits from the drugstore. They are also more practical than the serpentine seven-tray systems created for professional makeup artists.
A tackle box is also radically less in price. For instance, a Plano 6101 1-tray tackle box (pictured) offers more than enough makeup space to the average glamourpuss, and costs around $11 the last time I checked on Amazon. (You can also go wild and get the 2-tray box for around $14.)
I have owned the same Plano 1-tray tackle box since I became serious about makeup and decided to steal my sister’s tackle box, who at the time used it to store art supplies. I’m not being cheap, this is a pure case of if it’s not broke, why fix it?
A 2 tray fishing tackle box…I mean, makeup organizer
There are 3 and 4-tray boxes if you’ve got a ton of makeup, but the beauty of having a 1-tray box is that it keep you disciplined, and also forces you to throw out old makeup that you shouldn’t be putting near your face anymore.
My tackle box fits my makeup organizing and storage needs so thoroughly. Despite having been lugged cross-country more than once and used daily for many years, it has remained stubbornly in top shape. The durable plastic is lightweight, non-staining and easy to clean—simply empty the contents, soap it up with dish soap, scrub it thoroughly and rinse.