You woke up on the wrong side of the bed, you grappled with insomnia, you’re battling the flu or a hangover. Your hair just doesn’t want to cooperate and you’re PMSing. Your kid puked on your new suede mules and you had a power failure and the alarm didn’t go off on time. You hate your job and you wish you never had to step a foot out from under that downy comforter.
The day must continue. You have to go to work or that appointment. You’re tempted to head to the office still in your bunny slippers, hair not brushed and face not washed. You feel like crap, why even try putting an outfit together?
Because you need to. Looking like crap will only make you feel even worse. They always say that forcing yourself to smile makes you feel better, well forcing yourself to look presentable makes you feel better too. It is a little boost of confidence that lets you get through the day. If you look a mess, people that don’t even know you will perceive you as a mess. All that does is add additional stress and frustration to your already horrendous day. Here are some tips to look your best on those not so great days.
Take a Shower
A shower can do amazing things for the mood. The hot water massages your shoulder and neck alleviating head and body aches. Invest in a citrus scented shower gel or shampoo – the aromatherapy properties will brighten your spirits and the smell of many citrus fruits reduces nausea. A shower will help minimize puffy eyes and greasy Sick Day hair. I recommend the Body Shop’s Aromatherapy Body Washes in Bergamot (a unisex crisp, almost grassy citrus scent) or Mandarin and Aveda’s Rosemary Mint Shampoo. The world is much easier to face with a clean fresh smelling self.
Have a Safety Outfit
The last thing you want to do on a bad day is stand in front of your closet and try to figure out what to wear. The thought of it can cause you to crawl back into bed. If you have a safety outfit, you know you can rely on that in a pinch.
A safety outfit should be simple, comfortable and polished. For me I have a black refined knit v-neck and black trousers with a full leg and a hint of stretch. This outfit doesn’t wrinkle, it makes me look slim and sophisticated. Both pieces are in black; black is forgettable. When you have a bad day the last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself. Choosing a neutral or dark outfit looks clean yet isn’t memorable. A monochromatic outfit makes dressing easy and often elongates the body (always helps to feel slim on a bad day). Ensure the pieces look great even if you gain 10 lbs. Nothing will ruin your mood more than pants that are too tight. This outfit should be appropriate for most occasions (work, church, doctor’s appointment, meeting with child’s teacher) and relatively seasonless (my outfit works year-round because of the color and fabric choices). Consider pants – they are more comfortable than skirts and more versatile. As for tops, a lightweight sweater hides a multitude of sins yet accentuates the positive (Nice neck? Attractive bustline? Consider a scoop or v-neck. Very slim? Consider a boat neck and a slimmer silhouette). As for shoes, comfort is key. Invest in a cute pair of ballet flats or city boots with a moderate heel. Though the important factor is comfort, the shoe should be in perfect condition – polished, well structured and without tears, scuffs, worn heels and the such.
No will notice red eyes and limp hair if you have a great accessory. A scarf or necklace can do wonders for the psyche and the monochromatic outfit. I rely on a strand of pearls – it’s not too flashy but with a totally black outfit, it goes from somber to chic. My friend has a Pucci scarf she got as a gift from an ex. The colors are delightful and a quick knot at the throat creates a festive look. She says every time she looks down, she sees the pretty colors and her mood brightens. The colors brighten her face as well. A jingly bracelet creates a cheery sound, even if you are down in the dumps. The flash of metal on your wrist adds interest to your outfit and is something to toy with when your mind wanders from lack of sleep.
Invest in Some Headbands
It hurts to think, your hair is aching, the last thing you want to do is pull out the dryer or the straightening iron. What you want to do is grab that pink terry scrunchie you have been holding on to since high school, throw it in a messy loop and head out the door. Just like a dreary outfit will bring you down, seeing your reflection with messy stringy hair will keep your mood in the dumps.
I love accordion headbands because they are cheap, they are narrow enough that they don’t need to match an outfit, and the shape gives lift to the hair. The look is sleek and polished. My coworker has fabric Alice bands – they hold back her thick straight hair and look sleek and mod and cover up a greasy hairline. A scarf can make a stylish and colorful headband and can also hide rats nests and a sicky-poo scalp. If you have short hair, a small barette can hold bangs to the side and make a messy do seem purposeful. Even if you just “do” your bangs or the front of your hair and pull the rest into a well-brushed ponytail, you will feel better than the Dreaded Scrunchie of Death look.
Your regular perfume can be positively disgusting to your nose when sick or hungover. Invest in a light body spray in a green or soft citrus scent. It will boost your mood, make you feel clean even though you feel all gross and sicky, and others will smell it and think positive thoughts. As previously mentioned, citrus and minty scents often ward off nausea – perfect when battling the flu, pregnancy or a hangover. I really like the “breathe” body sprays from Bath and Body Works – Energy is a crisp grassy scent, Delight is a soft sweet orangey fragrance.
Water will rehydrate you after a night of crying or blowing your nose. It helps flush out toxins, be they the viral or the vodka variety. It makes your skin look better, it fills your tummy so you don’t drown your sorrows in the vending machine and it causes frequent trips to the restroom, giving you a bit of exercise to alleviate cramps and muscle aches.
Remember you only get one chance to make a first impression. The day you show up to work in your bunny slipper and pink terry scrunchie may be the day that a hot new coworker starts, corporate comes for a visit or you have a semi-annual review with your supervisor. Dress for the best, even when you feel the worst.