Every week, like most other Americans, I drag myself to the grocery store for the needed essentials. So this week as a way to save time, I didn’t give it a second thought to just hit Kroger immediately following my workout and retiring to home for the evening. As I walked into the store toward the cart bay, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the windows and was faced with just how bad I looked. Without a moment’s hesitation, I had made the decision to wad my hair into a greasy knot and venture into public in sweat-soaked gym attire. The thing that was astonishing to me is how this “look” didn’t even warrant so much as second glance from other shoppers. It makes me wonder, when did we as a society decide it was ok to let ourselves go?
I have grown up with female influences who would have never been caught dead looking like this in public. My grandmother, like most other women of that generation, didn’t leave the house without her hair teased and sprayed into a helmet of perfection, and without at least applying a basic layer of lipstick and rouge. One of my favorite things to do as a child was to sneak away into her bedroom and peruse the dozens of beautiful bottles of lipstick and perfumes that adorned the top of her vanity. The woman was meticulous in her clothes as well, going so far as to iron every stitch of laundry down to her underwear.
But even in this day and age, my own mother refuses to be seen without “her face” on. Even if she is sick with no plans to leave the house, she still gets up every morning to shower and spread on her cosmetics. I can honestly say I can’t remember the last time I saw Mom without makeup. For her, a trip to the store or a bike ride on the Tweetsie requires the same level of effort as a night out to dinner.
While some of this is a bit much, I have to agree that as a society we have let ourselves get a little lazy. One needs only a quick glance around your local Walmart to confirm this statement. The sheer amount of people there in pajama pants, hoodies, ripped and dirty jeans with unbrushed hair and yoga pants that haven’t seen the light of day in an actual yoga studio, is astonishing. And while it’s not fair to judge others based on appearance, in social settings like this all you have is your outward appearance to speak for you.
So in a world where “athleisure” is a billion dollar industry and bushy brows are making a comeback, how does a person skirt this thin line of comfy casual and plain out lazy? For starters, it’s time to put in the smallest amount of effort. If you must make that dreaded grocery run following a workout, don’t follow my lead. Take a quick rinse in the shower, or at the very least, bring some baby wipes and a change of clothes. Ladies, I know natural beauty is a wonderful thing, but if you’re going to insist on going makeup-free, at least groom yourself. Apply a moisturizer with a little bit of shimmer and for the love of god, tweeze the stray hairs on your face. Never underestimate how important your eyebrows are-they’re considered the drapes of the face for a reason. You wouldn’t live in a house without curtains would you? Men, you’re not getting off so easy either. Keep your haircuts regular and your beard in check. I don’t care how fashionable you think a long lumberjack style beard is, those things can get gross, so always keep them washed, trimmed and oiled. And don’t neglect your nose and ear hair!
We obviously live in a different time from the era of our grandparents and lifestyles have changed. Most of us are stressed and far too busy to put such trivial things as this high on our priority list. But there is something to be said about making YOURSELF a priority. Being well-dressed or put together not only presents you to the world in a better light, but it also shows you value yourself, which in turn reflects your on self-worth. Invest the little bit of time and energy it takes to give a little extra and it might come back to you ten-fold. It’s just as easy to throw on a cute sundress to run errands as it is sweats, and you never know who you might meet. As a single lady, I need to remember there is potential everywhere, and I would never want to meet my soulmate wearing a Kenny Powers t-shirt and stained joggers.
Like my momma has always told me, a little paint on the ol’ barn never hurt anybody. Let’s all step it up!