While I love to relax au natural — not a stitch of makeup on my face, hair up in a ponytail, feet shoeless and preferably buried in sand— I’m also a big fan of dressing up, and by “dressing up” I mean going for all out, old school, high octane glamour.
You may feel overwhelmed by the mere thought of all that’s required when you decide to “go for broke”. If you’re a gal, it probably means investing an hour (or quite a bit more time) on hair, make up and outfit selection; and if you’re a guy, it might involve shaving and making sure you’re socks are clean (also potentially time consuming).
But the prep time involved in dressing up is a very big part of the cure! I believe it was Shakespeare who said “Clothes maketh the man,” or something like that. And you know what? I think he had a good point!
Whenever I’m feeling blue, I call my friend Gretchen and make a plan to meet up with her somewhere, anywhere. Gretchen always dresses to the nines, even when she’s grabbing something at Starbucks at 7 am. Gretchen is one of those gals who probably doesn’t even own a pair of jeans.
Whenever I make plans with Gretchen, I’m purposely committing myself to looking better than however I look when I make the call. It works every time. You know why? The minute I hang up, I forget about whatever’s bugging me and run into my closet to select an outfit worthy of Gretchen’s company. By the time I’m putting on mascara (I wouldn’t dream of meeting Gretchen without wearing mascara) I’m already half way to happiness, and by God, when I leave the house, I always have a smile on my face– and all because I bothered to transform myself from the outside in.
That’s right, people; you read correctly: from the outside in. So what if your shrink says you need to help yourself from the inside out. I’m here to tell you that it works both ways! Getting all glam’d up is a super way to redirect your emotion! Almost as good as yoga, and certainly better than binging alone in your kitchen on chocolate cake!
I’ve been asked by more than one person why I get “all done up” when I perform. “It’s seems rather over-the top,” said my Uncle Willie after catching one of my shows not long ago. “Why not an elegant black dress and some pearls? Class, Isabel. Understated class. That’s what works.”
Good old, Uncle Willie! How I adore him! And I don’t disagree that elegance can make you feel terrif. But here’s a thought for you, Uncle Willie: elegance is safe; elegance is cool; elegance is powerful. But it isn’t necessarily joyful.
Now, over-the-top wild glam? I promise you, it gets a smile every time.
Good taste may make those around you gasp in awe, but it won’t make them laugh, and laughter is what releases that thing in your brain that’s similar to Prozac. (Don’t quote me on that, but I’m sure I read somewhere that laughter is better than any antidepressant).
Going over the top means that the person who steps out swathed in that outrageous teal lambs-wool coat has made a decision to delight the world. And I promise that in-so-doing, that person is delighting themselves, too.
So, next time you’re feeling blah, run out to the nearest Duane Reade and pick up some false lashes; or grab a boa from your local Ricky’s; or throw on a cravat; or wear gold lame. Call your most fab friend and meet for an espresso. Do what you want, just do it BIG!!!! Then write to me and tell me if you’re smiling. Chances are, you will be.
Happy days, my friends. Happy days!
xo as always,