Advanced search

Whether you’re a beauty novice or a confirmed fashionista, this topic is for consulting Mumsnetters on all things style-related. Plus, check out our Swears By page for the inside track on the next Mumsnet must-have.

What's your style and beauty history?

(18 Posts)
explodingkittens Sun 09-Apr-17 10:06:22

I've become mildly obsessed with S&B over the last few months, spending loads of time on the boards blush and generally thinking a lot more about how I look, the products I use etc. Part of me is absolutely loving this 'new me', cos it's fun and I actually look better and am looking after myself more in more ways than just slapping a bit of new lippy on. Part of me feels a bit embarrassed that my new obsession is skincare and clothes! Spending money on this stuff still feels odd - am I just being conned? Am I being really shallow?

I used to be someone who was very a bit sneery about women who wore more than a lick of mascara and some lipgloss, or who spent money on clothes. The idea of spending more than a fiver on a foundation, or using anything more than soap and water on my face was actually anathema to me. All my clothes were cheap and cheerful - I'd never think about actually buying something expensive to last or because of the beautiful quality. But now it's like I've discovered this whole new world and I really like it.

I don't know whether it's about getting older (I'm early 40s now) and so no longer 'getting away with it', or maturing and realising that looking after yourself is ok, or just plain old vanity! I still consider myself a (fairly radical by today's funfem standards) feminist and faffing about with/spending money on clothes and makeup is still something I need to get my head around. But I do really enjoy it, and am taking pleasure in 'me', iyswim?

Anyway, bit of a ramble but just wondered if anyone else felt the same?

RawPotatoes Sun 09-Apr-17 10:28:05

Great idea for a thread, OP. I love these philosophical ones.

I too am slightly bemused by my new-found. S&B obsession. Like you, I think it's partly about getting older and realising that a bit more effort is required to continue looking good. Also, for me, it's definitely a response to having become a mother... I have struggled greatly with adjusting and had bad PND. Taking care of my appearance is a way of asserting my identity and holding the line against the drudgery that can so easily swallow one up. I love the control it gives me over how people perceive and relate to me. It's been quite revelatory actually. For me, it's about self-creation.

As for the feminist thing, well I know that the men in my life don't like this new 'me', and I have also read that apparently women wear most cosmetics/undergo more procedures in countries in which they are most politically/legally/economically emancipated. Men want us to look 'natural', but we'd better make sure natural = young and beautiful, or it's onto the scrap heap we go...

Floisme Sun 09-Apr-17 10:32:33

I agree that fashion can be shallow; indeed that's partly why I like it, especially at the moment when the world feels quite a scary place and a bit of silliness is a welcome relief.

It doesn't mean I Iike everything about it. I despise the whole anti ageing industry and I think most skincare products are a con (sorry everyone). I also struggle with the ethics of fast fashion.

But I also I think the urge to adorn yourself and experiment with your looks runs very deep and is arguably one of the traits that make us human. I also believe it's as creative an art form as any other but because, it's seen as a woman's activity, it's belittled - often, sadly by other women.

Not sure if I've answered your question or not grin

chanie44 Sun 09-Apr-17 10:36:06

When I was young, I was into fashion, particularly when going out clubbing at weekends. I was pretty and had a good figure, so it didn't take much for me look good.

I gradually lost interest in S & B as I met OH, started a Masters and my thoughts turned to saving for our first home, in my mid 20s.

I had DC1 at 30 and in the 7 years since, I've been increasingly interested in S & B. It started with clothes, but It's also hair, make up skincare, colour analysis, natural fabrics, handbags, accessories.

As you get older you have to put in more effort to look good, but as I have less time for myself, S & B is the one thing I have.

thenewaveragebear1983 Sun 09-Apr-17 10:39:46

For me it's more that as I've aged and had children I've changed. I've realised what suits me and what doesn't and I've experienced that feeling of wearing something good quality and well fitting. It does make me walk taller. I feel more put together.

I decided about 2 years ago that I wasn't going to buy cheap clothes anymore. I kondo-ed my wardrobe and since then have only added things to it that I genuinely love, that fit me well, and that suit me. I don't wear black any more. I can't afford the brands I like at new prices so I scour charity shops and Ebay for the items I want or save up for them. I still don't wear lots of make up or buy expensive products.

In all honesty, the changes have been so gradual that I don't think anyone has actually noticed. Someone said to me last week that I had lovely clothes, which made me smile. I just feel so much better and still feel like 'me' but I feel like I've grown up and found my 'look'.

RawPotatoes Sun 09-Apr-17 10:58:06

But I also I think the urge to adorn yourself and experiment with your looks runs very deep and is arguably one of the traits that make us human. I also believe it's as creative an art form as any other but because, it's seen as a woman's activity, it's belittled - often, sadly by other women.

I agree wholeheartedly with this, Floisme.

explodingkittens Sun 09-Apr-17 11:01:32

I Kondo-ed too! Gawd, the 25-year-old me would be killing herself laughing grin. It was liberating though, to rid myself of all this crappy, 'fast fashion' stuff and discover that what genuinely suited me, and what I loved, was quite different to what I had been actually wearing, in lots of ways. And then to focus on the beautiful, high quality stuff, rather than just hitting primark for a massive bagful of crud.

Flo, you make a fantastic point about women's activity being belittled. I do struggle with this aspect. I feel as if I shouldn't get pleasure from this activity, but I do. And then when I think about the women I really admire - either in real life or 'celebrity', they clearly take care with their appearance and enjoy clothes and makeup and all the rest of it. It doesn't detract from their intelligence and power, in fact it enhances it because they look so fucking fabulous as well. My longterm style crush is a professor, and my impeccably-dressed (Anna Wintour-style) thesis supervisor had a poster in her office reading something like Women + Fashion = Power.

explodingkittens Sun 09-Apr-17 11:03:01

And fun! I've just been pondering a pair of dungarees, so it's not all serious and high-end stuff, and it shouldn't be, imo.

Awwlookatmybabyspider Sun 09-Apr-17 11:12:16

My fashion sense actually improved once I became a mum. I didn't want to be the dowdy one in the playground.
Before I had my dd. I was one of those who'd come back with shorts in the winter and a thick tracksuit in the summer, because they were the cheapest there.grin.
Now everything has to be perfect.
Matching bag, nails jewellery. I have about 40 dresses.

RawPotatoes Sun 09-Apr-17 11:33:16

Sounds fabulous, babyspider.

Gah81 Sun 09-Apr-17 12:02:45

After having been a pretty child, I was a really gawky, geeky teenager, all frizzy hair and spots. I was incredibly quiet and socially awkward - people liked me but I wasn't popular.

At the age of about 17/18, I stated wearing mascara and applying concealer to my spots. Boys started showing an interest and it made me feel good about myself. As I felt more confident, so I became chattier and appeared more extrovert. More friends etc etc

Started uni and suddenly was popular, having decided to throw myself into meeting new people. This also coincided with a huge interest in clothes and make up and my first serious relationships.

Nowadays (thirties) I pay a great deal of attention to what I wear and how I look. I feel confident (mostly) in my appearance and socially at ease. Great friends, nice career, wonderful DP etc.

People often describe makeup etc. as an armour and for me, it's as if it's armour against my awkward, deeply unhappy teenage self. It is a visible reminder of how far I have come (clearly that teenage girl will always be a part of me or else I wouldn't be alert to denying her presence on a daily basis).

usefultoken Sun 09-Apr-17 12:11:21

I've always like style and beauty, but never been interested in fashion. Also have quite a low key image so I think people would be surprised to know it's something I enjoy. But, I hate make up and being faffed with so have never been for beauty treatments and things. I've also realised as I've got older I need to spend a bit more and make wiser choices. I HATE unsolicited advice about my appearance (which I get quite often).

Softkitty2 Sun 09-Apr-17 12:12:03

Nice thread. Personally I do it because it makes me feel good about myself. It's not about pleasing anyone else but I do it for me. As shallow as it sounds I feel more confident if I wear make up, I like expensive things but never buy what I cannot afford. Highend make up is my preference purely because of my skin tone.

With regards to clothes, I have stirred away from the trend and try to buy classic pieces that will last from season to season, also it makes me feel put together..

I am proud to be a mother and I have adapted my style to that, my body has forever changed and will never be the same as pre birth and that's ok. I'm embracing a new figure.

Floisme Sun 09-Apr-17 12:13:09

One of my other passions (cos sometimes I do think about stuff other than clothes grin) is football: equally pointless and shallow but trust me, men do not worry about this in the slightest.

Judydreamsofhorses Sun 09-Apr-17 12:36:17

I've always been interested in clothes and makeup, and had quite a distinct "look". In my 20s I developed horrible acne, and while I've never worn heavy "face makeup" I started to always wear red lipstick as a way of distracting from my spots - the spots have, thankfully, gone, but the lipstick remains my trademark. In my early 30s I decided that I would start wearing nail polish every day, and again, that's something I've kept up.

I'm 44 now, and have a strong sense of what suits me - absolutely no florals or frills, yes to stripes and animal print. I am not scared of wearing things that people might consider wrong for my age, like dungarees or pinafores, and still shop in places like Topshop, I'm just more thoughtful about how I put outfits together. My relatively recent obsession with perfume means I have a small fortune stashed in scent, which I could always sell if times get really tough. I guess I'm not worried about spending money on things that give me pleasure now, whether that's clothes, makeup, fragrance or fresh flowers.

explodingkittens Sun 09-Apr-17 13:14:49

I think the 'strong sense of what suits me' thing is really interesting - something that I'm fairly sure can only really come with age? Like, knowing yourself, feeling more at peace with yourself - which certainly wasn't the case for me during me 20s and even in my 30s, really.

I feel like I've 'grown into' my looks as well (although I still loathe photos!) but then again that could be just because I make more of an effort now. Also have a history of adult acne, now that's gone I feel I can enjoy how I look rather than just focusing on hiding the bloody spots.

usefultoken - unsolicited advice is terrible, why people feel the need to offer that I will never know. On the flip side, I made a pact with myself earlier this year to compliment women, even strangers, if they're wearing something fab. I've done it a few times (in the street, at the station, at work) and it only ever gets a good reaction. It's got to be something specific though, not just a general 'you look great'.

I sound insane now don't I? grin

Gah81 Sun 09-Apr-17 13:22:36

I do the same thing to women in terms of compliments - and yes, always something specific. It always makes me feel great when a stranger says something nice to me about what I'm wearing/my hair/makeup etc.

It also at least makes them feel less concerned about why I've been gazing at them out of the corner of my eye for the last minute grin

I definitely feel more secure in terms of what suits me now (nipped in waistlines, stand up/tall collars to make the most of my waist and neck and nothing A-line as it emphasises my saddlebags!) and that reflects (or feeds into?) my sense that I feel more comfortable with who I am and what I do (and do not) stand for.

RawPotatoes Sun 09-Apr-17 13:58:33

Not sure I agree about it being shallow. I'm a big fan of John Ruskin , nineteenth century art critic and social reformer. One of my favourite Ruskin quotes is this:

'Taste is not only a part and index of morality, it is the only morality. The first, and last, and closest trial question to any living creature is "What do you like?" Tell me what you like, I'll tell you what you are.'

I think it's true that you can often tell a lot about someone's core values and political orientation from the way they chose to present themself.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: