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advice on hair/makeup/clothes... ?

(26 Posts)
anonymous4 Tue 18-Aug-09 16:07:23

Is there anywhere that reliably can give good advice on how to do makeup, what haircut would suit you, what clothes to wear, how to wear them, whether jewellery is "right", etc?

I probably sound like some silly 1950s Stepford-wife-in-training here, but I am a bit fed up with always being the ugly one in photos, and the reference point for when people want to talk about someone who really doesn't care about their appearance.

I do care, but would happily wear hiking clothes every day of my life, and I'm generally not pretty - with mole-covered glowing blue-white skin, stringy thin knotty hair so fair I look like I'm bald/ have no eyelashes etc, stringy knotty hair scraped over bald-looking scalp into a ratty ponytail, wonky glasses, holes in shorts/ tshirt and insane looking grin.

In my work environment, I'm surrounded by perfectly-coiffed, demurely-made-up, neatly dressed young ladies wearing the family heirloom jewellery and a 1000-pound pashmina draped over the cashmere tank top and designer jeans... the kind of people who would look good wearing a hessian sack.

I want to look more like them, but haven't got a clue how... and feeble attempts at asking for help in department stores have resulted in makeup that looks like drag, bright orange fake tan, dirty-looking hair that looks like it's been filled with grease and then ironed, vile ugly polyester clothes that make me look like a carthorse, etc etc...

HeadFairy Tue 18-Aug-09 16:11:12

I think your first port of call should be a hairdresser. You may have to shop around. Perhaps try something like a trim and blow dry to test them out to see if you can find someone you trust and like. It's worth paying more, but a blow dry isn't too expensive and you can discuss styles etc when you're having it done.

Make up wise... I'm never keen on department store makeup counters. For my wedding I went to MAC and had one of their make up sessions. You have to pay £30 I think but that's redeemable against anything you buy. They're proper make up artists, they only sell mac stuff, but it's very good, so they won't fob you off with rubbish.

JackieNo Tue 18-Aug-09 16:14:05

You need to pick your beauty counter carefully - Bobbi Brown is very good for more neutral/natural looking makeup - MrsBadger's top tip is, as I remember, to tell them you don't know much about makeup, but that you want to look like yourself but 'more rested'.

I've had good experiences with the personal shoppers in Debenhams - there's no pressure to buy, and you can tell them your budget, and you can sit there while they bring you things - but don't be shy about stipulating 'natural fabrics only' or whatever you think you'd like. Or someone might be able to recommend an independent personal shopper, who could do a trawl round various shops with you. Maybe even 'get your colours done' - many people on here swear it's a fantastic thing to do, though I've not had it done myself.

moondog Tue 18-Aug-09 16:14:41

Have you booked a persoanl shopper in one of the big dept. stores (as opposed to asking random sales assitant?). There is no obligation to buy and they will bring you arms of stuff while you sit and relax with a magazine.

moondog Tue 18-Aug-09 16:15:18

I had a very good session at a Bobbi Brown counter.

anonymous4 Tue 18-Aug-09 16:20:43

thanks for the ideas chaps... keep them coming, I need all the help I can get wink

MrsBadger Tue 18-Aug-09 16:23:27

Jackie is spot on, as so often grin - 'like me but less tired' worked a treat at the BeneFit counter

What shape are you under the hiking clothes?
How old are you?
Would you be prepared to meet the cashmere tank tops half way?
Would you wear a skirt without a heavy bribe?

The first step is admitting you have a problem wink
so to start with ditch all holey clothes
wash hair regularly with a volumising shampoo
comb it more
abandon the ponytail
get the glasses fixed, and ask for a free contact lens trial (even if you don't like them for every day they, a pack of disposable ones can be a boon for parties - I do this)

or if you think you could bear it, ask the girls at work to make you over - I'm afraid they'll have been dying to do it for ages and may squeal with delight at the prospect.

GetOrfMoiLand Tue 18-Aug-09 16:24:46

Firstly, don't be so down on yourself. Why are you always the ugly one in photos.

Just a couple of small things will help you (hopefully) feel better about yourself.

Agree - haircut. Have something which is easy to manage, you don't have to have a radical restyle, but generally if you have a couple of inches off it will make your hair look in better condition. I have very thin, fine hair which looks like a load of crap if I have it longer than shoulder length, so I always have it in a long bob as it is better that way. Also consider having a fringe cut in - it's made me look younger!

You don't need to wear a barrel load of make up - the things you need to do are have a good base - generally spend as much on foundation as you can- blusher (cream blusher is best), eyebrow definition (in other words have them plucked or waxed, it really makes a difference to your face), lip gloss or lip balm and mascara. Everything else is optional.

For the foundation I would heartily recommend you go to Space NK and try either Laura Mercier, By Terry or Chantecaille. All of these makes have excellent foundations - I use By Terry and it is fantastic, and reallly evens up my skin tone.

For the rest, Tesco Make up, Collection 2000 and Natural Colletion by Boots are cheap and cheerful - you will need to experiment with colours so it is best that you don't spend too much. Go for stuff which you can apply with your fingers at first.

Clothes - depending on where you work, you can have a capsule wardrobe which you can jolly up. Really worth investing in a decent pair of trousers, a good white shirt, some smart shoes, several plain tops in colours which suit. I have never tried a personal shopper, however if you do not have the funds some good cheap shops are Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Linea by House of Fraser for basics, jazzed up with some cheaper stuff from Asda or Primark.

JackieNo Tue 18-Aug-09 16:24:51

Wonky glasses - can you afford new ones? Do you like wearing glasses, or would you like to try contact lenses? I've worn glasses since I was 11-ish, and I don't mind them, but I have in the last 5 years or so started wearing daily disposable contact lenses, and it's made me feel more confident about my appearance. It's nice to have the option of both.

anonymous4 Tue 18-Aug-09 16:59:10

thanks again for the suggestions.

Hiking clothes fit in at my workplace (a company spin-off from a university, full of male geologists with beards, short-sleeved shirts and shorts, and socks and sandals). However during termtime I teach terribly articulate, poised, self-confident (in a good way), beautiful 20 year old undergraduates.

There's no obvious way to fit in with both, but generally I'd like to fit in better with the successful university types, given that they seem to be more hung up on appearance than my geological colleagues.

Under the hiking clothes I'm 30, 164cm, fairly fit (I cycle 30km a day commuting, and swim about 10km/week). Size 12 across the shoulders, size 10 across the waist, size 8 across the backside, AAA-cup bra (though have never found one that fitted, except when breastfeeding). Hair gets doused in chlorinated pool water, and washed in volumising shampoo/conditioner, every day.

I'd meet the cashmere tops and pashminas all the way if I could afford it. i'd wear a skirt, too, if I could find remotely comfortable shoes to go with it, that aren't running shoes.

Suggestions of "nice" clothes that mimic the comfort of merino tshirts and North Face hiking shorts and crappy old sandshoes would be extremely welcome!

moondog Tue 18-Aug-09 17:01:27

Well ,you've got the figure for starters (shame about beardy colleagues though!)

JackieNo Tue 18-Aug-09 17:09:34

Yes - very envy at your figure.

With winter coming, you can move into skirts with boots, which are a good compromise, I think. Maybe what you need to be looking for is the sorts of clothes you're currently wearing, but in more luxurious fabrics - so smarter wool trousers, with a cashmere jumper from Tesco, or Uniqlo? Then you need to invest in a few necklaces that you can wear with things, to make them look more of an 'outfit' rather than just some clothes you've slung on (wink), and you're still comfortable, but more stylishly.

anonymous4 Tue 18-Aug-09 17:23:39

hehe, thankyou. Actually the figure is a bit extreme, doesn't work well in dresses etc as I always look like i have no waist, and size 12 is always too long. Buying anything smaller results in ripped seams or sleeveless things where my shoulders stick out a mile.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone, much appreciated.

HeadFairy Tue 18-Aug-09 17:40:31

Wow, great figure. You're obviously athletic. Can you get away with smart jeans? With some nice low heeled boots they can look pretty smart.

What sort of clothing budget do you have? I love toast stuff, and it's kinda casual rural chic which might fit well with your smart walking clothes scenario.

GetOrfMoiLand Tue 18-Aug-09 18:17:53

My mum has a similar figure to yours, also would refuse to wear skirts, suits, stuff like that. She lives in Fat Face stuff - I am sure you could find some smart albeit comfortable stuff in there.

MrsBadger Tue 18-Aug-09 18:38:49

oh you are lovely

you need block-heeled riding boots
great under jeans or cords and will look elegant but not girly to wear with a-line cord or moleskin skirts

wear roll necks or, even better, cowl necks, all the time as they look ace on small boobs

think horsey - this is the place where outdoorsy meets cashmere

Uniqlo is very good, also Fat Face or even Joules (avoid their more extreme stuff) but is pricey

GetOrfMoiLand Tue 18-Aug-09 18:43:00

Also preppy look e.g. jumpers, blazers and tweedy trousers.

jack Wills (if you can stop laughing at the prices) very good. If you are anywhere near Oxfordshire there is a discount outlet at Bicester Village.

Agree Joules.

If you want Cashmere at Primark prices look at Tesco - periodically they do cashmere sweaters and cardigans, and they're pretty good.

Also cross over tops very good for small bust, as long as they are not too low cut. Also anything with ruching.

moondog Tue 18-Aug-09 18:43:14

Also groovy tank tops are cool with small tits.

moondog Tue 18-Aug-09 18:43:42

Yes, great cashmere in Tesco.

GetOrfMoiLand Tue 18-Aug-09 18:44:38

Yes, tank top over shirt will look really good.

purplepeony Tue 18-Aug-09 19:17:54

and get a padded bra- M&S Padded, uplifting T shirt bra at £12.

MrsBadger Tue 18-Aug-09 19:41:47

...but get measured somewhere other than M&S - JL or Debenhams are usually good.
If you really are an A or an AA try Know Knockers for nice bras

and re hair, do go to a hairdresser and ask for advice not just on style but also on keeping it in good nick

my (very stylish) little sister has become evangelical about swimming hats - her philosophy is that looking like a prat in the pool (where no-one cares) for 0.02% of the week is worth it to have nice hair the other 99.98% of the time

RinkyDinkyPinky Tue 18-Aug-09 19:51:09

Another tip with swimming- rinse your hair thoroughly before you swim. This helps to reduce the amount of chlorine absorbed by the hair fibres. Or do as Mrs Badger says and use a hat.

pasturesnew Tue 18-Aug-09 19:56:40

I third the recommendation of tank top over shirt, with a nice necklace - v comfy and smart whether with trousers or a skirt. If with trousers ballet pumps are comfy but look nice. This can be a good "uniform" for work.

You can dye eyelashes if they are really pale, this works better than mascara if you're swimming a lot.

Eyebrow shaping and also dye (if brows pale) can make a big impact to your face, it can define the eyes very nicely.

Lipgloss is less bother than lipstick, a little bit blusher can also really help a lot if pale and is quick and easy to do.

Difficult about the hair if you like to swim properly. You might have to go for a shorter haircut, swimming cap and making time for a blowdry afterwards - if you did that you can get blowdry lessons.

anonymous4 Wed 19-Aug-09 12:53:11

wow - thanks for all the replies! Toast has some lovely things. CAshmere from Tesco sounds great, presumably somewhat cheaper than Brora... Good thing i don't get paid for another 2 weeks, the urge to SPEND online might have subsided by then wink

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