Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy Feet

Confession time: I'm a dork. That's probably not a surprise, actually. But seriously, I'm like the least fashionable person I know. I kept my nose in books through those teenage years where I was supposed to learn about shoes and makeup and fashion and whatnot, so it just sort of never happened. And honestly, it never really affected me all that much, because I don't think about it very often. But recently I've been forced to think about shoes, in particular, and I'm attempting to make a change.

I've worn nothing except sneakers, loafers, and flat sandals since high school. (I did own the occasional pair of dress heels, for use with skirts and dresses, but I hate them and I very cleverly avoid wearing them by wearing skirts as infrequently as humanly possible.) I had a small, monotonous (and very very old) collection of loafers and sandals that I made do with for everyday wear, a single pair of sneakers, and I was good to go. Then I got pregnant. And my feet swelled. A lot. I quickly went up an entire shoe size, and none of my shoes fit. So I did what any cost-conscious-but-fashion-blind pregnant woman would do: I bought one pair of sneakers and one pair of sandals in the bigger size, and I wore them for my entire pregnancy.

Then LL was born, and I patiently waited for my feet to return to normal. Instead, they shrank ever so slightly but remained a good half size bigger than they were pre-pregnancy. I still couldn't fit into any of my old shoes. I gave it a good year to see if they'd shrink back, and then I donated all of my pre-pregnancy shoes to charity. The only shoes I kept were two pairs of sandals that still kind of work, the pregnancy sneakers, one pair of black loafers with a broken heel that I've kept for reasons beyond understanding, and the shoes that I wore at my wedding. But the only ones that are actually of any use right now on a daily basis are the sneakers. So... I've been wearing those sneakers every single day. Every single day. For more than a year. (Actually, I wore the loafers with the broken heel on several job interviews, because, you know, job interview and sneakers don't mix. But walking sucked, and it was horribly uncomfortable.)

We've been having torrential storms lately, which have brought something to my attention: there are numerous holes in those sneakers. That's right: not just one hole, but many many holes in each shoe. And yet I'm still wearing them. I told you that I'm a dork.

Anyway, I decided that here in my mid-30s, it was time to start acting like a grown-up woman. (Soon Dr. Grown-Up Woman, thank-you-very-much.) I called up my most fashionable but understanding friend and begged her to teach me about shoes. She took me shopping on Saturday, and I am now the proud owner of brown leather slip-on wedges. I have black ones, too. And a pair of black pumps that don't make me cry when I wear them, so maybe I'll agree to go on a fancy date with S one of these days if we ever have a babysitter. Also, I own my first ever pair of brown ballet flats. And another pair of black slip-ons with a bit of a heel.

Also of utmost significance to this discussion: I now know what a wedge is. And I understand that ballet flats are not what ballerinas wear. And I know what Mary-Janes are, and why I should probably never ever wear them. (Trust me, they're really not a good look for me. Even a dork like me could see that fairly quickly.)

Now that I have such fashionable and grown-up feet, I should really bring the rest of my body into my 30s with me. I know only slightly more about make-up than I did about shoes, so that should probably be next on my list. I've never even owned either eye liner or lip liner. Ever. You're cringing a little, right? I do own various lipsticks and lip gloss, but I'm fairly convinced that every single one of them is the wrong shade for me, so I rarely actually put them on, and they're all so old that they should probably be thrown out anyway. Every once in a while, I put in the effort to put on some light foundation, blush, and lip gloss (maybe even mascara, if I'm feeling particularly fancy). And without fail, people at work comment that I look great, did I change my hair? New outfit? What's going on? So, I'm finally going to take the hint and go buy myself a daily make-up regimen that I might actually stick with. Something simple and subtle, I hope. Something that actually matches my skin tone.

If anyone has make-up suggestions, I'd love to hear them.


  1. I hope you report back about the make-up experience. I also have never owned eye liner or lip liner (although I did have make-up professionally applied for my wedding which made me feel super-grown-up). I routinely grab my chapstick and throw it in my purse when we go out to a fancy event.

    Thanks for the comments on my blog - I really appreciate the advice.

  2. I'm not much of a makeup person, but my new addiction is It's nice because you can get samples for $1-2 each, so there's not much of a commitment and you can play around until you figure out what works for you. I've discovered that having pretty eyeshadow colors motivates me to put makeup on in the mornings. Isn't that silly?

  3. I just started making myself put on a little makeup in the morning again. I basically only do eye makeup though, because I am lazy.

  4. Oh, this sounds like me. Except that I am still in the 'one pair of sneakers and one pair of sandals' stage. And I don't even own lip liner. Occasionally, I think I should grow up and learn about this stuff but...

    You are also in a CS-related field, I think? And you say people commented positively when you wore make-up? In my department, the men wear jeans (or shorts) and t-shirts. A few might wear a shirt sometimes. The two women faculty members (I'm postdoc) dress up in what I would term business attire, but they are also in the less technical areas of CS. Even if I didn't end up looking like an 8 year old dressed in Mummy's clothes, I'm worried firstly that I would stick out like a sore thumb in my completely male (fantastic) group, and that in the wider department, I wouldn't be taken as seriously from a technical point of view. Is this not an issue for you?

  5. I love makeup! In short bursts though. For work I'm pretty casual, but I still ALWAYS put on a little bit before I go. But when it's time to go out, I can turn it on.

    So, if you really know nothing, I suggest that you start with just a nice tinted moisturizer, like Laura Mercier. She's expensive, but it will last you forever. If you put it on with a foundation brush (Sonia Kashuk, $10 at target), your face will look really nice and smooth. Sometimes, just that will make a huge difference. Plus it's a moisturizer and has SPF so you really are doing yourself a favor.

    Next up, I like to use bronzer, just a touch on the cheeks, bridge of nose, and chin. Bronzer has this nice quality of giving me a healthy glow, but not being as obvious as blush (I can understand the concern of "sticking out" that CC mentioned. I highly recommend Nars Orgasmic, or Orgasm, or something. Check it out at Sephora. It's also not cheap, but again, lasts forever. It's good stuff, very well regarded by makeup-eratti (or so I hear, from friends who are even more makeup obsessed than I am). If you find it too expensive, Cover Girl bronzers aren't bad, and way cheaper. But I prefer my Nars. Either way, use a big brush, bigger than blush (I think powder brushes work), not what comes with the compact.

    Honestly, if you're not a makeup person it could take a while to get used to or good at a regimen, but a little regimen like what I just said could go a long way to looking fresh, and it's so easy. Really. I know I just wrote a long comment, but if you break it down into pieces, it's quite simple: two makeup items, and 2 pieces of equipment (brushes).

    If you just go to Sephora, you can ask a salesperson to do this regimen on you to see if you like it before you even go for it. Especially because we may have totally different skin tones. Good luck!!! Post if you make any purchases :):):).

  6. I am largely make-up clueless. I have a random collection of items, acquired at various points, mostly long past their expiration dates (yet I persist in using them). For the past couple of months, I have realized that I had been showing up to work looking awful and started putting a little makeup on every morning -- concealer, powder, light blush, mascara and lip gloss or lipstick. I do look better, but I suspect I would look even better if I knew what I was doing. I hear that Sephora does a good job at assisting with figuring out what looks good.

    I do, however, like shoes. That was definitely a more recent discovery, though (within the past 5 years, I'd say -- before that, it was sneakers or flip flops, plus a pair of loafers). Enjoy the new footwear!

  7. I too am fashion impaired. The best thing is to have friends whose fashion taste you like help you out. In my case, I asked my stepmom to help me with the makeup. I was 27 years old and had never ever worn makeup at all. She took me to the mall and helped me buy some Clinique (because I have sensitive skin). We got one of those deals where if you buy enough stuff you get a free something-or-other -- the deal at the time was a pretty nice little kit with perfume, lotions, sparkly lip stuff, and a little compact with neutral-colored eye shadow and blush. After we bought the stuff, she took me home and showed me how to put on makeup.

    My makeup philosophy is that the makeup should just enhance what I already have -- that is, lipstick should make my lips be about the same color they are right now, only more homogeneous; and eye makeup should bring out the color of my eyes rather than attract attention to the makeup. I haven't tried this but I've seen in like Target or Walmart these eye makeup kits for various eye colors, so you might take a look at those to get an idea of what colors you should be looking for, if nothing else.

    When I started working, I wore makeup every day, but now I am way too lazy and I only wear it on special occasions, like if I have to give a presentation or Super Important people are coming for a visit or something. Otherwise, I'd rather spend that 5 minutes sleeping instead of applying makeup.

  8. I'm the same way. I've been trying to be a little more grown up. I have to second the Sephora recommendations. I had to do my own make up for my SIL's wedding and they were great about showing me how to put everything on.

  9. *gasp* You remind me of my friend Liz, who once told me that she decided to stop using Dove body wash on her face, and could I recommend an appropriate cleanser?! (faint)

    I do love me some make-up. I don't overdo it, but I enjoy having different options. My recommendation is start with Bare Escentuals. If there is a Bare Escentuals store near you, you can go directly there -- otherwise, they carry it at Sephora. It's such easy foundation to use, it gives you a really natural complexion using just powder so it's not thick or cakey. Ask a salesperson to help you pick the right box and show you how to apply it. Then you can build off of that. :)

  10. I always wear tinted moisturizer and mascara. On the days I feel like looking more dressed up, I add an eye liner and eye shadow. The hardest thing is to pick the right color of tint in the moisturizer, since my skin color varies with the season (I get some sun from running in the summer, but turn pretty pasty in the winter).


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