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Looking polished and pretty

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I would like to make an effort to look pretty and polished. I have some roadblocks/unconscious issues in regards to this.


My thoughts range from: "I can't do this" to "I don't know how" or "I will never be able to do this" to "I'm scared.


A little background history...I was a cute clean kid. When I went to that elementary school where they started picking me apart....the kids teased me. They teased me about wanting to be like everyone else, about how I was "copying" them and who did I think I was, how I wore velcro shoes..how I didn't match. It was awful!!! The coolest kids wore black spandex tights, scrunchies and neon t-shirts.


I started dressing very badly indeed. I stopped washing my face, grooming myself. I would have fights with my mom in the mornings because I did not know what to wear to school (and I desperately did not want to be teased). It didn't actually matter what I wore though because they always had something negative to pick apart or put me down about. Like when I experimented with makeup and put blusher in big pink circles around my cheeks. (I was in 5th grade mind you). I would get so discouraged about going to the drugstore and buying foundation that was too dark. (I had no idea how to use makeup).


After a lot of discouragement I gave up. So....I dress really SLOPPY now. That is a good word. A SLOB. (My sister and mom are both neat and clean).


I want to change this. Periodically I will get myself cleaned up and look fresh for a couple days. Before I go back to my old habits.


I don't know how to maintain consistent clean, fresh grooming anymore. I'm also afraid to attract men (I want men to leave me alone and not look at me). They certainly don't look at me when I wear sweats and a big sweatshirt.


Anyone ever had to work through this, make concerted efforts to change and would like to give me some advice? It is a struggle and roadblock for me. I don't really understand how I managed to build up issues about this but I think I unconsciously did.


I do look decent when I am nice and clean. Just don't want to look sloppy or a slob or wear clothes with stains or oversized clothes or borrow other people's clothing anymore without any care. I kept telling myself, this is such a little thing and shouldn't matter but the fact of the matter is.....I care.


I think avoidance of grooming was also a way I coped with being teased. I ended up just denying the issue even existed, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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Hey teardrops! I think you're afraid because when you WERE the real you (back in elementary school) you were picked apart for it. So you sort of took control over the situation by dressing badly, knowing that if they tease you, it's not the REAL you. I can see how, now, it has become a problem.


I've never been the most fashionable person either, possibly for some of the same reasons (what you said about not attracting men -- I used to be the same way). Also, I lacked knowledge of how to apply make-up, and what tops go with what pants, etc.


I would suggest a couple of things that have helped me:


* Find a friend who is more stylish than you are. A girl who wears makeup well and who you feel comfortable asking for advice from. Or a girl who loves to shop for clothes (hopefully that means she's up on fashion). Ask her to give you tips, or suggest ways to improve your look.


* DO read fashion or teen magazines with lots of beauty and fashion tips. You'll get a sense of what you like and what you don't. The key to becoming the real you is to (a) know what some of your options are and (b) choose the ones you feel comfortable with.


Also, GET RID of the sloppy clothing you wear. If you don't have 'em, you can't wear 'em. GO and buy new clothes and wear them.


Here's a reason for doing all of this, if not for yourself. People like to be with people who are pleasant-looking; it just makes them comfortable. People want to hang out with people in whom they see their best selves reflected.


When you're with someone who doesn't care about their appearance, it doesn't make you feel that good. When you're with someone who is dressed well, it lifts you up. You can be that uplifting person, just by taking care of yourself a little better.


It DOES take awhile to get rid of bad habits, so take things a baby step at a time, and within months, you'll be a new you! Good luck!

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Well I haven't been where you are right now precisely but I get what you are saying. For me, I dress down when I want to go incognito and I feel invisible. The world treats you like you are invisible when you're like that doesn't it?


I'm going to make some assumptions, like your issue isn't that you don't know how to look "better" (for want of a better word) but that you have equated looking neat and pretty with somehow coming out of the shadows and being seen at last, and that's scary. Am I over-dramatising? Sorry if I am. But for whatever reason, this is a big deal to you, so you need to find a way of making it a smaller deal, and thus achievable.


I think perhaps it might be worth you breaking this down into pieces, so that it's not just a bit amorphous blob of "slob" into "pretty". Like:


- Hair: New cut, then wash every second day. Try for a cut every 2 months minimum.

- Face: Wash daily and use concealer and mascara, maybe lip balm that doubles as glss. (whatever seems workable but minimal)

- Clothes: Buy pants, dress, casual shirt and work shirt, all to fit. Black is fine, but try some colour in the shirts. Doesn't have to be too out there - something bland if you like that means you'll be more comfortable.

- Shoes: Buy, or find in your wardrobe something comfortable and stylish to wear with the above.


My point is that you don't have to go glam if you don't want to. It doesn't have to be big hair and stilleto shoes, but it can be neat and presentable. I would think comfort would also be a big deal - for me that's where I draw the line, can't stand high heels .


Most importantly, throw out anything with stains that can't be removed, or holes that can't be managed. Get this stuff out of the house, or box your things up and put them away if you can't stand getting rid of them. Make it hard for yourself to just throw on the comfort clothing.


What do you reckon?


Edit: I posted this then saw K8tie's post. We've covered some of the same ground. I think her idea of shopping with someone else or otherwise getting tips is great.

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Well, they picked me apart no matter what I wore. It was like everything was wrong with me no matter what. If I wore clothes like the other kids I was a "copycat" and if I didn't...then they made fun of it. It was a situation I couldnt win.


I think I coped with this rejection by mentally saying "judging people's appearance is shallow and I'm going to just dress like a slob until I find someone who will accept me just the way I am (as a slob and all)." It became an ingrained pattern and I put in NO effort. Is there a way to think about this in a different manner? It is almost like I am rebelling....


I started to read fashion magazines nearly a decade ago, instyle, allure, marie claire and I've collected all this makeup and jewelry that I just let sit there. I don't even know where to begin or what to do. It's like I have a collection that just sits there.


Then I have excuses like "wearing formfitting clothing would be too exhausting and uncomfortable", "being clean takes too much work", "I can't be attractive", "I don't have the necessary clothes", "I don't have clothes I like". I have so many mental excuses......Im just not sure how to overcome them.


And I wonder if there is something I get from looking sloppy (besides warding off men) that keeps me stuck.


I have been reading the above two suggestions (Thank you!) and I think it's helpful because I am trying to learn new ways of thinking about this. New ways of thinking ---> New ways of behaving. I am so used to thinking about this in a certain way that I don't know how to think differently about it. It's hard to imagine.


Maybe it has been a way to detract attention from me!! I will think about this more.

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I think this has been your way of dropping out of society and its expectations of how you look. Thing is you're old enough and tough enough now to reject the parts of society you don't like, and you can redefine yourself in ways that meets your own internal standards as well as not screaming for attention. It gets to the stage where you get attention for being sloppy and it's not a stigma you seem to want when it comes down to it.


Like all bad habits we get into when we are down and need some comfort, it seems that the only way to manage this is to cut down the impossibility of the task in your head, and manage baby steps. Maybe one day you don't want to wear makeup - fine. But promise yourself that you'll at least wash your face and brush your hair. Make some promises to yourself and then horsetrade around the edges. Don't let one backstep dictate the next day either - you're allowed to fall off the wagon sometimes I think . Just do better the next day.


Like I said, make it hard for yourself to just put on the sloppy clothes. Put them out of reach. Make it as easy for yourself as possible to be the neat and clean person you want to be. You'll build up new habits and you just might feel better about a whole bunch of stuff .

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I think I coped with this rejection by mentally saying "judging people's appearance is shallow and I'm going to just dress like a slob until I find someone who will accept me just the way I am (as a slob and all)." It became an ingrained pattern and I put in NO effort. Is there a way to think about this in a different manner? It is almost like I am rebelling....

Makes perfect sense, teardrops. I've thought the same thing: "It's the PERSONALITY that counts, isn't it?" What can I say? Yes, and no. It's nice to look nice, both for yourself and others.


I started to read fashion magazines nearly a decade ago, instyle, allure, marie claire and I've collected all this makeup and jewelry that I just let sit there. I don't even know where to begin or what to do. It's like I have a collection that just sits there.

I'd say if you started collecting a decade ago, then some of your collection is out of style by now. just teasing you.


Seriously, I have stuff I don't wear either, 'cause I don't know what it goes with. Do you have a department store near you with a personal-shopper service? Maybe you could take a few pieces of jewelry in and say, "I want clothes to match this, what do you think?" It's okay to get help and advice.


Then I have excuses ...Im just not sure how to overcome them.

Yep, been there too. In fact, I DON'T wear high heels because I value my comfort way too much. Why be in pain all day? Doesn't make sense to me. But I still wear low heel yet stylish shoes. Again, take baby steps -- wear something a LITTLE more form-fitting at first, until you're comfortable with that image. Then some months after that, change it up with a snugger top.


And I wonder if there is something I get from looking sloppy (besides warding off men) that keeps me stuck.

I'm sure you will figure it out, teardrops. These kinds of issues do take time to sort through.


BTW, I very much like caro's suggestions. Very practical and do-able. I'd take the list and do one thing at a time!

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Hey Teardrops,


When I was in grade school, I had THE worst fashion sense. Ever. I never wore makeup, had bad hair. I was also chubby, which I still am, but I dress for my body shape so it's not QUITE as apparent. Somewhere along the line, maybe when I started making money, I came to care about my appearance and do what I can to look my best when I go out. Having money made that attainable for me.


Why don't you treat yourself to a nice haircut? That always makes me feel great. If you feel lost when it comes to makeup, some salons have makeup artists who will show you how to do a basic face that doesn't take long and looks good. I always had trouble finding a foundation that would work with my skin, until I went to the MAC cosmetics counter at my local mall and they found me a foundation, a blush, and a lipgloss. Now I do a five minute face in the mornings that works for me, and barely takes any effort.


As far as clothing goes, baby steps. Alot of websites list essentials for a woman's wardrobe so that it's easy to put together outfits in the morning.


If you are worried about attracting men's attention, that's a psycological issue that will hinder you no matter what you wear. Have you been to a therapist? They may help you work through your issues so that you don't need to hide anymore.


Alot of people on here gave you some great basic steps, I hope you find them helpful. Anytime you want advice, feel free to pm me.

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How about looking at some books to get you going? Like The Beauty Bible, or something? That's online actually:


link removed


They have great tips about the best products to try - really useful.


One thing that ALWAYS makes me feel great is wearing perfume. It's hard to feel like a slob when you smell exquisite!


Maybe start off small - like washing your face and doing your hair in a simple style every morning, and putting on some tinted moisturiser (cannot go wrong slapping it on!) and some tinted lip balm. Get used to making yourself feel a bit better!


Other small things you can do are nails and hands, jewellry that you like, nice shoes etc. Until you get used to spending time on yourself.


I think it's a self-esteem thing - that you don't think you're worth pampering and spending time on grooming yourself, because of your bad experiences in school. But there is something about pampering yourself that DOES make you feel a whole lot better, no matter what the style.


Good luck.

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