I want to post some thoughts about our weekend in San Diego -- I really do. I've uploaded my photos to Flickr and I started a nice, detailed account of a perfect day in La Jolla. I intended to finish it this afternoon, and start a review of the hotel we stayed in, too.
But the day, as usual, has gotten away from me. I have to go to a business-type meeting at the end of the week, and thinking about meeting people for the first time - people who do not already know and love me - put me in a bit of a panic. Aside from kid-related things, (where my jeans and t-shirt and trainer uniform is not out of place), I have not been out in public in the daytime for several years.
I had nothing to wear.
The people I hang with now would have a hard time believing this, but there was a time when I was a slave to fashion. I read Womens Wear Daily and subscribed to all manner of fashion magazines. I shopped incessantly. I wore make-up. I teetered around NBC and CBS in short skirts and four-inch heels.
What changed? My age, for one thing -- it's hard to find fashions suitable for a woman in her 50's who doesn't want to look like her grandmother. And my body, for another thing. It's no fun to try on clothes when you're a fat old lump. I experienced the old joy a couple of years ago, after losing 20 pounds... but I gradually gained them back (and then some) and now I'm back to just wanting to sit in the back of the room, invisible and unnoticed. I tell myself I shouldn't mind the fact that the only casual clothes I can find are sweats and "mom jeans," since I now have a "mom body."
But there is still a part of me that wants to be pretty, and wear clothes that are cute. And my meeting on Friday will be an occasion when invisibility isn't an option. I want to be effortlessly chic and casual -- or at least as chic and casual as I can be, given the limitations of my budget, advanced age and size 14-petite frame.
So yesterday, instead of being a good little blogger and working on my posts, I headed out to the mall to see if I could give myself a mini-makeover. Like a homing pigeon, I soon found myself at Nordstrom, which is one of the few department stores left that has a Petites department.
The last time I tried this (before our trip to the UK), I didn't have a lot of success and ended up at Lane Bryant, where I found some inexpensive jeans that didn't look wonderful, but actually fit -- and were 1/2 to 1/3 the price of the ones at the big department stores. So I wasn't looking for another pair of jeans... until I found these. Guess what? They really work! Yeah, I got a pair.
I also found a pair of olive khakis that looked pretty good and match the Cole Haan shoes I bought on sale in December... and a pretty, printed, beaded t-shirt. So I guess I'll still be wearing the mom uniform - just a better-fitting, upgraded one.
The new clothes were screaming for a new handbag to match, so I headed down to accessories to browse. Unfortunately, all the bags I really liked were in the $500-$800 range. Yeah, that's never gonna happen. I'll do what I always do and wait for the style to trickle down to Target.
But one thing I could take care of on a budget was my makeup. I wandered in to the cosmetics department and wandered right back out again. Talk about being invisible! I don't know if the salespeople just look at me and think that it's obvious I never use their products -- or if they think I'm a lost cause. Since I hit my 40's, I can't find anyone to sell makeup to me -- even at customer-service crazy Nordstrom. So I went to Sephora, where I have a different problem: there are so many lines and products to choose from, it's overwhelming. I can never make a decision there.
Finally, I noticed that the mall had a MAC store. I've never used their products (I'm from the Prescriptives/Lancome generation) - but the shop was empty and there seemed to be salespeople hanging around with nothing to do. So I approached a pretty young woman dressed in black lace and boots and elaborate tattoos running up both her arms. Her eyes were gorgeous - dramatically shadowed with Cleopatra-style eyeliner and thick, false lashes.
"What are you looking for?" she asked.
I shrugged. I needed EVERYTHING. On top of that, I'm not even sure HOW to apply makeup any longer. My face has changed, it has new creases, and the texture of my skin is not what it was 20 years ago. What colors are appropriate? I used to love red lipstick; now I'm told it ages you. I used to wear wild shades on my eyelids. I'm pretty sure that would look ridiculous on me now. What I need is a daytime look that will make me look like me -- only better.
The MAC saleswoman suggested a pancake foundation (easier to apply than liquid, not drying like powder). She found a nice shade that did an OK job of evening out my color (even if it doesn't cover my mass of freckles). I also got a concealer, blush, mascara, eyeliner pencil and a new lipstick in a subtle shade of rose. She suggested I go with natural, earth tones for my eyelids, and since I already have plenty of those, I didn't purchase any new shadows.
So that was done. Today, I saw my hairdresser for my usual color and cut - except I decided I was bored with the latter. Inspired by Helen Mirren's sleek pageboy at the Oscars, I asked my hairdresser to lop off most of my hair into a nice little bob. I'm happy with it - except now, I think I NEED to wear makeup. And earrings.
Other than that, I'm ready to go.