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It’s the last day of our Fight the Frump challenge! We’ve talked about the importance of looking as if you take pride in yourself, finding clothes that fit and flatter, and getting the right bra. Now we’re going to talk about how to put it all together.

NonFrumpyOn Day 1 I showed a picture of me that was “non-frumpy”, and said that it took me 3 minutes and 53 seconds to get like that. Today I want to talk not about the clothes, but about the rest of it: the jewelry, the makeup, and the hair.

Hair

You can wear awesome clothes, but if your hair isn’t styled nicely, you will tend to look frumpy. Hair is the most important accessory; there’s a reason God said that a woman’s hair is her crowning glory.

I understand wanting to feel feminine, and I know that many women just love long hair. My girls both have long hair, and it’s extremely thick. So I’m not against long hair at all.

It’s just that long hair has the tendency to look frumpy unless you do something with it.

Here’s a little tip: many women think that because they just grow their hair long and straight they don’t need to get it cut. However, when hair goes too long without a trim, it develops major split ends. Those tend to “fly away” from the head, so that your hair doesn’t look neat, even after you brush it. Loose bits are always floating up.

Even if your hair is long, cut it regularly. And my daughters found that when they thinned their hair and layered it, it became so much easier to make it look nice. They use hair straighteners quite frequently, and you can master the technique quite easily. It just keeps hair neater.

If you don’t want to do that, in my giveaway this week you can win a lovely Lilla Rose flexi-clip; go check them out (there’s a video, too). A little bit of hair jewelry looks lovely.

What if your hair isn’t long? My hair takes about 5 minutes from wet to ready to go. That’s it. I put gel and mousse in it, and then I blow dry it like crazy. I try to blow dry it very messy, so that it has a lot of body. Then I can just push it where I want it to go. A little hair spray and I’m all done. Even when I speak I don’t take much longer than 5 minutes. My hair pretty much always looks exactly the same, but I like it because it takes very little effort.

Finding a style that works for you, especially if you have little children and don’t have time to do anything with it, is so important. Get a hairdresser thatΒ  you trust and say to them, “do whatever you want.” Honestly. When I go to the hairdresser, I ask Jill, “what are we doing today?” I figure she knows more about hair than I do, so she knows what to do better.

If you go into the hairdresser and say, “I want an easier style, but please don’t cut very much, and no layers”, you aren’t giving the hairdresser much to work with! That’s okay if you’re determined to keep all of your hair, but just realize, then, that you likely won’t come out with an easy style.

So my main point: get a style that you can make look good in relatively short time. If you do have very long hair, trim it frequently, layer it if possible, and get some pretty hair jewelry for days when it’s easier just to put it up.

Jewelry

There is a time and place for everything, and the baby/toddler years may not be the appropriate time for hoop earrings, unless you like having the holes in your ears enlarged. πŸ™‚ I stopped wearing earrings when my girls were small because they were forever pulling them. I wish in retrospect that I had just kept in studs, because when I did decide to start wearing earrings again I got lots of infections from the holes growing over, etc.

It’s okay to do minimal jewelry, especially with babies. It just doesn’t always work. I find necklaces are wonderful, but if you are going to wear them and you have little kids, make sure you wear a thick chain (I’m about to order this locket, which can hold a lock of my little boy’s hair. The nurses cut some for us the night that he died, and I thought this was a nice thing to do with it. I’ve told my husband I want it for Mother’s Day!) You don’t want something which will break at the first little tug.

WhenΒ  you’re over the baby years, have fun with necklaces and bracelets and earrings! I’m not a bracelet person, but if you are, go for it. Whatever your personal style is, have fun with it. If you don’t know how to wear jewelry, start with a few pieces that you like. Try to buy chains that have adjustable lengths so that they can work with more styles of top.

On many tops, especially those that are solid colour, a necklace adds that touch that makes it look like an outfit, rather than just something you threw on.

I keep my necklaces hung up in my closet, so that they’re easily accessible and I see them by my clothes. My oldest daughter just created this bulletin board for hers.

Necklace Board

If you can see them in the morning, you’ll put them on. If you hunt around in a jewelry box, you won’t.

Belts

I love belts, and they’ve come back into fashion in a big way. In fact, I knit several sweaters (I’m an avid knitter) back in the 80s and 90s when styles were wider, but I’m finding I can wear them again because I can just belt them! So buy a few belts: some wide, some thick, and have fun with them. (I normally wear this with a black one, but I thought I’d show you with a red one for fun).

Sweater Belt

A few people were saying on Tuesday’s post that they’re more “apple” shape and round, and don’t have a distinctive waist. You can also wear belts up just under the bust line to give you a little more definition, especially if they’re narrow belts. So try that.

I find belts just complete an outfit and make you look so much more put together. (UPDATE: Here’s what my daughter was wearing when she came downstairs to go to work today:)

Becca Belt 2

Without the belt, the outfit wouldn’t work nearly as well. (Note: no one is allowed to notice the dirty dishes in the background).

Start with a brown and a black belt that will fit through jeans loops–the basics. Then add a black belt that’s thicker. And then, if you find you enjoy them, buy thin belts in different colors. Again, you’re more likely to wear them if you can see them, so hang them on a hanger or on hooks in your closet.

Make Up

I’ve left makeup for last because it’s the most controversial. Many women said in comments earlier this week that their husbands don’t like them in makeup, and I understand. If that’s the case, and if you don’t like it, you certainly don’t need to wear it.

I would advise, though, that everyone wear a good moisturizer with an SPF of at least 20 in it if you’re going outside. It just is healthier, and it does prevent wrinkles. Start this when you’re 30, and your 50-year-old self will one day thank you.

I don’t wear much makeup on a daily basis if I’m at home, but makeup does not have to take very long at all. If you don’t know how to apply it or what to apply, go to a department store or an upscale drug store, and the woman at the makeup counter willΒ  usually give you a free application and lesson. We’ve become quite friendly with one of the women who works at Shoppers Drug Mart near us, and I’m always going in for new lessons on how to do eye shadow. It’s free! We just try to buy all our makeup there to be fair.

I want to showΒ  you, though, why even a little bit of makeup can make a big difference (and can protect your skin).

Here’s me with nothing:

NoMakeup

Here’s me with a moisturizing foundation with SPF, some blush, some lip gloss, and some mascara:

makeup

Hardly any color at all, and very natural, but it looks so much more even and sparkling. Often when people say, “I like the natural look” or “I don’t like makeup”, what they really mean is “I don’t like blue eyeshadow or heavy eye liner”. And makeup does not have to be that at all. If you want no colour, you don’t need to put on colour. But taking just a few minutes (and this really takes a minute and a half maximum) just makes you look more put together.

Again, makeup is your personal choice. I’m not trying to say that every woman needs to wear it. But it does even out the skin tone and helps us look more intentional about our appearance. If that would give you a confidence boost, why not try it?