When Stephanie Smirnov agreed to do a guest post for The Mouthy Housewives, I squealed with joy. And not just because it meant that I had one less post to write. Stephanie is a sort of Wonder Woman: wife (to a RUSSIAN!), mother, high powered professional and super glamorous, to boot. If she weren’t so nice and wonderful, I’d really have to work extra-hard to contain my envy. Stephanie’s blog, PR Mama, is always smart and fun, so make sure to check it out! — Marinka, TMH
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I love my best friend from college, but her look is so dated. She’s got tons of gray hairs, her make-up is the same make-up she wore in 1993 and her clothes are just awful. So dowdy. I love her to death, but she is making herself look years older. Any thoughts on how to improve her look without hurting her feelings?
Dear Fashion Plate,
I’d love to know just what kind of a 1993 look your friend is rocking. It wasn’t all bad back then – Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle and Demi Moore in Indecent Proposal? That’s right – 1993. Serious cuteness. I am nothing if not intuitive, however and the angst in your note suggests your girlfriend’s look leans more towards “Designing Women” and “The Nanny.” Which is troubling, but solvable.
I see two options for you:
#1: Abdicate responsibility. Fire up an episode of “What Not to Wear” on the DVR the next time your friend’s heading your way for a visit. If you act sufficiently engrossed, she’ll probably join you on the couch and if you’re lucky, absorb the style and beauty lessons of Clinton and Stacy and their hair and makeup gurus automatically. Your friend will come away inspired to go shopping for a cute jacket that “gives her a waist” and a box of Clairol Perfect 10 without you ever having to say a word.
#2: Throw yourself under the bus. Tell her you’re feeling frumpy and out of date and would she accompany you on a girls’ day out of beauty and clothes shopping? Say you need the company and moral support. The assumption is she will get swept up in the makeover fun herself and be open to fashion advice. This doesn’t have to be expensive, and if you’re clever, you can enlist professionals to do your dirty work. Most department stores offer free personal shopping services; call to book one for the two of you and let them know in advance that your real agenda is to help update your friend’s look. They’ll do the heavy lifting. Same strategy for the makeup makeover. That same department store has legions of beauty advisers working the counters of their cosmetic department just waiting to give you a free consultation. Swing by the counter the day before, make a small purchase from one of the ladies to butter her up, and enlist her in your effort. When you come back the next day with your friend, she’ll be armed with blush brushes and mascara wands and ready to rumble.
I suppose there is a third option, but it’s the most challenging and potentially the most painful. Which is to be flat-out honest with your friend. But knowing how sensitive this topic is, no one would judge you for taking a more circuitous approach. Though not too circuitous because unless a “Designing Women” revival is on the pop culture horizon, she really needs your help.
Stephanie, Guest TMH
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