A How-To Guide for the Morning After, or: KEY ITEMS FOR KEEPING YOUR DIGNITY IN STYLE and TACT
Written by Margaret Boykin, illustration by Charlotte Fassler
Day and Night. Night and Day.
The lyrics of this great Kid Cudi song also represent all too great a challenge for the adventurous young woman trying to make it home/to work/to the nearest bagel place on The Morning After. She may have slept at her friend’s or her sister’s or I don’t know, her hairdresser’s place the night before and whether the circumstances were platonic or not, it is disconcerting to wake up far from one’s own bed (unless, of course, it was, wink smiley emoticon kisses) with nothing but now broken heels from the previous night and a dress that seemed to make a lot of sense after red wine glass #3 but now looks a lot like something Miley Cyrus loaned out–after having borrowed it from Amanda Bynes.
Yes, this is New York and yes, there are crazy people aplenty, but the aesthetic repercussions of the morning after blues holster the ability to make even that man you see every morning using his hand as a cellphone on your local train, feel, you know, repelled. And there’s nothing worse than starting your day on the wrong, ill-dressed foot, which is precisely where I come in.
Those boy scouts really know their shit–we should always be prepared. You might think you’re meeting your great-aunt Greta for a cup of tea one evening but there’s no telling where the tea could take you–especially if there’s opium involved–and for that reason, you will need the following accoutrements in your bag. Yes, bag. Contrary to Man Repeller’s proclivity toward clutches, they do not holster the ability to help you think ahead, so.
1) Sunglasses. And I cannot stress this enough. Sunglasses are not just your best friend. They are your family. They are your mother, and they will hold you close when all else (credit cards, tampons, chap-stick) is lost. Sunglasses will make you look like you did this on purpose. Think about this for a second–a girl in a tiny dress and big heels at 9 am on a Sunday? Rough. A girl in a tiny dress and big heels and sunglasses at 9 am on a Sunday? Oh, neat, she must be going to church. Oh! Or maybe she’s a celebrity! Totally, it’s Katy Perry. Call your mom and tell her we saw Katy Perry.
Sunglasses lie to the world and say that you planned this, and you know what? You kind of did because you had the foresight to read this article and throw a pair of Illestevas in your bag.
2) A hair tie. But this only applies if you don’t have one of those really effortless, attractive pixie cuts (this also makes you far more interesting than I am thus forcing me to hate you, but I digress). A close second to sunglasses, the sleek up-do is truly your main man on the morning after. I’d bet your hair looked awesome and windswept and naturally ombre’d the night before, but right now it’s a two-toned, frizzy, moderately greasy disaster that should really be put away. It’s unlikely that a baseball cap will match with the theme of what you have going on visually so, put it up. Comb through it with your fingers and a little bit of water and tie that shit up on the crown of your head. See that? Now you’re Grace Kelly.
3) Concealer. You know when you’re getting ready to go out and you decide to throw your entire make-up bag into your purse under the misguided belief that you’re going to be put together and self-aware enough to give yourself hourly touch ups? Yeah, that’s stupid. Not once have I applied a second coat of eyeshadow after leaving the house. Not once. It’s taking up valuable bag space, and all you need is concealer. You’re not going to get all extreme-make-over at 9 am when you’re hustling your way out of wherever you are, so just take a moment to dab some concealer under your eyes–good-bye dark circles, hello natural beauty, man. Do you work for Abercrombie?
4) A thin, loose, long sleeved tee. This can function as a jacket in certain weather, it can be balled up quite small in your bag, and you can sleep in it should you have to. I like these, but frankly, anything light-weight high-necked will work. You can throw it over a dress and create a shirt-skirt combo, you can wear it in place of a revealing top (when I go through crop top phases, this is key. The world is not a rap video, I am not Kelly Rowland). You can experiment with layers and it’s nice to have a buffer piece to cover up with in the morning when you’re not feeling quite as ambitious about your bod as you were the night before.
5) Mints. Ah, bad breath–the indiscernible demon of the morning after. You need something that you can grab out of your bag in one fell swoop that will then naturally disappear. Tic Tacs work, (if you like candy in the morning,) but otherwise I’m putting forward Listerine strips and Altoids. See that? You’re a magical woman who never smells off and maintains glowing skin and a great top knot.
Note: you will also need these mints after you are done with your toasted cream cheese bagel with chives. Two birds, one stone.
The topic of odors brings me to number 6: Something that smells good. Deodorant, perfume, I’ve even used hand-lotion in a pinch. Here are some options, pick your poison and use it wisely. Dolloping on half a bottle of hand cream or perfume is even more suspect than a little bit of old fashioned B.O.
7) Footwear. Guys, we’ve made it to the most advanced step. This is only if you’re really dedicated to the morning after make-over, or perhaps if your boyfriend or best friend or special friend lives conveniently close to your favorite neighborhood bars and you do the A.M. amble on a regular basis. I like to opt for what I’m going to call the neutral shoe. It usually appears as a slight platform, wedge or short boot. It’s not distractingly high or obnoxiously casual. This shoe is flexible, it’s easy-going, it’s adaptable. It’s Switzerland.
So there you have it–winning at Morning Afters take nothing more than a little bit of planning, about a half a square foot of space, and some creativity. Shuffle all these things together implementing an attitude of indifference and you’re going to look and feel chic-as-shit wherever you’re going–I promise.
Important disclaimer: though bagels are not actually an item on this list, I reference them multiple times because if as aforementioned sunglasses are your mother, Bagels are your long lost lover, welcoming you home from sea.