It hit me 5 years ago when I started working in fashion that spray tans and liquid-lined cat eyes wouldn’t cut it. In this industry, no one around me so much as wore a swipe of mascara. It seemed that trying to look good wasn’t a good look. So I adapted — a sort of attempt to “fake it til I make it” where the faking part implied pretending that I was comfortable publicly presently myself as a thin-lipped goldfish without eyelashes and at least three too many freckles.
It was weird at first, but not reaching for a security blanket of bronzer soon became empowering. Not covering up pimples felt bold. This, I thought to myself, must be precisely what the magazines called “effortless.” Each morning I rode the subway, thankful for the extra minutes of sleep that came with the elimination of maintenance, happy that no one cared if my cheeks were rouge or not. Because, guess what? They don’t.
On weekend nights, away from those high-profile editors and fashion-job-friends, I’d gussy-up. It felt like a secret to get a blow out, like a betrayal to line my lids. I once forgot to take my cherry polish off before Monday and spent the day with closed fists. Thank god I’d forgotten to take a shower that morning.
But that wasn’t me — that isn’t me. I like having my nails done and feel better with aggressively-volumed hair. Somewhere along the way, I think I’d confused fashion’s “effortless” with my own lack of effort. So I’m taking it back and putting in the work.
It’s not fake to want to look more awake, to add more a touch of pink to my lips and to spend time highlighting my face. Do I lose my fashion credibility if what I’m after is feeling my best? If feeling my best means looking put together?
Effortless should feel easy. Sunny. Bright. Not make you want to give up.
So this winter, I won’t. I’ll get dressed without the “ugh, do I have to?” I’ll do the lotion routine before bed. I’ll raise the ten minutes I won back years ago and offer up an hour and a half: that’s for the gym, a little zen, and something pretty.
They say that effort goes a long way. Good thing winter lasts forever.
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis; Sunglasses by Garrett Leight and Prada, earrings by Alessandra Rich, Annelise Michelson, Aurélie Bidermann, and Céline, barrette by Edie Parker, necklaces by CVC Stones.