Pretty Pressure: What Being Polished Taught Me About Life


photo: Erica Lavelanet


My R.E teacher Mr. Garner once turned to me and said, “I can tell your bedroom is a mess because you always come to school with messy hair.” He was right. Although I brushed it, it tended to have a life of its own, and although I painted my nails – they would always be chipped by lunchtime. I drew on my hands and I never thought hard about the outfit I was wearing.

Anyone remember that transformation scene in The Princess Diaries? I feel like that happened to me. When I go to events and engagements I’m representing CGD, and I now know that getting my gel nails done and picking out a chic outfit is just part of my normal day. This industry is all about being polished, so here’s what I’ve learned from upping my style game!

Always bring your essentials .
Somehow, I start off the day looking great, but when lunch time rolls around I’m horrified to see my mascara has bled underneath my eyes, and my foundation has caked all over my face. Great. Cue ducking into the toilet and reapplying everything frantically. There’s nothing worse than being caught without when you’re snapping selfies . . . trust me.

Organize your outfits.
Grabbing that shirt from the top of the pile and ironing it with a hairdryer was good enough for school (maybe!), but it’s not good enough for adult life. This means that if you want to wear that unironed shirt, you kinda have to pick it out of the pile and iron it the night before.

Learn from your mistakes.
We’ve all made mistakes. Whether it’s a hair dye disaster, DIY eyebrows or a fashion faux pas. I’ve done them all! I can draw attention to my shortcomings and laugh as much as I like, but if I want people to take me seriously I have to learn from those mistakes and try my very bloody best not to choose those comfortable but hideous trainers unless I’m walking between tube stations.

Judge yourself by your own standards
Unfortunately, there will always be judgy people in the world – that’s on them, not on you. So if they make a comment about your outfit or hair after you’ve spent an hour or more on it, just remember that all that matters is your own comfortability and style. If you look in the mirror and feel damn fine, don’t let any judgy people hold you back!

Low-maintenance is a treat
After trying so hard during the week, it’s amazing to sit in your PJs with unwashed hair at the weekend. Sure, I have to think about the perfect shade of lipstick during the week but a the weekend my biggest concern is which new show to start marathoning on Netflix and the small pile of crumbs that are accumulating on my t-shirt, and that actually feels so much more amazing than dressing down during the week!

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  • Molly Mattfield

    Great advice! I completely agree. How you are perceived can really affect how you interact with people at work. Plus, if you are feeling good about yourself and are looking put together, you are going to portray that with confidence.

  • dreamofadventures

    Great tips =o) Thanks for sharing, these are so important

  • Giorgia Melis

    I love the way you write Beth! When i was in highschool i Was used to dress up and put my make up on everyday, now that i study from home for University and i go out durinig the week only for the dog or for some LISS, i often wear trainer, no make up and hair in a high ponytail. Do you think is important to always be polished, even if you stay at home all day? Love, giorgia

    • Mama Sow

      That is actually a great question and personnally I think you should if that makes you feel ready for the day and confident. I suggest you go watch a video from Mimi Ikonn a Youtuber who talked about that in one of her videos. Since she was working from home, at first, she thought she didn’t have to dress up but then she realised it was necessary. The video:

      • Giorgia Melis

        Thank you for the advice! i’ve already whatched this video because i love all mimi’s videos. For a while i have done what she says, but then i thought that i was just wasting my time, because all that i do in the day is sit at my desk, take the dog out for a walk and at the end of the day i do some circuit training at home. So now i’m a bit confused about that

  • Miranda | Miranda’s Notebook

    Ha, I also relish in ‘low maintenance’ days now too!! xxx

  • Victoria Pease

    I live for weekends where I can just wear jeans! I can never find trousers that suit me for work so unless I dress up my black skinny jeans with a shirt, amazing lipstick and shoes, I’m stuck in tights day in day out. I love being able to just throw on whatever at the weekends, but I do secretly love getting a glimpse in the car mirror on the journey to work to see an on point outfit!

  • Jen

    This is funny that it came along when it did, because I’ve been wondering myself about whether this all really influences my day and now that you’ve phrased it in such a lovely way, it’s time to dig into my closet and start organizing!!

  • Ana

    You are so right – being polished is really important in “adult life”. I think that I am on the right way but it still is not so easy to look always neat and be prepared. xx Ana

  • Jinjin Li

    this post is so true! I’m still struggling with getting back into the habit again. i used to get dressed nicely everyday from gr.9-gr.11, and now that i look back, i was so much more organized. then, since the start of gr.12, when i started getting lazier, and sometimes would wear sweatpants and sweaters for an entire week, i also became less organized too and i sometimes felt like my life was going down the drain. now i realize the importance for looking nice, especially for my own self confidence

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