“Let me put on my face!” That was the euphemism women my mother’s vintage would employ before answering the door, going to the shops, or simply getting on with her day. Her natural face wasn’t public.
I liked that about my mother’s generation. I’ll explain.
People who bother to clean up for public appearance - not performance, there’s a huge difference - in communal venues we all share, are showing both respect for themselves and the people whom they encounter in passing, even if they never exchange a word. Showing up at a supermarket at 11am wearing your sleeping flannels and grubby flip flops is not the f*** you to the world you think it is, it’s an invitation for perfect strangers to size you up as dismissible.
“Clothes make the man” is an old phrase attributed to everyone from Erasmus to Mark Twain, but the message couldn’t be clearer: dress like you want to be treated. There was a time when wearing clothing outside one’s “class” was a crime; if one was a laborer, wearing certain colors or hats was a form of fraud, and punished severely. Given that terrible oppression of expression, why, with the freedom to dress well and present a “pleasant visage”, would one want to look like she just rolled out of bed or he is forever glued to that oily sports cap? It isn’t money: Anyone can go into a Walmart and put together an attractive wardrobe (hint: keep it simple and classic, then accessorize).
Here's my favorite QUICK FIX for women: Black leggings, loose tunic or poncho (depending on your climate), boots or shoes (a good, chunky three inch heel is practical but chic, and easy to walk in), a fab scarf and bag for dash, and (if you have sh*t hair like me that you can’t just pull into a pony tail), a go-to hat (I have an actual classic Russian Mink and looked like a proper Bolshevik when I lived up North, but now I’ve got a number of straws, alas). Last, great sunglasses and lipstick. This takes literally three minutes to put together. And, believe me, you’ll look great, the deli staff will treat you like royalty, and you’re okay to hit a breakfast place before you’ve even brushed your teeth.
Men: Give your under arms a quick wash, wet your hair (or sprinkle in a little dry shampoo) and style it: do NOT wear the oily sports cap. A pair of shorts or slacks with a polo or chunky sweater (again, depends on your location), good shoes (no sneakers), and cool sunglasses, and you’re on your way to “how may I help you, Sir?” as polite as they come.
Takes minutes, and society is elevated. Can’t we all give it a try?