Sunday, September 29, 2013

Good Grooming, Social Graces and Dressing for Success

I am no fashion guru. I am comfortable in jeans, t-shirts and running shoes. I dress up occasionally (as needed), however, I abhor high heeled shoes. I just do not get the logic. If you're short, then that's it. You are short. The last time I wore heels was during my sister's wedding. That was 12 years ago. Lovers of stilettos and wedges declare that it makes them look and feel sexy. Huh? How can you feel sexy when your feet are killing you?

Although I am not interested to go along with the latest fashion trends, I am still very observant of the way some people "sell" themselves. I guess I can chalk it up to the way I was brought up. I always remember my mom's advice - "Flaunt what you have, and hide the rest." So very true.  Spending my growing years in an exclusive Catholic girls school greatly influenced my fashion choices. I go for comfortable clothes in earth tones, and I don't wear make up. I never did go for long fingernails. Clean is enough for me. Maybe my subconscious is still living in my high school years when I have to endure the daily fear of being slapped a demerit for violating the dress code.

Let me share some of my opinions on proper grooming and social graces. Again, I am no expert, however I am sure that a lot of people would agree with me on these:

1. Choose clothes that flatter your good points. Direct attention to that part of your body that would cause envy in others. If you have a small waist, then accessorize with a wide belt in an eye-catching color (of course it should be color-coordinated with the rest of your attire). If your are busty, you DO NOT have to wear blouses with plunging necklines. A simple button down blouse with a nice long pearl necklace would be enough. You do not have a huge wardrobe. Just a few good pieces that you can mix and match would do. Accessorize and mesmerize! 

2. Comfort is first. Shoes are a must if you are a member of the corporate world. The type of footwear would depend on company policy. Closed shoes, high heels, peep-toe, pumps, strappy sandals or boots. Leather or faux-leather would be the first choice, however any material would be acceptable as long as it blends in with the whole ensemble. Flip flops are a definite no-no. Oh no no no!

3. When using make up, it is always safe to choose "day" tones. Shades of brown are good eye shadow colors for work. Save the vibrant, bright, glittery shades for gala events. Foundation creams (or powders) must be close to your natural skin tone. I have seen many women look like geishas because their face color is so different from the color of their neck and arms. Same with choosing lipstick color. Use your luscious red lipstick when attending formal gatherings or during a late evening event. Light, pink shades are the best to wear when going to work or a lazy afternoon stroll in the malls.

4. Mind your extremities. Pay extra attention to your hands and feet. Get a manicure/pedicure if you must, however if you are not into it, at least make sure that your fingernails and toenails are clean and trimmed. Set aside an hour or two every week to soak your feet in warm water with a few drops of moisturizing liquid soap. Invest in a foot file to scrub away the dry skin and callouses. After every shower, rub generous amounts of lotion on your hands, elbows, thighs, knees, legs and feet. My aunt gave me valuable advice related to this. She told me "Keep your nails clean. People can readily see your fingernails or toenails and if they are always dirty, what do you think people would say about your body parts that are hidden under your clothes?"

5. Take care of your crowning glory. Hair treatments never come cheap so if you cannot afford them at this time, keep your hair healthy by regular washing and conditioning. During bad hair days, it would be best to gather them up in a bun or in a sleek ponytail.

6. Use "Please" and "Thank You" often. It is always pleasant to hear someone say these words. They convey that the person was raised well. These two words may make or break the entire corporate impression you are trying to build.

7. No "butts." Do not interrupt when a person is talking. If what you need to say is really important, wait for a lull in the conversation and then start your statement with "Excuse me, Ma'am..." followed by "may I.."

8. Keep private conversations private. When making or receiving a call regarding a sensitive matter, it would be best to stay out of earshot from friends, family or colleagues. You wouldn't want to be the topic of gossip for weeks to come, right? Politely excuse yourself and tell them you're taking an important call. Pretty sure they will understand.

9. "A silent river runs deep" Make this your daily mantra. You need not brag about your conquests, your achievements, and everything else with the words "I," "Me," or "Mine" in your statements. Always leave an air of mystery. If you have told everyone about your entire life, then they would start to lose interest in you. Keep your "audience" at bay and make them want to know more. Cliche as it may sound, but there is truth to the saying "An empty can makes the most noise."

10. If you don't have anything nice to say, then shut up. Many organizations have been flung into disarray because of a handful of words that were delivered in bad taste. It may be unintentional, however, choosing the right words to say is always the right way.

Women of elegance were not born. They were trained.. and its not too late to go for that change.

I can never forget a campaign ad of Marie-France... "Give yourself a good hard look in the mirror...ARE YOU STILL THE WOMAN HE MARRIED?"


  1. I'[m a t-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes type of girl too, always have been!

  2. I'm very casual but I always take pride and try to look my best.

  3. Great tips. I am a sweats and tee girl myself. Maybe the blogging lifestyle has done that to me. When I was teaching at my private Christian school I very much tried to dress nicely and took care of myself. My nails is something I have neglected in the last few months. Maybe I should schedule myself a manicure or pull out the nice foot spa my hubby got me.

  4. With me, comfort always comes first although I can clean up nice if I have to.

  5. I love this post! I agree women of elegance were not born. They were trained.. and its not too late to go for that change. No I am not the same woman my husband married I am better than that girl now.

  6. Great post! Thanks for making a link to my post! Followed you on GFC dear! :)

    Pauchee C.

  7. I liked the tips in this post about being respectful! Also I can relate to dressing comfortably, there are times when I do dress up but I like to be casual cute for the most part.

  8. Hello Eileen.Just reading the first paragraph of this post already got my attention because I felt I was talking to myself . Perhaps we were born in an era when life was simple and gadgets were unheard of. I was also born before Martial Law and I also believe that simplicity and basic courtesies stand out more than dressing up just to be in the fad.A woman of elegance is not just one who always look good but one who exudes mystery and respect because she is comfortable with what she wears and carries it very well.

    1. Hi Sarah! Thank you for your comment. I totally agree with what you've said. Its such a bummer to see how women dress themselves nowadays. By the way, are you by any chance related to Catherine Bucu? She was a high school classmate.

    2. Bucu is my married name and my maiden name is Sarah Mallari, born and raised in Lubao, Pampanga but now based in Pasay. Thanks for replying.

  9. Your blog is full of entertainment and helpful information that can allure to anyone anytime. Continue posting!


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