My sartorial life is one long process of winging it. I would love to be the woman who lays out an outfit the day before but, sadly, organisation is not in my DNA. So to make sure I always look situation-appropriate, I apply my tried and tested (totally invented) system of Fashion Maths.
Fashion Maths involves balancing the sartorial chequebook so you’re always smart enough for whatever the day has in store. This morning, for example, I slept right on through my alarm because I kept myself awake last night wondering whether Kim Kardashian will breastfeed, how to cobble a Dr Frank N Furter costume out of my existing wardrobe and ways to get to Tiddletown on Saturday night (Rocky Horror) without actually consuming any calories (er... vodka eye-drops? It's all I've got so far.)
I digress. Needless to say there was no time for a blow dry and I had to settle for a slightly mucky top knot, knowing full well I had two client meetings lined up… not a good look. ‘WHAT TO DO?' I don’t hear you cry.
Well, if in doubt accessorize.
Step one – take boring black dress, usually enough for meetings. Step two – add big fuck-off blingy necklace to distract the eye from said head-nest. Step three – add a blazer. Always add a blazer. Step four – make sure make up is flawless (ie, includes blusher).
In four small steps I was quickly transformed from smelly-haired swamp donkey to professional businesswoman.
Honestly, this works. A few snazzy elements will convince people you made the effort. January can bring many problems, including, for me, a nasty eye infection. Which meant I couldn’t wear any mascara or eye-liner for almost two weeks. No worries, I just rocked a ridiculously strong lip the entire time and no one noticed (until I started asking them to tell my when my eye got gooey).
But what if it’s your wardrobe that’s lacking? I tend to do washing once the basket starts exploding all over the bedroom floor and my OCD boyfriend becomes non-verbal, so have often exhausted all my best clothing options two weeks into the month. Good job this baby works in reverse (the Fashion Maths, I mean. I was not referring to myself there because RANK).
If all you’re left with is a t-shirt you wear to the gym and jeans, you can still hit the sweet spot of, say, night out, dinner or hot date (perhaps not work, if you’re, like, an analyst at Deloitte, but in which case, eff you, you can afford a cleaner to do your washing, you have no excuse). This challenge is all about the beauty.
You’re going to need to blow dry. If you don’t know how to do a blow-dry, grow up and get a Babyliss Big Hair because there’s no fashion crisis a glossy barnet won’t fix.
Secondly, you’re going to need to paint your nails. If everything else looks like you stole it from an Olsen, you have to focus on the details. And go for a dark, glossy, one-coat shade, like Rimmel 60 seconds in Deliciously Dark. This will get you serious smart points.
And thirdly, illuminator. It’s your friend on days when you want to look polished. This Topshop one will last a decade and is pretty foolproof swept on browbones and cheekbones – it lifts your face to glowing superstar, just check your look in natural light before going public. No one will be able to take their eyes off you, who cares if your t-shirt has stains?
Four(thly)… add a blazer. Don’t have a blazer? Buy a blazer. In the Zara sale. Here – this one’s a bargain.
So – is Fashion Maths just editorial speak for ‘getting dressed’? Do you practise this? Am I crazy to think an old t shirt is dateappropriate? (I’ve been out of the game for six years, what do I know?!)