It ain't for you. It's for me.
First dates, job interviews, or any first-time experience really can be incredibly daunting. In my life, that means first impressions require one or more of three things: heels, wings or a bold lip.
It’s been the societal tendency to assume a woman with full makeup, heels and or any degree of being dolled up is doing it for attention, from men, from potential employers, from the intimidating bitch at the bank who already judges you based on the double-digit amount in your account between paychecks — too specific.
But here’s the thing. More often than not the women I know wing their eyeliner and don that perfect pair of heels not for the approval of that cute checkout boy or to impress the boss, but to be 100 percent themselves. In the same fashion, if I have a date, you best believe I’m going to show up armed in black eyeliner, my favorite suede, heeled boots, a splash of Queen Bee perfume and a rocking red lip.
And it ain’t for you. It’s for me.
As someone who didn’t even step toe into the “boy-crazy girl” world until maybe six months ago (yo girl’s been dating up a storm), I have never really changed how I looked for the typical reasons. When you’ve grown up putting books over boys, the reason for making winged eyeliner a staple of your look becomes more about how you feel about yourself than how you feel about how others feel about you.
This isn’t to say I’ve never suffered from low self esteem. I have had a very painful and, quite frankly, downright gross skin condition since puberty and it still knocks me on my ass emotionally sometimes. I also grew up the fat kid at school, so no doubt I haven’t always seen myself the way I do now at the age of 25.
Though the way I present myself has always struck people as confident, I haven’t always been confident. But when I entered college, it was like I not only declared a major, but who I was. It became official that who I was wore a red lip (or really any shade of lipstick) like it was no one’s business, loved to mix neutrals, was obsessed with accessories (not new, see below photo circa late 1990s) and preferred boots — heeled and not — to tennies or flats.
That look was Brittany. Just like a pair of black Vans, a choker necklace and a crop top scream Shyann; how colorful Pixie pants and out-of-the ordinary lip colors (like lavender) are indicative of Kim; and how a stunning bedazzled jabot (collar) is very Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
None of these style elements were acquired to appeal to someone else. When I wear those boots and bust out that bold lip, that’s me being my most authentic self. It’s not a need — I need to fit in, I need to impress, I need to be desirable — it’s a want. I want to be the most me I can be, and that version of myself is when I feel the most comfortable as well.
Gwenyth Paltrow would say “Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.” I say you can — and I do —rock both.