by Nicole Longstreath | Featured Contributor
Back when I was slogging away in corporate America, my morning routine was very hurried. Harried? Both.
With a start time of 8:30 am and a very short, 15-minute commute, I would get out of bed at the last possible minute and do my makeup while catching up on The Daily Show and eating breakfast – all at once. Then I’d throw on a quick outfit and I was out the door.
But, at the time, I definitely wasn’t happy with my look.
By lunch, sometimes sooner, I’d inevitably get a glimpse in a mirror and wish I would have spent a little more time putting myself together. That feeling has a name, it’s regret – and I was feeling it daily. Ouch, not good.
It wasn’t until I began working for myself out of a home office that my morning routine started to get the time it deserved. I was still multi-tasking, but was at least taking a little bit more time with the details; I would put more effort into contouring my eyes properly with eye shadow and put together a creative outfit that made me feel good.
Since I could now do things the way I wanted to – not just in my business, but everywhere – I decided to make use of an old table and an extra chair and create a special place to craft my look each morning.
I made myself a vanity.
Just the term itself, vanity, implies that it’s frivolous and unnecessary. But I’m okay with embracing the term, because, the truth is, I am a little bit vain. I mean, aren’t we all? Don’t we care, in some way, about the image we project?
I say, yes. Even the most irreverent, independent, free-spirited woman cares, in some small way, about the image she’s projecting. Why? Because it’s our way of telegraphing to the world what we’re all about, without having to say a word.
But, creating this space – this shrine to myself – wasn’t just about staring, longingly, into the mirror at my reflection. It also had a practical purpose: organization. I gathered small ceramic trays and vintage crystal ashtrays and filled them with my treasured earrings, rings, brooches and bracelets.
Now, I had all my jewelry, perfume, makeup and trinkets at my fingertips. Instantly, I was more connected to my beauty and, ergo, confidence.
Getting more connected to your own beauty like this is easy to do. All you need is an empty corner, the top of a dresser or even just a small space on your bathroom counter. Simply gather a few (or several) things that are beautiful and that make you feel beautiful, arrange and admire.
Nicole Longstreath is on a mission to save women from the dysfunctional shopping experience. She is a virtual wardrobe stylist working with women across the globe to build personal brands that command attention and influence.
Nicole began her journey as a stylist with a unusual “guerrilla shopping” experiment in 2010. For 6 months, she vowed to shop only at local thrift stores. Her theory: building a wardrobe on a micro-budget was totally possible – but only if she was clear on what she was looking for.
At the end of the experiment, she had a new wardrobe (for less than $500) and a new vision of what building a wardrobe should be like – whether it was done in a thrift shop or Bloomingdale’s.
Nicole believes that all women are entitled to their own, unique brand of personal style, regardless of age, size, shape or amount of disposable income. You can find her at her home base, theWardrobeCode.com, on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.