In the Arabian Gulf, they say the most beautiful parts of a woman are her eyes, hands, and feet; this is based largely on the fact that through cultural dress, those are the only parts exposed. There is, however, a unique beauty in these women. Through their veils and habaias, they express a subtle grace that is unmatched elsewhere in the world.
It got me thinking, though (as these things so often do), about the measures I learned from my Oma about beauty. She was never "pretty", by runway standards, yet when she walked into a room, every head turned. She posessed a quiet confidence that made her stunning.
Things I learned from my grandmother about
grace, refinement, and poise
(modernized for your reading convenience)
1. Black looks good on every one. Maintain a wardrobe of versatile mix-and match tops and bottoms (slacks and skirts)... blacks and creams and shades of grey, with a few solid-color brights to mix it up.
2. Keep it subtle. You can wear heavy eye make up at night, or dark lipstick, not both. Skirts that ride just below the knee are flirty without being too conservative, and can tease with a bit of leg without showin off the cottage cheese that's accumulated on your thighs over the years. Polkadots, checks and stripes are for children; patterns are best left for those trying to distract and hide.
3. Punctuate. Find some accent pieces to add to your semi-mono-chromatic wardrobe. Get a great true red leather purse to carry at night. It adds a little punch, but still lets you maintain that sleek, put-together look. You can throw a bright scarf on, or a single heavy bangle, or even a thick, chunky necklace if you're feeling feisty... something that works as an accent without being too distracting.
4. Wear practical shoes. I'm not talkin about your mother's sturdy loafers. Shoes that are slinky and strappy are hot, but if you can't stand and walk in them without hobbling, you've ruined the sex-appeal. Practice walking in a pair of shoes before you buy them. Watch your gait in a full-length mirror. If you can't pull off a smooth, graceful strut in those slinky sandals, try something with a slightly lower or broader heel, or a shoe with a similar heel but more support up top. Often, you can get away with a high, skinny heel if you've got more strap to stabalize the shoe and your ankle.
5. Quit with the bling. You're not a rap super-star. One piece of statement jewelry is plenty. There isn't any reason to have diamond chandeliers hanging from your ears, a chunky necklace, four bracelets, and glittering gemstones and gold all the way across your knuckles. If you must accent with jewelry, choose something simple and subtle that doesn't detract from the two-hour hairdo you're sporting.
6. You're going to dinner, not a photo-shoot for Vogue. Trends are... well... trendy, but the refined beauty of a woman who's confidently classic never fades. Stick with what works for you, and leave chasing down the latest fads to teenyboppers who have nothing better to do with their time.
7. Posture is 95% of your first impression. It's impossible to ignore some one who walks with assured confidence. By throwing your shoulders back, holding your head up high, and letting yourself glow, you'll attract and hold more attention than any ruffle-wearing trollop could possibly hope to acquire.
8. Focus on your best asset. Looking sharp is all well and good, but really, he's taking you out to spend time with you, not your Coach handbag. Dressing with quiet sophistication lends itself to highlighting your best attribute... your personality