Look Like A Million Bucks On Your Last Dollar!

The economy is looking a bit shabby right now, but that doesn't mean you should follow its lead. In fact, keeping up appearances is more critical than ever.
Susie Galvez

Beauty guru Susie Galvez, author of Hello Beautiful: 365 Ways To Be Even More Beautiful, shares some simple, inexpensive ways to look like a million, even if you're down to your last dollar.

Keeping up appearances
The economy is looking a bit shabby right now, but that doesn't mean you should follow its lead. In fact, keeping up appearances is more critical than ever. Whether you're looking for a job, speaking at a PTA meeting or simply trying to ride out the recession with a positive frame of mind, it pays to put your best foot (and face and hair and wardrobe) forward. You can enjoy the psychological benefits of beauty without spending a small fortune.

Women always like to look their best, and that's especially true when times are bleak. It surprises many people to learn that cosmetic sales go up when the economy is down. But it doesn't surprise me. There is so much stress and worry in the world that we naturally look for ways to cheer ourselves up.

Sometimes a new lipstick or a new pair of shoes is enough to accomplish that. There's something very touching, very human about this. And the good news is you don't have to spend a million to look like a million.

Looking great in a not-so-great economy is simply a matter of knowing which tricks of the trade have the biggest impact and adopting them. Little things can accomplish a lot.

Makeup matters
Nothing ages you faster than out-of-date makeup. If you have not updated your look in the last five years, it shows! Make an appointment with your favorite cosmetic company and ask for a free makeover. All companies offer complimentary consultations. Some even offer makeup lessons to teach you how to bring out your very best features. It may only take an adjustment or two to keep you current.

Laying the foundation: This is the one cosmetic that should not be skimped on, because it is applied directly to the skin. Choosing a formula that is good for your skin and matches properly is a grand investment. You will look more radiant with fewer imperfections. All of the other color products can be beauty bargains, but spend a little more for the perfect base.

Clean and fresh: Keep your makeup area clean. Toss all your half-used, held-together-with-a-rubber-band containers and nubs of eye and lip pencils. How can you feel "upscale" when you are applying "downtrodden" products? You would not think of eating old, dirty food, so keep it fresh on the face as well. Oh, and one more thing: wash all cosmetic brushes twice a month with a gentle anti-bacterial soap and let air dry.

Hair "do's"
Cut it out: If the cost of maintaining your hairstyle is on the high side, talk to your stylist about a style that will allow you to go a bit longer between cuts. Ask him or her to show you additional ways to style your hair, so that your look lasts longer. Just going from four weeks between cuts to six weeks will save five trips to the salon a year.

Living the high (light) life: Switching from all-over color to highlights allows you to go longer between coloring sessions. The average all-over color treatment is done every three to four weeks. Highlights grow out subtly and allow for more time between visits.

Creative clothing clues
A few good pieces: Opt to only wear outfits that make you look fabulous. Instead of a closet full of so-so clothes, choose a few good pieces that you know you look great in. Don't worry if you wear the outfit on Friday and then again on Wednesday of the next week. Think of it this way: who remembers what you ate for lunch yesterday? Besides, if they notice, you must be memorable!

Basic black: They don't call it the "little black dress" for nothing. Black is still the chicest way to look expensive, even if the garment isn't. Black has a way of looking like it costs more, and as a bonus, it's slimming in any and all forms of dressing!

Neutral ground: Building a wardrobe of neutrals such as beige, navy, brown and ivory will allow much more mixing and matching. The finished look will be polished and pulled together.

Button up: Check out the buttons on all suit jackets, sweaters and coats. An inexpensive-looking button will cheapen the entire garment. Plan a trip to the notions department of a fabric store. You will discover all kinds of wonderful, expensive-looking, yet reasonably priced ways to upscale your outfits.

Accessory necessity: The quickest way to update your entire wardrobe and make an in-style statement is to add accessories. Scarves are a quick and colorful way to add some pizzazz to your outfit. Pearls are always classic and say "rich" in an understated way. You can find many choices of upscale, designer-looking jewelry right in your hometown department store. And since several companies are on the designer-look bandwagon, you can usually find in the "in style now" items on sale!

Shoe savvy
Best foot forward: Decide now to make an investment purchase in stylish, yet classic shoes. Spend a little more and get good leather in your favorite neutral. A well-made shoe usually fits better and lasts longer. With proper care and upkeep you can enjoy your shoes for seasons to come.

If the shoe fits: If you simply must have this season's shoe look, and want to save a little money, opt for more fabric and less leather. Fabric shoes look more costly than an inexpensive leather shoe. Usually in cheaper shoes, the leather is skimpy and does not wear well. Fabric shoes are kicky and fun, and add a bit of whimsy to an outfit.

Pump it up: Pumps are a quick way to upscale an outfit. A heel of two inches elongates the leg, creating a longer, leaner and more polished look.

Handbag how-to's
Keep it simple: Choose a handbag that is classic in design and has simple lines. Opt for a neutral color that goes with several outfits. Don't try to match each outfit with a different handbag. First, it is way too expensive. Second, who has the time and energy to be constantly changing?

Purse strings: If you want to present the most expensive look to your entire outfit, spend a little extra on your handbag. It is a very visible accessory because it is at eye level when you enter and leave a room. If your handbag is a bit costly, everyone assumes the rest of your outfit is as well!

Best of all, looking your best can have an impact that goes far beyond the superficial.

Because of the business I'm in, I see firsthand how closely beauty and confidence are intertwined. When you look good, you feel good about yourself, which means you're more likely to seize opportunities, make new friends, and generally improve your quality of life. People believe the image you project, and they treat you accordingly. And that's a lot of mileage to get from something as simple as subtle blonde highlights or a Prada handbag!PregnancyAndBaby.com

Tags: economy

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