Zoe Foster: Dress up and use makeup to cheer up.

Zoe in Greece

I read a wonderful piece in The Observer a few days ago about how dressing up can make you feel ‘up,’ and the reason I used the adjective “wonderful” to describe this article is because yes, it was zingy and well-written, but also because I AGREE. A LOT.

The next time you are feeling like bin sludge, or the grey skies and wintery weather is getting you down, or you are cranky and tired, I recommend that you pop on something in your wardrobe that delights you, or makes you feel good, or look delicious. Even if it involves your “good clothes” or the “going out” section of your wardrobe. Try it! Just try it.

Obviously, this mantra equally relevant when it comes to beauty, because as you and I, and that women over there dabbing at the salad dressing she spilled on her shirt knows, there is nothing simpler or more effective as a swipe of bright lipstick to drag a low mood up a notch or 12.

But while we know this, we don’t often practice it. There is a strange thing we women are prone to do, which is when we are feeling hungover, or tired, or are drowning in PMS or heartache, we reflect this with miserable sartorial and makeup choices. We wear floppy clothes and yesterday’s mascara and then wonder why our mood remains set to ‘stink.’

It makes no sense, dames! And so I urge you to consider a completely new mindset: Instead of matching your mood funk, dress or make yourself up as though it were a wonderfully happy day, (Your birthday perhaps? Date night? A tooth fairy visit?) and you were merely mirroring your fantastic disposition with your bright red dress, or flamingo pink lipstick, or those cherished yellow heels you bought with heart dollars, not brain dollars, but never wear.

We definitely put a little more zing, a little more sing, into our appearance when we’re excited about the day, or are feeling top-of-worldy, so why don’t we do it when we actually need the lift?

I have been. As you know from my excessive location dropping, I’ve been on my own, thumping keys and traveling around the Cyclades over two weeks now. It is spectacularly beautiful, and the food (how much feta a day is too much, do you reckon?) is ultra-delicious, and my freedom and selfishness is at an all time high. There are moments, though, when I become lonely. This is different to being alone – I love being alone, (and I love this Oscar Wilde quote on it, too: “I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.”) but sometimes I miss my dude, or my friends, or my cat, or just having a conversation.


The loneliness is fleeting, (a bakery or a donkey usually catches my eye and I become distracted) but when it does hit, I realise how VITAL and VERY CRUCIAL it is that I wear lipstick or brush my nest, or get out of my stinky denim shorts and t-shirt and put on some actual Grown Up clothes. This might be because I am missing Real Life Me, who actually wears blush (gasp!) and washes her hair (shock!) and wears dresses (faint!), and has Things To Do, I think, and by doing even just a slick of lip colour for dinner (Revlon LipButter in Cherry Tart since you telepathically asked), I instantly feel less lonely, and like I totally meant to be at the restaurant alone, thank you very much, because I am a confident woman with RED LIPSTICK on, who means business and would very much like some white wine please. NO! NO DELICIOUS BASKET OF LOCAL BREAD, THANK YOU. I already ate one at lunch and breakfast.

Do you dress up or employ vibrant makeup when you feel low? Or do you stay lo-fi, and reserve the Fun Stuff for when you feel in the mood?

Also, seriously, feta: how much is too much?

And for a little inspiration….

Zoe is an author, columnist and porridge fan. Her books include the beauty bible Amazing Face, dating and relationship guide Textbook Romance, and three novels, Air Kisses, Playing The Field and The Younger Man. Find more info on her here, or supervise on her daily procrastination here and here.

Please understand that Zoë cannot respond to ALL your questions – but never fear, there are readers that are bound to know the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask.


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