...it's the best accessory you can wear. - Unknown.
Why is it that when I'm dressed nicely, my hair is done, and I have makeup on, I never run into anybody I know? And why is it that last night, as I was running out to pick up dinner for my daughter and me, and it was late, I hadn't showered, and my couture could best be described as "Early Cleaning Out The Garage" I bump into people I haven't seen in 2 years?!
I was seriously running into this little Mexican place when I hear my name being shouted from across the street. I instinctively turned around and here was this family, whom I really enjoy when we get to see them (once every 2 or 3 years) but I couldn't help thinking "Seriously? NOW? Just yesterday I was at least a bit put together."
As we came toward each other Tim Gunn's famous words ran through my head: "You should always present yourself the way you want to be viewed by the world." By this I think he means it's not that what you look like or what you wear means that's who you are, but if you want to be respected, dress in a way that people will respect you. There's also a quote from Coco Chanel that goes "I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little, if only out of politeness."
Well I guess I wasn't feeling overly polite or concerned with how the world would see me when I ran out the door to pick up our tacos. Which I don't necessarily think is a bad thing. I know a woman who is so concerned with her looks that she does her 2 hour hair and makeup routine just to go to spin class, then afterwards has to shower and do the whole 2 hours again. That's not how I choose to spend my time.
Anyway, back to the street. We met, we hugged, we exchanged, "Hi! It's SO good to see you! It's been so long"s, and then the dad of the family said, "You're looking good."
I seriously stopped in my tracks. I looked at him like he was absolutely insane, then ran my hand through my hair, ducked my head a little and replied, "Wow, that's very nice of you to say, I haven't even showered today." To which he responded:
"But you're wearing that smile. That smile is what we love to see."
For second I couldn't move, couldn't breathe. It was like all of the years of me feeling badly about my looks and my weight and my clothing style came barreling in and collided with the reinforced steel door of what he said. The door held.
What a concept. Could it be possible? That maybe it actually doesn't matter that I'm only 5'5.75" tall when I always wanted to be 5'8" so my weight would have been distributed more evenly. Maybe it actually doesn't matter that I wear a size large t-shirt when America and the rest of the world deems it only acceptable that I wear a small. Maybe it actually doesn't matter what I choose to cover my body with because it's just the outer shell of the soul that is encased within it, and maybe it's my soul that is important to protect and honor and cherish; AND most importantly, share with others. Maybe someone receiving a smile in their day which lifts their spirits is more important than the designer scarf tied on the neck just beneath it.
Remember that song from the musical Annie:
Hey Hobo Man, hey Dapper Dan, you've both got your style
But brother you're never fully dressed without a smile.
Who cares what you're wearing from Main Street to Saville Row
It's what you wear from ear to ear, and not from head to toe that matters.
I'm thinking that if we want to make the world a better place as individuals, we need to focus less on what we're buying from the mall and more about what we give off onto others. I happen to agree with Tim Gunn about presenting yourself to the world respectfully and wearing what makes you feel beautiful and confident. But as you check the mirror before you head out into the world I would ask that you check for one important thing:
Are you wearing your smile?