When I was a teenager, and first really grappling with defining my own sense of style (hampered by the usual self-doubt that comes with the age), I remember reading a quote from a famous designer (for the life of me, I can’t remember who, and I’ve never been able to track down the quote) that for a woman to look truly stylish she needed to invest in three things: good shoes, good perfume, and a good haircut. She could cut corners on the rest, he said, and no one would be the wiser.
Now, I can’t remember who said this, so I don’t know exactly when it was said either. But inexpensive shoes are perhaps not what they use to be. The upside of fast fashion is there are plenty of less expensive, fairly well made, charming shoes out there. There are certainly plenty in my closet that look as good, or almost, as the more expensive shoes I’ve invested in.
That said, I’ve made a point over the years of holding fast to the last two bits of advice. Cheap perfume, is, well, awful. It smells fake and chemically, and personally, I think it’s better either to invest in one good signature scent or skip it altogether. Frankly, I wish everyone else felt that way too.
Still, I’d rather dowse myself in drugstore perfume than get a cheap haircut. I’ve never had one that was in anyway a bargain. A poorly executed haircut at best fails to achieve the look you’re after and at worse can leave you crying and wearing hats for weeks. A really well done cut, on the other hand, not only looks fabulous but will grow out well. Which means it’s actually the more economical choice because you can go that much longer between cuts. What’s more, having a trusted stylist gives you the freedom, or perhaps courage, to be adventurous and try new looks.
I was reminded of all this yesterday when I got my hair cut. As my stylist, the wonderful Stephanie at Parlour Salon, and I talked through what I wanted, at each step, as I was given the choice between going a little shorter, a little funkier, a little more daring, I could take a deep breath and tell her to go for it, trusting that I’d walk out of the salon looking chic not chopped. And that feeling is fashion gold.