Secrets to Being Glamorous for Every Occassion – Cleaning

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For some reason, I’ve received more emails from you lovely readers in the last three weeks than ever before.  I’ve been overwhelmed by all the messages of thanks, inspiration and loveliness.  However, there is one common question that bares examination and that is “How do you do it?”

I started writing an answer to this which ended up very, very long and may still not have helped you in any meaningful way, so I have another idea.  You tell me what you believe your road blocks are to living the glamorous life you’d like to, and I’ll do my best to give you some tools to find the answer!

So to get the ball rolling I asked you on Twitter, ” What are your excuses / reasons for not getting glammed up each day?” And here is what you had to say.

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CLEANING & Other Messy Work -  Possibly the most un-glam moment in our days, that is unless like me you are apt to get pooped on, ’cause that happens too and it ain’t so fancy.

Here is how to be glamorous (as possible) while cleaning.  Like many other situations, it pays to be prepared.  For me, this means that I have a specific heavy duty cleaning / gardening outfit.

  • I don’t own a pair of modern jeans but I needed something equally sturdy so I made myself a pair of denim wide leg pants. I know not all of you can sew, but the key here is that I chose something that was a flattering style, in a good weight fabric, that is easy to throw in the washing machine afterwards.
  • Up top, I wear fitted plaid cotton shirts that have a bit of stretch to them. I found a few at the op shop for $2 each, so no budget breaker there and I’m not afraid to get them dirty. The key here is fitted. Wearing something two sizes too big is not necessary. It is not going to keep you any cleaner, make you scrub harder or feel good. If you can still see your shape the whole outfit is going to look infinitely better.
  • To keep dust and dirt out of my hair I pin it up and cover it with a head scarf. It gives the whole outfit a bit of a Rosie the Riveter look, and that way if anyone pops around while I’m “at work” I’ll look like I was serious about it and not just having a style stroke in holey old track pants!
  • I have pink canvas trainers for working indoors and rose print gumboots for outdoors. Both bought for under $20 each and look a hell of a lot better than moccasins. Your choice might be ballet flats, but please for goodness sake no crocs or gym shoes. They are the antithesis of glamour and will kill all your other efforts in one fell swoop.
  • Face. I may not apply a full face of makeup if I plan to be digging holes or cleaning toilets, but I don’t go totally nude. I wear sunscreen (not negotiable in Australia), tinted moisturiser, mascara and red lipstick. That way if I have to pop out to the nursery I’ll feel like a ray of sunshine. And if it is only me and the grungy bath tub? I can make kissy faces at myself in the mirror while listening to Doris Day as I scrub away.

All of this advice is how I tackle a day of heavy cleaning as opposed to the usual tidying up which doesn’t require such drastic measures.  Now, I’m not suggesting that you should follow this advice to the letter and go out and get all retro (but it is fun), however if you take the spirit of these items and translate them for your own unique look you’ll find your cleaning ‘uniform’. What you may be able to recognise in this list is a theme that will run through almost all the subsequent guide posts, and that is; You Need To Have a Plan.

One of the biggest road blocks to looking good each day is not knowing what we are going to put on and then reaching for the nearest pair of jeans hastily slung over the bed.  If you have specific, purpose built outfits for tasks like cleaning, you’ll always know what your go to look is and you’ll be able to significantly cut down on the time it takes to get dressed. Remember, the concept of glamour is not defined by the little black dress. Glamour is about how you wear what you wear – with flair and polish – no matter the occassion. And the red lipstick? Well that works for any occassion and adds instant glamour in five seconds flat!

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There were oodles of responses to my question on Twitter and I’ll be answering each one.  If you’d like to have your say about your excuses or reasons for not getting glammed up when you secretly wish you were, leave me a comment and we’ll add it to the list.

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Candice DeVille

Specialty Vintage Stylist, Blogger, and Presenter; Candice DeVille has been writing Super Kawaii Mama since early 2008. Based in Melbourne, Australia, she's always in search of the next glamorous adventure. Bringing you vintage style, glamour and inspiration for the 21st Century.
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  1. What GREAT advice. I’m almost there. I hate big fluffy slippers (and athletic shoes) with a passion. I’m a ballet flat girl all the way around the house.

    And I find a colourstay eyelining pencil above the lashes and a slick of all-day lipstick do wonders. If you put it on once in the morning after a shower and don’t think about it again, it isn’t a hassle.

  2. Sista, I dunno how you do it! After the 4th check to make sure lipstick isn’t all over my teeth and my clips are still in place — i just think, screw it, I’d rather be comfortable. I have trouble maintaining dignity when I’m dressed up, let alone when I’m up to my elbow’s in baby poo….

    • Super Kawaii Mama /

      Nicolette: Maybe you could go with a lip stain instead of a lipstick and avoid that problem all together? And as far as maintaining dignity goes – a laugh and a smile goes a long way no matter what chaos surrounds you (even if you have to fake it) :)

  3. Belinda /

    You know, a very interesting thing I have been learning through your little teachings, is the difference between glamorous and high class expensive.
    Without any style guidance as a kid, glamorous was synonymous with high fashion on the fronts of those magazines that cost a months worth of pocket money.
    I’m finally getting that a pair of floral gumboots is glamour too :D **little squeal of joy** yay.
    Thank you SKM

  4. Ellie /

    Ok, I love te idea of a lip stain. Best?!

  5. Jessie W /

    I think my only excuse for not getting glammed up every day is that I wouldn’t know where to start! That, and the work it would take to get me from out of bed to glam would be hours in the making!

  6. Misty /

    My glamour killer is being pregnant. There are no beautiful clothes available that can camoflage a bump: even Mrs Kennedy/Onassis was trapped in a tent.

    • Super Kawaii Mama /

      Misty: You need to have a listen to yesterday’s interview with Christine Keepence about vintage maternity wear. There were some gorgeous styles around way back in the 1940′s and early 1950′s. I’m also trying to find some of the scarce photos taken of me when I was pregnant.. stay tuned.

  7. I’m always so tired ( I know not the same kind of tired as a new mum with a baby but still)

    I get home from a work trip and I’m knackered, all I want to do after a day of wearing heels and a polyester outfit with pantihose is throw on some yoga pants or PJ’s and lounge!!! So, I guess my problem is motivation… I don’t feel it’s worth it unless I’m leaving the house.

    • Miss Lizzy /

      I completely agree. I haven’t perfected the art of sewing yet but I have noticed 30′s patterns for “Lounge Suits” basically, glamourous pyjamas/tracksuits. They are GORGEOUS and I am planning on making them a project once I get good enough!

  8. Admittedly, when I’m at home I bum about in track pants and tshirts. However, they’re not the saggy-baggy type and always look half decent.
    And I would NEVER leave the house with them on.

    Great post too – I cant wait for the rest in the series :-D

  9. My secret is an apron! My favorite is a sturdy floral print (hides the inevitable stains) with a pretty ruffle along the bottom :D I also make very good use my half aprons (the kind the model in the picture is wearing). Daily use keeps the normal household wear and tear OFF my pretty dresses and ON the apron.

    • Super Kawaii Mama /

      Jacqueline: Me too – Aprons are much over looked. In fact I have full pinnifores to work in as well but when doing HEAVY cleaning (like scrubbing floors on hands and knees) or digging holes in the garden they just don’t quite cut it.

  10. Sometimes I just like to revel in my own slobbiness… I think that sort of thing is okay too so long as it’s a conscious, comfort thing and not just a case of the can’t be bothereds.

    How do you plan your outfits? I tried planning my work outfits a week at a time but it’s so hard with the erratic Melbourne weather!

  11. JulietteRose /

    I’m all for getting semi glam when doing a cleaning day, cause chances are eventually i’m going to go outside. But at the end of the day and i come home from work I love nothing more than to cook dinner in my slippers!
    I’ve been taking your advice SKM and it really doesn’t take long to look fabulous with a bit of sunscreen, make-up, mascara and lipstick. Also i’m making great use of the fantastic up do tutorials that are around including your chic and simple up do. Now health and safety regulations do not stand in the way of glamour!


  12. Kate /

    my biggest excuse for not getting glammed up is the time it takes. I feel like I have to put aside ages, or get up really early, to shower, wash hair, put on a base, put on my face, dry, curl and put up my hair then put on some nice clothes. How long does your hair/make up take?

  13. Candice this post has put the biggest silliest grin on my face! The thought of putting on lipstick to do the cleaning (I wear lipstick once every few years) is actually making me excited to find a cleaning outfit to match!!!!!!

    You have honestly made me a little bit giddy.

    Looking forward to some advice for those of us who work home alone 5 days a week!!

    Gaby xoxoo

  14. I think the most important thing is that we should glamm up for ourselves! If we want to look glammed up in every situation, even while cleaning, this is totally okay, if we do it for ourselves! Its the same with “Nobody sees me so I there is no need to put make-up on!”. If you are just dressing up and putting make-up on because of others, it is the total wrong way to go. You need to do it because you are worth it yourself!
    It is okay if people don’t want to do it at all, or when they are doing their household things, but they shouldn’t try to justify with arguments like: “Nobody sees me / I don’t want to get up so early cause it takes such a long time and so on” Either you want it, or you don’t it is up to you. It is your choice not the one of others around you, or of your time, job etc.

  15. Love this post! I have to admit that I frequently go the daggy tracksuit pants look at home. But I have to say, I feel a whole lot better about housework and being at home when I’m glammed up with some nice jewellery, my favourite lip gloss and a pretty but practical outfit.

  16. lazycakes /

    My grandmother was never without red lipstick. One day( in the late 70′s) as she was preparing to do some spring cleaning she stopped suddenly and returned to her vanity mirror swiped on some lipstick and re-combed her eyebrows. I asked why she was “gettin fancy”, was if for grandpa? was she expecting someone else? She replied “No, I do this for me…I function better with lipstick.” Lol! I never forgot it and although red lipstick wearing is still a mystery to me I am never without some shade of color on my lips.

  17. Johanna /

    My ‘I’m at a loss’ area is what you can wear to the gym that has the vintage look. I’m fine neck up – I have the most glamorous hair and lippie in the place – but neck down? At the moment I wear boot leg stretchy pants and singlet – sometimes cropped to the knee pants. The vintage ‘gym wear’ I picture is little tennis skirts and button up blouses but it isn’t for vigorous modern day workouts, an my body won’t allow this sort of frivolity. Or grey tracksuit pants and sloppy joe which I’ve seen Marilyn Munroe in before – forget it! Too hot.

    It’s not really a great priority in my life to look vintage at the gym but it’s a challenge to think of ways to go old fashioned in every aspect of life.

  18. i think breaking habits and changing behavior is a really hard thing to do, no matter how much I desire to dress better or put more effort into my look on a daily basis. old, ingrained patterns i’m finding are more difficult to adjust than i thought. I never had a good example of a woman looking glamorous on a daily basis (my mother was definitely the sweatshirt type of woman), but I’m trying to make a permanent change. :) your blog helps so much-thank you! it’s about baby steps for me…a little red lipstick here, a little hair accessory there.

  19. Yes! *virtual hug* Wonderfully said! when you know you look lovely, you FEEL lovely! :)
    Style truly is heart and mind, body and soul.
    compromises do not always have to be made in the world of fashion. You can feel comfortable AND feel glamorous when you find all that wears well on you.
    i know i’m not alone on this at all, but it is great to actually find glamour girls!
    <3 Here is a comment "of thanks, inspiration and loveliness." <3

  20. Miss Lizzy /

    SKM, I know you live in Melbourne, which can get cold in the winter. I live in Canberra, and it is starting to get awfully cold! I am new to the vintage/wearing dresses every day game and I wondered if you had any tips for dressing well in the cold weather? I know you will probably have something to say along the lines of layering, but I am clueless unless it comes to long sleeve tshirt+hoody+parka+jeans! NOT cute! I also don’t seem to be able to find boots that fit my leg AND foot, so ballet flats are really my only option as I don’t like sky-high heels.

  21. I love how you ‘get dressed’ for every occasion. I remember my mother doing the house work in a ‘house coat’. This article of clothing went over Mum’s good clothes whilst diligently and dutifully doing the house work. It had short sleeved, was knee length, had big front pockets and buttoned down the front. You could make your own house coat, say with red and white stripes, big square pockets, big buttons and add a bow here and there. My mother still wears an apron in the kitchen, something my friends and myself have never done!

    • Super Kawaii Mama /

      Debra: Hi there! It’s lovely to see you here! I too have house coats and they are just the best. Now you’ve mentioned bows though, I can feel another project coming on. :) I must come in and see you in a couple of weeks. :)

  22. Alba /

    I TOTALLY never thought of getting dressed for housework! I don’t really do much of it but I have gotten into the habit of lounging around the house in jammies if I’m not going out. This post was just the motivation I needed to put on something decent in the morning to run around the house in! And above all, actually feel good during the day while I’m at home, rather than feeling like The Human Blob!


  23. Hey great post!

    How about for going to the gym/walking/working out?

    I run (alot) so what would you recommend wearing to still look sassy while breaking a heavy sweat?

  24. Miss Ariel-Marie /

    Thank you for much for this! I stumbled upon your blog just yesterday and I’ve been reading your articles nonstop. As a teenager who loves vintage fashion this makes it so much easier for me to get all my chores done in style. I’ll have to tweak it a bit, as my style is a bit more 1960′s than 40′s and 50′s, but I already have the perfect shirt in mind. Thank you so much, please keep writing such great articles. You’re doing all of us a great favor.

  25. Annuska /

    Just came across your blog and loved it! About keeping glam while cleaning, could you post some pic examples of the outfit described? As in Brazil we didn’t really have “vintage” fashion in the same terms, the photos would help adapting the style!

    • Super Kawaii Mama /

      Annuska: Sure thing, I’ll try and do something later next week :) Lovely to have you here.

  26. Bethany /

    Nicolette: I always put the tip of my finger into my mouth, make an “o” shape with my lips, and pull my finger out with a little “pop”. This transfers any of the lipstick that would have touched your teethe onto your finger. Simply wipe away and you’re good to go :)


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