DEAR ABBY: I am a working mother who just had a baby last June. Fortunately, everything is going great. She is healthy and happy, my husband and I are doing well, and the proud grandparents baby-sit for our newborn.
I have gotten right back into shape. I swim 40 laps every day, eat very healthfully and happily fit into a size 4 again. (Actually, the pants I'm wearing right now are a size 2!)
My problem is this: Since my job is laid-back and does not require a dress code -- Web development, sitting behind a PC all day -- I seem to dress very poorly each day. Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and say, "For someone who takes such good care of her body, eats so well and stays in shape -- you look like a slob!"
Please, Abby, help me devote more time to myself. Although going to the gym during lunch is a priority and eating healthfully goes without saying, I let my hair look like a complete mess, my clothes never match, I wear old sneakers every day, and my shirts are wrinkled and three sizes too big. What can I do to look neater and actually make it a priority every day? -- "L" IN MIDDLE VILLAGE, N.Y.
DEAR "L": Everyone should have your problems! An effective way to make sure you look sharp at work each day would be to coordinate your outfit the night before so you'll have it ready to wear the next morning.
Talk to a hairstylist about creating a style you can manage in 10 minutes with a minimum of bother, and then determine how much (or little) makeup you need to look civilized. Many young women apply only mascara, a little rouge and lipstick, and look terrific.
Taking a few extra minutes to fix yourself up before leaving the house will ensure that you start the day feeling good about yourself. It's been my experience that every time I failed to do it, thinking I probably wouldn't meet anyone who knew me, I inevitably ran into someone I knew -- and was ashamed of myself because I didn't look my best. 'Nuff said?