De-Frumpiness Project: Nailing February and Accessorizing March

De-Frumpiness Project

Regular readers might be aware I am doing a year-long De-Frumpiness Project in an effort to get myself out of the rut that my personal style somehow careened into at some point in my life. Each month, I focus on a different aspect of myself that could use some freshening up or just plain attention.

In February, I decided to pay some attention to my fingers and toes. The big thing was I wanted to break an awful habit I had of tearing my cuticles, sometimes to the point of bleeding. I also wanted to try and make sure nail polish was kept neat.

Well, I was able to do pretty well with avoiding the picking. I think one thing that helped was that I was moisturizing my hands way more often. As a matter of fact, the first time I picked at a cuticle was on Leap Day, when all the stress from my grandmother’s death made it harder to remember to moisturize. Suddenly I had hang nails and dry annoying cuticles.

Lesson learned.

The nail polish was a wash. First of all, I’d always mess up putting polish on at least one nail right away, so putting on color polish became something annoying to do, not fun.
Second of all, it seems nail polish is just not very compatible with my life. Polish would begin chipping almost immediately, within a day. The only type of polish that could endure the insane amount of things I do daily, was good old fashioned clear coat. So most of the times, that’s what I stuck with. Not as cheery or fun, but at least my nails looked cared for and that was what I wanted.

Lesson learned.

The only downside I found to the nail polish not working out the way I’d envisioned it was a complete lack of photos. I mean, how many fascinating ways are there to photograph naked nails? This picture featuring one of the Valentine’s Day cards we did is the only one I have that shows off my pretty and healthy nails.

So, now it’s March– way into March actually. And the project for March is born from the recent death of one my Abuelas. Why?

Abuela was a classic lady. There was not one pair of jeans in that house. There was not one t-shirt to be found. She just was not that kind of lady. She was always put together, polished, complete. As a result, one thing my grandmother had a lot of was accessories.

I can’t seem to get the hang of accessories. It’s not that I don’t feel comfortable wearing them, it’s just that 1) It never occurs to me to actually spend money on them and 2) It rarely occurs to me to put on the few I own. I’ve been in survival mode. That means I throw on pants, a bra, a top, socks and shoes, and please god don’t let me forget to put on deodorant today (but I keep some at work just in case).

The thing about figuring out your own style is paying attention to what catches your eye in a positive way. You will find common themes. For me, I found myself drawn to sleek but complete looks. I liked hair that was obviously given more thought than a hairband, but wasn’t overdone. I liked jewelry as thoughtful accents– not piled on but not left in a drawer either. And I noticed I liked little accents like a simple brooch or a pretty scarf or a cozy shawl.

I sported none of these, but my Abuela did. And upon cleaning out her house, I got a lot of it. A couple of pashminas and shawls, a few simple scarves, two lovely brooches, and fun jewelry that ranged from classic and subtle to statement pieces for day time to beautiful treasures better saved for special occasions.

So, here we are in March and I am accessorizing. I am forcing myself to contemplate something other than the bare essentials. I am forcing myself to think about what I am putting on, to consider what I look like. I must stop and reflect, and then actually take in the reflection the mirror truly offers.

Funny how we take this sort of thing for granted and how quickly it disappears if you let it. But that’s the whole point of this project, bring myself under consideration, paying attention to me. If you’d like to join me, let me know! I most easily track this sort of thing on Google+ and I can add you to my De-Frumpiness Circle on there if you let me know. With enough urging, I might even get off my lazy social media butt and encourage this project through Twitter. Is that of interest to anyone? What do you all prefer?


17 thoughts on “De-Frumpiness Project: Nailing February and Accessorizing March

  1. I love your idea and I love how you decorated your fingers! Google+ still has me completely befuddled, so I vote for promoting on Twitter. I’ve jettisoned the notion of polishing my fingernails, I chip them way too easily. But I do like me a nice pedicure.

  2. I do Google + and Twitter but I’m a fan of the FB fanpage. I’m posting this on my fanpage and see what kind of conversations get started just as an experiment.

    Maybe if you think of accessories as ‘bobbles’. Just the word accessories sound so laborious where as ‘bobbles’ sounds fun! I have lots of boobles and when I think of it will throw one on even if I have my sweats on. But let’s be honest, I’m part of the de-frumpiness project because I’ve let go of that ‘Molly’. Gotta get her back!

  3. Having nice looking, well-cared for hands doesn’t mean you have to wear colored nail polish. I get a manicure and pedicure about once a month, and while I usually get color on my toes I never get it on my hands. It would chip off much too easily. And I don’t want to try those no chip manicures, either. It seems truly unnatural and scary to have nail polish not chip or wear off when you’re using your hands a lot. What the heck do they put in that stuff? Not for me.

    Accessories…hmm…I have some of those. I used to wear nice necklaces and matching earrings with a suit nearly every day at work. Then I gained weight and had to skip those suits, so now I don’t accessorize so much. For me the trick will be to lose the weight and get back into those nice clothes again. Then I can go from there.

    • I know you don’t have to but I love color on nails. It’s fun. When it’s pretty. And that’s the problem. I’ve heard about those manis. Gel right? I have a few friends who swear by them but I just can’t afford the salon very often.

      I’ve got to lose weight too but I’m not letting this wait anymore. And you know, maybe if you start doing something like the accessorizing or whatever it’ll get you motivated even more to keep working at losing weight so you can “complete the picture” so to speak!

  4. So funny….I was thinking of things to do with my de-frumpy and kept coming back to jewelry. I don’t accessorize well with other things like scarfs and such but I’m going to make a goal for this month to wear some sort of pretty shiney stuff everyday. So….I’m in! I don’t have google+ but I’ll definitely be following you here. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • You know, I’ve never been good at the scarf thing but I keep seeing other people rock it so well and then my aunts asked if i wanted some of my grandmother’s scarves and I picked a couple. It’s working out pretty nice. Instant girliness 🙂

  5. Classic is good. Simple is good. “Style” is possible, in little ways. Personally, I find the fact that I can still generate an interest in any of these issues to be a positive sign. That something beyond the bare essentials, as you say.

  6. I’m following your defrumpiness regimen too and I was a big F on nails. I did manage to buy a nail brush and scrub them extra hard in the shower and put on moisturizer…but only when my hands felt dry and I wanted to pick cuticles. One of my issues is my hand abuse. I was tiling last weekend and after I was done my hands felt raw like they went through a food mill. The other thing I hate is the feel of hand creme. I hate the greasiness of it and then if you put on something lighter, it literally doesn’t even help. One fix that seems to work is to wipe my palms and underside of my fingertips clean with a tissue or towel after I put lotion on so that I don’t leave little greasy fingerprints on everything I touch, but my nails still get moisturized. The holy grail would be to put something on my hands every night before bed…still working on it. Bag balm works awesome but smells horrible so I don’t want my sheets smelling like it. Maybe I need to go back to gardener’s hand therapy.

    On the accessory front, I’m getting better at it. I love scarves, necklaces and rings. I’ve gotten into a good habit of putting on a necklace every day. It makes a huge difference and doesn’t take much effort. I like to buy mine at tag sales. There is this super cool necklace I saw someone wearing that I’ve been wanting to buy. You can bend it into all kinds of strange shapes and patterns. It’s very versatile. I’ll have to try and find it this weekend.

    • I’m glad you’re playing! Funny enough I just ripped one of my cuticles right now. UGH. And while I was tearing it was thinking STOP IT RIGHT NOW and I didn’t 😦

      I have the issues you do with lotion and cream. It just feels weird to me. And oh man when you wash your hands after? EWWWW

      I almost didn’t do accessories today because I was running late but I said no way Jose this is March’s project and you are DOING it. So I threw on a purely decorative belt, a set of bangles, my grandma’s watch, and my daughter’s necklace. All of this stuff is within easy reach so it took just a couple of minutes.

      That necklace sounds amazing.


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