Giving myself a pedicure this morning brought to mind a Diana Vreeland story that has saved you and me from my original idea of trying to come up with 47 thoughts to share on my 47th birthday. According to a model in the documentaryÂ The Eye Must Travel, Vreeland insisted that even if you’re wearing closed shoes and boots, your toes should be polished–it makes a difference in how you carry yourself. Since I was in the middle of my November OOTD challenge when I saw the documentary, of course I applied it to my own situation–even if you’re working from home all day and no one will see you, you should be dressed to go out–it makes a difference in how you carry yourself. (Of course, I love that Vreeland was usually in her bathrobe until noon.)
It’s not the actual pedicure or clothing that matters, but the principle of valuing ourselves. For some of us, a pedicure makes no difference, but a beautiful bra and matching underwear do. What hidden self-care routines do you engage in that help you to value yourself during the day? If you can’t think of any, perhaps the new year would be a good time to decide to try something.
From the documentary itself, I found no direct applications to the challenges of being big-boobed. After all, Vreeland came of age during the Jazz Age, idolized Russian ballerinas and is credited with discovering Twiggy. If anything, she presided over the flat-chested fashion legacy that is the bane of our shopping existence, but I find it impossible to hold anything against her after learning more about her. Her own mother would say to her, “It’s too bad you have such a beautiful sister and you’re so incredibly ugly.” Vreeland later said that “Reed [Vreeland’s husband] made me feel beautiful no matter what my mother made me think.”Â Vreeland’s own unique looks must have caused her to value the original in others. For example, when she featured Barbra Streissand in Vogue, she highlighted Streisand’s profile.
As one interviewee put it, Vreeland “made an asset of peoples’ faults,” and Diane Von Furstenburg said, “She saw things in people before they even saw it themselves.”
If you were to see the documentary, you might be struck, as I was, by Vreeland’s refusal to acknowledge negative or sad things in her life. She even wore white to her husband’s funeral. This is why I take her perspective with a huge dose of salt, but her original views and expressions can’t help but buoy a person up. For a better idea of what I mean, check out Into the Gloss’s collection of 50 Vreeland quotes or Fashion’s Most Wanted’s favorite Vreeland sayings. I dare you to choose just one favorite.
Actually, it’s quite appropriate to bring Vreeland up on my birthday and after last week’s post on aging. She reminds me of reader Jame’s aunt that she described in the comments to that post:
I want to be like my aunt when I am heading into elderly years. Sheâ€™ll be turning 70 next month and still has so much fun. Taking ballroom dancing, telling me what movies to see, going to shows. And staying active.
Vreeland used to tell her son, “Timmy, I’d love to introduce you to all my friends on the West Coast — but they’re all so young!” It makes sense that she also said, “I have a terrible time remembering exactly when my birthday is. Age is totally boring….” Age itself may be boring, but Vreeland reminds us that being alive is absolutely wonderful.