When I was in college, my sorority Big and I had a fashion rule. It was something we held ourselves accountable for, partly because we represented a bigger group of girls on campus, and we wanted to always look well-dressed and ready for whoever we could meet. Not to mention, you never know who you are going to see on a college campus, and any moment can turn into networking in no time. So because of this, we had what we called the 2/3 rule.
So ideally, there are three pieces to your full wardrobe each day. Your hair, makeup, and outfit. So we both felt, unless you were going to the gym or the dr because you’re legit sick as a dog, that it was important to ensure that every day, at least 2/3 of those pieces were done well. So for example, if your outfit wasn’t that great, maybe you have an 8 am class, maybe you’re just running to target after cleaning the house, that you would still have your hair either straightened or nicely done, just not thrown up in a bun or ponytail, and you would at least have some makeup done. So your outfit didn’t have to be spectacular, but you still look presentable.
My Big had long curly hair, and I have long thick hair, so bad hair days were sadly inevitable for both of us. On those days where we just couldn’t do anything more for our hair other than put it up in a ponytail and admit defeat, we made sure that our makeup was done (and I don’t mean the whole shebang, I usually just wear a tinted moisturizer, eyeliner, mascara, and a lip gloss; none of that contouring stuff) and that our outfit looked cute. Again, I don’t mean a super cute dress and heels, but I mean we didn’t go out and about in sweatpants. Honestly, unless it was part of a costume, I didn’t leave my apartment in sweatpants. That’s just a no in my book, at least out in public.
The reason that we came up with this was because we both feel that appearances are important. Did you know that first impressions are made within seconds? Literally, the blink of an eye. And while it’s nice to think that we can improve upon people’s first impression, it’s actually harder to do that than you’d think. According to an article from http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2012/11/first-impressions.aspx, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression,” says James Uleman, PhD, a psychology professor at New York University and researcher on impression management.” That means, that no matter how impressive you are to someone after the fact, they will always have that first impression that created their very first opinion of you. I personally want my first impression on people to be that I put effort into things. Think about it, if you don’t put any effort into how you present yourself, why would a potential employer think you’d put effort into a job? Or how about a professor on your first day of class. Are they going to have a good impression if you show up looking like you rolled out of bed? Taking time to make yourself presentable is a form of respect to others. You’re showing them that you respect them, their time, and their effort.
Now, don’t get me wrong, some days we all slip up. I’ve definitely wandered outside of my house in yoga leggings before, and without any makeup on. It’s a rule we made up years ago, but it’s one I still strive to follow through on. Of course, like anything, I’m not perfect and sometimes I fall short, but the important part is to try. Which is why, if you manage to have your hair done nicely, makeup, and a cute outfit, you’re even better off. If not, worst case, try to have two out of three. First impressions matter.