How To Dress To Show Distress
I’m delighted to announce that I’ve recently mastered the art of looking awful. That’s right, I can deliberately and consciously engineer an outfit which reduces me to a walking pile of poo in a matter of seconds. Looking fabulous doesn’t always work to my advantage, and I like people to know when I’m feeling a little blue so they can treat me accordingly. When I’m suffering from a sniffly cold, tender hugs make me feel better. After getting 5 hours sleep instead of 15, only a gift in the form of a snack can rejuvenate me. Unfortunately, my hard-hearted friends rarely perform such loving behaviour. It’s only when I look like something that was scraped off the bottom of a shoe that they relent and start giving me TLC. Because I’m a charitable person (some call me a modern Mother Theresa), I’m willing to share my tips and teach you how to bag a truckload of sympathy with minimal effort.
Let’s begin with a casual baggy T-shirt. By wearing one, you are letting everyone know that you are not trying to impress them. You are showing that you are too ill/miserable/tired to care about their measly opinion. I’d advise stealing one from a frumpy family member, preferably an overweight uncle, as it should be ill fitting and slightly worn. When in public, tuck your knees into it to make yourself round and egg-like. The sight of you curled up into a scruffy foetal shape will evoke maternal feelings in others, hopefully leading to cookies and warm milk.
But if T-shirts are a regular part of your wardrobe, you’ll have to take further action. People need to be shocked into giving you sympathy, and this won’t happen if you dress like your normal perky self. To get yourself noticed, pour a can of baked beans down your least favourite top. There’s something homely and tragic about beans that should appeal to your peers, especially if they’re hungry. If you’re not keen on having cold tinned food dripped down yourself, then microwave ‘em up for a warm treat.
Now it’s time to put on some flexible bottoms. They should be stretchy but not tight. We are going for the tragic oversized baby look, and that won’t work if you’re looking sexy. A tracksuit or baggy leggings should usually suffice. If you’re a sporty person you’ll have to go for pyjama bottoms, otherwise everyone will just assume that you’ve been for a brisk morning jog.
Don’t wear shoes. When someone asks you where they are, adopt a traumatised expression and say that you must have forgotten to put them on that morning. Hopefully they’ll feel so sorry for you that they’ll give you their own pair!
Now you’ve sorted out your outfit, it’s time to move onto beauty. Sometimes after comforting a weeping friend, I am asked whether it looks as if they’ve been crying. I think of this question as being similar to ‘does my bum look big in this?’ The traditional answer is ‘no’, yet people nowadays prefer to hear a resounding ‘yes’. We no longer live in an age where emotional displays get you stoned. It’s good to have something to show after a crying jag, otherwise people will not know that they need to cheer you up with funny jokes. So make sure that you continually rub your eyes after weeping to keep that fabulous crimson colour alive.
In terms of make-up, I would suggest applying a dark eyeshadow to your eye bags. Perhaps also contour your cheekbones a little, as it’s nice to look defined whilst being tragic. Do not brush your hair under any circumstances. It should represent a giant bird’s nest of pain.
Before you hop out the house looking like something I spat out at the dinner table, take heed a word of caution. The whole ‘looking bad’ thing is only effective when used sparingly. Do it every day and people will just assume that you are a bad dresser with hygiene problems. This means that you’ll need to pick and choose your battles. Don’t wear the baked-bean T shirt every time you’ve got PMS, otherwise you won’t receive adequate attention when your cat dies. Also, step up the fabulousness on normal days, so as to create a greater effect when you transform yourself into a fashion disaster.
Written by Phoebe Eccles