The first is the state of your shoes, and the second is the state of your hands. I also think that, once upon a time, hair was a criteria but these days with messy bed hair, and sea spray beach hair, and shaved scalps and dreadlocks, hair can no longer be in there.
There are two blatently visable attributes about a person's appearance that give away whether they take pride in their appearance or not. And, would you believe it, they are the same for both women and men.
I know that my youngest daughter has spent more money, and dedicated more time to her dreadlocks than has been contributed to some very conventionally coiffed (or rather non-coiffed) heads and the hairstyle I have at the moment seems to benefit by me roughing my hands through it rather than smoothing it with a brush. But shoes and hands, they're out there for everyone to see and opinions aren't usually too divided on them.
So firstly, and very briefly, shoes. Clean them, keep them heeled properly, store them carefully (which means don't throw them in the bottom of the wardrobe all jumbled together) and once they are passed their prime, throw them out. Scuffed and shoddy shoes ruin your whole look and shout out that you just don't care. Stay tuned for a dedicated post on 'The Perfect Shoes' coming soon.
And next, your hands. Look after them and keep them looking nice, because people notice them. Especially if you're expressive and wave them about when you talk or, if like me, you're a 'touchy, feely' person and you reach out to people, grab their arms or hug them when you are talking to them (yes I know I'm a serial nuisance). Believe you me, you can tell the age of a woman by her hands and no amount of plastic surgery can remedy that. So better to look after them than to try and remedy neglect.
Here are some of my top tips for keeping your hands in a condition you can be proud of:
Always carry a nail file in your bag. This is so important because you never know when you may need to fix a nail up when you're out and about. I have a glass one that does a beautiful job and although was a little expensive at $17, as long as I don't lose it, it will last forever. If you break a nail if will drive you nuts if you don't have a file to fix it up straight away.
Another thing worth always carrying in your bag is hand cream, especially during winter. I carry Clinique Deep Comfort Hand and Cuticle Cream 75ml $32. It has no fragrance, so my husband is OK with it when he is captive in the car with me and I put it on. It's worth having lots of creams around the house - the bathroom, laundry, kitchen, bedside table – and in the car and at work, so that you always have some handy that you can slather on.
Fortunately in winter gloves are a wonderful way to protect your hands, keep them warm and hide neglect – they are also great fashion items that are fun to have and wear. Even in sub-tropical SE Queensland I have four pairs that I wear throughout winter. Oh – and whilst I'm on about gloves – never, ever, ever wash dishes or clean a bathroom without rubber gloves. If you do, you will get all that you deserve.
When it comes to nails, there are lots of options open to you (length, colour, naked, etc) but that is the subject of another post, so I will let you know all about my two wonderful nail ladies and the pleasure they have brought to my hands very soon. What is important to remember is that you keep your nails clean and neat. No chipped nail polish, no half-done manicures, and no dirty fingernails!
So, from the ends of your fingers to the tips of your toes, spend a little time and effort on the two things that I think can make a difference to the way your appearance is observed by the rest of the world. And even if the rest of the world could give a damn, you'll feel great about yourself.