It’s Better To Look Good Than To Feel Good…Or Is It?

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Many widows and widowers are old enough to remember Fernando Lamas and Billy Crystal’s spoof impressions of him that were hilarious. They made Fernando’s quip “It’s better to look good than to feel good” famous. Was he serious? Is it possible to healing grief through fashion and appearance?

It sounded ridiculous, of course, but when I think about that statement more carefully. Maybe he had something there. Let me explain what I mean.

I spent a lot of years as a sales rep or a representative of my company as a property manager, and then as a small business owner. I had to put my best foot forward every day, whether I felt like it or not. My clients didn’t care if I had wrenched my back or had a fight with my fella just hours before.  All that mattered to them was that I was up to my best game when I interacted with them. Personal problems were just that….personal. It was up to me to put on my “game day suit” and muster for the day.

While I’m first in line to champion the idea that we need to cut grievers a lot more slack than we get, that doesn’t discount the notion that we, as grievers, have some responsibility. We need to make some effort to rally and make our interactions work too.  I’m sure, if you are reading this, you’ve felt the pressure to “get over it” and get back to normal. As if we have any idea what normal is now supposed to be.

I find, though, that just about every experience I’ve had over the years winds up being something I can draw upon years later.  Grief is no different for me.  I found, on those “off my game” days at work, that my “‘ game day” preparation helped quite a lot. By that I mean, that every day, I got up, got showered and got dressed so as to make myself as presentable to the world as I possibly could. That meant wearing clothes, office, casual or formal that fit and flattered the shape I actually have. It meant wearing colors that are cheerful. It meant wearing nothing ripped, dirty or otherwise in need of repair. By the way? I often shop at second-hand shops….it’s not impossible at all. It also meant using at least a little makeup.


Putting on your game face



While all grievers deserve their “stay in my pajamas from sun up to sunset” days, a lot of them especially early on, I find that getting up and getting my game suit on really helps my spirits. My mood and my attitude lifted as my appearance pulled me along into “normal”.  People respond and interact with me more…and better…when I look better. That lifts my spirits too. Learn more about putting your best foot forward while staying comfortable here: Staying Stylish in Widowhood & Sweatsuit Alternatives

I’ve started a Pinterest board Widows and Fashion for Who We Are Now (find it and more here to collect some ideas for staying stylish and lovely at any age and any phase. Number one accessory? A smile….even if you have to paste it on. You may say that’s phony, but I have a harder time staying down in the dumps when I have a smile on my face, phony or not. Remember that SOUND OF MUSIC song? “When the dog bites…a few of my favorite things”?  Remember whistling in the dark? It works…often, anyway. And it’s worth a try. Maybe you’ll feel good…or at least better!



While you are here, be sure to take a look around the website at the many other blog posts with tips and strategies for all of us on the widowed path. If you enjoy them, be sure to subscribe to receive new posts directly into your email mailbox. It’s free to sign up and we guard your information as if it were our own, never selling or sharing your information.




Mary Lee Robinson




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