Make It Stop: “How Do I Become More Girly?”

I’m not at all lady-like. I rarely wear makeup, I don’t own many dresses and the last time I put on a pair of high heels, I twisted my ankle. I’d rather wear jeans, a t-shirt, and flip flops than get all dolled up. But sometimes I think my fiancé would prefer it if I was a tad more feminine. How do I become more girly?

You are in luck because it has never been easier in the history of the universe to learn beauty basics. You don’t need a fairy grandmother, a makeup ambush show on TLC, or a cool older sister. Between beauty blogs and YouTube tutorials, all the information is out there for you. The key is knowing what you need to know, ya dig? You have to learn the language before you can string sentences together.

The first thing you can do is read a book about beauty and grooming. A book like Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual: For Everyone from Beginner to Pro is a good place to start. It will break down the essentials for you: how to take care of your skin, how to find the best eyebrow shape, how to apply concealer properly, what all those makeup brushes are for, stuff like that. It’s designed for beginners like yourself. They anticipate your trepidation and go out of their way to allay your fears with easy to understand charts, graphs, and illustrations.

Not to be too dramatic, but a book like this will change your life. It will open your eyes to the fun and empowering world of beauty and grooming. You’ll start paying attention to your routine and delight in learning how to tailor it to your needs and concerns.

With that said, one of the easiest things you can do to feel girly is to learn how to paint your nails. Look up a video on YouTube, grab some basic supplies at the store, and practice. There’s nothing like looking down at your hot pink-painted toes to give you a confidence boost.

It might also help if you try out a subscription service like Birchbox or the vegan-friendly Petit Vour to try makeup and beauty products out. That’s a low key way to bump up your makeup literacy and to expand your repertoire. Instead of wandering around Sephora guessing which products to buy, subscription services send the products straight to you along with instructions about how to use them. It’s awesome.

Okay, so you know the difference between loose powder and pressed powder, and base coat and top coat. Let’s turn your attention to your wardrobe. Pick up a magazine and check some celebrities out. Notice how some go for a more relaxed, natural look and others are more experimental with their choices? In your quest to amp up your girliness, find a celebrity to emulate. Study the kinds of things she wears, the way she carries herself. Let her guide you. Does she wear maxi dresses, a gold bracelet, and strappy sandals? Cool. Now you know what pieces to acquire when you go clothing shopping next. When it comes to kickstarting your style, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel here. You just have to find a look that dovetails with your sensibilities.

Are there other tweaks to your wardrobe you can make? Maybe you can mix in some dresses or skirts for raggedy jeans. Instead of a quick ponytail, learn how to do a sockbun. Or get a sea salt spray and rock some beachy waves. I’m confident that you’ll find your girly groove in no time.

Lastly, have fun, enjoy the ride, and pass on the knowledge you acquire. I’m sure there are women in your life who are just as curious as you are about the world of beauty, so share your knowledge freely.

Make It Stop is a weekly column in which Anna Goldfarb — author of “Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through” and the blogger behind the blog, Shmitten Kitten — tells you what’s up. Want a fresh take on a stinky dilemma? Email anna@annagoldfarb.com with the subject “Make It Stop.” She’ll make it all better, or at least make you laugh. Girl Scout’s honor.