Monday, March 26, 2007

Lame Tips For Girls

I was browsing through Vanity Fair last week when I came across this article about a "sassy young Brit" who created a website where women can exchange tips on everything from beauty to relationships to home entertaining, parenting, dieting, you name it. Because I am a sucker for anything and anyone described as both British and sassy (it's a wonderful combination) I decided to go and check out the site, Top Tips for Girls.

There is no denying the presence of Britishness, but the tips are definitely lacking in the sassy department. Not to mention the useful, intelligent and creative departments as well. Take this top tip for instance (it was the 14th highest rated tip on the site):

How to prevent inner thighs from rubbing:

If it's a hot day, or you know you have to walk a distance with bare legs, and they chafe - apply a moderate to generous coating of vaseline to the area where your legs touch - works a treat! Top tip - keep one of those tiny vaseline tins in your handbag so you can re-apply while out and about!

Okay, that's just about one of the worst ideas I've ever heard. It's a hot day, you have a long distance to walk, your thighs are chafing and you think VASELINE will help?

I found the fashion tips to be the worst. According to my friends studying abroad, English women are the least fashionable in Europe (Italians are the best dressed, followed by the French). This is 100% subjective, so please don't send me any hate mail, but it may partly explain why these fashion tips are so bad. Here's one on "How to always look put together":

Choose clothes in the right size! There is no quicker way to look utterly frumpy than wearing things 4 sizes too big, or utterly slutty than by wearing things 2 sizes too small. Clothes really do look 100% better when they're fit to your body.
PS - If you're buying something you'll need to reduce to fit into -- DON'T!

This isn't a terrible tip, because one of the most common fashion mistakes is wearing clothing that doesn't fit. But if you're wearing ugly, mismatched clothes that fit, you're certainly not going to always look put together. And her PS about not buying things that need to be tailored is an awful tip. If I've learned nothing from watching hundreds of episodes of "What Not To Wear," it's that everyone needs to get things tailored, because most of us have bodies that don't fit perfectly into all kinds of clothes (especially formal items like suits, blazers, dress pants, etc). But I do love this tipster's warning that if your clothes don't fit perfectly you're going to look either "utterly frumpy" or "utterly slutty."

This tip was one of my all-time favorites for entertainment value. I was very curious when I saw the title of "How to look fabulous," because who doesn't?

Never, never, EVER wear ankle boots with a skirt that is shorter than ankle length.

I am strongly against wearing ankle boots in any capacity, but if you're going to wear them, for the love of god, do NOT wear them with an ankle length skirt. Who wrote this, a librarian stuck in 1992?

Some of the tips were actually pretty useful, like this one for "How to stop yourself from eating at night":

when the telly's rubbish all you feel like doing is eating right? well what i do is give myself a manicure-as you can't eat with wet nails! you'll stay slim and get gorge nails! even if your rubbish at nails it doesn't matter! good luck.

I'm glad to see that Americans are not the only one who fall prey to the "bad tv makes me want to pig out" phenomenon. Unfortunately, it's not very practical to paint your nails every day, and let's be honest, between "American Idol" and "I Love New York," I'd be changing my polish 5 nights a week.

I'm being a little tough on "Top Tips For Girls," because a number of the tips were pretty creative and practical, but overall I was disappointed that I didn't learn more new things. If you want useful tips for all areas of your life, read a magazine like Real Simple or Martha Stewart, where "experts" test them and can give educated advice. Honestly, you can bash Martha all you want, but there's no denying that the woman knows her stuff and gives great tips.

And of course, what is Google for if not searching for the answers to random specific questions? You're far more likely to find an answer you can trust from a website written by an expert than a collection of tips from regular people.

What do you guys think? Any rabid "Top Tips" readers want to defend the site?


Rachelle said...

I read that PS in the first tip as "if you need to reduce yourself to fit into something you're buying, don't" as in, don't buy something too small just because it's fab and promise yourself you'll lose weight to fit into it. But I could very well be wrong. Some of the tips did seem pretty weird.

Emma said...

We're the worst dressed in Europe?! *sob* However, when looking at the 14 and 15 year olds who hang out in the shopping centres on a Saturday afternoon wearing too much makeup, ridiculous skirts and bad jewellery, I do lose a little bit of hope for the future of Brit fashion!

As for the site - very pretty looking and well laid out, but it reminds me of the the tips you used to get in those early-teens magazines.

Anonymous said...

"reduce" in this context means "diet" or "lose weight" not "tailor" -

Meg said...

Rachelle and Anonymous- Thanks for picking up on that, I can now give the tipster more credit.

Anonymous said...

Hi Meg, a lot of that advice does seem to be "rubbish"...funny enough though.

Fashionista, Size 14. said...

My biggest tip for walking long distances in hot weather is to wear skin tight shorts under whatever you have on. Tights work, but are too hot. Spandex workout pants are good, something thinner is better. Basically you want to put fabric on the inner thigh to soak up the sweat and THAT will prevent chafing.

Pauline Joy said...


Funny stuff, reminds me of "tips" I would get and follow as a younger, more vulnerable, teen.

Are you still recieving entries for your beauty routine contest? If you are, sorry it's taking me so long, but I'll send mine out to you by tomorrow if I can!!!

Meg said...

Hey Pauline- You can send in your entry until April 5, so no need to rush! Can't wait to read it...

Jen - Shop Happy said...

"Never, never, EVER wear ankle boots with a skirt that is shorter than ankle length."

W O W ! ! That's bad....

Anonymous said...

about your comment about french women - i studied abroad in france, and what i noticed is not that french women have some inborn style gene, but that they (and french men) take a lot of effort into looking presentable in public. no flip flops. no sweat pants. no sweatshirts. it really changed the way i look at how i present myself in public, since coming back to wes i now cringe mentally each time i've gone out in workout pants, i have yet to wear my sweatshirt around campus, etc (and this coming from a person who happily went to class in her pjs last year). food for thought :) i love your blog btw