50 Nanisms for More Healthy, Happy, and Stylish Living


I have been in the fashion and beauty business since 1977. During that time, I have developed many opinions about stylish living. People have often suggested that I write a book, but I don’t think I am patient enough for that process. Today, I will share my thoughts about how to achieve a more healthy, happy, and stylish living with you. I have many tips. If you find this amusing or helpful, let me know! And as always, please feel free to follow me on Instagram (@nanpatrickmk) (@nanpatrick) and Facebook, Nan Patrick and Nan Patrick-Mary Kay.

Here goes… 50 of my best Nanisms for healthy, happy, and stylish living:

1. Put your lipstick on like you mean it. Doesn’t matter if it’s light, dark, or bright.

Stylish woman in cat-eye glasses and red lipstick2. Don’t be afraid to go up in clothing size… well-fitting clothing makes you look better.

3. Find your best asset- or physical feature- and capitalize on it. And yes…You’ve got great assets. I promise.

4.When people say with pride, “I don’t care what I look like, I don’t wear makeup”, I say “Everyone has flaws, I simply choose to highlight my strengths.”

5. If you don’t know what looks good on you, ask someone whose look you admire. Who wouldn’t be flattered to help you achieve stylish living?

woman in a red top, black pants, and red shoes6. Try not to shop for an occasion. You usually have to settle when you’re up against a deadline. Purchase when you see things you love. If your lifestyle is casual, don’t go overboard for dressy items. One or two outfits will get you through wedding invitations etc.

7. Mix patterns to maximize stylish living. This can be so fun! It works especially well if the fabric or colors are similar.

8. Accessories customize your look.

9. Layer your necklaces. Again, this can be so much fun!

10. Mix lipstick colors. You get some great “unique to you” looks.

11. Wear foundation… it keeps your moisturizer in and the junk in the environment out.

12. Wash and moisturize your face right after dinner. Once you sit on the couch for the night… you are a goner.

13. You age two days for every night you don’t wash and moisturize. You are dehydrating your skin and you are letting the bacteria from the environment have their way with your collagen all night long.

14. Purchase clothes that intrinsically work on YOU. This way, outfits look best on day one and long after. Buying trends is costly and not all trends will flatter you… style or colorwise.

15. Buy quality. Again, you look great on day one and long after.

16. Mix real and costume jewelry.

17. One purse for everything does not work. Just like one pair of shoes does not work with everything. (Keep all of the little things you carry in your purse in a travel/makeup bag so they can be easily transferred from bag to bag.)

18. Buy good underwear. You are worth it. Replace underwear as they get dingy. Start your day with items that say, “I’m worth it.”

19. Always look at the sale rack. But- while doing that, my best rule of thumb is don’t buy it on sale if you would not buy it at full price.

20. While buying online, make sure you check the return policy. If it’s not an easy process, pass. Don’t keep items you wouldn’t purchase if you tried them on in the store.

21. Rinsing your face with water and no soap is like going to the carwash and saying, “it’s ok, just use water to clean my car.”

22. Keep as much of your wardrobe as visible as possible. You wear it if you can see it.

23. If you haven’t worn it in two years? You probably won’t wear it. Get rid of it. Exception: special occasion clothing.

24. No matter how cute, don’t buy shoes that hurt in the store. It only gets worse.

25. Buy good quality clothing for the size you currently are. Throw out the thought, “I want to lose weight so I won’t spend the money on this beautiful _______.”

woman in a flowing blue top26. Stop whining if you have to shorten things. One, be grateful you have legs, and two, if you are too tall, there’s no solution.

27. If you are not good at developing and updating your look, there are those who can help you. Delegating your visual image is totally ok.

28. Take care of your teeth. Nothing says “old” more than yellowing teeth. Use a tooth brightener once or twice a year.

29. I  read this at my dentist’s office many years ago and it stuck with me: you don’t have to floss all of your teeth, just the ones you want to keep. Floss regularly.

30. Invest in a good hairstylist. You wear your hair every day. (I am lucky, I figured out how to cut my own hair.) But before that? I invested in the best stylists in town.

31. Pay attention to your brows. Eyebrows are the gateway to your face.

32. Brows are sisters, they are not twins, don’t stress when they are not a perfect match.

33. Know the colors which flatter you best. Work around a color scheme. You’ll have a wardrobe that mixes much better, and your wardrobe combinations will become endless.

34. Black is always the most available color. Learn how to utilize black to flatter your coloring.

35. When you are in a store, browsing or otherwise, be nice to the salesperson. Don’t tell her you are just looking. You will be surprised what she/he can put together for you. They also know their inventory way better than you do.

36. If you can’t sew, find a good seamstress or tailor. Alterations are so handy to make your outfit perfect for you.

37. Try a lip liner. It defines the shape of your mouth.

38. Bright lip color makes your eyes look bright and your teeth look white. Find the bright one which works for you. We all have a bright color which is great on us.

stylish woman in a hat and a maroon top39. As you get older, your styles and preferences may change. Beware of frumpiness. Again, if you think you need help, you probably do. Hire an image consultant or ask a friend whose look you admire.

40. Typically, younger women wear makeup to look more sophisticated and older women wear makeup to look younger. Know why you’re wearing what you put on.

41. When using makeup, use good brushes. It’s much easier to write with a pencil that is new than using one that is a little stub. The same principle goes for makeup brushes. The little brushes which go into compacts are not that useful- invest in a full-size set.

42. Learn what your brushes are designed to do. Using the right brush makes all of the difference when applying makeup.

43. If you paint a wall with your fingers, you will get textured walls, Same goes for applying foundation to your face. Use a foundation brush so that your skin will look natural and a lot more even.

44. Wash your foundation brush with a basic antibacterial soap daily. Your skin will thank you.

45. Try tonal outfits. If you have clothes hanging around that are the same color but not quite the same shade, throw them together and see what effect they have. Different tones of the same color often add depth to an outfit and look great.

46. Accessories are fun, but sometimes, less is more. If you are wearing a strapless dress, it doesn’t necessarily need a necklace. Try long earrings instead.

47. Saving your outfits or accessories for “good” is a waste. Here’s an example. Combine jeans with a dressy sandal. Wear what you love when you can.

48. Washable clothing is more convenient than dry clean only. Check care labels before you purchase. Know whether you are the type to take things to the dry cleaner.

49. If your partner or friend doesn’t like an outfit you are wearing? Try to develop thicker skin. A good reply could be, “That’s ok, you’ll like the next look better, stay tuned.“ The important thing is that you are happy!

50. Be kind to yourself. Be willing to make color and fashion mistakes. A lot of this is trial and error. Like sports, fashion and image take practice to get good at.

Like all fashion influencers, I have opinions. Opinions are simply that… not gospel. I welcome it when I share a look and someone doesn’t like it. Healthy discussion- and mutual respect- are what the world needs in every arena, not just for stylish living- and accepting others’ fashion is part of an accepting society.

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Nan Patrick
Nan grew up in Glens Falls, New York, and attended Boston University. She thought of herself as ”very urban” until she realized she enjoyed being a big fish in a small pond. At the very “mature” age of 23, she moved to Burlington, Vermont to open an eponymous women’s clothing store. That was a 27-year run and a wonderful experience. Her store was a place where women felt like they mattered. During that time, she married her husband, Ken, became a stepmom, became a mom, and started a second business with Mary Kay Cosmetics. Now her kids are grown, and she has a 16-year-old granddaughter… what? How did THAT happen so quickly? She was promoted to a sales director with Mary Kay. Life is good. She figured out how to make money, save money, and enjoy what she earned. She loves to travel, spend time with her friends and family, take ballet and yoga, go on fun walks with my dog, and is an avid skier who loves to ski the bumps!


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