24 Things That Make You Look MESSY!

As my students used to say years ago, “honesty time chommie(s) …”  – most of us are a little messy. Yes, you get the people that put the “Devil” in “The Devil Wears Prada” to shame. But most South Africans are a little messy in some way, and some …  well, some are just shamelessly scruffy, dishevelled and “nogals” shabby. Although appearances aren’t everything, it is at least important that you know what is messy to make an informed decision when you next exit your safe haven known as home.

#1 Wrinkled Clothes

Wrinkled shirt aka messy

Yes – some clothes are meant to be wrinkled – like a pleated skirt. Anything other than that should be wrinkle-free. But if you insist on sporting the wrinkled-chic shirt or frock, know that the people around you think you are scruffy for days.

#2 Whites That Aren’t White Anymore

Shirt that's not white anymore

And this is what is disappointing about white clothes – it feels like you barely brought the whites into your lair of a cupboard, and it changes colour to a light putrid yellow. But as frustrating as it is – know that off-white-whites are super scruffy.

#3 Hair Ties or “Elastic” Bangles

Using your hair tie as a bracelet

Practical perhaps, but messy – absolutely! And what makes it worse is if the hair bracelet has strands of old hair wrapped around it too – what, will you make muti from it later? Rather pop the elastic in your pocket or handbag and not your arm.

#4 Chipped Nail Polish

Chipped manicures

As frustrating as the practice is to keep your nails looking “ncah” – at the very least, keep them neat and clean. If you can’t afford to spend your hard-earned moola on a nail salon – try some of the gelish paint ranges like Sally Hansen or at least a product that lasts the commute to work (at work, you can play “touch-up-touch-up” in the loo).

#5 Pants That Are Too Long and Ill-Fitting Clothes

I'll fitting clothes that make you look messy

Looooong and looooooose pants … it looks messy. And what’s worse is if you keep stepping on those pants, they will be dirty and frayed in a Jozi minute. Most laundromats have a resident tailor that can take in pants for a nominal fee. So take the “me” out of messy and visit that tailor.


Nothing says yucky more than clothes that are a few sizes too small. Muffin tops and something-toes will make you a popular albeit unfortunate topic of discussion.

Many people don’t want to be larger than the size they always have been – so they squeeze into clothes in that size. Rather get comfortable and look like a million bucks in a size 16 than look like an over-stuffed boerewors roll in a size 10.

And be honest with yourself – will you lose all that weight in the next month? You can always take in the bigger clothes once you do lose weight. Meanwhile, buy the bigger size and look fab in your current size.

#6 Too Many Bags

Look, if you are pummelling into the house after the monthly shop – you are excused. But never carry too many bags when trying to make a serious, I-mean-business, I-am-a-professional-adult impression. It looks ridiculous, messy, and a little like you are losing it.

Also, don’t use a diaper-sized bag unless you have kids under the age of seven.

#7 Noticeable Fur Baby Hair and Fluff

Animal hair on your clothing

Well, as much as it is an honour to wear your fur babies hair on your clothes – other people might judge you as scruffy. Get a roller for work, your car and your home. This way, you can de-fur before you meet with your director, clients, hot date (only if you are single or the hot date is your significant other) or during a job interview.  #SayNoToFur

  #8 Poor Fitting Shoes

You must always Cinderella it. The shoe must always fit perfectly – not too small (like the evil stepsisters) and not too big (like Cinder’s 12-year-old half-sister). If you bought shoes too large – get inner soles from Dischem or Clicks; if they are too tight, you get shoe stretchers that can stretch your shoes slightly. Other than that… just buy shoes that fit and donate shoes that don’t.

#9 Frayed Cuffs or Hems

Frayed cuffs look messy

This isn’t the 90s! Frayed jeans and pants and cuffs aren’t grunge chic – just grunge-shabby.

#10 Greasy Hair That’s Worn Loose

Greasy, messy hair

Look, nobody expects you to wash your hair daily. But if you are going to wear it loose – wash your hair daily. Nothing, nada, niks, zilch looks as bad as a lady or gent that wears his/her hair loose when his/her hair isn’t 100% clean.

Those fine, oily, dreadlock-ish strands that may look fresh to you are, in fact, making you the laughing stock amongst your co-workers and looks beyond unkempt and elevates you to look like a 15th Century villain – sies man! Just tie your hair up for the sake of your reputation and nearest and dearest’s sanity if your hair isn’t 100% clean.


#11 Underwear Showing

Oooo eh eh! Fashion may at some stage have dictated that underwear needs to show, but please reconsider this in 2018 and beyond. Faded bra straps, with only one hook still operational and back fat on display, just don’t do anyone any favours. M-E-S-S-Y! There are so many options for bra-wearers to consider these days. Go for a proper fitting and invest in the right bras for your outfits. It looks super sloppy if your bra hangs out for all to see.

#12 Foundation That Doesn’t Match

Foundation that doesn't match

Base isn’t a tanning method, and neither is it a bleaching option. Every makeup store has an arsenal of people ready to assist you in selecting the right base for your skin tone. Don’t look like Bobo the Clown or someone that just jumped out of Jersey Shore. It looks tacky for days if your base is too orange/dark or light. Test! Test! Test!

#13 The Missed Belt Loop

Missed belt loops

This may not be a train smash, but it makes you look sloppy. And nobody likes to be labelled as sloppy!

#14 Dirty Shoes

Dirty shoes make you look messy

It’s a dusty and muddy world – but your shoes don’t have to reflect this. A quick wipe-wipe could mean the difference between being a mc scruffy or a mc neaty.

#15 Stains (Pit, Sauce, Old, Deodorant)

Stains, whether from sweat, spaghetti carbonara, café latte, your deodorant or makeup, are annoying, and take you from hero to zero on the neat/scruffy-ometer instantly. Whatever your stain of choice or fate – deal with it.

Google always knows the answer – don’t let your sweaty pit stains ruin your day and relationships at work. Don’t let your beetroot lunch – ruin your life. Take charge of your stains.

#16 Dirty Glasses

Dirty glasses

Anyone that ever has worn glasses knows that just keeping the suckers clean is a full-time job. Even with the best intentions, it seems grease finds and attaches itself to your lenses. But keep them clean and everyone’s impressions of you grime-free!

#17 Over Accessorising

Don't over accessorise

Here Coco Chanel says it best: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.”

#18 Wearing Tekkies In Non-Tekkie Situations

Tekkies are messy

Ooooo but South Africans – Crocs aside – tekkies are almost seen as national dress wear. But please, please, please – keep the tekkies for the gym, the hiking trails and the sports field – but for goodness sake – nowhere else!

#19 Showing Up With Wet Hair

Wet hair

Not a crime at all. Just know that when you show up in any situation with wet hair other than when you walked out of the sea, shower or pool – you look a mess. If you have no power in the morning, then you possibly can be excused, but only if loadshedding stage 8 is a thing

#20 Leggings As Pants

The fact that this must be addressed is scandalous. But leggings (the see-through kind) aren’t pants. And know if you wear them as if they are, someone should tell you this… everyone is discussing it and not in a good way. Say no to wearing pantyHOse as pants.

#21 Yesterday’s Makeup

Panda eyes look messy

Some call it a walk of shame, others a babalaas, others running out of makeup remover. But whatever the reason, don’t look like a panda because of yesterday’s makeup.

#22 Sleep In Your Eyes

Sleep in your eyes

While on the topic of panda eyes. If you prefer to go to work or wherever fresh-faced (aka don’t feel like doing anything), just wipe the crusty bits of sleep from your eyes. Then at least, you will look slightly less derelict.

#23 Banana Clips – Un-Styled Half Buns

Banana clips are strictly used when blow drying your hair, in the shower or bath or washing your face. And that’s it. In any other situation, they are just doing you a disservice. As easy and convenient as they are – just don’t do it.

The un-styled and messy half-buns are also a great way to make you look like a mess that no one should take seriously. With just a little effort and exploring on YouTube or Pinterest – doing your hair can be great fun and take less than five minutes.

#24 Cracked Heels

Cracked heels

In winter, the cracked canyons known as your heels may be acceptable to you because it is hidden in socks, boots and the like. But exposing the world to your crevassed heels in summer is a disservice to the community and yourself. It instantly makes you look scruffy. With a million remedies available, the hidden caves of your heels can be banished forever.

Anything you would add to the list? Please drop a comment below.



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A Little About Sparkle Ellie:

The dream is to inspire dreams in others and, by so doing, add more sparkle and shine to the South African people and nation. Thank you for reading this blog; you are inadvertently supporting a fellow South African realise her dream. Sparkle on and stuff! 😊


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