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Life

SG Wants to Know:
When was your first "Million Bucks Moment?"

everyone deserves (at least) one. get yours.

By Megan Collins | Apr 29 2014

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What was your first “Million Bucks Moment?”

I’m talking about the first time you got dressed in an outfit that made you let out a low whistle in the full-length mirror when you saw yourself head-to-toe? The outfit that forced an extended, unabashed round of finger guns at your reflection?

Maybe it was that first suit out of college you bought yourself with your first real paycheck? Or the midnight blue tux with the peak lapels you splurged on for your wedding – the one that had you reciting “Bond, James Bond” all night (much to your new bride’s exasperation). Or maybe it was simply a perfectly-broken in pair of blue jeans evoking Bruce Springsteen, circa “Born in the USA” and a beautifully faded OCBD.

{Paul Rudd’s blue tux-induced MBM in I Love You, Man}

I hope by now everyone’s had an MBM, and if you haven’t, you deserve one.

Mine came in high school. As a junior, I was asked to prom by a very handsome senior (Raj, he’s a doctor now…I don’t know why I felt the need to tell you that). This was a very big deal for a fifteen-year-old who’d only just gotten her braces off a year earlier and for whom puberty had yet to set in.

Truth bomb I’m about to drop on you, so get ready: Wisconsin is not a fashion mecca.

For most girls in my school, formalwear began and ended at frosted pastel, sparkly princess dresses. Even then, I was totally grossed out by the idea of wearing what everyone else was wearing just because everyone else was wearing it.

Instead, I took a cue from Sharon Stone at the Oscars a few years earlier. An awkward teen in the dairy state taking fashion advice from the leg-swinging vixen from Basic Instinct? Trust me, she was quite the style icon for awhile.

The look: her husband’s white dress shirt with a long satin skirt that I thought was just the absolute best thing I’d ever seen.

{Sharon Stone at the 1998 Oscars}

So off I trucked to Marshall Fields, the nicest department store in town (now it’s a Macy’s, which is fine, I guess, but Marshall Field’s was like, classy. Classy like a symphony. Classy like a monocle. Clearly, I’m still a little bitter) and found a Ralph Lauren floor-sweeping silk skirt in pink, and paired it with a white dress shirt from my mom’s closet that I tied up at the waist (hey, if you can’t take advantage of a flat midriff as a teenager who doesn’t yet have to work for it, when can you?)

Honestly I’m the last person to talk myself up, but I. Looked. Fantastic. I looked like a million bucks.

When Raj saw me, that low whistle mentioned earlier escaped his lips when he saw me…not a move endorsed by my parents, standing nearby and worrying for my teenage virtue. They really had nothing to worry about; I ditched Raj pretty soon after he’d thrown back enough wine coolers for the both of us at the after-party.

Which was fine by me. Because I wasn’t busy worrying about how I looked, or feeling insecure that others looked better than me, I had a great night. No forbidden wine coolers required.

{Julia Roberts getting her MBM in Pretty Woman}

I think women have these “million bucks moments” earlier than men do because while we’re dressing up like princesses (or, in my case, Sharon Stone), guys are renting awful-fitting tuxes with technicolor vests and three inches of pooled cuffs and a clip-on bow tie.

Or borrowing suits from their fathers that jut about two shoulder lengths out beyond their own.

I don’t think many men reflect on their personal style, the way women do from a young age. It’s often not until later – much, much later – that guys begin to invest in their appearance. That they start to care, or stop caring about being embarrassed that they care. For plenty of guys, that first MBM comes not in your teen years, but in your twenties – when you start having more money to spend on your clothes, when there’s a reason to spend more money on your clothes.

For some guys, though, that moment never comes. Whether from fear of judgment, or a lifestyle they’re convinced doesn’t require a grown-up wardrobe —  some guys just never work on their style game. They never get that first MBM.

I really believe the lack of “Million Bucks Moments” contributes to the lackadaisical attitude so many men take towards their personal style. Because once you have yours, you don’t go back. Once you know how good you *can* look, you don’t want to look anything but.

So tell me:

What was your “million bucks moment?”

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