10 Ways To Be Gritty, Not Grubby

There's a fine line between elegantly dishevelled and a full on scatty vagrant. Here's how to successfully toe that line with style...
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I once read an interview with a top fashion model where she said she liked to sleep in her makeup so as to achieve the perfect ‘smokey eye’ in the morning when she woke up.

This, frankly, made me piss myself. Firstly, were I to sleep with my eye makeup on to achieve the ‘perfect smokey eye’ in the morning, I would undoubtedly end up looking how I always look when I wake up, which is like the slightly ethnic cousin of Morticia Addams. My sister described my look as ‘you always look dishevelled. Like aggressively dishevelled. I wouldn’t want to fuck with you though’.

This got me thinking, however, about how gritty is too gritty. Now, undoubtedly at some points in my life I have been known to be gritty. I blush thinking about it now, but I think it’s fair to say that there have been some lows.

These include getting heckled by a dole queue (‘you need to sort your life out love’) whilst doing a walk of shame, projectile vomiting up the stairs of my own house and not cleaning it up for a while (okay, months) and possibly once going to work on Monday wearing the exact same outfit I wore in on Friday morning, having not been home or showered in the interim.

However, there are some things that I draw the line at. So here is the Dalston Years Guide to How to be (just) Gritty Enough

1) Not washing your hair everyday is fine. Especially if you have lots of hair. Food in your hair is not.

2) If you are going to brush your hair at someone else’s house, clean up after yourself. On my first proper date with Old Man he turned to me just as the cinema lights were dimming and whispered in my ear ‘I spent an hour cleaning your hair off my bathroom floor the other week’. This was mortifying, however, I appreciated his comic timing.

3) Stealing housemate’s food is fine. However, leaving bite marks in it- not so much. Trim carefully when stealing cheese in particular otherwise they’re liable to freak and think you have mice.

4) If you don’t have any underwear, go commando. This is much better than wearing skanky pants multiple times in a row. Try standing over a grate in a floaty dress if you’re bored also.

5) Change your bedsheets. Just change them.

6) It is always helpful to keep multiple clean clothes at work, but more importantly, befriend someone at work who’s gonna be on your side. This sista can bring clothes out to car-parks when you’re in dire need so you don’t have to walk into the office in last night’s gear, and will always have a face-wipe when you need it.


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7) If you’re going to do stuff like keep a list on your phone of everyone you’ve ever had sex with lest you forget, for God’s sake, set a pass code. Otherwise you have to explain to your nine year old cousin why the list of ‘friends’ you’re inviting to your birthday party in nine-months time only has boys on it.

8) Pay attention to the details. You may think you’re fucking nailing it at work, but I guarantee your boss will notice when you drop a rolled up note in front of him. Remember: I am classy, I am lady, I am sophisticated (until 6pm on a Friday).

9) You might be super proud of the time you took on three girls in a bitch fight in a tiki-themed cocktail bar and won, but your work colleagues probably won’t be. Pick your anecdotes carefully, my friends.

10) This is probably the most important one. Never apologise, never explain. The key to being a successful gritty but not too gritty girl is to never try to make amends for it. Being gritty can be cool. Imagine yourself as a slightly more urbane Kate Moss. Just try to remember to wipe that stain off your top.