First and foremost, contact the offices of Queen Elizabeth and notify whoever picks up the phone that you would like to be considered for the next Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire slot. Having the word “Dame” in front of your name (i.e. Dame Maggie Smith) is like having a really spectacular belly button (i.e. Gisele Bundchen’s): you don’t even need to get dressed. In fact, you shouldn’t. Just let your Dame, or your belly button, be the whole outfit. It’s a moral obligation to the eyeballs of the world.
If neither of those things is available, move onto Plan B — a really spectacular head adornment. Like salt on cantaloupe or Nutella on grilled cheese, this topping should be unexpected yet sensational. A sculptural creation that could easily live inside a museum. A velvet brain hug. A terrycloth towel. A witch hat.
Plan C involves your neck. Wrap it in something soft. A scarf is fine, but make it a snake-print one. Feather boas, cashmere turtlenecks, buttery pearl necklaces and velvet ribbons are also accepted.
Plan D stands for décolletage. Show it off in a striped button down by day and a dress that dips below your collarbones by night. Don’t forget your bedroom eyes.
Are your shoulders cold? Plan E is ready and waiting to sweep you up in an enormous, fluffy hug of a coat. The kind of coat that Leonardo DiCaprio wore in The Revenant, or that Justin Bieber might don for a casual stroll in L.A.
A Dame knows her micro-floral prints like she knows her quippy zingers, so feel free to break out the fertilizer in Plan F. Put on a literal garden variety blouse with a high-waisted skirt that does your diaphragm proud. If nothing in your wardrobe fits this description, give Laura Ingalls Wilder a ring.
Plan G is where things get a little “cray,” to use the verbiage of Downtown Abbey’s Dowager Countess (just kidding, she would sooner choke on a crumpet). Indulge your most impractical accessory cravings: non-waterproof umbrellas, clarinets, bicycles, small children, single-malt scotch, ornate chairs.
And finally, Plan H, which involves infinite attitude and zero clothing. Practice withering stares, kind brow furrows and pursed-lip outrage in front of a mirror. Show a sly middle finger to the life expectancy for women’s careers in the movie industry. Become the conservative matriarch of an aristocratic family. Retain a professorial position at the finest school of witchcraft and wizardry in all the land. Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee.
Boom. Consider yourself Maggie Smith-ified.
If you need more style inspiration, feast your eyes upon Felicity Jones and Chloe Sevigny.
All photos via Getty Images.