One of my favorite pastimes is watching the red carpet. I am a fanatic for haute couture gowns. But, alas, I no longer have cable, and hence, I don’t get to watch E!’s pre-awards show coverage like the good ole days of yore. However, my recap of last year’s Golden Globes was one of the most fun to write, so I decided I wouldn’t deny myself the pleasure of (nit)picking last night’s fashion. But I must add the disclaimer that without having seen the fashion in action, waltzing down the carpet, my analysis is based solely on still photos.
BEST RISKIEST CHOICE: Lucy Liu
This dress is one that a lot of people won’t like, but I totally love it. Yes, it’s reminiscent of wallpaper you’d find hung in the family dining room of a 19th century house, but somehow Lucy Liu is pulling off this dress. The shape is classic ball gown as done by Carolina Herrera, but the bold, floral print is unexpected and gorgeous. Lucy’s long, fishtail braid brings a modern touch to the look. And with so much going on in the dress, it was smart to select simple, diamond drop earrings as her only jewelry.
You may think of September as the harbinger of the school year, cooler weather and football season. That may all be true, except for the cooler weather in Texas, but in my life, fall is better known as gala season. Because of my day job (yep, I have one, and it’s not blogging!), I go to lots of events. And styling myself appropriately for each event is like an Olympic sport for me. Just this weekend I attended one brunch, one cocktail, and one black tie event. I thought I’d share my trade secrets, in no particular order.
My red carpet wearing idol, Charlize Theron
PLAN EACH OUTFIT WITH A PROPER RUN-THROUGH
Don’t just pull a dress out of your closet two hours before the event and slap it on with some shoes. Yes, sometimes I’m working off a last minute invite, but typically I’m doing my dress selection at least a week in advance. I’ll try the dress on, decide on shoes and accessories – jewelry, handbag, and, if needed, a coat or wrap. And don’t forget to carefully select your undergarments (see my True Story below). The advance planning allows for adequate time to fill in any missing items. Continue reading →
In this (infrequent) series of posts, I’ll pull looks from past events and walk through my styling strategy, from hair to shoes.
Commonly looked at as the unofficial start of gala season in Austin, Ballet Austin’s Fête is one of the hottest events of the year. Historically a black tie, sit down dinner, in 2009 a committee was formed to put together a smaller-dollar ticketed cocktail after-party, cheekily dubbed fête*ish. That year, Fête and fête*ish were held in the then unfinished Austonian. And in fact, much of fête*ish took place on the ground floor of the high-rise, now better known as Second Bar + Kitchen (one of my faves!), Bar Congress, and Congress. The party played up it’s flirty namesake, complete with a burlesque singer, absinthe cockails and pole dancing. This was going to be fun.
THE DRESS: With a party called “fête*ish”, I had the perfect opportunity to wear a dress that was ultra girly and playful. What better choice than a Betsey Johnson cocktail dress? I decided on this little number to the left – strapless, hot pink satin with black sequin trim and a very full black tulle petticoat. I found it on ebay and bought if for around $150, if memory serves me right. I don’t usually buy clothes online, but I had tried on similar style Betsey Johnson dresses and was fairly confident in which size to buy. Luckily, it was a perfect fit. Continue reading →
FRIDAY EVENING I arrived in Seattle the Friday morning before the wedding on Saturday. That evening, they hosted a fun barbecue at a park with the most spectacular view of the city. Afterwards, we drove to Poulsbo out on the Olympic peninsula so that we could get an early start Saturday morning. I had insisted that we do a make-up run-through sometime on Friday, so about 11 PM in our hotel room, we finally had our chance.
7:00 PM: While babysitting my BFF’s kids, I receive a text from a good friend inviting me to go to a fundraiser dinner with him tomorrow night. It’s a $1000/plate event benefiting Share Our Strength. Umm, I guess I can skip ballet class for that. What’s the attire?
10:00 PM: After much investigation, I receive confirmation that the dress is “Business/Dressy
Business”. I interpret that as “Cocktail” for women. Hmm, this may be difficult. I know it’s odd, but I actually have more formal options than cocktail in the dress archives. And as I mentioned in my Fashion on a Shoestring post, I haven’t been shopping in a looong time.
11:00 PM: As suspected, my dress options are limited. Let’s just say I would be in better shape (pun intended) if this were a stand-up cocktail affair. I need to find a dress I can semi-comfortably sit in for a multi-course meal. Yikes.
12:30 AM: No decisions are being made tonight. I leave the dress options hanging on the door and go to bed. Will deal with it in the morning.
I’ve been on a super tight budget these days; one where my only permitted shopping is at the grocery store for food. However, THE fashion show of the year for TRIBEZA Style Week was coming up, and I didn’t have anything to pull from the dress archives to wear. While short on cash, I did have some Banana Republic Rewards burning a hole in my pocket, so I visited the Gap (BR Rewards are redeemable there).
All sale items were an additional 30% off, so I carefully combed those racks in the far-reaching corner of the store. I found this cream-colored maxi-dress, which was on sale for $29.99. And with the additional 30% off, it was only $20.99. SCORE! It’s made of a silky fabric and has an interesting cutout in the back. I knew properly styled with the right hair, make-up, and accessories, this could be a great look for the fashion show. Continue reading →
Last time we talked, Jenn had responded to some make-up inspirations that I sent her. She was on board for a neutral palette of an overall peach overtone, with punched up eyes. Based on that information, I devised an “ingredients list” to cook-up Jenn’s perfect wedding make-up look. Some of the products she would buy, and some I would bring with me. To come up with this list, I mentally walked through her make-up application.
For this new series of posts, Jenn will pull looks from past events and walk through her styling strategy, from hair to shoes.
In March 28, 2008, Austin welcomed a new, world-class performing arts center, the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Center for the Performing Arts. A 10-year project, the Long Center opened to the public with an action-packed weekend of events, highlighted by a black-tie gala dinner and show. This was going to be a special night, and a special look was necessary. Continue reading →
Now that I had some essential information about Jenn’s wedding, my next step was to find some make-up looks that would work for the bride. I wanted to go with a natural palette, since the wedding ceremony would be outdoors. Also, I know that one of the bride’s favorite colors is orange, and she would be wearing an orange orchid in her hair. I thought that shades of peach and brown would compliment her warm skin undertones, the orchid and the beautiful outdoor setting. Here are some looks I pulled for her:
With the exception of Natalie Portman’s raspberry lips, the emphasis in each of the looks is the eyes. And each of the women are wearing peachy rose cheeks that I thought would work well to give Jenn that “blushing bride” look. I sent all the looks to Jenn for her feedback. Generally, she was on board for the direction I was going. The only look she wasn’t a fan of was Anne Hathaway’s dark under eyeliner and bottom lash mascara, conceding that may look so harsh due to Anne’s fair skin. If I haven’t already mentioned this, Jenn does not wear make-up on a daily basis, so it was a fair concern.
Now that I’ve got a solid direction to head towards, I need to create an “ingredient” list to cook up the perfect wedding look for my beautiful Jenn!
NEXT STEP: Putting together a shopping list of products.
I cannot be held accountable for my love of makeup and beauty products. It’s all the fault of that beautiful woman in the photo. That’s my mom, Estelita. She was meticulous with makeup and devout in her beauty regimen. It rubbed off. And hey, if there’s a chance that I’ll get carded in my 40s like she did, you better believe I will continue to try and emulate her. By her strong example, I learned how to do my own manicure, to wash my face every night with a mild cleanser, and to wear appropriate undergarments (no VPL here!), among many other nuggets of mom wisdom.