Puttin' on the Glitz
12 ways to get head-to-toe holiday glamour in a hurry.
By Colette Bouchez
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature
Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson, MD
Cooking. Cleaning. Decorating. SHOPPING! Santa and the elves have nothing on us when it comes to a busy holiday season. As if that were not enough, we're also expected to look spectacular for all the socializing that goes on this time of year.
If glamming it up seems way too time-consuming for your busy life, take heart. Fashion and beauty experts who spoke to WebMD shared 12 tricks of the trade that can help you put on the glitz in record time.
1. Luscious lips. Among the most popular tricks of the glamour trade: Red lipstick for instant pizzazz. "If you wear a red lip color, you instantly signal 'glamour' -- even if you're wearing the simplest outfit," says Cheryl Kramer, beauty director for Redbook Magazine.
If you're thinking "oh no, not on me," Kramer says it's true -- not every woman can wear the classic matte red. But, she says, most of us can find at least a couple of shades of glossy red that look great.
Still not convinced? Makeup artist Craig Jessup suggests wearing a caramel-color "nude" lipstick topped with a bright berry gloss for a look that is both festive and trendy.
"When choosing a gloss, look for a fine grade of pearl pigment -- one that contains glitter, but ground very fine so that you don't actually see any particles. Then the look is just one of intense wetness and shine," says Jessup, resident makeup artist for the Kevyn Aucoin line of beauty products.
2. Maximum mascara. If you're going from a day at the office to night at the office party, take a tip from the stars and punch up your look with extra mascara, says Carol Straley, beauty director of the new beauty, fashion, celebrity, and lifestyle magazine Life and Style Weekly.
"Most women only wear one coat of mascara, but if you put on a second or third coat at end of the day -- concentrating on the outer edges, and making sure to coat your lower lashes -- that definitely adds drama to your look," Straley tells WebMD.
3. The smoky eye. If you have a few more minutes to spare, experts say the celebrity nighttime look of the moment is a smoldering, smoky eye -- and it's easier to achieve than you might think.
"The trick here is to use a very soft kohl pencil, in black for a really dramatic look or brown for a slightly less edgy look, and outline the whole eye," says Patty Bunch, makeup artist on the NBC TV show Will and Grace and spokeswoman for Cargo Cosmetics.
To get it right, gently lift your upper lid and use the pencil to darken the rim just under your natural lash line. Then, bring the pencil down and around to the inside rim of your lower lash line. If you have a few seconds more, finish the look by smudging brown or grey shadow on the lid and just under the lower lash line.
Because lining the rims of the eye can be tricky -- and could make your eyes water -- Bunch advises practicing before the big night. If you can't get the hang of it, she says, use the kohl pencil on the top of the lid only (like a liner), then smudge the brown or grey shadow under your lower lashes. You can also soften the whole look by dusting the eye area with a shimmering gold powder.
4. Lash out. Jessup says he gives even more allure to many a celebrity gaze by adding false lashes. While the look can easily cross the line from holiday to Halloween, Jessup says this won't happen if you follow a few simple rules.
"Always buy lashes with an invisible strip, and do bypass the heavy layers of fringe and go for the sparse, separated styles instead," Jessup tells WebMD.
The trick to applying them: Choose a glue that dries clear, and don't use more than a very thin line spread along the base of the false lashes. Let set for 30 seconds, then gently press the strip as close to your natural lash line as possible. "Put a coat of mascara on first, then the lashes, then another coat of mascara for a natural but yet full and lush look," says Jessup.
5. Let it shine. If you're looking to add holiday shine to your look without resorting to garland or tinsel, nothing does it better than the new array of shimmer products, including foundations, blushes, eye shadows, and lip glosses.
To get it right, however, heed Kramer's golden rule of glitter glamour: "You don't ever want to wear shimmer or glimmer products on more than two areas of your face," she says. "Don't use shimmer foundation and then shimmer eye shadow and blush and lip gloss all at once." Instead, choose one or two features you want to play up and apply the shine there.
"Anything beyond that and the look becomes 'Tinkerbell'," she says.
Straley agrees: 'If you highlight your brow bone and put some sparkly gloss on your lips, don't put any on your cheeks. If you wear a shimmery blush, do a matte eye with soft colors, and a sheer or neutral and not a bright red lip."
For holiday shimmer with a minimum of fuss, she says, simply use your regular daytime makeup, then lightly dust your whole face with a pale, shimmering, gold or silver powder.
6. Down with dark circles. To bring light to your face without glitter, use concealer, Jessup says. This is especially important during the holiday season, when too much eggnog and too little sleep can leave us with dark, aging under-eye circles. The trick to making your eyes pop: Choose a concealer in the same shade as your foundation -- or even one or two shades darker.
"Somewhere along the line, a trend started that involved the use of very light concealer around the eyes," says Jessup, "but all that does is make puffy tired eyes look puffier and more tired, by drawing attention to them."
To do it right, apply a darker concealer to puffy areas to reduce their appearance, then use a concealer in the same shade as your foundation to blend in the darker circles.
Dressing the Part
Of course, once you're made up to holiday perfection, you've still got one more thing on your to-do list: getting dressed. But if you follow a few rules of classic holiday style, it's easy to look chic quick -- even if you've got a few pounds to lose.
7. From basic to beautiful. Tall or short, fat or thin, all our experts say nothing is safer -- or more glamorous -- than the little black dress. But to turn it into a festive fashion statement, fashionistas say, turn to "of the moment" accessories. Among the biggest trends this year are short capes, shrugs, and evening wraps in faux fur, velvet, and sparkly knits.
"Not only are they instant 'now', but they can also cover up many trouble spots, like upper arms, or even a bulging midriff," says Nathan Cooper, executive editor of Life and Style Weekly.
The only caveat for wearing these shoulder-covering wraps, he says, is to keep your skirt narrow rather than full to get a balanced look.
8. Accentuate the positive. If you want to detract from figure flaws, Kramer says, be sure to choose clothing that plays up your assets.
"If you have great shoulders, choose an off-the-shoulder style; if you're got great legs, choose a short red skirt, but wear it with a black top to help detract from your hips or tummy area," says Kramer.
The eye always goes straight to color, Kramer says, so use it to bring attention where you want it.
9. The power of the pin. Cooper suggests pulling the same tomfoolery with jewelry, using the new brooch/pin sensation not only to focus attention where you want it, but to add a quick hit of glamour to any outfit.
"If you're in your office wearing a dark suit, just pin on a couple of very sparkly brooches and you can make your outfit cocktail-ready in no time," he says. He advises bypassing the standard one-pin-on-the-lapel look, and instead opting for a cluster of three -- two smaller pins and one dominant one nearer the shoulder.
"Or try them in unexpected places like at your waist, where the pin covers a belt buckle, or use it to close a cardigan or to give a new look to a plain black silk clutch bag," says Cooper.
A favorite evening look for Kramer is to pin the brooch in your hair. "Just close and lock the pin, slip in a bobby pin, and slide it in where you want the sparkle and shine," she says.
She advises keeping your holiday hairstyle simple, concentrating more on shiny, sleek tresses than oversized up-dos.
10. The joy of jewelry. If pins are not your thing, Cooper says another hot jewelry choice this year is the classic strand of pearls.
"We're seeing a lot of pearls on celebrities again, from dark grey or black pearls to classic white or champagne, in all lengths," says Cooper. "A lot of young celebrities are embracing this '50s classic look, and it's very chic and very now."
And still important this season: chandelier earrings. Kramer says they add glamour to any outfit. But do pair them with a simple, small necklace, or no necklace at all.
11. Fancy footwork. Nothing says sexy more than a great pair of stilettos. Add them to any outfit and voila, you're dressed up! But being fashionable doesn't have to mean being uncomfortable.
Experts say you can avoid some of the pain of wearing high heels -- particularly those sexy, strappy sandals that can cut into feet -- with "Glide," a lubricant used by bikers and runners to avoid chafing. Applied on the instep, toes and heels, it can help you dance the night away more comfortably, Kramer says.
For style that is both glamorous and comfortable, don't overlook this year's sexy ballerina flat or jeweled velvet low-heeled mule, Cooper says.
No glitzy shoes in your closet? Cooper suggests dressing up simple black pumps with buckles in rhinestone or velvet.
And, he says, do opt for a pair of fancy hose. A light texture with a lacy or fishnet pattern in black or a dark smoky grey adds glamour and up-to-the-minute style to that little black dress.
12. A fragrant finale. For a finishing touch that sends you out the door in a totally glamorous state of mind, nothing does it better than a whoosh of nighttime fragrance.
"You even walk different when you know you smell irresistible," Straley says. "A fragrance can not only make you feel more glamorous, it's the quickest way to convey the glamour signal to everyone around you, regardless of what you're wearing."
Originally published Dec. 22, 2004.
Medically updated Dec. 6, 2005.
SOURCES: Cheryl Kramer, beauty director, Redbook magazine. Craig Jessup, resident makeup artist, Kevyn Aucoin Cosmetics. Carol Straley, beauty director, Life and Style Weekly magazine. Patty Bunch, makeup artist, Will and Grace; spokeswoman, Cargo Cosmetics. Nathan Cooper, executive editor, Life and Style Weekly magazine.
©2004-2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.
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