Refining your Holiday Look: Advent Calendar Round up II
Week 2 of the INTO MIND Advent Calendar was all about preparing for your biggest, most exciting event this holiday season, from setting the stage to the final prep. Scroll down for a complete round up of all seven tips that were sent out last week. What are you wearing this holiday season?
Preview for week 3
December may be the month of special occasions, parties and socialising, but it's also a time of reflection. That's why the third week of the Advent Calendar will invite you to forget about your look and wardrobe for a moment and instead do a bit of deep thinking on what it is that makes you spend any time on your style at all, i.e. what fashion means to you, what role personal style plays in your life. Just you and your thoughts. No sketching, planning or structuring required. In fact all you need to follow the tips of week 3 is your head and perhaps a pen to write notes if you want to.
If you want to receive the Advent Calendar tips for week 3, you can still sign up here via email or just like INTO MIND on Facebook. The first tip of week 3 will be sent out tonight at 6pm CET. As usual, I will also be posting all tips as a round up next week here on the blog.
Day 8 | Set the Stage
Welcome to week 2 of the INTO MIND Advent Calendar! This week's tips and assignments will be all about getting ready for your biggest event this month. Whether it's christmas with your family, a new year's party or any other holiday event you are super excited about. Before you can start planning your look, you first need to set the stage and find out exactly what you will be doing, i.e. what you need to dress for. This step is key if you want to avoid scenarios like 'you in your highest heels at a party with a huge dance floor and little else' or 'you in a super short dress and 10 denier tights at an all-night outdoor event’. So, ask the hostess or whoever is organising the event the basics: Where, who, what, how, when. Will you be dancing, will there be food (especially important for choosing lip products), is it a casual event, will it be outdoors, etc. Then write a detailed set of guidelines for your look and keep them in mind during the next stages of planning.
(image by Henrique Gendre via Vogue Brasil)
Day 9 | Create a Concept
The process for planning a single outfit is very similar to planning a whole wardrobe. The first goal should always be a refined, well thought-out concept. Today, work on developing a style concept, much like this one, for your special occasion look, but obviously on a much smaller scale. Start by putting together a good old mood board, my favourite thing ever. Find lots of inspiration in magazines and online, arrange them all on a digital or physical mood board and see if you can spot an overall theme. If you can't, cull some pictures and find new ones, until you end up with a mood board that a) you love and b) looks coherent. Once you are happy, extract individual elements: specific colours, items, textures, combinations, make up, etc. You will probably find far too many elements to incorporate into just one look, so make sure you rank them by priority and examine how they could all work together: cross anything you don't like 100% or that doesn't fit into your overall theme off your list. Aim for a final set of 4 - 10 elements.
(image: Dolce & Gabbana F/W 2012)
Day 10 | Nitty-Gritty
Roll up your sleeves, today we'll work on perhaps the most important component of your look: your main items. Focus on your dress, your coat, your top, your skirt, your footwear. Ignore the rest (accessories, hair and make up) for now. Start by inspecting your final elements and mood board from yesterday and ask yourself which main items and which proportion would best represent the overall look you are going for. A longsleeve knit dress with elaborate detailing across the sleeves? A short patterned skirt + a loose-fitting silk top? Obviously, you not only need to know what kind of items you want, but also what's available, so browse your existing wardrobe and go-to online shops and take your time to select pieces that could form the foundation of your look. Consider a few different options and make sure you filter all of your ideas through the set of guidelines you wrote on day 8. Remember that you do not need to express the entirety of your chosen elements/ mood board through your main items – your accessories and beauty look will fill in any gaps.
(image: Mert & Marcus for Vogue Japan)
Day 11 | Embellishments
After you have chosen the main pieces of your look you can move on to the fun part: the embellishments. Go back to your mood board and your set of elements and think about what you could supplement your main pieces with to express your mood board even better? What elements are not yet represented, which need to be emphasized, which tweaked? Think: Hair, make up, jewellery, nail polish, tights, bags, belts and details like rolling up sleeves or (un)tucking hemlines. Write down some ideas for each and then play around with a few different combinations until you find one that speaks to you 100% and that you can implement without straining your budget too much. When planning out your make up, make sure you also think about which products you are going to use and how you could make your look a little more party-proof. Special occasions usually call for a slightly different skin routine, i.e. heavier foundation, a matte finish and a long-lasting formula, because of all the picture taking, dancing, etc. And: If you are not a fan of panda eyes and lipstick stains on your glass, swap out your regular mascara, liner and lip colour for smudge-proof, long-lasting formulas.
(image: Gucci F/W 2011)
Day 12 | Survival Kit
Let your outfit plans incubate for today and instead focus on preparing a survival kit for your big event. Even if you leave the house looking all polished and ready to go, accidents do happen and even the most long-wearing make up needs a touch up after a few hours of partying. With a mini survival kit in your bag you can rest assured knowing you are prepared for any eventualities, like smudges, fading make up, blisters, broken nails, etc. Don’t pack any more than you need: Examine your outfit and also the event you are going to and figure out what minor accidents could happen and what part of your make up you will need to touch up. For example, if you want to wear your new high heels and know you will be standing up a lot, pack some blister plasters and two of those cushion-y inserts. If you want to wear a bright nail polish (= chipping would show up a lot) bring a nail file and a pre-packaged nail polish remover wipe. Really try to keep your survival kit as light as possible: look for travel-sized or single-use versions of your chosen products or create your own by transferring products into mini containers.
Some suggestions for things you might want to bring: Blotting papers, concealer, powder compact with mirror, lip product, eyeliner, mini perfume vial, eye drops, hand cream, nail file, hand sanitizer, deodorizing wipes, nail polish remover wipes, hair pins/ties, blister plasters, heel cushions, mini brush, gel/hairspray, gum, ibuprofen, dental floss.
(image: Jean Shrimpton by Stan Meagher 1966)
Day 13 | Fitting
A detailed visual concept is the first step to a great look, but only a test-drive of the complete outfit allows you to a) really tell whether a look works in its entirety and b) notice functional shortcomings before the big day, i.e. before it's too late. So: Reserve about an hour today to try on your look from head to toe: Your main items, accessories, underwear, hair, make up, jewellery, everything. Pay attention to three factors:
- Time. How long does it take you to create your look, including hair and make up? Timing your routine now will save you a ton of stress later and give you the chance to adjust your process if necessary.
- Look. The litmus test: Does your outfit express your style concept well, do all of the individual elements fit together or do you need to add/remove/change anything? Make sure you examine your look under the same lighting conditions as those of the event. And: Get someone to take a flash photo of you to check for any visible lines or see-through fabric and to ensure your make up shows up alright on pictures (e.g. whether your foundation really does look ‘dewy’ as opposed to shiny or shimmery).
- Comfort. Can you walk, dance and sit comfortably in your outfit? Does anything tug, scratch, ride up, pull, dig in or in any way feel bad on your skin? Is your bag light enough for you to carry around all night? Don’t sacrifice comfort for style: You want to be able to enjoy your time with family and/or friends and not have to constantly pull down your dress or hold in your stomach.
(image: Mario Testino for Vogue Italia)
Day 14 | Final Prep
If you are anything like me, the days around Christmas and New Year's are always so busy and exciting you won't have the time or even want to think about stuff like getting your dress to the dry cleaners or polishing your shoes. Even if your event is still a while away, take some time out this weekend to get all the individual items of your look ready. Clean and iron your main items and deal with any minor repairs. Take your shoes to a cobbler to fix things like broken or worn down heels, or simply clean and polish them. Dust off all of your jewellery and accessories. Check that you have all the make up products and hair utensils you need. Book any appointments (hair salon, nails, hair removal). Pack your purse and finalize your survival kit. As a last step, put all of the items you need to create your look on a separate shelf or a drawer so you have them all in one place and ready to go on the big day. Then: drink some tea and put on your comfiest lounging clothes. After a full week of outfit planning I suggest you now take a break from styling and instead use the last week before Christmas to do some soul searching. Stay tuned for week 3 of the INTO MIND Advent Calendar featuring lots of ideas on how to dig a little deeper and find out what style, fashion and your own sense of aesthetics mean to you.
(image: Paolo Roversi for Vogue Paris)