“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”
― Coco Chanel
This weekend I am going to the Secret Cinema special screening of Wes Andreson’s latest film the Grand Budapest Hotel. The dress code is “strictly fine evening attire” and women in particular are invited to come dressed in their most glamorous haute couture (my favourite). As exciting as the idea of dressing up in haute couture style may be, looking truly glamorous requires a lot of effort. Some of us may even be a little intimidated by this idea, especially if we are busy, not feeling too stylish or lack confidence to wear glamorous evening wear. Most of us have been there, including myself.
I have discovered over the years that looking stylish and dressing up for events (or any occasion) does not have to be stressful. I invite you to have fun with the process and to help you, here are my 6 style tips on how to make sure you look your most glamorous and confident at any social event.
1. Get in the mood for style
(I know this is an obvious one, but do make sure you know what the dress code on your invitation means.) Once you know what the requirements are, start preparing for the event by getting in the mood for it. Put together a mood board online from images that inspire you – I love using Pinterest – or cut out pictures from magazines of dresses you love, red carpet celebrities and accessories. I, for example, have visited several vintage shops, purely for inspiration. I know how hard it is to find time in our busy schedules for something like this, but it needn’t take long – have a 15 minute tea or coffee break and flick through a couple of magazines. Get in creative mood. Creating a stylish look is a creative process.
2. Know yourself and celebrate what you love about your body
On my recent trip to Paris, I discovered one of the main secrets behind French women’s elegance: they appreciate their natural body shape and know what to wear to flatter their shape (and what not to wear). I am not talking about being critical of your body here. Look at yourself in the mirror and admire parts of your body that you love most. Make sure you know how to show them off. Maybe you love your feminine curves, so accentuate your waist and bust. Maybe you always get compliments about your long legs, show them off with a shorter dress or a slit. Maybe your small feminine shoulders and arms deserve attention, then wear a strapless dress. Similarly, there is a way to balance what you feel is out of proportion.
If you are not sure what work for your body shape, consider hiring a personal style consultant.
3. It’s not only about the dress. Think about your entire look
Have you ever been in a situation where you bought a perfect dress but after couldn’t find any accessories or shoes to go with it? I have…
Today, I decide on the style of my entire outfit before going shopping, so I know exactly what to look for. Here are a couple of questions to help you decide what look you want to create.
Decide where you want to make an accent: bold colour of the dress, statement earrings or necklace, bright shoes and handbag?
What mood inspires you: romantic (think lace or flowy silk silhouette)? Classic? Minimalist with clean lines and neutral colours? Bold and daring with bright colours or trendy shapes?
And most importantly, what outfit expresses who you are and your uniqueness in the best way?
4. Make sure you have the right underwear
One of the things I learned when training to be a personal style consultant is that having the right underwear can change the entire outfit. Final preparatory step before going shopping for an evening outfit is buying the right underwear. Go for a fitting with a shop assistant if you are not sure what size you are and what shape suits you best. Consider buying Spanx, especially if you are going for a bodycon dress or very light silk.
5. Remember comfortable=confident
Now that you feel inspired, know what you are looking for and have the right shapewear with you, you can go shopping (or look in the back of your wardrobe if you are a lucky owner of numerous evening gowns). Make sure you can enjoy yourself in your chosen outfit. You are going to the event to have fun. Can you sit comfortably in that dress? Can you have food without feeling self-conscious in a bodycon dress? Can you stand all night and dance in those shoes?
6. Pamper yourself before the event
Book a pampering session for the day of the event to feel like a star on the red carpet. Have your hair and make up done. It’s fun and is a great confidence booster. Last time I went to an event, I had my hair done in Old Hollywood style with side-swept waves, a look I had long desired to try. It made my evening. Has there been a look that you have always wanted to try but couldn’t do at home? This is the perfect time to try it.
How do you get ready for glamorous social events? I would love to hear from you in the comments area below.
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