After a year of being instructed to stay at home, and social outings well and truly off the cards, you could be forgiven for having forgotten what it feels like to dress up to the nines, or to pick out an outfit that exudes elegance as opposed to throwing on some designer loungewear for a day in the house.
But as the world slowly begins to reopen over the coming weeks, fine dining dinners and red carpet events will once again be back on the cards, and we’ll once again have the chance to experience feeling like a million dollars and embrace the full luxury lifestyle once again.
If you’re feeling a little rusty when it comes to looking your best, then you’re not alone. And, if months of closed hair and beauty salons and your favourite boutiques have left you feeling a little sub-par in the glamour stakes, then like us, you might be feeling a rising sense of panic at the prospect of that first cocktail evening in your diary.
Fortunately, getting back to your best is easier than you might think – and there is plenty of time left to prepare. To help set you off on the road to success, we’ve rounded up all you need to know to elevate your look from off-duty to all-out elegance by 12th April. And afterwards, you’ll never want to see that loungewear again.
Healthy looking hair
If your last trip to the hairdresser is but a distant memory, the chances are that you’re now dealing with split ends, grown out roots and all-round unruliness, so the first thing to do is to get yourself booked in with your favourite senior stylist, sharpish. There is certain to be a clamour for appointments once salons reopen, so don’t waste any time if you want to get in there first – a new ‘do can make all the difference when it comes to making you look and feel your best.
Of course, if your usual celebrity stylist is already booked up for months on end and you just can’t bear to go elsewhere, it’s now easier than you might think to do a DIY job. Something which would once have elicited gasps of shock from anyone who took their hair seriously is fast becoming a burgeoning trend, and if you’re still regretting that self-administered trim earlier on in lockdown then it might be time to invest in some hair extensions.
Allowing you to achieve lush, long, flowing hair in just minutes, the latest luxury offerings are super quick and fuss free to install, and with so many styles to choose from designed for all kinds of hair and colours, you’re certain to find something you’ll love.
If you’re after an even quicker fix then Bang and Pony-tail pieces are a great way to inject a little elegance into your look for just one evening, with minimal commitment.
If your hair is more than long enough already though – as is the case for many of us at the moment – then take some time to nourish the locks you already have instead. Coconut, argon and Moroccan oils are all hydrating options that will help to restore your hair back to its former glory, improving condition and adding that all-important shine.
Radiance over excess
A fresh, clean complexion never goes out of style and with the right makeup choices, can be easily achieved. Trends such as contouring and highlighting can be risky if you don’t know what you’re doing, and your efforts can quickly be scuppered by the wrong kind of lighting. So, to avoid looking muddy or sweaty when you arrive at that glamorous event, keep things simple with a more natural look. As they say, less is almost always more – and for an elegant look that is not too overdone, it’s essential.
A simple base combined with neutral shadows for the eyes will emphasise and accentuate your natural features instead of masking them. If you prefer to make a statement, then simply add a slick of a bold, red lipstick, and you’re good to go.
Avoid matte foundations and powders, which can dull the skin, instead opting for lighter products that will help to create a subtle radiance. Using a cream-based pearlescent, glimmery but not frosted eyeshadow can add extra lustre to your skin. Choose a shade that complements your skin tone and dab onto eyelids, upper cheekbones, brow bone, clavicle bones, shoulders, and décolletage for a subtle healthy glow.
Of course, a good base is nothing without an excellent canvas on which to work, so now is the time to start prioritising your skincare routine. If you’ve let things slip in recent months, then the good news is, there is still ample opportunity to get things back to normal.
A helping hand
Our hands have been going through a lot over the past twelve months, and the endless application of anti-bacterial gel as we strive to keep them germ free is no doubt beginning to take its toll. If yours are feeling dry, then now is the time to start looking after them – first, by exfoliating them thoroughly, before moisturising them with a daily intensive hand cream.
A trip to the nail bar might still be off the cards, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do our bit at home. Ensure that your hand cream includes SPF protection to prevent sun damage as we head into spring, and massage your nail beds with it each day to soften your cuticles before applying a generous slick of cuticle oil.
Finish with a simple and understated nude nail polish for a naturally elegant look.
Overhaul your wardrobe
An elegant wardrobe will never go out of style, and filling yours with luxurious and timeless staple pieces will ensure that you’re never short of something chic and sophisticated to wear. A capsule wardrobe might seem limiting, but opting for quality over quantity and considering each garment you choose carefully will ultimately ensure maximum versatility when it comes to putting together your outfits.
Even the simplest of outfits can be instantly glammed up with a few choice pieces of expensive jewellery. Pick the right metal for your skin tone – gold will complement warm undertones, while those with cooler undertones can opt for silver. The devil, as they say, is in the details, and dressing to exude elegance is no exception.
The trick to cultivating a sophisticated look is to keep everything neat, clean, and simple. Make sure that the clothes you choose are flattering on your body shape and that colours and patterns are balanced. All items should be crease-free and colour-coordinated – and remember that holes, loose threads, missing buttons, or a frayed hemline can all instantly ruin the effect.
And remember, everything in moderation. World famous fashion designer Coco Chanel once said, “take off one accessory before leaving the house” – words to live by when it comes to keeping your style clean and sophisticated.
The key to exuding true elegance is all in the mindset, and although getting the basics right is important, ultimately, it’s all about how you wear them. Confidence can go a long way, and retaining your personal sense of style is essential.