This past weekend, I attended a wedding in New Jersey. One of my cousins got married and not only was the venue beautiful, at the Lake Mohawk Country Club, but it was such a fantastic opportunity to spend time with my extended family. In today’s post, I am going to share some info on how I created my own wedding guest look, from head-to-toe.
My wedding guest look
If you follow me on social media you probably saw the dress I wore already. It was quite a find. I got it from Lord & Taylor and it’s by Alex Evenings. Truthfully, I had very little experience with this company before buying this style. However, when I put it on, and it fit like a glove, the search was over. Add to how well the dress fit, not only was it on sale, but I also had a $50 gift card. I got this dress for under $100. I…kid…you…not!
As you know, the dress itself is just a small part of a complete look, so there were some other parts of this outfit (seen and unseen) that made it all come together.
Let’s start with the shoes. The shoes weren’t easy. I tend to go with gold metallic whenever I can, but this dress needed silver. Problem was, however, they needed to be in a more muted shade, like gunmetal. After much search, I found this pair from Adrianna Papell. The positives about the shoes were that the color was perfect, the heel height wasn’t bad, they were pretty and, honestly, they got the job done. The cons were that, after long periods of standing, my feet started to swell and started to plump up around the straps of the shoes (not attractive), they soon became incredibly uncomfortable and I got a blister. So, proceed with caution. I give them a solid B+. Of course, in order to wear these shoes with bare legs, I used my tried and true, Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs.
This is a photo of me and my mom that perfectly showcased my necklace and earrings. I wish I could share more information on my jewelry. The marcasite necklace belonged to one of my great, great aunts that I somehow inherited in high school. I still have it and I wear it. Why get something new when you own a piece this beautiful that is also sentimental? The earrings are a blue sapphire diamond style that were a birthday gift from my husband. I don’t wear them often so I was happy to have a reason. If you like my mom’s necklace I can find out where she got it.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good photo, and this one hardly captures how stunning this clutch is. I carried a vintage Judith Leiber bag. No, I don’t have Judith Leiber money, I have a mother-in-law who has one of the most amazing closets of accessories and clothing. Unfortunately, we don’t have the same shoe size. If we did, I would have worn one of her ridiculously outrageous pairs, but I did have my pick of Leiber bags. I went with this snakeskin style that is probably double the price of my rent. For this, I am lucky.
The Foundation Pieces
Of course, it’s not just the outer that matters, it’s the foundation that makes an outfit look its best. I’m happy to share what I wore because I’ve got curves. When you are curvy, it’s not only important to choose pieces that work with your curves, not against them, but to choose the right foundational pieces.
First, I exclusively wear Primadonna bras, which you can read about here. If you have a large chest you must know about this brand. The particular style I wore Saturday was their Couture style. Next, for containing my curves on the bottom half I went with shapewear. I wore Bali’s One Smooth U Firm Control High-Waist Thigh Slimmer. The key to shapewear is to never buy too small, this is a huge mistake most women make, and, second, to always choose styles that sit high on the ribcage to avoid a muffin top.
I have never professed to being a beauty expert. I always tell clients I work from the neck down. However, I often get questions about my makeup, skincare regime and products I like. Considering I was someone who grew up with horrible acne, who was on Accutane twice and who has tried every skincare product (prescription and non), I feel for anyone who is going through it. Plus, being 41, I have never gotten Botox, fillers or any type of skin rejuvenation procedures and I think my skin looks pretty good. I want to mention skincare because you can’t treat your skin like garbage and then expect that when you have to look good that your skin will just cooperate.
Obvious things aside, like sunscreen and staying out of the sun, never going to bed with makeup on and being diligent about skincare, I swear by Paula’s Choice skincare products. I am such a staunch supporter of this company that I turn down doing paid sponsored blog posts for other skincare products because I am such a believer in this line. Add to that, Paula’s Choice has never paid me a penny to talk about their products. I’m just a loyal customer who thinks everyone should use them. Her product line is vast and a little overwhelming at first, but if it helps, here are the products I use.
First, I don’t use Paula’s Choice cleanser. I have nothing against her cleansers, I just found one from Eucerin, called Sensitive Skin Redness Relief Soothing Cleanser, which is not only good for redness and highly rated on Beautypedia (Paula Choice’s review of all skincare and cosmetics) but, as a very wise dermatologist once told me, “Your cleansers spend the least amount of time on your face so spend less on them.”
As far as my routine goes: In the morning, I don’t wash my face. After I shower, I use Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore Reducing Toner, followed by her Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant (which is AHHHHMAZING), her Resist C15 Super Booster with a few drops of her Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum, and, for day, I moisturize with Hydralight Shine-Free Daily Mineral Complex SPF 30 and for night her Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel. Once a week I swap out my regular exfoliant for Paula’s 10% AHA Weekly Resurfacing Treatment.
What has helped me age well is the fact that I have naturally oily skin. However, I never shine now. I credit the skincare products I use for this fact. When you are oily you want to avoid drying out the surface of you skin. Not only will you just make your skin produce more oil as a result but you will also develop a dry layer of skin that will trap the oil and just cause more breakouts.
Again, not being a beauty expert, but being a bit of a beauty junkie, I am happy to share some of the makeup products that I used for the wedding and really love. If I miss anything you want to know about, just ask!
For the face
I have been intrigued by contouring makeup. While I may be aging well, I really wanted to see if they lived up to the hype. After a lot of research, I finally settled on Kat Von D’s Shade & Light Contour Palette. All I have to say is it really lives up to all the reviews! I LOVE it! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! I already have pretty defined cheekbones, but it chisels them even more and gives me this glowing lift. Plus, seeing that drooping jowls runs in my family, and I never had much of a defined jaw bone to begin with, I use this product to contour this part of my face. Of course, blending is crucial, so I also recommend her Shade + Light Contour Brush to go with it. Again, blend, blend, blend or else you’ll look like Avatar movie characters with a striped face.
Eyes and brows
My eyes are a bit on the small side. I try to avoid gunking them up with a lot of eye makeup for this reason. Currently, I am using Bare Minerals loose eyeshadows in colors that I can’t seem to find online any longer. But, oddly, they are deep green, light gold and warm burgundy shades that I apply with Bare Minerals Double Ended Precision Brush. Never in a million years would I have chosen these color for myself, but a makeup artist recommended them and they really work. What is most important about making these colors look good is the blending. Again, I can’t stress this enough. I use their Crease Definining Brush to make the eyeshadow I apply less severe. If there is anything I have learned about makeup application is it is all in the brushes. Sometimes I feel like I have double the amount of brushes than I do in makeup.
The rest of the eye products I use are mostly old favorites. My mascara, for example, I will buy even if I am broke. It is my favorite mascara in the world, Trish McEvoy’s High Volume Mascara. For my eyebrows, because I have invisible brows without product, I have been using Laura Mercier’s Brow Definer, which is a wax/gel formula that I then dust over with her Brow Powder Duo in Auburn. I use Laura Mercier’s Double Ended Eyebrow Brush to apply both. I started using these products when the makeup artist I used on my wedding day suggested them. That was nearly eight years ago. A new product I am absolutely in love with is my eyeliner. I just started using Dior’s waterproof eyeliner in brown/black. It’s so soft, without being mushy, and just glides on.
I have gotten emails about the lip color I use. I am so bad about applying it, but, when I do, I always get compliments. I am currently using Trish McEvoy’s Lip Liner in Barely Nude, Trish’s Lipstick color called Perfection and I swap between her glosses called Sexy Petal and Sexy Nude, whichever one I grab first. On more casual days I will usually just use the gloss.
So here’s the funniest part about this whole round up of products I love. When it gets to my hair, the maintenance plummets. Certainly, I am good about keeping it trimmed and colored regularly. I also use a professionally mixed conditioner from my hairstylist to keep my red vibrant. However, when it comes to styling, I haven’t used a brush or a hair dryer in years. I use one product…ONE! I get out of the shower, towel dry and finger style my hair and once it air dries I apply this awesome styling paste from R+Co called Mannequin. It works great for long hair as well as short to give you that day old extra body look and isn’t sticky, at all. I have hair ADD, I admit, and always tell people I have about a five minute hair styling attention span, so either I keep it short and it looks great or I keep it long and it always looks like crap. I like long hair, I just don’t have the patience for what it takes for it to look good. You have to choose your battles.
While this whole round up of what it took to pull my look together may seem incredibly high maintenance, it really isn’t. With the exception of the dress, shoes and bag, everything I else I use regularly. As I said to my sister at the wedding, admittedly after like 6 vodka and tonics (the alcohol was super watered down), “The secret to looking high maintenance is to actually be low maintenance and to have your routine down pat. This way it looks like it took much longer than it actually did to look good.” Okay, perhaps that made more sense when I wasn’t sober, but the point is, pulling together a good wedding guest look, or any formal look, is to have your trusty beauty, foundation and wardrobe staples that you can count on and to think beyond just the dress, but the entire ensemble. Plus, I have another wedding in August, with a totally new group of people, and I will be wearing this exact outfit.
Accessorize with love
It should go without saying that the best makeup, haircare products and well fitting dresses on the planet will never be enough to look good if you don’t have happiness and love. Being able to spend time with my family this past weekend meant more to me than anything. I am still laughing at some of the things that happened. And if it was the decision between the perfect dress or the perfect family, I’d take the perfect family any day.