Monday, March 10, 2008

Doing it DIY

I adore luxury. I love pedicures, manicures, facials, getting my hair done and wearing nice clothes. But sometimes, it's true: If you want something done, you've got to do it yourself. I'm on a budget. I don't make lots of money, but that's no reason why I (or anyone else) can't look like a million bucks.

1. Know what you want.
Look for pictures of people whose style you admire, then try to emulate its essence. For example, let's take Grace Kelly. The Princess of Monaco was always elegant, wearing clothes that were tasteful and tailored, often favoring full skirts, fitted tops and flattering drapery. She mostly didn't wear large patterns, her skirts hit at about the knee or lower, and she wasn't spilling out over plunging necklines. So when you go shopping, stick to this criteria and look for clothes that are conservatively but flatteringly cut, choose solid colors or dainty patterns, look for things that are or can be belted--but don't forget the gloves and headscarf. Which brings me to my next point:

2. Accessorize.
You can get a lot of mileage out of a simple, solid dress with the proper accessories, and you'll notice that's what many women in the 40s and 50s did. You won't find sequined shirts, rhinestone-studded skirts or busy prints, but you'll see solid prints in simple lines with bold jewelry, gloves and hats. It makes all the difference. Let's look at Audrey Hepburn in her iconic look from the beginning of Breakfast at Tiffany's as she eyes the pieces in the window. Her dress by Givenchy is beautiful in itself in solid black with clean lines, but what everyone really remembers is the assortment of pearls at her neck, the sunglasses and the gloves. If you can, spend a little more on your accessories, because they are the first thing to make you look cheap (which is different from being on a budget). And besides, you're better of if you...

3. Learn to sew.
When you can sew, you can take almost anything and make it look great. Add trim to a tired skirt, have some fun with buttons, or make the easiest pattern you can find in a crisp, richly-colored fabric. Perhaps most importantly, you should learn to tailor your own clothes so they fit just right. Of course you can take them in to a professional tailor, but that costs money. Still, the tailor will probably cost less than if you shop at a high-end store for the shirt that fits like a glove while you're still in the dressing room.

4. Prioritize.
This is key to any budget. Think about the things that are most important to you and the look you're trying to achieve. How much is it worth to have someone else dye your hair versus doing it yourself? Do you find all mascaras to be pretty much equal, but you're picky about your eyeshadow? Put your money where it matters.

5. Remember that practice makes perfect.
The first time you paint your own nails, they may not be exactly right, but they'll be better the next time, and the time after that, until they're virtually indistinguishable from the manicure you'd get at a spa. The same goes for dying your own hair, maintaining your eyebrows, styling an updo or whatever else you choose to do for yourself. Don't forget that YouTube is not just for stupid cat videos; you can also find some really great tutorials.

Now, off with you! You don't have to wait until you can afford a team of experts to create your perfect look. It'll take some work doing it all on your own, but it's worth it to feel good and take time out for yourself.

1 comment:

QuiteLight said...

The stars probably didn't DIY all that often, but I'm sure everyone else did!

I LIKE grooming myself, and wouldn't want to give up that pleasure even if I did wallow in wealth. Althought I will make an exception for facials... or a day at a spa...

But my home manicures & pedicures are second to NONE.

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