Instant Glamour & Fashion Fixes

Sometimes life happens quickly & we don’t have time to construct glamorous outfits or do elaborate makeup. We just have a few seconds & we have to go, go, go! I wrote this little guide to “instant glamour” to help you out in these kinds of situations. Of course, when we only have a few seconds, the last thing you want to do is dig around my website trying to find an article! My suggestion is that you print this out & stick it on the inside door of your makeup cabinet or somewhere near your closet. I hope it helps!

Situation: You’re dying for a coffee/some food/a jaunt to the library but you’re wearing your pyjamas & just can’t be bothered putting anything together.

While you could just throw on jeans, the best solution is a prepared incognito outfit. This is something that you really need to think about in advance. I wrote about the incognito outfit in my first column for Cosmopolitan magazine.

Prescription: It’s time for the ubiquitous headscarf & a pair of big, dark sunglasses. You don’t need to wear huge ovals if you don’t want to, but a pair of sunglasses which cover as much of your face as possible are your best weapon against a world for which you are unprepared! Add lip gloss if you feel the need.

When it comes to clothing, my incognito outfit of choice usually consists of a long cardigan & my New Rock boots. My cardigan comes down to my knees & buttons quite high, so I can actually get away with just wearing that if push comes to shove, though I usually wear a t-shirt & a skirt underneath! The idea is to have one main item — like a long cardigan or a dress — which you can then accessorise easily.

Situation: You receive a phone-call asking for you to come in & interview for your dream job… in half an hour.

Regardless of what sort of job you’re going for, in any kind of official capacity (job interview, meeting with bank manager, etc.) you want to look alert, kempt & enthusiastic. The best way to do is this to keep your makeup natural, by covering any imperfections & enhancing your eyes. Your outfit should be simple but well put together, & CLEAN! (Use your clothes brush or I will come after you!) Remember that at some workplaces, the person who interviews you may not be who you end up working under, so it is always best to play it a little bit safe or conservative. You can break out the glittery Louboutins later…

Prescription: Cleanse, tone & moisturise your skin. Apply primer. Conceal everything which needs concealing, then add foundation. Curl your eyelashes & apply a coat of mascara to the top lashes. Also put a little mascara on the outside corners of your lower lashes — this gives you a wide-eyed, open look.

Wear a black or white long-sleeved v-neck tee — these are the sort of thing you should always have clean, or at least a spare! — with a pencil skirt. Remember to wear a white or nude bra if your top is white! For a bit of colour & interest, wear a silk scarf around your neck. Just knot it twice & let the ends hang loose, either in front of you or behind you. Add a cardigan or coat if it’s chilly. Always cover your legs for a job interview, since you never know who you’re going to be meeting, & some people are scandalised by bare skin. Patterned or plain black opaque stockings are perfect. Team with heels — not your pole-dancing platforms, but nothing too matronly either — just something which gives you a bit of a confidence boost.

Wear simple stud earrings, if anything. Pull your hair back off your face. If it’s looking a bit greasy, brush some talcum powder through it — it will give it volume & take away most of the shine. Add a bit of lip gloss & you’re ready for action! Go get ’em, grrrl!

Situation: The boy or girl you’ve been lusting after invites you out for dinner on short notice.

To go quickly from day to night, or from simple to elegant, a few elements are key. You need a bit of colour on your lips, more intense eye makeup & an outfit which reeks of chic. The easiest way to look chic is to pare everything down, & the easiest way to do that is to have a few little black dresses in your wardrobe. We are all different so the little black dress which looks good on you will be different to what suits me, but it is absolutely, 100% worth shopping around & spending as much money as you can on items like this! If you buy wisely, it will last you a really long time & look good for its entire lifespan.

“When a little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in its place.” — Wallis Simpson

Prescription: Cleanse, tone & moisturise your skin. Apply primer. Conceal everything which needs concealing, then add foundation. Sweep some eyeshadow across your lids (I like Nocturnelle by MAC), then line your eyelashes with something dark, like black (or brown if black is too intense on you). Curl your eyelashes, apply a coat of mascara, then curl your eyelashes again. Brush your teeth & add some colour to your lips, like a lip stain or tinted gloss. I advise against lipstick, since if the date is successful there will probably be smooching, & smeared lipstick is not the sexiest thing in the world.

Deodorise & wriggle into your little black dress. Check that you haven’t left any white marks anywhere on it. (If you have, remove them with a slightly damp washcloth.) If the temperature will allow, go bare legged, but if not, wear black opaque stockings & the hottest heels you own. If it’s cold, a loose but glamorous frock coat will look fabulous.

Go easy on accessories. I would advise wearing one simple necklace but the rest of it is up to you & the environment. I am a fan of stacked bangles, but they’re not great at the movies. I also love big cocktail rings, but they make holding hands difficult! Think about where you’ll be going & what you’re likely to be doing, as this will help determine what is most appropriate.

Do your hair however suits you best. A messy chignon is always sexy, but then so are flowing locks, so it’s your call really. Apply a dab of perfume at your throat & wrists. Use mouthwash. Tell someone where you are going, & have an AMAZING time!

Another good thing to have on hand is a fashion emergency kit. If you’re suddenly called to that dream job interview, you might be tempted to just go back to bed if you find out that the hem on your skirt is coming down! However, if you have a few simple items around the house, you can solve those problems in a pinch.

Here’s what you should have on hand, & what you can use them for.

Safety pins. They’re about the most useful thing ever to be invented, I have a huge jar of them in my bedroom & I use them all the time. Buy a couple of packets of assorted sizes & keep them together in a box or jar so you can access them easily. Use them for extra reinforcement if you fear your buttons might pop, to stop bra straps from slipping, to keep hems from dragging on the ground, or for temporarily mending small rips or tears.

Duct or masking tape. This is the perfect thing for keeping hems up. Duct tape has great staying power & best of all, it’s totally discreet — unlike safety pins, where you’ll usually see a little glint of metal.

Clear nailpolish. As well as being essential for preventing your coloured nailpolish chipping, clear nailpolish will also stop a run in your stockings dead in its tracks! Just put a little blob on the end of the run & let it dry. (You can use hairspray for the same purpose.) You can also use clear nailpolish to secure the thread on a loose button.

Velcro. Run a piece of velcro along a jersey which is pilling to remove the little bobbles of doom!

Baby wipes. As well as being a fantastic makeup remover when you’re too tired to go through your cleansing routine (though don’t forget your moisturiser!), they are also a really super-quick way of cleaning marks off shoes or minor stains from clothes.

Moisturiser. If your skirt is clinging to your legs because of static, rub some moisturiser on your thighs — even over your stockings if you’re wearing them. It always works!

Superglue. You’ll thank me if your heel snaps!

Talcum powder. It’s fantastic for greasy hair, but you can use it to remove stains from the collar of a white shirt, which is amazing! Put your iron on medium with the steaming option turned on. Put a bit of talcum powder on the collar & spread it with your fingers so that all the stains are covered. Hold the iron a few centimetres above the collar & steam for five seconds, then press the iron down on the shirt for a few more seconds. Shake off the excess talcum powder & you’re ready to go!