The Fashion Conspiracy

Felicia Ann Ryan

Award Season is Here! Get Gala Glam For Your Next Event in 4 (sort of) Simple Steps

Step 1 - Get Glowing Skin

Chances are you want to step up your skin game prior to a big event just like the stars do, after all, masterpieces are painted on a clean canvas. So what does that mean if you don't have a team of 6 waiting to primp and prim you into shape? Start with an all over exfoliation.  Use a product that will not only exfoliate the dull layer of dead skin cells on your outermost surface to reveal healthy, luminous skin, but one that also packs added benefits of tightening and toning for an overall immediate difference. An all natural coffee scrub will do just that. Coffee grounds are packed with antioxidants and they help to actually suck in and tighten the skin, especially on legs and thighs, temporarily reducing the visibility of cellulite. Over time, if used continuously, coffee scrub can help to reduce it altogether, as well as blur those zig zags also known as stretch marks. Try Jealous Body Scrub (jealousbody.com, $18.95 CAD) which is packed full of added nutrients like coconut and grape seed oil and comes a few different ways to meet different skin needs. Follow the exfoliation with any planned hair removal and finish up with a toning moisturiser; like Palmer's All-Over Firming Lotion which has Q10 and cocoa and shea butters, as well as a list of other active ingredients proven to firm up - I use this daily and it's only $7.59 a pop for 250 ml. Do this at least the day before and the day of your event to feel the glow. 

Step 2 - Tame the Tresses

When it comes to going all out for an event, having healthy and tamed hair that is manageable is a must. So, if you haven't had the time to wash your hair, let alone condition it for more days than you would like to admit, and using dry shampoo is becoming more and more common, don't worry. One focused at home date night with your hair should get you ready. First, start with washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo to remove product build up on the shaft of your hair. After time, daily use of dry shampoo, hair spray, hair oil and everyday pooing (hello, it's short for shampoo) and conditioning can build up and leave hair dull. I personally like to keep things natural and use a home made mixture of apple cider vinegar (half a cup of apple cider to 5 cups water) which I dump onto my hair, massage in for a couple of minutes and then rinse out. Clarifying your hair will restore PH balance and allow conditioners to penetrate better. Following the clarification stage, use a conditioner that is suitable for your hair, leave on for 2-3 minutes and follow up with a hair mask which you can either leave on for 5-10 minutes or overnight. If you're thinking about leaving it on overnight, why not try coconut oil (organic and cold pressed work best) apply to hair avoiding roots (it can make the hair greasy) throw on a shower cap and catch some zzzzzzz's. Wash it out in the morning with a gentle shampoo and follow up again with conditioner. Now you're set. 

Step 3 - Own Your Look 

Before even beginning to look for a dress, decide what look you are going for. Think about what image you would like to project depending on what the event is for. Do you want to channel sophisticated vixen or playful flirt. Decide what facet of your personality will be taking the main stage for the night. Once that is done and you know the overall mood for wardrobe, think about what colours are suitable for the season and flattering for you, as well, what length of skirt/gown you would prefer or whether wearing a pant suit is a better option. Having an overall image developed will allow you to quickly narrow down your options; it is a method that fashion stylists use themselves to effectively pull the right garments for projects. If you will be ordering your garments on-line, this is a good time to take measurements  so that you have them available to compare. If hiring a personal fashion stylist is an option, this step is still good to go through  before consulting with them. Dress places to think about: Check out freepeople.com for every facet of boho glam and Terani Couture (teranicouture.com) for all types of Hollywood-esque charm.

Step 4 - Accessorize

Accessorizing is an art form in itself, and once you master this skill, you will power up to levels of style you never thought possible. It will mean the ability to re-wear a dress (yes around the same people) and nobody will suspect otherwise, because combined with different hair, make up and accessories, a dress can take on impressive chameleon forms and transform into something entirely different. Keep this possibility in mind when purchasing evening wear and stick to my 1:2 rule, you should have two pieces of accessories (scarves, shoes, jewellery and belts) for every one investment piece in your closet to multiply your wearing possibilities. When you multiply your accessories, instantly more outfit possibilities are available. For evening wear, focus on individual statement pieces that stand out, like the ear candy available from Maya Valentino (www.etsy.com/ca/shop/MayaValentino) pictured here. Their hand crafted Swarvoski crystal and choice of 14k gold or silver jewellery is stunning and unlike anything else. Be sure to check out their selection of unique ear cuffs and palm bracelets, and if you're looking for something extra special, a custom design is always an option.