Party Season Looks You Haven’t Tried

I thought I’d committed to a once-a-month post, but turns out I literally couldn’t get through party season without a round-up of some current favorite going-out looks. And beings that this week I’m running the holiday party gauntlet (and you may be too), it’s the perfect opportunity to share some serious get-ready inspo. Bring on all the color, glitter, and texture!

If you’re craving a retro moment …

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While the Gucci gown is really what keeps this look centered on the 1960s (and of course we’d all love to wear it to our next party), Dakota Johnson’s hair and makeup here are the perfect inspiration for a retro beauty look. She’s probably got some extensions going on to beef up her ponytail; the outcome is glorious and something I aspire to in all my retro lounge dreams. The smokey cat-eye paired with a bare lip is textbook, as well. Hair by Mark Townsend, makeup by Mélanie Inglessis.

If you’re tired of eyeshadow but don’t want a lip-forward look …

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This look on model Woan Ni was created by Kara Yoshimoto Bua using Shiseido’s newly revamped makeup line. White eyeliner was never a look I cared for much, but I think it’s because I’ve never seen it balanced out well with the rest of the face. This look is so beautifully balanced with a good brow, a shimmery, rosy cheek and a stained, blurry lip. So natural but still so party ready, right?

If you’re feeling classic Christmas but, like, extra …

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Oh, snap! Like, Merry Christmas Batman right?!? And of course, it’s Pati Dubroff (THEE queen makeup artist) for Margot Robbie on her way to the UK premiere of Mary Queen of Scots. The Pati-Margot duo was already blowing me away last year during awards season for I, Tonya and Margot’s premiere looks for Goodbye Christopher Robin. I love just the pat of glitter on the center of the lids- so modern. Pati hasn’t listed what she used yet so everyone’s guess is as good as mine, but who cares?! Go crazy! Use whatever! Recreate your own version.

If you want to focus all your energy on makeup and just get hair over with …

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Over at IntoTheGloss, Tom Newton took some fabulous photos of EmRata featuring some quick, lovely updos by Jennifer Yepez. This one using a claw clip was my favorite; a curly/kinky version would be workable and just as romantic, if not more so. As told on ITG: “Start with a middle part. Leave a few pieces out in the front, and gather the rest into a low bun, leaving the ends out for a more modern feel. Clasp it with your clip and bobby pin as needed to prevent strays from popping out. And then make sure it stays in place all night by giving it a healthy spritz of hairspray (Jennifer used Laque Couture). If you have curls, don’t worry about straightening all of your hair. Just focus on the front pieces by blow drying them straight, followed by a quick run with a flat iron.”

If you’re still bored …

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Don’t let boredom or lack of creativity force that red lip on you (or at least, a red lip with no other interesting details)! What’s a color you’d never associate with this time of year? Got an idea in your head? Good, now find a way to wear it! Or take Katie Jane Hughes’ countless colorful, glossy, glittery looks as a treasure trove of inspo, including this stunning lavender glossed lid. This is literally lip gloss (or anywhere gloss, really) on top of eyeshadow. And how do you keep it from creasing, you ask? You don’t! That’s part of the fun. It creases; just let it. Reapply if you want but enough with the set-in-stone, gotta-last-48-hours makeup. Let texture and skin be the real showstoppers.

If you’re still stumped on the hair question …

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Space buns! Like it’s 2002! I mean, how good is this? And people just don’t really do this anymore so it’s like the cutest Spice Girls throwback and a guaranteed conversation starter. The face framing pieces on Constance provide perfect balance, but I think you could even get away without them. And bonus: this look can probably be pulled off with any hair texture. Hair by Molly Greenwald.

If you’re sick of sequined sweaters …

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This whole shoot of Taraji P. Henson for the latest issue of InStyle is genius. Rip a literal page out of this mag (on newsstands now) and go with a direct Mary Tyler Moore reference for your party outfits. Short jumpers, miniskirts, graphic prints, power suits, flared pants, silk neckties- Moore’s playbook provides the right amount of inspiration for both dressing sharp and using color creatively. Because the holidays deserve so much more than just red and black sparkly sweaters.

xo, MR

All images are screenshots from Instagram except for the image from IntoTheGloss, taken by Tom Newton. In order of appearance: @melaniemakeup, @woanster, @patidubroff, Tom Newton, @katiejanehughes, @constancewu, @instylemagazine

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What I’m Using: December 2018

It’s December! It’s party season! Aren’t you so excited?! All the dressing up, all the food, all the calendared events, all the traveling, all the extraverting, all the schedule maneuvering, all the multiple-party-consulting … oh wait. Maybe you want to hide under a blanket for a month. With a bag over your head. While wearing earplugs. In a cave.

Well, no matter what kind of mood you’re in this season, you must be sure to indulge in our generation’s latest coping mechanism for existential dread some “self care” to ensure that your makeup is properly on fleek and your skin is properly slaying and your hair is properly on point. NO PROBLEM.

But seriously have fun. Getting ready for parties is fun. Here’s what I’m using this month to help.

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The new skincare staple: Honest Beauty Organic Facial Oil

New fave ritual- Wash face, spray on toner, maybe add essence, and finish with this face oil (particularly if I’m prepping for makeup). It’s THEE BEST if you’re in a colder and/or drier climate. There’s something very assuring about patting an oil on to your face that you know won’t just be cheaply absorbed in four seconds flat. Also, this one is yummy because it’s actually USDA-certified organic and not just like “Oh I’m natural and kinda green I swear!” like so many products out there. Hydrating, luxurious, and completely clean- oooohh.

The thing that made an actual difference: Ouai Memory Mist

I frequently wash my hair in the evening. I’ll let it air-dry while watching the billionth episode of Forensic Files late at night but unless I want it to look like the rabid child of Jane and Tarzan the next morning, I have to be sure to put some waves in it that evening with a curling iron. However, I used to run into the problem of putting those waves in my hair at night only to have them go wonky and flat after a night’s sleep (which, is an obvious and very first-world problem). Enter Ouai Memory Mist, which not only claims to protect hair against extreme heat but also to maintain its texture and shape from whence you styled it (‘whence’ … very likely I’m misusing the term).

Well, I’ve used the Memory Mist about six times now and it actually works. I spray it on my hair in sections and then find that my hair really does look relatively the same the next morning. Not an easy thing to pull of, especially after a night’s sleep. In the past there has always been need for touch-ups the morning after waving my hair, but maybe four out of the six times I’ve used this stuff, I’ve just shaken my hair a bit and walked out the door. Wild.

The use-for-every-color liner: Maybelline Color Sensational Lip Liner in Toast

In November and December, I have a stereotypical tendency to do more lip-forward looks with a wine- or red-hued lip. However, I’ve never liked using red liner with red lipstick because few things drive me crazier than that lipstick fading and leaving behind a weird red outline. Makes me feel clowny and like I’m some Edward Scissorhands extra. This lip liner is not only cheap, but it’s also a peachy nude that will do the job of keeping lipstick from running without leaving behind a weird lip line should that lipstick fade. It would probably work for a majority of lip shades. Also, it’s a great color to use all over the lips should you fancy that. I actually think I bought it because I saw it used on Gigi Hadid and I thought it looked good. I know. I’m a sell-out.

The canvas: Yves Saint Laurent Touche Èclat Le Teint Radiance Awakening Foundation SPF 22

I’ve run out of my BareMinerals Complexion Rescue, and that stuff was the real business. So, in the meantime, I’ve got this to go through. I like it– I’m not loving it –but it’s making me more creative in experimenting with different methods of foundation application. So for instance, I’ll use a much thinner layer and apply with a beauty blender, or I’ll mix in a bit of liquid highlighter (NARSxCharlotte Gainsbourg Hydrating Glow Tint) for a luminous finish. I think they changed the formula so it’s not quite the perfect foundation it used to be, but I’m still an overall satisfied customer. And it smells nice!

Bonus! The recipe: kale chicken pesto pizza

Spread Trader Joe’s Pesto all Genovese all over Trader Joe’s pizza dough. Dump Trader Joe’s mozzarella cheese all over that. Cover in fresh chopped curly kale with a little olive oil (do NOT use the bagged Trader Joe’s pre-chopped kale- they can’t do everything right and it smells like the Plague). Add cooked chicken (maybe precooked in Italian herbs and balsamic hmmm?). Sprinkle on some red pepper flakes … maybe a lot if you’ve got firemouth like me. Stick in oven at 375-F for 15-ish minutes. Take out. Shove in your face. Get self-righteous about eating kale.

What I’m Using: November 2018

Hi, hello! It’s been a minute.

When it comes to beauty, I’m most passionate about sharing what products I use and love; I enjoy learning about what others are using as well. And so I’ve decided, after taking some serious time off from this blog, that I’m going to return to it with the vision of focusing specifically on what products I’m currently using with a monthly post. These posts may be punctuated with the red carpet season craziness that we all know and love, but the primary intent with this writing project is to simply share what I’m using, once a month.

And so, here we are! November. And snow will very soon arrive to put the, um, “no” in November. Temperatures are steadily dropping, dryness abounds, and hair begins to get that oily-on-top-but-parched-on-the-ends awkwardness. But these are merely seasonal woes. There are other, more peculiar long-term challenges that I’m interested in tackling: namely, the creases on my forehead. Expression lines, as I like to call them- makes me sound so elegant! Scroll down for my current products in rotation.

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The retin-something: Ole Henriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Créme

At age 28, I got my first pair of glasses. I also found my first grey hair. I also noticed for the first time the faint creases cropping up on my forehead. I wasn’t alarmed, exactly; I was more just interested in seeing if the decades of anti-wrinkle research I’d been reading and hearing about all my life was actually going to pay off in the form of a truly effective treatment other than an injectable. I mean, think about how long our scientists have been going after fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet, whatever. Defying the symptoms of impending death (you bristled …… am I wrong?) is the very raison d’être for the skincare industry and they’ve been working at it forever. And now, the options are just about as endless as a Dostoyevsky novel. So what’s one to do other than do a little research, pick something that seems right for you, and dive forehead-first into the vast waters known as the anti-aging industry?

Retinol- a topical derivative of vitamin A- has long been regarded as the “breakthrough” ingredient to returning a youthful look to the skin by stimulating collagen production and cellular renewal, but there are so many options that it’s hard to know where to begin. Retinol is far best suited for night and so I wanted something that I’d only be tempted to use at night, like a cream. I tried a retinol suspended in oil for a while, but it really was too oily and nonabsorbent to be comfortable at night. I also am only using this about twice a week as retinol can have a sensitizing effect on your skin; you have to give it time to see how your skin reacts and adjusts. Ole Henriksen’s Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Créme seemed like a new formula that was worth a shot. It features bakuchiol, a plant-based ingredient that supposedly works as a retinol alternative (so maybe not as sensitizing?). It smells lovely, absorbs well, and the texture and dullness of my skin is noticeably improved overnight. The fine lines? Still there, but slightly more faint. I’ll have to get through the whole jar and see where we’re at by then.

The second-in-command: MAC Upward Lash

Why second in command? So the way I work with mascara is this: I always have a CoverGirl LashBlast formula on hand. Always. I feel like they are THEE best. But, I always need a second formula to sort of give my lashes that final “bump”. The CoverGirl ones are amazing but I can’t ever seem to work on one formula alone. And so, things get really exciting when I play around with different “second-in-command” mascaras as I like to call them. I usually choose something with an inkier consistency and a smaller, more precise brush. MAC’s Upward Lash does the job expertly.

The old fave: Glossier Super Bounce serum

Seriously amazing for dry skin. I don’t reach for Super Bounce much from about May through September because my skin seems to rebalance, but wow- as soon as the chill starts up again I’m going through about two bottles in six months or less. I love it right after toner and essence, but before moisturizer. It really does give my skin that bit of plump and coolness when I feel tight and awful after I’ve eaten too much cheddar popcorn the night before. I also love it for makeup prep and find it does a beautiful job at soothing redness.

The (very) intense conditioner: Davines Melu conditioner

I think if I had to select one product I weirdly hoard or am always tempted to buy more of, it’s hair conditioner. I promise, every time I step into Target you will find me wandering down the haircare aisle opening up those tubs of thick, buttermilk-textured conditioner that smell like all kinds of delectable desserts or yummy bubble tea (don’t you think?!?). I’m not particularly inclined to eat the Davines Melu conditioner, but I will tell you that it is rich. Meant to hydrate dry ends and prevent breakage so long hair can sustain itself, it feels more like a hair mask than anything and it makes my hair so soft. The fragrance is more floral and sophisticated, which is a nice thing because let’s face it- our noses must graduate from the fruit cocktail explosions of Bath and Body Works at some point.

Bonus! The espionage read: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

Wow. Right? I feel like every other person I’ve mentioned this book to has read it. And I can’t believe I didn’t know it’s being brought to film (the news broke last April- I feel like I should’ve known this already but apparently I don’t follow enough fun people on Twitter)! And if you’re unfamiliar with this work, you should jump on the train before it magically turns into a bandwagon and your mom and your brother and your cat are all there, saying how much they love it too. I will only reveal what IMDb reveals about the storyline: “A former spy is called up out of retirement to assist in an unusual investigation.” Seriously. It is GOOD.

Best Of The 2018 SAG Awards

Alright, the color is back in full force this round. I was most, most pleased with this red carpet. Some seriously stunning choices, and of course, I was all the more happy with the incredible hair make makeup styling at this year’s SAG Awards. The glam teams were bringing nothing less than their best work. Here we go!

 

Saoirse Ronan in custom Louis Vuitton-
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I would wear this. I would totally wear this! Such beautiful art deco inspiration I’m seeing here, and such a cheerful shade of pastel, millennial pink. And I do love a modest silhouette contrasted with two marvelous slits up the side. And Saoirse’s (pronounced SER-shuh) minimalist styling is the right choice, as I don’t believe her face is one that could take “a lot” of makeup if you know what I mean. Her features are so delicate and fairylike, and dark or harsh makeup choices would just overwhelm her. Or at least, those are my thoughts. I could proven wrong, though!

 

Mandy Moore in Ralph Lauren-
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This is the kind of look that makes me want to go on vacation. The ease of the strappy silhouette that makes you want to pack a weekend getaway bag, the dreamy shade of shimmery cobalt that makes you want to dive into a perfectly blue pool after sipping on a Mai Tai beneath your cabana …

Think I’m living in the MidWest in the middle of January? Maybe. Just maybe. Some daydreaming problems over here.

But truly, this styling is fabulous and I can’t wait for a closeup of Mandy’s makeup, too, as I’ve detected a bit of aqua on her lower lids. Oooohhh…

 

Olivia Munn in Oscar de la Renta-

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Ohhhhh sequins! Luscious luscious sequins. And beautious floral appliqués. While this is overall a safe choice- and I’ve appreciated Olivia in the past for bolder choices when it would be quite easy for her to ride on her bombshell looks- the center-parted hair that’s like a shiny black sheet combined with the glowy, rosy makeup makes this a win. It might be safe, but it’s so good that the lack of risk doesn’t matter to me. And check those metallic talon nails! Daaaayyyuuuum.

 

Lupita Nyong’O in Ralph and Russo-

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Mmmmm more metallic perfection. And feathers! Who doesn’t appreciate some good bird now? I used to think I’d know that I’ve “made it” by the fact that I was wearing a sequined dress on a red carpet somewhere, but I’ve since changed my mind. I now know that it’s when I’m wearing a dress with feathers on a red carpet somewhere that I’ll know I’ve made it. Feathers are just so extra, so Marie Antoinette. So unnecessary-but-why-wouldn’t-you.

And does Lupita’s skin have a shimmery finish?! I can’t tell, but I have to find out. It’s positively luminous.

 

Brie Larson in Gucci-

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If you’re not wearing Gucci these days, what are you even doing with your life?! I’ll tell you what you’re doing- you’re wearing knockoff Gucci. Like me. From Target. But don’t blame a girl- sequins and details and jewel-encrusted bows and so many colors and eeeeeeeverything you think of when you think of a fantasy dress- that’s Gucci. Remember Nicole Kidman’s green sequined parrot amazingness from last year’s SAG Awards? Yep, Gucci.

Also, digging the stunning shimmery blue shadows on Brie. So lovely, especially on brown eyes. In other news, Captain Marvel allegedly begins production … tomorrow!

And now, for the obvious-yet-still-too-good-to-be-ignored choice …

 

Margot Robbie in Miu Miu-

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Ladies and gentlemen, another round of applause for feathers! See? I’m telling you, they’re quite fetching and irresistible. I can’t tell at this point if this dress is white or a very light shade of blush. I’m thinking the latter when I see it against the red carpet, and oh, how I love a good rosé as my white girl self should.

I’ve noticed that each of Kate Young’s choices for Margot have all had that bit of figure skating extra-ness as a nod to I, Tonya, whether it’s a touch of sparkle or something like a ribbon and feathers to create the movement that’s so important in figure skating outfits. Makes for a fun press tour, no? But I have to note that it’s the hair and makeup team that’ve really astounded me with Margot on this tour of hers- Pati Dubroff and Bryce Scarlett have been absolute heroes with the hair and makeup game. And I don’t care how beautiful she is naturally! Having a team behind you that consistently takes you from plebeian to goddess is irreplaceable as a celebrity, even for someone as pretty as Margot.

Let me know what you think, and do tell me if you think I’ve forgotten anyone especially deserving! Cheers! xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance: Steve Granitz/WireImage, Frazer Harrison/Getty, John Shearer/Getty, John Salangsang/Shutterstock, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty, Frazer Harrison/Getty

Best Of The 2018 Golden Globes

Wooooooo!

New year, new red carpet. I’d barely realized until just this week that awards season is upon us, and it’s definitely bringing a little sunshine into my single-digits-temp world these days.

Before I share my favorites, it’s worth making note that the fashion choices at this year’s Golden Globes have been unilaterally affected by the Time’s Up movement, which seeks to bring awareness of and legal protections for women dealing with sexual assault, harassment, and inequality in the workplace.  Time’s Up is meant to be a unified call to action stemming primarily from women in the entertainment industry, for women everywhere. In solidarity with Time’s Up, this year’s attenders of the Golden Globes elected to wear black. So all of that to say, this particular red carpet featured absolutely no color (at least as far as I saw in all my research) and that’s no mistake! I’ve not found a single photo of someone wearing anything other than black.

Alright, now that we’ve got that down, on to my picks …

Zoe Kravitz in YSL

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Like you’ve heard me say before, it’s all in the styling. Zoe’s pixie cut is giving me Josephine Baker vibes, and the Lorraine Schwartz deco-cut emeralds are stunning. They make me think of Minas Morgul – an odd association, I know. But what can I say? I’m a Lord of the Rings fan and its images are floating through my brain. I love Zoe’s red lip paired with her enviable beauty mark, as well. It’s all giving me retro feels, and you know I’m a sucker for anything pre-1970s.

Margot Robbie in Gucci

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I really, really love this dress. Even with the plunging neckline it’s still modest enough for my personal taste with the exaggerated shoulders and all that. And those sequin appliqués are dreamy. Alessandro Michele, the creative director at Gucci, has been consistently knocking it out of the park at the luxury powerhouse since taking the helm in 2015 with his whimsical and glittery creations (unicorns! so many colors! sequins and butterflies and flowers ALL the time!). Margot seems to share a special relationship with Gucci, so we can always trust that she’ll turn up in one of Alessandro’s designs looking beautiful. And of course, I always enjoy Pati Dubroff’s makeup choices for Margot, though as I’ve said it is kind of hard to make her look bad.

Tracee Ellis Ross in Marc Jacobs

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I love Tracee’s styling because she makes selections that are a bit off-beat, and there’s usually a nod to her black heritage or to her mother in particular … and that would be Diana Ross, in case you weren’t sure. I had the privilege of seeing Diana Ross in concert two summers ago and let me tell you, that woman’s style is the very definition of unapologetic glamour, with no signs of toning it down at 73. So anyhow, Tracee seems to be a reflection of Diana for the twenty-first century. I’m loving her turban, and the way her gown’s neckline ties in a large, loose bow. The whole design from the runway is actually Pepto Bismol pink in its original form! And if you can find an close-up shot of her Irene Neuwirth earrings, they’re equally stunning- gettin’ me with the art deco styles again.

Diane Kruger in custom Prada

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Undeniably, my favorite. I love the draping, I love the neckline, I love the beaded details and the delicate fabric. And it has a cape! And a box clutch! Ah, I’ve missed Diane on the red carpet. I adore gowns that seem flowy and watery, with plenty of movement. The whole silhouette feels so effortless. I honestly don’t have much more to say about this look- I love it, and that’s about it! Simple hair, simple makeup, perfect styling.

Black never has to be boring, and along with the gowns there was an abundance of beautiful hair and makeup tonight to complement all the blank canvases. A worthy mention, here:

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This is Jessica Biel’s hair, styled by Adir Abergel. I live for little unexpected details like this. And if it’s not a throwback look, I’m equally a fan of strong, modern, minimal touches. You can’t help but think that this hairstyle belongs on a runway slightly influenced by Mad Max. I’ll have to find out whether this is leather, fabric, etc.

Any standouts to you this year among the sea of black? Let me know in the comments, and on to the SAG Awards! xo, MR

All images credited to Getty Images. Jessica Biel photo credit to @hairbyadir .

Best Of The 2017 Academy Awards

And here we are, once again!

This is technically the fifth Academy Awards that I’ve blogged and it’s my favorite post each year.  I’ve had a lot going on this evening work-wise so this post has been a process of constantly refreshing my phone before and after in attempts to get some quick peeks at attendees as they’ve arrived on the red carpet.  Not ideal, but I’m making it work.

A couple notes- Firstly, I’ve seen more impressive red carpets.  We were doing really, really good during this awards season but we seem to have pumped the brakes a bit.  I had hoped to see more bold color and risk-taking tonight.  We saw mostly gold and other soft metallics, and Janelle Monae was probably our only kooky-crazy gown.  I only noted a bit of red and perhaps just Scarlett Johannson’s pretty purple.  Secondly, Natalie Portman did not attend tonight’s ceremony because she’s in her third trimester of pregnancy.  I mean, whatever, okay, FINE.  But in all seriousness, I was bummed because I know she would’ve shown up looking glorious but I guess third trimester pregnancy merits some rest and a break from uncomfortable shoes and everyone staring at you.  OKAY, NATALIE.

And finally, I can’t seem to find Amy Adams!  Has anyone seen her?!  I looked all over social media and I did the Google, and she appears to be nowhere.  I do concur, by the way, that it was wrong of the Academy to nominate Meryl Streep over Amy this year, but I’d thought she’d surely attend tonight to support Arrival!  I also missed seeing Cate Blanchett. She wasn’t involved in much this year, but she always wears the best stuff.

And so with that, on to my favorites!  And again, a reminder- It might be a great dress but if the styling doesn’t appeal to me, it doesn’t make my list!  And it might be a cooky/ugly dress but if the styling streamlines the look and makes sense of it all, it might make my list!

Best This-Person-Would-Look-Good-In-A-Burlap-Sack – Charlize Theron in Dior

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Charlize is the one woman who has made my Best Dressed list every year she’s attended the Academy Awards.  I get that it’s hard to make someone of her features look bad, but despite how we may feel we all know that it can be done.  I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m continuously so impressed with her- she always knocks it out of the park and keep things classic and beautifully flattering, and doesn’t rely on her physical beauty to carry a look.  She still makes the right choices.  Her styling is always glamorous but simple, and her contract with Dior has probably been the most successful partnership I’ve seen between a celebrity and fashion house.  This particular gown looks like liquid gold and those earrings are bonkers!

Best Overall Because LOOK AT HER – Taraji P. Henson in Alberta Ferretti

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I mean, okay. OKAY. There is literally nothing wrong with this whole thing.  There is no flaw.  At the SAG Awards, Taraji seemed to have her frothy, feminine fantasy moment.  But she wasn’t having any of that tonight and THIS look is just about as sexy as it gets in my opinion.  No, not in my opinion.  IN ALL REALITY EVER.  This neckline with that slit all in deep blue velvet (scratching my David Lynch itch, Cookie!) with those diamonds and that haircut is just deadly.  Deadly, I say!  Taraji looks like she was just poured into this dress like an expensive glass of the finest champagne.  She has never looked better. I can only pray I come across an occasion where I have to wear something this glamorous in my lifetime.

Most Welcome New Darling Of The Fashion World – Ruth Negga in custom Valentino

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So, I think Ruth Negga likes clothes.  I mean, I think she really likes them.  Most new actresses that arrive on the scene tend to play it rather safe for a couple years before taking a couple risks once they get a high-profile stylist or a new haircut or something like that.  Or they wait for a contract with a fashion house and suddenly every dress seems to be wearing them and not the other way around (paging Jennifer Lawrence …).  Such has not been the case for Ruth Negga (or Lupita Nyong’O, the other exception in this case).  Right out of the gate, Ruth has been a person made for fashion.  She clearly loves the artistry of clothes-making, and she appreciates unique and sometimes quirky pieces.  I loved this Victorian style custom Valentino gown she wore.  It was similar to what Ginnifer Goodwin wore, but Ruth’s seemed to have a more Gothic feel.  Her makeup and hairpiece matched the mood, too.

Best Old Hollywood Throwback – Emma Stone in Givenchy Haute Couture

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As I write this, they’ve only just announced the winner of the Best Supporting Actress (go Viola!) and so we’ve yet to learn if Emma will indeed win in tonight’s Best Actress category. I have a feeling she will, and this is a lovely dress to win in.  I love Emma’s 1920’s style dress paired with very 1940’s hair and makeup.  It really is a very classically beautiful look. I was hoping to see more color on Emma during this awards season, but for what we’ve lacked in color her styling team has made up for in texture.  Fringe, glittering stars, floral appliqués- we’ve seen plenty of gorgeous handicraft in the texture department on Emma this year.  I did like her look when she attended the 2015 Academy Awards for Birdman more than tonight’s look – I loved her updo paired with the chartreuse gown and coral lips – but this is still nothing short of stunning and worthy of a winner. I’m getting some Rita Hayworth vibes with her hair, too.

Best Holy Cleopatra Batman! – Jessica Biel in Kaufmanfranco

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I told you there was a lot of gold this year!  I wasn’t kidding!  But I have to say, this is my personal favorite.  Don’t you dream of wearing dresses like this?  I mean seriously. That necklace is incredible, and the gown reminds me so much of Nefertiri in The Ten Commandments.  Nefertiri was probably the first woman in film that I idolized and wanted to look like and dress like as a child.  Of course, I was supposed to be drawn to the humble shepherd girl played by Yvonne De Carlo, but that would take some Mount Sinai-levels of convincing throughout my adolescence and beyond.

But anyhow, this dress had me.  And the necklace.  And the styling!  I love Jessica’s bold cat-eye made with thick eyeliner (again, Cleopatra!) paired with peachy lips and cheeks.  I also love the sleek updo with the center-part in Jessica’s deep brown-black hue.  I can’t wait to get a view of the back!  And again, if you know me, you know I like it when something’s just a bit off. In this case, it’s hairstylist Adir Abergel’s genius work with this updo- it’s totally off-center on purpose.  It adds characters and just barely tweaks the perfect symmetry of the center-part.  Details like this that play with shape and balance are my favorite; details of color and texture are a close second.

So there you go!  Now tell me your faves!  Anything you hated?  Anything you hoped for but didn’t see?  And don’t forget, there are always the after-parties with plenty of gown changes and extra folks who just weren’t important enough to invite to the awards ceremony.  Have fun!  xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance:  Getty Images, Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, Noel West for The New York Times, Getty Images

Best Of The 2017 SAG Awards

Our next stop during our 2017 awards season brings us here, to the red carpet of the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards.  A glitzy red carpet feels strange and quite off at the moment considering the tumult of this past week, but I invite you to beat back against any frustration, despair, or anxiety you may be dealing with and just enjoy something frivolous and pretty.  My dad frequently quotes Willy Wonka to me- “A little bit of nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men.”  Let’s have some nonsense, if just a moment.

And now, to summarize- I have so, so appreciated the noticeable amount of risk-taking and weird-making during this red carpet season.  Gone are the column gowns!  Out of sight are the solids!  I am so pleased with all the sequins, patterns, appliqués, architectural designs, and animals that adorned this year’s SAG Awards’ gowns.  It’s been a good year so far (in this realm, at least).  I can’t wait for the Oscars.  Let’s get started!

Best Mix of Salty and Sweet – Taraji P. Henson in Reem Acra

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 29 Jan 2017

This dress is sweet.  It even has little bows!  It’s girly and femme and frothy and magical.  I love this dusty shade of mauve.  Maybe it even has some purple in it?  It’s hard to tell based on all the photos you see because the lighting is so different in nearly every one.  But what I love about this overall look is that Taraji’s hair keeps this Reem Acra dress from drowning us in sugar.  Taraji’s assymetrical bob with shaved sides is the lewk right now.  I had this haircut for about six months (sans shaved sides) and it adds salt to everything you wear, seriously.  Cookie got it done tonight.  And her eyebrows are always fiyahhhh.

Best Maternity Style – Natalie Portman in Dior Couture

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 29 Jan 2017

In case you haven’t noticed, Natalie Portman is pregnant.  She’s actually been pregnant during both of her special awards seasons (the previous being for Black Swan in 2011, for which she won a Best Actress Academy Award), and yet I’ve loved this go-round of maternity style so much more than her first.  Of course it might be the constant Jackie O inspiration we’re seeing in her styling lately, but Natalie has looked so regal this month.  She and her stylist Kate Young have chosen gowns that are the epitome of elegance and class.  And a sidenote- statement sleeves like these are going to be major this spring, and the choice of white may have been a nod to suffragettes.

Best Use of Kingdom Animalia – Thandie Newton in Schiaparelli Fall 2016 Couture

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Red Carpet

What. A. Fantasy!  I would wear this dress, hands down.  I love the futuristic silhouette and the crazy amount of sparkle.  There are stars, there are birds, there are horses, there are horses that appear to have feathers on their heads (think Cinderella?), and there’s a ferris wheel!  It’s also tea length, which always seems to add a bit of whimsy.  Maybe the word “tea” just makes me feel whimsical.  But anyhow, paired with understated makeup, hair, and nails, Thandie looks incredible.  This dress is a dream.

Best Pleasant Surprise – Sofia Vergara in Zuhair Murad

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I can typically predict what Sofia Vergara will wear on the red carpet: something body-con, perhaps sequined, probably in a solid jewel tone, floor length, with lots of diamonds.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a formula that you really can’t go wrong with.  Sofia is maybe thee definition of va-va-voom, and her looks always complement that.  However, it was fun to see her in a knee length dress that felt a bit more fresh and youthful than her go-to aesthetic.  Plus, the styling is just so classic- a black tulle skirt with red lips and nails, coupled with a brilliant boustier and, of course, diamonds.

Best Call-Me-Crazy-But-I’m-Obsessed – Nicole Kidman in Gucci

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Ever since Alessandro Michele took over Gucci at the beginning of 2015, the Italian fashion house has done lost its damned mind in the best way EVARRR.  Anyone happen to keep up with the press tour for Suicide Squad?  Remember Margot Robbie’s crazy sequined unicorn dress?  Gucci.  The dress she wore with the tiger on it?  Gucci.  Jared Leto’s pink pants and kelly green coat that made him look like the captain of the Lollipop Guild?  Gucci.

And you know what?  I love it.  I looooove it.  Of course, Michele can play it fairly normal, too (think Brie Larson at last year’s Oscars, Zoe Saldana at this year’s Golden Globes), but I  never want normal on a red carpet.  Ever!  Something like Nicole Kidman’s parrot insanity here is so much more fun, so much more exciting, and so much more worth my time than any tired column dress.  Such dresses always look good- that’s never the problem- but like I’ve said, if you have access to all the fashion in all the world, why not wear parrots on your shoulders every once in a while?  But that’s just me.  xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance: Rob Latour/Rex/Shutterstock, Rob Latour/Rex/Shutterstock, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Best Of The 2017 Golden Globes

I’m not sure there could be a better way to kick off a new season of writing after a couple months’ break than the Golden Globes.  After the social media and newsfeed tumult that was 2016, it’s nice to have a bit of fun with good ole’ awards season and a brand new year to go with it.  It’s like hitting the refresh button and everything coming up glitter.

If I had to describe this year’s Golden Globes red carpet in one word it would be finally!  Finally!  I think this is the first red carpet I’ve encountered in years when I saw consistent risk-taking and some truly incredible head-to-toe styling across the board.  Honestly, most everyone looked great in one way or another.  Even the guys were catching my interest!  Donald Glover in that velvet brown suit with the purplish bowtie?!  In the words of Lando Calrissian, hello what have we here.  Of course there were a couple looks that had me wrinkling my nose, but maybe only a handful.  Overall, the stylists and glamsquads killed it this evening!

Before I list my favorites, try to remember once again that I’m not just considering the dresses- I take into account the hair, the makeup, the jewelry, and the accessories as a whole package along with the dress.  Some “weirder” dresses were made perfect to me by the overall styling pulling it together, while other looks were thrown off for me by maybe just one thing like a necklace.

Alright, enough with that.  Here we go!

Best Newcomer That You’ll Continue To See Forever – Ruth Negga in Louis Vuitton

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Ruth Negga has that gamine kind of look that feels like she’s just stepped out of a chic Parisian nightclub in the 1920s.  Her finger-waved hair and gown that reminds me of the Maschinenmensch in Metropolis are adding quite a bit to that vintage vibe, but this look is giving me Wonder Woman feels too (especially with that cuff she’s wearing).  Considering that Ruth is currently on the cover of Vogue and she’ll probably land an Oscar nomination for Loving, I have a feeling she’s about to experience the kind of meteoric rise to fame like Lupita Nyong’O a couple years ago and we’ll be seeing a lot more of her.  This Louis Vuitton gown is not a bad way to start.

Best Throwback To A Bygone Era – Natalie Portman in Prada

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To say this look is “1960s inspired” would be the understatement of the evening.  This is the 1960s; this whole look could’ve come straight off the set of Mad Men or straight out of Jackie O’s closet.  It’s getting a lot of flack on social media, but I love it.  Natalie’s hair is perfect, and the jewelry and makeup and chrome clutch merely adorn the gown rather than distract from it.  I was pleased to see Natalie wearing Prada as we’re so used to seeing her in Dior.  Prada is a little more playful and colorful, but there’s still something understated and regal about this gown (probably because we know who it pays tribute to).

Best Hard-To-Screw-Up Formula – Brie Larson in Rodarte

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A glamorous shade of red.  Shiny, old Hollywood waves.  An incredible, always-flattering sweetheart neckline.  There’s little to be done wrong with a look like this, and I’m learning to appreciate the whole “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” philosophy when it comes to style.  I knew this gown was Rodarte as soon as I noticed the signature crystals on the bodice, and while it’s not the biggest risk of the evening, who cares?  Brie looks like a Valentine come to life!  This would be a beautiful gown on anyone, but Brie wears it like a dream.

SECOND Best Throwback To A Bygone Era – Drew Barrymore in Monique Lhullier

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

I think the history buff in me was going crazy tonight because I felt like so many gowns referred back to various decades in twentieth century America.  Something I love!  Ruth’s touched on the 1920s, Natalie’s embodied the 1960s, and Drew’s gorgeous dress here is a beautiful throwback to the 1930s.  Moreover, any gown that gets me thinking of art deco and architecture in general is a winner in my book.  Check out those sleeves!  There’s also a closeup shot of Drew’s makeup floating around social media and it is glorious.  I might’ve done something different with Drew’s hair; the dress seems to be calling for something that pulls her hair away from her face.  But you know, it looks so healthy and lovely on its own that I don’t care!

Best Weird Dress Completely Redeemed By Perfect Styling – Kerry Washington in Dolce & Gabbana

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Like I’ve said, I like weird dresses that may initially have you going ohhh honey noooooo (or at least scratching your head wondering if you hate it or if it’s magnificent).  However, it’s typically the hair and makeup that rounds out the weirdness of the dress into something I love.  Kerry is good at this- she and her team frequently choose “bad” or “weird” dresses that are then styled into something magical because of a tweak here and there, the right manicure, and an excellent glamsquad.

This is the perfect example.  This Dolce & Gabbana dress is actually floor length on the runway, but the proportions make more sense when the skirt is shortened.  Thanks to strappy sandals and see-through lace, this dress actually elongates Kerry when a floor length dress with capsleeves typically shortens the one wearing it.  The bodice and sleeves are very ornate and complicated, but when you pair it with perfectly smooth, dark hair tossed behind the shoulders, the look seems balanced.  A nude manicure and a complete lack of jewelry aside from a simple pair of earrings allows the elaborately detailed gown to show off without being too much on Kerry.  Top it off with the perfect, purply-brown lip color and she is wearing the dress, not vice versa.  And suddenly, a dress that would normally have me giving the side eye has me ooh-ing and aah-ing.  That’s what stylists do!

Let me know your thoughts!  Any folks you thought looked absolutely stunning?  Any dresses have you dazed and confused?  Do tell, and next stop- the SAG Awards!  xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance:  Jordan Strauss for Invision via Associated Press, Getty Images, Rex via Shutterstock, Rob Latour for Rex via Shutterstock, Steve Granitz for WireImage

Frizz And Humidity- If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em

You know that meme with the super fuzzy rabbit making fun of the electrifying effects of humidity on hair?  You know- Is it humid today?

Well, I hate to be that girl, but it’s a real thing, and you really haven’t experienced humidity until you’ve lived in the MidWest.  Or at least somewhere other than Southern California.  I’ve described California dry heat as ‘blistering’.  And make no mistake- it is.  But I would describe Illinois humid heat as oppressive.  It is a different animal, and it wants to lick you in the face.

You see the grey, cloudy sky outside in August and it fools you.  Boy, does it fool you.  The temperature reads something like 78 but you then look at the “feels like”- more around 90.  You step outside and you feel like a warm, wet dog has jumped on your back.  Or like you’ve just walked into a mouth.  You feel the urge to take a really, really long nap and your sentences suddenly go incoherent.  Someone described walking outside in Midwestern humidity as “like trying to walk between the slices of your peanut butter sandwich”.  Might be true.

But the hair.  Oh, the hair.  And irony of ironies, that I would choose this year to commit to bangs.  Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve met a single soul out here that also has bangs.  Except for maybe the five year old boy with the bowl-cut-of-no-choice or the little girl with bangs that make her look like Matilda.  It’s just me and the kindergarteners, because no grown woman would dare make the witless decision to cut bangs in weather that at times feels like trying to backstroke through butter.  Bangs in humidity, when you’ve initially straightened or blown them out, seem to devolve within two minutes into one giant, self-inflicted cowlick that look like some awkward bird’s wing sticking out of your forehead.

But there are ways, believe it or not, of gaining back a sense of power and control over one’s hair in humidity.  It’s not a set of fancy tricks, it doesn’t mean cutting all your hair off (though that is a solution), and it’s actually more of a practice in paradox than anything.

The secret to gaining control over hair in humidity is letting go.

Let. It. Go.

And I’d cue Elsa, but her climate is entirely inappropriate for our topic of discussion, so ignore the frosty connotations.

I woke up this morning knowing that it was a hair wash day for me (about every three days).  However, I knew I’d have no time to dry it, and what on Earth would become of it once I stepped out into God’s Armpit?!?  I had no time, but the wash had to happen.  I actually packed my hair dryer and my straightener with me to bring to work, thinking I’d fix things once I got there or at least blow out my bangs (ha!).  Again, no time.  Got to work, got started with work right away.  The only precaution I took were a few spritzes of Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Infusion on my wet hair before leaving.  I also had neither the time or attention span to think of touching my hair once I got to work either.  I just kept flipping it from side to side, without touching it or my bangs, hoping for the best.

And you know what?  Here’s what I got:

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Not too bad, eh?  A deep, messy side part along with haphazard bangs also tossed to the side didn’t turn out half as poorly as I’d expected.  Now, some of you are probably rolling your eyes saying, “Oh, my hair would never dry that way”.  Well, keep in mind that this is where humidity actually helps.  Humidity helps bring out wave and curl.  And adding a product with some oils in it like the Surf Infusion will add definition to that wave or curl, and will also help to control some of the frizzies (though obviously not all).  But, if you’re in dry heat, I can’t say your hair will dry this way because there probably won’t be enough moisture in the air to bring out good wave/curl.

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This oil-infused Surf Infusion is also better for my hair because typical salt sprays tend to really dry mine out, and it’s dry to begin with.  This spray feels extra hydrating without sacrificing the beachy effects.

So again, if you have hair that’s prone to frizz, I think one of the easiest ways to get frustrated with it in humid weather is by fighting that frizz.  It’s honestly better to just roll with it.  And don’t fight volume, either!  Go ahead and flip your hair upside down and shake it out for the most volume you can get (so long as it’s already dry- avoid touching it at all while it’s still wet).  Anytime I’ve tried to keep my hair remotely straight or smooth out here in the summer, it’s turned into a battle where I’m constantly touching it and constantly wanting to reapply something like Alterna Caviar’s CC Cream to keep things at bay.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

So all this to say, just stop fighting it.  Besides, who doesn’t look okay with big hair?  I mean seriously!  Big, voluminous, crazy hair has always been fun, has always been je ne sais quois, and has always been associated with Beyonce.  Or Diana Ross.  Or someone else awesome that seems to be having a good time in life.  Just go with it.  xo, MR