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Summer party looks

12 Aug

On humid summer days, even dressing up for an event can feel like a chore. But with some simple yet stylish party look ideas, getting ready will be easy breezy. Whether attending a garden party, barbecue or outdoor wedding, have a few outfit, hair and makeup looks in mind for quick, fuss-free ensembles.

A chic alternative to dresses this season are jumpsuits and rompers. One of this season’s hottest trends, the one-piece is a fun go-to party look. Characterized by a top attached to either pants or shorts, jumpsuits and rompers allow a streamlined, unbroken silhouette. It’ll also save you the hassle of determining which top goes with which bottoms.

Slip on a romper for an quick summer party look.

Slip on a romper for an quick summer party look.

For a more understated look, go for jumpsuits and rompers in solid colours. Solid colours will also make it easier to pair the garment with shoes, bags and jewelry. Belts are an especially good way to break up solid jumpsuits and define the waist. For a more dramatic look, patterned jumpsuits will ensure you stand out from the crowd. Jersey and linen fabrics also offer a casual vibe while silk and satins are better for nighttime or more formal events.

If you prefer shorts to beat the heat, try changing it up with patterned versions. They can easily pair with a solid blouse or tank in a complementary shade. Subtle patterns such as stripes and polka dots are a great way to venture into the trend while the fashion bold can rock colourful prints such as batik, animal or giant florals. The key to finding flattering patterned shorts is fit. Baggy patterned ones tend to enlarge your hips and make it appear like you’re wearing a short skirt rather than a pair of shorts with defined lines. Whatever the length of your shorts, go for a patterned pair that is fitted without adding bulk to your lower half.

Add some colour with patterned shorts.

Add some colour with patterned shorts.

Summer party outfits aren’t complete without fun accessories, makeup and hair. Since hot days call for easy to maintain hairstyles, waves are an excellent, romantic option. This season calls for carefree loose waves that don’t need to be overstyled. One of the simplest ways to get the look is through braiding damp hair. Once dried, tousle the hair a bit with your fingers. And since messy side braids are also popular this summer due to the athletic fashion trend, you can work a braid for the daytime and untie the plait for the evening, creating beachy waves.

Braids were the highlight of the Calla show.

Braids were the highlight of the Calla show.

As for party makeup, piling on heavy foundation is the last thing we want to do in warmer weather, so it’s no wonder that a sheer, natural face is in this season for a base. Makeup artists backstage at the fashion shows relied on dewy moisturizers and light coverage this season, letting bold colours on either the eyes or lips do the talking.

For a bright pop of colour on the lids, aqua colours such as shades of blue and green were popular on the runway. Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu, for example, incorporated turquoise shadows and cobalt blue liner to eyes of their models. Prefer a less dramatic alternative to try the trend? Switch out your black or brown eyeliner with navy.

If you want to play up your lips, the hottest hue this season veers toward orange lipsticks. Spotted at the Rag & Bone and Prabal Gurung shows, try an orange-red for a more natural shade. Matte fuchsia is also a big trend for those who stick to pink lip colours.

Whether you’re making a statement on your eyes or on your lips, finish off with some mascara and a touch of bronzer or blush for a healthy glow. Summer’s the season to incorporate wild colours and patterns into your outfits, so have fun with your party looks!

[Article first appeared in the July 16 issue of Richmond Review.]

His and hers summer hairstyles

18 Jun

The warmer the weather gets, the less time we want to spend fussing with blow dryers, straighteners and curling irons. Keeping a low-maintenance, yet stylish, hairstyle will ensure more time will be spent playing in the sun than primping in front of the mirror. This month I talk to the experts at Suki’s in Richmond to get their take on the most popular styles for the season.

The new highlights

For colour, ombre hair is the hottest trend of the summer, according to Suki’s colour designer Esther Kim. Seen on the likes of Jessica Biel, Jennifer Lopez and Lauren Conrad, Kim said the soft and sexy ombre look works for every hair type and length.

Lauren Conrad’s ombre locks.

“[Ombre] is the lowest in maintenance as far as colour goes because the whole effect of the ombre is darker towards the root area and gradually lighter toward the ends,” said Kim. “There are endless possibilities in the way that we can make this look achievable by customizing which areas of the hair and face you’d like to enhance.”

Go glam with a blowout

For women with longer hair volume is still very in for the summer season, as spotted on the runways of Versace and Anna Sui. Stylist and Suki’s salon manager James Valiant suggested pairing voluminous hair with a centre parting to showcase one’s features. To achieve this look, Valiant said to start by towel drying clean hair and apply a blow dry enhancing cream.

Jessical Biel sports both the blowout and ombre trends.

“Using products will protect your hair from the heat and it will ensure you have texture and hold,” said Valiant. Then separate hair into sections and blow dry using a round brush, brushing away from roots to create volume.

“Once the hair is dry, make a centre part and brush the hair out,” continued Valiant. “This will give bounce and fullness to the hair.” He said an alternative to the brush and dryer technique is to use Velcro rollers. The smaller the roller the more body and curls; big rollers will create volume but less body. Valiant suggested the use of medium-size rollers to achieve the right balance.

Pomp(adour) and circumstance

The summer hair trend for men is the undercut style. Popularized by celebrities such as David Beckham and Michael Pitt from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, the undercut is short and tapered on the sides and back, but the top is left longer. Valiant said the bold undercut look is very versatile and can be styled slicked back, in a pompadour, or given the indie rock treatment.

Michael Pitt’s undercut worn slicked back.

For a slicked back look, use gel to hold the hair in place. To get the rocker style hair with an undercut, Valiant recommended using lightweight gel or paste.

“Sweep the hair forward and create details on top as you wish,” said Valiant. The end result will be a relaxed style.

The pompadour takes a little more effort but is well worth it. Valiant called it “the coolest style for men.” A look where the hair is swept upwards from the face to create height on top, he said the pompadour can be worn textured or smooth for guys with straight hair.

David Beckham’s undercut styled in a modern pompadour.

“Blast a blow dryer on high and use your fingers to work the hair upwards while drying,” instructed Valiant. “Pull the hair forward and then bend it back so you get the quiff shape, and ensure you don’t miss the roots while drying. The main trick is to keep working your fingers through the roots — this will create an insane amount of movement from within.”

Whether you end up colouring your hair or making a drastic cut, wear it with confidence. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles this summer; after all, hair will grow back!

[Article first appeared in the June 13 issue of Richmond Review.]