I keep looking around at all the tired looks - in the stores, on the sale racks, and on the streets, and I think I am sick of this winter's fashions! So I am going to talk about an excellent principle that can be applied to hair and makeup, jewelry, and entire outfits. It's called Highlight One Thing.
In terms of makeup, it's simple. Either do dramatic eyes, or a dramatic mouth, but not both. (Think Rocky Horror Picture Show.) If you are doing lots of dark eyeshadow and eyeliner, go soft and nude with your lipstick. If you are wearing bright or dark lipstick, just wear mascara and a little cream or taupe eyeshadow.
For jewelry, I always think you should wear earrings OR a necklace - not both. Wearing both looks too... "ladies lunch" to me.
Outfits are the trickiest places to apply this principle. My friend Helen has a fabulous silk ruffly bolero jacket, and is always trying to figure out how to wear it. One evening we strolled past a street jewelry vendor, and he complimented her on it. She was wearing it with a nice dress, and he said, basically, "oh no, no, no, no. You need to make that jacket the ONLY thing. Wear it with jeans and a white t-shirt!" For me, who had on a mish-mosh of items, he zeroed in on my graphic black and white bag - "Wear all black, and carry THAT BAG. That's it!"
Since then, I have noticed people doing this, and it really works. On a cold winter day, I couldn't stop staring at a tall, thin woman wearing all black - leggings, edgy boots, a black quilted parka - and her "One Thing" - a tan Burberry scarf wrapped around her neck. That preppy, commonplace item looked so chic because it was her one highlighted thing. I'm going to keep looking, and staring......