Category

Summer

midi dress

Midi Dress Magic

By | Summer

Last weekend it felt like summer had officially started, so my family and I decided to head off to our local badi (public swimming area).

It appeared that everyone in the surrounding area had the same idea too, and there was a wonderfully endless parade of women wearing all sorts of beautiful summer dresses. All of the different styles, fits and colours inspired me, and especially the midi dresses.

The Midi dress has been around for so many seasons now that it’s become a wardrobe staple. It’s incredibly easy to wear and ticks so many boxes. As well as ease, it’s a style of dress that instantly makes you feel put together and can help keep you cool in the heat. And, because it’s so versatile, it’s also a perfect transition piece for Spring and Autumn as well.

As with everything though, not every midi silhouette suits everyone, so here are my tips for choosing the best fit and how to style it…

Midi Dress Length

As a general rule of thumb, when it comes to dresses and skirts I ask my clients to go for a length that sits at the smallest and slimmest part of their legs. Normally this would be just above or below their knee.

A midi, however, is designed to sit right on your calves. So, to make it more flattering, you need to find ways to elongate your legs. The easiest way of course to do this is with footwear.

Fabric and Fit

Two important things to look out for when you’re choosing a midi are the fabric and fit. These two things will make all the difference as to whether the dress is going to work for you or not.

If you have a curvier body shape then you’ll want to opt for a silhouette that emphasises your smallest part. With a fuller bust, a wrap-over or a shirt dress will work really well and help to cinch in your waist.

Or if you’re curvier on the bottom half, accentuate your top half with a sleeveless midi or one that has some kind of embellishment. I’d also recommend a fabric that has some fluidity about it. In other words, not something structured or heavy as this will be unflattering to your shape.

If you have a small waist show it off in midis that are cinched at the waist or have a belt detail.

If your shape is quite athletic and you don’t have defined curves, you can create them yourself. Go for a midi that has a lower waistline. Or alternatively you can create a waist by adding a belt or short cardigan or jacket. A more structured fabric and design will also create the illusion of curves, as will a tiered style dress.

Footwear

When it comes to footwear, it’s important to ensure you don’t chop your leg dimensions up too much. Ideally opt for shoes that show off your ankles, so things like low-cut trainers, sandals, wedges, sliders and mules.

You can really switch up the look of your midi dress by using different styles of shoes to create different looks. Wearing heels will naturally dress-up your midi and elongate and flatter your legs, but of course wearing heels all day isn’t always practical (or comfortable!). So, for day-to-day styling I recommend adding trainers, flat sandals or a small wedge.

Outerwear

Of course, here’s hoping we continue to have more of these glorious days and don’t really need too much outerwear this summer!

But, in case it does get a little chilly, a nice short cardigan over your midi will look really chic. Or for a slightly warmer, casual look try a short denim jacket or for something a little dressier a short smart jacket works too. And, if you want an edgier rock and roll vibe, add a leather biker jacket.

Whatever style you go for, a great midi dress is such an easy and versatile must-have piece for your wardrobe, and you’ll get endless wear from it.

Knowing which styles work for your shape can be a complete game changer. If you want to learn more about this and how you can dress this summer, come and join my ‘How to Dress for Your Body’ masterclass – CLICK HERE for all the details.

The “How”, “What” and “Why” of Packing Your Travel Makeup Bag

By | Summer, Travel

Although not all trips are created equal and there are many factors that come into play when packing your luggage, there are several tried and true tips that I’ve accumulated in my many years of travel. As a makeup artist and makeup enthusiast, I find planning your makeup looks ahead of time, the way you might do with your outfits, to be nearly impossible. Which is why I always found myself overpacking my makeup bag, insisting that “maybe I’ll finally wear this daring blue eyeshadow in Bali”, or thinking “but what if I only bring this one subtle pink lipstick to France and then have the urge to wear a bright pink or a red”.

After, or sometimes even during, every journey I would have my come-to-Jesus moment and realize that out of all this extra makeup I brought, I maybe used one or two products which are not in my typical everyday makeup routine. So, it’s my pleasure to share some of my wisdom with you, in hopes that you too can go forth and save yourself lots of time, stress and some extra baggage weight allowance. 

Where are you going?

Location, Location, Location – realistically think about where you are going, what the climate is like there and what kind of daily activities you’ll be taking part in. For example, if I’m headed anywhere beachy/tropical or hot, I know that 75-90% of the time I will only be rocking the SPF/factor 50 and some lip balm. Whereas, if I’m heading somewhere more urban, with a mild to chilly climate, I’m most likely going to bring my daily makeup and maybe one to three “fun products” – more on those later. 

Looks that last the day

Longevity is key – the last thing I want to worry about when I’m on a trip, is whether or not my makeup still looks ok. As a makeup artist that usually doesn’t have the time nor, frankly, the will to touch up throughout the day, my daily makeup tends to consist of only long-lasting formulas which I know will work for me and not against me. But if that doesn’t apply to you, I highly suggest researching and buying products that are long-wear formulas and filling your travel makeup bag only with products you know will stand the test of travel, tours and tough conditions. Two words: waterproof mascara. 

Customise your palette

Put the eyeshadow palettes down – there are a few instances I remember in which I traveled with 2-3 eyeshadow palettes and not one single eyeshadow so much as grazed my lids the entire trip. Nowadays, I stay realistic and if I choose to pack eyeshadows, I forego most of the “fun products” and just bring a small palette of four neutral-ish shades with me. For vacation Nicole, eyeshadows in the daytime are usually unrealistic due to the presence of sunglasses or sheer lack of motivation to spend my time getting ready in the morning when I could be out doing anything and everything else. I suggest bringing just a few shades that you regularly wear or absolutely love and if possible, putting them into one palette to save space. These days, companies like MAC, Z-Palette and many more sell empty magnetic palette which you can fill and customize yourself.

I tend to collect beautiful, fun and interesting products that I want to wear but never do and then end up adding them to my kit. Sometimes I romanticize and think that I’ll wear that crazy bold lip or striking bold eye on vacation but like I said above, when the time comes, vacation Nicole usually can’t be bothered to experiment. 

Maximise your products

Lots of options with little product – learning how to maximize the products you bring with you is a great secret to successful minimal packing. I apply the same thinking when packing a travel bag as when I streamlined my professional makeup kit years ago. I was so tired, mentally and especially physically, of carrying a large and extra heavy kit around to my various jobs. Once I took a look at everything and realized that I only use about a fifth of what I bring and always end up mixing product to achieve the result I want, I ditched the clutter and kept products that were most versatile and compact. 

For example, if you are a lipstick person and find yourself wanting multiple options on your trip, try packing one lipstick and maybe 3 very different lip liners. The lip liners take up much less space, are significantly lighter and when you mix your lipstick with a liner – you create new shades and give yourself many more options without the fuss of 10 lipstick bullets in your bag. I also like to pack a cream eyeshadow which doubles as a primer. Think of it as getting the most bang out of your buck.

Sample saviours

Little bottles and samples are your best friend – I am not sure why more cosmetic brands don’t sell more travel sizes of makeup. The same logic that is applied to all the cute, little travel size deodorants, tooth pastes and other assorted toiletries should be applied to makeup as well. The last thing I want to do is travel with a glass bottle of foundation, praying to the travel Gods that it doesn’t break somewhere along the way.

In an effort to reduce the weight of my bag and reduce waste, I tend to decant a portion of my full-size liquid and cream makeup products into small, reusable containers. Another great tip is to go to a makeup counter or store and ask them if they have any samples of the products you use. Typically, the samples they give could get you by for a least a few days. Some brands will give you a Gift with Purchase that will include smaller-sized products, like mascaras or lipsticks, etc. I always put these aside and save them for my travel bag. An important thing to remember for liquid and cream products like foundation and mascaras is that once you open them, the expiration starts ticking faster. So keep them unused and closed until you really need them and then be aware not to use them after they’ve gone bad. 

If you’ve made it this far, thank you! I hope you were able to learn a thing or two and that this will help you make better decisions during your next packing experience.

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or contact me. I am available for one-on-one and group consultations, instruction and workshops. While I’m currently based in Zürich, I do travel (light) worldwide. ;) 

Thank you again and I wish you safe and happy travels! xoxo

Nicole

 

Packing Made Easy

By | Summer, Travel

Let’s set the scene…

With only a week to go until your greatly anticipated holiday, you can barely contain your excitement as you count down the days!

As you busy yourself getting all your last jobs done to avoid dealing with work issues while you’re away, your mind starts to wander off to your holiday and the outfit looks you want to create…beach goddess anyone?!

Before you know it, you’re scrolling like mad on Instagram, screenshotting every influencer you follow so you can recreate their perfect squares. But then panic sets in – do you actually have the right clothes? OMG do you have enough time to shop?!!

Last minute shopping complete, it’s finally time for the dreaded packing! You have your fabulous new pieces, along with your existing holiday favourites, and as you squeeze them into your case you cross your fingers and hope and pray that your growing case isn’t over its 23kg allowance! Actually, who are we kidding, it’s more like 20kg allowance to leave room for cosmetics!

Now the stress is kicking in! You feel pretty sure that everything you’ve packed is vital to achieving your beach goddess look, but something has to give. And then the game begins, a few pieces come out, a few go back in, and this continues until the scales finally read 20kg…halle-freaking-lujah!

Sound familiar?

This use to be me, and now with a child I have even less space and need to utilise, multipurpose and minimise what I take.

As a personal stylist and also as a working woman who’s experienced the above, it’s my pleasure to share my wisdom so you can have a stress-free packing experience, every time!

Golden rule

Weather Forecast! Before anything, look at the weather forecast. Now I know this sounds like a no brainer, but I have been on many, many holidays where I just presumed it would be warm and to my surprise it rained 80% of the time.

Holiday planning

Outline a rough guide of what you’ll be doing on holiday (day & evening), and also where you’ll be going. What you pack for a city break will be very different to a beach holiday. For example, if you’re having a beach holiday with temperatures of 30 degrees plus, think of all the activities you might do… laying around the poolside 2-days, beach 3-days, visit the city 1-day, fancy restaurants 3-nights, etc.

Having a rough guide will help you plan what type of outfits you need, and also if you can multi-purpose some of the outfits – in other words, take a day time look to an evening look.

Create a holiday wardrobe

A week before your holiday start moving items you’d like to take onto a separate rail, or on one side of the rail in your wardrobe. This will help you see how many items you have, are there similar items doing the same job, are they all separate or can they be mixed and matched together, do the colours work together and is there anything missing that you’ll need.

Think in 3’s – Once you have your full selection, start editing and putting a capsule wardrobe together. The best way to do this is to see if you can create 3 ways to wear each item.  It’s sometimes easier to go bottom up.  So, for example you may have 3 pairs of shoes, see how you can wear these shoes 3 times with different outfits.

Accessorise – Accessories are your best friend for:

1) Creating a more personal style,

2) Taking a look from day to evening, and

3) Creating various combinations

Be careful not to go craaaaazzy with accessories! Look at the outfits you’ve created and see which accessories you can multi-use…do you really need 5 pairs of sunglasses or will just 1 pair suffice?

Dress up/Dress down – Are there items you can add that take a day look into evening.  For example, if you have a buttoned summer dress, you can wear it unbuttoned with your swimming costume by the poolside, as a dress for sightseeing and for the evening dress it up with sandals, jewellery and a clutch.

Your beach holiday guide

For a week-long beach holiday, here’s a guide for what to take:

  • Three styles of shoes – for example flip flops by the pool, a pair of sandals and then a heel/wedge for the evening.
  • 3 pairs of bottoms – this could be all or a combination of shorts, trousers and skirts.
  • 4/5 tops – 1 long sleeve, then some casual daytime tops and 2 tops for the evening.
  • 3 dresses – these can include a maxi, jersey dresses and summer dresses
  • 2 pieces of swimwear that you feel comfortable in and you will wear. If you are conscious of baring all, then find a bikini or swimsuit with a bit more coverage. There’s no point taking a number of bikinis that you won’t wear.
  • 2 coverups – these can also be worn as tops or a dress if not too transparent. You could even use a dress or a shirt as a coverup as well.
  • Beach bag for the day and a nice handbag for day and evening, and even better if you can use the handbag as a clutch as well.
  • Jewellery – this is very individual to your taste and how much jewellery you actually wear. My advice is to take a few necklaces that can elevate a plain outfit, that you can wear with your bikini, but also out in the evening. Statement earrings can also be great for poolside and jazzing up an evening outfit.

I hope these tips have been useful and will help you make better decisions and have a more joyful packing experience, and a lighter suitcase!

If you’re ready to create your own signature style that takes you from home to holiday with ease, get in touch and see how our styling services can support and inspire you.