Texture

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I am all about a monochromatic look. Head to toe navy, gray, white (or my favorite – black) is such an elegant look. You are guaranteed to turn heads. The question – how do you you keep it from looking to simple? The answer – textures. Pair a silk top, leather skirt and lace booties and you instantly upgrade your look.

Elegance: A Beginner’s Guide

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Elegance is a dying art. In the world of fast food and fast fashion, to slow down and take the time to do anything is quickly becoming extinct. Elegance can be broken down into three parts: Personality. Perception. Presentation.

Personality
You need to be likable. Know your audience, this can mean many things. Your reputation should send the message that at a bar you would order wine, not PBR. (Even if you like PBR – see perception)

Perception
You need to have your act together. Even if you are a mess on the inside, no one should know that. You might not be good at everything, but never advertise that, just do in public the things you excel in. (see presentation) This can include everything from your choice of dinner location to your etiquette at work. Always be aware.

Presentation
This applies to two different things, how you do things and how you look. When someone looks at you they shouldn’t imagine that you are the type of woman who drinks until you get sick and have sex with any man willing. You want to be considered the prize. How you dress effects that image. You don’t need to spend a lot to be elegant, but knowing how to invest in your wardrobe is definitely a good place to start.

The Smokey Bronze Eye

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  1. Start by applying an eyeshadow primer from the lid to the brow bone and on the lower lash line.
  2. Dust a matte nude eyeshadow with a fluffy shadow brush in the crease, extending in a cat eye shape.
  3. Layer a matte warm taupe over the nude.
  4. In the outer v, blend a chocolate brown matte blend into the taupe.
  5. Taking a deep metallic bronze shadow, place all over the lid.
  6. Go back with the crease brush and blend the taupe into the crease so there is a seamless transition.
  7. Follow with the nude shadow, blending over the taupe onto the brow bone.
  8. With a deep brown eyeliner, line and smudge the lower lash line. Layer a deep brown shadow over it.
  9. High light the inner corner and the brow bone with a matte vanilla shade.
  10. Prime lashes.
  11. Finish with several coats of mascara.

Wardrobe Basics

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Keeping in mind the article on Investing in your wardrobe, now we look at the bones of every woman’s wardrobe. This isn’t everything you should own, but the building blocks. Add or subtract as you see fit.

1. Black Cocktail Dress: This is something that you can pull out for every holiday party, wedding, date, whether last minute or planned out.
2. Wrap Dress: The most flattering dress ever. This is a great dress to incorporate a print or a color, but basic black or navy are also great options.
3. Black Blazer: Ideally this is the same material as the pencil skirt and the dress pants. That way you can wear it as a suit.
4. Black Pencil Skirt: Great for going out or work, just make sure it’s long enough.
5. Black Dress Pants: Even if you aren’t into wearing pants, it’s always great to have the one pair in your closet, if anything for especially rainy days.
6. White Dress Shirt: A classic. Enough said.
7. Sweater: Crew neck or v-neck. Cashmere or cotton. Have at least one in your closet. A neutral color is the most versatile, but this is a great place to add color.
8. T-shirts: Don’t spend too much, but don’t buy Hanes undershirts.
9. Dark Wash Jeans: The most flattering and the dressiest while still being casual. Buy the cut that is most flattering to your body shape. A Bootcut is always a nice option. If you do this, have one pair for flats and one for heels. Not one for both.
10. Leather Jacket: If there is only one piece you can invest in on this list, make it this. It will last you forever and look better with age.
11. Nude Pumps: Especially if you are into color, these will be the best shoe option to not distract from your colors and patterns.
12. Black Pumps: A classic and a must have.
13. Tennis Shoes: Great for errand running and weekends.
14. Trench Coat: Even if you live in a hotter climate, a trench coat is always a necessity.
Even if it’s just for a midnight rendezvous wearing nothing but lingerie.
15. Everyday Bag: Pick something big enough for your life and in a color you love.

Bathing Beauty

DSCN0241.JPGBathing is not to be taken lightly. We’re not talking about the bath time you remember as a child. The ratio of salts and oils, lighting, music, a lot goes into the perfect bath. See below for a breakdown of creating your ideal mix.

The Mix
Salts. Oils. Bubbles. Bombs. The list goes on. There is no need to be monogamous to your preference. If you stumble across something new and exciting, try it. I would say bombs and bubbles are the two I wouldn’t mix, but if you’re into that, go for it. Salts and oils can be adjusted to target whatever it is you’re going for (soothe pain, enhance pleasure). You can also find some pre-made mixes so the thinking is done for you. I feel any hardcore bath enthusiast would want to be their own chemist and create their own perfect bath.

Ambience
Music, candles (scented vs non-scented) phones on airplane mode (exceptions can be made for sexy phone conversations made on a rotary phone.)

Cuisine
Depending on who you are, it can be all or nothing. Just depends on what you’re into.

After
Once you have finished your bath, it is time to moisturize. A thick body cream is a perfect choice. Don’t skip this step though, it is the perfect way to finish.

Investing in your Wardrobe

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You don’t need to spend a ton of money on your clothes, it’s more about learning what to look for. You can locate amazing finds anywhere as long as you follow these guidelines.

Quality
Whether you’re at Target or Neiman Marcus, ask yourself: can you see through it? Do the seams match up? Does it have a lining? If it looks cheap (even if it costs a lot) it isn’t going to last.

Color
Especially if you are shopping for a more affordable option here, rich neutrals are a safer bet than bright colors. Black, navy, burgundy, tan, these are a few examples of colors that look good from the $20 sweater to the $200 option.

Logos
None. Ever. Period. You will make yourself look cheap, even if you are in head to toe Chanel. Labeling yourself is going to look bad and give away how much you’ve spent. If you always wear pieces that look nice and don’t have a logo on them, people won’t know focus on what it is and how much it was, just the quality of your look.

Material
Faux materials don’t last. If you can’t afford a cashmere sweater, a cashmere blend still will do the job. There are real leather shoe options in all sorts of price points. Cotton is another great option for clothing.