Coco Chanel famously once said ‘Once you've dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” What she meant was when it comes to styling, less is more – wearing the earrings, the belt, the bag and the necklace all together can ruin an outfit. Well in my book, the same rules apply to hair and makeup – looking underdone, rather than overdone is waaay more stylish.
Have you ever noticed that the coolest party girls don’t really do ‘hairdos’? Think of Alexa Chung, Kate Moss, Poppy Delevingne , Laura Bailey or the French magazine editors like Emmanuelle Alt or Carine Roitfeld; over their dead bodies will you find them with a hairsprayed chignon the size of a football. In fact, their hair normally looks like it hasn’t seen a hairbrush in years. Neither will you see them with what I would call a full face of makeup; instead it’s a cat’s eye (think Chung’s famous winged liner) or a red lip , worn with fresh looking skin.
In the 1940s, glamour was all about set hair (three hours at least in rollers), foundation so thick you couldn’t see the skin, perfectly painted long nails, drawn on eyebrows and lipstick before breakfast. However, times have changed and whilst OTT glamour still exists on the set of TOWIE (lashes, fake nails, fake tan, smokey eyes and bold lips are the norm), it’s a look that true style setters would deem unstylish. Today it’s about looking like you’ve taken ten minutes, not two hours, to get ready - and let’s be honest, who has hours to sit in front of the dressing table anyway?
I’m not saying we should steer clear of statement looks – I love nothing more than an amazing smokey eye, some incredible coloured eyeliner or a bold lip - but maybe not together, and don’t go for the full head of barrel curls as well, especially if you’re wearing a mega dress.
The catwalk looks for Spring/Summer 2015 totally reinforce this more minimal vibe – at Burberry it was all about a red lip with fresh skin, at Matthew Williamson just a hint of a mauve eye, and from Rag & Bone to Chloe and Iceberg (among many other shows), models just wore perfected, flawless skin. As for the hair, at the majority of shows it looks like it’s just been washed and left to dry naturally.
This party season, if you’re getting dressed to go out remember Coco's rules and play down one thing. Simplicity is a statement in itself and more definitely does not equal more.
The 7 rules to modern, laid-back glamour:
1. Wear an eye or a lip, not both – strong eyes can fight with bright lips, and unless done very well you could look like an 80s’ throwback. A bold red lip worn with a subtle eye flick is far chicer. Alternatively if you’re going for a rock chick smokey eye, pair it with a nude lip.
2. Don’t overdo your ’do – overly styled, overly perfect hair is way off the radar for 2015 (although poker straight, iroed hair is making a comeback). Try rolling with your natural hair texture instead of fighting it. Try the Morrocan Hair Oil range to keep frizz in check.
3. Ditch the hairspray – hairstyle trendsetter and stylist Sam McKnight has always said to me that modern hair is about looking like you can run your fingers through it, not break your nails on it.
4. Wear a sheer base – foundation technology has moved on so much in the last ten years, a mask-like base can look very dated whether you are aged 19 or 45.
5. Grown up glitter - if you’re going to wear glitter, wear it on the eyes only, not the décolletage and definitely not lips. Charlotte Tilbury does amazing palettes for eyes with a touch of sparkle.
6. Big dress, small hair – if you’re wearing a sequinned frock, or a long floor length gown, don’t do huge voluminous hair too else you'll look like an extra from Dallas. Go for no root lift or an up-do using your natural texture instead.
7. Ditch the fakery - false lashes, false nails, hair extensions, even fake tan are all looking a bit dated right now. Wear all of the above at your peril, unless you want to be an extra on TOWIE.