Add Some Romance to Your Look
Whether Valentine’s Day is the highlight of your year, or the idea of needing a special day to acknowledge romance makes you shudder (you celebrate love every day of the year, right?), it’s easy to get stuck in a style rut when it comes to dressing up for date night. Here, our style experts weigh in on how to add a little extra sizzle to your romantic rendezvous on February 14.
Get Goddess-worthy Hair
Greg Ruggeri, an Australian hairstylist based in New York who has tended the tresses of famed beauties like Cate Blanchett and Kylie Minogue, gives us the lowdown on how to achieve gorgeous date-night hair at home.
Look No. 1: The Sex Kitten
Channel the silver-screen allure of Rita Hayworth with her provocative loose waves, or the Victoria’s Secret models with their va-va-voom manes.
“After blow-drying your hair, brush it backwards from the crown and gently push your hair forward to determine where your hair naturally parts,” says Greg. “Create two high ponytails -- think Princess Leia -- and twist the hair inward toward your scalp. Keep twisting until you have two tight coils, then secure the bun with bobby pins (not elastics, as these cause band marks.) Repeat the process on the other side. Leave the pins in until you’re finished getting ready, then remove and shake gently to loosen.” To create an even more dramatic look, Greg recommends leaving the buns in as long as possible and making them a little tighter. “This will produce fuller hair with even more volume,” he advises.
Look No. 2: The Dream Girl
A tousled, unstructured chignon or loose ponytail has a timeless appeal, as celebrities like Kate Beckinsale and Diane Kruger demonstrate on the red carpet.
“To create this look, follow the steps above to create the two buns, twisting them tightly before pinning,” instructs Greg. “Take out the buns and tip your hair upside down. Very lightly apply hairspray, taking care not to overdo it. Tip your head back and give it a shake, placing your fingers underneath your hair and shaking from the roots. (Don’t comb your fingers through, as this can cause frizz.) Very carefully pull your hair back off your face, and put it in a loose ponytail just below the crown, or at the nape of your neck. For a softer look, pull a few pieces out. When the ponytail is secure, spray a light mist of hairspray and work it gently into the hair to create texture. Grab bobby pins and start twirling and pinning to create either a messy chignon or a Grecian-style bun.”
Vamp Up Your Wardrobe
Belynda Macpherson, founder and designer of luxury cashmere line Banjo & Matilda , suggests starting with a sexy base when pulling together your romantic look. “For date night, I always feel sexiest in matching a black bra and knickers,” she says. (Not surprisingly, she loves sister-in-law Elle Macpherson’s Intimates line.) “But if I'm feeling a little mischievous, a bright colour, like orange or fuchsia, gives that surprise factor when it counts.”
On top, she recommends choosing vintage for your big night out. “There is nothing sexier than a vintage dress, knowing you'll be the only person in the room wearing the look,” says Macpherson. “I always look for a unique feature like an open back or a high lace neckline.”
Lastly, this is no time for sensible heels. Slip on those towering stiletto heels you’ve been saving up for a special occasion. Belynda favours Gucci: “They never let me down in the sexy-heels stakes.” Then, throw a luxurious cashmere wrap on top.
Make Your Makeup Pop
You’ve got the sex kitten hair and the show-stopping vintage black number, now ask yourself: What would Rita Hayworth do? That’s right, reach for the red lipstick. If becoming a scarlet woman is a bit daunting, take inspiration from Aussie lipstick queen Poppy King, who fearlessly flaunts red lips literally every day: She developed her very first lipstick after craving a red that “gave the look of the 1940s: rich, opaque and filled with pigment.”
Photo Credit: @iStockphoto.com/jhorrocks