Getting dressed and fine-tuning our personal style is easier than ever in the Pacific Northwest now that we have so many great stores and options. Excited to don our new look for Fall and the upcoming Bellevue Fashion Week, VS society writer Chardon Dankers and I went over to the east side for some basics for the new season.
Believe it or not, Chardon and I are not big shoppers and we like to be careful with our spending. Going out on a Saturday morning to explore our beauty options is fun, but it’s also serious business. Our image has to be effective in our personal and professional lives, and we don’t have the time or resources to fritter on items that won’t serve us.
Here are some of our insights on shopping beauty products and wardrobe pieces that will make life a little easier. We also can’t forget that style is an artistic expression as well. Smartness of a character comes through where trend, glamour and design elements meet.
The Eyes: Dior
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…and in the eyes. Eyes are color and light—even a way to see into a person. What you do and don’t do to your eyes says so much. Are you natural and carefree? Are you soulful and reflective? Are you no-nonsense and staid? Do you know what you are telling others about who you are with your eyes?
There was a time when a woman talked about “putting on her face” when referring to applying makeup. So let’s say that our sense of personal beauty and who we are starts with the eyes, the windows to our soul, and we build a story of who we are from there.
Chardon and I arrived with high anticipation and bare faces for our appointment with the Dior makeup ninjas. When LB, cosmetic beauty stylist at Nordstrom contacted me for our appointment and asked which makeup counter we preferred, I had no doubt in my mind: I wanted Dior. Why Dior?
There are two criteria I use when deciding on which colors to purchase: First, the colors and application should tell the right fashion story for one’s overall style; and second, the eyes must look beautiful and the color should help draw them out. After looking over this season’s color palette, I broke away from my usual go-to at Chanel—I simply couldn’t resist trying the Trafalgar Quint shadow palette from Dior.
Sure enough, it’s my 70s glam disco dream come true. The gold, red and brown hues make my bluish grey eye color pop. Choosing a high quality product is essential for a rich, long lasting, glamorous effect as well. High end brands last longer because less product is needed in each application. I am also a fan of Dior eyeliner because lining my eyes at the waterline (on the top and bottom lids) is critical for impact and I find that most brands make my eyes water—some more than others—but never Dior. I wear eyelash extensions to avoid the irritation I get from using mascara which is a great option for those with sensitive eyes.
Chardon Dankers, whose eyes were done by Jacob Mirelez, chose a smoky, sultry color palette which made her an absolute dream to look at all day. Both color schemes will make for great day-to-night transitions, depending on how heavily you apply the makeup.
The Brows: Zoe Dugdale
After we made our makeup choices, we headed over to the brow department to have our brows done by brow Specialist and Esthetician, Zoe Dugdale. I was feeling short on time and almost made the tragic mistake of not having mine done, until I saw Chardon’s brows come to life. I am always amazed by the dramatic effect that having a good brow shape makes on person’s overall beauty, never mind that it also takes a few years off a face.
Even though we had already had our brows done during our makeup session, having a specialist talk us through their special application tactics is worth the time. We have completely different types of brows, so it was good to hear how each one of us should approach makeup application.
Chardon has full brows with a heavier brow ridge than mine. I have thin brows with a more slight brow ridge. Because of this, mine should be thinner in width than hers. Chardon looked fantastic with denser wider brows. Had I not had mine done as well, I might have made the mistake of trying to apply my makeup the same way only to find it being too heavy. I have in fact done this and I’m always disheartened thinking that I just don’t have good brows. Zoe showed me that’s not the case at all. I’ve just been going about application the wrong way.
I wonder how many women are going around not feeling as beautiful or effective as they could if they only had the right tools and instruction? The $25.00 on the eyebrow pencil with brow brush comes with the application and free advice, and is worth every penny. Zoe Dugdale is naturally caring and her instruction is easy to follow. We both walked away feeling competent and good about our brows.
The Lashes: Joni Corbett and Youniques 3-D Fiber Lash Mascara
There are some great options for lashes these days. Lashes are an amazing gift from nature. Aside from protecting the eyes, they’re also high-impact beauty accessories. I didn’t know when I got eyelash extensions that my eyes would feel better than ever for not having the irritation mascara gives me and I would also enjoy not wearing makeup. My extensions are long and full, creating the effect that requires both eyeliner and mascara to achieve.
It’s important to find the right person to apply eyelash extensions considering that there are many lengths and styles to go with. Good counsel and application is crucial. I received compliments from the people at Dior about how well my lashes were done, so I will divulge my source: Joni Corbett in Magnolia is my go-to for eyelash extensions. To make an appointment call or text (206) 930-4722.
Eyelash extensions are a financial commitment and for people who like to be able to rub their eyes, not always a good option. That leaves us with mascara. I always thought Chardon was lucky to be gifted with naturally long eyelashes, but it turns out she has a makeup secret of her own that she is willing to share with readers—Youniques 3-D Fiber Lash Mascara. A combination of gel and natural fibers are blended to help build the length and thickness of your eyelashes. The results are dramatic. She gets it from www.YouniquelyKaren.com, where you can learn more.
The Fragrance: Dyptique
On a different note, I also purchased one of the new Dyptique fragrances, which was a huge risk for me as I rarely ever stray from YSL Paris or some version of it for day, and Bulgari or Guerlain fragrances for evening. But sometimes we need to do something crazy, right?
I was given a sample of the four eau de parfums during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale and I immediately liked the whole collection. For those like me who feel bombarded by stimulation right now, the simplicity of the line is truly appealing. Although, Dyptique does have a rose scent in this group, I went with the geranium rose based scent, Geranium Odorata, to force myself out of my comfort zone. Eventually, I will have all four in this collection because I like them equally for different reasons.
Fragrances have a life and story unto themselves—smelling one distinct way initially, but changing and evolving dramatically in the die-down. They require a long term commitment to fully appreciate what each one has to offer. Geranium Odorata is clean and restrained. The floral and citrus base notes are underscored by vetiver and ceder which gives it a solid balance. I like that it’s unobtrusive, gender neutral and versatile. For this reason, I’m going to enjoy using it as a daytime fragrance when I have meetings and need a clear head.
Although, it can be difficult to determine which fragrance suits you most, it can be an adventure to live with one at a time and see which one gives pleasure and sense of reverence as you find hints on clothing, scarves and sheets. Over time a perfume can become harder for the wearer to smell. Going through a season with something simple and clean can actually bring an old favorite back into proper perspective. Or perhaps it’s easiest to go with the scent that evokes the most compliments from others. However, I like to enjoy what I’m wearing as well. I personally never regret having bottles of perfume around because they’re wonderful decorative elements; the bottles tend to be beautiful in design, and it’s good hospitality to have a tray of various perfumes in the lav for guests to try.
The Fashion Basics
We wanted to find looks that will stand the test of time and transition between seasons. When I’m making a decision to purchase something for my closet, I think about a word that fashion writer Lisa Cole uses to describe certain items: “workhorse.” I’m busy and pragmatic so I want every item in my closet to be a “workhorse.” I tend to like the things I like a lot and wear the same things over and over again. I love style icons that are known for a single look, like Johnny Cash and Jackie O’, and I will gladly repeat outfits. It’s about having a look and being true to an archetypal version of oneself.
This way of dressing takes us away from being consumers and gluttons of stuff. I’d rather buy the clothes that I need to be who I am in the world—no more and no less. I’d rather not be a slave to fashion, but rather to think of the things in my closet as tools and as a support system. Designers create their collections with this way of thinking, so it makes sense to create wardrobes for ourselves in the same manner.
Classic Elegance at DVF
After putting on our faces, Chardon and I headed to DVF to try on a chic jumpsuit. If you are familiar with the label, then you know a closet of DVF jumpsuits has its merits. Vanguard Seattle is excited to feature the DVF Cynthia Long Sleeve Jumpsuit for fall as one of the best basics a wardrobe can have, and it looks good on everyone. Comfort and grace without compromise makes this a smart investment. Age and body type become secondary to this piece’s style factor. It comes in three versatile colors: black, royal blue and red. It wouldn’t hurt to have it in all three colors given the range of wearability. It will definitely take you from office, to dinner and events.
We styled this item with the DVF Balgo Suede Wedge which you can see peeking out from under the cuff. The trendy toe shape is spot-on for fall—most likely for the next decade—and we love it. What you don’t see in the photo is the luxurious gold wedge heel—so pretty. (It’s worth clicking on the link to check it out.)
Diane Von Furstenberg is a style icon unto herself and her whole collection tells a consistent story of a woman who is everything. This makes perfect sense considering that her fashion sensibilities were formed in the 70s when women were openly asserting that they could be everything. As the song goes, “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never let you forget you’re a man, ’cause I’m a woman.”
Street Chic at Intermix
Having this great basic covered, we decided to head over to Intermix and explore our options for cozy street pieces. I wanted to find something that could be worn everyday in a number of settings where I might have to walk a lot and be comfortable indoors and outside in the rain, but could be taken off easily.
Lo and behold, I found two great items to wear together or separately: The Exclusive for Intermix Shearling Vest and the Inga Savits Nina OTK Flat Boots available at Intermix in The Bellevue Collection. The vest has an endless range of layering options over leggings, jeans, trousers, dresses and skirts. The light grey color goes with everything and has an overcoat effect without being as formal or bulky. At first I thought I would need to be taller to pull the boots off, but because of their shape and lightweight leather, I felt that my 5’5″ were more than adequate to carry the style. They can also be scrunched down for another styling option. I really like that they can be worn with dresses. I feel edgy enough for street and pulled together enough for work in this look. This option is also comfortable without compromising style.
As entrepreneurs, Chardon and I have been forging our own path for most of our adult life. To do so takes a fortitude that comes from a combination of old world values of tradition and honor with a dose of rebellion. The overt rock’n’roll frontier look really speaks to me, but I also see something something conventional and sober in the lapel of the vest and the plainness of the boot. It would be easy to transform these pieces to sexier looks too. I do think the sexiness of an outfit should incidental, so I like that all of these pieces cover up with an option to reveal.
When you head out for a day of shopping have a little talk with yourself first:
1. Define your persona and ask yourself if your clothing choices reflect who you are and how you sell yourself to others. Don’t buy things by default or make unconscious choices. The items in your closet should function as a support system to who you are.
2. Create a reasonable budget. Do this whether you have limited options or money is no object. Take care also to avoid being hustled by salespeople. Be upfront about how much you want to spend and what kind of style you’d like to achieve. By doing so, salespeople can better help you. Stores, like Nordstrom, DVF and Intermix have staff that are well trained in styling. Build relationships with these people and you will have a great team in place to help you achieve your goals while being cost effective.
Last but not least, find inspiration by attending The Bellevue Colletion’s upcoming Fashion Week. See you there!