THE AVERAGE woman takes anything from one to two hours to get ready for a night out, which probably makes the average man wonder what they’re actually doing all that time.
But there are a lot of decisions to be made when preparing to party. What to wear, being the most obvious and important.
Style consultant Jacqui Cooper from Berry Brow, who trained with Colour Me Beautiful, says every woman should ask herself three questions when choosing an outfit.
Do I love it?
Does it flatter my shape and harmonise with my colouring?
Does it project the image I want?
If the answer is a Little Black Dress, the mainstay of many women’s wardrobes, then she has the following advice:
“If your colouring is dark and deep then black will be a winner, on its own or mixed with a colour. Make sure your make-up is strong enough to balance and harmonise with what you’re wearing. A dramatic make-up look is key this season – black eyeliner and red lips, so Audrey Hepburn.
“However, if you have blonde, light brown or reddish hair then black needs to be carefully handled. It can still be worn but make sure you keep it away from your face. Wear something light or sparkling at the neckline, such as a scarf or masses of pearls, to reflect light onto the face. Black can drain an already pale complexion.”
Jacqui says it’s also important to consider what type of fabric a LBD (little black dress) is made from.
“Black crepe can be too stark and dull. Opt instead for chiffon to soften the look. Lace, which lets skin peek through, will also soften the effect and there’s a lot of it about this year.
“And don’t forget faux fur wraps or jackets to perk up a black outfit, and coloured accessories - shoes, handbags and scarves – will make you stand out from the crowd.”
But Jacqui, whose own fair hair and colouring mean that black is not her best colour, encourages women to think of alternatives to a LBD.
“Red, blue, green and purple are key colours. Emerald green is THE colour for 2013. Mix it up a bit, try red and purple together, or a red dress with pink shoes can look amazing.”
Another tip for party dressing from the style consultant is to choose the right bra. She suggests booking a professional bra fitting.
“What an impact wearing the correct bra makes to your overall shape! Just uplifting the bust can make you look slimmer because the area that the boobs tend to cover is usually the slimmest area on most women. Try it and see, go on lift them up!”
And her absolute top tip is: “Above all, dress the body you have, not the one you want”.
All clothes from M&Co; make-up by Jo Burke; and hair by Gary Taylor
JO Burke is a past Max Factor consultant of the Year and recently staged an evening to demonstrate party make-up at the Boots store in Huddersfield town centre.
"A lot of women are afraid of wearing too much make-up but you can afford to go a little bit overboard for a party," she said.
She uses a lot of sparkling, metallic and glittering colours for her festive make-up looks. If you have warm colouring, red or chestnut hair then stick to soft hues of gold and bronze. Blondes and people with cool colouring look great with silver and icy hues of blue.
Jo, pictured inset, likes to create smokey eyes for parties – blending black and silver – but says that even natural colours such as browns and creams can be used for dramatic effect.
"Just apply the colours a little heavier than usual for an evening look," she says.
Liquid eyeliner is another make-up artist’s party standby but if you don’t have a steady hand then use a pencil with a smudging end or a lick of powder eye shadow under the bottom lashes. "Eyeliner has gone mega this year," said Jo. "And it comes in every colour. Sparkling purple looks absolutely fantastic."
Dazzling lipstick also really works for parties so Jo’s advice is to choose a vibrant shade – there is a red to suit everyone.
Remember that cool shades of red can make teeth look yellow, so unless you have dazzling white gnashers then opt for an orangey or warm red. Dark colours can also ‘bleed’ on older women and make lips look thinner. A shimmering tinted lip gloss is a great alternative.
"You can save money by using your cream blusher as a lip tint," said Jo. "And cream eye shadows in a light pearlised shade make great highlighters."
And, last but not least, mascara is the one item of make-up most women say they wouldn’t be without. If your mascara is dried up and difficult to use then it’s time to invest in a new one. Mascara gives definition to the eyes.
Although this has been the year that hairdressers and celebrities reinvented long, flowing and wavy hair, North Western Hairdresser of the Year Gary Taylor says there’s a party look for everyone, whatever the length of your hair.
"If you have short hair, for instance," he says, "then give it an edgy look by scrunching it quite vigorously. Use a paste – not a wax – to get some real texture."
Anyone who wants long hair but has failed to grow it for themselves can easily mock-up the look.
"You can use hair extensions for a quick, simple way to get long hair," explained Gary.
"This year we have been doing a lot of loose waves and curls – use a heated wand and let the curls cascade down."
An alternative to wearing long hair loose is to adopt a simple pin up. "Don’t go for anything too structured," says Gary, who has his own salon, Edward & Co in Brighouse. "Allow the hair to be soft and casual."
For mid-length hair he suggests using curling tongs to achieve a soft curl but tousling the hair afterwards so that it looks more natural.
TO keep skin clear and glowing through the festive season requires having a good skincare routine and sticking to it.
"Everyone’s drinking and eating too much, skin gets very dehydrated," says Harriet Stenhouse, Elizabeth Arden consultant at Boots.
"I’d recommend applying a moisturising masque before getting ready to go out and then applying another one the next day," she said.
"Obviously it’s very important to drink lots of water too."
Another essential is to thoroughly cleanse skin of make-up at night.
"Even if you’ve come in really late try to remember to cleanse, and use a foaming cleanser that washes off with water and not face wipes. Face wipes leave a residue on the skin.
"It’s all a question of being prepared and leaving everything out ready to use when you get back in."