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Start From The Feet Up
Let's start with the most important part – footwear. A great pair of shoes is all you need to elevate a t-shirt and jeans combo for night. My rule is: the simpler your outfit, the more you can afford to go all out – as high as you like and the more details the better, including bows, metallics or even a bit of sparkle. Modern style is all about mixing things up and playing with that high/low contrast. Shoes are often the first thing we notice about an outfit, and can change your posture and attitude, so get them right and the rest will follow.
As bare legs become a no-go, sheer hosiery tends to work best for night. Opaque tights are practical but not sexy. I have strict rules about thick tights – unless you’re wearing them under long boots, you never want to hark back to your school uniform days. Instead, opt for a sheerer, sexier, lighter touch. Even the simplest of dresses or midi skirts can be elevated for evening this way – and don't forget how effective polka dot and monogrammed styles can be. I promise, once you've tried chic patterned tights, there’s no going back.
Posture and attitude are half the battle when it comes to transitioning a look from day to night, and how you carry your bag makes more of a difference than you might expect. A crossbody bag is practical and efficient but a clutch bag carried at arm’s length oozes sophistication. Invest in a clutch that’s striking but will go with everything – metallics are my go-to and I love hard cases that wouldn't look out of place with a pair of jeans. The more delicate your bag, the less impactful it will be, so don't opt for anything too lightweight, overly pretty or vintage.
If you're looking to elevate your look in a minimalist way, good tailoring can really redefine your shape. Silhouette is everything and by sharpening your outfit with a belt, the tone becomes more formal. An oversized shirt can look entirely different with a deliberate waist and I love a masculine blazer cinched in to give it a feminine twist. Just remember, the wider the belt, the more accentuated your waist, so it's worth experimenting with styles and thickness – an Alaïa-style corset belt can glam up even a simple knitted dress. When in doubt, go for something decorative – a pearl belt can evoke that Chanel feel and is transformative when worn with cosy knitwear. I invested in a black oversized bow belt years ago and it's now one of my most worn evening pieces.
Don’t Forget The Bling
Jewellery is one of the easiest ways to glam things up. I have a large collection of costume jewellery that I've built over the years and, unlike my wardrobe, I rarely do a purge. A lot of it doesn't take up any space and you never know when a specific piece might be the perfect finishing touch. Layering necklaces is my current obsession. I love pearls with gold and crystal accents, and find shorter styles are the most elegant for evening. Together, they create a more decadent neckline that can transform even a plain t-shirt. Don't be afraid to put some earrings on too – sometimes more is more. My philosophy is, if you've got a very simple look you need to transition to night time in a flash, put another thing on instead of taking anything off. I’ve only ever regretted looking under-dressed.
Choose An Up-Do
Never underestimate the power of an elegant up-do – for a more formal occasion, putting your hair up is the answer. Not only does it look neat, but it lengthens the neck and allows your jewellery to shine. When I'm styling celebrities for the red carpet, it’s common for earrings to get a little lost when the hair is worn down. To add a flourish to your up-do, try a bow or headband to keep things neat and decorative – particularly slim versions that are a bit more modern. To catch any flyaways, I'm obsessed with Schwarzkopf's Glued spray. Be careful though – less is more.
Use Your Shoulders
There's a reason editors and influencers walk into shows and events with coats and jackets slung over their shoulders. The cape effect exaggerates the shoulders, slims the waist and adds some drama. Nonchalant, flattering and full of French elegance, it's incredibly effective. If you're one of those people who’s often heading straight to dinner from the office, it’s worth investing in some decorative jackets and capes that can be slipped over a simple outfit. Look for cropped pieces so they don't swamp your silhouette or waistline.
Finish With Red Lips
Not much needs to be said about this styling trick – it's iconic, instantaneous and affordable. True scarlet doesn't suit everyone, so have a play with darker or brighter shades – find something that makes your lips pop. The best part is you can take it with you – in case any last-minute invitations come your way.
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