(Today, Karen shows us how she helped a client style an actual Red Carpet look on a budget. Amazing results!)
This is my client, Jane, on her way to the 2012 Grammy Awards. I've styled daytime corporate events and weekends for Jane, as well as vacation wardrobes. This was our first formal event styling together. After struggling on her own at first to put a formal evening look together, she called me in take over. Jane's complaint with her own attempt was that she didn't know what looked good on her, and had a limited budget to spend on this one special evening.
With her lovely tall, slim and curvy frame, I knew I wanted something for her in a heavy jersey fabric. Jane asked for black, but I knew navy would show off her bright blue eyes to stunning effect. We agreed that she shouldn't try to dress too young or glitzy, knowing she'd be veering off her style personality by a mile. So classic it was to be.
To find a budget gown we had a couple of options. I brought in the dress Jane is wearing in the photos on the first try, which almost never happens! It's Adrianna Papell from Nordstrom, $150, and it fit perfectly. Jane was thrilled she could wear her favorite bra with the dress, completely undetectable due to the ruching. I was totally ready to run the usual gamut of shopping options; borrowing, thrifting at the studio wardrobe sales and consignment shops, or renting a gown. It was a joy to have avoided all that so we could get on with the fun!
Using the dress as our cornerstone, we began taking test shots with a camera, swapping out various accessories, possible hairstyles, shoes and evening bags. I highly recommend you take photos of yourself before going to an important event. I guarantee the nays and the yays will be as plain as day. The ornament on Jane's dress directed our choice in accessories: nothing should compete with the "brooch" or take the emphasis off her face. That meant a simple shoe in black (Yes, navy and black!!!). The tassel earrings worked great with the dress and brooch, ala Natalie Portman at the Oscars. Remember?
Hair was definitely to be an updo, though Jane protested at first. I told her that as it was a huge Hollywood event, she MUST have it done professionally, and that a classic updo would show off her lovely neck and shoulders. Long and loose hair would have muddied up the whole effect above the bust, including burying the so carefully conceived tassel earrings. As the dress was reasonably priced, the cost of an updo wasn't going to kill her budget. Jane did her own makeup that night, and did a wonderful, tasteful job at that. She was thrilled to get a heap of compliments from Bruce Springsteen's hair and makeup stylist in the elevator at the Ritz Carlton Hotel!
I gave Jane a little pregame stance coaching for her red carpet shot below, but she looks a bit "deer in the headlights." She has a great sense of humor, and doesn't take herself too seriously in these kinds of situations, so it was alright. She wasn't supposed to have a wrap in the photo on her arm (and wasn't going to bring one as it was such a warm night), and her clutch could have been held a little closer in to her body. Okay, so the tally:
Gown: Adrianna Papell, Nordstrom, $150
Shoes: Anne Klein, DSW, $70
All jewelry: Stylist's personal collection
Silver envelope clutch: Stylist's personal collection
Hair updo: $40
Nails: Done by Jane
Makeup: Done by Jane
TOTAL FORMAL LOOK: $260
Below is a picture of Jane as her usual self, sporty on her way to tennis and then surely errands. Isn't she the cutest?