How to streamline your makeup bag (and save money)

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I always used to feel intimidated by makeup.  So many colours, so many choices – how on earth was anyone meant to know what to buy?

Fortunately with a bit of trial and error, I’ve managed to wade my way through the endless choice and work out what I like.

Once upon a time my drawers were filled with cheap odds and ends – random colours and things that I didn’t use, but recently I cleared everything out and examined what I wore on a regular basis, which colours suited me and ditched the rest.

Working out what colours suit you is the first hurdle.  I have a cool-toned skin, meaning I have blueish purplish veins on the underside of my hand and need to go for colours with a blue base (nothing which appears to be warm in tone).  For those with green or olive veins, the opposite is true – warm colours will suit you best.  This really does make such a difference – I cannot emphasise enough how much better people look when they are wearing the right tones for them.

Having established what I needed, I am now trying to use up anything I already own before investing in new products.  I bought some plastic see-through drawers to arrange all my belongings in – so I can see everything easily which is great.

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Similar to the post I made about investing in good clothing – less is more when it comes to makeup.  It’s far better to buy an expensive foundation that matches your skin tone, than one you’re not sure about and then end up buying two more because you’re not happy with the colour.  If you buy fewer and better, you will feel much more excited to use the products you own.  After all, people tend to use the same things on a daily basis and leave the sparkly glitter eye or deep red lip languishing abandoned in the bottom of the makeup bag.

I recently found the second-hand app Depop and realised that plenty of people sell new or slightly used designer makeup at a fraction of the cost.  If you know what colour you want – you can search for it there and buy it at a much-reduced rate (you can even haggle with sellers).  Sometimes bloggers even sell makeup they are sent by PRs if they don’t like the colour.  Now, if I want something, I will go to the shop and test it, then see if it is on Depop – a perfect way to save money.  Aside from that, I will look out for my favourite products when the sales come round.  If I see something I already use, I’ll buy it and put it away for when I run out – that includes cleansers, moisturisers or shampoo and conditioner.

After buying a set of plastic drawers (as above) from Muji, my dressing table is completely clear, looks organised and makes me feel much more sane than when it was scattered with random products.  I would heartily recommend investing in them.  You can find them here.

I’ve seen videos of a few vloggers online talking about the makeup ‘hauls’ and recent favourites.  Whilst I enjoy watching these videos, I think nothing would stress me out more than owning so much stuff! Where do they put it all?! Personally, I feel far better when I don’t have to store excess and I know and value exactly what I own.  It’s also a great way to save money.

Tips:

  1. Know what colours suit you.
  2. Ditch unused products.
  3. ORGANISE what you have – put different categories together – all eye products, lipsticks, blushers etc in different places (plastic drawers are brilliant for this).
  4. Buy fewer and better products – if you’re unsure what colour to buy (of foundation for instance) ask several people from the same makeup brand their opinion.
  5. Try to use up what you have before buying anything new.
  6. Try to buy: one good mascara, one good eyeshadow, two good lipsticks, an eyeliner, a foundation and perhaps concealer, one blusher and maybe an eyebrow pencil, highlighter or bronzer.  That should be all you need.  Say hello to a clutter-free life.
  7. Look out for your favourite products in the sales or on Depop to save money.
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A modern day Audrey Hepburn – dressing for your shape part 1

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Jenny Walton is a New York-based illustrator who appears regularly on style blogs because she has a wonderfully classic and elegant, yet fun way of dressing.

One thing I’ve noticed about Jenny is that she really knows how to dress for her shape.  She accentuates her positives and plays down any negatives.  She shows that as long as you know how to play to your strengths – anyone can develop great individual style.  This is how she manages to look so good.

For instance, her legs are not her best feature  – they are fairly short and she has quite a long upper body.  To disguise this, she tends to wear long skirts, cinched at the waist, which cover her legs – gives her a waist and lengthen the appearance of her lower body – as you can see in many of these photos.

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She is also small-chested – so tends to wear round necks as opposed to any plunging necklines.  In addition, because she is fairly narrow-shouldered and doesn’t have curves – by which I mean she doesn’t have a small waist – she will often use A-line shapes to create a feminine curve, or add bulk on her top half or bottom half, to prevent a straight ‘up-and-down’ look.  She has to cheat with clothes to give her a ‘shape’ as otherwise she has quite a boyish figure.

Finally, Jenny has a very long and elegant neck and will wear large earrings or a scarf to highlight this.

Like all of us, Jenny Walton is not without fault, but from her masterful understanding of her figure – you wouldn’t suspect this.  Style is all about playing to your strengths.

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I think she is gorgeous – especially that smile – and reminds me of Audrey Hepburn.  What do you think?

 

 

 

How to buy better clothes with less money

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Top from Claudie Pierlot – £72.50 from £145 

I have a friend who, whenever I meet her, is always wearing something new.  She often sends me pictures of new clothes she has bought, a new bag or a new pair of shoes.  A little while ago I envied her for this and thought how nice it would be to have so many new things.

Recently I moved places and became much more organised with all my existing clothes and accessories, so that I was able to see things I had completely forgotten about.  Organising all my clothes properly made me realise how much I own and how I really only wear things that I feel comfortable in.  I thought it would be far better to wear all the things I already have than hankering after a new summer dress or some glitzy heels, which realistically I will wear only a few times a year, as opposed to an A-line skirt which I would happily throw on every day of the year.

I thought of all the disposable items piling up in my wardrobe from over the years, things that I had bought in the moment because they were inexpensive, or on sale and because I probably forgot that I already owned two very similar versions of the same item.

I felt vaguely suffocated by the amount of items I owned.  It made it difficult for me to plan an outfit when the contents of my wardrobe were spilling out and overlapping, with things that I was unlikely ever to wear seated alongside a few firm favourites.  I thought how much nicer it would be to have a few, well-loved items, carefully curated and interchangeable, so that I could get dressed quickly every morning without much thought, whilst looking smart.

I realised that it’s far better to spend more money on fewer items in the sale each year.  For instance, I would ordinarily think that £30 would be the maximum I would spend on a top – but if I spent more, £70 in the sale say, and got something I really loved so that I wore it far more, it would be far better than spending £90 on three tops that were ill-fitting or mismatched.

I’ve realised that elegant clothes are simple but made well and that is worth spending money on – maybe two items twice a year in the sale, so that you build a good wardrobe over time.  If, like me, you hold on to your clothes for many years, this is the key to elegant and affordable dressing.

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Skirt from Claudie Pierlot – £99 from £165