It is always enjoyable (if you have an ounce of vanity, which I certainly do) to receive compliments about the way you look. That's especially true when one is standing on the precipice of a very-milestone birthday. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I got to hear lovely things from many people about my mother-of-the-bride look. As one can imagine, I did put some effort into my look for that day. I thought I would deconstruct the process and some of the products involved--I know I love a good beauty/fashion tip myself.
The biggest decision for wedding attire is always the dress. This is not the dress I originally planned to wear, but I realized I wanted something that was going to be attractive and not matronly, but also not too young for me (and it had to fit which was an issue with dress #1). Luckily, I have a mother-in-law who is a wiz as a seamstress.
Wrap dresses are a curvy girl's best friend, so that was what I wanted. I know there are those that consider cleavage a little desperate in women of a certain age, but I realized a couple of years ago that my legs and my bust are my best assets figure-wise and when I dress up I choose to highlight them. Social Butterfly and I picked out a pattern and this great jersey fabric in moss-green that has an-almost lacy look (though the texture is actually from slits in the lined fabric). We sent the pattern, fabric and a dress that flattered me for fitting to Minnesota and eagerly awaited the results.
My MIL quickly decided the dress that would result from the pattern I chose was NOT the dress I wanted. I trust her fashion judgement and so when she volunteered to make a pattern from the dress I sent, I was thrilled. When I got the dress back, it fit well except it was too short--I realized too late the dress I sent for sizing was one I wore with tights and boots, so was shorter than I would feel comfortable in bare-legged. Luckily, she was able to create a ruffle and add it to the hem and the result was (I think) most excellent. I had the final tailoring done by the seamstress I normally use for alterations--and learned something I should have figured out a long time ago--I need to have the shoulders taken up on most dresses.
I added a brooch at the waistline,jewelry (bolder than I ever would have chosen when I was younger; delicate doesn't really work for me any longer) and some nude peep-toe pumps in a heel just low enough that I knew I wouldn't trip.
I felt both pretty and comfortable in the dress--which may have been the reason I danced almost non-stop for about four hours! You can't ask for more than that.
I said in the opening that I love a good beauty tip and I am very grateful that when Colleen (of the now- defunct blog Yellow Dogs and Blue Skies) raved about Giorgio Armani Designer Lift foundation, I schlepped down to Neiman-Marcus and got a sample to try. Colleen was right that this foundation is amazing for middle-aged skin. It's pricey, but I am still on my first bottle and it's been 5 months--I use a good foundation brush and that makes a big difference.
My baby-fine, wisp-thin hair has always been the bane of my existence looks-wise, but I have recently found a product that has transformed my 'do. That product is texturing powder. After blow-drying my hair (and I'll be honest, before I blow-dry I use Thermasilk heat treatment, light Morrocan Argon oil, Garnier voluminizing mousse and Tigi root boost--it sounds more complicated than it is), I sprinkle Ulta Style and Finish on the roots at the top and crown of my head, give it a rub and then use the curling iron. For the first time in my life, my hair doesn't go flat within a couple of hours. I styled my hair about seven hours before the above photo was taken.
Something I've done for a long time is to use Sally Hansen airbrush legs when I want a polished look because I am totally unwilling to wear hose. Not even for a funeral or a wedding. I decided a few years ago that life's just too short. I use it on my arms and decolletage as well--it evens out my skin tone nicely.
I did try one thing that I won't be bothering with again and that is lash extensions. I got a Groupon, so it was relatively inexpensive, but even as a bargain it wasn't for me. I wasn't aware that you can't wear mascara on them, so what I ended up with is eyelashes that looked I was wearing mascara even when I wasn't. That's not what I wanted--what I wanted was super-thick, lush looking eyelashes. Clearly, from my hair routine, putting on mascara is not so burdensome that I would pay not to have to do it for the same result. Plus, you have to be super careful about how you wash your face and about rubbing your eyes and I just don't have the time or energy to think that much about my eyelashes.
I truly enjoy the transformative ritual of applying make-up and doing my hair, so the search for just the right look was fun. I certainly enjoyed the festivities more knowing that I looked as good as possible. Also, I have reached the age where I am fully aware that, looks-wise, I need to appreciate what I have now--because though it's not what it used to be, it's "better" than it's going to be.
My wedding look was not cheap, but then again feeling fantastic for a big life event like this is priceless. I definitely consider it money (and time) well-spent.