It’s been a busy week for the Duchess Of Cambridge

The Duchess Of Cambridge has proved her style credentials once again this week, showing us all how to exude elegance whilst pregnant. Attending engagements almost every day this week, Kate has managed to look flawless and glowing, proving that she is Britain’s style Queen.

Radiant- The Duchess of Cambridge was wearing a peach £375 Tara Jarmon coat yesterday

Radiant- The Duchess of Cambridge was wearing a peach £375 Tara Jarmon coat yesterday

The three Royals having fun!

The three Royals having fun!

Kate wears dress by Topshop and jacket by Ralph Lauren

Kate wears dress by Topshop and jacket by Ralph Lauren

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, showing visible signs of pregnancy, meets scouts at Windsor Castle in Berkshire wearing Mulberry

Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, showing visible signs of pregnancy, meets scouts at Windsor Castle in Berkshire wearing Mulberry

In a pretty Erdem print dress

In a pretty Erdem print dress

Radiant in Emilia Wickstead

Radiant in Emilia Wickstead

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It is good to be back!

For the last five days I have been suffering from Flu, perhaps one of the most energy zapping minor illnesses one can endure. I have been confined to my boudoir not able to lift a finger with even my fingernails and hair hurting! Yesterday however, I began to feel much better so decided that today I would leave my bed (finally), have my hairdresser round to give my greasy mane a fabulous blow dry and get back to my life. When you are ill it is only then that one realises the luxury of being able to live one’s day to day life feeling well, mobile and able. It makes one realise how terrible it must be for the millions out there who suffer daily with more serious illnesses and disabilities; I truly admire these very people. For those of you who have missed me during my absence, sincere apologies and please be ready for lots of new posts and articles.

Yours,

The Countess x

Duchess of Cambridge glowing in Emilia Wickstead

The Duchess of Cambridge looked resplendent wearing one of my favourite designers, Emilia Wickstead, to an engagement at the National Portrait Gallery London. In my recent article, Elegant Day Dresses, I featured a selection of gowns by the designer, similar to the one worn by the Duchess. Emilia Wickstead creates the most stunningly sophisticated dresses, which are perfect for the discerning lady. 

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My Guide to Elegance..Part Four – Dressing for every Occasion

One of the biggest sartorial faux pas is not dressing correctly for the occasion. Overdressing will make you stand out for all the wrong reasons and underdressing will make you seem as if you have not bothered to make the effort at all; It will also make you feel inferior. Dressing just correctly will show that you have bothered to really think about your outfit choice (something a lady will always do) and are enthusiastic about whatever you may be doing. There is a fine line between knowing what looks good and knowing when it is appropriate. For example, you may have the know how to buy a stunning white dress but wearing it to a  wedding would be extremely bad taste. 

 

For Business

 When dressing for business, sophistication and professionalism is key. You do not want to be showing too much flesh, however it is important to still look feminine. Finding classic, tailored pieces is a good step in the right direction. Shift dresses, smart jackets, pencil skirts and trouser suits are all key items that will make you look professional and sophisticated. 

 Your business and position is also a thing to consider. I once knew the General Manager of a luxury hotel in Dubai who had suits in bright colours tailored for her. Because of her high position, this really worked well as she was noticeable to all and it showed the hierarchical difference between her and the rest of the team. 

 Try to keep hemlines on or below the knee and if you go higher, I would suggest wearing tights.  Always dress in smart clothing for the office or business; I have seen many people dressed casually in their office environment and I think this is very bad etiquette. You are not going to send the right messages dressed in jeans, flip flops and a lumpy sweater. 

 Lastly I would always try to wear heals if possible. The height is of importance, heels that are too high will look unprofessional.

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For Weddings

 It is surprising how many people do not know the unspoken etiquette of Wedding dressing. As a guest at a Wedding you should look formal and elegant, it is not a time to wear those new designer jeans you splashed out on. On the other hand, it is also not the time to be centre of attention dressed to the nines. The day should be all about the Bride and it is common courtesy to keep this in mind when planning your ensemble.   

 As religion plays a part in most Wedding days it is necessary to think about whether your outfit will be suitable for a religious building. Hemlines should be on or below the knee and showing too much cleavage is of extreme bad taste. Even if you are not attending a religious Wedding, it would not be ladylike to bare too much flesh.

 Colour is another important aspect when deciding what you will wear. As a Wedding is a happy occasion, you should choose an outfit that is colourful but not shocking. I would advise sticking to pastels such as pinks, greens, yellows and blues which will add colour in the best possible way. Black should really be avoided but if you insist on wearing it then you will need to ensure that you accessorize well so that you do not look like you are attending a Funeral.  A black outfit with embellishment is also acceptable. White should be avoided at all costs.  

 It is now largely the view that wearing a hat to a Wedding is not compulsory, but I have to disagree. In 2011, Samantha Cameron (spouse of the Prime Minister, David) was the only guest to attend the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton who did not wear a hat. I can’t imagine how much she regretted this mistake! The truth is, hats and Weddings go hand in hand (or hat on head) and a lady should always wear one. Take advantage of the rare occasion and invest in a beautiful hat. It will add a wonderful glamour to your outfit and make you look sophisticated and well mannered.  It may be a good idea to buy your hat before your outfit as you will then be able to shop to coordinate the two.

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For Funerals

 Funerals are sad occasions and a time when one should show complete respect. There is not much to say about this occasion except always wear black, dress conservatively and always wear a hat.  Also be sure to take a handkerchief and umbrella.

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For Dinner

 A dinner party is usually an intimate occasion between friends or close family. For this reason it is your chance to be more experimental with what you are going to wear. As an elegant lady, it is your style mantra to never look fussy or overdone, but for a dinner party you can experiment a little more. As with everyday life however, you should still hold the image of someone who has put some consideration into their ensemble. 

 The invitation to a dinner party should always hold clues about what one should wear. Buffets, barbecues and al fresco dining always suggest less formal attire whereas a seated dinner will require you to dress more formally.  Another good tip is to take hints from the dress code required of the gentlemen. If they are required to wear jacket and tie, it suggests women will need to wear cocktail attire.

 The location of the dinner is also an important factor; Obviously you should dress more formally for dinner in the exclusive a la carte restaurant than you would for an evening at a friends garden party.

 A useful hint is to always wear a dress to a dinner party. With a dress you will always look just right and make the correct impression. For summer months and day time dinners choose elegant floral and colourful prints. For more formal dinners choose well cut dresses in luxury fabrics such as linen-silk blends, chiffon and lace. 

 Finally, accessorize. For summer and less formal occasions, choose bold statement necklaces, earrings and bracelets. For more formal occasions diamonds and pearls will always be the subject of admiration and conversation.

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For horse racing / Polo

 Equine events are always a great opportunity to show off your elegant and sophisticated style. The Royal Ascot is just one of many horse racing events, however it is a good template of how one should dress when attending the races. In recent years, the organizers of the Royal Ascot have changed the rules of their dress code and I believe they are a good standard for all Women to follow. 

 

  • Dresses and skirts should be of modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer.
  • Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater.
  • Jackets and pashminas may be worn, but the dresses and tops underneath should still comply with the Royal Enclosure dress code.
  • Trouser suits are welcome. They should be full length and of matching material and colour.
  • Hats should be worn; a headpiece which has a base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat.
  • Strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck and spaghetti straps are not permitted.
  • Midriffs must be covered.
  • Fascinators are no longer permitted; neither are headpieces which do not have a base covering a sufficient area of the head (4 inches / 10cm).

I believe that these rules are perfect as it is now almost impossible not to dress elegantly. All that is left to add is to ensure that you choose a good fit, cut, material and colour.  Choosing a well made, structured outfit will always compliment the figure. The ensemble should be made of a more luxurious material such as cotton-silk blend or organza. You can be experimental with colour as the event is supposed to be fun, just make sure your hat matches the outfit. Lastly consider the weather, the last thing you want is to be too hot or cold. 

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For travel

When traveling it is easy for many to choose comfort over style and abandon all dressing etiquette. For me, I believe that traveling is an occasion when one should always look ones best. The Airport is a busy place occupied with people from all over the World, therefore it is important to consider how you want to represent yourself and your country in such an environment. It is possible to be comfortable whilst maintaining an elegant look, the key is to wear fabrics that are durable and not too tight as you may be sitting for hours at a time. I would also suggest wearing pants or long skirts and dresses as you may want to sleep and the last thing you need is to be worrying about accidentally exposing yourself! Carrying a medium sized tote is a good idea as it will be able to hold all documents and essentials. You may want to freshen up before your arrival so ensure you have cosmetics with you onboard. Try to wear heels, after all you will not be walking too far and the airport is your runway. 

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For the beach

When the Sun makes an appearance it is again a time when standards of dressing goes completely out the window. It is seen as an opportunity to wear little as possible; Women wear hot pant style shorts with their midriffs on show to all, some men even walk the streets topless! Just because the sun is shining and the weather is warm, it does not mean that style principles should be abandoned. You would not walk around town in your underwear so there is no reason why you should parade in minuscule clothing on a hot day. On the way to the pool or beach, ensure that you are wearing a sundress or kaftan and don’t remove it until you are ready to sunbathe or take a dip. When you have decided that you are ready to leave, put the sundress/Kaftan back on; You should never walk through a hotel in a bikini. To avoid aging, it may be wise to avoid the beach altogether.

beach

Yours,
The Countess x 

My Guide to Elegance..Part Three – Dressing Know How

Today I teach you how to dress more elegantly and adopt a classic wardrobe. The main focus is body shape as this is vital to dressing well. Knowing what will suit your body will really transform your style.

Fashion is something that now more than ever is changing and evolving at a rapid pace. Go back one hundred years and it is remarkable to reflect on how far we have come sartorially speaking. Looking back, dressing was relatively easy as there were strict rules in place for both Men and Women which no one dared break. It was not until perhaps the 1920’s that fashion, especially for women, began to evolve. Today however, things are much different and because we have so much choice it is very easy to dress badly. Fashion trends change year by year and it can be difficult to keep up! My advice for the elegant lady is to again think timeless. How can we dress ourselves in a way that will still look sophisticated in years to come? Although the latest trend may look good, how long will it last and will we look back and say ‘what was I thinking?’ It is rather difficult to convey in a book exactly how the elegant lady should dress as women all have different body shapes and certain garments suit certain people.  The elegant lady is not one shape or size, she represents all women and it is important to know that whatever the shape of your body, it is possible to look elegant and sophisticated if you are dressing correctly.  An elegant look is the combination of different factors and once you have the know how to pull all of these factors together, it is going to be easy to maintain an elegant look. 

 

 

 

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Determining your body shape

The most important step in dressing well is to flatter the body that you were born with. It is all too easy to read high fashion magazines, see an outfit that looks incredible and go out and purchase the whole ensemble and end up looking dreadful.  Doing this is damaging to your confidence and self esteem so we must learn to avoid such situations. If you can determine your body shape and accept it for all it’s flaws then you are on your way to dressing well forever. Every body shape has it’s beautiful characteristics and it is important to know how to accentuate them by the clothes that you wear. 

 

The Rectangle

 Rectangle shaped celebrities include: Cameron Diaz, Hillary Swank and Natalie Portman

 Rectangle body traits:  The waist, hip and shoulder widths are similar and are usually on the slim side. Slender rectangles have an athletic look about them.

 Your best assets: Your arms and legs. You don’t have to minimize any body features.

 Your fashion goals: Create curves and tastefully show slender legs and arms.

 How to dress the rectangle

If your body is rectangle-shaped then you want to create curves where they don’t necessarily exist.

  • DO wear scoop neck and sweetheart tops to create curves.
  • DO wear long jackets to create a lean look.
  • DO wear tops with collars, ruffles and details to flatter your chest.
  • DO wear a good bra.
  • DO layer to add more dimensions.
  • DO wear dresses with ruching. Cinches on sides are ideal.
  • DO have fun with colorful pants and skirts…feel free to experiment.

 

The Apple

 Apple shaped celebrities include: Drew Barrymore, Eva Longoria and Catherine Zeta Jones

 Apple body traits: Most of your weight accumulates above the hips, which are narrow. Your back, ribs and shoulders are broad, and you may feel wider than other body types.

 Your best asset: Your legs

 Your fashion goals: Elongate the torso, tastefully show your legs and use fashion to create the illusion of a waist.

 How to dress the apple

 If you have an apple-shaped body then you want to elongate your midsection and create the illusion of a smaller waist.

  • DO go for monochromatic looks.
  • DO go for v-neck tops to create the illusion of a longer torso.
  • DO wear a bra that offers good lift and support.
  • DO wear belts at the smallest part of your waist.
  • DO conceal tummy bulge by wearing empire tops and dresses.
  • DO wear wide leg pants to create an even line from the shoulders down.
  • DO wear feminine skirts and dresses to show your legs and draw attention away from your midsection.

 

The Pear – also known as the inverted triangle

 Pear shaped celebrities include: Naomi Campbell, Demi Moore and Renee Zellweger

 Pear body traits: Also known as the inverted triangle, this body shape features a broad chest and wide shoulders which are large in proportion to a narrow waist and hips.

 Your best asset: Your legs

 Your fashion goals: Accentuate your lower body while softening your shoulders and upper body.

 How to dress the pear

 If you have a pear shaped body, then you want to draw attention downward to the narrower parts of your body, such as your waist and hips.

  • DO wear bright colors on bottom.
  • DO wear wide-leg pants.
  • DO wear full skirts.
  • DO wear tops that call attention to your waistline.
  • DO experiment with high-waisted styles.
  • DO look for clothes that create the illusion of a waist.
  • DON’T wear spaghetti strapped tops.
  • DON’T wear boat neckline tops.

 

The Hourglass

 Hourglass shaped celebrities include: Beyonce, Salma Hayek and Scarlett Johansson

 Hourglass body traits: Your shoulders and hips are similar in proportion and set off by a tiny waist.

 Your best assets: Your curves and small waist

 Your fashion goals: To elegantly show off your curves

 

How to dress the hourglass

 If your body is hourglass-shaped then you need to focus on tastefully showing off your curves. Not too baggy, not too tight.

  •  DON’T hide your curves with baggy clothing.
  • DO wear a good bra to support your bust.
  • DO wear fitted, sophisticated dresses.
  • DO wear a belt at the waist to enhance your hourglass shape.
  • DO try wrap dresses.
  • DO go for high-waisted skirts to accentuate your hips.
  • DO pick thin, lightweight styles and fabrics.
  • DO wear skinny or straight leg pants.

 

Now that we have looked at various body shapes and how they can be accentuated, it is time to move on and consider what else contributes to an elegant, timeless look.

 

Quality and cut of clothing

 The quality and cut of the garments we wear can go a long way to creating an elegant look. I always think that it is best to spend a little extra on key pieces as they will be of higher quality, look more flattering, feel more comfortable and last longer. When shopping for more expensive clothing, you are really going to think about what you are buying. Instead of impulse buying like you would in a cheaper store, you are going to consider whether you will wear the item more than once, if it is really your style and if you really need it. If your budget does not allow you to spend extra on clothing, then it is important that you take extra time when shopping to ensure that you are buying the highest quality available. Whilst it is possible to buy cheaply on the high street, you may end up wasting money as the quality of the garment begins to deteriorate.  Another way to get well made clothes that truly compliment the body is to find a skilled tailor.  The bonus of this is that you can source materials yourself to create clothes that are unique. How many times do we picture the perfect dress in our minds but cannot find it anywhere in stores? A good tailor will be able to work their magic to create beautiful items that fit perfectly for you. If you do not know a skilled tailor then I would highly recommend finding one as you will come to realise they are incredibly useful people to know. When shopping in both high end or high street stores, here are some tips to keep in mind to ensure you are buying good quality clothing.

 

When buying patterned pieces ensure that all the lines or pattern match at the seams. If they do not then it will instantly make the garment look less refined. You should be able to see a steady pattern all the way through a garment rather than mismatched lines.

 

Examine the stitching all over to ensure that there are no loose stitches or pieces of string hanging from the seams or the hem. Careless sewing is a key indicator to a poor quality garment.

Check to see if the garment is lined. All high quality items, especially light coloured pieces should have a lining. A good quality garment should be lined in a way that prevents messy draping. Well lined garments also ensure that they don’t reveal more than they are intended to.

Ensure that all zippers and buttons are firmly in place and attached neatly. Zippers should zip up and down with ease and should not be stiff. Also ensure that the colour of the zipper and the buttons match or compliment the rest of the garment, the buttons should be spaced evenly.

The seams and edges should be finished correctly with no bulking or unevenness.

Examine pockets to ensure that they have been sewn securely and are not at risk of coming loose.

 

How does it fit?

 The fit of ones clothing is another important factor to consider in the art of dressing and it is one of the most simple things to master. An elegant lady will never have ill fitting clothes, in fact it will seem as if she has had all of her clothes custom made by her personal couturier. Clothes that do not fit correctly will add bulk and hide the best parts of your body.  As mentioned previously, knowing a good tailor will really help you with this as they will be able to adjust clothing to fit you perfectly. Please see my tips for the perfect fit.

  •  Avoid items that are too clingy. Not only do clingy items look rather tacky, they will also expose any lumps and bumps in the most unflattering way possible. Your clothing should never be too tight
  •  Long sleeved garments should sit just below the wrist bone and should not be too tight or too loose. Anything below the wrist bone will look too long and ill fitting. Anything above the wrist bone (unless it is designed this way) will look too short.
  •  Shoulders of any Jackets, blouses, sweaters or T-shirts should be at the shoulder where it meets your arm. Anything below the shoulder will look ill fitting.
  •  With your arms by your side, check the armpit area of jackets to ensure that there is no excess fabric. It is quite a common problem when ladies buy jackets that are too big. The extra fabric gathers around the breast area creating a very strange illusion.
  •  A buttoned blouse should never be gaping open or pulling at the breast. If it does then you will need to go a size up. 
  •  Always check the length of a jacket. If you are tall then this tends not to matter as much. If you are petite then a jacket that is too long will only make you look shorter.
  •  Ensure that tailored pants are the correct length. Wide length pants should skim the ground when you walk. Cropped pants should sit at the bottom of your calf muscle where your leg comes into your ankle.
  •  Ankle pants should sit at the ankle and not at the top of the shoe.
  •  Ensure that the pants are not too tight in the hip. Not only will this be uncomfortable, it will also make your overall appearance look messy. On the other hand, pants should not be too baggy.
  •  A pencil skirt should fit without wrinkling at the hip. It should also be comfortable when walking and sitting down. If it is not, it is too small.
  •  The hem of your skirt should be straight around the whole circumference. Unless of course it has been designed to have a longer hemline in the back.
  •  The length of your skirt is very important. For all ages I do not recommend a skirt that is above the knee if you are trying to look elegant.
  •  Invest in a well fitting bra. This will drastically alter the whole of your upper shape by supporting the breasts properly and lifting them to create space.

Join me tomorrow where I shall be discussing how to own an elegant wardrobe and elegant dressing for every occasion!

Yours,

The Countess x

 

 

My Guide to Elegance..Part Two – Skin

Today I share with you my tips on achieving flawless skin. As image plays a big part in elegance, this is an important factor. From sleep, to cleansing,here is a detailed guide to achieving a flawless complexion

Skin

Skin is very important when it comes to looking elegant as it is a telltale indicator of how one is feeling. An elegant lady should aim to achieve flawless skin that shines with a radiant glow as this shows that she is well rested and healthy. Taking care of the skin will help you to achieve this. Some people are lucky enough to have a good complexion and others will need to spend time to help their skin be as best as it can be, either way my advice will help to keep the skin looking fresh, clean and beautiful.

 Sleep.  

It is a proven fact that sleep is critical to looking and feeling good. It is during our sleep time that the body repairs the damage that has been done to the skin by stress, harmful rays, dust, and other day to day traumas that our skin is exposed to.  During sleep, the body produces protein, which is important to our cells. The more sleep we get, the more protein our body produces which ultimately provides rejuvenation and repairs the skin. If you are not getting enough sleep this will be visible by dull skin, red eyes, and dark circles, which are almost impossible to cover with make up. Do whatever you can to try to sleep for eight hours each night, and your skin will look noticeably better. 

 Cleanse, Tone and Moisturize. These three words are essential to keep the skin looking great at any age and if you don’t already have a CTM routine, I would suggest that you start now and make it a firm habit. It is important to use products that are going to work in harmony with your skin type. For example it would not be wise to use an oily moisturizer if you already have oily skin. If you visit a department store, the beauty section will be able to help you and recommend the products that are best for your skin type. With your CTM routine you only need to set aside 20 minutes each day, 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night. 

  Cleansing forms perhaps the most important role of the CTM routine. Thoroughly cleansing the skin will get rid of any dirt, pollution and harmful chemicals that are present in makeup. Cleansing will unblock the pores and prevent spots from appearing on the face. As mentioned above, visit a beauty department to find the best cleanser for you and remember to take care not to rub the skin too vigorously as this will strip it of its natural oils making dry skin even more dry and oily skin even more oily. Always ensure that you cleanse your face of makeup before you sleep. 

 The next important step in the CTM routine is of course Toning. A toner is simply a product that you apply to the face that will tighten the skin to close the pores and form a layer of healthy skin cells. Toning also helps protect the skin from the dirt, pollution and harmful toxins that have been mentioned previously. I would avoid any toner that has alcohol present as it will destroy the collagen in the skin which is not good for aging.

 The final, but not at all least important step is Moisturizing. Moisturizing the skin has always been important as a well moisturized skin will reflect a healthy glow, look supple and prevent aging. Moisturizing is also a good base for makeup as it will prevent the skin from pulling and ensure that your makeup is distributed evenly. Daily moisturizing will prevent water loss and retain the skin’s moisture and texture. When applying moisturizer use the tips of your fingers and use sparingly. Applying too much will cause the product to sit on top of the skin and prevent your skin from breathing. I would highly recommend buying a moisturizer that has at least SPF 15 as the Sun’s harmful rays are very damaging to the skin even on a cloudy day.  After you have been moisturizing daily for a few weeks you will notice how tight your skin will feel until you give it the moisture it needs.

 

Makeup ( To learn which products I use, Click HERE )

 An elegant lady will always want to look her best and this includes the use of makeup to enhance the features of the face. Applying makeup correctly is an art form that requires skill and time. It is important to aim to achieve a look that is both elegant and natural. It is a good idea to visit a beauty counter as they will be able to show you looks that will suit you and which products to use. I have already talked about the importance of maintaining the skin to achieve a flawless glow, makeup really can compliment your skin to give a radiant look and enhance your features. Here are my tips for a naturally flawless look and the products I think every lady should invest in. The products are listed in the order that they should be applied.

Primer

 A Primer is a lotion or cream that should be applied to the face before other cosmetics as it’s purpose is to help give the makeup longevity and staying power. The two types of primer I would suggest investing in are the foundation primer and eyelid primer. Both of these will act as a good base and improve the application of your makeup, reducing lines and blotching. Apply the foundation primer to the face and forehead and then apply the eyelid primer to the eyelids and under the eyes where you will apply concealer. Leave the primer to settle for a few minutes before applying any makeup. 

 Foundation

 Foundation is applied to the face to create an even, uniform complexion and to cover any flaws. The perfect foundation will match your skin tone and give you a flawless finish. It is normally acceptable to go one shade darker than your natural skin tone but try to stick to the notion of looking natural and elegant. You will also need to find a foundation that works for your skin type; If you have dry skin it may be worth investing in an oil based foundation, if your skin is oily then you should consider a matte based, water based or mineral based foundation to soak up excess oil. Another aspect you will need to consider is the amount of coverage you are looking for. If you have good skin and are only looking to enhance your skin tone then a sheer foundation will be the best product to invest in. If you feel you need more coverage to hide spots, freckles and discoloration then you should invest in a medium cover foundation. All of this can be discussed with a makeup artist at a beauty counter who will be able to advise on what foundation will be perfect for you. The foundation should be applied to the whole face except for the eye area using your finger tips or foundation brush. Ensure that you blend well and have no visible lines around the neck and jawline. A good tip is to mix an illuminator (see below) with your foundation which is really going to give you an amazing, radiant glow. 

 Concealer

 Concealer is applied to the eye area to diminish dark circles, brighten the eyes and hide any discoloration. It can also be used to cover any other blemishes that may be present on the face. I believe that every lady should invest in a concealer even if it is the only product you are going to use. Unless you are under the age of ten it is extremely likely that some discoloration is present under the eyes and this can really affect the way you look. Concealer will freshen the face and instantly make you look awake, alert and healthy. The basic rule of thumb is to choose a concealer that is yellow based and a shade or two lighter than your skin tone. If your concealer is too light you may end up with the dreaded ‘raccoon’ look! Apply several dots of concealer under the eyes close to the lash line and a dot to the inside corners of the eyes. I would also use the concealer on any other area of the eye where there is discoloration such as the lids.  You can use your fingers for application but for best results I would suggest a small headed brush with firm bristles. Using the pad of your finger, gently tap in the concealer. Always tap and never rub. The eye area is very sensitive and rubbing will just cause redness and you will rub the concealer off your face. You can then apply the concealer to uneven spots and blemishes on the face. 

 Illuminator

 An illuminator normally comes as a pen or stick and is used to highlight areas of the face and give optimum radiance and glow. The illuminator is often overlooked as many women do not know how to use it correctly or to its full potential. Many people mistake the illuminator for a concealer and are often disappointed when they do not get the coverage required. Whilst the concealer conceals the darkness of the skin, the illuminator highlights areas of the face. For the eye area, the best way to apply the illuminator is to draw a triangular shape starting under the eye from the inner corner under the lashes to the outer corner of the eye, and then from the outer corner of the eye down across the cheek bone to the lower outer edge of your nostril and back up the sides of the nose to the inner corner of the eye. This may sound confusing but it works with practice! The whole of this triangular area should be covered with illuminator by blending the lines to meet in the middle remembering the tapping motion. The illuminator should then be applied to the inner corners of the eyes and brow bone. This will really make the eye area stand out and look flawless. The illuminator is also a good tool for contouring. You can use it down the bridge of the nose to make the nose appear more narrow, above the eyebrows to lift the brow, under the nose to eliminate redness, and on the cupids bow and around the lips to make them appear more full. After you have applied the concealer and illuminator you should apply a mineral powder which will ensure your makeup stays on and help to keep it fresh. 

 Mascara and Eyeliner

 A good mascara will lengthen and darken the lashes to enhance the eyes. It really does alter the whole appearance of the face and is a product for some that they cannot live without. My advice is to use sparingly and not overdo it. Clunky lashes are not a good look and the aim is to create a look that is natural and elegant. Eyeliner is also a good way to enhance the eyes but again it is important not to overdo it. To widen the eyes you should apply the eyeliner on the waterline above the lashes of the lower lid.

 Blusher and Bronzer

 Blushers and Bronzers can be used to put color back into the face and give a subtle glow.  Various colors can look elegant but it is important to choose a color that will match your natural tone. Bright red may not look good on a light skinned person but could look fantastic on someone with a dark skin tone. The best way to apply is to suck in the cheeks as this will reveal the apple of the cheeks, the round area above the cheek bone which is visible when you smile. Apply the blush to the apple area and blend along the cheek bone. For the most natural look, always concentrate the color on the apples of your cheeks. Remove excess dust from the brush before blending to avoid excessive rosy cheeks.

 Lips 

 It is best to keep the lips simple for an elegant look. Lip liner should be used to make the lips appear fuller if necessary but do take caution as liner can easily look cheap. Coat the lips with a gloss to finish off the face.

skin

Join me tomorrow where I will be discussing the art of elegant dressing

Yours,

The Countess x 

Favourite Country House of The Week..Harewood House

This week I present to you Harewood House. The House, located in Harewood near Leeds, West Yorkshire, England was designed by the architects John Carr and Robert Adam andwas built from 1759 to 1771 for wealthy trader Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood.

Still home to the Lascelles family, Harewood House is a member of Treasure Houses of England, a marketing consortium for nine of the foremost historic homes in England. The house itself is a Grade I listed building, there are a number of features in the grounds and courtyard that have been listed as Grade I, II and II*.

The estate has been transferred into a trust ownership structure, and as a result is managed by Harewood House Trust and is open to the public most of the year. Harewood won a Large Visitor Attraction of the Year award in the 2003 national Excellence in England awards and remains a popular Yorkshire tourist attraction. As well as tours of the house and grounds, visitors can enjoy the Himalayan Garden and its stupa, an educational bird garden, an extensive adventure playground and catering facilities, including fine dining. From May 2007 to October 2008 the grounds also contained Yorkshire’s first planetarium, the Yorkshire Planetarium.

Yours,

The Countess x

My Guide to Elegance..Part One – Hair

Over the years, I have gained a plethora of experience and understanding of how to achieve an elegant image. Join me every day as I share with you my knowledge, hints and tips on how to be more elegant. Today I am going to focus on how to exude elegance with your hairstyle. Elegance is not an attribute that can be conveyed to the World simply by the way that one looks, but it is certainly a good place to start. Most people do not realise how much our appearance contributes to the way we are viewed in society.  How many of us use appearance as a decision making tool in our day to day lives? Whom do we hire, whom do we date, who do we aspire to, and what is more important, who do we trust?  We like to think that we are judging people on their merits and not the way that they look; But are we? It is for this reason exactly why I have decided to talk about appearance first. We can alter our appearance quickly and effectively in a very short amount of time and if one chooses, without breaking the bank. Thanks to High Street retailers, it is now possible for everyone to dress well and maintain an elegant image. I also chose to start with appearance as I believe that if one appears elegant then one will feel elegant and people will begin to alter the way in which they view you. Regarding appearance I believe that elegance is achieving a look that is timeless. In other words, although having the latest trendy hair cut may look good today, how will it look tomorrow? Even now we can look at pictures of Grace Kelly for example, and be inspired by her image and style and adopt aspects of it into our lives. If you can achieve a timeless image like this, then you are going to look fabulous forever!

Hair 

 In days gone by, a lady would wear her hair in an elegant up style and it would only be worn down to retire to the bedroom. However, over time this rule has changed and up styles are normally reserved for more formal occasions and it is the norm to have elegant, flowing locks. My recommendation for the modern lady would be to keep it simple when it comes to hair. In fact, simplicity is a key ingredient to elegance as has been proven by time. Hairstyles of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s were all wildly experimental and can now only be looked back on as periods of embarrassing taste (we all remember the perm, do we not?)

 I would advise you stick to your natural colour. This is the colour you were born with and Mother Nature knows what she is doing! Many people feel the need for change but truly, your natural colour was made for you. The only exception to this rule however, is to the lighten the hair as you get older. Blonde is much more effective at covering grey hair and makes the face appear younger. Altering the colour to a different shade of your natural hair is also acceptable and can make the hair look more vibrant. If you insist on changing the colour completely, then please consider the eyebrows (there is nothing more ghastly than a blonde with dark brows). Speaking of brows you should ensure that yours are kept neat and tidy but not plucked away to nothingness! The brow should not be be too thick or thin and shaped to compliment the brow bone. An eyebrow pencil can be used to fill in gaps and achieve a neater look. I would keep in mind ‘less is more’ when using this trick, however.

 “I think that the most important thing a woman can have – next to talent, of course – is her hairdresser”

     Joan Crawford

 The above quote is absolutely true! When you find that hairdresser who makes you feel amazing, there is no better feeling. A good hairdresser will be able to suggest what looks will suit your face shape, what colours will compliment your skin tone and will always be able to create a beautiful, bouncy blow-dry. This is a style that is fantastic as it is so versatile. It will look smart and elegant for business, chic and sophisticated for everyday, and glamorous yet elegant for the evening. With the blow dry you cannot go wrong.

  •  Unless you have a large bank balance and copious amounts of free time, it is quite absurd to expect to be able to visit the salon everyday. Here is an elegant style that can be adopted for everyday life. It is best to do this in the evening before you sleep.
  •  First, thoroughly cleanse and condition your hair. Use the flats of your fingers not your fingertips or nails to massage in the product and encourage increased circulation to the scalp.
  •  Rinse your hair thoroughly for at least two minutes to remove any residue. The hair will shine if it rinsed really well. Lightly towel dry
  •  Now apply styling products. Use some blow dry oil or serum. A small amount is needed and will give the hair a brilliant shine. Work the serum down the mid length of the hair to the ends avoiding the roots. Spritz a root boosting spray onto the roots which will help lift the roots and add volume.
  •  For a shinier finish, hair should not be dripping wet but should be about 80% wet. The hair will have a smoother finish if it has more moisture whilst blow drying.
  •  Divide the hair into sections starting at the back. With a concentrator nozzle attached, blow dry a section of the hair with the nozzle pointing down. A brush will aid control but is not essential as we are not aiming for perfection. 
  •  Once one section is dry and whilst the hair is still hot, apply sleep-in rollers and secure with pins, Continue with the rest of your hair until you are finished.
  •  When you wake the next day, remove the rollers and brush the hair through with a large paddle brush. Finish with hold spray and your hair should look shiny, bouncy and full.

 

For evenings and other special occasions, it can be elegant to wear the hair in a sophisticated up style. Your hairdresser should be able to create a style for this purpose. I think it is important to keep it simple and chic with an up-style. Corkscrew tight curls are to be avoided at all costs and ideally all clips and pins should be hidden discreetly unless they are designed to be shown. 

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Join me tomorrow where I will be advising how to achieve elegance by having a glowing complexion and flawless makeup.

Yours,

The Countess x

Duchess of Cambridge wears Mulberry Coat suggested by The Countess

Last week I published an article, Coats for the Countess, which highlighted my favourite coats for Spring/Summer. Today the Duchess of Cambridge carried out an official engagement wearing the mint green Mulberry Coat thats was favorited by yours truly! The Duchess looked incredibly chic for the occasion and for the first time, her baby bump was visible. Now I don’t really know of course whether the coat was inspired by oneself, but what a delightful thought that is!

Yours,

The Countess x

duchess duchess1

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Best Dressed of The Week. 11.04.13 – 18.04.13

Each week I present my favourite looks worn by the Rich and Famous. Only 7 managed to catch my eye this week, here they are..

Uma Thurman attending the HRC Marriage For Equality USA Celebration in NYC.

Uma Thurman attending the HRC Marriage For Equality USA Celebration in NYC.

Gwyneth Paltrow at the Iron Man 3 Premiere in London

Gwyneth Paltrow at the Iron Man 3 Premiere in London

Emma Roberts at the Adult World Premiere in NYC

Emma Roberts at the Adult World Premiere in NYC

Irina Shayk MTV Beautiful People Party, Greece

Irina Shayk MTV Beautiful People Party, Greece

Victoria Beckham arriving at LAX

Victoria Beckham arriving at LAX

Sarah Jessica Parker calzedonia show in Rimini

Sarah Jessica Parker calzedonia show in Rimini

Tali Lennox attended the Calzedonia swimwear show in Rimini, Italy, wearing a floor-sweeping black dress.

Tali Lennox attended the Calzedonia swimwear show in Rimini, Italy, wearing a floor-sweeping black dress.

Yours,

The Countess x