This post came to life on my recent trip to Bali. While chatting with a friend over voice notes about some hilarious and cringe worthy anecdotes about Dubai; it gave me enough fodder to come up with what I call the 5 Golden.
Having been asked several times why I do not write a blog or start a grooming school; here is my first offering to the world. I have written this for women, as I am one; but dear men please do take away some pointers from here too.
I can't stress the importance a well groomed woman. It doesn't matter if you keep your nail polished and long or short and bare of color, keep them well manicured. The first physical contact you make with someone is generally a handshake; put your best hand forward. Overgrown toe nails are never pretty either; so get the tootsies taken care of along the way, so you can rock those strappy dancing heels.
Having lived my whole life in this city and I am amazed at the low level of hygiene from the most affluent of people. No ladies [and men] it isn't cool to share your BO with me at night clubs because I am an average height gal whose nose gets annihilated every time I pass someone in a sparkly dress with her arms up in the air; if you have enough money to buy designer clothing, you have enough to spend on deodorant. A visit to the little girl's room when you are out isn't just to check your lipstick and hair, spritz a little perfume on your way out. Here's a cheap tip: mouthwash works fab, as a deodorant and a foot soak for smelly or achy feet! If you want to hit the problem at its core, get your fluid intake up, we live in sauna, you need to be drinking at least 4 liters of water a day to keep yourself hydrated and flushing toxins out. We are blessed to live in a city with Middle Eastern culture available to us, use this to your advantage. Moroccan baths are available a plenty at most salons; and in the dry climate we live in they are necessities not luxuries. Nothing like a dry elbow or dark knees to take away from your splendid rags. Healthy skin always should glow like you've just been sun kissed. We forget that out largest breathing organ is our skin and it sheds everyday!! I suggest doing a bit of digging and finding a Moroccan lady to do the rituals, in my experience they know best. My woman has been with me a decade, I have followed her salon to spa, because she is note worthy.
Our hair takes a beating too in this balmy weather, try not to abuse it too much. I know that's hard considering new hair trends and coloring techniques, the rule of thumb to use here... A little goes a long way, if you must color, try a natural organic range. Boots does a great line of natural hair dyes and stay away from bleach, its hell on your hair and it only looks good for the 1st week, after that it looks like it's been deep fried to a crisp. An over highlighted head of hair is not a good look.
#2: Under things and swimwear
Do not dispute the value of well fitting lingerie. Considering 95% of women are walking around in the wrong size and fit, I consider it an important subject to be addressed. I have never been a big fan of over padded, size enhancing, the make your boobs sit under your neck kind of bras. We are all built differently, that is to say no 2 pair of breasts look the same. As a corset designer I have always leaned towards brands that use the laws of corsetry in their lingerie making. I haven't seen many custom lingerie stores in Dubai, but if are out there for something special look up these two Instagram accounts privatepleasurements & amberandindigo, they accept online orders. Dubai’s offering to good lingerie store that I have found is Agent Provocateur, they know how to create hold and cleavage the right way, and they make it possible in the sheerest of lace too! Agent Provocateur does a gorgeous swimwear line too, if you are feeling lush.
Which brings us to swimwear, same rules as above apply. Quality goes a long way, check out Bare Essentials in Jumeirah Center, they are the holy grail of swimwear and you won't regret parting with your dosh at this store. The sell separates, as they understand no two bodies are the same; and it gives you room to mix and match some awesome looks.
Last but not the least shape wear; ladies if models need it under some of the clothes they wear, we are mere mortals. I always tell my design clients that what they wear underneath creates the foundation for their outfits. You could be in the most luminous silk gown but no one like to see an unsightly bulge, so hurrah for shape wear! Look up Spanx online or Marks & Spencer for cheaper options.
#3: A capsule wardrobe
Yes it's a subject that been touched on a million times but rarely have I met people that have perfected it. We all require few staples that should be able to take you everywhere. Here is mine:
Classic white shirt: Lord knows I own too many of these as I wear a men's white shirt to work every day. But it's a great dress up or down item. I remember being asked for a magazine interview once why I wear men's white shirt to work, the answer wasn't printable, so I will leave that to the readers imagination.
Pair of well fitting black trousers: You can use these with a white shirt and closed flats during the day, and loosen a button, add some sparkly jewellery and heels for the night.
Pair of jeans: Goes without saying, you can team your jeans up with a t-shirt for a causal look and be a little more dressed up in a shirt.
Classic tees in at least 2 colors: I love color, but with this item I generally pick one black and one white tee so I can match them to most things.
Pair of shorts: Denim or khaki your choice, but they go a long way for casual days.
A classic shift dress: I don't think this need to specifically be black, but a classic shift style that works with your accessories.
Long evening gown: How grand you want to go with is clothing item is your choice, as long as it matches the requirements of the occasion you are wearing it for.
Black high heels: because a good pair will never fail you
Pair of comfortable flats: for your everyday run around
A medium size bag for everyday use
Small clutch bag for those evening affairs
Also, spring cleaning your wardrobe regularly helps, aside from your evening and winter wear my general rule to follow is; if you haven't worn it in 3 months, you aren't going to. Give it to charity, I generally take my excess stuff over to the local salon and let the girls have their pickings and donate the rest to the charity shop.
#4: Quality makeup
I was blessed to learn how to be a professional makeup artist at the young age of 16, it was a fun thing to do at the time, but it taught me a lifetimes worth of tricks. My trainer always told me to invest in a good foundation; its shape wear for your face. If the base is good everything else sits on it nicely. Even if you need to supplement your makeup with high street brands for eye shadows and blushers etc there is no substitute for a good foundation. Take a makeup look and make it yours, it could be perfectly winged eyeliner or red lipstick. Just as your clothing, your makeup should be memorable.
Over the years we have gone through many different makeup trends from contouring to strobing. My suggestion, don't overdo any of these trends. I've learned to take a little from each of them and the combination of them works beautifully. Makeup should make you look like a more glamorous version of yourself, not a completely different one. Experiment with different looks at home and find out what work for you.
Lastly, repeat after me.... I WILL MATCH MY FOUNDATION TO MY SKIN TONE. I cringe at the amount of times I've seen ghosts walking around with a foundation color four shades too light for them.
Jewellery is always a good investment; build up your collection of classic items over the years. A good watch, a pair of solitaires, a ring or two and bracelet should be the basics to get you going. Good shoes and bags last a long time, and they don't have to be designer. A good shoe is one that fits you well and doesn't make your feet cry by the end of the night. I have made many mistakes over the years when it comes to buying painfully expensive shoes that gathered dust on my shelves. Now I take the time to walk around in them for a few minutes before making impulse buys just because they were pretty. Bags are a great investment as most of us carry one every day, pay attention to the inner details like pockets, zippers etc to ensure it works for your every day needs. Most importantly, these 2 things will never default on you, your size might change and your hair might grey but a good pair of shoes and a bag will always fit and feel the same. We've all seen too many women going home at the wee hours of the morning carrying their shoes in their hand; ladies my OCD goes into overdrive thinking about the dirty ground you are walking on and it's just not a pretty site!
I sign off by leaving you with a quote from Marilyn Monroe "A girl should be 2 things, classy and fabulous"