Tag Archives: Fashion Lesson

Fashion Lesson #31: Spring Dresses For Every Shape


In today’s Fashion Lesson, we will take a look at dresses that flatter several body types and some tips on what to look for when you are out dress shopping.


Petite 2All items from Anthropologie.com


Starting with the petite woman, this strapless dress elongates a small frame with the clever black and white stripes and the shrunken khaki overlay.  Finishing touches include a punch of warm color.



straight shape

Necklace, Forever21.com; Shoes and Dress, Anntaylor.com, Handbag, Botkier, Piperlime.com.


A straight shape is sometimes also referred to as a “boyish” figure due to the decreased definition in the waist.  This turquoise dress adds just enough definition with a empire tie waist to flatter a straight figure.  A big trend for spring, snake skin shoes complete the look.



Pear dressDress, neimanmarcus.com; bracelet, forever21.com; shoes, piperlime.com.


When I saw this dress, I immediately thought of Charlotte from Sex and the City.  Kristen Davis who plays Charlotte, is a sister pear shape and would look amazing in this floral print dress.  The nude pumps are one of this seasons “it” shoes.  The fantastic benefit of a nude shoe, is the illusion that it provides in elongating the leg.



Apple Shape_edited-1

Dress, earrings,  TheLimited.com; Shoes, KateSpade.com; Clutch HaydenHarnett.com.


A mix of several trends—bold color, metallics, asymmetrical lines and a floral print—this dress’ assets are the undefined waist, bold print and asymmetrical line which draws attention away from an apple shape’s middle and up toward your face.  Don’t forget your shapeware with this dress for a sleek silhouette.




Dress Stella McCartney Organic, Barneys.com; Wood necklace Bodenusa.com; Sunglasses and belt, OldNavy.com; Tote KateSpade.com.


If you are an hourglass shape, the most important feature you should be looking for in a dress is a cinched waist.  This dress is a take on the khaki/safari look that is popular for spring and summer.  Feel free to add a little color to this ensemble to make it special.


Do you have a question that you would like answered?  Leave a comment on the Ask Fashion Sensei tab and your question may be answered featured as a Fashion Lesson.

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Filed under Apple Shape, Fashion Lesson, Hourglass Shape, Pear Shape, petite, straight shape

Fashion Lesson #30: The Miniskirt

I recently received an excellent Ask Fashion Sensei question from Candy regarding denim mini skirts for women over 30.

I’m 30ish and have the hankering to wear a mini blue jean skirt. First, are they hot right now or so, so?? A friend of mine mentioned that she was going to pair a jean skirt of hers with leggings. I think we’re too old to do that trick. What do you think??? IF I can rock a jean skirt, any tips/ideas on how to make it fabulous? Thanks :)

Jean skirts are as timeless as jeans themselves.  Like denim pants, they can be dressed up with a blouse and heels or dressed down with a pair of flip flops and worn over your swimsuit to the beach.

With regard to your question on wearing leggings with a mini skirt, I would pass.  I agree with you Candy, I think that look would be better suited to the 18 and under crowd.

How Old, Is Too Old?

Your query provokes another question that many other women have.  When are you too old to wear a mini skirt?  In considering the appropriate hemline for women over 30, my general advice is to limit the length of your skirts to 2-3 inches above the knee.  Notice I said general advice—there are countless caveats to this recommendation.  For example, if you have long legs, you will want to stick to a slightly longer length than someone who has very short legs. 

You should also take into consideration the proportion of your legs.  If you have heavy legs, the most flattering length for a skirt is at the narrowest area of your leg—which is just above or just below your knee.

Take a look at these pictures of mother of three Heidi Klum, who will be 36 in June. 

Skirts Heidi Klum

Photo Source: People.com

Frankly, I think the first skirt is too short.  For the average woman over 30—and especially over 35—a micro mini is a hard look to pull off.  The third picture has a perfect length; it’s sexy without having to worry if one of your butt cheeks are hanging out. 😉

Jean Skirts—In or Out?

As I mentioned before, I think jean skirts are always in.  Like denim pants, it depends on the cut and what you pair with the skirt.  The other great advantage to owning a jean skirt is that you can wear it during all four seasons.  You can wear a jean skirt in the summer with sandals; or with a sweater, thick tights and a pair of boots in the winter.

I did a little shopping online—here are a few jean skirt looks that I would suggest.

Jean skirt outfit

Shopping Info:  J.Crew skirt; J.Crew top; Salvatore Ferragamo Scuderia Satchel; Laser Cut Sandal Peep-Toe Bootie by Nicholas Kirkwood for Pollini; Miu Miu Shoes; More-Than-Half Clutch by Lisa Perry; Callouge Ring by DANNIJO; Merona printed shrug by Diane von Furstenberg.

Jeans 2

Shopping Info: Gap White Denim Skirt; Limited: flowered top, Rayon Wrap, Indian hinge bracelet, Shell Disk Earrings; Nine West Sorcer, Piperlime.com; Gap: Denim mini, Striped Summer T; kate spade Caprice; bright lights, big city charm bracelet;Alena Stud Earrings, Forever 21.

Thanks for your inquiry Candy, I hope this information helps.  If you have a question regarding style, click on the Ask Fashion Sensei tab and leave a comment.  Your question may be used for a future Fashion Lesson.

Have a great weekend everyone and GO MICHIGAN STATE!

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Please refer to the Fashion Sensei Services page for more information on Wardrobe Styling Services in the Metro Detroit area or advertising opportunities.


Filed under Aging, Fashion Lesson, Long Legs, Short Legs

Fashion Lesson #29: Spring 2009 Pear Shape

Today’s fashion lesson highlights a few spring trends for the Pear Shape.

Click on images for shopping information.

Bold Color

Bright Accessories 09' 

This dress from J.Crew has a flattering silhouette for a woman with a tiny waist and fuller thighs.  Pairing it with a pop of color will brighten your spirits and add a little personality to a basic LBD. 

One word of caution though, stick with just one colorful accessory.  Otherwise, you may look a little too bright.


Belts 4 Pear Shape

Lucky for the pear shaped lady, just about everything was belted during the spring 2009 shows.  You will look fantastic belting everything from sweaters to jackets and blouses to dresses.  Take advantage of this trend with any number of the above suggestions.


Pear Shape

Pear Shape- RW&B

A staple for every spring collection, the nautical theme has lasting appeal.  A boat neck sweater broadens a pear’s narrow shoulders while a pair of wide leg trousers falling from the curve of your thigh gives you a lean look in these dark washed jeans.

The A-line skirt above flatters your small waist and when paired with a pair of flesh toned shoes, your legs will appear exceptionally long.


Do you have a fashion related question that you would like Fashion Sensei to answer?  Be sure to visit Ask Fashion Sensei and your question may be featured in a future Fashion Lesson.


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Filed under Accessories, Fashion, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, fun, Metro Detroit, Pear Shape, personal shopper, Polyvore

Holiday Makeup Tips- Karin Noel and Lizza Monet Morales

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. 🙂 

In today’s last installment on Holiday Makeup, expert makeup artist Karin Noel, will share her thoughts on the topic along with Hollywood reporter, Fashion and Lifestyle Consultant, Lizza Monet Morales.

Here’s is the transcript of responses Karin and Lizza provided me.  Let’s read what the ladies had to say:

Q. What colors are right for me (ex. how do women pick the right shades that compliment their eyes and skin tone)?

A. Here is a a basic formula for picking eyeshadows that complement a women’s eye color. Depending on skin tone, the amount that you apply would be different. In general, the darker you are, the heavier your application of a color so that it always pops. But remember- rules are made to be broken if you know how to break them. 

* Green eyes do well with anything in the plum or cool tones

* Blue eyes do well with anything in the golden or warm tones, as they are the opposite of each other on the color wheel, which makes the eyes pop. 

* Brown eyes also do well with warm golden tones to dark chestnuts. However, for an extra WOW factor, try midnight blue.

* For everyone though, if you aren’t sure if you can pull off applying the color on your own then there is no shame in playing it safe with neutral tones.  Actually, you will embody a classic look, which is a guaranteed hit!!

Q. Am I too old to wear trendy shades?

A. A woman is never too old to wear trendy shades, it’s just how she wears them that differs. Take a runway look for example- more often than not, these looks are not intended to be exactly recreated for street wear. Instead, they are meant to be modified appropriately for individual use. Which means, that if you are 40 and are dying to wear a glitter than maybe just add a bit to the corner of your eyes for some pop. As opposed to putting heavy glitter on your whole eye, which doesn’t look well on anyone regardless of age unless you are going for costume make-up. If a trendy shade is used in a subtle way, it can make you feel so sassy.

If you are ever in doubt, then book an appointment with an experienced make-up artist and ask how you can modify the current makeup trends you are interested in to work for you. 

Q. What are the key tools necessary to get the best evening look?

A.  Makeup, like cooking, is about following certain steps to create a specific result. So why then can someone follow the same steps but get a different result each time? Like any great chef will tell you, the secret ingredient to recreating your recipe time and time again is the specific tools you use! The better tools, the better the results. The same theory applies to make-up. A good set of brushes is important to correctly applying eyeshadow, blush, and foundation. 

*Insider tip-Professional make-up artists like to mix-n-match the brands of their brushes and you can too. Don’t feel stuck to using the brush in a set you bought that might not be working for you. Better yet, rather than buying a pre-made set of brushes, make your own!! While one brand may make a fantastic blush brush, another brand may have the best concealer brush. Don’t be afraid to experiment and invest properly in your brushes. If taken care of, they will last you several years. Go to several makeup counters or stores and feel the brush against your skin and compare the textures of the brushes. They are available at all price points. Remember to bring this list with you and you will know exactly what brushes you need to buy for your personal make-up kit. 

If you are on a budget these are the 3 essential brushes you need: 

1. Angle Brush– This is a double duty brush that should be used for lining your eyes AND filling in your eyebrows.

2. Flat Brush– This should be used for applying the lightest color on your eye, for blending and for layering colors.

3. Crease Brush– This brush should be used to create the 1/2 circle arch on your eyelid. It does takes the guess work out of creating your smokey eye.

If you can splurge a bit more, then add these to your kit:

1. Blush Brush– This brush should be used with just your blushes and not your bronzer ladies.

2. Powder Brush– When buying this brush, make sure that it has a beveled end. This is so it can get to all the contours of your face which is angled.  

3. Bronzer Brush– This is a dedicated brush for your bronzer, which has a darker pigment than your blushes. 

4. Foundation Brush– Eliminate streaks and helps you naturally blend around your neck line. 

5. Concealer Brush– Gives you better control of how much is applied and allows you to spot treat.

Q. How do I apply eyeshadow, blush, foundation etc.

A. Now that we have our proper brushes, let’s start applying our makeup.


*Eyeshadow- start with lightest color first and work into the darker shades. 

* You want to finish with eyeliner then lots of mascara.

*If you want that extra glam look, don’t be scared to apply some lashes too!


* Blush- a general rule is to pick a color that resembles what you cheeks would look like if you were naturally blushing. Then place the blush on just the apples of your cheeks. 

* I also recommend a light bronzer for your temples, chin, neck line, any area you would like a little extra color. 


*When selecting a foundation color on your own, test a foundation shade on your neck to see if it matches. This is a better sampling of your skin color as opposed to the back of your hand. It will also prevent you from having a line of demarcation between what’s on your face and your natural color on your neck.   


* This all depends on how dark or light your eyes are. However, the color trend of the season is wearing red or wine tones are your lips. Have some fun the next time you are at the make-up counter or with your make-up artist and experiment with the different shades available and pick the one that is right for you. 


I’m a big fan of a smokey eye. Here’s an easy way of recreating this at home. 

1. You start by applying a highlight color for just under your brow. 

2. You then add a little darker shade next, maybe a taupe, a bronze, or a dark beige. This will go on your lid-brow bone area and under your eye. 

3. Then add a black or black-brown shadow on your lower lid of your eye. And also right at the lash line underneath the eye. 

4. Follow this up using a black pencil or liquid liner along the top and bottom lashes. For a more dramatic look, line inside the eye with a pencil.  

5. If you choose this look, I would stick with a light shade for your lips so it doesn’t take away from your eyes. 


This look is very easy to do and reflects the current trend of wearing your make-up as they did in the 40’s:  

1. Use a neutral eyeshadow on your lid.

2. Follow with a liquid liner just on the top lid. 

3. Fill-in a more dramatic brow. 

4. Your lips are the key to this look. You want to use a deep color on them.

5. Of course, you could add false eyelashes for an extra pop.

Q. Solutions for common mistakes women over 30 make?

A. It has been my experience that it isn’t necessarily mistakes that women make, but rather lack of education that is the issue. I believe that if every woman made an appointment with a makeup artist for a makeup lesson, it would make their lives so much easier. They would walk-away with a true understanding of their particular bone structure, their coloring, how to use their tools properly, and what does and doesn’t work for their face. As a result, they would be empowered to go anywhere and anyplace and buy makeup!!!!  

*Insider tip- Makeup is a mood, if you love it, it will love you and look amazing on you! always have the confidence to rock it!!!!


Q:  Are there any rules that women in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s+ should be following?

A:  As for general rules, there are three big ones that apply no matter what your age.

1. Never wear a dark liner just on the outside of your lips and a light frost lipstick just inside the liner.  While this is great for Halloween, it doesn’t make for a youthful attractive mouth! 

2.  It is vitally important to match you foundation properly to your face and neck. Otherwise, you will look like you had a head transplant which leans more on scary than sexy. 

3. Ladies, please don’t overdo the mascara!!  It’s bad for the lashes and you look like a crazed Barbie doll. Relax on the double pumping of the wand, all you are doing is pushing air into the tube which is bad for the mascara. The more air, the less your mascara lasts and the easier it clumps. 

The following is from Karin Noel and “Hollywood’s go-to Fashion and Lifestyle expert”, Lizza Monet Morales:

For all women 30 and above:

You should have a strong skin regime started by the time you are 30 and should be getting regular facials. As long as you can lift your arms and drive or be driven to the spa, this should be something you never stop doing. 

Women in their 30’s:

As Karin mentioned above, this is the time when you want to start with a regular skin care regime if you haven’t already. In regard to makeup- have fun with it and experiment. Personally, we both like to do our makeup according to how we feel that day. For example, If Karin is feeling sassy, she might choose to only wear a red lipstick and nothing else. Remember, makeup is a mood. If you like it, and are confident, it will look cool. For Lizza, your 30’s are all about being flirty not with just men but with life. Experimenting is your key word during this time. You are finally coming into your own and realizing that wearing  your confidence, not just saying you are, is the true secret to glamour. 

Women in their 40’s:

Women tend to freak out when they turn 40, but you are really just hitting your prime. Why do you think the media is now so obsessed with the concept of “cougar” women these days? Which proves that Ashton Kutcher isn’t the only one with his eye on older women!!  So, your in your 40’s…be proud of it!!  Don’t freak out all of a sudden and try to wear what you did in high school as a way of holding onto your youth. You want to find colors that will make you look polished and classy. There isn’t anything sexier than a put together woman. One of Lizza’s favorite quotes comes from Simone de Beauvoir who wisely stated, “one is not born a woman, one becomes one.”

Women in their 50’s:

Lizza points out that Baby Boomers have really defined 50 as being the new 20 by breaking the rules and creating their own. There isn’t a better time than now to be in your 50’s.  Whether you are volunteering, traveling, working or gardening, your personality comes out in everything you do and your make-up shouldn’t hide it. 

As a result, Karin suggests that following the less-is-more approach to your make-up to keep up with your active lifestyle. Let who you are shine with your make-up. A neutral shade on the lips with a blush that gives you a natural glow and some mascara are all you really need. You definitely want to try to avoid too much frost on the eyes and sparkle on the face.

Fashion Sensei readers also posed a couple of questions to our experts.  Take a look at what advice Karin had to offer:

Q:  “I am not very sure what base color of correctors should I use. Can you help? I am Asian, fair.” 

A:  First off, it is important to know what you are trying to correct. A concealer is meant for use around the eye area and camouflage is meant for other areas on the face, such as blemishes, broken capillaries, brown spots. The common mistake is to use concealer for everything and that doesn’t typically produce the results we are after. The reason for this is that concealer is more hydrating and softer than camouflage. Simply put, it doesn’t have the right consistency to do the tough stuff. Remember, it is meant to brighten and deal with dark circles if necessary.

That said, let’s talk about how to handle dark circles under our eyes. You would want to use a a warm beige tone to cover blue/purple circle. But if your circles are green, yellow, or brown, then a pinkish beige tone will do. 

Of course, if you are not correcting anything and are just after a little more of a flawless look, then you want the concealer to match your skin. After applying, you must set the concealer with a light powder, this prevents it from moving around. You will only need to use a small amount and pat it around the eye.

Now as I originally mentioned, if you are covering up any area beside your eyes then you will use camouflage instead. You will find that camouflage is dryer and has more pigment in it. As a result, it will stay in place better. I am a firm believer in mixing colors too in order to get the perfect shade that matches you.

Once you have your camouflage shade, you will need a small synthetic brush and setting powder to apply it correctly. You start with putting a small amount of product on the back of your hand. This warms it up and if you need to mix, it’s a perfect spot. You always want to layer, meaning start with small amounts and slowly work it around. you never want to look like you have cake batter under you eyes or on you face! EEK!! Definitely not glamorous.


Q:  (From a male reader) I would like to know the expert’s opinion/advice on makeup on men, and if it could work in a setting besides movies/television/media/formal settings…

Answer: I was soooo excited to get this question. Men can ABSOLUTELY wear makeup!!!!! My approach to make-up is the same whether a man or woman is sitting in my makeup chair. Meaning that one of the key goals of applying make-up is to even out  the skin and making it look as if you aren’t wearing anything.  This is in contrast to makeup that is used on TV, stage, film or even a formal event where the make-up is applied much heavier to compensate for dilution of color that happens when you are on camera or on stage. In this case, the makeup is very obvious to the eye in person but will appear softer on-camera or from a distance.

If I had to pick a foundation that works for men or women who are after a very natural look then I would go for two of Makeup Forever’s products. I just love them!!  Their foundation and HD powder gives the user a” natural no make-up” type of makeup look! Laura Mercier’s products would also give you winning results. Remember to have fun, go natural or glam it up, either way if you rock your confidence it will be sexy!!


Lizza Monet Morales is a notable entertainment and fashion reporter as well as a lifestyle consultant. She is not only a native Angelino, who speaks fluent Spanish, but conversational Japanese as well. Lizza can be seen reporting from; either the red carpet, various closed sets, fashion shows, press junkets for up and coming projects or out-and-about town at the hottest locations.  She has been on-air for Access Hollywood, Telemundo, EXTRA, Celebrity Justice and The TV-Guide Channel among others. In addition, she has reported for Us Weekly, People Magazine and as a featured columnist in Item Magazine. She can currently be seen co-starring in Vh-1’s top-rated show “New York Goes to Hollywood.”

Karin Noel is an established make-up artist with 19 years of experience doing make-up for editorial, run-way, special events and every day looks. She is part of the award-winning hair and beauty stylist team of Mars Salon in Costa Mesa, California.

Offer For Fashion Sensei Readers:

“Mars Studio is pleased to offer all Fashion Sensei readers the following special deals in the month of December:”

  • 60 minute Holiday Make-up Application and Lesson for $100 (50% off)
  • 45 minute customized Eyebrow shaping for $30 (10% off) 

For bookings, call Mars Studio at (949) 631-6890 and mention “Fashion Sensei” to receive your discount.

My thanks to Karin and Lizza for their time and expertise. They certainly had some very valuable information to share.  I hope you found it as useful as I did.

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Be sure to check out the Fashion Sensei Services page for more information on Fashion Consultations in the Metro Detroit area and more.


Filed under Aging, Beauty, Cosmetics, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, Metro Detroit, personal shopper

Fashion Lesson #28: Holiday Makeup


In my last post, I told you about my experience at the Nordstrom Holiday Cosmetics Trend Show.  That experience prompted me to send out a beacon to expert makeup artists throughout the country to help those of us over 30 figure out how to look our best this holiday season, including New Years Eve.

Today’s Fashion Lesson is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the wealth of information my beauty experts provided.  I will be publishing their answers to my inquiry in their entirety next week.  You won’t want to miss their valuable tips!

In The Beginning

Many of us start out experimenting with our mother’s makeup as young girls.  When we are old enough to wear makeup in public, some of our mothers took us to the local cosmetic counter for a makeup lesson.  Others, took their cue from magazines, television or our girlfriends.

As we grow and mature, it’s important that our makeup follows suit.  I can’t tell you how many women I see that are still applying and/or wearing the same colors they wore as young women first experimenting with cosmetics.

Start With A Clean Pallet

With age, the importance of regular cleansing, moisturizing and generally taking good care of our skin becomes critical.  If you have dry, scaly skin, it will be difficult to pull off a smooth, fresh finish.

Your regular routine should include these four basics steps: cleanse, exfoliate, tone and moisturize.  If you live in region that has particularly cold winters as we do here in the Midwest, dry warm air from your furnace tends to dry your skin out, so be sure to moisturize often.

“Not To Prime, Is A Crime!” – Napoleon Perdis

A step that may be new to some of you, is the essential application of primer.  Much like the primer you use before painting your walls, face and eye primer helps to even out your skin, making it smooth and helps to fill in fine lines.  It also helps to make your makeup wear longer.

Emily Kumler, President of Prep Cosmetics, recommends waiting for a few minutes before applying your foundation for the best results.  She goes on to say, “Don’t forget the neck!! Unfortunately, the neck is the first thing to go.  It’s so important to moisturize and prime your neck so that when you apply a little foundation or bronzer, it goes on smoothly.  There is nothing worse than seeing a woman with a beautiful face nicely made up who has completely forgotten her neck.  It’s just as important as her hair- they both frame the face.”

Tools Of The Trade

“Makeup, like cooking, is about following certain steps to create a specific result.  So why then can someone follow the same steps but get different results each time?  Like any great chef will tell you, the secret ingredient to recreating your recipe time and time again is the specific tools you use!  The better the tools, the better the results.  A good set of brushes is important to correctly apply eyeshadow, blush and foundation.”- Karin Noel, Key Makeup Artist at Mars Studio in Costa Mesa, California.

So which ones do we choose?  Dara Klein, veteran New York makeup artist, trainer and founder of DaraMascara highly recommends the following:

*For purposes of illustration, I have linked an example to each brush.  Unless specified otherwise, the links are for illustrative purposes and are not endorsements.

  • Pony Tail Brush– ” The best brush to purchase for a ‘wash’ of shimmer, matte base shadow, etc. is what’s referred to as the ‘ponytail’ brush.  This is the full, soft, black haired brush, that every line makes.  It is crimped at the base of the ferrel, is full, and almost round until the very tip- which is tapered to a point.  This makes it easy for blending as well as rolling underneath the eye to set eye concealer with powder.”
  • Angle Brush– Used for lining eyes and filling in eyebrows.  Dara recommends also using the small liner brush: “I am a HUGE fan of Face Stockholm cake liners with the angled liner brush to apply.  Every evening eye will look dramatic and MODERN with a defined lash line and these are the most simple liners to use without venturing into surgical steadiness needed for liquid liner.”  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Lash Curler– “Everyone swears by Shu Uemura- but the BillybBeauty eyelash curler is curved more to fit a rounder eye, as opposed to an almond, wider shape, which is best suited for an Asian women; which the Shu Uemura lash curler complements.”
  • Smudgees– “These are my favorite things EVER! They are pre-moistened q-tips.  Brilliant. Do your eyes first, clean up underneath and apply foundation afterwards.  You can carry them around in your purse for any corner of the eye smudges.”
  • Lip Brush– “Skip the liner ladies- so 1992.  Use a lip brush to enhance the shape of the lip with a lipstick which keeps the lips looking soft and supple, not over applied.  The most aging look can be an over drawn lip with sharp lined edges.”

Karin Noel offers this insider tip on brushes: “Professional makeup artists like to mix-n-match the brands of their brushes and you can too.  Don’t feel stuck to using the brush in a set you bought, that might not be working for you.  Better yet, rather than buying a pre-made set of brushes, make your own!!”

Here are more suggested beauty tools:

  • Blush Brush– Used for contouring cheeks.  Be sure to limit the use of this brush to blusher.  Use a separate brush for bronzer and powder.
  • Foundation Brush– Used to apply a smooth finish to your liquid foundation and blend makeup properly on your face.
  • Powder Brush– Karin Noel suggests: “When buying this brush, make sure that it has a beveled end.  This is so it can get to all the contours of your face which are angled.”
  • Bronzer Brush–  Due to the dark pigments in bronzer, it is wise to use a dedicated brush to avoid a demarcating look.
  • Concealer Brush–  Allows for better control in application for small blemishes or color variations.

Determine Your Undertones

We have a clean, moisturized, primed face and all the tools necessary to get started, now we need to ascertain which colors are best for us.

Deborah and Claudia Caraballoso, co-founders of My Hair and Makeup, suggest that we first consider the undertones of our skin.  Much like determining your “season” in fashion, understanding whether you have warm or cool undertones will help you create a complimentary cosmetic look.

According to Caraballoso, warm undertones are commonly found in women with brown, green or hazel eyes; rich brown, auburn or red hair; and olive, yellow or orange skin tones.

Cool undertones are likely found in women with blue/gray eyes; blonde or black hair; and fair, pink or bluish skin tones.

Choosing The Right Shade

Once you have determined the undertones in your complexion, we can move on to selecting shades for your eyes, lips, cheeks and foundation.

EYE COLOR- Opposites Attract


Image Source: tutes.tonebytone.com

For an evening look that “Pops”, consider using a color that is the opposite of your eye color on the color wheel.  For blue eyes, try brown tones that compliment your personal skin tone.  Brown and green eyed ladies may want to consider plums or violets.  And for a true “pop” of color for ladies with brown eyes, a deep midnight blue may make your eyes shine.

If you are still questioning your dominant undertone, the glints of light at the center of your iris may hold the key to your lingering question.

(click on each image for photo source.)

images eye

Notice the center of the iris of each of these eyes.  The first eye has a “warm” yellow/golden center.  The second eye to the right, has a “cool” gray center.  Factor these colors in with the rest of your attributes and you will have a better understanding of your undertones.

Cheek & Lips

Armed with a better understanding of a warm or cool undertone, choose a natural blush with a peach or pink tone that will add a hint of color to your face.

When selecting a lip color, it’s all about creating harmony within the color pallet you are using.  Select a cheek and lip color that is within the same shade range, such as a pink cheek and a nude or beige lip, using this combination will come together looking fresh and young.

Another interesting suggestion came from Rachael Shanethe Style Coach: “In your 30’s, don’t go lighter than the color of your gums.  Look at the inside of your lips-match the brownish-pink color for your best shade.”  She also recommends using tinted lip balms and layering them with lip gloss, for a simple evening lip.


Ah, the bane of many women’s cosmetic woes.  We’ve all seen them- heck at one time or another, we have been “that woman” whose face is a totally different color than her neck.  One suggestion to avoid demarcation, is to use a tinted moisturizer.  The sheerness of the product softens the look of your face without the harsh, thick foundation that can accentuate wrinkles or lines.

The most important point is, that your foundation should even out your skin tone, be sheer and un-noticeable.

Focus On Your Best Feature

“No one is ever too old to look cool- On the other hand, you’re never too old to look ridiculous.”- Claudia Caraballoso

I asked my beauty experts if women over 30 were too old to be participating in the trends they see on the runway or in magazines.  The resounding opinion was no, with one caveat- wear only one trend at a time.

Remember the midnight blue I suggested for women with brown eyes earlier?  You want to choose one focal point at a time.  In this instance, it’s the eyes.  All other aspects of your makeup should be neutral.  That means a light cheek and lip color so that your eyes are the focal point.

Packing in too much color will not only age you, but make you look like a clown in the process.

If you are looking to de-emphasize a feature, say small, close set eyes, keep the eyes light and neutral and go for a dramatic red lip.

One definite no-no, is wearing glitter.  Flecks of glitter sandwiched between wrinkles is just not a good look.

Another trend aging women should be conscious of, is shimmer.  As we age, the skin over our eyes begins to droop and sag giving it a “crepe-like” effect.  If you want to wear a shimmering color, experts agree, that you should wear it near the inside corner of your eyes.  This is one area that seems to remain taut and adding shimmer here will open up the eyes.

As Deborah Caraballoso put it- “Be careful not to add so much [shimmering eyeshadow] that you have now given your crows’ feet a stage, spotlight and a microphone.” 😉

How Did You Do That?

I am always curious to know how makeup artists perform their “magic.”  I asked our experts to give us some tips that we could incorporate into our holiday, photo ready look.


Several of the beauty experts that I spoke with, recommended using a cream blush, blending it in upward strokes on the apple of the cheeks.

Another suggestion from Dara Klein was to “place the cheek color where the face is flat or is under the bone structure.”  Adding color to this area with a soft dome shaped blush brush blending down and back toward the hair line will give you a soft natural look.

East coast makeup artist Béke Beau suggests that we use our fan brush to “apply a light touch of shimmer to the high planes of the face” to create a softer image.


Béke also commented that if she were allowed only one feature to focus on, it would be the eyebrows.  “Resist the urge to over-tweeze and learn how to make the most of your arch using a pencil or powder”, Beau says.


Another tip from Dara Klein is to, “layer and layer black mascara to emphasize the defined lash line, and don’t skimp.  Use a defining, volumizing  mascara like Lancome Hypnose, Oscillation or Diorshow Unlimited.”

After having my makeup done by a Dior makeup artist at the Nordstrom Trendshow, she gave me a sample of the Diorshow mascara and I really liked it.

One other tip that came up over and over from the experts was to experiment with false eyelashes.  Experts felt that using even a few lashes in the outer corner of our eyes, helped to counteract the droop that tends to set in with age and define our eyes.

You Asked- Dara Answered

Earlier this week, I gave readers an opportunity to ask our beauty expert Dara Klein of DaraMascara whatever was on their mind.  Here’s a look at the advice she gave two Fashion Sensei readers:

Stephanie asked:
Q: I am not very sure what base color of correctors  I  should use.  I am Asian, fair. Can you help?


A: Fair, Asian skin tones look nice in a pale pink/peach shadow base- try Laura Mercier Eye Basics in Peach.  Use something flat/matte to minimize the space from the crease to brow as opposed to shimmer since there tends to be more space there vs. the lash line to the crease.

realultimatepower asked:
Q: I would like to know the expert’s opinion/advice on makeup on men, and if it could work in a setting besides movies/television/media/formal settings…


A: Ok guys- don’t be afraid to get online and get some of these products- they are a sure way to enhance without looking ‘made up’.  My male clients love to enhance their features, so aside from a great skin care regimen of: cleansing, exfoliating, toning and moisturizing (in that order) anything you put on top of your skin will look enhancing.
Tinted moisturizer– corrects the ruddiness in your skin like a foundation with the texture of a moisturizer.  I’ll make shade selection easy for you- choose a shade based on the amount of redness you have to correct or neutralize not a shade you want to match your skin tone.  If you are medium olive toned with more ruddiness you want to choose a Medium to Dark shade.  Try the Stila TM’s, they’re the best in my opinion.
Brow Groomers: Clear mascara for the brows- use to comb brows into place and it deposits no color .
Brown mascara: Go to a cosmetic supply store and buy tester mascara wands (the tester wands they use at the cosmetic counters).  Dip this wand into the tube of Brown Mascara- this deposits less onto the brush then using the actual mascara wand that comes in the tube.  Gently and I mean, GENTLY sweep mascara once through top lashes just ‘hitting’ the lashes with the wand.  Avoid wiggling and really applying to avoid fake looking lashes.  Unless of course your name rhymes with mascara and you are mildly obsessed.  This will enhance your eyes without looking applied.  Try, Lancome Définicils Brown (NO Waterproof!)
Bronzer– kiss the skin through the t zone with a large powder brush and this warms the skin.  Avoid overly shimmery bronzers.  I’m a fan of Fresh ‘Here Comes the Sun’.

I hope that helps! -Dara

Ready For Your Close Up

Now that you have all the tools to look fabulous for your holiday and New Years celebrations, get ready  to have your picture taken.

In today’s Fashion Lesson we are reminded, that we are never too old to look beautiful.  With each new decade we can expect to wear less and less makeup, but I believe this just opens up our natural beauty to shine through.

I hope that you found this Fashion Lesson as beneficial as I did.  I want to thank all of the beauty experts who contributed to this Fashion Lesson, for their insightful and interesting beauty tips.

Once again, there were so many invaluable pieces of advice offered from my panel of experts that next week, I will be publishing unedited transcripts from three of today’s featured makeup artists.  In addition, the ladies will be dishing on their feelings about any “rules” women in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s + should be following.

Let me know what you think of these tips or if you have any others that you would like to share, by leaving a comment.  Also, if you use these tips for your holiday, be sure to send me a picture, I will put them up on the site. 🙂

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to SUBSCRIBE via RSS or EMAIL now so you don’t miss a thing!

Be sure to check out the Fashion Sensei Services page for more information on Fashion Consultations in the Metro Detroit area and more.


Filed under Aging, Beauty, Cosmetics, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, Fashion Writer, personal shopper

Fashion Lesson #27: Par-tay!

It’s that time of year, the ubiquitous holiday party season.  Free flowing Eggnog, family traditions and the of course the stubborn question of what to wear.

Today’s Holiday Party Edition of the Fashion Lesson series will focus on on two looks that will carry you through all your obligatory holiday invitations without breaking the bank.

Most of my selections are on sale and nothing is more than $102. 

The Every Occasion Dress

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I found this dress at jcrew.com on sale for only $49.99 (orig. $148)

It’s a perfect day to night dress for multiple body shapes.  Not to mention an excellent choice for the after work holiday party. Really the only shapes I would not advise it for, is the full busted, full arms or possibly a woman with a round bottom.

Take a look at all the pleats in the back.  They are wonderful for women with a flat bottom, but will only add volume to an otherwise ample backside.


For day, wear a blouse under, or a fitted cardigan over the jumper for a sensible business look.  There are endless accessory options from the thin belt and necktie illustrated in the first photo, to several strands of pearls.  If opting for pearls, keep the following in mind: short strands for petites or small busts– it draws the eye up making your face the focal point or long strands for average to taller women. 

If you have a long waist, the waist line on this dress will help to elongate your legs.  Further, pair it with a pair of pointed or peep toed shoes to make your legs look even longer.

If you were one of the shapes mentioned above that would not be flattered by the above dress, I haven’t forgotten about you.

This V neck shirred dress by Evan Picone would be a knock out on you.  The ruching at the waist also draws the eye to the smallest part of your torso, shaving off a few pounds, and who wouldn’t like that?


(I was unable to link a picture in black so click here to see what I am referring to.)

*As a bonus, take this 20% off discount code + free shipping to knock the price down to $79.20 (good thru 12/15)

Now that we have our dress, we need something to jazz up our simple LBD.  The best way to do that is with a little sparkle or a pop of color.  These should do the trick…


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Family Christmas PartySay no to the “Santa Sweater”

We all know someone who owns one.  The old lady holiday sweater or even worse, her wicked sister, the holiday sweatshirt.


[Photo Source]

Unless your family holiday has a holiday sweater requirement, I have a few alternatives to the Christmas sweater that are so chic that you won’t even miss your old holiday standby.  Maybe you will even inspire some loved ones in the process. 😉

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Apple Shape                 Full Arm


          Long Waist/Pear/Hourglass            Petite

*Coupon Alert:  Here’s a coupon for the silver sequins sweater from Ann Taylor.

Enjoy your merriment in style.  If you have a great holiday party story, be sure to leave a comment! 🙂

Also, for those of you who haven’t noticed yet, there is now an “Ask Fashion Sensei” tab at the top of this site to ask me your most pressing Fashion questions.

I look forward to hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to SUBSCRIBE via RSS or EMAIL now so you don’t miss a thing!

Be sure to check out the Fashion Sensei Services page for more information on Fashion Consultations in the Metro Detroit area and more.


Filed under Fashion, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, Fashion Writer, Metro Detroit, personal shopper, Uncategorized

Fashion Lesson #26: 5 Savvy Shopping Tips to Save Money

Thursday, I wrote about my positive experience at Marshall’s and the money I saved on a Tignanello purse which sold at Macy’s for a much higher price.

Today, I want to share with you five money saving secrets to help you get the most out of your next shopping trip.

Scour Outlet and Discount Stores

When times are good, we tend to shop at stores that make us feel pampered, rather than at stores that require a little work.

Check out discount stores like Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, or Marshalls.  It may require a little digging and some extra patience, but the savings can be dramatic.

Often, extra stock of the same merchandise that you can find at department stores, is sold to such retailers.  That means significant savings to you.

Get Back to Basics

Now is not the time to be ultra trendy.  Ultimately, you want basics that you can wear all four seasons.  If that isn’t possible, try to choose garments that will still be fashion forward next year.  The point is to not only save money in the short term, but for the duration of a possibly lengthy economic downturn.

  • Look for mid-rise waistlines.  Super high or low rise pants are more likely to go out of style faster than their mid-rise counterparts.
  • A fantastic fitting white shirt and a classic trench coat with a detachable cold weather liner will last you for many years to come.
  • Buy trendy accessories from stores like Forever 21 or H&M.  The life span of the product is usually as long as the trend.

Ask About Discounts

Did you know that if you are a teacher, you can get an added discount at Ann Taylor Loft through their “Loft Loves Teachers Program“? 

Ann Taylor also has their “Taylored For Success” program.  Once you fill out your profile, you will be notified of exclusive sales and you may also sign up for special in-store events for your company or colleagues.

It’s worth it to ask the clerk at your favorite store, on your next shopping trip.

Price Shop

Be sure to surf the web and price shop your planned purchase before going to a brick-and-mortar store.

I was shopping for a client, and discovered the pair of shoes she wanted, were actually cheaper at Macy’s on line, than at the store.  I printed the page off, and presented it to my sales person and they honored the on line price.  Not all stores will do this, but it’s something to consider.

Some great sites to compare prices are ShopzillaBiz Rate, NexTag and MySimon.

At PriceGrabber, you can load in your covetable wish list of items and the site will notify you when the product hits your targeted price range.

Always Keep Your Receipt!

I have a serious mantra at my house that the tags never come off until you are ready to wear it.  My husband teases me that even then it’s debatable.

Many stores have a price adjustment policy if your purchase goes on sale during a specific period, (usually 14 days).

Do you remember my Gap post awhile ago?  I saved over $70 on that purchase.  It may take a little leg work, but the money adds up.

To make your life easy, sites like Price Protectr will notify you if your purchase goes on sale.  It’s free to sign up and they participate with 148 stores.

If you have any price saving tips, please be sure to share them with us.  Leave a comment!

 If you enjoyed this post, be sure to SUBSCRIBE via RSS or EMAIL now so you don’t miss a thing!

Don’t forget to check out the Sensei Services page for more information on Fashion Consultations in the Metro Detroit area and more.

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Filed under Fashion, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, Fashion Writer, Metro Detroit, personal shopper, retail