Tag Archives: style

Wedding makeup for a hot, humid, outside wedding

I am writing this on the day that is ONE MONTH away from my wedding. I freaked out a little when I went to google calendar the other day and noticed that my wedding day is now visible in the little calendar grid on the left. And then I wrote a list of everything wedding related I still have to do, and there were thirty things. One a day. Except that’s still not going to be enough, because really I want to be finished like at least week before. Anyway, I have now managed to cross off the line that said “figure out makeup”, so that helps.

Turns out it wasn’t as straightforward as one might think. To begin with, I’m doing it myself. Because money. Also because the physical experience of someone else putting eyeliner and eyeshadow on me makes me really on edge, and because the two or three times professional makeup artists have done my makeup, they turned me into a clown each time. Not everyone is best flattered by a solid ring of black liner, you know? Personally I look like my eyes have been punched back into my skull. A clown with their eyes punched in, that’s me.

So anyway, I have a few variables to contend with for wedding makeup.
1.Equator levels of sunshine.
2. Extremely high humidity.
3. Flash photography.

Because of 1, I normally go around with sunscreen on, which because of 2, triggers an immediate melting of  my face, which does not bode well for 3. Also not boding well for 3, is titanium oxide based sunscreen, which I choose because I also am dealing with 4, sensitive, rosasea*-ry skin.

There is a bit of a conundrum here. If you’re getting married out in the sunshine, especially if you have sensitive skin, you have to choose between protecting your face with sunscreen, or having photos where your face looks white. I think as long as there are no flashes, you won’t get the white ghost effect, so it really depends on what time of day the wedding happens, and whether or not flash photography is going to need to happen. Ours will be starting late afternoon, and definitely proceeding through many a dark hour, so I’ve decided to just go without sunscreen.

Then there’s the oiliness issue. Left to its own devices, my skin will go out of control, so I’m taking every step possible to minimise oiliness. This boils down to using a shine stopper underneath my makeup, and using a matte foundation in the form of a powder. If my nose gets too shiny, I can just pile some more of that stuff on.

It’s also recommended to go sheer with makeup if you’re getting photographed in the sunshine. Plus it just feels better in the skin. So ultimately, what is needed is a sheer, matte foundation that’s good on oily skin, has good staying power, and isn’t mineral based. Thanks to beautypedia, I compiled a shortlist:

Frugallywed’s recommended foundation options for a hot, humid summer wedding:
Liquids:
Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup
Make Up Forever HD Invisible Cover Foundation
Maybelline New York Dream Smooth Mousse Foundation
Nars Sheer Matte Foundation
Powders:
Sephora Mattifying Compact Foundation
Body Shop All in one Face Base
Clinique Perfectly Real Compact Makeup
MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation
Make Up For Ever Due Mat Powder Foundation

Oh and by the way, you don’t need a primer. Primer does nothing. Here is Paula Begoun, she of evidence based skin care, which you may recall is a vision of Utopia, on the subject. Some choice excerpts: “Most primers are a blend of water and silicones and essentially function as lightweight moisturizers that make skin feel silky” and “As long as your skin-care routine is leaving your face smooth and free from the buildup of dead skin cells and excess oil, you’re not going to see much (if any) benefit from using a primer.” —> so just use your normal moisturiser, if you need it. 

BONUS: There is no sponsored content in this post, yay!

For lips, I used beautypedia again to search for sheer lipstick with good ratings, made a shortlist of options, and checked out colour swatches online, because I have very specific ideas about what kind of colour I want. Then I went to MAC and Chanel and tried a few, and ended up with Chanel Boy. Iz pretty. I’m gonna use that puppy for my cheek colour too.

Ok now eyes. Obviously a waterproof mascara is needed, and I already owned Maybelline Define-a-lash, so, done. There are heaps of good waterproof mascaras around. For eyeliner that stands up to a long, teary day, Paula Begoun says gel eyeliners are the way to go. I didn’t want black or sparkles, which are apparently the only options where I live if you look in a pharmacy, so I went with Bobbi Brown in Granite Ink.

And finally, concealer, the makeup product I am more intimate with than any other. Oh concealer, how I adore you. Thank you for stopping people from telling me I look tired. I’m not tired ok, this is how my face is! I have the kind of under eye dark circles that are caused by the physiological structure of my face. I won the lottery on that one! Basically, the lack of volume under my eyes means the muscle, along with its inherent vascular system, is visible through my skin. Actually when I am super tired and things get puffy, the dark circles improve. I think a lot about some day getting restylane injections under my eyes, but until then, nothing but heavy camouflage is going to cut it. I use a corrector followed by a concealer, both from Bobbi Brown. All the other ones I’ve tried are wimps.

Oh yeah and eyeshadow. I haven’t got my eyeshadow yet. It is now item number 31 in my to do list.

*Speaking of rosacea, an interesting paper was recently published about it. Turns out, rosacea may be caused by mite feaces in your poresWhaat? And hell yeah, I’ll link to the original paper, by Jarmuda et al (2012). If you don’t have rosacea, don’t get too smug, because those mites are in your skin too. It’s good times, being a human. This has been a public service science announcement.

Yes, I have wedding colours (plus, look at this jewellery)

If I promise to have a new money-related post up within seven days, will you let me unleash a barrage of pictures on you today? Even though its been two weeks since I last posted? Deal? Before you sign, you should know my image-manipulation skills extend to Paint, and no further. I just thought I should disclose that. In order for you to make an informed decision. On the plus side, I’ll try to avoid just having single images all in a column like a did last time. You’re a very tolerant audience, and if I could, a would put a free Etsy voucher under each of your seats as a token of my appreciation.

So yeah, I do have a wedding style vision, and even a colour theme. Though my approach with the colour theme is so loose, there’s a chance it will actually be undetectable. Nevertheless, this is how I’ve been thinking about it (caution, risk of wankiness ahead):

My basic take when it comes to styling things, is that context is everything. I don’t like it when gardens in a temperate climate have a tropical style. I don’t like it when guys have to wear long pants even though its 30 degrees and the humidity is 100%. I find it discordant. I believe beauty comes from harmony first.

So, colours: The Thirty-Something Bride puts it well here – you should choose colours that coordinate with the venue. I’ve always thought the colours that look like they belong here, in Singapore and surrounds, are bright and saturated. Plus there is so much bright pink bougainvillea here, no seriously it is everywhere, that to me it’s the signature colour of the place.

From google street view, this is what my nearest high way looks like

So, if I was to name official wedding colours, it would be hot pink plus intense turquoise. Something like this:

Thank you, Paint colour picker.

But then we have the small matter of how these colours don’t especially suit me, nor really any of the key players in the wedding. But it’s ok, because I reckon if each person looks individually awesome, then all of us together can’t help but also look awesome, even if we’re not strictly colour coordinated. So I’ve just told everyone who’s asked to wear whatever they want to wear. Meanwhile groom and I will kind of persevere with the colour theme, by adapting the pink and blue idea to versions that actually suit us. This translates to a hot pink flower pinned to his shirt, and softer pink flowers for me, with jewellery in a softer version of pink or blue.

So that’s colours (man, I overthink things). Then there’s general mood, which I think I have mentioned enough not to have to go into detail for, but basically: this is a party on a beach in a hot place. It’s surprisingly hard to find inspiration pictures for this, because people tend to want to go formal, having their men in long pants and stuff, which to me negates the whole point of the beachiness. Here is a set of pictures that kind of captures the tone I’m going for, though:

By Jonas Peterson Photography.

And the final layer on the bridal style cake is what I think expresses who I am. Valeria Chuba gets it, and I asked her to help me shop for jewellery. In response she sent me SEVENTY-FIVE links to various earrings, necklaces, bracelets and such. One of the things she sent me was this:

That is a necklace of mother-effing ROCKS. I love it.

Jewellery shopping has been one of the best parts of wedding planning so far (along with compiling and then rocking out to our playlist, that is). And I love so many of the things Valeria sent that I feel inclined to stomp around whilst saying in whiny tone, “Do I HAAAVE to choose?” But I did painstakingly compile a shortlist, which I present now for your pleasure and delectation…*fanfare*

Bracelets!

Things I like include elephants and rocks that are jewellery.

(Left to right, top to bottom: 1. here 2. here 3. here 4. here 5. here 6. here 7. here)

Earrings!

When the rocks are smaller, that’s fine too.

(Left to right, top to bottom: 1. here 2. here 3. here 4. here 5. here 6. here 7. here 8. here 9. here)

The idea is to go necklace free, and have some big-ass earrings paired with probably more than one bracelet on each wrist. Which to choose, which to choose. I think I’m going to need to get several things, and then decide in person which ones to wear for the wedding and which ones to leave for every other day of the year. Which is handy, cos my current jewellery collection is virtually nonexistent, which is a whole other long story.

In which I bombard you with lots of dresses

When I say a lot of dresses, I’m not messing around. There are tens of images in this post, all lovingly and inexpertly cropped by me in Paint ( I don’t have Photoshop. They should confiscate my blogging license), which took a while.

All these dresses were selected for me by the lady of impeccable taste, the always gracious Valeria Chuba, who blogs with her mate Jenny over at Cultivating Style.  The idea here was to figure out exactly what I want, so that I can then find a dressmaker and tell them what to do. So the following pictures are about shape, and not so much about colour or fabric. Once we’ve figured out the dress, Valeria is going to help me choose accessories too. I’m totally excited about working with her on this.

Valeria’s approach to style is simple: whatever you are, she will make that look awesome. Like, if you’re flat-chested, she’ll make being flat-chested look awesome. If you’re short, she’ll make being short look awesome. Or in my case, if you’re Blake Lively but with more thigh, punier arms, and less boob, she’ll make that look awesome.

Anyway, enough text already. Here’re some images:

From Nonoo:

Milly:

Pixie market (digging this hemline):

La Garconne:

Nelly:

Old Navy:

A whole bunch from Mango:

(liking these shoes too)

Topshop:

My personal fave!

More Mango!

(Are your eyes tired yet? We’re half way through)

And some more Topshop!

Alice by Temperly:

Via this article on Real Simple, we have Lilly Pullitzer,

Loft,

and J Crew:

And finally, a bunch from BurdaStyle, a fashion magazine that sells dress patterns:

Whew. That was 35 dresses, right there. My urge to go shopping (as in, go to physical shops and try stuff on) has just quadrupled and is swiftly approaching critical mass. Tunic dresses, wherefore do I not already possess one of thine ilk?

Purpose of weddings: It’s not about the legalities

Alternative titles for this post:

A case for multi-wedding marriages
or
A dress! You guys, check at this dress!*

M and I are New Zealanders. In New Zealand, once two people have been living together as a couple for three years, the de facto partnership they are in has practically the same legalities around it as an actual marriage. For instance, if you break up, assets would be split fifty-fifty. You enter this phase of financial union without doing a thing – the couple doesn’t have to go somewhere, or sign something, or make any declarations. It just becomes a truth that everything is now jointly owned.

We reached our three year mark right about the same time that we moved to Singapore. Before that though, we’d already completely merged our finances anyway. We were in it together, man. And then Singapore happened, which just further cemented the fact that as a couple, we were a done deal. Obviously emotionally, yes: if following your partner to a foreign country because he got a job there isn’t commitment, I don’t know what is. But also legally: the way the visa  situation works, M is here by what is known as an employment pass, while I am here as his dependent. The paperwork included going to the NZ High Commission to write signed statements, witnessed by an official, about how long we’ve had joint bank accounts and the like. We are officially recognised in Singapore as having a common-law marriage, and it’s what allows me to stay here with him.

It gets worse. For years we’ve had the habit of referring to each other as each other’s partner, but here in Asia, a lot of people don’t get that. And most people I’ve come across really don’t get living together before marriage.  Seriously, the number of times I’ve had to explain that we’re not married, but we live together, but it’s like being married, and actually, this is very common in NZ and it would be unusual not to live together first. So for the almost two years we’ve been living here, we’ve gotten used to just calling each other husband and wife when talking to locals. Makes conversation with a chatty cab driver that much simpler.

So why are we even getting married, when it doesn’t really change much? Well, for one, its going to be a bit more convenient to actually have a marriage certificate instead of having to prove our commitment in other ways. But for us, getting married, or more accurately, having a wedding, is not about the legal stuff at all. We’re doing it for two main reasons:

1. Making explicit all the implicit promises that we have already made to each other, and doing it in a way that our community recognises. I hate to be quoting Sex and The City, but Miranda put it perfectly, in the episode where she marries Steve: “I do actually wanna say those vows, out loud, to Steve. In front of the people I care about”

2. Acknowledging, along with our family and friends, that loving each other so much that we want to share the entire rest if our lives together, is awesome. We’ve been lucky enough to find our person, and that’s amazing, frankly, even if it is a miracle that happens to lots of people. It’s worthy of a big-ass celebration.

So once I figured out that the legal part of this wedding will be much easier to handle in Singapore than in Indonesia (for starters, Singaporeans use English), we made the decision to get the meaningless, five minute, registry office ceremony done a few days before the emotional, poignant readings, personalized vows, ring exchange ceremony at the resort.

My intention was to approach the legal thing as much like paperwork formality as possible – we’d show up in whatever we were wearing that day, sign what we needed to sign, and be done. But, it turns out, we need two witnesses. And there’s a dress code. The info online literally specifies that shorts and flip flops aren’t appropriate. What up, we live in those things.

So that means my man can wear his office wear, and I…well, I don’t look my best in my formal office wear. The thing is, for men, formal professional wear and formal social wear are the same thing. For women, they are kind of vastly different. Miss Manners discusses this issue here. And since our legal ceremony will be socially formal, and not professionally formal, I was instantly launched into fashion fantasies of a Kate Middleton-like nature.

Which brings me to this dress. I won’t bore you with listing the ways it is perfection, I’ll just let you see for yourself:

Karen Millen, I salute you.

I tend to be uber fussy, I mean discerning, about my clothes, but this one is hitting so many nails on so many heads, that when it comes to this dress, I just can’t. I just can’t not obsess over it. 

You complete me.

The only nailhead it doesn’t hit is the price.

Don’t speak. I know just what you’re saying.

You’re saying, “Lindsay, I thought this was a frugal wedding, you sell out.”

Yeah, the dress is over SG$500, and that’s not even addressing the shoe issue. So here’s the deal: it’s not coming out of my wedding budget, it’s coming out of my everyday budget. Plus I can totally wear it again. Right?! Also, you know how I just said my taste is very discerning? When my local friends just read that, they were all surprised and thought about how my ubiquitous plain t-shirt with denim shorts does not exactly reflect a keen sartorial eye. Here’s the sad truth: I’m so damn fussy about clothes, that I almost never find something that fits the bill, and hence I almost never buy new stuff, and hence, I mostly wear pretty old things that were acquired as gifts, or purchased in the days before my fussiness went stratospheric. The upshot is, I spend so little on clothes, that I can actually justify this.

Then there’s the witnesses issue for the legal ceremony. M wants his brother to be his, and I would like my mother to be mine. But since I’m all dressed up and such, and all our immediate family members will be in town, it doesn’t seem right to leave them out. We’re allowed to bring up to 20 guests to the registry office. So we’re going have all our immediate family come. And since we’re doing that, well, maybe we should all go to TWG afterwards and drink champagne and eat a macaroon or two.

Suddenly, it appears I’m having two weddings. But I don’t want to look at it like that. I still consider our non-legal ceremony on the beach to be our real wedding, the one that’s important. Now we just also have a fancy family morning tea to go with it. And the fact that I get to have both beach party princess, and elegant urbanite dresses, well, I’m not too sad about that.

*Yes, check at. That’s how we spoke where I grew up, mmkay?

Six month panic: Bridal style

I think I’ve mentioned ad nauseum the fact that I’ve spent a good chunk of my life dreaming about wedding dresses. It’s what got me into wedding blogs in the first place. And then I spent so much time reading the blogs that my opinions on weddings changed. At various points I have fallen in love with a certain dress, or a certain design feature that I decided I was definitely going to have when I got married, and then a year later my ideal would change. I always wondered what would be the one that would stick, that would go down in history as my wedding dress, to be looked at one day when I am old. And now I’m pretty close to knowing. At this point, I’m very clear on the vibe I’m shooting for, but not yet 100% clear on its execution.

A big part of this has been determined by the context of the reception, and the fact my philosophy on style is always Context is Everything. My wedding is going to be a fun beach party. So I’m going to look like I’m at a fun beach party.

Let’s start with hair. It’s hot, so my hair needs to be up. Because the wedding is low budget, I won’t have a professional hair person coming, so it needs to be something I can do myself. And because I’m doing it myself, it needs to be something that doesn’t stress me out by taking three hours and/or being difficult to execute. So I’m thinking something like this:

Bonus: When, not if, the humidity turns my hair into a thicket, it will look intentional (that’s the plan anyway).

For jewellery, I like the exuberant, natural, a bit chunky, kind of free spirit look. I dig this kind of stuff:

Fiance: “You’re so African at heart. You’d wear a necklace of mini elephant tusks”
Me: *considers* “Not if they were ivory”

While I’m a huge fan of both multistrand necklaces and biggish dangling earrings, they’re probably too much to wear at once, so I’m leaning towards just the earrings. Something like these, perchance:

Ay, there’s the rub.

Now for shoes. Considering the facts of beach sand, my five foot ten height, and the evilness of heels, I’ll either go straight up barefoot, or where some invisible haurache style sandals. Check it out, you can make them yourself and customize them with different tying patterns, beading and such:

Like this, except not like this.

Now for the dress. What I have at this point is inspiration, and the knowledge that I want it short, in a weather-friendly material, with a bikini underneath and the ability to take it on and off quickly. (We’re encouraging swimming at our reception. The groom is wearing board shorts. Long pants in this weather = insane.) As a nod to my bridalhood, I’d like it in a fairly light color, but not white or ivory because I can’t pull either of those off. These things hit the right note, except for colour and length:

Also without the evil heels.

And that’s about where I sit folks! Now, back to the regularly scheduled words-only programming.