Let's play dress up!
October 12, 2009 4:45 PM   Subscribe

Help me (a female with basically no female friends to ask) accessorize this red cocktail dress! (hair & jewelry)

I'm headed to a midday fall wedding in a week and after some fruitless, perfectionist dressing shopping here (in Boston), I settled on wearing my recently-found "back-up dress." 2 pics. Chiffon, ruched bust and middle, satin empire waist, layered, fishtail. I am 5'11. I have a subdued gold pashmina, gold strappy sandals on the way, and a gold clutch. I just need to figure out jewelry, makeup, and hair! I have medium length wavy hair with tapered side-swept bangs (can be pinned back), but - and maybe it's because I've looked at the dress pictures too many times - I really like the headband idea, perhaps a gold one with blown out hair? Very mod; to much Mad Men for me. (I'd like to keep my hair down rather then up and slicked to the side.) All curly? However I don't want to look costumey. I want to look tasteful yet fabulous.
Pendant? (I have a 1" gold heart with silver scrolls in it with matching non-dangly earrings very similar to this but bigger) or a larger design? Wide collar style? Choker? Some gold bangle bracelets? I basically have none of these things, so it's hard for me to experiment. Please, I'm pretty much a helpless tomboy, but I'd love your ideas, links to pictures, suggestions for shapes, to give me an idea of what I could hunt for locally to dress this outfit up. I'd like to look nice... I have very few friends, all of which will be there.

Note: I will be dancing my ass off, probably. Poofy bangs and/or complicated hair may not make it past 30 min.
posted by mostlybecky to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (29 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Necklace and earrings. No choker- most often necklaces work best if they parallel the neckline. So a choker would go better with a scoop neck. A pendant with a V neck like you have.

Don't overdo it on jewelery. You already have a clutch and a wrap decorating you. Hair down, or a couple of gold pins holding it back from your face.

Light makeup, let the dress in that red color speak for itself.
posted by slateyness at 4:53 PM on October 12, 2009

You look lovely and elegant in your beautiful dress! Don't overdo the accessories, wear simple jewelry.
posted by mareli at 4:57 PM on October 12, 2009

No ideas on hair (I suck at hair) but (1) hot dress! It looks awesome on you! and (2) with the red and gold, you could pop some neat color with a big bracelet or something... blue or green, maybe, just something very contrasting.

I'd also do a y-shaped necklace (or anything with a pendant) that sits above the dress's neckline. Your collar-style might work as long as it doesn't look too heavy.
posted by olinerd at 4:59 PM on October 12, 2009

Seconding slateyness, don't overdo it on the jewelry. In fact, I'd skip the necklace. Too much gold (wrap, sandals + necklace) might be too matchy matchy. You look great in that dress. And you can't go wrong with simple. Hair down and loose with a couple pins would be perfect. Try out a couple looks and just see what you feel most comfortable. If you feel comfortable and feel good, you'll automatically look great. Rock that dress!
posted by heavenstobetsy at 4:59 PM on October 12, 2009

You have a lovely figure and good skin so you don't need a lot here. I'd wear mascara, matching red lipstick, and leave the makeup at that. Maybe something like this for a necklace? I like the vintage feel with that dress.

Which is, by the way, both classy and smokin' hot.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:03 PM on October 12, 2009

No headband -- just straighten your hair.

This is a midday wedding, so I imagine it will be on the more casual side of things. I'd do with simple jewelry, probably just the earrings and necklace you already have.
posted by runningwithscissors at 5:03 PM on October 12, 2009

Yep, the cut of the dress is fairly 'complex', and it's in a bold color, so go easy on the accessories. The wrap, shoes, and clutch sound good. Pin your bangs back with some gold pins, and maybe a (delicate) gold chain and pendant, and stud earrings. (oh, and as a recovering hopeless tomboy myself I've found TLC's What Not to Wear to be an excellent resource,.)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 5:06 PM on October 12, 2009

Oh, and for a midday wedding, I'd keep the makeup really low-key (especially in a red dress). Mascara, a little light-golden-brown eyeshadow and lipgloss. The color of the dress is going to make you glow!
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 5:12 PM on October 12, 2009

Best answer: This is the perfect dress for you! It accentuates your figure very well and is a nice foil for your skin tone and hair.

Less is more so you don't take away from the **POW** effect of the dress. No necklace. That neckline is TOO perfect and a necklace would wreck it. Round earrings, no larger than a quarter. Chunky bracelet or many bangles on one wrist (I prefer chunky bracelet if you are going to be dancing. Bangles may be a hassle.) Love the headband, and I would either get it in a thicker size (something closer to the size of the strap on the dress) or perhaps whatever tone would match the earrings. I love her hair simple like this, again because it is classic and doesn't take away from the impact of the dress. I like the flip on the ends. I could also see you with no headband, as long as you keep the style sleek and simple and back from your ears. (A really good look with your cheekbones, eyes, and collar bone.)

Focus on lips and eyes with the makeup. Red for the lips, neutrals for the eyes (please no blue or green with that dress!) and some awesome mascara.

That similar elegant look that emphasizes a natural face, sleek/elegant hair, and a dress with impact can also be seen here, here and here. It's a timeless look that can't lose! (Plus, less stuff to keep track of.)
posted by jeanmari at 5:20 PM on October 12, 2009

Gold, over the top necklace. Consider a wrap with a pattern or some texture. It's solid on solid and is a bit plain. Nice dress, though.
posted by bunny hugger at 5:27 PM on October 12, 2009

You have a kind of Tina Fey look going on. (It's a compliment.) If it helps, here is Tina rocking the simply elegant look with a red dress here and the simply elegant look with a black cocktail dress (note: no necklace, elegant earrings, chunky bracelet.)
posted by jeanmari at 5:27 PM on October 12, 2009

Best answer: I think you should pin your hair up, forego the necklace (since I think it will just compete with the neckline of your dress) and go for some dramatic chandelier earrings. Simple elegant makeup (just remember, pick one feature to emphasize, eyes or lips, lest the makeup gun look as though it were set to "whore") and you'll be set.

I personally detest a necklace/earring combo - too much action around your face. Go with earrings - they'll make your neck and shoulders look so graceful and elegant.
posted by mckenney at 5:40 PM on October 12, 2009

bunny hugger: "Gold, over the top necklace. Consider a wrap with a pattern or some texture. It's solid on solid and is a bit plain."

No way! It's a daytime wedding. There should be no "over the top" anything in this situation. The dress and wrap are a great, simple look.
posted by runningwithscissors at 5:45 PM on October 12, 2009

Best answer: What a beautiful dress!

No necklace. And definitely not necklace and earrings. And other than the earrings, no more gold, with the gold wrap, gold clutch, gold shoes, it would be too matchy-matchy to have a gold headband. (In fact, you might try more subdued shoes if you have any. Metallics in the daytime can easily be overdone, and I'd try to stay with only one metallic item -- shoes or clutch.)

I wouldn't do up your hair at all, because you're already verging on an evening-y look for a midday wedding. Just leave it down, bangs down, in order to bring the look down to earth a bit.

You're going to look awesome, because the dress is just perfect for you! Have fun!
posted by palliser at 5:45 PM on October 12, 2009

How about an almost invisible gold or silver chain with a single tear drop/round of sparkle, like a single 'diamond'?
posted by x46 at 5:53 PM on October 12, 2009

No jewelry, basic makeup that emphasizes your eyes. That is the perfect dress.

The pashmina and the clutch will be enough in terms of accessories.
posted by kathrineg at 5:58 PM on October 12, 2009

The second pictures is exactly what you should be wearing!!
posted by kathrineg at 5:59 PM on October 12, 2009

I was going to say pearls until I saw the second pic. No necklace. Pearl stud earrings? Yes to simple hair.
posted by kmennie at 6:31 PM on October 12, 2009

That dress looks great. Good choice.
posted by jander03 at 6:35 PM on October 12, 2009

You look great! Here's how I'd style that dress:

No necklace, bracelets, hairband, or rings. Cosmopolitan magazine cover models hardly ever wear jewelry (besides earrings) because the bands of jewellery break up the lines of their neck and limbs. Take a page from their book and go simple.

As for earrings, I'm not crazy about the jewellery set you linked- this dress is sexy and sophisticated; the hearts, to me, look cutesy and young. Instead I'd go with medium-sized gold hoop earrings- maybe 1-2 inchers. Or else small chandelier-style earrings, like these. Think "Flamenco" as an inspiration. That dress also reminds me of something Talisa Soto might wear (she's in the centre in this pic).

For your hair, I'd say make the front like this: sleek, sideswept bangs, pulled back smoothly but not too tight. And make the back look kind of like this: a low chignon that's loose and imperfect. Here's another version.
A single flower or a feather barette tucked into the chignon would be nice, too.
Make sure to use some silicone spray to make it shiny without being stiff.

Have fun! No matter how you style it, you look rad in the dress.
posted by twistofrhyme at 6:38 PM on October 12, 2009

heavenstobetsy is right. skip the necklace. maybe skip the earrings, too. simpler is better.
posted by slateyness at 7:19 PM on October 12, 2009

Best answer: You look insanely good in that dress! Way to go on finding a perfect LRD ... and good on you for getting a red one instead of a "safe" black.

I'm echoing many of the other posters above, but I agree on the essentials: with metallic sandals, clutch, and the subdued gold of the wrap, I'd go easy and simple on the rest of your look so you don't get too evening-y at a daytime wedding.

I would do nude or clear nails (not red -- with that dress I think it might verge on vampy). Very low-key makeup, i.e.: a nice, champagne-to-golden-brown palette for the eyes, dark brown eyeliner (or black eyeliner, but not liquid as it looks harsh), black mascara. I would NOT do a red lip -- I see how that would be super sexy, but I think it might be a bit much for daytime, and if you're not a red-lips kind of girl it can make you feel really self-conscious. Just some tinted lipgloss.

Jewelry: Definitely it's either a necklace OR earrings on this, and I'd go for the earrings. Either small gold dangle-y/chandeliers (not crazy shoulder-sweeping ones; again, the daytime thing) or even studs. I think you can do with or without a bracelet -- just depends on if you have one already that you like.

Hair: I love the Mad Men-ish idea you gave of just wearing a simple headband (black or muted gold, but not a super-shiny gold) and blowing your hair out with a flip at the bottom. Hair up in a casual chignon or knot can also be pretty, but I think if you'll be dancing it'll be easier to wear your hair down. I wouldn't do the flower as I think it could look costume-y, and you want to look like you just woke up and happened to be absolutely fabulous.

Whatever you do, have fun! And post follow-up pics, if you feel comfy. :)
posted by alleycat01 at 7:49 PM on October 12, 2009

Best answer: The dress is a great colour on you. Since it's daytime I don't think you need a lot of makeup, mascara and lipgloss and possibly a light foundation. Your eyes are lovely, you could emphasise them a little while still being daytime appropriate, and your lips are already a great colour with the dress so no heavy lipstick.

You also have really nice shoulders and collarbones and the neckline on the dress is perfect for you. Don't mess it up with a necklace. You really don't need it. Either earrings or bracelets would be OK but choose one or the other and keep it relatively simple. Earrings are probably going to be more practical for dancing.

I'm kind of torn about the headband. On one hand it looks kind of casual and young to me, but on the other it's very practical and suits your hair overall. If you can straighten or wave your hair and keep it under control without the band it might look more elegant, but if your hair is more like mine (i.e. badly behaved) then the blown out headband look works too and the band would keep it all in place.

'Tasteful yet fabulous' is definitely a good description for you in that dress so I'd say you're on your way! If you're unsure of something underdo it instead of over, let the dress speak for itself.
posted by shelleycat at 8:13 PM on October 12, 2009

Pearl stud earrings?

Pearl earrings are a great idea, for a couple of reasons: they say daytime, and they're not metallic, so they wouldn't contribute to potential gold overload. Studs may not be quite as flattering as something like a stud with a single drop pearl.

Chandelier earrings are pretty and flattering, but I agree with alleycat01 that they tend to push the look into evening.
posted by palliser at 8:17 PM on October 12, 2009

You remind me of Anne Hathaway and I think the best thing is an elegant updo (hair up) and small earrings. No necklace. Would you do a bracelet or art deco ring?

Look up her in Google images and see what you can find.

Have fun.
posted by stormpooper at 7:05 AM on October 13, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you guys, so much, for all your thoughtful answers! In the interest of some long-term privacy, I'll take down those pics later in the day and am throwing up this link instead, which is the same dress in black. (sheesh, now I realize it's supposed to hit below the knees... I suppose I won't look dumb if no one knows that?)
I really appreciate all the comments, and the diversity of them as well. I hadn't even thought about not wearing a necklace at all. I had thought that going sans jewelry might not be dressy enough? Sounds like that's a false assumption on my part?
I won't have the pashmina and clutch with me the whole time, so hopefully I'm not on gold-overload. But yes, I do tend towards accidentally matchy-matchyness, so thank you for setting me straight. Also, sans my current tan and warm haircolor, I'm generally a cool-toned and silver jewelry type of person, so I think I got a little overexcited about the prospect of wearing warm fall tones and, weee, gold jewelry. Crazy talk!

I will do some pretty, neutral stuff and good mascara with the eye makeup. I can't pull off the red lips, though, and yeah, would feel very self-conscious. (antithesis to wanting to feel good about looking good!)

I will have to experiment with some hairdos, but I'd like to leave it down to feel a little less bare and loose hair might break up the whole...verticalness of me. The small dangle earring idea is great.. that seems like a happy medium between big chandelier earrings (best for hair up?) and studs (might be too little if no other jewelry?)

The gold clutch is totally optional if you guys think that's too matchy. What other colors would work? Just black ok?

I think a chunky bracelet could be cool. I saw a decent one at H&M, matte bronze floral-patterned cuff, no stones, that of course I can't find a pic of. Pictures for ideas?

@mckenney - I almost literally ROFL'd at the "whore gun." & really good point about sets!
posted by mostlybecky at 7:52 AM on October 13, 2009

--Get small cheap gold hoops from Claires (under 10 bucks). Or fancy ones if you feel like spending the money. No other jewelry.
--Wear nylons--whatever color matches your skin tone, maybe a little darker. They will be a little uncomfortable, but will look better than bare legs.
--For nails, french manicure, clear, or just a good buffing.
--Hair down. The headband is cute, but it doesn't look Mad Men--it looks casual. Hair up is a mistake if you're going to be dancing a lot, unless you really have a solid clasp on it. Actually, simple barrettes that match your hair color might be helpful.

Good luck! You do look really great in that dress!
posted by tk at 8:01 AM on October 13, 2009

(sheesh, now I realize it's supposed to hit below the knees... I suppose I won't look dumb if no one knows that?)

Pfft, below the knees is frumpy. That model's legs look all weird and twig like coming out of the too long skirt, which yours totally didn't. I'm always wishing I could find skirts short enough to sit where that dress does on you, but not being nearly as tall makes it difficult :D
posted by shelleycat at 3:27 PM on October 13, 2009

Response by poster: I just want to thank everyone again for their wonderful advice. I wore tiny dangle gold earrings and a (secretly stretchy) filigree bracelet from H&M, with the most freaking adorable shoes that I must recommend for being very cute yet extremely comfortable (order a half size smaller than you would normally, I think, on these, as I found them a bit loose).
Taupe and champagne-colored eye makeup with some smudgy black-brown liner; no red lips, just gloss. Thumbs up to bronzer. Hair down and blown out, no hair-things.
This seemed to be the perfect amount of accessorizing. Nothing fussy. I'm glad I took your advice and didn't wear a necklace. What a pain that would have been to adjust with all the dancing going on.

Thanks a MILLION, guys! You rock.
posted by mostlybecky at 8:47 AM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

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