It’s party season — time to hit the dancefloor and to sparkle. But with many celebrations happening shortly after work, finding time to look your party best can be difficult.
As a mum-of-two and trainee psychologist, Rachel Donegan from Dublin knows all about maximising every minute the festive season. Like most multi-tasking Millennials, the 31-year-old can’t wait to enjoy a well-deserved mulled wine or two with her girlfriends this December.
But she doesn’t have the 12 days of Christmas to get glammed up either.
“I love the Christmas party season and already have a few events in my diary,” says Rachel, who is also a part-time model.
“At this stage, I can get ready in about 15 minutes.
“I don’t see the point in hauling a big bag around with you for the day,” she adds, “so I usually just bring a few bits with me in the morning.
“Once I’ve got my lipstick and perfume, I’m happy.”
Here, Ireland’s top fashion and beauty experts reveal how to look ho-ho-hot in 15 minutes flat this party season...
Clothes — 5 minutes
You don’t need Santa’s sack to lug your party outfit to the office this festive season, says stylist Nicole Spain of Flutterby Fashion Styling. Dash from desk to dancefloor in clever staples such as metallic ankle boots and a grrr-eat skirt instead.
“Animal print is a great way to liven up your winter wardrobe,” says Spain, “provided you don’t wear it all over like Bet Lynch.”
Tame the trend at work by teaming it with a professional-looking polo, blazer and black tights, she suggests: “A good black blazer is a wardrobe staple and this season’s peplum style is brilliant because it can either hide your hips or give you curves, depending on your shape. At night-time, you could just wear the jacket zipped up with nothing underneath it for a really sexy look.”
Like Rachel, you could also go wild by swapping the jumper for a crop top, ditching the denier and chucking on a choker, all which can be easily carried in a convertible day-to-night bag.
“Nineties chokers are so popular right now and can make such a difference to an outfit,” says Spain. “You could even make one yourself using a shoelace.”
Meanwhile, you don’t have to suffer in sky-high stilettos to put your best foot forward this Christmas: “I’ve seen lots of girls wearing ankle boots on nights out recently. Cut at the right length, they really flatter the leg. Watch for metallic or sequins with a block heel to dance the night away in style. But black tights on a night out are a big no-no — I don’t care how cold it is!”
Hair —5 minutes
The party season is all about letting your hair down — but Peter Mark’s chief educator Michael Corcoran reckons it can look just as glam when it’s up.
Get ahead by prepping your hair the night before with products that bounce back, he advises: “Some products have a memory ingredient that work even after you comb your hair the next day. So a handbag-sized can of hairspray, clear elastic bobbin and a few pins is all you should need to go from boardroom to bar.”
Back away from the GHD, and leave your tresses in loose curls during the day to make the transition easier. Michael explains: “Styling your hair with a curl or wave makes it a lot more malleable and much easier then to pin up later on. Once it’s straightened it’s very difficult to get any movement back into it.”
Simply use a large curling wand on a few sections of your hair to get Rachel’s office look, he adds: “Before you go to work, get your wand and wrap some large sections around it. The thing to remember is not to be too perfect with it. You do need balance, but you don’t need uniformity.”
Finally, opt for hair Nirvana with a grungy ’90s updo. “At the moment, what’s on-trend for both men and women is that really unkempt Kurt Cobain kind of look,” says Corcoran. “Put a little bit of backcombing through the top to give it a bit of height. Then just tie it in a ponytail at the nape of a neck, twist it up in a little knot, pin it and you’re good to go!”
Makeup —5 minutes
Less is more when it comes to transforming your makeup from ‘work’ to ‘twerk’, according to Max Factor makeup artist Lyndsey Cavanagh. She recommends layering light, liquid products for the ultimate party-proof slap: “If you’re going from desk to dancefloor, focus on water-based products rather than powder-based ones which can look very dry and cakey when layered. You want your skin to look really youthful and glowing.”
Start by applying an oil-free moisturiser that will help prevent your make-up from sliding south during the day. After buffing a liquid foundation onto the skin with a brush, a smidgen of long-lasting brow gel, eyeliner, mascara, bronzer, lip liner, and gloss is all that’s needed to survive from nine to five and beyond.
“When contouring, try to imagine where the sun naturally hits the raised parts of the face — the cheekbones, forehead, nose, and chin,” says Kavanagh.
“Use the same concealer on the eyelid as under the eye and set it with an off-white shadow before putting a little bit of bronzer in the crease of the lid. Then apply a gel liner on the roots of the lashes and mascara with a high water content such as Max Factor’s new False Lash Epic Mascara €16.99).”
After hours, make like a disco ball by adding some shimmering pigment to the eye, and ramping up your lippie.
“Pick a pigment that contradicts your eye colour and literally sweep it under the eye — copper is a great one for green eyes,” she says. “The big trend for lips this winter is deep berry, but I’d advise using a softer mahogany coloured lip pencil so it doesn’t look too stark under the mistletoe!”
- Model: Rachel Donegan at LMT Elegant Entertainment & Model Agency
- Hair: Michael Corcoran at Peter Mark
- Makeup: Lyndsey Cavanagh at Max Factor
- Styling: Deirdre Reynolds
Shot on location at the designer Penthouse Suite of The Morgan Hotel in Temple Bar, Dublin 2. Both the Penthouse and The Morgan Bar — which has a heated courtyard — are available for private hire this Christmas party season.
www.themorganbar.ie/parties/Christmas-parties for more