Saturday, 10 May 2014

How to: survive formals!

It has come to my attention that although I thought the days of formals and dressing up to the nines for a social ballroom event were well and truly behind me, I still have a few left in the bag (aka. apparently colleges like to throw a few formals in the mix too). Getting ready for another formal myself, it reminded me of how much fun these nights are, however I do have a few tips to make sure you don't have any last minute freak outs or stresses...and I'm speaking from experience.

1. Stay organised!

I was definitely the kid at High School (and still am) that left everything to the last minute. I'm talking 3 days before the event and I still didn't have a dress, much to my dates distress (he even offered to buy one for me ha ha).

It really does help to think ahead and start looking early because this way you'll be 100% confident and happy in what you're wearing, and you may even have time to hunt down a bargain too. It will also mean that you're not the girl left with little dress options left because your friends have already snatched up the good dresses. Whenever we had formals at school, people created a Facebook page and posted the dresses they bought on this page so that nobody else could buy the same one and go matching. Crazy I know, but it happens...there's something to be said of the saying, 'first in, best dressed'.

On that note I have a funny story: one time I found the perfect dress for formal after hours and hours of searching, only to have the shop assistant tell me I couldn't buy it because a girl from my school bought the same one yesterday. Gee, thanks.

2. Save the guilt of spending too much moola and do a few DIY's/low budget tricks!

If budget isn't a problem for you then by all means, go right ahead and buy that designer dress, but I'm sure a vast majority of you out there don't have as much leeway in the cash department and that's ok! I found that although I enjoyed treating myself to a fake tan done professionally, I didn't need to go all out to get my nails done etc. as it's all too easy to do it yourself.

A few tips I have for saving money at formals are as follows:

- Before you hit the more expensive dress shops, try shopping in a factory outlet first. I actually bought one of my formal dresses at the DFO (direct factory outlet). I found it on a sample rack (which is great considering it was the only one in existence so I couldn't possibly match my friends) from Charlie Brown and it was reduced from something ridiculous like $300 to $90. B-b-bargain!

- If you're like me and you already own a million and one nail polishes, try and do your own nails to save money for something else like a fake tan (if you're into that sort of thing). I know it's tempting to get them done but to be honest, if you're tight on money, nails aren't the most important thing. Nobody is going to see them in photos and I highly doubt anybody will notice that you've done them yourself, as long as there aren't any chips.

- Now I always got a fake tan done professionally because it's me and I fake tan all the time, but you could easily do this yourself at home. Just make sure you test out the tan before the formal as you don't want to look like an Oopma Loompa.

- Follow tip one and stay organised. The less time you have, the more tempting it is to cash out on getting other people to do your own dirty work!

- If you're confident with doing your own hair and know exactly how you like it, I would highly recommend doing it yourself. I got my hair done twice at the hair dresses and to be honest, I much preferred my hair when I did it myself...many of my friends had the same problem. I actually know a few girls that hated what the hair stylist did to their hair so much they went home and pulled it out only to do it again themselves...what a waste of time and money!

3. Makeup!

Yay, this was the most exciting part for me being the cosmetic obsessed person that I am! Makeup was the one thing that I really enjoyed splashing out on and having a proper makeup artist do it rather than myself. I would search online for different looks that I liked and screenshot pictures of them, along with a picture of my dress to show them so that they could match up my dress and my makeup (ain't nobody got time for green eyes and a bright red dress).

For my first formal I had my mum's friend do my makeup who is a makeup artist for TV shows...lucky me! I remember when she came to my house I was gobsmacked as she went to her car to grab the makeup and came back with over 3 huge suitcases. Nevertheless she did an excellent job and I was super happy with the outcome...if only I knew how on earth she did it!

For the next 2 formals I went to MAC and had them do my makeup. It cost me $90 and was fully refundable, meaning I payed $90 to get my makeup done and I also received products up to $90 afterwards. This was ultra handy because I didn't feel like I was wasting money and was also able to buy whatever lipstick they used on me so I could top it up during the night. I think they did an awesome job and I discovered a lot of products that suit my face when observing them do my makeup.

Here are pictures of the different makeup looks I got done.

Makeup and hair done by TV makeup artist #1
Makeup done by MAC and hair done by hair dresser #2
Makeup done by MAC and hair done by hair dresser #2
Makeup done by MAC and hair done by me #3
Makeup done by MAC and hair done by me #3

4. Have a great time, smile, be confident and take lots of pictures :)

I hope you enjoyed this post, it was like taking a trip down memory lane. I could literally go on for pages and pages but I'll spare you all the reading, so if you need any more advice or I didn't cover something, let me know and I'll do my best to help you!

Much Love 

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  1. I really like how the Mac counter did your makeup! I think that when I go to formal I will get my makeup done at Mac as well. The tips were also really helpful :) thanks for posting!

    1. Thanks love, glad to be of help!! xx

  2. Beautiful makeup!!! For my high school formal I got my hair and makeup done professionally and then for my uni grad ball, I did my hair and makeup myself =)
    xxx Kat @ Katness

    1. Good job! I think I'll do the same for my uni ball as I think I trust my styling abilities a little better now! xx