Nothing looks more out of place than a too-fancy hairstyle on someone at a very casual function. Wearing an up-style that consists of more than a few hairpins and a twist just looks odd when you’re on a picnic or at the
bowling alley. Good casual hairstyles include ponytails, simple braids and using Alice-bands and barrettes.
Of course, as we mentioned, “casual” situations are varied in their scope, sometimes you do need more than just pulling the hair back from the face. But typically speaking,
you never want your hair to be fussier than your clothing. For instance, if you’re wearing jeans and a tee shirt or sweater, you would look a little strange if your hair looks as though you’ve spent two hours curling it
and primping. Conversely, you may be going to a casual dinner party and decide on wearing slacks and a blouse and would look odd if you just tucked a ponytail through the back of a ball cap.
Formal situations are the times when you really want to put your best efforts into how you look. These are the fancy-dress parties and special occasions that come only a few times a
year at best. You’re going to pull out your finest garments from your closet and want to pull all your best tricks from your styling kit, too. Formal situations are special in that they allow you to break out all the stops.
There are several tips for dressing the hair for a Formal situation, and they all relate to the kind of clothing you are planning to wear. However, there is a tip that can help you as you plan your look for the evening:
• Pick a focus.
You want to pick the aspect of your look that is going to be the focal point. Is it your dress? Your hair? Your jewelry? Or you?
Some women make the mistake of buying a really ornate and heavily-detailed dress with lots of embellishments, and then choosing a very intricate hairstyle and lots of jewelry with
heavy, dramatic make-up effects. The end result is that they look TOO made up. It’s overdone and the viewer is left unable to find a focal point for the look.
For the best results, pick a primary and secondary focus for your look. If your dress is heavily embellished (lots of glitter and sparkle) and you want everyone to really appreciate
your dress, then choose complimentary jewelry, make-up or hairstyle as your secondary focus, and let the remaining two aspects take the background.
Then again, maybe you want to show off the brand new hairstyle you’ve gotten. So pick a nice, simple gown and have your make-up professionally done, then accessorize the look with
some simple jewelry pieces.
The bottom line is that you want to make sure that you’re giving the aspect you want to put on display the center stage. And when in doubt, remember that “less” is often “more”.
There are a few extra tips that can help you in dealing with Formal situations. They are as follows:
• Balance is important. If your dress has a lot of volume in the upper parts of the bodice (such as from puffy
sleeves, or broad shoulders or collar) you want to keep the hair up and in a simple style. You can use
adornments in the hair, but you want to avoid creating the “ice cream cone” effect where you look too
• Low-cut dresses, backless dresses, and strapless dresses are all suitable vehicles for wearing longer hair
or loosely-coiffed up-styles. In fact, a loosely-gathered twist up-style with wispy tendrils brushing along the
neck can make for a very alluring look.
• If you opt for a classic or vintage garment for an event, make sure to keep to the spirit of the style period
you are wearing. For instance, if you choose a vintage gown from the 1960s, wearing a hairstyle that
matches the mood of the period will be terrific and complete the effect. Otherwise, you risk creating an
anachronistic look that will cause you to appear somehow “off”.