It has been ages since I have done a fashion post for the blog and since I just returned from a week’s vacation (and actually wore something other than yoga pants or paint-stained umbros), I thought I would share some of my “beauty secrets” with you! Matt and I were in the Dominican Republic last week celebrating 15 years of wedded bliss. I’ll tell you more about the trip in a separate post (it was amazing!), but today is all about what I wore. You know. The important stuff!
Before I begin though, I feel like I should start with a disclaimer. I just finished reading Nester’s book The Nesting Place where she preaches the mantra: It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. She demonstrates how this motto applies to everything in our lives, including our bodies. I’ve worked so hard this year to get healthier, but as I was putting this post together I started second guessing myself. I love fashion and embracing beauty, and I love sharing what I know about how to achieve beauty affordably. And yet, I realize that I’m so not perfect. I’m so not the ideal standard of “media beautiful”. I know I’m too poofy, and ruddy, and flawed, and nearly forty. But you know what? It’s all good…because chances are that you’re not perfect either. So let’s pretend we’re sitting across from each other at the coffee shop, and I’m showing you these pics on my phone. We are bonding girlfriend-to-girlfriend over our venti iced-caramel macchiatos, whispering about the right undergarments to wear under a bodycon dress, and discussing whether a nearly-forty-year-old should still be shopping at Forever 21!
French Restaurant Night
The first night we arrived, I wanted to impress my man. I decided to dive right in and grab hold of my most daring fashion choice for the week. Well, daring being a very relative term considering everyone around me was strolling around in a Brazilian-cut bikini. My goal for my vacation wardrobe was to spend as little money as possible which required some creative shopping and visits to stores I might not normally step foot in.
Tip: Resort wear shouldn’t cost a fortune, so be brave when shopping and venture into stores you might not normally walk into. That store with the thudding bass that looks like more like a nightclub than a store might just have what you are looking for.
I found this dress on clearance for $17 at a mall store called Body Central. That seriously was the name of the store, and it did its best to live up to its name. If you’re looking for some body conscious clothing, they have you covered—but barely. LOL! Couldn’t resist. This dress ended up being the perfect first night resort dress, and I felt sassy wearing it!
Italian Restaurant Night
The second night we ate at a fabulous Italian restaurant where the pasta and red wine flowed freely. I wore a gray dress with orange embroidery and silver beading. This dress was found on clearance at Macy’s a few years ago and was from their INC line. The shoes are ancient, and I can’t even remember where I purchased them. This outfit is a good example of “shop the closet” before heading to the store. You probably have some gems stashed away in there that you have completely forgotten about!
Japanese Restaurant Night
The Japanese restaurant was a hibachi grill similar to Benihana. I wanted to wear something that had a bit of Asian flare to it and this was the closest thing I had in my suitcase! I found a dress similar to this by Ivanka Trump at Macy’s for $148. That was just too pricey for what I was willing to spend. I went over to the juniors section and found this comparable dress on sale for $46.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to occasionally check the juniors section of the store for dress options. The dresses will often be less expensive.
This updo is very quick and easy to create! I have a video tutorial that I posted four years ago on how to create this look, Easy and Quick Summer Hair Tutorial.
Eclectic Gourmet Restaurant
For this look, I channeled my inner-Marilyn Monroe and wore a white eyelet halter dress. I added a red belt and red heels for some added interest.
Drinks & Dancing
This outfit pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit, but it was a fun and flirty outfit to wear for drinks and dancing!
Surf & Turf Restaurant
The resort had a fake ship that was actually a bar/dance club. It provided the perfect pre-dinner backdrop for my nautical sundress. I found this dress at a discount store called Gabriel Brothers for $12. It was exactly what I was looking for and the price couldn’t be beat!
Here are some of the secrets I used with these outfits! First secret: A spray tan makes everything look slimmer. My father passed away from melanoma, so I am vigilant about wearing sunscreen and minimizing my time in the sun. However, I like to look tan occasionally so Mystic tans are my friends in the summer. Second secret: Wearing the right undergarments make all the difference in the WORLD! Some open-back dresses don’t allow for conventional bras. Nippies Skin and the NuBra work great in place of a bra. They are reusable and are relatively comfortable to wear. For mid-section control, I typically wear Spanx under my dresses. But for this trip I tried out Flexees by Maidenform and I LOVED them. They were more comfortable than my Spanx and gave great tummy and bum control. Third secret: I wore clip-in hair extensions in three of the looks pictured above. Can you tell which ones? My hair is very fine and the clip-in extensions add fullness and length to my hair. I love wearing them for special night’s out. I’ve owned my extensions for about 8 years now and they still look great.