Time To Shine

By Chandra Orr

March 7, 2008 5 min read


From head to toe, look should make a bold statement

By Chandra Orr

Copley News Service

Nigel Barker knows a thing or two about star-style makeovers.

As a judge on "America's Next Top Model," the fashion photographer has seen dozens of ordinary girls go from gawky to glam with the right hairstyle, perfect makeup and a fabulous fairy-tale frock.

Now, as a spokesman and official photographer for David's Bridal, he's sharing his style secrets with prom girls.

"Prom is such a fun time of year. It's a once in a lifetime event for girls, and every girl deserves her chance in the limelight," Barker said.

"Different designers are doing completely different things, but one of the biggest ways that you can step out and be different is in choosing your accessories," he said. "It's all about making a dramatic statement. It's all about the details."

From modern fashionista to fairy-tale princess, whatever your look, make a bold statement with hair, makeup, shoes and jewelry tailored to your own unique style.

Whether holding court as prom queen or just making a stylish exit from the limo, it's all about finding your own unique personal style and "making it fierce," as the "Top Model" judges would say.

Personalize your look with a pair of strappy sandals and a matching handbag in one of the season's hottest hues. Matching gold metallic shoes and a sparkling sequined bag make a modern statement when paired with a high-contrast black-and-white trumpet gown.

If you want to really stand out, choose a pair of peep-toe pumps in a bold jewel tone. Imagine just a hint of purple peeking out from under a simple, sophisticated black ball gown.

"The main thing is putting your look together in advance," Barker said. "Ultimately, you have to be confident and you have to be comfortable. It will translate into the way you look in person and in pictures," Barker said.

To help do that, David's Bridal has launched a new interactive virtual prom fashion gallery. Promtourage (www.davidsprom.com) lets girls personalize their prom style, get a sneak peek of this year's most gorgeous gowns and get their friends involved.

Just log in, select your skin tone, hairstyle, body type and facial features then create your look. Try on hundreds of prom gowns, mix and match accessories and even dress your date in a matching tux. Invite others to join your entourage, chat with other prom-goers on the message boards and e-mail your one-of-a-kind look to friends so they can weigh-on on the ensemble.

When designing your look, just remember to keep your balance. If you opt for an opulent, beaded gown, choose simple jewelry. If your dress exemplifies understated elegance, pile on the colored jewels and chunky gemstones - two of the hottest trends this year.

"Don't try to do it all at once," Barker warns.

Choose just one trend to take to the extreme. The goal is to enhance rather than detract.

Layers of bangles and chain bracelets piled high and a few well-chosen chain necklaces can add a lot of drama to a basic pastel dress, but if your gown features sequins, sparkles, shimmer or shine, a pair of classic diamond stud earrings might be all you need.

Keep makeup light and natural, and forget that messy windblown look that was so popular a few years ago. This year's prom hairstyles are sleek and stylish, whether it's an updo or left long and flowing.

"The look is not so scruffy and messy this year. It's almost a 1950s Jackie Kennedy look. It's much more classic and sophisticated," Barker said.

A full eight hours of sleep and plenty of water may be your best beauty accessories.

It may not sound like style advice, but according to Barker, proper hydration will impart a healthy glow to your cheeks and make the whites of your eyes pop so you look stellar in your prom photos. A good night's sleep will give you plenty of energy and help you maintain that positive attitude.

"It's all about believing in yourself and being comfortable and confident with who you are," Barker said. "If you're comfortable and confident with your look, the whole evening will be more memorable."

? Copley News Service

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