How To Be Fancy (Or At Least How To TRY To Be Fancy)

My favourite products that will make you feel like an old-school, glamorous, grown-ass woman.

Nov 18, 2011 at 10:00am | Leave a comment

image

I want to be fancy. I think I'm starting to get there, or at least, I'm trying to. I mean, somedays I wear pajamas exclusively (and not even a matching set) and I like $1 pizza slices and I'm pretty messy and disorganized and I don't have a butler (yet), but it's the thought that counts, and I'm trying to put in effort. 

I've found that the easiest way to feel fancy is through beauty products. Sure, your bedroom could be a disaster zone where it's impossible to find a pair of clean underwear, but if you pick up the right bottle of perfume you can mentally transport yourself to some crazy art deco 1930s apartment and suddenly you're Jean Harlow and you're draped in luxurious textiles, or something like that.

I know I say this all the time, but beauty products can be really helpful in creating an identity. The perfume you spritz on in the morning or the way you do your nails can set the tone for your entire day. You might start to carry yourself differently and think better about yourself. Call me vapid, but I think the right product can do wonders for one's confidence.

Let's start with lipstick, for one thing. Not just any lipstick, though! Yes, I love my drugstore tubes, I have dozens. But we need to talk about fancy, grown-up lady lipstick. The kind that looks like it belongs on the vanity of some society broad from the 1950s.

It's all about the packaging, whether it's Tom Ford's gold-edged rectangular housing or the vintage-inspired casing on Elizabeth Arden's, I'm a sucker for it all. I want a lipstick that I don't feel rude about taking out at dinner and reapplying. And a fancy brush to boot, please.

image

from left: Besame Classic Color Lipstick ($22, besamecosmetics.com) Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color in Violet Fatale ($48, neimanmarcus.com) Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra Lipstick in Rouge ($22.50, shop.elizabetharden.com), Dior Backstage Lip Brush ($21, nordstrom.com)

Oh, and the Dior brush comes in its own "Dior"-embossed navy velvet tube to protect it. Because even my make-up brushes deserve outerwear, OK?

 My next step in being fancy is a good powder. While there are plenty of intricate and luxurious-looking face powder compacts out there, I'm talking about body dusting powder.

It's a little post-bath tradition that seems to have fallen by the way-side for humans bigger than infants, but I think it deserves a revival. The secret is the right application.

Now, maybe you're going to think I'm crazy for suggesting you purchase a $130 English goose feather powder puff, but bear with me here. We're talking about over-the-top fancy, and if you want to be stupendously glamorous, you can't just use your hands (like grimy old me).

Now, you can save some money by comparison in using Lush's Silky Underwear dusting powder ($10.95, lush.com). It's not just because of the clever name that I love this stuff. The jasmine, vetivert and cocoa powder scent lasts all day and softens and smooths skin so wonderfully you'll become addicted and might want to start licking your arms -- don't though, that's weird.

image

Next comes perfume. Perfume is the FANCIEST. There's this giant cove-type area at one of the Toronto Holt Renfrew department stores up here in Canada, and it's devoted to perfumes. Fancy ones. Brands like Creed and By Kilian. I like to walk around that room and sniff things while the sales ladies watch me like I'm some sort of delinquent shoplifter (lay off HR employees, I'm actually very fancy!).

While the salespeople give me a complex, I still feel high-class lingering with such gorgeous bottles, and that's the intention. Perfume makes you feel a certain way. The act of picking up a gorgeously designed and decorated bottle and then misting your lovely, fresh-out-of-the-bath skin with its contents is very sexy and primal but classy as heck, too. It's just an all-around experience that can't be had with any run-of-the-mill scent.

image
One of my all-time favourite bits of perfume packaging is Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle Purse Spray ($87, nordstrom.com). I actually saw the bottle featured many moons ago in an issue of Jane magazine, and I had to have it. (The power of beauty journalism!)

It's a gorgeous Bond girl-esque white and gold tube that twists up to reveal the mister and covers you in my personal favourite Chanel scent. Then you twist it down and it hides away so you can toss it into your purse without worry that its precious contents will spill everywhere.

And the scent? It's mature without being over the top, a lot more subtle than No. 5 with floral bits and an amazing musk that lingers on your skin all through the day. It's a great scent for Winter, along with my other two cold-weather favourites: Tom Ford's Black Orchid ($45-$145, sephora.com) and YSL's Belle D'Opium ($49-$89, sephora.com).

image

Both are spicy, heady and very va-va-voom. All three of the perfumes I've mentioned contain notes of jasmine, an aphrodisiac if you believe any of that stuff.

They also all possess incredibly gorgeous vintage-inspired bottles that you'll want to buy multiples of.

Now that you've frolicked (suffered?) your way down Fancy Pants Lane with me, I want to hear what makes YOU feel your fanciest. Is it saucy underwear? I bet it's saucy underwear.