The roots of glamor are ancient, but the imagery we associate with the concept has evolved over time. While most people would currently imagine very smoky, heavy, shiny, airbrushed makeup as representing a glamorous look, that particular aesthetic is really only a style within a larger category (Remember 80’s glamor shots? Not quite the same thing). Since the concept of glamor can be unique from person to person, there is some room for interpretation. Similarly, the events that a glamorous night out entails may differ from person to person. However, going glam still has a foundation and a past that has shaped it, and it’s good to know all of your options to find what glamorous look best suits you.
When prepping for your makeover, the highest short-term impacts come from the wardrobe, makeup, and hair. For a glamorous look, this can mean many things but always entails looking put together. Whereas some other trends and styles may favor a more relaxed, disheveled look, glam is a high-energy, feel-good style that often oozes sex appeal and makes us feel our best and most refined.
THE FIRST THREAD
Start by finding the right outfit. Your look is going to ideally be centered around your get-up, so you’ll want to find it first. A glam look doesn’t necessarily mean you have to load on the diamonds and glitter; most people would likely describe glamor as “dressing up,” compared to what they may wear daily and perhaps what they would wear for a night out. Consider the occasion and what sorts of activities or environmental conditions you will need to be prepared for. Confidence is beyond important when it comes to really nailing a glamorous look, so being uncomfortable all night just won’t cut it.
Wear shoes that can sustain the amount of standing or walking you will endure, and incorporate layers, long sleeves, or some sort of overcoat or shawl if necessary. Rocking your look is infinitely easier when you aren’t worried about falling, dealing with painful and blistered feet, or trying not to crystallize. In order to layer without looking overdone or cheesy, choose the options that are luxurious but not too loud. Fabric type and accessories can really amp up a glamorous look without drawing laughable attention.
When you’ve found your perfect night-out look, it’s time to plan for makeup and hair. These two elements should ideally be working together, rather than one overpowering another; for this reason, it is often recommended that at least one of the three major makeover points takes a classic, clean approach. For example, if your outfit ends up being on the busier side and is very attention-grabbing, use your hairstyle to create full-body balance while toning down the makeup. Alternately, a very strong makeup look can pair beautifully with a sleek pony and a less-dramatic outfit.
Whatever you choose, you’re not wrong! The important part is that you feel high-class, sexy, and ready to take on your glamorous night out.
GLAM MAKEUP HISTORY
So, when it comes to makeup options, they may be guided or dictated by your hair and outfit choices, but there are lots of aesthetics to choose from. The glam look really made its first recorded debut in the 1920s but continued to change slightly for the next 3 decades and has resurged many times, even today, as a desirable look. As is still common, many of these makeup styles revolved around glamor icons of their time. For us, that usually means thinking of glamor as entailing a shadowy but sparkly eye, big blood-red lips, dramatic winged liner, and a blinding contour job, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
The earliest glam makeup renditions were popularized by the flappers that many people remember today thanks to The Great Gatsby novel and movie adaptation. This style channeled a smokey eye for a darker, more exotic, hazy look. By the ’30s, glam makeup was more centered around a fresher look with very defined, thin brows and punchy red lips. In the next decade, making eyes and lips look larger became more popular, employing techniques like cut-crease eyeshadow and massive lashes. Finally, by the 1950s, glamorous makeup was synonymous with a dewy look, shapely eyebrows, and eye makeup that was once again smoky, but much less intense.
Select and adapt the level of glam makeup that will best complement and not overpower your outfit and hair choices. Go all the way, though, and bust out your best primer, full-coverage foundation, under-eye concealer, setting powder, contour and highlighting kit, setting spray—the works! You want your makeup look to last and keep you feeling your best all night long. If you’re unsure about application or don’t typically keep so much makeup in your beauty arsenal, save yourself the trouble and relax with a nice in-store makeup application! These one-time appointments are far cheaper than investing in a whole collection of products, and the professionals who apply your makeup at stores like Sephora and Ulta are all trained to help you achieve your ideal look.
Lastly, you’ll need to get your hair in line with your glamorous night-out makeover. Truthfully, there is very little that doesn’t “go” in this department. As mentioned earlier, glam is definitely a well-kept look, so any sort of loose or bed-head style may not help your intended aesthetic. Earliest glam hairstyles focused on hair in tight waves, close to the scalp, but many options have arisen since then, especially with the improvement of hair styling products and techniques.
A sleek ponytail, a ballerina bun, silky waves, or even a blow-out can finish off a glamorous look just right. Don’t forget to take into account your outfit! If your outfit has a sexy cut to the back, for example, you may not want to cover it up by wearing a long hairstyle over it. As with the makeup counters at beauty stores, almost all reputable hair salons have options for styling appointments. While these services do cost money, important and exciting occasions make the perfect time to treat yourself—and you may even be able to pick up some tips for a DIY recreation in the future!
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