Watching an episode of the Real Housewives of the O.C. (or Beverly Hills) is mesmerizingly entertaining; but it can leave you yearning for just one housewife who isn’t always perfectly coifed, displays anything below a C cup, talks with collagen-free lips, and maybe even shows a few laugh lines. Aside from the expense, all that smooth perfection is hard work. And it looks like work (double entendre intended!).
There is something so refreshingly appealing about a woman who knows how to make the most of what nature gave her. Of course good genes help, but radiating confidence is all about highlighting your best features, not obsessing over your flaws (we all have them), and celebrating your individuality.
Although each of these women, most of them busy mamis, take a completely different approach to fashion, what they do have in common is the ability to look perfectly at ease whether they’re on the red carpet or snapped by the paparazzi at the grocery store.
Yes, she’s a supermodel but Gisele Bündchen is also a glowing example of unfussy, low-key beauty. Even when she’s dressed to the nines, you can imagine her kicking off her heels and cavorting in the surf on a beach in Brazil.
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To achieve the same understated glamour, think clean, bare makeup. Golden highlights are a low-maintenance way to brighten your face and give your tresses a sun-kissed glow. An added bonus, unlike all-over color, highlights look natural as they grow out. Invest in a really great haircut. A really good cut will look fabulous for months, with just an occasional trim to spruce it up. Go for long, subtle face-framing layers—a versatile ‘do that looks great down or swept back in a messy ponytail or a bun. Add a little product to tame the waves and give it a smooth sheen and your ‘do is done.
Penelope Cruz is a sensual beauty, evoking a pastiche of smoldering eyes, luscious lips, and tousled, chestnut waves. She oozes sex appeal without ever seeming tarty, and looks just as comfortable in vintage couture as she does in a chunky pullover and jeans.
You too can get that lush, just-rolled-out-of-bed look with a sultry smoky eye. Keep the rest of your make-up soft and natural to create an air of effortless drama. Dress it up or dress it down but wear it all with supreme confidence. And a come-hither stare.
Cameron Diaz has legs for days and she loves to show them off. She fearlessly mixes bright colors or bold patterns and always looks like she’s having a great time doing it.
The key to pulling off extreme styles is knowing when to say when. No plunging décolletage with short shorts—if you’re baring your legs, keep everything else modest. The same goes for hair and makeup. Don’t try a deep vermillion lip with lime green eye shadow. Follow Cameron’s example: showcase your assets and take a style risk ever so often. And do it with a wink.
Nina Garcia is poised, polished, and über chic. She lives and breathes fashion, and it shows. She never looks overdone, overdressed, or over-trendy.
Emulate Nina’s sophisticated style with classic accessories like a man’s watch or a minimal cuff. Pair a tailored, knee-length sheath with a bold statement necklace. Or go for sleek separates like sharp tuxedo pants with a dainty blouse and a fitted leather jacket. You don’t need to spend a fortune on designer labels, just look for clothes with interesting details, and unusual lines. Give basic black a twist by mixing textures like a patent leather belt with a wool skirt and a silk shirt. And always wear fabulous, fabulous shoes.