The entire month of December requires American Pharoah's stamina, Mother Theresa's patience, and Elizabeth Taylor's penchant for glamour. Hey, it's a marathon, not a sprint, right? So, if your calendar is full (or still filling up—have faith) rest assured that the inspiration-finding part of getting ready for any of the season's festivities is taken care of. We asked three women to style themselves for their ideal holiday scenario and write out the details for the rest of us—a bit of outfit and makeup wealth-sharing, if you will. Phoebe Collings-James (the Jamaican-British artist and sometimes model who's currently playing house in the West Village after staging installations in Italy, Belgium, and Mexico) is next up in our three-part Holiday Party Look series (last week was Vanessa Traina). Check back weekly for more looks to suit any and all of your office open bars, family obligations, and general merriment.
The holidays start early in New York. Earlier than in London for sure—but I am fine with that! People here are always in their gym clothes and fleece jackets, which at first I thought was really sloppy and boring (now I'm the proud owner of a pink fleece). But I'm of the belief that its worth the effort to get dressed up as it makes whatever you are doing more fun, even if it’s just at a friend's house or something. My go-to look is usually taken from an imagined idea I have of a '70s disco queen—with lots of glitter. It helps you lose yourself a little bit, if just for the night.
Dress. I got this Stella McCartney dress off of Vestiaire Collective, which is an online consignment shop that's a stroke of genius. I love clothes that have been made with a lot of care and imagination, which most often comes at a price I can’t afford. I also hate the idea of owning lots of stuff, so the idea of buying clothes that have been worn already and that I may one day pass on again is perfect. Also, walking around in full looks of a new collection is just a bit naff I think. Something about wearing a dress for the holidays feels right—that’s why they call it a party dress. The dress is silver and looks very Christmas decoration-esque, and the shoes are gold (Gucci <3). I think that's a British thing, when everything is a bit mismatched and a bit too much.
Skin. I don't really wear makeup in the daytime—just four different layers of oils and moisturizers from Kiehl's because my skin is very dry. I give my face a good massage in the morning after a shower...it's very calming and it helps to wake my face up and think about the day ahead. When I was younger I thought it was a negative vanity to look in the mirror—the patriarchy can oggle you but you can’t enjoy yourself—but now it somehow helps to connect my mind and body having a good look at myself, to see what’s new, notice things I find beautiful, and check that I'm well.
Makeup. I really enjoy when I have time to get ready and play around with the way I look. I am a shy exhibitionist. I don't really use foundation, but I put some Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint on my cheeks mainly to make them match my forehead which is always so much darker. Then eyeshadow! I have this one YSL 5 Color Couture Palette that's very beautiful—I use the gold shade all the way up to my brow and then the darker tones on my lids. I stopped using black eyeliner and the like because it's a bit too harsh. Now I stick to brown-leaning-toward gold shades (I put some gold Shiseido Cream Shadow on top to go with the shoes). And the good thing about a palette is that if you do want to use something else, everything in there coordinates. Makes life easier. For lashes, I also use YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara for...volume. And then cream blush from La Prairie on my cheeks and a little Lancôme Star Bronzer. It can give you a plumpness that's better than a contour. Less Kardashian, more Adele.
I love Make Up For Ever Artist Plexi-Gloss because I'm not good at doing lipstick. I have a few that are more like stains, but this one is much easier to move around should I make any mistakes. And then there's Boy Brow, which I love. Especially as a glasses-wearer with unruly brows, it's the one bit of makeup I will always wear to give them a strong, curved shape.
Hair. Flip it upside down and make it big! While upside down I also use a hair dryer to give it a bit of frizz. Diana Ross is the reference. This is the only time I ever use hairspray— L'Oréal Elnett. It’s the time of year for a final hurrah before hibernation. Like I said, it's more fun if everyone goes for it.
Phoebe Collings-James photographed by Tom Newton at her home in New York on November 23, 2015.
Vanessa Traina makes a case for pared-down makeup and played-up wardrobe in her Holiday Party Look.