The All-Over Highlight


The older I get, the more I start to realize the true meaning of the holiday season. Not gifts or matching pajama sets or Christmas movies.

It's the Office Holiday Party.

An office holiday party is a momentous time in any gal’s life because it is the perfect place to look your absolute best in front of your coworkers, or, at least markedly better than you did when you left your desk just hours before. My solution for this is an almost-sweaty looking shine. While everyone else is cold and shivering, I want my face to look like it’s perpetually stuck in summer. So let’s get to it!

If you know me, you know I love an army green jacket. Any time, any place. There’s no greater feeling of loss than when my Alpha Industries bomber is at the dry cleaner's. Anyways, the most dressed-up version of that jacket is this one from Acne Studios. Oversized, ensuring that I don’t look like I tried that hard. (A lie.) The T by Alexander Wang dress underneath could easily be seen as classically feminine, but adding a sheer tank underneath (also by T) any simple dress can make the look a bit more comfortable and simultaneously remove the need for boob tape.

The shoes are simple gold pumps from Topshop and perhaps the most classically “festive” part of the look. Shoes are the way of saying “Don’t worry! I know where I am” when you’re out or at a party. A pair of fly heeled boots with jeans and a plain t-shirt when on a date is my way of saying, "Yes, I look better than you but, also, I don’t care." You know?

And the fishnets because hello? I’m a lady.

This bun is a sleeker, tighter version of my typical everyday bun, plus it gives me an immediate facelift á la Bella Hadid. It’s pretty quick and simple to execute: flip your hair over and brush it into a high, tight ponytail, which you then secure into a simple messy topknot. I used Bumble and bumble Strong Finish Hold Hairspray to secure the flyaways.

There is no going out look that doesn’t start with a thorough skincare regimen. Despite the fact that I might have had makeup on earlier in the day I always begin the getting ready process for going out with a clean, just-washed face. From there I will either use Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid or Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Lotion on my T-zone to help diminish the look of my pores and control any splotchy redness. I always let those sit for about five minutes and then I follow up with Super Glow, Super Bounce, Fresh Rose Hydrating Eye Gel, and a ton of Priming Moisturizer.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So I do basically the same thing I do to my face every day, but just amped up a notch. I start off with a mixture of Medium and Dark Perfecting Skin Tint (six drops of each to be exact) and then alternate between Stretch Concealer (also a mixture of Medium and Dark) and Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer. Brows are filled in with the Burberry Effortless Eyebrow Definer in Ash Brown, plus Boy Brow in Blond to make them look more natural. Next, I lightly (lightly, ladies and gents) contour with Chanel Soleil de Tan.

Now, here is where the amp up really begins. I highlight with Haloscope in Quartz, Topaz, aaand Moonstone. Yes, I use all three shades of highlighter. They’re like children—how can you possibly love one more than the other? Answer: You can’t. I apply Topaz on the sides of my nose and blend outward for the sunburnt look and in a line on my cheekbone right above where I’ve just contoured. I follow up with Quartz down the bridge of my nose, on the cupid’s bow and in the corners of my eyes and finish off with Moonstone in a half halo above the Topaz towards my brow bone. Blend it all out with your fingers and boom. On eyes, a shimmery, peachy eyeshadow from my favorite Milani Palette in Florence and whatever mascara is not dried up in my drawer (in this case, a Diorshow sample I got who knows when). Finish the look with a heavy coat of the Glossier Lip Gloss over just-brushed lips and that’s it. Off to stunt with (on?) the colleagues.

—Kim Johnson

Kim Johnson photographed by Tom Newton on November 19, 2016. Kim is wearing a T by Alexander Wang dress and sleeveless knit, Acne Studios coat, We Love Colors fishnets, Topshop shoes, Elizabeth and James earrings and a Truss cluth. Styled by Lilli Millhiser. Hair by Clay Nielsen.

Part 1 of our Holiday Party Look series. Check back for more.