Bar seen
By Catherine Berlin

It is the same, really. The Look, I mean. What you wear to a bar is still your Look, but ramped up, as in shorter, lower, tighter, looser, brighter, blacker, sweeter, tougher, neater, messier, or bejeweled, be-ruffled, fringed, or ripped—any of it will do, if done exponentially.

At Hardware on Allen, high waisted jeans from Gentle Fawn and Cheap Monday sweater from Krudmart (on Elmwood,

We should dress as if the stakes are higher, as if we want our husbands again. We should avoid dressing as if we’ve had a brain transplant. No heading out the door looking like we’ve spent the afternoon swimming in the closet of someone two generations removed. Keep one’s style, and don’t hold back. Double up on gems, learn how to tie a scarf already, choose patent (patent never lets us down), lose the overnight-sized It bag and go clutch or hipster sling, add hair, add height, put body make-up on arms, legs, and chest. But in the process of creating all this jazz, funk, and streamlined sophistication, don’t forget balance. If the fabric or style is intense, consider toning down accessories. Give the dress or top a chance to succeed on its own.

At Just Vino on Main, Julia Hall wears an open sleeve top from New York silk.

When really lost, then go back to basics, and by this we mean shoes: start wardrobisizing with shoes, a great pair of overpriced, or at least over-everything, shoes, and let them carry the night. From Blahnik to Converse, a great pair of ice-breaking, room melting shoes will make themselves clear. They will let you know if there is a solid chance someone will stop you on the street and say, “Those shoes are nice.” Don’t get trapped into a season, either. Sure, we’ll be heading into frost-ville soon, but good bars generate good heat, so we keep the coverage a little on the light side. Never wear a holiday sweater to a bar. Ever. Keeping warm is what coats are for.

Outside Nektar on Elmwood, Paige Habermehl in a Debbie Harry tee from 2K by Gingham from Krudmart, mixed with a cropped faux leather jacket, boots, and slashed leggings for leverage.
Silk underlay with jersey overlay top from Alexander Wang, photographed at Toro Tapas Bar. Special thanks to William C. Altreuter.
These same concepts hold true when putting our best foot forward for a night on the Strip. Make-up artist Dani Weiser explains, “At night it is essential to go heavier with everything, especially blush, eye shadow, and mascara. A good way to get a long, dark lash look is to apply a coat of mascara, let it dry, use a lash curler, and then reapply another coat. Also, brows can be a touch darker at night; this helps frame the face and eyes nicely, using powder, not pencil.” Balancing acts apply to make-up, too, as Weiser notes, “Don’t forget that if you want to go heavy on the eyes, go lighter on the lips. A good natural lip gloss is perfect; the shine catches the lights at night and makes the eyes sparkle.”

As for skin coverage, Weiser highly recommends Dior’s new AirFlash foundation for heavy coverage. “It comes in four different shades, but spray it on a big make-up brush first and then apply to the face, otherwise the spray can get on your hair and clothes.” It is a sound investment to book some time with a professional make-up artist and learn about new products and application techniques that work. The colors for this season—especially for the eyes—are so gorgeous and intense that they can be intimidating to those of us who find a swoosh of taupe across the eyelid exotic. For more tips, contact Weiser at or 348-1239.

Can’t-miss hairstyles include anything from the sixties, whether it’s middle parted long and straight or a modified, caught-in-a-windstorm Jackie O. Curls and height—big hair that is bumped and teased high, or set free to fro’d wide. Natural waves seem to be escaping the straightening wand more often, while tiny braids and beautiful headbands work as finishing touches. Feeling adventurous? Take a stab at long, wide bangs. “It’s bangs or botox,” my cousin tells me, “and I’m going to work the bangs for as long as I can.” There’s an extra benefit to that, I tell her. It gives us a little extra cash for those specialty umbrella drinks.

Polka dot dress with a drop waist by Marc Jacobs, worn at The Wine Thief on Elmwood.
Charcoal grey silk from DtLM (Don’t Label Me Label) demonstrates how ruffles and skin can still win during the colder months.

Catherine Berlin is Spree’s style editor.


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