When you grow up in New York City, you don't go to many garden parties. I can think of only one that I've attended over the course of my 31 years, and it's my scant experience with such events that I'm going to go ahead and use as an excuse to explain my poor choice in accessories.
I wore four-inch heels. You might not be able to see them in the above photo of me with my friend Paige because they've disappeared into the grass. When I left the party, the host thanked me both for attending and for helping to aerate his lawn!
Beauty-wise, though, I think I did okay. I’ve got an easy updo, some smoky eyes, pale-pink lips and, apparently, a whole face full of bronzer (maybe a lighter touch next time, self?).
Prepping your hair and makeup for a garden party presents a similar challenge to getting ready for a daytime wedding. You want to look polished and pretty, but you’re still…you know…in the warm sun. Heavy makeup and a full-on coif just look wrong. So instead, think effortless, chilled out and maybe just a tad whimsical.
Here are a few key elements to looking pretty at a garden party:

  1. Keep your face as bare as possible. Instead of foundation, go for a tinted moisturizer with SPF (I like Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20), and add concealer and powder only where needed.
  2. Create a sunny glow by sweeping bronzer over your forehead, nose and cheeks. Then add a rose-gold blush with some shimmer to it (try NARS Blush in Super Orgasm) to catch the afternoon light.
  3. Your eyes should be mostly bare. Try a swipe of pale-gold shadow and a generous helping of lengthening mascara (I like L'Oréal Lash Out Lengthening and Separating Mascara), or go for an ever-so-slightly smoky look with layered taupe shades.
  4. A pop of color on your lips gives the perfect amount of polish. Try a strawberry red or tangerine shade, such as Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani Sheer Lipstick in Acid Tangerine 300.
  5. The whole point is to look breezy and relaxed. If you have curly hair, add some frizz-fighting product and allow it to air-dry. If your hair is straight, add a few loose waves with a 1½-inch-barrel curling iron and brush through your hair with your fingers. Then twist hair into a casual topknot, pulling some strands around the elastic to hide the band. Let some tendrils fall loosely around your face for an extra-casual effect.
  6. For nails, I'd go one of two ways: either with a perfect sheer pink (try Essie Nail Polish in Pink Glove Service) or with a glossy black (try Essie Nail Polish in Licorice).
  7. For your attire, try wrapping yourself in a floaty dress with a great pattern (I like Anthropologie's Urcos Handkerchief Dress). Then add a little glitz with Roxanna's Thin Gold Hoop Earrings and gold or silver wedge or flat sandals (I like Yves Saint Laurent's Naya metallic leather sandals).
What would you do to prep for a garden party?