Is It Time for a Makeover?

No one likes to feel stuck in a rut. But if you’re still rooted to the same old clothing, hair and makeup styles you’ve worn for years, you could be robbing yourself of the opportunity to look your best. "Change is uncomfortable for most people,” says Sam Saboura, stylist and host of TLC’s Something Borrowed, Something New. “We become set in routines. But once you change, you think, ‘Wow, I never thought I could look this pretty!’ You look younger and boost your spirit -- and confidence.” So shake loose and check out these tips from top pros:

Wardrobe

Weed out your closet once to twice yearly. “You may discover pieces you love but forgot,” Saboura says. “And once you free up space, you can buy guilt-free.”

Get opinions. Find out what your family thinks of your current look. “Men and kids are honest; even if they don’t know trends, they know something’s off,” says Saboura. And when you shop, bring a stylish friend along to make suggestions, “You may be pleasantly surprised!”

Just do it. Waiting to shop until you shed those last five pounds does nothing for your look or your self-esteem. “Buy pretty clothes in your correct size and look your best -- today,” says Stella Kae, Cloutier Remix celebrity makeup stylist for Alyssa Milano and Toni Braxton.

Take selfies. Use your cell phone to capture an image of yourself going to work or a dinner out. “You’re more likely to see whether something’s dingy, out of proportion or needs alterations,” says Saboura.

Start with shirts. “Tops are your statement-makers,” Saboura says, so they are ideal for expressing your personal flair. If hemlines or silhouettes change drastically one season, you can buy one or two new skirts or pants. For work, get well-tailored jackets. And for an instant update, pick up seasonal accessories like shoes or a handbag from your favorite discount retailers.

Act your age. If you’re the oldest person browsing the juniors department, take a hint. “You’re only fooling yourself -- and looking older,” Saboura says. Look to fashion magazines for inspiration, or check out Pinterest.

Hair

Take baby steps. If you’re not ready for a huge change, go for a subtle shift in your color and cut twice a year: highlights around the face in the spring, lowlights or a darker base in winter.

Know when to go bold. Stylists recommend making a major style or color switch after a significant life event like a new job, divorce or baby. “Getting a whole new look helps you close one life chapter and move on,” says Lindsay Yamashita, hair stylist and bridal hair expert on TLC’s Randy to the Rescue.

Help your hairdresser. Bring magazine photos showing the look you’re going for. But if your stylist seems reluctant to help you update your ‘do, go to someone new. “We get complacent, too,” says Yamashita.

Makeup

Get annual updates. Skin changes over time, so don’t wait until you run out of foundation or moisturizer to get new products. Stop by your favorite brands’ store counters at least once a year for free makeup applications and advice.

Take advantage of occasions. Getting your makeup done for a wedding or other special event? Pepper the artist with questions and show her your makeup and skin care products to see what she recommends.

Be yourself.  “Be open, but don’t force yourself to be something you’re not,” says Kae, also executive producer of web beauty tutorial #PRETTYRAD.

Fashion Rules to Break

When it comes to fashion, it’s easy to play by the rules, but you may end up looking pretty much like everybody else. Instead, why not defy the conventional do’s and don’ts in favor of a style that's simple but also expresses a more updated, authentic you?

“Style is the way we speak to the world about who we are without words,” says Bobbie Thomas, the “Today” show’s style editor. “Challenge your own fashion rules by saying something new and unexpected.” Here’s a roundup of rule-bending advice:

Pair Brown with Black
Wearing head-to-toe black or brown can look harsh and evoke the formality of a stodgy uniform. “Mixing black and brown adds an instant softness,” says Thomas. “It takes a conservative look and makes it more accessible and casual.”  One of the best ways to give visual interest to an otherwise simple and monochromatic look is with accessories. Wear a brown pump with a black suit, a black bag with a brown coat, a chocolate belt with charcoal slacks. “Even Matt Lauer wears brown shoes with a black suit,” says Thomas. “I love that. It’s an unexpected twist that works for men and women alike.”

Mix Your Metals
The days of the verboten mix of gold and silver accessories are gone, says eco-chic fashion designer Karen Stewart of the brand Stewart and Brown. “That paradigm has shifted in favor of a much more contemporary look,” she says. Jewelers like David Yurman seamlessly incorporate gold and silver into their designs, and who doesn’t love the classic Cartier Trinity ring with its combination of three different colors of gold? It's simple to start the style: pair gold and silver bangles or wearing a chunky stainless watch with gold details. Ready to get a bit bolder with your style? Wear hoop earrings that don’t match your rings, or layer necklaces in different colors and textures.

Dress up and Down
“I love mixing high and low,” says Hollywood fashion stylist Lauren Ehrenfeld, who once dressed Jennifer Aniston in a simple white T-shirt and a beautiful chiffon skirt. Ehrenfeld herself might wear a flirty dress and swap strappy sandals for Converse tennis shoes. She loves to pair casual cashmere with silk (“It’s a very rich look and creates great contrast”), and suggests sassing up a basic black dress with brightly colored tights. “It’s a more playful way of going about your day,” she says, “and because it’s so unexpected, it looks fun and sophisticated at the same time.”

Wear Out-of-season Clothes
Fashion pros are no longer packing away their summer wardrobe when fall comes. “Playing with traditional seasonal wear off-season creates an eclectic look,” says Stewart. “And it can make a dreary wintertime wardrobe of black and camel pop with a hit of vivacious summer color.” Toss a cable-knit wool sweater over a silk tank dress; layer a black, ivory or gray cashmere tee under your favorite brightly colored summer maxi dress; or pair a sheer skirt with knee-high boots.

Double-dip Denim
With a new wave of denim in different weights, cuts and shades, you can mix and match to create a fresh style. Balance and contrast will help you avoid looking like you’re drowning in a sea of denim, advises Stewart. Pair a sleek denim pencil skirt with a denim jacket in a heavier weight or an inky tailored jacket with jeans in a lighter shade. Get creative and stay comfortable -- just remember the ultimate denim do: Vary the styles -- color and weight -- of fabric on top and bottom.

How to Get Kate Middleton’s Style

All eyes will be on Kate Middleton as she weds Prince William this week, and small wonder. Like her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, Middleton is a classic beauty on the verge of becoming a fashion icon. Her impeccably tailored dresses and coats have a tendency to sell out shortly after she’s photographed wearing them.

Even if you’re not married to a prince, you can do the next best thing by dressing like the newest royal. “The base clothes that make up Kate’s look are classic, timeless pieces that any woman could find and incorporate into her wardrobe -- simple shapes that don’t really go out of style and look good on most people,” says Sarah Shirley, a New York City-based fashion stylist.

Another cornerstone of Middleton’s look is her color palette: reds, blues (royal and navy), black, brown, and neutrals like cream, white and beige. “And she always -- in whatever she wears -- has definition at the waist to flatter her slim, hourglass shape,” says Kendall Farr, a celebrity stylist and author of Style Evolution and The Pocket Stylist.

Here’s how to shop your own closet or look for new basic pieces to recreate Middleton’s style.

For Everyday
When pulling together an outfit, keep in mind Middleton’s clothes are fitted -- nothing oversized -- and she combines structure with softer pieces. “Her choices are tailored, but always feminine and a little romantic -- a velvet trim on her coats and jackets, for example, or a wool trench coat with a feminine frill hem,” says Farr.

Choose simple shapes, like straight pencil skirts that fall a few inches above the knee, in plaid wool or houndstooth fabrics. Middleton pairs these with easy tops, like a fitted T-shirt, a short blazer or a jacket that’s nipped at the waist, black hose (not tights) and tall, black suede boots.

She has also been seen wearing flowing wrap-style dresses that fall just above her knees. With V-necks and delicate prints, they’re perfect for daytime. A definite essential to her everyday uniform is a knee-length overcoat, often double-breasted with a tie at the waist.

For Downtime
Middleton’s jeans-and-T-shirt look reflects her passion for equestrian sports. She opts for straight-leg jeans in dark denim -- minus any rhinestones and fading -- and often tucks them into tall brown or black boots. If you’ve never tried a straight-leg jean, give it a whirl. “It makes your legs look long,” says Shirley. A cream-colored sweater or a feminine top and short blazer reminiscent of a riding jacket (in black, brown or plaid) finish the look.

For Special Occasions
When an important dinner or soiree is on her schedule, Middleton chooses long, form-fitting V-neck or halter-style dresses that wrap at the waist, in solid jewel tones like teal and bright coral pinks. Look for these styles in fabrics like satin or jersey and with feminine details like Grecian draping or crystal embellishments, says Farr. For a daytime event, go with a classic dark, knee-length skirt suit -- never a pantsuit.

Accessories
Stick with minimal, understated accessories. A thin chain necklace with a pendant for day will accentuate a V-neck top or dress, says Shirley. Choose a solid-color leather handbag with just a touch of slouch and little hardware.

Stick with classic footwear: simple black suede or leather pumps, espadrille sling-back wedges, knee-length boots, all with around a 2-inch heel. And to top off the British look, Farr suggests a fascinator or hat with whimsical details, like a bow or feather for special occasions.

Photo: Getty Images

Hairstyle Tutorials: Best Styles for Spring and Summer

Spring: The time of flings, fun, and a lot of time running around in the sun. You obviously want to look your best at this playful time of year -- but with as little time and effort as possible!

We asked some of our favorite celebrity stylists for their top hairstyle tutorials for great, simple -- and hot! -- looks for the steamy season.  

Textured Tail
“Beachy waves can instantly glam up any style when you opt for a textured tail,” says Fernando Salas, renowned master stylist and founder of the White Sands corporation. To create this look, forget typical roller sets and opt for adjustable, no-pull Velcro strips to fashion loosely sculpted curls.

1. To get lift with a slight texture on the ends, start with wet hair and take 2-inch sections of hair. Spritz each section with styling spray, then lay a Velcro strip underneath. Roll the Velcro strip toward your head into a roller. Repeat until all your hair is rolled, using clips to hold in place.

2. Let hair air dry or apply a dryer for roughly 4-5 minutes, allowing the new
desired texture to cool before removing the clips.

3. Take out the clips and Velcro strips, combing the style out if needed
to loosen the waves.

4. Use your hands to gently sweep your tresses up into a ponytail, bringing down layers to frame your face if desired.

5. Spray with a flexible hold hairspray for a shiny, touchable style that lasts.

The High Bun
Variations of the classic bun have been popular with everyone from ballerinas to CEOs. Recently, women have combined the elements of the “messy bun” with the coiffed look of the chignon to create what is known as a high bun. 

“High buns require little time, and they are easy to achieve with your natural hair, braids and extensions, which makes it the perfect style for those hot summer days,” says Mary Malave, owner of Brooklyn-based Salon Malave. Try these tips to create this look:

1. First, smooth your hair and gather it on top of your head (you may find it easiest to bend over and let your hair fall forward).

2. Use some elastic bands to secure your hair into a high ponytail.

3. Twist this ponytail into a knot.

4. Use the bobby pins to secure the knot on top of your head, and you’re
ready to go!

Easy Organic Braids
“Braids have come back with a hot vengeance, making appearances on runways, red carpets and our favorite celebrities,” says Luis Alvarez, international hairstylist, photographer and the cofounder of Aquage. “Achieving a random, organic braid is simple if you have the right products and tricks.”

1. First, prep hair with a volumizing product to ensure it has the grip and lift needed.

2. Next, take a 2-inch horizontal section of hair and divide into three equal strands. Braid down the section until about 4 inches of hair is left at the bottom, placing the outer left strand in the left hand. Slide the other two sections toward the scalp to create a gathered braid.

3. Continue to braid, adding only left sections of hair. Make sure each time you cross over the right side you add a new section of hair from underneath while moving around the circumference of the head.

4. When you reach the left side of the head, add a new section when crossing over the right side only.

5. When complete, deconstruct the braid by pulling pieces out a couple inches, gently and slowly. Finish off with a fine-mist hair spray.

Spring Clean Your Makeup Bag

Spring cleaning isn't just for your home! Warmer weather means it’s also time to do a thorough cleanout of your makeup bag, too.

Why go through your makeup? First of all, it’s a healthy habit: Exposure to air, moisture and the bacteria on your fingers can turn your cosmetics into causes of breakouts, irritation and even pinkeye. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to toss out-of-date colors and swap them for this season’s hottest shades.

We asked Las Vegas-based makeup artist Jonathan Seti, whose clients include President Barack Obama, Rihanna and Sofia Vergara, for tips on when to replace your makeup -- and what to replace it with.

Lipstick and Gloss

  • Toss it: Between three and six months

  •  Why: Lipstick should go on smooth and creamy. If it seems dry or starts to shrink in the tube, these are all tell-tale signs to toss it. “Lipstick has a sharpness to its shape,” says Seti. “When it becomes smooth and rounded, it's generally a sign that the oils in the makeup are breaking down.” Lip gloss that’s sticky, cloudy or lighter-looking can be a sign that bacteria are starting to collect.
  • What's in: For a spring-ready pucker, hydrating glosses come in an array of fun shades for the season, including pinks, reds and nudes.

  • What's out: Although Seti says no shade is completely off-limits, you may want to swap last winter’s dark, bold colors for brighter, lighter spring- and summer-ready hues.

Concealer 

  • Toss it: Between three and six months

  • Why: Different problems can arise, depending on the type of concealer. Old powder-based concealers can harbor bacteria, while the oils in cream varieties can break up and curdle the makeup.
  • What's in: Luminescent or light-refracting products. “It's the ‘smoke and mirrors,’ as we call it in the makeup world,” says Seti. “As the light hits the eye, it has a tendency to take away unwanted color and fine lines, almost like a blur.”

  • What's out: Heavy concealers. “They're more likely to show fine lines,” says Seti.

Powder Blush

  • Toss it: After two years

  • Why: Over time, exposure to air can contaminate the powder, leading to skin irritation or acne.
  • What's in: This spring calls for sheer tones: pure pinks for lighter skin, and purple-pinks for darker complexions. “No matter what your skin color, stay in the pastels,” says Seti. “It makes the skin look radiant.”

  • What's out: Say goodbye to heavy bronze shades.

Mascara

  • Toss it: Once a month
  • Why: Eyelashes are a breeding ground for bacteria, and using a mascara wand for too long puts you at risk for eye infections. Mascara that clumps, flakes or goes on dry should be tossed immediately. “Even if it still goes on wet, replace it after a month,” says Seti. “And don't share it.”

  • What's in: Mascara that promotes volume. Best of all, you don’t have to spend half your budget on expensive department-store brands; Seti says drugstore varieties are just as good. “Most mascara is created equal; it’s the wand that separates them.”

  • What's out: There's really no “wrong” choice here.  “It all comes down to personal preference,” says Seti.

Bonus Tip: While you’re refilling your makeup bag, be sure to include a tinted moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or higher. “It brings moisture to your skin and adds a bit of color,” says Seti.