How To

By Stephanie Ila Silver-Silberstein


Despite my New Year’s Resolution to take my camera everywhere I go, I’ve only managed to actually take pictures in the most obvious of places. So, before you go out partying this holiday season and let your friend photograph your debauchery, listen to what fashion expert and stylist John David Breen has to say. After working with celebrities from Alanis Morissette to Elijah Wood, JD now welcomes the readers of Beauty News NYC into his temple of style!

SS: Last year I was so excited to wear a brand new chiffon shirt to my company’s holiday work party, but after seeing the pictures, let’s just say I was a little ‘too excited’. How can avoid making the same mistake this year?

JD: This holiday season, keep it simple: GO FOR THE CLASSICS! Wear an outfit you LOVE and know ‘works for you’ – be cautious about new and creative ensembles, I say this for a few reasons. First off, this is DEFINITELY the wrong night to commit a fashion crime, there will be evidence everywhere! You know how generous everyone is about passing around their online photo albums these days. Second, you should wear an outfit you love because when you feel good, you look good – making it that much easier to smile naturally 500 times during a four-hour fiesta.

(This rule is specifically directed to all you single girls on the hunt… potential hubbies ALWAYS notice an unknown cutie in a pal’s album. The wrong outfit choice could potentially make or break the rest of your life!)

SS: You’re off to the New Year’s Eve bash of the century! What’s the one thing you shouldn’t leave the house without?

JD: Arm yourself with the specifics: BLOTTING PAPERS. These are an absolute must for last minute touch ups in the powder room! The crazy, harsh flashes from everyone’s tiny digicam’s totally up the shine factor! Also, if you’re at least somewhat cool, the party you are at is probably packed, upping the sweat factor altogether.

SS: If you had a list of photo mantras to recite on your way out the door, what would they say?

JD: 1 – STAND UP STRAIGHT – I know everyone hates to hear it, but “slumping” really is completely unflattering in every way possible! Even if you are sitting, stand up from the waist up!

**Side note to all you beauty queens out there – if you have TRULY mastered the “beveled ankle stance” and are attending an occasion South of the Mason Dixon… then by all means!

2 – THINK HEADLIGHTS – Sorry to get a little clinical here, but my Mom’s a doc. Always direct your nipples flat out to the camera! Shoulders back, gut in, head up… poised and ready to be shot by Avedon or Aunt Mary! This is not the time to be all pouty lipped and shrugged shoulders… the result could be tragic. Stuck on the end of a group shot? Let your arm hang naturally at your side, in close tight to the rest of your body. Think clean lines and everything will fall into place!


Mom – Oversmiling just a tad… (but then again, she’s 8 months pregnant here so she has something to smile about!)

Dad – Perfectly example of the ‘Deer in headlights’ syndrome, but we’ll cut him some slack just because he’s probably exhausted from all of us!!!

Lil’ Sis, Brooke – Looking FABULOUS in polka dots and holiday cheer.

Me – Front and center, I loved that outfit and I’m definitely sitting up from the waist up!

3 – DON’T OVER SMILE – Another of Mom’s favorites…you always end up looking more electrocuted than elated! An easy way to judge is if you are feeling a slight aching in the cheeks, then maybe you can relax your lips just a tad. Your crow’s feet will also thank you for that one.

4 – WATCH OUT FOR BLINKING and RED EYE – No one likes a deer in headlights, whether it’s physically on the hood of their car or preserved forever in the memories of holidays past. A simple trick is to gently close your eyes right before they’re about to get the shot and open your lids naturally right as the flash is about to blow!

5 – And lastly, DON’T BE A LUSH – Try not to be holding a cocktail in every paparazzi shoot you pose for! Not only does alcohol flush the face, but you just look like a booze bag!

Follow these tips from John David Breen and you won’t have any trouble finding the perfect picture to put on your Internet dating profile or remembering the end of 2005 with fondness.

Originally published December 2005



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