“I’m probably always the one that’s wearing something shiny.”
That was the sentiment Dana Al Khalifa expressed in the opening sentence that kicked off the Overdressed blog back in 2009. There’s so much more to this vivacious, passionate-about-clothes-and-colour lady than just dressing and Overdressing!
She exudes oomph in all that she does, and to find out what gives the Overdressed blogger her get up and go, Sketchbook asked her what this could be…
What time do you wake up?
6:30a.m. really early!
What is the Overdressed blogger’s preferred sleepwear? PJs, Nightdress, brands, do tell…
White Swiss dot-cotton-anything especially for summer. I buy my sleepwear from a little shop in Italy that makes delicate bed linens and sleepwear. It’s all handmade in Italy. And in the winter I love BedHead Pajamas from LA, they are so warm.
Do you start your day with Tea, coffee, milk or fresh juice?
Breakfast is the highlight of my day! I never ever skip it no matter what (that’s why I wake up so early). I am a self-proclaimed coffee snob. Wherever I go my Cafeteria and my ground Lavazza coffee comes with me. Straight up black coffee.
Do you have a morning beauty regimen? Or are you too busy for one? If the latter what’s the bare minimum a fashion-aware person should do in order to look good all day long?
I like to call it a basic beauty regime rather than rushed. I swear by Green Bar (greenbarinc.com) so after I’ve washed my face I spray Green Bar’s Turkish Rose Water as a toner then moisturise with Green Bar’s all natural Face Elixir. Sometimes if I know I’ll be in the sun all day I also layer on Clarins SPF 50. By now my face is really shiny, and I love the glow effect.
Next up is MAC’s Give Me Sun blusher and Dior’s Black Out mascara. That’s pretty much it! I’m not so consistent with lipstick although I carry MAC’s Hug Me all day!
Exercise – do you or don’t you? If not in the morning when do you exercise? What’s your preferred exercise wear – is/are there any particular brand/s that you see as especially flattering/ good for performance, comfort and looks in the area of fitness fashion?
We must exercise! Our bodies are not built to remain static. So much easier said than done. I do try to make a conscious effort to “move” at high intensity regularly. When I don’t feel like pounding the treadmill my husband and I (both have desk jobs) go for brisk walks around our neighbourhood. I wear Lululemon yoga pants and Adidas by Stella McCartney top, and Asics trainers (my husband tells me which trainers to buy – he’s an expert).
Then of course there’s Pilates. I don’t know how to say this without sounding like a complete maniac, but it is THE answer! I do that once or twice a week with my hot Brazilian teacher (both of us in Lululemon!), we do the craziest things it’s so fulfilling knowing your body can do so much more than you give it credit for.
Morning meetings of an official nature– what would you wear? How can/does an ‘Overdressed’ personality balance Oomph with a professional look? Any suggestions/ recommendations?
God! Getting dressed for the corporate world is a nightmare! I stick to the basics white shirt, black pants, black heels or pointy flats. I also love an LBD especially for meetings, I hate wearing a suit jacket, so it’s a structured cardigan or a silk t-shirt with a Bahraini pearl necklace.
Morning meetings of a social nature – Where is it most likely to be – a friend’s home, a café?
I’d meet friends normally over dinner. We all work and trying to meet anyone in the morning is just not going to happen. But on the odd occasion, we’d meet in the morning at Café Lilou sit outside people watch and chit-chat.
If at someone’s home what would you wear?
I spend most of my time at my best friend’s house. She has two kids so I try to wear something I can roll around the floor in! I wear black Topshop leggings and a Kenzo t-shirt if I showed up in anything else she’d just roll her eyes at me and say something smart like “you look like you’re going somewhere.” I adore her; she’s the smartest girl I know!
Writing your blog
What time of day and where do you do this? At home in a home office/ or at your office?
Breakfast time at home!
What’s your favourite outfit / type of clothes to wear when you’re writing and getting the creative and critical juices flowing?
I do this really early in the morning over breakfast so I’m probably still wearing my pyjamas, but my husband and I edit pictures together the evening before so I’d probably be wearing a cotton dress.
Business lunch! What would you pick from your wardrobe to wear and what would you suggest that the ‘Overdressed’ fashionista should wear to a business lunch? Outfit/s colours/seasonal-dictates…
I’m pretty conventional when it comes to corporate wear; I wear suit pants (black, grey and navy blue) with a neutral colour silk t-shirt or shirt my favourites are from Girl – Band of Outsiders and Equipment. Black heels, and a string of Bahraini pearls and a structured cardigan. I have a thing against showing toes at work, so I’m in closed shoes, pointy ballerinas or heels. Toes are for weekends and vacations.
Lunch at home
Do you believe one should always be well dressed, even for a quiet private family lunch at home? What’s your recommendation for fashionable, comfortable and stylish relaxation-wear?
Yes. One should definitely always be well dressed. My mother was always dressed in fine linen dresses while we were growing up. So, around the house I wear simple cut cotton dresses made with different Liberty prints, which a friend makes especially for me. I wear espadrilles or ballerinas. It’s my house uniform, but I’d also go grocery shopping in the same clothes.
The evening spreads out with possibilities…
Your recommendations for:
Casual dinners at a restaurant
Jeans used to scare me, until my sister said you have to get real, and she helped me wear jeans. Now whatever jeans she buys I go and get exactly the same ones, because I can’t shop for jeans if my life depended on it.
So to dinner I’d wear my recent purchase MIH jeans, and a Catherine Malandrino knitted top, or something Sandro. Who doesn’t love Sandro? And for shoes I’d wear Manolo Blanhik satin ballerinas.
Fine dining at a high-end place I’d wear something shiny! One of my favourite dinner experiences was at Picasso at the Bellagio in Las Vegas; I wore a long sleeved short navy blue sequined dress. It shone, literally. To make it even shinier I wore a Balenciaga necklace I bought 3 years ago it’s a double strand of giant faux diamonds (sounds really ugly, but it’s gorgeous) with navy blue suede stilettos. I kept asking my husband are you sure it’s not too much? He said, ‘if you don’t wear this in Vegas you won’t ever wear it!’ No one batted an eyelash; everyone was so fixated on the giant Picassos hanging on top of us. I love Vegas!
Traditional family gatherings
I try to accessorise traditionally, so I wear my grandmother’s old Bahraini gold and her Bahraini pearls. It’s the definition of Overdressed! With my cousins and my aunts we switch our grandmother’s jewellery around; it’s really fun seeing how differently each of them styles it.
Mixed social dining
Recently I wore a beige laser cut leather skirt from Zara with a white Malo silk t-shirt, white Serigo Rossi heels and super long Oscar de la Renta tassel earrings. But again, whether it’s just girls or girls and boys, in Bahrain outside of Bahrain I tend to use the same clothes.
The day is done… Goodnight Overdressed
What’s your beauty regimen/ cleansing ritual?
It takes me longer to get ready for bed than it does to go out! Green Bar Aleppo soap to wash away the make up, it’s so gentle on the skin.
Tigi shampoo and conditioner, but I’m really, really lazy, I hate washing my hair, because it means I also have to deal with it after it’s washed. Dry it and style it, etc. so I just go to the salon – a lot!
Night-cap? Chamomile tea? Water? Anything else?
Not a fan of consuming liquids and sleeping. But if I feel unsettled in the evening I make myself a cup of Dr. Stuart’s Valerian Tea, knocks me out cold.
And that ends a pretty hectic routine, so it isn’t easy being Overdressed but it is a marvellously, magnificently, magically wonderful way to get through the day.
Based in Bahrain, Dana Al Khalifa, the brain behind the almost cult blog Overdressed, has a strong following on the fashion scene in the World Wide Web. Her striking photographs, in which she is the mysterious rarely-fully-shown model, always show off the outfits and dresses that she wears and promotes. Her unique taste and sense of style are an inspiration to those who wish to be different while maintaining a sense of decorum.
The Overdressed blog came into existence when an admiring cousin begged her to photograph each outfit she was packing for a vacation. In that inspired instant Dana realised that her natural sense of style had a place in the world beyond her wardrobe and circle of friends. She launched theoverdressed.com in 2009 as an online editorial platform for international fashionistas. As a champion of fresh talent Dana Al-Khalifa has helped introduce designers to consumers seeking unique, hard-to-find items.
To see more of Dana click here.
WORDS: ROHINI SUNDERAM
Images courtesy of The Overdressed blog.