Q&A With Style Guru Julie Wheat

Andrew C. Petersen

How important is makeup when it comes to the whole look of a collection shown on the runway?

Charleston Fashion Week is right at our grabby little finger tips and you may be thinking about what to wear, whether it be clothing, shoes, a hairstyle or makeup. Charleston Fashion Week is a great chance for fashionistas to try something they wouldn't do every day and think outside the box when it comes to dressing up. 

I sat down with style-guru Julie Wheat, owner of Cavortress, a hip vintage boutique in Mt. Pleasant, who is showing  at Charleston Fashion Week. She spills on her must-have beauty products, her take on the importance of make-up to a fashion show, and reminds us that proper fit is key. Take notes ladies and gents!

AP: How did you pick the red signature lip that you are known for?

JW: I actually have two reds that I really like. The two red colors I adore are Mac 'Devilish Orange' (discontinued) for summer; it has a more orange hue and goes well with a tan.  Mac 'Russian Red' for winter which is a darker, more blueish hue that goes well with a paler complexion. A former intern and also a former model of mine swears by it and says it looks great and stays on. 

AP: How important is the makeup on the runway when it comes to the overall look of your show and why?

JW: For Cavortress Style, the lip color is an accessory to the entire ensemble. It is important to our style because we love bold lip color and it is our signature look. This year at Charleston Fashion Week we are going with a bright pink magenta matte color.

AP: What is a makeup disaster that you have had personal and what is a beauty success that you have and love?

JW: One time I thought I was going blind, but it was really a piece of mascara stuck strategically in my eyelash. I don't usually wear much other than lipstick and eyeliner. So not being used to wearing mascara, I really thought something terrible was happening!

Like I mentioned earlier, I do not wear a lot of makeup and I have had many successes with friends who have gifted me fabulous items that I continue to wear often such as; Chanel's TOUNDRA (bronzer-for when I need to look alive in Winter, or more tan than I really am in Summer), Estee Lauder's TROPICAL (electric turquoise blue eyeliner for when I am feeling sassy), and my favorite red lipstick Devilish Orange was gifted to me by a makeup artist who I worked on a commercial advertising campaign with. 

AP: What is a memory of makeup or fragrance that you hold dear to your heart?

JW: Violet is my favorite fragrance to wear and smell. When I was growing up there were so many wild violets in our yard and they came in all different colors-white, all shades of purple, magenta and variegated. There is only a small window of time that they bloom but violets are a sure sign of spring and that summer is around the corner. I loved picking them and arranging them in juice glasses on the window sill.  When you grow up in Buffalo, N.Y. this moment can't come soon enough!

AP: You have lived many places and had many interesting careers, any that you felt wearing makeup was more important than others?

JW: Yes! From junior high through college I worked as a clown. One blazing hot July day, the art festival (I painted faces) ended and the first thing I wanted to do was get that white grease paint OFF MY FACE, so I went about washing it off.  It so happened that this little boy saw me and started crying to his mom that she lied and clowns aren't 'real'. She was trying to convince him that clowns ARE real, just not me. She informed me of how I 'ruined it' for her son. When I was a kid, I thought everyone knew that clowns were people dressed up in weird outfits with makeup and a wig on just trying to be funny, or scary, or both. I guess times have changed and clowns have raised their status to that of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. If your line of work involves being a clown, your makeup is VERY important!

AP: A current makeup trend you love and or detest?

JW: I am not a fan of blue and green shades of nail polish on myself.  It's too trendy for me but great on other people.

AP: What is an era of makeup or look that you adore?

JW: 1960's. Give it up for the black cat eye look!

AP: What is your pro-tip when getting dressed?

JW: Fit isn't about what size you wear, it's about knowing your shape, best (and worst) physical attributes and how what you decide to wear makes you and your personality sparkle!

If you are heading off to the tents this Charleston Fashion Week, Here are a few tips to keep in mind that I think you will find very helpful....just in case you weren't taking notes!!!! (wink,wink,wink)


Don't look at sizes.

Consider proper undergarments.

Consider proportions.

Consider the time of day. (for color, makeup, comfort, etc)

If you need help ask a friend!

AP: Julie, How important is makeup when it comes to the overall look of you show? How important should it be to the everyday woman that shops in your store or wears one of you hand chosen pieces? Also, I would love just to get your take on how clothing and makeup can mimic each other and also how although very different they share a lot of the same qualities when it comes to how a woman feels and thinks when it comes to the arena of fashion?

JW: One might think about a personal attribute that they want to show off. Say you have fabulous lips. Currently everyone is excited about lipstick in a shade of tangerine.  You've tried and tried but haven't been able to ever wear lipstick in any shade of orange. That's OK, if it doesn't fit don't wear it or have someone help you find something that does. 

You found a fabulous designer dress at a great price and the cut, drape, and length are amazing. If only it was royal blue instead of taupe because your mom told you (and you believe it!) taupe washes you out. You're thinking about passing on this gem but know you'll have dreams about the dress you let get away. Sticking with your old hair and makeup routine might not work but you can try pairing the dress with striking accessories and a bold makeup and hair look and the dress will be transformed into a crisp canvas for displaying your face and accessories.(Andrew...In Cavortress's world this also applies to blondes who don't think they can wear yellow, gingers who don't think they can wear orange or red, and brunettes who shy away from brown. There is a way to do it right and makeup and accessories that fit are the answer!...

AP: You are absolutely right Julie! I never try to limit my client as a makeup artist. If there are colors that they are a little nervous about trying, I alway say think texture. If you are not sure about it start of with a sheer and work your way up.

Julie, Thank you so much for taking time out of your crazy Fashion Week schedule to answer some wonderful and insightful questions for me and even more importantly for the fabulous Charleston Grit reader. I loved your pre-CFW party that you had on Friday night to kick off the event with the help of students from the Art Institute, a kissing booth from Pink Dot Beauty Bar, and a photo booth. I wish you much success my dear and we all look forward to seeing your show Wednesday night!!!!