This week’s Thrifty Mama post is taking a bit of a detour.

A few weeks ago, Studio M La Jolla, along with photographer Michael Spengler, hosted a few bloggers to a headshot party.

There were makeup artists, hairstylists, goodies from Giuseppe Catering, and even gorgeous floral arrangements from Ginny Boland of Adelaide’s Florists and Decorators.

Seriously. It was decadent to the max. Here are a few pics from the getting ready part.

Here I am getting my hair did and eating my face off. And the flowers. The pretty, pretty flowers.

Oh, look! There’s Surfer Wife getting her glam on while La Jolla Mom and San Diego Momma wait for us to hurry the eff up.

Here’s more of the makeup:

Can you see the hesitant look on my face?

I’m not going to lie; it was a pretty glamorous look for me.

Especially when most of my days are spent looking like this:

That is what working from home 80% of the time does to you. I guess it’s good this little headshot party got me out of my jammies for once.

Speaking of the party……

As soon as the invite went out, the emails started flying with various level red concerns about what to wear.

It’s a legitimate issue — what to wear when you are going to get professional headshots taken. You are spending your hard-earned money on the experience and, most likely, you are planning on using the photos for professional reasons. You have to be on your A game.

I’ve done the headshot thing a bunch of times now and I’ve learned a lot. So, instead of talking about thrifty personal style today, I want to talk about what to wear for headshots so you come out with great photos that you will get a ton of mileage out of.

Remember: thanks to the internet, bad photos like the one above live FOREVER. I took one for the team here, so do me a favor and don’t let it happen to you, too.


Here are my tips on what to wear for headshots:


  • Consider getting your hair and makeup done. Now, this can potentially backfire on you, so make sure you go to someone you trust. While my look was way over the top for everyday use (Emma even asked me why I looked so scary), it turned out well in the photographs.
  • If you can’t get your makeup done, wear more than you normally would. Check out my holiday makeup vlog for some basics. I also recommend wearing a bright gloss instead of bold lipliner/lipstick. FYI: This is good advice for everyday life, too.
  • Avoid stripes, plaid, and other patterns — stick to solids.
  • Wear a color that compliments your skin, hair, and eye color. I wear bright pink or turquoise a lot when I go on TV or get photographed because they translate well and don’t wash me out. When in doubt, brighter is better. It’s very hard for the average person to pull off alabaster, tan, and other neutrals, so try to get out of your comfort zone.
  • Wear simple accessories or just one statement piece. Simple accessories are more timeless (you can use the photos longer), statement pieces are more editorial (they might look dated sooner), and too much jewelry is just Mrs. Roper reincarnated (it’s too soon for that to be cool again- I think).
  • If you absolutely cannot bring yourself to wear color, then try a crisp white shirt or a simple black top.
  • Don’t wear clingy fabrics or short shorts or skirts. Wear a top that is looser, but not a potato sack, and don’t show too much skin. Avoid tank tops, halters, and super low-cut necklines. You want people to look at your FACE, right? (yes)

You ready to see the final product?

First, a few action shots:

You see that spinning move? That actually happened. I’m dying a little inside right now. It did make for a good shot, though.

Michael Spengler really knows what he’s doing. You should check out his website; I really dig his style.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day:

And just to prove that I do occasionally smile for photographs, I present the evidence:

And if you are curious about what I’m wearing, here are the details:


  • My super expensive J Brand skinny jeans that are one of two pairs of jeans that I wear.
  • A top I bought at Anthropologie about a year ago. It bought it right before I went on TV to present my Father’s Day gift guide. While I spent more than I usually would ($70), I have gotten so much use out of it that it was worth it. I basically wear it every time I go on TV or get photographed. It’s one of my go-to outfits and it’s always good to have a few of those in your wardrobe.
  • The necklace is from  the same Anthropologie shopping trip and I think it cost somewhere around $50. I usually shop Forever 21 or Etsy for jewelry, but I was seriously scrambling for an outfit, so I splurged. I do wear it a ton, sometimes with tan, white or teal, so it ended up being a worthy purchase.
  • I bought the shoes four years ago from It’s hard to tell in the picture, but they are taupe and gold. I love gold shoes. They go with everything. If you don’t own a pair, I challenge you to go out and get some this weekend and then wear them all summer. DO IT.

Now that I’ve read over this post, it’s really not about thrifty fashion at all. Perhaps the lesson here is that when you have an important event, it might be worth splurging on the right outfit. Here’s why:

By splurging on the perfect outfit, not only will you feel great about what you are wearing but you will look great, too. No matter how much of a Photoshop wizard you are, confidence isn’t something that can be fabricated. And contrary to popular belief, sometimes that comes from the outside in.

 What fashion item have you splurged on that ended up being a worthy purchase?