I've never quite sussed out what makeup to wear at the gym. Now that I've spotted an especially cute man there, I want to look my best but I'm worried about clogging my pores. I would hate to disappoint him when it all comes, erm, off.
No Sweat, Central

The Dictator rules: I can see it now: a mask of mismatched foundation, pink-circled cheeks and flakey, mascara-ed eyelashes flapping in his direction while you move in slow motion on the elliptical machine. If his workouts get shorter, you'll know why. It does take work to look "natural" though. Make-up and cosmetics can clog pores resulting in unsightly blemishes. Hydrate with an oil-free moisturiser, such as Clinique's Turnaround Daytime Revitalising Moisturiser in rosy glow or golden glow (HK$365). For long-lasting make-up and to diminish pores, use a primer such as Eve Lom's Flawless Radiance Primer (HK$580; Joyce Beauty). Then instead of foundation opt for a tinted cream such as Chanel's SPF 50 CC Cream in rose beige or beige (HK$490). Another alternative would be a light, mineral foundation such as Bare Minerals' Bareskin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation (HK$280; Harvey Nichols). Finally, all you need is a dab of waterproof mascara (try Maybelline's False Lash, HK$129) and lip tint (Revlon's Just Bitten, HK$108). Ignore anyone who recommends blush. If you're not rosy, you're not working hard enough. A healthy, toned body, however, will turn his head faster than any make-up. Leave him alone to work out, do your exercise and devise a way to meet when you're both properly dressed.

 

I'm looking for a pair of pretty tie-up ballet flats, but whenever I search for them online I get proper ballet shoes. Please advise.
Ballet Ruse, Shouson Hill

The Dictator: An ankle makes all the difference here. And I'm not just talking about your search terms. Drawing the eye to the ankle may work well with some people's legs, but not those with cankles. Once again, don't buy into this little trend just because you've seen it on others; it's got to work on you. Now, as for who makes them, well, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin and Chloé have all done them at one time or another. Our top pick of the season is Aquazzura, with designs ranging from plain black to bright fuchsia, pointy to peep toe and low to high heel (HK$4,500 to HK$6,600; On Pedder). Of course, Valentino's Rockstud series has been around for so many seasons it's on its way to becoming a classic, and includes a caged flat with ankle strap in various colour choices (HK$7,400 per pair). Zalora has made a beach-worthy hybrid of the style in the form of lace crochet slip-ons with ankle ties in black, beige or pink for the impossibly low price of HK$139. Finally, for rainy days, try Melissa's Ballet IV with the Brazilian brand's trademark soft plastic and satin ankle ties in red, cream, or glitter gold (HK$600; M Dreams, Times Square, Causeway Bay).

Got a question for The Dictator? E-mail her with your name, or alias, and address at: dictator@scmp.com