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Friday, August 30, 2013

Red Lipstick Forever!


"I came out of the womb waving red lipstick." ~Rose McGowan

As always, things go in and out of fashion, then eventually come back around again. So it is with red lips, theoretically. Maybe it's my imagination, but it seems to me like every season I see proclamations  in various magazines that 'red lips are back!' (for some of us they were never really out.) The truth is that they're a classic look, and thus are never really 'out' of fashion. So lets talk red lips.

I'd like to point out that everyone can wear red lipstick- you just have to find the right one. And there may only be one for you- or there may be a whole plethora of reds that you can wear. That's not to say that it'll necessarily be your best color, but if you love red lipstick (with some of us it's a 'thing') rest assured there is at least one out there for you. You just have to work with your coloring; pick a red that corresponds to your coloring- if your coloring calls for warm makeup, you need a warm red, and if your coloring calls for cool makeup, then you need a cool, blue based red. You'll know right away- the wrong one will make you look sick or just go 'flat' on you. You also have to take your contrast into consideration- if you have very dark hair and pale skin, or vice versa, (high contrast) you'll want a more intense red. If you have dark hair and dark skin, or light hair and light skin, (low contrast) you'll most likely need a slightly more subdued red. If you have low contrast yet 'brighter' coloring- say you dye your hair a fairly 'bright' blond, for example, and have light yet bright blue eyes, and a tan, you might need a 'brighter' red, too- but you'll probably need it to be a fairly light red, and possibly a softer application. Dark red probably won't work here. Red lipstick can be tricky, though- sometimes the unexpected looks great. If you've always felt you look awful in it, you may have just never found the right one. If you love red, then this is definitely worth the time and investment to explore. Now on to the technical aspects of wearing it…

Red lips always look fabulous…for the first ten minutes, until they wear off.

There are a couple of ways to avoid this. You can use a lip primer first, and apply the red lipstick right over the primer. If you apply lipstick with your finger you can get a very soft, almost diffused look. If you use a lip brush you have more control; not only can you apply the color very softly as well, but you'll also have much more control than with pretty much any other method of application. If you've got a steady, precise hand, you can apply it directly out of the tube. Personally I find I'm too clumsy to apply it properly straight out of the tube. I always use a brush.

If you want the color to be as true as possible, then consider using a little foundation on your lips first. This gives you more of a blank canvas on which the color is less influenced by the natural color of your lips. Also you have the option of creating a slightly different shape for your lips if you cover them with foundation first. 

Let's say you want a more intense, pronounced red lip. This is easy. Start with a lip pencil and line your lips. Then fill in the entire lip with the same pencil. Now apply your lipstick over that using one of the above methods. Using a pencil underneath provides a colored base that extends the wear of your lipstick considerably, as well as making the color much more intense. 

Another aspect of lining and filling with a lip liner is that it gives you more options; you can use a slightly deeper color to add depth to your lipstick, or go lighter to make it 'brighter.' You can change the color a little as well. If you have a red that you love that's maybe a little too orange or too blue for your coloring, you can correct this somewhat with a lip pencil underneath. (Using a lip pencil to manipulate lipstick color is also applicable to all lipstick colors, as well.)

I love red lipstick. I have more reds than any other color…and am always looking for more…

Happy Dressing!

Friday, August 23, 2013

No More Granny Flats


"No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly." ~ Oscar Wilde

A friend of mine asked me if I had any tips about wearing flats- she says she never, ever, ever wears heels. So I thought that'd be an excellent subject for my blog this week, especially as flats are so in fashion right now. So I did a little research, and these are a few guidelines that sort of 'resonated' with me.

In general, avoid style-less, 'sensible' flats- if you want to look good, that is. If you WANT to look dumpy, by all means- pseudo loafers with crepe soles are a great idea. Go, grandma! I'm all for expressing your own personal style, but I just cannot get behind the 'dumpy granny' look. Sorry. There are just too many really good looking, stylish flats out there to excuse the 'dumpy' look.

When it comes to pants, flats on the plain side (but not dumpy!) are the only kind I'd do with leggings- if you must. If you're wearing flats and leggings it looks best if your top is tunic length, too. It's best to keep the hemline above the top of the shoe if you're wearing skinny pants with your flats. If it falls below it just looks messy. Capri length pants always look good with flats. Another thing to keep in mind is to exercise great caution regarding wearing tight pants with flats- this is a potential land mine. First, when you're wearing flats your legs look shorter- add to that the fact that tight pants can make you look 'wider'- and voila! You've just added 10 extra (visual) pounds!  If you're wearing flared jeans or pants, go with a pointed toe rather than rounded. It just looks better. And no pleated pants with flats. When it comes to pleats, you need at least a 1" heel here. At least.

On to skirts. An ironclad rule here: any time you wear a knee length or longer skirt with flats, your gonna look all grandma. It's just the way it is. If you need to wear knee length or longer and can't do heels, look at kitten heels- you can find some really low heels that still look feminine, chic and stylish. If you feel like you're showing too much skin with a shorter skirt, then consider wearing tights in the same color as your skirt. Sandals are a different matter- they go with pretty much any length skirt. So, if you don't want to show too much skin, wear knee length or longer during the summer with sandals, and shorter skirts with tights and closed toe flats when it's cooler.  Also another option is almost flat boots with a knee length or longer skirt- 1" or more. Riding boots, maybe?

If you're open to a more 'alternative' statement, another option to consider is flats with a platform- you can often find platforms without much or even any additional heel and they can look great with skirts and pants. Also platform boots- looks good with skirts, skinny pants and leggings- again probably best with a tunic length top. These give you the illusion of additional height without the heel. 

Everything you put on is an opportunity for self expression- have fun!!

Happy Dressing!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Less Is More


"Our lives are a sum total of the choices we have made." ~Wayne Dyer

The other day my friend apologized for dragging her feet about setting up our first consultation, saying she hated even looking at her closet, and just dreaded dealing with this on any level. Probably everyone's felt this way about their wardrobe at some point.

The whole purpose of my business is to make it so you get a little trill of pleasure every you open up your closet, or even think about getting dressed. It isn't about adding more complexity to your wardrobe or further complicating the process of getting dressed- it's actually about paring down the excess you already have, and simplifying your entire approach to your wardrobe choices. My goal is to help clients develop a clear set of criteria by which to make their choices so getting dressed becomes a pleasurable, streamlined, almost effortless process.

There are 3 parts to my approach; first comes pinpointing not just colors that look good on you, but the top 3-5 colors (plus neutrals) that are the very, very best for you, and will consistently flatter your coloring. Next we narrow down to just a handful the very best clothing design lines based on your proportions. Last we translate your personal aesthetic into tangible terms- stylistic choices in how you put together what looks best on you, and the accessories you choose, all reflect who you are and what makes you happy. 

So every time you get dressed you have the confidence of knowing you look your very best because you're wearing your very best colors and design lines, and the way you've put them together and the accessories you've added are all about your aesthetic. And everything is simplified- better and fewer choices. You ONLY have in your wardrobe what works for you, on every level. 

Even if you aren't up for hiring me or another image consultant, if your wardrobe is out of control and you approach it this way you're bound to make improvements. Because whatever your style, whatever your circumstances, whatever is going on in your life, everyone should have that little trill of pleasure every time they open their wardrobe.  I know that in the grand scheme some consider this  unimportant, but in a life that so often forces unhappy compromises, having one whimsical, nonsensical, irrational source of pleasure is completely worth taking advantage of. 

Happy Dressing! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Trendy Brenda

"We're so trendy we can't even escape ourselves." ~Kurt Cobain

I was in an odd mood this week, and did something uncharacteristic for this blog; I looked at 'fall 13 fashion trends' on http://www.style.com/.  Maybe this being uncharacteristic of me is wrong seeing as how I'm an image consultant. I probably should be completely aware of each and every trend as they appear on the horizon, but it seems I have a very short attention span. (A little bit OCD, perhaps.) I'm very much interested- no, obsessed- with what I like, and have absolutely no interest and hence no awareness of anything else. What can I say? I am what I am. 

I guess that goes a long way to explaining my approach to personal image- I believe in seeing what each trend has to offer to you, not buying into it regardless of whether or not it suits your personality, aesthetic or body's proportions. I believe in treating each trend as a smorgasbord from which to pick and choose. I'm also not big on the concept of treating fashion as something quite so 'disposable'- I think you should only buy what you love, and wear it till it's worn out or you're sick of it; and if you really love it but are tired of it, just put it away for a while. Then you have the joy of rediscovering it later….

So, the trends I liked were punk (revisited,) a 'neo' noir, an eclectic fur extravaganza, and some lovely menswear inspired duds. 

Say you're a bit ambivalent about a trend and don't want to commit- one option is to use what you already have if possible and add small and/or temporary touches to work the trend; like makeup and costume jewelry, for example. That way you can decide if you like in enough to add it to your wardrobe repertoire on a more permanent basis.

For example; the 'neo' noir look- if you have a pencil skirt you can add high heels, if you have a vintage style top that works, use that- if not, just a basic top. Add some classic jewelry, 40's glamour makeup and a pretty, noir-esqe hair do and you'll be right on trend. 

A punk 'interpretation' relies heavily on makeup. A pale face, usually heavy eye makeup, lipstick and a heavy dose of rebellion with the hair. (W/o the rebellion you're veering into Goth, IMO.) Doc Martins were standard with punk, but lots of different boot styles could work here. Pairing a classic, conservative piece of clothing with something so 'anti-establishment' that it's downright rude is a classic punk statement.

Not sure how to approach the (hopefully faux) fur thing- if you happen to have some, then get it out and wear it with gusto. You could always buy a fur scarf or hat if you don't want to make a huge purchase. It's a little harder to do this one without the investment.

Maybe you're like me and love the whole menswear idea- I love plaids and pinstripes and suchlike. Here's a trend that that relies on some real classics- you can have a few pieces in your wardrobe in basic, classic styles, and they'll never go out of 'fashion.' You can put them away for periods of time to bring out and reinvent anew each time the trend comes around again. You sort of can't go wrong with investing a little bit here- and also keep in mind you may find good quality, classic pieces at thrift shops and consignment stores.  

Also, If you pay attention to the trends and fads that are out there you have the chance to buy the things you love when there's the most variety available.

Happy Dressing!