I learned some time ago – on my own, and I have read it since in fashion mags – that to pull off “sexy” (as opposed to trashy, trampy, whorey, or one of their cousins), you have to choose.
Do you want to show off legs? Or do you want to show off cleavage? Or – in rare instances – do you want to show off back?
Back in college, I used to go dancing at least once a week. I’d carefully choose my outfit before, and always noticed that if I paired a short skirt with a cleavage revealing top, my outfit took a very quick turn from Sexyville to Skankytown. I cannot explain the reasoning behind this, other than the obvious: a little skin is sexy, and leaves something to the imagination; too much skin looks like you’re selling a peek at what little is left to the imagination. If you want to show off your sexy upper half, wear a skirt that comes nearly to your knees or lower. (Or at LEAST reaches past your fingertips when standing with your arms straight by your sides.) If you want to display those gorgeous gams, then choose a more modest shirt that’s not too clingy or low-cut. You may put on a micro mini and a low-cut, tight-fitting top and think, “Damn, I have a smoking bod!” and hey – maybe you do! (And good work on that self-esteem, sister!) But if you’re going anywhere nicer than a dive bar or seedy nightclub with anything more in mind than scoring free drinks and lots of propositions (and I don’t mean the kind that come with a ring), then tone it down a little and you will class it up a lot. Since I came to this conclusion on my own, I have read the same advice in multiple magazines. So choose one and go with it. You can always choose the other the next night!
I’ve come to realize the same thing applies to makeup. I shy away from a bold lip, I always have. I prefer gloss to stick, I never use lip liner, and although both my birth sign (Aries) and my coloring (fair-haired blonde) are meant to wear red well and often, I rarely do. I don’t know why – I think part of it is the fact that I have a hard time finding a red I like, and part of it is that red is hard to apply – it smudges easily, stains the skin around my mouth, and since I am not a lip liner girl, bleeds into the lines around my lips. YUCK. Additionally, in the past, I have found it hard to figure out what to do with the rest of my makeup once I do the red lips – I am used to playing up my eyes, and if you go all crazy with the eye makeup and then throw on some red lipstick, guess what? You look like one of two things: a woman with WAY too much makeup on, or a clown. Neither is good.
Well, I finally realized two things. One, if I’m going to wear red, it needs to be a red with a blue base. Reds with a yellow or orange base are bad bad bad on me – it’s the yellow undertone in my skin. You can pull off a yellow- or orange-undertone red if you’re a) olive complected, or b) super fair with rose (not yellow) undertones. How do you know what color your undertone is? Do you tan or burn? If you tan easily, you’re probably yellow, like me. If you tend to burn, or can’t tan, you may be a rose. Anyhow, number two is that if you want to play up the eyes, go for a nude or understated lip. If you want to go with a bold lip, stick to a neutral eye. SO EASY!
Now on the off times I feel like going red, I do a little brown shadow and I’m done. But if I’m feeling like being EYE-catching (get it?), I go with my old gloss standby. Just like with the top and bottom in clothes, it’s as simple as A or B – one or the other but never together!
Finally, on the off-chance you’re having a bad skin day (I am all the time, lately – thanks, fetus), steer clear of red! Or really ANY deep, dark shade. I tried to apply that Stila Lip Stick I blogged about this morning and disaster! Dark colors of lipstick will just emphasize flaws and inconsistencies in your skintone – stick to a neutral gloss to downplay any blemishes.
Hope these tips were helpful!