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!
This isn’t technically a beauty product, but it is something I can’t live without here in the rainy, dreary Pacific Northwest.
As I’ve mentioned, I am a dog walker. I spend five days a week out walking in the elements, and here in Seattle. the elements include approximately 10 to 11 months of rain. I have about ten pairs of rain boots – Wellies, galoshes, rubber shoes, what have you. I have tried many different brands. J Crew is slightly too short for my long, narrow, size 11 feet. Sperry Topsiders fit great but offer only basic comfort, which is actually important when you’re walking five or more miles a day. Kamiks are so-so – cute style but not great fit or comfort. I LOVED my Earth shoes for fit, comfort, AND style, until I discovered they were giving me Achilles tendinitis – ouch. I had not invested in a pair of Hunter boots until recently. I knew they were popular, but paying over $100 for a pair of rain boots seemed excessive and silly. Being a shoe whore as well as a product whore, however, I finally broke down and bought a pair of Hunter Tall Glossy Boots in black.
I was a bit put off by the fact that they are very fitted around my average-width calves, thus preventing me from tucking pants into them with any sort of comfort. Leggings work great, but if I want to tuck a pair of yoga pants (which are my typical dog walking attire) into them, it’s a very tight fit. I wore them now and again, but they were not my go-to boots. Until I gave them a chance to shine.
I decided to bring them to New Orleans with me for Mardi Gras, since the forecast was calling for rain. They were a bit cumbersome to pack but seemed like a good idea. And boy were they.
Mardi Gras was awesome. It was a huge, city-wide party, where everyone was drunk but friendly, enjoying themselves but not at anyone else’s expense. I have a very low tolerance for jackassery, assholery, and general dickheadedness, so this was a pleasant surprise for me. The air of brother/sisterhood and good will, however, could not mask (pun intended!) one fact: the streets at Mardi Gras runneth over, and there’s no telling what they’re running over with. Seriously. Muck and liquid fill the gutters. People are spilling drinks everywhere and also, presumably (although I thankfully did not witness this myself) relieving themselves when needed wherever is convenient. I guarantee the soup flowing freely down the streets of the French quarter contained no less that 200 strains of DNA from no fewer than five different sources (hair, blood, urine, puke, etc.) And short of waders, I don’t think anything could have protected me better than my knee-high, fitted rubber Hunter boots. When I got back to my hotel at night, I looked with great satisfaction at the splash marks all over my boots and knew my feet had been protected from whatever diseases lurked in those celebration-filled streets. What’s more, my feet were not sore or burning the way they would have been had I worn a standard pair of rubber boots all day long.
The icing on the cake is that the boots looked totally reasonable and cute with both a fancy dress and with my burlesque-y Mardi Gras costume. They weren’t high fashion, mind you; the only waterproof boots I’ve found that fit that bill were the Earth boots, and I already mentioned my trouble with them. But they did meld form and function well enough to make me feel both cute AND protected, and for that, I say Hip Hip Hooray for Hunter!
Since returning home, I have also bought a pair of Hunter Short Gloss Boots, which I find more usable for day-to-day rainy weather walking.
If you are looking for a pair of galoshes that are reasonably fashionable, highly functional, and quite comfortable, look no further – get yourself a pair of Hunters.