autumn palettes

On September 29, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

There are two eyeshadow palettes I’m particularly looking forward to using for autumn, I think you’ll immediately see why.


The Sleek Sunset palette has those warm, rusty tones I’ve been banging on about for ages, and a great Mediterranean blue (if you want to try that bold pop of blue under the eyes à la the Marc Jacobs show, which I definitely do*). Nicely priced, too. The Dior Earth Tones palette (discontinued now but there are similar ones) is a lovely example of those muddy olive and burgundy tones I like so predictably every time I come across them. Rather staggeringly priced. Beautiful in application, though, quite a sumptuous formulation, and I’m feeling no pangs about it.

I never get tired of browsing great masses of colors, individually or in combination, and deciding which I like best, which I am drawn to the most. I think I will not disclose how long I spent trying to find the Dior palette once it had been chosen. Or once it chose me, as it so often seems.

*Experimentation is salutary.


If you’re curious, I’ll likely apply them with one or more of these favorite eye brushes.

IMG_7421Top to bottom: Sigma tapered blending brush, MAC 217, bamboo bdellium 785 (best value blender here, and so soft, though the Sigma brushes are well priced, too), Paula Dorf sheer crease brush (current favorite), Sigma E20, essence of Beauty crease brush (from the little drugstore crease duo), e.l.f. contour brush, e.l.f. eye shadow “C” brush (this is such an incredible value*, I think the blush brush is fantastic, too).

*essentially I believe in spending over $10 for a good blending brush (once you use a good one you understand that you aren’t going back to whatever you did before…however you don’t need this many. Only one. Or, for convenience, two, where one stays largely clean throughout the process for additional blending while the other deposits the color. Oh, just go watch Lisa Eldridge, OK?), but not for a flat shading brush.


All kitted out like this, you’d think I’d wear eyeshadow more often.

I intend to work on that.


smell this: Bulgari Black

On September 28, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

There is nothing quite like Bulgari Black. In the world of fragrances you can usually find derivatives or outright copies here and there but in the case of Black, there is nothing remotely close.


It’s particularly known for looking like a hockey puck.IMG_6136

Composed by the brilliant Annick Menardo (Hugo Boss Bottled, Lolita Lempicka, Diesel Fuel for Life pour homme, Body Kouros, Dior’s Bois D’Argent and Hypnotic Poison), the notes have almost no evolution on the skin. It smells, from beginning to end, of sweet leather and hot pavement (burning rubber). The sweetness seems to rise out of the richness of leather, which is to me inherently sweet, or can tip over into sweetness very easily, deepened with amber, vanilla, and jasmine. This blends with a smoky tea note, and this tea thread somehow comes together to evoke the unmistakable smell of rubber. It sounds bizarre, and it is, but mostly because it smells so strange while also smelling so good.

I consider this truly unisex. I can see how the sweetness might be too sweet for any given man (but overcome this thought, men, and please try it, particularly if you are drawn to leather. I find it especially captivating for a man, precisely because of this slight sweetness), and the rubber might be too smoky for any given woman. This [like anything] is for anyone who loves it.

I suggest wearing it with a leather jacket.

the vintage spoon bracelet

On September 27, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

I’m borrowing this bracelet from CPL for a while and liking it so much, I wear it all the time.

IMG_7446Antique silver spoons shaped into a circlet with a magnetic clasp.* I particularly like this art-deco wheat pattern. Articulated and quite heavy, it falls beautifully on the wrist. Weight is a boon to any draping cause.

*which magnet is no joke, and needs to be kept away from electronics and watches and such.

This piece is from Recycled Silverware by local artisan John Atkinson. [617-372-2817,]

You can find similar designs from a number of Etsy sellers. [keyword search ‘spoon bracelet magnetic clasp’] I have my eye on some of these. There are spoon rings, too, evidently, which have a nice massiveness to them. And doubtless other things. Forks**…wind chimes…

**I like that the distinction is maintained, whether it used to be a spoon or a fork, even though the business end has been sacrificed for the sake of decoration.

the sweater dress

On September 26, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

A person who sees only fashion in fashion is a fool.

                                    – Honoré de Balzac. 1799-1850

The color of this dress is, for me, the embodiment of autumn. It’s kind of a cross between olive and rust, looking quite different depending on the light. Earth tones, how do I love thee.

IMG_7297I am completely fixated on this kind of rust-sepia shade right now. This encompasses cognac and whiskey shades, too. Here, for example, is a Pixiwoo tutorial for a sepia eye look I’ve been keeping in the wings, wanting to try out.

It would be superfluous to outline the virtues of the sweater dress, right? Its appeal is universal and self-evident? I am also much enamored of its close cousin, the turtle-neck dress, which will become clear by and by. The crew neck keeps this one reading quite casual to me, though it’s so brief in the leg that it can never be as casual as its crew neck seems to promise. Unless I wear it as a normal sweater, which I will certainly do.


IMG_7320American Apparel knit sweater crew neck dress, vintage Levi’s belt (brown + black, yes), Zara heels*, Breil Milano watch, Pearls of Joy 10mm studs, brown-dyed freshwater pearl necklace (as bracelet) from eBay, vintage LuckyBrand bag.

*I came across a picture of the kitten-heeled version of these Zara pumps on a great Polish style blog. They are from several seasons ago, evidently, and I could only find the taller style available anywhere now, but I loved this look so much that I didn’t care. Advertisements wish they could be as effective as this photo. I wish I could take a photo like this. Look how nice this looks! So nice! Sooner or later I plan to wear them exactly like this. Imitation/flattery/etc.


The cutout edge and instep are what got me, I think. The pointed toe I don’t actually love, abstractly, but I’m succumbing to the trend of them a little here. Well, it happens. I will admit it. You see enough images of a trend styled well (that is, if it is not simply beyond saving – some trends will always be incomprehensible) and you start to come around, bit by bit.



ode to the 80s

On September 24, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

If you’ve read about me, you’ll have gotten at least the general impression that I like the 80s.

In truth, it would not be inaccurate to say that, as an aesthetic and musical phenomenon, I love the 80s.

Hm. Here is one Halloween (long ago!) as an 80s aerobics instructor, which has been to date the greatest dancing outfit ever. Fear not, there were leg warmers.


149101_773255048521_7798540_nActually I think I was too conservative in some of my choices here. Loving the big eyebrows, though.

A girlfriend going to an 80s party asked me recently, “What were the 80s, exactly?”

To which I replied something along the lines of, “I’m so glad you asked…”

The Vietnam war is over, the tense political and economic atmosphere has dissipated somewhat, especially for the generation that grew up in its shadow and perhaps never fully understood or engaged in the war. The economy is looking better, Wall Street suits begin to make more money than they can spend, the dollar is strong. Racism is still an issue (obviously, still is) but much improved from the 70s, and there is a lot more cultural exchange. Feminism also an issue (also obviously, and still) but these are the daughters and granddaughters of the revolutionaries of the 60s, often raised by feminists, gifted more confidence and more opportunities. The children have come of age, they have disposable income, they want color and they want to have fun, just like Cyndi Lauper says. Really, they want to dance.

The 80s are all about being too much. Too loud, too bright, over the top. Garish, tacky. Fun. They are a big eye AND a big lip. And too much blush. Big earrings AND a big necklace. And all the bracelets you own. Accessories are key.

Bright prints mixed with bright solids, bright prints mixed with other bright prints. Garish prints. Geometric prints. Clothes are either really tight or over-sized, or a combination of both. The off-the-shoulder sweatshirt à la Flashdance. Bright leggings. Crop tops. Shoulder pads.

The miniskirt is born. Neon as a fashion option is born. Hip hop is the new thing. Wedding and prom dresses have never been so big and so festooned, and are likely never to be so big again. Madonna is queen, Michael Jackson is king (with David Bowie, that pioneer, still a strong influence). MTV rules over all.

Big, curly hair, side ponytails, crimpled hair. Ostentatious hair accessories. The scrunchie. High tops, leg warmers. Jane Fonda’s workout video is all the rage. Everybody loves music. Sunglasses acceptable at all hours of the day. People dress to make a statement, to be seen. Everything is like a parody of itself, a cartoon.

Nothing is too much.

73742_773258955691_7506927_nWhat’s not to love?