Merry Christmas!

On December 25, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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Cinnamon rolls are key.

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Coffee. Also key.

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Stockings first!

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(I like presents. How cute is this wrapping paper! My family calls me Meg! No one else does, though, except my high school volleyball coach.)

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And my Christmas cactus bloomed right on schedule.

Merry Christmas all! Thanks for reading!

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challenge: Weddington Way

On December 24, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Bridal site Weddington Way invited me to participate in their December style challenge; creating a New Year’s Eve bridesmaid look with one of their signature dresses and accents from anywhere I like. This is a particularly appropriate challenge for me, as I’ll be a bridesmaid in my sister’s wedding on January 2nd! My first time…

[I’ll show you my dress situation later.]

The dress I chose was this one-shoulder number in navy lace (though they have many other styles):

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One can’t often wear lace from head to toe without batting an eye but weddings take place on a strange fashion plane of their own, with their own rules and standards. This means certain limitations, those imposed by formality, but, turning to the vast and wondrous field of formal attire, it means a special freedom as well. Generally I want my formal looks to fit into a ‘understated chic’ category. Not too pushy about it, not too elaborate, because I want there to be that elusive effect of effortlessness.

I partly chose the navy because I so rarely style cool toned looks. I always go for gold and brown, so here is a chance to do blue and silver.

Where next? Shoes, let’s say. I like the shoes they’ve used here, actually, silver (silver?) open toe d’orsay pumps. I’d also like to see grey or taupe suede pumps here. Suede and lace, so good together. I like suede anytime, really.

Or a little glitz, as in full glitter pumps (or flats, glitter flats so adorable). This is something I like about weddings, and something they have in common with the holidays: going full on with the glitter is more than OK.

Something like…

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or

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I want to see a pearl nestled in the hollow of the throat here, not really hanging down, as there is too much danger of interrupting the clean line of the dress across the chest.  I want to keep the necklace (or there could be no necklace, and some generous shimmer splashed on the clavicle, let’s go ahead and add that clavicle highlight either way) snug around the neck. A blue toned Tahitian pearl floating on a silver chain would answer well. I love this simple design from PearlsOfJoy.

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Earrings I also want clean and simple, either diamond (or CZ, or sapphire, or whatever) studs or non-hinged dangles or Tahitian pearl studs.

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9567fbf866abc7ce235157e1505d66feOne accessory I like to see in a formal outfit is a watch, sleek or bulky depending on the look, though probably sleek and slim. Really I like to see a watch in any look, I just love watches, but I especially like to see them where one would expect them to be overlooked for a bracelet or something more traditionally decorative. Here I would want something elegant and narrow that would read from a distance [almost] like a bracelet. Really into the Danish brand Skagen, known for their wonderfully thin movements.

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I like the asymmetry of wearing the watch on one arm and leaving the other bare. Or wearing the watch and some assortment of bracelets on one arm and leaving the other bare. UNLESS you have an old school corsage. I could be talked into that.

Poking around on Weddington Way I liked some of their clutches as well. Maybe this one for the look we’re building here. White or ivory to contrast with the navy and some pearlicious studding. If you’re wondering about mixing freshwater and Tahitian pearls, light and dark pearls, big and small pearls – not to worry. All pearls love all other pearls.

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Add favorite rings (oh, or this pearl solitaire, which I love). Hair up, hair down…you do you. Mine would be up and not too neat, though that’s easy for me as natural curls are inherently informal in our culture no matter how they are styled. A bit of that J Crew-esque undoneness can go a long way toward looking like you didn’t try too hard. You tried, but not TV news anchor tried. Not prom queen tried. Not BRIDE tried. Or pick one other thing to give a casual air, doesn’t have to be the hair, but hair is a good one as it’s so powerful and can control so much of the tone of the look. Going with that idea that if your hair is looking fabulous you can wear anything, by the same token your hair can provide the balancing stone to harmonize the look by being more or less formal.

A blingy nail polish could be in order, something like Essie’s On a Silver Platter, maybe. This would be an awesome New Year’s Eve polish no matter what look you’re doing.

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I’d like to see a soft taupe eye with this, strong brows, big lashes, a sheer or soft neutral pink lip. Maybe the ultra-gorgeous Dior Cuir Cannage eyeshadow palette and Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Fig. I haven’t had a chance to properly praise these lipsticks yet but I love this line.

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I think there is a danger when playing with glitter (not unlike playing with fire) of trying to apply the glitter principle to too many aspects of the look. Sequin dress? Then maybe, maybe a touch of glittery shadow to the center of the lid, not a full on glitter eye (unless you are doing a different kind of look, in which case power to you). A neutral brown eye works with anything, and smoking it out with a violet-taupe shade adds drama without being overtly matchy. All about finding that harmony, however you manage it.

Hm. I wouldn’t mind seeing a really narrow glittery belt here, either. Or a belt that is basically a chain of tiny CZ gems? Or a belt of tiny pearls? Or a belt of both? Or not. I think I’d have to see it and decide. A white faux fur or maribou stole (or capelet!) would be bitchin’ and keep you warm on that winter’s eve.

I think that does it. What do you think? Are you seeing it? I’m liking it. I actually want to do this makeup look, now, and pull out my Tahitian solitaire again. And get another Skagen watch. I really do want one…I have my eye on a few.

Don’t need to go to a wedding? Weddington Way’s selection of little black dresses is worth a peek.

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the winter skirt

On December 22, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

I love the contrast of a short skirt in winter. If otherwise well bundled on a not-too-cold day, it doesn’t have to be woefully impractical. Some tights. Some boots. Legwarmers, maybe. It’s all about that unexpected near-bareness of leg, all the better if there is a bit of thigh on show, too. And near-bareness is key, as true bareness is a) too cold and b) sort of uncomfortable to see, you feel for the sufferer.

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Ankle boots maximize the leg-visibility here, though I really like this kind of look with bulky knee-high winter boots as well. Either way.

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Another great hood. Another winter cape. The arm holes on this one aren’t quite where I want them (meant for a smaller-armed person?), but of course I can’t get enough of this camel color.

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It helps that I’m always selecting the same kinds of colors over and over again, across fashion [and other life] categories, but there is such effortless color harmony here. Effortless in the sense that I did not try to make things match, exactly, I just selected what I wanted and it came together naturally because I so often want the same kind of thing.

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Wool blend cape (thrifted, been a while since I wore it last), pleated corduroy skirt (thrifted), Guess ankle boots, Zara scarf, Free People tote. On the lips: MAC lip pencil in Beet and MAC lipstick in Damn Glamorous (LE), a dark pinky red. NARS Exhibit A blush, which never disappoints me.  These fur-lined mittens are awesome, so warm. Where are they from again? They are linked in a past post somewhere.

These are actually not tights but thigh-high stockings. Secretly kind of sexy, which is in many cases the best kind of sexy, I think, subtle and indirect. Perhaps technically invisible but shining through, somehow, nevertheless.

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winter vignette

On December 19, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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NARS Liberté blush

On December 15, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

As it gets colder I turn from the orange and coral blushes of summer and reach for darker shades, especially those within that rosy red spectrum that approximates a cheek kissed by winter. My favorite might be NARS Exhibit A, pretty much a straight red, but this new acquisition, another NARS gem, Liberté, is a beautiful, approachable, alternative.

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This is a rosy terracotta with an extremely subtle shimmer which, as far as I can see, is only distinctly visible in the pan and doesn’t translate to the face. This color is so pretty, no? This is the kind of sophisticated pink I find so versatile, so easy to wear. To me this shade is perfect for the transition from summer to autumn but of course it would be lovely any time. I’m sure there are dupes out there but I don’t have anything else quite like it.

Still loving my NARS yachiyo brush, too.

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Wearing it on my eyes as well, with a little bit of brown in the crease for depth and some brown eyeliner (Urban Decay 24/7) to delineate/prevent that pinkeye effect one can get when using straight pink around the eyes. It comes off quite peachy and warm on me. Oh, this mascara is from a little Canadian brand called Geisha Ink and is excellent, highly recommended by shamelessfripperies (if you have expensive taste, definitely check her out).

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If you only get one thing from NARS, make it a blush, they are famous for their excellent quality (also notorious for breaking easily, though). Unless you don’t need any blush, in which case get one of the lip pencils, satin or matte.

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No lipstick!

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