day to night

On September 4, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

Minimalist gold jewelry brand AUrate asked me, how do you transition from day to night? Great prompt. How to take a makeup or style look from day to night is such a useful tool to have in your belt, and one so often used, so relevant. It’s something I determine on a case by case, outfit by outfit, mood by mood basis but, thinking about it, there are a few underlying principles that simplify the process.

Let’s take this typical summer day look to start.

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A loose, high waisted pant, neutral color palette, casual bag and sandals, jewelry either small or natural in material (leather, bone beads), light, natural makeup. This lip is Colour Pop lip liner in Frida, so pretty. The blush is Becca Pamplemousse, a vibrant pink that adds instant life to the face. I love these linen pants, old school H&M.

This necklace is a constellation piece I picked up from an Ebay shop, but I like any dainty gold piece like this with a simple white shirt. Something like this clean gold bar necklace  is a great substitute (I appreciate that AUrate pieces are solid gold, which I splash out for when I can), which is the kind of piece it’s great to layer but which I also love alone, a slight glimmer to draw attention to the throat and collarbone, accessories in themselves.

For a day to night transition [if I am indeed bothering to change anything at all] I think about amping things up somehow. I often remove the more delicate or casual elements of the look and replace them with a bolder option. Sometimes, rather than remove, I’ll just layer more on. With makeup, where desired, I darken and intensify (or add where before there was nothing).

I like to change small things in a big way, and leave the big things as they are.

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Heels, an easy one. Shoes are a quick way to dramatically shift to the mood of a look. These heeled huarache sandals (Cole Haan) still feel summery but suddenly I seem a lot more dressed up, even though the basic foundation of a simple tank and trousers hasn’t changed.

Jewelry a little bigger, a little louder. Still in line with the look but with more weight, literally and figuratively heavier. That statement ring added in. Lips darker, blush brighter, eyeshadow (only wearing mascara on the eyes above, Amaterasu Silk Mascara combined with L’Oreal Clump Crusher) and liner. This is MAC Chili lipstick, a great rusty red, Becca Wild Honey blush darkening things up to balance out the lip, Charlotte Tilbury cream shadow in Bette to give a little interest to the eyes, and a purple Tarte liner under the eyes.

The liner is a little obvious, actually. I would have been happier here with the lip/blush/shadow only…but it’s fine. It’s getting the job done. A clutch in place of the tote. I’ll give my hair a shake as well.

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That’s pretty much it. I can fit everything I need to make the transition in my tote or even a medium sized bag; a few makeup bits I’d be dragging around anyway, some jewelry I can easily carry with me, a spare pair of shoes…nothing too tiresome or time-consuming, otherwise I wouldn’t do it.

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What about you, any tips to make that day-to-night transition seamless?

x

building blocks

On September 17, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

If you are attacked as regards your style, never reply; it is for your work alone to make answer.

                                            — Voltaire, Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary. 1802

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Here’s the shirt I picked up from the Altuzarra for Target collection (available on Net-a-Porter). Really nice cut, just an OK fabric, polyester crêpe de chine, which just means a plain lightweight weave with a crisp appearance. Some pieces are especially fruitful starting places for a look, and I get so many images and ideas when I see this cornflower pinstripe buttoned number. Things just start falling into place, snowballing as if of their own accord into a fully formed ensemble. For instance…

First: pencil skirt. Not black, though, not dark at all, I think. Something pale, gray possible, or flax. I want a heathered texture, for whatever reason. Something in a warm fabric for early autumn, literally and figuratively. This thin woolen blend No. 2 pencil skirt from J. Crew suits. This is a critical fork in the road, and determines all the colors to come.

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Then shoes, I think (though any element may be the starting place, and any may yield the next). And I still have those heeled huaraches from the Altuzarra show on my mind, so something along those lines, but in a richer shade now.

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Then lipstick, surely. I could go in a few directions here, anything on the red or plum spectrums, even a rusty orange, but a medium to dark fuchsia wins the day. Cannot recommend the Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy line enough.

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Then I see browns, golds, ivories for the other accents. Pearls, of course pearls. This is the Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand palette, an excellent option for a basic mix of easy shimmery and matte neutrals. I like this strong blue anchor (not that it is a bold blue, but that it is a definite, conspicuous piece of color), gently shadowed and warmed by pale neutrals. I know I’ve hit upon a a good color vein, or combination of color threads, when it pleases me to see them together. There is a certain almost visceral satisfaction to these happy combinations, as if sating your (ravenous, always) eyes with a nourishing meal.

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It doesn’t matter what the colors are, really. Which categories they satisfy. Just as it is beneficial to begin thinking of makeup as one massive collection of pigments with various textures (not lipstick, but creamy pigment, not eyeshadow but powder pigment – so the potential applications begin to multiply), so you begin to think of your entire wardrobe (and more and more of life begins to fall into the category of wardrobe, of style) as a collection of colors in varying shapes and sizes, textures. Building blocks.

Then I toss in a watch. Gold-toned, surely. Love the sleek, clean designs of Danish brand Skagen’s watches.

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Just one example.

the turtleneck dress

On February 10, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

While I love a sweater dress, a turtleneck dress now and then trumps it for me. Isn’t it a bit old-fashioned to like turtlenecks? I’ve been a devotee since grade school, when I wore what were surely hideous ones (prints!).  I like to have my neck covered? My neck is easily cold?

I think it is simpler than that. I think I’ve just always thought: those look cool.

And I basically still think that. At least I’m consistent.

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Well, it’s not meant to be quite so tight. I’ve been eating lots of popcorn.

I rather like it, though. A strange blend of conservative and ever so slightly risqué or gauche. And it is meant to be tight…

The balance of conservative and sensual* inspired the austerity of this ultra-tight, drastic side-part bun.  Here again is that just-below-the-knee length I like so well.

*reminds me of the crop top in this way.
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Dress from asos, Cole Haan pumps (thrifted), Breil Milano watch (thrifted), Mulberry bag (thrifted).  On the lips: MAC huggable lip color in Love Beam.

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belt it

On December 12, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

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I like a herringbone pattern, especially in charcoal.  I got another faux fur collar as I wanted some contrast here (and generally find it difficult to resist white things).

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oxblood suede (♥!)

Yes, my coat has perfectly functional buttons, and I do like that boxy boyfriend look achieved by simply buttoning it as well as the casual look of not buttoning it at all, but why not add a belt? You know? Just why not?

I’ve been randomly adding a belt here and there where no belt is needed, and it opens whole new world of possibility. Many of my favorite uses of the belt are entirely cosmetic. I am coming around to investing in a really excellent belt (in any style, but with something a bit special about it), which belt can then carry the day, regardless of what it is in fact belting. I’ve observed that a nice dress with a supbar (cheap, plain, ragged, uninspired, etc.) belt yields a supbar effect, while a subpar dress with a luxe belt yields a luxe effect. I think the conclusion here is obvious.

Did I already talk about this? This feels familiar…but perhaps it was only in my mind. Perhaps I am building on the initial idea to invest in a belt and going on to say that I would then wear that belt in all manner of unconventional contexts. Belting a coat that has no need of a belt (or which already has a belt!), belting a scarf, belting a sweater or anything bulky, having a belt slung at the hips independent of any assigned loops, wearing multiple belts.  Much like the artful placement of a superfluous zipper (or like jewelry, which realm of decor a pointless belt approaches), a purely aesthetic belt can immediately up the style factor, especially one that is well chosen. Indeed, the more out of place it is, the better it will function as a feature of interest. It can also up the femininity factor, the waist being a definitive part of the female silhouette, and the highlighting or exaggeration of the waist a much-considered matter in the fashion and beauty industries (not to mention all of the feminist and body issues bound up in it and the zones above and below it by association, i.e. ratios). The waist is powerful, and so is the belt.

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Alorna herringbone coat (thrifted), faux fur collar (eBay), bon chon gloves, Old Navy sweater, Express leggings (I was skeptical about these at first but I think if I wear them and stare at them a bit more I’m going to like them), Cole Haan pumps, Michael Kors belt (thrifted). On the lips: MAC RiRiWoo. Oh, and here are the textured gold sphere earrings I was waiting for. They are heavy but they will do.

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 RiRiWoo (♥!) Like I said, the color is stunning, ultra saturated and ultra matte. 

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the crop top

On November 7, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

 Red is black.

                            – Rei Kawakubo

In a way, a long-sleeved crop top makes no sense….

Perhaps that is what I like so much about it?

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And what could be a more fitting companion than the high-waisted pencil skirt? I like the surprise of the midriff in the otherwise conservative silhouette, and the way the shape of the bared section shifts as the body moves.

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Is it me or do I look kind of…scary here? Maneaterish? Evidently this is how I look sometimes.

Express high waist midi pencil skirt*, crop top from Asos, Cole Haan pumps, dupatta/scarf (giftshop), Breil Milano watch (thrifted), Mulberry Roxanne handbag (thrifted).

*Exactly the kind of pencil skirt I’ve been looking for: friendly amount of stretch, above-the-navel, below-the-knee, hugging but not without structure, not clinging. I got it in gray, too.

This is my favored bag of the moment. It has that functional, built-to-last professorial look I often like paired with a traditional aesthetic that also feels luxurious. A bit of a fashion quest tracking it down, many patient months of unwavering preoccupation, searching and waiting, waiting and searching.

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