monochrome: camel ii

On March 5, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

Camel, tan, honey, sand…whatever you want to call them, they are my colors. I never get sick of these slightly warm mid-to-light-range browns. A monochromatic look is such an easy way to look pulled together, especially dramatic when that color is not black or brown but also so so good when it is. We’ve been here before.

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Mixing it up with varying textures, wool, suede, fur (faux here), pebbled leather, wood, gold, creates the interest we otherwise might achieve with color, as demonstrated so masterfully by Haider Ackermann in nearly every collection somewhere. I love when the hair and skin play into this, additional human textures in the same shade range for a truly limited palette.

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Dress, asos. Boots, UGG. Bag, Mulberry Roxanne. Watch, Skagen. Cloak, thrifted.

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On the lips: Urban Decay Naked liner and MAC Velvet Teddy lipstick

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no excuse

On February 22, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

There is no excuse, really. If I’m not wearing lipstick, it’s because I didn’t take the time, because I thought something else was more pressing, more important. And sometimes there is, are, genuinely several things much more important…and sometimes I don’t care about lipstick, or mascara, or what have you, or how I look beyond basic presentability. I take care of my skin and get my hair in order in this 40 second bun thing and get to work.

Sometimes, though, I do care. I miss it. I wish I’d taken the time to do something, so I could have that feeling of looking purposeful, looking put together, not because I have managed in a rushed 15 minutes not to look not put-together, because I have literally put a selection of choices together. Because I am polished, styled. I don’t just mean makeup here, but makeup is especially powerful because faces are powerful, faces are where we connect, and if I make some…effort* on only my face while leaving everything else on autopilot, there is a difference. It doesn’t have to be much to make a difference.

*I mean this in a broad way, I mean to give it some special attention. I know my face, so small changes look quite dramatic to me. Just blush and highlighter are transforming, or just a good skin serum and mascara.

I look fine with just my skincare regimen, sure, I look fine. At moments, when I’m well hydrated and my skin is in good shape, I love this default mode. I’m so not the kind of person who won’t go outside without makeup. Most days I wear, if anything, very little, though this is not entirely by choice…there seems to be so little time.  If I had more time I would play around more, I maintain, though I can’t help but wonder if there is something hollow in that. Isn’t it just a reflection of my priorities if something I say I want is continually dropping to the back of the line? Am I not, with my actions, saying that I want something else more?

I think there’s something more, too. A certain reluctance to show others what I am thinking. The playful spirit that moves me to muck around with beauty and style is an instinctive creature, and I, though you might not guess it from the existence of a blogsitething, am a private person. I have a resolution to share more but the sharing is the part that is work for me. Creating, playing, I am doing that…but quietly. I think, too, the sharing is not the critical part of the process (the journey of creating one’s own style and one’s own self), and this contributes to my not always making the effort to do it. Sharing is good for me, though. Like talking, it forces me to make my thoughts, in the case of style my concepts, coherent in some way. Finished in some way. It makes me part of a larger conversation as well, and this is good.

Recently I did this look, after a two, three? week stretch of having no time or energy to do more than be clean. A kind of beauty binge.

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NARS Train Bleu Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, so good. This hazy photo doesn’t show it but one thing I like to do is use a brighter liner under dark lip colors like this. Here MAC Nightingale gives a fuchsia halo to the dark aubergine, softening it slightly. Who are these bloggers who seem to have endless quantities of daylight at hand? They are probably in California…sounds nice.

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bootie call

On November 17, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Ah, boot season.

j crew plaid flannel shirt theseventhsphinx

Spring is OK for boots but not sufficiently dry for the suede styles that are my clear favorites (if acquisition is any indicator). This, among so many other reasons, is why autumn reigns supreme. Another reason might be the predominance of plaid, for which I have always harbored a weakness. Perhaps it is my rural upbringing?

ugg ankle boots

In particular I am craving the extremes of thigh-high and ankle boots. Booties. Bootlets. Much browsing and buying and returning before I discovered these charmers from UGG (which lacks romance but there it is). These have a great cowboy silhouette in the toe, minimal yet sculptural detailing, a great pale wheat color, and the slightly tapered chunky heel that I am drawn to these days.

j crew plaid flannel shirt theseventhsphinx

Isn’t there something wonderfully pristine about a bare, unadorned throat? 

Ripple pearl drops from Pearlescence, Chanel Rouge Noir Illusion d’ombre smoked out with a sepia shade from the Viseart neutral matte palette, MAC Peaches blush (new, loving), MAC prolongwear brow set, Wet n’ Wild Megalast lipstick in Bare it All with Urban Decay 24/7 lip pencil in Naked, which is almost a perfect match, some other stuff you can’t really see…

In the hair I’ve been using the deep repair mask (as a leave-in treatment) and the styling cream (for definition) from the Carol’s Daughter Tiare line. Smells amazing and I like how soft yet defined my hair is. Doing pretty well with my resolution to wear it down more.

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On the nails: Zoya Taylor. Basically a realistic concealer shade for me thanks to a touch of peachy warmth. Really nice color, though the whole time I’ve worn it I’ve wanted to add gold glitter to liven it up. The formula I find OK but it cracks on me within 48 hours or so.

j crew plaid flannel shirt theseventhsphinx

J Crew flannel shirt, Obi-style leather belt (eBay), Express leggings, Breil Milano watch, Ugg boots, Rough & Tumble bag (more on this bag later, loving this).

I have a few of these obi belts and find them so versatile and sleek. Though I could also like this look without a belt at all, loose and casual, to me the belt is doing so much here to amp up the style factor. The power of a good belt.

Get thee a good belt.

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summer tropics

On July 21, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Far more likely to engage my attention than a floral print is a botanical print. Perhaps because they tend to be more lively, less repetitive? Because I love the color green? Because they often incorporate more earth tones?

It is likely all of these things, amplified by the volume afforded by the maxi length. What I really like about this print is that it conveys a tropical look without being garish or neon about it.

floral print olive summer skirt

I am particularly predictable about this kind of olive shade, grounded and earthy, and just inexplicably compelling, the way one’s favorite things often are. Can we take a moment for these sandals? Adore these sandals. Can we take another moment to embrace shamelessly rumpled silk?

henna italian leather sandals

Henna still going strong.

Ah, the maxi, so easy, so cool and loose, such a strong impact of color by virtue of square footage alone. I quite enjoy the gathering up and sweeping around required to go up stairs and such, too, and very much enjoy the billowing that accompanies descending the stairs. Yes, long skirts rarely look so well as when they are displayed upon a stair.

J Crew silk camisole Coach sunglasses

I also love this Cleopatra-style necklace, which I picked up at a Cambridge artisan co-op a couple of summers ago.  Always on the lookout for interesting, handmade pieces like this. I recently met the owner of local company December Thieves, which specializes in pieces from emerging artists in jewelry and fashion. She has wonderfully curly hair as well! Obviously we got along. She has the kind of shop that makes you want to take up metalsmithing.

pearls stacked bracelet

Kara Ross bracelet, amber ring

Especially like to pair amber with earth tones.

J Crew silk camisole, silk blend skirt (thrifted), Kara Ross bracelet, Gian Luca sandals, Coach sunglasses. On the lips, Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Favorite (color showed better on instagram).

 

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pencil it in

On May 18, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I cannot get enough of midi length skirts and dresses right now, especially in a pencil silhouette. There is a retro ambiance to this length, hemmed somewhere around the calf, that is conservative while still feeling chic.

asos midi jersey pencil skirt

I find this length revealing in all the best ways, much more universally flattering than something that reveals the knee, and drawing attention to the calves and ankles in a way I find particularly feminine. I think this holds for a full or a fitted skirt, it’s all about that length.IMG_9281

The slinky jersey accentuates the pencil silhouette here, creating that fertile tapered curve from the width of the hips to the narrow point of the knees. Clothes that reveal more or less everything but do so with plenty of fabric nearly always come across as sophisticated to me. I positioned the skirt fairly high up on the waist as well, and do I only imagine that I seem taller?

The curvier you are, the better this silhouette looks.

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And white. Of course.

One can imagine this look with a black skirt but…white is definitely the bold, conspicuous way to go. Somehow white skirts are exponentially more appealing to me than white pants. Why is that? I’ll have to think more on that.

I can imagine it with a teal skirt or something along those lines as well, or a bright shoe, but I wanted to keep it duochromatic.

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Remember this necklace?

I like a natural look like this, a peachy/bronzy look with no eyeliner. This is the Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick in Formentera as bronzer/highlighter, NARS Gilda blush, a beautiful matte burnt coral, and Charlotte Tilbury lipstick in Penelope Pink with a little Korres lip glaze over top to pink it up (Penelope Pink is not that pink, despite the name, it’s a really nice nude). The Beach Sticks are lovely, by the way, remind me of the Kjaer Weis cheek creams, and a bit like a NARS multiple upon initial application but with more of a cream-to-powder formula as you blend. Very easy to blend with fingers.

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Try putting a touch of your blush (or bronzer) just above your crease with a loose blending brush to tie everything together. It doesn’t really matter what other colors you may or may not have going on on the lid (I have gold here, incidentally, loving my Lorac PRO palette), it works with anything.

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asos white midi jersey pencil skirt

J Crew silk blouse, asos jersey midi pencil skirt, Zara suede d’orsay pumps, thrifted jewelry.

J Crew polka dot silk blouse

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