moodboard: warm neutrals

On April 17, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

Last week I was shopping for a few shades to customize a large Z-palette (top right palette below), occasioned by MAC’s $6 pro pan sale. How do you build a palette? That is, how do you build your ideal palette? I pulled out some of my favorite palettes to study, determine what I like about them. See how they tick.

They display a distinct trend…

warm neutrals - theseventhsphinx

L-R, as if reading: Kat Von D Monarch palette, Z palette (ft. Mac and Makeup Geek shadows), MAC shadows in custom Japonesque palette, Viseart 01 Neutral Matte, Louise Young Essential Eye Palette, Makuep Geek shadows in custom Japonesque palette, Viseart 05 Sultry Muse, Colourpop shadows, Tom Ford cream shadow, MAC singles, NARS single, Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess, Marc Jacobs 212 The Dreamer, Clinique 03 Morning Java

It’s not so easy, in a sea of shades, to create a compelling combination. Easy to make something nice, hard to make something I like even more than my favorites. I’m not finished, actually, though the Z-palette (the blush there is MAC Peaches, if you’re wondering) is full for now. Need to pull in a few more matte shades, something very dark and something to be a great transition shade for my skin tone (read: a tiny bit darker without being too dark). It’s an engrossing color exercise, feels much like a puzzle. I keep shuffling the shades around, deciding not only what shades to include but in what arrangement. Feeling satisfyingly territorial about it.

It seems revealing, to see what colors a person would choose, like it would reinforce something you already knew, or show you something you hadn’t realized about them (about yourself).

[I’m working on the 2 little 4-pan Japonesque (Japonesque makes the shell) palettes as well, simultaneously, as related but independent puzzles.]

I want something that is effectively a Viseart Neutral Matte palette that incorporates shimmers and metallics. Once I’ve added a few things and rearranged to my heart’s content I’ll let you know which shadows made the cut. Have you ever built a custom palette? How did it go? Favorite shades?

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

IMG_8561

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.

IMG_8562

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.

IMG_8564

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.

IMG_8565

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.

IMG_8573

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.

IMG_8577

Just one example.

2014 summer fragrance picks

On July 18, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

It’s often not mentioned, as it doesn’t show up in photos, but I’m nearly always wearing some perfume or another. Or, one way or another, I smell like something in addition to smelling like myself. Something good.

Here are the fragrances I’ve been reaching for so far this summer.

IMG_7192

 Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine – Literally, ‘blood orange’. A gorgeous orange scent with the bitter and acidic elements elegantly balanced with a mix of bright florals. Nothing overly sweet, cloying, or synthetic about it. It smells…like sunshine. A wonderful, unusual summer citrus. Unisex.

Guerlain Vetiver – OK, so I’ve mentioned this numerous times, but this is a gold standard vetiver, and one that smells great on many people in many contexts, in every season…and especially in summer. Leans a bit masculine, but in a way that makes me appreciate it all the more on a woman.

Guerlain Homme – I got this…must be 6 years ago now? I haven’t stopped liking it one bit. Smells like a mojito that is wearing cologne. Awesome. Younger guys, I would especially like to smell this on you. [Older guys, you could be potentially devastating in the Guerlain Vetiver, give it a sniff.]

Clarins Eau Dynamisante – Lemony and herbal, very light and unassuming. I’ve reviewed this before. Perfect to spritz on post-shower, like a luxe, actually appealing body spray.

The Body Shop’s Love Etc. – Smells like grass and popcorn, what more do you want for summer? Master perfumer Dominique Ropion did the mixing, so the blend is surprising and sweet, on the girlish side in a playful, innocent way.

Bulgari Pour HommeGrapefruit of the gods. Many summer fragrance lists plug citrus but this most often means lemon. Lemon is, for me, the most difficult of the citruses, the one most often disappointing in a fragrance. The one most likely to smell like pez. Or Pledge. Enough of lemon. Give me grapefruit, orange, and lime. I don’t know that I can call this my favorite fragrance—it is too difficult, and too unnecessary to choose such a thing—but I can say that when I am wearing it, I love to be wearing it.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Body Oil Spray – Smells like the beach, in the best way. Or like the way you wish suntan lotion smelled. No longer available in this form, evidently, but the eau fraîche skinscent is close, and also lovely, as is the body cream.  [Not pictured because I forgot, bafflingly.]

I have a few samples from the extraordinary Italian brand Profumum that I am loving, too, and will have to tell you about them as well. I got a handful to try and they are nearly all stunning for summer.

 

the bodycon

On June 23, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

“The beauty myth tells a story: The quality called “beauty” objectively and universally exists. Women must want to embody it and men must want to possess women who embody it. This embodiment is an imperative for women and not for men, which situation is necessary and natural because it is biological, sexual, and evolutionary: strong men battle for beautiful women, and beautiful women are more reproductively successful. Women’s beauty must correlate to their fertility and since this system is based on sexual selection, it is inevitable and changeless.

None of this is true.  “Beauty” is a currency system like the gold standard. Like any economy, it is determined by politics, and in the modern age in the West it is the last, best belief system that keeps male dominance intact.”

                                                                                            – The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women, Naomi Wolf

IMG_4058

I have new bruises this week, courtesy of la bicicletta.

American Apparel dress, Converse, Mulberry bag, Spektre sunglasses. On the lips: Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy lipstick in Tumultuous. (This formula is phenomenal)

IMG_4075

Sundry incidentals

1. I have not shaved the legs in many weeks. I am not fully convinced of the virtue of the shaved leg.

2. In certain bodycon/bodysuit contexts, I think: no bra. In many backless cases the appeal of the smooth, unbroken plane of the back far outweighs the (socially inconvenient? they are quite harmless, quite common) fact of the nipplesAs Karla Deras put it in answer to an undergarment query, let them breathe.

3. As for the bottoms, Commando.

IMG_4021
x

smell this: Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess body oil spray

On July 30, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

IMG_4365

Estée Lauder’s Bronze Goddess fragrance has been coming up in a lot of lists of best summer fragrances*, and I am in complete agreement, particularly wrt the body oil spray (which I find richer and longer lasting than the eau fraîche skinscent). This is summer in a bottle. Imagine a nostalgic suntan lotion smell–an old school Coppertone kind of smell–then remove all of the harsh-smelling chemical elements, amp up the coconut, and add a summer flower bouquet. What you get is a creamy base of coconut and vanilla (kept from being too sweet with some subtle vetiver and sandalwood) layered with a variety of citruses, lavender, and delicate white florals: jasmine, magnolia, orange blossom**.

*This one being the best I’ve seen. I am so often in agreement with Guardian beauty columnist Sali Hughes. Her videos are great, too, extremely knowledgeable and well researched. And sensible. I like sensible people.

**You can see all the notes and more on basenotes, which is a great resource if you’re not already familiar.

IMG_4370

They re-release it every summer with the Bronze Goddess collection so the packaging and formula may vary slightly from one year to another. I have smelled it the last four years running, though, and it always smells great (and essentially the same) to me.

There is nothing heavy-handed about this. It is light, effortless, sunny and fantastic. The notes that really stand out on me are coconut, vanilla/amber, and jasmine, all with the lightness that indicates citrus, too, without feeling explicitly like citrus at any given moment. Be warned that it does smell rather like suntan lotion, only really luxurious suntan lotion. I like the smell of suntan lotion anyway. It may smell different on you (some report a cheap vanilla ice cream effect, try everything on your skin first), and for some it’s not interesting enough…but who cares about smelling interesting if you already smell great? I like a complex scent as much as the next perfume maven but there is something to be said for smelling, simply, good.

Pages:12»