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

loving: these heels

On March 14, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I cannot get enough of this photo. I love everything about this look, a street style shot from the US Elle roundup Paris Fashion Week (a pleasantly long slideshow of some 300+ looks, I recommend).

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This deep plummy shade, the layers of the skirt, the texture and masculine cut of the jacket, the lush softness of the scarf, even the positioning of the head and arms, the hair…and those shoes.

These heels have that elusive balance of structure and delicacy, giving the foot shape and interest while being absolutely minimal and unobtrusive. The sleek, isolated triangle toe-box of a d’orsay pump is sublime. So often they are done poorly, shapeless with the foot swimming about, or set at an awkward angle. And this dainty shoelace-thin ankle tie, this is so light and understated. Not too much string or wrapping (not multiple strands going around and around, over and through, or up the leg, as is growing increasingly popular, and is often, to my eye, too busy), and no bulkiness. Though I can like a thick (or just thicker) ankle strap, I am particular about the proportions, which are usually slightly off, creating a stilted, unflattering effect.

I cannot express to you how many shoes I do not like. Really hardly any shoes. When shopping for shoes it feels like wading through an endless sea of ugliness. For $40 or $400, there are eyesores at every price point. When I see, then, a design that seems elegant, and not only elegant but personally wearable, desirable, this is a breath of fresh air, a shock.  I want to try that shoe on (so many do not pass that test, either…).

Style is personal in every sense, and shoes are somehow especially so. It seems not only possible but likely to be able to agree with someone on many levels of style and then, suddenly, to disagree entirely about shoes, and what constitutes an appealing shoe. Why is this? Because feet and feelings about feet are so personal? Because walking and carriage is so personal?

I wonder if it has something to do with shoes being, for the mainstream, a relatively adventurous category of fashion, where it is, in a sense, safe to make bold or unexpected style choices, and therefore to infuse more dramatic levels of personality. Where by safe I mean something like, acceptable, perhaps near the edges of yet within the boundaries of expectation.

I don’t think of myself as being particularly into shoes, but I am into things I find beautiful, and once in a while a shoe pops up in that list.

So, does anyone recognize these shoes? Seriously I’ve been looking around and haven’t found anything remotely close. If you find something similar, let me know…

x

photo via elle.com

that J Crew look

On October 27, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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All  I wanted to do yesterday was wear these red shoes. Sometimes my wants are so few.

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It took so many tries before I could find the proportions I wanted for this style. The clean triangle toe, the straps of a particular width and placement. Many (many!) failures before coming across these red suede heels from Steve Madden, which love. Ankle straps get some flack for cutting the leg-lengthening effect heels otherwise have but they have the unquestionable virtue of holding the shoe securely to your foot. Not to mention making such minimal silhouettes as this possible. Anyway, I’m not convinced they negate whatever added height,* and who cares anyhow. If you like them. They’re trending now, and I approve.

*A lot of the supposed optical illusions fashion tricks are meant to conjure are suspect to me. I see what they are getting at but often doubt they are truly working. More common than seeing the illusion is seeing the trick, for me. Not that I don’t employ them when it suits me… Let’s get back to the main text.

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I was in the mood for a pencil skirt and that careless, layered J Crew look took over from there.

This look is so genius, in a way, so easy to tap into, with certain elements ultra-polished and tailored and other elements strategically undone, unkempt. The hair can’t be too precise, the layers can’t be too perfectly aligned. Colorful solids with one bold and colorful pattern peeking through somewhere. Natural face with the possible exception of a red lip.

Usually their looks are a bit too fussy looking for me, with only the thinnest veneer of  unfussiness or carelessness superimposed, but I like the color and pattern play and can like them as a starting point (or outright, once in a while).

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I got another cap, because this hair/hat combo had to be reprised.

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I am trying to make a firm reminder for myself that I should do this all the time. Leave hair down! Squash with hat!

UGH. SO GOOD.

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Oh, here’s one thing you can do with black lipstick. Avon lip pencil in deep plum with the NYX Macaron lipstick in Chambord (which is just black) in the center. Basically taking the bordeaux lip to its natural extreme. I like. You like? I like.

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J Crew linen sweater, thrifted plaid shirt, J Crew No. 2 pencil skirt, Steve Madden Abagail heels, Free People vegan leather tote, pearl ring from Pearl Paradise, Solange Azagury-Partridge lips ring, jasper necklace (eBay) as bracelet, Nike FC Barcelona cap.

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x

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.

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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.

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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.

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the jumpsuit, the topknot

On September 5, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

           I love to be well dress’d Sir: and think it 

No scandal to my understanding.

                                           – George Etherege, Man of Mode. 1676.

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IMG_6625There are bugs on the ground.

I gathered my hair into a topknot when I was messing around with different turban styles and liked it so much I decided to try it officially. I like it, though I think I liked the really (incredibly, horribly, could-not-be-worn-in-public) messy version better.

Oh, this is the bag I usually carry around, these days. A great thrift find that looks like a still-slightly-grubby re-purposed vintage leather football. I don’t necessarily like a bag to look pristine (then it doesn’t look casual), and I don’t want my daily bag to be something I have to suspend in a bubble of anxiety to keep it like new. Better for me to have something that, when it does incur wear, grows in character and interest.

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IMG_6639At which point it begins to rain, and I am unimpressed.

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Calvin Klein silk jumpsuit, Steve Madden realove heels, Zara scarf, Skagen watch, vintage LuckyBrand hobo bag. On the nails: OPI polish in Mermaid’s Tears.

These heels make me about 5’11”, and I feel that I take on Amazon-like proportions in them. The pale blush color extends this illusion further still. I like this very much.

I’ve mentioned before that I take heels with a grain of salt, valuing the absence of pain as I do*, but it cannot be denied that they create new lines and angles. When only a bit of standing or sitting is required, I can quite enjoy those lines, those angles.

*The amount of discomfort I’m willing to tolerate seems to depend on many factors.

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