the graphic print

On August 21, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

I like a geometric print now and then. This jumbo polka dot maxi skirt caught my eye recently and I’m enjoying the boldness of the print.IMG_4771

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Paired it with a simple white blouse and stacks of bracelets. A print like this is fun to pair with another print as well… a look I appreciate more than I feel compelled to wear myself. Loving the green mirrored Ray-Ban Clubmasters with these Pearls of Joy 12mm Tahitian Studs.

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This is the Jeffree Star liquid lipstick in Anna Nicole I mentioned a while ago. A stunning summer orange with just the right level of red in it.

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Nails are Essie Cute as a Button with the excellent Dazzle Dry basecoat and topcoat. Highly recommend Dazzle Dry, which was recommended to me by Wet Paint Nail Spa here in Cambridge.

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Stay cool.

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the constant companions

On May 15, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

You know those fashion and beauty pieces you always wear hand in hand? Never one without the other? Always this liner with this lipstick, this skirt with those shoes, this jacket with that bag. The category of the fail-safe combo is one I find interesting for reasons I can’t quite pinpoint, like the way I love to watch people putting on lipstick. I’ve seen so many clips—hundreds and hundreds— of people putting on lipstick, and still I am interested to see how each individual approaches the task. It’s not like there is a great range of techniques going on…there are only so many ways to get color on your lips (I distinguish rather a lot of ways, actually, but still there are only so many), but something about the act, the ceremony of it, doesn’t get old for me.

Right. What was I saying?

I like to hear what others are combining, especially when they find the combination more interesting than either element. Perhaps it is the allure of a sum that is greater than its parts? Perhaps it has to do, too, with the concept of personalizing your style. In the commercial environment that makes thousands or millions of units of any item available, the item alone can only say so much about you – much as the brand would like to maintain the illusion that this ubiquitous product is your path to your unique you. It is the personal tweaks that customize the item and make it yours, what you wear it with, how you play it. For me this issue (let’s call it the cookie cutter issue) is directly related to the appeal of vintage, handmade, and antique pieces. I think I am getting off track again.

I love that moment when the pair first meet. For me it usually an instant aha moment, where each item knows it will never be alone again. A number of these inseparable pairs have jumped out at me recently, in particular a new one, my had-to-have-it scarab pendant and my custom Tahitian pendant.

The scarab I have on a long, delicate chain and I often pair it with some shorter pendant, the formula of a short pendant with a long one is not new. The Tahitian pendant is as simple as can be, a stunning teardrop with a simple loop finding on a box chain. It seems like this would be easy to come by but I had the hardest time finding a design as simple as I envisioned. In the end I asked the team at Pearls of Joy if they could show me some of their best drops in the size I wanted (10ish mm) and mount one for me. You may remember them from the gorgeous cherry Tahitian floating pearl pendant featured a good while back.

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I was delighted with the result and wore the pendant alone for weeks when I first got it. The look is so clean and plain, structurally, but then the pearl, if you are near enough to speak to me, is dazzling, with beautiful peacock overtones, green in some lights, violet in others.

One day I had the idea to add the scarab…

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The two have be constant companions ever since.

Just wait ’til they meet the Tahitian studs I splashed out for in the Mother’s Day sale…

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raspberry lips

On August 5, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

We all understand, do we not, that it is never too late (nor too early) to wear an autumnal lip?

Why, anyway, should autumn/winter have exclusive rights to the berrylicious or vampy pout? No, I don’t follow that logic at all. I sense the pull of the dark side in the dark months, but in the summer I wonder if I don’t feel it even more, at least periodically, as a kind of aesthetic rebellion against prevailing trends.

Here is one I’m loving at the moment, NYX Soft Matte lip cream in Prague, a plum-toned raspberry, let’s call it.

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This Tahitian pearl pendant is from PearlsofJoy (a custom request), and the golden akoya earrings are from PearlParadise.

I do like this formula, which leaves a soft hazy stain on the lips. Not especially long-wearing for me* but not expensive, either, and it offers uniform coverage that is easily built to opacity. If you like this product but want something more long-wearing I highly recommend the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick as well as the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick, both of which have excellent, opaque pigmentation and impressive longevity. That said, the Soft Matte lip creams give comparable color for a quarter (or less, if on offer) of the price.

*Long-wearing formulas have their uses but are not essential, so to say that something is not long-wearing is not an insult from me. I eat and drink, and I don’t expect lip products to survive much of that. It’s even a little unnerving when they do, sometimes. I don’t like that experience of having a hard time getting makeup off. I don’t like waterproof mascaras usually, for example.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Prague

Such a pretty color. A hint of violet is flattering on so many skintones, I find, and with so many eye colors. I’ve only recently had the thought that if a little purple is good, a lot of purple would be better. Really in the mood for purple tones across the board, from fuchsia and raspberry to full on royal purple. Have picked up purple blushes, purple eyethings, and a few purple lipthings. Does this ever happen to you, that you go on a color kick? More on this later.

Speaking of autumn-worthy shades, currently sitting in my Sephora cart: the Kat Von D liquid lipstick in Bauhau5, a bit darker and more purple than Prague (STUNNING), and the Bite Beauty Frozen Berries Matte Creme Lipstick in Barberry, a soft orchid. Well, I want the Bite Beauty lipstick to be in my cart, but it’s been out of stock for ages. It’s going to be in my cart, one day. The Plum and Juniper shades from the Frozen Berries collection look lovely, too. Can’t say enough positive things about Bite Beauty.

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layered

On April 12, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

The recent wig preoccupation prompted a good question, something like: do you ever change up, you know, your real hair?

And the answer is…not recently. I was in an auto-pilot growing phase, I suppose.

But what a good idea!

So, I hacked at the previous situation (which was nearly all one length with minor shaping) a bit, adding some rounding layers, until I got this:

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I essentially wanted the widest part of my hair to line up with the highest part of my cheekbone. Or, ideally, with the intersecting point of the eyebrow latitude line and an imaginary line that is the continuation of the upward sweep of the cheekbone. Right around there.

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Nailed it.

My face is basically square, or like a pentagon, and it’s large. Somehow my instinct is to have large, round* hair, to put the hair in proportion to the face. This (or a little bigger than this, actually) is the ratio that seems natural, harmonious, and to slick the hair back is to introduce severity via disproportion. Seems like we must all have some sense of this point of harmony, a point where you stop blow-drying or cutting or what have you, and decide it’s just right (or you don’t stop, and regret).

*I kind of like it as an offset pentagon, actually, I realize! The hair is a little boxy as well, but in a way that doesn’t line up with the face. If you follow… I like the squareness of my face, and don’t feel an urge to soften it as one might see in diagrams of hairstyles for different face shapes or something.

On another note, let’s give a shout out to purple eye makeup. This is basically…every purple product I own in a big smudgy mess. Recommended. The key is to keep smudging the color lower than seems advisable. Keep going! This is even conservative. And then I should have blended with a bronzer-type shade to make it even more sultry and massive…but one runs out of time.

Purple looks good on every eye color, though. Especially brown, I think. Certain shades of purple make me long for brown eyes.

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Pearls of Joy Tahitian pendant, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution lipstick in Love Liberty (love this shade and formula, more on these later – FINALLY available in the U.S. but only for one month evidently).

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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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