autumn lips

On September 29, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

It’s time for some autumnally dark, properly bold lips.

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There is sometimes concern, when it comes to dark lips, that it can make the mouth appear smaller. It can (and often does) do that, but I think the contrast given in return can more than make up for this. In my case, having no cause to worry about appearing mean-mouthed anyhow, my mouth seems even larger to me, if only because attention is being drawn to it. I often have a similar debate when considering eyeliner under the eye – it can close up and shrink the eye, so the question becomes whether or not the overall effect is worth this drawback.  Perhaps it shrinks the actual eye but enlarges the perceived eye, resulting in a net gain. Or perhaps it doesn’t create any optical illusion of size or spacing but does something else interesting and worthwhile.

With such lips, a simple dark brow is often my preferred path. I didn’t really want to put anything on the eyes at all once it was on, and have only an ultra natural coating of mascara. I especially like bold lips when they seem like an easy afterthought, a vibrant touch to an otherwise unmeditated look.

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And mustard heeled huaraches. Of course.

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 Here’s the kind of deep v I’ve been meaning to wear all my life. The key here is this Topstick mens grooming tape, very sticky double-sided tape meant to work with skin and textiles. Meant for hairpieces, I guess? But I can see all kinds of applications. This is keeping the shirt where I want it. My new favorite wardrobe tool.

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This sublime bordeaux lip is thanks to Julie Hewett Sin Noir lipstick, really a phenomenal color. This is a full-on application but it can be blotted for a softer berry stain. Reminds me a little of Tom Ford Black Orchid but a bit brighter (I think?), and not as creamy in formula. The Noir collection is excellent, not inexpensive but it performs (and great gold packaging). Being a bit waxier than some of my favorite formulas (ex. Lancome Rouge in Love, Tom Ford, MAC creamsheen, Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy, NARS Audacious) helps it to last that much better, so it’s a fair trade-off.

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I’ll have to share some of my other favorite lip products in this wine-worthy shade range. There are many.

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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

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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)

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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.

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la bohème

On June 9, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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Summer is finally shaping up. Which means bikinis, popsicles, cream and white and lace, the perpetual aroma of grilled meat in the air, and general dubiousness of coverage.

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Which means cowboy boots.

(I have a bruise, inconveniently)

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Garance Doré at one point explains that The Sartorialist doesn’t quite approve of cowboy boots because they are proportionally unflattering to the leg: where they hit on the leg, somewhere around the calf or in the inches beneath, is invariably shortening and widening, no matter how tall you are. I basically agree with this observation, they don’t elongate the leg, but a long leg is not the only path to charm.

I’m put in mind of the kind of fashion rules individuals impose on themselves for specific reasons; tall people (that is, people who think themselves too tall) who won’t wear shoes that add height, short people (ditto) who won’t be without shoes that add height, people who decide a certain color or shape is off the table, etc. This kind of thing, for me, must be determined on a case by case basis. These boots don’t make my legs look longer…but my legs aren’t especially short. No need for evasive maneuvers.

It is perhaps helpful to have one’s identity (as it relates to one’s body, at least) in place before delving too deeply into questions of style. Then again, questions of style can speak directly to questions of identity in many cases, and these things evolve together.

Like the age-old question, “does this make me look fat?”  Fat is a loaded term these days but even if it weren’t, this is a poor question. The real question behind this question (and behind the initial translation, something like “does this make my body look how I do not want it to look?”, or maybe “does this frame my body in a truthful way?” and “is that a truth I want to share?”)—and the question I ask myself—is, “does this fit?”

[And then, “do I like it?”]

Or like, “do these shoes make my feet look big?” Well, my feet are big. Bigger than average. Size 10. So, probably, yeah, they do. What else is to be expected? Such logic bypasses the formulation of the question. But this doesn’t seem to get at the real question, which rings of hazy insecurity and inadequacy. Big compared to what? Compared to whom? What is wrong with big?

These strike me as very complicated questions that get at murky issues of identity and image and control and the beauty myth (the myth pervading our culture that the way you look is under your control, if only you knew enough, spent enough, and moreover it is your responsibility as a woman to be as beautiful as possible, and here is a narrow definition of beauty here for your reference, and thanks, without you continued preoccupation with this goal the economy would collapse).

After all, I am proportional and healthy, and having a complex about this would be sad indeed.

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What was I saying? Oh, I like these boots.

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One’s own face looks so creepy from the side, no?

Crocheted cover-up (haha) from eBay, Red Carter bikini, boots from some Western Boot emporium in Colorado, Mulberry bag. On the lips, Body Shop Color Crush in Coral Cutie (a really lovely deep orange color. I like the texture as well, quite creamy and juicy). The blush is NARS Taj Mahal, which is a stunning gold-flecked burnt orange. Beautiful on the eyes as well. Earrings and cuff both gifts from GeekOutsider (thanks, CPL!).

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the tuxedo blazer

On March 10, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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One of the trends I like is that of the casual tuxedo blazer, especially with worn-in boyfriend jeans.

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You know how there’s this kind of transition area between the lips and the not-lips, maybe 1-2mm? I was experimenting with coloring that area in (I usually don’t), to maximize the lip territory. It had a pretty dramatic effect to me, a little weird (unfamiliar) but not technically overdrawn (which nearly always looks off), just… bigger. This reminds me of my thoughts about pearl stud sizes, and how 1mm can make such a difference in the appearance of the size. Faces aren’t very big, was the conclusion; small changes have an amplified effect.

I went to the grocery store after this and an 8 year-old boy actually craned his head as far as it would go to watch my lips walk by, his mouth slack with distraction. This speaks to makeup being both arresting and slightly scary. I get a lot of positive feedback from this 8 and under demographic – the younger the child, the more bright lipstick seems to delight them. I’m right there with you, kids. What will those wacky giants do next? I don’t know either!

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Wool tuxedo blazer from Isabel Marant for H&M, AG jeans (thrifted), J. Crew cardigan, Old Navy camisole, Adidas Spezial sneakers, Pearl Paradise golden akoya studs, scarab necklace. On the lips: Revlon matte lipstick in Really Red (I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how much I like these Revlon matte lipsticks) with a dark red Avon pencil…Cabaret or something? And this is the NARS Exhibit A blush again, which I like as much as ever. I find it quite youthful, not a sophisticated tawny shade but a true blood-in-the-cheeks, fresh-from-the-cold shade.

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AND: Hurrah for daylight savings.

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the fisherman’s sweater

On February 3, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

A sweater and jeans makes an excellent uniform for warmer winter days.

I can’t remember if I’ve yet mentioned wanting to knit a sweater. Well, I do. An Irish fisherman style cable-knit sweater along these lines (for I want a green one).

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love leather and knit textures together

Oh, and I got a floppy wool hat. I sometimes think such hats look silly when the hair is tucked underneath, without any tendrils escaping or anything [I can’t really have the kinds of tendrils I mean. Alas, it is not my lot to have long, faintly curling wispy tendrils. Though I can fake it.], but…I go back and forth.

IMG_1130This is the scarf I knit a few years ago. Light and flexible, forgot I had it for a while. A closet review is definitely in order. What is the use of excellent, carefully chosen belongings if you cannot remember that you have them?

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Carraig Donn sweater (thrifted, a men’s small and properly cozy), Express leggings, Eric Michael boots, wool hat from Chicwish, Pratt & Hart leather mittens, 9mm studs from Pearls of Joy, Mulberry bag. On the lips, Revlon lipstick in Black Cherry (I couldn’t find it so I got another). On the cheeks, Chanel cream blush in Fantastic.

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