so fancy: the underwear edition

On June 9, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

There is a wonderful uselessness to pretty underthings that sometimes appeals to me. An unnecessary-ness. A superfluous fanciness. To make matters more conspicuously impractical, they are often uncomfortable, too, as one always seems to learn the hard way. Then, too, he fancier they are, the closer their kinship to the realm of panties in my mind; that comical, ultra-feminine diminutive. Hard to say it with a straight face, even, and yet, once in a while, so pretty. So satisfying to secretly (or not so secretly) be wearing.

calvin klein satin gauze underwear lingerie

I usually wear black, white, or tan cotton underwear. I am no devotee of “fancy” underthings…but I can appreciate them now and then. Picked up this gauze and satin number from Calvin Klein on a whim one day. Pink, too.

One feels rather badass in such underwear. With or without pants. Perhaps because—at least when they are novel, strange—in your physical experience of them you are more conscious of your body – cannot forget about your body, as it is otherwise so easy to do. Perpetual awareness of the body affects movement and attitude, for me almost always in a positive way.* This really goes for any physical novelty, high-heels being another good example (if you don’t wear them all the time), or just any piece of apparel in which you feel different, like something new, like you have a new shape, or a new texture (a new haircut has a similar effect, I think).

*If I am self-conscious about some part of my body on a given day I perhaps hope to forget about it, admittedly. I am rarely self-conscious about anything but acne, though, and as I get older I am less self-conscious and more just…cranky. How I hate acne.

IMG_9251-mod

Channeling Scarlett

If you haven’t ventured into the land of unnecessarily pretty underwear, I urge you to consider a trip. Novelty is powerful in the game of style.

x

Gold Trench No. 4

On November 2, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

IMG_8992

For an effortless, sheer shadow with low-level sophisticated shimmer, look to the Burberry Sheer Eyeshadows. The Burberry makeup line is nice across the board, great formulations for lips, base, eyes, face, but for the most part I think it’s too expensive to be truly tempting, and their colors are overwhelmingly neutral. If I am up for the Burberry price tag, I go to Chanel (blush, lipstick), Dior (eyeshadow), or Guerlain (bronzer), where the options are iconic, proven, and where I’ve made happy choices in the past.

That said, these eyeshadows are really so nice. They are not highly pigmented (one popular way of determining the quality of a shadow) but we do not hold this against them as it is not their purpose. Their purpose is to be uniformly pigmented and slightly creamy in texture (imagine the texture of a Dior shadow with half the pigmentation) such that they give a foolproof wash of color that is ideal for a polished, understated look. Their colors are virtually all shades of beige and brown, and they are lovely.

I plumped for the shade Gold Trench #4, a beautiful pale gold (I wish this were the color of my trench coat). As if I needed yet another gold eyeshadow. I also like Pale Barley (silvery taupe) and Midnight Brown (chocolate brown). Great for an easy single shadow look.

endless summer

On May 20, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

It’s strange how fully I (and we, as a culture, it seems) fall for the myth and the romance of summer given how, at least here in the Boston area, summer is a horrible, humid stretch of days during which one attempts to stay in the air conditioning as often as possible. I am miserably hot for the better part of summers here, if I think about it, a fact I seem conveniently to forget sometime around January, and fail to remember until June. It’s really only nice for a few days here and there, and usually only part of those days, before and/or after a sudden, unforeseen downpour.

I still feel the consumerist desire to kit myself out for the mystical stretch of the year that is summer, however. I want to be prepared for the impending vacances (I am not scheduled, at the moment, for a single day of vacance, reader), the long, languid soirées (ditto soirées), the sangria and mojito filled late afternoons (I will be working through virtually every one of those afternoons…).

Still I read such articles as ’10 summer must haves’ and ‘5 best lipsticks for summer’*. I want to wear orange lips, too. I really do.

*ALTHOUGH one is always taking in more data than one needs, and carefully over-preparing for hazy impending events. So…not necessarily a waste of time. Not entirely a waste of time/money.

This is to say, I am living in a fantasy wherein it seems I need to prepare for a life that doesn’t quite (at all) coincide with what is realistically (even just based on the statistics from last summer) going to happen. Really it is likely to be like a lot of the rest of the year, just inconveniently hot.

Yes, but! I could go to more parties this year! I might! Be invited to more! And then actually go!

I could.

I might.

I’m considering it.

So I probably need a new dress. A new bikini, clearly. And some lipstick. And, like, special summer moisturizer, and better legs, somehow. Suddenly my legs won’t do at all?  I need which products to mollify the gods of summer?

And somehow all the stuff I did and got for last summer and the summer before that (and the summer before that…) do not quite cut it?

Summer is such a genius cultural myth, capitalism-wise. I will give summer that. Even seeing through it, I genuinely fall prey to some of this marketing. Some of it overlaps with basic optimism about life (it’s optimistic to hope to go out, to plan social events, and to plan for the trappings of those events), and in some cases I just want the kind of stuff I want all the time, and the season provides a fresh context in which to want it. And in some cases it overlaps with common sense, like needing lighter clothes for summer, or sunscreen.

I like the kind of beauty looks that always crop up around summer, sheer, natural looks that tend to focus on looking healthy and fresh-faced. They hark back to the 60s and 70s concept of the American beauty, when the fashion magazine industry had just sprung up to document a world of fashion, and American models were known for their overflowing good health, athleticism, and a preference for natural (or natural looking) faces.

What I’m leading up to is: I bought some summer lipsticks.

And they are excellent.

IMG_3369

Lipstick Queen’s Endless Summer collection has a sheer, emollient formula like that of Jean Queen (the formula I wanted their Saint lipsticks to have, and they don’t quite), which I’ve already mentioned liking so well.  I think this kind of transparent formula, its texture hovering somewhere between a cream and an ointment (shea butter-based), its pigmentation unassailable, is effortless, foolproof. I think it’s on par with Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shine formula, and at a better price (if fewer colors). Want to get someone a gift of lipstick? Get them one of these (especially Jean Queen, which is a dark, I would say universal pink). Or one from Chanel.

IMG_3374

Stoked is a gently orange-toned tomato red, and Perfect Wave is a blue-tinged bubble gum pink. Stoked is the winner for me, but orange reds often are.

IMG_3379

Oh, OK. Here are some swatches.

I like the name, too. Endless Summer. I have summers that live on persistently in memory like this, seeming not to fade or lessen in their significance over time. Ready to be turned to, returned to, at any moment.

IMG_3373

I really like this packaging, too. This metallic orange  is beautiful.

I would wear these all year round.

 

P.S. For the record, I prefer autumn.

 

winter lips

On December 7, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

IMG_0026

I like that people seem to be more open to lipstick, and especially bold lipstick, in the winter. I support that.

Here are some of my favorites just now, in a range of fall/winter shades. [Though I would wear these colors year round. Rather I do, or will.] While I see the logic behind the seasonal shift toward a darker palette —as the environment grows dark and somber so do our clothes and the colors we find compelling and suited to the season—I see choosing bright colors as a natural reaction against this trend and a great way to be unexpected, playful. As much as I need the plums and the burgundies (and I do need them, oh yes), I also need a respite from them.

In my mind this makes complete sense.

I’ve been sporting both brights and darks, mattes and shines, with a selection of pigmented and sheer formulas.

Pigmented formulas first:

IMG_0031

L to R: Rimmel Apocalips in Big Bang, Revlon Cherries in the Snow, NARS Funny Face, Lancome Rouge in Love Fiery Attitude (wearing here), MAC Dubonnet (wearing here), Albeit Vermillion, Rimmel Kate Moss Kiss of Life, MAC RiRiWoo, Tom Ford Narcotic Rouge (wearing here)

While I love orange in the summer, I think fuschia makes a great bright lip for winter, from the floral pop of Revlon’s Cherries in the Snow to the rich bordeaux of Lancôme’s Fiery Attitude (again, for the record, I love this formula).

The internet is full of blogs dedicated to swatching, which is my way of telling you that I am not going to do it because I don’t want to (so I would never do a truly good job, you see? It’s better this way). For now, trust that these reds are all completely different. I would also include MAC’s Brave Red here, only not pictured because mine melted a little, and Revlon’s Black Cherry, not pictured because I can’t find it. Now that I can’t find it I really, really want to wear it. Right now.

Pleased to find that the Albeit lipstick I picked up in the Anthropologie holiday sale is lovely. Creamy, beautifully pigmented, Vitamin E, cool vintage gold bullet, etc (wearing here). And RiRiWoo, though I was suspicious of the hype, is awesome. Awesome, people. The reigning red of the moment (wearing here).

On to the sheers:

IMG_0034

clockwise from top left: Revlon Balmstain in Crush, Lipstick Queen Saint in Berry (wearing here), Revlon lip butter in Fig Jam, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Esprit, Almay Liquid Lip Balm in Candy Apple

Sheer formulas are what I tend to carry around in my bag,  beloved for their quick and easy application and general compatibility with a slapdash approach. I like all of these formulas but especially the Lipstick Queen Saint lipstick* and the Chanel Rouge Coco Shine. So smooth, such a uniform slick of color, such pleasant texture. If you want to give someone the gift of lipstick, I suggest you give them Lipstick Queen in Jean Queen or a Chanel Rouge Coco Shine. These formulas are that rare combination of stunning and friendly.

Or you could get them RiRiWoo, if it hasn’t sold out again already.

*A cool concept. There are two lines: Saint, with 10% pigment, and Sinner, with 90% pigment.

I like the Almay liquid lip balm, too, which is kind of a cross between an ointment and a gloss. Some of the other colors in the range look horrid but this one is natural and nice, sheer but with a distinct tint.

OK. Go forth and brighten thy lips.

a few favorite summer lip colors, vol. i: coral

On June 21, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

In the name of summer, I made a mess on my arm for you.

Coral, whether of the orange or the pink subspecies, is a quintessential summer shade that looks good on so many skin tones. Just like there is a red for everyone, there is a coral for everyone (in contrast, there doesn’t necessarily seem to be an orange for everyone – or perhaps orange is more polarizing, and people are less open to finding that perfect orange). It can look quite natural sheered out. Then, too, with good opacity it can look awesomely unnatural.

It also goes so well with what are for me the other quintessential summer colors; white, gold, turquoise, cream…

The line between coral and red-orange/orange-red (which will be next) is blurred, so this selection is slightly arbitrary.

IMG_4861

IMG_4855

Kate Moss Matte Rimmel lipstick in 110, Korres Mango Butter lipstick in Coral (sheer), Maybelline Color Sensational lipstick in Coral Crush, Maybelline Color Sensational Vivid lipstick in Shocking Coral.

These are showing a tiny bit too orange…better to look at a variety of swatches and sort of deduce the color. […best to see it in person] I have no ambition to be a great swatcher (so many blogs do it better than I ever will, with my attitude) but I often find comparisons like this useful.

The Korres Mango Butter lipstick is maybe my favorite here. It is sheer, similar to all of the tinted balm-type options every brand has come out with now, but smoother and more moisturizing than any of the other versions I’ve tried.

The Kate Moss lipsticks are such great value, and the pigmentation, particularly in the matte line, is solid.

x

Pages:12»