Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Modern Dickens

My best outfits usually come to me all at once, in a gestalt. With this one, I can't say which came first: the booties, the shirt, the skirt, or even the belt. All the elements just work together, and showcase perfectly my love of textures, muted colors, and a sartorial sense of humor.

Everything: J. Crew.
My faithful and overworked webcam cannot convey the highlight that pulls the outfit together and elevates it into Dickensian realms. For that, I had to resort to a close-up with my iPhone.

Olive green canvas, black leather, crepe soles, and Victorian-style lacing . . . These booties by J. Crew are an unexpected delight. I paired them with dark brown tights. Since I had on a simple black pencil skirt, I added texture with a selvedge chambray shirt and popped a dash of color via a butterscotch-tan patent leather belt. (That's Rescue Beauty Lounge No More War on my nails.)

For whatever reason, I'm drawn to creating outfits that are a pastiche of at least a couple of eras and finished with a modern twist. This one is absolutely no exception. It's just on the right side of over the top themed, and I was able to wear it to work -- and garner compliments.

This last shot in the full-length mirror may give a better idea of how the booties work with the clothes.

A jolly good effort on my part, don't you think?


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Seventies Super Suede Sweater

When I saw this vintage sweater in Venus on the Half Shell, I flipped out. It's a SUEDE SWEATER. Talk about seventies goodness.

Sweater: vintage. Pants: AG Jeans. Shoes: J. Crew.

Close up, the sweater turns out to be diamond-shaped panels of suede woven together.

All the suede gives this sweater a substantial weight and heft. The dolman sleeves are enveloping.

Such a heavy sweater needs heavy jewelry as counterbalance. The gold-plated cuff is from Free People, while the necklace is from Shopbop.

This outfit is all about heavy textures and earthy colors. These calf hair driving moccasins are a good complement.

These photos actually were taken last winter; I can't believe I've sat on this outfit for so long. It's a fabulous twist on seventies style. Long live suede.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Nails: Rescue Beauty Lounge No More War

To think that Rescue Beauty Lounge No More War wasn't even on my want list. I picked it up only because it had come back into stock along with Sheer Nude, and I felt guilty spending shipping on one bottle of nail polish.

The name is misleading. "No More War" evokes associations with camo green, when the color is in reality a deep, muted, earthy olive green.

There is a heavy brown undertone, which I suspect is causing my nails to skew slightly less green in these photos than they do in real life. Be assured that the color is distinctly green to the naked eye. The brown does make No More War much more wearable than it may seem in the bottle.

Temptalia has beautiful swatches, while Polish Police does a good job of showing the balance between green and brown. No More War appears brighter in their swatches than it does in mine, but the shade does wear rather dark on me most of the time. After all, for most of the day you're not training a light on your nails directly.

The formula is slightly jelly-like, and the finish catches the light in a squishy sort of way. Two coats rolled on perfectly to achieve a smooth and opaque manicure. My nail technician was in ecstasies over this bottle and asked me where I got it. The next day, my high school students complimented me on the color. I can see why teenagers would like this funky shade.

Rescue Beauty Lounge No More War is a very unique color for a polish. Factor in the excellent finish and wear time, and this is one polish you need to grab before it sells out again (edited: too late, I must have gotten lucky). Now if only they would restock Diddy Mow.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lips: Laura Mercier Kissed Lips

Such a juicy shade. Laura Mercier Kissed Lips, from spring 2012, is a shiny, wet, saturated pink coral.

This is my first Laura Mercier lipstick, and I'm just taken with the tube. It's the smallest I've ever seen, and the effect is so cute. It's like a Hello Kitty tube. Perfect for a tiny clutch.

What else is there to say? It really is that bright; the coral practically is neon. In the tube, the color looks shallow, but on the lips it turns into a pink-peachy-orange extravaganza. It's 100% fun, but it also can be sexed up (and dialed down) with the soft taupe and purple eyeshadows from the season's palette. After all, the collection is called Lingerie for a reason.

Laura Mercier Kissed Lips sounds like a little girl's play lipstick, honestly. In reality, though, it is built for a woman who wants to heat the spring and summer evenings up.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lips: YSL Glossy Stain 07 Coral Aquatique

My first makeup item was lip gloss. I would wear lip gloss every day, to every occasion. Lately, though, I've crossed over almost exclusively to lipstick. I like the more mature look that lipstick gives me, and the fact that it doesn't get sticky or fade so quickly. Sometimes, though, I feel a twinge of guilt at neglecting my old standby. YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain just may turn out to be the absolution I've been seeking.

Meant to combine the high shine of a gloss and the long-lasting color of a stain, this new product from YSL really does perform. The color of the season is tangerine, so I chose to begin my experiment with 07 Coral Aquatique. 

The tube is short and squat, and the convenient little window in the side tells you exactly which color you're reaching for and how much of it remains. The applicator is not the typical doe's-foot, but a heart-shaped sponge at an angle. This design allows for high precision, which is refreshing in a lip gloss. The only issue is the very short shaft of the applicator: even with the angled head, I have to be careful not to bump into my bottom lip while doing my upper lip.

Coral Aquatique is a soft, elegant coral that still adds a dash of vibrancy to your face.

As you can see, this one starts out quite glossy. The texture is weightless and when you press your lips together, you feel a slight tackiness. There is none of the slipperiness, however, that is so common in lip glosses.

Of course, the next thing to do is to test YSL Glossy Stain's performance over time. After a couple of hours and a cup of tea, I looked in the mirror again. This was the result:

The gloss has begun to fade to a stain, just as advertised. The coral looks more pink now, and the shine is now a shimmer. The overall look is still very pretty; much prettier, to my eyes, than my camera was able to capture. As for the texture, my lips had become tackier, but I liked how it told me that the stain still was there.

I then put YSL Glossy Stain 07 Coral Aquatique through the real wringer: a heavy dinner. I was brutal. The stain barely limped through.

 The damage looks pretty bad, right? Most of the color is gone, and along with it the moisture. There still was some tackiness--enough to prevent me from rubbing my lips together easily--which told me that some product remained. 

And when I compare the above photo to the one below of my bare lips, we realize that quite a bit of color is indeed clinging on.

I would definitely reapply after a meal, but it's nice to know that my lip color won't die completely halfway through and leave me with naked lips.

To review:

Freshly applied.
After two hours and a cup of tea.
After six hours and a heavy meal.
Control group: bare lips.
My lips naturally have very little pigment, so I like the idea of a lip gloss that gives lasting color. YSL Glossy Stain really is an ideal marriage between a gloss and a stain. I would reapply after a heavy meal, but that's still better than reapplying a typical lip gloss every hour. Now I'm interested in how one of the darker colors perform (I ordered 05, 07, 17, 18, and 20 from Sephora). I found the swatches by Drivel About Frivol very helpful in making my selection, and I first learned of this product from Best Things in Beauty

Bottom line: YSL Glossy Stain 07 Coral Aquatique is a hybrid lip gloss/stain that delivers, but not perfectly.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nicholas Kirkwood Roses & Bottega Veneta Splatter

The winter sale season is winding down, and with that hopefully the shoe-induced damage to my wallet. I picked up two pairs from Neiman Marcus this week.

First up, the Nicholas Kirkwood floral-print satin pump.

The print is lovely, and I can see myself wearing these to holiday parties with either cocktail dresses or dark cigarette jeans. What cinched the deal for me was the description of the low-cut vamp as leg-lengthening; this shot of Kirsten Dunst certainly is convincing.

And then I have long admired this Bottega Veneta printed silk T-strap pump ever since seeing it in a beautiful ad spread. Tonight, it popped back in my size range.

The chaotic, exuberant Jackson Pollock print is reined in by the delicate ladylike straps. Asymmetrically arranged colored jewels on the front add to the shoe's louche charm.

Now if only I could afford that dress.

Beautiful shoes are on their way to me in the mail. As always, a prayer to the shoe gods: may they fit.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ivory Angora Wool, Black Chrome Boots

It's all about juxtaposition and balance. Soft and hard, ivory and black, slouchy and fitted.

Sweater: Viktor & Rolf. Leggings: J. Crew. Booties: Diane von Furstenberg.

When I saw this Viktor & Rolf alpaca wool turtleneck tunic for sale on La Garconne, I was instantly drawn to its voluminous softness.

The sweater feels amazing in person. It is soft, fluffy, and drapes beautifully. The tunic can be worn either below or on the hips; I went with the latter in order to lengthen my legs.

I had no trouble deciding on what footwear to pair with the sweater: my Diane von Furstenberg leather booties. The gold band at the wooden heel and the seam running down the front terminating in a slightly pointed toe combine to make this a unique, eye-catching bootie.

For the final contrast, I went with bold garnet lips: Red My Lips by Ken Downing for Le Metier de Beaute. A single piece of jewelry was all the ensemble needed.

Conclusion: a pitch-perfect harmony of counterbalancing elements. If I do say so myself.

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