Jul 242014

As I work toward my professional certification in personal styling, one thing is becoming clear: I will be offering hairstyle design services.

“Hairstyle design” may not be what you think. I cannot cut or color hair. OTOH, many talented hairstylists don’t have the training in line and proportion to design a flattering look; what they have is the technical skill to recreate the look you request, an idea about haircuts for certain face shapes and, in most cases, their own innate sense of style.

imageSo, if hairstylists can’t tell you what the most flattering hairstyle will be, who can? A certified personal stylist!

Now. Back to the stated topic: camouflage of a double chin. Curving the hair in around the neck can help disguise a wide neck or double chin. And, perhaps counterintuitively, keeping black away from the face helps too.

May 132014

I don’t know how many of us here at the bottom of the fashion food chain go for cosmetic dentistry, although I certainly considered it when I had my dental nightmare. Since going off fluoride altogether a year ago, my teeth have stabilized at the not-bad yellowish-white pictured on the left here. I am pretty content.

However, I do notice what the people around me look like and, consequently, wonder about teeth whitening from time to time. I have gone so far as to buy a kit of whitening strips, but then I was afraid to use them because of my tooth sensitivity. When Smile Brilliant offered me the opportunity to review their affordable, at-home, LED whitening system, I went for it. The picture on the right is after three weeks of two x week use (it can be used more frequently but I have a show which opens this Friday). 20140513-130733.jpg20140513-130745.jpg


  • I ordered the desensitizing gel, but I did not use it for fear of fluoride; I did not experience ANY discomfort in using the whitening process.
  • It is easy and convenient. I just put the whitener on, stuck the guard and the light in, set a timer, and sat down to do my blogging.
  • I let my daughter try it too and she noticed whiter teeth in a single application.

Smile Brilliant is offering a giveaway of an LED Whitening Kit like the one I am using.
To enter:
“Like” Smile Brilliant on Facebook
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Subscribe to Smile Brilliant Promotions

Good luck and happy smiling!

Apr 142014

Simultaneous contrast refers to the change in the appearance of a color due to the influence of other color(s) nearby.

When I started wearing Maybelline New York Color Whisper by Color Sensational Lipcolor, Petal Rebel, 0.11 Ounce, I wondered if I could be imagining the effect: my teeth look yellower. I suspect it is the coolness of the color, which looks quite lovely against my skin. As long as I don’t open my mouth 😉

Warm-Cold Contrast:

In the colour wheel, the warm colours with red and yellow components are located opposite to the cold blue hues. Green and magenta form the neutral transitions. The effect of a predominant colour can be increased when combined with an accent from the opposite colour. This combination makes warm hues appear warmer, and vice versa. (Cartouche)

To be honest, I am not exactly certain how to apply this observation. But I took some pictures. (The color on the right is: Maybelline New York Color Whisper by Color Sensational Lipcolor, Coral Ambition, 0.11 Ounce)
Petal rebel close upcoral ambition close up
Petal rebelCoral ambition
Now, if only I could figure out how to insert them right-side-up!

Mar 272014

This week’s blast-from-the-past post was inspired by my daughter’s friend who played Anne of Avonlea (back in spring, 2007); she didn’t want to keep her hair red, even though it looked quite natural on her, because it was harder to get dressed than when she was blonde. Whether you color your hair bright blue, red like Anne, platinum or black, an intense color will affect the way your outfits go together.

Consider the following:

  • Which of the hues present in your personal coloring – hair, skin, & eyes – are neutrals and which are colors?
  • Considering the colors present in your personal coloring, including any unnatural hair color, what is the level of intensity of each?

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I suspect many people end up wearing all black with their intense hair color, simply so they don’t clash. Some more creative solutions:

  1. create a color harmony which mimics your coloring.
  2. combining colors harmoniously, balance the bright hair with another bright.
  3. mixing different intensities of one color.

And, btw, yes, red-heads can wear red. It’s an analogous color scheme.

Mar 262014

I have always disliked lipstick. Why? I wish I knew. Although, as I write this, it occurs to me that, as a generally big-picture person, it makes sense that as I grow into my own style idiom I first focus on clothes and hair, then shoes, followed by the finer details such as jewelry and makeup. It is a process. More detail-oriented women may begin by dressing more simply and completing their ensembles with a little jewelry and makeup, later moving into wardrobe upgrades.

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I find, as I get older, that I like bare lips less than I used to, so I am in somewhat of a conundrum and not very motivated to get out of it. Recently, however, I have noticed a little more interest in trying some of the new lip color products out there; especially since the lip look of the Spring 2014 moment is orange. 🙂

Then, sometime in the past several days, my internal ramblings took me to the intersection of the following thoughts:

My epiphanic conclusion:

lipstick is a big picture visual cue that this is a styled look.

Mar 252014

Comments on this recent post got me to researching what fades in our coloring as we age, makeup application, and a bunch of related topics. For example, did you realize that the facial skin of a Caucasian woman typically darkens with age? I certainly didn’t! Having been called “Casper” for many years, I was not inclined to consider being able to find foundation light enough to wear a bad thing 😉

Here are my takeaways from this train of research:

  1. Match foundation to a lighter area of the face, such as where the jaw and neck meet. I actually took one back and exchanged it (believe it or not there was one lighter shade). (Maybelline New York Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation, Porcelain Ivory Light 1, 1 Fluid Ounce is rated relatively non-toxic, feels lovely, and is very affordable.)
  2. Wear a little lipstick, as much as I hate to say it. Also, your David Zyla “romantic” color is probably youth promoting. Hey, do you suppose that is why young ladies typically dislike pink?
  3. 20140324-210550.jpgMary Louise Parker is less than a year younger than me.

  4. And, most critical of all: do your eyebrows!

Could it be that alot of the women who look overpowered by their dyed black hair have allowed their eyebrows to go soft?

Mar 242014

Rather than an aspect of natural coloring, it may be more helpful to consider hair like an article of clothing : changeable.

Does that help you?

Even if, like me, you maintain completely natural hair color, thinking of it as a color you choose is helpful. It is clearly an element of which you are in control. While hair is arguably the most noticeable component, it BECOMES part of your overall look, it does not establish it.

Many women get attached to the idea of a hair color. They were blonde as a child, for example, and want to stay blonde as an adult, but end up choosing a shade of blonde which clashes with their skin. If they then choose the rest of their wardrobe to match the hair, they end up looking pale, clownish, or otherwise less than best. This pattern is not exclusive to blondes.

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By way of application of this idea: you will look better – more alive, more “ageless” – if you select the components of your look to compliment your skintone, rather than your hair. And it is more practical; you should not have to change everything else if you change your hair color.

Admittedly, the stimulus for this post is my ongoing mental dispute with the color analysts using hair color as a defining characteristic.

Mar 122014

In light of my recent “old” trauma (stealth pun?), I did a little research into how it is we humans so quickly assess what kind of a person we are seeing. Among the various models I found of recognition, I think feature-matching is most often employed.

Feature-matching: search for simple but characteristic features.

Undoubtedly, gray hair is a simple but characteristic feature of the elderly. What is important is styling. Unstyled hair can be very pretty; but unstyled gray hair presents a very different archetype from unstyled hair in any other color. (Actually, harsh black-dyed hair has a similar effect to gray, IMO.)

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It is not easy for me to want to make certain my hair is styled everyday, but I need to in order to feel like myself.

me, after my hair appointment today

So it made me think, “what are other simple but characteristic features?”

Perhaps this is where the importance of shoes to idiom comes in.

Mar 102014

Since reading How Do 50+ Women Become Visible? at the blog Privilege, I have been ruminating on this quote:

people are hard-wired to make sense of other people by matching them to a known visual pattern.

(Really. It keeps coming back up.) 😉 Mainly my thoughts have been colored by the question,

what known visual pattern am I representing to be suddenly getting “old” comments?20140307-171412.jpg

So I wasted my afternoon spent a little time researching the psychological principles behind perception, recognition, and grouping. And there is alot that pertains to what to wear.

Browse related books.

The quote referenced above was prefaced by a story in which the over-50 author and her daughter go shopping together and are greeted with much greater friendliness by the sales staff than she, the author, receives alone. Having myself only recently started receiving any recognition at all when shopping, I don’t know that salespeople are friendlier to young people as much as they recognize a mother-daughter pairing as a buying unit.

What follows the quote is a highly entertaining collection of style archetypes among 50-75 year-old women. What scares me most about them is how many of them are associated with doing stuff. Like, “don’t look at me and expect me to do all the work just because my hair is grey!”

Because somehow, even though it is pretty, my hair is perceived as grey; grey hair is the defining visual feature of “old”. Now I just need to figure out what the defining visual feature of “ageless platinum blonde” is 😉

In the meantime, I am seriously considering biffing all my gray, or at least the light gray tops. The principle of similarity states:

when objects look similar, people tend to group them.

Feb 052014

Body image continues to be a sensitive topic. It breaks my heart to see some of the things I see on Facebook about what people say to each other; and yet I don’t think not being free to talk about it at all is healthy either.  Please, can we just be kind and honest?

Browse body image books.

Some people have been wounded by messages from their parents; others from teachers, babysitters, relatives, or “friends”. And then there’s popular media.

Much has been made of media influence on self-image. It certainly adds fuel to the fire of comparison:

But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.  2 Corinthians 10:12, ESV 

When I was growing up, I read alot of fashion magazines. (See Vildy’s comments on previous post for a great illustration of that influence.) But media delivery has undergone radical change in the intervening years. What would you say is the source of the most dangerous body image messages today?