Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sarah Jessica Parker (SJP)

I hope that SJP never reads this post - she may get angry with me for finding her way-back 80's pictures.  However, I wanted to blog about how easy it is to miscategorize a Soft season and how Hollywood stylists can completely create a new image for someone.  It's amazing when you look back at celebrities before they make it 'big' how drastically their look changes.  Take a look at SJP in her 'pre' Sex in the City days:

In this photograph, Sarah is a deep brunette (nothing like her current blonde mane with dazzling highlights).  She is wearing clear spring colours and her face looks drained and pale.  This look actually 'ages' her.  I think that very often brunette soft summers are miscategorized as other seasons - I think this occurs because they actually do look good in a lot of colours because of their neutral skintones (meaning they have elements of both cool and warm tones).  However, I can't blame SJP here, it was the 80's and we all know that the 80's was all about being as flashy and colourfull as possible.  Here are two more photos of SJP sporting her brunette hair colour:

In these two photos (without that crazy turqouise background like in the first photo) - you can easily see the ashy tones in her hair - this makes it a little bit easier to find her best colours.  It is clear that she belongs in the cooler spectrum, but the bubble gum pink is still too 'much' for her - In the last photo where her makeup is softer, you can really see that she benefits from the soft, cool tones vs the clear, vivid shades of the first two photos.

Now, take a look at SJP today (wearing her soft summer colours):

SJP looks her best self in this photo - I love how her makeup is soft, minimal and brings a glow to her face - she looks healthy and young!!!  She also looks like she was born a natural blonde - I love how 'fresh' she looks here!!!

These are the 'perfect' makeup shades for SJP = her lips are a dusty mauve-rose shade, her eyes are a smokey blue-grey and her cheeks have that stunning rose flush - the soft summer shades bring life to her face vs draining her (compare this picture to the very first one and you will see what I mean)!

Here is another example of how the hazy, muted and dusky soft summer shades really suit Sarah!!!

I really wanted to shine some light on the fact that brunettes are very often categorized as a deep or clear season, especially when their hair is darker and their eyes are hazel or a green-grey shade.  Very often brunettes who fall into this category are 'misplaced' when trying to find their season.  Most of them do end up veering into the cooler colour spectrum, which is not necessarily a bad thing,but its the 'softness' that they really need in order to glow and look their best.  Hurray for SJP - she has really found her 'best self' and embraced her soft summer colours - SJP: You look amazing!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Katie Holmes for Ann Taylor

Have you seen the new 2011 ad campaign for the Ann Taylor?  STUNNING!!!  Katie Holmes has recently become the new face for Ann Taylor and she is simply 'perfection' in the ads - everything from the soft colours to the classic look of Ann Taylor's clothes - the overall effect is pretty, romantic, soft and elegant (all the qualities I admire and seek out).  I have always looked to Katie Holmes as a style inspiration - she has such a classic, timeless look - a little bit of Jackie O and Grace Kelly mixed together.  I particularily love Katie's makeup in these photos - I tried to google what makeup she's wearing but didn't really come up with anything concrete, but the colours are definitely soft, with a dusky rose lipcolour and blush!  Check it out:

I love the background scene for this photo and ad - the soft shades of nature compliment the tones of the clothes and makeup she has on - I really wish I knew what makeup she was wearing here, I'd run out and buy it all - its gorgeous!!!

I love everything about this look - the neutral-light soft beige trench is fantastic - Katies hair looks so soft and touchable - I love the colour and style and as well (a beautiful medium brunette shade thats been toussled and layered to perfection).  I love, love, love this look!

Katie looks so elegant in this navy pantsuit - This is the perfect work look - Again, her hair looks amazing in this ad - I love how its wavy and very natural-playful looking!!!

Check out this behind the scenes photo from the Ann Taylor photo shoot - Katie was such a perfect choice for the ad campaign!!!

Bravo Ann Taylor for choosing Katie Homles to be the model in your ads - your 2011 ad campaign is elegant and sophisticated!!!

Dusk and Smoke

Lately, I've been paying attention to the soft, cool, dusky colours of the Soft Summer palette.  I have to say that I absolutely adore the smokey greys, mauves, taupes and plums.  Dusk in the dictionary is: the beginning of darkness in the evening, and occurs after twilight, when the sky generally remains bright and blue.  Take a look at the following 'dusky' scenes:

The colours in these scenes are cool, soft, yet at the same time 'greyed' and hazy.  Dusky colours are often described as muted, grey, ashy - you hear the words: heather, stone, silvered taupe, steel blue etc.  Soft Summers looks 'amazing' in these kinds of colours,  They need a muted, hazy, dusky colour palette to look their best - here are a few examples of makeup that would look stunning on a Soft Summer (Note: Soft Autumns also need a muted, soft palette, but their colours are warm, with more of a golden cast vs the dusky, cool shades of SS):

Bobbi Brown makes fantastic colours for the soft summer woman - in this picture, her mauve palette is shown.  The model is definitely deeper, but the colours are so elegant for a SS.  I love how the blush is soft with a plumy-mauve base and how the shadows have that taupey-grey undertone - stunning!  The lip colours shown seem a bit deeper, but often Bobbi Browns colours go on very sheer - SS really shine in tan pink, dusky rose and plum-rose shades.

I think this eyeshadow shade should be a staple in every SS woman's makeup bag - its a very hazy, heathered mauve shade - the colour itself is called 'icy heather' by Jordana

These shades are Fantastic for SS - notice how the grey shade has a plumy-taupe undertone and seems very 'dusky and hazy' - this is exactly what the SS woman needs - also the rose shades are dusky and muted as well!

The SS woman can really pull off the taupes quite well - especially if its mixed with a plum, grey or smoke undertone

Plums and plum-taupe shades are ideal for the SS - cocoa is another colour that is stunning on a SS - notice how these colours posses an element of warmth without being overtly warm - this is exactly what makes SS unique and different from a true or cool summer - SS's have a very slight warm undertone and should not be afraid to play around with brown shades with a cocoa or taupy-plum undertone!

Here are a few more examples of SS eyeshadow shades - once again, Bobbi Brown is the Soft Seasons best friend, her shades are perfect for the soft summer and autumn!

I love Blushbaby blush by MAC for a SS-its the perfect blend of pink-beige-rose and goes with almost any look!

Tawny blush by BB is another 'no-fail' soft blush - its the perfect neutral pink shade!!!

Brownie Pink would be a great soft everyday look for a SS - its has that tan/sandy pink undertone and if you wanted more depth, just layer it on top of your favourite neutral lipliner!!!

NARS Dolce Vita would also be an excellent choice for a SS - its the perfect rose shade and its also been recognized as a 'universally flattering' shade!

SS's need to be careful when choosing a red for evening - anything too bright or deep and it will throw off their natural beauty - Try Capricious lipstick - its a plum-rose (the lipstick is pictured above) or for a deeper evening look, try 'Party Line' (its the swatch picture shown above) - a softer burgundy toned lipcolour.

My all time favourite SS lipliner is 'Soar' by MAC its described as a pinky-brown shade!!

Finally, here are two Soft Summer looks, so you can see the whole effect of the colours working together to create that beautiful dusky look:

This model looks stunning, elegant and beautiful in her SS colours - Notice how the colours blend into her skintone and you see her best features without seeing the colours only - this is how you know you've found your best set of colours!!!

Kiera Knightly looks stunning in the soft colour palette - I love her lipcolour and blush - it reminds me of Blushbaby and Brownie Pink - very elegant and stunning for a day into evening look!!!

I hope you enjoyed me post about the SS colours - I think anyone can wear these colours if they're going for a soft, muted look!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Those Summer Nights......

My journey through colour analysis has been very bumpy with a lot of confusing holes and 'forks' in the road.  First of all, as most of you know - I love colour, playing around with colour, creating different makeup looks and simply having fun with makeup!!!  I will never stop having fun with colour, but at the same time I really want to find a look that suits me - a set of 'no fail' colours that really bring out my inner glow.  I've had a really difficult time trying to figure out my best colours because there was always one thing that was 'off' - I could be a clear.......BUT my eyes weren't clear.  I could be a warm.......BUT my hair and eyecolour have that cool undertone.  I could be a winter.......BUT there is just something about me that is slightly too soft to a true winter - can you see how I could get confused by the various options.  I never quite 'FIT' into any of the main seasons - Until I posted my 'Naked Face' post on a facebook page called '12 Blueprints Colour Analysis" and listened to what people had to say - the verdict was 'Unanimous' - A 'Deeper' Soft Summer/Possible true summer.  I had never really considered summer as an option or even being a 'soft' - if anything, I thought I was warm and clear - how wrong was I???  However, after reading about the soft summer and what various people had to say about this season colour type, its was clear that soft summers are the most "miscategorized" type - because they are mainly cool, with some warm undertones, many having grey-green eyes (hello??? ME) and a mousy haircolour that 'needs' some highlights or richness - I also researched some classic soft summers and they were all celebs that I have 'always' admired.  Anyhow - I decided to go though my makeup case, pull out the 'deeper' soft summer shades and get to work - here is the look I came up with - and I can finally say with 100% certainty that my search is finally 'over'!!!  There were some cool summer suggestions and although I like these shades, after I played around with them, I found them to be just slightly too ashy-cool for day, but because I'm a 'deeper' soft summer, I can encourperate these shades into an evening/glam going out look:

For this soft look I used:

Sephora's white pearl shimmer on my eyes as a base (sorry don't have the name - got it in a gift set)
I then blended Copperplate and Charcoal Brown with an eyeshadow brush and applied the colour on the lid and into the crease.  I lined my eyes with Coffee (a cool-dark taupy brown) and blended 'Coquette' into the top liner and also used this shade on my eyebrows - these are all MAC shades
I blended 'Blushbaby' and 'Breath of Plum' blushes on my cheeks and on my lips I used 'Soar' lipliner and topped it with 'Patisserie' Lipstick

Here are a few of my favourite soft summer celebrities:

Katie Holmes:

Kate Middleton:

I have always admired both of these ladies makeup looks and now I know why!!!!

Jeans Shirts, Dresses and Blazers

When you hear the words denim or jeans, most people automatically think of their favourite pair of comfy pants.  However, there is so much versatility when it comes to denim - but the key is not to 'over-do' it - you don't want to go 'jean crazy' wearing it head to toe (although, with the right mix of denim shades and other materials layered in, I have seen this look work very well).  I like classic styles and I wanted to pay a little tribute to the various ways you can add demin to your wardbrobe:

The jean shirt is such a classic American look - I love it!!!  I purchased a jean shirt from the GAP about a year ago and its such a staple in my closet - I love wearing it open with a white top underneath or layered under a navy sweater with the denim cuffs exposed - its my go to preppy-look!!!

Sienna Miller apparently likes her jean shirt too - I love how she'swearing it with a grey top underneath and with a similar grey-denim pant.  I think that when you layer various denim shades, the look is casual but not overdone!

The spring/summer months is when you want to pull out that jean shirt, especially if its got the 3/4 sleeves - one of my favourite looks for the warmer months is a 3/4 sleeve jean shirt with white jeans or pants - its such a chic look and if you pair it with a classic pair of silver hoop earings, you look turns from casual into casual-chic!!!  I also really like the look of a classic white shirt with a jean blazer layered on top - again, its casual/classic, but add those extra accessories and details and you've just created a really urban-chic style!

The thing that I love about jean shirts and dresses is that you can just throw them on or layer them with something uber-casual and it gives your look such a classic feel!  I often glance through magazines to see how celebrities are wearing certain looks.  I love how Blake Lively is wearing your little jean dress with a pair of black pumps - its so casual-classic, yet sexy all at the same time.  Having a pair of killer legs definitely helps!!!!!!!!

The jean shirt layered with shorts is the perfect for a fresh summer day - when its not too hot and not too cool.  I also 'love' white jeans for summer - they are so classic and you can really play them up or play them down - accessories and how you choose to wear them can really be asset when you're wearing denim - it can take your look from everyday-sloppy to classic to bohemian to sexy - its all up to you and how you choose to express your style!!!

I love shirt-dresses - they are so feminine and pretty.  The jean shirt-dress is equally as feminine!  I love the whole notion of combining the romantic-appeal of a dress with a more casual material like denim!  I especially like this particular picture because it shows just how essential the belt is for this look to work - I Love it - the look is so pretty and cheerfull !!!

Here is another example of how to work the jean-dress - this looks seems to take it up a notch - I love the silver studded belt and the detail on the cuff - this look is still classic, but it has that extra edge and sassiness!!!

Finally, I had to add something about the jean blazer because its another classic way to add denim.  I particularily like when the jean blazer is darker, almost desguised as a navy blazer.  I thinks its a great way to add demin in a more sophisticated way - blazers are always classic and be layered with pants, shirts or dresses. 

Jeans are great and the best part is, denim and jeans go way beyond pants and jean shorts - I love the look of jean shirts, jean dresses and blazers - they add that balance of casual-chic.  Denim can really be played up and accessorized, so don't be afraid to 'play up' your jean look and most importantly, make it work for you!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My naked Face

In a 'final' attept to discover what some of my best colours are and to determine my skin tone once and for all (cool, warm, neutral) and season, I've decided to take a picture of myself in the most natural light as possible, wearing 'zero' makeup.  I've actually had some e-mail requests to do this as well - it just took me a while to get the courage to sport the true 'le no makeup look'.   I'm really eager and excited to hear your feedback and comments:

Some of the things that I noticed right off the bat is how 'grey' my eyes really are - they are actually a grey-green shade and when I magnified them, there are a few amber flecks right in the centre, but the dominant colour is 'grey' - also my lips have a natural plum-rose tone to them and it seems to me that my skin-tone really does have a pink-beige tone to it vs olive (which is what I originally thought).  My own feeling is that
'clear' may not be my 'best' season, but that I am in fact a 'cool winter' - but, as I mentioned before, I'd love to hear your opinions and get your feedback!!!

Dinner and Garden Party

I have to admit that I'm not really a bar/club scene kind of girl - I mean, in the 20's I did hang out with my friends and go to various bar/lounge like places, but it was never really my 'thing' - I always prefered a smaller,more intimate gathering - I love talking to people, cooking together, simply hanging out and enjoying my time with people and things that truly matter to me.  I remeber one of the first times I went to Europe to visit my family in Ukraine - I was a young teenager and the culture there was so different than what I was used to back home - but one thing that Europeans really have a grasp on is the concept of a dinner party.  If its someone's birthday or if a family event is coming up, the plan is always to go to someone's house, make a lot of food for guests to enjoy, break open a few bottles of wine (or vodka - lol) and simply 'enjoy' the company of the person you are honouring that night.  Lately, I've been really thinking about the whole notion of a dinner party and one of my 'Dreams' is to rent a villa in Tuscany or a small French country house, invite a small handful of my friends and family and throw the best dinner party ever - here is a little tribute to my 'Vision' of the perfect dinner party:

I think renting out a villa or cottage would be the perfect place to host an intimate dinner party - I love the  feeling of anything 'rustic' and I love the country - French country decor has always inspired me and there is something so wamring to the soul about being in the country with people you care about the most - add a great meal to this and you have the perfect 'evening'!!!

The thing that I love about dinner parties is that you can make or create them to be as casual or elegant as you want.  You can create a warm, rustic atmophere and give your guests a theme or simply tell them to come casual and comfortable.  I have to say that throwing themed dinner parties is one of my favourite things to do.  Some of my most memorable nights have been 'Morrocan Night' - where I made a medly of morrocan and middle eastern food, had belly dancing music playing in the background and used spicy 'colours' to add some extra pizzaz to my table.  'Italian Nights' are always a bit hit too - I really enjoy making various pasta dishes and I made a pesto-cheese garlic bread that was out of this world.  I put together an olive and cheese tray and I know this bakery where they make the most velvety tiramisu ever for dessert.  In the background I had some soft italian music playing or sometimes I get out some Italian opera classics for a more elegant Italian night in!

They key to a successfull dinner party is the 'Mood' you set - I like to take inspiration from movies, books I've read, pictures I've seen etc - Garden parties are great because they feel very so 'regal' for some reason - I love watching foreign films because you get a ton of fashion/dinner ideas - I remeber watching one Italian foreign film where everyone was outside having this amazing dinner under the stars, candles were lit, pasta and bread were served, wine was being poured - I remember wanting to jump into the tv and be a part of that entire experience.  Perhaps, that's the word I'm really looking for - Experience!!!  Your guests should leave satisfied, saying to you "that was one of the best experiences I've ever had"!!!

I like to really think about my dinner parties - I put a lot of thought into what food I'm going to make, the mood and atmosphere, how I'm going to set the table, what wine I'm going to serve my guests, what dinner plates I'm going to use etc etc etc - If you really take the time to think about the small details, it will come through in the end result - your guests will be really impressed!

The menu is essential in throwing a great dinner party - its important with various food allergies and sensitivities now-a-days to ask your guests if there is any ingredient you should avoid in planning and making your meals.  It doesn't look good is one of your guests hates broccoli and you serve a broccoli soup and steamed broccoli with your steak - always ask your guests if there are any food intollerances or dislikes you should know about.  From my experience with dinner parties, just like restaurant dinning, food should always be simple yet tasty.  I don't experiment with new herbs and spices the day I'm preparing for a dinner party and I like to stick with a balanced menu - something hearty combined with something light.  Unless, all your friends are vegetarians, I think some tender, fall off the bone meat is the way to go, with a side of roast potatoes or potato gatin - I once went to a dinner party where the host made lamb shanks with a rich side of mashed potatoes and asparagus and to this day, its one of my most memorable dinner menu experiences.

There are a ton of great cook books out there - if you need some dinner party ideas, head over to your local book store and just browse through the various cook books (sometimes I take a note pad with me and simply jot down some ideas) - its a fantastic way to plan a menu when you're lost or unsure what to make!

I hope you enjoyed my post about dinner parties - they can be a lot of fun and hosting them is a fantastic experience.  The next time your friends all want to get together, suggest a dinner party and ejnoy the 'experience'!!!