It's the time of year when those of us in the Northern Hemisphere start thinking about buying swimsuits, so I want to give all of you a chance to pick up your style type's Swimwear Guide, if you don't have it yet. Scroll down for the promo code!
The Swimwear Guides expand on the information given for swimsuits in the Shopping Guide. They have sections for suit types, top types/necklines, bottom types/leg cuts, patterns, color schemes, and details.
My experience with swimsuits is some of the best evidence from my own life of the importance of knowing one's style type and dressing for one's face.
I talked about this not long ago. I have the flattest of flat busts, so supposedly I should wear ruffles or other details on my bust to make my top half look curvier. But that stuff is ridiculous on me. I'm an Ethereal Natural, and simple tops are so much better for me. In my best EN suit, I don't look busty, but I do look really good.
(Some of you out there with a ton of Ingenue will look amazing in the top on the left!)
If you spend a lot of time picking out a swimsuit, consider getting your type's Swimwear Guide. It will narrow your search and help you find your best suit more quickly.
And if you spend a lot of money on swimsuits, spend a little on a Swimwear Guide to save yourself money in the long run. These days, I wear a swimsuit until it gets holes in the tush! I don't need to keep trying new styles because I know what looks good on me.
Your promo code is 2019SWIM20. The promotion expires this Sunday. :-) Enjoy!
Not sure of your style type? Try the Style Identity Calculator.
...says reader D.C.
She seeks help determining her season, and also wonders whether she should make her hair darker or lighter.
When a woman tells me she hates her natural color, I immediately suspect she's a muted season - i.e., a Summer or an Autumn. Those are the seasons whose colors are in-between, hard to describe, often nameless. We think with language; I believe we dislike in-between colors in ourselves because we don't have the language to conceptualize them.
Here's the thing: If you think your hair is "blah," chances are the rest of your coloring is similarly subtle and blended. Putting Crayola-colored hair next to your blended skin will only make you disappear.
Keep your hair as muted as your skin, and surround the whole vision with similarly quiet colors, and watch everything suddenly come into focus.
Your natural hair color flatters you more than any other color can, and its subtle beauty is always revealed when it's placed in the context of your best colors.
Compare Lady Gaga in unnatural hair colors, on the left, to Lady Gaga in something more like her natural hair color on the right.
Which of these ^ women looks the most healthy? Which looks the most comfortable in her skin? Which looks the most confident? Which woman isn't afraid to be real with you?
Unnatural hair color is a look, for sure. It makes a statement. But it may not be the statement you want to make.
Natural hair color says, "See ME. This is who I am. I know myself and I like myself. I am not afraid and I don't want to hide from you."
That kind of power and presence isn't blah; it's beautiful.
Original version published September 2015.
The vast, vast majority of style advice is about your body. Have you noticed this?
How to make your bust look bigger if you're flat-chested, or smaller if you're busty. How to make your tush look rounder or how to disguise a really big tush. How to make your legs look longer if they're short, or shorter if they're long. Et cetera.
I have a tiny bust and narrow hips. And fashion gurus have been telling me all my life that this makes me a "rectangle, " and that I should dress in a way that makes me appear to have a narrow waist and a full bust. For example, I'm supposed to wear padded bikini tops with ruffles. This site tells me I need "Dresses that add definition to your bottom and necklines that add meat to the upper body. " This site says "always add belts to your tops and dresses. " This site says "You need to create the illusion of a waist."
When you stop and think about it, you realize that style advice like this is based on two assumptions:
1. Other people are mainly looking at your body, not your face.
2. Every woman looks most beautiful when her body appears as a perfectly proportioned hourglass.
Neither of these things is true.
Number 1 is obviously false. You'd be hard-pressed to correctly identify anyone but your closest family members if you could only see them from the neck down. By contrast, you'll recognize a face you haven't seen in 20 years, even if it's been changed by age. Our brains are wired to notice and remember faces. When we look at other people, that's mainly what we're looking at.
Number 2 is also demonstrably false. Some women with ample curves look most lovely when their curves are exaggerated, and some full-figured women look most lovely when their curves are downplayed. Some women with flat busts and hips look best in clothes that emphasize the flatness, and some look their best in clothes that create a suggestion of curves.
A curvy woman who's more lovely in clothes that de-emphasize her curves: Jamie Lee Curtis:
A less-curvy woman who looks her best when her curves are played down, not emphasized: Emma Watson.
A curvy woman who looks much better when her curves are emphasized than when her curves are obscured: Christina Hendricks.
A woman with a straight silhouette who looks lovelier when the illusion of curves is created: Olivia Wilde.
In each of these cases, "body type" has nothing to do with what clothes are flattering. There are women of every body type who look fantastic with a cinched waist and a sweetheart neckline. There are women of every body type who look amazing in rectangular or squarish silhouettes with no waist or bust emphasis.
What's the controlling factor, then? The face.
Jamie Lee Curtis has a primarily Dramatic face that's flattered by long, straight lines and minimalism.
Emma Watson has a primarily Gamine face that's flattered by shorter straight lines and small shapes.
Christina Hendricks and Olivia Wilde both have faces with a lot of Romantic, so they both look great in clothes that create the impression of a sexy, womanly figure. (I suspect Wilde has Dramatic and
perhaps Classic as well.)
As an Ethereal Natural, neither of my dominant identities is flattered by a sexy, full bustline or a cinched waist. What's the point of me appearing to have an hourglass figure if that figure clashes with my face, which is what people are actually looking at?
I look my best in a sort of abstract, feminine minimalism that feels casual. My bust is unemphasized and my waist is uncinched, and it looks great.
"Body type" advice is bogus.
Despite what you've been led to believe, we are all focusing on your face, not your body.
To achieve visual harmony, dress for your face.
Not sure of your style type? Try the Style Identity Calculator, or invest in a virtual analysis.
Last week I talked about the fact that, though all of your palette colors are gorgeous on you somewhere, they don't all look natural on your lips.
Now I want to describe a good way to figure out which of your palette colors are best on your lips.
In a nutshell, the colors that will look most natural on your lips are
- your MLBB,
- darker versions of your MLBB, and
- a handful of colors very close in hue and value to these
Your MLBB is your "my lip but better" lip color. You may already have a lippy in your stash that you know is your MLBB. If you don't, stand in front of a mirror with your palette and locate the peach, pink, red, or violet that is precisely as dark as your lip and the closest to it in warmth or coolness. (Your natural lip color will be less saturated than any of these palettte colors; you're basically finding the more saturated version of your natural lip.)
A lippy that's an MLBB will always look natural on you. Additionally, colors that are the same hue as your MLBB but darker will also look natural on you. Going very dark within your MLBB hue might be your evening lip, but it won't look unnatural.
In general, avoid opaque colors that are lighter than than your MLBB. This usually looks unnaatural.
The other colors that will look most natural on your lips will be the colors closest in hue to your MLBB, and as dark or darker. So if you're a Bright Spring whose MLBB is on your fuchsia strip, you may indeed be able to wear one of Bright Spring's violets as a lippy; the violets are close in hue to the fuchsias. You will find less luck with one of BSp's orange lippies, because orange is pretty far from fuchsia.
My MLBB is a neutral Soft Autumn pink that's medium-dark. I'll wear other pinks and reds that are very close to this color in hue, but I won't go all the way to a Soft Autumn brown -- even though those lippies exist.
Also, I'll go darker than my MLBB, but not lighter.
A lippie lighter in than your natural lip rarely looks natural.
Tarte Quench Lip Rescue in Nude is an MLBB for me. It's easy to throw on when I want some moisture but I don't feel like bothering too much with makeup.
CoverGirl Outlast in Wine to Five is a slightly darker version of my MLBB. It's been my staple daytime lippy for about five years; I order it in bulk on eBay or Amazon.
My sexy lippy these days is Tarte Tarteist in Bling, which is a very deep version of my MLBB. It's a Soft Autumn red lip -- which means it's striking on me, and would be rather blah on most other seasons. :-)
Though they vary quite a bit in value, all three of these lippies are similar in hue.
If I feel like it, I''ll go somewhat warmer or somewhat cooler within my palette. But I won't stray super-far from this central MLBB hue, and I won't go lighter in value, unless it's a gloss.
And this is what I recommend you do as well:
Find the hue that looks most natural on your lips, and choose lippies that stay relatively close to that hue.
For example, if your MLBB is an orange, experiment with your reds -- but don't stray all the way to a violet, unless you want to make a statement. :-)
And if your MLBB is a violet, experiment with your reds and purples -- but don't stray all the way to orange.
When you know your MLBB, use your seasonal makeup list and a computer to find the lippies from the list that will look the most natural on your face.
(Computer images aren't completely color-accurate, but you don't need them to be if you have the seasonal makeup list; if it's on the list, it's a color from your season.)
Just check the computer image to make sure the hue and value of the lippy seem right for your lips. Then buy it!
This post was originally published in March of 2017.