Friday, 20 January 2017

Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

I have had a capsule wardrobe for most of my life and never called it that.  In the past few years  I strayed from that approach and experimented and didn't think too much about how much was enough or anything at all beyond experimenting and the fun of hunting for things in thrift shops and trying new colours and styles.  Except for those few years of play which were fun for awhile but are now over, I have always had a small wardrobe of mix and match pieces with a consistent colour palette and styles suited to both my taste and my needs.

There were definitely limitations imposed by budget and availability and in the past my need for a work wardrobe influenced the types of clothing I spent the most money on.  I had never heard the term capsule wardrobe nor was I in pursuit of any sort of minimalism, I simply didn't by outfits but purchased items singly which would work with at least two or three items already in my closet and impulse purchases or purchases that went beyond need were rare. I tended to keep my bottoms neutral and use colour and pattern in the tops. A simple formula.

My time spent experimenting eventually brought me full circle but what is different now is that it seems a way of dressing which I believed was imposed on me due to a limited budget is actually a way of dressing that suits me for a variety of reasons.  Here is some of what I figured out about myself and clothing.

* It has turned out that I don't  mind a simple wardrobe at all.  I prefer it.

* My life is casual and it would not surprise me if I never needed to wear a dress or skirt more than once every couple of years ever again.  

* I wear skirts or dresses in summer by choice but in winter I find myself not wanting to wear the tights or leggings and finding the excess fabric involved rather a nuisance. 

* For awhile, dressing up was fun but it grew tiresome and complicated and basically clothing began to get in the way of my movement.  I don't believe that is a standard, across the board sort of thing. It's personal.  What feels good on our bodies, what is comfortable versus what is a nuisance is a very personal thing.  We can change over time too.  I was once more comfortable in more formal clothing than I am now.  For a short time I was in love with jersey, leggings and tunics, but then found these got baggy and slouchy and attracted a lot of cat fur. 

* Not every style that I like works out for me and not everything that looks flattering is practical.   I tried on some clothes today and they looked great.  I loved the colours, they were very hippie-boho-free spirit looking and they suited me but I knew that they were too fussy.  I would regret the purchase and I just don't have a lifestyle where I need clothing for sitting around or walking around looking good.  I stay home and I read, write or paint.  Once or twice a week I go out for a couple of hours for a bit of shopping or meeting my someone at a cafe.

* I love to be comfortable -wait let me rephrase that because who doesn't like to be comfortable?  I like my clothing slightly loose because that is what feels comfortable to me.  I like body skimming things, I wear my jeans a bit loose. 

* I am neither interested in dressing up to display my creativity nor am I someone who loves to live in pyjamas or sweatpants. 

So I have what these days is called a capsule wardrobe and it adjusts slightly for the weather, with adaptations for very warm or very cold or wet.

Many capsule wardrobe suggestions include things like a pencil skirt and a blazer and a little black dress.  I don't need those things.  I also do not own a white button down, chambray button down, trench coat or Breton top.  I am definitely not doing the French Chic capsule wardrobe.  I have stopped wearing black and am finding myself quit content without grey. Although I still like grey I just am not sure it likes me.  My neutrals are denim, cream and brown.

 It may not be the most fun way, but if I've got anything figured out it's that I don't look to my clothing for fun. It is absolutely self expression because any form of clothing is.  Our clothing says something even if it is saying something we do not wish it to.  It might be saying "I have no idea what suits me or what I like or I do not care".  We have little control over what our clothing choices say to anyone else.  People advise us to make sure our clothing choices say what we want them to be saying.  Perhaps that is possible to some degree but no matter what we think our outfit is saying we don't have much control over  what other people hear.  Better to wear things because you like them than to worry about what anyone else thinks and that goes for being flamboyantly stylish or under the radar casual. 

For people who like the details, this is what I wear for Winter

This list doesn't include underwear, pyjamas, socks and the gloves, hats or rain boots I also have on hand for inclement weather.

Some of these items would be part of my Autumn or Spring wardrobe with small changes-additions or swaps.

5 pairs blue jeans-two casual straight leg, two casual boot cut, one dressier boot cut

4 long sleeved tee shirts

3 casual blouses (2 of these I have to admit to not wearing much)

1 fancy blouse (not worn much but it works for 3 seasons)

2 knit tops

1 pull over sweater

3 cardigans

3 tank tops to layer for warmth

3 prs lace up boots -hiking or granny style

1 parka

1 quilted vest 

assortment of scarves and jewelry, 1 belt

I am NOT making any claim about or attempting minimalism and I am not aiming for any specific number of items or imposing any rules on myself.  I included the numbers only for interest.  This is more clothing than I actually need, but I am not immune to the pleasure of something new or the possibility that I might find a cardigan better than one I currently have.  The quest for the perfect cardigan seems never ending and I am happy to continue that mission.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

On Impatience and Ice Cream

On Facebook someone recently posted a link to a video in which a woman is talking about how she is not as calm as people think she is and in actual fact she 'loses her shit' all of the time.  She makes a funny presentation which I think is largely the point.  The poster commented, along with sharing this post, that she thinks anyone who says they don't do this is lying.

Can you hear my eyeballs rolling?  That justifcation for our own behaviour-oh everyone does it and if they say they don't they are liars- is ridiculous.  I rarely 'lose my shit' if ever.  I just don't.  It's not how I am.  And while it's true that I only had one child and one annoying husband, I was also an elementary school teacher with a classroom full of children.  I do not react to frustration by 'losing my shit'.  I do not yell.  I do not get angry easily.  while I won't say never, as I can recall times when I have, it's easy to recall those times not because they happened yesterday but because they were so rare they can probably be counted on one hand.  My mother is also like this.  As a parent she was a firm disciplinarian but she did not yell and she did not hit randomly or with things.  Yes we were spanked, a practice she no longer believes in and which I did not use on my own child.  The spankings of my childhood were never dealt in anger, and they were rare.  They were private, deliberate, and dealt with a bare hand on a bare bottom because my mother believed she should always be able to feel how hard she was hitting.  I come from calm and rational people.  We do not 'lose our shit' and that's no lie.

In case you are wondering, none of us are perfect, however calm we may be.  What I suspect is a truth is that everyone has their own way of dealing with overload.  I also suspect some people choose to have

 My struggle is that I am a binge eater.  No purging is involved, just guilt and shame.  There are ways of managing this tendency and the best one I know is to only stock ingredients in my kitchen and not snack food.  By ingredients I mean, generally meat, dairy, produce and uncooked grains although I eat very little of the latter.  Condiments, tomato sauce or soup stock is also a kitchen staple.  If there are cookies, crackers, candies, ice cream, chips, bread or even boxed cereal that is what I will eat and I will eat too much.  If feeling overwhelmed, tired, emotional or bored that is the food I will turn to.  I eat those things only when I have bought them as a treat in a small quantity.  Until recently I would have told you that this is my strategy because I haven't got willpower.  It is interesting to note that recent studies by psychologists are beginning to suggest will power may be a myth.

How is will power a myth?  The idea is that people who claim or seem to utilise will power are actually doing something else.  They are either using a strategy like mine or they do not feel the typical urge in the first place.  For example, my mother tells me she rarely actually feels hunger.  If I let myself get too hungry it gets difficult to control and the urge for a quick hit of carbohydrate takes over and if I let myself have it I do not stop at enough.  My mother rarely gets this feeling of hunger and is much more able to deal with a bit of hunger by eating a carrot stick.  Current research is apparently suggesting that this difference between my mother and myself may be something we cannot change, therefore my strategy for managing it is the best solution and that what Mum is doing is not will power, it is just the way she is.  Mum also does not like chocolate, which seems to be a rare attitude but not eating the chocolate candy sitting in a bowl in front of her would not be about will power.  It would be as easy for her as it would for me to ignore a bowl of mints.

As I write this I am beginning to think that my mother may be one of the rare people who has very little difficulty with any impulse control because she does not seem to feel any impulses.  I suspect that isn't true but she may possibly be someone with fewer of them or the type that are less readily triggered in daily life.

I do not get angry easily at all, I do not yell, I do not typically lose my patience and I am not lying but I don't think that's anything to brag about but I dislike the inaccuracy of the suggestion that if I make that claim I must be lying.  If there is a tub of ice cream in my freezer I will consume the whole thing in as short a time as I possibly can.  Depending on the size of that tub this will probably happen in a 24 hour period.  If you do not do this, have never done this and cannot even conceive of doing this, I do not call you a liar.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

MBTI for Healing after Emotional Abuse

Studying Myers-Briggs typology (MBTI) and finding my best fit within it has contributed greatly to my healing from emotional abuse.   There is much criticism of the MBTI and it certainly is not based in what most people call hard science.  It is a model with limitations and is often misused or misapplied but it still has some use and it remains popular.  Some have compared it to astrology but I think that comparison is based on some misunderstanding as well as the tendency for internet users to spread memes and and write blog posts that suggest it is a guide to personality in its entirety.  Unlike astrology, which claims that your time of birth has some sort of connection to personality traits or to how your life will unfold, MBTI describes 16 different sets of cognitive styles and posits that everyone falls into one of these categories with some variation  (It's somewhat like how many different women might wear a size 6 but not have identical body shapes.)  and works from the hypothesis that how you think will have some significant effect on how you behave.

I am not going to spend much time explaining Myers Briggs or defending it nor explain how I arrived at my own type, but I spent some time at it beyond just a quizz or two.  I studied the eight cognitive functions in order to identify my dominant four which is what leads to a designated type.  In my initial conclusion I made an error based on mistaking behaviour and values I was taught for my own preferred behaviour.  The fact that this can happen illustrates that these types are in no way an excuse for bad behaviour or unhealthy behaviour because we can all adapt and modify our behaviour to some degree.  There is a stereotype that the INTJ is usually an unfeeling robot genius.  This is a bit silly, but the stereotype persists and perhaps it is there because an emotionally unhealthy INTJ is likely to perform this way but it is not a given that every INTJ is cold and socially inept. It is possible that INTJs need to put extra effort into learning social skills as they may not come as naturally as to other types.

(I used the word behaviour five times in that paragraph)

I have spent most of my life living with people whose types differed significantly enough from mine  that it was obvious that I was the oddball.   In varying degrees of subtlety I got the message that I was a bit defective, a bit off, a bit too intense for most people to take.  Whether that message was intended or whether that is just how I took it I can't really know.  But later in life when I married, I did end up married to someone who steadily and frequently told me that I was defective, wrong, incapable, and in general causing him strife and harm.  I have since learned that this is called gaslighting.  Anyhow, it worked.  It was persistent and consistent and pervasive and I was perhaps already primed, because I already knew I was different.  It wasn't a big leap to turn different into difficult.

Fast forward to my emancipation and the journey of self-rescue.  Reading about a cognitive style that fits me, matches many aspects of my personality and shows me that while I may not be typical I am just fine as I am has been a very healing experience. It is obvious to me that MBTI is quite irrelevant for some people.  It worked well for me and contributed to my healing so I am inclined to be supportive of anyone who is interested and to suggested to anyone who is trying to better understand themselves.  When you need to heal from emotional abuse and gaslighting, anything that can help direct you towards self-understanding and self-acceptance is a good thing.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Musings, Migraines and MBTI-It's All Stuff in my Head

If you are one of the few followers of this blog you may have given up by now and I can't blame you.  Posting is sporadic at best.   I simultaneously do and don't care and I contemplate ending, finishing, wrapping up, concluding or just walking away from my blog as it feels somewhat less purposeful than it did when I began.

On the other hand, I probably won't abandon it.  It is possible that I like to think I entertain, amuse, inform and connect with others through my blog though I have no interest in making money, gaining followers, improving the blog or attracting sponsors and advertisers.  I have no interest in making it pretty or finding my niche and I have lost my interest in giving much thought to personal style, which is where this blog began. 

It is and always has been, one of many journals I keep in order to explore thoughts.  I am as inconsistent in all my journals as I am here. 

The battle with migraines is generally going in my favour, and I've got medication for the painful ones but still frequently experience ocular migraines.  Thankfully, those ones don't hurt but they require resting the eyes and are such a visual disturbance that there is little to do other than close my eyes and wait it out.  The first time I experienced one I said to my then husband, 'Either there is something wrong with my vision or there is a giant blob of ectoplasm floating in our living room.'  If you know me you will know that the former was my true conclusion and the latter my sense of humour, however I did request that he confirm my diagnosis by reporting that he saw no sign of any ectoplasm.

When your hobbies and passions are visual- painting, reading and writing-  then vision disturbances are a nuisance at the very least and potentially rather distressing.  I try audio books, TED talks and random pod casts if I must spend some time with my eyes closed and I favour pedantic ones in case you are wondering.

Speaking of pedantics and obsessions and my interests in general, having recently worked my way to a conclusion regarding my personal colouring after some inadequate conclusions, I have also revisited my Myers Briggs category.

The Myers Briggs types are not in any way hard science but they have more validity than horoscopes.  It is easy to misunderstand or misuse them though and that leads to both confusion and to some people dismissing them as total bunk.  There is some difference between soft science and pseudoscience and absolute nonsense is a whole category of it's own as well. My goal is always to weed out pseudoscience and nonsense but soft sciences have a place.  Many aspects of the human experience are difficult to measure.

The Myers Briggs types do not describe personality though they might contribute to an understanding of personality.  They describe cognitive processes and I would argue that how we think is definitely going to influence a great deal about who we are, but so do our genetics and our environment.

I have always tested as INFJ and it seemed like a very good fit but it is quite true that we can make errors in self assessment and thus mistype ourselves.  Even when taking well designed tests, self-reported behaviours may or may not be accurate.  The test must be taken with a very clear perspective on how one actually does think as opposed to how one believes one should think and some confusion can arise if behaviours are influenced by social pressure or feelings of "I ought to" and thus are not the way one truly wishes to behave.  The less typical one's type the more social pressure might be felt to behave differently and not true to that type.

It is now my hypothesis that this is what happened to me.  INFJ and INTJ can appear quite similar and do have some common cognitive processes.  INFJ is a less common type in the overall population, perhaps the least common type of all.  INTJ is not as uncommon but is largely made up of males.  The INTJ female is less common than any type and does not fit with feminine norms as dictated by our culture. I ruled it out for myself initially without even considering it, influenced by stereotypes I think and that reminds me of how I was also put off the Dressing Your Truth type 3 category initially.  While I have concerns about Carol Tuttle's qualifications as a therapist I remember reading or hearing her tell someone to look at the category you are afraid of, the one you think you really don't want to be or can't be.  

 I was raised by a wonderful mother who is a type that is highly associated with feminine norms so I internalised many of her values and her messages about what it means to be a good female. This is not a bad thing and probably makes me a more rounded person, but in mistaking how I believed I should think for how I actually do think, I selected responses on the MBTI tests which contributed to an INFJ result.

Since I've not considered making this blog one that examines MBTI in detail I don't, at the moment, think it's worth writing about everything I considered and how I came to recognise my error.  I will remind anyone who is wondering, that MBTI is not a personality test and everyone is still an individual with their own unique genetics and experiences making up who they are.

The use of MBTI is in better understanding your own style of thinking and that of others, in order to facilitate understanding and communication.  For me, it's very helpful because I so often feel like an alien.  Knowing that there is a reason I find it harder to fit in and so often feel like I am faking it which is exhausting, and that I may be different but not broken is as helpful as understanding that those who are not like me are also not broken seems like it should be intuitive and in many ways it is, but I always like evidence and reasons to support intuition.  If I understand how you think I can better understand what you think and better understanding is among my very core values.

Can I be certain I am INTJ or INFJ or anything else? Not with 100% accuracy, no.  I am more certain about what I saw in my living room that day being caused by an ocular migraine. However, my confidence in having moved from a quite likely MBTI result to a result that is the most likely is nearly as high as my confidence that there was no ectoplasm.

Friday, 25 November 2016

A New Painting

I am not a very disciplined person though I wish I were.  Much of my creating happens in spurts of inspiration, moments of  just having to write or paint because something needs to come out.  There are long dry spells where I just dabble and slide into negative self talk where I tell myself that clearly I am not a writer or a painter. 

I set the bar high, very high, and perhaps too high to ever reach.  At what point would I consider myself an artist?  If someone purchased something I'd created?  If some outside authority proclaimed me a writer or a painter would that then make it so in my mind?  I suspect not.  I seem to be prone to something called imposter syndrome.  I always think to myself, gosh how am I managing to fool everyone?  How am I getting away with this?  Any day now I will be discovered, revealed as a pathetic fraud just like The Wizard of Oz.

I put a photo of my latest painting on my Facebook page and am getting positive feedback I had not expected.   Today, I feel like an artist.  Today I feel that because I made something that has left an impression on other people, that I must be doing something right.  Most of the time I create for myself, or at least I create because I have to.   But art is communication and communication has to reach somebody somewhere, somehow, and all I ever want to do is connect with people.  To make something that someone responds to emotionally means everything to me. 

As usual, this is a mostly finished piece which I will probably observe for a month and may add to slightly.  I don't like to name my abstract pieces because I think that limits what others might see in it.  I believe that although I had an intention when I painted this, it becomes more than that when others look at it.  Having said that, it does have a name.

                                                              Inner Child

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Revival of 90s Lipsticks


 I wasn't aware of brown lipstick as a nineties thing, and unless it was popular with children and babies I don't remember much of anything that was on trend in the nineties.  But since the nineties were two decades ago everything nineties is now officially vintage and those who came of age then are old enough to enjoy reviving various aspects of its popular culture.  Brown lipstick shades were popular then, ranging from orange browns to maroon and since I have recently discovered that the brown shades of lipstick are what suit me best, I am right on trend for the nineties brown lipstick revival.  As annoying as it is to be accidentally on trend when I loathe being trendy, it's good to know that my favourite lipstick colours are readily available.  Having spent much time and too much money figuring out what works for me and feels right, I am now fearful of my favourites being discontinued. 

Doesn't that always seem to happen? 

Whether I am looking for a nude, soft and peachy, medium basic neutral look, or my version of red, what works is always a brown based colour.  It works so well I have accidentally purchased identical colours in different brands and formulas because my radar is now so finely tuned to terracotta.

Long lasting formulas tend to be drying, so although I've experimented with them I would rather have a cream formula and just reapply it when needed.  I've found that if the formula is too sheer and oily it doesn't give even pigmentation and a pearl or gold glitter effect can resemble dry patches. 

Even when I thought I was neutral-cool toned I knew that brown was the right direction and always chose browned mauves.  Moving in a warmer direction I still look for brown but I've learned that brown needs to be the dominant colour.

Last year I went searching for my version of red.  I knew already that red in the tube, whether warm or cool, did not work for me and always ends up looking like a neon sign on my face.  I knew I needed the red to be muted with brown somehow and I homed in quite quickly on Rum Raisin.  It looked pretty good, though a bit dramatic.  I was excited.  I had never seen myself look this good in something that looked like a red lip.  I bought it.  I wore it a few times but stopped because it was just too much.  I tried blotting it but that always reduced it to a pinkier-red than looked good.

Reading some explanations about lipsticks for True Autumn on Christine Scaman's blog, 12 Blueprints, my experiences with lip colours began to make sense.  If there is too much  pink in the colour mix it can't find a colour in the Autumn woman's face to harmonise with and it sits apart; the pink begins to be what you notice most.  I had always wondered why lipsticks ended up looking more pink on me than they did in a swatch or in the tube and was puzzled because my naked lips are not overly pink or dark so it couldn't be my lip colour coming through. 

It was awhile yet before I tried anything obviously orange.  Rum Raisin, I learned, was a good colour for people in the Deep Autumn colouring group because it is not a purely warm colour mix. Deep Autumn has a touch of Winter.   It has a hint of cool red in it and that's why it pulls pink on me and looks just a bit off.  The lighting is dim but this is a fairly accurate representation of how these colours swatch on paper.

You can see how Rum Raisin looks more purple/plum next to the other colours I've collected.

Eventually I figured out that I needed purely warm colours and began to read suggestions for Autumn lipstick colours.  Given that MAC brand is very popular it is probably the most frequently referenced brand on Pinterest and in beauty blogs.  Nars is another.  I've not got access to department stores or Sephora, just a variety of drugstores and Walmart for my options so I gathered a limited list of suggestions and began to develop my understanding of what types of colours were being recommended, mentally translating Mac into Revlon as best I could.  Without realising it I bought duplicate colours in different brands and formulas but seem to be headed towards a favourite three.  These are the colours in the photo above.

Revlon Super Lustrous in Pink Truffle is a new  a very sheer formula they call shine and is rumoured to be the same as a now discontinued Lip Butter with the same name.  It is so close to my natural lip colour it's pretty much like wearing lip balm so I treat it like lip balm.  The name is a bit surprising but it's a pale warm pink-brown that is basically my version of peach.  The one actually named Peach Parfait is too yellow-peach for me and would suit someone with Spring colouring. Revlon Colorstay in Runway is nearly identical in colour but the formula is drier.

Revlon Super Lustrous in Rose Velvet is identical in colour to the Wet n Wild Mega Last lipstick in Sand Storm which I bought recently. The difference is that the Wet n Wild is a matte and the Revlon is a cream.  The cream certainly feels better on my lips and I think looks better on lips over 40 too. Despite their names, they both swatch as a warm pink-brown on paper and look like terracotta on my lips. 

Revlon Super Lustrous in Toast of New York is the actual vintage colour in my collection. It's an orange-brown and reads as a red on me, albeit a warm and muted one.  I can apply it straight out of the tube and would wear it any day. Photo at the bottom of the page.
Revlon Super Lustrous in Abstract Orange is similar in colour but the formula, isn't quite working for me. On my lips the colour reads nearly identical to Toast of New York but the formula is sheer and has a gold shimmer.  It seems to wear off in a patchy way that make my lips look rough and dry. 

Last Thoughts

Although I need lipstick colours that are quite brown, I do look best with coloured lips and not anything that approaches the nude look.  Beiges of any type, pink or peach look terrible and chalky and drain my face of colour.  I think this is because I need to match my makeup chroma to my personal chroma.  That is, my own colouring is very medium and a bit muted, and warm so I need to repeat that in the colours I wear, both in clothing and in makeup.  Too light is as wrong as too dark.  Bright and clear are also wrong and so is cool or neutral.  That neutral true red that it's claimed everyone can wear because it's neither more blue-red or more yellow-red?  Nope-it doesn't work for me.  It's not warm enough and it's too bright.  Revlon has lots of reds and several that are dupes for the popular MAC reds, but they all look atrocious on me.  Does this mean I can't wear a red lip? 

 Nope.  It means I needed to think outside the box in order to wear a red lip.

                                                    Revlon Toast of New York

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Memories of Aunt Helen's Red Lipstick

Although red lipstick is often considered a sexy look, I don't know any men who like it.  Most of the men I know object to any lipstick on the grounds that there is no way they want to kiss lipstick covered lips.  I'm not sure I can blame them for that attitude as I am not sure I would want to kiss lipstick-covered lips either.  The taste and texture would not appeal to me.  In general, most women are not putting on lipstick intending for it to result in being kissed.  It may even serve as an armour against it.  I wonder if red lipstick is in fact a very big sign saying these lips are not for your pleasure.

I have always loved lipstick best out of all types of makeup and it's what I am most likely to waste spend money on.  I'm always looking for the perfect, signature colour but even if I come close to finding it, I then get a bit bored and want something new.  It's a bit strange because I don't consider my lips my best feature and the usual advice is to accentuate our best.  Makeup trends come and go and I haven't been too inclined to follow them since I was about fourteen when all I wanted was pale mauve eye-shadow.  My attempt at getting some was thwarted by the helpful cosmetic counter lady who steered me towards a bronzed-purple.  The cosmetic counter ladies have always seen that I was warm-toned despite my own inability to.  I envied Jennifer at school, who had heavy-lidded eyes covered in thick pastel lilac.

Today, the bright red flowers on my Zygo cactus made me think about my Great Aunt Helen, the only woman in my family who wore red lips.  She was an aunt by marriage, we shared no blood but she was much loved and more so than the peculiar man she married who was my grandmother's brother.  Aunt Helen always wore her lipstick.  She probably also powdered her nose, as her generation did and so did my grandmother who wore no other makeup at all.  Aunt Helen's colour was a bright coral-red, quite vivid and yet, it was so much part of her it didn't seem out of place at all.  She was not darkly coloured and I only ever knew her as mainly grey-haired.  I can't recall the colour of her eyes but suspect they were grey-blue of some sort.  They twinkled, and that is what you noticed most about them.  If they were brown they were not overly dark.  I don't know what her lipstick brand was, but it was available from a small town drugstore so I can guess.  I don't know what the colour was but memory tells me it was something like this.

                          Revlon Fire and Ice could have been the one she wore though it looks different depending on who wears it.  Whatever she used the colour above is similar to the effect she achieved.                               

 Aunt Helen grew up in Jamaica and had a definite preference for bright and warm colours.  She accumulated plenty of orange and gold coloured home decor pieces in the seventies.

Photos give me the impression she wore brighter colours when she was younger, and I don't know if her tastes changed or if she thought it was fitting to get a bit more muted with age.  Her favourite colours to wear were red, green and brown, a trio I have always loved myself.  She would likely add golden yellows, oranges and sometimes purples in a blouse pattern or scarf.  Her hair was worn in two braids on top of her head until someone gave her an adorable wavy pixie cut when she was in her late seventies.  She often wore a beret and a scarf that could best be described as Hermes type.  She had a sort of old money type of sophistication that I would not have known to call that when I was a child but I could see it was distinct.  There was nothing pretentious about her but she was more put-together looking than her sister-in-law, my grandmother, who had a harder life and little room for glamour. 

I don't know how much my taste is influenced by Aunt Helen or just coincidentally more like hers than any other family member.  It's certainly not genetic.  Her colour preferences were a little bolder than mine and she wore flamboyant patterns I would probably avoid, but I always thought she looked great, distinctly herself, and I relate to her love of warm colours and floriental perfumes.  I have orange things all over my home, as Aunt Helen did  and my current favourite lipsticks are warm with orange undertones,  not as bold as Fire and Ice but  I find myself wanting to wear my orange-red lips  with little other apparent makeup, just as Aunt Helen did.  Whatever a lipstick looks like in the tube or whatever it might be named, different people get a red lip effect from a variety of shades that are not obviously red until worn. A bright coral-red looked just right on my aunt but would look out of place on me, competing with the rest of me.   My version of red is a terra cotta colour and I'm sharing it below.

I should probably question myself over putting this photo out in public but, here goes...

No makeup and unwashed hair but a dap of lipstick helps.  Let's call it my French Girl Look.  This one is a terracotta red in the tube and on my lips.  Wet n Wild Megalast lipstick in Sand Storm, goes on smoothly, is matte, a bit drying, has pretty good staying power and doesn't have a flavour or scent that irritates me.

Seeing the colour on me is not necessarily useful to other people.  I think sometimes the effect of the colour with the overall face can be different from what it looks like close up and of course our own natural lip pigmentation always affects the colour. This is another blogger's close up of Sand Storm It seems to look lighter on her than it does on me, and more orange.  Burnt peach?  Still very pretty but not so much a version of red.  This is closer to the effect I get with Revlon's Abstract Orange.