A Winter and a Summer :)

Photography: Carla Watkins I had the pleasure of draping two friends a couple of weekends ago, one of whom is a photographer, hence the brilliant photography! (Thank you Carla!) After an exciting morning we discovered that one was a glorious Winter and the other a super-pretty Summer. I see them both regularly and actually it’s hard (for me […]

Art for all seasons (again)

I discovered Art Finder very recently. As an art lover (albeit with depressingly-limited wall space) this was heaven to my eyes. Inevitably I found art for this post. So here we have ‘Art for every season‘, part 2.

Spring

The bright warm colours feel full of life. The bright blue of the Hyacinths is close to Spring’s warm cornflower blue.

I love not only the colours but how vibrant and splashy the Kingfisher looks. It’s reminiscent of Spring’s energy. If the four seasons mapped to the four elements, Spring would be air.

Summer

I love the wet look of this painting, how the colours blend into each other. If the four seasons mapped to the four elements, Summer would be water.

Perfect Summer colours, and the reflection on the water just blows me away.

Autumn

I love this so very very much for Autumn. The metallic finish, the texture, the redhead, the muted colours. Everything about it is perfect.

Such rich, golden colours. You get a real sense of warmth from this. If the four seasons mapped to the four elements, Autumn would be fire or earth (I can’t decide which!).

Winter

Perhaps a little obvious being black and white, but the sharpness of the lines and shapes is important too.

The electric blue is such a typically-associated Winter colour. You get a real sense of coolness looking at it. The diamonds on the dress lend welcome contrast.

Lipstick finishes for every season

A few weeks ago I ordered some free lipstick samples from Jane Fardon cosmetics. They are a colour analysis company who sell their own brand of cosmetics and I was very keen to give them a go. I’m a Deep Summer so I ordered Mulberry, Burgundy, Sweet Pea and Pink Jasmine to try.

I tried Sweet Pea first and whilst there was no doubt it was perfect colour-wise, something was off. Even my husband commented on it. “It’s very shiny…” he said (he doesn’t usually notice whether I’m wearing lipstick or not). He was right. All the lipsticks had come through frosted (a metallic shine). The lipstick just didn’t sit right on my face. And it made me think about a fantastic article I read a while back on 12 Blueprints about skin finishes for the different seasons. I am convinced that lipstick finish relates to the skin finishes. It certainly explains why the frosted lipstick looked so off on me. It explains why Autumns always look so good in the slightly matte, heavily pigmented House of Colour lipsticks that they try after their analysis session. It explains why my Spring friend doesn’t look quite right in a matte lipstick (gloss is much better) and why the frosted fuschia lipstick looked better on my Winter friend than the very similar colour in a less exciting finish.

So here’s my theory. The lipstick you wear has to correspond to your skin finish, and your skin finish is dependent on your season. Now it is important that I mention here that not everyone suits lipstick (even in the correct colours), or at least not everyone can wear it in the traditional way. It absolutely depends on your clothing personality too. A Natural will likely look better with a lip stain whereas a Romantic will look best in a more polished, made-up look (lipstick and a lip liner). I’m a Natural Ingénue and every time I go to the make-up counter I look like I’ve raided my Mum’s make-up bag (especially if I’ve asked for a smokey eye). A Natural doesn’t suit the made-up look, and an Ingénue benefits from being enhanced but not overdone, which essentially means less is more on me and so it will be for other types too. Everyone benefits from looking believable, but believable means different things on different clothing personalities and seasons.

Firstly, I need to tell you a little about the different lipstick finishes available. Although they are often marketed under a different name, essentially you’ll find lipsticks come in the following finishes: matte, satin (creamy with a slight shine), frosted (metallic), gloss (similar finish to lipgloss but not as shiny) or shimmer (not to be confused with gloss although the two finishes are often combined). Shimmer lipsticks contain very fine particles of glitter. And there is of course lip gloss, which has a high shine and when applied liberally can look very very shiny indeed. Lip stains are useful and tend to look like felt tip pens. Lip stain (as long as it is a stain and not a gloss) can work for everyone because they are a stain so can look like a real lip (although beware of them going patchy). On some style types / seasons it will look very understated and natural, on others it’ll be all they need. Some will need Vaseline or gloss over the top for shine for the best finish (Springs I’m looking at you).

Spring

Spring skin is most beautiful when it’s smooth and shiny, like a jelly bean or a satin ribbon. Think dewy, smooth, shiny, moist. Pressed powder is far too heavy. BB cream or a tinted moisturiser works well for Springs. Foundation is often too heavy and opaque as is any kind of finishing powder. Highlighter works so well on Springs. Bronzer belongs to Autumn. Dewy and shiny is not the same as glittery, metallic or bronze. So when looking for lipsticks, anything smooth and shiny works well, which includes lip gloss. The exact level of gloss you can handle is related to where you sit in the Spring palette. Light Springs tend to be more peaches and cream. Not as glossy. Warm Springs that sit in the middle of their palette can handle more shine, the Bright Springs the most. Vaseline over a lipstick could work too if it was applied liberally enough (useful if you’ve got a lipstick that’s the right colour for you but the finish isn’t quite right).

Summer

For Summer skin, think smooth, silky and dry, like a brushed cotton sheet. Glossy, frosty, slick and metallic don’t work. As Christine so beautifully said, “Summer skin’s way of handling light is the diffusion of moonlight”. Very cool, very soft. Summer looks so good in brushed silver. (Slightly off-topic but John Greed do an excellent range of brushed silver necklaces like this wildflower one which I own, it positively glows against my Summer skin, I highly recommend). Summer’s softness is feathery. Pressed and translucent powder works so well here. Traditional foundation works too, as do mineral foundations. BB cream and tinted moisturiser will likely be too dewy without powder on top. In terms of lipsticks, I think Summers can wear subtle shimmer well (very fine glitter). Reminiscent of moonlight. Matte lipsticks may or may not be too matte (and they can sometimes be drying) but blusher dabbed on the lips with a finger is perfection. Lip stains work too (they look like felt tips), just be careful the colour isn’t too intense. Vaseline as a lip balm works but keep it to a bare minimum. I do wear Vaseline all the time but I have to be careful not to go overboard. Gloss turns to gloop in a hearbeat on Summer skin so avoid that at all costs. I find my creamy lipsticks look best with some blusher dabbed on top. Frosted, needless to say, does not work. It’s too cold even in the correct colour.

Autumn

Autumn skin has an overall matte look. Think velvet, suede, even leather. Texture. Matte. Not dewy or sparkly. Autumns look so good in velvet, you couldn’t go wrong with a moss green velvet scarf. Autumns benefit most from contouring (lowlights in the form of a blusher, or bronzer), as opposed to highlighting. Texture in metallics sit so well with Autumn (think hammered bronze). Freckles are divine (texture). The texture of the skin when combined with warm colours makes sense in bronzer. Creamy works here, as does a matte finish in a lipstick. Shimmer, in small quantities, can work. Unsurprisingly frosted lipsticks and lip gloss are just too much. Traditional foundation can work but you really don’t want to cover up the texture of the skin too much. Keep it real, not artificial.

Winter

For Winter’s skin finish, think red shiny apple, think black vinyl. A frosted lipstick on a Winter will look entirely normal in the same way the bright, very cool colours of Winter don’t look bright and very cool, they just look normal because they balance the wearer. Winter needs contrast and this should be reflected in make-up. Black eye liner or a bright blush on pale skin. Just be careful with colour, you don’t need or want too much. I suspect foiling (adding a little water to an eye shadow to intensify it) would work very well indeed on a Winter but I’ve yet to see that in real life. In terms of lipstick finish, frosted would work as well as a gloss. Ultra matte too. A frosted fuchsia lipstick on a Winter looks normal (even if the wearer can’t see it at first because they’re not used to wearing lipstick). I find it is the Winters that struggle most with their make-up recommendations. They often ask for something more muted but the Summer lipsticks turn their faces ashen. Starting with sheer cosmetics helps to ease the transition, but don’t compromise on colour.

I’ve yet to see a nude lip work on a Winter. Rita Ora is a great example of a Winter who is rarely seen without her red lipstick.

rita-ora

What works here? The red lipstick. The black falsies. The platinum-blonde hair. What doesn’t? The yellow blonde hairline. The highlights and the bronzer. A flatter skin finish would work so much better.

Extremes work with Winter. Very matte or high shine lip finishes. They are the most versatile in terms of lip finish, I think.

Art for every season

I happened to be browsing Pinterest today and I spotted a watercolour painting that was perfectly Summer which inspired this short blog post.

Summer

This is the painting that inspired this post. I love this, it’s Summer perfection. There is something about watercolour paintings in general I think that really suits the way the Summer colours go together. Even the brown of the coffee is a compliant rose brown.

Autumn

The solid texture of this combined with the colours is what makes Autumn spring to mind when I look at this. When searching for images I also spotted ‘The Golden Forest’ by Klimt. He uses a lot of Autumn colours in his work.

Spring

There is an innocence about this that I think really suits the Spring palette. It’s also youthful and fun.

Winter

This is perfect Winter: the contrast of the black and white, the bright colours and the drama.

It was a struggle to pick just one piece of art for each season so I suspect they’ll be more blog posts like this in future! 🙂

Wrap bracelets for every season

I have to confess I’m a little obsessed with wrap bracelets at the moment, I got this one for my birthday:

dcc51aec48667fd9bbe561575c54f3fd

Sadly it’s out of stock now, but it is perfect for a Summer. The silver grey against my skin is low contrast and it goes with literally everything in my wardrobe.

Autumn

When it comes to wrap bracelets, Autumns are spoilt for choice especially on Etsy. The gold marbling on the beads is just perfection.

0e16782ac898ee4d17bb8d0f3d8cad38

I love this one especially because the texture on the beads is really beautiful and very fitting for an Autumn:

eded6e7a7ebbae0beb1dd19f8471e7b6

Victoria Emerson have a fabulous Autumn wrap bracelet too.

87694db16773a3a24199a2eeeee94fa1

If I was being super fussy I’d say the first two are better choices because the Victoria Emerson one has silver hardware 😉

Summer

This is a lovely low-contrast grey bracelet for a Summer.

573eafe8c27a30191386cd2fca8ca571

This purple is perfect and I especially love the iridescent beads.

d00787d958dff8a15c56f60d7bd97fb9

A very pretty soft pink bracelet:

1bc4ba6851f2343483a484f55d204476

Spring

The shiny gold hearts are great for Springs especially paired with the turquoise beads and tan cord.

9f60ae6a38d484a40bc43b0ef7116256

Gold hardware and warm green leather, what’s not to love?

81dd28a7636bff31bfa36e5a6a446e8d

Not technically a wrap bracelet but the colours are too perfect not to include it:

1b37ade427b1075fd0cbd60fef6b1521

Winter

A lovely charcoal grey for a Winter, would probably suit a Deep Summer too.

d63644b1a3c2be6257945ccc727e6677

Black with bright blue beads, a great combination:

5a08cfa800db345139fe231923aca811

Black again with a bit of bling this time.

eb89b1a8570657a67afd471993ceeb37

I struggled to find Spring and Winter wrap bracelets actually, Autumn was by the far the easiest to find. In terms of style type, these would be an obvious choice for a Natural which might explain the plethora of natural rich earthy Autumn colours 🙂

Summer make-up and clothing recommendations, plus the PERFECT sandals for all seasons!

The perfect sandals for all seasons

I was inspired to write a blog post this morning as I admired my lovely new sandals on my walk into work. I should start by saying I’m very picky about sandals, and I have difficult feet. They swell considerably in the summer so can be difficult to dress. I also need to be able to drive in sandals and of course they have to be very comfortable.

These sandals come in both gold and silver (yay!) and are currently in the sale for a mere £18 – get them while you can! They are adjustable which means I can tighten or loosen them depending on how my feet are behaving on any given day and it tightens the fit across the foot (not just round the ankle) so they feel very snug. I could (and have) run in these. I really do love them.

office-sandals
Office Hummingbird Plait Sandals – £18 in the sale, available in silver and gold

I find the slightly matt glitter finish reminds me of brushed metal which is completely perfect for the muted seasons. These sandals would look their absolute best on Summers and Autumns.

Summer make-up recommendations

I absolutely love painting my toenails in the summer (in fact I’m not sure I could cope with bare nails). I’m currently wearing China Glaze ‘Strap On Your Moonboots’ on my feet which is just perfection with the silver sandals:

China-Glaze-Hologlam-Strap-On-Your-Moonboots
China Glaze ‘Strap On Your Moonboots’ (photo courtesy of the Make-up and Beauty Blog)

I find with the China Glaze polish that it does dry quickly so you can’t really afford to faff around when you’re applying it. Not really a problem for smaller nails but it means the big toe can be a pain. It dries fine though and the holographic finish is incredible (and particularly good for Summers – better than a high shine finish). I needed two coats.

Another polish I tried very recently (and absolutely LOVED) was OPI’s ‘I’m Not A Waitress’:

Photo courtesy of Caitlin's Creative Corner
OPI’s ‘I’m Not A Waitress’ (photo courtesy of Caitlin’s Creative Corner)

It goes on beautifully and the metallic finish is perfect. I needed two coats. I got so many compliments when I wore this on my toes. It is currently available on Beauty Bay, £7.17 with free delivery!

I’m a huge fan of Collection 2000’s sparkle top coat, available from Super Drug:

Collection 2000 Sparkle Top Coat
Collection 2000 Sparkle Top Coat, £2.99 from Superdrug

This was the nail varnish I wore on my wedding day! It’s a very fine silver glitter. I tend to wear it on its own rather than over other varnishes but if you already had a colour you loved and wanted a subtle sparkle finish this would be perfect. I think it is particularly good for Summers being so pretty and subtle. A Winter would be better off with something a bit more cool and glitzy like China Glaze Tinsel Town.

I try to only blog about make-up and clothing I’ve actually tried or seen in person, but I can’t resist including this nail varnish which I have actually ordered:

China Glaze 'When Stars Collide' (photo courtesy of Beautezine)
China Glaze ‘When Stars Collide’ (photo courtesy of Beautezine)

I’m very excited about China Glaze ‘When Stars Collide’ (and what a pretty name!) It looks like Summer perfection, I hope it’s not too warm when it arrives (all other photos online I’ve seen suggest it’s not).

UPDATE! It arrived and I tried it on – it is pure Summer perfection! Highly recommended!

Beauty Bay have China Glaze and OPI in stock and I would recommend eBay too, which is particularly good for finding discontinued colours. I think OPI’s typical RRP is £11.95 per bottle but I can often find them cheaper (around £7, sometimes less) on Beauty Bay. China Glaze prices really vary depending on what kind of polish it is. I managed to get ‘Strap On Your Moonboots’ for about £5 off eBay.

Summer work-out wear

And finally… I found a couple of great t-shirts for working out in and some jogging bottoms. Yes, even my work-out gear has to be compliant (which isn’t always easy!) It’s not just the colour, it’s the finish too. Nothing too shiny or high contrast.

O'Neill Nina Print T-shirt, £18 from Zalando
O’Neill Nina Print T-shirt, £18 from Zalando

I love the fact that the wave on the front actually looks a lot like the crescent of a moon.

This Roxy t-shirt is a pleasant change from the grey or navy I often end up buying.

Roxy Maya T-shirt, £15.99 from Surfdome
Roxy Maya T-shirt, £15.99 from Surfdome

The watercolour-style of the text is beautiful, as are the words. The cornflower blue is a nice change from navy, which is typically readily found (along with black). I also managed to get a fabulous tie dye t-shirt from Marks & Spencer but unfortunately they sold out. The pattern on the t-shirt reminded me of water (perfect for a Summer).

At nearly 5ft 10in I do often struggle with length when it comes to jogging bottoms and I find that the mainstream sportswear companies (Nike, Adidas, etc) cater for the average height woman which means that I end up with ankle swingers. I love the fact that Marks & Spencer actually do short, regular and long length jogging bottoms. Hurrah! And I have two pairs to show you.

Grey yoga pants from Marks & Spencer, £18
Grey yoga pants from Marks & Spencer, £18

These grey yoga pants are very soft and they hang nicely too. I do like a wider leg. The band at the top is nice and wide and comfortable. I’ve yet to wear them in a class yet but they are very stretchy and therefore I imagine won’t restrict my movement. I also like Marks & Spencer leggings in general because they’re usually pretty thick and you can’t see your underwear through them (particularly important for an exercise class!).

Velour Marks & Spencer jogging bottoms, £15
Velour Marks & Spencer jogging bottoms, £15

These are the ultimate in lounge wear. Incredibly comfortable and soft and warm. Great for a workout or lounging around in the winter 🙂

My own colour journey

I have to confess to feeling rather shy writing a blog post essentially about myself and my own colour journey. Unfortunately (or fortunately 😉 ) I have a great many photos at my disposal and a great many mistakes to delight you with, as well as photos post-analysis which demonstrate (I hope) what one looks like ‘in focus’.

I’m very much of the belief that everyone is naturally beautiful. Chances are if someone is considered ‘more beautiful’ then it’s because they are honouring the colouring already present in them in their clothes and make-up, and they will naturally glow as a result. Someone in the wrong colours can look ill and jaundiced. Their otherwise invisible acne scars might take centre stage. Their skin might look doughy and their features lack definition. Put someone in their wrong colours and they will never look their best.

Looking through my old photos two things really struck me. Firstly, that I don’t often seem to pose in a sensible fashion, always preferring to pull a silly face probably to hide my discomfort at being in front of a camera. Secondly, the colours I seemed to wear almost exclusively were: baby blue, pale pink, lilac, off-white and grey. What’s interesting is that these are all Summer colours but were far too light to give any real impact, as my natural colouring is really rather deep. I didn’t look ill or jaundiced but the magic didn’t quite happen in the lighter Summer colours. My occasional non-compliant mistakes consisted of khaki and brown borrowed from Autumn.

Brown. Not awful, but I certainly don’t shine in it. Interestingly my partner really likes me in brown… He’s an Autumn 😉

Not awful, but it certainly doesn't make me glow.
Not awful, but it certainly doesn’t make me glow and the white shoes seem like a very odd choice. My attention is drawn down towards them.

Interestingly when I used to go horse riding I wore navy jodhpurs and even went as far as to replace my traditional black velvet hat cover with a navy one. I was clearly onto something.

A surprising aytpical choice for riding - navy jodhpurs and a navy hat cover. I could see even back then that black so close to my face wasn't doing me any favours.
A surprising aytpical choice for riding – navy jodhpurs and a navy hat cover. I could see even then that black so close to my face was unkind.

Pre-analysis, there were a few happy accidents where I got my colours spot on. My school uniform was a burgundy sweatshirt, one of my very best colours (lucky me for having such a flattering school uniform). Sadly I don’t have a decent photo of me in my school uniform to show you, but here are my other ‘happy accidents’.

Everything here is right for a Summer especially the blue cardigan and even the wavy hair.
Everything here is right for a Summer especially the blue cardigan, even the wavy hair.

I say ‘happy accidents’ but actually I’m completely wrong about that. They are far from accidents. These so-called happy accidents are actually an excellent example of how we can sometimes choose the right colours for ourselves, instinctively, if only the choices are out there in the shops.

Burgundy red dress - possibly a little on the shiny side but the colour is spot on.
Burgundy red dress – possibly a little on the shiny side but the colour is spot on.

My ‘going out’ mistakes were all Winter ones. This photo is a great example of how black really isn’t slimming. It’s so bad I nearly didn’t include it. The style is all wrong, the colours completely dominate.

This is so bad I nearly didn't include it. The style is all wrong, the colours completely dominate. Interestingly I was at my very lightest here weight-wise and yet I look heavier thanks to the colours and the unflattering style. The hem of the top cuts me in half in the most unflattering way.
Interestingly I was at my very lightest here weight-wise and yet I look heavier thanks to the colours and the unflattering style. The hem of the top cuts me in half in the most unflattering way.

My biggest mistake undoubtedly was black. I’ve always had an aversion to it and looking back it’s easy to see why.

This is truly terrible. At my mother's insistence I wore a darker (Winter) lip to try and balance the black. Ouch.
This is truly terrible. At my mother’s insistence I wore a darker (Winter) lip to try and balance the black. Ouch.

This is an interesting photo. This is post-analysis, but I’d joined a choir and the uniform was black (you can imagine how thrilled I was). Even with a face full of Summer make-up I still look like a ghost.

Choir uniform - black. Universally the most unflattering colour. Only 1 in 4 can pull it off, and even fewer look really good in it.
Choir uniform – black. Universally the most unflattering colour. Only 1 in 4 can pull it off, and even fewer look really good in it.

This is an interesting photo because I think it’s a great example of me looking ‘soft’ (pre-analysis, surprisingly). I don’t think I’m wearing any make-up here which is undoubtedly a good thing as I’d always wear Autumn blusher and black mascara. Someone with my deeper colouring can easily get mistaken for a Winter, especially with such cool undertones. This photo is a great example of the softness Summers have and Winters lack.

Summer or Winter? With that softness I could only be a Summer.
Summer or Winter? With that softness I could only be a Summer.

I went through a stage of taking pictures of eyes. I think this is a brilliant example of a Summer eye. Blue-grey, and look at those wavy spokes.

A typical Summer eye.
A typical Summer eye.

Back in 2010 I remember returning home from my colour analysis completely buzzing. I walked into my bedroom and it hit me. My entire bedroom was a delightful plethora of Summer colours. I recall being shocked at how good my instincts had been.

Pre-analysis I'd managed to decorate my bedroom in entirely Summer colours. The beautiful wisps of light are where I was experimenting with light painting!
Pre-analysis I’d managed to decorate my bedroom in entirely Summer colours. The beautiful wisps of light are where I was experimenting with light painting!

Another bedroom shot. The sunset is so beautiful and there is something a bit ‘Deep Summer’ about the image, actually. In it you’ll find soft dark greys, silvers, lilacs, pink and sand. No black to speak of but some very dark greys.

Another bedroom shot.
‘Deep Summer’ bedroom shot.

This is a post-analysis photo and I’m trying out different lipsticks. I remember feeling rather self conscious in this but actually the depth really sits well with my colouring. I can see that now.

A deep rose lip for a Deep Summer.
A deep rose lip for a Deep Summer.

And finally, the photo you’ve all been waiting for (hopefully)…

'In focus' at last.
‘In focus’ at last.

Do you notice the make-up? I don’t think so. What I see is the crisp navy line around the iris. The lipstick and blusher only serve to draw attention to the eyes. My skin is pale but I don’t look like a ghost. The blusher is a natural extension of my own blush colour. The attention is drawn to the eyes. Do you feel your insides relax at last? It’s quite a visceral feeling, I think. The right colours ‘feel’ right in a way that is difficult to describe. I realise, as I re-read this, that I’ve been rushing to get to the bottom of the post.