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Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Wall Street Journal has a story headlined, “Very Bright Lipstick, All the Time.” In it, Elizabeth Holmes writes:

“In the beauty world’s eternal cycle between eyes and lips, it’s lipstick’s moment. Many women are adopting a signature standout lipstick color—bright red, rich coral, vivid pink—to wear day or night with everything in their closet.”

It’s b-a-a-a-a-ck! No surprise. This is what I wrote in a post in 2009:

“The makeup at Zang’s show reminded me to bitch about how red lipstick is, once again, the ‘in’ look. One of the glossy magazines even had a page on red lipstick ‘for all ages,’ which must have made How Not to Look Old author Charla Krupp weep youthful-looking tears. The periodic revival of red makes me feel like the broken clock that’s right twice a day, except I’m only right twice a decade or so. I keep doing my red lips year in and year out — for about 20 years now — and most of the time various fashion gurus are telling me that it’s aging and terrible and I need to switch to pink/nude lips. But then, suddenly, and usually for a very short period of time, red lipstick is fresh and chic.”

Red lipstick in 2001.

Red lipstick 2012.

I clearly have no future as a beauty writer. I lack the requisite enthusiasm for what Elizabeth Holmes aptly terms “the eternal cycle,” at least when it comes to lipstick. It would be hard for me to promote nude lips during red’s off years. But most of the time, I am amused by the way fashion repeats itself. Coincidentally, today’s New York Times has a story about clothing designer Douglas Ferguson, whose heyday was in the 1970s and 1980s and whose vintage pieces are being sold by my friend Evan at his store Frock. (Tina Turner wore a Ferguson dress on the cover of Vanity Fair in the ’80s.) Ruth La Ferla of the Times notes that Ferguson’s Art Deco-inspired look has popped up again on the spring runways.

“And now, strangely enough, many of his Art Deco-flavored frocks bear an uncanny resemblance to the shimmering Jazz Age looks that proliferated on the spring runways. Mr. Ferguson, who still designs for private clients, is not that surprised that many of his inspirations have found their match at Gucci, Alberta Ferretti and Ralph Lauren. The shelf life of his dresses was never limited to a particular period or decade, he said.

‘They were out of time when I made them and they’re out of time now.'”

I love that last sentence. That’s my jewelry-design goal. If you put my Empress Wu dragon earrings next to a lot of modern pieces, you’ll think the earrings are antique.

A detail shot of my Empress Wu earrings. Click for more information.

However, if you put the earrings next to an actual antique piece, my work is clearly modern. I’ve always felt that if you can’t quite pin down the era a piece belongs to, the jewelry looks timeless. It becomes a forever thing … like red lipstick.

Note: Author Charla Krupp, mentioned in my 2009 post quoted above, died from breast cancer in January. The New York Times said, “She was 58, but looked a perennial 49.

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29 Responses to “Bright Lipstick Is Back and I’m Out of Time”

  1. déjà pseu says:

    Yes!!! That’s what I love so much about my engagement ring; it looks both vintage and modern at the same time! And never lose the red lips. People who are eventually lauded for their “signature style” are exactly the ones who ignore the cycles and are “out of time.”

  2. sulky kitten says:

    Keep wearing the Red Lips, I can’t even imagine you without them!

  3. Poochie says:

    The good stuff never goes out of style. Maybe out of fashion or off trend but it’s going to be just as good no matter how long it is around.

  4. Helen says:

    I love this post. I started wearing red lipstick when I was 19 and haven’t looked back since. How fabulous to hear it is ‘in fashion’- I never stopped wearing it, nor did anyone else and the shops didn’t stop selling it!

  5. lisa says:

    I think I’m going to stick to lipstick even during the off-cycle years. Now that I’ve discovered how much better it looks on me than the smoky eye/nude lip combo of my bar star days, there’s no going back.

  6. Amazing doll!! Love the red lipstick on you. 🙂

    Have a lovely day!


  7. I agree…red lips are as much a signature piece as particular garments become! I’ve thought in the past that red lips are not me…but maybe it is time to take a courageous step forward!!

    I hope your husband has a speedy recovery!!

  8. kirafashion says:

    you always look so great Wendy, great red lips!

  9. Silvergirl says:

    i think all trends weather, beauty, fashion, food or drink are on a constant “circle of life”

  10. Megan Mae says:

    Never gonna give you up! (Sorry my anti-spam word is rickroll)… However never give up the red lip, Wendy! It works for you.

    I agree that things that don’t look like they come from any time period are often timeless. However, I also think when people can step away from trends and find things that work for them (red lips, styles of glasses, cuts of clothing) and “own” them is just as awesome. I wish I could settle down on some style constants. I’m sticking to my winged eye liner whether or not it’s instyle because that’s what works for me.

  11. stacy says:

    When you find something that works for you and it looks great, then why change? and if you’re secure with your own style and in your own skin, then why try to change just to be trendy?

    my anti-spam is “im a star”
    i like that.

  12. Marti says:

    I know what you mean for the last 20 years or so my signature lipstick has been a fuschia color although I’m still wearing the pinks I decided to go just a couple of shades lighter, because I chose to. Cannot imagine wearing a sheer nude tone lipcolor I would feel naked.

    • WendyB says:

      Nude lips mean you need a big eye and that seems like hard work to me. I did it in my teens but that’s when hormones make you spend five hours on your hair etc

  13. melina says:

    I love bright lipstick and makeup trends are so last century! people should wear what looks best on them, most brunettes like us look great in bright red lips

  14. T says:

    Haha, what a timely post for me. I feel like I look like a hoochie in any color lipstick (although I did rock some Toast of New York and Rum Raisin back in the day … when I actually *was* a hoocie), but just yesterday, I bought some cartoon looking fuschia lipstick. I like it, but wonder if I will ever have the balls to wear it out of the house.

  15. Those beauty editors are nuts. Red is classic, and never goes out of style! Keep on wearing it, I know I will!

  16. Mardel says:

    I think you look fabulous in red lips and your look works for well. I admire the look on you, but it is harsh against my more muted coloring. I think finding your own style and owning it is just perfect, but it is annoying when something that I think of as “my” look comes in fashion again.

    And that vintage/modern dynamic is exactly what I like about your jewelry. I need to buy more, if I ever get this house settled.

  17. You wear red lipstick so well, it comes and goes with me I’m more fickle!!

    And so glad MrB is doing dandy – send him my best xx

    • WendyB says:

      I was looking for the perfect purple lipstick for a while — I guess I still am — I still haven’t found one that’s my fantasy purple though!

  18. Why change when red lips look so fabulous and radiant. Like one of my favorites, the peplum, it returns in time. But I wear it always!

  19. SiouxsieL says:

    Red lipstick looks great on you. By the way, I couldn’t tell which photo of you was the older one. Amazing.

    I hadn’t heard about Charla Krupp. I didn’t really follow her, but she seemed to be omnipresent in magazines and the internet. So young. So sad.

  20. drollgirl says:

    red lipstick looks perfect on you!

    most industries thrive in trends coming and going. the goal is to switch things up so we are constantly buying more and trying to be “in”. it is annoying!

  21. Alexis Grace says:

    I LOVE the red lipstick and I completely agree that it is a timeless look (just like your jewelry!)

  22. Shybiker says:

    The best style is personal: that created by an individual which suits her. Appropriating the choices of others, even tauted designers, is a mere substitute for personal style.

    Thus, I applaud your choice to wear bright red lipstick. Its oscillating trendiness shouldn’t deter you, nor should the common advice to avoid it as we age. That is just hogwash.

  23. Elizabeth says:

    Red lipstick is timeless. I hope you never stop wearing it.