What is the most important accessory for a retro gal?
It’s not her adorable basket purse or her fascinator, nor is it her cat-eye jeweled sunglasses.
It’s her red lipstick!
My grandmother never left the house without her lipstick on. Oftentimes, when we had talked her into going and getting ice cream late at night, she would finally relent and say: “OK, go get ready, and I’ll meet you at the door in five minutes.” We’d race down the hall, throw our clothes and shoes on with lightning speed, and be at the door in four minutes ten seconds flat. She’d arrive a moment later in her bathrobe, zipped up, with slippers on, purse around her shoulder, and lipstick on!!!
We would always laugh and beg her to put clothes on, and she would say: “I’m not getting out of the car! Why should I?” And we would ask, giggling uncontrollably: “Then why do you have lipstick on?” Her answer, well, it was a power answer, putting on a posh tone, was: “Because one never leaves the house without one’s lipstick!”
It would take me many years to really understand that sentiment and the practice. And it would take me a few more years to experience a similar belief.
Several times during my recent surgeries, I was scheduled for various medical tests and doctor appointments. I felt like crap, I mostly looked like crap, and I probably was crap. However, I would force myself to put on something decent, something that wasn’t pajamas, and if I couldn’t muster a full face of makeup, I would at the very least throw on some mascara, my eyebrows, and, of course, my lipstick. Because then, if I had lipstick on, I was truly put together and I was okay.
And after a little while, I would feel better. I was teaching myself to fight the feeling that there was nothing more that I could do about my physical situation. But, you see, there was.
My lipstick was healing me. Okay, no, I am kidding, but I’m sure that you can see how important lipstick as an accessory can be.
Now, what lipstick shade should you wear, and when?
The answer? Red, red, RED! Always red! You cannot go wrong with red. It literally goes with every skin tone, every eye color, every outfit, and every shade of eye shadow. Sure, the cosmetics industry wants you to believe that you need thirty lipstick shades in your purse for day or night, the office, the club, a day at the beach, lunch, a pap smear, you know? “You cannot wear the same lipstick for every occasion and at all times of the day,” they say. The hell I can’t!
Should you have other shades of lipstick around as an option, of course, sure, that’s fine. Ladies do love to have options. And, oftentimes, I will throw on a dusty pink shade just for the heck of it, or pull out my amazing 1930’s inspired Tango Red Lipstick when I’m feeling a little wild. Rawr!
Usually, though, I stick with my tried and true basic retro red. With its blue/purple undertones, it is a perfect middle-of-the-road deep red that goes great with everything.
So here is the lowdown on my personal favorites. Most important, I believe in cruelty free cosmetics. I think it is unjust and utterly disgusting to harm any living thing for vanity or luxury items. It is hard at times to keep up with the changes that cosmetics and personal care companies make to their formulas, meaning that a new ingredient might not be cruelty free, which in turn means that the product itself is no longer cruelty free. So, it is important to stay up-to-date on all ingredient changes.
- Besame – 1946 Red Velvet, my top choice! The packaging, the commitment to quality, the historical accuracy, Besame has it all!
- Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics – Lip Tar, Stalker Red (be sure to use a lip brush)
- Senna – Venetian Red
- Vapour Organic Beauty – Siren Lipstick, Ravish
- Zuzu Luxe – Starlet
- Urban Decay – Revolution Lipstick, Bang
- Gabriel- Sheer Rose
- Too Faced – La Creme, Stiletto Red
So the next time when you’re wondering what to wear? Start with your red lipstick!
Wear it well – xox Sailor