Monday, December 22, 2008

Style.. Style... Fashion... Style

Victorian Era Revolutionary War Modern Make-up and Up-doo Are we sure this is a human being
and not just a manikin?
see, one can achieve the natural make-up look
and still have vibrant colors in their color pallet!!!

This years winter/ spring fashion brings a lot of bleak colors.

As a general rule I try to bring as much joy and as many vivacious (yet matching) colors into an outfit as possible. My goal is to show rejoicing, joy, beauty, femininity and style all at once. I don't always succeed, but I do try - and it's the though that counts... right?
In a lot of articles I have read in the past femininity and skirts go hand in hand (even in articles recently published by young woman, especially Christian woman). This, I believe, is not always true. Although skirts definitely add a unique flare to the western woman's wardrobe, I don't think skirts and dresses are the only way to achieve a feminine outfit. They are, however, the all-time world-renowned "woman outfit" though. A lot of fashion magazines and popular magazines show woman dressed in some sort of dress or skirt looking thing on the cover (most of the time it resembles lingerie more than a dress).

Femininity is probably captured most in the late 1800's and early 1900's (yes, I am again referring to the Victorian and Edwardian eras, as I did in a post immediately before this one). The definition of a well defined male/ female culture in history. Frills, pastels, flowers, ribbon, pearls, beads covered the attire of the woman of that time. Hair-doo's consisted of curls, up-doo's, lace, ribbons, hats, teased hair. To an extent, not much different than today's. Woman desired the more "dewy" facial looks than that dramatic look that so many people seek today.
If you go back even further to 1700's, mostly in France, woman had perfected their feminine - identity - to the point of ridiculousness!! Woman used so many beauty products on their hair alone that the darn thing could weight as heavy as six pounds! Not including the yards, and yards, and yards of silk, or the pounds of pears and jewels that a rich woman would adorn herself with. To keep lice out of clothing (they were attracted to the products that the woman used in their hair) woman would tie glass tears filled with honey inside their hoop skirts. As the lice climbed up their skirt they would smell the sweet incense of honey and drown in it. YUCK!! Talk about desperation for femininity!


Going back to my original point, femininity can be easily seen in the sort of attire that woman in France would wear. Lots of lace, pastel colors, and clothing that (sometimes) accented their body types. I'm not talking about the plunging necklines (although they had plenty of those) or over done make-up (though that was also quite popular too)... Woman in that era knew how to use the resources around them to distinguish men from themselves. Woman wore flowery things (hair decorations, flower shaped jewelery, patterned dress, clothing adornments, shoe adornments etc.), pearls (the light color and softness of a pearl somehow causes a woman's skin to look quite radiant and elegant), lace (which softens ones appearance), colors that look good on the woman (since ivory, even white skin tones were popular during this time, fabrics mainly consisted of pastel colors).

In the Victorian era this was also the case. Ivory skin tones, floral patterns, lots of lace, pretty pastel colors, pearls, emphasis on the hair (BIG hair as you eased into the Edwardian era) and also high heels (boots especially).

What strikes me the most, that our culture has lost, is the differences between how men dress and how woman dress. The trend this last Summer was for woman to wear "manly suit jackets." A couple of years ago the "boy-friend sweater" look was in for teenage girls. What in the world? Sure, I get he masculine "strong" thing - I am a girl - but seriously, do we really need to look so much like guys that the "all natural make-up" and "pants and T-shirt" thing makes it hard to differentiate between men and woman (unless the woman is also wearing a tight shirt, high heeled boots, or some other hint of her gender).

I was reading "Kabul Beauty School" yesterday (I was half way done when mom swiped it) and was rather insulted when I read "People in Afghanistan think western woman look manly - homely men at that" (paraphrased). Western woman have gone with the "natural look." This sometimes consists of just mascara, sometimes foundation and mascara with some "natural" skin tones on one's eye lids. Don't get me wrong, please, I used to wear just mascara. I didn't even start wearing make-up regularly until I was about seventeen. being shy, introverted, and not liking to appear to be drawing attention to myself make-up was not appealing to me. However, I love painting my eye lids all sorts of colors now!! Not for the attention, but because it's fun, and it's like painting a picture:
"How can I use colors to manipulate my natural skin tones and make my nose look smaller, or eyes look larger, or cheek bones more prominent."
It's all quite different for every individual!

The newest "runway look" is pale skin, big eyes, with gray colors. Ick! Are they trying to make their manikin looking models appear to be ill with some dread disease?
(Believe me when I say I'm very well aware that I am opinionated)
I don't think fashion or make-up is everything, nor do I think we should go "over the top" just to get attention.
However I am strongly convinced that woman were created to be creative and that includes are own faces and wardrobe. Even in Song of Solomon the bride is said to have "pomegranate cheeks." This implies, to me, that she applied some sort of blush. It was popular for court woman of that time to wear make-up in order to look their absolute best before the people (as a representative of the people as a whole).

Are we not representatives of something in life? For me this is my faith in Jesus. I am an ambassador for Jesus Christ. I also believe that I do all things for the glory of God! It seems, to me, this included my outfits and make-up.
God is a god of beauty, joy, and peace. Should I not show this all in the way I dress (and act- but that's another post some other time)?

Yeah, I guess I covered a LOT of ground here, and maybe rambled a bit, but these are thoughts and ideas that I have kept locked up inside for quite a while, and I would really like to share them with someone!

I hope you enjoyed it :)

Happy Holidays and Happy New Years!!

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Warmth for Winter

* Burnt-orange nail polish
*feather-down, fleece-lined blanket
*Hot "English Breakfast" tea, if a tsp. of whipped honey
*Pictures of tropical islands
*knitted scarf
*An adorable puppy to sit on your lap
*blazing fire
* Basic Message Oil
6 tsp. carrier oil of your choice
8 srops of essential/ fragerance oil of your choice
Blend the two together, well. Warm up the oil before using - make sure to message between your fingers and your cuticals.
.... any questions?