I recently saw this ad:
The line: “Just because I wear lipstick doesn’t mean I’m not confident” implies that a person would wear lipstick out of insecurity, too scared to brave it “au natural.” Contrary to this perception, I believe it takes confidence to wear “unnatural” looking cosmetics, making yourself stand out rather than concealing self-perceived flaws. I consider this part of a queer aesthetic. From the time of Oscar Wilde, gay style has been associated with artifice and self-creation (Wilde wore a dyed green carnation to symbolize his preference for man-made beauty).
Make-up is central to expressing my femme identity; I think cat eyes and bright lips convey an intentional and confrontational femininity.
The number one comment I get about my lipstick is “That color looks so good on you, but I could never wear it.”
Bold lipstick is for everyone, and by wearing it you are proclaiming that you ARE the kind of person who can pull it off.
Plus, in the immortal words of Cher Horowitz, “Anything you can do to draw attention to your mouth is good.”
Stand-out orange lipstick (a la Neon Orange by MAC), hot pink hues (like CoverGirl’s Lip Perfection Lipstick in Spellbound), or crazy rainbow shades (from Keyshia Dior) may be on-trend, but personally, I stick to a classic red lip.
Red lips are not just for pin-up girls or going out at night. Wearing your red lipstick at 9 am, on the bus, and at all times, will make you feel distinctive and ready for anything.
Red lipstick can easily become part of your signature look; but even if you commit to red as your color of choice there is still crimson, carmine, carnelian, cerise, ruby, scarlet, rust, magenta, rose, vermillion and wine, a dizzying array of shades with equally descriptive and seductive names!
Here are some red lipsticks I have known (and loved).
My personal pantheon of reds:
Mac Ruby Woo- If I had to select the one staple to have stashed in my bag when I got stranded on a desert island, this would be it. Ruby Woo is an arresting matte red with major staying power. It seems to look good with everything, but especially an all black, or black and white ensemble.
Legendary – MAC calls this a “Mattene”- it is matte but with enough moisture to keep it from getting flakey. This is an excellent dark and dramatic lipstick, best when worn with a liner (I use Brick, also from MAC).
For a brighter 1940s red I use Maybelline Are You Red-dy?
If you want to reapply your lipstick in public it is more fun when your lipstick case is a statement piece. For the kind of lipstick you can theatrically flaunt at the table (this requires the aid of a chic compact as well) opt for Chanel Rouge Allure in Dragon, Tom Ford in Cherry Lush, or Guerlain Rouge Automatique in Rouge d’Enfer which is a lighter glossier formula.
If you want to coordinate with nails to match choose Chanel Dragon, Rouge Marie by Mac, Big Apple Red by O.P.I., or Got the Blues for Red by O.P.I.
So now, as Miss Elizabeth Taylor would say, go, “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.”