Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Silver and Bronze

Right. Makeup time again people. This time I wanted to test out a look that is more everyday-wearable than my last little foray into deep purple eyes and red, red lips. This time around, I have decided to go with Lisa Eldridge's "Easy Glowy Bronze 'n' Kohl Look". I realized after I had finished watching the video that this is actually a look I had sort of been unknowingly using throughout my twenties when I had the tan that comes with being a cruise ship employee (I know, I know...there's no such thing as a healthy tan). But alas, those days are behind me now, and I have been shying away from bronzer ever since I decided to let my hair go gray, as everything you see and read on the subject of bronzer and silver hair tells you to avoid it or risk looking ashy, dirty, uneven, old, jaundiced....whatever. Just plain bad.

But once again, I disagree. Like so many things in life, the final result is all down to the skill in which said bronzer is applied. Here have a looksee.

A few things about this; I didn't do my neck.  Or my hands. In fact, I've actually never done that. Even though it is nearly November and I am not exactly glowing with the sun's warm rays, I didn't want to risk having makeup all over my collar and scarf, as I was planning on sporting my white Alexander Wang mock turtle sweater and heading off to Tesco after I completed this look. Which I did. And looking very sun-kissed and fresh too I might add.  I used more bronze that I probably would have otherwise, as I was conscious of the photograph's limitations and the complete lack of natural sunlight this time of year in Scotland. I wanted the look to come through the computer and into your homes. You're welcome.

So is bronze really a verboten colour for us silver-haired gals? Nah. I think Lisa nailed it when she instructed us to put just a hint of pink on over the bronze. That is the secret to success, in my opinion, and it keeps the dreaded Orange Face Syndrome at bay.  Here is my finished look.


Products Used

Monday, October 29, 2012

Baggy Khakis

Yesterday, as I was clicking-through my Bloglovin' feed,  I came upon a post on The Sartorialist's blog titled "If You're Thinking About.....Baggy Khakis."  I must admit that, up until that point, I had actually not been thinking about baggy khakis, nor have I been since about 1986. Especially rolled-up, wide-leg ones.  But the photos drew me in. The girls looked relaxed yet put-together, and not overly dressed, as so many of these "waiting outside the fashion show" looks seem to be. It looked easy.  I'm all for that. Plus, it gave me ideas as to what to do with my khakis. Khakis for me are difficult, because they can so easily stray into corporate workwear territory. I always feel like I am running the risk of being just one polo shirt away from looking like I'm going to a convention for IT guys when I get the khakis out. So, maybe this would be a good option. Here goes.

L.L. Bean velveteen jacket,  Gap Khakis, J. Crew denim shirt, Chinese Laundry flats

This is not a very feminine look, so I tried to offset some of the borrowed from the boys, Annie Hall-edness with some more feminine leopard flats, unmade messy hair, and red lipstick with little other makeup. I am also wearing a belt here, and had the blouse tucked-in, but preferred the loose slouchy look of having it out so that it would peek out from under the jacket.

So....the rolled wide leg pants? I don't hate it. I can see myself wearing some permutation of this in the spring, or on a plane going from a cold to a warm climate, but lets face it, this is Scotland, it is nearly November, and the only reason to roll your pantlegs up is either because you came on your bike, or you are trying to avoid the rushing floodwaters brought on by the driving rain. I will probably wear this look with the pantlegs down and a pair of converse sneakers instead.  At least for now.

As always,  the Highland Fashionista is happy to be a contributor to Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gray Hair, Strong Makeup, & I No Longer Hate Foundation.

Yes, it's true. I have managed to mend my relationship with foundation, at least for now.  As I have previously mentioned, this is largely due to the discovery of Lisa Eldridge's website and the importance she places on having the right products, especially as we get to be (cough) over (cough) forty. (Ahem!) What was that? Nothing. Moving on...

So one of the big lessons I have learned on the back of Lisa E's makeup lessons is that I have been wrongfully existing without a decent primer. My quest to get away with as few steps as possible were costing me dearly in the departments of glow, youthfulness, makeup longevity, and texture, to name just a few. So with some of the recommendations on her website, followed by some serious review-reading on the internet (nothing is as good as some judiciously considered peer reviews....this is science after all), I decided upon the following two products, in no particular order, pictured here in their relaxed and natural habitat.

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation
I got this for nine pounds at Superdrug. Yesss.

Nobody has anything bad to say about this foundation. And Lisa E uses it again and again in her videos. It took me a few tries to get the amount right, and with a primer, that amount is tiny. It lasted all day at work, and didn't change colour or sink into any of my cracks. The foundation that says no to crack(s). Relationship restored.

Daniel Sandler Retexturizing Face Primer SPF 20
I got it on Amazon. 

This primer works like a charm. Although it is probably no different than a lot of products like it, I like that it isn't sparkly and has SPF 20, so I will be tricked into wearing it, even when I am feeling lazy.  Americans, I think this is a British brand, but the world is a much smaller place than it used to be, thanks to the new-fangled technology of the interwebs, so despair not.

Now. On to the fun stuff. I would like to dedicate this next bit to all of you who, like me, have decided not to bother their arses with hair dye and are rocking their natural gray hair. Everything you read about having gray hair steers you towards light makeup, pinks, greys, natural, natural, natural! And yes, while I find that I have to wear less makeup overall, I disagree with the concept of shying away from colour. Especially when considering a dramatic evening look. 

So. I have decided I will be using myself as a guinea pig and testing some of the looks on Lisa Elderige's website over the next wee while, to see if they work for women with silver hair. Granted, I am mostly gray in the front, so I am really more of a salt and pepper, zebra kind of a gal. A kind of half-blood if you are into the whole Harry Potter thing. Anyway, I thought I would start with one that will probably work on just about every woman with gray hair. Okey-dokey, here goes. Oh, and check-out her Lulu Guinness lips ring in the video. Sweet!

And here is the long-awaited result. While I did this look exactly as Lisa did in her video, In reality I would probably skip the red lip and go for a classic nude lip.  Maybe. Although like her, I actually kind of liked myself in the red lip too. Very vampy though. The look in person is much more dramatic than on my homegrown photos. But still.  I liked this look, and will definitely be using it in the future. Purple, despite seeming like such an 80's throwback colour, is actually a good friend to most women, and especially so with gray hair. Purple Smokey Eye Look, you may stay. 

The eyes...Are you mesmerized? 

Friday, October 26, 2012


I make it absolutely no secret that I am gaga over jewelry inspired by organic natural forms. There are some seriously lust-worthy necklaces over at right now, in all their dendritic, tentacled, branchy-leafy, arachnid-y glory. Here are three examples that I found hanging in this tree. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

I Flipping HATE Foundation - Part One

There is nothing quite like the realization that you may not be as good at something as you have been leading yourself to believe for say, the past 41 years.  Delusions of grandeur. Or, in my case, delusions of adequacy. These past few days, I have had just such an epiphany. I have been hooked to Lisa Elderidge's website for the past few days, and have only come up for air long enough to make a few lists for my trip to Boots later today.

Chillaxin' with Lisa in my new No-Makeup makeup look) that I learned from her instructional videos.
I used tinted moisturizer and a lot of concealer, as I cannot stand the way my foundation looks right now. 

Lisa Eldridge is a makeup artist with credits about five miles long, and her website is amazing. She gives makeup lessons. Fantastic, step by step makeup lessons on just about how to do everything from day to day stuff to some kick-butt party looks (watch this space....peacock eyes!).  She herself is also a very beautiful English rose, with the kind of complexion that those of us with sort of non-committal, sallow, olive-y undertones would kill for. Watching her videos is sort of like watching a beautifully exquisite rare bird putting makeup on its beak...or something.

So far, here are the things that I have learned about my own (former) approach to makeup.

  1. I am not wearing the right foundation in any of the right places, in any of the right amounts. Arg.
  2. I need to get over the whole oil free matte thing. I'm over forty and I just have to deal.
  3. I need a primer. A real one. 
  4. A tinted moisturizer is not enough for me anymore. Okay, maybe on vacation and around the house.
  5. I have been wearing too much eye makeup with my daily routine. Embarrassing.
  6. I have been putting too much powder over my makeup, when I have been wearing it. And If I'm not, clearly I am not wearing enough. I am both chalky and shiny. 
  7. I need to do a better job of wearing sunscreen every day.
  8. I need to stop buying the two pound facial cleanser from Tesco.
  9. There is something weird going on with my brows...they're getting bigger. (This is just an observation, not something I learned on her site, but still).
  10. I suck at everything

Anyway, welcome readers, to my new obsession. If you would like to follow along, you can look at her video at the bottom of the post on how to do a perfect no makeup makeup look, which is a perfect place to start for a low-key look. I thought about going big, but am not convinced that the Highlands are ready for Peacock Eye yet.

Now to continue on with my list-making. Product aisle....look out. I'm coming.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Cosby Sweater Rides Again, And Other Quandaries

News Flash: I am a person who loves fashion. And so it follows that I also love trends. That is not to say that I  blindly follow each and every trend that appears. No, often I love more the idea and the process of trends than the trends themselves. I always find it a bit silly when people tell me that they don't pay attention to is nearly impossible to live in the image-conscious modern world and do so. Trends are everywhere,  not just in the fashion world. The cars we drive, the colour of our many of us (by our own accord) are still buying harvest gold and avocado green appliances? Exactly.

I think trends in some way signal an indication that you, like the winds of fashion itself, are willing to accept new ideas and evolve with them. And then do crazy s*** like wear neon headbands or baggy drop-crotched satin pants with a giant plaid snood.  Or maybe just try a slightly different cut of jean. It doesn't have to be big. Just different.

So when confronted with a trend,  I neither embrace it unconditionally, nor dismiss it out of hand. Instead, I ask myself, will I try this?  A recent internet peruse of fall "must-haves" brought to my attention the resurgence of a few such fall/winter trends. 

Trend 1: The Graphic Sweater

Kenzo Sweater $594 (gulp)
photo Shopstyle

Will I try this? 
Yes, probably.  But I will most certainly not be trying this for nearly six hundred bucks. After all, this sweater looks oddly familiar.

Dr. Huxtable himself
photo NBC

No, as much as I love a print, I will exercise extreme caution with this one, keeping with something space-dyed, or perhaps a Missoni knit as opposed to the Full Cosby. And with an upper-limit on price. Certainly not a six hundred dollar purchase...but will I wear a graphic sweater? Yes. Yes I will.

Trend 2: Face Lace

Face Lace, from 13 to 50 GBP at Harvey Nichols
Photo Harvey Nichols

I'm sorry....what!? Face lace!?!? What the....WHAAAT!?



Admittedly I did not know that this was even a thing. I am behind in my fall magazines right now because of my travelling and various freelance projects (a good thing I suppose), so I must have missed this.  Plus, I'm not a twenty year-old going to a rave, a goth renaissance-festival regular, or a character from the Star Trek franchise.

Photos courtesy Wikipedia

Will I try this? 
Honey,  please.

Trend 3:  The Matching Printed Suit

The suit that started it all this season - Prada

This is a huuuuge trend this season.  I really like the look of this Prada suit, and all of the spin-offs that it has given birth to (some good ones by J. Crew and ASOS in particular). But like many of you, I have a lifestyle that just does not call for a suit very often at all, and when it does, it is usually only the jacket over a cocktail dress, or a pair of tailored pants and a softer, more feminine top as to not look too boxy, "dressed',  and/or corporate. But I love the classic Prada print of this. Hmmm. 

Will I try this? 
I would love to, but sadly, probably not. But I'll likely be getting a pair of pants in this type of print before the season is out.

Trend 4: The Collar Necklace

Akong necklace

These are great. I'm a huge fan. They are as girly (as above) or as hard-edged as you want them to be, and they have the power to completely transform something as simple as a white tee with just the fastening of the clasp. A nice way to balance out a either take some of the edge off of a leather skirt or jacket, or add some spike and stud to a floral shirt. And as investments go, you can get this look at a low cost.

Will I try this?
Oh my, yes.

What about you guys? Face Lace anyone?

Monday, October 15, 2012

And The Winner Is...

Well, it has been a short visit here in the USA.  I'll be heading back to the UK on Monday, my bag exponentially heavier than it was when I arrived. I have just finished the online check-in and selected my seat. Like the sucker that they obviously know I am, I paid the extra money for a "comfort economy" seat.  Seeing as though "comfort" and "economy" used in this way seems to be such an obvious oxymoron, one can't help but think that the real moron in this narrative is me. My wallet certainly tells me so.

But I digress. Lets talk about clothes some more. It is, after all, the double-sided garment tape that binds us. There has been some pretty serious thrift shopping going on this week, but I have to say, the overall winner of this week's Midwest Thrift Shopping Derby was my mother.

Before I continue, I would just like to point out that the woman in the photo is, in fact, my mother. This woman is seventy years old. Seventy. And this is her in her new dress, found at the local Goodwill, for $4.50. I believe it is an Express dress. 

I know, right!? Pretty much blows the notion of what we are always
told is "age appropriate" right out of the water, doesn't it?
Take a hike Talbots! Up yours Chicos!  I'll wear Express!
the shoes are Nine West

Seventy.  (For  #%&%!!  sake!!).  I'm sure that at this point, like me, most of you have now lost whatever self-esteem you might have had when you woke up this morning, so I am going to utter one more quick congratulations to my Mom for winning the score of the week with that amazing dress, then move briskly on to just a few more remaining thrift shopping highlights. Quickly. While the rest of us still have a bit of will to live left in us...

My sister discovered she looks really good in coral and thusly scored a coral dress.

I found this down vest from Old Navy at Goodwill, tags still on.  It looks just like one I might have had back in the 70s and 80s.

And in keeping with the "things from my youth" theme, I decided I had to have these sunglasses with the name of my hometown printed on the side. They're like the ones they used to give away at malls and theme parks back in the 80s!! I am not known for my maturity. Oh, and they were 99 cents. 

My final score was this amazeballs sweater, again from the Goodwill. Acrylic and wool, tons of detail, peplum...and you all know that I love me some peplum.  Check this out. 

Love. It. Seeing as though I am nearly six feet tall, normally I shy away from things with a lot of volume. But I fell in love with the texturized sleeves on this, and the peplum hits in just the right place. 

Love the sleeves. About as close to an Elizabethan period costume as I dare to go...

The notched collar....texture....

And that concludes the Midwest Thrift Shopping Derby for another season.  I hope you had as much fun as I did.  If you are in the Minneapolis, Amsterdam, or Glasgow airports tomorrow, I'll see you there!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thrift Haul: Midwest Edition

You are no doubt aware by now (if you have been following along), that the women in my family express a gene for keen and savvy thrift shopping. So it should come as no surprise that my mother, sister and I recently set out on a mission to seek and flush-out some bargains at our favorite local thrift and consignment stores. This is big fun for me, as I find the thrift stores in the midwest to be veritable treasure troves of possibilities. Probably because unlike in the UK, there are less rules and restrictions about what you can donate, and they will take just about anything and put it on the shelf.

My sister and I started almost immediately after I got off the plane at the Minneapolis airport.

Elite Repeat consignment store in St. Paul, Minnesota

If you are in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area and are a thrift and consignment junkie (like us),  you need to pay this place a visit.  You will probably find something, and something nice. They know their stuff in here, and there is a lot of quality to be had.  I scored a few things right off the bat, and could easily have done a lot more damage. For some reason, I uncharacteristically decided to restrain myself.  But I did pick up a few winners.

Gap jersey wrap dress

Ralph Lauren wide-leg corduroy pants...with the tags still on!

Then across state lines we went, back to Wisconsin where we are from. And home of this place. 

Savers Thrift Store, Eau Claire Wisconsin

This place is a little bit more work for the unseasoned thrift shopper, as you have to plow through a lot of racks to find the hidden gems. But isn't that the point? Yes. Yes it is. I found a beautiful mohair oversized cardigan with beading on it.  I'm a sucker for anything charcoal grey with a bit of well with my gray silver gunmetal salt and pepper hair. 

Coldwater Creek mohair and beaded cardigan (covered buttons!)
Calvin Klein colored denim jeans (a gift from my mom...they were too big for her)
Aldo wedge shoes (my own...last season)
My sister's dog, "Fritz", a Tibetan Terrier. 

And finally, a dress that my sister thrifted a while back, and decided that it was too big for her, so I am now the new owner. I cant wait to rock this with some bright yellow pumps, or maybe tights and boots with a cardi over the top. Whee!

vintage Chadwicks linen dress.
and is absolutely not warm enough in Wisconsin right now to be dressing like this.
Do not try this at home. 
I also snapped-up a cobalt blue silk batwing blouse (very on trend this season) for $2.99, and rescued my old Air Force field jacket from the closet in my parent's house, stripes still on it and everything (is that even legal? am I supposed to remove them after the fact?.....meh. I'm leaving it as is). 

And that's probably not the end. I haven't even been to Target TargĂ©e (Tar-jay) yet . Watch this space. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Welcome to Wisconsin

Greetings all, from the good old US of A. The flight over was a complete letdown; no in-seat video player (man do I miss Northwest Airlines), iPad battery without enough charge to last the flight (whoops), and Delta Airlines neglected to provide my vegan meal that my husband went out of his way to order for me for the flight. So nine hours with no edible food except for an iceberg lettuce salad half the size of the palm of my hand, a stale bread roll, and two crackers. Gross.

Never mind, I'm here now. In Wisconsin. For those of you unfamiliar with my home state of Wisconsin, let me give you a quick photographic introduction, courtesy of Interstate 94, taken en route to my parent's place from the Minneapolis airport.

When I first saw this as we were approaching it from behind, I thought it was a taxi.  On closer inspection, the realization that it was a private car sent me scrambling for my iPhone with Ninja-like speed. You just don't see this type of thing in the highlands. Isn't America great? 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


No, not the show...although it's awesome as well. Seriously, I watched all of season one off of iTunes in like, two days.

No I mean MY homeland. Retailers, stock your shelves! Target, prepare the beauty aisle and workout wear departments! And had better be's coming! You have been warned...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

HUSH. Don't Wake Them...

The other day, I was having a wee browse of the internet doing some research on those water deprivation tank things where you can go in and be totally at one with the universe or some such shizzle (it's for some fiction that I am starting this week...don't ask), when I happened was shocked into submission (rare) by the appearance of the HUSH chair in all its glory, in front of me, on my screen.

The HUSH chair is the brainchild of very accomplished artist Freyja Sewell. Sewell is an artist in residence at the London Design Museum, and by all accounts is the real deal.  Artists like Sewell are by nature always turning concepts on their heads and existing "outside the lines", so to speak.  Which is how I know that this is not an accident. Nope. Not an incidental finding or an inconvenient and uncanny likeness.

What we have here people, is a full-on vagina chair. 


Take a minute here if you need to. I certainly did. 

According to Sewell's website, The HUSH chair is designed from a single piece of industrial felt, in order to keep out the hustle and bustle of the world in a wee personal retreat that is meant to be a womblike environment. 


This is what the good judges at Project Runway would say is a literal interpretation.  I mean... that taupey, fleshy colour!? Really!?  With the red lining? 


Perhaps I'm being too harsh. Lets have another look. 

Va-jay-jay. Total coochie couch. Maybe with the flaps down? 

Now I'm in 7th grade health class staring at the giant uterus model, and the teacher is going to come in any minute and tell us to stop giggling (which has never happened, by the way).

Maybe if we just put it away for a minute. 

all photos courtesy

Cervix....Pap smear....aaaah! Get out of my head!

Thing is people, I actually really like the idea. I love the concept of being able to pull my own wee drapes over my own wee world. I just don't want those drapes, and in that colour.  I would like to wave the Georgia O'Keefe wand over this chair and make it into a fun, whimsical colour with maybe, a nice pattern that contrasts, and some plush textures.  At the end of the day ladies, nobody wants to be reminded of her colposcopy by a piece of furniture. Ever. 

Lastly, I would like you to  imagine a guy walking into a room full of these. Total Kryptonite for men. It would be like that scene in Aliens where they suddenly realise all of the alien spawn pods are in the bowels of the ship, just lying in various stages of germination, waiting for the hostile takeover of the universe. Imagine this poor guy's horror as he makes this realisation and tries to back slowly and undetectably from the room ...without waking them.....HUSH.