Category: Get Gorgeous

The best in beauty and fashion: skincare, makeup, hair, style and shoes

6 Stunning Sweaters that Transition Easily from Fall to Winter

You’ll notice after grazing over this list that I don’t really do color. After about a decade of trying to convince myself that I like patterns, florals, and vibrant color in general, I’ve finally decided to call it quits. And, though it pains me to say it, my style definitely leans more towards the French aesthetic than it does bold and vibrant Italian. Somehow all those years I spent growing up in Italy have been overshadowed by a sea of neutrals in the wake of moving to New York.

sweater weatherThe older I get, the more I find that I’m drawn to minimalism with a hint of flare. I love solid neutral color blocking with a really great embellished shoe. I also really love contrasting fabric weights against one another. Below you’ll find bulky sweaters with unique shapes to pair with everything from leather skinnies to feminine midi skirts. And, though winter may be swiftly approaching, there’s always a place in my wardrobe for something a little sheer. Much to the surprise of my inner 6-year-old, turtlenecks are one of my favorite pieces to use a base for layering or to wear along under a leather bomber. The sheer number below would actually pair really well with the off-the-shoulder moment I’ve included in this list. After all, who wouldn’t carry over the off-the-shoulder look into winter if they didn’t have to worry about getting cold?

Because I haven’t completely given up on color, I still make an effort  to venture beyond my go-to tones of navy, cream, olive, and grey—albeit, the effort is very minimal. I’ve included a gorgeous red embellished Anthropologie sweater that I could pretty much live in all winter long. Every once in a while, I surprise myself and fall in love with dramatic sleeves. Anthropologie has definitely mastered the art of balancing rustic cool with just the right amount of drama.

Living in New York, I definitely have a love/hate relationship with the months— including and those that fall between—December through May. Sweaters are great until you need six layers and a fur-lined coat just to feel like you’re still roaming amongst the living. I am committing to letting the pieces in my wardrobe meet one another this year, so come May I expect to be a master of stylish layering. If you’ve got any special tricks for wearing pieces in your wardrobe year-round, feel free to share them!

 

 

 

Anthropologie Layered Off-The-Shoulder Pullover

ANTHROPOLOGIE Layered Off-The-Shoulder Pullover, $98 at anthropologie.com

 

Urban Flossy High Neck Jumper

FRENCH CONNECTION Urban Flossy High Neck Jumper, $138 at frenchconnection.com

Endless Rose Ruffle Sweater

ENDLESS ROSE Ruffle Sweater, $88 at revolve.com

David Lerner Knit Turtleneck

DAVID LERNER Knit Turtleneck, $84 at revolve.com

Free People Fiesta Jacket

FREE PEOPLE Fiesta Jacket, $228 at freepeople.com

 

10 Over-The-Top Heels That Are Totally Worth Breaking the Bank For

It is not a secret that I am shoe obsessed. One of my earliest fashion memories dates back to 1996 when my mother and I lived in Naples, Italy. On warm summer Sundays, we’d walk from our house in Pozzuoli to a small neighborhood trattoria on Via Montenuovo Licola that—to this day—still prepares the best pizza margherita and penne all’arrabiatta that I’ve ever had. It’s called Da Bernardo, in case you’re ever hungry in Napoli. After a healthy serving of bruschetta, pizza and pasta (carbs, carbs, and more delicious carbs) and of course the obligatory serving of coffee drenched lady fingers (tiramisu), we’d continue our promenade down to the flea market.

Italian flea markets are nothing like the weekend bazaars of America. They’re far more adventurous and riddled with treasures and gems of the premium and luxury fashion variety. One Sunday, after dinner at Da Bernardo, we ventured once again to our coveted treasure trove and were greeted by the usual hoard of bustling vendors yelling prices in sing-songy voices “Cinque-mille Lire! Dieci-mille Lire!”— this was before the Euro was the national currency. And that’s when I spotted them: cream Valentino lace-up woven wedge booties, size 37. They were gorgeous and I have to have them.No 21 Mustard Yellow Elaphe Heel Sandal w: Pom Pom Tassel Fringe I pleaded with my mom to buy them for me and after lots of bargaining with the vendor, they were mine. My first pair of designer shoes and I loved them recklessly. At six, I wasn’t old enough to wear heeled wedges and at size 37, the shoes were still way too big for me, but I cherished them. They were my prized possession and I couldn’t wait to grow into them.

We moved back to America a year later and our weekend flea market excursions were no more. Side note: were I ever to run for fashion office of America (if that was actually a thing), the first order of business on my campaign agenda would be to increase the number of luxury flea markets. I mean, hey—we’re in a recession and bartering is a necessary skill in every culture and in every corner of the world.

Anyway, upon moving back to America, I was grounded for something and our home, being grounded was always represented by losing some sort of fashion privilege (image has always been a big deal for me. I could have cared less about losing my allowance). I was nearing the point where those gorgeous Valentino boots were beginning to fit so my mom took the boots and a few other choice items from my wardrobe and put them in a black Gucci Embellished Cutout Leather Pumpstrash bag and “gave them away.” I found out later that she hid them in the garage. After a few months in the garage, I sort of forgot about them. When I went to retrieve them, to my surprise the bag was gone. My mom had forgotten she’d bagged them and mistook them for donation clothing and gave them to the Salvation Army. My shoes were gone forever. I was heartbroken and some lucky shopper was one glorious, life-changing, Earth-shatteringly beautiful pair of Valentino booties richer.

My mom still apologizes about those shoes but the damage has been done. I am forever scared, and twenty years later, I still think about their shoes and shudder at their absence. So, yes— I take shoes very, very seriously.  Every year, I lie to plan my life around a theme. Last year was my year of travel— fitting because I turned 25, so I spent five months traveling around Europe and the US alone as a sort of coming-of-age trek. This year I focused on image and appearance and decided to curb my shopping habit by only buying investment pieces. In the shoe category, I committed to only buying shoes that double as art —ordinary shoes have no place in my wardrobe. I like this because it allows me to wear really basic pieces and dress them up with a fabulous shoe, cutting my morning prep time in half now that I don’t obsess over mixing and matching pieces.

In honor of my oath of “shoes as art,” here are 10 seriously stunning shoes that are so gorgeous they could double as room decor.

1. No.21 Mustard Yellow Elaphe Heel Sandal with Pom Pom & Fringe ($456, at forzieri.com)

2. No.21 Satin Wrap High Heel Sandal ($858, at forzieri.com)

3. 3.1 Phillip Lim Kyoto Silver and Malbec Leather Ankle Knotted Sandal ($650, at forzieri.com)

4. Pierre Hardy black and White Leather Lola Sandal ($358, at forzieri.com)

5. Proenza Schouler Black and White Leather Open Toe Sandals w/ Chunky Wooden Heel ($426, at forzieri.com)

6. Tabitha Simmons Flouncy Linen Heel in Red & Ecru ($279 , at fwrd.com)

7. Loeffler Randall Nicolette Multicolor Fox Fur & Suede Ankle-Wrap Sandal ($450, at saks.com)

8. Gucci Embellished Cutout Leather Pumps ($1850, at asos.com)

9. Maison Margiela Mirror Leather Heels ($545, at fwrd.com)

10. Alexander Wang Ellery Studded Leather Block-Heel Pumps ($995, at saks.com)

Asos Summer sale jumpsuits Art by Virginia Lowman

13 Gorgeous Fall-Ready Jumpsuits To Snag From the ASOS Summer Sale

It’s a tough truth to bear, but summer is coming to a close. And, while I’m definitely going to miss lazy beach days and catching a wave under the warm summer sun, I am always excited when September draws near because I get to pull out my autumn wear. For me, that means jumpsuits and bombers, embellished booties and the occasional graphic print. Either way, fall IMO is the most fashionable time of year. Since all of the major retailers are having their summer sales and perhaps getting rid of a few pieces from seasons passed, I decided to scour ASOS for their hottest fall gear on discount. Here are 13 gorgeous neutral jumpsuits you can pair with blazers, sweaters, and fur (faux is cool too) collars to transition your wardrobe into fall. If you’re feeling daring, dress them up with graphic prints or embellished heels for a looks that next-level chic. The best part: you can purchase guilt-free because they’re all on sale!

 

1 . ASOS Two-in-One Jumpsuit ($74, at asos.com)

2. ASOS Tailored Double-Breasted Romper ($53, at asos.com)

3. ASOS Sleeveless Shirt Detail Jumpsuit ($51, at asos.com)

4. ASOS Denim Wide Lge Jumpsuit with Collar in Indigo ($23, at asos.com)

5. ASOS Jersey Jumpsuit with Wide Leg in Variegated Stipe ($44, at asos.com)

6. ASOS Premium Jumpsuit in Bonded Satin ($62.50, at asos.com)

7. ASOS White Oversized Jumpsuit in Gingham ($43.50, at asos.com)

8. Pepe Jeans Donny Wrap Front Belted Jumpsuit ($91, at asos.com)

9. AX Paris Plus Jumpsuit in Stripe ($49, at asos.com)

10. Maison Scotch Safari Boilersuit ($138, at asos.com)

11. Millie Mackintosh Khaki Cutout Jumpsuit ($81, at asos.com)

12. ASOS Structured Plunge Jumpsuit ($36.50, at asos.com)

13. ASOS Jersey Overall in Strip With Pockets ($39.50, at asos.com)

 

How to Apply Mascara Like a Pro

I’m typically a minimalist when it comes to makeup, but two things are certain when I leave the house: my brows are perfectly groomed and my lashes are lengthy and feathery. In fact, I have a running joke with my friends that outside of skincare, my eyes are the most important part of my face. Friends—my boyfriend in particular—know that when I’m doing my lashes or filling in my brows I am not to be disturbed. They understand that this is a process. I typically use three different kinds of mascara applied in timed intervals for various parts of my lashes. To be frank, often times, it’s less about the formula and much more about the brush. Although, I will say that I tend to prefer smoother mascara over the ultra-creamy ones because those tend to clump more and they also feel heavy on the lashes. Read on to discover my lash routine and my top picks to nail my signature feathery, bright-eyed look.

1. For your first coat use a lengthening mascara. The spooley should be long and should not have densely packed bristles. Apply one coat of this mascara to clean lashes wiggling the brush upwards from the base of the lash. Be sure to coat all of your lashes once, but double-up on the center lashes.

2. Using the same mascara coat the back of your lashes drawing upwards from mid-lash to tip

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GETTY images

3. Alternating to your second mascara— preferably one with a densely packed brush— hold your mascara at a vertical angle and focus on the outer lashes, drawing your mascara wand outward from the base. You want to be sure that your outer lashes are as separated as possible.

4. Keeping with the same mascara, focus on the lashes on the inner corners of your eyes and repeat step three.

5. Switch to your last mascara and hold your arm at a 90-degree angle keeping your mascara wand parallel to the floor and run the wand over the tips of your lashes.

6. Coat your bottom lashes with a single coat of the mascara that you used in step one, drawing the wand from mid-lash to tip. Avoid touching the base of the lash to keep your lower lash line clean.

Virginia Lowman originally wrote this article for ESSENCE.com

Lipstick Might Be the Quickest (And Cheapest) Way to Enhance Your Mood

One of my earliest memories from childhood is watching my mother get ready for the day. I remember standing on a stool next to her in the bathroom, staring in awe as she leaned into the mirror over the sink and gracefully applied a burgundy wine stain to her lips. Watching her put on lipstick was an event. Her quilted cosmetic bag held what seemed to be every shade of red in the color spectrum. It was a party that I could not wait to be invited to. So, as she painted her lips red, I attempted—with minimal grace—to apply my strawberry flavored Lip Smackers balm in the same fashion; it was sheer and offered a barely-there shimmer, but it made me feel grown up at the time. I think back to those days of standing on stools next to my mother in the mirror, and I realize that the contents of that lipstick kit were sacred not because they made me feel grown up, but because of the transformative power of lipstick to turn me into the woman I chose to be for the day. Now, at twenty-five, I too have an all-access pass to that once exclusive party that is the world of cosmetics, and I have since learned from first-hand experience that lipstick is about much more than just being pretty, it‘s about tapping into a well of confidence and being yourself fearlessly.

Tom Form Matte Lip Color in Black Dahlia, $54 at neimanmarcus.com

Few women will contest the notion that lipstick can enhance the power of a smile. Of course, if you’re wearing a gothic black lipstick and donning a smile, the effect just is not the same. The proper shade of lipstick, however, can be flirty, seductive, and powerful.  Personally, my lipstick is always based on my mood. Very rarely, if ever, do I attempt to match my lip shade to what I’m wearing. My go-to shade of choice is Tom Ford “Black Dahlia,” a deep, blood red that allows me to tap into my inner vixen, and is best paired with stilettos. It’s sexy and sophisticated, and in my opinion, perfect for any time of day. Typically, I shade the corners of my lips with a lip liner that is one shade darker than my lip color to give dimension and a bit of a boost to my pout.  On the days when I feel coy and flirty, my lipstick warrior of choice is always Dior Addict Extreme in shade 536, “Lucky.”  This glossy pink hue is fun and feminine and offers a dewy shine without looking greasy. Lastly, for an “au natural” look, I love “Naked” by CK One, a moderately sheer nude color with pink undertones.

In the morning, as I trace my lips with my color-mood for the day, occasionally, I will catch my boyfriend staring at me with the same doe-eyed wonder I had years ago. When asked what he thinks about as he stares, he smirks and says, “You don’t want to know.” So, whether you’re feeling vampish, or coy, there is a head-turning, gaze-inducing shade for you. Have some fun and play up your features with a lipstick that speaks to how fabulous you are.

In Transition: Why Going Natural is More than Just Physical

naturalI have spent roughly $16,200 on extensions over the course of the past six years. This figure does not include hair care and styling products; this reflects the cost of extensions alone. Approximately $450 every other month for wefts of hair or full lace wigs with foreign origins—Malaysia, China, Italy, Egypt, and Brazil. In college, I used to joke that where I was from changed every other month depending on the origin of my hair.  I was Egyptian for the better portion of my junior and senior years.

For over a decade, I have relied upon someone else’s hair to make me feel beautiful; to have a place in this standard of beauty set by society that seemingly never meant to include people of color. Like most women, my serial use of extensions began as an interest—a simple desire for a different look—that quickly turned into a necessity. Soon, I was not confident leaving the house without 14” of hair flowing down my back. The state of health of my own hair began to decline and was seemingly less important than the health of my extensions. As far as I was concerned, I presented the weave as my natural hair, so its’ health was all that mattered. Never mind that my own hair was thinning, breaking, dull, and uneven.

In 2010, I began to wear human hair lace front wigs. I liked the freedom that wigs provided in that I could take them off at night and let my natural hair breath. They also seemed more sanitary, as I was now able to thoroughly wash and deep condition my hair, as well as tend to my scalp on a weekly basis. However, because I had been gluing hair in for so long, I really hadn’t developed a regimen for caring for my chemically processed hair outside of perming it every 6-8 weeks. I should note here, that perming is not considered a form of hair care, in that it does not improve the health of your hair.  So, after transitioning from weft extensions to wigs, I was still unsure of how to really care for my own hair. My mother would advise me to wrap my hair at night, oil my scalp, and tell me to comb my hair only twice a day—when unwrapping my hair in the morning, and when wrapping it at night; “the less you manipulate your hair, the more it will grow,” she advised. My hair still continued to experience breakage. It was dry, severely damaged, and the constant friction from the wig created split ends, and the clips caused thinning around the edges of my scalp.

There was a cultural boom of people going natural in Houston, Texas—where I went to college—that began around 2009. Many of my girlfriends were saying no to chemical processing and embracing their naturally curly locs. It was around this time that a sub-culture of “Natural Speak” began, emerging with its’ own language. My girlfriends were speaking in acronyms using terms like “TWA,” and “ACV rinse,” and asking one another if they ever “co-washed” or “pre-poo’d” their hair. They spoke of things like “pineappleing” and “twist outs;” it seemed more of a vocabulary for Kamasutra than a method of hair care. All I knew was that there was a movement occurring, and black girls were defining beauty on their own terms. It was refreshing, and terrifying at the same time. Refreshing, because it seemed like an act of revolution, saying no to Western standards of beauty achieved through chemical processing and embracing our natural state as beautiful. Terrifying, because soon my peers would apply for internships and jobs in [predominantly white] corporate America, and how would their natural hair be received? Aside from locs, wearing natural hair had not been popular since around the 70s, and even locs and braids were often met with adversity in the workplace and seen as unprofessional.  As far as I was concerned, blacks did not need another hurdle to jump over on the road to corporate success.

If I am truly honest, my adversity and hesitance to going natural was rooted in years of believing long, straight hair was the only look men found to be attractive on a woman. However, because my hair was so damaged, in 2011, I decided to go natural long enough to return my hair to a state of health that I hadn’t had since sixth grade. I had every intention of perming it again. Going natural seemed to be the best way to re-gain strong healthy hair. I transitioned for a year using sew-ins, and an extension process that I loved called “Urban Twists,” done through an Atlanta-based stylist at The Damn Salon. I even modeled in a few natural hair shows. After a year, when stretched, my hair was chin length, and healthy so I went to a salon and permed it again. And again, because I had not developed a hair care regimen, and because extensions were such a quick fix, I returned to wigs, and the damaged ensued.

Last March, I committed to going natural again. This time with a different mindset, and a willingness to learn my texture. This being my second trial run, I knew what I was in for and began to approach my hair with child-like curiosity, and a willingness to discover this hair that quite frankly, was foreign to me, having received my first perm at the age of five. It has been just over a year now, and I am only just now discovering the products that work for my hair, that don’t leave my locs feeling dry and brittle. While I still wear lace units on a regular basis, my natural hair is no longer being overlooked, and after ten years, I’ve finally begun to view myself as beautiful without someone else’s hair. I was aware that going natural would require a mental shift in regards to standards of beauty, but I was unaware of how emotional the experience would be. Transitioning to natural is indeed a “journey,” in every sense of the word.