Beauty for the BoysJuly 1, 2008
Boys, let’s all be a little open-minded here with what you’re about to read. Women have long sang the praises of finding a cosmetic gem in your medicine cabinet. Be it your favorite moisturizer, shaver, or hair crème, the female species has benefited immensely from “male only” labeled products. However, men have long shied away from anything with any hint of femininity in product labeling, or description (ancient fear of cooties, possibly on supposition). Fear not, most products are unisex, though labeled to the contrary, and can do wonders for your hair, face, and body. Just open that mind as suggested, tell Mr. Testosterone and his cootie phobia to shut up, and join the ladies at the cosmetic counter.
Starting with the skin, the largest organ in (or oustide) the body. The thought has long been that the skin was like your body’s spokesperson, your PR department so to speak. It is commonly known, good PR can make or break you, and good cleansing routine is where you should start:
A favorite facial cleansers can be found at your local drugstore: Cetaphil, gentle, fragrance-free, non-alkaline, and non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores) it’s good for sensitive skin, but can be used for most other types as well. It leaves the skin feeling clean but not dry and stretchy. $9.99 drugstore.com
For combination skin, Khiel’s ( a line of products more in the unisex vein) I’d go for the Foaming Non-Detergent Washable cleanser, suited for normal to oily at a price point of $12.50. With a combination of normal to dry skin, Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser is also for available for $12.50. Both can be had in your Khiel’s stores or Khiels.com.
Oily skin can be all skin types in one; the most prone to breakouts, and in general a big pain in the ass. Murad, has always made wonderful skincare products for years. Murad’s Clarifying Cleanser reduces 99.9 percent of surface bacteria in about a minute, treating and preventing breakouts. It’s available at Sephora stores and Sephora.com for $26.00.
Soap is back and for good reason. Our favorite cleansing product cuts out plastic waste. You can use all of it down to the tiniest slither so none is wasted, and it comes in many new, skin quenching flavors.
Lush.com sells Demon in the Dark (yes it’s soap) a minty scented bar with a tingle that wakes up tired skin, while Mud Flaps (yup, it’s soap too) has a light rosemary scent, and cleans like a deep mud bath. They both run about $5 to $8 bucks for a 3.5 oz bar, and you’ll never be embarrassed telling your men with names like those.
There are three things in life you should do: Eat, breath, and moisturize. Your face should be kissably soft and your body, hard, but oh so smooth. Your wife, girlfriend, girl friday, or boyfriend will appreciate the extra effort next time they go in for a smooch. Nordstrom.com carries several favorable facial moisturizers for all skin types. Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer tightens, refines, hydrates, encourages collagen production, can be used on oily, sensitive, and combination skin. At $65.00 for 1.7oz, I’d say that’s a bargain.
If your skin is healthy and normal you know where you can go…kidding. You’ll need something to maintain your genetic good fortune, and with the sun wreaking havoc these days The Body Shop Aloe Soothing Moisture Lotion with SPF 15 absorbs easily and does what it do…protects you from sun damage…pay attention. It’s $18.00 and the best part kids; it’s unscented so there will be no questionable looks from your homeys.
The Body Shop also carries a line of body moisturizers that can be scented to your liking. With scents like sandalwood you could cheat, but if you had not asked a girl would you have known? Not at all. It runs about $14.00 for 6.75 fl oz bottle.
Shampoo & Conditioner
Dramatic license is what is being used here but pseudo-beauty regimen (trust in the fact that ladies have at least 4 more categories of routine aids), but when it comes to shampoo and conditioner they must be used separate. There’s word that it is convenient 2-n-1′s but can u really get the best out of each product from one bottle, hmmm…no.
For the curly and ethnic heads Ouidad Clear and Gentle Shampoo $13 is best and Balancing Rinse Conditioner $15 both available at Quidad.com. It makes your curls behave, shine, and look all around awesome.
For oily hair, the idea is to get it clean and keeping it like that all day. You can achieve this with Frederic Fekkai Apple Cider Shampoo. It not only cleanses without stripping, but keeps essential oils needed to keep your hair healthy. You can get a bottle while you’re at Sephora for $19.50.
If you have awesome, healthy, hair most envy, aka “normal”, you have the run of any shampoo conditioner you like. My suggestion (not that you need it or anything) Shampure shampoo and conditioner from Aveda.com. Both have a light natural outdoorsy smell and can be had for $9 each.
Now, don’t go out as boys, scared of the world’s cosmetic counters and “girly” stores, but as men ready to conquer the rows and aisles of skin cream and shampoos for your benefit. You’re Welcome.brandy-creek
Marie AntoinetteNovember 24, 2006
For every fashion era there is an “it girl” who reigns supreme. There is none more infamous than Marie Antoinette. Her spirit has been resurrected by Sofia Coppola’s new film Marie Antoinette which documents the Queen’s rise and tragic fall. Within the movie as within Antoinette’s life, the importance of her elaborate costume went beyond the fabric, color and look.
Born into privilege in 1755 to parents Marie TheresaQueen of Hungary and Archduchess to Austria and Holy Roman Emperor Francis I, she was one of 16 children. Marie was a beautiful child and was favored and spoiled by her governess. She would rather play than study. And with a governess, in charge of her education, yielding to every whim she could barely read by the age of 14. Her mother recognized Antoinette’s short comings and refashioned her daughter from an unsophisticated country girl to appear more metropolitan before leaving her home in Austria.
Upon her arrival to Versailles she was again stripped and revamped to fit the appearance of a future queen. As she looked at her new self I am sure a fever ran through her soul that comes when you discover your true passion. Marie Antoinette’s penchant for fashion would take hold of French woman’s imaginations and dictate what to wear for the next twenty-four years.
In that time there were none more famous as stylist Rose Bertin and hairdresser Monsieur Leonard. They would form a friendship with the French Queen and would aid in establishing her bevy of distinct looks. Bertin and Leonard came to fame in 1774 with the creation of the hairstyle, the Pouf. Made from wire, cloth, horse and fake hair, the pouf intention was to express feelings or commemorate an event. Marie Antoinette’s poufs would express her love for a current opera, or defend her husband publicly with constructed scenes made from ribbon and props. Some of the poufs were more whimsical bearing fruits and vegetables growing larger and more excessive with time. Each new style caused frenzy amongst the women
of France and many went into debt trying to keep up with the trend setting Marie. Her dresses, made of the finest cloth, consisted of a low bodice and huge panniers. The bodice was often incrusted with jewels and sat atop a skirt accented with ribbons, flowers and ruffles. Marie Antoinette basked in all the finery and enjoyed hearing of all the trends she had set. She
encouraged Bertin and Leonard to illustrate her latest “looks” in a newspaper for the women of Paris and Europe. Sold by subscription only, it is considered
one of the first fashion magazines.
Her excessive frivolity soon got the best of her and instead of the admiration from the people of France she was scorned. Poor from war the French people began to starve and felt ignored by the royal family. With the Queen still spending lavishly on her wardrobe she was nicknamed Madame Deficit and blamed for the majority of French economic trouble. In the coming months the royal family was over thrown and put on trial for their crimes against France. Marie Antoinette was beheaded October 16, 1793 at the age of 37.
Marie Antoinette is as captivating today as she was in her time. The release of the movie has sparked new interest in her life and love of fashion. It is predicted spring looks will recreate the romantic nature of Marie’s personal style. Some have even suggested her hairstyle will be modernized and mimicked. Often described as air-headed, Marie Antoinette would have to had some presence of mind to be able to create a look then that is sought after now. She was a pioneer and one of the first fashionista’s. She died stripped of her title, renamed at trail citizen Widow Capet, but with her modern resurrection she has gained “it” back.
JumpOctober 2, 2006
We have all seen recent headlines of Madrid Fashion Week turning away “too skinny models”. Organizers, Pasarela Cibeles, along with Spanish health authorities used the body mass index (which measures weight according to height) to judge who would be able to walk the catwalk. The decision to cut the 30 percent that did not meet this requirement, was made voluntarily by designers in partnership with Madrid’s regional government. By cutting these models, the designers and government hoped to give “an image of beauty and health” and discourage eating disorders and poor body image amongst young females.
When I first began to read about this I was elated with Madrid’s decision and could not wait to weigh in because of my personal history with the issue. Some people blame the models; Armani has blamed stylists and the media, touting “no girl needed to be anorexic to be fashionable”. But do you need to be anorexic, bulimic, or starve to work? Yes.
Let’s go back to the 80’s, to the 9th grade, when I first became familiar with body image and eating disorders. I was tall and lean, but because of my mixed heritage I was curvy, a body most women dream to have, and I dreaded. My girlfriends were wiry, bendy, and flat in the behind, you get the picture. They were my friends, my peers; I just wanted to be one of them. Then I saw an after school special on bulimia and anorexia. I thought with some improvements on her “great idea” I would be just fine and not turn out like the character. By the time I was finished with my “improvements”, and high school, I looked like Olive Oyle in Doc Martins and was ready for New York.
When you first began hitting agency armed with a lifetime of “you’re so pretty, so tall, you should be a model”, no industry wolf could blow you down. But by the fifth turn-down you began to ask so many questions of yourself. Am I to fat? How do I lose more weight off my already 110 frame and still walk? The standard for models is at least 5’10 120 lbs, and to a lot of these girls it comes naturally to be so tall and svelte. But in a world where Caucasian beauty is the standard, ethnic girls and their body type lag far behind. So as a Spanish girl in Madrid, or a little mixed girl from Maryland with a dream, you find yourself skipping a meal, running an extra mile, and the occasional purge too have the same opportunity to get the job.
The truth is so painful, and Armani is right, as well as the Madrid government and designers. The blame is on everyone who hasn’t taken into consideration the unique beauty of individual cultures and their women. It is natural to want to be accepted and represented, even within the media. We have the power to create a fashion movement, a renaissance, which develops from the female figure drawing from all cultures. When covers of magazines and catwalks look like the new Dove ads, that is when a little girl can look at this medium and say yes I can do that, and poor body image as well as eating disorders will decline.
And for the designers who will complain “but I want my clothes to look their best on the runway.” Understandable, but you also need to worry about how it’s going to look its’ best on me, a real woman, with my real money.brandy-creek
The Fashion Political IconJuly 6, 2006
A beret, afro, and leather jacket in black conjures one image in my mind. That image is of the men and women of the Oakland based political group the Black Panthers. Hundreds of ideas about this group also form, but there contribution to fashion lags strangely behind. Ironically it is there image, through fashion, that makes the Black Panther Party the visually strong group they are.
Kathleen Cleaver and others like her emerged from the shadows of the Oakland streets to the forefront of the political 60’s to define a generation of black women. With not much finance to build with, imagination played the role in creating the image we know today.
Simple pieces with ample movement lend to the look. It would inspire strength for some and fear in others. Having been bound to media standards, BPP women wanted and needed to set themselves apart by embracing the fear of being their whole self. Black, the color of choice, for items such as tight turtle necks and hard leather jackets created a silhouette of strength and dominance of ones personal future. The black beret made a statement of the modern militia; we are organized, in charge and take note to recognize us. Under the beret, hair that was once straightened and conformed, became naturally free and a source of
inspiration for the wearer. The style, known as the afro, was unapologetic and allowed wind to move through every billowy follicle.
Though militant and strong, a sense of womanhood and celebrating feminism was not lost. Accessories played a huge part in separation from their male counter parts. Large earrings, in hoops or tear drop shapes, gave elegance and charm to fresh clean faces. The BPP also would feature medallions worn around the neck on long chains just to look polished and sharp. When establishing free lunch programs, African prints worn on dresses and dashiki, gave each child being served a representation of pride in their past and for their future.
Though the BPP has since been dismantled, many contributions to our nation remain. The slogan of the BPP was “Serve the People”, but first you had to feel strength and pride within and convey it to all that gazed upon you. If you want to play the game you must look the part, however the women of the BPP took it a step further. Making fashion not just something you see but also something you must feel. Colors, shapes, and textures all convey messages when the wearer feels it. These iconic women Of the Black Panther Party knew this and worked it.brandy-creek
Scope: Discovering YouSeptember 6, 2005
Every time you open a magazine, turn on the TV or even take a stroll, there is someone critiquing what you wear.
They attack your personal sense of style and can strike a major blow to your ego.
“I chose this, I like this,” you fume to yourself. Most often it’s an old woman in a Chanel suit and pompadour, or a flamboyant who believes Day-Glo green works with anything (sorry,
it doesn’t). This is the Fashion Police that I speak of. Hitlers of style telling you what works, what’s deemed seasoned and how to place it. I believe that we are Pollyannas of personal style and have a freewill policy.
However, if you live for the flock or just want to get it right, here are my clichéd 5 steps to do just that.
1. Mom was right! Confidence, a great smile, and proper hygiene is a excellent start on the road to stepping out the house. Looking and feeling good walk hand and fashion.
2. Own something wild and all you. There is one item everyone has that a friend chimes “What are you wearing?!” Say proudly “I love this, it’s sooooo me,” to which a real friend replies, “You look fabulous!” Loud pieces though, should be worn as accessories with something subtle. Well understated pieces should be prominent. As for the friend, if she laughs or says gross … she isn’t.
3. Shoes! Should not be too small or too big. They don’t have to match in color but must match in style (i.e. don’t wear the cowboy boots with your after-5). Wear what is comfortable on your feet, you’ll have them for a long time (your feet I mean).
4. Good underwear. (I’ve been commando for years) All cotton, preferably that have invisible panty lines. A well-fit bra for parental situations and family
gatherings. No holes! No stains! Ever!
5. Jeans! What?!? I know that’s what you’re saying, this is a crock! I’m sure that’s what they said to Vanderbilt. I chucked out the $85 for the pair. In this day and age, a good pair of jeans go from day to night and can be dressed up, taken out, accompanied on errands and lounged in. In some cases, you can get away with the right pair at work.
And nothing quiets all those naysayers if you look good in those jeans.
There you have it. Five easy points to help you survive, at least till end of October! Ciao!!!brandy-creek