Friday, February 09, 2007

Brows: The New Facial Accessory

Everybody has them, but does anyone really understand why? And why do they cause such an uproar if they happen to be just one? Your brows are not merely a fixture on the face of humanity---they make a fashion statement all on their own. And since sparse arches remain tucked away in the last decade, you've got plenty of brow to work with.

However, if your brows are thin enough to resemble Drew Barrymore in the early 90s, you can take some proactive steps to help them grow. Women's Rogaine, dabbed sparingly on balding brows, will eventually promote brow growth. But don't look for a change overnight. It may take up to a month before your brows start to fully emerge. And, the Rogaine can be very drying and can cause itchy redness. So, use growth inhibitors as a last resort, and seek a physician's advice if you choose to go this route.

Even if you regularly groom, but need a brow update, give your brows some time to grow out a bit. Now, you can still pluck strays while you're waiting for them to come in, but pluck conservative, and in the obvious places, like far under and above the browline, and any that may try to bridge the unibrow gap.

Once your brows are fully grown in, seek professional help. Every woman should have a licensed beautician professionally shape her brows, whether it be through plucking, waxing, or threading. It's not very expensive, and a professional brow shaping will teach you to maintain the ideal contour of your existing brows.

When you return to plucking your own, start with the proper tools. You need a lighted makeup mirror, with preferably high magnification. If your makeup mirror doesn't offer adequate magnification, you can purchase this attachment offering magnification of 10x. You will also need an exceptional set of tweezers. I strongly recommend you make an investment in Tweezerman tweezers, like these. Not only do they offer sharp beveled edges for grabbing the tiniest of hairs, but they are guaranteed to last a lifetime, and the company offers free sharpening. You won't believe the difference between a professional set of tweezers and a drugstore set.

Comb your brows with this in their proper direction, using a tool like this. Begin plucking in the direction of hair growth, working from the inside-out. Each brow should begin at the same point parallel to the outside of each nostril. Brows should be thicker toward the bridge of the nose, slightly narrowing toward the arch. Your arch should peak at its highest point near the outer corner of your eye. At this point, the brow should taper down toward the temples, but keeping moderate length.

After your brows are properly groomed, you may wish to shape them further with a pencil, powder or gel. Cosmetic manufacturers make these in an array of neutral colors to suit blondes to brunettes. Pencils offer precision detailing, while powders and gels offer a bit of shading and fullness. Use these products sparingly, and err on the side of smudgy. You don't want drawn-in brows, i.e. Uncle Leo on Seinfeld. You may also choose to use a highlighting pencil, giving you a brow lift without going under the knife. Finish up your brow routine with a light sweep of clear brow gel or a pat of brow pomade, to hold unruly brows in place.

Below are a few tools to aid in your brow grooming routine. With some discipline and finely honed sculpting skills, your face will display two full and beautiful eyebrows!

Precision tip allows for finely drawn hairs, and it's double-end includes a brow comb.

Twist-up, quick-drying, gel formula, containing tiny hair-like particles, to give you faux fullness.

A quick sweep under your arches gives your brows some added oomph.

Tame your wild brow tresses with this colorless pomade, keeping your brows in line all day long.

The whole shebang, rolled into a cute pink pouch. Includes tweezers, dual powder, brow gel, highlighting pencil, double-ended brush, and even shaping guides.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Leggings and minis--denial or innovation?

You've all seen it--the ubiquitous denim mini skirt paired with leggings and either ballet flats or heels. I know I've spoken out against them in the past, but I'm beginning to wonder if I was wrong. I have felt that it was a cute style for anyone under 18, but I've seen enough really cute women well into their 30's wear this look that now I wonder if I'm missing out (I'm 26).

What do you think, readers? Are leggings and minis here to stay? Am I being brainwashed from seeing too many of these outfits, or should I just succumb to the cute?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sound off: Celeb political fashion

There is no doubt that fashion is political. What you wear makes a statement. It can say, "I shop here," signifying support for a certain brand or store. It can say, "I may not look like a man, but I can do anything I damn well want," like a navy blue 1980's power suit, complete with shoulder pads and a severe, boxy skirt. It can say "Make love, not war," like denim bellbottoms and a peasant blouse.

People have been wearing Che t-shirts for years, and other folks will wear their Reagan shirts in protest. But celebrities are taking their political statements to a whole new level: they're wearing them on the red carpet.

First off, can the average individual ignore the seeming incongruency between the lifestyle of a movie star (especially one strutting their stuff on the red carpet in designer jewelry and clothing) and those he or she claims to represent/care about with a simple t-shirt?

And does it do a disservice to the cause to have a celebrity--who may be out of public favor in an instant for any number of reasons--wearing their political statement on their backs?

Or does it really matter? Does the attention and money that a celebrity brings to a cause cancel out the irony, the possible self-promotion involved, or the risks brought on by the tenuous nature of American celebrity?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I need some help!

Hi fellow fashionistas,

It's your turn to offer me advice! I'd like to buy a new pair of blue jeans, but I don't know where to start. I used to buy my jeans at Ann Taylor Loft, but I am a bit disappointed with the last pair I got there. Where do the rest of you go for jeans? Here are my requirements:

1. Medium rise-- I don't want ultra-low rise pants; they don't look very good on me.
2. Classic fit-- A bit of stretch would be grand. I'd prefer a slightly flared leg. I am 5'3" and about a size 8, so I need something that will be flattering to curvy figures.
3. Dark rinse--I don't like light rinses or tons of whiskering; they go out of style too quickly. I'd like to find a classic style that will look as good with casual loafers as it will with pointy shoes.
4. Trousers--I would really love to find a good pair of denim trousers as well.

I don't like a lot of pockets--the less the better! Back flap pockets are a devastating look for me.

Hit me with your best shot--when I start shopping, I want to know where to go!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Twinkie Trouble

It may have been cool in the sixth grade to coordinate your clothing with your best friend before the two of you went to school each day. At my school, we even had a name for it--"Twinkie Twins." But before long, the twinkie trend had a negative effect on your cool quotient, and you began to realize the benefits of individuality.

Grade-school gaffes fade away over time, but "Twinkie Twin" faux pas in adulthood can be hard to live down. In recent months, women like Reese Witherspoon and Jessica Biel have been criticized harshly for showing up at red carpet events in previously worn gowns. And during the holiday season, our own First Lady found herself in a clone-like situation, with not one, not two, but three other women wearing her Oscar de la Renta creation, all present at the same event.

So what's a gal to do when she finds herself in a situation such as this?

Twinkie Tip #1: Respond with humor.

Chances are, laughter is not the natural reaction elicited upon finding out that some other girl at the party is wearing the same fuschia sweater as you. Emotions such as anger, resentment and panic, come to mind. But do you really want to be that girl? You can choose to have a very public meltdown, ensuring that every male will remain far, far away from you the rest of the evening, or, you can laugh it off with a smile. Even if you have to pretend, this is the best of the two options.

Twinkie Tip #2: Take it as a compliment.

After the initial shock wears off, realize that you must be stylin' for someone else to choose to wear the same thing. Afterall, don't they say "great minds think alike"?

Twinkie Tip #3: Practice damage control.

If you find yourself in a "Twinkie Twin" situation and you've got the option to change clothes, then go for it. But I warn you--if you are the one that changes, you're not only making a statement about your sour attitude, but also your lack of confidence. I stress that you should only change clothes if it's convenient for you to do so, and you have some other fabulous frock waiting in the wings.

Twinkie Tip #4: Practice preventative maintenance.

While it's always fun to let your outfit speak for itself, sometimes shoes or accessories can make the ensemble. If in case another gal shows up looking like you, you can at least differentiate yourself with your chic jewelry.

Photos courtesy of SFF and CBS.