Try Something New: Another Neon?

It’s no big mystery that neon is all the rage this season, coming off a particularly valiant summer of 2011 and springing itself to gigantic proportions in 2012. But is neon going even farther than sneaking into eye shadow, skinny jeans, mommy blogs, and the American Apparel baby department? Is seems to me that neon is actually reinventing itself as a home base on the color wheel, with many, many alternate forms. There is classic neon (highlighter-style pink, green, yellow, orange, etc), electric neon (radiant blue, tres-punchy purple, bright turquoise, and beyond), and now a new neon has emerged. The muted neon. Fascinating.

Today I was walking to the gym in a non-neon ensemble (unless you count my underwear, which was hot pink). I nearly gasped as I saw a girl wearing the coolest hot pink skinny jeans under the sun. They were neon, sure, but they appeared to be very faintly whitewashed all-over. Is this a new neon? Is this a pastel-hot-muted-pink? I am dying.

Because I looked like a hot mess and because I was bordering on being late for my trainer (again), I kept moving and did not stop to ask this little starlet where she’d nabbed those super-cool pants. So now the research ensues on finding myself a pair of muted neon jeans, and what other lite-bright options we can dig up online and in store this spring. The two pink looks below do not quite achieve this pastel-neon I’m getting at, but the jeans come close. The top is a prime example. All three are cool neon wardrobe staples you should consider.

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A muted neon poly dress from McQ Alexander McQueen presents a grown-up version of those cool jeans' impact. $365, ssence.com.

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Loving this Vintage Havana cropped dolman sleeve neon yellow tee on sale for $51, bloomingdales.com.

If I can't find the exact ones that cool girl on the street was wearing, these are a perfect second choice. On sale for $45, asos.com.

Excuse my French

Has anyone else noticed that the new French manicure could not be farther than that traditional, stuffy look with little white caps and a pink base? Well, I’m personally quite relieved. But I wasn’t sure how the actual French felt about this turn of the trends until I ran into one at work the other day and she literally raced through her minimal English vocabulary to compliment me.

Love this! Trying it next week...

I was sporting Essie’s “Mink Muffs” on all ten fingers and then capped off two of them with a hot pink Chanel “Riviera” French-ing. I thought the look was cool and funky but just subtle enough to keep me from making a tsk-worthy faux pas at work. Never did I expect a French stranger in Helmut Lang pants, a Chanel bag and Ferragamo flats to stop me in my tracks and declare, “Your nails! So chic, so French!”

Does anyone know how to say “yay!” en français?

So, after that little foray into the new French manicure received raves, I decided to move on to new territory. A friend told me of a mani she’d seen that involved two different blacks–matte on the majority of the nail with super-glossy at the tips. Oh, I thought. Texture. Of course. So, today I did my own little experiment with texture and I promise you can do it at home. I whipped out my trusty Essie “Really Red” and applied three glossy coats. Then I swept my Luxeffects across just the top in one fluid motion on each nail for a glittery faux-French.

Subtle, yet sparkling. You get the idea--though they look much cuter in person!

If you’re super anal, you can hold your hands up to a lamp so the light will shine through your nail creating a little stencil to follow. Or, like me, you can just wing it. And pat yourself on your very chic back for breaking with convention and having some fun.

Cream and black is a total conversation-starter, and so classic.

Terracotta: The New YES! Color

It’s natural that a beauty-obsessed girl is going to spend a fair amunt of time on the blogs and around the web sniffing out cosmetics trends and innovative products. And while there always seems to be a new idea out there to grab my fancy and make me want to write, it’s rare that I have an “a-ha!” makeup moment as profound as I did today while scoping the latest on HuffPo’s beauty site.

They have this fab section that features a new fresh face each post, walking readers through the cosmetics breakdown of every look. I like that the blog tends to feature natural beauties unfettered by crazy drama makeup, but rather facing the city as they do on an average day. Today I discovered a particular favorite that sparked a thought. This girl is wearing DIY blush made from natural terracotta she dug out of the earth on some eccentric trip. Good for her.

Okay, now let’s face facts. It’s clear I won’t be venturing outside of Manhattan to dig out my own blush from the bottom of a rock anytime soon. But suddenly it hit me. Terracotta! Of course! A burnt pinky orange that will flatter fair girls and dark girls and all the pretty colors in between. A color that will enhance cheekbones and brighten brown, blue, and green eyes. A color that would be delicious in a gloss swept across any girl’s pout. Duh. Terracotta!

So, how to make it work? Pick a spot and stick with it. Too much orange on the face is a definite no, so if you already have a great tan and you try to work this look into both your shadow and lipstick, you could be entering OompahLoompahVille (just North of Planet Snooki!). Instead, keep your makeup neautral throughout and compliment one feature at a time with terracotta accents.

EYES: Eyes are amplified with a shot of orange. No need to go seasonally neon on this particular trend wagon, instead you can keep things warm and sexy with a proper pot of terracotta shadow and a great brown liner. And while this look is especially sexy on blue eyes, it’s one of those equal opportunity stunners that will sex-up your brown, gray, green, or hazel eyes too. Yay!

Remember this ad campaign? Now, go make it happen for yourself. Guerlain still offers their sexy terracotta bronzer collection, but you should also consider their eye shadow in L'Instant Fauve. Beyond gorg.

LIPS: You may have noticed, I’ve been all about lipstick of late. You can go either way with this color–if you’re set on being a glossy girl, I recommend going for a pencil and gloss, and wearing your eyes in neutral browns or with just a slick of black liner to keep things balanced. But if you want to have just a little more fun, you can try the terracotta trend with a great, matte lipstick and then plenty of drama on the eyes. A smoky eye is balanced with a sexy, burnt-orange lip.

If you're gonna go for it, REALLY go for it. Physicians Formula Plumping lipstick in Sunkissed Potion, under $10, drugstore.com.

CHEEKS: Keep your face even-toned with a creamy foundation or just by using concealer on those trouble spots. Then, work in a powder blush with orange undertones, starting at the apples of the cheeks and spreading out with your fingertips. To keep from entering Clownville, tap your brush twice before applying. You can always add more, but it’s difficult to remove effectively once you’ve overblushed.

I like the pink base of this blush from Dr Hauschka, with just the right hint of terracotta undertone. Bonus: this one is designed to suck excess oil out of your skin, keeping unwanted greasiness and general afternoon ick-factor at bay. $30, beauty.com.

Nails: You might have to do some digging, but this deep burnt orange from Essie (a few seasons ago) is a great fit. Called Chubby Cheeks (random!), it’s a summer-happy hue with just enough darkness and depth to keep you grounded for the coming months. Here is a photo–now, if you find it online, you must email me at once and tell me where!

DIY: Floral accents

Remember that season of Sex and the City when Carrie wore huge flowers affixed to her outfits in almost every scene? Okay, well I do. And it’s not only because I don’t have cable right now and most of what I’ve been watching is S&TC on DVD… more importantly, it’s because this look is a fun, feminine, out-there and cheap way to brighten up any spring outfit.

Simply stunning with floral accents...

Over the weekend I wrote a post for All Things Chic on the new florals, from jeans to skirts and shoes. This got me thinking about the other floral, the more-than-floral. The flower. Now, this is not a trend for simple girls. Or wallflower girls. Or girls who don’t like attention. But if you’re ready to hit the streets of your hometown and receive raves on your accessorizing skills, it’s time to hit up your local craft store and get to work.

If you’re not up for DIY time, there are plenty of options ready for purchase at our favorite mass retailers. H&M, Urban Outfitters, and Aldo (to name a few) have had some pretty cute, under-$20 flower accessory options prime for the picking recently. But if you want to spend under twenty minutes and WELL under 20 bills, you could make your own flower brooch or headband at home, ensuring that no one else will sport your same look.

Creating your own floral accents is a cinch. Head over to createforless.com and check out their selection of silk flowers. A personal favorite of mine is the PETALOO brand of products. Starting at around $4, you can nab faux blooms to suit your personal style and working-girl budget. All you need is a flower, a pin or headband and some craft adhesive. Get your glue on, girls! And send me photos of yourself sporting your fab new flowers.

Thank you for the photo, lushlee.com

Hausfrau: the new sexy look?

A year ago I went to drinks to celebrate a friend’s birthday after work. It was a casual affair, so I went straight from work in the dress I’d worn despite much contemplation. It was the end of the laundry cycle, and all the cute dresses were either buried in the bottom of the hamper or on house arrest at the dry cleaner’s until I could afford to pick them up. What now? I donned a beige midi-length cotton dress that’s lace in front and linen-like down the back, with a pleated skirt. Underneath it was my usual sheer-dress solution, a black cotton long sleeved T and black leggings. I paired it with brown Frye boots. I spent the whole night wondering if I looked like a hausfrau; my friends thought it was a combination of hilarious and true.

But the more I troll around online looking for cute loot at a great price, the more I’m seeing that this sort of early 20th-century gauzey house dress look is surprisingly in. And I am not even a little ashamed to say I totally love it. Now, this is one trend that your boyfriend won’t understand. In fact, he might cringe at the sight of your new dress.

But if you take a page out of Taylor Swift’s recent outfit books, you’ll see that this look is totally now. Her Grammy performance dress, anyone? Okay, so the braid was overkill. But the dress was (oddly) hot.

Here are some of my personal favorites. Don’t wanna join in on the fun? Suit yourself!

Turn up the volume by making your house dress a red one. Betsey Johnson Pink Label tulip print maxi halter dress, $148, urbanoutfitters.com