beauty · culture · hollywood glamour · international · luxury · style

Kibbe Soft Classic Chat – Grace Kelly

As promised in a previous post, I want to start exploring some of deeper aspects of the concepts that interest me, and that I’ve previously discussed on the blog. In particular, I’m very interested in understanding the intersection between art, design and life, as well as the ways we can use the arts to support us in living our best lives.

To start these discussions, I want to begin with one of my favorite topics: the Kibbe Style ID system. The Kibbe system has been updated by David Kibbe in recent years but the overall concept is the same: there are certain style “IDs” that people fit in, and these style IDs can give us insight into the kind of clothing, accessories and hairstyling we can utilize to best present our physical selves. The style ID category that I fall into is Soft Classic (SC).

I’m in good company with the SC category: quite a few famous beauties share this ID (if you are interested in some of the women that are in other Kibbe categories, check out this post). The most famous of the SCs is probably Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco.

Kibbe previously classified Grace as a Classic, but, after further consideration, he decided that a pure Classic category was too rare in nature to warrant its own group. Thus, Grace was reclassified as a SC. I won’t go into all of the features that make her a SC (you can undoubtedly find this information on numerous websites and YouTube). But I will discuss how her style and energy influenced her persona, and how she used fashion to mold her public perception.

A collection worth checking out: Grace Kelly: A Life In Pictures

The effect: The Eternal Princess

Even before she official became a princess, Grace had a royal look. This was, in part, due to her incredible bone structure and slim physique, but her styling played a heavy role in looking the part of a princess. The clothing she wore onscreen often featured fitted bodices in flattering colors, and these were often short sleeved or sleeveless (a perfect way to display perfectly toned arms). She didn’t often wear shorts or skirts with calves or knees exposed. This was partly due to the fashion trends of the time, but these also perpetuated the reserved image that is often seen in royal families.

SCs often look better in the structured and symmetrical garments favored during the 1950s/early 1960s (think Dior’s New Look era). Generally speaking, these items are feminine in silhouette but not overly embellished. Considering that Grace’s Hollywood career occurred during the New Look period, she was literally the right woman at the right time to wear these clothes. She has the perfect look for the clothing that was most popular during this time.

In addition to the clothes she wore, Grace also wore perfect SC hair and makeup. Her blond coiffure was always immaculately styled, with hair having rounded shapes but remaining sleek overall. She wore defined lips, flawless foundation, and gently enhanced eyes, allowing her facial balance to shine. This period was perfect for her look, as it occurred after the dramatically tweezed and redrawn brows and beestung lips of the 1920s and 30s, but before the heavily enhanced eye makeup and exaggerated hair of the 1960s.

The look of this period – reserved, elegant, structured but soft where it counts – are all traits that are often associated with elite women, specifically, royals. So Grace’s leveraging of these trends helped form the public opinion of her being queenly (indeed, she was considered an “ice princess” or “ice queen”, though her costars all agreed that she was quite the opposite [warm and friendly, by all accounts]). In many ways, Grace “dressed the part” of royal before she and Prince Rainier III ever crossed paths. Her sartorial assimilation into royal life in Monaco must have been fairly easy for her.

Book discussing Grace Kelly’s fashion: Grace Kelly Style by Kristina Haugland

My takeaways from Grace’s style aren’t new information, but I’ll still state them briefly: dress for the life that you want, and wear the designs that work for your unique style ID. We’ve heard that we have to “dress for success”, and success can be whatever you define it as. So, if you want the life of a royal, dress like one (within reason and your budget, of course). And if you know your style ID, experiment with the recommended silhouettes to find a look that works for you. After all, this whole journey is about figuring out what works, and discarding what doesn’t.

That’s it for this style ID/SC chat. I hope you all are having a fabulous February! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

(This post includes affiliate links)

beauty · luxury

Let’s Talk About the Beem Box

Happy Monday! I’m so glad to be back at the blog after spending a few weeks investing in my self care, relaxation, and overall wellness.

I’ve been publishing a series of pre-filmed videos on my YouTube channel, including a number of videos about beauty products. I’ve shared several videos about Beem Box, a subscription service offering cosmetics and skincare for women of color (my first Beem Box review is here).

My first Beem Box review

Since my first box, I’ve received three more, for a total of four Beem Boxes. So I feel confident that I can discuss the products and service objectively, as someone that has purchased multiple boxes and used products from each of them. Here are the pros and cons that I notice from the Beem Box:

Pros

  • Reasonably priced ($45 per box) and the value of the products in each box far exceeds the price
  • Provides me with the opportunity to try brand that I’ve never heard of before
  • There is skincare in each box, so the focus isn’t exclusively on cosmetics
  • Beautiful, decorative boxes that are recyclable
  • The perfect amount of products: not too much, not too few (just enough to try until you get the next box)
My second review

Cons

  • You only have one option for delivery frequency (one box every 8 or so weeks)
  • There aren’t different levels of subscription so you can’t opt for a “deluxe” or upgraded box
  • Sometimes the products aren’t stellar (I’ve been underwhelmed by a couple of items)
  • The description cards no longer show the product original pricing (which is helpful for comparing the box’s value to the box price)
My most recent review

Overall, I enjoy the boxes and the cons certainly don’t outweigh the pros. I love getting to try new stuff every few weeks, and it discourages me from overspending in other places. I love that I get a few cosmetics and a little skincare in each box. Also, the fact that each box has products from vegan, cruelty free, and women-owned businesses is a huge plus. This is a great service that also makes a great gift, too.

Do you have any subscription services that you love? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

beauty

Beauty Review – Kara Beauty With You Eyeshadow Palette

It’s been a while, but I was overdue for a beauty product review. So, I picked up one of the eyeshadow palettes I’ve gotten in a previous Beem Box (I reviewed that box here, and I’ll also insert the video below), and decided to give it a try.

The palette is by Kara Beauty, a woman-owned cosmetic company that products cruelty-free and vegan products. I received the “With You” palette in my Beem Box. The palette has 8 neutrals, which can be combined in numerous ways to make some “perfect for every occasion” looks. At first glance, I thought that the colors weren’t dynamic enough; however, as I thought more seriously about it, I realized that these shades are actually perfect. Each color is easily interchangeable with another, and are perfect as transition, highlight and intensifying shades when combined with a more colorful palette.

if you have warm undertones, these are all very flattering shades. The packaging is pretty standard: it’s made of lightweight cardboard material, has a magnetic closure, and also has a mirror. The shades are as follows: Baby, Always, Garden Date, and No Doubt on the top row, Your Smile, Magic Portion, Two of Us and Soft Hug on the bottom row.

Now, for the real test: I swatched the shades so you can see how they show up on brown skin. Here’s how that went:

Needless to say, I’m disappointed in most of the shades. I take no issue in the shades that went invisible on my skin due to them being so close to my skintone, but what was really frustrating was how many layers I had to apply of No Doubt, Your Smile, Two of Us, and Soft Hug, just so it would show up in the picture. The deeper tones are definitely patchy, and I wouldn’t use them unless I was pressed for time and didn’t want to find another palette/comparable shade. I noticed that the website has rave reviews for this palette, but I’m assuming that’s because the reviewers have lighter complexions. On my skin, it takes a lot to make these colors show up, which is why I’m not enamored with the product.

Another concern I had was with the shimmers (Garden Date and Magic Portion). These are gorgeous in the palette but they don’t work well if you plan on applying with a shadow brush. The shimmers are definitely best for finger applications: when I applied them with my fingers, I had much better intensity. I tried this with the deeper shades (specifically, Your Smile and Soft Hug), but again, it came across patchy.

My final thoughts on this product is that I’m not a fan of it. I wouldn’t be opposed to trying other products from this line, but I just don’t think that the eyeshadows were great. I’ll probably end up giving it to my daughter so she can play with them (I already have similar shimmer shadows, so I don’t have to hold onto the palette just for those two shades).

Have any of you tried Kara Beauty’s products before? I’d love to hear your reactions in the comments below! Also here is my video when I give my first impression. I thought the product would perform better when I took the time to do a proper swatch, but I was incorrect (as I’ve already explained). I hope you all enjoy! Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

style

Let’s Talk Kibbe Again . . .

Happy Monday, friends! I trust that your weekend was beautiful, relaxing, and enjoyable.

I wanted to start this week off with a topic that I’ve discussed before, that is sorely needs updating. I mentioned in a post a couple of years ago that I’m a Soft Classic in David Kibbe’s style ID system. While Mr. Kibbe has evolved in his approach to style ID-ing (he has created some new exercises to help aspiring style stars to learn their best lines), the fact remains that his previous style ID system works well for me and has led me on a path to having better understanding of what works for me and what doesn’t.

Here’s what I realize about Kibbe typing: the more you work with it, the more intuitive it becomes. Your intuition won’t always scream at you, “Buy it!” or “Don’t you dare buy it!” Something, the intuition comes as simple suggestions, like, “Hmm, this looks a little . . . off”, or “This would be perfect if . . . “. Repeat after me: life is too short to buy and wear clothes that only make you 80% happy. Yes, there may be some ordinary items (like that t-shirt you use when dyeing your hair or the skirt you wear when you’re practicing with your oil pastels) that don’t make you feel over the moon. But the vast (I mean, 90% of our wardrobe) should delight us. Kibbe’s system allows us to train our eyes for what truly works for us. Even if there isn’t much money for fashion in your budget, you can still spend some time training your eye, so when the perfect piece shows up at the perfect price, you’ll be ready. You’ll also save money by not buying any old thing, just so that you’ll feel like you have a “proper” wardrobe.

Another thing I realize about the Kibbe system is how much money and time I save by implementing this philosophy. Instead of mindlessly shopping because I don’t know what my wardrobe is “missing”, I’m very clear on what gaps exist in my wardrobe and which retailers can fill said gaps. Among the clothes I’ve kept, I have an adequate wardrobe that allows me to easily assemble a stylish ensembles that suits me perfectly. No more endless hours hunting for something that looks “just right’ on me; almost everything I own looks “perfect” on me. That could also be credited to the fact that I still, on a lesser level, embrace the Madame Chic capsule wardrobe approach, but it’s important to note that Kibbe’s philosophy and capsule dressing work well together.

I feel that most of the frustration over the Kibbe system comes from people not having an accurate view of themselves their bodies. A lot of people conflate their personality with their style ID, and that’s an approach that can lead you down the wrong style path. It can be hard to accept that your carefree personality doesn’t necessarily translate into being one of the Naturals, or your larger-than-life persona doesn’t automatically make you one of the Dramatics. But, by being honest about your bone structure and facial (and other) features, you can figure out a way to allow your style to be a perfect enhancement for your personality.

And don’t get me started on the “Classic” types: being any of the other types doesn’t mean that you possess less-than-classic beauty. In fact, some of the greatest beauties throughout the ages were Dramatics (Lena Horne), Soft Dramatics (Diahann Carroll), Theatrical Romantics (Dorothy Dandridge) and Romantics (Beyonce), Soft Gamine (Halle Berry AND Eartha Kitt), Flamboyant Gamines (Tina Turner) . . . You get the picture. But, in case the Naturals are feeling left out of the discussion, let me assure you: the vast majority of high-fashion models are Flamboyant Naturals. Janet Jackson, a woman that is objectively beautiful, is a Soft Natural. And these are only a few of the Black entertainers that have been classified by Kibbe: there are TONS of women, of all ethnicities, that are clearly beautiful and have a timelessness to their beauty that can be considered “classic”. However, just remember there is a difference between “classic” (anything that has remained high quality and outstanding over a period of time) and “Classic” (a term assigned to any person that has a moderate frame, fairly symmetrical features and a blend of curves and angles). There are classic (little “c”) beauties in all of the style IDs.

I have some tips for figuring out your Kibbe type without making things too complicated. I’ll share those in a future post, but until then, I hope you found some value in my random Kibbe-related thoughts. Talk to you all tomorrow!

beauty

Review: The Ordinary Foundation and Concealer

You all are aware of my undying love for The Ordinary skincare. But, when the company strays away from offering skin actives, things tend to go left (as you may remember when I reviewed The Ordinary sunscreen).

Well, I decided to try their foundation and concealer. It wasn’t my first rodeo with their foundation, but since the line has expanded its offerings, I figured I could find a better color match now. I was incorrect. However, the concealers weren’t too bad: I liked the color, texture and the coverage. For the price, it wasn’t a bad experiment overall (the products are very affordably priced). I bought the following items:

  • Coverage Foundation in shades 3.0Y, 3.1R, 3.1Y
  • Serum Foundation in shades 3.1R and 3.1Y
  • Concealer in shades 3.1Y, 3.2N, 3.2Y
(photo courtesy of The Ordinary)

The Coverage foundation is formulated for oily skin, and the Serum foundation is for drier skin. The concealer is formulated for all skin types. I swatched the products and did a whole YouTube video on it. You can watch it here:

Have you all tried any of The Ordinary’s color costmetics? What were your thoughts on them? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

beauty · luxury

Review: The 7 Virtues Peace Blend Box

Happy Tuesday, friends! I had some last-minute changes to my schedule last week, so I had to push my posts ahead to this week. As always, I’m delighted to be back and writing per usual.

Today’s post is a review of a clean fragrance brand that I initially disliked, but, as I started experimenting with the fragrances, the scents started to “grow” on me! The brand is 7 Virtues, and the sampler set that I purchased is the Peace Blend Box.

The 7 Virtues Peace Blend Box contains 7 clean, vegan perfumes that can be combined in order to create a signature scent. I had my doubts about the smells, because they initially seemed a little strong and not quite what I usually go for. I decided to review the scents on my YouTube channel, so I’ll post the video shortly.

As the video goes along, I start to warm up to the fragrances. It’s funny: you can literally see me change my mind from ‘meh’ to ‘maybe’, then from ‘maybe’ to ‘I think I like it’! The set contains the fragrances that use essential oils from various countries. The scents are as follows:

  • Orange Blossom from Afghanistan
  • Rose Amber from Afghanistan
  • Vetiver Elemi from Haiti
  • Grapefruit Lime from Israel & Iran
  • Patchouli Citrus from Rwanda
  • Jasmine Neroli from India
  • Vanilla Woods from Madagascar

The company gets a thumbs up from me, due to the fact that it centers ethical sourcing and fair trade commerce. Yay for good products that support good work! According to 7 Virtues, every purchase serves their mission to “provide dignity and meaningful employment in communities rebuilding after war or strife.” This is such an important cause, as many countries affected by domestic conflicts are left devastated economically as well as culturally. It means a lot to me, to know that I, in my own little way, can support the work that 7 Virtues is promoting.

Without further ado, here’s the video:

If you want to check out the 7 Virtues brand, click here. Let me know if you’d try this brand, or you have any other clean fragrance recommendations!

style

My Latest Thrifted Finds

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had an amazing weekend. Here in the DMV region, the weather was rainy on Saturday and then we got typical summer heat on Sunday. I made the best of it, and I’m happy to welcome this new week.

I’ve thrifted for all of my life, though it isn’t always my first choice when it comes to certain ensembles. When I need something specific, I will go to either Amazon, Nordstrom or White House Black Market, where I’m (almost) guaranteed to find what I’m want. But, for unique ensembles and accessories, I prefer to thrift.

Here are some of my latest finds. I often go to one or two thrift stores a week, though there are periods where I don’t thrift for a few weeks at a time (this usually happens when my schedule is hectic). I’m thinking about writing a post on “How to Thrift”. If you’d like to see that, let me know in the comments below!

Peignoir set by Flora Nikrooz
Lace detailing on peignoir
Ceasikery faux wrap dress
Closeup of the faux wrap bodice
Vintage Bergdorf Goodman pleated dress
Closeup of the bodice
Tag inside the dress
Tahari shift dress
Gold detailing on the dress
Maggy London dress
Closeup of the architecture of the dress
Vintage dress by NPC Fashions
Closeup of the fabric
Back of the NPC Fashions dress

That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow, with a topic that I’ve been eager to discuss. Talk to you all soon!

life curation · luxury · style

My Luxury Purchase Goals Are Changing …

This one published before I could finish writing it! Here’s the finished post.

As I mentioned in last week’s post about my 2021 goals, I reflected upon my luxury purchase goals and something about it just didn’t resonate anymore. Make no mistake: I still LOVE luxury and I enjoy spending a bit more in order to have something truly unique or expertly crafted. However, I noticed that nowhere on my list were any designers of color.

And that, dear friends, is unacceptable.

I realize that there is a need to shine a bigger spotlight on creatives – especially in the fashion world – that are also people of color (POC). As a Black American woman that enjoys supporting local Black-owned businesses and creatives, I am eager to extend that same energy into my bigger purchases. So I’m revising my luxury purchase goal list to reflect only Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) designers. My purchase priority is also in that same order: I’m prioritizing Black American – specifically, American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) – creatives, then Indigenous creatives (especially Native American and other people indigenous to the Americas), and then other POC.

I’ve decided to rank my purchase priority in this way (placing special emphasis on ADOS creatives) because oftentimes these designers end up reinvesting into other ADOS designers. I admire any group that prioritizes the fostering and development of talent of individuals that share their background and culture. As someone that admires this trait, I’m delighted that I as an ADOS, can participate in encouraging the development of ADOS talent by supporting ADOS designers.

While I’m excited to start actively supporting BIPOC designers, that takes me back to teh drawing board as regards my luxuruy list. I need to research new designers and figure out who excels in the kinds of designs that I favor. On the bright side, this exercise will force me to be more specific when it comes to filling gaps in my wardrobe. I’ll be more focused on getting items that truly “complete” my closet, instead of just buying things because I feel like spending some money.

In the weeks to come, I’ll share more details as I craft my new luxury purchase list, and I’ll let you all know what items I’ve purchased as I go through the remainder of the year.

That’s it for today! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

beauty

Review: The Beem Subscription Box

Happy Tuesday! Today I’m sharing a fun new subscription box with you all, that I think you’ll really enjoy if you have brown skin.

The Beem Box is a bimonthly beauty subscription service that offers products that are customized for your skin type, skin routine, makeup preferences, and complexion. The color cosmetics offered in each box are selected especially for your skin tone, so you never have to worry about whether the shades will suit you. The box is priced at $45, and the items included in each box exceed the sticker price.

Photo courtesy of Beem Box

I received my first box at the beginning of the month, and I was pleased with the variety of products I received. In my box, I got Ahoy Love Nourishing Cream Cleanser by Earth Harbor, Prep the Pout Lip Kit by Project Lip, With You Botanical Eye Shadow by Kara Beauty, Zaron Highlighter Palette in Gold Rush by Felicheeta Beauty, and Chella Eyebrow Pencil in Delightful Deep Brown by Chella Beauty. I got a chance to do an unboxing on my YouTube channel. Here it is:

I’m looking forward to trying all of these products and giving more in-depth reviews in the weeks to come. Look out for updates soon!

beauty

Review: The Ordinary Mineral UV Filter Sunscreen

Hi friends! I hope you all had an amazing weekend and a great Monday so far. The weekend was a whirlwind for me, so I’m taking it easy for the next few days so that I can restore my energy.

Today’s post is a really quick review of The Ordinary’s Mineral UV Filter Sunscreen. I’d usually hyperlink the product so that you all can check it out for yourselves, but in this case, I have to refrain. I was not please with this product AT ALL. I know, I know: I’m usually such a huge fan of The Ordinary’s products. But this was a big FLOP. As it turns out, I wasn’t the only customer that was displeased with this product. More about that later: let me tell you about this sunscreen.

In my attempt to try every single product made by The Ordinary, I purchased the Mineral UV Filter Sunscreen. I wear sun protection pretty much every day (even when I’m spending the day indoors). So, out of curiosity and to meet the minimum amount for free shipping, I decided to try the sunscreen. I received the product and decided to try it in place of my usual sunscreen. Imagine my horror when my face turned BLUE in reaction! I realize I had on all of my serums and potions, and I applied sunscreen as my last step (per usual). I experimented with using the sunscreen on top of bare skin, and, while I got a better result, I STILL turned blue. Here’s my video reviewing the product – it has a lot more details about my experience:

In conclusion? This is big NO. I’ll use it as a sunscreen for my arms and legs until I use it up, but I can’t use it on my face UNLESS I plan on staying indoors, where no one will see my blue face!

That’s all for today’s post. See, I told you all it would be short! Take care, and talk to you all tomorrow!