Dark, dark, bright, dark.

I was first introduced to the idea of dressing based on one’s own personal coloring by Rebecca at The Space Between My Peers. At first I thought it was a rather limiting idea, that one could only dress based on the colors in one’s hair, eyes, skin tone, etc. But the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. If one wants to dress in the most harmonious manner, one should indeed take into account one’s natural coloring, as they form the base for whatever clothes come next.

I had always thought this was a nice theory, but never put much more thought into it other than occasional observations in street style photos or that one time when one of my classmates accidentally put together the most perfect color harmony because the gold in her watch exactly matched the highlights in her grey-brown hair and the rose color in her floral shirt matched the undertones in her skin–oh man, it was perfect–ahem, until I flipped through the September Teen Vogue and lighted on this photo of their “Beauty Blogger,” Eva Chen, trying on her best Beyonce impression. At first glance, this photo reads “One of these things is not like the others:” Jane Keltner de Valle (the blonde) stands out terribly, as she’s a bright spot among dark workout clothes.

See? Dark, dark, bright, dark.

But take a closer look at who’s wearing what. The editor on the left has dark, almost black hair, and dark skin. She’s wearing black workout pants, and a dark-toned (but not black) top. Eva Chen has dark–black again–hair and pale skin, which she sets off with black workout clothes. Jane Keltner, the pale blonde, doesn’t go for black–instead she’s wearing pale blue (like her eyes) and silver, which doesn’t appear to be part of her coloring (her eyes look brown) but matches the value of her hair and skin better than either white or black. [Editor’s note: I’m pretending Laurie Gibson doesn’t appear in this photo because her pose is so awful.]

Desaturate it.

The idea is more pronounced when I desaturated the photo–and I didn’t boost any black or white levels in photoshop. Notice how Left Editor’s top almost disappears into her skin? And how Eva Chen’s shoes blend in with her legs, but how her hair matches top matches pants? And how Jane is almost one solid color from top to toe? She’s almost entirely bright, while L.E. is almost entirely dark. Eva Chen, whose hair contrasts highly with her skin tone, mixes dark and bright.

If I were art directing this photo, I’d put Jane in the center, to balance the visual weight a little. Especially with the inset of Eva Chen on the left, the whole visual weight of the picture lists to the left. However, that would completely derail the concept of the article, because it’s all about putting Evan Chen in Beyonce’s shoes. Literally. In this case, the emphasis focused on drawing a comparison with B’s “Single Ladies” video (with a screencap conveniently on the first page of the article!), so I’m guessing that body type and the three-person pose took precedence over things like visual weight as it regards to personal coloring.

Overanalyzing teen magazines? That’s what we do best here. Over and out.


Apartment Love

Because really, we are all homemakers. It’s a sort of default position.
Many people aren’t particularly great at it, and live lives of discomfort
in barren spaces filled with soulless objects, but in the act of living
in a space, we are making it a home, either successfully or not….
Even Cleveland

Let me tell you right now: I’m grateful for my living arrangements. My roommate’s pretty cool and owns couches, there’s a kitchen with an actual working oven, and I can hang pretty much every poster I possess on the walls. I’m warm and dry, with a place to sleep and eat–basic necessities are covered.

Basic necessities? Yes. Do I feel at home? Not so much yet. If I had moved here from my last place, a house I shared with three roommates, the transition wouldn’t have been so weird. But last year I moved back with my parents to save money, and so I stayed in my old room. I love that room–it’s a product of the last many years of my life, all homey and confused and colorful. It’s one of those places I can relax in, where I can just be myself.

I recently stumbled upon Even Cleveland, where a post on homemaking really made me think twice about my new living space. I want to feel comfortable here, like I belong. My apartment needs to be a place I love. Since I have limited funds to make this happen, I turned to the internet for inspiration. There are some absolutely fantastic small spaces floating around out there–and the ones featured on Apartment Therapy are beautiful and inspiring (and functional!). I’m practically drooling all over the home tours. [Click a photo for a look at the entire home.]

I love love love the Japanese lanterns in the photo–I should break mine out and see what I can do with them.

The vibe of this room is so nice– chic and traditional, but still cozy. The framed map is a neat idea, too.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for Gothic arches, for dark wood, for random staircases. Now I just have to figure out how to install these architectural features in my apartment.

That couch just begs for a slow afternoon of reading and tea. Also a cat.


Strawberry Fields

I recently discovered that my birthday, last Saturday, is the most depressing day of the year. Now, a day that produced such amazing ladies as Edith Wharton, Mischa Barton and Maria Tallcheif (a famous ballerina) can’t be all bad, but weather waits for no one. January, especially in the northern hemisphere, can be a very drab time– snow that’s only half melted, acres of brown, wilted vegetation, freezing temperatures and still two months ’til spring.

A great way for a pick-me-up come the last week in January? Leaf through last summer’s old magazines. I recently found a pile of Teen Vogue and Elle from last summer, and the bright, summery editorials put me inĀ  a much better mindset. Except for the swimsuits…those look freezing!

‘Strawberry Fields’ from the June 2008 issue of Elle is the perfect antidote to winter cold. It features lush green plants, quirky pink stockings, a great red/green color combo (bonus points for not looking like a Christmas tree) and cheeky style.


Study in Contrast.

Not only is Cate Blanchette absolutely gorgeous, I really can’t get over how amazing this photo is, and the others from her Vanity Fair spread shot by Annie Liebowitz.

I think what’s so captivating about this particular shot is all the contrasts involved. Color: the red of her dress and the various machine parts stands out starkly from the dark greenish-grey of the concrete. Line quality: the line of the dress and Cate’s curled hair vs the predominantly straight lines of the room. Weight: the floaty fabric of the dress vs the solid walls.

Plus, you have the composition (I want to know where she’s going!). And all the bits of red, plus the light at the upper left, shuttle the eye around and around and around.

Most of all, I want to find a red cape, dress up like Little Red Riding Hood, and go explore a forest. Wouldn’t it be fun to dress up like a fairy tale character every day?

Find the rest here.