Not too long ago I received an email from one of the many online shopping sites I subscribed to and it was fashion story I just could not ignore.
It was a natural transition from the 80’s incarnation in past collections but it seriously made me feel my age when I noticed a very strong 90’s reference hitting the Fall season very hard, especially with younger fashions.
The collage above describes how I dressed my Sophomore year in high school, 1990.
Well actually I went through different periods through each grade. Freshman was more New Wave/Punk, Sophomore was still a bit New Wave but leaning on a European Sade kind of vibe, Junior year was influenced by my growing interest in Hip Hop and Senior year was a blend of all of the above. It was also helpful that I worked at Contempo Casuals to provide the wardrobe of my ever growing needs.
A few disclaimers, I did not include any Freshman photos because that 1989 and I wanted to stay true to the 90’s and the middle pic was well after high school but mid-90’s.
Here’s are some visual references that I looked to often during my high school years:
But what really had me feelin’ the 90’s? Lipstick. It’s nothing new – it shouldn’t be a real surprise but what is a surprise to me is that I haven’t been craving my usual (safe) pink nude shades. If you noticed in my collage of old photos, you’ll notice that I was wearing only red or a wine. Honestly, I didn’t wear start wearing nude pink lipstick or gloss till well into my twenties. Like Gwen Stefani, I didn’t leave the house without a deep colored lip and now, it feels foreign to me.
I did dip my toe in the deep end again recently, I started buying lots of red and even bright pinks. I am now obsessed with collecting wine/berry shades. Dark lips also allow for less eye makeup. I didn’t get into detailed, contoured, 4 blended shadow looks till my late 20’s if not early 30’s. I can get away with a nude shade, a slash of black liner on my top lash line and a few coats of black mascara and let me lips take the spotlight.
I also get an extra five minutes of sleep in the morning – WIN!
Here are a few of my current favorites:
The first two are by MAC. All out Gorgeous is a warm deep red and Lush Life is cool tone plum. These two are part of the Mineralize collection, which is my favorite – nice, moisturizing and great pigment payoff. The last two are by NARS and on the matte side – 413 Bleeker (deep brown wine) and Amsterdam (deep maroon red). This shade evokes memories when I would try to create the perfect maroon red by blending Prescriptives lip pencil in Fudge with MAC’s Russian Red in 1993 – it’s also a very Truth or Dare Madonna shade. Matte lipsticks were also my finish of choice in high school probably because the lipstick never moved off my lips and teachers frown upon pulling out your compact to see if your lipstick is bleeding or feathering every 10 minutes.
This is probably why I stopped wearing bright and deep shades – the upkeep. I’m so lazy that I avoid sandwiches and burritos the days I’m not wearing nude lip glosses. Sorry but smeared red lips after demolishing a BLT or a burger – not sexy. So lucky for me I found matte and long wearing shades that last on my lips for more than three hours.
The shade I’ve been wearing the most is NARS 413 Bleeker:
It’s the latest shade that’s exclusive to the NARS boutiques and online. It’s a semi-matte formula that’s actually comfortable on the lips and stain the lips with lots of color.
It makes me happy and feel youthful if you can believe. The annoyed look on the right also hasn’t changed over the years – just ask my little sister and my husband.
I’m really glad I discovered my love for deep lip shades again. I’m just mad at myself that it took a 90’s inspired fashion story to rediscover the awesome power of a sultry wine stained pout.
Looking back at my young self, I know a simple thing like lipstick stirred controversy in my family and probably among my teachers. These dark colors are very edgy, if not mature and what the hell is it doing on a fifteen year old? Is she about to do a tap dance recital? But like a lot of teenage girls, I wanted to be 18 or 21 right at that moment. The closest thing I could do to speed up that process is to wear a racy lipstick shade. And now I’m doing everything it takes to slow down the aging process – lip balm, sunscreen and anti-aging serums are my new best friends!
Ugh, I’m constantly praying the my daughter will outgrow her girly Princess phase and will turn into one of those girls that just can’t be bothered with cosmetics. Yeah, I know…karma is a bitch!
The next thing I want from my 90’s past – great black motorcycle or cowboy boots. Or even oxblood Dr. Marten boots – I think I can pull that off. Okay now I’m jumping way ahead myself. And, I promise I won’t bust out any floral baby doll dresses. God, I loved me a baby doll dress. Help me if I ever run into a clearance rack of them.