Category Archives: Slow Fashion

Polished to Perfection

Even as a custom color analyst, I still end up with colored products that aren’t quite right.  Case in point: a few months ago I bought a dusky pink polish that seemed amazing in the store when I tested it (near a big window with a few regular light bulbs on a high ceiling).  But at home in full daylight, it was the teensiest bit too cool and it bugged me. I was so so SO close!  I almost owned a pink nail polish I’d wear!!!  For those of you who don’t know, pink is a really tricky color on me to get right.

Then, out the other day, I saw a brownish-golden-plum metallic and instantaneously knew it would perfect that pink.  At home, I added a few drops and…MY DESIRED PINK!!!  But now I had practically that whole bottle of the newly purchased color.  What could I do with it?  It was rather blah on me alone.  At the time of impulse buy, I hadn’t thought beyond righting the pink but now I had practically the whole bottle left.  I despise clutter and excess, and it suddenly weighed down on me that while i had corrected an earlier polish to a state of TRUE LOVE, now I had another bottle that was just going to sit there, in my medicine cabinet, with three other imperfect polishes.  Wait, wait, wait: IDEA!!!  I ran to get two of those three. They beckoned for experimentation.

One was a very light, neutral pink.  It was, I thought, a nice shade for a nude nail on me, until I actually applied the three coats needed to get this runny formula looking smooth and then, fully opaque, it was far too light for my eyes to stand.  The other was a dark purple that I bought assuming it’d be fine (dark purple is an area I have lots of wiggle room in) but applied it was actually dark magenta which- agh- was too pink!  Morals of this paragraph: test nail polish not just for color but also for viscosity and don’t leap to ANY assumptions about color in a bottle.

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The middle golden brown plum is the bottle I purchased to tweak the pink polish.  The two bottles that flank it are the earlier mistakes.

I was really, really happy with my results, which is why I’m writing this now.  It turns out you don’t actually need to hunt and hunt and hunt for the perfect nail polish color, you can mix your own!!!

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See how nicely my new colors match the fabric swatches in my personal palette?

To do this, working in daylight hours, in a room with REALLY good ventilation, you’ll need:

  • your unloved nail polishes (not including those with chunky glitter of an offending color – the glitter can’t change color)
  • small paper cups for mixing – the smaller they are the less polish you’ll lose coating the cups
  • aluminum foil to cover your work area, and to test tiny mixtures out on
  • nail polish remover and cotton pads – to wipe the necks of bottles and clean off your fingernails as you test out potential colors
  • something for mixing – I used the blunt end of bamboo skewers (not the pointy end which might rip the foil)
  • your personal palette nearby but out of harm’s way (or if you don’t yet have a palette, have some idea of if the color needs to be warmed up, lightened, darkened, cooled down, etc)
  • possibly some of your loved nail polish colors

As you mix small amounts of  colors on the foil, figure out approximate ratios of how much of one color you want with another. If it’s just the tiniest of amounts, pour that directly into the bottle with the almost perfect color to minimize wastage.  If you need to mix colors in larger quantities, use the cups but play around on the foil for a while first to come up with a basic game plan.  You’ll want to ensure the textures meld nicely and the result is of good viscosity.   Mix really, really well.

Test potential mixtures out on your nails.  Next, compare to your palette!  If the color doesn’t look like it blends in, ask yourself, what does this color need more of?  You may find you want to add a bit of color that you have in your loved polishes.

Speaking of love, If you’re thrilled with a new formula you’ve created be sure to use a sharpie and write on the bottle’s label what you mixed in!  Also, if your nail polishes have those tiny metal balls in them,  spread them between final polishes rather than letting all fall back into one bottle. They’re great for helping you really mix the color in the bottle with the polish that’s still sticking to the sides.

Enjoy your collection of nail polishes that perfectly harmonize with YOU!  To learn more about choosing makeup once you have a personal palette (that includes your skin tones) read this post, here, where I give my mom a makeover for her 70th.

nailpolish3My nail polish collection including the ‘corrected’ colors with my personal palette. I have one more polish not shown – my perfect blush tone color, which I found at the same time as the golden brown plum color, and which needs no tinkering whatsoever. It hid off camera behind the perfected pink and I didn’t notice it when taking photos. Sorry!  My  collection, with these new additions, is complete! 

Now my only remaining unloved polish is a gorgeous teal blue glitter.  The color is great, the texture is fine…but the thing STAINS my nails even with two base coats.  Unless any of you lovely readers have a better idea (do you?),  I’m going to use it to paint dried out pine cones for holiday decor later this year!!!

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Turning 40, Slowly

As someone who’s always wanted to be in her thirties, I was grieving a bit in the weeks before my 40th.  Then a few days before my actual birthday an older friend gave me a card with a pack of post-it notes because, “It’s hard to remember anything these days!” Next, a large box arrived, sent from my best friend from middle school,  with a tiara inside and the note, “Welcome to the Big Kids Club!” The gestures were both so fun, it made it hard not to embrace the day. And not to laugh.

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After a family breakfast out on the actual day (tiara on head) followed by a fancy holiday party lunch, I went to the Fibershed Fashion Gala , at the Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in Sonoma.  Please, take 20 seconds to read this blog and see its photos as I can’t describe the concept behind Fibershed any better, any faster or with more beauty. More details are here.  Pretty cool, right?

I was curious to see locally made clothes and to meet the designers that made them. Would there be colors within my palette?  Styles that would suit me?  At prices I could afford?  You see in my dream world, I’d not only tell clients their best colors and styles, but which local (to them) designers to turn to for investing in new pieces.

Currently I buy most of my clothes nearly new, really thinking about how much value each piece will add to my life.  That’s how I do Slow Fashion.  But I wanted to know how else it could be done, both for me personally and for my local clients.

There were not as many garments and accessories to see as I’d envisioned, but there were plenty of surprise discoveries.  For instance, I was expecting only to see photos of furry beasts and then the woolen creations made from them.  But this woman uses only mushroom based dyes!

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I liked this designer’s trail-on-the-ground-urban-rather-than-bridesmaid-convertible dress.

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These hangers were part of a raffle prize, but apparently everyone (not just me) was asking about them, wanting to buy them.  Earth friendly and -for those of you with minuscule storage space or who want more of a boutique, airy and spacious feel in your wardrobe – they DOUBLE your closet space!  Ditto sells them in plain brown in three sizes – adult, children and infant, and their site has a sale through January.  Perfect as my daughter’s clothes have outgrown the hangers we have for her. The Container Store sells them fora bit more in black in the adult size only. Rave reviews here.

There was a bounty of gorgeous food that I was too full to actually relish. And look  how unexpectedly gorgeous wine barrels are serving as a backdrop for fashion!

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And then, I stumbled across a woman selling the most wonderfully scented spray.  Ever since pregnancy, I’ve been exceptionally sensitive to scents, disliking most of them but this was incredible and I didn’t even know what it was. Room spray?  Body spray?  Something called “Cloud of Protection” it turned out, and typing this I’m laughing at the name, but if you smelled it first, as I had, you’d understand. Both nurturing and cleansing, with a brightening and uplifting result. I was hooked and intrigued: the maker seemed to understand scent in a way I’d never encountered.  I bought the sample kit for $20 and have since purchased the full size of The Balm (excellent for smoothing my hair into a ponytail) and “C” Perfect Skin , the oil, even though I’m not actually out of either yet. The oil is the best I’ve tried (I swear I look younger! Best birthday gift to 40 year old self ever, right?!?) and truly affordable. 

bynievesPlus the packaging is charming.  By Nieves is sold here.

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Dinner out completed the day.

In conclusion: the yarn for sale was beautiful but knitting isn’t my thing.  The prices of the garments I saw were too high for me personally, and the colors and styles weren’t my best. The kids clothing I looked at for my daughter was cute but not soft enough. (She’s very particular.)  So while I can’t say I’ve found new designers to go to or locally made yarn to create with, I can say I continue to be inspired by Fibershed and by Slow Fashion in general.  I enjoyed taking the time to go see what was being made.  I’ve found a smarter way to hang my family’s clothes.  I’ve got happier skin.  I spent time on my 40th birthday doing something I feel strongly about and something that makes me happy.  And, I realized that if what I want to buy to wear isn’t available locally YET, then I’m inspired to make it!  And while I think that’ll involve up-cycling old clothes, I’m letting my ideas on how to do that exactly percolate SLOWLY.  (Why rush, right?)  I want to savor the second half of my life more than I have the first.  After all, I just had the pleasure of turning 40.