Thursday, November 6, 2008

OBSESSION: Let Them See Red

Few clothing items say “I refuse to acknowledge the recession but I’ll plan for it anyway” like a pair of stiletto heels designed to last a lifetime (with a price tag that also seems unending).

At $575, the perfect curves and master workmanship of Christian Louboutin’s “Simple Pump” represent one of the few remaining bastions of luxury wear that might be worth the sticker shock. In times like these, label-encrusted Vuitton bags and chunky Cartier watches reek of unbridled decadence. Even the most well-off fashionista turns up her nose on a $10,00 bag that will be yesterday’s fashion news tomorrow.

By contrast, the Louboutin pump provides style for ages. Few things offer more sophistication or sexiness than that subtle flash of ruby sole.

And don’t worry: One high-end item doesn’t mean you must possess a closet of couture. Times are a-changing. Mixing high and low culture signals sophistication. And given the nation’s financial troubles, we predict more brand mash-ups than ever.

So go ahead and slip on these Louboutins with a Forever 21 shirtdress and H&M trench. And every now and then, cross your legs, revealing to admiring onlookers that lovely Louboutin sole. It’s the best way to be in the red.

REVIEW: My Beauty Runneth Over

For true cosmetics lovers, the concept of the mega-palette bewitches. These ginormous boxes of beauty come packed with an almost maddening array of cosmetics in almost every imaginable color, creating the opportunity for never-ending makeup playtime.

Unfortunately, what the mega-palettes offer in quantity, they often lack in quality. Makeup mavens know the disappointment of buying one of these giant palettes from Macy’s or Sephora, only to find that shadow pigments are sheer and short-lived on the eye. Lipglosses, meanwhile, smell funny and chap the softest chops.

Given the low-rent record of these products, it’s hard to believe that high-end makeup brand Smashbox would create a holiday gift set that bears an odd resemblance to the low-brow mega-palette. Called the Ultimate Makeup Palette, it costs $59 at


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According to the folks at Smashbox’s customer service line, the 70 (!) eyeshadows, 8 cream eyeliners, brow wax, six brow colors, eight lip glosses, four lip colors, two blush shades, bronzer, highlighter, and four brushes included in the set all offer Smashbox-quality. This is quite the deal, especially in light of the fact that the company’s crème eyeliner palette (featuring the same shades and the same size as those in the Ultimate Palette) runs a sweet $32 for the eyeliner alone.

A two-day trial of the Ultimate Beauty Palette proves encouraging: the daunting selection of 70 eye shadows seems a little too heavy on the blue colors (who really needs five shades of cerulean?), but the pigments deliver dense and long-lasting. The two blushes – a shimmery plum and a brighter peach – are universally flattering. The matte bronzer provides a subtle tan; the “Soft Lights” highlighter creates an ethereal glow.

Unlike its low-end counterpart, the Smashbox Ultimate Beauty Palette lip glosses smell just fine – the moisturizing formula feels great on dry lips. Unfortunately, the pot style of these highly pigmented glosses makes an even product application somewhat difficult.

Regardless of this minor shortcoming, the Smashbox Ultimate Beauty Palette looks like a winner. Even the brow wax proves itself as one of those cosmetics you don’t know you need until you have it: it’s extremely effective at keeping pesky wayward eyebrow hairs in line throughout the day.

Salty Tip: Through November 8, enter coupon code SHIPFREE25 to receive free shipping on the palette (or any other purchase over $25).

SNAPS: Bedrock Beauties

This duo brought back the stone-age dressed in hand crafted costumes as Betty Rubble and Pebbles this halloween.

SNAPS: Halloween Happenings

Radiant Red-Lipped Dorothy and Fashionable Where’s Waldo

OBESSION: Pocahontas Passion

Tory Burch does not heart flats this season. Now, it’s all about the boots. The Walker Boot balances hippy and preppy with extreme style ($375, Made of suede with laces the run all the way to the top, these boots radiate Native American style in an innovative way. Fringe, another season favorite, lines the sides of the boot along with the large Tory Burch logo. In coconut or dark brown, wear them with a long skirt or a pair of jeans. These boots are sure to be the topper of all super stylish outfits.

D.I.Y.: Juicy Like Jolie

Angelina’s lips deserved top billing in her latest movie The Changeling. Framed by a series of stunning cloche hats and short, wavy brown curls, Brad Pitt’s wife’s lips, which received extra attention thanks to an unrelenting slathering of true-red lipstick, earned more screen time than the actress herself. Few smackers earn the four-inch vertical lip span of Angelina Jolie. But with some hints you can deliver luscious lips like hers. Follow these easy suggestions to amp up your look.

1. Moisturize your mouth. Most of us think that chap stick helps in the moisture department. Wrong. Chap stick only protects your lips. Make your lips as soft as cashmere with a lip moisturizer (Neutrogena Lip Moisturizer with SPF 15, 0.15oz.,

2. Enhance those curves. Before heading out, use a natural colored lip liner to outline your mouth and make those lips pout.

3. Brush it on. To get an even look, put your lipstick on with a makeup brush. Be sure to sweep the brush across your lips in a consistent manner.

4. Plump it up. Make those lips even more luscious by applying gloss over your lipstick. Be sure to use colors that glisten and shine to make for a pucker no one can resist.

5. Really Desperate? If your still lacking the fullness you desire, add a lip plumper to your routine (Lip Fusion, 0.29 oz., Micro-Injected Lip Plump Collagen Shine, $20.55,