Category Archives: Fashion

Know Some Words That Will Change the Way You Shop

Ever buy something that you never wear? Or maybe you wear it once only to hate it on? Perhaps you wear it every once in a while only because you feel sorry for it? Answer yes to any of these and you’ve got yourself a bad buy.

A bad buy happens for a variety of reasons — all of which are, well, not good. So whether you’ve purchased something because it looked great on the mannequin, the sales staff talked you into it or it was on sale and too good to pass up, you still end up with an item that doesn’t benefit you in any way.

How do you keep from making these bad purchases time and time again? You shop smart. You only choose pieces that looking amazing on and that can be described by your three, very own, very specific, self chosen, style words.

 

A style word is a word you choose to describe what an item of clothing, accessory or shoe (etc.), has to be, in order for it to even be considered worthy of your attention. It’s a word that describes you, your style, or your style aspiration, to a “T”.

For example, my style words are “sexy,” “stylish” and “edgy.” If I’m considering purchasing an item, it has to either be sexy (but not slutty), have some sort of stylish quality about it (cut, detail, etc.), or it has to have an edge to it (i.e. leather, buckles, studs, black). If it doesn’t fall into one of these three categories, it doesn’t get purchased.

There is however an exception to the rule — basics. Sometimes you just need to purchase some basics, like tees or tanks, to round out your wardrobe. These don’t necessarily have to follow the three word rule, however they still need to look really great on. (No point in deviating from what works or looks good.)

So why three words? Over the years I’ve found that we’re never really just one style, but a blend of many different styles expressed in different ways at different times. One word just isn’t enough.

Could you use four words? Absolutely. Five words? Still ok. Six? If that’s what expresses who you are and it’s what you need, then do it. However, I caution you from choosing too many words. You might end up with a closet full of clothes that leaves you feeling a bit scattered or having a hard time mixing and matching when getting dressed. For myself and my clients, I find that three seems to be the perfect number — enough to include your many moods, but not enough to overwhelm or cause chaos.

You can even apply this principle when decorating your home. I often ask my interior design clients to choose three words when I start working with them. That way we stay on track and avoid making any choices that aren’t completely, 100 per cent true to them or their style.

In fact, anytime you need to purchase something, consider your goal or your desired result and make sure to check in with yourself throughout the process — especially before you hand over any funds.

Stay focused, stay on track and you’ll never end up with another bad buy again.

Simple Ways To Reinvent Your Look

Change keeps things fresh, but it doesn’t have to be drastic. Yes, we’ve all done the major haircut or dye job, but what if you’re craving change but don’t want that much of a commitment? The most effective changes are smaller, subtler ones. We’ll walk you through various small-scale techniques that will pay off in big ways.

Make your brown eyes blue (or green or hazel)

If you want to go with a subtle look, try temporarily changing the colour of your eyes. Go green, blue, hazel, or Elizabeth Taylor purple with a pair of coloured contacts. In fact, why not get a few pairs and coordinate and contrast with your wardrobe and then accent with a few coats of mascara.

Change up your makeup

If you usually wear eye makeup, mix it up by emphasizing your lips instead. If you usually wear lipstick or lip gloss, try a flick of eyeliner. If you don’t want to change your makeup routine, why not change up your colours? Try a red lipstick instead of your usually nude or vice-versa or add new colour to your eye makeup routine.

Accessories make the person

A small way to change up your look is to change your accessories. Try adding pearls, a really big look this fall, to your wardrobe or pin a brooch to your coat or to the collar of your blouse. If that’s a bit much, start with a watch. Think gold, silver and decorative.

Treat it as a piece of jewelry

If jewelry isn’t what you want, you can change your look by choosing a bag in a new shape. The look is all about the top-handle bag.

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Meditate on it

Just five minutes a day could see a reduction in your stress levels and an overall increase in your well-being. Take the time to sit down, close your eyes and focus on your breathing before you go to bed or right after you wake up to help calm and prepare you for a good night’s sleep or a hard day’s work.

Add a pop of colour or go all black

Just a little colour can make a big difference. It might be a new shade of lipstick, that new bag or a new outfit. If you wear colour, why not embrace the elegant uniformity of black and grey like the French. Splurge on a black or grey blazer and throw it over everything. It might become the most used item in your wardrobe.

Change up your skin routine

Make your skin glow with a small change to your skincare routine. Just by adding one item, you could see fabulous results in weeks. This could be added moisture, an anti-aging product or even just sunblock to block those damaging rays.

Change your route

We all have our route to the office and one to our favourite lunch spot. We talk them every day without thinking about it. The next time you’re heading out for lunch, try a different route to your destination. It’s easier than changing your commute and the fresh perspective could add a little spark to your step.

Tips to Shop Like You Mean Business

I’m extremely particular (some might say downright fanatical) about having a solid, functional, yet super fabulous wardrobe. Nothing bothers me more than an unorganized closet full of useless, unworn or unflattering pieces. Well, other things might bother me more, but you get the idea.

While shopping to create and add to this perfectly curated wardrobe might be a casual pastime to some, to me, it’s serious business. (Probably because as a stylist, it’s quite literally my business.) And everyone knows that when it comes to business, you need a plan.

So unless I’m just browsing, when I shop for myself or with a client, I always have a plan. And so should you. (Unless of course you’d like to waste countless hours or your hard earned dollars. If that’s the case, off you go.)

 

Shopping with a plan always starts before you leave the house, mainly in your closet. That’s where you want to take stock of your wardrobe to see what you have and what you’re missing.

Note what you have plenty of so that you don’t buy any more and jot down which items need coordinating pieces to turn them into outfits. If you find that your wardrobe has gaps that you need to fill, add those to the list as well. These are the items you’ll be looking for when you shop.

Once your list is complete, decide on your budget. Determine what you think each item is worth or what you’d be willing to spend. Keep this amount in mind when you shop so that you don’t end up spending more than you should.

If you don’t think you’ll be able to purchase all the items on your list, prioritize and shop accordingly. Just keep the others in mind too. We all know that just because you shop for something, doesn’t mean you’ll find it. You might actually have more luck finding those lower priority pieces.

If you plan to shop for an item to coordinate with an existing piece, bring it along. It’s so much easier to find a match when it’s with you. You’ll also be able try the items on together to see if they’re right for each other. You know — see if they have good chemistry.

Make sure to also bring along the appropriate undergarments for whatever it is you’ll be shopping for. It’ll give you a truer indication of how things look with all your bits and pieces in their proper place.

If you’re not sure which stores to hit to find what you need, do some online pre-shopping prior to leaving the house. If you find something online that you like, call ahead to see if the location closest to you has your size and even one size up and down just in case. Map out your route so that you can hit the shops in the most efficient way and pick the best time of day to visit the area.

Now if you’re not a shopper or don’t like to shop (which always shocks me but is apparently quite common), try to make the experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. Dress in comfortable clothes and shoes that are easy to take off and put back on, wear your hair in a way that won’t get ruined or bother you after multiple clothing changes and stay hydrated and fed.

Shopping can be exhausting work — even for someone who shops for a living. If you’re thirsty, hungry, tired or uncomfortable, you’ll either leave early without having achieved your goal, buy the wrong thing, or end up really, really, super cranky. Take it from me — no one likes a cranky shopper.

Maximize Your Wardrobe and Your Dollar

You might think that because I’m a Personal Stylist, I have a ton of clothes. The truth is that I have one garment rack for hanging and one dresser. That’s it.

Being clear on my style, knowing how to put things together and shopping smart keeps my wardrobe super lean. (Although using really thin hangers and stacking clothes in my dresser like a game of Tetris sure doesn’t hurt.)

If you’re looking to create a clean, solid, functional yet fabulous wardrobe and want to make the most of every item of clothing you own, here are three things that should help maximize your wardrobe. And your dollar.

 

1. Purchase items that can be worn throughout multiple seasons.

Gone are the days of having distinct summer and winter wardrobes. These days, most pieces can be worn in creative ways through many seasons. Knowing how to layer and mix different fabric weights and textures keeps a look fresh and unique. The key is to making sure that the overall outfit is weather appropriate.

Need some ideas? When the thermometer starts to drop, summer crop tops can be worn over long sleeve shirts; light summer skirts, shorts or dresses can be worn with tights or with socks and booties and a heavier coat or a thicker sweater.

2. Only purchase an item if it goes with at least three things in your wardrobe.

If you buy a piece of clothing that can only be worn with one other piece in your closet, it’s not providing you with the opportunity to mix and match and be used a variety of different ways.

If you have limited closet space as well as limited funds, purchasing items that go with more than one piece in your wardrobe, means that you’ll be able to create more outfits from less pieces. This keeps your closet from becoming over full and your bank account from dwindling.

3. Purchase multi-purpose items.

Multi-purpose, multi-use or multi-wear items are pieces that can be worn more than one way. While your first thought might be of convertible bridesmaid dresses, multi-purpose clothing can actually take on many forms.

Take the TMR Collection Portland Dress, designed by Tara Rivas. At first glance you see a very well made, super chic, crazy sexy dress. On closer inspection you realize that the dress is completely reversible in another colour, making it two dresses for the price of one. Brilliant!

Blanket scarves are another example of items that can be worn more than one way. They can be wrapped around your neck in typical scarf fashion, worn as a wrap, and if the fabric is thin enough, can be worn sarong style. The only limit is your imagination.

And finally, one of the best ways to maximize your wardrobe and your dollar is to take excellent care of your clothing. Following the cleaning instructions on the tags should extend the wear of your clothes, helping them last longer and look better too. And who doesn’t want better looking clothing?

Tips To Dressing Your Way To Weight Loss Success

It’s that time of year again. Resolutions are made and goals are written down. Give it a few months, though, and most will go out the proverbial window. But what if I told you that there was one simple step you could take every single day that would tip the scale in your favour towards reaching your desired weight? No special diets, no popping pills. Would you be in? Thought so.

All you have to do, every single day, is — wait for it — get dressed.

For the body you have, that is, not the one you had. Let me explain.

As a Stylist, I work with a number of women who either want to lose weight, are in the process of losing weight, or have already lost the weight. The one thing that has become abundantly clear is that those who dressed for their changing body felt better about themselves and found that it helped them stay motivated to continue on their weight loss journey.

Women often tell me that they don’t want to buy another piece of clothing until they drop their desired weight. They’re not going to waste another penny on clothes they’ll probably never wear again, which makes complete financial sense. Except for the fact that it’s not always the best or most practical idea.

We all know that once you start losing weight your clothing becomes looser, baggier and even ill-fitting. You start to get lost in your clothes and suddenly don’t feel or look your absolute best. Frumpy might be a better word. You might even lose your motivation. We all know how hard it is to lose weight; even a few pounds. It takes discipline and drive, and it’s hard to do when you’re not feeling fabulous in your outfits.

So, you cave, and buy more clothes — most likely smaller versions of the ones you already own. Same style, different size. Except there’s a problem. Something’s not quite right and you’re not sure what it is.

It’s this: Your body shape may have changed with the weight loss, and you’re still shopping and dressing for the body you had. Not the one you have.

Everyone loses weight differently. Some lose most in the chest (why are the boobs always the first to go?!?), some lose most in the mid section, some in the rear or hips and some in the thighs. Some might lose their weight evenly all over.

The key to looking great throughout your weight loss, and the key to staying motivated, is to shop and dress for the body you have at that moment, so that you look amazing throughout the whole process. The better you look every single day, the more you’ll want to keep going to achieve your goal.

How do you do this? Keep checking in with yourself and your mirror as you lose the weight and as your clothes get looser and looser. How do they look on you? How do you feel? Where are you losing most of the weight? Where do the adjustments need to be made. Sometimes slight alterations can be made to your existing clothes to accommodate the weight loss. Sometimes new pieces altogether are needed.

If you find yourself with a need to shop during your weight loss or once you’ve reached your desired weight, take a good long look in the mirror and really look at what you see. At that particular moment.

It’s quite common for women who have lost a significant amount of weight to only see themselves as they were before the weight loss. I’ve had clients shocked with some of the clothing suggestions I made, thinking that there was no way they could pull off a certain look. Until they tried it. Then they were amazed at how good they looked and at how many compliments they received. The mind is a tricky thing.

So if you find yourself on the New Year weight loss bandwagon and you really want to keep your resolution, stick to your goal, and stay motivated, do yourself a favour. Be kind to yourself, see yourself in all your beauty throughout the process and, most importantly; shop. A lot. Your body will thank you.

Some Bad Style Habits That Make You Look Older

A few weeks ago I attended an event not wearing anything very special and didn’t put a lot of thought into my outfit. So I was quite shocked when someone asked my friend who that beautiful woman was… Besides giving me a great ego boost, it had me wondering, “Why me?” Why was I (so pleasantly) singled out?

Then I realized that most of the other women looked kind of old and frumpy. Here are some of the reasons why:

Ill-fitting clothing

I have as many body issues as the next girl, and sure there are days when all I want to do is hide myself in an over-sized sweater, but the problem with doing that is you’ll always wind up looking frumpy. You don’t have to love every single part of your body and you can diminish the parts you don’t like, but do this by highlighting your assets instead of by hiding yourself.

Love your legs but hate your tummy area? No problem, simply reach for a cute blazer and pair it with a shorter skirt (and yes, that means it can be to your knees). If you are trying to mask your less-favourite parts, look for higher quality fabrics with more structure.

Inappropriate colours

Black is slimming, right? Well that’s only half the truth, because if the outfit doesn’t fit, then I don’t care what colour it is, it won’t look good. Also, if you don’t look great in black (as in, it washes you out) then you’ll look sick instead of sophisticated. Sure, you can still wear black, but then make sure you have a bit of a bright colour near your face.

Wrong-sized bra

Okay, I’ll admit that I’ve never been overly comfortable going to bra fittings, but they are necessary and should be repeated every time you gain or lose some weight. Whatever your size, know that it is not attractive when you can see all the lumps and bumps under your clothing, or when your chest is in the wrong place.

Sensible footwear

When she was in her late 90s, my grandmother finally switched to a more sensible shoe. Until then, however, she always wore a classic pump. That should be a lesson to everyone. Flats or heels, it doesn’t really matter. As long as the shoe looks good on your foot, it will work. Also, pay attention to your proportions. Kitten heels may be best left to a petite woman, while a straight, chunkier heel looks fantastic on a taller woman.

Blah accessories

I’m officially saying that it’s okay to wear statement pieces. It doesn’t have to be large, over-the-top jewelry, but it’s important to give your outfit some visual interest. Even if it’s just a swipe of red lipstick (which, by the way, was what I was wearing with a black sweater over a striped top).

Ignoring trends

You don’t have to jump on every trend band wagon, nor should you, but pay attention to current lines, textures and overall styles. You can then take your classic pieces and give them a twist so that your look becomes contemporary chic instead of downright dated.

A huge part of staying young-looking is dressing yourself to highlight all of your best assets. Whether you choose classic pieces or trendy ones, just make sure that you are having fun and not taking yourself too seriously. Above all, never ever wear something just because you feel that you “have to.”

What do you have in your wardrobe that just makes you feel amazing?

Best Stylish Ways To Love Yourself

Ah February. The month of love. Red hearts, Valentine’s and Cupid’s little arrow. What better time to love yourself than this? Whether you have a significant other or a loved one to dote upon or not, a little self care and pampering should always be on the menu. We all know that when you take care of yourself first, you’re better able to take care of those around you. Besides, who doesn’t like a little spoiling every now and then.

Whether soaking in a bath, hitting the spa or indulging in your favourite meal is your idea of a little self love, as a personal stylist, mine always involve clothing. If you happen to love style, fashion, shopping or clothes as much as I do, here are five stylish ways to love yourself just a little bit more this month.

1. Dress For Yourself

 

When it comes to clothing, dress for yourself. By that I mean be 100% true to your style, dress for your particular body shape, in colours that suit your skin tone best.

I’ve worked with a number of women who’ve worn certain things because they thought that they should wear them. Either someone suggested it, they heard that it was the “in” thing or they thought it was appropriate.

Whatever the reason, never ever feel that you need to wear certain items. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to wear pieces that suit and reflect you and who you are.

2. Treat Yourself

Who doesn’t like a little treat or a splurge? If you haven’t in a while, or even if you have, why not treat yourself to a little somethin’ somethin’. Whether it’s a new pair of shoes, a blouse, earrings or a great fitting bra, treat yourself to something that makes you feel special.

While it doesn’t have to be expensive, it does have to be something that makes you look and feel absolutely fabulous. If money’s a little tight at the moment, hit a thrift shop or vintage store, or organize a clothing swap with some friends. Just find some way to give yourself a little pick-me-up.

3. Try Something New

Trying something new is a great way to give yourself a little love. We all get stuck in a rut every once in a while — do things the same way, shop at the same stores, wear the same types of clothes. Why not try shaking things up a bit?

Visit a new boutique, try on a different style of shoe, buy a piece of jewelry you’ve never worn before. Expand yourself. You’ll never know if something will work for you unless you try. Who knows what you could be missing out on.

Just keep one thing in mind — whatever you choose to give a go, make sure it feels right on you. Don’t force it. That would defeat the purpose.

4. Sexy It Up

What girl doesn’t like to feel a little (or a lot) sexy? Maybe not all the time, but here and there, or every so often. All day, every day works too. If you’ve been lacking in the sexy department lately, why not amp it up a bit?

Now, that said, it doesn’t have to be overt. Everyone’s definition of sexy is different. For some, putting on some sexy lingerie does the trick. For others it might be showing a little extra skin, wearing something silky or lacey or putting on a pair of killer heels. The most important thing is that you put on something that makes you feel like the hottest hottie you are.

5. Take Yourself Out

Let’s be honest. You’re too fabulous not to share yourself with the world. Put on your hottest, most stylish outfit, get dressed to the nines, do yourself right up, and take yourself somewhere fabulous. Whether it’s your favourite restaurant, the newest club or a great little café, get out there and show yourself off.

A word of caution — heads might turn, cats might call and cars might come to a screeching halt. It’s OK. Let them. Move along, do your thing and keep on keepin’ on, truly and absolutely, loving yourself

Know Spring’s Style Trends Are All About West Coast Cool

I love spring! The colours are brighter and the layers are lighter.

There are so many new styles and trends out this season. Pastels are big, men’s watches are on-point and you can never go wrong with a nude shoe.

To find out the latest trends for spring I spoke to Ashley Goldstein, public relations coordinator at Splendid. Ashley shared all the hot looks for this spring.

 

What are the new trends for spring casual wear?

This spring we are inspired by the nostalgic feel of sunsets in the marina and weekend getaways to Palm Springs. Spring truly encapsulates the refined casual style of West Coast living. For spring, classic styles are reinvigorated with bold colours and treatments. One of the biggest trends we see right now is blown out plaid and graphic, bold stripes. Stripes go hand and hand with the season, we have really fun spins on a classic stripe this season.

What are some new ways that women are wearing casual wear?

Indigo dyed garments are trending this spring and our innovative indigo washes with vintage-inspired prints give a playful and polished feel to your casual wear. I am seeing classic shirting everywhere and bold colours, variegated stripes and vibrant treatments for a fun twist.

What are the hot colors for spring?

Spring palette is a mix of washed out colours with a pastel beachy feel, anchored with neutral indigo and pops of peachy pink, lime green and limonada.

What are the styles on trend for guy’s this spring?

Hand-dyed pieces are on-trend, to make items look individually distressed. No two pieces look exactly the same! Stripes, stripes, stripes, ombre stripe tees and pullover sweatshirts are going to be everywhere. It is totally about bold stripe trends this spring!

How to care for your casual wear?

Depending on different types of dyes or treatments we do have different recommendations. Personally, I wash my favourite tees on machine wash delicate and hang dry, unless its recommended to dry clean.

Any other tips?

Don’t forget, nothing is more essential in your wardrobe then a classic, basic T-shirt. Soft T-shirts get an update with super-cool spectacle prints, sporty sun-faded stripes and pigment dyes.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I love simple, effortless style. For accessories this spring, I like classic smaller pieces (in the past seasons we have seen big necklaces but I think those may be on their way out).

Tips to Dressing For Your Body Shape

Out of the many reasons that my clients hire me, wanting to learn how to dress for their body shape is probably at the top of their list. They understand that knowing how to dress for their particular shape is key to looking great. Why? Because it helps create visual balance and harmony. Visual balance and harmony, in turn, pleases the eye. When something is pleasing to the eye, well, it looks good. Really good.

It also saves you time when getting dressed because your closet is only stocked with items perfectly suited to you.

When you know how to dress for your shape, you know how to play up your assets and downplay the areas of your body that you don’t necessarily want to draw attention to. You know how to highlight certain parts, de-emphasize others and fool the eye into believing that you are the epitome of proportion and balance.

It also helps you know which clothing cuts, styles and lengths look best on you, how to wear certain items to suit your body best and how to choose and place accessories to monopolize on the body you’ve got.

Having this knowledge also saves you time and money. Once you know which cuts and styles suit your shape, you know which items to avoid when shopping and which ones to hone in on. You no longer spend money buying things that don’t flatter you and that sit in your closet unworn. It also saves you time when getting dressed because your closet is only stocked with items perfectly suited to you.

If you want to learn how to best dress for your shape, there are a number of different ways to do so. You can hire a stylist like me to help you, you can head over to your local library or bookstore to see what they have available, or you can turn to the internet for a ton of info and tips. You’ll even find online stores dedicated to helping you shop based on your shape.

Smitherystyle.com is a Canadian e-boutique founded in Toronto by Chief Stylesmiths, Rena and Mavis. According to Rena, “Smithery makes shopping online easier by offering a simple shape finder tool, modeling the clothes on REAL women representing each body shape, and including customized styling tips to make three outfits from every piece.”

Sizeable.com.au is an Australian online store founded by Melbourne-based blogger Larissa Thorne. Larissa states that at Sizeable, “we don’t believe that every woman’s body can really be boiled down to five specific types, instead what we’re trying to do is give women a better idea of what clothes would look like on somebody whose body better resembles their own rather than the standard fit model.”

So if wanting to learn how to dress for your particular body shape is on the top of your list or somewhere further down, there are a number of different options and resources out there for you to do so. If it’s nowhere on your list or even if you don’t have a list, that’s OK. If you ever change your mind, you’ll know exactly where to go

Incorporate the Colour Black into Your Look

Black is slimming and the go to colour in many of our wardrobes, so it’s easy to wear, right? Not so fast. If your clothing is ill fitting then it won’t look good, no matter the colour. In addition, black can easily wash you out and (gasp!) make you appear older and even (insert another gasp here) make you look frumpy. Think of all the famous women in history who really made the little black dress. Close your eyes for a second, can you picture the dress exactly or rather was it the whole ensemble including accessories, hair and attitude that made them a classic?

HOW TO WEAR BLACK

The Cut. Let’s give black the respect it deserves. Black is, after all, a colour that exudes drama, elegance and mystery. This is a colour that protects us from the outside world (think hiding a little bit of weight gain) but because of this we need to learn to master its strength and use it to make ourselves feel fabulous. The key is to show some skin. Be honest with yourself, if black washes you out then it’s probably a good idea to wear pieces that aren’t directly next to your face. Also, a black on black on black outfit can look boring and drab. Don’t be afraid of mixing textures and looking for soft fabrics that drape beautifully on your body and accentuate your best features. Give yourself shape. Instead of reaching for over-sized pieces define a waist with a belt or opt for an off the shoulder top or an open neckline.

Accessories. Since black is the absence of light and white is associated with light, a string of pearls, a la classic Coco Chanel, will always make a statement. For a less formal but just as sophisticated look try wearing a dramatic statement necklace. Drop earrings will bring more colour to your complexion and are also an excellent choice. Of course, jewelry isn’t your only option as tying a scarf around your neck or in your hair will also have that brightening effect, as will a beautiful hat.

Shoes. An all black outfit paired with black shoes can be a little much and you risk looking like you are on your way to a funeral. An eye-catching pair of heels or flats can change all of that. There’s nothing more dramatic than a pair of red stilettos with a LBD or an expertly tailored suit. That being said, any colour will do, just make sure to add some glam, think sparkle, for night.

Hair. Black is an elegant colour and both your hairstyle and colour should reflect that. Of course, we can’t all be expected to get a professional blow out every day (wouldn’t that be a great treat) but we can make sure that our hairstyle is flattering. If you colour your hair then take the time to ensure that you aren’t going too long between salon visits or at home colouring. There are so many amazing products that will help keep your colour looking fresh and shiny that there really isn’t any excuse.

Makeup. Just like you would adapt your make up for an occasion, you will need to be selective with your makeup choices. You will want to start with a luminous light reflecting foundation and concealer if needed, so that the intensity of your outfit doesn’t draw the light from your face. Play with colour by using deep plums and greys when creating a smokey eye. When wearing all black, don’t forget your lips as they need some colour and shine. For day, a pink lip is ideal and for night you can’t go wrong with a bold red