Posts tagged fashion
Black Beauty: A Foreign Concept Within the Beauty Industry

I think it’s right to say I stumbled into the world of make-up at a very young age, overwhelmed and confused by the large variety of products and brands and not exactly knowing what to do with it all. The difference between eye-liner and eyebrow pencil remained a myth to me until later into my teenage years and I can say, confidently now, that it did take me a while to even get a grasp on what suited me, what I needed and where.

Drug store makeup can be every girl’s saving grace, affordable makeup that caters for every woman right? Wrong. I won’t be completely brutal though, drug store makeup within the UK has definitely expanded throughout the last few years, offering a larger variety of high street and high-end brands including Chanel, Dior and Estee lauder. The problem lies however, when a market more or less closes its doors to a group of women simply due to skin colour. How is it that an issue that so many black female’s within the UK are experiencing is being, well, ignored? The most recent report from Mintel, published in 2009 on ‘Marketing Beauty to Black Women’ states that only 2% of the total market for women’s hair care, skin care and makeup is dedicated towards black women. Yes I said it, 2%. That 2% being well under their percentage of their representation within the population. Essentially the UK cosmetic industry is delivering the message that it’s okay to exclude a racial group from their market, if there’s a chance they could damage your yearly revenue. In a society that claims to be forward thinking and banishing the social walls of racial prejudice, the fact that black women are denied the basic choice of drug store makeup seems to be quite a backward concept to me.

Speaking from first-hand experience, I know exactly what it feels like to feel devalued within such a large and expanding industry. I use a relatively known brad of foundation from L’Oreal’s “true match” range that seemingly caters towards every skin shade. It’s been the first drug store brand I’ve found that actually matches my skin tone, without leaving my face looking slightly ghostly or two shades darker than the rest of my body. I find it hard to believe that within the space of two weeks, I continuously visited 6 of my local Boots and Superdrug store’s to replace my empty bottle only to come back empty-handed, disappointed and with the meaningless promise of “new stock” arriving soon. One member of staff looked at me with pitying eyes as she, tried to hand me a lighter, rather orange, shade of foundation asking “Will this do?” Unsurprisingly however, that “new stock” I was promised never arrived and I didn’t really fancy a pumpkin shade of foundation for Halloween. 2/3 of the stores I visited didn’t even have any allocated space on their shelves for darker shades of makeup. Tell me, what kind of message does that give out to black women or even women in general about their physical appearances? That there isn’t a place within our market place, or you’re less valued, because you’re a shade too dark for us? I believe it’s hard enough being a woman from a minority race within a country that celebrates and essentially force feeds ideas of ‘European beauty’ over African or Caribbean beauty already.

The idea that there’s little discrimination and prejudice within the make-up industry is a lie we’re being continuously fooled to believe, simply because it doesn’t affect a wider percentage of the population. Ignoring the wrong doings of a society in my eyes is exactly the same as condoning it. I don’t want to have the knowledge that there are similar females like me within the UK, or even the world, that are experiencing feelings of discrimination within a market place that should cater to all. This idea that has been subconsciously hanging in the air of the beauty industry that beauty is defined by skin colour is a lie, but more than that, it’s damaging. Womyn are already bombarded with images within the media of the ideal of a ‘perfect woman’ and being told you need to adjust this, tighten this up, get rid of this to even be considered a figure of beauty. I would like to think that the times of racial prejudice are no longer as prevalent as they once were, but unless issues such as this are addressed, women will continuously feel discriminated and targeted against.

High Heel Health 101 - The Coveteur

I’m a luxury retail professional aka “I know I can confidently stand/run/climb ladders in 4in heels for 8 hours”. My secret, which isn’t a secret, are insoles and arch supports. They’re far from sexy but we’ve all seen that one woman carrying her heels in hand after a night of dancing and we’re more chic than that, aren’t we? 

Women (and men) are often shocked when I tell them that I can do an eight hour work day in heels. “Aren’t your feet killing you?” “I could never do that!” I would never advocate standing in heels for hours on end but if you do it right your next day aches and pains will be minimal.

I always do the following when buying heels:

I ask the sales person to stretch the toe box for 20-30 minutes per shoe. I already know I have a wide foot and have found personally that this will alleviate possible heel pain or stress from squished toes.

I wear “no show” or “toe socks”. When my feet are hot they swell which causes discomfort. Socks or insoles that wick away heat helps keep my feet from swelling up on a hot day (or a hectic Saturday afternoon rush.)

I take a few days to break them in, for example I’ll wear them for only four hours a day or two and then for longer stretches in the following days. I always have a flat with me incase I have to run a bit more or if I start doing the shuffle walk in my heels.

I alternate heel heights and styles. Always let your heels “dry out” between wears, we all have that one friend who admits to a less than fragrant pair of shoes. Take note that person probably wears them everyday in all sorts of weather and possibly without socks. The bacteria has festered, so yeah their feet stink.

Let your high heels and your calfs rest. Flats are our friends. The only thing I like more than a dope pair of heels is a dope pair of sneakers or flats. I’m not talking about breaking out your running shoes but get a few pairs of fashionable sneakers. I own pairs from Melody Ehsani x Reebok, Tory Burch, Cole Haan and Puma. 

The Coveteur has more tips and tricks on their site. Click though for more.

High Heel Health 101 - The Coveteur

Bill Cunningham | Gray Is the New Black

I realize that Mr. Cunningham has already spoken to the gray trend for Spring/Summer but this trend is still really strong for Autumn. I’ve been encouraging my clients to trade in their black bags for shades of gray this season and while not all are convinced, the ones that are trying it aren’t coming back for black anytime soon. 

Get the Look: Colorblocked

Colorblocking can be tricky (although this tutorial on how to colorblock is helpful). But there is an easy way to play with the trend without mixing-and-matching and playing with color theory each time you put an outfit together.

Issa silk print dress
$255 -

Lipsy dress
£42 -

Current/Elliott skinny jeans
$168 -

Color block shoes
$35 -

Jimmy Choo wedge heels
€430 -

Juicy couture wallet
$98 -

Yellow gold necklace
$10 -