dash of red [part deux]

Wow, I received a great response from last week’s post on my newfound affordable red lipstick.   Thank you for all the emails and commentary!  Wanted to follow up on three things related to the post.  Warning: I’m on a style tangent today, so grab a cup of coffee.

1.  ELEGANT BLONDE LOOK.  While sourcing images for last week’s post, I specifically had a hard time finding inspiration shots of elegant, fair-complected blondes. There was a certain classic blonde image I had in my head (other than Grace Kelly) but for the life of me I could not put my finger on who it was.  At some crazy hour one night it hit me like a ton of bricks – it was the late Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy.  How could I have ever forgotten this Über chic blonde beauty?

I know this shot is a hundred years old and grainy, but hello Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy totally rocked this regal black Yohji Yamamoto frock.  The low bun, red lips, strappy heels and dress all together?  Mind blowing.  I could faint.  Oh and the Prince-of-a-husband on her arm doesn’t exactly hurt the overall aesthetic.   

red7 CBK

Ahhh, a better shot.

red8 CBK

Her style was classic yet modern, unfussy and sophisticated.  And that unforgettable signature red lip.

Remember Carolyn’s official introduction to the press by her dashing husband JFK, Jr.?  Her outfit is perfection. Nearly 14 years later, her fashion choices are still iconic.

red carolyn bassette-kennedy

If you’re going to wear really bold colors or prints, the fabric has to be really nice. If you’re not going to spend tons of money, you should stick to gray, navy, black, nudes and white. It usually works.” 

Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy

Could not agree any more with that philosophy.  I also like the way she never smothered her eyes in gobs of eyeliner and shadow.  She kept the make-up very simple and clean.  Much like her fashion choices.

red6 CBK

In my opinion, the rule to pulling off red lips is this:  the brighter the lip, the softer the eye. There are exceptions to this rule, but they usually involve a make-up artist, a red carpet or a runway ; )

red CBK

She too loved a tailored white oxford.

red5 CBK

red2 carolyn bessette-kennedy

.    .    .    .

2.  LIPSTICK PRICE & ANOTHER COLOR.  A commenter in Europe gawked at the price of the Kate Moss lipstick I shared, saying it was nearly $10.  I had remembered it being in the $3 family due to the signage in the drug store.  I panicked a little thinking that I misrepresented the “bargain” price, so this week I double checked at Walmart, Target and Walgreens, and this lipstick price ranges from $3.99 – $6.99.

While checking prices, I couldn’t help but explore some of the other Kate Moss reds.  Found this red that is truly a great shade for fair-complected blondes.  It’s a tangy, slightly coral-based red.  Color #12.  Great spring red for a blonde!  I actually bought this for myself to try out but found it to be a little too light and bright for my coloring.  In an attempt to darken it, I applied my magical Revlon Sienna lip liner as a base under the lipstick.  It was still too light for me. I talked about my trusty Revlon lip liner ages ago over here.  I hope they never discontinue it!

red kate moss 12

.    .    .    .

3.  BROWN EYES & RED LIPS.  Another reader, Rose, asked a good question in my previous post: Can those with dark eyes wear red lips equally as well as those with light eyes?

My answer is an emphatic ABSOLUTELY!  I have two great examples, starting with French film star, Audrey Tautou.

red2 audrey tatou

She is another classic beauty.  And notice the minimalist make-up here.  Repeat to ourselves:  simple is chic, simple is chic.

red audrey tatou

Who could forget her gripping performance as Chanel in Coco Before Chanel, to this day one of my very movies.  It’s a must see.  I wrote a long post about that movie over here.


And then there’s Academy award-winning Anne Hathaway, with those doe eyes and perfect brows.  Who am I kidding, she has the perfect everything  You can see the red lips go beautifully with her hair dark or with highlights.  I personally think she’s far more striking with darker locks.  

red3 AH63720792

Anne has always had such a feminine quality with her long hair and full lips.  It’s incredible how she chopped her hair for one  particular scene in her role in Les Misérables.  It should totally be against the law to butcher gorgeous, shiny, thick, perfect hair, but this case obviously gets a free pass, ha.

She still brought those red perfect lips to the Oscars!

red6 AH

So there you have it, one more red lips post.  Whew, I think we’re covered for a while.

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  1. Nicole says:

    More great images and inspiration, Seleta! I’m off to rock that red again, no matter what my three sons say about it! What do they know about classic style, anyway?! ; )

  2. Emily says:

    Great images! As someone who is intimdated by red lipstick, I find this (and the previous lipstick post) very helpful. And encouraging…I plan to give it a try!

  3. pam says:

    wow, don’t know that i’ve ever worn a true red lipstick, but you’ve given me inspiration to try it! i have brown eyes and never wear eye makeup (it irritates my contacs), so maybe i should shake things up and rock some red lips! thanks seleta.

  4. Johanna Bloom says:

    Thank you so much for this column. I am a frustrated blonde who adored Caroline B. Kennedy. Keep up the great advice. I am still trying to perfect the red lip.

  5. sarah says:

    i actually looked quickly for the kate moss #1 today. i have brown eyes and dark locks ala anne hathaway. can’t wait to get my hands on a tube and try it out. thanks for sharing.

  6. elaine sauer says:

    Oh Caroline what a beauty! and such a tragedy, make me sad to have lost her and John. I love the photo of the black sweater, mid length skirt and boots, I have it on a style board in my closet! She nailed it and you are so right, timeless! you could wear it right this very minute. Love the look of red lips …good to be bold. And how about the great red Jason Wu dress MO wore last night?
    Cheers Seleta

  7. Jodie Kurtz says:

    Seleta, I so adore your blog. Your messages are always so heartfelt and your style/design tidbits are truly fabulous! So easy to follow – – unlike some of the complicated blogs floating around.

    I love red lipstick! But, seem to have a difficult time with shades, since I am a redhead.
    I welcome any suggestions.

  8. Seleta says:

    Jodie, I’m not an expert on redheads but would think earthier reds might be flattering with your coloring (tangy orange reds, deep burnt reds, maybe even the #12 red I shared in this post). Hope this helps!

    Nicole, boys have a funny sense of style. Take for instance my 7 year old – he pairs a batman cape with cargo shorts and flip flops. Ha! Yes, I’d go for that red lipstick : )


  9. Kathy says:

    The Kate Spade lipstick is $3.63 on sale at our Walmart here.

    I love Anne Hathaway’s creamy complexion with that red lipstick!

  10. Chrissy says:

    Ha! I love this follow-up! I confess, I ran to Walmart and the price was in the upper $3 or lower $4 range and I was so excited. And then I wondered the same thing about the eye color. I have medium brown hair with auburn highlights and hazel eyes. I just know there must be a red for me to try! You were confident enough to give suggestions for the blondes, redheads and brown heads with brown eyes…what about me… a panic stricken, cannot make a decision without somebody holding my hand (okay, not really, but you get it). What Kate number would you recommend for me? Still the #1???

  11. Seleta says:

    Hi Chrissy,

    Is your skin olive, pink-based or more yellow? That will help me with my answer : )

    Meanwhile, if you do happen to have warm-toned skin to go with your hazel eyes and auburn hair, a bright red lip will look best with a good bronzer under your cheekbone to tie in your blush on the apple of your cheek so that your coloring stays warm. Google “highlighting and contouring” videos on how best to do that. The trick for wearing a good red with warm coloring is to steer clear of reds that are too pinkish or blue – go for one that has a slight orangey base or is straight up red. You might be able to try #1 with a deeper toned lip liner such as my Revlon Sienna I talked about.


  12. Debbie says:

    Thanks Seleta for your advise and ideas on the red lip. I too must confess I love the look but have never seemed to quite rock it. I am in the fair faced and hair category andd plan on trying the #12. I realize as I’ve aged I need lip color! Thanks for the suggestion. I always love your beauty posts…please share some more with us in the future.

  13. Allison A. says:

    Love these beauty posts Seleta! I’m always open to hearing about new products and love talking make-up. So sad about Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. A true gorgeous classic beauty. Another of my favorites….Audrey Hepburn….she rocked a beautiful red lip. Question for you….I have fair skin with yellowy undertones, brunette with a tad bit of auburn in it and hazel eyes…and a tad older than you. Is there an age where red is not age appropriate? I don’t think so but recently had a girlfriend tell me so. Curious as to your opinion. Also, with my coloring can you suggest a red lipstick for me? Thank you!

  14. pve says:

    My dear friend that fought a long hard battle with cancer always said, “All a lady needs are two things, a lipstick, and a good date.” Funny how a little dab of red and a date will breathe new life into making me more of a lady – Fantastic images of red lipped ladies. I have to check what brand I have – I think it is time for a new red in my life.
    Hope your troops are all healthy – now.

  15. Seleta says:

    Congrats on your first little one on the way!!

    You’re most welcome!

    Try color #1 and see what you think. It’s a true red, should be good with a yellow based skin tone.

    I can hear in your comment how much you still miss your dear friend…understandably so. What a sweet and fun saying she had. And true at that! Hugs.


  16. Allison A. says:

    Hi Seleta,
    Thanks for your response. I should have mentioned that I tried #1 but not the right red for my coloring. A bit too bold…I have very, very fair skin with yellow undertones. If a softer red ( but not too orangy) comes to mind let me know. I’m eager to find one! Thanks!

  17. Tena says:

    Great posts on the red lipstick! I have been searching for the “perfect” red for my skin tone and hair color for years. Everything seemed to turn pink. I am, however, really liking the Kate Moss Red that you recommended. I have also recently purchased a red from the MAC counter that I like a lot. One problem that I was running into was the clash between my red lipstick and my pinkish blush. The very helpful expert at MAC suggested I try just a light bronzer instead of blush. EUREKA!!! That was the answer! Now, I happily wear my red lipstick. :)

  18. I adored Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s style. Adored it. I was CRUSHED when their plane crashed. I hoped against hope for days that they would be found.

    I am blonde too with fair skin but red undertones and so I have never found a red lipstick that I could wear. BUT you have inspired me to perhaps keep trying.

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    SeletaI‘m Seleta, a city girl living the beach life with my family. A former TV personality turned designer, I love to share the sparkly side of life. Read more here.
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