Tuesday, August 15, 2017

FOTDs: The Lowcountry

Hello from Alabama! I just returned from a weekend that combined several discrete types of awkwardness. There was the mundane "socializing with your significant other's extended family" awkwardness, compounded by the "associating with people far above your own family's socioeconomic bracket, with a totally different lifestyle and set of values" awkwardness, plus some jetlag and Yankee-in-the-South culture shock for good measure. In my boyfriend's words, it was perhaps the most "off-brand" way I could have spent those three days (my brand being, roughly, "soft-goth dirtbag academic"). Let's put it this way: what makeup would you wear to hang out with immensely rich people who live seven miles inside a gated community that contains two entire golf courses? I'm not sure I came up with a decent answer to this question, but I came up with an answer (or three), and I might as well record them here for posterity. Let me apologize in advance for the quality of some of the FOTD pictures: I didn't have many chances to take high-quality makeup selfies in flattering lighting. And for much of the weekend, I looked like this:

I admit, driving a golf cart is a lot of fun. Oh, another bit of awkwardness: I had to borrow my boyfriend's mom's shorts for tennis because I forgot my own. No makeup, no filter, no dignity.

Though the Southern-woman stereotype tends to involve big hair and false eyelashes, the women in my boyfriend's family are dressed-down, preppy types who wear little to no makeup. When I visit, I tone down my own look accordingly. My own aesthetic is far from preppy (I figured out a decade ago that polo shirts aren't made for busty women), but I usually save my weird statement lipsticks for San Francisco. For this particular weekend, I brought a smaller-than-usual selection of makeup and didn't even touch most of it.

First, my road-trip look. Since we left very early on both days of driving, I started the morning with a bare face and added to it throughout the day. Below, I'm wearing Glossier Boy Brow in Brown, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze, Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara (a new purchase that I'm liking so far, except that the brush dispenses way too much product), NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla, Illamasqua cream blush in Zygomatic, and NARS sheer lipstick in Dolce Vita. I didn't need a brush for any of these products, which I generally prefer when I'm doing my makeup at 70 mph on the interstate.

Here's a closeup of the mascara. The fan-shaped brush gave my lashes a nice overall shape, but the excess product clumped a few lashes together and I didn't have a clean spoolie on hand to separate them.

On the second night of our trip, we had dinner at a country club with a dress code that was described to me as "well, the men usually wear khakis and golf shirts." Uh, cool. I wore a simple dress in my second-favorite color, chartreuse. It's hard to choose makeup that harmonizes well with chartreuse, but I went for an overall peachy look. I'd brought my ABH Modern Renaissance palette, so I applied Warm Sienna in the crease and Antique Bronze all over the lid, with NYX Faux Black eyeliner in Burnt Sienna on the upper lashline. (I recently bought two of the NYX Faux Blacks; review to come!) I also wore Illamasqua Zygomatic blush, ColourPop Lunch Money highlighter, and Glossier Generation G in Cake.

I swear my eyelids develop new folds and creases every week. I'm curious how long it will be before I can no longer wear powder eyeshadow at all.

On the last full day, we toured Savannah, Georgia, on an afternoon when the temperature rose above 100°F. It had been far too long (five days!) since I'd worn a non-neutral lipstick, so I went for ColourPop Blotted Lip in Bee's Knees, a sheer reddish fuchsia that can be built to near-opacity. Since I wrote my initial Blotted Lip review, both lipstick bullets have broken off at the base, which is very annoying. I'm also of two minds whether to keep Drip, which dries out my lips badly almost every time I wear it. Oddly, I find Bee's Knees much less drying, and it's such a pretty color: it acquires a kind of luminosity after three or so coats. On my eyes, along with mascara, I wore ABH Warm Taupe in the crease and Urban Decay Demolition liner smudged along the upper lashline. My blush was Glossier Cloud Paint in Puff (I think I want to order Haze for the fall!), and my highlighter, as usual, was Lunch Money.

Founded in 1733, Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia. Its historic district is a Southern Gothic spectacle: Corinthian columns, balconies of iron scrollwork, Spanish moss dangling from trees like giant clumps of spiderweb, cemeteries dating back to the American Revolution, and a humidity index perpetually over 80%. What's that, you want to see a bunch of tourist shots I took? COOL.

Spanish moss in the cemetery:

A Masonic temple:

Like many pre-Revolutionary cities, Savannah was built around a series of leafy public squares. Here's the statue of General James Oglethorpe, founder of the English colony of Georgia, in Chippewa Square:

Many of the Savannah College of Art and Design buildings are restored historic structures. Repurposed abandoned buildings are very much My Shit, but I didn't get a chance to explore this one because no one else wanted to dawdle in the oppressive heat. Philistines!

SCAD has a shop full of student- and professor-designed jewelry, which I couldn't afford...

I loved these earrings by Sam Norgard.

...and enamel pins, which I could:

Finally, another photo of that day's makeup, taken in a golf cart because that was the only way to traverse the vast distances of the aforementioned gated community. God, it was weird. I felt like Trump (not a good feeling, for the record).

My nail polish for the trip was Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine in Damson, which is opaque in two coats, has impressive staying power, and looks especially luminous in summer sun. It takes a lot of courage to say this, guys, but Damson might be my very favorite nail polish.

I'm going to be writing my dissertation introduction for the rest of August, so I'm not sure how many posts I'll be able to make this month, but I'm hoping it will be at least two. See you soon!


  1. Re: statement lipsticks for San Francisco--weirdly enough (hehe) I feel a little bit like a weirdo in SF with all my makeup, because not many people wear noticeable makeup here... I often am the only person on the bus wearing heavy makeup! If I see another person with a lot of makeup on, I feel happy.

    1. You're right, SF is a lot more laid-back with makeup than, say, NYC. And I've gotten looks and comments when I've worn really unconventional lip colors like navy or bright purple. Still, I see enough visible makeup there that I don't feel like a total freak when I wear a red or taupe lip. On one of my last days in SF, I even saw a woman wearing a beautiful dark green lipstick!

  2. Similar problems in the Midwest. Most people out here in my she bracket (30s) wear eyeshadow and maybe lipstick (mostly pinks). I look out of place here in a full face and brown lipsticks where in the metro l.a. Area I was always underdressed, so to speak.

    1. LA is definitely on another level with beauty! During the school year I live in a small college town where most women are preppy J. Crew types, but it's close enough to New York that statement makeup isn't totally unheard of.

  3. Part of my school was formerly a nun's convent, which is quite cool! It breaks my heart to see old buildings tore down or being the subject of shitty renovations( like my high school, where they took out the 50 year old hardwood floor who was remarkably well to put the cheapest tiles who started falling apart in less than a year).

    You look great followed by greenery and Bee's Knees is very flattering on you.


    1. Haha, my high school was built in the '70s and the building is so shitty that only total demolition could improve it! Older structures were (mostly) built to last, so it makes me happy when I see one turned to a new purpose. I'm curious why SCAD didn't replace the roof that was presumably on the original building.

  4. Happy writing! May you only drink your weight in wine a handful of times over.

    It's funny how classes still exist in the supposedly classless North America. I was talking about some professional club with my brother and father, and my brother asked me who would join it, and I said "Well-to-do white people," and he snorts and goes, "Even if you joined them, you'll always be the daughter of the working class." Thanks bro. But...he's kind of right. (Also I was not planning to join said club.)

    Damson is beautiful!

    1. I've been drinking so much more this year, ugh. It's rare that I have more than one drink per night, but I used to have, like, one per week.

      It's weird: I'm not ashamed of my socioeconomic background, and I have zero desire to live on a golf course or belong to country clubs, and yet throughout the weekend, I felt distressed about not fitting in better. Why must human nature work that way?

  5. Yessss I love Damson. My zeal for Sally Hansen Pacific Blue is near religious, but Damson is a really close dupe. I was delighted to find it at Superdrug.

    Bee's Knees is such a pretty colour on you! I'm finding myself somewhere in the middle in regards to the comfort of the Blotted Lips - they're not awful, but by the end of the day I definitely want a lot of lip balm. I don't notice such a discrepancy between colours, though - I wonder why that is!

    I always tone down my makeup when I'm in Kentucky. My family down there is either made up of more granola types who have probably never touched a tube of mascara ever, or people who are devoted to makeup but only of the neutral variety. My dad's cousin's wife does tend to wear berries or bright pinks, so she makes me feel less alone if I bust out a brighter lip colour. But usually I just blend into the crowd. I'm not sure why - they're my family, and it's not like they'd think less of me if I wore dark purple lipstick. It just doesn't feel right.

    1. I almost wish I had more colors of the Blotted Lips so I could make a better generalization about the formula. Right now, I'm not sure whether or not Drip is an outlier.

      I'm with you: I do feel the need to fit in makeup-wise even if there are no real consequences to wearing something bolder. There's also something fun about being forced out of my usual routine and experimenting with subtler looks.

  6. Beautiful photos. I've always wanted to visit Georgia (and Savannah in particular) but I don't think my pasty English self could cope with the heat!

    Looking forward to your faux blacks review as I have my eye on a couple (Oxblood and the olive green one). The faux whites didn't appeal to me at all.

    1. It's true, the British generally don't know what to do in American heat. I've known several British people in grad school, and most of them seem reluctant to wear temperature-appropriate clothes in the summer. My advisor's sole concession to the extreme heat seems to be unbuttoning a single button on his shirt (and immediately buttoning it again when he runs into anyone he knows). I've always been very curious about this cultural phenomenon.

      Just for you, I'll do the faux blacks review next! I'm not interested in the faux whites either: they seem better suited to the waterline, but I never put eyeliner there.

  7. Yay! <3

    In the north of England we like to go to both extremes. On a hot day last week I witnessed several people walking through town in Pokemon onesies - I was sweating just looking at them! Then in the middle of winter when it's below freezing, people are out with bare legs and no coats (the less successful sequel to Fur Coat and No Knickers).