Recap: Colorful + Chic Harlem Digs

Hey Folks! How have you been? I'm still juggling my day job with my business and hoping to cross over soon to full-time business (*fingers crossed*, *hands clasped*). I've also been busy creating an undergraduate class, The Social Psychology of Clothing, and am excited about the prospects of teaching it. Hopefully, more on that soon. But today, I wanted to feed your senses with some serious home eye candy. Last month, I had the opportunity to tour the home of interior decorator, Minetta Archer, for Houzz. Minetta has a way of mixing color, patterns, and texture in such a wonderfully refreshing way. I don't doubt that she is on her way to becoming a powerhouse in the world of colorful interiors.

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And her home is not the only thing that stood out during the tour. Her colorful outfit was a perfect complement to her home, and it made me think about how our wardrobes and interiors can really enhance the other. Minetta's outfit is classic bohemian chic with a fabulous yellow top and ethnic patterned head-wrap. I couldn't help but notice that she looks exactly like where she lives. If I just saw her on the street, I'd imagine she was going home to an global chic decor with lots of color and texture, just like her outfit.

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I've been really interested in ways to use interiors and clothes as a catalyst to the life you desire, and I see such great benefits in using your clothes and home to positively reinforce the other. I mean, shouldn't we look like where we live? Shouldn't our home look like us? At it's best, both our home and wardrobe provide us with opportunities to express our creative selves and reveal a lot about our emotional lives.

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So if your home was exactly the way you wanted it to be, what would your wardrobe look like as an extension of that aesthetic? I love classic furniture pieces mixed with the unexpected and pops of color; and that is how I'd describe my wardrobe as well. But if you haven't thought much about this, it may be good to consider, particularly if you think your home is doing way better than your wardrobe, or vice versa. You can look for clues in your home to build the wardrobe you want. If you like color, neutrals, and/or pastels in your home, you may like those colors for your clothes too.

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And the reverse is also true. If you have a fanciful or a modern wardrobe, maybe you'd like a similar aesthetic for your interior. In essence, use the confidence you have in one to build confidence in the other. Agree? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

See the full tour here.



The Perfect Nude

It's true that many theories about psychology and color are misleading and erroneously suggest that our reactions to color are absolute, and promote very specific emotions. But really, the impact colors have on us is mediated by a range of factors including experience, culture, context, and personal preference. And as with any type of adornment, a lip color  communicates a lot about us and the way we choose to interact with the world. (See my post about it here.) There are some days I want a color that communicates a down-to-earth,  yet sophisticated vibe, and nudes usually do the trick. But I've always had difficulty matching nudes to my yellow undertones. Many of the nudes I've tried make me look washed out, or are too powdery, and I have had a hard time knowing what tones to look for. But when a friend of mine had on the perfect shade of nude that looked like it might work on me, my hunt was revived and I set out to find the right one. Nude LipsThat color my friend had on was "Infinitely Likeable" by Mac. And just my luck, when I went looking for it, it was discontinued (ugh! Don't you just hate when that happens?) But of course, the search must go on, and I finally found three shades I thought would work along with a coordinating lip liner. They are Nars Bahama, Hour Glass Femme Nude,  Mac Half N Half Amplified, and Mac Spice.

Nude lipsticks During my hunt, I surprisingly learned a few things about nude lipstick I didn't know. For one, you don't want a "nude, nude" lipstick. That is, you don't want a shade that matches your skin exactly because then it looks just like concealer. To get that fresh faced look, you're nudes should have pink or rose undertones to brighten you up.

Nude Lips, natural color1 Another eye opener was learning the difference between nudes and naturals. Unlike nude shades, natural is designed to resemble the shade of your lip. It makes perfect sense, but was something I hadn't really thought of before. The Nars Bahama (shown above) is a natural and not the nude I was looking for, but I liked it a lot.

Nude, wrong lipstick3 Choice number 2, the Hour Glass Femme Nude, looked really pretty in the package, but when I put it on, it had a white, powdery undertone that looked a little too garish. It' wasn't at all what I was going for so I immediately crossed it off my list.

Nude, perfect

Thankfully, the Mac Amplified (shown above) hit the spot just right. It had the pinkish, rose tints I was looking for and blended well with my yellow undertones.  I was also set on finding a lip pencil that worked with most nudes, and I choose a deeper color to give my lips some dimension. Of course, I wouldn't have known to choose any of it had I not had help at the counter, so it's always a good idea to ask questions.

Nude lips, PL finalAnd there you have it, my hunt for nude is finito, of course until the next, great shade becomes available. Have you had a hard time finding nude lipstick too? What nudes do you wear?

Communicating with Yellow

Some time ago I started a series communicating with color to highlight the strong psychological influence color has on our mood. When it comes to color, we often grow up with a learned set of rules. There was a time when redheads were told never to wear pink or red, or blondes were told never to wear yellow. And truth be told, because my skin has such gold, yellow undertones, I have always been cautious about wearing yellow, particularly when it comes to yellow make-up or nail polish. This summer, I've been taking notice of the yellow nail polish trend. I absolutely love the way it looks on dark skin tones, but never thought I could pull it off. Well, never say never, right? Because  I recently  decided to try a shade of yellow, and found one I was really happy with (see below). It's  a  strong yellow, and doesn't blend in with or wash out my skin tone. I'm glad that I've been able to move beyond "color typing" and experiment a little. Color typing is when we rely on a set of ideal rules that govern our color choices and interferes with our  individuality and creative expression. Really, we don't have to be limited to an ideal set of colors, as there are a range of factors (e.g.,cultural, physiological, environmental) that influence our perception of color. And as you may recall from my last post in this series, colors can communicate different messages depending  on the context, and even the shade. Of course yellow is no exception. Yellow is often thought of as an uplifting, happy color. But used too much, it can be stressful and lead to frustration and anger. It also evokes creativity or originality, and is best used as an accent color designed to stimulate the senses but not overload them.

If you're thinking of using yellow in your home or outfit, you can incorporate some global inspired yellow wallpaper for a well-traveled feel like this Aphrochic wallpaper, or wear yellow suede shoes for a cheerful, yet glamorous look as shown here by socialite Olivia Palermo. You can even paint your walls bright yellow if you you're looking for high excitement like this room designed by Nick Olsen, but just  make sure you and your guests can handle the stimulation. See these and more ways to use yellow below.

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What ways do you like to use yellow?

Communicating with Coral

"They" say that the influence of color is so automatic,  we barely know it when it's affecting us. In an instant the way we think, feel, and behave in reaction to a given color depends upon the particular context with which we are experiencing that color. That means that depending on where we are and what we're doing  we may perceive or react to the same color differently. Let's take coral for instance—one of my favorite colors right now. When I think of coral, I think sunny days, long naps on the beach, and sherbert ice-cream.  But depending on the context, coral can communicate many different messages.

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Coral can be glamorous like this.

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Bohemian and calming like this.

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Or masculine like this.

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Coral in nature is simply uplifting and refreshing.

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So is a nice coral-colored drink.

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Coral can easily be feminine and sophisticated.

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And so very fabulous as a winter color.

Madame Bolvary Sofa: The Paris Apartment | Meadow Reed Wallpaper: Houzz|Wood Floor:| Black Iron Side Table: One Kings Lane|Ming Pink End Table: The Estate of Things via One Kings Lane |Midcentury Orange Lamp: Century 44| Black and White Vase: Cowan’s Auction| Black and White Rug: Houzz| Vintage Brass Coffee Table: One Kings Lane| Books: WhoWhatWear| Geometric Paper Vase: Real Simple |Portrait: Etsy| Kartell Stone Stool: Design Buzz| Pebble Stone Orange Pillows: Fawn and Forest|Fan Coral Pillows: Overstock| Dog Pillow: Fab

This is my coral-inspired living room. What are your favorite coral pieces?