Here’s Senator Dianne Feinstein serving up powerful woman leader realness with pops of color: great necklace and strong red lip. She has Madame Senator Helmet Hair but that’s fine: her hair looks done, not limp and frizzy or chopped off any old way. It’s not 1990’s dated hair (more on that later, ’cause so many of you asked). What it is, is classic. Not my style or probably yours, but it instantly communicates tradition, power and authority. That’s the kind of hair that can go to a black tie event. It’s not just polished, it’s big, it’s coiffed and honey… it’s DID, as in “She got her hair did.”
Note that when you wear a strong lip, you do not simply coat your mouth with red lippy and call it a day. If you do that, you will look like you’re wearing fake red wax lips. The best, make-up artist approved way to apply red lipstick is this:
1. Exfoliate your lips. Dry, dead skin and bright lipstick are a horrific combination, so exfoliation is important for any bright coral colors, too. (Have you ever talked with a woman wearing bright lipstick who has flaky dry lips? Totally icky and distracting, and that goes double if the lipstick is frosted.)
2. Rub in a bit of moisturizing balm and let absorb for a few minutes. Blot.
3. Apply your lipstick from the tube with a lip brush, patting the color in with your pinkie. Gently blot.
If you’ll be out for a long time, onstage, or fillibustering, you may choose to apply a very light dusting of powder over your lips and repeat step 3.
The turquoise statement necklace is terrific: a pop of bold color right at her face. I am not a fan of the matchy-matchy earrings but the Senator is in a conservative business and matchy is fine for her. What interests me, and that you should also note, is the way those beautiful turquoise stones or beads project a very different kind of strength than would pearls or a big gold necklace. What associations do you make, consciously or unconsciously, with turquoise beads or stones? I think Native American, earthy, natural, glorious color (it’s my favorite color, really, so my heart opens when I see it — that’s personal), boldness.
Here’s the Senator on television, wearing the same beads but with a white jacket this time and the added addition of a soft, ocean-colored scarf (sorry the images are so small — they’re the best I could do). Note that the strong red lip is gone:
She looks really nice against the studio backdrop, which is something you should try to find out about before you appear on camera.
Now, for something completely different. See what happens to your response to her presence when she wears the traditional power color of red and a big neckful of pearls, also a very traditional sign of wealth and conservative femininity:
It’s a terrible photo, but I note that she reads older and more authoritarian to me. The liver-red lipstick is particularly aging and severe.
All interesting. Our eyes make a lot of decisions for our guts before our minds process the information we’re getting aurally and verbally. How does your image support or undercut the words you have worked so carefully to prepare and the work you have dedicated yourself so passionately to undertake?