Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dare to Wear...Red Lipstick!!!

Hi, everyone! I've had a migraine for the past two days, and am still teeter-tottering on the edge of the "it could come back or it could go away" stage, so while I am feeling a bit better, I thought I would try and write a little something. I found a beautiful advertisement a few days ago, which I have been saving to post about on a rainy day such as this.  Take a look!  (If red lipstick doesn't make me feel better, I don't know what will!)

From 1953--make sure to read the advertisement! I think you'll be surprised!

If you read the words, I think you will be surprised at how incredibly suggestive they are!  It is my understanding that this ad was launched in 1953 and features Dorian Leigh, one of the more popular models of the time.  The ad is obviously playing on the seemingly, everyday, hum-drum existence of the typical housewife--and appealing to her (assumed) secret desires for black negligees and silken sheets. It's interesting that the advertisement is for Revlon, a company which makes money from selling cosmetics to the mainstream, and mostly middle class society.  If you look at the model, poised in her evening gown and draped in luxurious fur, I hardly think she paints an accurate picture of housewifery in 1953!  So...what's the message?  That Revlon understands that housewives want to slip out of their dull "gingham frocks" and into some black lacy number, and exchange their oh-so-boring, shy, prescribed domestic role for a more exciting, adventurous, spontaneous and sexy presence.  The ad's message, and selling point, is essentially this: housewives, use Revlon's Cherries in the Snow and transform yourself into the sex goddess you secretly want to be!  

I don't know, but I would imagine that Revlon was somewhat chided for this shockingly suggestive advertising. I also wonder how much red lipstick they sold after running it!  But my goodness, I want to go buy it now myself, if it can make me look like her!!  (After all, isn't that the principal idea behind the successful advertising of any product?) By the way, here is a link to Revlon Super Lustrous Creme Lipstick, Cherries in the Snow 440, 0.15 Ounce if you are interested.

Revlon Super Lustrous Creme Lipstick, Cherries in the Snow 440, 0.15 OunceI also have to confess that I wish red were a more popular color to wear.  I think it gives such a pretty, clean and classy look, when applied correctly.  However, reds today seem to be mostly used for special occasions and by street walkers.  Maybe it's all in my head, but when I do "dare to wear" (red lipstick), I feel like people say to me with their eyes, you know, "boy she must think she's somethin'--look at her wearing that red lipstick..."  I've also gotten the occasional, but predictable question, "What are you all dressed-up for?"  But that's exactly my point! I want to wear red lipstick and not have to be considered "dressed-up" or considered  to be "dressing to impress, " and I sure don't want to be mistaken for a "lady of the night!" (Haha!) 

When I was teaching, there were very few days that I walked through the school doors without first arming myself with a fresh coat of lipstick...but it was always pastel pink, or neutral brown, or a peachy-nude...(You know--all those pretty (but boring) shades that the housewife described in the Revlon ad would wear.)  If I did dare to wear a bolder shade, I usually ended up feeling self-conscious about it, and quickly regretting my endeavor of seeking the classic look. (After all, as a high school teacher, the last thing I needed was for my kids to mistake my classic lipstick for clown makeup.)

Even on Christmas, I was shy about wearing red lipstick.  Though I had a red turtleneck (the color red and turtlenecks being my two winter staples), I kept second-guessing my red it too much? maybe it's too distracting? do I look classy or ridiculous? will people think I think a lot of myself? maybe I just look like I want attention....????  So maybe I am slightly neurotic, but I have always been self-conscious about how I look.  In that sense, I have something in common with Marilyn Monroe, who was notoriously late for parties, appointments, and film sets because she spent tedious hours in front of her vanity in preparation.  Contrary to what many assume, she was not chronically late because she couldn't get enough of herself, but rather, because she was so self-conscious about her appearance, she labored for hours over perfecting her makeup, etc. (Not that I'm that bad, but you get the idea...)

So, I've decided to throw all my neuroses to the wind, and break out the red lipstick, regardless of the "looks" I may or may not get as result thereof.  I'm going to continue in my pursuit of "the classic look" (i.e. groomed brows, neutral eye with long lashes, and artfully-lined red lips) a la 1950s, and if everyone else wonders why "I'm all dressed up," then just let them wonder....
For inspiration, here are some famous red lips that you might recognize:

File:Judy Garland in Till the Clouds Roll By 1 cropped.jpg
Judy Garland

File:Monroe listening in The Seven Year Itch trailer 1.jpg
Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch

File:Taylor, Elizabeth posed.jpg
Elizabeth Taylor

 Lana Turner

File:Rita Hayworth in Blood and Sand trailer.jpg
Rita Hayworth

So, here's to taking back red lipstick and wearing it proudly! Is anyone else going to dare to wear??


  1. Hoo-Ha! That's some sizzling ad copy for 1953, isn't it? The red lipstick is so pretty (more of a pink girl myself) and glam. Hope your migraine abates soon.

  2. Go for it! I'm still looking for the right reds for my skin tone. Right now, I'm wearing more of a burgundy red.

    Mary Ellen

  3. I hope you feel better.
    I also love the look of red lipstick but tend to feel very self conscious when I wear it. I do have some. ANd I also have some nice red nail polish.
    I think I will purchase that Lipstick fromt he ad.. I love that a housewife almost 60 years ago had that same shade. :)

  4. I like the look of red lipstick but I can't seem to find the right shade for my skin tone. I've bought a few that just didn't seem right and then I gave up! Perhaps I should have another try.

    Hope you are migraine free real soon.


  5. Such a great post! I think we think alike...(hmmm, maybe we ARE long-lost relatives!) is a blog post I did a few months ago that echos your sentiments exactly...

    Coincidentally enough, I bought the Revlon Cherries in the Snow nail polish a few years ago, not knowing it was a classic shade, just because it appealed to me!

  6. So sorry to hear about your migraine, Liana! I sure hope you feel better soon!

    When I wear lipstick (I'm working on making it a daily habit here soon!), it is red. I always blot three times and I love the way the it looks. As others mentioned, skin tone is important. Those with cooler skin tone do much better with a blue toned red. Those with a warm skin tone do better with an orangey red.

    Revlon does indeed still make Cherries in the Snow, however it was reformulated and is now more of a pink/fushcia color than red.

    Revlon does make a great red for most skin tones called Really Red. I wear that on occasion, but my go to red for right now is Temptation by Rimmel.

    Sorry for the long comment!

  7. I loved that vintage ad! It's funny to think that it was written by a man who shouldn't understand a woman by their very definition...and now I am thinking about Mad Men :) and the Belle Jolie lipstick campaign! TGI Netflix!!

  8. Love that ad - the wording is hilarious - wonder if it did scandalise the nation at the time. I think that red lipstick looks fab and I would say wear it and be proud of it. I don't think, if the right shade of red is chosen, and worn with the right clothes/accessories it looks too "tarty" at all - as those beautiful images of those stylish ladies show - they all look incredibly stylish, put together and classy. Coincidentally, I've just bought a new bright red lipstick as part of my journey into vintage, and looking more stylish, and I have to say, I feel fab, every time I wear it (and hubbie even noticed it which is a rare event!)

  9. Thank you for the get-well wishes. I am feeling much better now. And I'm also pleased to report that I did, in fact, wear red lipstick when I went out yesterday! I also appreciate your comments. It's always nice to know there are others who have the same interests as yourself!

    Viv: I actually was going to buy Cherries in the Snow yesterday, but it somehow managed to fall out of my buggy before checkout. I did notice that it was under the pink shades instead of red...It's a very pinkish red, I guess you might say. I guess now I will be in search of the perfect red...

    Brandi: I'll definitely check out your post! Thanks for suggesting!

  10. Been missing your blog. :) Hope to see you back soon.

  11. Thanks, Amy! I've been super busy these last two weeks and traveling some, so it's thrown me off my routine! I'm back, though! Thanks for reading! =)



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