Hey guys! It’s time for the second installment of the Beauties on Fire collab. This week’s theme is Classic Beauty.
What’s Beauties on Fire, you ask? This is a collaboration between what is currently around 25 beauty and fashion bloggers where we each will write a post based on a theme each week. This is a great group of bloggers that I’m so happy to get to know, and it’s all being coordinated by Elisabeth over at Everything & Nothin. Bloggers can join whenever they want if interested, and even if you don’t or can’t join, you can still vote for each week’s theme on Twitter.
So this week’s theme is classic beauty. I was actually the person who came up with this as an idea, which is funny because I struggled with this look a bit. While I could have gone with the safe route of a ’50s Hollywood icon- inspired look, it’s a much more complex idea.
Let’s start with the meaning. Classic beauty should refer to what is considered beautiful by a specific culture. Classic beauty often refers to someone who has a confidence, grace, and/or allure. For some, this quality may be more important than any actual features. It also refers to a person who goes for a more timeless look, as opposed to a more modern or trendy look, and oftentimes it transcends age or youth.
I want to start off with a bit of an anecdote. I studied architecture in college, and you can probably guess that I had to take some architecture history courses. For most of them, they tied architecture back to whatever culture, historical movement, art style, technology, etc. was relevant. The first couple of these were all taught by the same professor (who also had written the textbooks we were using) and he told us what the beauty ideal of each time period was, as well as how architecture related to it. In one culture (for some reason I think it was Greek, but I could be wrong), they believed that true beauty was unable to be physically articulated, and so anything that was built to be “beautiful” drew inspiration from the ideal and may have encompassed part of it but was at most only an impersonation.
Some of this is interesting in a very geeky kind of way, such as how the Greeks noticed that straight columns in temples would look concave. So they made columns bulge outward slightly in the center (essentially tapering the ends) so that it looked straight, which is called entasis.
Similarly, many of the ’50s Hollywood actresses that are considered classic beauties would wear certain lip colors because of how the lighting and camera setup of movie sets would pick up colors. This was sometimes used to different effects, from altering lighting to bring out different hues in a lip color based on a character’s emotion, for instance. Apparently, Marilyn Monroe had to wear a specific pale pink for it to look red in a movie!
So what stars do you think of? Marilyn, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor? What about Jackie O, First Lady and fashion icon? They don’t all just wear a red lip and some winged liner, though – each has her own personal style. And they do alter their makeup to fit certain roles and times. While there are plenty of women today who embody the term classic beauty, there is definitely a stereotype of these ’50s and ’60s women. But why?
I’m going to guess it has to do with women’s role in society. During WWII, women had to take over men’s jobs while they were out at war. Women were in a different position than they’d been in before, and as backlash, in the 1950s, women retreated back to become more feminine. And as women went back to becoming housewives, door-to-door makeup companies like Avon and Mary Kay became popular. The ’60s once again pushed for more women’s rights and equality, and so I guess that the “classic makeup/beauty” look was tied in with femininity because the differences between men and women were so different. This era also included a whole host of captivating celebrities that became much more accessible as TVs became common in the house.
So what do I think classic beauty looks like? Personally, I’m not a fan of just winged liner and red lipstick. I’ve always felt that I’m not really girly or feminine, and that I’m not a traditional beauty. I tried this sort of look (check out my Instagram post from Tuesday) but just wasn’t a fan because it’s not my style. I was taking a lot of inspiration from Marilyn Monroe, but I’ve never really been super impressed by her.
Enter: a ’60s vibe. When I was first starting out with wearing multiple eyeshadows daily, mainly without a lot of influence from certain styles, I found that I was drawn to something similar with the deep crease and brighter lid colors. I’m also styling my liner off of Sophia Loren. Her trick was to use a light-colored liner on the outside of the eye to make it appear bigger. I haven’t had her years of practice to get this placement just right, and didn’t put on lashes like she would to make it look more like part of the eye, but I think it’s a cool trick. I did go a bit more heavy-handed on the inner corner and lower lashline than it seems that Sophia would, but that’s how I wear my liner a lot. I used two eyeshadows, a gray-purple on the lid and a shimmery gray more in the crease and outer corner to darken my crease up.
I opted for a nude lip, some light contour and bronzing, and what ended up as a very messy brow. I only used a brow gel to really define the individual hairs (popular with Sophia and the ’60s in general), and am in need of a good tweezing soon.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Beauties on Fire post here!