July 7, 2009

CA Basics: Talk to Me

Posted in beauty, ca basics tagged , , , , at 10:31 am by classyaction

When you talk, people should listen.

But listening doesn’t mean staring.  There’s nothing wrong with a bold red lip for special occasions, but sometimes, you don’t want your lips to be front and centre. Yet you still want them to look good.

So here’s what you have.

The Options

Lipstick: For a polished, classic look.  Here’s the thing: good-looking lips take work. You need to buff and sloth off the dry skin, line the lips, apply the lipstick just so, blot, and then maintain. (Really. Learning how to drink coffee with lipstick on should be considered a legitimate talent.)

However, there are easier options out there, including Maybelline Moisture Extreme – a fantastic range of moisturizing lipsticks. They are easy to apply and layer – are incredibly smooth and pigmented and there is very little risk of over application. It’s like a really smooth lipbalm with amazing payoff.

The one catch: many of the current line is full of shimmer and glitter pigments. For those seeking a truly matte look – veer away.

Lipgloss: On its own, lipgloss is hit-or-miss. Too much, and you risk looking like teen-discovering-mom’s-makeup-case. Too clear, too plain, it’s just shiny and non-impactful. But almost always, what CA finds is that a slick of lipgloss across lipstick offers shine and adds a more fresh-faced quality to a made-up look. Plain, matte lipstick can age you. Lipgloss dials back time a couple notches.

Mix and Match: Lipstick + Lipgloss

Mixing and matching lipglosses to lipsticks in different combinations is also a great way to add depth and different tones to ho-hum lipstick shades. What girl hasn’t purchased a lipstick that looks great in the tube but dulls her complexion upon application? Instead of smearing it together with another lipstick, try adding a vibrant shade on top of it – you can often go with a more daring shade of a slightly transparent lipgloss (see: Revlon Cherries in the Snow) to drastically transform your lips.

In a classy manner.


For a daily look, CA girls like it with super long lashes and a neutral (not necessarily nude!) lip with a dash of gloss on top, to keep it fresh, classy, and effortless.

CA Recommends:

For the neutral look:

Revlon Matte Lipstick in Just Enough Buff (wonderful peachy nude) layered with Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss in Life’s a Peach.

Pretty in pink:

Rimmel Lasting Finish Intense Wear in Airy Fairy (for lighter complexions) or Celeb (for a mildly bolder magenta lip)

March 29, 2008

CA Basics: Getting dress-ed.

Posted in ca basics, fashion tagged , at 2:31 pm by classyaction

Formals, semi-formals, proms.

This is the one occasion where guys seriously miss out. Seriously. Going through racks of dresses, caressing silky fabrics, delighting over the colour nuances as a dress hits different spots of lights? It’s beauty to a different level.

Yet so many people get it wrong. I think there is where the phrase ‘hot mess’ was derived.

Because black-tie formals already imply classy and elegant and, utterly redundant as it may be, formal attire. Leopard print skin tight mini dresses of a crass material with a v-slit down to your navel do not apply, no matter how thin you look in it. Seriously.

That snobbish tendency aside, CA loves dresses. CA, however, cannot afford to buy every dress under the sun, but here are some recommendations so that perhaps one or two of you lovelies out there can.

(See? Classy Action does its part to encourage productivity in the economy.)

Three current classy favourites

The red dress.

We love red dresses, but we hate red dresses gone wrong. And that happens much too often. Here’s the thing: red speaks for itself. But to look timeless and elegant, go for a rich coloured red in a beautiful material, as opposed to a bright garish creation with beads in a rough and cheap textured material. Below, a beautiful Nicole Miller creation.

Note: the Nicole Miller dress is gorgeous in deep jewel tones. But in other colours, it could resemble an expensively constructed towel.

Nicole Miller


What an amazing website as a) a resource to look at dresses and b) a great place to get more inexpensive pieces that you can wear once or twice without completely breaking your budget.

A trendy piece this season will be that dratted rosette and flowers and tiered dresses. I hated it, but when done correctly, it can be gorgeous and flattering. See below.


All yours for the low, low price of under $100 at eDressMe. Do it, do it, you know you want to…

And while you’re at it, buying cheap doesn’t have to mean looking cheap. See below for a perfectly elegant black dress, complete with gorgeous lace overpanels and a beautifully tidy bow at the back, so you look gorgeous from front and back pictures.


So go on, break the bank. With pretty styles this season, there’s no better time to do it.

February 13, 2008

Review: Disney Fairy Tale Weddings

Posted in fashion, review tagged , at 11:40 am by classyaction

Disney movies set brides up for unrealistic expectations, or so they say.

(Actually, the only unrealistic expectation was for blushing brides to think that their beastly counterparts would miraculously transform into princes the instant they kiss, but that’s not the point.)

Yet for those who have met and are content with the visages of their respective others, Disney is stepping it up and providing yet another opportunity to get one step close to your fairy tale wedding.

The Disney Fairy Tale Wedding Collection

Seriously. This ain’t no joke.

With a collection designed around three of the most popular princesses: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Beauty, Jasmine, and Ariel – each collection contains Disney-inspired wedding gowns and accompanying bridesmaid and flower girl outfits.

Designed by Kirstie Kelly, fret not: it’s tasteful art, however(and in some cases, utterly mundane and generic with any other wedding dress).

Jasmine dress Sleeping Beauty dress

Clam shell bras need not apply.

The Disney Collection can be viewed at http://disneybridal.com/.

February 7, 2008

Doubting Thomas? 27 Dresses

Posted in fashion, review tagged , , at 6:36 pm by classyaction

Sometimes we have to see it to believe it.  27 dresses?  Really?

Really.  But sometimes we see it, believe it, but just want to do a fake proof to showcase dresses.

Sometimes CA just wants an excuse to post gratuitous pictures.

Truth? CA doesn’t particularly admire Katherine Heigl, but CA does admire James Marsden enough to watch 27 Dresses. If not for the sake of him, for the dresses. So in their hideous glory – all 27 of the ugly beauties.

dresses9.jpg dresses8.jpg  dresses7.jpg 

dresses6.jpg  dresses5.jpg  dresses4.jpg

  dresses3.jpg  dresses2.jpg  27 dresses 1

This post can be printed out and mailed off with a short, accompanying letter along the lines of:

Dear brides-to-be,

Please watch 27 Dresses. Do not follow by example.

Love, your bridesmaids.

Review: Deluxe – How Luxury Lost Its Lustre (Dana Thomas)

Posted in review tagged , , at 4:25 pm by classyaction

Deluxe - How Luxury Lost Its Lustre

For those who miss the day of old-style Hollywood glamour – the elegant Garbo gliding through a film or a perfectly coiffed Grace Kelly offering a quiet smile at the cameras – there are still others who jettisoned celebrity to the masses through popular culture today.

Deluxe is Dana Thomas’ exploration on how the fashion industry has changed: from the stark beginnings of LVMH as a quiet couture brand to the massive powerhouse today; how Givenchy launched their brand name successfully through clever Hollywood positioning in once-unknown Audrey Hepburn.

Some not-so-secret-yet-not-scandalous-enough-to-be-gossiped-about trade stories are divulged. LVMH, for example, is the majority holder of those tax-free Duty Free Shops you commonly see in travel. They transcend former boundaries. No longer are DFS restricted to airport settings: under the helm of skillful management, the DFS Galleria opened to great fanfare in the shopping district. The tales of brand management evolve, the backstabbing world of artistic conflict, and the story of Rachel Zoe’s inexplicable popularity amongst the stars are explored.

It is the Japanese who can be credited with changing the look of the industry as we see it today, with their voracious appetite for seeking name-brand items. It is a curious socioeconomic phenomenon with Japanese custom, Thomas offers. As a ‘classless society’ that prizes conformity, it is argued that their high end purchases are a sign of the Japanese desire to elevate their country’s social status. Despite the psychological hoo-ha behind it all, there’s no denying their purchasing power and how their demand for quality has changed the industry’s attention to detail.

An excellent exerpt from the book follows:

Back in the 1980s, when [Chanel Japan’s president, Richard] Collasse worked for another luxury brand, a Japanese woman brought a dress in and said it had a defect. Collasse looked and looked and finally saw a two-inch thread dangling from the hem. It was absolutely unacceptable to her. Collasse exchanged the dress, bowed repeatedly, and sent her a big bouquet of flowers. Then he decided to do a test. He took the dress to a French woman. She tried it on, liked it, saw the thread, and said, “I can cut it.” He took the dress to an American woman. She tried it on, liked it, and never saw the thread.

Is it any wonder than North America’s most popular retailer includes Zara and H&M, the so-called ‘fast fashion’ stores that rip off cheap copies of runway looks within two weeks? Our society’s current fascination with fashion and luxury seems cheap, shoddy, and superficial in comparison to the hushed, secretive and utterly lush couture houses of the past. Where it once seems to have been tacky to discuss where couture was to be found, large brands including Louis Vuitton and Chanel are now banking upon the young nouveau-riche (or simply pampered) 14-year olds to trot around unassumingly with branded diaper bags, real or not.

It’s well-worth a quick perusal: there’s no groundbreaking news, but for fresh-faced and cynical fashionistas alike, there’s something to be enjoyed. Don’t knock the masses for craving luxury goods.  If Joan Somebody can’t afford to fork over $82,500 for a bejewelled purse, we’ll take the next best thing if it nudges the decimal point 2 places over.  If nothing else, it helps redefine what Moschino may have meant by ‘Cheap & Chic’.

And afterwards, you can take your fake Prada purse to the mall with you indulge in some cheap retail therapy.

February 5, 2008

Ferragamo: How fierce are you?

Posted in bags, ca musings tagged , , at 1:18 am by classyaction

Ferragamo bag - Feb 08
F is for Ferragamo’s Fiera Tote.
F is for Fierce.
But for $940, F should be for “fiscally prudent. Forget about it.”
If you’ve got a couple grand to drop, CA highly encourages you to invest in gold or potash.
But if you’re feeling frivolous and girly, more power to you.  We wish we had your problems.

Clearly, today’s bag has been brought to you by the letter F.

CA Sources: Saks Fifth Avenue

February 4, 2008

CA Basics: Face Forward

Posted in beauty, ca basics tagged , , , at 11:47 pm by classyaction

Sometimes, classic elegance and fast fashion don’t go hand in hand.

When magazines are screaming to layer on the eyeshadow, grab the MAC Red Russian, and layer on the blush… CA has to turn the other (paler) cheek.

Hayden Panettiere - red lipstick

It’s not that she looks bad. We’re just saying she could wait til she turns 45 before she starts looking like she’s 45.

Beauty can be affordable and natural beauty is always in style. Tone down the makeup, let your skin breathe, and you’ll be absolutely glowing – without any chemical assistance.

But as always – nobody said that natural beauty implies no beauty. But CA is restricted to a (horror of horrors) budget and CA enjoys sleeping in, meaning makeup is kept to a minimum. But we swear – this is all it takes to look naturally beautiful.

The Tools

Mascara: It’s the one critical tool. It makes the difference between Minnie and Mickey Mouse – it’ll differentiate you as a stand out bombshell babe. If there’s anything that’s worth shelling out the extra $$$, CA votes twice. For each eye. Also, for two products to be used in conjunction.

CA Recommends: Shiseido: The Makeup Mascara Base + Maybelline Full & Soft (washable)

Shiseido + Maybelline = Love

The Makeup Mascara Base can be purchased at any Sephora and if you look hard enough, you can probably find it on eBay, too. It’s not super cheap as it comes in at an average $22 USD, but be real: you were ready to drop $30 on Diorshow anyway. This is a downright bargain when you think of the payoff.

The Shiseido website contains all this lovely propaganda on how it’s a “clear base coat for eyelashes that improves mascara application and wear” before it launches into all it’s features.

We know you don’t care, you just want to know how to use it. It’s simple.

1. Curl your lashes with a curler.

2. Use the Shiseido Mascara Base on your eyelashes and sweep the slightly grey-ish substance through, coating your lovelies.

3. Sweep the Maybelline Full and Soft through. One or two coats. The Shiseido waterproofs it for you, so no need to buy the impossible-to-scrub-off waterproof shiznasty.  More importantly, Shiseido holds a curl like absolutely nobody’s business so you get the wonderful upswept effect that lasts.  And lasts.  And lasts.  And CA almost never gets the dreaded ‘raccoon eyes’ syndrome, if only because the miraculous curl ensures the lashes never get anywhere under your eyes.

That’s it. CA has never bought any other mascara and never intends to. Maybelline’s Full and Soft is a beautiful and rich black mascara that doesn’t leave your eyelashes all dry and crinkly and gross. In fact, if you flutter your lashes through, it’s almost embarrassingly pliable.


Nothing screams effortless than a quick application of gloss over your lips. And because we spend half our lives eating and talking and otherwise doing everything humanly possible to wipe it off, CA doesn’t recommend spending a fortune on it. Rather, we go for quick bursts of shine and an embarrassingly tasty scent.

CA Recommends: Rimmel Vinyl Lipshine: in Snog

Rimmel lipgloss

So we went with the London advertisements. Yes, the ones with Kate Moss. (But don’t hold it against Rimmel.)

And Snog looks gorgeous on almost everybody. It looks natural with it’s dark pinky-red hue, but with a dash of intensity that makes him wonder exactly what you’ve got on your lips that is so irresistable.

Did CA mention how easy it is to reapply?

And that is it. Let Hayden know that you don’t actually have to look 50 to achieve the glam of the 1960s gals.

CA Sources: Hayden-Panettiere.com, Shiseido, Maybelline, Rimmel

Trend Spotting: Ombre (feat. Jennifer vs Angelina)

Posted in fashion, general, trends tagged , , , at 12:35 am by classyaction

Decisions, decisions.

Skinny or flared? Belted or loose? Heels or flats?

In a world filled with fashion choices – one dilemma which ladies won’t need to worry their pretty little heads about is soon to be colours.

This season, CA senses that ombre, that beautiful French word, is gradually creeping into our colour palettes. Ombre is a beautiful wash of shades and shadows that carries a subtle flood of colour throughout material, letting you play with a kaleidoscope of colour, while still retaining a soupçon of elegance.

Theoretically. CA has yet to see a truly gorgeous ombre creation that doesn’t scream high school prom, but time will tell. After all, skinny jeans never really won full marks in this book, but that doesn’t stop the trend from barrelling on.

From Angelina Jolie’s appearance at the SAG red carpet with everyone’s favourite accessory – Brad Pitt – to Jennifer Esposito’s sadly hideous getup – mark my words! Prom season will be awash with the colourful schemes. But as with every pattern, there’s a right way and a wrong way.

So fashion match-up with everyone’s favourite dueling names: Jenn or Angelina?

Not that Jenn, in this case.


CA prays you can tell the good from the not-so-good.

The colours? Lovely.

Having your bra showing? Tacky as hell.

Brad Pitt? Beautiful.

Classy Advantage: Angelina, 1. Jennifer, 0.

CA Sources: GettyImages

February 3, 2008

CA Musings: Pastel is the new Noir

Posted in ca musings, magazines, trends tagged , at 11:24 pm by classyaction

Vanity Fair, February 2008 Hollywood Issue

Vanity Fair’s 2008 Hollywood Issue

Reasons for purchase: Annie Leibowitz’s stellar photography and this year, for Dior’s classic collection. The celebrities are disposable.

First-Glance Trends

The cliched “pop-of-colour!” in the form of shoes is going to explode. That, or there weren’t any handbags available at time of photoshoot. However, the gold shoes paired with white dresses are a beautiful touch.

Yes, pastels are gorgeous. In person. In print, when combined with other muted pastels, though, this photoshoot is a sedative just sending me to sleep.

Bathing suit + gloves + floppy, wide brimmed hat implications. Is modesty going to be a completely lost art in future red carpet showings? Are we going to be seeing dresses with overtly large bows on the beaches? Is CA reading waaay too far into this tiny cover page?


Amy Adams: Hollywood’s latest favourite doll, staying nonchalently blonde in the sea of front page brunettes. Idly wondering why the colour scheme is still screaming Christmas in February.

Emily Blunt: looking classy and gorgeous with her long gloves, despite the fact that the picture makes her look like she’s growing a pink tail.

Anne Hathaway: Grecian, serene, and utterly boring.

Jessica Biel: contemplating how much of a raise her publicist is going to merit after landing her this prime cover spot.

CA Sources: USA Today

CA Basics: Tote my bag

Posted in bags, ca basics tagged , , at 4:09 am by classyaction

Hermes Birkin
The Hermes Birkin. Such a beautiful bag, such a hideous name. It’s a shame how anyone would give such a gorgeous creation a title faintly reminiscient of birkenstocks.

The perfect bag. How do you describe? Because we all know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we do judge a chica by her bag(gage).

The beautiful thing about shopping for handbags and accessories, as every girl living and breathing has likely recognized – is that it always fits. If Cinderella had dropped a Hermes Kelly handbag at the ball, things definitely wouldn’t have ended up happily ever after, as any stepsister (good or evil loyalties aside) can hide many flaws, including dumpy feet, with the sight of a gloriously sumptuous bag contrasting against their arm.

Everything speaks volumes (book pun unintended): the type of bag, the texture, the brand, the size, the colour, and of course… how you wear it. Heads up high, girls, let’s break it down to the basics.

The Type

Clutch: … the name itself implies the size and the intimacy bestowed by this cute little purse designed small enough to be carried by hand. But size isn’t necessarily pejorative (oh, thou doth protest too much?) because a colourful and well-designed clutch can catch and draw attention to where you want it most. Or least.

Evening bag: The glittery, glitzy bag that you carry out with you to cute functions. It’s qualified to have a cute lipstick shoved within and usually complements the eye-candy you arrived with. Let it be glam – long straps that you can wind around or carry (not sling) casually over your arm as if to say, “Yes, I am this effortlessly classy.”

Messenger bag: Oh, how the working class has risen! Once seen primarily upon the back of your faithful mail carrier, the messenger bag has taken off with popularity as others have discovered the appeal and (relative) comfort of carrying (read: lugging) your wordly possessions through the shoulder strap that winds tidily around your chest. It’s a nice compromise between the ergonomics of a bulky backpack and the more fashionable teeny counterpart.

Stam Bag

Marc Jacobs’ Stam Bag

Have you ever seen a more modernly chic accessory?

The bag that CA is eyeing at the moment would be Marc Jacobs’ ever popular, yet ever ludicrously fiscally elusive Stam bag, designed especially for the eponymous Canadian model herself. With the quilted pattern, elegant chain that allows the bag to be hung casually over the shoulder or daintily carried by handle with a chain accessory, this is my thousand dollar desire, to be held in the same recess of adoration that only the Hermes Kelly or Hermes Birkin bag have presided in before.

CA thanks: Barney’s

Next page