Redefining Red

Dare I say it? Red deserves a proper reputation makeover.
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Poor, old red. For the most part, over the past 50 years, when red is associated with women, it has always been deemed “provocative” or “sexy.” If you asked me to close my eyes this very instant and think about the color red with respect to women and style, I think of Marilyn Monroe’s lips, Jessica Rabbit’s glittery gown, and lots (and lots!) of Baywatch swimsuits. Gulp. Dare I say, I feel like red deserves a proper reputation makeover?

We’re reading “Christmas in Paris” in my book club, and that book inspired me to write this post. The main character has fled to Paris after canceling her wedding and has decided to go all-out with her accommodations, activities, and wardrobe. For the first of many extravagant parties she attends during her stay, she chooses a red Oscar de la Renta evening gown with cream elbow-length gloves. My big red heart fluttered when I read this amazing outfit choice. NOW we’re talking. By keeping red elegant, it transforms to the most glamorous color in your closet.

So, how do we detach the color from some of these sultry stereotypes? We choose modest dresses, fitted jumpsuits, understated clutches, and satin shoes. Undoubtedly, red will never lose its sex appeal, but we can certainly tone it down with appropriate clothing designs and subtle pops of ruby or wine on accouterments.

Alexander McQueen is one of my favorite designers. His winter line this year was sultry with reds and blacks. What I loved most was that not only were his silhouettes appropriate, but he also mixed in his patented scull accessories which took the designs from classy to cool. To replicate this designer’s feel, choose a standout silk red blouse paired with some sleek leather leggings. It will take your outfit from first-date drinks to formal and formidable. Galvan, a brand that has made a massive presence this year, has a beautiful and affordable line. I’ve seen crimson satin halter dresses with open backs that breathe Black-Tie Christmas Parties.

Red on your nails and lips are another conversation. This is an accessory on its own, so choose just one. I bought a winter white Bottega Veneta jumpsuit 3 years ago. It has become my staple for fancy cocktails in the early days of winter. I love popping a bright candy apple color on my lips or my nails to keep it interesting, but I style my hair neatly pulled back, my jewelry gold, and my shoes in monochromatic white.

After all is said and done, red is a color we shouldn’t shy away from. Though it’s been labeled like the Scarlet Letter, it can be much more than devilishly precarious. It can bring both power and interest to an outfit at the same time. And like all things, its all about how YOU wear it … xxx

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