Susan Merrick

Artist and Interpreter. Power Language Access

Makeup Free Month Day 28: Fashion and Makeup

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Makeup, like anything else has fashions, and it seems to go hand in hand with clothing and hair fashion. Including through history for example roman thick kohl on the eyes, plaited hair and headdresses and delicately wrapped tunics, through to renaissance huge dresses, powdered faces, red lips and giant wigs!

In the previous century makeup and cosmetics became more widely produced and available and with the advent of television and film, fashion as an industry seemed to explode. In the 20th century many of us can pinpoint a decade (and some I’m sure can be even more precise) depending on clothing, hair and makeup style. As clothing fashions change so do hair and makeup. What’s current can often take precedent over what suits an individual, but it can also push people to try new ideas and styles that they may find works well.

I LOVE fashion, and especially playing with mixing fashions! I love vintage clothing and finding pieces in my wardrobe, on the high street, in markets or charity shops that come together to make a funky, chic, elegant, classic or random look! Sometimes I get it wrong and sometimes it works. But for me it’s so much fun.

As a teenager I did this too which was occasionally mocked at school. At a time (early 90s) when most my age were wearing either jeans and trainers, track suits or big shirts and dr martins I would choose platform shoes, wide leg trousers, floaty blouses and lots of vest layering. I would scour J17 and other teen mags to see what the models were wearing and pull together what I had to try and make my own idea of fashion. On one school trip I wore some top shop fitted flares with photos of sunflowers all over them, with a white sleeveless blouse. It was the first time I really realised that others may laugh at my clothing choices. It certainly dampened my style for a while. I would stay safe until almost at UNI… When I realised I could wear what I wanted and sod what others thought (even if at times they may have been right!).

So now, in my thirties I am trying to find the balance between my age and being a mum, whilst still wanting to explore with fashion, clothing hairstyles and makeup.

This month without makeup I have at times played it very safe with my clothes and not done much with my hair, feeling that it would look silly to have myself done up without the makeup too. But as I’ve gone through the month I’ve realised that I CAN still feel confident in my clothing and hair styles without wearing makeup.

Yesterday I completely decluttered my wardrobe. 25 items of clothing including 3 suits, 5 dresses, several tops and trousers all going! And I’m doing shoes tonight. Anything that I don’t really wear, or feel crap when I wear it. Anything that looks as old as it is, or looks dodgy on me…. Gone. The best part was that it made me look more closely at what I had and I’m sure I’ve spotted at least 10 new outfit combinations in the wardrobe!

At the end of this week (the end of my makeup free month) I will do the same with my makeup. All of it will go unless it proves to be good for my skin/ work well. I do think that it will all go (into my painting kit) and I will buy a few select new products to replace it.

I dare you to do the same. Declutter your wardrobe and your makeup. Be really strict and feel good about what you have afterwards. I today went to work wearing a dress that I hadn’t thought looked right, so had been sat in my wardrobe for ages, but it has strong colours so for me without makeup it actually looks great. Here’s to having more space in my wardrobe, and to clothes that feel good!

If you haven’t yet seen my Street Art video – Skin- please take a peek!

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