Yes, it’s the color of love. But red is also a power color for women that defies age, size, looks, trends and lifestyles. It provides the self-confident oomph that perks us up and makes us feel a little dangerous — in a good way. Of course, we love neutrals but who can resist going a little red this time of year? How much red to wear, how to wear it best and most of all what shade to choose? My 10 tips will help the constant craving:
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1. Find your best red and make it your new BFF
There are hundreds of reds from light to dark, cool to warm, subtle to vibrant in irresistible variations like cherry, rose, scarlet, jam, tomato, garnet and ruby. Love-at-first-sight reds in clothes or makeup sometimes turn into wear-once wonders. Here’s how to get it right so the lust will last: If you wear silver jewelry, your inner wrist veins are bluish and your skin has a cool, ashy or olive undertone say yes to clear or blue-reds (fire-engine to merlot). If you’re crazy about gold jewelry, have greenish veins and your skin has warm undertones go for spicy orange, brownish or coral reds (from poppy to brick).
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2. Wear red lipstick
It’s the easiest and cheapest way to brighten your face. Simply smile and play around with a variety of reds to find your fave. Before you say “no thanks, been there, done that,” delete all previous red lip disasters from memory. New high-tech reds feel light (not sticky, heavy or gooey) on the lips, mattes don’t cake or dry out and creams don’t slink into pucker lines and mouth corners. A red lip pulls you together fast — you don’t even need eye makeup! And for those with thin lips or a small mouth, try chunky pencils, liquid lip wands and stains that control color and shape.
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3. Add a long red scarf to spark basic black
Fling on a lightweight crimson scarf and just like that it frames your face with a healthy glow. It’s a must-have that works like rosy reddish cream blush — which, if you don’t wear lipstick, is the next best radiance rev-up.
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4. Make a red coat entrance and exit
It’s the first and sometimes only thing people see, especially in winter. A red tailored coat is a two-timer — it embraces your body in warmth and style, while it provides a cozy emotional hug on chilly, overcast, snowy days when your brain is saying, “Stay in!” Toss it over a turtleneck and jeans, a dress or ankle pants and booties for immediate polish and pizzazz.
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5. Stalk winter sales for a red tailored jacket ASAP
It makes your (faux) black leather leggings look positively ladylike but simultaneously sexy. Wear it with your old black work pants to revive the relationship and woo everything else in your wardrobe. Stick to your “best red” rule (see tip No. 1) like Penelope Cruz, left, in a tomato-red tailored jacket over black leather leggings and Celine Dion, right, in a cranberry belted leather jacket over black leather leggings.
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6. Add a dash of red to your hair
Depending on your complexion and personality, coppery-red highlights or a warm auburn color can rev up brown hair while it softens lines and lights up your skin. A hint of red adds drama without making a major change in hairstyle. Just remember to keep your brows brown for contrast and flattery and not get sucked into reddish fillers and pencils. Then if you’re really smitten, move on to a redder red.
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7. Nail it with a classy red manicure
Not only do red groomed nails look femme fatale elegant, but attention gets pulled to them and away from any veins or stray spots on the backs of your hands. Choose a clear bright shade for a classic look or deep, dark red for an edgier one. And don’t forget those rings and bracelets that draw attention to scarlet fingertips too.
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8. Get a red A-line skirt
Not red jeans or pants. A red skirt with some volume and flare is a universal flatterer that not only shows off your still great legs but pairs easily with any white or black top. It won’t date easily and can work 24/7 with a change of top.
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9. Slip into ruby slippers
The Wizard of Oz got us hooked and then red high heels got a bad-girl rep in the ’80s. Nowadays, red booties, ankle boots and flats and red heels of every height and shape from kitten to block are making us dance and prance with a sassy bottom line. Who can resist?
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10. Dare to go crimson head-to-toe
Really put your heart into it: Mix prints and solids, reds cool and warm, combine similar reds in very different feel-good fabrics like silk and suede, cashmere and velvet or wear a drop-dead red dress. It’s the gutsiest statement of all.