I started sneaking makeup to school in 6th
grade and applying it in the girls' bathroom (along with my grandmother's
rhinestone chandelier earrings—the perfect complement to my Champion
sweatshirts and braces).
Red lipstick was shocking in its power, dramatic in
its effect to take you from blah to glamorous. With it, the rest of your makeup
can be minimal. Red lipstick speaks for itself and speaks volumes about the
woman who wears it. This is not someone who wants to fade into the background—it's for those of us who are confident and those of us who need a little
I wore my favorite shade on a daily basis and didn't
wait for a special occasion to swipe it on—but many special occasions started
with the application of this powerful cosmetic. My tube of Red Drama traveled
with me from the bike paths of Appalachia to the streets of Milan. There was
no occasion too casual or too formal for me to rock a red lip.
As a necessity, there were plenty of sartorial choices
I had to reconsider now that I had kids. For one thing, wearing anything dry
clean only, at least when I was around them, was now off-limits. Same for
wearing white. It didn't matter if it was before or after Labor Day—my little
guy and gal were drooling, vomiting and pawing at me with sticky fingers. This
set of circumstances did not make a great case for wearing anything that wasn't easily wiped clean with a wet sponge.
I traded in a purse for a diaper bag—it was just
easier to shove all my crap in there. I already had to keep track of two babies. Two bags? No way.
Holding my daughter, she reached out her finger toward my painted lips—and started to giggle and smile.
And while I didn't totally give up heels, I now began to
consider a shoe's comfort ahead of its beauty. (Hobbling around in 4-inch heels
like a newborn foal, while pushing a double stroller, doesn't make for fun
But the hardest adjustment of all was giving up my Red
I felt naked without it but suddenly it made no sense. I probably
kissed my babies 100 times a day—times two—and I didn't want to cover their
perfect, blemish-free cheeks with makeup. So I compromised and switched to cherry
This was okay for a while. But then twins started getting
older, and, while I never stopped kissing them like mad every time I saw them, I
decided it was time to bring back some of the old me.
Red lipstick isn't practical for my lifestyle, but it is
part of my identity. So with some trepidation, on a random Tuesday morning, I channeled
my inner 1940s screen siren and got ready to take the twins to the park.
And then something wonderful happened. Holding my
daughter, she reached out her finger toward my painted lips—and started to
giggle and smile. I already knew she was a girly girl; she loved to inspect
her grandma's jewelry and our babysitter's manicured nails. But at that moment, she was truly delighted by mommy's vibrant smile. It was then that I realized
that something that got this type of reaction was in no way incongruous with