Showing up to a Northern California party with the right bottle of a wine is something of a challenge. I moved to the Bay Area last year from Manhattan, where my party contributions came in the form of makeup samples from my desk drawer and whatever libations were least likely to break en route from 110th St. to my final destination. Suffice it to say that a sophisticated palette for vintages hailing from Healdsburg was definitely not packed in my cross-country luggage.
But eventually, even if only due to my new home, viniculture became one of my “adult” indulgences. While still lacking in grape expertise, I've found the silver lining of living/drinking up here: Bordeaux-stained lips. So, here I give you wine pairings for oxblood-shaded lipsticks—stains and glosses to wear as a preemptive surrender to wine-mouth. Or, the most thoughtful hostess gifts since personalized stem charms.
*One of the most popular vintages in the red wine market, Merlot flavors can include plums and blueberries mixed with cocoa and black pepper. MAC Vino Lip Pencil blended with MAC Burgundy Lipmix creates a dead-on Merlot black cherry shade. Or, for single-bullet kind of gals, try Clé de Peau Beauté Extra Rich Lipstick in 306.
*The Napa-style Cab Sauvignon is deep, purplish black in color, with a taste of rich currants and black cherries. Full-bodied, gripping, and layered with innovative scents and flavors, this varietal almost single-handedly created the phenomenon of “cult wineries.” Speaking of cult followings, Tom Ford Bruised Plum is the right slick, mulberry shade to channel the wine's blackish-berry tones. Nars aficionados can also hail this cab with Pure Matte Lipstick in Volga.
*A smooth, bold red lip has the hue and silky texture of pinot noir. A medium-bodied, generally popular drink, pinot noirs are the chic but safe play when deciding on a last-minute wine buy—similar to throwing on a bold red mouth when scrambling to look party-presentable. You can get the crisp look with Dolce & Gabbana The Lipliner Precision in Ruby, or a combination of Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Ultra 190 and Amethyst 165, dabbed on with a finger to create a stained effect.
*Rosé is the beautifully blush-colored counterpoint to wine's oxblood-reds. This sparkling, subtle species is also the oldest known type of wine. Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Lip Color in Instinct gives the transparent, berry-rose-lipped look.
Before applying any of these, let alone getting drunk on wine, take measures to assure your lip color stains only where you want it to. For a flake-free surface, I like to gently rub Fresh Sugar Lip Polish onto my lips and rinse with warm water. I dab them dry, then fill everything in with Bite Beauty Line & Define Lip Primer. Darker colors can make lips look thinner, but this moisturizing primer slightly plumps your skin, creating a smoother, fuller surface to apply your color. Finally, to help color within the lines, I always use MAC Lip Pencil in Stripdown. The shade is just a touch darker than my natural lips, so it helps set some boundaries for your lipstick. Keep Q-Tips at the ready, and everything will be OK. And, if not, at least you have a drink in your near future.
Jenny McCullum is a contributing writer for C California Style magazine and teaches at the Academy of Art University School of Fashion in San Francisco. Photos by Jeffry Raposas.