Tootsies are armed at all times with a small yet powerful tool. It’s inexpensive and small enough to fit in your pocket. If you aren’t feeling your best, need a dose of Dutch courage, or just want to add a splash of colour to your day, it will do the trick. It is to us what Harry Potter’s wand is to him.
Our prized and powerful piece of kit is our red lipstick. We would not face the dark side without it. Whether it’s Mac Ruby Woo or Russian Red you won’t catch a Tootsie without one in reach.
Evidence shows that the long lasting love affair with red lips dates back to Mesopotamian civilisation (3100 BC). As with any trend its popularity has fluctuated over time; apparently Queen Victoria and Coco Chanel both found red lipstick vulgar. However, many impressive women throughout history have returned to the scarlet pout as their ‘go to’ look of choice: Cleopatra, Elizabeth I, Clara Bow, Dame Vera Lynn, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Margaret Thatcher, Annie Lenox, Madonna, and Michelle Obama are among those who wore or still wear red for their endeavours. All are public figures leading the way in their given roles.
So why focus on this seemingly trivial item? It’s clear to us that the symbolism is powerful. What is it that draws us to wear red lipstick? Could it be that red is the warmest and most dynamic of colours.
Red is high energy and commands attention. For these reasons it’s commonly applied to marketing. So by painting our lips red we are immediately drawing attention to ourselves, and more importantly our mouths and the words we are speaking. This instils in us a sense of competence, confidence and glamour.
Interestingly, Queen Elizabeth II commissioned her own lipstick shade to match her Coronation robes for the 1952 ceremony. Needless to say, it was red. She was a mere twenty-six when she assumed the extraordinary responsibility of becoming Queen of England in front of the world. Perhaps her red lips gave her an extra boost that day, just as her ancestor, Elizabeth I, may have found almost 400 years earlier aged twenty-five? Red lipstick is not simply a cosmetic; it’s a mood changer. During WWII cosmetics were rationed, except for lipstick. Winston Churchill believed it had a positive effect on people, representing strength.
We wanted to know how wearing a rouge pout makes you feel. We reached out to you over Twitter and Facebook and found the responses fascinating and inspiring.
@HighSocietyTeas:“Red lipstick is a kiss of confidence to the world.” Twitter @thetootsies
Maggie Harvey: “My theory is, and I take some of this from Marilyn Monroe; give the girl the right pair of shoes, and red lipstick, and she can conquer the world!”
Despite the unanimous love you expressed on social media when we asked if you like red lippy, we’ve met a lot of ladies who have said to us that they are nervous about wearing a bold lip colour, preferring not to draw attention to themselves and worrying it wouldn’t look good on them. Take your time to find the right shade for you and learn how to apply it. You can visit our YouTube channel for Flo’s Tutorial “The Lipstick Trick.”
We’ve been lucky enough to have some extraordinary conversations with amazing women due to an initial acknowledgement of our matching red lips. The truth is you are joining an unspoken sisterhood. Women adorned with a similar rouge pout will catch your eye showing appreciation for your confidence and style. Feel inspired by your lipstick’s brightness, and know that wearing a crimson smile will inspire other women.
So for those of you who feel red lipstick just does not suit you, maybe give it another try? Cherry, plum, scarlet, crimson, whatever the shade, it’s a source of power everyone should have the option of tapping into. It may require confidence to wear it, but it certainly brings confidence to those who do. Which comes first – the lipstick or the confidence? Life’s too short not to find out.
In the immortal words of Elizabeth Taylor:
Come & roll with us for more retro fun
Published in Vintage Life Magazine (April 2015)