Friday, 24 August 2018

Current Look: Worksafe Glitter

A long time ago, when I was a baby contract librarian, I tamped myself down when it came to my makeup and fashion at work - not a lot, but some. I was also still getting used to being a professional adult with an office and a dress code that wasn't going to let me wear jeans. Now I'm still a baby librarian, but one with a permanent job, a better handle on what I want to look like at work, and the freedom to express my liberal interpretation of the dress code, which is curiously silent on makeup. But it does use the term "conservative" to describe how we should be dressing. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that my dinosaur dress and very bright red lipstick really pushes that line. However, while healthcare as a whole is certainly a sea of business casual neutrals, I've been able to reject that and wear what makes me feel more like myself. Which is a lot of fun patterns, cropped pants, and a billion cardigans. People tell me all the time at work that I don't look or act like a librarian, whatever that means, but I walk around with a mug of tea and a cardigan just about every day, so dunno what they're looking for. 

In the last few months, I've started getting more creative with my makeup, and seeing if I can push the boundaries, whatever they are, a little more, and add some more fun elements to my look. I'm never going to look at home in a truly business casual look. I need pieces that undercut any seriousness, or makeup that very subtly subverts expectations while still looking appropriate for work. Enter things like green highlighter, cupcake earrings, glow in the dark Christmas light shoes, and what I like to call worksafe glitter.

Disclaimer: I don't answer to anyone directly at my worksite and my boss mostly sees me on Skype. The only time she's ever commented on my makeup has been to ask me where I buy my lipstick. If you don't have this fortunate situation and a similarly conservative environment makeup-wise, step lightly. 

Worksafe glitter, or casual glitter, is wearing of what would traditionally be a fabulous, in-your-face, over the top, New Year's Eve product during your everyday, not-quite-as-glamourous life. There are lots of ways to do this, but I'm telling you the ways in which I do it. The secret to my worksafe glitter is that I wear it almost totally alone. It's not part of a smoky look, or dabbed on to give dimension. It is the star of the look on an otherwise bare eye (you know, other than my customary mascara and thin swipe of brown liquid liner). 

An attempt to show the thin line of subtle glitter I like to wear sometimes. This is Urban Decay Heavy Metals Glitter Eyeliner in Grind.

I wear glitter in a couple of different ways: either as a thin line of glitter, applied directly over my swipe of liquid liner, or a glitter eyeshadow, smudged on the inner corner of my eye. I suggest the former for those who want a more invisible kind of glitter that leaves you with some plausible deniability. Say, the kind of glitter you might wear during your annual performance review or in headshots taken for the library website. Maybe. The latter is a little more daring, more obvious, and something that will earn you a mix of admiration and some slight shock, if you work in the aforementioned conservative environment.

Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow in Bronze Bell in the inner corner

Despite a 15 year love affair with beauty, I was never really into glitter. It's pretty, yes, but I was never into having much of it on my face, except for a cheapo blue glitter eyeliner used to draw paw prints on our faces during house hockey games in university. I don't even remember when I bought that liner and I tossed it the day I moved out of my undergrad apartment. So it was something of a whim that I decided to grab Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner in Distortion with my Christmas gift cards in January. When I got it, I swatched it on my arm and was immediately confused as to why I had done this. After a couple of weeks of ignoring it, I decided to wear it. And because I had no other ideas, I swiped it on over my normal liner and went to work. My on-site coworkers loved it. Thus, worksafe glitter was born.

Current glitter holdings: Urban Decay Heavy Metals Glitter Eyeliner in Grind and Distortion, and Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow in Bronzed Bell, Kitten Karma, Rose Gold Retro, and Smouldering Satin

I came to glitter at just the right time for my lazy ass: cream and liquid products for all areas of the face are having their moments in the sun, and Stila Glitter & Glow liquid eyeshadows also caught my eye. I ordered a trio of minis in winter, and redeemed a bunch of PC Optimum points at the end of June for another one. These are what I use for a little more glitter: dabbed on the inner corner of my eye or used for a little more definition, since most of the ones I have are glitter + a base colour. I have yet to wear them as full on lid colours, and honestly, I think that much defined glitter would defeat what I'm trying to do here. But never say never.

L-R: Grind, Distortion, Bronzed Bell, Kitten Karma, Smouldering Satin, Rose Gold Retro

The beauty of worksafe glitter is that it's fun and sparkly, but also easy to swipe or dab on first thing in the morning, since you had to get up at ungodly hours to go to work. If you're not a morning person (like me), it's a great way to bring a much-needed dose of whimsy into your day. This is a low-effort look that makes a statement. Worksafe glitter is here to stay, and I'm always interested in expanding it - as a first tentative step back into eye makeup, it may well lead to other things.


  1. Ahaha, I feel you so hard. I'm an archivist - we're generally expected to be (uh, can I say this?) even more boring than librarians. I'm really lucky that I currently work somewhere where I can have all the glitter/crazy hair/unconventional dresses I want!

    1. Stereotypes of the info professions are so bad. Though healthcare is super straight-laced, so I'm considered offbeat and whimsical as the hospital librarian.


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