How to Wear a Red Lip With Any Outfit
While many beauty trends may come and go (bye-bye harsh contouring, hello color-blocked makeup), only a few looks have truly stood the test of time. The classic red lip never fails, and it’s become such an iconic part of the beauty world that celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Taylor Swift and Dita Von Teese have waxed poetic about its mood-boosting and outfit-making properties. But if a red lip isn’t part of your everyday repertoire, it might be hard to nail down exactly which outfits to rock it with. Trust us — this bold lippie isn’t reserved for formal occasions. You can rock it all day, every day when you pair it with the right style. We’ve put together a few fashion formulas with a little inspiration from the industry’s biggest players. These looks-to-swear-by range from cool and casual to full-on formal, so you can rock a cherry-hued lip with total confidence no matter what the occasion.
THE LAID-BACK RED LIP
From electric fuchsia to the classic red, there’s no lip color that Grasie Mercedes of Style Me Grasie has not donned. She’s a self-professed “lazy-chic” style blogger, so who better to turn to for a laid-back take on the bright red lip? Plus, she’s rockin’ a cherry-colored pout in her Instagram profile pic, so she’s basically an expert at this whole red lip thing.
1. Express Fitted Bomber Jacket ($98): From embroidered satin to quilted styles, there are so many takes on the bomber jacket this season. However, the most unexpected option also happens to be the most classic: the denim bomber jacket that looks unabashedly cool. We suggest sizing up for a slightly oversized fit.
2. BDG Twig Ripped High-Rise Skinny Jean ($69): Every gal needs a pair of ride-or-die black skinnies in her closet. We’re talking a goes-with-everything, always-looks-amazing pair of denim that adds instant cool to any look. This pair from Urban Outfitters is all that and more.
3. Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick Kate Moss Collection in Red ($5): The woman, the myth, the legend Kate Moss knows the power of a great red lipstick. This lippie is the perfect way to channel her effortless edge (it was designed for her, after all) and pull the whole look together. With a lasting power of up to eight hours, this fire engine red can perk up your day and your outfit too.
THE FRENCH-GIRL RED LIP
Model Jeanne Damas isn’t just an It girl; she’s the It girl. Her red lip is French-girl goals, just like her wispy middle-parted bangs. But what makes her red lip stand out from the rest, you might ask? One glance at the gorgeous snap above and you’ll see why. It’s her lived-in, slightly stained application that we just can’t get over.
4. LOFT Ladder Lace Tunic ($60): Your rosy pout will pop against any white shirt, but when it comes to this style staple, our motto is “take it easy.” We love white shirts that are loose, oh-so easy and read more brunch than boardroom. Tuck this flowy popover into a pair of great jeans on the weekend or transition it into an office-appropriate look with colorful trousers and block heels.
5. Madewell Cali Demi-Boot Jeans ($128): This wash is crisp, clean and totally classic. Not to mention, we’re still *loving* the ankle flare trend. Pair these jeans with slip-on mules, cute clogs or sock boots for an understated yet totally fashion-forward look that is definitely French girl-approved.
6. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Siren ($8): This lip color is a steal for just around eight bucks, so if you’re looking for a sweet little pick-me-up, skip the Starbucks line and head to the drugstore for this instead. Creamy, decadent texture with high-powered pigment at a budget-friendly price? Um, yes, we’ll take one in every color, please. We suggest stashing one of these in your purse as an emergency mood-booster.
THE OVER-THE-TOP RED LIP
Blaire Eadie of Atlantic-Pacific is the reigning queen of the red lip. She’s made a siren-red lip part of her signature since day one (along with a bold pair of sunnies). Blaire’s style is colorful with a heavy dose of whimsy — in short, it’s total double-click bait. Her Instagram proves you can rock a red lip with contrasting shades — in fact, the more color, the better. Case in point, the #ootd above.
7. Mango Cocoon Wool-Blend Coat ($80): Say yes to sorbet hues this fall and winter! We love that this coral is just a few shades shy of the fuchsia J.Crew sweater featured below, so you’ll get a nice contrast when you pair them together. Oh, and *love* the drapey collar and slightly exaggerated sleeve details.
8. J.Crew Tippi Sweater ($80): Knock, knock, winter whites, cream and beiges — it’s neon pink at the door ready to shake things up. There’s nothing like a splash of hot pink to brighten those dull and cloudy fall-to-winter days. We can’t help but smile when we look at this hue. Try it with your favorite denim and bold ballet flats.
9. Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso ($24): This true red has been Blaire Eadie’s go-to shade for years now. It has a rich depth to it that skews a bit on the darker side. The liquid formula is lock-tight once it dries, and lasts through second and even third cups of coffee.
THE AFTER-FIVE RED LIP
Red with a side of red, please! Fashion blogger Rachel Parcell (behind the unapologetically girly blog Pink Peonies) knows the power of a highly pigmented red lipstick. Her dressy ensemble above is made even better with a swipe of Bordeaux.
10. ASOS Premium Lace Insert Full Midi Dress ($89): Pairing red with red is a must in our book, and in Rachel Parcell’s too. There’s something about the combination that is just the right amount of daring but never over-the-top. We’re loving this lacy frock for a cocktail-attire-required event.
11. Steve Madden Stecy Sandal ($80): When these go-to sandals hit the shelves, they instantly sell out — and it’s so easy to see why. The skinny heel and the barely-there straps make it a no-brainer for all of your formal ensembles. Best of all, this shade of beige goes with LITERALLY everything.
12. Lime Crime Velvetine Lip Color in Wicked ($20): This lip color broke the internet when it first launched, and for good reason — it delivers sumptuous and saturated color that dries matte — like, really matte. We can’t help but fall for this deep merlot shade, especially when we want just a little drama in our lives.
THE BLACK TIE RED LIP
Alexa Chung (model, actress, profesh brand-collaborator) is without a doubt London’s go-to source for all things fashion and beauty. She rocks a red lip like it’s her job, mixing in tomboy style so it never feels fussy or stuffy. Even at a black tie affair, she still manages to pull off that effortless “oh, this old thing?” vibe.
13. Sachin & Babi Statuesque Dress ($75 rental via Rent the Runway): There’s something about a red lip and a gold gown that is so glamorous. It’s the perfect little nod to the Old Hollywood era (think Elizabeth Taylor and Veronica Lake). Make the whole look more modern by skipping the soft curls and opting for slightly tousled hair with a little wave in it, a la Alexa Chung.
14. Steve Madden Slithur Sandal ($110): This shoe with a red lip? *Swoon* A caged sandal adds just the right amount of unexpected edge to a full-skirted formal look. When you’re not gettin’ your Cinderella on at a black tie affair, these heels add a little rock and roll to any going-out outfit.
15. NARS Semi-Matte Lipstick in Jungle Red ($28): This shade is described as a “bright red from the 1950s silver screen” — honestly, what could be more perfect than that? It pops with undertones that strike the right balance between coral and pink, plus it delivers a velvety finish. Slick it on straight from the tube for a high-impact hue, or dab it at the center of your lips and blend in with your fingertips for a slightly stained look instead.
Want more style secrets? Follow us on Pinterest.
(Feature image via Grasie Mercedes)
Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.