You Asked It

Damn Girl Ya Look Good

Pale skin, pretty dresses, short hair, and scarf-fu.

Somehow I end being paler each winter, and I’ve lived in the same area of Chicago since I was born. I really love wearing all sorts of makeup, but lately, since I’ve gotten so pale, everything looks strange and too dark. I even had to switch brands of foundation because my old one didn’t have a light enough shade for me to use. I’m not sure what looks right on me anymore, and my friends keep joking I look like a lost cast member of Twilight. I doubt it helps that my hair is brown and my eyes dark green, and half my closet is black and dark gray, making my skin all the more white-looking. Please help me figure this mess out. I’m willing to try just about any look, except tanner in any form—I’ve seen too many orange girls at my high school. Thanks, Overly Pale Emily

This isn’t a mess, girlfriend! Embrace your paleness! Vampires are hot, anyway. Look at Brad Pitt in Interview With a Vampire:

And if you need further pale-is-beautiful convincing, look at Saoirse Ronan in Hanna—I live for her look in this movie!

Your paleness is part of who you are, and P.S. you sound like an elf queen, so I’m way jealous.

There are plenty of foundations out there with super-pale shades, and you can always add a pure white foundation to any of them if they aren’t light enough (Illamasqua makes great DEATHLY PALE foundations, for instance). Some brands with very light hues with various undertones: NARS, Make Up For Ever, and M.A.C.

If you’re going to be pale as death, you want to glow so much it’s like you’re actually an ice fairy from another planet, gracing the human peons with your presence. There are lots of ways to do this, at various price points. The #1 most popular skin illuminator is probably the YSL Touche Éclat highlighter pen. You can put it under your eyes, on your cheekbones, down your nose, on your chin, etc., and blend like crazy so it looks like you’re glowing from the inside. Another highlighter I love is Benefit’s High Beam, but there are a bunch of different Benefit highlighters with different tints, so you should be able to find one that suits you. You can also just use a pale shimmering blush dabbed lightly on tops of your cheekbones if you don’t wanna dish out extra money just for a highlighter.

To further accentuate your vampire beauty-queen look I’d do some mega eye situation. Maybe a cat-eye if you’re feeling it (I suggest cat-eye 100% of the time for everything ever to be honest), but you can also just use some intense mascara (this one is really good). Top it off with your favorite lip color—cranberry reds are super hot on pale skin—and you’re set. Wear your paleness with pride! —Arabelle

I really love to wear vintage dresses with flowers and polka-dots, etc., but sometimes I feel too girly or grandma-ish in them. Do you have tips how I can look more “tough” and up-to-date in these kind of dresses? —Loedi, 17, Amsterdam

Hi, Loedi! I love vintage dresses with flowers and polka-dots, too! And since I don’t ride a motorcycle and have yet to learn any reliable knife-throwing techniques, I also struggle to find ways to look tough.

My favorite easy trick is to throw a leather jacket over a cute dress. The one I wear the most lately is a pleather motorcycle jacket with lots of zippers from H&M, similar to this one ($50). You can also throw a black lace top or a blazer like these from Modcloth ($33) and Nasty Gal ($68) or a black knit poncho (Swell, $65) over your ensemble for a witchy look. I like the idea of a skull sweater (Betsey Johnson, $268) over a cute dress also. Wear a vintage-looking denim vest (Topshop, $70) over a floral dress with biker boots like you’re channeling Alicia Silverstone in an Aerosmith video.

Speaking of shoes, a good pair of boots can really toughen things up. For example, here are some black cowboy boots (Madden Girl, $60), studded Doc Martens, $170, and buckled booties (Lulu’s, $39) to add some fierce to your femme.

The more zippers and studs on everything the better. Wear TONS of rings, like a full-fingered armor one, a ring with spikes, and/or a two-finger one. You can also rip up your tights!

Good luck, you WILD WOMAN.

xo Marie

My hair has been well past my shoulders for the most of my life. It’s REALLY thick and so hard to maintain: it tangles very easily and blow drying it takes an hour, so I mostly resign myself to keeping it in a ponytail or a bun. I’ve been considering getting a pixie cut, but there seem to be a lot of people, both men and women, who seem to think that short hair makes girls unattractive, which makes me feel hesitant. Will short hair work if I don’t have a waiflike facial structure? What cut will frame my oval-shaped face the best? Or should I just screw the preconceived notions about what girls look good in a pixie cut? Sincerely, Weighed Down

Screw ’em, girl!!!. I had a short haircut for years, and I totally don’t have a waiflike facial structure. In fact, none of the girls I know with cute short hair have Precious Moments features, either, and they look GORGE. Those are some dinosaur-ass “rules” that don’t really matter anyway.

Since you know that anyone who’d judge you simply because of a haircut is a superficial waste of time, you are already way ahead of the game. I know it’s a HUGE STEP to do something like a new, never-seen-before haircut, so consult with a hairstylist that is on the same vibe as you before you take the dive. Once you describe your concerns and worries, she or he can tell you the easiest way to style and maintain your new ’do. Also, keep in mind that sometimes it takes a couple of days to get into the groove with a new look.

When it comes to trying something new, I like to just go ahead and do it. I’ve toyed around with so many different looks and NEVER regretted any of them (even my weird hot-pink Muppet-like bowl cut). Remember, it’s just hair. Life is too short not to have short hair! AND it will grow back if you decide you don’t like it!

xo Marie

I’m 17 years old and I’m losing my hair :( I was wondering if you have any creative ideas on how to cover up semi-baldness besides a wig, like any cool styles you can do with headscarves? Thanks xx —Liana, Sydney, Australia

Hey Liana! I’m a huge fan of scarves as head accoutrements. Definitely the coolest way to wear them is a turban (there are tons of easy tutorials on YouTube if you need help—here’s a good one), but I also like to buy big square ones, fold them into a triangle, keep folding them so they are just a thick band, and then tie them right near my face and over my ears. You could also explore the magical world of hats. Not like a baseball cap or a fedora, but cool vintage ones like pillbox hats and cloches. Etsy and eBay are super good for this kind of stuff, but there are also always tons of weird and cool hats at the thrift shops. If you need some head inspiration, do a li’l Google search of Isabella Blow and Anna Piaggi and let your imagination run wild! —Laia

If you have a style/beauty question for Marie and her dream team, please send it to


  • queserasera March 6th, 2012 7:05 PM

    to Weighed Down: I’ve had a pixie cut for like 3 years now and I love it. Short hair looks good on everyone who can rock it with confidence, contrary to the popular belief of “small face, high cheekbones, etc” Just chop it off! It’s so liberating.

    • queserasera March 6th, 2012 7:08 PM

      also, I often do get mistaken for a boy from a distance; I used to get offended but after awhile it became funny because they’re the ones who gets super flustered and embarrassed not me haha

      • Moxx March 6th, 2012 7:56 PM

        When I got a buzz cut, people would sometimes ask “lolz are u a boy or a gurl??”, probably thinking it would annoy me or something. I would always answer “I don’t know, what do you think?”. Got them confused as hell.

        Also, short hair can make it easier to crossdress. :)

    • fullmetalguitar March 7th, 2012 1:50 PM

      I also support getting a short hair cut! It was one of the best things I did, since I could actually figure out how to tame my thick unruly hair into nice styles since it was so short and manageable. And plus on lazy days you can get it all crazy fluffy and throw a giant ass bow in your hair, which is always cute. (Seriously short hair can rock hair accessories that are bigger and crazier than you could ever wear before). I’m thinking about growing it out for a bit now, but I know one day I’ll keep coming back to it being short. (Also, I also have a non-traditional “short hair” face; it’s kind of round with no real cheekbones to speak of, so don’t even worry about it!)

  • missblack March 6th, 2012 7:20 PM

    Loving the bit about pale skin. I have always (and always will, I think) had super-pale skin, even in the summer, and I like it, I think it suits me. I just bleached my hair so I literally do look like Saoirse Ronan in Hanna, haha :D Usually I don’t do that much makeup, but that might be more due to the fact that I wear big black glasses.

    Also, I have a friend who wants to get a pixie cut and most people she talked about it to are ridiculously stupid about the whole thing, most of them said that they think she’ll look like a lesbian – seriously. They said that.

    (speaking of which, that same thing happened to Emma Watson when she cut her hair, haha!)


  • Toria Crux March 6th, 2012 7:20 PM

    I love ripped tights. I have a black and white striped pair that I totally SHREDDED.

  • MissKnowItAll March 6th, 2012 7:22 PM

    I have the same question about the hair. I have really thick, really curly/frizzy hair that’s really hard to maintain. I’ve wanted to change up my hair sltye and I’ve been considering tinting it purple and getting it cut to my chin. My hair is black and I don’t want to black it. What other hairstyles can I try?

    • MissKnowItAll March 6th, 2012 9:45 PM


    • fullmetalguitar March 7th, 2012 1:53 PM

      My roommate has super curly hair too, and she ended up cutting it to around her ears, I think, in a nice round girly style. It makes her curls much lighter and prettier, and she just has to curl them around her fingers in the morning while they dry (with some product) to get a nice even, fluffy sort of look. With curly hair, you can really go shorter than you might think since it’ll sort of pouf out instead of hanging down. Good luck!

    • neerlandica March 8th, 2012 11:06 AM

      Do you know Kimbra, the singer? She has quite a nice, short, curly haircut in this video:
      Makes me wish I had curly hair!

  • Littlegirllost March 6th, 2012 7:50 PM

    I’m very pale and also have brown hair and dark green eyes!. I used to really hate it and it didn’t help that people at school would call me ghost or say I look sick. But now I’ve really grown to love skin, I hate using orange foundatiosn & fake tan so I’d much rather go for the ‘porcelain doll’ look! lol. I really think that the contrast of dark hair/eyes with pale skin is quite unique & pretty! just look at the beautiful Winona Ryder!

  • Marguerite March 6th, 2012 7:51 PM

    Haha my friendsd call me a vampire all the time! I also happen to be cold all the time! Wearing red lipstick makes me look even more pale, but it helps the vampire look

    I also got a pixie cut about tw months ago, and I love it! :)

    • Marguerite March 6th, 2012 7:52 PM

      Also I’m obsessed with twilight… Team Edward WOOT WOOT!

  • Lascelles March 6th, 2012 7:51 PM

    I want to speak to Marissa Wiegler :D

  • Pashupati March 6th, 2012 7:51 PM

    re. Paleness:
    I don’t know if I’m as pale as Emily, but the Theophile Leclerc powder comes in “pale” tones (those I used: Parme mixed with Blanche and Banane Argenté for the glow, Banane Argenté alone, Banane Argenté or Parme mixed with Blanche to somehow lighten the tone) and you can mix the powders to get the good tone. Though, it’s expensive IMO and I don’t know if you can buy it physically (= not online) outside Europe and Maghreb. (the gifter bought these in Maghreb so it was cheaper) Powders are fun :)
    Also, the Illamasqua link gives me a 404.

  • chantal March 6th, 2012 7:53 PM

    I don’t have thick hair but I know some people who do have gone to a hairstylist to get it thinned! The results are super cute, I think they just strategically cut off some of the extra hair at the bottom and it makes me wish I had thick hair… OR you could just get the pixie cut but if you change your mind it could take years to go back to the original length.

  • darksideoftherainbow March 6th, 2012 8:04 PM

    hey, Loedi…i immediately thought of natasha lyonne in the slums of beverly hills! her dress that she wears with those extra cool platforms looks girly but AWESOME at the same time. it definitely gives off a lot of attitude. i’ve been looking for a similar pair from jeffrey campbell since he seems to make loads of platforms. so while it’s not exactly “tough” it is a really cool look.

    Marie…i love that you reference alicia silverstone in aerosmith’s video! literally live for her coolness in all the videos she did with them!

  • hannahsophia March 6th, 2012 8:17 PM

    I’m quite pale as well. In the winter my foundation reads “Pale Ivory” and in the summer, if I’m lucky, I can make it to “Light Ivory”. I’ve never really HATED my complexion, it’s a mark of my Scandinavian ancestry. It’s part of my heritage. I love to go bold with red lipstick, it’s extremely dramatic. Plus the weird looks from the fake-tanned bitches are fantastic! Dramatic eyes are where it’s at too. I have green eyes and purple shadow or eyeliner always makes them really intense and pretty:)

  • Emmie March 6th, 2012 8:18 PM

    Short hair is great! It’s really nice to have it all chopped off, nothing covering your ears or your neck))) And it makes you look more stylish and cool no matter what you’re wearing. Go for it!

  • Jamie March 6th, 2012 8:23 PM

    smashbox bb cream in the lightest color is great for my superpale face! doesn’t feel like you are wearing any makeup either

  • Ruby B. March 6th, 2012 8:38 PM

    I am super pale, and I embrace it! It makes pretty much all lipstick look awesome.

    And this was encouraging because I’m thinking about cutting my hair!

  • Kristinini March 6th, 2012 8:40 PM

    I’ve had thick hair for the longest time, and then one day I decided to cut it semi-short, which is around my shoulders. And I love it like this, I’m just trying to get the guts to cut it to a pixie cut, or a bit longer than that.

  • RomaK March 6th, 2012 8:49 PM

    I’m pale and I have a pixie cut. Embrace your paleness. Winnona Ryder was super pale in her beetgeuse days and she was a BABE.

  • Maddy March 6th, 2012 9:03 PM

    The headscarves and turbans are a great idea! I also have a velvety cloche thing (which is too small on me unfortunately) which I imagine would be nice and soft. I like to tie long scarves so they wrap around my head and then turn into a scarf.

  • taste test March 6th, 2012 9:30 PM

    I got my hair cut into a Rosemary’s Baby pixie less than a week ago. (the Rosemary’s Baby part was unintentional, but it’s still cool.) it still feels weird to have the back of my neck exposed all the time, but I have no regrets. it is SO much easier to take care of and there is seriously no way to screw it up. I’m not really used to how it looks yet, but people seem to like it, and I have thick hair and a pretty intense face, so screw having delicate features.

    something that really surprised me is how many girls said “oh my god, you’re crazy, I could never pull that off!” after they saw it for the first time. that’s bullshit. all you have to do is cut it off… it’s definitely not hard to maintain. so yeah, you should just go for it if you want short hair! you will feel so much better.

  • youarebananas March 6th, 2012 9:36 PM

    Re pixie cuts: DO IT! I have a pretty chubby face–not at all “waiflike”–but I decided to take the plunge last spring & got my hair cut really, really short. It looked great and was ridiculously easy (no conditioner! No comb!) and I loved it. I’m growing it out now, but it was great while it lasted. Everyone should try it sometime.

  • Emilie March 6th, 2012 9:44 PM

    I love the tips about toughening up a dress, thanks so much!

  • Freja March 6th, 2012 10:18 PM

    Chanel, MAC, Laura Mercier, Estee Lauder, Nars and Revlon all have foundations with great, very fair shades. For reference, I have the exact same colouring as Saoirise Ronan in that Hanna photo. I pretty much choose the lightest cool shade available, usually translating to a MAC NC10! Dior, YSL and Paul & Joe do NOT have good fair shades in my experience. Eurgh. As for the actual fun makeup (i.e. not foundation), don’t be afraid if you think it looks too dark or bold. Colours do stand out more on paper-white skin but I think that just means it’s a good canvas for dramatic or fun looks. If you want to tone it down, use less product or lighter, more neutral shades. Soft pinks and peaches are always non-offensive on light skin. Haha, I sound like a dogmatic magazine writer… I guess it just comes down to a little experimentation to figure out what you like and how to achieve it. One more thing: don’t forget sunscreen! I’m sure that’s no news to you but don’t be tempted (as I sometimes am when surrounded with bronzed Australians in summer) to skip it in the hope of getting a tan. For me, at least, it never works out and I just end up red, cursing myself. Anyway, being pale is way cooler than being tanned! ;)

  • whisperedglasswords March 6th, 2012 10:49 PM

    Pale Skin:
    I’m so jealous! I’ve always longed for that “porcelain” skin tone and dark eyes and hair. People with that coloring have always seemed so beautiful and ethereal to me!

    Short Hair:
    Do it! My hair was long for several years, and is also super thick and frizzy. Like you, I was stuck with ponytails or messed up buns for the longest time. I certainly don’t have a waifish face either, but I looked up styles of pixie cuts and chose one I thought looked nice. The woman who cut my hair also helped me choose a style that would frame my face well, and it turned out lovely and fun! Plus, thicker hair just adds more texture, making the style super interesting. And the best part? If you’re having a “bad hair day” it either turns out to look cute or you can easily cover it completely with a hat. :)

  • Adrienne March 7th, 2012 12:10 AM

    I don’t have one, but I think pixie cuts are so cute! I definitely admire those who rock it. :) And it seems like a great way to show off some awesome earrings.

  • Susann March 7th, 2012 12:39 AM

    Great advice on updating vintage dresses!

  • ivoire March 7th, 2012 12:58 AM

    so jealous of girls who are pale. they look like such faeries omg.

  • Diama March 7th, 2012 1:48 AM

    To Liana from Australia: Little Edie (from Grey Gardens) could also serve as inspiration. I think she always looked so fierce wearing scarves on her head.

  • Diama March 7th, 2012 1:50 AM

    Oh, and Pixie Cut + Chandelier earrings = LOVE

  • mayaautumn March 7th, 2012 2:49 AM

    i’ve been thinking of getting my haircut but have no idea what style to get it cut. After reading this maybe a pixie cut is the way to go……. x

  • JessH March 7th, 2012 2:54 AM

    As a pale woman with a brunette pixie cut who often wears combat boots with dresses, I can safely say this is excellent advice. re: scarves, they look classy as hell and very retro. Think Isadora Duncan (without the breaking your neck on your car tire part).

  • TinaBallerina March 7th, 2012 3:22 AM

    These columns are always helpful. I loved the bits about pale skin and vintage dresses. I have super pale skin myself, and struggle to find light enough shades. I love the foundations from The Body Shop, but the one I have is half a shade too dark.

    Those who wants get pixie cuts: Go for it! I’ve seen photos of my mum when she was younger with a pixie cut, it was so pretty.

  • SparklyVulcan March 7th, 2012 8:48 AM

    Woohoo! Pale girls unite! :) Right now I’m almostalittlebit tan again, but a few weeks ago I was whitewhite because I had been sick for a few weeks and hadn’t been able to go outside. :D Also, next year I’m moving back to NH where I’m known as the whitest person around, which is a pretty big title since you can’t tan in NH anyway.

  • ellaronnie March 7th, 2012 8:53 AM

    I once had my sleeve rolled up and this girl went: “OMG! YOU LOOK LIKE EDWARD CULLEN!” and that was meant as a compliment.

  • Fanfanfarlo March 7th, 2012 11:52 AM

    I have sort of a curly undercut, and I freaking love it. I get told I’m boyish sometimes, even getting told I looked like Charlie France (though I am completely okay with that. He’s adorable). But I’m also told that people can’t imagine me possibly having long hair, and that my haircut is adorable. It’s so much easier to deal with, you can style it a bunch of different ways or not at all, and if you are not willing to go full-on pixie, it’s a nice in-between. :)

    I’m also super pale. The highlighter thing is the best tip. For eyes, though, I usually go with a smudged raisin eye-liner since black tends to look too dramatic.

  • FossilisedUnicorn March 7th, 2012 12:08 PM

    To toughen up cute dresses I luurvve my black leather Doc Martens, but especially my black velvet creepers! They give my dresses a little bit of punk. I also love the white versions, or the ones with leopard print, or the dark red velvet ones, or pink or mint ones or neon-coloured or GOD I WISH I WAS A RICH GIRL.

  • Jaimi March 7th, 2012 1:13 PM

    The best and most affordable foundation for super pale skin I’ve found is L’Oreal True Match. It comes in a range of tones: Warm, Neutral, and Cool. It’s actually light enough for my extremely pale skin. My best friend (who is also very pale) swears by it, too. Most ‘porcelain’ shades are too dark and look orange-y. Not this one though, and it’s like $9 to $12 at drug stores. I’m in lurrrve!

  • cocolarue March 7th, 2012 3:43 PM

    This post is extremely relevant!
    I too am deathly pale with dark hair. CAT-EYE ALL DAY ERRY DAY! I also just cut my super long hair. I couldn’t summon the courage to go pixie-short, but I did go a little longer than chin-length and I really like it. As a wearer of many dresses and skirts, I suggest motorcycle boots. I got a pair from my mommy for my birthday last year and they are my favorite shoes. They are durable and go with everything.

  • fizzingwhizbees March 7th, 2012 4:39 PM

    I also have very thick curly hair and a non-pixielike/heart-shaped face. I cut my hair very short a year or so ago and it was the best decision I ever made. It’s so much easier to take care of and it looks hella cool.

  • clady March 7th, 2012 10:39 PM

    damnit, so awesome! :S
    who likes playing polyvore

  • glendastjesus March 7th, 2012 11:31 PM

    Short hair is the best thing! I went from past the shoulder length hair, which was thick and annoying, to a pixie and it was the best decision of my life. And who’s a man, or anybody for that matter, to dictate what you should do with yourself?

  • stellar March 8th, 2012 1:34 AM

    all the short hair gender ‘interpretations’ means is that those people are seriously stuck on who ‘gets’ to wear it that way…well, it’s yr hair, and if they can’t ‘tell’ whether u r a boy or a girl just because of that, they r pretty dense!
    me too w the fair complexion–for years i’ve been ribbed for ‘not being tan; get a tan..’ uh, who said i wanted one in the first place? more like others imposing their preferences on me; better to just call them out on that..but it’s not ‘nice’ for them to found out about that ..

  • stellar March 8th, 2012 1:37 AM

    p.s. the not-being-identifiable gender thing can be a lot of fun, too!!

  • suriKatka March 8th, 2012 8:28 AM

    to Weighed Down: If your heart longs for short hair, do it! (I’ve cut my hair from really long to really short three times so far) But before you do, I recommend some research – google up some short hair girls photos, compare their style and face features with yours, so you can pick a cut that will suit you. Bring it to your hairdresser with you. (She or he is probably going to have many photos there, too) Also, your face becomes more prominent with short hair.
    Think about your hair type (straight? wavy when wet or shorter? stubborn?) and remember, that not only you will surely need some time to get used to it, but your hair as well! e.g., if you part it in the middle or on one side, it’s probably going to continue this habit for a while, until it eventually lies down..
    One unfortunate thing about short hair is, that you can`t just tie it up in a bun and go, washed or not – you always have to do something with it, however it takes less time than wash and blow the long one.
    And one last thing – you never know which style suits you better until you try!
    Good luck

  • MaggietheCat March 8th, 2012 1:57 PM

    Sunscreen! Pale girls and all other girls: wear sunscreen!

    Here’s a trick for all women, but especially those of us who are so fair that blush can look too bright/ unintentionally crazy: pick a blush color that goes with the color of the inside of your lip. This way your blush will look natural because its a color that is found in your complexion, not like you were attacked at a makeup counter.

  • Cadrilla March 12th, 2012 10:18 AM

    Saoirse Ronan is perfect.

  • radiofireworks March 15th, 2012 4:59 PM

    Totally backing up the Illamasqua foundation advice for pale girls! I am SERIOUSLY pale – Mac’s lightest shade looks like oompa-loompa orange on me – and Illamasqua recently introduced a new light shade between their pure white and their next palest shade (I believe it’s called 105 – and it’s white with pink undertones. I use a mixture of that shade in their rich liquid foundation (which is SUPER thick, more of a concealer or stage makeup) and their light liquid foundation (super-dewy and glowy and lovely) in 115 and it’s perfect for me. Illamasqua are seriously my makeup saviour!

  • EmilyD May 8th, 2012 4:13 PM

    In sixth grade I pulled out enough of my hair that I had a lot of weird bald patches, and my solution was to wear a black beret pulled towards the back of my head so it looked a bit like a snood, and wear a lot of black clothes to match, so I looked like a beatnik. My school allowed hats though, so I know that wouldn’t work for everyone. Good luck though. Loosing your hair seriously sucks.