Professionalesque, Part 2: Urban Decay Rapture

As you know, I’m going on the academic job market for the first time this fall. Accordingly, I’m now interviewing lipsticks for the position of Interview Lipstick. Am I doing this to put off compiling my job materials? Maybe, but there’s no denying that first impressions are important.

Academia has no set dress code. In fact, most rules in academia are unwritten. You’re expected to just know, through intuition or social osmosis, how to structure an article, where to sit during a seminar presentation, and what to wear to an interview. I’ve encountered competing philosophies re: attire (and re: everything else, for that matter). Some people seem to think that a job candidate should skip makeup and wear an understated outfit in order to let her words do the talking. Others think it’s an advantage to wear something that leaves an impression. Personally, I lean toward the second theory. My boyfriend tells me that when one of his advisers interviewed for her current job, she wore a teal suit that people still remember nearly 15 years later. I’m not sure I’m teal-suit confident, at least not yet, but I also don’t want to look mousy and diffident. Too many grad students try to make themselves invisible. And for me, nothing is better for faking heightening confidence than high-heeled boots and a really nice lipstick. I want a lipstick that makes a statement, but not so much of a statement that it’s all anyone remembers about me (“what was that goth-lipstick girl’s dissertation about?”).

Enter my first candidate: Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Rapture, a dusty plum-rose.

Rapture is my second Revolution lipstick; my first was peachy-pink Streak, which I bought in early 2014 and wore constantly this spring and summer. All the Revolution lipsticks have the same sleek, heavy, two-toned metal packaging: gray on the outside, purple on the inside. My tube of Streak is a bit problematicthe lipstick bullet wobbles in the tube when I apply itbut that must be a fluke, because Rapture’s tube works beautifully.

Rapture’s color is also a better match for the Urban Decay packaging:

My mom was kind enough to buy me Rapture at San Francisco’s brand-new Ulta store last week, despite her belief that I have quite enough lipstickswhich, yes, but that’s not the point. I didn’t have anything quite like Rapture, and I’ve wanted such a shade for a while: a cross between a vampy plum and a neutral MLBB. Let’s call it MLBV: “my lips but vampier.”

Before settling on Rapture, I considered a few different lipsticks in the purplish MLBV color family: NARS Anna (worn here), ColourPop Lumière, and OCC Lydia. But I didn’t fancy experimenting with the temperamental Lip Tar formula or paying $32 for another Audacious lipstick, and you know how I feel about ColourPop. I was also superstitiously attracted to Rapture’s name: who wouldn’t want to enrapture a committee of interviewers?

Color-wise, Rapture sits between two of my favorite lipsticks: MAC Up the Amp (brighter, cooler) and Revlon Sultry (warmer, pinker). Left to right: Up the Amp, Rapture, Sultry.

Whereas Streak is semi-sheer, Rapture is fully opaque, and it feels soft and creamy on my lips. The Revolution formula reminds me of MAC’s Amplified formula: it’s on the heavy side, it has a bit of sheen, and it wears off quickly with eating or drinking. The flat tip of the bullet makes application slightly difficult, especially on my smaller top lip; but Streak got worn into a more convenient shape with time, and I trust Rapture will, too.

Rapture fits in perfectly with this year’s nostalgia for the ’90s (I’ve been scouring my childhood bedroom for my tattoo choker, but have found only butterfly clips and Velcro hair gems), so it makes sense that Urban Decay included a matching shade in its new line of blushes. I swatched a few of the blushes in the UK back in June; Rapture is the second swatch in the column on the left.

Rapture also comes in a sheer formula if you’re into that kind of thing, but I’m not; I like my rapture opaque.

Here I’ve put together a professionalesque look with Rapture as the centerpiece. Along with concealer, mascara, and clear brow gel, I’m wearing ColourPop Bill (matte pinky-purple taupe) and theBalm Serious (matte black) on my eyes, and NARS Mata Hari on my cheeks. Please ignore my wet hair.

I’ve fallen in love with matte eyeshadows this year. I still don’t like bright mattes, but neutral ones are just so versatile and unobtrusive, and that’s really what I want from my eye makeup. I might as well admit it.

Outside, on one of the creepily LA-like hot sunny days we’ve been having in San Francisco:

Overall, I’m delighted with Rapture, and I’d feel perfectly comfortable wearing it to an interview. My one fear, actually, is that it might not make enough of a statement. I suspect it will become my go-to teaching lipstick this semester; in the meantime, I’ll interview a few other lipstick candidates. What are your thoughts on interview makeup?

15 thoughts on “Professionalesque, Part 2: Urban Decay Rapture

  1. Haha, I love that: interviewing your lipsticks. I've been going back to the more \”professionalesque\” sort of shades myself — or rather, plan to, once fall weather really hits. (I think they'll look nice against all the dark, moody colours that are bound to take over.) For interviews, I believe in projecting the desired status quo to get the job and then gradually showing your deviant side once the job is secured and you become indispensable to the team. Good luck on your interviews!


  2. I'm in the midst of applying and interviewing and having daily small crises over what to wear in a professional environment (I have two weeks left on my current contract and of the many things I've learned this summer, a major one is that I hate dressing business casual and am also bad at it because I've worked in academia for a few years now).I find that my usual makeup is sufficient for interviewing, though I usually drop jewel-toned eyeliners in exchange for something more sedate. I try to walk the line between creative/fun and professional/capable.


  3. I'm a big fan of lip colours that are nearly neutral but not quite. Like, realistically your lips are probably not that colour, but nobody's going to look at you and think, \”WHOA. LIPSTICK.\” Rapture is a gorgeous colour!\”My lips but vampier\” is a perfect phrase for this phenomenon.Normally for interviews and such I keep my makeup very toned down, to such an extent that it is very unlike me. I guess I'm on the paranoid side. When I had my UK visa interview I did extremely neutral makeup even though obviously they wouldn't have denied me my visa because my lipstick was, like, a medium pink.


  4. I'm rather proud of it, myself! Though I guess the \”better\” of \”my lips but better\” already means \”darker,\” doesn't it? Or maybe just \”smoother\” or \”more evenly colored\”…who knows, really.


  5. I agree with you about interviews, but it would be easier if I were sure of the desired status quo for each job. I think it's wiser to err on the side of subtlety, though. And I doubt anyone will be as hyper-conscious of my makeup choices as I'll be!


  6. Oh, I haven't even started to tackle the question of what clothes to wear. Business casual is my default, actually: give me a few blazers and pencil skirts and I'm happy. But I'm not sure a blazer and pencil skirt will be fancy enough for an interview, and I, uh, can't really afford anything fancier. I assume the answers to all these questions will become clearer with time…


  7. Yeah, I talk a big game about my love for bold lipsticks, but I almost always play it safe in professional situations. I've learned the hard way that men often interpret red lipstick as a sign that one is, shall we say, open to flirtation. It's a shame that that's the case, but it is, and I can't exactly change it single-handedly (mouthedly?).I share your love for nearly-neutral lipsticks. Since my coloring is on the cool side, my favorite lipsticks in that category are purplish. Up the Amp, for instance, looks like LIPSTICK! in the tube but doesn't stand out too dramatically on my face.


  8. loving plum colors like this lately! I just got around to buying Anna, so I think I'll have to hold off from picking up Rapture for now!


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