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Soft / Tough

6 years ago by

Soft / Tough

How to find the perfect balance between strength and softness, even when it comes to beauty?

It’s one of those things that we’re all pursuing; we want that strong look but with a little tenderness around the edges. (Ok, so maybe we’re not just talking about hair or makeup here now…)(“Be tough” vs “Be vulnerable” — it’s all super complicated)

And that internal conflict is something that manifests in what we search for in how we look. 

So maybe that’s why I was so enamored with the beauty look at Carven this season. The easy, soft wave that flowed behind models as they strolled down the runway, the bare makeup felt real – not overdone. But it was this simplicity – as though each of them had strolled off a Fellini set – contrasted with Ana’s subtle septum piercing that really had me smitten. It made me believe that grunge truly is a classic (or did we know that already?). 

I had a nose ring for years, and it was something that I always had to consider, and I tiptoed around a little at times — I started avoiding heavy leather and more masculine silhouettes. Instead, I retreated to a more feminine approach to style and beauty. 

And so, I wonder how much tough you let in and how much soft? Do we all do the counterbalancing act? With a piercing or a haircut, or something less obvious? And where do you find that perfect balance?


Add yours
  • Neada,
    I would love if you did a post going deeper on this issue of being tough vs being vulnerable; get your take on the subject. I think you hit on one of the harder challenges out there especially for us girl/woman and all the expectations placed on us to be the gentle sex, but also having to compete in such a cutthroat society. We live in a society that although preaching about the values of being open, we collectively look down on those people who are soft/open and friendly. The ultimate cool person is a b****/a**hole who acts like the other person doesn’t matter, and everything is beneath them. So everyone is always trying to act like they are too good for this world, but then if they don’t act like this, other people won’t really appreciate them as they would be too accessible and who wants what is accessible… Any way, I used to think the toughest person was someone who was really sharp, but now I’ve found that the people who are able to be vulnerable and not be bitter or become an a**hole in such a tough world, are the toughest people out there! I hope I become one of those one day:)

  • As for the clothing… I always loved the contrast of hard/architectural/leather and soft and flowy.

  • it’s good to have a nice balance. I don’t know what the good balance is but it’s definitely a good thing to think about

    Ray-Ban giveaway on my blog!


  • Encountered this same problem when getting dressed this past Saturday night. I was wearing a silk slip dress and desperately wanted to pare it with a leather jacket. It was suggested to me that the jacket was far too tough for the dress. The only way I could think of adding a bit of edge was a silver ring on my knuckle. Otherwise, I think I failed to get the proper balance.

  • I think about this a lot as well. I have a nose ring, ears full of piercings and a couple small tattoos. I’ve always loved skating that line of strength vs soft. I love making the edgy bits feel soft and feminine. I love the contrast but extra decorations come with a need for balance. I try to be somewhere in the middle of strong and tender. Whether it’s what I’m wearing or the jewelry I wear in my piercing(only small gold hoops like the image), my beauty look etc. It is a balancing act, something I am pretty aware of, that I want to find softness in my edges and vice versa. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t(!) but that’s the game of self expression isn’t it?

    xx Janelle


  • Contrast is key for a completed look – feminity and strength, modern yet classic.


  • Maybe you are asking the wrong question Who says you need a balance? Who tells you when you are “balanced?” Be who you are and don’t care too much about others opinions. Especially about how you want to dress.

  • To your point regarding adjusting your style of dress after the nose piercing, I recently cut off my long hair for the first time since I was 12 years old (yet even then, it was a bob and it’s now a modified pixie–actually, I used Garance’s “chop” as a reference.) I now find myself wanting to dress in a much more feminine way. Before my chop I owned like 3 lip glosses and 2 lipsticks, and after I almost immediately ran out and bought 11 lip glosses and 11 lipsticks in colors I had never dreamed of wearing! Before the chop I considered buying a new pair of tassel loafers, and afterwards I nixed the idea after trying a pair on and feeling very masculine (not in a good way) and instead bought a pair of 2.5 inch block heel thick strappy sandals.
    It’s funny how little changes to our appearance can make us want to change even more, especially because making the initial change may have seemed like such a huge deal to begin with!

  • Oh I absolutely love the contrast of subtle and strength. Daring, edgy, bold and somewhat insolent….but delicate and femenin.It doesen´t get more provocative and creative than this.


  • This is a really difficult question to answer, especially in our times, where (let’s say it) we have to be more a man than a woman. We have to get tough in order to be accepted and taken seriously in our society. The worst is that we do that ourselves. I have to admit, that it’s more difficult for me to take seriously someone in a “girly” outfit (you know, the pink kind, with a ponytail). This is unfortunate. Here’s the reason why grunge, rock, piercings and androgyne is so popular.

  • Madeliene Rose October, 6 2015, 8:01 / Reply

    I love these two contradictory elements and i think the shot you have used here tells exactly how beautiful blending something rough with something delicate and frail looking. This is my version of beauty – blending contradictory elements thus making people stop and look more closely.


  • C’est vraiment dur d’équilibrer parfois; Même si on sait qu’on doit le faire, on a souvent envie d’être soit plus girly, soit plus ‘tough’. La photo est en tout cas très belle, et elle illustre parfaitement le sujet !


  • Such a beautiful women with stunning makeup! Love the subtile nose ring.


  • I think these young model can pull off any ‘look’.

    And I would like to quote Yohji Yamamotto on this subject. We ( man/women ) are the same. I dont see why women should fall into the traditional definition of feminine or masculine. Any sex can have any of the characteristics.

    ” We are different in body. But the same in spirit. “, he said. I agree. All this classification is rather superficial. A women in a dress can look tough ( Anna W ). A women sporting thrifted masculine wear can be super sensitive ( Patti S ).

    These definitions need to go !

  • je trouve que ce genre d’anneau fin est magnifique, il peut faire le meme effet qu’un fin bijoux doré, bague, collier ou bracelet. moi j’opterais peut etre plus pour un faux piercing pour ne pas l’avoir tout le temps mais sinon je trouve que ca peut vraiment aller avec tout les styles.

  • Gunnar Berli October, 31 2015, 9:42 / Reply

    How do you girls like boys and men with fade or high fade haircut?

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