The great thing about makeup and box braids is if I don't get it quite right, it's an easy fix.

And I have had some missteps recently. Lately I've been dabbling in pastels and "softer colors" in some misguided attempt to recapture the youth I haven't technically even lost yetjust to play around. The dusty rose/millennial pink/baby pink shades that have blown up recently are among the only pinks that I feel actually look good on me as far as fabric, but in matte lipstick, it's been a little less than appealing.

Eleven different shades of soft pink lipstick are stood next to a smear of their respective shades on a white background

I have been personally victimized by every shade pictured here.

Apparently the secret to not making yourself look like a racist cartoon caricaturewas lipliner, but we'll look back into learning how to do that later. For this outfit, I turned my attention to pastel purple.

Editor April B walks along a sidewalk wearing a short gray leopard print dress, black tights, ankle boots, and a destroyed black jacket
Cassandra JK/April B

That's Anastasia Beverly Hills on my lips in Clover.

I'm no stranger to fun colors on my face, but I'll usually go darker rather than lighter. To be honest, sometimes it's difficult to tell whether or not that's out of an honest aesthetic choice, or from internalized racism telling me my lips are too much to be played up. So I figure why not push the personal envelope!

Editor April B grants the camera an exaggerated smile/snarl
Cassandra JK/April B

This is the face I give anyone trying to hate. #Iwilleatyou

Similarly, the half n' half with pastel pink was another experiment in standing out. I'm very fortunate in that I work for a company and in a city where by and large, technicolor dream hair isn't necessarily frowned upon.

I've always thought that one of the cruelest things in life (well, outside of redlining, or war, etc.) was that we're expected to be in preparation for a straight laced job from the second we can stand up by ourselves. As far as fashion goes, I think that's really unfair. You spend all of your school years not able to do anything interesting with your look because you're "getting ready for the real world". Then, in any secondary education, you don't necessarily have rules in place, but you're told the same thing. Then, when you go actually get a job, it's "Well, didn't you get all that out when you were younger? You're an adult now."

When on earth is everyone supposed to have their fun?

Not saying that I expect we should all get to go to work in sequined corsets and fruit hats, but it's nice to be able to take little risks now and again. Besides as far as school goes, I remember being WAY more distracted by [insert list of cute boys here] than I ever was by anyone out of dress code. I'd name names, but the 10-year reunion is coming up and I'd like to fly under the radar.

Fun fact: I'd actually planned to go even MORE over the top with this outfit by adding some Sailor Moon/Scary Spice-style buns to the top of my head.

Editor April B swishes black and pink box braids over her shoulder
Cassandra JK/April B

It was more like "Zigga Zig-AAAAAAUGH!", so I nixed it.

And as far as pushing envelopes, the way this outfit came about was pretty interesting. That dress is actually a sweet hand-me-down from my impeccably stylish mother. I've finally managed to talk her out of buying or keeping clothes two sizes larger than she needs, and since I'm that size exactly, I've been reaping the benefits.The wonderfully... um... "ventilated" jacket is an old Tripp NYC design that I bought through my favorite ATX purveyors of weirdness over at Secret Oktober. I've never been opposed to grabbing anyone's sartorial seconds—it leaves me extra cash for buying weird lipstick! I'm sure not using the cash to redo my hair for all that new growth apparently...not that I'm complaining. This vitamin WORKS, y'all.I'm not sure what I'd like to try next, or how hard I might giggle looking back at me from the future, but I look forward to keeping my style options open!And to future-me... be nice.

Editor April B sternly glances at the camera over the top of her glasses
Cassandra JK/April B

I can stop going to the gym THIS QUICK, don't test me.

Do you like to experiment with your look?
No, I have my signature look down already.
Yes, but not with anything too permanent.
Constantly! Team Chameleon all the way!