Friday, September 18, 2009

Urban Outfitters swatches: Purple 2 and Blue 2 & rambling on regalia

These cute cube-capped square-based bottles with weird stamped patterns in black on the front are all over Urban Outfitters but I've never seen them anywhere else. I can't find a brand name for these either so I'm just calling these Urban Outfitter polishes. 2 for $8 or 1 for $5, these are, in my opinion, not particularly good value for their cost. They're very sheer and in need of at least three coats to build up the color. But they are so sticky that building up the color past two coats has a good chance of ruining the entire mani thus far. (I should try adding thinner to these sometime.) The brushes were also falling apart on me, making the whole experience a pretty exasperating half hour of my life.

I wish I remembered the three I bought and returned -- a light green, yellow and an orange -- so I could point out that those were particularly exasperating. These following two, however, were alright and I quite like the second one.

Urban Outfitters Purple 2
I've been looking for a good word to describe this sort of color. Wikipedia's list of colors --'cause that's SO scientific -- seems to tell me that "purple" or "byzantine" (a magenta-leaning purple) is best. Since my personal concept of "purple" is more blue-toned... umm... this byzantine... jelly is pretty sheer. Three coats is pictured above. Jellies may be popular but I swear, it's a company's way of saving money: very little pigment in a lot of clear base.

Urban Outfitters Blue 2

Three coats. Sure, there's still VNL but it's less obvious than the previous one and the application is far more even. That and I love this light cornflower blue shade. Almost Columbia University blue but even lighter and a tad more saturated.

Excuse me while I geek out: one of my favorite academic ceremony games -- one of the only ones, besides those based on drinking at certain times during speeches -- is Name That Regalia. While watching the big Convocation ceremony at the beginning of our master's program, a fellow higher ed nut and I had more fun than should be allowed arguing over whether this one light blue regalia was Yale blue or Columbia blue. (It was Columbia blue, of course. Columbia blue is light blue; Yale blue is a medium blue closer to denim blue.)

For those who don't know about academic regalia: though the robe may be black for anyone from any school with any degree, many institutions have specific doctoral robes. The institutions may be identified by the colors of their doctoral robes and sometimes by the embroidery on the panels running from shoulder to bottom of gown in the front: for instance, Harvard uses what it calls "crimson" and has those squiggly things (what are they called?). My linguistics professor, who got his doctorate at the University of Massachusetts (which also uses a bright red) always maintained that Harvard's regalia looked "magenta". NYU has its signature blurple (gorgeous color!) and embroideries of their torches.

Then there's UTexas at Dallas, which is made up of some of my favorite nail polish colors but is an eyesore. (Who designed that?! Thankfully, the entire U Texas system is not all doomed to it. It seems that campuses picked their own regalia, unlike the U California system which uses the same on all campuses.) And MIT's, like the part of town in which it is located, is drab and ugly. Seriously, red and grey? They used to be some much nicer combination of colors. Blue and grey, I think. Maybe they wanted to stand out.

Anyway, across many institutions, these poofy polyester mockeries of mediaeval garb with the bell sleeves and the three velvet stripes indicate the doctoral degree (the highest degree attainable). Next down is the master's degree. No stripes as far as I know and the sleeves are weird oblong things that I interacted with a lot at my own graduation: I managed to trip over the stupid hanging-to-almost-the-ground sleeves while walking to the ceremony (causing me to collide with a parked car). But it wasn't all bad, because I hid snacks in them which were then consumed during the five hour ordeal. Finally, the baccalaureate degrees are usually just open sleeves. (Best option for ceremonies at the beginning and end of summer!)

There's also Name that Hood, an extension of Name that Regalia, where you are in theory supposed to be able to discern exactly from what "faculty" the hooded person has earned their degree. Because of the types of schools I went to, I've seen a lot of blue hoods (indicating a "Doctor of Philosophy" which is an academic research degree, as opposed to, say, the traditionally purple "Doctor of Law" or green "Doctor of Medicine" degrees). The hoods basically hang off of the backs of their wearers, choking the front of their necks slightly with their weight. (At least, that's how my linguistics prof described it.)

So... for those color-conscious of you applying for graduate programs so that you may teach at a university one day, you might think to check in advance the colors you will be stuck with if you achieve the degree you're aiming for. Because that's OBVIOUSLY the most important thing to pay attention to when picking a degree program. :)

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Lucy said...

I will be skipping those polishes. There's nothing special about these. I don't like VNL too much. If it's a special color than it's okay.

mKat said...

I think that purple might be really pretty if you sponged it for nail art and deliberately embraced the sheer. Actually, I think it would be great for that!

(Interesting discussion on the robes btw!)

augusta said...

i keep my nails real short, so i dont have to worry about vnl. i've seen the colors that are available at urban outfitters, and i was tempted, but for the amount you get for that price, i'm not sure it's wuite worth it. thank you for telling us that they're essentially a waste of eight bucks. and the brushes were falling out on you?, i havent even had that kind of trouble with wetnwilds'!

Erika said...

Well, I knew I never really liked Dallas anyway, ha. My parents and I were actually trying to figure out where all of the law school faculty got their degrees when my sister graduated (I swear we were paying attention to the ceremony!) and ooof-- thank goodness it's an honor to wear those monstrosities, right?

Amd I have green 2, 3, and 4 in these, and I like them, although they DO need thinning. And the brush is waaaay too long.

BTW, the word you're looking for is "tyrian," I think. I've always seen red-based purples described as tyrian purples, but then I'm not sure what blue-based purples are called to distinguish the difference, ha.

flinty said...

Lucy: Yeah, these polishes are very easily overlooked. UO is much better off carrying the new LA Girl lines -- such great polishes!

mKat: IS YOUR ICON THE SACKBOY?? OMG, I think it's the cutest thing on earth. My SO was obsessed with that game and bought me a crocheted Sackboy from Etsy for our.. anniversary, I think it was. :) You're probably right about the nail art thing. And I agree in general about embracing the inherent qualities of a polish rather than wishing it were something else. ;)

augusta: not all the brushes were (not the ones I swatched) but... yeah, your money's better off spent on $1-2 WnWs! (A great cheap ds brand, imo. I have a few swatches from their polishes that I've been wanting to show off.)

erika: a freakishly expensive honor. Those things can cost $700; a cheap set of regalia is, like, $350. I'm starting to save up for mine now. ;) Academic ceremonies are so incredibly tiresome and I would never fault anyone for not paying attention. I've brought books to almost all ones I've been to. As for tyrian, I think you're right... do you either study art or classical history? Because I can't think of many places one would hear red-based purples described as "tyrian"! :D

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