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My Picks from Essie Winter 2013

After the surprise (and confusion) of Encrusted Treasures, the familiarity of Essie's Winter 2013 collection is reassuring.  Half of the collection's six shades are creams.  They're joined by a subtle shimmer, a surprisingly bold pearl, and a glittery jelly.  This is a completely standard Essie collection, but it's what they're best at and I was drawn to three of these new shades and bought them at CVS as soon as I could.  I passed on Mind Your Mittens because that kind of color is usually bad on me.  I skipped Parka Perfect and Shearling Darling for the opposite reason.  They're too me, so I'm sure I have similar.  I'll admit it up front, I bought Toggle To The Top specifically to compare it to last year's Leading Lady.  I wanted to see for myself how similar they really are.  That comparison is down at the bottom.  Let's look at my other two picks first.

Warm & Toasty Turtleneck is a slightly dusty warm lilac cream.

I initially passed on this too, but wound up going back after liking it the more I saw it in other people's photos.  I love it on me!  It's crazily flattering and is perfect for winter.  I'd almost call it SFW, but I'm not sure if it would pass inspection where I work.  I might go for it sometime anyway, since it's about as subtle as a non-neutral color can get.  There's something calm and soft about it.  The formula's pretty standard for Essie.  In other words, it's thin and slightly runny.  This is three coats.

Sable Collar is a medium brown with plummy undertones and a smoky, somewhat pearly shimmer.

Normally I can't abide a pearl.  I'll make a huge exception here.  I love Sable Collar.  I looked at it through leaves and tiny acorns for almost a week before finally getting tired of it.  I'm not sure if I'd feel comfortable wearing it to work on its own, but the stamped mani went to work with me five times and no one said anything.  It's a tough color to describe and tough to photograph too, but it's gorgeous whatever it is and is surprisingly changeable with the lighting.  This is two coats and the formula is a bit gloppy, but not unworkable.

Toggle To The Top has a raspberry jelly base with a fine shimmer and a scattering of small red glitter.

It's festive and glowing, but there's no doubt about it, it's a lot like Leading Lady.  I've seen it called a dupe and I've seen it defended as distinct.  I wanted to judge for myself and I had coupons, so it came home with me just to be scrutinized.  This is two coats and it goes on a bit awkwardly.  It's crazythick like Leading Lady, but the glitter isn't as dense.  It can look a bit patchy because of it.  Still, I was able to get it to look even enough without a fight.

....and now that comparison.  Intense direct sun first.  Both polishes are two coats.

Leading Lady on ring

Well, it's not a complete dupe, but it's seriously dupey.  Toggle's a bit darker, the glitter is less dense, and it has more of the delicate shimmer.  The difference is a little more apparent in indirect light.

Leading Lady on ring

The color and glitter contrasts are more obvious here, but they're still strikingly similar polishes.  I like Leading Lady more than Toggle, for its denser glitter and more festive color.  I'm surprised that Essie would put out something so familiar the very next year.  They should have called Toggle "Understudy" because it wants desperately to be Leading Lady, but doesn't quite measure up.

Bottom line: Big yes to both Warm & Toasty Turtleneck and Sable Color, but Toggle To The Top is completely missable because it's only a slight variation on the more impressive Leading Lady.

Do any of you own both Toggle To The Top and Leading Lady?  Are you as stumped as I am or do you think they're different enough to justify having both?


  1. Pretty swatches! I love Sable Collar.

  2. Funnily, I ordered Sable Collar online last night all because of your 'Brocade Mani'. I like how you show your swatches and I like that you're honest with your opinions.


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