Building a Solid Foundation pt. iii The Extras

The purpose of undergarments are to provide a smooth foundation on which to build your outfit. I don’t want it to come off that I think fashion is all work and no play–you’re supposed to have fun with it!! This edition of “Building a Solid Foundation” does just that: builds on the first two posts (which you can read here and here). You need to have the simple basics before you can add in the frivolous extras. Although, sometimes the extras aren’t so frivolous…

I may not have the largest chest in the world, but I have enough that not wearing a bra isn’t often an option. Then comes every girls’ dilemma: bras often limit what you can/cannot wear. HELLO ADHESIVES!! I love wearing plunging necklines and backless dresses–2 styles that are not bra friendly. I began my research earlier this summer and found my new best friends: 2: Braza’s Reveal Adhesive Bra, 6: Fashion Form’s NuBra Ultalite. Number 6 provides a great shape, but your night may be cut short if you sweat a bit–the adhesive slowly peeled away making me cross my arms for the rest of the night to hold it in place. Number 2 provides such a light lift you feel like you have nothing on! (And the adhesive stayed put All. Day. Long.)

Now here’s the fun part:

While I do think that unmentionables should remain unmentioned, there are times when I think they should show, too. I’ve often worn bandeaus (5) under super skimpy tanks, lacy bralettes (3) under low-cut shirts, and slips under shorter dresses to add a cute trim to my hem (8 & 9). I have yet to try bras as full-on shirts (1, 7, & 4 if under a blazer), but in no way shape or form am i opposed to it. But I will say: there is a fine line between sexy and skanky, so be weary.

Shopping Tip #2: Be Wary of Shopping Buddies

Going shopping with a few close girlfriends may sound like the perfect bonding activity, but it can wreak havoc on your wallet and last for hours. With a group of women time seems to fly by: each one gravitates towards items of their own tastes, picks through, tries on, comments on each others’ picks, etc. It’s fine if you know you won’t get much accomplished in the span of 4 hours, but if you’re actually trying to shop productively the last thing you want is a group of wishy-washy “yes men.”

You need someone who is going to have the same intention as you: shopping to get specific items in mind. If your friend won’t:

  • – be honest in the fitting room
  • – offer constructive comments
  • – encourage you to get something before at least asking, “what else will you wear it with?”

…she may be less helpful than you think. You should look to bring someone who will be brutally honest in the nicest way possible with no hidden intentions. I personally enjoy shopping alone. I used to shop with friends until I realized that some girls: say yes to something because they don’t have the heart to say no, say yes because it’s their taste and want to borrow it in the future, or they encourage you to buy so they can “live vicariously through you” (as odd as that sounds, it’s happened when girlfriends are on a low budget).

________________________________________________

My logic has come down to this:

While trying on, if you look in the mirror and legitimately need someone else’s opinion, you should not buy that item.

When you put a new garment or accessory on your body, if you do not feel adoration or if the item does not evoke some sort of emotion and make you feel good in a certain way then you should not buy it. No one else’s opinion is going to help you decide whether or not you will wear something. If I am not confident enough to know that I will definitely wear it or that I “need” it, I will not buy the shirt/shoes/bag/dress/whatever.

Shop smart, shop confidently 🙂

photos via, via

Building a Solid Foundation pt. ii Panty Edition

It’s Girls’ Night with you and your friends. You’re the last of the group to finish primping, and as you step back from the mirror to carefully eye yourself from head to toe your eyes stop mid-way. The sexiness of your outfit has been snuffed by the dreaded diagonal lines digging into your behind. The ever-famous VPL: Visible Panty Line. No matter how fabulous your outfit is, keeping your undergarments unseen (i.e. your panties) will make a world of difference.

The Fit: Much like your bra, the proper fit of your panties will almost make you feel like you don’t have any on. You won’t be fidgeting to prevent a wedgie, worried that your panties are peeking, or concerned that your love handles are being man-handled by elastic. You will feel better. Your clothes will fit better. What could be better?

Panties are a bit different than bras. You can wear one bra per week, but you can go through at least one pair of panties per day. That being said, panties aren’t nearly as tactile of an investment as their supportive cousins, but thought should still go into which panties you buy. I think every woman should own 3 staple panties to enhance her wardrobe: low rise thong, high rise thong, and low rise hipster. When it comes to underwear I don’t have too many I genuinely don’t like. There is almost always a good purpose for a particular cut of panty: Boyshort? Sleeping and doing yoga at home. “Granny-panties”? Who doesn’t need a comfy pair around mid-month? But the 3 I specified are easy and comfortable solutions to enhance your wardrobe above all else.

The Fabric: I am a firm believer in cotton panties–a breathable fabric that is easily washed and comfortable for every day wear. Then there are nylon versions that look near-flawless under most fabrics. A little luxe lace every once in a while is a personal treat, but often rivals clingy skirts and dresses. Attention to the actual fabric of panties is only 1 of 2 things I consider; color is my next concern. Never knowing what colors, cuts, or textiles of the season may catch my eye, I opt for the simplest solution: a cotton thong in a “nude” as close to my skin tone as possible. I always want my clothes to talk, not the bulge, pudge, or peek from under my clothes. While your outfit may provide reasons for your bra to show, there is never a reason to have your panties show. Again, the two colors to seek out: classic black and a “nude” that is as close to your skin tone as possible. “Nude” or “buff” does not apply to all–finding one that matches your complexion will make red wine the only concern while wearing white jeans and ivory dresses.

The One(s): In addition to the 3 I mentioned before, here are all 7 recommendations for staple panties:

1. Low rise bikini (nude) 2. Low rise bikini (black) 3. Low rise G-string 4. High rise thong 5. Low rise thong 6. Low rise hipster (nude) 7. Low rise hipster (black)

Each one is meant to let your clothes do the talking, based on what you want them to say. Rock that mini, don those jeggings, and work that bandage skirt without worrying about the VPL.

Building a Solid Foundation pt. i

No matter how fabulous your outfit is, the garments that are unseen (i.e. your bra) can make a world of difference.

The Fit: The proper fit of your bra will almost make you feel like you don’t have one on. You won’t be tugging to keep your girls contained, straps in place, or bra band from migrating. You will feel better. Your clothes will fit better. Who could be happier? To maintain a proper-fitting bra remember to get remeasured every 6 months. This sounds a bit often, but think of the weight fluctuations that happen from your Summer bikini body to your day-after-Thanksgiving body. No one likes to compare the two, but see the reasoning?

Now comes the unfortunate truth…a woman should own AT LEAST 3 staple bras to enhance her wardrobe: a lightly lined demi or full coverage, a simple strapless, and a plunge or scoop bra. I do not think that any woman needs a push-up bra. Aside from being “false advertising,” I have seen far more girls resemble Dolly Parton than I have Heidi Klum (more crass than class). Don’t forget: a bra is made to enhance the real you, not replace your real boobs.

The Fabric: I am a firm believer in seamless Nylon or elastane bras–they provide a smooth coverage that looks near-flawless under most fabrics. A little luxe lace every once in a while is a personal treat, but often rivals clingy tops. Actual fabric of the bra aside, my most sought attribute: color of the bra. I always want my clothes to talk, not the bra from under my clothes. Unless purposely donning a neon hue or a black bra under a sheer top, your bra should be invisible. The two colors to seek out: classic black and one that is as close to your skin tone as possible. “Nude” or “buff” does not apply to all–finding one that matches your complexion will make wearing white shirts and semi-sheer shirts a breeze.

The One(s): As I said before, “a woman should own AT LEAST 3 staple bras”…well here are my recommended 7:

1. Lightly Lined Demi Bra 2. Balcony Bra 3. Strapless Push-up Bra 4. Strapless Bra 5. Bandeau 6. Full Coverage/Racerback Bra 7. Plunge Bra

Each one is meant to let your clothes do the talking, based on what you want them to say. Have you worn anything interesting lately?

Shopping Tip #1: Make A List

There is nothing worse than reviewing a purchase once you’re home from shopping to realize you bought nothing necessary, intended, nor anything you will actually get good use out of. I view shopping as a time to evaluate what my wardrobe needs for the season/weekend/event and to buy accordingly. It’s only when I have excess budget (ha!) that I tend to buy other items like when I stock up on basics (bras, tanks, tees, leggings, etc). Otherwise, it’s a smart choice to look at your wardrobe to see what you really need and make a list accordingly.

Ever panic when you have a cocktail party to attend?

You need to invest in a versatile LBD and fun heels that can be worn for several occasions (for instance: a simple pump in a fun color for a pop).

Ever feel self-conscious in non-flattering work attire?

You have 1 of 2 options: invest in tailoring for the items you already own (typically much cheaper than buying new) OR investing in well-tailored suiting, separates, knits, and smart pumps.

Ever feel frumpy when your girlfriends want to have a night out?

You need to invest in some cute “going-out” clothes: tops, skirts, dresses, small purses or clutch bags, and possibly heels or flats.

Whatever your reason for shopping, it’s not always a good idea to meander and purchase whatever catches your eye. Gravitate towards those pieces, but then look at it with a constructive eye, “I know I really like this structured jacket, but what can I wear it with out of the pieces I already own?”-OR-“I’ve been looking for an interesting new tote; is this the shape I want? The material I want? The design? The color? The price I want?”

Shop smart, shop confidently 🙂