Advice + Ask The Edit

Ask The Edit: Vol IV, No. Twenty-Four

Hi There!

I love your blog so much. This question may be TMI but I’m getting married and my wedding dress doesn’t allow me to wear a bra. It looks great without a bra but I think I would feel a little more comfortable if I was able to do a little boob tape to just keep everything up and in place if you know what I mean. I’m curious if you’ve ever used any boob lift tape and if you have any brands or ways to do it that you recommend. Thanks so much!

XO, Jordan

Many years ago, I competed in pageants…so I know a thing or two about taping.

There are several ways to tape your breasts.  There’s the standard way.  There’s the way Kim Kardashian does it.  There’s also a way to tape so that your breasts look bigger.  There are even ways to tape so it does the same job as a strapless bra.

How you tape is not nearly as important as the kind of tape you use.  I’ve seen girls use painters tape, packing tape, even duct tape (ouch, like seriously, ouch).  I recommend gaffer’s tape; it’s like a cross between masking tape and electrical tape.  It tears easily, removes easily, and it’s cheap.  If you’re concerned about the tape showing, try clear medical tape, instead.

Worried about the pain of removing the tape?  Yeah, you should be.  To make pulling the tape off much less painful, spray your skin with Lamisil, and then pull each strip in one swift motion.  This takes the pain from a 5/10 to like a 1/10.

Also, pro tip, to protect your delicate nipple skin, apply a bandaid over the area before taping.  You’ll thank me later.

If you don’t want to tape, there are a number of stick on bras on the market.  The most suitable to your purpose is probably the Fashion Forms Ultimate Boost Bra.  It sticks on, and peels off, providing a bit of lift with very little coverage.

Another option is a cinching bra like the awful ones advertised on Facebook (don’t buy those, the cinching string is a beige shoelace).  This Magic BodyFashion bra looks like butterfly wings, and cinches in the middle to create cleavage.

Hi Belle,

A quickie for you: What is the awesome purse peeking out in your Instagram photo

I need it! KD

It’s the Rebecca Minkoff Mini-Perry Tote in python.  It’s about three years old.  Currently, there is one on eBay.  It’s held up like a dream.

Dear Belle,

I had a fashion question and immediately thought of you as the person to ask.

There are lots of articles about how to dress down a blazer for a casual office, or make a dress go from desk to dinner. But is there a way to wear more “evening” shoes in the daytime/at the office?

One example is these shoes from the Nordstrom anniversary sale. The gray and blue fabric options (the last two options) read very “evening” to me, but they’re also beautiful neutrals, so I was wondering if they’re more versatile than I think.
Thanks so much!
Best, Jenn

You’ve picked an interesting example.  The style of the shoe (ankle strap, pointed-toe pump) is definitely a style that can be worn to work.  And while the select fabric on the grey and navy pumps is dressier, velvet is trendy right now, so I don’t think it’s intended to be.  If you’re still worried about the shoes looking too formal, wear them with a wide leg trouser so all you get is a soft, velvet toe peaking out.

As for other types of evening shoes, I see a lot of women wearing thin-strapped, high heel sandals to work in the summer.  I know we’re all just trying to get the most wear out of a great shoe, but I would advise against wearing this particular style to work.  If you’re looking for an evening shoe that can also be worn in the daytime, these Michael Kors sandals might work, as might these VC peep-toe kitten heels.  But for more conservative offices, showing your toes is a no go.

Hi Abra,

I need a good face sunscreen for my trip to Costa Rica over recess.  Do you have a good one to recommend?

Sincerely, Tired Senate Staffer 

I use Supergroup’s SPF50 Meadowfoam Sunscreen Oil.  It has Argan Oil to keep my skin hydrated, and it feels light, not greasy.  And contrary to what I thought when I bought it, it doesn’t make me break out.  If you prefer something chemical free, my best friend is obsessed with Bare SPF30 Mineral Sunscreen.

Good Morning!

After Topshop stopped making theirs, I’m on the hunt for nice, simple v-neck camis (read: no frills, lace, or other embellishments) that can be worn under blazers and cardigans.  Cuyana makes a beautiful silk one, but I’ve gotten used to paying $30-50 a pop, so $135 seems a bit steep.

I’m also eyeing the Everlane V Tank (also silk), but am not thrilled by the prospect of having to dry clean after each wear. Any suggestions that bridge the gap between too casual and too nice? Or, if I should go all out and commit to silk, any recommendations on who has the best quality?

Thanks, JNM

Between the two you mentioned, I’d choose the Everlane.  For all Cuyana’s pronouncements about quality, I’m honestly not that thrilled with the weight of their silk tanks.  This isn’t a criticism (since no one is using opaque fabric anymore), as much as an acknowledgment that for $135, I want to be overwhelmed not just -whelmed.

Theory makes a pretty good silk tank, you can often catch them on sale at LastCall or Off5th.  Sadly, finding a discounted one is not guaranteed.  Cooper & Ella has a lovely one right now, but no promises they make the style in the future.  Same with Ann Taylor.

If you’re looking for a staple that will likely be in production 12-months from now, buy the Everlane tank and learn to hand wash your silks.

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  1. Erin says:

    Love the 10 Things I Hate About You reference–“I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be–whelmed?”

    Re silk, I have always had problems with silk and pit stains. Even after I switched to a non-aluminum deodorant (a wonderful tip from the dry cleaner), in some tops they just won’t come out. And in the tops that I can get the stains out of, I have to get them out every single time I wear them. It just seems like so much work, but maybe I’m doing something wrong?

    July 27, 2017/Reply
    • Jamie says:

      I’ve had a similar issue! I handwash them with the Laundress silk detergent and it seems to help.

      July 27, 2017/Reply
    • SLG says:

      I hand-wash my Everlane silk, and I’ve had pretty good luck using the Laundress “stain solution” to take care of pit stains. The shirt is light gray so I haven’t had any issues with fading where the stain solution goes, as long as I don’t leave it on for too long. I’ve also discovered that taking care of stains immediately (like as soon as I take the shirt off at night) goes a long way.

      If anyone else has tips, drop them here — I sweat through pretty much everything so I’m all ears!

      July 27, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I’m so glad someone caught that. For a moment, I was like, am I too old for people to get this reference?!?

      July 27, 2017/Reply
  2. C says:

    Jordan, if time allows, have a seamstress sew cups into the bust of your dress. It will save you from the discomfort of tape but give you some, ahem, security.

    July 27, 2017/Reply
  3. Laura says:

    Saw this post and just have to chime in! I, too, am a former pageant girl, and I have taped my boobs on more occasions than I care to admit. I’d absolutely go with clear medical tape. Specifically, I’ve always used 3M Transpore surgical tape. It holds very well but is also not very painful to remove and tears easily (I’ve watched enough girls rip off duct tape. Don’t use it, ever.). As to the method, I build a sort of “shelf” with the tape where the underwire of my bra would otherwise hit, and slowly work upwards to create some lift, pulling the girls up as I go and taping under them. A couple strips on the sides and down into a “v” shape work if the neckline is V or sweetheart. I also have a rather boyish figure, so I tend to use tape to push up as opposed to contain; you may need a different method based on your body type. Lastly, don’t fear the tape. It’s your friend!

    July 27, 2017/Reply
    • Anon says:

      Wish I would have looked up guidance like this before winging it for my wedding dress. I used the clear medical tape and it worked (felt secure), but I got terrible blisters anywhere the tape ends met skin. Still have the scars several years later!

      July 27, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Agreed. I watched a girl use clear packing tape once in a pinch, and her shrieks still haunt me.

      July 27, 2017/Reply
  4. Anon says:

    Wanted to chime in on sunblock – I’m super fair-skinned and this is the best face sunblock I’ve ever used. Colorscience “Sunforgettable” Loose Mineral Sunscreen Brush Broad Spectrum SPF 30 or SPF 50. It is a powder, so goes on easily and quickly over makeup – not noticeable at all. I keep one in my workbag at all times for the occasional al fresco lunch.

    July 27, 2017/Reply
  5. CeeCee says:

    omg I had no idea Top Shop quit making their cami. WTF this is such a staple! So mad.

    July 27, 2017/Reply
    • Lindsey says:

      I like Grana’s Chinese silk camisoles which are $49 (first time buyers get a promo code). I wouldn’t get their non-Chinese silk items, the quality isn’t as good.

      July 27, 2017/Reply
      • LS says:

        Like Grana’s satin silk? That’s funny as I find that one to be much nicer. It snags a little bit easier but it’s thicker and feels and looks more luxurious.

        July 27, 2017/Reply
  6. LS says:

    Your opinion about Cuyana’s silk tank is interesting. I have the silk wrap top in the white/ivory color and I have been overwhelmed, haha. It’s so much nicer and thicker than the silk I have from Everlane and Grana. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to wear a dark bra with it, but with a nude bra I find it super opaque. Maybe it’s a difference between those two styles.

    July 27, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      let me clarify, I do not own the Cuyana tank. I own two Cuyana short sleeve tees. In the darker colors, I like them a lot. In the lighter ones, I feel like they’re not living up to the hype.

      July 27, 2017/Reply
  7. Evelyn says:

    A couple quick suggestions for face sunscreen:

    The Aloe Soothing Sunscreen from Cosrx is my favorite (I’ve gone through a few bottles already) leaves my skin feeling and looking really nice (a little more on the dewy side but not greasy looking)

    This one from Missha is also great, it leaves you more matte if that’s what you’re into

    July 27, 2017/Reply
    • Yael @ Nosherium says:

      I love the Cosrx sunscreen too. It’s the only one that doesn’t make my skin sting.

      July 31, 2017/Reply
  8. Kim says:

    I love this! I totally agree to be careful with tape and the nipple area. Once I didn’t have bandaids and used a cutout from a pantiliner and OW! Haha

    Kim .. the best dfw tacos!

    July 27, 2017/Reply
  9. Lee says:

    For the wedding dress: would it be possible to have cups sewn into the dress? I think it cost less than $50 when I got married a few years ago. (I’m fairly small chested so may not work for others!)

    July 27, 2017/Reply
  10. SC says:

    It looks like Cuyana uses a lot of silk crepe de chine, and while it’s a lovely silk, it’s definitely not opaque (especially in a light color). If you can find it, go with 3-ply or 4-ply silk crepe — 4-ply silk is especially luxurious, very opaque with the perfect drape. (Mood Fabrics carries 4-ply for $50/yard which means it is going to be OMGTHEYWANTHOWMUCHFORTHAT?!?! expensive in RTW.) Silk charmeuse is also lovely, but it has a shiny side which I’m not a fan of.

    July 27, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Great tip.

      July 27, 2017/Reply
  11. LS says:

    Also – just curious – what happened to the three ways with the pink skirt?

    July 27, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I am still doing it. Wanted it to be good. And just ran out of time. You will see it here on Tuesday of next week.

      July 27, 2017/Reply
  12. SLG says:

    Boden also makes a silk cami. It didn’t fit me (too short in the torso, too small across the bust), but it gets good reviews and would probably be great on someone with a body type different from me:

    July 27, 2017/Reply
  13. Meghan says:

    Just wanted to add my two cents for Jordan –

    I went totally braless in my wedding dress and it was fine. I danced like crazy (jumping and all) and there was never an issue because the bodice was tailored perfectly. A friend of mine had a “bra” sewn in to her dress. They added two padded cups and an extra strap to keep everything “together.”

    July 27, 2017/Reply
  14. Eliza says:

    On the shoe issue, what about block heels? Specifically, ones that have ankle/toe straps, but are thicker than the ones you posted? I work at a business casual office and typically just wear pumps, but mostly because shoes aren’t my thing. I just got these Ann Taylor shoes (so comfy!), and I’m trying to get the most use out of them!

    July 28, 2017/Reply
  15. Hanna says:

    My aesthetician recommended Coola sunscreen for my face. It’s fantastic on my very sensitive, very fair skin. The scent is nice as well.

    July 28, 2017/Reply
  16. dev says:

    I seriously need to try out this brand! Everything looks so amazing, and a really good quality.

    July 31, 2017/Reply
  17. dewas says:

    Boden also makes a silk cami. It didn’t fit me (too short in the torso, too small across the bust), but it gets good reviews and would probably be great on someone with a body type different from me

    August 14, 2017/Reply