Ask the Editor Vol. III, No. Fourteen

May 5, 2022

This week, reader questions run the gamut.  We have beauty questions, a request for the best cotton undies, and more.  So let’s dive in.  And as always, if you have a recommendation, leave your thoughts in the comments.

Abra,

Seeing the Ask the Edit today reminded me that I had a question. Happy for you to answer but also would welcome reader suggestions, if you choose to go that route. Thank you!

After having my second baby and an IUD adjustment period, I need to refresh my everyday underwear. I searched the archives and found some work & formalwear suggestions but I’m looking for something more basic : think 100% cotton, comfortable, minimal visible lines. The kind you wear under jeans or sweatpants.

Any suggestions? Thank you! JR

The underwear that was highly recommended in the Facebook group comes from Jockey.  Their No Panty Line Promise Hipster was mentioned several times.  But upon inspection, it appears only the internal lining is 100% cotton.

For a true cotton brief, I’m afraid no or minimal panty line is a challenge.  But the most highly recommended all-cotton undies come from Everlane and Hanro.  Both had acolytes in the Facebook group who swore they were the best.  As for my own recommendation, I bought a few pair of the Warner’s No Pinch underwear to get me through this middle-part of pregnancy.  I like the lace waist band because it lays flat and doesn’t bunch.

Hello Abra!

Long time lover of your blog. And also feeling very lucky to be pregnant at the same time as you! Question for you: are you buying lotions and serums to prevent stretch marks? If so, do you have any product recommendations or advice on when/how to use? There are so many out there, and I don’t know if any of them actually make a difference. Any thoughts?

Thank you for your consideration! Katie

We actually had this discussion in the comments last week.  The NHS post on the subject states that there’s limited evidence all of the lotions and potions to prevent stretch marks work.  Most of it depends on genetics.  But you may be able to minimize the marks if you moisturize.

Many (and I mean, many) readers recommended BioOil to prevent stretch marks and itch.  I also have the Burt’s Bees Belly Butter.  I like it well enough, and I like that it’s inexpensive and I can buy it in the drugstore.  As I explained last week, I thought the Hatch Belly Oil was a bit scammy — the glass bottle and formula seemed made for Instagram, not for efficacy — though a handful of readers liked it.

The other stretch mark treatment I’m trying that was recommended to me by a Vogue editor who I met on a plane, silicone patches.  Dermaclara makes silicone patches and a gel that treats scars while you sleep.  The silicone speeds the healing process and reduces scarring by keeping things hydrated.  I used their face patches on some acne scarring, and it really helped.  You can also buy smaller ones from Frida Mom, which I’m told work wonders on a C-section scar.

On a personal note, I know that my skin is prone to stretch marks.  (I grew seven inches taller and 20-lbs heavier in just three months, when I was a teen, so I already have plenty.)  I’m mostly trying to stop the itching that comes from stretchy pregnancy skin.  When I do inevitably get stretch marks, I will probably try a dermatology treatment like lasering to minimize them.

Belle,

Can you help me find a cream blush to wear in the summer?  I wear tinted moisturizer and some mascara, but I’d like to pump up my cheek color with something that won’t fade by lunch.  Any recommendations?

Kelly Z.

I bought the Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick at the Sephora Sale (in Dou Dou as part of their three-pack with highlighter and contour).  The product applies easily (though I had to Google how to get it right), and the color is nice.  It’s a little more subtle than I wanted, but that makes it work for the office better.

If you want deeper color, I’m told the Saie Liquid Blush can give you a more highly pigmented color.  And if you need a drugstore brand, the message boards endorse this Lime Crime Softwear Cream Blush.

Hi Abra,

Long-time reader and fan of CHS–thank you so much for all the work you put into it!  I was hoping you could offer some advice in your Ask the Edit column for shoes I can wear with a bridesmaid dress.  The wedding is outdoors in a garden in July, so I need something that won’t sink into the grass (like a wedge?) and that is comfortable for dancing all night.  BUT the dress is also super fancy:  it’s this one in bright gold sequin. 

I feel like finding something fancy enough to match the dress but also comfortable–and under $150 if possible–is like searching for a unicorn.  Any magic you’re able to sprinkle my way would be so appreciated!

Thanks so much, Bridesmaid

As you described, the dress is quite sparkly, but appears to be a more subtle gold, which is nice.  For grass, I recommend either a block heel or a wedge.  And I wouldn’t try to compete with the dress here, just choose something neutral.

I’ve worn these Sam Edelman sandals to death.  (I even wore them to my own wedding, which was on grass.)  They look nice and are comfortable over the long haul.  I’ve also worn their shorter, kitten heel sandals on grass thanks to Soulmates, which redistribute the weight so you don’t sink into the turf.

Another option are these Ted Baker Wedge Wellin Sandals, on discount at Rack.  Or go with these affordable Amazon wedges you can wreck if the turf is bad without feeling too guilty.

Have a deeper skin tone?  Chinese Laundry offers a medium-tan block sandal.  And Steve Madden has a block heel sandal in chocolate.

(From an Instagram DM) Okay, One Question: Where can I find BIG jewelry?  Think Diane Lockhart big.

Chico’s.  The answer is Chico’s.  I could easily see this necklace on the Good Fight heroine.  Etsy is also worth a look, though it’s more of an Easter Egg hunt.

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  1. Sam says:

    I have worn Aerie’s lace boybrief for years. Incredibly comfortable waistband and minimal VPL. https://www.ae.com/us/en/p/aerie/undies/boybrief-underwear/aerie-cotton-sunkissed-lace-boybrief-underwear/6443_6729_073?menu=cat4840006

  2. AM says:

    skims underwear are by far the most comfortable I’ve ever worn! their bras are also nice but the underwear is a must-try. I’ve converted six of my friends to skims!

    also I would love a separate post on what you learned from that Vogue editor Abra!!

  3. TT says:

    Soma has an all-cotton vanishing edge which is wonderful! The only parts that aren’t cotton are the silicon vanishing edge and possibly the lace at the very top. I stock up whenever there are sales.

  4. Maggie says:

    I have worn these Naturalizer shoes to so many weddings, I’ve now bought them in multiple colors.
    https://www.naturalizer.com/product/womens-vanessa-dress-sandal-3019984

    I just bought these for my own wedding in August.
    https://www.dsw.com/en/us/product/naturalizer-bristol-sandal/486532

    Search around because Nordstrom Rack, DSW, Macy’s have them for cheaper.

  5. LS says:

    Knickey makes my favorite cotton underwear. Several different styles for whatever your preference and a great collection of core cottons for different skin tones.

  6. M says:

    I recently wore theseNaturalizer Women’s Bristol Sandal in an outdoor wedding that was mostly grass: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XMNM69J/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_image?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  7. Rebecca says:

    I really like the Calvin Klein cotton underwear. Natori also sells some prettier ones that I wear when panty line is a concern.

  8. Cinthya says:

    Per the recommendation of a friend i tried this cream and it exceeded my expectations. I didn’t get a single stretch mark, and i was carrying twins. I went through 8 or 9 jars during my pregnancy. Very mild smell and the consistency is smooth. I highly recommend it. https://www.amazon.com/TriLASTIN-Maternity-Stretch-Prevention-Unscented

  9. Nicole says:

    I’m looking for a nice gift for my nephew who is graduating from college and considering law school. At one point you recommended a leather briefcase/messenger bag. Do men still use those? Any recommendations? Looking for classic style.

  10. Jo says:

    Does anyone know of any research/studies indicating that any particular stretch mark preventative actually works? Given that 10-50% (insanely wide range; clearly more research is needed) of women don’t get stretch marks during pregnancy, one-off anecdotes don’t seem like evidence of much, not that I don’t love the crowdsourcing in these comments as a general matter 🙂 I’ve always read that nothing has been shown to help, but I would LOVE to be wrong!

    • AB says:

      I have a pretty good case study as an identical twin, with enormous hereditary stretch marks. I have two kids, didn’t really do anything special to try to prevent, and look like I was attacked by a tiger. My twin has two kids (later than north mine) and she used coco butter and bio oil religiously, and has very few. It’s astounding. If I had to do it all over again I wouldn’t take the chance and would just wrap myself in coco butter for 9months!

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