Ask the Edit: Vol. IV, No. Fourteen

Feb 14, 2024

After last week’s parade of reader queries, the mail bag filled up again. Here are a few questions on everything from nail polish remover to what to wear for work headshots. Let’s go.

Abra, 

I’m looking for a solution for dry scalp.  Mine is itching so badly this winter.  Please help.

Liza

First off, you need a gentler shampoo and to lay off the dry shampoo.  Just go for a second day without piling on the dry shampoo and style in an updo to hide your glistening locks.  If that doesn’t work after a week, you may need a scalp conditioner.  I use this one from Briogeo the day after a hair-color appointment or my skin is on fire.

Long time follower! Curious if you have any recommendations for short sleeve shirts to wear under blazers and under “lady jackets.” I tend to get overheated in blazers but finding myself wearing more blazers these days on my in office days when I need to chat with execs. I need something I can wear that looks cute under a blazer and can stand alone if I get hot but won’t show sweat. 

-Caren

First, let me recommend “pit pads” if you’re concerned about sweat.  I wear them if I have a court hearing or if I’m concerned about stress sweat for any reason.  The absorbent, stick on pads tackle sweat all day, and you just toss them out.  A friend also keeps these Carpe wipes, which she swears stop sweat and block odor through even an all-day deposition.

As for the tops, not showing sweat is going to eliminate several fabric choices — no silks or satins.  I wish I could say no blended fabrics or polyester, but in 2024, it’s just not an option unless you want to spend significant sums (and even then, not an easy find).  This cotton top from Boden has a great trim that makes it more than just a t-shirt.  For a real blouse, this $14 Nine West puff-sleeve button-up is a spectacular find.

In the man-made fabrics, the style of the sleeves on this printed Ann Taylor top are breezier, to allow better air-flow.  I also like this textured blouse from Kohl’s.  Cap sleeve styles may also be a good option here — Banana Republic Factory has a collared option and cowl option.

Hello!

I’m back to painting my own nails and can’t find a decent polish remover.  Do you have one that doesn’t dry out your nails?

Kaileen

At home, I use this Nails Inc. Polish Remover Pot with collagen.  No wipes, no tissues, no cotton rounds — you just stick your finger into the jar, swirl it around, and voila!  No polish.  If I’m traveling, I use Butter London’s nail scrubber pads.

Do you have tips for how to make new outfits from what’s in your closet? I struggle searching on Pinterest and Instagram, but maybe there are some search tips you use? Like, I have these wonderful pink pants that I used to wear a black blazer and chic black flats with but I don’t need to wear blazers anymore and would rather wear my white cole haan sneakers. 

How can I get ideas for planning new outfits from what I have?

Thank you! A Reader

Setting aside Pinterest, there are two ways I typically shop my own closet to come up with new outfits:

First, I like to do a closet clean out.  Going through everything reintroduces you to what you have.  It also lets you try on a few pieces to get new ideas.  I am halfway through one right now, and just the act of going through my closet with intention helped inspire some new outfit ideas.

Second, I like to find an influencer whose style I like, who owns similar pieces to me, and who is a little younger than me.  I do not have the time of an unmarried, childless 28-year-old.  I am here to build my wardrobe off her free-time/labor.  Allison Bornstein is a great follow.  Jess Cathell is another good option (but the level of consumption may be slightly off-putting).

As for search terms, the algorithms on these platforms make it really tough to find what you’re looking for.  So I went back to some old-fashioned books like the Lucky Guide.  A thumb through the book, and I feel inspired to start trying out new combinations.

Do you have outfit recommendations for firm headshots? I’m an attorney at a large firm in Colorado and we’ve moved away from everyone wearing a suit in their photo. They recommend that a “more casual dress option that would better speak to your clients and targets.” I work in natural resources and tend to dress business casual (e.g., comfortable work pants and a sweater) in the office. Looking for something comfortable and professional in a “bright navy” or potentially a different shade of blue. Thank you in advance! 

First off, with headshots, you want to think about what necklines work best on you. Do you love a collar? Are you better off in a v-neck? Is a layered look with a cardigan or relaxed jacket the best pick?

Second, I recommend spending more time on hair and makeup. I was not told they would be shooting my firm headshot on my first day of work, so I was on second-day hair after flying in to orientation after midnight. So that’s all I see now when I look at my headshot. And truly, looking fresh with natural makeup is your best option.

For the shirt you’re looking for, how about this navy twist front top from Aqua? A crisp chambray shirt could be nice. I also spotted this textured knit jacket at WHBM in a soft mint — I think this could be a great look for a relaxed headshot. Just wear a tank under neath that won’t show, and button the top up a bit more like a shirt.

If anyone else has suggestions for a headshot blouse or top, leave them below!

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  1. Chloe says:

    For the pink pants wearer – I love the idea of changing 2/3 things for your outfit. I have been following a few influencers (mostly on Facebook reels, because I am old and refuse to download TikTok) that do a “millennial makeover” so if you do a quick search on millennial wardrobe makeovers I bet you can find tons of ideas. But anyway for the pink pant, wear the sneaker and then swap out your blazer to a more casual black or white T-shirt, tuck that baby in a bit and pair with a leather jacket or a slouchier jacket that’s not as structured. Elements of an outfit – bottom, top, jewelry, purse, shoes, hair … I feel like if you concentrate on just a couple of these pieces at a time to either dress them up or down, it can make a HUGE difference.

    Lastly, I recently went to Sephora and had them help me find a true nude, because I was struggling with what that actually seemed to be (I am Cambodian and white, so it’s hard to find models/examples of what I look like out there!). They hooked me up with the right shade and a lipliner and it’s made even a casual outfit look super put together in a pinch.

    Also, I am having a lot of trouble finding reasons not to buy that mint cardi.

    Headshots: Avoid prints, black or white. Navy is great option!

  2. k says:

    I love these “ask the edit” features. They are always fun and interesting! Thank u!

  3. Linda says:

    Headshot question is incredibly timely! I’ll be in the same situation in about a week, and out Headshot are being taken at a firm offsite. Was going to don a nice black dress with a simple gold necklace but now I’m not so sure…

  4. CT says:

    For Caren,
    Have you considered Numi, “the ultimate sweat-proof undershirts” (https://wearnumi.com/)?
    There’s a good variety of basic styles and now they make a blouse and dress!

  5. TheLOOP says:

    I love boat neck blouses for headshots, they are very face framing. Second favorite is mandarin collars which are elevated but casual. This boat neck blouse from BR would look great with a link collar necklace or even a longer necklace.

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