Ask the Editor: Vol. IV, No. Twenty-Two

Jun 13, 2024

Another week, another dive into the reader mail bag. Let’s answer some questions about business suits, best gifts for a new baby, and a lot of questions about bras, and more.

DM: You said once you have nipples that show through clothes.  How do keep them from showing through a swimsuit?

Yes, tis true.  I have headlights.  There are only two solutions to this:

  1. Buy a swimsuit with a padded top — H&M has a nice one piece, and Old Navy has a few, or; 
  2. These nipple covers work with dresses and tops, but they also are water resistant, so unless you’re swimming the splash-and-dash, you shouldn’t have any issue.

Abra:

I’m newly back to the office, and one thing hasn’t change, the temperature is still decided by my overweight boss.  I need cardigans.  All of mine are thin and cheap looking, but the most I’m willing to pay for a cardigan is around $150 to $200.

Thank you, Evelyn

I spent most of my 20s shivering in a dimly lit office, so I feel this pain.  If a cardigan doesn’t cut it, using a heating pad to stay warm is also a great tip.  A friend gets cold feet, so she uses a foot warmer instead, both work.

Alex Mill Cotton Cardigan // Nordstrom Linen Cardigan // Splendid Chunky Cardigan

This Alex Mill cardigan is the ‘It’ girl cardigan.  It comes in six colors neutral and bright.  It’s a little bit modern, but classic enough you can still wear it in 10 years.  The Splendid cardigan has a similar look in a light neutral and a wonderful wide stitching.  If you’re looking for something similar for less, this J.Crew Factory sweater and this Mango cardigan are bother worth a look.

If your office is hot, the Nordstrom cardigan is perfect if you just need something thin.  I also like this Maggie tipped v-neck cardigan for a slightly preppy style.  

Hi Abra!

Thank you for being such an amazing resource all these years!!  My question – best bras for sore pregnancy boobs?  They’re growing and very uncomfortable  Anonymous because we haven’t told anyone yet…

As a person who had had small breasts her whole life, pregnancy breasts were an adjustment.  Post-partum breasts were a shock.  I breastfed for just a few days, and yet, they were huge and swollen.

During pregnancy, I wore this Natori underwire until it was no longer an option. The softer cups accommodated my growing bust. Now, I would switch to this no-wire Wacoal bra that I love.

Post-partum, if your pumping, several good friends recommended this Kindred Bravely bra. I bought it in case I changed my mind about breast feeding, and I wore it in the weeks while my supply dissipated. I still wear it when I’m out of sports bras because it really holds you.

I’m sure others have suggestions, so I will encourage them to leave them in the comments.

Dear Abra,

My sister is having a baby next month.  Her registry is filled, and I’m clueless on a gift.  I’d like something special for a $100 budget.

Love the blog. Daph

Congratulations on becoming an Aunt.  It’s really fun.  For a special gift, one of my favorite things I bought for Sloane was this beautiful safari-themed crib sheet from Rookie Humans.  This is a great brand for pieces with whimsy that aren’t too cute.  For a useful gift, I absolutely could not have lived without the Merlin sleep suit.  Sloane slept so well in her “sumo suit.”  Also, this Vault keepsake box helps you save the important, sentimental things easily.

If none of those feels right, babysitting.  Babysitting is the best gift you can give.  Need more ideas? After Sloane was born, I put together an Amazon store for my baby registry essentials.  I tried to keep things minimal, but everything on here worked well for us.  

Hi Abra!

I was inspired by one of your shoe posts that featured closed-toe sandals. I love the idea – both office appropriate and good for people like me who shudder at the thought of wearing open-toed shoes in a big, dirty city. Are there any similar styles you’d recommend?

Thanks! Lucy

If you don’t want to get your feet dirty, a closed toe sandal — like this LK Bennett — is a great option. (I also love these from Miz Mooz.) I also like Huarache style sandals, though they’re a bit more substantial.

If you can get away with more of a casual shoe, espadrilles are hot this summer. This d’Orsay style from J.Crew Factory is fab. I also love these metallic espadrille flats.

DM: My cuticles are cracking thanks to gardening but I cannot justify the Dior creme. Drugstore dupe?

The Dior Creme Apricot is my luxury gift of choice for friends. From the drugstore aisle, this Essie roll-on oil is a great option.

Hi Abra,

I know I’m one of ten people who still needs business suits, but can you help me find a few new ones. I already own the whole Ann Taylor line. Any assistance is appreciated. Love the blog.

Allie

I’m going to say something very controversial right now: If you’re not opposed to color, you need to be looking at Kasper right now, especially if you’re petite.

I know, I know. Kasper are “Mom suits.” Well, they were. The last time I strolled through a Macy’s, I was walking by a rack and this baby blue suit caught my eye, and all I could think was, “This is KASPER?!”

I am not a dress suit person, but I think this suit is the perfect bridge between professional and feminine. It’s traditional, but not stuffy. Macy’s still has the dress in petite and plus, but if you need misses, you’ll need to go to Dillard’s. Kasper also offers this color in a traditional suit blazer and pants combo. Both pieces, even with tax and shipping, would be under-$175 if you use code DAD.

Also, Dillard’s has some great suiting options. Not all of them are winners, some have shorts, but more options than most retailers. But I liked both this teal suit (but I would switch the buttons if possible) and this fuchsia look. This white Kasper suit is also great, but I would swap the pearl buttons.

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    Highly recommend Harper Wilde Bliss Nursing Bralette. It’s soft and comfy, with no underwire, and can expand for your pregnant boobs now, then you can use it for nursing after your delivery if you choose to breastfeed. Other Harper Wilde options might be nice too, but a lot of them don’t have any padding or lining which isn’t my style, so I haven’t tried them out.

  2. Jenn S. says:

    If the person looking for cuticle creams isn’t into oils, this Sally Hansen cream is a fantastic <$10 option: https://www.ulta.com/p/cuticle-massage-cream-xlsImpprod17821173?sku=2523200 – Link is Ulta, but I've seen it at CVS, Walmart, and Target too.
    It is also a nice apricot scent. Consistency differs from the Dior, but the initial application feels less greasy/tacky than the Dior. I love both.

    • Jill says:

      Sounds nice! If I remember, I rub Vaseline on my cuticles before gardening or other dirty work. It helps.

  3. Anna says:

    Curious if other readers have suggestions for saggy post-pregnancy/breastfeeding boobs. Mine are now larger but also droopier than before. I have the Kindred Bravely one and it just seems to smoosh things down. I never minded this before cuz things stayed up, but now I need more of a lift without being a push-up with a bunch of extra padding (nip coverage is good, but I don’t need more bulk).

  4. Linda says:

    People of various sizes and weights may run hot or cold.

  5. Renee says:

    It seems unnecessary and unkind for the “cold office” cardigan writer to include a comment about her boss’s weight. As women, we face body shaming and unrealistic beauty standards on a daily basis, and I would hope we would refrain from doing the same to others.

    • Lauren says:

      Yes! The comment about the “overweight boss” is cruel, in my opinion! People of every size respond to temperature differently.

      • SD says:

        I’m not overweight and I always run hot. Some people are on meds that do this. The boss’s is irrelevant here, and a rude and cruel comment. Also some of us have the wear blazers and suits and will absolutely wilt above 72 degrees inside.

  6. S says:

    The question where the women feels the need to state “overweight boss” – good lord. This blog also makes suggestions for plus size. You could have just said “my boss”. I had to read it a few times to check that is what it said.

  7. julia says:

    For the baby registry: The gift that was NOT on the registry that I loved the MOST after birth were Uber Eats gift cards. Fining time to cook anything was TOUGH. And having a delicious meal made the tiredness feel a bit better 🙂

    We’ve been giving Uber Eats gift cards to all our second-baby friends, and they always say they really enjoyed it 🙂

  8. Jules says:

    Great sweet and practical gift ideas for the baby. A variety of sleep sack options can be very helpful for new parents even if they’ve already got one checked off their registry. It’s something I invested in more w baby #2 because different babies sleep better with different ones! Merlin sleep suit, Love To Dream Swaddle Up, velcro ones, etc. No better gift than a sleeping baby 🙂

    I also love that crib sheet!

  9. Jane says:

    For breastfeeding/pumping, especially with large breasts, I really liked my Bravado bras with the clip and pump accessory. You can get them at Nordstrom or on the Bravado site. If you bf/p, you may need to revisit your size about a month after birth.

  10. A says:

    I did not love the Kindred Bravely that was for both pumping and nursing – it was just so many layers of fabric. I do like their just nursing bra postpartum. While pregnant, I would always just go to target and buy a cheap nude colored bra in my pregnancy size – it’s so temporary. Postpartum, by the time I’m ready for underwire, I am much, much smaller than peak pregnancy boobs. I’ve breastfed each of my kids for a pretty long time, so I did find myself in need of real bras (I’m underwire forever, I know, I know, but my 32DDs need it) and was really happy at Cake Maternity. I just realized the other day that I’ve been either pregnant or breastfeeding now for almost 10 years, so I have tried a LOT of different bra solutions.

    • Anna says:

      Thanks, A! I was always a 34C, but the new girls are around a 36DD or more depending on where in pregnancy/postpartum I fall, and I love me an underwire! I’ve yet to try a wirefree bra that actually supports. Some will look fine when I first put them on but after moving around get droopy.

  11. KL says:

    I have headlights too and only own swimsuits with molded cups — but none of them were sold as “padded cup”. Read descriptions carefully! Becca and Andie Swim are two brands I own and love. If it’s lined with a thin foam cup rather than just with fabric, it will prevent headlights. I then have the cups permanently tacked in place by a seamstress because otherwise they have to be fixed after every wash.

  12. Jen says:

    I actually read the post about the “overweight boss” and considered commenting and decided not to and re-checked it today. I am really glad that other people found the physical description of the person to be very offensive. It was unkind and unnecessary. Commenting about other people’s bodies should not be a thing anymore.

  13. Louise G. says:

    I must be the eleventh person still wearing business suits! I gave up on high street brands like Brooks Brothers and Ann Taylor when the fabrics and cut quality went downhill. Instead for a similar price I get made to measure from Indochino. So many more fabric choices and no need for alterations.

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