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.

Summer Hair Rx

After a summer filled with time spent poolside, lounging at your favorite beach, relaxing on your building’s roof deck, and gallivanting on your family’s boat I hope everyone is feeling well rested and thinking, “Wow, did we do any work this Summer?” While your brain may have been on vacation for the past few months, your fun in the sun was wreaking havoc on your hair.

Sun, salt, sand, wind, chlorine, and humidity all make your hair a bit haggard, but you don’t need me telling you this–that’s probably why you’re reading this post! There are a few different measures you can take to mend your tresses, but each one starts out with getting a trim–this allows you to be treating healthy hair, not wasting your time on the dead and mangled ends. After the trip to your stylist you should start doing treatments on your hair; the frequency that you do it is up to you, but I recommend starting off with once every other week to see how you like it. Depending on how fried my hair is feeling, I bump up my treatments to once a week or sometimes twice in one week, never more. To maintain your mending mane, start applying a conditioning product after you shower.

The Products Listed:

  • mmmmmmmmmm1. Bumble & Bumble Mending Masque
  • mmmmmmmmmm2. Bumble & Bumble Quenching Masque
    mmmmmmmmmm3. Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
    mmmmmmmmmm4. L’Oreal Professional Absolut Cellular Repair
    mmmmmmmmmm5. Moroccan Oil Original Oil
    mmmmmmmmmm6. Sebastian Potion 9 Styling Treatment
    mmmmmmmmmm7. Sebastian Whipped Creme
    mmmmmmmmmm8. Bumble & Bumble Quenching Complex
    mmmmmmmmmm9. Bumble & Bumble Mending Complex

Why I listed these specific products:

After working in a fashion-forward salon for about a year here in DC I had the opportunity to try nearly every product I listed. I say “nearly” because the only 2 I have not tried were the B&B Quenching Masque and Quenching Complex. I never bothered to try them because my hair has always been too damaged–the Mending Masque and Mending Complex were much more beneficial to my needs than the Quenching series. I have tried and loved (nearly) each one of these products. All are available for purchase in salons, with the exception of…

The one I didn’t mention: Coconut Oil. I will be doing an in-depth post on coconut oil at a later date, but for hair treatment purposes:

- Scoop out a spoonful and work it into your dry hair, starting from mid-hair shaft and working it through to your ends, really focusing on your damaged ends. Many people suggest sleeping with your hair like this in a braid or bun and washing your hair in the morning. I prefer to shower at night, so I apply this at about 3-4pm and shampoo as usual before bed. Note: this oil starts in soft-solid form and melts with the heat of your hands; don’t be alarmed that it isn’t a liquid when you buy it.

- For a lighter treatment: wet or dampen your hair first and follow the same instructions.

You can find coconut oil in your local health food store and at Whole Foods.

With regular maintenance you should start to see a noticeable difference in your hair within a month or so.

Photo via

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.

Simple Bedroom Storage Re-do

Now that my boyfriend will be living with me this school year, we needed to make a few adjustments so that everything of ours could fit. Translation: I needed to redistribute a few things so he could have actual space for his clothes. This is just one of our redistribution projects :)

Knowing we won’t be staying in DC once I graduate, I wanted the simplest (read: cheapest) option possible. Off to Target we went!

To get a bit of an idea of what we were working with:

Yes, it was a mess. A box full of scarves, winter hats, and winter socks to the side; a stack of old magazines and the broken bottom half of my Macbook case, and the biggest eyesore of the lot: the bookcase. It contained a smorgasbord of old notebooks, more old magazines, printer paper, old ink cartridges, and the mixed mound of clean and questionable male laundry. I needed something that provided a clean aesthetic while still being easily accessible.

My solution:

After spending less than $40, I’m happy to say that it’s exactly what I needed. I bought these ClosetMaid bins along with this type of woven basket for the top shelf, and these ClosetMaid cubes for the bottom shelf. I already owned the DVD basket–got that from IKEA last year.

For side-by-side comparison:

Much better, right?