Posts Categorized: reader requests

Reader Request: Family Vacation Style

dressing for family vacation

Reader Ursula posted this question to Facebook:

Have you written about how to dress for family vacations (Disney specifically) and not look like you are trying too hard (or too little as the case may be)? Struggling with function and body image on this one.

I’ll admit to never having entered a Disney theme park and I don’t have kids myself, but I’ve been to loads of amusement parks for day trips and taken plenty of vacations – with family and alone – that require similar amounts of walking and standing in line. (Think art museums in Florence in June. LINES, people, oh the lines.) So although I can’t speak from direct Epcot-based experiences, I will make my suggestions and ask those of you who have done Disney or similar family trips to lend a hand in the comments!

Feet first

Last year I was reminded that in hot weather, feet swell and swollen feet in even the comfiest of ballet flat-like shoes worn without socks will lead to blisters. This year I was reminded that walking around for 8+ hours in ANY temperature will cause your feet to swell and  flats can be killer in those cases, too. If your feet hurt, all bets are off, so consider your footwear choices first.

Audi’s solution is supremely comfy sandals which allow your feet to breathe and can have a little more leeway for swelling. Try comfort brands like Clarks, Dansko, and ECCO for starters, but sportier, casual brands like Crocs and Teva can work, too, depending on the clothes you plan to wear.

My feet can get just as torn up by sandals as they can by flats, so I’m thinking upgraded sneakers instead. If you don’t need loads of support, classic Keds or Chuck Taylors will look equally cute with sporty dresses and with shorts. But since most of us can’t do something that flat for hours on end, check out the current Keen offerings – especially the Maderas and Coronado – as well as the Teva Freewheel and Dr. Scholl’s Jennie.

Accessories next

No, really. Accessories are key to both comfort and style when you’re on vacation, especially if you’re both walking and hauling.

For starters, make sure you’ve got a bag that is lightweight and comfortable to carry. Something that can be worn crossbody like this LeSportsac bag would be great – water resistant and absolutely featherweight. If you’ve got to haul diapers, bottles, or other heavy kid supplies you will need something sturdier, of course, but if the whole gang is mobile and carrying their own stuff, pick a lightweight bag for yourself.

Track down a pair of sunglasses that you totally love. In all likelihood, they’ll be on your face more than off, so don’t settle for an OK pair. Target has a great selection, and if you’re willing to spend more I love the shapes at Madewell. This is a great way to up your style quotient, even if the rest of your outfit is super casual.

And consider picking a single set of simple jewelry for the whole trip. Stud earrings or smallish ones that won’t get caught in hair, a gold or silver chain necklace, and a bracelet or watch. Jewelry may seem like overkill, but opting for classic, understated items will help you look more polished without feeling over-embellished.

Clothing choices

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with shorts and tees for family vacations, so long as they’re actually comfy. Shorts can chafe and bunch on certain bodies and especially in hot weather, so bear that in mind – blister block or talcum on the thighs can help, as can wearing slip shorts (unless they make you overheat). Also remember that you are likely to wear a size larger in shorts than you generally do in pants, so consider sizing up. Also also super long shirts worn with shorts may throw off your proportions, so pick tees that balance you out. I’d do v-necked tees in solid colors, tan or denim shorts, and cute sneaks. Simple, clean, casual but classy.

If you want to have some non-shorts options, think about dresses from athletic brands like Athleta and Title Nine as well as brands that offer washable, durable knits like Land’s End. Dress, sunnies, sneaks, bag, done. And if you’ve got any slightly fancier stuff planned, add a scarf and some jewelry to your suitcase to dress up your knit frock.

Protect your skin

A sidenote to style, but I’m throwing it in anyway. SLATHER YOURSELF WITH SUNSCREEN. Make sure you have protection for your face and lips, too. Since you will likely be getting your photo taken approximately every 12 seconds, consider a tinted balm like my beloved Fresh Sugar. One swipe and you’ve got SPF 15 and a hint of color.

If you’re camping or hiking instead of hitting a theme park or roaming around a major city, some of these suggestions will need tweaking. Rugged footwear, appropriate bags, and wicking clothing may all come into play, so adjust your choices depending on your destination.

In terms of trying too hard? Unless you’re dripping logos and diamonds while riding the rides, I doubt anyone will notice. Maybe I’m being naive, but my guess is that most of the families roaming around the Magic Kingdom are too busy building memories and snacking and laughing and posing with princesses to care what other families are wearing. I hope so, anyway.

Am I wrong? Those of you who have recently vacationed with your fam or have an upcoming trip, what tips and suggestions would you add? Anyone do dresses for weekends at Wisconsin Dells or Disney, or are you shorts all the way? What about footwear? Sandals, sneaks, something else? Help me out with your input!

Image courtesy snoopdrew

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Reader Request: Styling White Jeans

styling white jeans

Reader Sarah had this request:

I was wondering if you could point me to a post or you could do one on styling white jeans. I finally found a pair that feels flattering and now I am excited to experiment with looks. They look so cute for the spring and summer, but in some ways because they go with everything, it is hard to figure out how to highlight their good attributes.

Although I don’t wear mine terribly often, I love the look of a bright white jean. And I agree with Sarah that they can be very versatile but also very tricky. Here are my tips for making them work:

Consider your footwear

white jeans light shoes

Left | Right

Regardless of the length or cut of the jean, your own size or shape, or what type of shoe you prefer, light colored shoes will generally look better with white jeans than dark colored shoes. Since the jeans are light, light shoes will create a longer leg line but even if you don’t care to visually elongate your legs, pale shoes will generally look more summery and natural with white jeans.

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Source

Now if you have dark skin the leg elongation situation shifts somewhat: In order to create that unbroken line down to the ground, you’d need to wear a light, super high-vamp shoe … and you may not be interested in doing booties for summer. To keep your look seasonal, a shoe that is no darker than nude to your skin tone is still your best bet. Tan, pastels, and metallics are all great options.

white jeans footwear

Left | Right

If you’re going to do a shoe that is dark in color, opt for one that has narrow straps or delicate details. To my eye, the dark olive suede shoes on the left look less natural than the black strappy sandals on the right. Black and white are natural partners and doing a black top with white jeans can work nicely if you repeat the black elsewhere, especially by bracketing the look with black at your feet. But again, shoes that feel light instead of heavy will keep the vibe fresh and summery.

Repeat white for cohesion

white jeans outfits 1

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Now I’ll admit that this tip comes directly from the office of the Mayor of Matchy-Matchytown, so bear that in mind. Although white jeans can be worked into a variety of outfits, pairing them with tops that have white in their print or pattern is a fabulous way to create a look that feels intentional and complete. Both of these outfits include tops that have both white and another color AND both outfits also repeat that color in the shoes. Chic and elegant.

Bright contrast or cool monochrome

white jeans outfits 2

Left | Right

You could also consider doing your pale shoes and white jeans with a bright, summery color like coral, mint, or yellow. Dusty shades like olive, mustard, and most jewel tones won’t work as well as colors with a bit of bite to them. White jeans look fabulous with cream, ivory, pale tans, stone, and other like shades for an arty monochromatic look.

Light neutrals or navy

white jeans neutrals navy

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In addition to white variants like ivory and stone, light neutrals like heather gray and tan look very modern and sophisticated with white denim. Sticking to this palette will create an arty, minimalist look but adding metallic accents like those in the outfit on the left will create a funkier vibe. Navy is a classic choice to pair with white jeans and is perfect for anyone who loves all things preppy and/or nautical.

Column of white or pretty pastels

white jeans outfits 3

Left | Right

If you worry about breaking up your figure or want to appear as tall as possible in your white jeans, wearing a white top to create a column of color will help. You can then add a vest, blazer, scarf, or other element for interest and your long line will remain unbroken. I had trouble finding a good example of what I consider to be an easy, classic, nearly foolproof pairing for white jeans: Pastels. The look on the right here includes a pink striped top, but any pastel will do from lavender and butter yellow to pale blue and seafoam. I love the look of a pastel top, white jeans, and tan shoes.

And that’s all I’ve got! Hopefully some of these tips and outfit suggestions will help you generate new ideas for wearing your own white jeans. I’d love to hear any additional white denim outfit building advice you have to share. How do YOU wear white jeans?

Top images courtesy Gap.

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Reader Request: Bra Pads and Cutlets

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Reader Penelope sent this question via Facebook:

Have you ever written a post on removable breast pads? My girls tend to need some extra help in the cleavage area! I would love to see a piece on foam vs. gel pads and how they can help for swimsuits, mastectomies or lopsidedness of breasts. I believe they are also called cutlets.

I think I’ve still got my set of cutlets that I bought for my wedding day. I wore them and they totally helped fill out my dress, but I haven’t worn them since. Because – as I’ve discovered through some very educational bra fittings – I take a C cup instead of the A I wore for decades and a properly fitting bra does great things for my bustline. Having found bra styles that work with my breast shape and body shape, I don’t generally feel like I need the extra boost.

And I would definitely encourage anyone who feels like cutlets are needed for figure balance to get an expert bra fitting. I NEVER thought my boobs could look like this with just a bra. Turns out, a different size and shape of bra totally transforms my figure. But that won’t work for everyone. Plenty of women have very small breasts, and some of those women would like to enhance their busts.

Having done some research on the various types of cutlets on the market, here’s what I’ve learned: Most lingerie fitters will suggest foam or fabric padding for everyday use and reserve gel pads and cutlets for evening wear or other occasions for which cleavage will be exposed and socially appropriate/expected. Foam and fabric tend to be more subtle and fill out the breast whereas gel is more likely to give lift and volume. There are also bras that include air-filled compartments for lift as well as air-filled inserts. Like gel, these tend to be a little stronger and stiffer so ideal for cleavage creation.

Cutlets and inserts that you might use in your everyday bra won’t typically work for swim purposes, but there are plenty of pads that are waterproof and meant for insertion into swimsuits. (And while cloth and foam pads generally shouldn’t be worn in water, some waterproof inserts can be worn for everyday purposes.) Swim Outlet has a fantastic and comprehensive piece on choosing a bra pad for your suit.

Having worked with clients who have uneven breasts, my experience has been that unevenness is typically fairly subtle and many traditional cutlets might add more volume than desired, but smaller pads could create more congruence for some women. These molded foam cups might be a better bet than a get insert in this case.

In terms of mastectomies, there are prosthesis products and breast forms that can be ordered from companies like Nearly You – a retailer that also sells products to balance uneven breasts, mastectomy-specific swimwear and forms, and post-mastectomy bras – but depending on your needs, you may also be able to buy something less specialized and, therefore, less expensive. It all depends on your shape and preferences. As reader Allison informed me, Nordstrom will do free alterations on their bras to accommodate mastectomies, too. If any of you have had surgeries and have resources to suggest, please let us know in the comments!

In fact, I think I’ll turn it over to you all now: Do any of you use bra pads and cutlets with any regularity? Do you agree that cloth and foam are better for everyday use than gel and air? Who out there uses padding of some sort to balance breast unevenness? Other resources for post-mastectomy breast forms and bras? Would love any help and input you can give!

Image courtesy Beauty.com

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