You Asked It

Damn Girl Ya Look Good

Style & beauty advice for the big-boobed, the polo-shirt-averse, and the terminally lazy.

I’ve become obsessed with fashion lately, and I would love to be one of those people who have a signature style and look amazing every day. But how do I figure out what my own personal style is? And how do you keep up with that every single day without spending too much money or feeling too uncomfortable? What do people with really strong personal styles do on days when they wake up and are just too tired or lazy to put that much effort into an outfit?

As someone who takes her personal style VERY seriously (just kidding, I don’t really) I have learned that after a while you don’t have to worry about keeping up with it every day. This is because your style ends up naturally flowing into whatever you do, even if you are wearing leggings and a T-shirt! But let’s start at the beginning. Determining your personal style is as easy as just figuring out what you like, because that is really all it is! Is there a movie character you’re drawn to, or a is there a musician who wears jackets in a way that you love? Is there a girl in your class who always has totally bitchin’ earrings on? Voilà: there are your style influences. If you can’t think of anyone like that, start looking through style blogs; they are endless sources of ideas to get your brain going. I find these ladies endlessly inspiring:

replace

Clockwise from top left: Erin from Zero Style, Kalley of Mermaidens, Rebecca of The Clothes Horse, and Mary Van Note of Mary Van Notes.

The key to figuring out what you want to look like is to avoid copying anyone else exactly, but instead to think about what it is about how they wear those stockings or that hat that appeals to you, and interpret that your own way.

I have always been influenced by characters in my favorite movies, which are mostly from the ’60s and ’70s, so I tend to wear a lot of vintage. But I also love wearing head-to-toe black with lots of gold jewelry, probably inspired by Morticia Addams and Salt-N-Pepa. INSPIRATION IS EVERYWHERE, GIRLFRIEND. Of course, there are days when I don’t want to get dolled up in a dress, tights, and big shoes; that’s why I have a casual look: black leggings, a T-shirt, and a long cardigan. Throw some gold jewelz on there and my personal style is still pretty prominent.

Don’t think you have to come out blazing with a SIGNATURE LOOK tomorrow. Figuring how your style is a matter of trial and error—you won’t know that you hate jodhpurs (or that you will NEVER WEAR ANYTHING ELSE) until you’ve walked a mile (or at least to the bus) in a pair of jodhpurs. But this stage that you’re in—looking around, paying attention, mining the world for inspiration, and experimenting—is the fun part. —Marie

I absolutely adore backless dresses and tops with cutouts in the back, but I’m a 36D and I find going braless very uncomfortable. What do I do? —Elijah

As someone who is in the D+ cup range on a small frame, I feel your pain. Don’t get me wrong, I love my tatas, but sometimes I wish I didn’t have to strategize about the right bra whenever I find a dress or a top I like. It’s also annoying that we have to pay more for bras that support us and look chic. Whenever it’s time to bra shop, I always think to myself, The rent for these boobs is too damn high.

When we heard about your question, Julianne and I had a chat about our own experiences trying to find a supportive backless bra for big breasts, and we came up with some options for you. Julianne suggests that you check out American Apparel’s $15 bandeau bras “in a size too small” to help you get the right amount of support without being “too boob-squishy.” This bra will obviously show if you wear something backless, but it comes in so many colors that you can find one that will look cute with whatever you’ve got on. She also recommends that you look at underwire bras like these from Figleaves.com; maybe one of those will work for you. Julianne has tried backless bras too, but cautions that a lot of them are not so supportive of the underboob area. She’s managed to make them work by supplementing them with duct tape, but does not recommend this method to others: “It hurts to take off (tiny hairs being ripped out not really worth it), and it only makes about an eighth an inch of difference.”

Unfortunately, I’ve had similar issues with backless and strapless bras. I’m constantly having to adjust them, and feeling self-conscious about doing so. I agree with Julianne that duct tape is too painful; and fashion tape isn’t strong enough for my mighty underboob. Honestly, I avoid backless looks for this reason, or I find outfits with built-in bras.

Since I felt bad about not having a great solution for you, I called Bra*Tenders, a shop in Hell’s Kitchen that specializes in bra fitting. A friendly and supportive (oof) staffer named Danielle informed me that great backless and strapless options do exist, and that the best thing to do is to go to a lingerie shop like theirs to get a proper fitting. (You didn’t say where you live, so try Googling your city’s name + “bra fitting.”) I was surprised to learn that the majority of women out there are wearing the wrong bra size, which can contribute to some of those underboob hassles we mentioned earlier. Danielle told me that a bra that works with one dress or top might not work for another, so take the outfit you’re trying to fit with you on your search. Good luck! —Jamia

I’m about to do a three-month French-language intensive at a school that requires all students to wear a uniform. It’s not a full uniform that I could do cute things with, though. It’s just a vertically striped polo shirt in the school’s colors (navy and white), and is, in my humble opinion, the ugliest thing in the world. Please tell me: is there anything, anything at all, that I can do to make it bearable? Love, Striped Polo Shirts Make Me Cry

When I think of polo shirts and the preppy look in general, two style icons come to mind: Amy Winehouse for Fred Perry and Margot in The Royal Tenenbaums.

margotamypolos

Those two are total proof that polos don’t have to be horrifying! Think of the shirt as just the basis for your outfit to come, the blank canvas to your MASTERPIECE. The fact that it’s not a full uniform actually works in your favor, because you can wear any kind of bottoms: cigarette pants, pencil skirts, or even a pleated tennis skirt to be totally in-yo’-face with that preppy feel. Accessories also make a huge difference. Put on some fun tights, or wear crazy-printed knee socks with saddle shoes. Wear suspenders over the polo with skinny pants that are high enough to show off your funky socks and creepers, like Queen Michelle here from Kingdom of Style:

kos

Since your shirt is blue and white, you can take it in a nautical direction by adding something red, like a skirt or a bow. Or find a bunch of animal-themed brooches on Etsy and wear a different one on your collar (or one on each collar tip) every day. —Marie

Is it really important that I wash my makeup off every night, even if all I wear is BB cream, concealer, and powder? I try to, I just get lazy.

The thing is, if you don’t take off your face makeup before going to sleep, your pores won’t be able to BREATHE overnight. This can lead to clogged-up skin, which is basically an open invitation for zits to come party on your face. While it’s probably fine if you forget to take your stuff off once in a while, it’s not good for your skin if you make a nightly habit.

I can relate to your struggle; many are the nights when my foundation and mascara join me in my slumber. The very last thing I want to do at night is stick my face in some water or mess around with cleansers. I’m just too tiiiiiiired, you know? Luckily, I’ve found the perfect solution to this very real and important problem: makeup wipes! These little towelettes are presoaked in cleansers gentle enough that you don’t have to rinse after using them, and they remove my face and eye makeup in under a minute with pretty much zero effort. I keep mine on the table next to my bed so that I can just fling an arm over while I’m lying down for the night, grab one, and smear it all over my zone. Presto: my skin is bare and fresh, and I didn’t even have to sit up! Doesn’t that sound awesome?

The ones I’m using right now are L’Oreal Ideal Clean towelettes, but I’ve had just as much luck with other drugstore brands—there’s really no need to get a fancy kind, I don’t think. Just make sure the brand that you get is alcohol free so they don’t dry out your skin, and also get used to waking up with them stuck to your butt in the morning because it’s too much effort to get up and throw them away properly at night. —Amy Rose ♦

Questions for Marie and her crew go here.

25 Comments

  • dottie March 19th, 2013 11:47 PM

    “The rent for these boobs is too damn high.” Ahhahahahaha! I love you guys! :D

  • Dylan March 20th, 2013 12:05 AM

    I cannot with that sentence. Trying not to laugh in class. Yeah, that’s not happening.

    • aud85220 March 21st, 2013 4:39 PM

      I love you, Marie. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.

  • thefilmrookie March 20th, 2013 12:13 AM

    “an open invitation for zits to come party on your face”

    ily rookie

    http://www.pink-lantern.tumblr.com

  • lydiamerida March 20th, 2013 12:39 AM

    I hate having big boobs. I feel like anything tight I wear looks un-classy, and I also have the problem with support. I was almost choking to death laughing when I read the response to that one.

  • Ladymia69 March 20th, 2013 12:45 AM

    Just an FYI for gals who have oily acne-prone skin or related problems: You probably don’t want to use anything like makeup remover wipes, esp. the L’Oreal ones, without reading up on what exactly you’re rubbing on your face and not washing off. This article (http://www.ehow.com/list_5966609_dangers-isopropyl-palmitate_.html) about isopropyl palmitate, which is the third and most abundanty ingredient in the wipes, is a known pore-clogger, and can actually cause acne (they never did my skin any favors when I tried them). I like to use natural almond oil or coconut oil, in small amounts. Those oils actually feed your skin. I know it’s oil, but I truly have never broken out from them even after leaving them on my face. Weird.

  • Yazmine March 20th, 2013 12:59 AM

    I’ve tried for so many years to develop a ~personal style~ and this was so so helpful! I think I’m nearly getting there – my friends say that clothes made of velvet or knit or with collars remind them of me. Now it’s just a matter of filling my wardrobe with clothes I love

    http://www.fashionandfringes@blogspot.com.au

  • Beatrice March 20th, 2013 2:56 AM

    For the longest time I disavowed polo shirts, but I think I’ve had a revelation now.

    http://aclosetofonesown.tumblr.com/

  • 3LL3NH March 20th, 2013 3:10 AM

    A note about personal style:

    I am tired and lazy all the time. But I have a closet full of pieces that look good without me doing absolutely anything to them… which means a lot of the time I just throw clothes on my body, and they fit my personal style because they are my clothes.

    I’m saying this will happen naturally, but also, when you’re looking for clothes, get some things that can be your version of basic (for me it’s tunic style shirts and men’s button ups), that can be grab and go, or accessorized to high heaven when you’re feeling it.

    And the most important information if, as far as personal style goes, thrifting is the way to go, because ain’t nobody gonna have the same thing as you; what you get is yours alone, and what catches your eye tells you what your style needs.

    • soviet_kitsch March 20th, 2013 11:29 AM

      +1. I wear nothing but thrifted jeans or skirts and basic tops and I always look great. It doesn’t matter how boring your clothes are, as long as they fit you and you feel great wearing them, you’ll look good.
      (And also basic clothes are the best because they look amaaaaazing with lots of accessories)

  • purrr March 20th, 2013 3:24 AM

    if duct tape hurts to pull off, just do it in the shower.. soap it off. it’s easy. drag queens do it all the time

    • Moxx March 20th, 2013 7:10 AM

      you have no idea how much you just changed my life right there. tips of methods used by drag queens ftw, seriously.

    • ArmyOfRabbits March 20th, 2013 7:42 PM

      You just saved me from shopping for an expensive bra.

  • abby111039 March 20th, 2013 7:14 AM

    “The rent for these boobs is too damn high.”
    Haha, now that’s the Rookie humor that I love! Anyways, I’m totally feeling the pain of the personal style issue. I feel like I don’t have a lot of pieces in my closet that I can put together, and I also lack the money to purchase them…I suppose thrifting’s my best option then?

    • Pashupati March 20th, 2013 7:47 PM

      Also search the Interwebz for “customizing” or “refashioning [t-shirts, shirts, skirt, jeans, etc]“. You’ll find easy stuffs to do without knowing how to sew or without knowing any sophisticated sewing. And maybe learn to sew a bit.
      Also, maybe there are some stuffs that you could put together with the right accessories, but don’t look right without. I don’t know what I’d do without all the accessories I own. Thrift shops rule.

  • Mary the freak March 20th, 2013 8:58 AM

    UUUUH YOU SAVED MY LIFE. also thank you so much for this freaking awesome day on rookie because it’s my birthday. (:

    http://birdiewearsatie.blogspot.com/

    • HollinsCollins March 20th, 2013 4:40 PM

      Happy birthday Maryyyyyyyy!!!!! <3333

    • Amy Rose March 20th, 2013 11:57 PM

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARY!

  • spudzine March 20th, 2013 8:19 PM

    I honestly wasn’t sure about the ‘taking makeup off every night thing’, so I’m glad that this question was asked and answered. Thanks Rookie!

    http://spudzine.tumblr.com/
    http://emotwins.tumblr.com/

  • lizabeth March 20th, 2013 8:37 PM

    I like to make inspiration boards for my own personal style-Pintrest is GREAT for this! Or you could go old-school and make an awesome collage of all your style icons

    ps-I adore Rebecca from The Clothes Horse :)

  • Domenic March 21st, 2013 9:44 AM

    I am thinking about getting a sex change so that I can start wearing make up as a professional woman.

  • shelley March 21st, 2013 10:54 AM

    Yes, now starting my quest for a personal style!

  • Colleen Stratford-Kurus March 21st, 2013 4:51 PM

    Also, if you are not yet confident in your new style, wear whatever piece of clothing you aren’t totally 100% happy with, but ya know that it is awesome, to a big city. This way you gain confidence and can strut back to your town to show off your fantastic fashion sense! I am from a TINY town though, so this may only work for small town gals!

  • Jade F March 27th, 2013 9:14 PM

    Hi lovely ladies, I was trying to find the link to the gorgeous cream dress you posted in the DGYLG from nov last year.. http://rookiemag.com/2012/11/dglyg-nov-201/

    But I can’t comment on that piece anymore.. Where is it from?? So stunning!