You Asked It

Damn Girl Ya Look Good

Braces, bras, and bangs.

I have small boobs, but my mother is very strict about my wearing a bra. I understand where she is coming from—she is worried that I will attract attention from creeps. But bras are very uncomfortable to my sensitive skin, and I cannot stand them. I also feel like I shouldn’t be blamed for creepy people looking at me. Can you help me with this situation? —Anonymous, 13, Arizona

I don’t think you or your boobs, no matter what size they are, should feel blamed for potential creep-stares. Plus, creeps are creeps and will always be creeps, no matter what you wear or don’t wear. I know it can be a real drag to forced into wearing something like this, but if it’s really something you can’t get out of, then the best thing you can do is try to meet Momma in the middle. Keep her happy by wearing a bra, but request permission to pick it out yourself. There are some real comfy brassieres out there, so you don’t have to get stuck with something that you feel tortured in.

First of all, look for something soft, with no underwire. Here are some pretty ones:


Clockwise from top left: Sailor Lace Bandeau, $29.50, Gap; Barely There Comfort Flex Wireless Bra, $30, Macy’s; Barely There Bandini Foam Bra, $35 for two, Macy’s; Pins and Needles Lace-Trimmed Bandeau Bra, $9, Urban Outfitters.

I also like this lace one and this simple bralette, both from the Gap; this cute polka-dot bra and this cotton-spandex floral number from American Apparel; and this bandeau bra (a bandeau = a simple, strapless, tube-style undergarment) from Charlotte Russe. (And remember to wash any bra you buy before the first time you wear it, and regularly for the rest of its life, with a gentle, unscented laundry soap. This is important for everyone, but especially people with sensitive skin like yours.) If you can’t change your mom’s mind on this score, at least you can be comfortable, right? —Marie

I’m a big girl: six feet tall with size-12 feet. I have a hard time finding shoes that fit, and all pants look like capris on me. I’d like to rock some nice skinny jeans that actually go past my ankles. I’d also love to be able to wear cute boots like Doc Martens, but I’m afraid that (1) they don’t come in my size, and (2) they’ll make my feet look like gigantic bricks. Do you have any tips on finding (not too expensive) clothes that will actually cover my whole body and be bearable to look at? —C.

I feel you, C. I hit six feet when I was 13, much to the dismay of the people in charge of clothing me (my family). My feet are pretty small for my height (8½–9 in U.S. sizing), but my legs make up 99.9% of my body, and when I was growing up it was never easy to be simultaneously fully clothed and in style, at least not on my family’s budget. But times have changed, and now we big ladies have a tool that makes finding cute, affordable clothes that will fit us easier than I could have imagined in my youth. You might have some luck shopping locally, which has its advantages (supporting local businesses, trying clothes on before you buy, no shipping fees, no wait), but it sounds like that hasn’t been working for you, so why bang your head against the wall when you don’t have to? There are so many more options for you online!

Let’s start with the Doc Martens you’ve been craving. First of all, let me assure you that they WILL fit your feet. Many of the company’s styles are unisex, and men’s sizes go bigger than women’s (you’ll probably wear something like a men’s/unisex size 10½ in Docs). A really good resource for you would be a site like Zappos that offers free shipping both ways, so you can return anything that you don’t like or that doesn’t fit with minimal effort. Zappos also allows you to narrow down your search according to a thorough list of criteria: I just found 12 pairs of Dr. Martens boots in your size! I also like Barefoot Tess, which specializes in affordable women’s shoes from size 10 on up, and they often have sales. Some styles of combat boot just look like bricks no matter what size they are. Your foot size in proportional to your height, so I don’t think anything is going to make them look “too big” (anyway, who cares how big they look if you like how they look?).

Buying clothing online will take the tiniest bit more effort, but only at the very beginning. What I’m about to order you to do will change your tall-girl life: You must take your measurements. Clothing is listed by size, and sometimes will say “tall” or “long,” but you can never be sure that a particular label’s tall-size clothing will match your tall-size body. So, do this: Measure your inseam (the length of the inside seam of a pair of good-fitting pants), your hips, and your waist. (Detailed instructions for taking your measurements can be found here.) Keep your measurements saved in your phone or on your computer, and keep that measuring tape close at hand. When you’re shopping online, compare them against the sizing information on the website (click the tab that says “details” or “sizing guide”). So, if a skirt measures 23 inches in length and says it “hits at the knee” but you know that your legs are 44 inches long, you can predict that it’ll be a miniskirt on you.

Once you find two or three brands you like and whose sizes make sense on your body, you might want to forsake all others. That’s what I have done. Personally, I’m loyal to Boden (pricey but they have SALES) and Target. On the other hand, I know to avoid the Gap unless I want to look like my clothes shrunk in the dryer.

Finally, you want to rock some skinny jeans? Old Navy Rockstars are the longest, cheapest ($20-$40) I’ve found, and they last long enough that you will more than get your money’s worth. —Danielle

I’m 15 and I’m about to get braces. I already look a few years younger than I am, and I’m worried that braces will make me look even younger. I also think I will look dumb and ugly. Is it possible to look cute and grown-up with braces on? —Anonymous

I was totally devastated when I was told I needed braces at the age of 15. I blame the media! For so long they have given us the impression that cute things like glasses and braces are unattractive. Luckily, times are changing. People who don’t even need glasses get them with plain, nonprescription lenses just because they like how they look, and fake braces are becoming cool now, too!


Clockwise from top left: Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex, Gwen Stefani, Samuel Shanahoy, Billie Turnbull (photo by Maisie Cousins).

All of these beauties wear or have worn braces as adults, and I think they demonstrate that you just gotta embrace your orthodontia. You might consider getting colored ones like Samuel Shanahoy’s, or take a tip from the English model Billie Turnbull and get your braces involved in a whole face-jewelry situation.

Did you see this photo from Erica’s Rookie shoot a few months ago?


It made me wish I still had my braces! Enjoy yours, Anonymous. And if, after all that, you’re not convinced, you could always look into clear braces, though those are not nearly as fun! —Eleanor

I have fringy bangs, and they’re so cute and all, but I also have semi-oily skin and my bangs get all nasty and oily-looking after about 24 hours. I hate having to wash all my hair every day when only my bangs really look like they need it, partly because I feel bad about the amount of water that uses and partly because of the inconvenience. Would dry shampoo work on my bangs? Or is there any other magical solution for my problem?

I have the same problem, my boo! I’ll start the day off with perfect bangs, but by the end of the day and definitely the next morning, they’re greasy and wet—it looks like I did some hard labor or ran a race. DAMN YOU, OILY-HAIR GENETICS! Sadly, there is no magic spell for us, but there is one thing that’s close, and you already guessed it: dry shampoo. I like to use Batiste’s Dry Shampoo Spray-Blush. It’s pretty simple: You just shake it up, and spray a small amount near the roots of your bangs. It will look like you poured baby powder onto your head until you comb it through. Then you’ll see your bangs spring back to life right before your very eyes! Some other good dry shampoos you can try: Clean’s Dry Shampoo and Pronto Dry Shampoo by Oscar Blandi. Another thing I like to do is just wash my bangs in the bathroom sink. It takes a little bit longer than using dry shampoo (especially if you choose to blow-dry them afterwards), but it’s effective! —Marie ♦

Send your style and beauty questions to Marie at Please include your first name (or your nickname, or your initials), your age, and the city/region you live in.


  • myy July 10th, 2013 12:06 AM

    I wish I could have read this article when I first got braces! I swear, I spent the first three years of my teenage years with my mouth shut . . . I don’t even think I have ONE picture of me smiling! Looking back, they looked kind of cute (I had my rubber bands arranged in rainbow order), but at the time I thought they made me look like a freak :(((((

    • Monq July 10th, 2013 1:22 AM

      Rookie, where were you when I had braces!?


    • alaskaonthemoon July 11th, 2013 10:00 PM

      I remember when my mom forced me to get braces. She found some sort of two-for-one deal when my little brother was getting braces put on his teeth.
      I never wanted braces, I always thought they were gross– “Metal in my mouth? All of the time?” And I was perfectly fine with my crooked smile. I liked it. I thought it made me original. My bite mark on an apple was like my finger print.
      So, now, after 2 years of ceramic braces and transparent retainers, my teeth look the same as anyone else’s.
      I was kind of disappointed.

      There’s really no point to my comment. But I do have a suggestion for all those who are being forced into braces!
      Ask your orthodontist to give you the ceramic braces, not the regular metal ones. The ceramic ones aren’t as visible. (Nobody ever noticed unless I mentioned having braces. )

  • FoundAlaska July 10th, 2013 12:43 AM

    For tall pants:

    I’ve had super good luck with American Eagle jeans. I’m 6’2”, and they have the 36 inch inseam available online. Their skinny jeans are great. (Gap also carries 36 inseam online, as does Delia*s. I’m not a big fan of how GAP jeans look on me, and I’ve never tried the Delia*s ones, but they are there.) Plus AE jeans are pretty affordable, plus they have a $30 jean sale a few times a year.

    I don’t have any tips on shoes. I just give up and wear Toms and converse all the time.

  • izi July 10th, 2013 12:54 AM

    i’m so pumped that you featured samuel shanahoy! Samuel’s style is such an inspiration to me omfg

  • barbroxursox July 10th, 2013 1:01 AM

    I sometimes wash just my bangs in the sink too! Especially in the summer when my forehead gets all sweaty ’cause it’s so hot! Except I’ve kinda let my bangs grow out way too long right now so I usually just pin them back…

  • vicitamor July 10th, 2013 1:20 AM

    All those people rock braces but Samuel Shanahoy is a boy, judging from his Tumblr so I think the sentence ‘All these women wear or have worn braces as adults’ is a bit inaccurate.

    • Tavi July 10th, 2013 2:38 AM

      Thanks for catching that, will fix now.

    • Anaheed July 10th, 2013 2:51 AM

      That was totally my fault, and I have met Samuel and KNOW he is a boy! I don’t know where my brain went. Thank you, vicitamor!

  • annamarie July 10th, 2013 5:35 AM

    Topshop’s tall line is great if you’re long in the leg department!
    I’m 5’11 and their pants, if anything, are too long. But my height is more torso than leg, so their regular jeans fit fine on me too. But give them a try (in sales).

  • Sophie ❤ July 10th, 2013 6:50 AM

    This one mainly didn’t apply to me, but it was pretty interesting!

  • queennannygoat July 10th, 2013 7:05 AM

    About the soft bras; If you look in places like TJ Maxx and can be bothered to search you can find pretty ones there. Also These are a little more pricey but I love the colour pops!

  • AidaA July 10th, 2013 9:19 AM

    I had braces for absolutely ages. Coloured braces are kinda great. for a while I had purple braces, then pink braces. A girl I knew had rainbow braces and they looked amazing!



  • wallflower152 July 10th, 2013 9:50 AM

    I always wanted braces as a kid/young teen. I thought they were so cute! I was super jealous of my classmates who got to have holiday colored braces–red and green in December, orange and black in October, etc. Unfortunately I have naturally perfectly straight teeth so braces were never an option. Why is my life so hard? Enjoy your braces Anonymous.

  • soviet_kitsch July 10th, 2013 10:02 AM

    ahhh i am horrendously jealous of all you tall rookies. i’m 5 feet tall and that was after a growth spurt :’c

  • filmfatale July 10th, 2013 10:09 AM

    One quick note about Old Navy dungarees: SIZE DOWN. They stretch out like nothing else, particularly in the waist and high hip.

  • Kassidy Anderson July 10th, 2013 10:20 AM

    A note about oily hair, I’ve also been cursed (blessed?) with it myself. Whenever I don’t want to wash it and save water/shampoo/essential hair oils, I’ll use baby powder and rub it into my roots. Boosh! Oil absorbed.

  • mrsfigg July 10th, 2013 11:31 AM

    I have bangs as well, along with an oily forehead. What I’ve found is that oil blotting sheets are a gift from god! I use one pretty much halfway through the day and then again later if necessary. Also- you can use them to fix your hair if it gets really bad, just swipe a clean sheet through the strands and it takes the oiliness away. I can usually go for two or three days without washing my hair thanks to this.

  • Arrow July 10th, 2013 12:50 PM

    I also have bangs. I used to wash them in the sink, but if I’m in a real hurry, I keep a spray bottle of water and just spray them down and then blow-dry them. It saves time and the neck strain I get from bending down in the sink.

  • Sharon July 10th, 2013 2:29 PM

    @smallboobs: same girl. I HATE wearing bras because I practically don’t have boobs! My mom was really uncomfortable when I stopped wearing a bra and still doesn’t like it, but I am able to go BRALESS. But when I do wear bras I like to go for loose cotton type ones. Or lace bralets are the best. H&M has 1 packs for around 8 dollars, and Amazon has some cheap ones too.

  • Jasmijn July 10th, 2013 3:54 PM

    For the tall girl: check out pictures of the Dutch model Valentijn de Hingh, a very tall, very beautiful trans women. She can definitely rock her clothes being about the same length! Inspiration trough google images. <3
    x J

  • insteadofanelephant July 10th, 2013 5:23 PM

    i used to wash my bangs in the sink too! mine always looked so greasy by the end of the day, especially since it was summer and so they got sweaty too.

    oh man braces. remember how they were SO COOL in 4th grade and then you finally needed them in 9th and then no one thought they were cool anymore. that’s what happened to me (omg that was like 9 years ago). bring em back! mouth wax! braces art!

    instead of an elephant

  • leopardplaid July 11th, 2013 9:39 AM

    i used to have the bangs problem, and i’ve finally sorted it out. firstly, and i realize this might depend on the texture of your hair, but mine is naturally wavy and i used to straighten my bangs to lie flat against my head, but now i blow dry them into the shape i want instead and just fix any weird hairs with an iron. this way, they lie in front of my face rather than on my face and don’t really touch my skin except where the tips graze my eyebrows. i also use hairspray on the tops of my bangs and sometimes i even lift my bangs and spray the underside so they stay the way i style them and don’t end up flattening onto my skin. i also realized after reading some tips for oily bangs in a magazine article that i was touching my bangs a lot and my hands were transferring oil onto my hair. now, when i need to sweep my bangs out of my face, i use the backs of my fingers rather than my fingertips (it sounds weird but with a little practice it looks and feels natural). spraying my bangs also keeps them in place so i don’t have to fix them as often. the tips others have posted about dry shampoo and blotting papers are also really helpful, and i also try to keep my face powdered (use blotting papers before re-powdering so it doesn’t just cake on) so my skin doesn’t feel as oily and my hair just ends up touching the powder. using powder on the underside of my bangs also helps in a pinch if i’m out somewhere and don’t have dry shampoo. ok, this comment was kinda long, but oily bangs were the bane of my existence for many years so i hope this helps someone else to be free of them.

  • skiiing July 11th, 2013 5:21 PM

    also with the bra thing, mine are pretty sizeable but its soo irritating when i want to wear a cute backless top!! so i wear these silicone cups (eg but those are super expensive because i got mine at target for like 10 bucks) which give a tiny bit of lift and also protect against rogue nipples!!

  • maxxxx July 11th, 2013 6:52 PM

    yo girl with the bang problem: I have found that washing just my bangs in the sink and then blow drying after works the best. I have been doing it for 5 years now and it only takes a few minutes.Makes yo bangs look fresh. Dry shampoo just does not do the trick.

  • Annalucy29 July 11th, 2013 7:09 PM

    I’ve had my braces for about a year an although they can be a pain I know it will be worth it when I get them taken off and have lovely straight teeth. Just think if how great you’ll feel afterwards, definitely worth it!

  • nana July 12th, 2013 3:36 AM

    Utterly loving the flowers-meet-braces pic

  • loonylizzy July 12th, 2013 8:03 PM

    totally relating with C’s question! i’m a tall girl with impossibly long legs and it’s hell trying to find reasonably priced pants that actually fit well – especially since i have a small waist and most longer pants are made for people with wider hips and a bigger waist! thanks for the awesome suggestions, rookie!

  • Graciexx July 14th, 2013 9:15 AM

    Dear C,

    I totally get what it’s like having big feet, I’m on the tall side of average but my feet are GINORMOUS. I live in my Docs and Vans, both of which I bought from the men’s line. This works for most non-heeled shoes, the only problem is they don’t come in glitter or flower-y patterns. But this can easily be overcome with a little help from

    When your looking for heels, I suggest stores like Target rather than small boutiques. There’s usually a size 12 on the bottom shelf behind about 4 pairs of size 11′s.

    If that still doesn’t work, my mum has a friend who has feet bigger than both you and me, so she finds her shoes at transgender stores.

    Hope this helps, Graciexx

  • LeavesThatAreGreen July 15th, 2013 1:36 PM

    Dear Anonymous, 13, Arizona:
    My boobs are small and I really hate wearing a bra. If you don’t want to wear a bra – don’t wear a bra. It’s just some kind of socially constructed law. Society screams “WEAR A BRA OR NO ONE WILL LIKE YOU OR SOME PEOPLE WILL LIKE YOU A BIT TOO MUCH” but really, that is not true. I stopped wearing a bra and nothing happened.

    (I honestly think people notice my boobs less now, without the bra, since they look smaller. Plus, all the small bras are like PUSH UP PUSH UP PUSH UP which makes your boobs a hundred times bigger or so)

    Tell your mum that you really don’t want to wear a bra and that she worries too much and that nothing will happen anyway and that what you wear (or not wear) has nothing to do with stupid creeps.