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:
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name (or your nickname, or your initials), your age, and the city/region you live in.