Perfect Postpartum Tops for New Moms

Whether you’re nursing or not, postpartum dressing can be tricky. For tops that fill all of a new mom’s dressing criteria — comfort, accessibility, and style — heed these figure-flattering ideas from Rock Star Momma: The Hip Guide to Looking Gorgeous Through All Nine Months and Beyond by Skye Hoppus.

THE ROCK STAR MOMMA’S GUIDE TO NURSING TOPS THAT ROCK

  • Easy Access: Need I say more?
  • Shapely Shirts: As your breasts fill up with milk, they’re obviously going to get bigger, so you want a shirt with stretch to accommodate your swelling bosom. And, once they’re emptied, your top should have memory — that is, it should readily move with you as your breasts expand and contract. There’s nothing worse than a top that looks stretched out and saggy.
  • Bra­-rific: Make sure your nursing tops afford you the ability to wear a nursing bra. You’ll not only want the support of a great nursing or sports bra to help keep you from sagging (with all of that swelling and contracting going on, now it’s more important than ever to give those breasts tons-o-support), but you’ll also want a good bra to help prevent leakage, as well. Line your bra with disposable breast pads and change them often.
  • All Buttoned Up: Button-­up blouses are a great way to go for nursing. They can be a little oversize to compensate for those pounds that still need to come off, while still looking cool, as long as the rest of your outfit is tailored and sleek.
  • It’s a Wrap: Wrap tops and dresses are fabulous for nursing! They offer great access and are truly flattering on any build. Stick to prints to help you look slimmer — and camouflage any milk stains. (Yep, I said milk stains!)

It’s that easy to find nursing tops that rock. Just a little creativity and an unwillingness to compromise on convenience is all you really need. Keep the same qualifications in mind for nighty-night time, as well. When it’s 3:00 a.m. and you’re in a sleep-slash-­breast­-feeding haze, you’ll want to have a nightgown or cami that provides comfortable accessibility for your little guy or gal, as well.

DON’T FORGET: CONVENIENCE
Remember, you are now operating heavy pieces of machinery (those would be your boobs!), which might feel somewhat foreign at first, but trust me, you WILL get used to them and the best piece of advice I can offer is to make it as easy as possible to be able to feed your baby when he or she is hungry. And you don’t have to sacrifice your sense of style…stretchy tanks, classy striped button­downs, and a quality nursing bra is a must­do combo for any nursing momma.

TRANSITION TOPS
If breast­-feeding isn’t your bag, no worries — that’s a personal choice and who can’t respect that? You’ve still got to get dressed and you’ve actually got one advantage over your nursing friends: after you get past the rather uncomfortable process of having your milk dry up, you don’t have to give a second thought to those boobs. So you’ve got a lot more options when it comes to transition tops. Check out these handy-dandy tips below for finding great tops for this transitional time that will help hide and flatter those trouble spots:

  • Lovin’ Loose: Up until now, I’ve pretty much shunned the idea of you ever wearing a looser top. The thing is, up until now you were pregnant and had a beautiful belly to show off. Now, rock star momma, you’ve got a belly that you want to get rid of. That’ll happen soon enough. But in the meantime, a little bit of loose is just what the doctor ordered to cover it up. Just pair with fitted pants to help even out the look, okay?
  • Just Jackets: A jacket over a tank top, a T-shirt, or a tube top is a great way to help conceal that curvaceous midsection. Just button one or two buttons right across the middle of your tummy to help cover up that bulge.
  • Tracksuit Couture: Tracksuit jackets are still your friend — and they always will be! Zip up with a bold-colored tracksuit jacket over jeans, a loose and long skirt, cargos, trackpants…just about anything to create a comfortably cool look that’ll help hide your newfound trouble spots.
  • Smock Tops: Tops with smocking can be very flattering and helpful in covering up that belly. Plus, in a bright, fun terry it can kick up any outfit from boring to brilliant!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Skye Hoppus, author of Rock Star Momma: The Hip Guide to Looking Gorgeous Through All Nine Months and Beyond (Copyright © 2007 by Rock Star Momma, LLC), is the founder and owner of Childish Clothing, the ultra-hip maternity and children’s clothing line. She is an accomplished designer whose clothes have dressed celebrity mommas and babes and graced the pages of major magazines. Wife to Mark Hoppus of blink-182 and +44 fame, Skye knows what it means to be a rock star momma. Prior to launching Childish, Skye graduated from Pepperdine University and headed the MTV West Coast Music Office for nearly a decade. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their four-year-old son.

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End Closet Clutter and Get Organized in 3 Steps

Tangled hangers, over-crowded racks, dark corners, and jumbles of shoes, purses and ties? Put an end to the chaos hiding behind closed closet doors and get organized. Linda Cobb, author of The Queen of Clean Conquers Clutter, shows you what to keep, what to toss, and how to find a place for everything in your wardrobe in three steps.

Unpack: To do the job right, you have to take everything out of the closet. If you have some rolling racks, put them to use now. If not, you can utilize the shower rod (provided it’s attached firmly to the wall), the bed, and floor. Group the clothes by whom they belong to and into categories — blouses in one pile, skirts in another, slacks in still another. You get the idea.

  • Remove everything from shelves and floor, sorting as you go. Make piles of keepers, “not sure,” and “get rid of.” In the keeper piles, try to group types of clothes together, it will save you time later.
  • Clothes that need laundering or dry cleaning should go in a dirty-clothes hamper or dry-cleaning basket.
  • Take the time to wash down closet walls thoroughly and vacuum the carpet or wash the floor (that way your favorite silk blouse won’t get tangled in a cobweb!).

Evaluate: Sort clothes, putting “toss” or “donate” items into appropriate containers, such as boxes or trash bags. It’s a good idea to use black trash bags so that you or the family can’t see your “treasures” departing. Place the clothes you are keeping on the bed or a rolling portable rack.

As you are evaluating each item, consider:

  • Does it fit?
  • Be tough. If you haven’t worn it in a year, you probably won’t ever wear it again. If you haven’t been a size 6 since high school, move on and eliminate the size 6s.
  • Do I need to alter this? How much will the alterations cost?
  • How about repairs — can the item be repaired and still be wearable?
  • Will shoe polish really take care of that huge scuff mark on the toe of my shoe?
  • Give yourself permission to have a pile of “not sure” things. These are things you just can’t quite make up your mind about. If, after further consideration, you are still not sure, box them up, label the box with its contents, and date it. In six months if you haven’t revisited any of the items, donate the contents or dispose of it.
  • Really consider each item. Where will you wear it? When? If you can’t come up with a good answer, say good-bye!

Eliminate

  • Get rid of extra wire hangers. Give them back to your dry cleaner if he will take them; otherwise donate them to a nursing home or toss them.
  • Anything mismatched will not likely be missed — throw out mismatched items.
  • Look through your “not sure” pile one last time and make any additional judgment calls — be strong!

By now you should have boxes and bags for donating, garage sale, and trash. Remove these from the room, so that you have space to work . . . and no matter now tempting it is, don’t look in these containers again. If they are full, tape them up and label them with where they go and get the trash bags into the trash . . . quickly! It’s like pulling off a Band-Aid®, it hurts less if you just “do it”!

If things cannot be fixed, altered, or repaired and be really wearable, then they should be tossed. If the items are salvageable, then keep them, but take care of the problem before putting the item back in the closet.

Neaten Up

  • Determine hanger type — wire, clip, or plastic. Be consistent. A jumble of wire, plastic, and wood hangers will become tangled and be harder to separate and use — plus it just plain looks better!
  • Start re-hanging clothes, grouping by color and type.
  • If using a double-hung system, hang trousers and skirts on the lower rack.
  • Group blouses and shirts by color, and hang them over appropriate pants or skirts (this is called instant dressing!)
  • Hang long clothes in areas where they won’t tangle with things on the bottom of the closet floor.
  • Hang or fold and store sweaters. Sweaters actually do better when folded because they don’t stretch. If you prefer to hang sweaters, be sure to use padded hangers to avoid those shoulder dimples. And button them to keep their shape.
  • Arrange men’s ties on a tie rack or hang over a hanger. (Take a tip from a salesman friend of mine who has a vast collection of ties: after he wears one, he slips it off his neck without untying, and drapes it over a hanger in the closet. His wife has assembled a half dozen “tie hangers” by color in the closet this way.)
  • Replace purses on shelves in your storage area, grouping matching purses and shoes together.
  • Use a clear plastic shoe box to capture miscellaneous items such as hair-bands, scarves, and belts, and place on the shelf.
  • Cover seldom-worn clothes with a cloth cover, or group them together and cover with fabric, such as an old sheet or tablecloth, to keep them clean.
  • Be sure you have enough light in the closet. Consider a battery-operated light, or one that “taps” on and off as needed. This helps you to avoid leaving the house in one navy and one black shoe!

A Sentimental Journey
Now you’re probably staring at a group of what I call the “sentimental keepers.” These are things you don’t wear or use, but can’t bear to part with — so don’t. Make sure they are clean (stains can oxidize over time), and pack them in a box labeled something like “sentimental favorites.” Store them away, under the bed, on a top shelf, or in the attic (as long as the temperature there remains fairly consistent). You still have the items, but they’re not taking up valuable space in your closet. Who knows, one day when you’re baby-sitting the grandkids and run out of ideas, you may grab it for a “dress up” box. Most kids love to play this game.

No More Closet Confusion
Let’s talk about storage options in your closet.

  • First, consider adding extra shelving. This will give you lots of extra space for those things that you don’t use often, but still need to have on hand, like handbags and totes, evening shoes, sweaters, and bathing suits.
  • If you store things that tend to tip over or fall off the shelf, such as purses or stacks of sweatshirts, put them in a see-through type container such as a plastic milk crate. You want to easily see from the floor what you are looking for. If you used a closed container, have it labeled in bold print.
  • I keep a set of “grab-its” in my closet. These are super-long tongs-like things on a long wooden handle that you can use to reach high above your head. Look for these in home and health stores, and catalogs. They are meant for people who lack mobility, but they’re a wonderful tool to keep handy, not only in your closet, but in the kitchen, garage, and even the living room.
  • Look your closet over and determine how many long items you have, such as dresses and long skirts, trousers that are hung from the cuff, bathrobes, and long coats. This will help you determine how much of your closet space to allocate to their storage. If you don’t wear a lot of long things, then you will only need a small area to store them.
  • If you have a lot of blouses, shirts, trousers folded over padded hangers, and other shorter things, consider adding a bar to the closet to instantly double your storage space. You don’t have to run it the entire length of your closet; you can break the closet up into “long” and “short” zones. By adding double racks, you can store your slacks on the bottom and coordinating blouses on the top rack. Double racks should be installed at about 82 and 42 inches high to make the most of your closet space.
  • Separate your clothing by color and you can grab an outfit at a glance when it’s time to get dressed. This method also lets you know what items are in the laundry too. By adding an extra rack, you may have enough space in your closet to store sweaters hanging on padded hangers to keep them wrinkle free (although I still say sweaters are better folded — no stretching).
  • No need to hang T-shirts; roll them in drawers to conserve space and deter wrinkles.
  • Hooks on the back of the closet door are fine for robes and pajamas.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Previously the owner of a cleaning and disaster-restoration business in Michigan, dealing with the aftermath of fires and floods, Linda Cobb, author of The Queen of Clean Conquers Clutter (Copyright © 2002 by Linda Cobb), started sharing her cleaning tips in a local newspaper column. After moving to Phoenix she became a weekly guest on Good Morning Arizona — then the product endorsements and requests for appearances started rolling in. A featured guest on radio and television shows across the country, Linda Cobb lives in Phoenix with her husband.

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How to Make an Outfit That Works

In the same straight-talking style that has made TLC’s What Not to Wear a smash hit for eight seasons, Clinton Kelly shows women how to outfit themselves with confidence and style. From his book Oh No She Didn’t: The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them.

I’ve heard so many people reminisce about Garanimals with longing and nostalgia. “Oh, life was so easy back then. You’d match the pants with the tiger tag to the top with the tiger tag and you’d be ready for school in no time! Man, those were the days.”

Is it just me or is matching rust-orange corduroys to a rust-orange polo shirt about as difficult as picking your eight-year-old nose? I mean, come on. If you can’t do this without the help of animal tags by the second grade, you need more than after-school tutoring.

Matching your top to your bottom makes you look simpleminded, completely out-of-date, or just plain old. Style has changed since the 1950s. It’s not about wearing the perfectly matching set as it is displayed on a mannequin. It’s about putting pieces together with your own twist.

Look, if you absolutely love a print that comes in both a blouse and a skirt, I suppose you could buy both pieces. But for the love of Lagerfeld, DO NOT WEAR THEM TOGETHER.

I know many women have a difficult time matching pieces, and that’s because things don’t need to “match,” they need to “go.” For example, forest green and sage green don’t match, but they go, so you can wear a sage green sweater with a forest green suede boot. Another example is gold and yellow; they don’t match, but you could wear a blouse that has some gold in the print with jeans and a yellow flat.

Speaking of jeans, they’re neutral, so any color or print works with denim. Other neutrals are black, gray, navy, brown, khaki, and white. Technically, any color goes with any neutral, and all neutrals go with each other. Some colors and neutrals pair better than others. A few combinations don’t work so well:

BLACK + ORANGE = Halloween
GREEN + ORANGE = Pumpkin
BLACK + YELLOW = Bumblebee
RED + GREEN = Christmas

And you may be wondering whether you can wear black and navy together or black and brown. The answer is yes and yes. The key to making both of those neutral combinations work is intention. A very dark navy blue that looks almost black paired with actual black will make it seem like you got dressed in the dark. But a lighter navy can be paired with black without a problem.

Black and brown have a similar relationship. Very dark chocolate brown is harder to pair with black than, say, a milk-chocolate brown. And I’ve found that the best way to combine black and brown is by using a print that contains both neutrals. Maybe you’ve got an abstract geometric print blouse that contains purple, black, and brown. You could wear it with black trousers (because there’s black in the print) and a brown jacket (because there’s also brown in the print).

When a woman tells me that she is absolutely hopeless at putting outfits together and still cannot grasp the concept of “going,” I advise her to keep all her bottoms neutral. If she owns:

  • A BLACK PENCIL SKIRT
  • GRAY TROUSERS
  • DARK-WASH JEANS
  • KHAKIS
  • AND/OR WHITE WALKING SHORTS

she’ll be hard-pressed to find a top that doesn’t go with at least one of those bottoms.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clinton Kelly is the cohost of TLC’s popular show What Not to Wear, a spokesperson for Macy’s, and a motivational speaker who has successfully talked thousands of women out of stirrup pants. He has worked as an editor at several noted fashion publications, including Marie Claire and Mademoiselle. In his book Oh No She Didn’t: The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them (Copyright © 2010 by Clinton Kelly), Clinton points out the hundreds of fashion mistakes women most commonly make and describes how to fix them.

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6 Style “Don’ts” and How to Fix Them

Clinton Kelly, the cheeky cohost of TLC’s popular show What Not to Wear, offers detailed and entertaining critiques of six of women’s top style mistakes and practical suggestions for fixing them. From his book Oh No She Didn’t, a delightful mix of hilarious dish and expert fashion advice

GAP IN THE BACK
The most common alteration I do for my clients, besides hemming pants and sleeves, is fixing Gap in the Back, a problem of which you are all too aware if you carry your weight in your hips and/or rump but have a relatively small waist. Yes, it’s a drag when things don’t fit perfectly off the rack, but that doesn’t mean you should settle. People with great style don’t settle! When I see a woman who has chosen to walk around with all that extra room in the back of her pants, I wonder why she doesn’t make good use of it — you know, treat it as a marsupial-esque ass-pouch for storing her belongings, like a turkey sandwich and a romance novel.

Gap in the Back is really nothing to get yourself worked up about. When you find pants that fit you beautifully everywhere except in the waist, buy the damn things. Then find someone who knows how to sew. A small gap can be fixed with a little nip in the center of the waistband. A larger gap can be closed with two darts on the waistband, one over each butt cheek. When you get the pants back — voilà — they’ll fit and you’ll feel silly for whining about how pants never fit you.

FIDGETING
You can be wearing the cutest freakin’ outfit in the whole world, but you’ll look a helluva lot less beautiful if you spend half the night adjusting your bra straps and picking a wedgie out of your butt.

People with True Style:

  1. Wear flattering clothes
  2. Behave appropriately
  3. Exude confidence

Fidgeting or fussing with a garment is a sign that something doesn’t fit (that’s strike number one) or that you don’t have the confidence or composure to successfully pull off the look you’re trying to achieve (strikes two and three).

If it’s a question of fit, you must determine the reason the garment doesn’t stay put — and fix it. Is your skirt riding up your thighs? It’s probably too tight. Maybe it can be let out. If not, you need to let it go. Does your strapless dress keep sliding down the boobies? Well, if you have to hoist it up every two minutes, the bodice is too loose! So have it taken in. Or, here’s a brilliant idea, wear a dress with straps next time. Whatever the reason, figure it out and do something about it.

If you’re fidgeting due to a lack of confidence, it might be because you haven’t found your true style just yet. But I’ll give you a piece of advice: Confidence can be faked. Just take a deep breath, relax, smile, and be in the moment. Before long, you won’t have to fake it anymore. Or you can just take a beta-blocker. Your choice.

GIVEAWAY AND SLOGANED T-SHIRTS
You walked a 5K. Congratu-freakin’-lations. How about you just tell people you strolled the hopping 3.125 miles instead of wearing the free, one-size-fits-all cotton tee they gave you at the finish line.

You attended a huge family reunion and your third cousin-in-law made a commemorative shirt. News flash: Nobody gives a rat’s ass.

Your parents went to Aruba and all you got was this lousy T-shirt. That is so funny. Tell your parents you’re going to wear that shirt the day you check them into the nursing home.

Whether you were given a T-shirt or had a momentary brain fart and bought one, I urge you to really think about: a. what it’s doing for your body — probably nothing good — and, b. what it says about you — probably that you don’t have one original thought rattling around in that brain of yours.

Are there funny statement tees in the world? Sure. Are there well-made ones? Yeah. Are there well-fitting ones? You betcha. But the vast majority — we’re talking 99.99 percent of all sloganed or giveaway T-shirts — are lame-o, unflattering, and of poor quality.

Oh, one more thing: If you think it’s funny to walk around in public wearing a T-shirt detailing the twenty-seven ways you can use the F-word, you are a loser and should be sterilized.

OUTDATED PATTERNS
If you were house hunting and you found one with an avocado green refrigerator, a pink toilet, and a bunch of brass trim, you’d probably laugh about it later with friends. Well, I do the same thing when I see a woman wearing chintz, except I don’t wait until later. It’s like Tourette’s — I can’t help it.

Outdated patterns make you look out of touch with society and can age you at least a decade. Of course, retro patterns often become trendy, but they’re usually done in modern cuts and in modern fabrics. More often, over the course of any given decade or so, prints will develop a general feeling to them. For example, in the recent past, florals have trended away from looking like literal renditions of flowers and moved toward the abstract. And painterly prints have been gaining popularity.*

To look modern you have to shop on a regular basis in trendy stores and occasionally pick up a magazine to see what fashionable people are wearing!

*As this book was going to press, little pink & purple rosebud florals (á la “Little House on the Prairie”) became all the rage. Who can keep up with this crap?! You can!

DOUBLE BUBBLE (OR, THY CUPS RUNNETH OVER)
The next time you want to give a man a piece of your mind for staring at your boobs, make sure the reason he’s looking at your rack is not that he’s wondering why you have four breasts instead of two. Double bubble occurs when a woman with a decent-size chest wears a bra that is too small, and then tops it off with a clingy knit. Disaster!

Ladies, ladies, ladies. How many times do I have to tell you this? You must have a professional bra fitting every two years, even if your weight has remained constant, or anytime you gain or lose a minimum of ten pounds. I can almost guarantee that after a professional bra fitter gets her hands on your bingo-bongos, you will discover that you are bigger in the cup and smaller in the band than you had previously thought. I know this because I have performed approximately one thousand booby makeovers in the past seven years. (See Low Boobies.)

And don’t confuse lingerie with supportive undergarments. The same bra you wear in the bedroom to get your partner’s blood flowing is not the same bra you wear to work.

CROPPED PANTS
Women ask me constantly, “What do you have against cropped pants?” The truth is, I’m kind of fine with cropped pants — when they look good. But they rarely do. I am beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt convinced that the vast majority of women buy them because their length is one less thing to worry about. “Well, they fit in the waist! It doesn’t matter what length they are.” That makes about as much sense as Carrot Top’s new face.

You can’t just go around wearing pants any length you want! It doesn’t work that way. Try to achieve one of the following lengths, or your look will have that neither-here-nor-there quality I find so damn annoying.

  • Full-length pants should rest about a half an inch off the floor in the back.
  • Full-length jeans should rest about a quarter of an inch off the floor in the back.
  • Skinny jeans should hit at the ankle or be worn stacked (pushed up).
  • Pedal pushers should hit just below the kneecap.
  • Walking shorts hit just above the kneecap.
  • Clamdiggers are meant to hit at midcalf.
  • Ankle pants should be cropped just above the ankle bone.

The shorter and wider you are, the more likely you are to look like Spanky from the “Little Rascals” in a cropped pant. Wear Bermuda shorts or long pants instead!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clinton Kelly is the cohost of TLC’s popular show What Not to Wear, a spokesperson for Macy’s, and a motivational speaker who has successfully talked thousands of women out of stirrup pants. He has worked as an editor at several noted fashion publications, including Marie Claire and Mademoiselle. In his book Oh No She Didn’t: The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them (Copyright © 2010 by Clinton Kelly), Clinton points out the hundreds of fashion mistakes women most commonly make and describes how to fix them.

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5 Top Fashion Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them

How NOT to dress. Clinton Kelly, cohost of TLC’s popular show What Not to Wear and author of Oh No She Didn’t, pokes fun at five common fashion and style “don’ts” and, because he loves you, presents easy alternatives. From his book Oh No She Didn’t: The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them.

TRACKSUITS
Is your tracksuit cool? Are you sure? Take this quiz and find out!

You are wearing a tracksuit at this very moment and . . .

  • You are J.Lo. (Add 10 points.)
  • You are in the Mob. (Add 10 points.)
  • You are fitness-walking in the mall and you are over the age of sixty-five. (Add 3 points.)
  • The tracksuit is velour. (Subtract 2 points.)
  • The tracksuit is vinyl. (Subtract 2 points.)
  • The tracksuit is pink velour with a word on the ass and you are older than seventeen. (Subtract 375 points.)

Scoring
0 to 23 points. Your tracksuit is acceptable. Congratulations!

-2 to 0 points. Here’s the thing about tracksuits: If they’re made of nylon, you obviously think you’re living in a different decade. If they’re velour, you’ve been brainwashed into thinking this is an acceptable casual look for women. I can pretty much guarantee that the manufacturers of such tracksuits are laughing at you — all the way to the bank. (I’ll give girls under the age of seventeen a little leeway here because you’re not old enough to know you’re being brainwashed.) In general, if you’re not in the actual process of working out, tracksuits make you look lazy, out of touch, or like some wannabe pop star. Try upgrading to jeans and a casual jacket.

Less than -2 points. You lose.


HAIRY LEGS UNDER HOSE

Let me begin by stating that I strongly support a woman’s right not to shave any part of her body if she so chooses; however, exercising that right should qualify you for mandatory military service. But that’s beside the point.

For the love of all things holy, if you have not shaved your legs in a month, do not, under any circumstances, wear sheer hose! There are few things in the world as revolting as the sight of what appear to be a thousand tapeworms squished between a woman’s legs and her stockings. Go opaque or go home. Better yet, use some kind of depilatory! And I hope all you drag queens and trannies out there are paying attention. Man up, and shave those damn gams. You too, Mo’Nique.


COUNTERFEIT ANYTHING

Manufacturing counterfeit products is unconscionable, because it’s stealing and it’s illegal. People who sell these fakes make me angry, and people who buy them have my sympathy. Yes, sympathy.

If you think that carrying a fake designer bag is going to make you more fabulous, your priorities are incredibly screwed up. That ill-applied label only tells the world you’re ashamed of yourself for not being able to afford the real thing. If you can’t afford an Hermès bag, who the hell cares? There are plenty of gorgeous, reasonably priced bags in the world, just waiting to be bought and carried with pride and style.

Sure, it sucks when someone else has the money to buy what you want, whether it’s a bag or a car or a house or a swimming pool or a trophy husband. But that doesn’t give you the right to steal profits from Hermès or Gucci or Prada or even Kate Spade.


LOW BOOBIES

Wherever your boobs rest naturally is just fine, and I hope you love them.

I will tell you, however, that pendulous breasts don’t look so good in clothes and that’’s because clothes aren’t constructed to accommodate a bust that hits the belly button. Clothes are designed on dress forms. Where is the bust on a dress form? About halfway between the shoulder and the elbow. (I know dress forms don’t have elbows, smarty-pants. Try to imagine where the elbow would be.)

So, if you want clothes to fit you better, it would behoove you to hoist your boobies up to that general position. You could have a doctor do that for you. Or you could try an absolutely incredible new product! It’s called . . . a good bra.

How do you get a good bra? You go to a professional bra fitter, not the sixteen-year-old who works at a lingerie shop in the mall after school.

Most women I’ve worked with discover after a professional bra fitting that they are smaller in the band and bigger in the cup than they had thought. This is usually a welcome discovery, because if a bra fits better under the bust, the band can do the vast majority of the bra’s work, rather than the straps. This will result in a more comfortable fit. If your bra is sliding down your rib cage, even just a little, the straps are forced to hold up the boobs. That means they’ll be more likely to dig into your shoulders and cause fatigue.

Even when you know your bra size, you should try on a bra in a store before you buy it — especially if you’re buying a different brand. There’s no government office that regulates bra fit, so a 36DD in one brand or style might fit you, while a 34DDD in another might be the best choice.

Please, please, please . . . for the sake of fit and silhouette, give the girls a lift! They could use a little pick-me-up, and so could you:

1…2…3…4… Get your boobies off the floor!

5…6…7…8… Now’s the time to elevate!


APPLYING MAKEUP IN PUBLIC

Truly chic women have an air of mystery about them. They create and maintain the illusion that they roll out of bed looking perfect, even if their appearance is more engineered than a Dubai skyscraper.

Ladies, don’t divulge your beauty secrets — any of them. Beautiful people have their blackheads squeezed, their colons irrigated, and their ear wax candled. But they don’t let any Tom, Dick, or Harry watch. The same rule applies to curling your eyelashes while you’re on the bus, applying lipstick at the dinner table, or powdering your forehead in the lunchroom. It’s gross. It’s rude. And it’s beneath you. They put mirrors in bathrooms for a reason — use them.

P.S. If I look in my rearview mirror and see you applying makeup while driving your car at 60 m.p.h., I will intentionally slam on my breaks. So watch yourself, sister.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Clinton Kelly is the cohost of TLC’s popular show What Not to Wear, a spokesperson for Macy’s, and a motivational speaker who has successfully talked thousands of women out of stirrup pants. He has worked as an editor at several noted fashion publications, including Marie Claire and Mademoiselle. In his book Oh No She Didn’t: The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them (Copyright © 2010 by Clinton Kelly), Clinton points out the hundreds of fashion mistakes women most commonly make and describes how to fix them.

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Make Your Own Laundry Spot and Stain Removers

Here’s how to be a spot hotshot with powerful, do-it-yourself spot removers made from common household ingredients. From Linda Cobb, “The Queen of Clean” and author of The Royal Guide to Spot and Stain Removal.

I love natural products, and I love things that I can make for pennies and still have them work better than the products I could buy at the store. Here are some of my favorite laundry spot removers. Use them just as you would over-the-counter products, but take note: many of them are designed to take care of specific spots and stains.

Start with a clean spray and/or squeeze bottle, and always be sure to label any product you make. It’s important to know what the bottle contains and what it was intended for. I like to include the recipe on the label too — that way I can mix up additional product with ease. Cover the label with clear packaging tape or a piece of clear adhesive sheet to protect the label from moisture.

These spotters are all intended for washable fabrics. If in doubt, test in an inconspicuous spot, such as a seam.

General All-Purpose Laundry Spotter
Combine the following to make a generic spotter that works on a wide variety of stains:

1 part rubbing alcohol
2 parts water

If you use a large spray bottle you can add 1 bottle of alcohol and 2 of the alcohol bottles filled with water. Spray this on spots and spills, wait a few minutes, and then launder as usual.

Beverage, Fruit and Grass Remover
Combine equal portions of:

white vinegar
liquid dishwashing soap
water

Shake well and work the solution into the spot. Let stand a few minutes and then launder as usual.

Non-oily Stain Remover
Combine equal portions of the following ingredients:

ammonia
liquid dishwashing soap
water

Shake well, and work the solution into the spot. Let stand a few minutes and flush with water. This solution works well on stains such as milk, blood, perspiration and urine. Do not use on washable wool, silk, spandex, acrylic and acetate.

Oily Stain Remover
Combine the following:

1 tablespoon glycerin
1 tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap
8 tablespoons of water

Work the solution into grease and oil stains. Let sit a few minutes, flush with water, and launder as usual.

Again, remember all of these spotters are for washable fabrics only and none of them are for silk, wool, spandex, acrylic and acetate. When in doubt, test first!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Previously the owner of a cleaning and disaster-restoration business in Michigan, dealing with the aftermath of fires and floods, Linda Cobb, author of The Royal Guide to Spot and Stain Removal (Copyright © 2001 by Linda Cobb), started sharing her cleaning tips in a local newspaper column. After moving to Phoenix she became a weekly guest on Good Morning Arizona — then the product endorsements and requests for appearances started rolling in. A featured guest on radio and television shows across the country, Linda Cobb lives in Phoenix with her husband.

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0911_HealthyLiving_green_cleaning_products

15 Ways to Conquer Closet Clutter

Uncluttering your closet is not just about clothes. You are also clearing out years of internal clutter embedded in the discards. Gone are inner battles that infuse the start of each day. Gone is the guilt over buying expensive, unworn mistakes. And gone are the negative body image messages woven into clothes that no longer fit. From Unclutter Your Life by Katherine Gibson

  • Avoid storage bins and organizers. If your closets and drawers are overflowing, you have too much stuff and it’s time to unclutter. Get a clutter buddy, or, for the price of a good pair of shoes, hire a wardrobe consultant or a professional organizer. Clothing stores can recommend a specialist.
  • Take a realistic look at your life. Events such as a new job or a move to a new community will influence what we wear and what stagnates in the closet. Consider how you spend your leisure time. Does your job require you to meet the public? Do you work at home? Have you retired or become a parent? Let your closet reflect your current lifestyle.
  • Make a date with your closet.
  • Take everything out, one piece at a time.
  • Place orphaned, out-of-date, and poor-fitting clothes into boxes for charity or consignment or to give away.
  • Put keepers in a separate pile. These are clothes that are current and make you feel terrific.
  • Analyze the keepers. Are there pieces that don’t coordinate with others? If so, chances are that they are rarely, if ever, worn. These are candidates for consignment.
  • Separate, clean, and store out-of-season clothes in breathable containers away from those in current use.
  • Set aside pieces that need cleaning or repair for immediate attention.
  • Discard scuffed and outdated shoes. Experts say we often reach for the same two or three comfortable pairs.
  • Two purses are often enough.
  • We often discover non-clothes items in the closet. Put them where they belong.
  • Consider creative uses for sentimental clothing. Recycle material from wedding dresses into christening gowns. Floor-length dresses can be shortened. Clothes made from beautiful material can be recast as pillow covers or place mats for special occasions.
  • Install hooks in your closet for belts, scarves, and purses.
  • Remember to unclutter your drawers with the same criteria as for your closet. Be ruthless with underwear and socks.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katherine Gibson, M.Ed., the author of Unclutter Your Life: Transforming Your Physical, Mental, And Emotional Space (Copyright © 2004 by Katherine Gibson), is in demand as a speaker and workshop presenter, inspiring her audiences to choose clarity and purpose in their personal and professional lives. She has shared her wisdom with thousands on national radio and television shows, and has been featured in magazines and newspapers throughout North America. She currently lives in Victoria, B.C.

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4 Easy Steps to a Whole New Look — Without Spending a Dime

Plan a clothes-swapping party for all who need a thrifty wardrobe boost. You’d be surprised how one woman’s discard can be another diva’s dazzler! From Before You Put That On by style guru Lloyd Boston

Clothes can be expensive and are not to be wasted. Recycling clothes that don’t work for you anymore makes as much sense as recycling the tons of glass, plastic, and other materials we use. Especially after the fashion magazines have lined up all the trends for the season, giving you that itch for something new, even if it is only one little dress. Okay, and maybe just a handbag. And that adorable shoe that simply needs to meet your foot. Your pulse starts racing right there in the store, and there go the savings! Not to fret.

Smart, stylish women everywhere have been decoding the system and feeding the need to purchase an entirely new wardrobe each and every season by hosting fun, inexpensive clothes-swapping parties. They are simple, low prep, outrageously funny, and bond-building in a way you can never predict. Here are the four easy steps to your great first event, and possibly a whole new look from a second-chance wardrobe:

Step One: Invite a few friends with varied fashion tastes and similar figures. They don’t all have to be your exact size.

Step Two: Decide on an equal amount of clean bottoms, tops, shoes, accessories, and unopened beauty products to bring along as well as a potluck dish and/or fun cocktail or mocktail.

Step Three: Let the party begin! Crank up the music and ask each guest to walk the group through their collection, as a designer would, sharing the history of each garment — the first-date dress, the major sale shoe, the job-winning interview blouse.

Step Four: Open the floor to bidding on each item, using your own items as currency to swap for the item of your choice. The owner makes the final decision as to the highest bid based on her personal preference.

At the end of the party, you will undoubtedly have at least one new item. What’s left can then go to a charity. Do something proactive, productive, and fun!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lloyd Boston, author of Before You Put That On: 365 Daily Style Tips for Her (Copyright © 2005 by Lloyd Boston), is the former vice president of art direction at Tommy Hilfiger and a current on-air fashion editor for Today, America’s #1 morning show. Lloyd has spread his style philosophy on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, and CNN’s red carpet Oscar coverage. He is based in New York City.

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