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Bra Care: How Often, and How, To Wash Your Bras

bra careBra care can be so confusing. How often do you wash your bras — and how do you care for them? Which bras are best for under work clothes? Reader C wonders:

Could you please do a post on best bras for under work clothes, and also on how often one ought to be replacing bras? I have switched to (what I thought, at least) were high quality bras from Natori (size 32D), which I really like and also take moderately good care of (handwashing only; hang to dry; washing every 1-2 wears; rotating every day among 7-10 total bras). But they still only last about 1 year. Is this the normal lifespan? Or is there something I’m doing wrong in my purchasing and/or care? Many thanks!

We haven’t talked about this in a few years (here: a few of my favorite t-shirt bras, a poll on readers’ favorite lingerie brands), and we’ve never talked directly about how to wash your bras — so let’s discuss. (Pictured: Stripes’ bathtime, originally uploaded to Flickr by Sarah Joy.)

[Read more…]

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The Hunt: Demi Camisoles

The Best Demi Camisoles | CorporetteSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

I’ve always been intrigued when, amidst a discussion of great camisoles or what to layer under wrap dresses, numerous readers have expressed their love for the demi camisole.  There are a number of companies making these things, and the general idea is the same: you get a bit of fabric to raise the neckline of your dress or blouse for modesty, you don’t have to deal with bunchy/extra fabric around your middle, and they can even be a great way to make regular shirts more friendly to nursing/pumping moms.  Some of the brands (such as HalfTee) even make half-shirts with sleeves, which I think would be great beneath silk/cashmere tops to to extend the time between laundering.  I’ve mostly heard of women wearing them on TOP of regular bras, but every woman is different.  I thought I’d round up a few — readers who swear by demi camisoles, which brands are your favorites?  Readers, do you prefer demi- or full camisoles? [Read more…]

Pantyhose and Dresscodes

pantyhose dresscode.indexedDo any workplaces exist that still require pantyhose to be worn year-round in the summertime? Reader K wonders.

I love your site, but I need to call b.s. on something. Whenever the annual “should I wear pantyhose to the office” question comes up, invariably there are a few comments that go something like “my friend’s friend’s firm requires them even in the summer.”

I mean this is 2013, right? I have never actually met someone in real life who this is true about. I think it’s just anonymous urban legend.

Now, I am not talking about going to court in front of a judge. That’s totally possible. And I’m not talking about something that’s written into a dress code where the culture is that no one actually follows it. What I’m talking about is a bona fide, enforced pantyhose requirement in the office, year-round including in the summer.

Here’s the challenge: can you seriously name even one law or accounting or financial firm that enforces pantyhose in the office, even in the summer?

We’ve talked about when to wear pantyhose, how to wear pantyhose, and what color of pantyhose is best, but Reader K’s question is interesting:  does any dresscode actually require it?  (Pictured:  Spanx’s ‘All the Way’ Sheer Support Pantyhose has 32 mostly positive reviews on Nordstrom (where the Anniversary Sale is coming soon, FYI)…) [Read more…]

Cosmetic Surgery and the Office

breast reduction coworkers.indexedHow do you deal with cosmetic surgery (breast reduction, breast enlargement, nose jobs, etc) at the office?  What do you tell coworkers? Reader D wonders…

I have a question about dealing with a very sensitive issue at work. I will be having breast reduction surgery at the end of the summer and don’t know how to deal with questions from my coworkers. I will be out of the office for a week and will look noticeably different when I return. The surgery itself doesn’t concern me, I’m actually very excited about it, but the thought of answering all those prying questions, or just dealing with people’s observations, is making me very anxious. I would love to hear people’s thoughts on this one.

Congrats on your upcoming surgery, D — may it be everything you want it to be, both in terms of pain reduction, lifestyle, and appearance.  As a fellow, ahem, curvy girl myself, I feel your pain.  I’m curious to hear what readers say about this one, but a few thoughts:

  • Grow a thick skin regarding your coworkers.  (Put another way: F’em.)   [Read more…]

Slips, Camisoles, and More: What Are Your Go-To Pieces?

what-to-wear-beneath-wrap-dressesWhat do you wear under wrap dresses? Are there camisole-slips? Reader V has an interesting question about what to wear beneath clothes that I think leads us to a great larger question: what are your favorite brands and pieces in slips, camisoles, support garments, pantyhose, and more?

I have a question re slips. I understand that people wear them (even the non-control ones) to even out the lumpy-squishies, make things less sheer, improve drape, etc. But for an unlined v-neck or wrap dress, where one might want help with smoothing out lumps and VPL and sheerness, what if you also want to raise the neckline. Are there camisole-type slips that are designed to be seen (so maybe in white or black, depending on the color of dress; not nude-for-you)? I’m not sure what to do for something like a DVF wrap dress — I want to wear a slip, but don’t want to slip up. Thoughts? Suggestions? Thank you!

This is a great question. We’ve talked about how to keep wrap dresses closed, but not what to wear beneath them. While reading her answer I found myself going through the things that I would wear beneath a wrap dress:

  • Spanx Higher Power (either shaper or tights, because I wear them with every dress)
  •  camisole (here’s our last roundup of great camisoles — based on reader suggestions I might upgrade my collection to a half-camisole, such as this one)
  • half-slip on the bottom (similar to this)

Now that’s a lot of undergarments. [Read more…]

The Hunt: The Perfect Camisole

2016 Update: Check out our latest discussion on the best camisoles for workwear!

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

For today’s Hunt, I thought I’d search for the perfect camisole.  In my mind, here is what is a perfect camisole: It’s machine washable (and, usually, can be tumbled dry).  It doesn’t roll up around your sides.  For the office, in my mind the best camisole does not look like lingerie — the less lace and mesh, the better.  It’s a solid color.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I hate the nude camisole for most office looks.  And, I think, the best camisole serves the purpose that you want it to serve — for my busty self that usually means raising the neckline of blouses, sweaters, and dresses.  I’ve also used camisoles over the years as a way to put a layer between myself and the sweater so I didn’t have to launder it so often — so high armholes can be helpful.  My perfect camisole doesn’t have a “shelf bra” attached to it. — and for me, it is almost never a shaping camisole.  (I’ve bought a number of brands through the years and have always been disappointed; I’d much rather wear a high-waisted shaper (like this or this) or even a bodysuit if I want to smooth out my midsection/back area.)  And, of course, the perfect camisole is inexpensive — this is one of the few times where I would rather have 5-10 inexpensive camisoles to throw away at the first sign of wear, rather than to “invest” in a single, expensive piece.  Readers, what do you look for in the perfect camisole?  Which brands have you bought in the past; which have you bought recently? [Read more…]