Q: When is a woman too old to wear a jumpsuit? I see from the fashion coverage that these one-piece pants/top styles are back. (I had one in the ’80s and loved it.) But I worry that if I wear one now I’ll look silly. Help!
A: You’re never too old to wear a jumpsuit — as long as it’s not crazy tight and doesn’t make you look like you’re auditioning for a Catwoman role. Look for styles that don’t cling. And here’s one important consideration: Remember that with these one-piece styles, every time you go to the ladies’ room you’re going to practically have to disrobe. And that’s kind of a pain.
Makeup to cover scars
Q: Do you have a recommendation for a makeup to cover facial scars? Ever since surgery for a skin cancer, my forehead has a white scar that resembles Harry Potter’s scar. The waterproof makeup I have been using has been discontinued.
A: I asked makeup artist/expert Ingrid Grimes-Myles, who has counted first lady Michelle Obama among her clients, what she recommends. She suggests Dermablend. Check out the comprehensive dermablend.com website on this pretty amazing camouflage product, which can conceal scars, tattoos and discolorations. It’s available at Ulta, Macy’s and other stores. One more thing: Like your dermatologist undoubtedly told you, from now on, don’t leave home without wearing sunscreen, even on a cloudy day.
Perfect places for petites
Q: Where do you recommend small women find clothes? Many stores have eliminated petite departments or seriously cut back, which really irritates me. Don’t they realize there are many petite women still around? Trying to find petite small, a size 2 or 4 is next to impossible! What do you suggest in the way of walk-in stores?
A: My most trusted resource when it comes to petites is my 5-foot, 100-pound, size-zero sister-in-law, who, coincidentally, also is named Deb. Her favorite bricks-and-mortar stores for petites are Nordstrom, BCBG, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Anthropologie and Topshop. Selections vary a lot from store to store. She points out that the largest of these stores have better selections than smaller branches. (Their websites have even wider selections.) H&M and Forever 21 have sizes that run small and often have trendy looks at good prices. A size small at those shops is often equivalent to a regular XS. Frugal Deb adds, “Though I hate to say it, the best places for petite women to shop are smaller, high-end independently owned boutiques. Wait for sales and pounce.” Deb says that Ann Taylor has good midprice business attire, although the selection is limited. And Banana Republic is best for business basics. “Once you know the pant and jacket style that fits you, Banana Republic keeps the styles constant from year to year, so you can order online with confidence,” Deb says.
Q: What is the difference between capris, crops, cutoffs and ankle pants?
A: It’s confusing, isn’t it? Crops and ankle pants are the same thing, and you’ll find lots of them in stores now. These are tapered, slim-fitting pants that hit at or just above the ankle bone. They’re also called cigarette pants. It’s a style (in black) often associated with Audrey Hepburn. Capris are pants that hit midcalf and are not usually tapered. Basically, they look like traditional slacks, but shorter. Ankle/crops/cigarette pants are a much more flattering alternative to capris. Cutoffs are shorts (usually denim, often ultra short) that look like jeans that have been … cut off. They customarily have a ragged edge. Hope that helps. Bear in mind that some people, stores, catalogs use the words capri and crop interchangeably even though capris are shorter than crops.
Plain white un-tee
Q: I am not sure this exists in the universe, but if anyone would know, you would. I am looking for a white short-sleeve top to wear with a nice business jacket. Not a T but made of a fabric (woven cotton?) that doesn’t show body “lumps.” Below-the-hip length.
A: And I thought this would be so easy! It wasn’t. And who knew that you could pay $950 for a plain white shirt (by Victoria Beckham). It took a lot of looking, but I found several reasonably priced options for you. Lands’ End (landsend.com) has a short-sleeve straight collar “sportshirt” ($20) or straight collar “blouse” ($29) that are traditional button-front styles in a cotton/poly blend generously cut to hide those lumps and bumps. The “square blouse” ($54) by Levi’s (levi.com) in cotton/poly also is a generous cut. Mango (shop.mango.com) has a cotton linen blend “chest pocket blouse” ($29.99) that could do the trick or, if you prefer a round neck, no-button model, consider Mango’s “textured blouse” ($29.99).
High fashion — or feral?
Q: This, of course, identifies me as an antediluvian dodo, but why do so many fashion photographs feature models with sullen expressions? A recent fashion story I saw in the newspaper featured models who struck me as two feral-looking adolescents. Those mean-looking faces do not enhance the clothes they are wearing. Why is this considered good marketing?
A: Well, those models did get your attention, didn’t they? I guess that’s the point from a marketing standpoint. But I agree with you that presenting your clothes on mean, bored, sullen (and cadaverous) women is not the best way to sell anything. I have never figured out, for instance, what Marc Jacobs is thinking with those weird full-page ad photos in the fashion magazines shot by Juergen Teller with models gazing sullenly into the abyss. The photos seem poorly lit, and the clothes look lousy. So if you’re “an antediluvian dodo,” I am too.
Final note, from a reader
Dear shop owners: Please put people with at least a trace of personality at the check-in and on the sales floor. If I’m going to spend money at your establishment, I’d like to be treated as if your staff is glad I’m at your place instead of any of the other hundreds of shops I could patronize. Please train the people who represent you to be friendly and to smile, and not to act like I’m bothering them.