Beauty Q&A: Sex Hair, Fur, and the Perfect T-Shirt

I need the perfect t-shirt. The sort of t-shirt that’s tissue-soft but still manages to not be totally see-through. Like if Alexander Wang met my favorite band t-shirt from 1991 (not that I had a favorite band t-shirt in 1991, my favorite band was C&C Music Factory!). I want to dress like a cool California girl. I also have boobs that must be taken into consideration when it comes to t-shirts. Drapey doesn’t always work so well.

What we both want is an easy answer to this question, but guess what? Ha-ha. Okay, the first thing to consider when selecting a t-shirt is undergarments. You touched on it with the boobs detail, but let’s delve a little deeper. Close your eyes. Wait, no, read the rest of this first, but then when you’re done … close your eyes. Imagine the t-shirt you seek on someone it looks perfect on. Do they have boobs? Are they wearing a bra? Are they layering with another t-shirt? Free-boobing? Now switch bodies and put yourself in that t-shirt. Does it still work?

More than the material, what’s going on underneath is really going to determine the look. If you have small boobs or actually do live in southern California, go braless. It’s fine. If not, in my opinion, the perfect t-shirt bra is one that is smoothing, maybe a little detailed for those fun flashes someone might get, and doesn’t add bulk. Meet Timpa.

Another important thing before we go shopping: are you willing to pair the shirt with the rest of the items from your dream vision? Keep in mind you’re picturing a whole look, and maybe once you put it all together, you’ll realize any old Hanes shirt will suffice: it was really the vest and high-heeled clogs doing the heavy lifting all along.

To start basic, J. Crew’s vintage t’s are amazingly soft, come in pretty colors and cuts, and are affordable enough to replace as often as you need to. Dream versions, as you know, are from T by Alexander Wang or Helmut Lang. (Helmut, you are killing me.) BUT! Those tissuey, heavily-draped-yet-body-hugging numbers are one million dollars and look best on Kate Moss — and not just because she’s the only person who can afford them. That’s okay, though! You have a game plan. Now leaf through a few magazines or catalogs, find someone with your body type, and take a good close look at the entire outfit and what she has going on underneath. Here are some more brands I love: What Goes Around Comes Around, Monrow, and Torn. Also, the t-shirt selection over at The Outnet is usually pretty dope.

I have what I think might be a common problem: I can’t figure out what skin care regimen/brand to use. Back in the day, things were so easy: I did the Clinique 3-Step thing and, you know, it was fine. And then at some point I grew out of the oily teenager skin/t-zone thing, and none of Clinique’s lotions were moisturizing enough.

The other challenge is that I live in the South where it’s humid, so I really need my moisturizer to absorb COMPLETELY right away and not leave the greasy layer on top that some do. I feel like I’ve tried a lot of things. Aveda? Greasy layer. Estee Lauder? A lot of their stuff has SPF, which makes me break out, and the ones that don’t: greasy layer. Pevonia is what I’m using now, and it’s fine, but OMG SO expensive my skin should be transformed! And it’s not.

Also, I’m not traditionally girly, so I don’t love this whole trial-and-error cosmetic experimentation. I just want something that works. Any suggestions?

Don’t even get me started on the “PUT ME OUT! GET THIS FIRE OFF ME!” feeling that most Clinique skin care products give me. (Sorry, Clinique!) Have you tried good old fashioned Oil of Olay? It’s affordable, found everywhere, has stood the test of time, and they seem to really be nailing down grown-woman needs the past few years. I still use an acne face wash, but there was a minute there when I thought I could dump the Clean and Clear for OoO Sensitive Foaming Face Wash, being a daily user of their awesomely light but effective moisturizer with SPF. It worked great for everything but acne: not drying at all and it took off all my makeup. So, start there.

A little bit pricier system you may want to look into is Dermalogica. My old nail place used to carry it, and I’d steal smidgens of the Active Moist moisturizer too often. The Daily Microfoliant is something that stays in my shower. (And somehow, miraculously, after being around water every day for a year it stays dry?) No experience with their cleansers, but they have a million to choose from. Commenters, your picks?

What are your thoughts on fur — the real stuff? I inherited a long black wool coat from the ‘40s/’50s with a pointed brown fur collar. The fur lies very flat — it’s not fluffy and in your face — but it’s quite obviously real. I live in a cold place and, in theory, I’d like to wear this coat, but I’m wondering — a) is fur still considered gauche? Even when it’s from an animal that died many many years ago? And b) what times and places might be appropriate for a coat like this? Would it be too ostentatious and weird to wear it as an everyday thing? And is it even possible to wear a vintage fur-collar coat without looking like someone’s wealthy great aunt, rather than a normal mid-20s lady?

To answer your last question first, a fur collar is nowhere near the full-length fur monstrosities you see on “wealthy great aunts,” so don’t worry. As far as fashion is concerned, you’re also all good. Fur is in. The only thing you really need to worry about is your personal convictions about such things and the message you’re sending to those you care about, you know? I’m an omnivore and I do my best to consume cruelty-free products. This means I would never buy a new fur coat, especially one from a mink farm — yikes! But this also means I would wear a vintage coat with a fur collar handed down from my grandmother. Not only that, but my friends and family are hunters. I eat animals killed by people I love on a regular basis. So, to them, a fur collar may seem a teensy bit bourgie, but never offensive.

Just sit and think about where you stand on the vast spectrum of predator/prey relationships and animal rights and how much it matters to you if you’d be hurting a loved one by sashaying around in a product that, to them, symbolized a force for evil in the world, and go from there. You might like the coat but not want to wear it because of the looks you’ll get from a certain friend, and that is a totally fine reason to not wear it. It’s just a coat!

And about when to wear this one? The coat you’re describing is pretty classic but not over-the-top. I’d say you’re safe for anytime you’re dressed “presentably.” Like, don’t pair it with ripped jeans and UGGs and you’re good.

Not only do I have greasy eyelids (thanks, Mom), but I also have eyelid wrinkles/creases (as in, I have to chase my eyelid around with the makeup brush to get it all covered in eyeshadow — I hate getting old!). So, when I put on eye makeup, after about 30 minutes, there’s always at least one section on the lower part of my lid where the eyeshadow has disappeared. I don’t know if the grease ate it or the crease is enjoying an eyeshadow snack, but wherever it goes, it does not stay on my eyelid. Is there a trick out there to help me out? Am I doomed to have patchy eyeshadow coverage? Would primer really fix it? I love wearing eyeshadow, but hate seeing a nice red skin patch where the eyeshadow has disappeared. Any advice on how to stop the grease/crease monster from eating my eyeshadow would be greatly appreciated.

Well, the first thing you could try is not wearing a very noticeable shadow on the lower part of your lid to begin with. Unless I’m doing a smokey eye or some other dramatic look, the only shadow that goes below my crease is a neutral all-over color, like the first look here:

Also never put eye makeup on a dirty face. Wash up well and get as much of that grease off as best you can before you even begin.

Secondly: girl! Why haven’t you picked up some primer!? Yes, it totally helps and can sometimes completely fix this problem. (A little goes a long way with these products and they last forever, so don’t be afraid you’re getting yourself into some new, awfully expensive habit.) Some, like my personal favorite from Laura Mercier, just give you an even smooth palette to work on. Others, like Urban Decay’s Primer Potion, act as a glue and will keep your shadow put FOREVER. Be careful with that stuff. I’m not kidding: take some time and practice with it because it’s easy in the beginning to make a mistake and have to start over with eye makeup remover and everything — that’s how sticky that shit is.

But most importantly, consider yourself lucky. Having greasy eyelids means that the place on your face that ages the earliest is taking care of itself for the time being. Free eye cream! (Gross, sorry.)

I’ve had short hair most of my life and long hair for the past year or two, but just recently found a dude that I like to get down with on a regular basis. So long hair + sex, for the first time ever. Heres my question: After every time we get it on, my hair is literally a giant ball of tangles. How the heck do I get through the hanky panky without tangling my hair into a huge rats’ nest? I mean, theres no way that every lady (or dude!) with long hair just deals with it getting all tangly like that every time they do it, right? Or do I have to put it in a pony tail? I don’t even know. Teach me your ways.

Congratulations, how wonderful! You have three options here: cut your hair back off, let it get totally messed up every time you bone, or prepare for battle. Sure, BJs and whatnot are a great opportunity to whip that mass of proteins around and get every ounce of free turn-on magic out of your patience and careful tending, but once you’re on your back, feel free to prepare for the aftermath. All of the aftermaths, including your messy hair.

I keep a few special items on/in my nightstand for this purpose: a large hair clip like this one and a bunch of soft, no-damage ponytail holders. (The plastic ones tend to rip my hair out if I’m being tossed around.) As those of us with long hair know, sometimes our hair is just too greasy to stay completely tidy with a clip. Whichever implement you choose, reach for it either without saying a word, just like all silently nonchalant, “I’m super sexy when I put my hair up in the middle of us doing it, see? Like this. My arms above my head! Like Beyonce.” Or just say, out loud, “Hang on. My hair. My precious, precious hair.” And then drape it to one side of your face and then the other a few times while batting your eyelashes before doing a lazy bun and getting back to bizness.

Previously: Simple Baubles and Face Makeup.

Do you have a question for Jane?