Beauty Q&A: Bullet Bras, Rancid Perfume, and Mascary

I’m a lady with some disproportionately tiny boobs (I’ve got HIPS). This is fine, I’m not interested in surgical alteration or anything. Usually, I just wear bras with a little oomph, or try to make them sing with their shape. I have an ill-fitted hand-me-down vintage bra that gives me pointy awesome sweater boobs. I’ve had enough fun wearing it that I’d like to invest in one that actually fits. So, two questions:

1. Is it ridiculous for a 21st-century woman to be walking around with boobs like Peggy from Mad Men?

2. If not, where can I buy a new bra that offers the shape I’m looking for? It doesn’t need to be pretty; it can be a 100% granny bra as far as I’m concerned. It’s all about the shape under shirts. Do they MAKE those now, or should l just resort to hunting on eBay for authentic vintage bras that may or may not fit based on 2012 standards?

You are my favorite. We need to hear more about this hand-me-down bra.

First, no it’s never ridiculous to emulate one of the hottest looks of all time. There are many reasons we love watching Mad Men (how do you type that thing where you sneeze and say “Jon Hamm” at the same time?), inlcuding that we love watching boobs look ridiculously gorgeous under “modest” sweaters and dresses. Sorry, but it’s true. This is a bold look nowadays, but if you’re willing to do it, by all means, please, and thank you.

And you’re in luck: there are plenty of companies out there making what you want, brand-spanking-new. They go by a bunch of names, but for internet searchability, here’s what to look for: the more obvious version — obvious to the viewer, that is — is called a “bullet bra.” Here are a bunch in the $40 range. The less extreme, softer, more dowdy (as if!) looking version is a “conical bra.” If you plan to drop a bunch of change at one time on some new ones, The Lingerie Addict rounds up online lingerie sales and coupon codes each week, so check in over there to see if you can save some dough.

Do I really have to use nice shampoo/conditioner/hair product, or can I keep using Suave/drug store brand/whatever’s on sale? Does it really make a difference? If yes, what are the most affordable awesome brands I should try?

You don’t ever have to do anything you don’t want to do. You definitely don’t have to use expensive fancy hair products if you’re happy with your hair. You didn’t say anything about the condition of your hair or being bummed out by it or anything like that, so I think you should totally just keep doing what you’re doing. Save that cash and get an awesome silk turban for your rare “bad” hair day.

However… yes, it really does make a difference. Ah! I HATE that I just told you that! You are perfect and happy, just pretend you never read that. Orrr… keep reading? Here are the benefits I’ve personally gotten from using higher quality, usually more expensive hair products: shinier yet somehow bouncier, lighter hair. Hair that doesn’t get oily as quickly so I can go longer between washes. (Grrr, Color Vive shampoo! I see you tryna mess up my sleepover.) Less product needed for the same or better results. Color treatments last longer. Styles hold longer and are less flakey/crunchy.

Of course there are exceptions — for example, I like a lot of Garnier products, and they’re cheap as hell. For the most part, though, there are a million fancier brands that run roughly in the $10–25 range per product. I generally dig Bumble & Bumble and Frederic Fekkai, but I have random products I love from brands like Ojon, Serge Normant, and Rusk that I’ve picked up on clearance or as a freebie at the checkout at Sephora. If you’re down to experiment, go to CVS and choose a few items from whatever is on sale — and there is always something on sale in that weird little salon brand section of the hair care aisle. (It’s weird that they sell salon-only brands there, right? What about the warnings on the bottles!?) Honestly, experience will be your best indicator — just don’t jump right to the $60 Kerastase. That stuff never feels worth it to me.

I love my perfume. I mean I really love it. It’s Michael Kors by Michael Kors. It is my favorite smell (aside from my husband’s cologne — Issey Miyake!) in the whole wide world. I wear it almost every

day for every occasion. However, that is apparently not enough? I keep going down in bottle size because before I’m through the whole bottle, it goes bad. I don’t know what the statute of scentitations is for perfumes, but I know this smell, so I know when it’s not right. After about a year it get this funky, rubbing alcohol-y, cheap odor to it. I buy a new one and sure enough, it smells like it should. I have started buying the roll-on sample-size from Sephora because it’s just about the amount I can use before it goes bad. I know perfumes are oils and oils can go rancid, so what do I do? Freezer? What? How do I keep my perfume smelling the way it should?

For this answer we turn to my perfume obsessed homegirl, Rookie editorial director, Anaheed Alani:

Perfume nerds will sometimes tell you that you should keep your perfume in your REFRIGERATOR but I am not going to tell you that, because that is insane; you should keep FOOD and WINE in your refrigerator. The thing that turned your perfume bad probably isn’t heat, anyway (unless you store it in the oven or something) — it’s light. Direct light KILLS perfume. I don’t know why, but I’m going to guess it’s because of science and molecules. Buy your gigantor thing of Michael Kors perfume and keep it in a dark closet or drawer. I have like 70 bottles of perfume (seriously) and I keep them in a closet and they never go bad. Also: PLEASE DO NOT WEAR MICHAEL KORS BY MICHAEL KORS TO WORK AS IT IS SOOO STRONG AND THE PERSON WHO SITS NEXT TO YOU MAYBE DOESN’T NEED TO SMELL IT ALL DAY. (Even though it smells nice. Tuberose-y!)


WHERE do I get that shirt Kristen Bell wore on the Ellen show when she was talking about sloths?

It’s a Rebecca Taylor Ikat Heart Print blouse and it’s apparently gone from our universe. But! There’s a dress version and a tank in limited sizes. They are all too much money though. Okay, maybe not the dress. The dress is pretty great actually, but that’s not what you came here for! You came for the blouse so here are two lookalikes, both reasonably under $60.

I’m wondering about mascara on blondes. I always find it looks very strange to me when my blonde friends wear dark mascara. Why they do this to themselves? I mean, obviously they do it cause it makes them feel pretty, but it looks so bizarre to me.

And then I wonder, what are some of the things that I do that make me feel pretty but are misguided appropriations of looks that were meant for someone with different features? Maybe this could make an interesting an open thread? Or maybe it’s just mean to share such judgements and we should all be like “whatever makes YOU feel good — go for it, girl.” However, this is the make-up issue that plagues me most — how much of tending to oneself by altering one’s appearance is done in order to “make someone feel pretty and put together,” and how much actually makes one look more striking in the way intended.

Great idea: A Beauty Q&A open thread! Can anyone guess where I lean regarding the first issue she raises?

Previously: Freeboobing and Cute Pajamas.

Do you have a question for Jane?