I Looked In The Mirror (and other bra and makeup discussion)

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Categories Mommy Issues, Products

Last week, I wore a nice sleeveless sweater from Ann Taylor, open toed heels from the same store, brown dress pants fresh from the dry cleaner, and matching, dangly earrings. My hair and makeup even looked decent considering I did both in the dark, without power due to Hurricane Ike (mind you, ELEVEN DAYS AFTER landfall). I actually felt put-together.

Until mid-morning. When I went to the ladies room and caught the reflection of a visible bra strap. I was horrified. Not because my bra was showing. But because the bra strap was tinted BLUE (what did I wash it with last?) and FRAYED. Frays that probably started their unraveling some years ago.

I am embarrassed to say that I could not remember the last time (not including the token pregnancy bras) that I had actually purchased a bra. Oh, sure, it was when I was in graduate school, but OOPS, that was TEN YEARS AGO.

I have a mortgage. I have a will. A life insurance policy. Twins. And even with my nomadic career tendencies, I’ve worked for the same company for, damn, six years. So it seems that the next Adult Thing I needed to do was to buy some decent, comfortable, well-fitting bras. And for this, I needed consultation.

With a tad of reluctance, the kind of reluctance with which you eat that second brownie anyway, I posted a question to my neighborhood kids’ group and my local area mother’s of multiples group: “Anyone know of a good place for a bra fitting that has good selections, as well? And I’m talking about someone who really knows what they are doing, because I apparently have no idea what to do with my post-pregnancy tatas.”

I went on to ask about places where one could go to learn to apply makeup. I know they have those folks at the counters at the mall, if you can make it to them, having to dodge past those ladies encroaching your personal space with their bottles of perfume. (I always put my cell phone up to my ear and pretend to be having a conversation. Or I tell them I’m highly allergic and will go into anaphylactic shock.) As a point of reference, I have been buying my makeup at CVS or Kroger. For years. I even have some sparkly stuff (was that the early 2000’s?) from, I am not even kidding, MARY KATE AND FRIGGIN’ ASHLEY line!

And let me just tell you, I must have struck a cord because responses came bubbling up like a shaken bottle of soda. And so, in the interest of mini-makeovers, I offer up a sampling of the commentary I received. I won’t post the local (Houston) makeup artists or lingerie stores mentioned since this site has readers from all ovah da’ place, but if you’re interested, put your email in the comments section and I can send them to you.

  • “The ladies at Nordstrom are very good at bra fitting.”
  • “Nordstrom’s for the bras, hands down.”
  • “I was amazed at how well they nailed my size and how what they brought to try on was just what I wanted. The have a wide range of styles and prices, so you can be as wild or conservative as you want.”
  • “For makeup, I went to Neiman’s and asked the counter that was mostly likely to help me get a natural look. I was introduced to 2 lines: Trish Mcevoy and Laura Mercier. The sales people were knowledgeable and will help you get an application routine down. You buy what you want and there is no charge for the instruction. I actually did my own makeup for my bridal portrait and wedding. If they can teach me, they can teach anyone.”
  • “OMG, I could have written this message myself. Help us, please.”
  • “As for makeup, I am pretty natural and I like Origins products and their people are always really nice and helpful.”
  • “Sephora is a fun place to shop, but they do seem to market hard to the young and trendy, and I’m neither anymore. From a geek standpoint, several years ago I purchased the ‘Don’t Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me’ book. You probably won’t agree with all of it, but it does a good job of overviewing the product lines, explaining various ingredients, formulations, and suggesting what’s worth spending more on and what isn’t.”
  • “As for post-pregnancy boobs, I’m just going to save up and get surgical help. I don’t care if I’m 93 and everything is dragging at my knees. The girls won’t be.”
  • “I went to Macy’s and asked for a fitting for something all cotton to keep cooler. The fitter was not only helpful, but what I got was on sale, too.”
  • “I have given up on make-up, hair, nail polish, and yes, shaving. I use my husband’s clippers on my legs ever some many months.”
  • “For makeup, MAC offers lessons that are prepaid. The good thing is that the day of the lesson, you use that money to buy products, so the lesson ends up being free.”
  • “I went to MAC and had a really good experience. They were very helpful and I got a whole new face out of the deal (this post inspired me!), and they spent time helping me figure out what was right for me. I got a natural look that is age appropriate and learned how to recreate the look on myself.”
  • “My personal favorites: Loreal voluminous mascara – for n ice thick lashes; eye lash curler, eye brow brush, Laura Mercier Eyebrow Shadow, Bare Minerals Kit – for foundation and blush for a matte finish, although you have to finger blend after you apply if you have big pores like mine; MAC HyperReal for more moist skin look which if you are older than 20, makes your skin look younger and doesn’t highlight wrinkles; MAC eyeshadow, Laura Mercier eyeliner; Vaseline is must for the lips; get a good eyebrow shaping; a good skin exfoliant with Salicylic Acid (I love MD SkinCare peels but you can find cheaper products at Target), or just use Oil of Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum – that stuff is the best.”

If you have additional suggestions / experiences / tips, by all means, SHARE!

Rachel’s personal blog can be found at RaJenCreation.

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9 thoughts on “I Looked In The Mirror (and other bra and makeup discussion)”

  1. I went to an actual women’s Intimate Apparel store in my town (Austin, TX) earlier this year. I bet anyone could find one for their town by doing an internet search. It was great because they took me in back, measured me in private (I had been wearing the wrong bra size my entire life) and then began bringing me bras based on the info I had given them (price range, what kind, etc). I bought one $30 and two $70 bras. Yes, I had never done such a thing before in my life and it felt ridiculous but I had decided it was time to take care of the breasts that had taken such good care of my boys. Interestingly enough, it was the $30 one that I fell in love with. Macys carries the same line and I was able to get a couple more recently on sale (a SUPER rare thing for this brand). I love them and I’m glad that I went to the trouble to find the store, get fitted and spent the money on good ones.

    I even went back this summer and a tank top with a real bra built in. I had been horrified to wear a tank top the past few years but no longer. I actually get compliments on how great I look in this one! Again, more expensive ($30) but well worth it since I’ll be wearing it for years and feel great in it.

  2. Ooh, good call! I was just watching What Not to Wear. Man, I qualify for that show in a major way now. The kids are done spitting up all over me, I think it’s time for a wardrobe/makeup intervention!

    On makeup, I’ve always had good luck at the Clinique counter. I didn’t feel like they were trying to sell me more than I needed.

  3. Nordstrom’s for bras, hands down. They actually know what they are doing and I look like I lost 10 pounds. I had been wearing (comfortable, I thought) a 36 C. I am actually a 34 DDD (that’s an F if you’re wondering!).
    For make-up, I could do an infomercial for Bare Ecentuals (http://www.bareescentuals.com/). It is super easy to apply (I learned from the CD-ROM) and fast and looks natural and I just LOVE IT! The cheapest place to buy it is QVC or they sell it at Ulta and they also have stores. You don’t need to get it tried on, just figure out what shade you need – each pack comes with two shades for proper blending- and you are ready to go. Get the Glee blush. It is great and looks good on everyone. Are you feeling my love?
    Nordstroms is pretty much great for everything. Great customer service all around.
    Good Luck!

  4. Oh my, I went bra shopping at Nordstrom when the boys were a year old and it was awesome and horrible at the same time. A perky little 20 year old came into the room with me.

    A perky little 20 year old saw my post-twin muffintop in fluorescent lighting.

    I need some kind of badge for that to put on my mothering jacket.

  5. For readers in the NYC area, I highly recommend Intimacy on Madison and 90-something (low 90s) and Linda’s in the 60s on the East Side. Intimacy also has locations in Atlanta and Chicago and was featured on Oprah. I’ve been to the one in NYC – they have all kinds of price ranges (I bought a $30 bra and a $200 bra so the range is wide) and they are super knowledgeable. Technically, they don’t measure you – like w/measuring tape because they think that’s inaccurate – instead, they look at you and bring you various sizes from various manufacturers because they actually vary quite a bit. They also will keep your info on file if you like. Just about every bra I was brought fit really great – I didn’t buy them all but I was able to buy a bunch, including some sexy bras – very hard to do at my size. Linda’s I have not been to but I have heard great things about them and they were featured on Tim Gunn’s Bravo TV show. Once you do this once and know your size in certain brands, it becomes very easy and significantly cheaper to get them online but definitely go to a professional first. I thought I was a 36DD – I’m actually a 34G (in most brands – as I am a 34F/36G in some).

  6. Welcome to my world. I have been wearing the same make up for years. All from local drug stores, Loreal Voluminous mascara, with a touch of Cover girl blush and Cover girl foundation. I usually just wear chap stick or gloss.
    You have inspired me to go bra shopping. I have been avoiding this like the plague. When I go back to Houston in a few weeks I am going to stop into Vic Secret.

  7. I just updated my bras, I felt it was time to get rid of the nursing bras since they actually stopped nursing 2 months ago! The website zafu.com is great for fitting and suggesting bras, you have to check it out. It does the same for jeans!

  8. I went to Nordstrom when my now-27-month-old twins were a year old, and I’m not sure what sort of awe/fear I struck in the very nice fitting person’s heart, but she made an impressive attempt to mask her shock at my measurements–32 F, to be exact. Amazingly, they had my size. I won’t even mention that she managed to smile through her first view of my post-twin-pregnancy stomach…or that my mother-in-law was there.(yes, all three of us were in the fitting room under fluorescent lighting. good times.). Despite any trauma, Nordstrom was great. My bras were expensive, but given my breastfeeding proportions at that time, I would’ve paid just about anything to get bras that actually fit.

  9. i am decent (not good, but decent) at applying my makeup, but the last time i purchased a bra that actually fit was about 4-5 years ago at least! i have been wearing nursing bras (which don’t even come close to giving the illusion of perkiness) since the triplets were born. thanks for the reminder that i need to get myself something new!

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