Fashion choices not to inflict on your child

When kids are small, there’s not much you can do to make them not-cute. That said, there are some outfits you just shouldn’t put on a child too young to tell you, “I’m not wearing that.” Here are a few things to avoid.

  • Baby bikinis. Tankinis on a child still in diapers are good, because they provide enough skin coverage to help avoid burning a baby’s delicate skin while still having the bottom in a separate piece to allow for easy diaper changes, but a string bikini like this one just doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t provide enough coverage to avoid sunburn; the only purposes of the top are to mimic adult bra-top styles and to enforce senseless rules about how even as tiny babies, girls are required to cover themselves up in ways boys aren’t required to.
  • High heels. A child’s foot is small, and as I’ve mentioned before, it isn’t the height of a heel that’s damaging but the angle of the wearer’s foot in the shoe. A 2-inch heel may be nothing to an adult, but to a child whose foot is half the size, it’s like wearing a heel twice as tall. Your little one will have plenty of time to choose high heels later in life. Meanwhile, have some regard for the fact that her feet are still growing and that any damage to them now will stick with her the rest of her life, and put her in shoes that won’t wreck her growing feet.
  • Shirts with crude sayings on them. You might think it’s funny now to put your kid in a onesie that says “All Daddy wanted was a blow job,” but chances are, there’s going to be a picture of your kid in that shirt, and once your kid is old enough to know about sex, he’s not going to want to think of it as something his parents do. Picture for a moment your parents having sex. Grossed out? Your kid will be too.
  • Anything dry-clean-only. Children play, make messes, spill things, and generally wreck their clothes. All you’re going to do by putting a small child in clothes that you have to worry about getting ruined is to put undue stress on both you and your child. Go for washable.
  • Anything with words printed across the butt. This should go without saying, because what’s tacky for you to wear is tacky to put on your child, but I see it all the time. It’s never a good fashion choice, and even less when you’re inflicting it on someone too young to know better.
  • Plastic shoes. I know they’re easy to care for, but they also don’t breathe. They can cause blistering, and they don’t allow air flow around the feet, which means the child’s feet will sweat and stink. Don’t think the other kids won’t notice and get mean about it.
  • Anything that completely clashes with your child’s personality. If your child is a tree-climbing tomboy who wants to spend her time playing in the dirt and riding her bicycle, she may not be a big fan of pink ruffly dresses that get in the way as she’s trying to play. Likewise, if she prefers to play tea-party with her teddy bears and braid her dolls’ hair, don’t assume camouflage cargo pants will be a good look for her.

Children are people, and while parents are responsible for making decisions on their children’s behalf, a child is not just an extension of the parents. Regardless of what you may think is cute or funny, it’s important to choose clothes that won’t cause injury to the child, stress to the child and yourself, or embarrassment for the child, either now or later. Think about the person you’re dressing, not just about yourself. Your kids will thank you later.


Wearing the trend: Orange lipstick


I was at the Chanel counter in Belk at Northlake today, and the artist working (if you’re local, go see Lauren–she’s awesome!) talked me into trying on an orange lipstick that I probably wouldn’t have thought to try on my own. It worked great on me, so I thought I’d pass on to you how to recreate this look at home. (Please excuse the pictures; my hair’s a wreck from the rain we’ve been having, and since everyone’s out of town for the holiday, I’m on selfie duty.)

Start with a face that’s washed, moisturized, and primed. Yes, you need primer; I used Lancome La Base Pro. For myself, I always have an issue with undereye circles, so I took a concealer (I went really cheap with it this time, with e.l.f Essential Tone Correcting Concealer in Ivory, $1) and applied it under my eyes in a triangular shape. This makes it blend much more naturally than if you follow the curve of the circles.

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After blending that, I applied a layer of liquid foundation. Nobody’s face is all one color; if you want to do some contouring, feel free to do more than one shade of foundation, but I’m putting on bronzer in a later step, so I skipped that. I used Maybelline Dream Mousse foundation in Classic Ivory.

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Next, I loaded a powder bronzer (Wet’n’Wild ColorIcon in Bikini Party) onto a big round brush, tapped off the excess, and swept it onto my cheeks and up onto my temples in a C motion.  I turned my head in the next picture so you can kind of see what I mean. You want most of it concentrated on your cheeks, but you do want it to extend further up.  (God, I hate that picture, though. It makes me look so masculine!)

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After lining my lips with a nude pencil (match your liner to the natural color of your lips, not to your lipstick; I used Jordana Easyliner in Tawny) and filling in, I then applied a coat of orange lipstick. The one I tried on at the Chanel counter was Rouge Allure in Incandescente; I didn’t have $35 to cough up for a lipstick at the time, so for now I’m making do with Wet’n’Wild Megalast in Purty Persimmon. I’m definitely going back at some point to get the Chanel, though, because it lasted much longer and felt a lot better on.


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At this point, I filled in my brows just a bit with a taupe pencil, but you could also use a wax-based eyebrow filler. You usually want to go a shade lighter than you think you need on your eyebrows, because it goes on darker than it looks. Since I was going for a brighter lip color than I usually wear, I decided to go fairly subtle with my eyes. I took a chocolate brown pencil and lined the waterlines (inside the lash lines) and put a matte nude eyeshadow from lash line to browbone. I used a slightly darker taupe shadow on my eyelids, then used a lighter shade at the browbone for a highlight. Curled lashes and black mascara finished it off.

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I think I’m going to end up wearing this look pretty often this spring. I didn’t think I could wear orange, but I like how it plays with the reddish tones I’ve been wearing in my hair lately.

Fit and Flattery Issues: Shoulders

A lot of people have trouble finding clothes that look right with their shoulders. Here are some tips to make it easier.

If your shoulders are bigger than you’d like:

  • Don’t wear your hair in a style that touches your shoulders. This will just draw attention where you don’t want it. Go shorter or longer, but not right at the shoulder line.
  • Wear sleeves. Tanks and halter tops leave enough skin exposed that the area will look bigger than it is.
  • Look for clothing that accents vertical lines. Colorblocking, vertical patterns, and long scarves or necklaces all draw the eye up and down, rather than calling attention to the width of your shoulders.
  • Avoid round or boat necks that will draw the eye to your shoulder level. All other things being equal, a V-neck will be much more flattering.
  • Keep the detailing off your shoulders. No epaulettes, shoulder tabs, sparkles, patterning, etc.
  • Consider highlighting a body part you do like. For example, if you don’t want people to notice your shoulders, but you’re comfortable with your legs and rear, a pair of slim-fitting boot-cut jeans that show off your bottom half will draw the eye there.

If your shoulders are narrow, sloping, or round:

  • If you wear a bra, you may have problems with finding a good fit.  Try a racerback or X-back style, or get a pack of bra strap holders.
  • Choose a jacket rather than a cardigan. A structured blazer, a moto jacket, or a military-inspired piece with shoulder tabs will add bulk at your shoulders. A fitted blazer, in particular, is a good choice if you have concerns about adding bulk elsewhere.
  • Right now lace details at the shoulder and yoke are easy to find. These details draw a horizontal line across the shoulders. Be warned, though, that if you’ve got narrow shoulders and a large chest, this won’t help.
  • If you’re looking for dress shirts, don’t go for the narrowest style. Get one that gives some room to move even when fitted properly.
  • If your whole top half is smaller than your bottom half, consider a wide-leg pant with a sharp crease that makes the difference look intentional. You can get away with a lot if it looks like it’s on purpose.