Stylist Secrets To Master Your Look
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Dear Sharon: I have just purchased this fantastic new plunging V-neck dress. My problem is that it is too low to wear with a bra. I have heard that there is a new kind of tape that all the celebs are using to keep their bits in place. Please, could you tell me what this is called and where I can buy it? –Stick ‘Em Up (Wellington, Telford Shropshire England)
Dear Stick ‘Em Up: Having been a fashion stylist, I have probably seen– and used– almost every tape, glue, gizmo, and glob you could imagine to hold a garment where it ought to be. The only “new” thing is that what used to be a stylist secret for models is now public curiosity since Jennifer Lopez wore that barely there dress and after Geri Halliwell accidentally exposed toupee tape– on her boobs.
Every stylist packs an arsenal of tricks in her kit to make the most difficult fitting dress stay in place. The difference between walking the red carpetor getting your picture snapped at a photo shoot is that it’s just not real life. In reality, we walk, dance, rush, shimmy, perspire, and show the world a 360-degree view of ourselves- all without a crew waiting to hop in and fix whatever goes amiss!
Many of these miracle fixes can be outright annoying and should come with a “don’t try this at home” disclaimer. Yet, some are quite clever to get you out of a fashion pinch and avoid a bad case of unintentional overexposure.
This is the best stick ‘em up method to secure a plunging neckline
while holding up less than perky breasts (i.e.: real):
Basically, you need to tape your boobs in place. Gaffers tape has been used in beauty pageants and photo shoots for years, but has a pretty harsh ouch factor when removing and not the most accommodating way to create a good breast shape.
There are many self-adhesive bras out there that are designed specifically to wear under skimpy clothes. My stylist kit always contained a few Braza Bras since they are hypoallergenic, easily removable, and have little air holes so sweat doesn’t build up under the strips.
Tip: When applying the adhesive strips, keep elbows close to your body to maximize uplift and a natural outline. Once the “bra” is on your body, trim excess. “This is a good way to get the outline you want to shadow your neckline,” says Karen Bartfield, VP of Sales of Braza.
Other stick-on bras…
Now you need to secure your dress. Double-stickCarpet Tape (almost a universal affix-it on photo shoots) is commonly used, but strips of toupee tape or wig tape are a better choice since they’re designed to be applied to skin. You can also use dabs of surgical glue or clear eyelash adhesive to affix the garment to you. It all really depends on the fabric weight and how it lays against your contours.
Stand in a natural position and drape the neckline in place. Apply small amounts of the sticking element in spots that will not pull or yank when you move. Trial and error is really the only way to ensure proper placement.
Voila, a deep plunging neckline that’s looks great and, hopefully, keeps your modesty in check!
The bonding basics of a fashion stylist’s kit that can make sense in your life:
- Double-Stick Carpet Tape- Holds dangling belt ends in place, secures droopy buttons, and does double-duty to hold a hem when there’s no iron available for hem tape.
- Wig and Toupee Tape- Either in a roll or in individual strips, it’s an easy way to tack something lightweight to your body.
- Nipple Covers- Braza Petal Tops, better than Band-Aids, for when you don’t want to flaunt what nature gave you… great for cold television studios
- Clear Eyelash Adhesive or Surgical Glue- From securing a spaghetti strap to your skin, to halting a flimsy necklace from shimmying about, or just being creative by making a rhinestone body “tattoo”
- Butt Glue- Slang for what some beauty contestants use to keep swimsuits from riding up during competition. You can steal the same idea of Golf Grip Tape or, the less convoluted, spritz of hairspay to secure a tube top, flimsy dress straps, or ankle wrap sandals from moving about
- Hairspray- Also doubles as a quick way to stop static cling
- Vaseline- Afraid cottonmouth will sabotage your next interview? Try another trick of beauty pageant contestants and television talking heads, dab a bit of petroleum jelly under the inside of your lips
- Gaffers or Duct Tape- Secures almost everything on a photo set. Rumor has it that pageant girls have been known to tape their tummies down with it, oy. But what a price for beauty in the real worldů
All in all, the best secret is to find a dress that requires minimum to no magic to stay in place. The more rigged you need to be to look great, the less comfortable you’ll beů and that shows more than a peeking bra strap.
–August 5, 2002
Resident fashion expert & style mentor- With just about 20 years experience in the glamour industry as a New York-based photography fashion stylist, syndicated columnist, contributing editor, lecturer, on-air television/radio fashion expert, and founder / editor in chief of FocusOnStyle.com. Sharon Haver knows the modern-thinking woman wants easygoing style that suits her individual needs, spiced with just the right amount of flip and wit to make it personal.