Dear Answer Angel: My favorite summer skirt is black and slightly flared and a perfect weight for the warmer months. But, it's see-through if I'm standing in the sun or have a bright light behind me. I know when I was in high school and college I would have worn a half-slip with it, but times have changed! Do you think I still need to wear a half-slip with it for summer evening parties?
Dear C.S.: Yes! Wear a slip. Please. No matter what your age or size, nothing good can come from letting people see your underpants through your skirt. I know your question is premised on the notion that for your "summer evening parties" you won't be in sun or bright light and so your skirt won't be transparent. Want to bet? Lighting is tricky, and why take the chance? Department and discount stores have plenty of black, white and beige half-slips. But my favorite garment is a two-fer: pettipants. They're like a half-slip but with (loose) legs — sort of a culottes deal. And they offer even more modesty — when you're crossing your legs (or doing handstands) — than a mere slip. Just type "pettipants" into your search engine and you will turn up plenty of options at amazon.com and other sites ranging from J.C. Penney (jcpenney.com) to underworks.com and The Vermont Country Store (vermontcountrystore.com). I bought mine, by Vanity Fair, in the underwear department at Macy's.
Dear Answer Angel: I cannot stand to wear thong underwear, but so many of the summer garments are nearly see-through or are so tight that it seems the only options are a thong — or nothing at all. What to do?
Dear Underwhelmed: Going commando — no underwear — has a very high ewwwww factor. Don't do it. And if you hate thongs (I do), don't wear them.
The most obvious solution to your problem is to steer clear of pants that you can see through (like many white ones in stores now). The same goes for those that are so tight that your underwear lines shows through. But, I'm guessing that advice is not helpful.
Many women make the mistake of wearing white underwear beneath their white pants and tops. Choose flesh tone instead. As for visible panty lines, many manufacturers offer no-line options. Try Soma's "vanishing edge" ($16, soma.com) for a sleek stay-put fit.
Dear Answer Angel: I am a full-bodied woman, and I would like to know any clothing lines that offer tummy-tucking techniques (or that will cover my tummy). I am also a teacher so preferably not too expensive!
— The Big Apple
Dear Apple: Dresses or long tops with ruching or shirring around the stomach area hide a multitude of sins. Sara Campbell makes what she calls a "magic dress" that really does hide your rolls. It might be more than you want to spend (starting at $225; up to size 14), but you can look for similar styles at discount and department stores. Go to her site to see what I'm talking about: saracampbell.com. Whatever you do, stay away from clinging fabrics that show every bump and bit. As for the opposite approach, don't go the muumuu route. Wearing a sack only makes you look bigger. Choose a dress or top that emphasizes your slimmest parts, usually beneath the bust. And, if all else fails, there's always Spanx, the modern equivalent of the girdle.
Dear Answer Angel: My legs are really white and when I wear shorts they look kind of starkly weird. Obviously I don't want to wear pantyhose under the shorts but I'd like a better look — any ideas?
— Painfully Pale
Dear Painfully Pale: Help is as close as your drugstore. The solution is simple and one I use all summer long. Buy some cheap lotion (I use CeraVe) and a tube of Jergens Natural Glow self-tanner ("fair-to-medium" works best). Mix a glob of each and slather on your legs. Don't miss a spot or you'll get streaks. And remember the tops of your feet. By cutting the tanner with lotion the darkening takes longer but it allows better coverage and control. I've tried lots of other more expensive self-tanners but I keep going back to Jergens.
On this topic, another >>a more plaintive cry…
Dear Answer Angel: Middle-age white lady legs in summer with skirts. And I don't have time for the self-tanning lotion.
— Joanie P.
Dear Joanie: Try Jergens Natural Glow Express, the fastest-acting self-tanner I've found.