Spotlight: Nude Barre by Erin Carpenter

Erin CarpenterErin Carpenter is an American model, actress, and dancer who was extremely frustrated when it came to purchasing proper undergarments for her entertainment career. It was especially hard for Carpenter to find hosiery that matched her skin tone. She spent a lot of time and money dying and spray painting tights and shoes for castings and performances because most brands did not produce the right shade of nude to create a great colour match.

Carpenter shared these frustrations with her peers. The lack of nude-for-you undergarment assortments were leaving professional dancers of all races unprepared and uncomfortable to perform. Carpenter fearlessly turned her frustrations into problem-solving solutions by starting a company called Nude Barre, which is the one-stop shop for women of all races to purchase eco-friendly and durable hosiery that matches their skin tone. There are many shades of nude to choose from.

Nude Barre

Carpenter says that people assume she made these products only for women of colour. “But some Knicks Dancers were pale and needed lighter colors than the typical ‘suntan.’ They had olive skin, or they were fair with yellow undertones. Those colors didn’t exist”.

Now they do. While most competitors were only offering four to eight shades of nude across a couple of sizes, Nude Barre offers twelve shades and across extended sizes. There are bralettes, fishnet tights, convertible opaque tights, footed opaque tights, and seamless thongs across the shades of nude from an XS to XXL, and there are children’s sizes too. Items like slips, shapewear, girdles and knee-highs are in the pipeline. The items are only available online from the Nude Barre site for now.

There’s a Nudemeter on the site that helps you find the items that best match your skin tone. All you have to do is answer some questions and take a selfie to discover the right nude for you. You can also order swatches if you need to get nude hosiery for large groups of people.

Nude Barre intimates are empowering, as well as practical, durable, affordable, and versatile. You can wear them to dance and perform, or as regular everyday fashion — just like these lovely Nude Barre models above are doing. I don’t wear opaques because I prefer sheer hosiery, but I like to wear dainty fishnets. So I’ll be trying a nude-for-me pair in the Autumn when I need to refresh my hosiery collection.

Fashion News Roundup: June 2020

New initiatives to address systemic racism within the fashion industry, the best sunscreens of 2020, and other style news that made headlines this month.

Fun Fashion Fact

Did you know that sequins became popular in the 1920s, inspired by the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 in which gold discs were found sewn to the young king’s clothing. Early sequins were made of metal, but by the 1930s lighter weight alternatives made of gelatin were introduced. One drawback: these would melt if your body grew too hot or you got caught in the rain.

Outfit Formula: Simple, Timeless Casual Shorts

Team Shorts reigned supreme in our poll a couple of weeks ago, especially Team Ultra Casual Shorts. Today’s set of outfit ideas is for those who like to keep it very simple and super relaxed over the Summer. The looks have a high longevity factor so you can wear them year after year. 

The outfits showcase neutrals, but feel free to choose any colour palette. It seems odd to wear heels with the outfits because of the extra relaxed integrity. That said, a wedged espadrille might work. If you’re after a bit of height, try incorporating flatforms or chunky sneakers. I’m amazed at how my own chunky white Seinfeld sneakers create height without arching my foot or looking like I’m wearing heels.

1. Statement Birkies

Combine a pair of chino shorts with a semi-tucked fluid tee, and finish off the look with a pair of metallic, pastel, white or bright Birkies. A few things elevate the look here. The tee’s longer, scrunched sleeves and side slits look a little more interesting than a basic short-sleeved tee. The semi-tuck adds structure. The metallic Birkies add unexpected shine and are more substantial than a pair of rubber flip flops. This outfit would be as cute with white shorts.

hush Washed Linen Shorts

2. Quintessential Shorts and Tee

Graphic tees are a lot more meaningful if the slogans make a strong statement and evoke a lot of emotion. Combine an emotive graphic tee with a pair of denim shorts, and finish off the look with sneakers. White Birkies work well here too.

Lane Bryant Girlfriend Denim Short

3. French Inspired

This is the most classic of the four, and great for Team Stripe. Combine a pair of navy or white shorts with a navy and white striped tee, white sneakers, and Bob’s your uncle. Semi-tuck the tee for a bit of structure, if you like. Casual loafers or sandals can work equally well. Add a denim jacket if you need a third layer.

M&S Cotton Chino Shorts

4. A Little Dressier

The last option is a little dressier, if that’s more your cup of tea. Combine a pair of black Bermuda shorts with a tucked olive shirt. These paper-bag shorts are pleated and have a belt, but that’s not an essential style detail. Fold back the cuffs or scrunch the sleeves of the shirt for textural interest. Add a pair of black sandals, a straw bag, jewellery, watch and eyewear as desired.

M&S Tailored Belted Shorts


Summery Items

This week’s top picks are Summery, versatile and fun.

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Spring and Summer Items

An assortment of tops, bottoms, and toppers for Spring and Summer.

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Classic and Comfortable

This week’s roundup is classically comfortable and fab.

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Assorted Items

Some winning tops, toppers and shoes to kick off the new season.

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Fabulous Fabrics

The tops picks this week showcase great fabric, and there’s a fun roundup of shoes too.

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Assorted Items

A few fab items that worked well on clients and forum members.

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When Sleeveless Armholes are Too Wide or Low

Many of my clients and friends wear sleeveless tops and dresses, but all too often the armholes hang too low and wide for their preferences. This is especially true with unstructured sleeveless tops and dresses that are breezy in hot and humid weather. 

Here and some solutions to this particular fit problem.

1. Add A Breezy Sleeved Layer

Adding layers like lightweight gauzy cardigans and shrugs, or very lightweight Summer jackets in cottons, silk, rayon and linens will hide too wide and low sleeveless armholes. Of course, this does not fix the problem when you take off the topper. But for some of my clients and friends this makes little difference because they don’t bare their arms anyway. They wear sleeveless tops because they layer more easily, and keep on the layer.

2. Wear a Decorative Bra

It’s fun to wear a pretty bra thereby making small glimpses of it part of the outfit. For example, you can layer a black bra under a patterned sleeveless top or dress that has black in the print. That way the small parts of bra that are revealed at the armholes become part of the patterned design and top/dress. You can also layer a decorative sports bra under a breezy and wide armholed tank. The sports bra has the added benefit of wicking away perspiration on a hot day.

3. Wear a Decorative Camisole

This option is less popular because wearing a camisole under a sleeveless top or dress can feel overly warm in hot weather. That said, it can work if you don’t run hot, or it’s a comfortable layer in air conditioning. A thin and strappy AIRism camisole from Uniqlo will do the trick because it’s ultra thin, moisture-wicking, and cool to the touch.

Free People Sasha Shimmy Ruffle Hem Tank

4. Alter the Side Seams

Clarissa Midi Dress
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Sometimes you can take in part of the side seams of the top and dress to reduce the size of too wide armholes. This type of alteration tends to work well when there is room in the fit of the bust because you’ll narrow some of the bust circumference when you take in the side seams. This is exactly how I’m making the too wide and low armholes on my new sleeveless Boden midi dress fit perfectly.

5. Don’t Worry About It

You’re hot, and wearing a sleeveless top or dress with a regular bra feels the most comfortable. If a bit of non-matching beige bra is visible when you lift, stretch, or swing your arms — it’s just a bit of bra. Chances are low that other people will notice or be bothered by it.

Eloquii Sleeveless Bow Blouse

Weekly Roundup: Summery Items

Some of these items have been winners on forum members and clients, who have kept me up-to-date with their recent purchases. Many have great reviews, and some simply caught my eye. Browse the colour options, and catch items on sale if you can.

  • Boden Mini Octavia Drawstring Bag: A beautifully made trendy classic that comes in black and red. Smaller than the usual bucket bag so you can't jam too much into it. That's a good thing.
  • SWEATY BETTY Ace Racerback Midi Dress: A very easy and super breezy throw-on-and-go athletic dress that is excellent in high heat with a sports bra, or over a bikini top. Fluid and flattering.
  • Free People Maya Midi Shirtdress: Beachy Boho Fabness that works on a range of body types. Runs big.
  • Boden Elodie Jersey Wrap Top: I LOVED this top and was blown away by the quality and fit. Tight, yet elegant and chic. The sleeves are a work of art. I don't wear V-necks well so back it went, but it was awfully pretty. Fab fabric. Good for longer torsos and Team Tall. It was a little long for me. Comes in assorted patterns.
  • DENA Floral Silk Romper Dress: Jumpsuit Dress Fabness. Unique, fun, and a forgiving fit. I'm not quite sure how the layers work in the loo.
  • Veronica Beard Addie Paperbag Waist Tapered Jeans: I haven't seen these in person yet, but they look super fun and I've ordered them. I've had a good run with Veronica Beard bottoms, so I'm optimistic about the fit. Apparently they run a little smaller on the waist, and will be hard to hem.
  • CeCe Moonlit Dot Tie Cuff Blouse: A fun and flattering blouse that looks best on those who can fill it out with a larger bust and broader shoulder line. No need to semi-tuck the top. Works well on apple-shaped body types.
  • Banana Republic Soft Satin Maxi Dress: Easy, flattering, versatile and comes in colours. The empire cut is best on a small or regular size best.
  • Karen Kane Tie Dye Burnout Top: Gorgeous fabric and colours, easy fluid fit, suits a range of body types, and is available in plus sizes.
  • Cole Haan Grand Crosscourt Flatform Lace-Up Sneaker: Comfortable, trendy, can work on a wider foot, and looks great with dark denim.
  • Halogen Stretch Twill Pencil Skirt: A turquoise midi pencil skirt is hard to find, and this one fits the bill. Best on a moderately curvy figure. Might run a size big.
  • Mephisto MephistoLissandra: Extremely comfy, well-made, and supportive wedge sandals in lots of colours. A chunky '70s classic.
  • FLY London Suze Slide Sandal: Trendy and very cushioning platform slides that work better on a regular and wider foot. Comes in other neutrals. Can be forgiving of bunions.
  • FLY London Sena Platform Sandal: An on-trend sporty hybrid sandal that is extremely supportive, comfortable, and can work on a wider foot. Can be forgiving of bunions.
  • FLY London Ivot Mule: '90s Fabness, and very comfortable if they fit the shape of your foot and do not slip off. You can add a cushioning insole or foot petal to create a better fit and grip. Comes in neutrals.
  • Cinq A Sept Tous Les Jour Giles Jogger Pants: Super cute Summer joggers that you can dress up or down. Forgiving fit that works on a range of body types because the ribbed waistband expands and contracts, and the leg fit is fluid. Works well with an untucked top.
  • SCOTCH & SODA Piped Joggers: Silky joggers that look great with a white top and white shoes. Comfortable, forgiving, and Sporty Luxe.
  • Vince Paneled Bell Sleeve Popover Blouse: This type of popover blouse looks great on a larger bust and apple shaped body type. The sleeves are a little shorter than the hem, which creates a flattering effect. Easy and covered Summer dressing.
  • Lucky Brand Mixed Media Ruffle Top: A fab top for a narrow shoulder line if you like black and ruffles. The sheer sleeves are interesting and awfully pretty. The curved hem adds a nice bit of structure.
  • Nic + Zoe Tahiti A-Line Dress: Super cute and simple dropped waist dress for a rectangular body type. Fun back neck detailing.
  • J.Crew Eyelet Skirt: A swooshy eyelet skirt with pockets is awfully romantic and Summery. Breezy, pretty and dressy. This skirt is big and has lots of fabric so consider yourself warned. Comes in white and navy. The yellow is on its way to me.
  • J.Crew Collection maxi tunic in Ratti stripe: For Team Kaftan because why not! Wear the '70s darling to the beach, by the pool, out and about, or at home.
  • J.Jill Flounced Elliptical Knit Dress: A fably comfy and super easy cotton-modal-rayon Summer dress that's flattering in a fluid and flouncy way. Click on the link to see how lovely the silhouette is when the model stands. Available in mint and fuchsia. Might run a size big.
  • Anna Beck Medium Teardrop Earrings: Many of my clients enjoy these earrings because they are chunky in the most refined way, super lightweight, and versatile.
  • H&M Eyelet Embroidery Skirt: I haven't seen this two-piece eyelet dress in person yet, but it looks gorgeous. The skirt will work on body types with a defined waist, both curvy and straight. You have to really like puffed sleeves to like the top, which is cute with shorts or jeans too.
  • PAIGE Sage Midi Tank Dress: AMAZING Summer dress that works well on a straighter and curvier body type with a larger bust. The V-neck is not too low. Armholes have nice coverage. It looks best when you knot one of the side vents in front to create a more interesting effect on the hemline.

You can see the items alongside my descriptions on the collection page.

Eyelet Embroidery Skirt
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