Answering A Few Reader Questions About Travel, Dresses And More

You Asked, I Answer…

pearl necklace with vintage French medallion

Before any more time goes by, I wanted to take a moment to respond to a few of your questions I’ve received in comments or emails in the past few weeks. Thanks so much for your questions, and for reading and following!

  1. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen this pearl necklace show up in my feed last week. It’s from French Kande, here. The linen shirt is from Eileen Fisher, here.
  2. I’m often asked about what bras and underwear I find most comfortable and that I travel with. Bras…it’s complicated. I’m a difficult size (30F) and have only found two styles in the last several years that I’m happy with. Both are from Prima Donna, the “Deauville” here, and the “Seamless Satin” bra here. I need the support of an underwire, and find them plenty comfortable if they fit right. (I really suggest being fitted by a professional, and I’m NOT talking about the 19-year-old part-timers at VS…) Underwear: I like the Hanky Panky Lace Boyshorts, and go up a size from the recommended. They’re pretty AND comfortable, no VPL and they don’t ride up. They aren’t cheap, but if you wash in cold water on the delicate cycle (or hand wash) and line dry, they last for years. Seriously, years.
  3. I’ve received a lot of questions about sleepwear for travel. Again, this really depends on what you’re comfortable with, but during warmer months I travel with a pair of “Cool Nights” pajamas (usually a short-sleeved top and shorts). If you don’t find sleeping in silk too warm, I’d also recommend something like this pajama set which would be very light and travel-friendly. I usually do not travel with a bathrobe, and just toss a long cardigan over my jammies when room service brings my coffee in the morning.
  4. Why don’t you wear more dresses/skirts? I’ve tended to wear dresses or skirts most during the cooler months when I can style them with opaque tights and/or boots. I hate wearing pantyhose (or “sheer tights”), and never felt comfortable wearing dresses with bare legs to the office. But now that I’m working from home, I’m open to trying some casual dresses with sandals. Just have to find the right style.
  5. How do you keep linen from wrinkling when you travel? Short answer: I don’t. Long answer: I’ll either “broomstick” a fuller linen shirt (so the wrinkles look more intentional) or just wear it a little rumpled. And linen jersey tanks and tees provide the comfort of linen with little to no wrinkling. You can hang linen pieces in the bathroom when you shower or bathe. It won’t restore crispness but will soften those creases. If you’re adamant about a freshly pressed look and have room in your luggage, there’s always a travel steamer. And many hotels provide in-room irons, or you can request one from housekeeping. (Check back tomorrow for some of my travel laundry tips and recommendations.)
  6. Can you do a post on swimsuits? I won’t lie; I’d sooner have another root canal than try on bathing suits again. I’m “hard to fit” according to the very nice and determined Sales Associate who helped me find a viable option (tankini) a couple of years ago. She worked up more of a sweat scouring her store for options than I did trying them on, I think! I’m hoping the one I bought (from Canyon Beachwear) lasts me for many years more. Due to my family history of skin cancer, I tend to be the one at the pool hunkered down in the shade in a caftan and slathered in SPF 50.

I’ll be finalizing my travel wardrobe for London, Normandy and Paris in the next couple of days, so stay tuned!

Stay in touch.

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  1. Rose
    June 27, 2016 / 4:33 am

    Good Morning Susan—I always enjoy your posts. You mentioned the Hanky Panky lace boy short does not show any VPL but I was wondering if the top of the panty shows when you have pants, skirt or a dress on. They look like they are a bikini and many times I notice this on other women or young ladies where they would be bulging over the top of their panties or you can see where the panty stops. Maybe that’s solved by you sizing up to the next size?????
    Also, does French Kande ever run any sales? They look like beautiful pieces but I’ve never really seen a piece in person either on someone one or in a store. I’ve checked out the website and they don’t have a shop anywhere even close to our metro area.

    • Susan B
      June 27, 2016 / 5:20 am

      Hi Rose, no, they don’t create a line at the top either. I mostly sized up for comfort, but I also think it’s how the way the waistband is designed.

      I don’t believe French Kande runs sales, but will ask. The pieces really are beautifully made and of quality materials.

    • June 27, 2016 / 8:11 am

      Probably 90%+ of what I wear is the boyshorts. I don’t have that problem with the boyshorts of the top being too tight (but I do need to size down), though you can get very slight VPL with some clingy fabrics. It is very stretchy lace instead of just a line of elastic which helps.

  2. Ellen
    June 27, 2016 / 5:18 am

    I enjoyed this useful information; I am always in search of a better bra.

    About swimsuits: a couple of years ago, I bought a swim shirt from Lands End. It has long sleeves, and fabric that is the equivilent of SPF 50. I can wear it with the tankini bottoms that I already owned. Since much of my “swimming” these days involves supervising the grandchildren in the water, i often just wear the swim shirt over my regular bra (since even the suits with cup sizes don’t really serve the DDDs well), and I feel much more comfortable about the whole thing, as well as being better protected from the sun as I splash around with the two year old.

    • June 27, 2016 / 7:23 am

      I also wear a rash guard with a high neck and long sleeves. I have a bikini top underneath for support. And I wear swim shorts. I like to think I look like a fierce beach volleyball player or surfer. The only exposure is my legs.

  3. June 27, 2016 / 5:45 am

    In UK, you might like to check out Bravissimo, which specialises in large cup bras and swimwear. And have well trained fitters who specialise in D plus! And once you find a suitable style, they do ship overseas…

    Love your blog, starting to build up a collection of EF merino, and JCrew linen tees, both perfect for weather in Australia. And just ordered my first French Kande piece, looking forward to its arrival soon.

    • Susan B
      June 27, 2016 / 6:19 am

      Thanks for the tip, and I’m so glad you enjoy the blog. Enjoy that French Kande too! 🙂

  4. Kelly
    June 27, 2016 / 8:24 am

    Hanky Panky are often included in sales at Nordstrom (right now the lace boyshort is 40% off) Not my personal favorite style, but I’m always looking for the best bargain on what we love!!

  5. June 27, 2016 / 8:36 am

    Just read your post and was most excited to come up with a suggestion but I see Rachel’s ahead of the game! But I’d still like to sing the praises of Bravissimo too.

    I’m a F/FF and have been using them on line only for around 15 years. Their huge range of fabulous big cup bras means you are spoilt for choice (so being indecisive I have amassed an embarrassing amount!). I’ve bought gorgeous yet well-fitting swimsuits and tankinis over the years. Their tops are cut to our proportions beautifully. Their dresses tend to look on the short side so I’ve not ventured in that direction. Yet!

    Please check out their website when you have time. The added bonus is that delivery is super quick (sometimes in less than 24hrs in the UK) and they package up in pretty tissue paper which makes unpacking such a pleasure!

  6. Bobbi
    June 27, 2016 / 10:10 am

    Susan thanks for all of the great tips! Always enjoy reading your posts. Your advice is right on!

    LOVE Hanky Panky brand! Underwear really does last forever so it is worth the investment.

  7. Briar Gregory
    June 27, 2016 / 12:38 pm

    Another wonderful and practical post Susan. I have swimwear phobia as well!These are wonderful bathing suits that provide a protective cover for the harsh sun conditions here in New Zealand They look really good on women of all ages. Many younger women here are much more aware of sun protection than we were at the same age!

  8. June 27, 2016 / 3:56 pm

    Swimsuits are a source of great horror for the busty and I’d like to find a solution. I’ve never been a sun chaser; I love the sun but would rather look at if from beneath a pergola, and swimsuits for me are more for swimming and exercising in indoor pools.

  9. Maggie
    June 27, 2016 / 4:21 pm

    I bought a swimsuit from Athleta two years ago. The top has bra sizing (Tara halter tankini) and the bottom (Fun in the sun swim shorts 2) was shorts with built in bottom. The bottom has pockets on the back which is fine for my body type. It was not cheap but worth every penny.

  10. June 27, 2016 / 10:24 pm

    Hi! I am also a difficult bra size – 28F, and I’ve found some great brands at my local amazing bra shop (A Revelation in Fit in Oakland) – Panache, Cleo by Panache (some really kitschy prints but good balconette style for me), a Masquerade strapless (no longer produced but you can find them on ebay), Polish brand Avocado which is gorgeous and very sexy-sophisticated, and my favorite comfortable bra – the Freya Dotty comfort bra – no underwire but plenty of support and lift. Curvy Kate is popular, but doesn’t work for my shape. And I haven’t tried Ewa Michalak bras yet, but the styles are really beautiful, and like other Polish brands, they cater to large cup-small band sizes.

    • June 28, 2016 / 8:48 am

      Also, there are tons of bra-sized gorgeous swimsuits at figleaves. I bought a red polka dot bikini from their Midnight Grace line years ago and it’s held up beautifully. This year I’m hoping to find a black bikini with high waisted bottoms. I’d really love a chic one-piece but I don’t relish the prospect of trying to fit the bust and the derrière issues. When I’m going to be in the sun for a while (rafting, snorkeling) I wear an inexpensive spf swim shirt. I might get some leggings too so my legs don’t burn.

  11. Liana Hanson
    June 27, 2016 / 11:43 pm

    Very useful information. I don’t think we have any professional bra fitters in Alaska. I travel often. Can you recommend a store or service? Thank you very much.

  12. Cathryn
    June 28, 2016 / 12:22 am


    I always read your posts while having breakfast so they are a lovely start to my day….

    My bra size is almost the same as yours so I too encounter the same problems. I find that Fantasie and, sometimes, Freya have bras that fit us although they weren’t able to help me find a perfect tshirt bra this year…..still looking!

    I live in the Channel Islands, only 15 miles from Normandy, so thought I’d let you know first hand that the weather is very unsettled at the moment. We’re all living in summer layers and carrying an umbrella in our bags, just in case. Also, here on the islands, it’s breezy every day but you might not have that to contend with if you’re inland.

    Have a great holiday,


  13. Linda S.
    September 19, 2016 / 2:37 pm

    I almost exclusively wear Prima Donna bras but it’s the Madison style for me. I also purchased my first new swimsuit in years and it was also a Prima Donna. Very expensive but worth it for how it fits and provides support. I’m a 36F and it’s taken me years to get the right bra.

  14. Christine G
    October 18, 2016 / 7:20 am

    I always love your posts. I’ve just returned from a Paris trip which included five days in Paris, then the Viking cruise to Normandy. The river cruise was not our usual style, and probably won’t be repeated, but it did give us a taste of the beauty to be found in Normandy. I envy your return to Normandy coming soon. BTW, I am in no way a fashionista, but I feel your blog reaches beyond just style. Thank you for your wonderful posts.

    Christine G

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