readers ask: dear lucky

Q: I hate bathing-suit shopping. How do I make it more bearable? —Taylor

Lancôme Flash Bronzer Tinted Self-Tanning Leg Gel, $37, lancome.com

A: Dear Taylor,
Self-tanner! This works only for the pasty, but for them (me) it really does work. Those with gorgeous alabaster or dark, tawny-perfection skin probably enjoy bathing-suit shopping much more than I do. This self-tanner is tinted so you see any mistakes right away, you get an encouraging, instant glow, and the color is just the best, most realistic one in existence. Apply the tanner the day before your shopping excursion, and you will notice many fewer flaws—scars, blotches, veins, cellulite, etc.—reflected back at you in the unforgiving mirror. The self-tanner kind of airbrushes them away (and makes you look a tad slimmer in the bargain).
The other thing: Do your hair, do your makeup. Shopping While Attractive, for me anyway, is 100 percent more likely to end in a purchase. Shopping While Hideous, on the other hand, invariably yields zilch. If you’re not feeling it, cut your losses and return when you feel hotter. One way to feel super-hot, if you happen to be in New York or L.A.: Shop at the aforementioned Malia Mills, where they are both wildly yet believably encouraging and stop at nothing to find you the perfect fit, so you leave full of a confidence that returns every time you put your new suit on.

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