5 fashion tips for fall from former runway model

As a runway model, I learned a good number of fashion secrets backstage during rushed sessions with other models and our dressers, stylists, makeup artists and hairdressers. Since everyone was happy to share their tips, none of these are truly secret. However, some advice shared behind-the-scenes at a fashion show isn't widely known. I trust that any busy woman will find one or two of these tips from the runway show dressing rooms might be useful to her.

No florals and rhinestones underneath it all

Get the foundations right. It's not really a secret, but is overlooked by 85 percent of women who wear the wrong size bra, according to Oprah Winfrey and many others. Visit a lingerie department or specialist shop where a professional fitter is on hand. You won't pay extra for good advice, so seek it out. Have at least one strapless or multi-way bra in a neutral shade of beige, pale pink, or cream, not white. Avoid the busy and bright designs that Victoria's Secret is so fond of. To tackle body shaping and visible panty line, use slimming intimates for tummy, waistline, rear, or thighs. (You won't find Spanx pushing hot pink!)

Legs, legs, legs

Pantyhose without panties also works to hide panty line. Hold ups, however, beat pantyhose in case of a snag or a run, because only one leg needs to be replaced. Buy nude and black only, so the spare stashed in your handbag will always be a color match. These days, bare legs are acceptable while the warm weather lasts. By mixing moisturizer with your favorite self-tanner before applying, you'll avoid streaks. Spray-ons are a no-no when modeling, as there is no time to be careful about clothing, so at home allow time for drying. Come autumn, jewel-toned tights means we can wear fun short skirts and dresses right into the next season.

What's in a model's handbag?

Makeup stations and professional dressers are at the show, nevertheless a model keeps her own supplies in an oversized handbag or tote. Aside from sunglasses, you'll normally find: Vaseline for instant lip gloss and loads more touch-ups, safety pins for bra straps, tape for cleavage or for shortening a hemline, a toothbrush and paste, aspirin (for a headache or to mix with water for an instant zit-zapper), false eyelashes, personal mascara, baby wipes, panty liners, kleenex, hairpins and hairband, tampons, eyedrops, her favorite tweezers, water, and a banana. Some models like to carry fold-up ballet flats, as seen on "The View."

Body art coverup

Tattoos are easy to photoshop, but runway modeling and real life are different. For a job interview and those times when a coverup is best, check out Kat Von D's Tattoo Concealer ($25 at Sephora.com). It comes in eight shades, it's heavy duty and waterproof, equally good for blemishes, scars, dark circles. Tyra Banks is generous about sharing her own tips on skin care, since no fashion looks its best without the healthiest skin you can achieve.

Check out H&M

They've collaborated with Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld, Versace, Comme des Garcons. Now, H&M has announced a collaboration with French fashion house Martin Margiela for the fall collection to launch on November 15, 2012. It's a bit edgier than normal for H&M, and the models are planning to be on line to check it out for sure.