Entries Tagged as 'Ask Belle'
I often accessorize with scarves at work due to a skin condition; however, in light of the rising temperatures I’ve been having trouble finding scarves that are work appropriate, yet lightweight and breathable enough. Could you provide us with some suggestions?
Thank you, Erin
I sound like a bit of a broken record, but let me put in a recommendation for Love Quotes scarves. They’re linen so they’re lightweight and breathable. I own the moonbeam and the bisque. I would advise you to fold or roll them vs. hanging them, as they tend to bunch up and permanently warp when hung.
If you’re looking for a less expensive linen scarf, Sperry makes some pretty dip-dyed ones and Saachi makes nice, solid-colored ones.
Can you suggest a good brand for t-shirts? My Gap and J.Crew ones fall apart. Need some tees for summer, please!
I’ve had decent luck with Gap, but it can be hit or miss. I like t-shirts from Splendid because they’re soft and they offer a lot of styles. The “new” basic tee is my favorite, but I also like the long layers tee–it’s the perfect weight for me.
Rebecca Beeson is another great brand. This tee, with an elbow length sleeve, is one of my faves. And if you have a bit of money to spend, people swear by Vince tees and Alexander Wang tees.
As for less expensive brands, I love Caslon tees from Nordstrom. They wear like iron. I also pick up Three Dots tees when I can catch them on sale at 6pm.
I was wondering what type of curling iron you recommend. I am interested in the Sultra Bombshell but it is $130. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Being a young supervisor, I have found your blog very helpful. Thanks.
At home, I have a Conair curling iron. It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done. I’m actually in the market for a replacement, and I’ve noticed that most of the salons I go to use Hot Tools irons. The prices are reasonable, and they seem to have a lot of sizes, including the tougher-to-find 2″ barrel iron.
I’m searching for a wedding dress, which is about as far as one can get from work-wear as possible. I thought, however, that you may be willing to do a post on where someone like me, who has plenty of time before the actual wedding and doesn’t want to look like a puffball, might look for simple, not-overly-expensive designs for the big day.
I went to David’s Bridal, which was its own circle of tulle-filled hell. I like tulle. I don’t like THAT MUCH tulle. And the beading, oh, the beading. Any suggestions for understated dresses?
Have you tried BHLDN? Missing vowels aside, the store has a wide election of styles from lacy to sleek. You might try Watters, as well, many of their dresses are more understated.
I also think Nordstrom has some nice choices. I would totally buy this Black Halo for a formal event. You can also find wedding dresses at department stores like Saks and Neiman Marcus.
I’m wondering if you know of any regular, every-day body lotions that are combined with a SPF. I would like to include sunscreen in my everyday routine for more than just my face, but right now my options appear to be to double-layer lotion + sunscreen, and smell like I’m going to the beach. Any ideas?
I like Kiehl’s Creme de Corps body lotion best, so I would try their SPF version. But if you don’t want to spend that kind of money, Lubriderm makes a lightweight SPF body lotion.
I appreciated your post on underwear. Can you do a similar post on bras? I know it’s time to graduate from VS Pink but am overwhelmed by the sheer number of options in the Bloomingdale’s bra department.
Thank you, M
Studies show that the majority of women are wearing the wrong bra size. Even more women are wearing the wrong bra shape or are wearing bras that have long since passed their prime. Good bras improve posture and help you look better in your clothes, so why are so many women ‘meh’ about finding the right bra?
I firmly believe that every woman should have a professional bra fitting at least once a year. (Coincidentally, the fine ladies at Wacoal will be measuring me this evening.) I recommend going to a local lingerie boutique (like Coup de Foudre) and having yourself measured, or stopping by a Nordstrom or Macy’s for a fitting. You can even do it yourself with a flexible tape-measurer, some basic math and a how-to guide (hey, it’s better than nothing).
Calvin Klein Perfectly Fit Multi-Way Bra ($46)
For every day, I like smooth seamless bras in nude. You can wear them with any fabric (thin or heavy) and under any color clothing. This multi-way bra from CK can be worn four ways, has the thinnest racerback on the market and clasps in the front, which I think adds a bit of oomph to the cleavage.
I also wear this plunge push-up from Victoria’s Secret a lot, it’s comfortable and gives just the right amount of push-up. In other words, it gives you some believable lift without creating a situation where you move but your breasts don’t. It’s one thing to push-up, it’s another to wear three inches of padding on your chest. If you need that much lift, but a pair of inserts (cutlets) or a gel push-up bra, so at least they bounce when you walk.
As for strapless bras, I searched high and low for a strapless bra that gave me the right shape (not too flat, not too conical), and found this convertible bra from Le Mystere. It doesn’t fall down, so I don’t have to pull at it all night, and it doesn’t pinch. Also, if you need a strapless and backless bra, I like the Fashion Forms sitck-on bra with underwire lift.
Lastly, it’s no secret that I like pretty lingerie. On days when I feel ‘blah’, wearing pretty underthings makes me feel a little better about life. Lacy and racy underpinnings are an instant confidence booster. Wearing lingerie for yourself is empowering.
For sets that don’t break the bank, I like Elle McPherson intimates, b.Tempted by Wacoal and Eberjey, for more relaxed/casual pieces that are still pretty.
Now, if you’re a specialty size, I can only offer what knowledge I have gleaned from reading years of reader comments on the subject. Petite ladies should check out this post from my blog-friend Jean at Extra Petite, and then check out The Little Bra Company. Ladies with larger cup sizes should check out this blog post on the best brands for fuller-chested women. Also, past commenters have touted Her Room as a great place to find bras online since the sizes go up to 58I.
If you have a bra you like or a store you adore, leave your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!
Last week, I featured a giveaway for tickets to a screening of ‘Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s.’ I apologize for not posting the names of the winners on Saturday, I set up the post and then somehow it was deleted. Regardless, the five winners (Allie, Lauren, Ashley, Kara and Michelle) have all been contacted by e-mail and have all replied back, so the giveaway is complete.
Again, I apologize for the less-than-transparent process, it was unavoidable this time. Look for more giveaways in the future.
Help! I’ve been looking for a great pair of (preferably skinny) white jeans and I am in a true rut. I’m 5’3 and slender, but every pair of white jeans I’ve tried on this season are either so stretchy that they accentuate the imperfections/lack of toning in my thighs, or are so stiff that I can hardly sit in them. I’d love a flattering pair of jeans that can “hold everything in place” for $200 or less.
I’m a huge fan of the Paige Denim Skyline jeans, which also come in white ($179). I also like the AG Stilt jeans in white ($164). If you need something under-$100, these 7 For All Mankind jeans are on sale for $95, and I’ve had decent luck with jeans from Loft.
Prefer your white denim in a non-skinny version? I’m partial to the AG Ballad and AG Angel jeans.
Also, if you’re looking to soften up a pair of scratchy jeans, I recommend soaking them in salt water. I’ve done this to a pair of jeans that I wear on the airplane and on the weekends, it really softens them up.
Can you recommend a red nail polish that’s appropriate for the summer months? All of my reds feel to burgundy for summer.
My favorite red polish is Essie Lollipop. It’s got just a hint of orange, so it’s really bright and fun. But if you’re looking for a true, matte red that you can wear during any season, try Butter LONDON Come to Bed Red.
You’ve posted a lot of outfits that feature striped t-shirts. Can you give me some suggestions for classic striped tops (pref. navy) that cost less than $75?
If short sleeves are what you’re after, I like this BCBG top. I adore this Ralph Lauren boatneck top, and Land’s End makes a nice striped shirt.
And if you’re petite or plus-size, Ralph Lauren has the best options available. Just classic American sportswear at its finest.
I’ve been looking for a pair of comfortable, affordable, stylish black flats for I don’t know how long. I’ve been ordering and returning lots of black flats. They’re either too narrow (I have a wider foot), too square in the toe, or show a lot of toe cleavage (I guess I have long toes?). My search is getting ridiculous.
Any suggestions for a flat that is under, say $100? Thanks in advance, Abbey
If you like pointy-toe flats, I own these BP shoes and they’re fairly comfortable. I did need to stretch the toe-box a bit to get the right fit, though. I’ve also been thinking about buying these ankle strap Colin Stuart shoes.
For round toe shoes, I’ve actually had good luck with Steve Madden flats, though they need an insole if you do a lot of walking. I’ve also heard good things about Isola Flats and the flat shoes from Splendid.
However, if you’ve been ordering and returning a lot of shoes, I think it might be time to go to a brick and mortar store. Sometimes with a specialized concern, that’s the only solution. Or at least start ordering from Zappos, Piperlime or Nordstrom, so you don’t wind up paying the shipping on your return
I have two questions that I need your help answering. 1) What handbags make the best graduation gifts (splurges) for a woman working in a professional office? 2) Where can I find purses that don’t cost an arm and a leg? My Mom is giving a “nice” bag for graduation (under $300, please!), but I’d also like to know where I can find purses an entry-level salary can purchase.
Thank you for your help, Susie
Handbag Math. A stylish, good-quality handbag isn’t a splurge; it’s an investment. I’ve been carrying the same Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAB since 2008, and it still looks great inside and out. So when you’re calculating whether a more expensive bag is worth it, you need to break it down to cost-per-wear. I’ve carried my Mini MAB so much that I’m at 50-cents or less per wear.
Under-$300 Bags. If you need an every day, carry it everywhere, multi-purpose bag that will work for the office, graduate school, long trips and the gym, you NEED the Lo & Sons OMG bag. Politicians, staffers, lawyers, doctors, public relations gurus all carry this bag, and I have yet to meet a woman who didn’t love it.
Every time Miss M carries hers (which is nearly every day), people stop her on the street to ask who makes it and where she bought it. It’s versatile, chic and made for the busy woman on the go.
If you’re looking for a more traditional leather handbag in the $300-range, I would start with the Coach Candace Carryall ($328), the Cole Haan Linley Satchel ($215) or the Dooney Dillen Satchel ($298).
“Splurge” Bags for Less. If you’re looking to score a great deal on an investment handbag, the go-to place is Neiman Marcus Last Call. The site often has deeply discounted designer bags, and if you catch it at the right time, they’ll have deals on top of that savings as well.
This sleek Foley and Corrina satchel is $224 instead of $425. This stylish DvF satchel is also deeply discounted. If you’re looking for something a bit different, I love the mix of colors and textures on this Pour la Victoire bag. And this beige and ivory colorblock bag would be great for spring and summer.
The other option would be flash sale sites like Gilt Groupe. If you’re patient, you can score a designer handbag for much less. I have purchased all of my Minkoff bags on Gilt and have paid at least 30-percent less. Not a member of Gilt, yet? Join here.
Buying Inexpensive Bags. If you’re looking to add a few new bags to your closet, but you don’t have a lot of money to spend, my first stop would be Zara. The Office City bag would be a great starting out work bag, and it costs just $89.
ASOS is another great choice for inexpensive, chic bags. I love this verdant tassel tote for under-$50. The metal accent bar on this top handle bag is great too. And this colorblock River Island tote is functional, on trend and in an intern’s price range. What’s not to love?
Lastly, if you’re looking for chic basics that are more in the Hill Staffer-price range, I would also try C. Wonder. I love this two-tone satchel and this easy leather tote.
Finding a great handbag at a great price takes a little bit of work. Invest in the basic bag you’ll carry for years, and save your pennies when you’re buying clutches, trendy pieces or when you find a good deal. And remember to clean your bag at least once a year, have leather protectant applied to nicer purses and keep it in a dust bag when not in use.
If you have any other tips for where to find great inexpensive bags or where to find good deals on designer pieces, leave them in the comments.
A few friends and I got into a debate, and as we all love your blog, we thought you might settle it. If you sleep through your alarm in the morning, what’s the best thing to do about getting ready for work? A) get to work on time but a little greasy (even with dry shampoo); B) get to work on time, clean but with wet hair; or C) get to work late, freshly showered and blow-dried?
Being on-time for work is important. It establishes credibility and shows respect for the office. But sometimes, things happen. We’ve all had one of those mornings when things go wrong.
However, if you’re going to be late, you need to let your Boss know beforehand, and not just stroll through the door after the bell rings. Most employers understand that these things happen, and if you give them some warning, they’ll let it slide as long as it’s not habitual.
But to answer this questions specifically, let’s address it in three parts.
A) If your dry shampoo leaves your hair noticeably greasy, you’re either not using enough (this isn’t hairspray, you really need to let the powder fly) or it’s time to switch brands.
I love Psssst with all of my heart (they also make a wavy hair version). A few spritzes and a hot roller touch up, and I’m ready to go. I’ve also heard good things about Clean Freak dry shampoo. And if you have an oily scalp, I recommend bringing a can to the office for touch ups.