Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup Vol. II, No. One


You probably get this question a lot, but can you recommend a camisole that you like?  I’m busty and need a little more coverage under my tops, but every cami I buy is either bulky or rides up.  

With gratitude, Jane

I like the Shimera brand they sell at Nordstrom.  They’re seamless and not bulky at all.  Unfortunately, the only colors they’re selling online right now are aqua, blue and raspberry.  Not exactly basics.

When purchasing camisoles, the mistake most women make is that they try to buy something inexpensive.  But if you’re going to be wearing the cami under your better pieces, and you’re going to be wearing it with regularity, you should consider spending a bit more.  Because when it comes to camisoles, I’ve always found that a little more money can net you a MUCH better product.  

Commando Basic Cami ($48) // Thinvisible Nearly Nude Camisole ($40) // Yummie Tummie Camisole ($40)

I have a former co-worker who swears by Commando camis and thongs for their seamless construction and durability.  She also likes that they don’t bind like so many camis on the market.  Thinvisible by Nearly Nude is a shaping, cotton-blend cami that I’ve heard a few magazine editors just rave about.  And Yummie Tummie camisoles also provide shaping with a cotton upper and lower portion and an elastane middle section, but this mix of fabrics makes them unsuitable to be worn under cardigans or other open tops.

Every woman needs a good camisole in nude, white and black.  They add modesty to wrap dresses or scoop necks, or provide a base layer for thin sweaters in winter.  And since this foundation garment can drastically alter the look of your clothes, I would suggest spending a little bit of money to get the best product possible.


I’m going to be in a wedding in October and the bride has told us all to wear pale gold or gold glitter heels. I’m having trouble finding anything that I think I could reasonably rewear that are also under $100. The catch is that I have a nasty toe injury from running a half marathon earlier this year and I’d prefer to wear closed toed shoes. Can you think of anything?

Thank you in advance, Lindsay

A closed-toe, gold evening shoe certainly isn’t the norm, most metallic evening shoes are either open-toe or sandals.  I did find a few options though that might work.

If you don’t mind a gold glitter pump–I find them a bit gaudy–this platform from Nine West is $79.  The Heath Pump from Vince Camuto could best be described as a gold leather, 4″ disco heel, but it’s only $29.  If you need a shorter heel due to your injury, this VanEli Honna pump is 2.5″ and $58, but it might be a little matronly in person.

Should you reconsider the closed-toe option, the Baldwin d’orsay pump from Caparros is the perfect mix of metallic and glitter.  They also have a stylish rosette on the front, and they’re $85 at Lord & Taylor.

Dear Belle,

Love the blog! Quick question, I was wondering if you had any recommendations for a stylish yet professional padfolio to carry? All the ones I am finding are dull and overly masculine. Thank you so much for the help!


I might be the wrong person to answer this question because I like a simple leather padfolio, and the thing I like most about it is that it’s a bit masculine.  Sometimes blending a feminine outfit with a slightly masculine accessory can be unexpectedly chic.  I would happily carry this worn-leather padfolio, but if you’re looking for somethin less rough and manly, I have some suggestions.


Cross Autocross Padfolio ($99)

This padfolio from Cross mixes a traditional style with a slightly more feminine vibe.  I like the textured leather and the flap closure, and I especially like how you can seal it using the included pen.  This would also make a nice intern, graduation or first job gift.

You might also try a padfolio in colored leather.  Rolodex makes a well-organized version that comes in shell pink, and this model comes in red, blue and burgundy.  A solid, non-neutral color would probably be as far as I go.  I once knew a staffer who carried a Lilly Pulitzer padfolio in a pink and green dot print, and it struck me as a bit childish.  But you might also consider a padfolio embossed with your alma mater’s logo or the House/Senate seal.



  1. e-liz says:

    to the person looking for gold glitter heels: a friend of mine has these and swears they're comfortable

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  2. R says:

    Regarding the cami question. Surprisingly the $3 ones from forever 21 are great! I don't like the store so much but their camis are great for cover and they never ride up.

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  3. Nina says:

    With the heat in DC I prefer a mostly cotton camisole that is breathable and (ahem) absorbent. The best place for this is Express – their 'sexy basics' (ugh) cami. They're opaque, something like 95% cotton, a good length, and they wash extremely well. I replace my white ones about every 18 months, but I have had some bright colored ones for years and they still look great. I must have 30 of them in different colors and I wear one nine days out of ten.

    Express also does a ton of coupons and they clearance out different colors/patterns at the end of the season.

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  4. Boardroom Belles says:

    @Jane, it is a rare day we disagree with Belle, but we actually prefer cheaper tanks. Mainly because we live in NYC, take our laundry out and they are subjected to some pretty gruesome mix of color-mixed-washes, super hot dryers and just general glibbs. Personally we prefer Zara and H&M tops. They are surprisingly durable. 2008 I bought a stack of 10 white tank tops and I've only recently opened my last one.

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  5. Vic says:

    I second Commando underwear! It's hard to find truly seamless camisoles and slips that don't show underneath thin, light-colored blouses and other sheer, fluid pieces (T by Alexander Wang, I'm looking at you!!). Most under camis are convinced you need to be squeezed in by thick, corset-like spandex. I'm in love with my Commando half-slip – they put tiny weights in the seams to keep it from riding up underneath your skirts and dresses!!

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  6. EK says:

    I own that pink Rolodex padfolio, and I struggled with whether or not it's professional enough to carry around without overtly reminding people I meet with that I'm young and female. I finally caved and bought a Congressional one that's more staid. I'd love to hear feedback from anyone else who has it or has an opinion on it.

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  7. KC says:

    I've had good luck with Limited camis, however you have to size up a couple sizes.

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  8. Monica says:

    If the half-marathon injury is a missing toenail – I've heard that many nail salons can put a fake nail on a toe.

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  9. Chrys says:

    If your reader looking for gold shoes is open to a bit of DIY, this tutorial for glitter heels is very easy and yields excellent results. That would free her up to choose the shape and price range of the shoes that she desires. If she gets fine glitter, the effect can be surprisingly subtle. I found that glittering over a darker shoe base yields a more intense effect. l

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  10. jmb says:

    Someone recently recommended these reversible camis to me from Anthro. V-neck one way, scoop neck the other:

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  11. Becky says:

    I know that DIY can sometimes look cheap or show its homemade seams, so your mileage may vary, but a friend covered some trusty heels with very fine glitter in a custom-mixed color and had great-looking results. This is a lot more of a subtle glitter look than those Nine West shoes, and you can do it on shoes you've already got but don't wear much. Here's more info:

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  12. k-t says:

    At the recommendation from YouLookFab, I tried and love the BP cami: They are junior sizes, so size up. There are three different options that could be “nude for you”, depending on your skin tone. As my AT and other camis wear out, I plan on replacing them with the BP ones.

    I have a YummieTummie cami, but I don't like it at all. Maybe b/c I have a shorter torso (often wear petite tops), but it rides up and bunches below the bust.

    I have a Coach padfolio that was a gift a decade or so ago and still looks great. Levenger usually has a really nice selection.

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  13. Mary says:

    I also swear by the $3 cami at Forever 21. I have them in about 20 colors and have had most of them for 3-4 years with little visible wear and tear. They last longer if you wash them in the machine but then hang them up to dry. You just need to buy a few sizes up if you have a larger chest. I've also had luck with the SO brand in the Junior's section at Kohls. They are usually $6 each and i've had some for 5 years.

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  14. saramel says:

    Highly second the recommendation for a Levenger folio, I've had mine for almost a decade and it's still in fabulous shape and has gotten a ton of compliments. Thanks to readers for sharing the glitter shoes tutorials, I am definitely trying that!

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  15. E says:

    For camisoles I like the Classiques brand at Nordstrom. They have new colors each season and I have amassed several in black, white, ivory, navy, and dark purple. They are a bit thicker and have a great built in bra. They are nice enough to wear on their own and keep the tummy tucked and don't ride up. I put mine in the wash (though you should probably hand wash) but don't put in the dryer, they will get pilly.

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  16. anne says:

    I swear by Splendid camisoles, they don't ride up and are long enough to stay tucked in.

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  17. Kara says:

    If you're just looking for a little more coverage underneath tops or lower-cut dresses, I swear by Niki Biki bandeau tops ( You get the look of the cami without the added bulk or uncomfortable bunching. Clearly you can't put them underneath sheer or open tops but I love them for maxi dresses, wrap dresses and v-neck tops. It makes a huge difference in the DC summer heat and no one will know the difference.

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  18. Rachel says:

    Seconding the Levenger recommendation on padfolios. There are some awesome masculine pieces, and some folios come in fun colors. I am a sucker for the Circa system and am currently using the the brown leather zip bomber to hold my Circa notebook, Kindle, and other random things. Of course, Levenger is very expensive but well known for quality products.

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  19. Kim says:

    I second Belle's opinion about the masculine portfolio – a pink portfolio screams Legally Blonde II, and your outfit already might do that. But I do think the Cross one Belle also posted is masculine enough to do the job – while it has details, it's solid and brown at that. And just went on my Amazon wishlist.

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  20. Deb says:

    Wait till Friday, Shimera camisoles are on the Nordstrom Anniversary sale.

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  21. Janet says:

    If you have a Nordstrom card, the Shimera camis are part of the anniversary sale, and it's currently early access for card holders only. Regular sale starts Friday, I believe. I think they are roughly $15/each, which is a good price. I personally prefer the ones with the wider strap because I want them to completely cover my bra strap if I'm adding a little extra coverage to a slightly sheer blouse.

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  22. Ali says:

    i am obsessed with my zara cami/tanks. i have had some of them for 5+ years and they still look great. just bought a ton a few weeks ago in nyc for $9.90/ea. i think the website has them too, they come in many colors. could not recommend enough!

    July 16, 2012/Reply
  23. Jen says:

    I second the $3 Forever 21 camis! I was pleasantly surprised with the fit and that it was 100% cotton, so it keeps me cool in the summer. It also matched my skin tone better.

    July 17, 2012/Reply
  24. elle says:

    @jane – if you just want coverage up top and don't need a full tank, there are a number of bras with a build in half-cami top so you never have to worry about them riding up or deal with excess bulk. I wear them under wrap dresses or a low cut v-neck all the time. Assets makes a nice one –

    July 17, 2012/Reply
  25. m says:

    I love the J Crew silk camisole and own three in various colors. Who said camisoles needed to be skin tight? These come in black and beige shades. The silk can be machine washed in a lingerie bag.

    July 17, 2012/Reply
  26. Jaime says:

    I have this issue as well, being busty and often wanting an extra layer of coverage to make off the rack G rated….they are pricey, but the Hanro tanks are amazing. The ones I have are 100% cotton, so you are not sweating, and they are incredibly thin and comfortable. I never feel like I have to worry about tucking it in, etc.

    July 17, 2012/Reply
  27. Lindy says:

    This just in from Corporette (well, from Friday): No Nude Camisoles. Your underwear should show through your shirt.

    (No, I do not agree.)

    July 30, 2012/Reply