Ask Belle Roundup Vol. II, No. Five

Aug 27, 2012


I absolutely adore these flats in neon persimmon, but $178 for flats is too far out of my reach.  I’m looking for flats along these lines with that gold heel for the GOP convention.  Have you by chance seen similar ones for a better price?

Thanks! BH

Fashion is a business of trickle down economics.  A chunky, wrapped-gold heel starts with Ferragamo, works its way down to the J.CREW flats above, and eventually finds its way to Forever21, Asos, or Steve Madden.  But sadly, this style hasn’t worked its way down into the lower price points quite yet.

The only under-$100 gold-wrapped heels I could find were this slightly odd red, ankle-strap pair from Asos.   But wait a few more months, because I wouldn’t be surprised if a few pairs pop up before the holidays.  Or you could just wait for the next J.CREW 30% off sale, though I doubt that will be happening soon.

Hi Belle,

Long time reader, first time writer — but I need help styling this dress (below). I work in a casual office, and wear it to work fairly frequently, but I’m finding it hard to style in interesting ways. Best I can ever do is a skinny red patent or brown woven belt through the loops and flats (I can’t wear heels often). But I always feel boring, and I hate that. Any advice? Thanks. 

Denim Shirtdress from Gap (sold out online, similar $59)


Shirt dresses like this chambray number from Old Navy or this blue one from J.Crew make great additions to a casual work wardrobe but styling them can be tricky.  The simplest change is to try a wider statement belt.  Just because the dress has belt loops does not mean you have to use them.  

The second option you have is to wear something over the dress.  If it were me, I would pop the collar a bit, turning the corners down just in the front and wear a henley sweater over the top.  Then, I would wear the belt over that.  

The third option is to wear something underneath the dress.  You could wear a brightly colored tee and then roll the sleeves of the shirt over the dress sleeves. Or you could wear a sleeveless blouse with a ruffled collar or a statement necklace underneath it.

Hey Belle-

We might be going into territory beyond the scope of this blog, but I just got out of a five year relationship and will be back into the singles scene and was wondering what is the appropriate grooming and maintenance for women’s lady parts?

During my relationship I just kept things trim and tidy, but do guys these days think completely bare is the norm?  Is there an in-between?

Also, another reason I haven’t shaved or waxed often is that I am very prone to in-grown hairs. This is one area that I really am lost and have no idea what to do and how to maintain.  I want to have some fun and enter the dating scene confident in every aspect so any advice (or point me towards some) would be greatly appreciated.  



Yes, I have posted about bikini maintanence before, but I am probably the person least qualified to answer this question since I don’t date.  But I think that while some men probably have a preference, I don’t think that too many men will feel so strongly about it that they would be turned off.  So if you want to keep things neat and trim without paying a stranger to rip the hair from your nether regions, that’s probably the way to go.

Also, maintaining a Brazilian takes work.  It’s costly, and if you’re at all uncomfortable at the prospect of having ingrowns or broken skin, I would stick with what you’re used to.  But if you do want to go bare down there, you need to swab the area daily with a salicylic or glycolic acid pad to prevent ingrowns.  Bliss makes the one I use, they cost $38 for 50.  But I know that some readers use Stridex pads or a similar product to save money.  

Lastly, the most frustrating part of Brazilian or near-Brazilian waxing is that hairs grow back at different rates.  So two weeks in to an eight week wax, you may need to touch up in certain areas.  Bliss makes their Poetic Wax in an at home kit, and they also sell waxing strips if you want to avoid the mess.  I like the Bliss wax because it’s a hard wax that doesn’t rip off the skin with the hair, making it less irritating and less painful.

Like I said, I am not a hair removal or a dating expert, but hopefully, some of your fellow readers can give you a better idea of what men prefer.

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  1. Melissa says:

    Of course any individual prospective partner may vary on bikini preferences, but I think as a general group they are delighted by all variations. This quote from Caitlin Moran sums it up fabulously if a little colorfully:

    There are men having sex with bicycles. There's American Pie, the highly grossing film about the eternal truth that men would f*** a pie. I don't think we need to worry about doing it for the men. There used to be the idea that women have to be persuaded. The idea that we've kind of flipped this whole thing the other way around so that women feel like they've got to persuade men to have sex with them by enduring incredibly costly cosmetic things is just nuts.

    With which I agree. I would say it's more important to come up with a routine that makes you feel good and that you feel good keeping up – lest it look like “letting yourself go” if you go over-the-top and then revert back to your more comfortable routine.

  2. Lexi says:

    Also, there is an in-between: my salon calls it a modified Brazilian. I get it for swimming. Basically, it's everything but the butt (you don't want to get a crotch mullet when you bend over in a swimsuit, so you want the sides taken care of). I keep a strip, but you can get a triangle or whatever shape you want.

    This is what my salon uses, and I found it's the best, especially because application is so easy:

    As far as frequency, I go every month. Most people I know go every 3-4 weeks. So, it definitely takes maintenance.

    Different men I've known have had different preferences. Just like women who want men to keep theirs neat and tidy to get some action, I think the same applies when the sexes are reversed. I do it for me, and because I swim.

  3. anon says:

    under-$100 gold-wrapped heels I could find were this pair from Vince Camuto links to a $185 pair of shoes…

  4. LS says:

    Belle or readers, do you have any experience with BaubleBar? They seem to have a lot of really cute, inexpensive statement necklaces and I'm wondering if it's too good to be true.

  5. A.C. says:

    Im not sure how you feel about Nine West shoes but i found somewhat of a similar flat to the gold heel you have posted.,default,pd.html

  6. Anna says:

    I second Melissa. Most men aren't going to be too picky as long as things are kept pretty tidy. Like with other things, we think guys care a lot more about aesthetic details than they actually do.

    I personally get it all ripped off, and let it grow back out to about a half inch (about 5 weeks), only doing the sides if I'm going to be in a swimsuit or lingerie. I have pale skin and dark hair, and shaving even just the bikini line is a nightmare – razor burn, itchy, and you can still see the roots even when I've JUST shaved. I think the triangle, racing strip, etc. are kind of funny looking, so I figure if I'm going to wax anyway, I might as well do it all. Plus, having it short and definitely bare feels a lot cleaner to me and other things feel…ummm….better.

  7. @LS BaubleBar does have a really good selection of low-priced jewelry. However, I have seen a lot of what they carry at less than 50% of the BaubleBar price in different low-cost jewelry stores around NYC. BaubleBar definitely isn't super high quality, but I think for fashion jewelry it suffices. As for the price, if you consider their very stylish pre-selection versus you running through the city and perusing crammed to the ceiling blingy jewelry stores worth the mark-up, then BaubleBar is a good choice.

  8. @C Just a thought, is what style guys prefer necessarily something you need to decide on before you get back in the dating game? Preferences wary, so if you plan on dating a lot you probably can't accomodate every guy's preference anyway, so why not stick with what you are comfortable with? And when you are ready to see one guy more often and it is important to you to accomodate his preferences, you probably still have time to have that conversation.

  9. Belle says:

    anon: My bad. I meant to rewrite that but forgot. Took out the link.

    Thanks AC.

  10. Kat says:

    LS – I have tried BaubleBar! Short version – experience with them wasn't perfect but customer service compensated for the issues I had.

    Also, I am no fashion expert but I really expect those J. Crew shoes or some derivation to be the It Shoe in the near future.

  11. LeighB. says:

    Belle, I know you're not the biggest fan of designers splashing their logos on everything (read, I know you loathe), but hear me out… I love the heel on this pair of Tory Burch pumps! And I like the gold medallion on the toe regardless of it being a logo (I have several brands of shoes with varying medallions and whatnot, not to be a label whore, I just like bling). The stacked wood and the gold accent made me fall in love with these chunky low heels, now to will them to go on sale!,default,pd.html?dwvar_50008625_color=051&start=41&cgid=shoes-heels

  12. Amy says:

    @C and personal grooming, I'd say go whatever you feel the most comfortable with. Different men will obviously have different preferences and experience with different grooming styles, but they will definitely notice if you are comfortable with yourself. I wouldn't go out of your way to accommodate the grooming wishes of any guy, unless it's a mutual request for ladyscaping/manscaping (and it sounds like you're already doing that, so you should be fine). In my experience the men my lady friends have dated who are particularly demanding about those things are also not the ones you will want to continue seeing regularly.

  13. GoGoGo says:

    That neon persimmon color is delicious. I hope neon persimmon becomes a thing.

    Also I just like saying neon persimmon.

  14. A says:

    Question: Does the Bliss wax work well for upper lip or eyebrows?

    Statement: If you are waxing completely when you meet/start dating a guy, he's going to expect that forever. After 3-7 years or whatever if you let it grow back I think he's gonna feel like you're not as hot as you used to be. Just a thought.

  15. MX says:

    While I can't comment on men's preferences, I would advise shelling out the $ for laser hair removal. If you buy it on groupon (or a similar site) it costs as much as 3 or 4 waxes and lasts much longer and looks much better. Prior to laser I had been waxing for about 6 years and was always frustrated by the awkward growing in phases.

  16. Belle says:

    A: It works on all body hair. I usually use it on the back of my neck and it works great.

  17. Ali says:

    I've seen several people push laser hair removal as a smart alternative; let me just say it is a HUGE risk! I did it 5 years ago at Alase here in DC. I paid $1200. Oh, and it didn't work at all. They suggested I pay another $500 or so for a few more sessions after I already had 5 with no effect whatsoever beyond the initial fallout. I asked if a few more would be effective and was told they didn't really know. (I was assessed as a “perfect candidate” before I signed up.) So I cut my losses at $1200. I should have realized if such a magical lifelong solution really existed, why didn't everyone do it?

  18. Anna says:

    @MX Do you have experience with one of these Groupon type deals in DC? I've heard that with laser, the esthetician can adjust the power of the laser so that, for example, what would have been removed in 5 sessions instead takes 10. I've always worried that if I went in with a Groupon deal, they'd use a weaker laser so I have to come in for way more sessions than I would've otherwise and therefore pay more. I've never met anyone who's used the deals, so I've always been hesitant to take the plunge.

  19. A says:

    I've tried the Stridex trick and it didn't work as well for me as a product called Tend Skin for ingrowns.

  20. Rachel says:

    Belle, a couple of commenters in this thread mentioned laser hair removal; is this a topic on which you have any knowledge to impart? Or do you have contacts/friends who might? I had not previously heard the hypothesis described by poster Anna, but I have had a poor experience with a Groupon laser hair removal myself, and the Internet is full of vastly conflicting information. You're one of few sources I trust without question!

  21. Belle says:

    Rachel-I haven't. I have considered buying on of the NO-NO at home devices though.

  22. A says:

    I've been really focused on eliminating tasks from my routines, so I'm doing laser hair removal with a living social deal. I'm starting with my underarms and if it works, I'm going to get my bikini line done too. I've also thought about getting my eyelashes tinted to cut out mascara. Anyone tried it?
    I find it hard to keep up with all the grooming needed to look polished. If I can eliminate a few steps forever, I'm sold. Next on my list is Lasik!

  23. Kat says:

    I got a LivingSocial deal for laser hair removal and had it done on my bikini line. I did three sessions and it didn't work out perfectly but I think it's more manageable. When I saw the deal, I looked up the dermatologist on Yelp and he had great reviews so I actually started seeing him for all of my dermatology needs. All in all, it worked out pretty well.

  24. Anne says:

    I'm having laser hair removal done at Izalia Laser Spa in Alexandria. They are pricier than other salons and they don't do groupons anymore but they offer a forever guarantee. After eight paid sessions, all future sessions are free. It's great because hormone fluctuations from pregnancy can cause some hair to come back and they'll let you come back in for a touch up.

  25. MX says:

    Laser hair removal works best for coarse, dark hair so if you have blonde hair, it will not work. They also suggest that you shave every day in between sessions (even if their is barely any hair) to make the hair coarser, thus making the next session more successful. Yes – the esthetician can adjust the laser, and I usually ask them to just do it intensely. It only takes about 5 minutes, and hurts less than a wax, so if you can deal with the pain – ask them to bump up the intensity.
    I have been more than happy with my results, but I wouldn't pay the out of pocket price (but that is because I work at a non-profit – not because of the results!).

  26. Moey says:

    Re: Neon Flats – Have you heard of Its a great online “preppy boutique” that just started this Spring. These Yosi Samra shoes are really comfortable, cute and practical. And neon lemon is on sale right now! I have the crocodile print and I really love them.

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