Ask Belle Roundup Vol. III, No. Four

Feb 11, 2013

Dear Belle,

I am in the market for a great one piece bathing suit. I have quite a few bikinis, but would like something different this season. I had my heart set on this stunning number from Zimmermann’s line last summer. However, I cannot find it anywhere (and am KICKING myself for not buying it last season!). Have you come across anything similar, or have any recommendations for a great one piece bathing suit? 


I’m headed to a warm destination soon myself, and I’ve been looking at one piece swimsuits myself.  If you like high neck suits like your example, this crochet number is pretty cool.  I also like this cutout suit with fringe.  And this halter style has a bit of vintage feel.

Looking for color?  This colorblocked suit has a mix of neutrals and brights.  I also love this ruched, yellow strapless suit.  And if you need something under-$50, this Old Navy suit is a good choice.

I’ve also been looking at a few two piece suits.  A girl needs to have options, right?  This berry-colored fringe bikini has a bit of boho chic.  And if you want a teeny-weenie yellow polka dot bikini, this Madewell one is pretty sweet.

Hi Belle,

I’ve been following your blog for a while and noticed that you’ve never included Tory Burch’s Reva flats in any of your posts. What are your thoughts?  Do you dislike them or do you feel the like price point is (justifiably) too high for most readers?


Despite the fact that Revas are something of a D.C. staple, I’ve never warmed to them.  The first reason is that I don’t like to wear clothing that makes me a walking billboard for a clothing brand, and with that giant medallion, I would feel like an advertisement.  The second is that, with an elastic back and round toe, Revas fall into more of a casual category.  And if I wanted to buy a casual flat, I’d save some money and invest in a pair of Yosi Samra flats or a pair of Block ballet flats.

That being said, some women swear by them.  But I would prefer to wear something with structure, like these patent leather Kate Spades, these Sigerson Morrison’s or these inexpensive leopard print cap-toe flats from Forever 21.

Hi Belle!

I recently paid off my credit card (yay!) after two moves and a wedding. I have been saving 2 years of credit card cash rewards to gift myself a prize once it was paid off in full and now I’m ready to cash them in (around $1000) on something special. I’m thinking it’s time to treat myself to an “investment” handbag but I don’t know which route to go. Do I get a Louis or Goyard, or something more fashion forward and less “label-ey?” I’m looking for something that will last me years, and isn’t something that will go out of style in a season. Would love your input!

Love your blog – I check it daily!
xo, Kate

Lucky girl! But it sounds like you worked hard for that reward.  

The first thing I would recommend is not to choose a handbag with a signature print (Louis, etc.).  The reason is that there are so many fake signature print designer bags out there that its really diluted the appeal.  That said, if you find one that has a more minimal style like this Yves Saint Laurent tote or this Michael Kors, that might be an option.

As for fashion forward brands to check out, what about a Reed Krakoff Boxer bag?  It comes in several combinations, everything from all black to orange neon, so you’ll easily find one that suits you.  You could also look at a Pashli satchel from 3.1 Phillip Lim, or an Alexander Wang tapered tote.

But if it were my selection, I would 100% choose a Mulberry bag.  The Bayswater would be my first choice, so classic. The Alexa, my second.

If you’re really interested in an expensive bag, however, I would keep an eye on Gilt Groupe.  You might be able to save a few bucks.  I would also check Bluefly for discounts.  I like this Tod’s bag and this Miu Miu.

But truth be told, I would probably go for a mid-price tote–something in the $300-$600 range and save the rest of the money.  Some suggestions include the Coach Legacy satchels, the Michael Kors Hamilton satchel or the new Rebecca Minkoff Darcy Satchel designed with the help of the ladies from


You’ve talked before about how you use a round brush to style your hair.  I bought one recently at the drugstore and it tore up my hair.  What kind do you use?

Thanks, Ellen

I use a Spornette brush.  I use a 3″ brush on my hair, and a 2″ brush on my bangs.  If you prefer boar bristles, CHI also makes a nice brush with a ceramic barrel.  Any brush is going to catch a few hairs, but I find that using a bit of Light Moroccan Oil on my ends helps keep the heat damage at bay.

Ask The Edit, Style

share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Valerie says:

    @Kate's bag question: I would definitely, definitely recommend getting a structured tote bag. You want something that will be classic yet useful– if it's too small to carry anything but essentials on a special occasion, you won't be able to take it out much. I would also agree with Belle that you probably don't need to spend more than $600-$700 to get a very high quality handbag. I adore Hermes and Celine, but would probably never splurge on a Birkin even if I had the money. Coach and Mulberry make excellent bags that are very similar in construction and shape. You can also try looking at higher end consignment stores, as they will sometimes have designer bags that are barely used and cost a fraction of the original tag price (my sister got a Prada tote that way).

  2. joy says:

    Oh Belle, WHY did you introduce me to that Bayswater bag?! It is THE bag I have been looking for. And sadly, more than double my budget.

  3. Jenny says:

    Hi Belle,

    Do you own a pair of Yosi Samra flats? I want to buy a pair but I worry that they're so delicate that they will fall apart after a couple months of daily wear. Can you speak to the quality and comfort?


  4. Kathy says:

    To the women seeking a one-piece: sorry if this is way off base, as the link to the swimsuit you're obsessed with is blocked at my work. However, vintagey looking swimsuits can be found by Esther Williams Swimwear – I have the black polka dotted one, and it last me two summers. You can also try by searching for “maillot,” as lots of swimsuit designers like to be pretentious that way. Good luck!

  5. The Reva flat is so not my usual style, but sadly it is the most comfortable flat I have ever owned so …

    On the bag front, certain brands hold up really well. Mulberry sags like nobody’s business when you actually put anything in it. I would try to find an LV epi leather speedy (also sags, but just stick a magazine in the bottom) or alma on rue la la or gilt. Seriously, totally indestructible and so classic.

  6. XF says:

    Check out Sophie Hulme bags! It's an up-and-coming label and on the same price level as 3.1 phillip lim. Structured bags and gorgeous hardware with no obvious labels. Dying to get my hands on one.

  7. R says:

    I love my new Proenza Schouler Small Keepall (in black). Very similar to the Bayswater: fits my Macbook Air and goes over my shoulder very comfortably (even with winter coat). The look is a little edgier than the Bayswater. Either way, is an excellent resourse.

  8. readingcaphillagain says:

    If you're looking for a swimsuit, one-piece or bikini, and you have an average to large bust, I strongly recommend bra-sized swimwear. Brands to try include Panache, Freya, and Fantasie. You can get them fairly inexpensively at and on sale at,, and even sometimes. Remember UK bra sizing is different than US sizing, so check the size chart!

    My boobs and body look sleeker and sexier in my Panache tankinis and swim briefs. I need all the confidence I can get around the water!

  9. CH says:

    I would buy a Celine bag in a heartbeat if I had that kind of money to spend. Lucky lady 🙂

  10. Rachel says:

    For $1,000 – I wouldn't be buying little handbag. I'd get Saddleback's Leather Duffel Bag in the light color.

    Obviously, it's luggage, but I think I'd be getting a better bang for my buck.

    I'm also partial to structured leather shopper totes.

  11. Emme Gee says:

    Plush Swimwear is a great site for stunning one piece swimsuits. I've ordered several times and their customer service is great too.

  12. bag lover says:

    I was all set to treat myself to a Mulberry bag on a christmas trip to London, but found that the straps on the bayswater are not quite long enough to fit over your shoulder if you are wearing a coat. It was a deal breaker for me. Sigh, it is a beautiful bag.

    The Alexa is cute too, but seems more casual/weekend to me.

  13. Steph says:

    To the bag shopper….I think you should definitely aim to not spend the full $1k. If you've had credit card debt for a bit, it may feel better in the long run to only spend a couple hundred bucks and save the rest for an actual investment–savings accounts, brokerage, etc. Ladies, we need to be smart with our money!

  14. Ella says:

    Corporette had a recent post about “investment” bags. Commenters are really active on that site and had some good advice. To me, the best advice was to get a knockoff of the expensive bag and carry it around for a few days to make sure that you're happy with the way the shoulder do/don't go over your shoulder, etc. Don't spend big bucks on a bag you'll never use.

    I'm still trying to decide what bag I would buy if I had that kind of money. I would start saving immediately if the Louis Vuitton Saleya came in a solid color or some other kind of leather pattern that wouldn't make me a walking ad for the brand.

  15. Emmalu says:

    Hi Belle,
    Really enjoy your advice, I find so much wonderful information. I was wondering about the fit and flare skirt (a staple for me and my size-short me). I want some good solid colors-any advice as to where to find?
    Also-need your advice since I wear daily …. Good tights for these skirts. I need warm ones as we live in MI. I want a pair that doesn't bunch up or pull on the skirt,if cotton lining the tights tend to pull a bit/or worse ride up.
    I appreciate your answer. Thank-you.

  16. Shannon says:

    Target has several retro-style maillots, all for $35 and under.

  17. Amy says:

    I got a Mulberry Bayswater from Net-a-Porter for my birthday and after drooling over them for so long, I was disappointed. The leather and stitching don't look super high quality in person, in my opinion. I ended up returning it.

  18. Anne says:

    Steph, I agree 100%! Keep saving!

  19. Brittany says:

    @ Jenny-

    I'm wearing a pair of Yosi flats right now actually! I own 2 pairs- one nude leather and one leopard calf hair. I got them both around Christmas and wear them commuting and on a few longer walks and they have held of nicely. I even got stuck in the rain and my nude leather pair got soaked through- I let them dry out for a day or 2 and they were fine.

    I'm generally pretty rough on my shoes, so I'd say I've been impressed with their durability.

  20. Kate says:

    Love these suggestions! Looks like I have a lot of research on my hands!

    Ps- I definitely don't plan on spending the full $1k, or racking up this kind of cc debt again! It's a nice reward for working hard to pay it off, plus a great feeling to have a $0 balance 🙂

Join The List

Stay up to date on the latest from Capitol Hill Style!


Ask the Editor: Vol. IV, No Twenty-Three

This week, we have a wedding dress search coming up empty, cell phone slings that don’t suck, sunscreen tips for kids, and more. Let’s take a peek in the reader mail bag.



Recent Posts

Two Ways: The Olive Striped Shirt

I’d write a quippy intro, but it’s 5:00AM and I’m sitting in an airport lounge, so let’s just get on with it, shall we?



The Find: An Olive Striped Shirt

As you may have noticed, I do not have the most creative personal style. I am here for basics. But what I’m always looking for is basic-but, a piece of clothing that is basic but just a little different.




Ask the Edit, Style, Top Posts | June 20, 2024

Ask the Editor: Vol. IV, No Twenty-Three

This week, we have a wedding dress search coming up empty, cell phone slings that don’t suck, sunscreen tips for kids, and more. Let’s take a peek in the reader mail bag.



How To Wear It, Posts, Style | June 18, 2024

Two Ways: The Olive Striped Shirt

I’d write a quippy intro, but it’s 5:00AM and I’m sitting in an airport lounge, so let’s just get on with it, shall we?



Features, Posts, The Range | June 18, 2024

The Find: An Olive Striped Shirt

As you may have noticed, I do not have the most creative personal style. I am here for basics. But what I’m always looking for is basic-but, a piece of clothing that is basic but just a little different.



Features, Monday Mornings, Posts | June 17, 2024

The Mondays: June 17, 2024

From the rooftop deck of my D.C. hotel I can see it all. The Capitol building, where I worked on and off for a decade. My first apartment where my three-doors-down neighbor was a young Senator Obama. My second apartment building where I bounced from unit-to-unit as my salary rose and I was finally able […]