Ask Belle Roundup: Vol. III, No. Sixteen

May 20, 2013

Hi 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.

Belle,

Can you suggest a good brand for t-shirts?  My Gap and J.Crew ones fall apart.  Need some tees for summer, please!

Lacy

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.

Hey Belle,

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.

Andrea

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.

Hi Belle,

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?

Teri

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.

Hi Belle,

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?

Thanks, Amanda

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.

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  1. LS says:

    LoveQuotes tip for those of you who live or visit the NYC area: Century21 had a ton of LoveQuotes scarves in different colors when I was there last weekend. They were priced around $40.

  2. Addison says:

    Aveeno also makes a lotion with SPF 35 (Aveeno hydrate + Protect). I think it’s fairly new because I just started seeing it in magazine ads and on store shelves. I have a really sensitive nose and I don’t think it smells too much like sunscreen. Jergens also now has a version of their gradual tanning face and body lotion with SPF 20

  3. Amanda says:

    @Teri, You should definitely check out JCrew wedding dresses. I went recently to the Georgetown bridal section and it was a wonderful experience! I was trying on bridesmaids dresses, but I saw a lot of wedding dresses that another girl was trying on. Understated, yet beautiful! Keshia and Megan helped us that day and they were wonderful!

  4. Jenn L. says:

    I ordered my wedding gown from JCrew a few months ago during one of their 30% off things. The gown was already on sale + 30% off + free shipping + ebates = woo! They have some pretty dresses – mine is a simple chiffon number which will be nice for my summer 2014 event. No tulle-induced nightmares, no bully salespeople (though, if you’re into that, go for it), etc.

    Be careful about buying things like that too far in advance if you are prone to fluctuations in weight! A gown can be taken in, but it is way more difficult to let out. I am lucky enough that I do not experience this yet so I do not have concerns.

    • Teri says:

      Thank you Jenn (and Amanda)! I’m leaning that way too, but won’t be buying for a while and am dead aware of the fact that I’ll fluctuate in weight (probably losing some, but let’s not count our chickens, heh) before the wedding.

      Thanks for the personal recs too, Amanda – will look up Keshia and Megan once I finally make an appointment!

      • Ellen says:

        If you want to make a fun day trip, the J Crew Clearance Centers are in Lynchburg and they always have a good stock of their wedding line. The basically give everything away in those places!

        Also, just like for cars, I’m a big fan of going to large operation for wedding dresses. I personally JUST went to Kleinfeld in NY because I just wanted to go one place that had a lot and tick off that box!

  5. B says:

    I can vouch for the Kiehl’s Creme De Corps SPF lotion. It is 30SPF and they also make it in a lightweight version which is great when the humidity sets in. It’s my go to every year.

  6. SLG says:

    Re wedding dresses: While shopping for mine, I discovered that simple and inexpensive are often mutually exclusive. (It’s maddening but it makes sense: A simple, mostly unadorned dress has to be made of high quality fabric and tailored well, because any imperfections will show. Cheap fabric/tailoring gets covered up with sequins and cheap lace… and that explains Davids Bridal.)

    I was fortunate enough to find a beautifully understated Watters dress on sale at a local shop. They are out there! Try sale racks, J. Crew, and websites like http://www.preownedweddingdresses.com for designer dresses at lower prices. Check out bridesmaids dresses too — some of them come in white/ivory, and people don’t seem as compelled to smother them in sequins.

  7. Alaina says:

    Everlane.com has really nice t-shirts and other basics at affordable prices. I haven’t bought any yet, but I’ve read rave reviews online.

  8. Helena says:

    1. H&M tees are shockingly sturdy, given their price. I’ve had some for 4+ years that remain in good shape.

    2. Alba Botanica makes a nice, very lightly scented lotion with SPF 15. It is quite hydrating without being greasy.

  9. Marie says:

    “You can also find wedding dresses at department stores like Saks and Neiman Marcus.”

    I don’t understand how anyone could suggest or justify spending several thousand dollars on a garment that will be worn once. I wore a simple David’s Bridal gown. I was beautiful, and more importantly, I’m still happily married 6 years later.

    • Belle says:

      Who says the Saks dresses cost thousands? A white Badgley Mischka formal gown will be about $600.

      • Marie says:

        A formal gown – quite different from a wedding dress purchased from the bridal salon at either store. I ought to know – my mother had many retail jobs when I was growing up, including positions the bridal department at both Neiman’s and Saks.

  10. Monica says:

    JCrew Factory has a super sale on wedding dresses right now. There are only like 4 but they’re sleek and super discounted at the moment.

  11. Usha says:

    While really convenient and super moisturising, I find the Kiehls SPF 30 lotion doesn’t provide enough sun protection. I would say it is more like an SPF 10-15 so user beware.

    I like the sound of the Aveeno 35 one though!

  12. Liz says:

    I second the suggestion for Everlane t-shirts! Soft, well fitting, sturdy t-shirts for reasonable prices.

  13. Ashley says:

    Re: Lacy and t-shirts

    Check out Target’s selection of Mossimo® Women’s Cap Sleeve tee. They are a steal at $10. Light weight, super comfortable. It is clingy so I sized up to get a looser fit.

    • Ginger R. says:

      I like Target t-shirts. Since I’m incapable of drinking coffee without dripping it on my shirt I buy inexpensive t-shirts and replace them when they get stains. Truthfully I’d say, when they get “too many” stains.

  14. AVV says:

    I use the Lubriderm with SPF lotion, and it works fine if you just want a little protection while you commute or hop out to lunch. Though as others have mentioned, it’s not really serious sun protection, so if you’re outside for hours, you’ll want to use regular sunscreen.

  15. J says:

    I have the 1 1/2″ Conair Infinity Pro curling iron that is sold at Target. It works great but gives my hair a weird burnt smell every time I use it. My hair looks frizz free and shiny, so I know it’s not actually burning my hair. Does anyone else have this issue??

    • Elizabeth says:

      I thought I was the only one! I never get that smell with anything but my conair iron but no sign of damage on my hair…

  16. Liz says:

    I found a beautiful, simple wedding dress at Nicole Miller (her designs are also sold through Nordstrom’s) Great quality fabric and well under boutique wedding salon prices.

  17. Emily says:

    Teri-

    I ended up getting a Lea Ann Belter dress that I loved!! If you haven’t looked at her designs, they’re classic and many are beautifully simple. They’re made in Canada and the quality is incredible. I got a sample and as a result, saved a bunch of money but have also heard good things about recycledbride.

    Good luck!

  18. Cynthia W says:

    The dresses at that BHLDN site make me want to get married again (to my same husband) just so I can wear several of them. But especially the Ethereal Monarch Gown…

    That being said, J Crew has some lovely simple gowns and I found mine at an outlet for a steal.

  19. S says:

    One of my favorite lightweight scarves is from Lou Lou. Big selection. They’re cheap. And if you’re accessorizing a lot with scarves you may want cheaper for more variety. They don’t wear out as quickly as some other types of clothing. I haven’t had any wear out and I wear scarves almost daily. I wear them all the time and just sort of gather scarves – most stores have a huge variety and are seasonal in selection. I feel like at any mall this time of year you’ll find plenty.

  20. Jenn L. says:

    @Marie – Have you browsed Nordstrom’s site? Here are their current bridal gowns: https://shop.nordstrom.com/c/bridal-gowns?origin=leftnav. While I will admit that I did not scour the entries thoroughly, I didn’t see any at-a-glance for more than $3000. Now, I’m with you in that I don’t think spending thooousands is wise, but others shouldn’t rule out Nordstrom – they have options for below $500 =)

  21. Sai says:

    @Teri: If you’re willing to take a little bit of a risk for an amazing deal, try the “cheap-o wedding dress” sites like TBDress, TrendGet, or iDreamProm. They have tons of options for under $300, including very simple unadorned dresses in column or A-line silhouettes. The catch is, of course, they’re very difficult to return so if it’s not a good dress you end up eating the cost, and you can’t see it or try it on before you buy. I purchased and returned a BHLDN dress (the mille petals one), and just took the risk of buying one of these cheap ones (it hasn’t arrived yet). Keeping my fingers crossed…

  22. Elena says:

    Teri, My dress was from Nordstrom and it was originally about $500. I saw the same dress as Bloomindales a month later for 30% less and went to Nordstrom and they matched the sale price (did a return and a resale since I still had the tags). They do have a full wedding boutique in Tysons as well if you want a little bit of the “experience” of trying on dresses. I found the selection to be a lot less froufy than other stores. Good luck!

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