Ask Belle Roundup Vol. III, No. Twenty-Four

Aug 5, 2013

Before we begin, tickets for the fall 2013 District Sample Sale go on sale tomorrow at 10:00AM. The VIP is definitely worth the price if you plan to do some serious shopping.  If you’re just a casual shopper who wants to sip champagne and chat, a regular price ticket should be fine.  Get all the details for the September 24th event here.

Hi Belle,

I’ve been using Pinterest to get ideas for what to buy for fall/winter, but most of the outfits are for the weekend.  Any recommendations on who to follow, in addition to you, for office inspiration?

Thanks, K

There aren’t many professional recommendations on Pinterest because a shrinking number of women work in offices with professional dress codes.  I follow, and post to, The Corporate Fashionista group board.  It’s not all D.C.-appropriate, but I think it’s the best board on the site.

Dear Belle,

Love the blog. I am not sure if this question has been asked but I am new Hill staffer and need some go-to collared/button down shirts for work. Where do you suggest I look?

CF

I don’t buy button-up shirts very often, just because I think they look very masculine on me, but many women consider them a wardrobe staple.  The handful I own either come from Banana Republic or Rochelle Behrens.   I especially like the Banana Republic non-iron shirts because they can be machine washed.

If you’re looking for some other option, a lot of my friends by their shirts at Brooks Brothers.  Plus-size? I thought Nordstrom had a good selection.  Petite? Many of my petite readers have recommended Ann Taylor in past comments.

Belle,

I’m looking for a pair of leopard flats for fall but they have to be under-$75. There seems to be nothing in that price range. Can you help a girl out?

Z

The two best pairs I found are this Nine West Speakup Flat or this BP Moveover Flat.  If you don’t want to deal with calf-hair, this pair from Wallis comes in printed patent leather.  And if you just want a hint of leopard, Charlotte Russe has a pair of ankle strap flats, for under-$25, that are sure to please.

Hi Belle,

I seem to be in a facial regime rut.  Nothing is seriously wrong, but since I turned 30 I have been thinking that I need to step up my game–but I don’t know where to start.  I know that you often give tips, based on what works for you, and I was wondering how you figured that out.  Was it purely through a great deal of trial and error?  Or is there a way to get an “assessment” on one’s needs (i.e. a makeup consultant or a facialist)?  I’m not so much concerned about makeup, but mostly cleansers, moisturizers, etc.

Thanks!  Michelle

Frankly, I spend a lot of time on Google when I’m looking for a new product. First, I think about what my needs are, am I concerned about aging or acne or under-eye circles?  Then, I search for best serum/cream/skincare product for 30-year-old women aging acne, or something like that.  Sort by date, so you get the newest products, and head to Sephora or Ulta with your list.

I will usually ask for a few samples before I commit to buying a product.  Two weeks is usually long enough to know whether something is making a difference.

As for new products that I am loving right now…I bought Glam Glow’s BRIGHTMUD Eye Treatment, and it seems to be making a difference in my under-eye circles.  Not a life changing difference, but a difference.  I also switched back to Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant, a scrub that doesn’t tear the skin and sloughs off skin cells like a dream.

Dear Belle,

The fashion mags on my bedside table are all taking about leather for fall.  Do you have any recommendations for a leather or leather trim pencil skirt that won’t put me in the poor house?  I am fine with faux as long as it looks good.

Thank you! Love the blog! MS

This Karen Kane skirt and this Dorothy Perkins skirt are both under-$75.  If you have a bit more money to spend, I love this Michelle Mason skirt from Intermix.

However, if I had to go buy one right now.  I’d choose a ponte-leather inset skirt from Bailey 44.  Nordstrom has it in navy, Anthropologie has it in black and forest green.

And if you just want a touch of leather, I like this Trouve pencil from Nordstrom (also in plus-size).  I also fancy this Vince Camuto skirt with the slightest hint of leather piping.

Belle,

My skin has been playing catch up since I moved to Washington, D.C. in June.  I’m searching for a really light moisturizer that isn’t greasy.  Since you have acne-prone skin, do you have one you like?

Gena

The one I always recommend is Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation.  It’s so light, you won’t believe that it could actually work, but it does.  You can also try Pure Perfection Cream, which has some anti-aging and pore-refining ingredients.

Need a drugstore brand? Try Cerave AM moisturizer.

 

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  1. Jamie says:

    My hands down favorite button down shirt is from Brooks Brothers. But I just stumbled across another gem at Periwinkle that promises no gap or pulling at the bust. Definitely a wardrobe staple. https://bit.ly/13Uz3fG

  2. s-p-c says:

    Z – for leopard print flats, check out Banana Republic’s Ashley flats in nude/black leopard – I got mine for 40% off, which made them very reasonable (it’s 30% off today).

  3. MC says:

    Currently wearing the black patent version of the BP Moveover Flat, and very nearly bought the leopard version as well this weekend. It’s very comfortable – I haven’t had to do any work breaking them in today, and it’s my first day wearing them. Price point is reasonable, and the leopard print didn’t seem too “calf hair”-esque, but did have a bit of texture and looked nice, not cheap. I’d go for those and see what you think.

  4. Emily says:

    Belle–Glam Glow over the Kate Somerville eye cream you’ve recommended in the past?

  5. Anne says:

    I have been wearing these leopard print flats from Payless, of all places, and they are cute and very comfortable: https://www.payless.com/store/product/detail.jsp?catId=cat10378&subCatId=cat70004&skuId=099414055&productId=70092&lotId=099414&category=&catdisplayName=Sale.

  6. Sarah says:

    Heads up- I bought that Vince Camuto skirt on sale at TJ Maxx this week for almost nothing, and I honestly can’t find the flaw. Worth going to check it out!!

  7. CH says:

    Ann Taylor has a cute patent leopard flat – I think it’s $90 full price but they always always always have promo codes and sales.

  8. Austin says:

    I’m a big fan of the shirts from Charles Tyrwhitt. I’d never pay full price, but last week I got a great one for $35. I’m between sizes at JCrew, and the larger of the two sizes works well for me in CT — and avoids the dreaded mid-bust gap.

  9. k-t says:

    The shirts from Brooks Brothers didn’t fit me well (although it’s been years since I’ve tried ’em; they might fit differently now). And the shirts from Banana seem to have really tall collars.

    I have had good luck with the no-iron button front shirts from Lands End. The button placement is perfect for me. I generally size down a size. And they carry petite and plus sizes. Good basic colors and occasionally they will have some brights.

  10. E says:

    I find the Ann Taylor button downs to be really boxy. The darts aren’t placed well requiring extra tailoring.

    I wear button down cufflink shirts often, and find the most flattering cuts to be from Thomas Pink (ALWAYS purchased on sale or from the outlet at Woodbury) and the Brooks Brothers non-iron collection.

  11. SQC says:

    Gena–NARS balancing moisture lotion is perfection. It’s so light, not greasy at all, and just the right amount of moisture for daytime. I got the rec from a friend with acne, though for me the problem is super sensitive skin. This lotion doesn’t irritate it all.

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