Ask Belle Roundup: Vol. III, No. Thirty-Four

Oct 21, 2013

Hi Belle,

I’m a Southern California girl who is new to the DC area and already intimidated by cooling weather. I need to start arming myself with warm, cute scarves, but I have no idea where to start. Cashmere seems to be all the rage, but I don’t want to drop $80 on one item before I know what kinds I like. Could you recommend some “starter scarves” of decent quality and price that make sense for newbies like me?

Thanks a heap! JNick

For me, the LoveQuotes scarves are the best–voluminous, soft, lovely colors.  They’re regularly priced at $88, but you can find some of the colors, like this gorgeous cocoa-shade, for $65. If that is still too rich for your blood, this Halogen linen-blend scarf has a similar look and comes in some great colors.

Prefer wool?  Try this Echo wrap or this pashmina from Sierra Trading Post. Also, don’t discount the wearability of a printed scarf, especially if the colors are neutral.  This black and white print Wallis scarf is nice, as is this large print, navy and white scarf from Forever21.  Both are under-$20.

Hi Belle, I’m looking for a great pair of flat or low-wedge over-the-knee boots. Ideally I’d like to spend <$150. Seen anything good? Thanks! JM

When it comes to over-the-knee boots, I prefer the ones that come just slightly over the knee in the front.  They’ll be more wearable in the future when the trend fizzles out.  So let’s search for those instead of going all Pretty Woman on the subject.

If you’re looking for black, I these Steve Madden OTK boots are the best of what I found, but I also like this Chinese Laundry South Bay boots.

Looking for brown boots?  Delia’s has a very inexpensive pair of dark tan boots, and Fergilicious sells these brown boots for $70. Have a bit more to spend?  These Coach Lilac boots come in both black and chocolate-brown, and have just a hint of over-the-knee.  They’re fabulous.

Hey Belle!

I’ve used your tips for keeping the outside of my shoes looking great but now with the weather changing, I am having a hard time keeping them clean inside (i.e., that funky flat feeling.) How do you keep the inside of your shoes from getting gross, and when they do, how do you clean them? I’ve tried the little socks for flats but they make my feet sweat like crazy!

Thanks! Lauren

For the inside of the shoes, I mix some vinegar with water and use a clean rag and Q-tips to clean the inside of my shoes.  It doesn’t take much liquid, just elbow grease, to get them clean.  Just make sure they air dry in a well-ventilated place so that they don’t get a musty smell.

If you’re struggling with smelly shoes, the easiest solution involves old tights and kitty litter.  Cut the tights off at mid-calf.  Then, fill the foot portion with kitty litter (coffee grounds work too) and tie the end closed.  Place the packets into the shoes, making sure they reach all the way into the toe box.  Leave the sachets in as long as you need, or, for really smelly shoes, use the sachets whenever shoes aren’t being worn.

Hi Belle,

Can you suggest some winter sweater, preferably one with a cable or chunky weave?  I keep seeing them on celebs and on Pinterest and I’d really like to find one for myself.  I’d like to spend under-$200 for sure, but I’d be thrilled with under-$150.  A light neutral, like cream, grey or tan would be perfect for me.

Thank you, Emily

The traditional cable knit sweater is one of my favorites.  This ivory Club Monaco sweater is a modern take on the cable.  I also like this elbow-patch C. Wonder sweater in grey, and this navy cable sweater from LOFT.

If you’re just after a thickly woven knit, this chunky, open-front cardigan from Gap is lovely.  This knitted boucle jumper from Topshop has a shirttail shape to cover the rear view. Mango probably has the best large weave sweaters on the market.  I adore this zig-zag sweater, and this mohair blend sweater is also nice.  But my favorite sweater is this chunky knit with an open weave that comes in ivory and navy.

Belle,

I’ve read your posts before about hot rollers being your go-to hair styling tool.  I’m in the market for a pair but don’t know which kind to purchase.  What do you recommend?

Love the blog, Jules

I’ve used the Conair Instant Heat Setter for almost two decades.  I just replace the sets when they stop holding heat, but it takes four or five years before that happens.  If you’d like a set with more oomph, I’ve heard good things about T3’s new set of hot rollers.

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  1. MR says:

    I also recommend Silver Linings shoe inserts. They have worked really well for me

  2. Catherine says:

    For the scarf question, go to Nordstrom Rack. I found great scarves for $9.95 each last season in a variety of colors. I stocked up last year (grey, black, cream, pink, purple, red), and it was well worth it. I picked up a red, printed, Sperry infinity scarf for $14 over the weekend.

  3. SarahT says:

    Any tips for over-sized/slouchy sweaters? I usually just go one or two sizes up but it’s never quite right.

  4. r says:

    I love the idea of hot rollers, but I’m never able to manage it quite well. How do you handle the back of your head? (I should note that I’m terrible at hair primping in general.)

  5. Lexi says:

    r: check out Sunnie Brook’s tutorial, it’s pretty good

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEM8DvpM03w

  6. H says:

    Belle, when in your prep routine do you use the rollers? I assume you use them in the morning and not the night before… Trying to understand the time management.

    • Belle says:

      I get out of the shower, dry my hair, and then put in the rollers. That way my hair styles itself while I put on my makeup.

  7. A says:

    Silver Linings are the best ever for keeping flats smelling lovely! https://www.silverliningsnewyork.com/

  8. Mallory says:

    I just purchase the T3 rollers and they’re awesome. I can actually get some decent volume and waves in my pin straight hair that last all day. I haven’t been able to do that EVER before.

  9. gk says:

    jumbo hot rollers are my go-to hair styling tool as well. i use them daily. just wanted to add that for anyone with really fine hair, i find that the travel set of conair jumbo rollers works really well – fewer rollers mean bigger individual curls, which seem to help my fine hair.

  10. Julia says:

    Thanks so much for answering my OTK boots question! Love the ones you suggested; now comes the hard part of choosing just one…

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