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

Oct 28, 2013

Hi Belle,

I started my job in May and all of the shoes I bought are peep toe.  I’m searching for two pairs of shoes, one in black and dark brown.  I’d prefer to be in the three inch heel range and under $150 in price.  Thanks for searching for me, I am planning my wedding and don’t have time to look for myself.

xx, Beth

Let’s start with the black pair, and my new favorite work shoe, the Ann Taylor Eryn heel.  They are super comfy, and since they’re pointed-toe, you can wear them with pants or skirts.  For a bit higher heel, I like the Ivanka Trump Janie pump.  They do run kind of big, however, so order two sizes if you can’t go to the store to try them on.

Lastly, a friend of mine just bought these Michael Kors flex pumps and she loves them.  Swears they’re the best shoes she’s ever owned.  It’s the rubber sole.  I love a rubber sole for shock absorption, so I may have to try these.

Now for the brown shoe, these Nine West Ambitious pumps caught my eye, and they’re a steal at $52. has a few sizes left in the Cole Haan Air Talia pump.


What product do you use when your lips get chapped?  Mine are a wreck and nothing is working.

Thank you, Deb

If your lips are really chapped, the first thing you need to do is exfoliate.  Skipping this step is like painting your house without scraping off the old paint first.  You can use a product like Sara Happ Lip Scrub, or you can just gently rub the dry skin off with a nubby washcloth.

Once you have a smooth surface, I like to apply Blistex Medex.  You can also use Eucerin Aquaphor.  Or if you like a paraben-free product, try the Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm.

Hi Belle,

I just moved to Boston and I need snow boots.  I’m from Texas and I don’t know anything about snow.  Help me!  

Thx! Kelly

You live in a very snowy, cold part of the country, so good boots are important.  A lot of what you’ll find is chunky, clunky and maybe, a bit ugly, but as long as you don’t resort to Moon Boots, you should be fine.

A friend who lives in Minneapolis wears the Hunter snow/rain boots with a fleece liner.  Personally, I’d go with a traditional pair suede and rubber of Sorels.  It’s kind of like buying a Barbour coat.  The boots are a little bulky and don’t match anything, but they’re classic, so they work.

Dear Belle,

I just got my first professional job and I want to replace some of my cheap Forever21 pieces with nicer ones.  I want to start by replacing all of my poly cardigans.  I’m looking for wool cardigans in winter colors that cost in the $75 to $100 range.  Which would you buy?


That’s a great price point to be in because it allows you to buy a quality sweater that will last for a few seasons.  Ann Taylor makes a 100% wool cardigan in fine merino wool.  Given the site’s frequent sales, these are a great bargain.  J.Crew also makes a wool cardigan in that price point.  They make several styles, so you can find the one that flatters your figure.

Land’s End has some of the nicest wool and cotton sweaters on the market.  They really don’t get the respect they deserve.  But they make a number of styles in a wide range of styles from petite to plus-size.  And if you like cashmere, they have good quality cashmere for less-than-$150.

If you don’t mind a blend, Banana Republic makes an 80% wool cardigan that is decent quality.  And again, like with Ann Taylor, the weekly sales make these sweaters a bargain.

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  1. Steph says:

    As a native New Englander, may I suggest LL Bean’s Bean Boot as a much thriftier alternative to the Sorrel boots? You really can’t go wrong with LL Bean in Boston.

  2. Amanda says:

    Belle’s recommendation for the suede and rubber boots for Boston winters is a great recommendation. I live in MA and it’s a very popular boot in the area so on those snowy days you wont be alone. Might want to look into a pair from LLBean. They have incredible warranties and are made with excellent quality.

  3. love it says:

    LLBean, Lands End, or Bass for nice looking books that still have the grippy sole and the insulation to keep you warm. I also live in MA. The “duck boot” style is a classic and you’ll see it all over Boston… but you can also get traction and insulation from some more sleek styles as well. Welcome to town!

  4. m says:

    I lived in Boston and agree too with Belle’s recommendations. Waterproof shoes is a must! It’s not the snow but the slush you should be most concerned about. My winter closet included a pair of snow boots lined with Goretex and snuggly shearling (—leather/737045186627.html) and a pair of rubber galoshes.

    I also agree that you can’t go wrong with LLBean.

  5. SarahT says:

    The Halogen V-neck cardies in merino wool from Nordstrom are also a good option in lots of colors at a $78 price point.

  6. love it says:

    Specifically, Lands End “Women’s Powder Run Boots” for $99 are what I’d buy if I were getting new boots for Boston on-foot commuting this year.

  7. LS says:

    Belle, or readers, do you have any recommendations (besides J.Crew Jackie) for high-quality cardigans and sweaters that are 0% wool? I recently found out I have a wool allergy. Any tips on searching for specific fabrics would be much appreciated as well! I try to avoid things like polyester “sundresses” and pilly rayon too.

    • LS says:

      Oh, I have one cotton cardigan from Lands’ End, but they are really big on me and I can’t get past the white buttons.

      • Belle says:

        Have the buttons changed. I had a great sweater with gold J.Crew holiday buttons, so I had them changed, and I get much more wear out of it.

    • CH says:

      I haven’t looked recently, but Gap and Banana Republic both usually have 100% cotton knit cardigans and sweaters.

  8. Christine says:

    The first place to go for snow boots is LL Bean, especially in New England: You will be in good company with one of these pairs, and you can’t beat the company’s famous lifetime guarantee. Bonus: Ebates gets you 3% back at

  9. nel says:

    I live in Minneapolis and refuse to wear bland winter boots – these are my go-tos. Kate Spade Cagley boots: – the bow is so sweet! However, I usually change into flats when I get to the office.

    For my hardcore snowstorm days if I’m out of these office, I love these because they climb so high on the leg. And well, there’s a wedge, with traction. Sorel Joan of Arctic Wedge / Black

    And I KNOW how Belle feels about UGGs, but I adore the UGG Augustine in black. Perfect for snowy Saturday coffee or to-and-from the gym.

    All statements, none will let your toes get cold.

  10. Anna says:

    I have these Sorels: and they are AH-MA-ZING. A bit heavy and clunky, so not great if you’re walking a ton, and the Sorels mentioned before definitely have better traction (I tried both before settling on these), but they are the warmest thigns in the world. I wore them during the snowpocalypse in DC a few years ago and walked several miles (Capitol Hill to Georgetown), sometimes in knee deep snow, and my feet were totally dry and warm. My feet get cold super easily and I usually don’t even wear socks with them.

  11. Addison says:

    for the reader with chapped lips, I highly recommend CO Bigelow 2x supreme lip shine. I love that it goes on like a gloss but moisturizers like a balm. I can still feel it hours later plus it gives your lips some shine. the vanilla mint scent is awesome

  12. Amy says:

    I love the Michael Kors Flex pumps (I prefer the pointy toe more than the rounded). I’ve owned 4 pairs over the last few years and they are the most comfortable heels ever.

  13. Morgan says:

    These have held up well for me through a couple of Minnesota winters, and go on sale occasionally:

    • RR says:

      I also live in Minneapolis and have the same boots for several seasons now. I LOVE my Cate the Great Sorel boots. An investment to be sure, but well worth it.

  14. xo J says:

    I would also recommend using your toothbrush on your chapped lips, and following up with either Blistex Silk and Shine or Smith’s Lip Balm in Minted Rose. I can’t survive winter without them. And don’t forget to hydrate!

  15. A.J. says:

    Sorel Cate the Greats are…great. On sale for $105 (that’s half off!) right now:

    Snow cred: currently live in North Dakota. Climate shock cred: moved here from Alabama.

  16. Ashley says:

    I tried the Ann Taylor Eryn heel and wanted to like it so much, as the padding is very comfortable, however, the top of the shoe near the toes is too small/tight for me no matter what size I tried on. Ugh. I had the same problem with the Banana Republic Ivonne pump. It fit lengthwise and width-wise, but was too tight in the toe area. I have narrow feet and flat arches. I’m wondering if my toes are too long for shoes that have short vamps.

  17. For the person with the chapped lips, I’ve got the same issue because I’m on Accutane right now which is notorious for ruining your lips (think peeling onions… yuck).

    The best thing I’ve discovered is putting a bit of jojoba oil on my lips, letting it soak in, and then applying a lip balm over top. Jojoba is the oil most similar to human sebum, and while chapstick helps keep moisture in, if there’s no moisture there already it does nothing. If you’re desperate, try the jojoba oil trick, because it’s make my peely lips bearable again. Holy grail!

  18. Patty W. says:

    If you can’t find Ambitious from Nine West in your size from 6pm, the current version of the shoe is called Caress and available at or at a local retail store. Runs about $69 in TONS of colors. There are always sales too!

    My favorite are the new purple and green suede Caress.

  19. Capitol Hill SE says:

    Great timing on the cardigan question; I have a few from Target and Forever 21 that I’d like to upgrade. But those cardigans are still in great shape after 5-7 years, so I would hope one that costs 5 times as much would last more than a few seasons!

  20. Colleen says:

    Belle and readers, I’m wondering your thoughts: I’m on the plus-size-side, and while I love the layered look of a good cardigan, I’m always weary of adding extra “bulk.” This is particularly difficult in the colder months, as I love cable knit sweaters! Any thoughts on how to layer for comfort and style while still maintaining a shape?

  21. Shannon says:

    For chapped lips use Lansinoh lanolin that they sell in the breastfeeding section! You can’t wear it during the day because it is super sticky, but smear it on overnight and you will be 100% better in the morning!

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