AdviceStyle + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup Vol. III, No. Thirty-Eight

Hi Belle!

I’ve been following your blog for years, and always love your suggestions. I’ve been desperately looking for a faux leather moto jacket that is fairly tailored with few zippers. Ideally in a camel or ivory color. Have you seen any??

Thanks! VB

I found a few in tan and a few in white/ivory.  My two top choices are this tan Calvin Klein jacket and this Kensie snakeskin textured moto-jacket (so awesome!), both $120.  If you are looking for something under-$100, try this Forever21 Femme Moto Jacket or this INC Quilted Moto Jacket.

Dear Belle,

On your suggestion, I purchased three sweater dresses last year and wore them all winter.  They’re plain and I’ve been looking for a few that have more color and pattern to them.  I found a few Milly dresses but they are much more money than I want to spend.  Can you help me find a few dresses that cost less than $125?

Thank you! Lee

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 4.38.08 AM

Eliza J Colorblock Sweaterdress ($98) // Ivy & Blu Intarsia Sweaterdress ($118) // kensie Stripe Sweaterdress ($89)

The best selection of sweater dresses (or any dresses, really) on the Internet can be found at Nordstrom.  These three dresses are the ones I like best–I’m especially fond of the dress in the middle.  If you’re looking for sweater dresses in different price points, Nordstrom is where I would start.

Also, if you’re serious about buying sweater dresses, there are two fit issues to keep in mind.  First, watch the snugness of the sleeve.  Often women will buy a sweater dress and think that the sleeve-fit issue is no big deal, until the sweater rips under the armpit.  It’s a common problem, so if you think the sleeve is too tight, it probably is.  If the sleeves fit well and you’re still getting the holes under the arms, then the dress is probably too tight in the bust.

Second, pairing tights with colored sweater dresses can be a challenge.  The trick is to find a tight the same color as the prominent color in the dress and match it as closely as possible.  For the dress in the middle, I would choose a medium-charcoal tight like this fleece one from Plush.

Hi Belle,

What is your position on toner?  Do I need one?  Which one?


Every article I found says that you only “need” toner if you have oily skin.  I have combination skin, and I find that toner is a good way to make sure I remove all of the residue, dead skin and oil.  Toner is also a good choice if you’re looking for light exfoliation.

I’ve used the same toner, Clinique Clarifying Lotion, for years.  It comes in several strength levels designed for different types of skin. I use level 3, but the Clinique website can tell you which one is best for you.

Dear Belle,

All of my co-workers and I were given new iphones and computers as part of our end-of-year bonuses, but now all of our phones look-alike and we’re always mixing them up.  I’m looking for a case that is stylish but professional.  Can you suggest a few?  I want to avoid anything with dots or patterns since that is what most of the secretaries use, and I’m the only female associate in my office.

Love CHS! GL

I don’t know what your exact taste is, but I’ve been looking at leather-printed cases for myself.  I love this iguana case from Neiman Marcus, but it’s more than I wanted to spend.  Instead, I found this Rebecca Minkoff faux-Python case and this Nicole Miller leatherette case.  I also looked at this Rafe mother-of-pearl case and this wood case from Fab with a Redwood burl.

I like the idea of a leather or animal-skin case, but I may end up with something more practical.  I’m always draining my iPhone battery, so I’ve been looking at a Mophie case, which contains a battery pack to boost the iPhone’s shelf life.



  1. Amanda says:

    Mophie case was the best $80 I have spent all year. I got the helium version for my iPhone5. Buyer beware of amazon though… my boss bought his on there and when the case quit holding a charge after only 8 months he contacted Mophie, mailed it in, and turns out it was a fraud! Mophie graciously sent him a new one but it wasn’t without some effort (a little begging/whining) on my bosses part. 🙂

    November 18, 2013/Reply
  2. R says:

    I LOVE toner! I have combination skin, and I feel like it takes off anything my cleanser might have missed. Right now, I am using Michael Todd’s Blue Algae Toner. It has the anti-inflammatory properties that calm my skin down. Search around for a 20% off for a year code.

    November 18, 2013/Reply
  3. Kate M says:

    Anyone have suggestions for washing fleece-lined tights? Every time I get a new pair, they’re the most comfortable thing ever, but as soon as a wash them (hand wash, etc), the lining pills up and becomes less comfortable, though I still wear them. Am I doing something wrong?

    November 18, 2013/Reply
    • MBM says:

      I would appreciate a post on this as well – I have the same problem!

      November 18, 2013/Reply
  4. Ms. C says:

    I recently added toner to my line-up and I will never abandon it. I always thought that toner was drying and abrasive but there are a lot of options that are actually moisturizing and restorative. I’m currently using the Clarins one but have also heard good things about Kate Somerville.

    As an aside, I started reading the blog (aka carline hirons) and full-heartedly adopted her approach after a particularly bad flare up of my hormonal “spots” (I’m adopting the euphemistic British term). It was a big investment initially, but so far so good. Belle, I thought you might find the website interesting because it sounds like we have similar skin.

    November 18, 2013/Reply
  5. Alli says:

    Gigi New York has great iPhone cases too. I love their snakeskin oxblood case. You can add a tasteful monogram too- so if you are like me and leave your phone in random places at work, it helps get the phone returned.

    November 18, 2013/Reply
  6. ohraq says:

    I am a total sucker for Kate Spade’s iPhone cases.,en_US,pd.html?dwvar_8ARU0223_color=860&dwvar_8ARU0223_size=UNS&cgid=ks-accessories-tech#start=22&cgid=ks-accessories-tech

    or this slightly more gender-neutral version:

    Jcrew makes a GREAT leather option as well:

    November 19, 2013/Reply
  7. TechWriter says:

    In addition to, or instead of, a case for the phone, would you consider a skin? They are easier to apply than you’d think and offer a huge range of graphics, which can always be changed down the line. I’ve used skins for my DSLite, laptop, ipods, tablet…they make something for every device. I’ve only used, but have been very happy with their quality and selection, and there are other companies also.

    Also, any comment on using drug store witch hazel as a toner?

    November 19, 2013/Reply
  8. Jennifer says:

    Just wanted to share this $40 python-embossed, calfskin leather case from Gigi New York (via Neiman Marcus). It’s professional and has options for monogramming.

    November 19, 2013/Reply
  9. Squirrely says:

    Toner is now a must for me and I have super dry skin. Turns out a big contributor to that was my hard water. Applying toner after washing my face takes off that damaging water layer and puts antioxidants on to my skin, so it’s especially receptive to what ever treatments/moisturizers I decide to put on next. I use toner in the am/pm and I highly recommend the Paula’s Choice brand.

    November 20, 2013/Reply