AdviceStyle + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup Vol. IV, No. Fourteen

Hi Belle-

I just bought a dress that looks great but the shoes Nordstrom is showing with the dress are very simple. Is there another shoe style I can go with? A strappy shoe or something with a bit more oomph? Here’s the dress.

Thanks for your help! Abbey

The dress mixes several different elements: a sheer fabric, dolman sleeves, a pleated skirt.  The shoe they chose is a basic style that I found to be a bit boring for cocktail hour.  I would choose a higher heel sandal with an ankle strap (an under-$100 option).  A cage sandal would be a good choice if you’re looking to make the look more modern.  And if you want a more traditional pump, choose something with an open-toe like this d’Orsay style pump in patent leather.

Hi Belle,

I saw your beauty product post and had some questions about CC cream. I currently use Supergoop CC cream and its amazing – my skin has been flawless all winter and hydrated. I’m worried though it’ll be too heavy during the hot humid months that will be upon us soon. Have you heard anything about using CC creams in the summer being to heavy?

Love the blog!  Thanks, Cathy

Regardless of what type of foundation you’re using, if you want to thin it out, mix it with some primer.  I use NARS Pore Perfecting Primer in the oil free formulation, but if you’re looking for something inexpensive, try this Boots No. 7 Perfect Primer.  Another option is Monistat Anti-Chafing Gel, it has many of the same ingredients as Smashbox’s primer for a much lower price.

Looking for a lighter warm weather foundation?  I usually switch to a tinted-moisturizer like Avon Get a Tint.

Hi Belle,

I’m looking into buying my first trench coat and realized that I have no idea how they are supposed to fit. I don’t see them too often in my area, so I can’t compare. When trying them on, what am I supposed to look for? What’s an appropriate coat length? Do I try it on with the tie done or the buttons? How much room for layering to I really need to leave? I really want to pick a good one that fits well for years to come!

Thanks, Devan

This is a matter of style, but also personal preference.  If you’re the fashion forward type, an over-sized trench is a trendy choice.  Searching for something more classic?  Look for a fitted style like the Banana Republic classic trench.   And if you’re in the mood for a little something extra, try the BR flared trench or this Cole Haan trench with an asymmetrical skirt.

Plus-size?  The classic trench from London Fog is a good choice.

Length depends on what style you like and is most flattering on you, for most people this will be a trench that hits at mid-thigh.  And if you want to leave room for layers, I typically recommend going up one size and then tailoring the trench to be 1/2 too big.  If you’re in between sizes, you shouldn’t require tailoring.

As for what to look for, I believe in three things: quality fabric, a good liner and quality hardware.  I like a fabric with some weight to it and hardware that doesn’t look like it will snap into pieces with the slightest pressure.  If you find a trench that you like but it has cheap hardware, any decent tailor can replace it with higher quality pieces fairly inexpensively.

Hi Belle, 

I love this look on Olivia Palermo, especially the skirt.  Sequins probably isn’t right for my office (ya’ think), but can you recommend something similar that is?  Love the blog!


I found a few choices at White House, Black Market that are worth a look.  I like this Graphic Print pencil skirt and this Slimming Colorblock Skirt.  They have the same geometric prints in work-appropriate fabrics, and they cost under-$100.



  1. KC says:

    On the topic of foundation, has anyone used the new service at sephora where they match your skin color for the proper foundation? any feedback? I don’t wear foundation, i’m a grad student and barely wear makeup, but would like to start for interviews/growing up a little bit. I really have never had success picking a color that works for my skintone so any help would be appreciated.

    March 24, 2014/Reply
    • Diana says:

      I did this foundation match at sephora and they gave me 2 samples of foundations that I liked to try out at home. It did match me a little bit darker than my actual skin tone so it was easier to adjust and chat with the sales associate in the store. There was no pressure to buy one of the selections in my personal experience.

      March 24, 2014/Reply
    • Giggling Gourmand says:

      I have hard to match skin and I thought some of their choices were really good but a couple were totally out of left field. Overall though it was a good way to try to find some new options and I did end up switching to a much easier daily (well if I were diligent daily)foundation (instead of mixing 2 kinds).

      March 24, 2014/Reply
    • Anna says:

      Does the Sephora service pick BB or CC creams or tinted moisturizers or is it just foundations? If you barely ever wear makeup, it might be better to start out with a lighter option – something that smooths out your skin tone but isn’t too heavy or difficult to apply. I use Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer and the Dr. Jart Premium BB cream. Both are more pigmented than most tinted moisturizers I’ve tried. LM is buildable so I can add more for going out at night or just apply a thin layer for day. Dr. Jart just comes in one shade yet somehow miraculously blends perfectly with my super pale skin and is really light and smooths out imperfections. I mostly need to cover redness around cheeks and t-zone and then add concealer under my eyes and blemishes. I like my freckles to show through and don’t want to deal with covering my whole face.

      March 24, 2014/Reply
      • Giggling Gourmand says:

        It picked a bb cream for me, but that was one of the choices that was pretty far off the mark.

        March 25, 2014/Reply
  2. Cait says:

    Have you ever gotten a trench hemmed? I have an old version of the Banana Republic Classic that hits a little longer than I’d like, but I’m not sure if hemming would mess up the split in the back or anything.

    March 24, 2014/Reply
    • anon says:

      I got my burberry trench hemmed and it looks great, but they did it in house using the burberry approved tailor. I would be wary using a random untested tailor.

      March 24, 2014/Reply
  3. Michele says:

    Monistat Anti-Chafing Gel as a primer replacement? Is this a well-known thing like using toothpaste as a zit cream?

    March 24, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I don’t know about well-known, but it was something I learned on the pageant circuit years ago.

      March 25, 2014/Reply
    • Helena says:

      I’ve been told that drag queens have been using it for years. Those ladies know their make-up tricks!

      March 25, 2014/Reply
  4. jpo says:

    I highly recommend Rimmel’s Fix and Perfect Pro Primer! I love the consistency, it is much better than more expensive primers I’ve tried.

    March 24, 2014/Reply