AdviceStyle + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup: Vol IV, No. Fifteen

Dear Belle,

I’ve just had my ears pierced (at 25 years), and am at a loss for what basic earring styles to start with. I was wondering if you could suggest a couple of classic pairs, preferably in white gold, for me to start a collection?

Thanks in advance, Carmen

If you’re just starting out, there are a few classic pairs to consider.  I would recommend a pair of pearl studs.  I own these ones from J.Crew and they’re surprisingly nice.  I also like this pair of under-$150 diamond accented studs, for those who like a hint of sparkle.

Studs are my earring of choice, so I would add a few interesting pairs.  I like these mini-bar studs from Gorjana and these marcasite studs from Judith Jack.  Prefer hoops?  I love these v-shaped hoops from Rebecca Minkoff, she also makes them in hexagons.  You could also go for a large pair, but watch the weight.  These thin Michael Kors hoops have some drama to them.

It’s also important to have a couple of pairs for evening wear.  These long Moroccan open-work drops are fab.  I also like this green lever-back pair from Anne Klein.  And these semi-precious drop earrings have a sleek, thin design for just $15.

Hi Belle,

I need a good liquid eyeliner. What’s your favorite?

Love the blog! Rosa

I really like Stila’s Stay All Day Liner.  For a drugstore brand, I like Rimmel London Scandal Eyes liner.

Dear Belle,

I saw your post on Friday about long sleeve blouses, but I’m searching for something with short-sleeves.  I want to find a few blouses to wear with skirts when the weather warms up.  Do you have any suggestions that cost less that $100?


Due to air-conditioning, I usually wear long-sleeved blouses in all seasons.  But if you’re looking for short sleeves, here are a few tops that caught my eye.


Calvin Klein Sheer Accent Top ($59) // Ann Taylor Split Neck Top ($69) // NYDJ Ink Dot Blouse ($79) // Chelsea Surplice Top ($58)

These sheer tops have a good mix of color, print and texture.  I like the look of a sheer accent because it brings lightness to a pencil skirt or trouser.  I also like a bright or pastel color for the warmer seasons.

Plus-size?  This green Modcloth blouse with a split-neck is nice.  I also like this Forever 21 blouse with a flutter sleeve and lace detail.  Petite?  This LOFT top with a mini-floral print is nice, as is this ASOS blouse with puffed sleeves.  Tall?  This Liz Claiborne blouse comes in a fun print.

Hi Belle,

I love reading your blog and appreciate all the great info you give us. I’ve been following your blog for several months now and I love the makeup suggestions you give. I am hoping you will be able to help with an issue I have. I have a very red skin tone, and have naturally red cheeks. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for this situation?

Thanks! Jessica

This isn’t a problem that I struggle with, but I asked around and a couple of people recommended Clinique Redness Solutions makeup.  The clerk at the Ulta store recommended this product from It Cosmetics.  And a former beauty blogger recommended a green tinted base like L’Oreal Studio Secrets primer.

Hi Belle,

Although it’s frigid today, I know warmer weather is on its way. I’m wondering if you have any recommendations for products for smoothing dry and bumpy arms. I’m currently too embarrassed to even think of exposing my arms when it gets warm. 

Thanks, S

I developed this problem a few years ago, and I have two solutions for you.  Dermadoctor makes a product line called KP Duty, it contains a scrub, serum and lotion to help exfoliate and heal bumpy, dry arms.

If these products are out of your price range, I also have a low-cost solution. Buy exfoliating gloves and keep them in your shower (wash them once-a-week in anti-bacterial soap) and pick up a drugstore AHA body soap, like this one from Beauty Without Cruelty.  To eliminate the bumps, you need to scrub your arms every time or every other time you shower.

Since you’re doing all of this exfoliating, you need to moisturize.  But you don’t want to re-clog your pores with a thick lotion.  Instead, try a body lotion with salicylic acid like Cerave Renewing SA Lotion.



  1. SJ says:

    Just an FYI to the first person, Carmen — for your first couple months, you’re recommended to wear studs to prevent the pierced hole from closing up. After it has healed a bit, then you can switch to the smaller wire earrings.

    I’d just hate for you to have to get your ears re-pierced! 🙂

    March 31, 2014/Reply
    • jg says:

      For Carmen, when you do start wearing longer earrings, I recommend the little plastic pieces to hold open-backed earrings in place. I lost too many earrings before I figured that out. Available at the accessories stores in the mall. I really prefer the “fish hook” style that closes all the way and doesn’t slip off.

      April 1, 2014/Reply
  2. Emily says:

    I second the Clinique Redness Solutions recommendation. For the price, it’s the best thing I’ve found to cover the red on my face. They also offer a primer as part of the line that’s green-tinted, and I’ve found it works pretty well.

    I’m less certain about the Redness Solutions moisturizer and cleanser; I don’t think they really do what they advertize. But definitely try the makeup!

    March 31, 2014/Reply
  3. DontBlameTheKids says:

    For the KP, I have that too. So annoying. Consistency is key. I use AmLactin, and it works, but only if you use it every day. Twice a day is better. If I let even a week go by, the bumps come back.

    March 31, 2014/Reply
  4. Lexi says:

    I also recommend the Korean/Japanese washcloths that scrub all the dead skin cells off. Skin is seriously smoother afterwards.

    March 31, 2014/Reply
  5. J says:

    Belle – I know you like Clinique products so I was wondering if you had tried the Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel? I recently purchased it and within a few weeks it has dramatically cleared up my skin. I always have at least one blemish on my face that is bad enough to show through make-up and typically there are more. I started using this product at night all over my face and after seeing positive results, I also started using it as a spot treatment in the mornings under my lotion and makeup. After a few days, my face was much better and now after a few weeks I see a dramatic difference. It can dry your skin out if you use it too frequently but I counteracted that by always putting on some type of moisturizer over the clearing gel (at night a moisturizing serum and in the morning good lotion) I love this product and thought I would share.

    March 31, 2014/Reply
  6. R says:

    I like this eyeliner. It lasts all day.

    March 31, 2014/Reply
  7. MDH says:

    I will second “Don’t Blame the Kids.” Consistent moisturizer is key. I use Amlactin also, and I also have a Eucerin Smoothing Repair that was recommended, and I like it. Amlactin is a little pricier ($15) than other drug store lotions, but it’s worth it. I think the generic Amlactin is fine. I also have used Glytone body wash, which helped.

    March 31, 2014/Reply
  8. k-t says:

    I think my starter earring wardrobe would be:
    huggies in preferred metal, as these are comfortable enough to sleep in and don’t get annoying while on the phone (white gold for me)
    pearl studs in a size that works for your earlobes
    CZ studs (1 ct or smaller)

    Wait a while before buying “evening” earrings. You probably already have formal necklaces, and the the pearl or CZ studs will most likely compliment those fine for now. Give your holes time to heal well before wearing anything heavy.

    As for the dry and bumpy skin, I’ve read rave reviews for Cerave SA.

    March 31, 2014/Reply
  9. Sarah says:

    I am going to third the AmLactin recs…my dermatologist told me to get it and it does work, but only if you continuously use it. It’s kind of like flossing–take just ONE day off and your gums hurt again when you floss!

    March 31, 2014/Reply
  10. AM says:

    I started using the Stila eyeliner on Belle’s recommendation and love it – out of all liquid liners I’ve tried it is my favorite, stays all day, and it lasts a long while too (several months). I like Eyeko too, but I found the tub ran out/dried out rather quickly.

    March 31, 2014/Reply
  11. Sarah says:

    For the reader looking to help with dry, bumpy arms: I have had this condition (keratosis pilaris) my entire life….white bumps along the backs and sides of my upper arm, extremely itchy, and no exfoliant could make it go away for long. Due to some health issues, my doctor recommended cutting gluten out of my diet about 9 months ago. Not only do I feel a million times better, I lost 40 lbs (woohoo!) but my skin condition is completely gone. I looked it up, and it turns out that it could be caused by a gluten intolerance. Maybe you’re not dealing with the same thing, but it may help!

    March 31, 2014/Reply
  12. Elle says:

    Jessica (re: redness)-
    1) See a dermatologist. Antioxidants and calming lotions did wonders for my skin. I originally found the products through another dermatologists’ blog, but my new derm also endorses the same line of products. The antioxidant cream and zinc soap transformed my skin.

    (Heads up- her blog really pushes the products she sells, but the products and her advice are truly good)

    2) Be really careful about your foundation in two ways: the shade and the ingredients. With cheeks that are redder than my neck and chest, I prefer to match (more like coordinate) my foundation to those areas rather than strictly to my cheeks as is often recommended. Getting a pink-toned foundation that matches my red cheeks only enhances the red look. I personally wear Bobbi Brown Alabaster & Porcelain and find that in the lightest shades, Clinique and Lancome are pretty guilty of having overly pink shades.

    Second- the ingredients. Through trial and error, I’ve found that certain lotions and foundations irritate my skin just enough to make me even redder. The reaction hasn’t ever been instantaneous. It usually creeps in over the course of an hour or more. It seems to be related to some (but not all) sunscreens. I can wear strong, chemically Neutrogena sunscreens without a problem, but Chanel foundations with sunscreen turn me bright red. Others cause redness because they make my skin too dry.

    April 1, 2014/Reply
    • Elle says:

      I should have added– despite my problems with foundation, I adore other products from Clinique (lip repair balm is my holy grail for my very peely lips), Lancome (lipsticks), and Chanel (oh, those blushes!).

      April 1, 2014/Reply
  13. jg says:

    For exfoliating, the Body Shop makes an exfoliating cloth that’s really long — can be used on the back, wielded like a towel. And dries fast.

    April 1, 2014/Reply