AdviceStyle + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup Vol. IV, No. Sixteen

Belle,

Can you suggest a teeth whitener that actually works?  My smile is dimming under the influence of my four latte a day habit.

Love the blog! Glo

My first choice is GoSmile’s Whitening Light System for almost-professional results.  If you’re looking for something less expensive (and labor intense), Crest Whitestrips in professional effects whitening.

Dear Belle,

My navy suit blazer is kaput, and I’m shopping for a new one.  Do you think wool is okay for summer?  Should I buy a cotton blazer instead?  Any you can recommend in the $150 or less price range?

JB

If you only plan to buy one suit or one blazer to wear in every season, I suggest buying a year-round wool (some people call it tropical wool).  This navy blazer from Banana Republic is $198, but with a promo, it’s a great buy.  J.Crew is also having a sale on suiting pieces like this navy Schoolboy blazer.

Need something under-$100?  I would recommend the Anne Klein suit pieces, they’re good quality for entry-level work suits.  Want cotton suiting?  J.Crew has the best cotton suiting in the price range, but Tommy Hilfiger also makes a nice blazer.

Plus-size? Jones New York always has a wide selection of pieces.  Petite or Tall? I think the size selection is better at Banana Republic than at most stores in the middle price range.

Hi Belle,

I’m emailing with a shoe question — I’m getting married in the fall, and I’m starting to worry about shoes. I’m a flats girl with narrow feet, so I’m planning on wearing flats all day, but I’m looking for something with a strap and some fun bling/color. Ballet flats are fine, but they tend to slip off my feet after a long day.

They’ll be basically invisible to everyone but me, but I still want something fun. I’m looking to spend under $200. I’ve been looking at Bloomingdales and scouring Zappos, but I’m not finding anything too exciting.

Thanks, Lily

For ballet-style flats, try a satin flat or an embellished flat.  These Nine West flats have some shine and come in either gold or silver.  I also found these Betsey Johnson flats with little crystals and an able strap.

These satin and crystal flats are a little more than you wanted to spend, but they definitely qualify as wedding shoes.  Want something cheaper?  I also found these Nine West flats with a peep toe and bow and these Nina Pepper flats.

Lastly, if you find a pair your really love, but you aren’t sure you’ll be able to keep them on, there is a fix.  Take the flat to your cobbler and have him put a 1″ wide piece of elastic to the shoe to make it more of a Mary Jane style.  Then you can add rhinestones or whatever you’d like to the elastic.  You can also find elastic in any color you’d like, so it might be a solution for your problem.

Hi Belle,

You mentioned a long time ago that you wear men’s deodorant.  I have really bad stress sweat and none of the women’s brands seem to work (Degree, Secret, etc.).  Can you tell me which one you use?

Loved meeting you at the M.M. LaFleur event, thanks for the resume help.  Kate

I wear Old Spice Red Zone stick in the “fresh” scent because it’s the most subtle fragrance.  It’s the only deodorant that has ever worked for me, all the rest seem to fade halfway through the day.  For summer, I also wear spray deodorant from Dove on my inner thighs, stomach and lower back to prevent sweating when I’m walking to and from meetings in the heat.

If you have “stress sweat” though, I’ve seen them advertise for Secret and Degree products that are designed specifically for that problem.  Other readers may have suggestions of their own for this problem.

Lastly, there are two mistakes that women make with their deodorant the diminishes its effectiveness.  First, dry your underarms thoroughly before you apply it.  If it’s really humid in my bathroom, I’ll use my hairdryer on the cool shot setting to ensure that it’s dry.  Second, don’t apply too much deodorant.  One swipe or two is plenty. Any more than that and you’ll get that terrible, treacly deodorant smell, and you’ll get product all over your clothes, which just makes the smell worse.

LEAVE A COMMENT

    26 comments

  1. SJ says:

    For the navy wool suit, I recommend checking out a Brooks Brothers outlet, if you have one in your area. They tend to have some big sales and their suits feel like buttah! I got a navy suit there a few years ago and it ended up being something like 70% off.

    April 7, 2014/Reply
  2. k-t says:

    Lily – If your feet are on the smaller side, look into kids’ shoes. A girl’s 5 is about a woman’s 7. Lots of cute flats and kitten heels, many with a MJ-like strap. And affordable. Best wishes!

    April 7, 2014/Reply
  3. Rachel C says:

    I may be late to the party, but could you go into a little more detail about using spray deodorant on your thighs to prevent sweating? I live in TN, and I’m always trying to come up with a way to prevent or reduce “leg sweat” during the hot, super humid summer. Do you just spray it straight on? Does it feel odd? Or rub off on your clothes? This sounds like a major game changer to me.

    April 7, 2014/Reply
    • Mish says:

      I use the Monistat anti chafing cream, which I think also comes in a spray when I wear shorts. It really helps! I haven’t tried the deodorant trick, but I just put it in my amazon cart to try!

      April 7, 2014/Reply
  4. Jen says:

    Lily! Try full sole ballet shoes from a dance supply company. I wore them for the reception portion of my wedding, and they were perfect.

    April 7, 2014/Reply
  5. Hannah says:

    Another suggestion for whitening, based on a past post of yours, Belle: oil pulling. I saw it on here and was intrigued enough to try it and so far have seen great results. It’s a strange experience, but seems to worth it!

    April 7, 2014/Reply
  6. Valerie says:

    Kate- I use Mitchum for Women Smart Solid Clinical Performance. It comes in a couple different scents that are quite subtle and is strong enough that I can get through a super-humid DC summer. It’s the only brand that’s really worked consistently for me.

    April 7, 2014/Reply
    • ES says:

      Seconded. A friend recommended Mitchum back in my high school theater days when we re-wore the same heavy costumes without washing. It works great. I use the gel kind – it dries very quickly and no white residue.

      April 7, 2014/Reply
  7. Brittney says:

    For the fun flats on the wedding day, I would recommend made to order custom flats from poppybarley.com. They are under 200$ and are made perfectly to measurements that you send in. They have fun styles and colours!

    April 7, 2014/Reply
    • TechWriter says:

      Oh, good golly. Thank you, Brittney. I am not the one getting married, and yet, I seem to be in the middle of ordering a pair. That is not a bad price at all for being able to design your own shoe.

      April 8, 2014/Reply
  8. Brittany says:

    I have to second Hannah on the oil pulling. I have been struggling with a face rash on one side of my face for about six months (doctors cannot decipher what it is), so I decided to give oil pulling a try as of last Monday. Eight days later (techinically, only six days later, because a friend commented on it on Saturday), my teeth are DEFINITELY getting whiter. I am also hopeful that it is clearing up the rash on my cheek, for anyeone else looking to help with skin issues. I really really recommend it. I’m using coconut oil becuase I like the taste 🙂

    April 7, 2014/Reply
  9. Katie says:

    I’ve been thinking of trying Botox in the underarms for sweating… Has anyone tried it?

    April 7, 2014/Reply
  10. Niki says:

    I used crest white strips and developed a really weird AND somewhat painful Tongue problem I wouldn’t wish on anyone just FYI…

    April 7, 2014/Reply
  11. Sarah says:

    I’d recommend CertainDri for just in general over sweating, I’ve been using it for years and it works great!

    April 7, 2014/Reply
    • MX says:

      I second this! Using it at night (the green label) and in the morning (blue label) has gotten my sweating problem under control!

      April 8, 2014/Reply
  12. Ellen says:

    Lily,

    I did flats for my wedding day and it was the best decision ever! I don’t ever take my shoes off because they are “part of my outfit” and I wanted to be comfortable! I splurged and got a pair of super sparkly Jimmy Choo’s (my first and only so far!) but I have actually worn then a few times since. Good choice!

    April 7, 2014/Reply
    • RoseAG says:

      Be sure and wear them around before the big day so you know if there are any spots that rub and might need some chap preventer. Bloody feet with a wedding gown is a bad combination!

      April 7, 2014/Reply
  13. Sarah says:

    I use a prescription anti persperant called drysol. I only have to use it once a month or so and I stay completely dry. I still use deodorant for oder though.

    April 7, 2014/Reply
  14. Wedding shoes says:

    I wore the first Nine West pair Belle mentioned (the Faycies) to my outdoor wedding and was really happy with them. The soles are sturdier than the average pair of flats, and they were comfortable and chafe-free straight out of the box. Amazon has more colors available, a few of which are on sale.

    April 7, 2014/Reply
  15. lindsay says:

    I use Degree Clinical Protection. I’m the type of person that sweats at my desk in air conditioning. I put it on before I go to bed, and very rarely have issues. Plus it means I don’t have to worry about deodorant marks on my clothes.

    April 7, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      That’s the worst, when the AC is on and your sweating. It’s just not fair.

      April 8, 2014/Reply
  16. DontBlameTheKids says:

    Spray deodorant on your thighs?! OMG. I think you just solved my biggest summer problem. If you also use an anti-chafing cream, does it interfere with that at all?

    April 8, 2014/Reply
  17. JW says:

    Lush has body powders (I use Silky Underwear) on my thighs, back, and over my underarm deodorant application – keeps you dry and smelling amazing all day. I’ll never stop using it.

    April 8, 2014/Reply
  18. Anon says:

    Re: Wedding Shoes: if the aisle, or wherever you will make your entrance, is going to be carpeted, make sure you have tested out the shoes and either roughed up the soles a little or had a very thin suede outer sole added so that you don’t slip and fall. Brand new soles + carpet can be a recipe for disaster.

    April 8, 2014/Reply
  19. Mary says:

    For stress sweat, your lifesaver will be going to the dermatologist. Prescription anti-perspirant is a godsend

    April 9, 2014/Reply
  20. Sarita says:

    Long shot, but it’s also worth checking to see if you have a bad reaction to aluminum zirconium, the active ingredient in antiperspirants. I was sweating all the time, and every time I amped up my level of antiperspirant, it was getting worse. I switched to a deodorant-only and find that I sweat a pretty normal amount. Also, my skin is much happier and I don’t have to worry about weird stains on my t-shirts. I’m sure this isn’t true for everyone, but it’s worth checking if you’re not finding the “extra strength” brands are doing anything for you!

    April 10, 2014/Reply