AdviceStyle + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup Vol. IV, No. Twenty-Nine

Hi Belle,

I’ve loved your face cream and serum suggestions so far! Do you have any recommendations for hand cream? I’m looking for something light enough to wear during the day, with an SPF, and anti-aging properties.

Thank you! BN

For hand cream, I like to keep a tube of L’Occitane in my purse.  It works well and has nice packaging.  At home, I keep Burt’s Bees cuticle cream and Bliss High-Instensity Hand Cream in my nightstand.  .

Dear Belle, 
I commute everyday via the metro. From past experience I have learned to keep an ’emergency outfit’ at my work desk in case something goes awry on my commute. To my dismay, after a fellow commuter spilled coffee all over my cream skirt…, I felt my ’emergency outfit’ was not professional enough for a meeting I had that afternoon. I would like to buy a dress to serve as my new emergency outfit so that I never feel under dressed again. Can you recommend some dresses that won’t break the bank, seeing as the dress will probably spend a lot of time hanging in my closet at work, unworn?
Sincerely, Shannon

I would choose a dress in a neutral color with a sleeve (short or 3/4).  I like this black Ellen Tracy ponte sheath with a short sleeve, and this cap-sleeve Maggy London dress (both under-$150).  If you want something under-$75, try this black Ann Taylor seamed sheath.

If navy is your preferred neutral, I like this Felicity & Coco dress.  Are you a fan of grey?  Try this Sharkskin split-neck dress.

This is one of those items that you want to hunt sale sections, clearance racks and discount retailers (TJ Maxx, Ross, etc.) to find.  Look for something with a durable, slightly heavy fabric so it can stand up to spot cleaning and won’t hold onto smells as easy as a flimsy poly-blend might.  I’d also keep a Tide pen and some Febreeze with the dress.  And remember: Roll, don’t fold.

Dear Belle,

You mentioned once before that you struggle with body acne, have you found a product that works to treat that?  I used rubbing alcohol after a friend suggested it.  It worked for a while, but it dried out my skin something terrible.

Sincerely, Spotted

If you’re willing to commit some funds to this cause, Glytone is my brand of choice.  In the summer, I use the Exfoliating Body Wash, and I use the Body Acne Spray year round.  It cures about 90-percent of my issue.  With long hair, nothing is a complete cure-all.

Need some drugstore-priced products?  Nature’s Cure spray works fairly well, and the Neutrogena grapefruit scrub is effective.  I also recommend grabbing a pair of exfoliating gloves for extra oomph.

Hi Belle,

I’d like to pick up a few swimsuits for an upcoming trip to Mexico.  I don’t have a lot of money to spend, and everything I find in the department stores is overpriced (IMHO).  Can you suggest some options?

Thank you for your blog, HP

I still buy most of my swimwear at Victoria’s Secret.  They have a wide selection of styles and sizes.  So whether you want to show more skin or less, you can find something there.  I like this scalloped halter-style bikini.  I’m also a fan of this twisted bandeau top.  If it’s a one piece  you’re after, I like this flouncy suit with side cutouts and this convertible halter-style with molded cups.

Another place to hit is Old Navy.  This candy-colored, stripe top is adorable.  I also like this pleated halter-style that offers a bit more coverage.  If you have a bit more to spend, I like Piperlime and Shopbop for swimwear.  Though I do like to wait until they go on sale.

I don’t know the best places to look for plus-size or petites swimwear, or the best place for ladies with larger busts, so if you have recommendations, leave them in the comments.



  1. Barchbo says:

    I recommend Lands End for swimwear. The quality on mine have been great and I just bought two more + another rash guard. They have plus-size, petite, long torso and even mastectomy-oriented tops. Two of my colleagues purchased on my recommendation and have also been pleased.

    All swim is 40% off right now – a great place to start without investing a lot of money. In addition, great customer service.

    June 30, 2014/Reply
    • Brit says:

      I will second Lands End, especially for plus size ladies. I bought one from there earlier this year and it’s been great. Just bought a second one there this week

      June 30, 2014/Reply
      • Erin S says:

        I will third Land’s End recommendation – it’s not just for plus size! Their suits are incredibly well-made and they ahve a wide variety of fun mix and match colors/styles for all kinds of body types.

        July 1, 2014/Reply
  2. Katie says:

    I have a fairly large bust (34F) and still like a lot of the Victoria’s Secret swimsuits because they are fairly supportive compared to a lot of brands. They also go on crazy sales. If you need more support than that, or want to find something with lingerie-type sizing, I would suggest They also send out some pretty good coupon codes from time-to-time.

    June 30, 2014/Reply
    • Brittany says:

      Agree. Since VicSec is primarily made for larger chests, there is no problem finding things for those of us with >B-C sizes. Helped a friend buy some things from barenecessities… they tend to be a little less stylish on the whole, but there are some nice pieces… 🙂

      June 30, 2014/Reply
  3. AndyHopper says:

    For larger busts, try maternity swim wear. For obvious reasons, I find that they provide really great coverage and support… My favorite one is from Motherhood. Their separates are $25-$40 per piece and they go on sale often.

    June 30, 2014/Reply
  4. Michelle says:

    I like Land’s End for swim minis and swim shorts, though they do have attractive one-pieces as well.

    I tried bra-size swim tops, tankini and bikini, last year, and don’t see myself going back anytime soon to regular swim tops. Bra brands such as Freya, Panache, and I think now Prima Donna make bra-sized swimwear. It is expensive so I typically buy one at full-price to make sure the sizing is right and then camp the sales because 32F seems to sell out quickly with very little discount. I shop and other online retailers for these.

    June 30, 2014/Reply
  5. Mo says:

    ASOS for cup-sized swimwear. I’m a 32D/DD and have a couple mix and match tops/bottoms in plain black from their house line. I find them more supportive and better sized than VS. Unfortunately I’m not alone because they sell out pretty quickly.

    June 30, 2014/Reply
    • A.J. says:

      second this. I don’t know anyone else who sells affordable (cheap, even) cup-sized swimwear.

      June 30, 2014/Reply
      • Theresa says:

        Try H&M – I love their suits and they are cup-sized!

        June 30, 2014/Reply
  6. Addie says:

    I second Victoria’s Secret for swimwear. They have great sales and their bathing suits are actually flattering and supportive without being boring. I recently got two tops and two bottoms that all mix and match.

    June 30, 2014/Reply
  7. Melinda says:

    Freya is good for larger busts. If you go to a My Intimacy shop they have excellent customer service and a decent selection. The suits are expensive, but a worthwhile investment if you have a large bust. I found a great suit to wear on my post-twins frame and I feel fabulous in it – stretchmarks, extra skin and all!

    June 30, 2014/Reply
  8. Meredith {MarthaChartreuse} says:

    Everything But Water has a lot of great, big bust swimsuit options. Same goes for Asos.

    As a long hair gal, I also use blackhead face wash {target brand} in my loofa. It has done wonders clearing up my shoulders!

    June 30, 2014/Reply
  9. Joanna says:

    For body acne- i found that the Neutrogena acne body scrub works extremely well for me. Not the grapefruit one though- just the plain old orange one. When I travel i don’t bring it with me and the acne comes right back.

    June 30, 2014/Reply
    • Phoebe says:

      Is the grapefruit one not as effective?

      June 30, 2014/Reply
      • Belle says:

        It’s not as strong. Basically, you need something with some kind of scrubbing power, whether that’s beads and something else. Or you can use a loofah with regular soap. You just need to find something oil-free, with either salicylic acid or another acne fighter in it.

        June 30, 2014/Reply
    • Rachel says:

      It also looks like the grapefruit one has microbeads, which are becoming a bit of an environmental concern.

      June 30, 2014/Reply
  10. Gabby says:

    Becca Swim banded halters for large busts. I’m a 32G and wear their DD size and it suits me fine. Not cheap, sadly, but nothing is when you have a large bust 🙁

    June 30, 2014/Reply
    • Sarah says:

      I second this. I (32DDD) bought mine at South Moon Under three or four years ago and it’s still perfect.

      June 30, 2014/Reply
  11. Shannon says:

    Thanks for the great dress suggestions. It is really very helpful!

    June 30, 2014/Reply
  12. SB says:

    For large busts, try either or Both offer a large selection of swimsuits in a wide array of sizes…up to very large cup sizes. I wear a 34G and have bought a bunch of bikinis there that offer full coverage and actually fit–and bonus, they’re also all really cute! Last year I bought from fig leaves, but this year have preferred the suits at bare necessities. Both are great sites for bras and sports bras too.

    June 30, 2014/Reply
  13. Trista says:

    For plus size/larger busts, I highly recommend Torrid. I have a suit from them that has lasted over four years. They start their sizes from 0 (12W), and as a 38DD in their brand (36DDD in others), I have never had a problem finding multiple suits that fit for under $75.

    June 30, 2014/Reply
  14. K Sue says:

    For larger busts (34G or FF for me), I often order just the top from Freya,bare necessities, Lands end or fig leaves and then find a coordinating bottom from Target or Old Navy. The tops (bikini or tankini) can last several seasons if treated with care, but it tends to be the bottoms that get all snagged and saggy. I can justify spending a bit more on the top when the bottoms are $10!

    July 1, 2014/Reply
  15. KK says:

    Shannon, for a good emergency dress, J.Crew has a great option right now and it’s on sale (I got an additional 40% off last week). Durable, scuba-like material. Sorry about the coffee! Doesn’t that commuter know there’s no food or drink on the metro?!

    July 1, 2014/Reply
  16. KK says:

    meant to include the link. doh.

    July 1, 2014/Reply
  17. Gabriela says:

    I swear by the old-school Clearasil pads for body acne. Just a quick swipe of the area before bed and again in the morning if the pimples haven’t dried up- super packable, too!

    July 2, 2014/Reply
  18. Lg says:

    L’occitane also has a version of their hand cream with SPF 20. Just purchased it in store at sephora last week and have loved it! Smells great and is light and non-greasy.

    July 6, 2014/Reply
  19. Amanda says:

    I just discovered the blog and I’m loving it!

    I know this post is a couple of months old, but I wanted to suggest something to help combat the body acne problem. I used to get fairly regular breakouts and a friend suggested I switch up my routine and wash my body last, rather than having my last step be rinsing out my conditioner. Doing that helped to eliminate most of my breakouts, since I was cleaning off any conditioner residue on my body.

    August 24, 2014/Reply