Ask Belle Roundup Vol. IV, No. Thirty-Seven

Sep 2, 2014

Hi Belle,

I’m a very picky lover of black pumps. My staple is this pair from H&MThe combination of toe shape, heel height and (fake) suede finish make these my go-to black pumps. However, because they’re H&M, they’re cheaply made and the heel caps rip right off within months. I just love the look of them so much that I’ve bought and disposed of three pairs within the last year, and it just feels ridiculous to take a pair of $25 shoes to a cobbler. Have you happened to stumble across an identical pair from a higher-end line that would last longer? 

Thanks! Randi

If you’re sold on suede, I found a few pair worth considering.  The Michael Kors Flex pump is very comfortable.  This Ralph Lauren pump is a good basic.  These Aldo pumps are also a good choice.  But my favorite are these Dune Appoint heels from House of Fraser.

Willing to make the switch to traditional leather pumps?  Try these Adriana pumps from Nine West or these 424 Fifth pumps that have a great mid-heel height.

Dear Belle,

I just moved to Texas from D.C., and my skin is suffering.  Everything is so dry.  Do you know of a hydrating mask that will help my skin without plugging up my pores?

xx, Kate

For sudden dryness, I love Laneige Water Sleeping Mask.  The mask intensely hydrates my skin without overwhelming it.  I try to apply it as lightly as possible in the t-zone, just to be safe, but I haven’t noticed an increase in acne while using it.

In a pinch, I’ve also been known to smear a little Eucerin Aquaphor on the really dry spots.

Hi Belle,

Since when did finding a well made t-shirt become harder than getting into college?  It doesn’t matter whether I buy J.Crew or Old Navy or Helmut Lang, they’re all too sheer or they come apart in the wash.  I need long sleeve and short sleeve tees.  Suggestions?


For short sleeve tees, I either buy the Everlane v-neck tees or Gap supersoft tees.  I’ve had good luck with both.

For long sleeve tees, I just found a great shirt in an unexpected place: REI.  These North Face sueded crew neck tees are awesome.  They have a heavy, not too heavy weight.  They are soft.  They don’t shrink.  They feel substantial.  I bought three more.

Plus-size? I would start at Land’s End, they’re one of the few retailers whose quality has stayed consistent from the start of the recession to the end.


Here’s a weird question: Do you have a favorite razor? 


Truth be told, I don’t.  I use the Gillette Fusion ProGlide men’s razor.  I like the flexibility when I’m shaving my legs, but I’m not enamored with it.  If someone else has a suggestion for a great razor, I’d love suggestions, leave them in the comments.

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  1. Molly says:

    I love the Dollar Shave Club Executive razor (had the 4x before, but like the Executive better – they last me long enough that I decided it was worth the $3 upgrade). Best part is that the handle is free and the cartridges are only $9/4 cartridges. I’m on the every other month plan and even then I suspend it sometimes when I have too many, but it’s a good reminder to change the blades and they warn you before they ship. Feel free to use my referral link 🙂

    • jillian says:

      Dollar Shave Club sells Dorco razors, available from Dorco for less money (especially if you buy $25 worth and get free shipping). I agree that they are great razors, as good as the top of the line Gillette I was using before I switched, for a fraction of the price.

  2. N says:

    schick quattro for women is the only razor that doesn’t give me razor burn with a combination of the aveeno therapeutic shave gel or the target store brand version of it!

  3. S says:

    I use the Shick HydroSilk razors with the sensitive skin blade. They glide well and leave a smooth finish. They last longer than Venus razors. But I also use Barbasol for shaving cream since the chemical that turns shave gel into cream irritates my skin.

  4. Famouscait says:

    Has anyone tried the Harry’s razor system? It’s geared towards men but I’m tempted by the clean design and cheap cost of replacement blades. I’d love to hear from someone who has tried it!

  5. Addie says:

    I love Target’s “ultimate” tees. I have the short sleeve scoop neck and the long sleeve v neck in multiple colors and I wear them a ton. The white ones may be more sheer than the person asking would prefer but I think they have a nice weight to them. I do air dry them but they’ve gone through countless wash loads without looking worn out and I have shared washers that aren’t of the best quality

    • Sarah says:

      I have several Target Mossimo Tees that have lasted for years. Just this weekend I found grease marks on my four year old white tee (not sheer, IMO). I guess that means I get to buy the newer version 🙂

      • Jennie G. says:

        Was also going to recommend Target for their “dressy” tshirts. I have them in almost every color and buy them when they are on sale. Sometimes I wear them under blazers or tucked into pencil skirts. They look slightly more polished when wearing jeans or shorts, but I like that about them. Learned the hard way that I have to wear a cami with the white one, but now I wear a cami under everything.

        My first time commenting and just wanted to say I love your blog!

  6. Gillette’s Venus 5 blade razor is the only one I will use. When I did an impromptu extended trip last year, and ran out, I was so happy when we got to London and I could stock up, despite the heftier price tag. I tried everything, men’s razor, the cheaper 3 blades, etc, and these are the only ones which give me a smooth shave and don’t cut up my legs. Bonus, I can shave with just soap and water, so I don’t have to buy shave oil/gel/etc. Also the blade is more flexible than the men’s blade, and the wider head makes shaving faster. I know I sound like a commercial, but I also have to deal with being hairy, and I really don’t like it. I hate the feeling of waiting for a wax, and am saving to eventually do full body laser treatment. But until then, I really like this razor!

  7. Mo says:

    Schick Hydro 5. I cut myself repeatedly with the Gillete Fusion and the Venus, so I stick to the men’s Schick Hydro 5 and soap/body wash and pray for someone to invent a laser that works on Gingers.

  8. Anna says:

    When I read that H&M post, I felt such a moment of deja vu – those are my total go-to shoes as well! I’ve been raving about those shoes for years. I have a few high end heels – LK Bennett, Tods, etc and NONE of them come close to the comfort of the H&M ones.

    I saw that J Crew has a really similar one for around $200 (keeping in mind that their stuff often goes on sale, so it’s likely you could score these shoes for around $150 or so) – but as much as I love their flats, I find them a bit narrow, so I’m not sold on the idea of their heels yet.

    My solution has just been to go to a cobbler. I know it feels ridiculous but I’ve actually found that the heel caps that they put on them last a lot longer than the H&M ones. I can get about double the usage out of them when I bring them to a cobbler.

    Not a perfect solution, but I love the comfort of these shoes!

    • Caroline says:

      Me too– those H&M pumps are the best! The heel height is perfect and they aren’t too narrow. My black ones get a lot of use, and I have to take them to the cobbler every month or two, but any other pump that I’d be wearing with that frequency would require similar maintenance. I hope H&M never retires them; I’d eventually like to own a pair in every color and material.

    • Randi says:

      So glad I’m not alone! I’ll give some of Belle’s suggestions a try but I’m glad to know that I can still salvage my beloved H&M heels!

  9. Cecile says:

    I use the 4x from Dollar Shave Club and it is fantastic! Harry’s is a great men’s razor, but it doesn’t have the flexibility I would want for shaving legs

  10. R says:

    For long sleeve t-shirts: I have good success with Hanes t-shirts sold in a roll at Wal-mart. They cost about $5. They are opaque. They do shrink horribly though. I usually size up 2 sizes to account for that.

  11. Gabriela says:

    Second all the Schick recommendations above. I used a Venus for years and never loved it, but the Quattro is fantastic.

  12. JenniferD says:

    Greetings Reanna – You might consider J.Crew’s Perfect Fit Tees. Unlike their tissue, vintage cotton, or linen tees, these are made from a heavier, more substantial knit that is not see through and holds up better in the wash. They come in a ton of short-sleeve, long-sleeve, and sleeveless styles, including crew neck, v-neck, and scoop neck. There is also a Perfect Fit cardigan. They are described as “slim fit”, which is J.Crew code for “size up.” I take a Small in vintage cotton tees, but a Medium in perfect fit tees. Good luck! Jennifer

  13. R says:

    For non-greasy, non-clogging moisturiser I really like Clinique’s Moisture Surge extended thirst relief.

  14. JenniferD says:

    Greetings Randi – Try 9 West at Zappos. Flax is the most comfortable stiletto I’ve ever worn, and Margot (while I don’t own those) is a mid-heel. Both are offered in your favored black suede finish. Good luck! Jennifer

  15. Ann says:

    My favorite razor is the Schick Quattro for women. I have VERY sensitive skin and this is the only razor I’ve found that doesn’t literally tear my skin up or cause any hives/redness. The Quattro paired with Kiss My Face Moisture Shave makes for a smooth shave.

  16. Kim says:

    Just wanted to chime in about Everlane T’s…they are definitely on the thin side (not as bad as some, but still thin…). Also, the v-necks specifically hit me just a little too low to feel ok in at my casual workplace or out with friends. If I bend over for anything you can bet everyone will see everything! I had the same problem with J Crew V-necks. I do wear a DD bra though so I’m sure that makes some difference. I went back to Gap Body’s v-necks after buying three or four Everlane ones in various sizes and colors. They are thicker and a bit more fitted so the V hugs closer to me regardless of how many pens I might drop. Plus, they are incredible soft and in the same price range. I really wanted to love Everlane T’s because I’ve seen them suggested everywhere and the company seems great. I do love their sweatshirts and other items I’ve purchased, and any returns were super simple!

    • Kim says:


    • Pancakes says:

      In regards to the Everlane tees, they are definitely on the thin side but the white color is still opaque. But for me, I like the thin-ness b/c it helps the tees drape well. However, I am a 34A, so it does seem to affect different busted women differently!

  17. rar says:

    Kate – I use the First Aid Beauty overnight mask every night. I put it on right before I go to bed and after my moisturizer, toner, serum, etc. It doesn’t make me break out and it makes my skin absolutely glow!

  18. GHJ says:

    The Venus Oil of Olay razor is WONDERFUL. They have a special pack at Costco right now which is an amazing deal.

  19. Lisa says:

    I’m a big fan of safety razors. Not the cheap bic ones that come in 10 packs, but the Merkur long handled safety razor with chrome finish, with feather double edged razor blades. Once you put the $30 investment into the razor, 50 blades are about $20.

    The shave is super close, and all you need to use is some baby oil as lubrication. They’re gentle enough for men to use on their faces, and since I’ve started using them, I haven’t gotten razor burn once.

  20. Samantha says:

    I use the Schick Intuition Razor. They’re not cheap but they last a while and I’ve only ever cut myself once using them over the past 5+ years. I also find that in a pinch, I can travel with just the razor blade head and not worry about lugging around the stick part, which can be handy.

  21. Hope says:

    Rather than buying more expensive shoes, if the heel is the only thing that gives out on the H&M shoes, I found that these are great at extending the life of the heels!

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