Fashion & Beauty Queries: Vol. IV, No. One

Hi Belle,

This may seem like a dumb question, but can you help me find a good long sleeve white tee shirt?  All the ones I see in stores are sheer and thin.  

Happy Holidays, Sofia

Several years ago, while visiting my Mother, I learned the secret to finding good t-shirts: You have to shop where either your outdoorsy Aunt or your Grandmother would shop.  Sadly, the retailers who skew younger seem to think that Kleenex is the preferred weight.  Brands like Columbia still make the heavy cotton tees we all remember.  In fact, one of the best tees on the market is the Orvis Perfect Tee, available on Amazon, and just $39.

I also like this Caslon Long Sleeve Scoop Tee ($25).  Land’s End has their go-to crewneck t-shirt, which comes in misses, petite and plus.  And LL Bean has both their heavier Bean’s Tee and their medium weight Pima cotton tee.

Dear Belle,

Do you have a favorite pair of jeans?  I just got a promotion and I think it’s time to leave my Old Navy ones behind me.  Love the blog!  Liz

First, congratulations on your promotion.  And second, while Old Navy makes a very respectable jean for the price, if you’re looking to move up, I suggest you go to a store like Nordstrom or Bloomingdale’s and try on lots of brands.  Because, my favorite, may not be your favorite.

I have two brands I like: Paige and AG.  My skinny jean of choice are the AG Farrah High Rise Skinnies.  A word of caution though, they have A LOT of stretch in them.  So I buy them one size smaller than I need, so that the fact they stretch out will work for me, instead of against me.  This way, the slightly smaller jeans have a slimming effect, instead of just stretching out.

If you prefer a lower rise, the Paige Skyline Skinny is the only way to go.


I just started on Capitol Hill as an intern and I’m covered in blisters from giving tours.  Help, please, help.

New and Sore

Hey kid, don’t worry, we’ve all been there.  First off, no one will fault you if you change into a pair of cute, comfortable shoes to give tours.  So if you’re giving them in high heels, stop punishing yourself.  If I had it to do again, I’d be given tours in a pair of M.Gemi Moccasins or a pair of rubber-soled Cole Haan flats.  And since a reader pointed out that it was dumb for me to suggest $200 shoes for an intern who works for free (facepalm), try these super cute $40 Isaac Mizrahi moccasins in pearl pink. (Duh, Belle, duh.)

You can wear a pair of nice, clean sneakers, if your boss says it’s okay.  I wouldn’t–but if it’s that bad, the worst that will happen is people will know you’re an intern.

Second, you need anti-chafe stick.  Smear it all over your feet to reduce the friction that causes blisters.  It will give you an extra half-hour-plus of walking.  And bring bandaids, just keep them in your wallet so you always have them.

Dear Belle,

Where did you get the nail polish set on your Instagram?  I can’t find it anywhere.

Sincerely, KL

If you’re referring to this berry-colored Deborah Lippmann set, you can find it at Net-a-Porter.  She also makes an all nudes set, and an all pink set.  They’re great for those of us who love nail polish, and want all the colors, but will never use the whole full-size bottle.



  1. Michelle says:

    I’ve always had great fit and durability with Gap jeans so when I want either fancier or more affordable bottoms I look to their other clothing lines, Banana Republic or Old Navy, respectively. They have similar sizing and cuts. I just bought a pair of Gap true skinny jeans and was surprised that they haven’t lost their shape after several wears. Congrats on the promotion!

    January 10, 2017/Reply
  2. Brittany says:

    I don’t think the intern with blisters who is giving tours for free will be purchasing $200 shoes.

    January 10, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      That’s a fair point. I should have thought that through better.

      January 10, 2017/Reply
      • cbackson says:

        Intern could probably find Cole Haan flats at a steep markdown at Nordstrom Rack!

        January 10, 2017/Reply
        • LeslieJeannene says:

          there is actually a good pair at DSW for $60 right now

          January 10, 2017/Reply
  3. Jennifer says:

    Greetings Sofia – I own several J.Crew Perfect Fit T-Shirts, including long-sleeve crewnecks ($29.50) and v-necks ($26.50) in white. These are much sturdier than their Vintage-style and Tissue-style tees. I am a small in most J.Crew tops, but these are a slim fit, so I size up to a medium. J.Crew always has some promotion going on, so you should be able to pick some up for less than full price. They are currently 40% off through January 10. Good luck!

    January 10, 2017/Reply
  4. Katie says:

    After being disappointed with my Lucky Brand and Paige denim, I searched high and low for options everywhere. Treasure & Bond jeans from Nordstrom are my favorite.

    January 10, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I haven’t tried these. What do you like about them?

      January 10, 2017/Reply
  5. Orla says:

    A tip on the jeans: AG jeans are also my favorite. I try them on at the store and then buy them on eBay.
    A tip in shoes: when I worked in DC, I lived in my Vans. They are comfy like a sneaker but a bit more stylish.

    January 10, 2017/Reply
  6. ValleyWriter says:

    +1 for Land’s End white t-shirts. They’re thick, high-quality cotton (so you can’t see through), well fitting and launder well. My favorite is the Women’s Shaped Cotton V-Neck.

    January 10, 2017/Reply
  7. Anna says:

    Eek, sneakers are risky unless you’re talking about walking to work. I work in a fairly casual California office and I wouldn’t wear sneakers of any sort. I’ve maybe worn slip-on style sneakers in August, but I’m pretty senior in the office. As far as jeans go, Loft curvy skinnies and super skinnies in Long are my favorites. I’ve gotten them on sale for like $30. The regular length is fine with boots, but otherwise they’re ankle length on 5’6″ me and I prefer them to scrunch a bit at the bottom.

    January 10, 2017/Reply
  8. Pam says:

    I’ve found that me too brand flats like Halle and icon are super comfortable. I’ve worn them for flights that have me running through huge international airports and wore them for a six hour walking tour through Paris in total comfort. Lots of online retailers, and dsw carry them. They are more stylish than sneakers but very comfortable

    January 10, 2017/Reply
  9. Barbara Lisette says:

    A few tips to the intern: A. If you feel you must wear heels a wedge can save your feet. I love Nine West pointed toe wedges! B. Dillard’s Antonio Mellani makes the best soft leather ballet flat in the world. They are $59 but worth every penny. C. An old Cuban tradition is to put a your heels in the freezer before you wear them, and then as they warm up they mold to your feet. Good Luck!!

    January 10, 2017/Reply
  10. Ally says:

    My favorite long sleeve t-shirt actually comes from Talbots. The Pima Cotton Long Sleeve Tee is the perfect weight for wearing under a suit (not tissue thin or anything near it, but still wearable indoors under a suit jacket). They wash very well and are available in regular, petite and plus sizes. They usually cost $25.

    January 11, 2017/Reply
  11. Anna says:

    Petit Bateau makes my favorite t-shirts, they are nice and thick, and are durable (maybe all thicker t-shirts are, the tissue ones are horrendous). AS for flats, New Balance makes a very comfortable ballet flat (ok probably not winning any beauty contests), in my book something slightly sneakerish is better than hobbling 😉

    January 11, 2017/Reply
  12. LRL says:

    Another comfortable shoe suggestion! I wear these little Lacoste tennis shoes in black commuting, and occasionally when I am on my feet all day at work. They are simple and do not bring a lot of attention to the fact that you are not wearing dress shoes.

    January 11, 2017/Reply
  13. Wanda says:

    To the reader with the blisters, I wanted to add one more thing. Buy some Gel Blister Band-Aids and carry them with you everywhere. They are amazing. The coolness of the gel relieves the pain and the cushion let’s allows you to walk again with any shoe. These gel band-aids literally saved my vacation last year when I was walking all around Puerto Rico.

    January 12, 2017/Reply