Fashion & Beauty Queries Vol. IV, No. Four

Feb 9, 2017

Belle,

Years ago your blog introduced me to Hue’s Micro Fishnets. The problem is they seem to have discontinued them in Nude.  I’m not sure if I’m describing this accurately, but what made them especially great in my book is that they are like a fishnet overlay on top of regular nylons.  This not only helped in giving my pale legs a nice nude hue (no pun intended) but also somehow how made them super durable.  Have you tried the pricier options (Spanx, Wolford, etc.)?  Are they worth it?  Any additional budget options?

Best, Chloe

My favorite micro-fishnets are the Spanx Uptown Fishnets.  Because they have a bit of control top, they don’t bunch or fall down, which matters.  I’ve also tried the Wolford brand, and they were great as well, but the Spanx are a little cheaper.

As for more affordable brands, I’ve heard good things about the Topshop brand, but I can’t attest to their quality.  The Hue really were the best for the reasons you described.  Hopefully, the brand will bring them back.

Hi Belle,

I have a question- I have really dry combination skin, which i know is different from yours, but do you have affordable sheet mask recommendations? I love how easy they are compared to wash or peel off masks, but I only find super expensive great ones or super cheap versions that don’t do anything more than moisturizer.

thanks! RR

I love sheet masks.  I use the Dr. Jart Clearing Solution Masks for my acne prone skin.  But they also make a brightening solution, a hydration solution, a wrinkle solution, and deep hydration mask.  All of the masks are under-$10.

Another wonderful brand that runs under-$10 is Leaders.  They make a Daily Wonders line that smooth skin or shrink pores.  They also make a 7 Wonders line that contains more natural ingredients; I like their arctic cranberry anti-aging mask.

Belle,

I recently had my second child and skinny jeans just aren’t working anymore.  Alas, this is all I have in my closet.  I am in desperate need of something else in the way of denim.  I loved the “mini flares” you posted the other day, but couldn’t find my size anywhere.  To me, true flares are as big a turn-off as skinny jeans.  So I guess I’m saying — do you know of any “normal” jeans I can wear on the weekends to hang out with my kids and not look like a total slob?  

Good luck on the bar exam! -NJ

What size are you?  Maybe I can help you find a pair of mini-flares in your size.

Regardless, a good alternative would be bootcut jeans.  They’re not as snug as skinny jeans, not as wide as flares.  The best place to start would be Nordstrom.  I’ve tried the Joe’s Curvy Bootcuts, and they have a flattering fit.  For a mid-price jean, I would try these NYDJ Billie jeans with a mid-rise (also in plus-size).  And for something under-$100, these Kut from the Kloth jeans.

Hi Belle,
I’m trying to find a cute, classic, conveniently sized black cross body purse to wear at events. Large enough to hold my wallet, phone, and other essentials but small enough to not get in the way. Preferably under $200. Any recommendations?
Best, Gabi

At the top of your price range, this all-black Rebecca Minkoff bag is very popular.  This smaller Michael Kors bag is a sleek, simple and stylish.  Everlane also makes a mid-size, foldover clutch.

If you need something under-$100, this simple BP. faux-leather crossbody is a nice option.  This Dune Dottie crossbody is a bit larger with a fun tassel.  This simple crossbody with a gold chain is also a good choice.

Dear Belle,

Can you recommend a good detangler?  My hair tangles so easily and I haven’t found a good solution.

Good luck on the bar, Kay

I only use detangler when I put a body wave in my hair.  Other than that, it doesn’t tangle.  I use this Sofia’s Pineapple Detangler made for children because it’s gentle.  You can also go the manual route and pick up a Tangle Teezer.  I have a few friends who swear by that little brush.

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  1. Steph says:

    In response to the question regarding a cross-body bag, I wanted to through in my two cents – I recommend the Savannah envelope clutch and crossbody purse (https://embrazio.com/collections/bags/products/savannah-envelope-leather-clutch-crossbody-purse-black). It’s buttery soft, versatile, and the combination of leathers adds visual interest (so even if you remove the tassel, it’s not too plain/boring).

  2. Valerie says:

    Re: cute crossbody bag, I bought a black Tusk crossbody a couple years ago and I love it. It has a detachable shoulder strap, so you can also carry it as a clutch, and it’s $168.

    https://tusk.com/products/madison-josie-mini-cross-body-bag-red?variant=29882036550

  3. CM says:

    Re: Sheet masks…I just came across the subscription box “Facetory” which sends 4 varied sheet masks every month for $5 (including shipping). Seeing as the masks range from $1.50-4 it’s a pretty good deal and makes every bath a little more fun

    • Lindsey says:

      Ooh thanks for the tip!

    • CT says:

      Also regarding sheet masks. Tony Moly is a great brand (for a lot of more affordable beauty products)! I discovered their products in Asia last summer as they are all the rage there. Some larger cities (Atlanta, Dallas, NYC, SanFran, DC) have small shops which have better deals than buying their products at Ulta. Also, Amazon has a great selection at a good price. Their Lemon Brightening, Avocado Nutrition and Aloe Moisturizing masks are my favorite!!! But they have a selection of 11 varieties.

    • Ana says:

      I signed up! Thanks!

  4. Rebecca says:

    My hair is really fine and gets crazy tangled. I was using Its a 10 leave-in conditioner, because that’s what the stylists always use on my hair, but one beach vacation I didn’t have it, and ended up buying super cheap children’s detangler, and honestly it works about as well for a fraction of the cost.

    • Amanda says:

      I was going to suggest the same thing re: detangler. I loved the Johnson and Johnson one, but also found that a spray leave-in conditioner works, too. I currently use the Frizz-Ease leave-in.

    • k-t says:

      You can also make your own detangler / leave in conditioner. I don’t remember the exact ratio, but it is simply a combination of your favorite conditioner and water in a squirt bottle. That is what I ended up using on my daughter when I couldn’t find a specific one that I wanted.

  5. Kristine says:

    Pureology makes a spray product called 21 Benefits (I think?) that detangles and does a ton of other things. It’s a little pricy but you can use coupons for it at Ulta and it lasts for-ev-er. A little goes a long way, and my (long, overly processed) hair has never been healthier!

  6. Jenn S. says:

    Also on tangles, The Wet Brush is fantastic and under $10.

    Regarding body waves, Belle – can you tell us more about that process? I understand that it’s a type of perm, but even when I Google Image Search I see a lot of ‘scary’ perms.

    • Belle says:

      So I searched around, and this video is basically how I ask for mine to be done. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2jnGMfmkD4

      I always focus on having two-sizes of jumbo rods so it doesn’t look too uniform (which helps with the perm look). I also have it done on a Thursday, and then take a three day weekend. I’ll also wear it up for 2 weeks, and deep condition regularly during that time to help return it to health. Then I get the ends trimmed off and start straightening it again.

      • Jenn S. says:

        Awesome, thank you for hunting that down. I’ve been tossing around the idea for about two years now but kept chickening out because I didn’t feel confident describing what I wanted.

        The tips on scheduling are helpful, too. I’d never have thought of that.

  7. LizzieUK says:

    Tangles: to keep my styled hair from tangling post dry/style I highly recommend Biosilk. I’ve used it for 10+ years and always go back. It protects hair from heat, I get so many compliments on how healthy and shiny my hair is, and it is the only product I’ve used consistently. Put a dollop in before blow dry, and it works wonders keeping hair from tangling during the day. I prefer to be able to run my hands through my hair. It also helps with static and keeping flyaways at bay

  8. SLG says:

    Re: cute crossbody bag, I got a Lo & Sons Pearl and really wondered if I’d like it. Turns out I do — it’s a classic shape, small enough not to get too heavy, enough pockets to make things easy to find, fits easily in a suitcase when I need it to. (Nerd alert: it’s the perfect size to hold a shirt that’s been folded the Marie Kondo way, which means it’s very easy to make sure the Pearl doesn’t get smushed in a suitcase).

    • Nora says:

      +1 +1 +1! Also the best bag for a vacation.

      • Mary says:

        I’d also love to hear about the strap. I have another question, too, about the size. On the video, it looks like she sticks a book inside it. Do you think it would hold a Moleskine type notebook approximately 5.75″ by 8.5″? Those are the two questions that have held me back from submitting an order.

    • Belle says:

      How do you feel about the strap? I love Lo, but I haven’t bought a pearl because of complaints about the thin strap being uncomfortable.

  9. s says:

    Second the recommendation for a Wet Brush. It works on my crazy thick wavy hair AND my daughter’s fine wavy mess. Also, I use Pureology 21 spray and I credit it for improving the health of my hair over the last year or two. It’s a detangler and a heat protectant that doesn’t put a gross buildup on your hair. Finally, brush your hair with the wet brush the minute you get out of the shower, not a second later. Then brush again before styling. Letting it sit all tangly while it dries is no bueno.

    • LS says:

      Yes, I had the same concern

    • Another Rebecca says:

      I have the pearl and I love it. I do not find the strap uncomfortable. It is such a light-weight bag that it doesn’t dig into the shoulder. My work notebook that I put in is 8.25 by 5 7/8, so I feel like the moleskin should fit. I like how adjustable it is so that you can choose exactly where you want it to fall whether you are wearing it cross-body or as a shoulder bag.

  10. Susan says:

    For normal “post mom” jeans I like straight leg jeans…not skinny but not flared/boot cut either. Seven for all mankind makes some cute straight legs in multiple washes.

    • DG says:

      Agreed with this. I’ve tried a number of different designer straight-leg jeans, and always end up coming back to classic straight-leg GAP!

      • Kate says:

        This is where trying them on is super important. I’m plus-size and most skinny jeans made me feel like a sausage, not sexy. Add to that I’m 5’5″ so petite stuff is too short in the leg but just right in the seat/rise, and regular is too big in the seat, but alright for leg length. I also like my jeans to have as much cotton as possible so they don’t stretch out too much over the day wearing them. I know Talbots isn’t the most fashionable place, but I recently bought a pair of their slim ankle jeans in the dark wash and they are money. The pockets are tiny because they insist on having the belly panel, but the fit is form fitting without being super tight. But this is only the dark wash pair. I bought the same pair, same size and cut, in the lighter wash and they might as well be relaxed fit. Someone also suggested Lucky Brand jeans when I was searching. Good luck!

  11. Elizabeth says:

    If you want sheet masks, get ones directly from Asia. I personally like the Taiwanese brand LoveMore (which I get from a website called Crystal Cove Beauty for about $2 each) and the Korean brand Evercos (which I get from a lovely store called The Wild Jasmine for $2 each). In the world of Asian sheet masks, these are still considered up there in price. You can get multi-packs of sheet masks on Amazon for around $1 each. Brands that people love are Tony Moly, Innisfree, Etude House, and Leaders, and if you find them from a Korean retailer on Amazon, they will be much, much less expensive than buying them from Ulta or Sephora.

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