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

Dear Belle,

I’m on the hunt for a pair of white trousers.  Wide leg, flare leg, straight leg, doesn’t really matter.  The problem is, I can’t find any that are lined.  Not one pair.  Help a girl out because I cannot be flashing my undies at my co-workers.

Sincerely, Isla

Yes, lined pants are incredibly difficult to find.  The extra 75-cents that a polyester lining costs will certainly break a company like Banana Republic.  Not to pick on one retailer, since they’re almost all guilty, but there’s cutting corners and then there’s deciding that white pants made of paper-thin fabric will work just fine without a liner.

These Calvin Klein trousers are lined and affordably priced.  This CeCe wide legged pair are also lined. I also approve of their tabbed front, which gives a smoother front than a button-front.  For a plus-size option, try this Anne Klein pair.

Hi Belle,

I love trench coats, but they’re too fancy for my lifestyle as a SAHM.  I’ve tried all the North Face/Patagonia coats you can imagine, but they’re not very stylish.  I’m not sure why women wear them.  Do you have some other alternatives?

Thank you, Mika

My favorite casual jacket is the field jacket style.  I like this one from Madewell.  This one from Old Navy is also a nice option.

But the must-have jacket on the list is this pale pink one from Gap.

Another option is a sleek bomber jacket.  That’s very trendy right now.  But if you love trenches, you might just try a more casual style.  The Gap offers a very relaxed short trench that’s hooded and water resistant.  It might give you the style you love without the stoodginess.

Quick Question: Do you have any relief ideas for bunions and blisters?  My feet are killing me after a few weeks walking the halls of the Department of Ag.  

If blisters are your issue, the best way to treat them is to prevent them.  Anti-chafe stick or blister-preventing spray are probably the best options.  I use Pre-Heels Spray; it works well enough and can be reapplied during the day.

If you can’t prevent them, you need to cushion them while they heal.  This Bunion Relief pack comes with different spongy wraps to protect delicate skin.  The different shapes and sizes fit comfortably on different parts of your feet.

I also recommend carrying a few band-aids in your wallet, so that you always have them if you need them.

Dear Belle,

My supervisor’s last day is next Friday.  Can you recommend an inexpensive gift?  Perhaps something under-$100?  My co-workers and I want to get her a little something.


Office tchotchkes (paperweights, bookends, etc.) are a popular gift, but I wouldn’t recommend them.  Often, they end up forgotten on a shelf somewhere.  However, a useful office gift would be a nice picture frame, like this one from West Elm.  I also like this Roar + Rabbit frame that has a picture on one side and a mirror on the other.

For something that can be personalized, try stationery.  These chic notebooks from Net-a-Porter are a fun option.  I also love these ones in candy colors with gold stripes.  If those aren’t professional enough for you, a set of monogrammed ‘thank you’ notes from Crane’s are a great gift.

Another gift to consider is a gift certificate to a restaurant or event tickets.  One of my bosses used to complain about all the baseball games he missed with his son, so when he left for a different job, we got him tickets to the Nationals.



  1. Crystal says:

    I’m in complete agreement about the need for (and yet frequent lack of) pants lining, particularly for light-colored pants.

    “Another gift to consider is a gift certificate to a restaurant or event tickets. One of my bosses used to complain about all the baseball games he missed with his son, so when he left for a different job, we got him tickets to the Nationals.”
    This is such a perfect, thoughtful gift!

    April 5, 2017/Reply
  2. Katie says:

    How does the sizing for the Madewell jacket run? I almost ordered it in my usual size (XS) on, but it said it runs small.

    April 5, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I didn’t find be that to be there case. I ended up in an xs

      April 5, 2017/Reply
      • Katie says:

        Thanks, Belle! What about the sizing on the Old Navy option? How long is the torso?

        April 6, 2017/Reply
  3. Arti says:

    Hi! Love your blog! I am turning 35 this year and wanted to splurge on a high end pair of shoes. Any recommendations on some, something chic yest comfortable would be amazing!

    April 5, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Go to a department store on a not busy day, and try on everything. I never leave with what I think I’m going to when I splurge. I also take no chances on making a mistake. My only other advice would be to look in your closet, and ask, which two pairs of shoes do I wear the most? Then upgrade one of those

      April 5, 2017/Reply
  4. Melissa says:

    Bunions need a longer term treatment as well. Shoes with wider toe boxes will alleviate a lot of pain. I try to shop for shoes in wide widths, which helps a lot. Also, after really tough days, foot soaks in Epsom salts and some time using Yoga Toes helps.

    April 5, 2017/Reply
  5. Jess says:

    For jackets, I can recommend this one – – very stylish with a trench feel, but not as formal. I got it in the green and always feel a little more pulled together with it on.

    April 5, 2017/Reply
  6. ~M says:

    I have insane bunions. I find AGL shoes to be the best. I do need to use leather stretcher but they are extremely high quality and will stretch well. They have great, classic styles and really weird styles. I buy a pair of their flats at every Nordstrom half-yearly sale. They still end up being $160-200, but they wear like iron.

    April 5, 2017/Reply
  7. K says:

    As someone who is currently facing two bunion surgeries (thanks, genetics!) I recommend bunion cushions ( and nighttime contraption from hell ( They both take getting used to, but are well worth it.

    April 5, 2017/Reply
  8. k-t says:

    For blister prevention, try putting anti-perspirant on your feet before putting on your shoes (let it dry first, of course). Sweaty feet are more likely to develop blisters. Leather shoes with leather linings are less sweat-inducing than (most) man-made materials. If you can find footies that actually stay on your feet and don’t peek out of your shoes, they are a huge help, too. Some people swear by Glide (an anti-chafing stick for runners and other athletes), but I like the anti-perspirant trick more.

    I like using clear medical tape over hot spots that are headed toward blisters. I use a 3M version and always have a roll in my desk drawer. It usually travels with me in the summer months, too.

    Would something like Jockey Skimmies or low-power Spanx work for unlined white/light colored pants? Like wearing a slip, but shorts. I think they come in a variety of skin tones.

    April 5, 2017/Reply
  9. Lauren says:

    Help! I’m going to a wedding at the end of this month and need a dress. I’m in socal so it should be nice and warm. I’d love to wear something a little fun and sexy, because normally I’m boring. Petite sizes preferred.

    April 5, 2017/Reply
  10. SarahT says:

    Ooh thanks for the Pre Heels Spray recommendation. I’ve just picked up a pair of espadrilles (bought online during the April 1st winter storm, which is probably the height of denial) and the rough canvas makes me a bit nervous.

    April 6, 2017/Reply
  11. Lauren says:

    I had no idea that heel spray existed! This could be life changing.

    April 6, 2017/Reply
  12. Elyse says:

    Re: white trousers: Can you find white (or very pale skin tone) leggings that would go under the trousers?

    April 7, 2017/Reply
  13. Erin says:

    For jackets, I like this one — a utility jacket that’s also water resistant. I just got back from rainy Amsterdam and it was fairly waterproof! Kors%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D65%26ruleId%3D65|BS|BA%26slotId%3D3

    April 7, 2017/Reply