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

Hi Abra, 

Have you or any readers actually worn the Banana Republic 12 hour heels- for a full work day? Are they more comfortable? Are they true to size? 


I haven’t purchased a pair yet, but I keep putting their pretty Madison pump in my cart.  The shoes are allegedly constructed to improve stability, and have added flexibility and cushioning.  They come in several day-to-night styles from the classic Mary Jane and this modern pump with a tassel accent.  If anyone has tried them or has a favorite style, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Hello again!

A quick question regarding the Rebel Pendant necklace: how has it held up/is it worth the price tag?
I bought a knock off on Amazon to see if I liked it (I did) and if I could settle for the cheapskate version (I can’t; green neck after a few weeks). Considering springing for the real deal but wanted to run a quality check first. Any commentary would be much appreciated!
Thanks, Janine

I wear my Stella & Dot Rebel pendant at least three times per week, and have for almost five years.  The pendant holds up remarkably well.  I’ve replaced it once, because it was getting a bit scratched up from heavy use.  But for a piece of fashion jewelry, it’s an incredibly well-made piece.  It looks the same today as it looked when I bought it over a year ago.

I like the Stella & Dot pieces so much — for both quality and style — that I’m also considering this Moon Necklace and Double Horn necklace.

Hi Belle,

Does no one make a long tunic tee anymore?  I popped into Lululemon and Athleta last week and there was nothing long enough to cover my tush!  Am I supposed to wear leggings and show off everything now?  At 37?  It’s mildly horrifying.


One of the nicest things about being in London is that leggings are not appropriate attire for every occasion from work to dinner to church.  Of course, I wear them at home and sometimes on the weekends, but I knew ladies in law school who didn’t own anything to wear to class but leggings.  I’m not sure how this bloodless coup took place, but I’m a little concerned about the new regime.

Regardless of your stance on leggings as every occasion attire, I do believe that most women are more comfortable in a longer top.  I know that I am.  I have this Free People tunic and I love it.  It’s a bit thin, but not too showy.  Gap has this great striped tunic.  A former blogger used to sing the praises of the Express tees, which are super soft.  Plus-size?  Try this scoop neck tee from Kohl’s.


Do you have a favorite brush cleaner?  I’ve used dish soap and shampoo with poor results.  One was too drying and the other left a residue.  Anything on your shelf that I can steal?


I clean my brushes once per week (in a perfect world, where I remember).  For a full cleaning, I use this solid cleansing soap.  I switched from liquid to solid because I use less, and I can travel with it.  To get a really good, deep clean, I use this Sigma cleansing glove to get a good lather going.  To dry them fully and prevent hair loss, I dry them upside down using this pedestal.

When I want an in-between clean, these Ecotools disposable cloths remove residue without over-drying.  They’re a lifesaver when I forget to wash my brushes on Sunday night.  Which, since K insists on watching The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones live, is often.



  1. kittycatbob says:

    Eileen Fisher sells wonderful tunics. They hold up very well in the wash and are worth the price. Lord and Taylor is having a 30% off sale and there are a lot of items in the brand on sale. A lot of people think the brand is too “mature” for them but it’s all in how you style the clothing.

    April 11, 2017/Reply
    • TheLoop says:

      I assumed almost all of EF pieces are dry-clean. Is that not the case?

      April 11, 2017/Reply
      • Devon says:

        No most of them are washable, that’s one of their selling points.

        April 11, 2017/Reply
  2. Linds says:

    For casual tunics, I have gotten a few at Old Navy lately. On the dressier side, J. Jill.–another brand like Eileen Fisher that can be viewed as too “mature” but does have some really nice pieces that wear well.

    April 11, 2017/Reply
  3. Melanie says:

    Re the Banana Republic 12-hour heels, I have them in the “exploded” gingham and found them to be pretty comfortable. Definitely made it through the workday with no problems, although to be fair, I’m in a job where I don’t do a lot of walking/standing. I’ve always liked BR shoes for work because they seem to fit me very well and they always seem to be on sale. For some reason, though, I found these pumps to fit just a bit tighter than my other BR heels. I needed to use a shoe stretcher after I bought them. So you may want to try on in store if you can.

    I also own the Stella & Dot rebel pendant. I wear it a ton and it has held up very well for me. So much so that I’m considering buying it in rose gold as well (I own the regular gold). I seem to have some kind of skin reaction that causes sterling silver and plated jewelry to tarnish within minutes – literally. I’ve never had that problem with any of the Stella & Dot pieces though and I also haven’t experienced any fading of the metal. So for me, it’s worth the price.

    April 11, 2017/Reply
  4. Sofie says:

    If you can’t stomach the price on the lovely Stella & Dot necklace, I got myself this Vince Camuto Marquise Pendant necklace from Macy’s for a fraction of the price. It holds up well and goes with everything:

    April 11, 2017/Reply
  5. Anna says:

    I was just on the hunt for a tunic tee to wear with leggings and a long slouchy cardigan on long flights. I ended up settling for the everlane v neck and just trying to keep the sweater as closed as possible. Not ideal, but I’m going to keep on the hunt. I saw a few on Amazon, but they seemed to be body con, and I want something looser.

    April 11, 2017/Reply
  6. Valerie says:

    @Kaia, on brush cleaning- I use two methods, one for deep cleaning and one for a quick fix if I’m traveling or don’t have time to deep clean them.

    For deep cleaning, instead of using shampoo or dish soap alone, I use a mixture of 1/4 cup dish soap with a teaspoon of olive oil. I find this cleans the brushes without overly drying the bristles. I’m also very acne-prone, so was glad that the addition of oil didn’t cause breakouts when I used the cleaned brushes.

    For a quicker fix, I travel with a bottle of brush cleaning spray- Bobbi Brown’s has been great, but I’m sure there are more reasonably priced dupes out there. Definitely curious to try the disposable cleaning cloths Belle mentions.

    April 11, 2017/Reply
    • LTH says:

      ^^^ This for brush cleaning. 2:1 olive oil to dish shop ratio and then ‘paint’ with the brush until solution that runs out is clean. I’ve had very minimal brush-hair loss with this method. With extremely sensitive skin that freaks out easily (yay 30s) I was skeptical but this works wonderfully with no fallout.

      April 11, 2017/Reply
      • Crystal says:

        @Kaia and @ Valerie A makeup artist told me about the soap/oil method above ^^^ , and I used it for years. But I’ve since been swayed by another product — this solid soap and scrubbing tool: It’s cheap, quick, and highly effective, with less mess and fuss. For me it’s a doubly whammy — it gets my brushes get cleaner *and* I use it more frequently (because it’s easier). And I’ve had no noticeable problems with my face becoming sensitive or breaking out. I’m not one to rave over most beauty products I try, but this one is one of my faves.

        April 11, 2017/Reply
        • Valerie says:

          @Crystal since both you and Belle recommended this, I’ll have to give it a try. Definitely makes cleaning easier than mixing liquids, and it’s not too pricey for a decently sized container.

          April 13, 2017/Reply
  7. Tiffany says:

    Re: brush cleaning, I use Johnsons no-tears baby shampoo. It works like a charm, and since it’s meant for babies, it’s so gentle!

    April 11, 2017/Reply
    • Alison Burke says:

      That’s what I use to take my eye makeup off and I agree, super gentle and gets all traces of eye makeup (liner, mascara, the works) like a dream 🙂

      April 12, 2017/Reply
  8. Rosy says:

    I love Lou & Grey for tunic-length tops – most of their non-tunic tops are still more than long enough to wear with leggings. I’ve had good luck with buying Old Navy & Gap tall length tees as well.

    Real Techniques makes a brush cleansing palette that’s a good dupe for the Sigma glove for about $15.

    April 11, 2017/Reply
  9. Sara says:

    I have the 12-hour pumps, and while they’re more comfortable than other pumps, my feet were still aching after a couple hours of wear. I agree that they run slightly narrow but other than that they’re TTS. Don’t expect a miracle heel, but these are definitely more comfortable than other pumps.
    Full disclosure: This is coming from someone who has yet to find a truly comfortable heel.

    April 12, 2017/Reply
  10. Lidi says:

    I use Dr. Bronner’s soap to clean my brushes. I dilute it of course, but it works like a charm and usually is on sale at whole foods.

    April 13, 2017/Reply
  11. Sarah says:

    I am not at all affiliated with them, but Lularoe has really great long shirts that are extremely comfortable and cover your butt (and unlike their leggings which are cheap quality, their other clothes have lasted beautifully for me). Again, I’m not a salesperson, just a fan. I teach elementary school music and need clothes that are comfortable and allow me to be up and down off the floor all day…LLR looks professional (for schools, of course) and I can wear functional leggings without worrying about looking inappropriate.

    April 13, 2017/Reply
  12. Bv says:

    Wait you’re in London? Living there?!

    April 14, 2017/Reply