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

Apr 20, 2017

Hi Abra,

First of all, congratulations on passing the bar!  Secondly, I need some advice on a dress I recently purchased from MM LaFleur.  It’s the Sarah dress in black.  I love it and feel amazingly confident and powerful for my upcoming presentation.  But, I’m at a loss on how to pair a blazer with it.  I’ve tried sweaters, but they look too informal, and I even tried one of MM LaFleur’s jardigans.  I don’t want to have bare arms during the presentation, but I don’t want to ruin the fabulous dress either.

Help please, M

When you’re looking for a blazer to pair with a dress, it’s best if they have complementary necklines.  In this case, the high crewneck of the Sarah dress, would work best with a round-collared jacket.  I own this fringe-tweed jacket from Nordstrom, and I highly recommend it.  The higher neckline, the melange of blue, white, and black, it all works well with the black dress.  For something less expensive, try this Ann Taylor tweed jacket.

Looking for some other options?  I also considered this lantern sleeve jacket from boohoo, this white jacket with a peplum, and this long Ming Wang jacket.


Long time follower of your blog, here!  I’m looking for a pair of boyshorts to go under dresses for the summer.  Bonus points if they are “shapewear light,” meaning they suck in my post-partum belly but don’t constrict, so I can wear them with a tee shirt dress all day and feel comfortable. 


I typically wear Hanky Panky’s Eve thong underwear under dresses.  They’re seamless, comfortable, and no-show.

For something with some shapewear in it, there are a couple of options.  Yummie and Spanx both make thongs with high-waists to give you a slight slimming effect, as does a UK brand called Smoothees.  For something more affordable, H&M makes a light-shaping thong to slim the tummy.

I missed the reader’s original request for boyshorts.  I read the question too quickly, and thought she was merely looking for underwear under summer dresses.  I prefer thongs, because VPL is the bane of my jersey-dress dependent summer wardrobe, but ask for boyshorts, and boyshorts you shall receive.  Several very kind readers recommended the Jockey Skimmies in the comments.  I like the Yummie brand because they provide light shapewear that doesn’t feel like a cage; they also make a shaping boyshort. 

Hi Belle,

For medical reasons, I need to keep my right upper arm out of the sun for the next year.  I’ve got two weddings in June that will both be outdoors – one in Northern California near San Francisco and one by a lake in Montana between Missoula and Kalispell.  We are going to both in one trip so I’d prefer to pack just one dress. No black. Also, I can’t imagine spending more than $150 on a dress.  Suggestions?

Thanks! ALP

First off, let me say that if you’re headed to that region of Montana, you’re going to want to pack a warm shawl or a jacket.  Once the sun goes down, your summer nights get decidedly chilly.

Now to your real question, it is difficult to find a long sleeve dress that isn’t black.  I am loving this Aqua bell sleeve dress; very on trend in pale pink. This London dress is blush with a cool lace print to it.  This cobalt dress from Ralph Lauren is really bright, with the right accessories it would be lovely.  I also like this faux wrap in raspberry with a small cut-out detail.

Good afternoon!
I’m looking for a replacement for Hourglass Primer. I love the primer, but the price makes me cringe every time I run out. Any recommendations?
Thanks, SP

If you must use the Hourglass, I recommend buying the bigger $75 size.  Ounce for ounce, it’s a better deal than the smaller tubes.  But if you’re really looking to save money…The Interwebs informs me that the NYX Angel Veil is the closest drugstore alternative.

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  1. Ann says:

    Belle, don’t answer a question about boyshorts for under dresses with recommendations for thongs. In addition to comfort and shaping reasons, moms of babies and toddlers do a lot of bending down (getting kids in and out of car seats, strollers, etc.). SL, I recommend Jockey skimmies although they don’t do any tummy control. I also recommend Corporettemoms for mom-friendly fashion advice.

    • CR says:

      I agree. What a dumb response to a question about boyshorts.

      • Belle says:

        Or maybe I read the question too quickly, saw that she was looking for a recc for underwear for summer dresses and answered without seeing the boyshort piece.

      • Lynn says:

        Why are you all so bitchy to Belle? So she made a mistake and read the question too fast, happens to everyone. We’re talking about underwear for god’s sake. Calm the hell down.

        On another note, Belle, I noticed the London dress is no longer being sold and it’s gorgeous too =(. Anyways, don’t let people get you down. You rock. I’ve followed many bloggers and have un-followed many. Now I’m down to 2 including you. Keep it up!

        • Valerie says:

          @Lynn amen. Also, we don’t know what every new mom prefers…I have to imagine there’s a reason many companies make a shapewear thong, besides providing garment support for non-pregnant/non post-partum women.

    • NP says:

      agree. I thought maybe you posted the wrong question that you were answering

  2. Mrs. Jones says:

    Second the rec for Jockey Skimmies, the long ones not short ones.
    I hate hate hate thongs.

    • Anon says:

      Seriously on the thong recc..why? Just so you can affiliate link another product? Also, the hourglass primer? She asked for a replacement and you the response was “let me affiliate link the hourglass which you don’t want to use before, but also let me affiliate link this primer i’ve never used.” Pretty shameful.

      • Belle says:

        There’s nothing shameful about it. Maybe someone who didn’t write the question would want to know which primer she was trying to replace that this was a dupe for?

        As for the thong recommendation, the original question was fairly individualized, so I decided to answer the potential question of which underwear I think are best under summer dresses for women who aren’t looking for such a specific option.

        If you’re opposed to affiliate links, then don’t click them.

  3. Natalie says:

    Jockey Skimmies are lifesavers for me in the summer – I don’t wear anything else under skirts/dresses. Helps with a little bit slimming, but also prevents chafing/chub rub. I can usually find them on Amazon or with a coupon at Macy’s or elsewhere for $15-ish each but never more than $20.

    • Maddy says:

      Cosign all of this. Jockey Skimmies are a must during warmer months (I’m wearing a pair right now). They come in a lot of neutral colors, are pretty affordable, and easy to find. They are not in any way constricting or body shaping, but they do smooth things out and allow you to walk around all day thigh-rub free.

      • CLS says:

        I agree with the Jockey undershorts – they have a variety of them in a bunch of lengths and materials. I have a thicker pair for the winter, and a thinner “breathable” pair for the summer which have a bit of a “slimming” effect without being like spanx, which i CANNOT wear. I just can’t do it –

        I wear the jockey’s under t-shirt dresses all the time and the ones I have come up pretty high so it smooths everything out. And they don’t ride up – that’s the problem I had with so many of the other brands. THey also come in a variety of colors and “nude for you” colors too. If you have a jockey outlet nearby or visit one, they sell them there and they usually have some sort of extra sale or deal so they aren’t terribly expensive and have lasted a LONG time with washing on delicate in a lingerie bag (not much time for real handwashing.)

        Good luck – as a mom, this is a challenge and my thighs are so much happier after finding them.

  4. Nicole says:

    While not boyshorts per se (they’re a little too long to be true boyshorts), NY Mag did a post on “shapewear” for under dresses just recently, and recommended the Undersummers. As a postpartum mom herself, I ran out to purchase them, and can tell you, it does exactly what you’re looking for – smooth over the postpartum belly and thighs, but are in no way constricting like spanx. While I don’t know if they’d be invisible under a tshirt dress, they certainly were under the dresses and skirts I’ve worn to work in the past week. Highly recommend.

  5. Sofie says:

    I also love the Jockey Skimmies Slipshort, and wear them under dresses all spring and summer. I don’t wear them for shapewear purposes so I can’t really speak to that aspect, but it’s been great to add a bit of opaque-ness to some of my thinner summer dresses. I also tend to be cold pretty much all the time, and wearing the short helps me retain some body heat without resorting to wearing tights when the weather is nice. In terms of sizing, I am almost always a size XS but wear a size S in the slipshort. Highly recommend.

  6. Julia says:

    I love the Sarah dress! I wouldn’t cover up the best part of it with a jacket. I wear mine all the time to important meetings (at a formallaw firm) without a jacket. I personally don’t like wearing suit jackets or blazers, so at some point I just decided to embrace the idea that a nice dress is just as formal as a suit (because they are! and my male colleagues see them the same way — one has even said my dresses are “suit equivalents”).

    • Alex at MM.LaFleur says:

      Hi Julia! Delighted to hear you’re a fan of the Sarah dress, and we love that you’re comfortable wearing it without a jacket. All the better to see the shoulder details!

  7. Cat says:

    I wear the Nikepro 5″ cool shorts under every skirt and dress; more heft than Jockey skimmies and def no shame if they peek out from under a casual dress when I’m playing with kids or dogs or crawling around grabbing a powercord under a table. Waist is comfy, non-digging and they never EVER ride up even on my rather thunderous thighs.

    The only downside is when wearing lighter colored dresses/skirts and the dark shorts show through.

    • Abbie says:

      Amen. I wear Nike these Nike shorts under all of my summer dresses! So comfortable, and I like that they are a bit more substantial than undies.

  8. Allison says:

    ALP- Can you wear off the shoulder? (Not sure where on the upper arm needs sun protection.) Rent the runway has some beautiful off the shoulder bell sleeve dresses in your price range as well!

  9. Michelle says:

    When I can’t figure out how to style a blazer with a dress, I put a white button down under instead. Looks great!

    • Jenna says:

      April 21, 2017 at 10:28 am
      I do this, but I like to pair a silk blouse (with or without a “bow” underneath for even more of a dressy look. I usually pick something with an interesting neckline (like a tie, as stated above) or something like this: (I have it in a cream color that pairs well with everything).

  10. Rachel says:

    Re: an alternative to the Hourglass Primer, I vote for the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer – #4 Nourishing Primer. It is less tacky than Hourglass, but I honestly like the way that it wears better and it is more affordable, but not cheap. If you’re more oily/dry, the Wet ‘N Wild CoverAll Face Primer is surprisingly good if you’re looking for a lightweight but ‘sticky’ formula. If you want a more dewy finish, The Ordinary’s High Spreadability Fluid Primer is great if you don’t wear an oil based foundation.

  11. Bron says:

    I have the jockey slimmies and like those just for coverage, but I highly recommend the uniqlo body shapers for shaping. I can’t wear spanx because they tend to cut in at the edges, especially the thighs and case a bulge. And I’m not a big lady! THe uniqlo ones are mesh, worked GREAT in hot/humid Australia and have the strength to control but are smooth at the legs. And they are $10…

  12. Lexi says:

    I love pettipants for summer. And don’t have to worry about flashing my chones.

    • Another Mary says:

      I have a couple pairs of Jockey Skimmies. I like them, but sometimes I wish I could wear something looser. Thanks for reminding me of these. They remind me of my grandma, but I do love the feel of slippery fabric so I should give them a try.

  13. Maia says:

    I was confused about the thong recs as well. Re-read the paragraph three times. Try Soma Intimates. I’m a convert after a year of wearing this brand exclusively. They make light shapewear and seamless undies that don’t ride up! I haven’t tried their boyshorts, but if they’re half-as-good as the underwear you’ll have a winner.

  14. HH says:

    ALP – Boden has some lovely dresses with sleeves, though, some of them are over $150. This one isn’t: (Not sure the level of formality of the weddings…) Also, I second Belle’s suggestion to carry a light shawl or light jacket. I attended a wedding in Sonoma a few years ago and it was surprising how chilly it was after sunset.

  15. thb says:

    Belle –

    Your readers are just the best. Great recommendations from you and the readers comments.

  16. C says:

    Any underwear recommendations for MM. LaFleur dresses in particular? I have the Sarah and the Rachel and love them. However, I cannot figure out what to wear underneath! The dresses are not too tight on me (and actually have quite a bit of give) but the fabric is quite clingy and it shows everything.

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