Style + Ask the Edit

Ask the Edit Vol. IV, No. Thirty-Six

Makeup bags, work flats, basic cardigans and more answers to reader questions in this week’s Ask the Edit.

Abra/Belle –

Any good dupes for the Cuyana travel cases?

– Katherine 

The issue with finding a cheaper version of the Cuyana makeup bags ($110 for two) is that they’re leather.  Since this is a pricey material, there’s definitely a floor on the price.

On Etsy, you can sometimes find affordable leather bags.  I like this $23 option, but that’s just for one case.

On the retail market, this Henri Bendel case has a similar dome shape, but it’s still $58 for one.  This ILI case on Rue La La runs $25 for one.  If you don’t care about leather and you just want a bargain, you can get three Adrienne Vittadini cases for $15.

Hi Belle (Abra) – 

My sweet husband didn’t shut the closet door all the way, and my dog (Kiddo – a known shoe chewer) ate the bow off my favorite pair of work flats! They were probably on their last season anyway but I haven’t found anything suitable to replace them yet. I like pointed toe, a bow detail – or other interesting detail – and a wider toe box, for comfort. Leather is better but would do suede too. 

Thanks in advance for any help! Jenny 

Oh, life with dogs.  Avery took out a pair of M.Gemi flats early in her tenure.  I’m still working on forgiving her.

As for your flats, pointed toe, bow, black, leather, got it.  I have these Land’s End flats.  These Tommy Hilfiger flats are worth a look.  These Sam Edelman bow flats are also worth a glance.

For other interesting details, try a knotted shoe.  These Steve Madden d’Orsay knot fronts are probably my favorite.  These tassel flats also caught my eye.

Dear Belle,

Can you help me find some classic cardigans?  Nothing chunky, nothing oversized, nothing with a weird sleeve or a high-low shape.  I just need some regular crewneck “fancy” cardigans like we used to buy at J.Crew.

Sincerely, Sam

Bloomingdale’s C cashmere line has a great cashmere cardi for just $89.  Comes in every color.  Everlane is offering a cashmere option as well.

I also found this navy Tommy Hilfiger cardigan that looks positively preppy.  The Gap has several colors in stock for under-$50.  Land’s End also has their essential crewneck in cotton for those with wool allergies.

Plus?  Lane Bryant has you covered.  Petite? Try Petit Bateau.  Maternity?  Hit up Old Navy.

Hi Belle,

Can you suggest any point or almond toe flat or 1/2-inch heel leather booties? I injured my knee/ankle, but I still want to wear booties for fall.

– Martha 


These Blondo Lox booties fit the bill; they’re also waterproof (which is a nice bonus).  Next on the list are the slightly outdoorsy Clark’s.  These Via Spiga Vaughan booties have a moto, modern vibe.  These Sole Society boots are another good option.

It’ll be a challenge to find many non-casual options.  Ankle boots and flat aren’t usually words that go together, since ankle points cut off the leg line and a heel is usually needed to lengthen it again.  So most flat or near-flat boots you find will be casual.

Dear Belle,

I need a gift for my SIL that wows for under-$60.  She loves makeup and skincare.  What do you have for me?


It’s difficult to buy makeup for another person given that it’s dependent on their coloring, their taste, their preferences, etc.  But there are a few products that could work.

A Dior lipstick set has a certain wow-factor to it.  This Nude Drama eye palette from Bobbi Brown would work on virtually every skin tone for day or night makeup.  And these cool CoverFX color drops let you turn any foundation or moisturizer into a highlighter, contour, or strobing liquid.

For skincare, this Tatcha Bestsellers Set is a winner.  The brand has a total cult following.  For something completely on trend, this Squalane Superstars set contains the year’s newest must have ingredient to moisturize skin.


Can you recommend a pomade that isn’t sticky or thick?  I need a little hold for my new hair style, but they all make my hair too thick and greasy.  Maybe a gel?  I don’t know.  Help.


I’ve never used a pomade.  Lucky for you, it’s all my boyfriend uses and he is super picky about his hair products.  He swears by this medium-hold pomade from Davines.

My other recommendation who comes from my friend Corinne who uses this Redken cream to give her hair hold with a no product feel.  She advises you to start with a tiny amount and build-up, since you never know what will be too much.

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  1. EllE says:

    Jenny – J Crew Factory has black bow flats on sale right now that might work.

    November 21, 2017/Reply
    • Jenny says:

      Thanks Abra & Elle!

      November 21, 2017/Reply
  2. Katie C. says:

    To the two of you asking about shoes, M. Gemi and Sam Edelman will both be having sales this weekend (Sam Edelman’s has already begun), so definitely check them both out if you’re in the market for new work shoes! I put together a guide on my blog if you think it will be helpful.

    For the travel case, Henri Bendel is also running a sale right now. 20% off under $200, 25% off up to $200 and 30% off $300 plus. So that brings the price down on the cute one Belle suggested!

    November 21, 2017/Reply
  3. a says:

    Not sure on the price point for the black flats, but I love these tory burch ones. Tory Burch is currently running a 30% off promo, which makes these somewhat more reasonable.

    November 21, 2017/Reply
  4. AnnieQ says:

    For cashmere, check out Isle of Skye. Yes, the price tag is quite high ($275 for a crew neck) — but they DON’T PILL!!! You can wear one of these for the next 20 years. That makes it a better deal than any other. I love mine.

    November 22, 2017/Reply
  5. Michaela says:

    I have that exact pair of Blondo boots and I love them. I’ve worn them walking all over Europe and they’re very comfortable. The waterproof factor is also great.

    November 22, 2017/Reply
  6. Martha says:

    Thanks Belle; I purchased the Blondo booties.

    November 29, 2017/Reply