Ask the Edit: Vol. V, No. Two

Lined pants, stores for plus-size readers, spot-treatments for acne, and more.  You had questions, I have answers.  Let’s Ask the Edit.

Hi Abra,

I’ve been a big fan for 6 years now! I moved from Washington, DC to a much less formal setting in CA. I went from suits every day to pretty much an “anything goes” environment. I prefer to stay dressier and like to wear dress slacks, a nice shirt, and a sweater of some sort. I’m on the hunt for fully lined ankle pants to wear with loafers. It seems most of my normal retailers have decided to go away from making lined pants.

Any help? LT

When looking for fully lined pants, think about where your great aunt would shop.  Talbot’s slim ankle pant is fully lined and comes in new colors every season.  Talbot’s Chatham ankle pant also comes in a wide range of colors.  They also come in plus-size and petite sizes.

Other stores carry fully lined pants, but not as consistently.  Anne Klein is a brand that usually lines its professional pants.  These ankle-length suit pants are lined.  Boden occasionally offers lined pants, like this dotted pair.  Banana Republic also offers lined pants, but they don’t currently have any ankle pants that are lined.

Hi Abra,

You’re the only straight size blogger I follow because you’re the only one who doesn’t pretend that women who wear plus sized clothing don’t exist.  Where do you look for plus sizes?  I feel like I’m only shopping at Nordstrom and Lane Bryant, and I’m stuck in a rut.


When I’m hunting for plus-size clothing, I’m looking for something that I would buy.  I can’t fully understand the challenges of dressing your body type, but I can pick the same stylish items I’d choose for myself.  There are a few retailers that function as go-tos for me.

Eloquii has on-trend, chic pieces.  This puff-sleeve shift, for example.  I’d buy that for myself, right now.  Violeta from Mango runs sizes 10-22, so it’s not truly plus-size, but has really cute things.  ASOS Curve is another place I like to shop, mostly because they carry the same clothing as the misses dept. in many cases.  Also, LOFT is opening a plus-size shop next month, so that’ll be a nice option when it opens.


My skin is usually pretty clear, but around my period, watch out.  I usually get one or two huge zits on my chin or cheek and it’s annoying.  Do you use a spot treatment for your acne that you like?  I’ve tried every over the counter the Duane Reade offers, and nothing.

Please help. AL

Because I suffer from moderate acne, a spot treatment would basically be useless to me.  However, I do have one recommendation.  CosRx Acne Pimple Patches.  The patches draw the impurities and sebum out of the blemish while you sleep.  Two or three nights and most of my larger spots are flattened.

CosRX has, by far, the best acne products on the market.  Their Whitehead Power Liquid and Blackhead Power Liquid are both great products.  I use their one-step Pimple Clear Pads on my chest and shoulders if I have body acne.

My flats that I wear barefoot – slip on sneakers and ballet flats – are starting to smell. I am in need of a deodorizing spray to fight the bacteria and unpleasant odor. I hate slipping my clean feet into stinky shoes in the morning – or worse, taking them off for a pedicure or at a friends house and realizing that my feet now stink too. Do you have a product recommendation?

Thank you! AGB

The simplest way to deodorize your shoes is with a vodka/water dilution.  For some reason, cheaper vodkas work better.  Just mix it up in a spray bottle and keep it by the door.  It works better than any retail product that I’ve tried.


What do you wear over your workout tops?  I want something I can just pull on after yoga but not look schlubby.  Not a zip up, but something sporty.

Sincerely, Stacie

It depends on the type of workout I’m doing.  If I’m just going to yoga, I won’t sweat much so a wrap-style like this Athleta Studio Wrap works.  I also like the sweatshirts they make; they’re way to chic for their own good.

Old Navy makes some nice pieces.  This Moto Jacket style is a good option.  I also like their star-print 1/4 zip pullover.  And, of course, there’s always a puffer vest.

Hi Abra,

What handbag would you use when it’s so cold that a wool coat won’t cut it, and you have to resort to wearing a heavy duty parka? My usual leather handbags look odd when paired with Canada Goose and its ilk. Any suggestions?

– Evie 

My leather satchel looks odd with my winter parka as well, but I don’t know that it can be helped.  It’s cold, I need to be warm.  Sacrifices have to be made.

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  1. Molly says:

    Having similar issues to question #1. Any suggestion for what to wear under unlined pants you already own?

    January 18, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Spanx footless nylons work. You can also have a liner put in. I did that with a pair of ivory pants, it was about $60.

      January 18, 2018/Reply
  2. Sarah says:

    I would add to the plus-size list (with another name you love, Belle). MM. LaFleur increased their line last year with their “First Addition” sizing for plus sizes. Great splurge-worthy pieces.

    January 18, 2018/Reply
    • LS says:

      I’m not plus-sized, but I was going to come here to suggest the same thing. The MM plus line looks absolutely amazing – I think the models look better than the straight sized line.

      January 18, 2018/Reply
  3. Connie says:

    I have these pants from Banana Republic (just bought them) and they are lined – the web site just fails to mention that. They hit me a little lower than the model in the picture, and I had a tailor take them up just a bit.

    January 18, 2018/Reply
    • RKT says:

      Yes, I was going to recommend those Ryan pants too – just wore them yesterday and they are definitely lined. The website used to indicate that.

      January 18, 2018/Reply
  4. Chris says:

    AL- I used to get the worst breakouts around my period. What has totally tamed and nearly eliminated them is using Stridex Max Strength pads on my chin/jaw (the only spot I would breakout) twice a day religiously. No skipping. I cut them into fourths and a cheap box will last half a year. I was using SA products but the frequency and consistency really made a difference. Even when I do breakout it is so much less inflamed and painful then it used to be.

    Seriously life changing!

    January 18, 2018/Reply
  5. Bethany says:

    I don’t even use a purse with my big winter coat. Everything fits in the giant pockets!

    January 18, 2018/Reply
    • Ree says:

      I was going to say the same – I have a smaller card wallet I use in winter that fits in the inside chest pocket of my heavy coat and luckily that pocket is also big enough to carry my chapstick and iPhone(priorities, obviously haha!)
      If I need anything else, I put them in the console of my car or in my hand pockets, but I’ve found I really like not carrying a purse when I’m wearing my big jacket and boots and scarves and hats, it’s kind of freeing.
      Oh I’ll also give some things to my husband, because in the summer he’s always passing me stuff to carry in my purse, like koozies, snacks, extra shirts, sunscreen, sunglasses, so I figure it’s only fair he carry some of my stuff in the winter because his jacket has THREE inside chest pockets LOL!

      January 18, 2018/Reply
  6. Jess says:

    For spot pimples, I use tea tree oil. I don’t have too many issues with my face, but my butt breaks out all the time. I put it on at night, don’t wear underwear so they aren’t being rubbed, and by morning they are usually a lot better. I just repeat until they’re gone.

    January 18, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      That’s from your hair conditioner. I developed the same problem out of nowhere last summer thanks to an Oribe conditioning pack.

      January 18, 2018/Reply
  7. Christine says:

    You recommended the pimple patches in the past, and I cannot be without them now. The CosRX brand are great, but I also really loved the Nexcare brand. I usually go with whichever one has the lower price per patch at the time I need them on Amazon.

    January 18, 2018/Reply
  8. Samantha says:

    This is the only zit treatment that has worked consistently for me:

    Apply it as soon as you feel a zit coming and it greatly reduces the severity and duration.

    Also, dairy affects chin acne so try to reduce consumption around that time of month.

    January 18, 2018/Reply
    • ssss says:

      Dairy causes cystic acne on my chin that coinicides with my cycle. On months that I keep my consumption low, I don’t have any issues. Other months when cheese has been too delicious, I find that the CosRX patches work wonders. I haven’t yet tried timing the consumption based on the week to see if it makes a difference.

      January 18, 2018/Reply
  9. Monica T says:

    Love the CosRX pimple patches, and I got them from Amazon once and they were legit, but the second time from another seller they were counterfeits, like typo on the package counterfeit! Amazon made it right, but Ulta was out of stock and I had to wait…it’s hard to live without them now!

    For barefoot flats, I would recommend not going barefoot at all. I wear little invisible socks with my slip-ons and it has completely eliminated the smelly foot problem. There are some shoes it’s just impossible to destink. They have a huge variety on Zappos, but I like the cotton weight ones to really be like a sock.

    January 18, 2018/Reply
    • HH says:

      Co-signing wearing the little sock liners, or as my husband calls them “(feet) canoes.” I have a range of styles for different shoes. Also, they’re so dowdy, but knee-highs work well if you’re wearing trousers or pants.

      I’ll have to try the diluted vodka solution on a pair of Puma flats that got worn in the rain and have never been the same.

      January 24, 2018/Reply
  10. Kate says:

    Second the vodka/water for stinky shoes. I’ve also found the Whole Foods hand sanitizer spray works really well (theirs seems to have more potent alcohol and has nice scents). My Rothys, while cool and washable, STINK. The hand sanitizer spray makes them wearable again. .

    January 18, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Have you washed your Rothy’s yet?

      January 18, 2018/Reply
      • Ashley says:

        Curious about washing my Rothys too! Mine also stink but I’m nervous to wash them. What has been your experience?

        January 19, 2018/Reply
        • Belle says:

          Wash them in a mesh bag with the soles, or you’ll lose a sole. I did. They take forever to dry, so wash them when you know you won’t need to wear them for at least a day.

          January 19, 2018/Reply
    • Kelly says:

      I’ll look out for some hand sanitizer to keep at my desk for those days when I *should* have washed my Rothy’s, but didn’t. Wearing them everyday doesn’t allow for much drying time.

      January 18, 2018/Reply
  11. Yael Cohen says:

    Re: Plus size options: Talbots has some great professional wear and sweaters in plus sizes (12-24) (including petite options up to size 22!). Lands End, interestingly enough, has a good amount too. My sister’s dream is to own everything Universal Standard makes. Hope that helps!

    January 18, 2018/Reply
  12. MDH says:

    For the plus size question – I would also recommend trying Gwynnie Bee or Rent the Runway Unlimited. RTR Unlimited actually has Eloquii stuff and has more plus sizes than you would think. If it’s not worth the monthly cost, then you can always cancel.

    Totally agree with the Athleta cover-up rec! They have a lot of great zip-ups in tech materials as well. Though I prefer Lululemon pants, I like Athleta zips way better. They also have really cute sweatshirts. I wear these even under my jackets to kind of act as a barrier between the workout grime and my coat. I also wear shep shirts from VV for comfort and warmth.

    January 18, 2018/Reply
  13. anna says:

    For the shoes, wearing real leather shoes makes a huge difference. I’ve also gotten washable, terry cloth insoles from Amazon that help absorb moisture and prevent odor.

    As far as bags with coats, the Lo & Sons OG and OMG bags are businesslike but don’t look too odd with a puffer coat.

    January 18, 2018/Reply
  14. Lexi says:

    I’d add Universal Standard at to plus size clothing options. They offer sizes 10-28.

    January 18, 2018/Reply
  15. Keilexandra says:

    I’m a minor-acne kind of person (basically clear skin as long as I don’t put anything on it, including makeup or hands) and my spot treatment go-to is Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10. It’s 10% benzoyl peroxide and I can feel my skin shriveling up wherever I put it on–so definitely don’t recommend as an all-over treatment–but it totally works for stopping a few pimples. Especially if I catch them early enough in the tender-clogged-pore stage.

    January 18, 2018/Reply
  16. Ashley says:

    Clinique Acne solutions clearing gel is another good option. I don’t have cystic acne or really acne at all but I do get some deep stubborn pimples. I usually do a charcoal mask or clay mask, moisturize and then add the gel at night. In the morning, the pimple has usually come to a head and will start healing. The bottle lasts a while too!

    January 19, 2018/Reply
  17. Julie T says:

    I have enjoyed reading your blog for several years, however, I was disappointed in your description of Talbots as “where your great aunt would shop.” It can be a challenge to find appropriate professional business attire and Talbots always has the basics.

    January 19, 2018/Reply