Ask the Edit: Vol. V, No. Sixteen

Apr 5, 2018

Today, I’m answering some fantastic reader questions.  From a new mom who needs a one-piece swimsuit to a bargain shopper who needs to style her new purple blazer.  Those questions and more await in this week’s Ask the Edit.

Dear Belle,

I’ve lost my beloved trusty denim jacket. I’m in the market for a new one but the search has only turned up pieces that are very boxy and unflattering or VERY edgy/trendy with too much distressing or adornment. I’d like something with a darker wash, with some stretch and a flattering fit that I can wear with casual wear and dresses – something classic with a little twist? Any ideas? thanks, love the blog!

– Lauren

I love a good jean jacket.  Maybe it’s the Montanan in me, but a jean jacket with a turned up sleeve and a sundress is what summer is made of.  So let’s shop!

For a dark jacket, I found this Mavi jacket and this J Brand jacket.  For an edgy classic, the Levi’s trucker jacket in a medium wash is a good choice.  For something under-$50, try this Melrose & Market jacket or this Old Navy jacket (also in plus).


Do you have a drugstore hairspray that you like?  I don’t have the money for Drybar, but the D.C. humidity is coming and I need help.  


The best inexpensive hairspray on the market is Freeze It.  It’s the number one love of all the big-haired pageant girls out there.  If you can’t find it, Elnett is a close second.

Hi Belle,

I was fortunate enough to be chosen for a prestigious national early career award in my field of work. Recipients of the award will be recognized at an afternoon/early evening ceremony and cocktail reception in June. It’s a somewhat conservative crowd. Do you have any advice on type of dress, shoes, and accessories? And any general advice on what colors to wear and how to do one’s makeup accordingly?

Thanks! -Anonymous

For makeup, you’re looking for subtle glamour.  Something like Lisa Eldridge’s classic makeup look.

The event is in the afternoon, so no cocktail attire.  I would choose a simple dress in a solid color.  I recommend the MM.LaFleur Taylor dress (I own it in three colors, and love all of them.).  Another option would be a wrap dress like this dark green J.Crew or this $35 purple wrap from Macy’s.  I also like this Donna Morgan dress for under-$50.

Plus-size? This City Chic wrap dress has a beautiful deep teal color.  Or try this refined ponte sheath (also in petites).

Hi Belle,

Hoping you can help with what seems to be an impossible request. I’m looking for work pants in black/navy/gray to wear as separates that are skinny and not cropped. I’m a taller gal (5’11”) and I’d like pants that I can wear with flats or heels around 2″, but again, not cropped.I love a ponte pant, but I don’t want to look like I’m wearing leggings with a work blouse. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance! Anon

The difficulty is that the traditional length for a skinny pant is ankle length.  But ankle is longer than the traditional cropped length which is usually 1-2″ shorter.

You’re best bet would be a ponte pant made specifically for teal women.  The J.Crew Any Day pant comes in a tall length with a 29.5″ inseam.  Ann Taylor’s tall ponte pants come with a 30.5″ inseam.  Chico’s has a ponte pant with a 31″ inseam.  But, the longest inseam on any ponte pant I found was Old Navy, with a 33″ inseam.

Hi Belle –

Last summer I had a baby and couldn’t fit into any of my non-maternity clothes. With this summer coming up, I have some vacations planned where I will be in a bathing suit. All my bathing suits are two pieces, and I don’t feel like they are appropriate given that I’m now a mom, plus they don’t fit the same. What do you recommend? I have a small bust,  a small pooch that hasn’t gone away, and some extra heft in my thighs. 

Thanks, Michelle

If you’re not feeling great about your body, your best choice is a one piece in a bright color.  Something fun and playful that makes you feel happy.

This laser-cut one-piece swimsuit from Merona is wonderful.  Gapfit also has a really fun striped one-piece swimsuit.  This LOFT ruffle-front halter is also fantastic.  And for a little more lift, J.Crew has an under-wire swimsuit in several colors.

Plus-size?  This smooth and slim underwire suit from Old Navy and this coral Charlotte Russe suit both caught my eye.

Hi Belle,

I just picked up this blazer during Banana Republic’s 40% off sale.  How would you style it for work? For church and brunch?

Thanks!  -J

For Work.  Navy pencil skirt + White bow-neck blouse + Navy pumps

For Church. White fit-and-flare dress + Dark purple pump + push-up the sleeve

For Brunch. Ruffle camisole + Distressed boyfriend jean + Silver sneakers

The key to wearing a colored blazer is neutral separates.  Reach into your closet and put on your favorite neutral (beige/grey/black/navy/white) outfit, then add the jacket.  You basically have to play dress-up inside your own wardrobe.

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  1. Amy says:

    Hey! On the topic of bathing suits… I remember you wore a VERY cute one-piece with a plunging neckline (maybe in a gray or champagne color?) Do you have a link to that suit? Thanks! PS Love the blog.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Shoutout to Anon, the tall lady looking for slim work pants. I’m also on a personal quest for law firm friendly pants with a 31″ inseam, which is nearly impossible. I have had some luck with Banana Republic’s Sloan Skinny pant in “long,” which is exactly 31″. I also tried the Talbots Chatham pant in long, but was not a good fit for my hips.

    • Anna says:

      Oh the woes of being tall … I know them well! I’m also 5’11” and am convinced the pants struggle will be a lifelong one. Two options not previously mentioned. I’ve had good success with Boden’s Richmond pants and LOFT’s Tall Ankle Pant (in Marissa and Julie cuts). Both hit at a great length on me and seemed to be appropriately sized on my leg. I’ve eyed JCrew’s Tall ‘Maddie’ pant that they recently brought back, as I owned a pair a few years ago and they seemed to fit your description. Good luck!

      • AML says:

        Also 5’11- I’ve found a new pant I like that comes in a long inseam. It isn’t ponte, but it is skinny. I love it- they haven’t stretched out either. It is the White House Black Market ultra slimming skinny pant. They are full length and hit in just the right spot.

    • Erin says:

      The j crew maddie pants are my new go to. Bought them in navy and then went back for the black. Also 5’11” with long legs relative to my height and the tall inseam is perfect. Be forwarned they run a hair big even by jcrew standards.

  3. Anon says:

    New mom here to an 8 month old, and I love my new Lands End tankinis. Big-busted, but also with a slight pooch here. Ease of a two-piece, comfort and coverage of a one-piece. Because no one has time to wrestle a baby and figure out how to pee (or BF) in a one piece. My super trendy, childless, skinny younger sister also complimented me on the suits, so go me!

    For those looking for tall work pants, Express had a slim or skinny cut editor two seasons ago in full length, might be worth stalking to see if it comes out again!

    • k-t says:

      Tankinis are definitely your friend when wrangling kids or doing anything active, really. Even if you aren’t tall, consider getting a tall top, as it will offer more coverage of your midsection.

      I second the Lands’ End tankini separates. Might be the only swimsuit brand that you don’t have to size up in.

      I also really like the Athleta tankini separates. The patterns are more trendy and youthful than Lands’ End.

  4. Megan says:

    I found a great denim jacket last year at Macy’s of all places. It was their Style & Co. brand… a nice dark wash, good stretch and very classic fit. I love it.

  5. Am says:

    RE Michelle’s swimsuit question: I got this suit in two colors last summer and I LOVE it: I put on a bit of weight in my stomach in the past few years (what up, anti-depressants!) and felt really comfortable in this. The design draws the eye up to the neckline without being too revealing, cinches your waist a bit, and doesn’t give you crazy tan lines. I’m a big fan!

  6. Murphy says:

    Congrats award winner! Have been in similar situations and choosing what to wear is tough. A lot of the time I go for a conservative dress/pencil skirt and plain top and dress it up with a bright blazer (you are young after all!) I find this works regardless of what other people there wear. Particularly if your field is male dominated.
    I will say, be comfortable. Be aware that for these types of events you can be standing on your feet for a long time and / or have photos taken of you seated. Thus you need comfortable shoes so you don’t look like a baby giraffe AND if wearing a skirt/dress make sure it covers your legs when you sit down, otherwise you will never want to see the photos again.

  7. Jen says:

    Denim Jacket – The new line from Target, Universal Thread (it’s basically Madewell knockoffs), has a great denim jacket that is getting great reviews from my friends.

  8. For the new mom — been there done that.

    I can recommend wholeheartedly the Seafolly Boyleg retro one piece.

    I have a small bust and the ruched area enhances that, the ruching on the bodice hides the pooch and the bum is like a little boyshort and not Brazilian sexy

  9. Jessica says:


    I bought the Merona swimsuit on Belle’s recommendation last week, and love it! I also got the Merona keyhole braided suit in teal, which is a total winner ( Found my summer suits!


  10. KK says:

    @Michelle with the post-baby bathing suits: You are beautiful just as you are. Rock a tiny bikini if you wanna!

    Girl power aside, I also recommend the mix-and-match tankini options from Lands End. You can pair a high-rise bottom with a flyaway top, giving you tummy support AND flowy camouflage. Not that you need it, gorgeous. 🙂

  11. Megan says:

    I’ve been eyeing the MM.LaFleur Taylor dress but haven’t pulled the trigger because I’m not sure how to style it in the transitional seasons. That front knot makes things tricky with toppers. What do you wear over your Taylor dresses in the spring and fall (and summer, when the AC is on high)? Thanks!

    • Belle says:

      v-neck blazers look great. long jackets. long cardigans. I’ve also worn boxy sweaters over it.

      • ManDy says:

        Thanks, Belle—I actually came here with the same question! Do you think MM LaFleur’s jardigan would look good with the Taylor dress?

    • LP says:

      I absolutely loved the Taylor when it first came out, and snapped it up in Viridian, but I do not find myself wearing it very often to work because I can’t figure out the right shoes to wear. Seems like it needs a heel because it hits me a little below the knee, but I never wear heels at work, only flats. Also, I feel like it looks funny with black tights, so I never wear it in the winter. Any suggestions?

      • Belle says:

        Hem it. If the issue is you need to show a bit more leg, hem it above the knee. That should spruce it up enough to wear with a pointed toe flats.

  12. K says:

    Does anyone know if that BR blazer is as machine-washable as it claims? If so I need to go suit shopping.

  13. Melissa says:

    Regarding Lauren’s denim jacket hunt – the reason you can’t find a classic is that they’re all hiding at the second hand stores! For real, I’ve never had trouble
    finding classic Levi denim jackets, among other brands, second hand. And bonus, they’re cheap. No need to be icked out by second hand as denim is fully washable. Sure, there are some real Debbie Gibson style oversize duds in the mix too, but a sweet find is the total thrill of the hunt.

  14. L says:

    Bought this suit or one similar to this when my kiddo got mobile (muddled through with two pieces during nursing days). It doesn’t ride up,it has light padding for modesty on chillier days but doesn’t look strange on a small bust. I was basically a AA cup after nursing, so the bust being small enough while the suit still fit my post baby midsection was key.

  15. J says:

    Thanks so much for the advice on my purple blazer! I hadn’t thought about navy, and I love it. I’d been really focused on gray (which I do love but wear too much). Also, OMG, I need silver sneakers now.

    I have two Old Navy denim jackets and have been very pleased. The first is cropped and I wore it all the time while pregnant. I don’t wear it much anymore. It isn’t as flattering on me now. Since then I bought a regular length one in the lighter color. I wear it all the time, and the quality has been great.

  16. Ashley says:

    I totally second the Freeze It hairspray. It’s all I use. You can find it at most CVS stores and it is much cheaper than what Amazon has it for. I wish Amazon stocked it with a lower price tag and I would have it on my subscribe & save list!

  17. jess says:


    Everlane just came out with denim jackets.

    I’ve also been on the hunt for a denim jacket, and this might be the one for me.


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