Ask the Editor: Vol. II, No. Two

Aug 26, 2021

Well, I’m feeling a little depleted today, so let’s take it easy and answer some reader questions.  Nothing like a good Q&A to brighten up the afternoon.

Hi, Abra-

I am a lawyer in the South. Two friends were recently appointed to the federal bench (crazy, right?) and will have investitures early next year. I am speaking at one. I need a great suit I can wear to both (or two suits if they are just amazing). I imagine navy and either skirted or with a dress but open to anything you recommend. Something feminine but professional (because so.many.fancy.people) and not the usual Ann Taylor/J. Crew deal. Any suggestions? Happy to spend real money on something great.

Thanks much, Katie

Let me suggest a few brands that I think have great suiting in a higher price point.

First, we have our fine friends at Hugo Boss.  They’re suiting is great (runs a hair small), and can be bought at full price or picked up at Nordstrom Rack and Off 5th for less.

Another great option is Brooks Brothers.  Their suits are nicer than AT or J.Crew.  They’re also deeply discounted right now ($500 jackets are $200).  I love this basic navy suit (also in petite).

Looking for something unique?  This Chiara Boni suit caught my eye.  So chic.

Abra:

I’m heading back to the office and need comfortable shoes. I’m hoping to get a pair of brown or tan leather loafers. I was thinking of going with Birdies but they’re not doing the Starlings in leather anymore. I have flat feet (so flat) so they need to have some cushioning. 

Jaime

I was also disappointed to see that Birdie’s is only making suede now.  It rains where I live, so those are not even an option for me (or anyone who commutes).  Bad brand decisions abound.  But there are other options.

Nordstrom has a whole section of comfort flats now.  From that selection, I can recommend these pointed toe Vionic flats (style like this pair from M.Gemi, which are also fab) and these FitFlop ballet flats, which are heartily endorsed by a doctor friend who stands all day, every day.

Need something under-$50?  My former assistant swore by these Lucky Brand flats.  She had every color they’d ever made.

If anyone has any other recommendations, please leave them in the comments. Comfortable shoes is always a hot topic.

Dear Abra,

You posted a lippie last week to your Insta and I didn’t buy it when I should have. What was it again?

KL

Oh my gosh. I am obsessed with Gucci’s Rouge de Beaute lipstick.  The color I like best is Call It a Day, but I love it so much, I’m also going to buy Jody Wild Mauve.

Belle:

A few years ago I bought the Aphorism Night is Young face oil at your suggestion, and became as obsessed as you were.  By the time I went to buy my second bottle, they were out of business.  I haven’t found a similar product that I like as well.  Have you?

Stacey

I get some version of this email constantly.  I love Aphorism.  You loved Aphorism.  I was so sad when she closed up shop.  I have found nothing close. Nothing. It’s so sad.

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  1. Andrea says:

    Has anyone tried Vintner’s Daughter skin care? I hear many ladies say it’s a holy grail level product but it’s a little pricey for my usual skin care spend. Curious if any of you ladies use it, love it, hate it.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery Belle!

    • Stefanie S says:

      I tried it, but didn’t really see a difference that made it worth the price tag.

    • Megan says:

      I haven’t tried Vintner’s Daughter, but in my efforts to find a less expensive natural skincare company that produces face oils, I came across Laurel Organics. They are based out of California and use high quality ingredients. I have acne prone skin, and love their Balance Serum. I’ve also had luck with their Recovery Balm in the dry winter months.

    • Susan says:

      I tried Vintner’s Daughter, and liked it so much I bought it twice. Problem is, it’s *really* expensive for what it is—a nice smelling face oil. I didn’t see any real impact on my skin other than the glow that cheaper, less fancy oils can give you also. If money were no object I’d buy again, but in this economy and with other high price items that really show impact (CE Ferulic, for one), I chose not to re-buy for now. Also, don’t do the Vintner’s daughter Essence, it is not the same and the smell is kinda gross.

      • Tiffany says:

        I completely agree, Susan! I love the oil, it smells amazing, and if money were no object I would continue to repurchase… alas, I don’t think it does anything that a cheaper face oil doesn’t do. I, too, will be saving my dollars for products with more impact, like CE Ferulic!

        • Leah says:

          Try the brand Maelove. They have a Love31 oil that is REALLY similar and much less expensive. I had the same experience that V didn’t feel worth the money, but really liking Maelove.

  2. Jill says:

    Another comfortable loafer that looks similar to those M Gemi and Vionic is the Susina Kellen loafer, frequently available at Nordstrom Rack: https://www.nordstromrack.com/s/susina-kellen-almond-toe-loafer-wide-width-available/6064249

    The leather upper is soft and supple so it doesn’t rub against your skin, and the sole and pointed toe provide a bit of structure for more polished look.

  3. Stella Louise says:

    This might be a good substitute for Aphorism: https://khynandgrail.com/

  4. TheLoop says:

    I recently tried face oils from Ayurveda Experience coz they were all over my Insta. Really good! My skin feels more even toned and glowy all day long.

  5. Jess says:

    I would love a post about what to do if you are 40 and just interesting the work force! This is my situation (I’ve been a SAHM), and I’d love something not precisely capsule wardrobe ideas, but more along the lines of “these 10 items are a must”, etc. Professional to business casual will be my rules. So the comfy shoes are right up my alley!

  6. Rachael says:

    It’s always such a bummer when a great product is discontinued, especially with how much crap seems to hang around. If you’re still looking for a great face oil I’d recommend the Restorative Face Oil from Good Juju Herbal (https://www.goodjujuherbal.com/collections/facial-products/products/restorative-face-oil?variant=31770401505349). They’re an all natural/”clean” company with great products without all the “woowoo” or questionable “clean” marketing BS (looking at you Goop…)

  7. Kristen says:

    For interesting work suits and dresses, I like the Fold London. I’ve also found good stuff at LK Bennett in the last, but not as much lately.

  8. Shawna says:

    I’ve recently been on the hunt for comfortable flats as I transition back to the office. I had good luck with Aerosoles! I replaced my suede Birdies (they got so dirty!) with these leather drivers. Super comfy and I have a slightly wider foot and they fit great with no pinching or tightness.
    https://www.aerosoles.com/collections/drivers/products/over-drive-black-genuine-leather?variant=28763397128276

  9. Rose says:

    I have been loving Leahlani, https://www.leahlaniskincare.com/, especially the Mahina evening moisturizer.

  10. Emily says:

    Does anyone else feel like Brooks Brothers suiting and dresses are small on top? With the dresses especially, I feel like I cannot fit both my arms and my boobs even in larger sizes.

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