Opinion Page: Product Followups, Pt. VI

As a fashion blogger who regularly purchases the things I share on this page, I think it’s important to follow-up on past recommendations.  A product you loved for a month might wind up buried in a drawer.  A sweater you couldn’t get enough of in October, might be a pilly mess by November.  Here’s an update regarding some of my recent purchases.

After recommending the Dyson Prussian Blue Airwrap as a splurge gift in last week’s gift guides, I decided to pick one up for myself.  Opening the box, the product did not disappoint.  It is a beautiful piece of industrial design.  But how did it work?

After watching three video tutorials, it took me less than an hour to perfect the Airwrap technique. And my hair looked amazing — voluminous and wavy with just the right amount of bounce.  But the curls didn’t last the second day.  I tried a different prep spray, but the waves still couldn’t survive the night the ironed curls do.

I continued to use the Airwrap for a few days, but ultimately, the price forced a return. $600 + tax is a significant amount of money.  And while I think this product works really well and is a great way to style your hair without damaging heat, I just couldn’t make it fit in my budget right now.  But I loved it so much that I could end up with another down the line.

When the weather turned chilly two weeks ago, I was finally able to start wearing my Banana Republic Timeless Trench Coat.  And I have only one thing to say about it: Holy smokes, I cannot believe this coat is under-$300!

This coat is beautifully made.  The material is heavy.  The coat is fully lined.  And the little details — red accent-fabric under the collar, protected pockets, and more — are truly sublime.

I own two Burberry trench coats, and this is the best made trench coat I own.  Period.  And did I mention it was made with recycled bottles?

Go buy this coat.  Do not hesitate.  It is worth every penny.  Three colors, sizes XXS to XXL, petite and tall.

Also, if you’re curious about warmth, I wore this today in blustery conditions on a 38-degree morning and was cozy warm on my .75-mile walk into work.

I made a new rule that I’m not allowed to buy new skincare products until I work my way through all the products that are in my bathroom cabinet.  As a result, this Revolution Niacinamide Serum became part of my daily routine.

Within three weeks, my skin was bright, clear, and nearly free of acne.  Even through the come down from our second IVF cycle it was clear.  Then, I spilled the bottle and ran out.  Within four days, the acne was rearing its ugly head again.  So today, I broke my rule and bought a replacement bottle.  Some products are just too good to live without, especially when they’re under-$15.

If you told me that I’d be wearing leather leggings at 40, I’d have called you a liar.  But here we are.  Okay, 39, but the point stands.  Commando’s Perfect Control Faux-Leather Leggings are awesome.  They add a bit of rocker-chic to the every day.  They jazz up simple sweaters.  And they make your ass look great.  (No, really!)  Highly recommend.

Any specific products you’d like a follow-up on?  Leave them in the comments, and I’ll answer those queries next week.

{this post contains affiliate links that may generate commission for the author}



  1. Erica says:

    How do the commando leggings compare to the spanx faux leather leggings? I haven’t loved my spanx, but I think I need to go up a size and maybe I’d like them better.

    October 28, 2021/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I like the look of the Commando better than the Spanx, which lost their leather look after washing a few times. I find them to be fairly comfortable, and easy to move in, where the Spanx were always a little stiff in the seams.

      October 28, 2021/Reply
    • Colleen says:

      As an hourglass, I definitely prefer the commando over the spanx faux leather – more supportive & look more real than the spanx version. I love a lot of the spanx bottoms, but that was the one I could easily say wasn’t as good as the hype.

      November 5, 2021/Reply
  2. Taylor says:

    How do you style faux leather leggings for more casual wear (aka without heels and a shirt/sweater I can wash when a kid gets grossness on it)?

    October 28, 2021/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I’ve been wearing my oversize free people sweater with them. I also wear either black Rothy’s or sneakers with them.

      October 28, 2021/Reply
  3. Kaitlyn Vasko says:

    Do you like the Niacinamide serum you reference above more than the Peter Thomas Roth Niacinamide cream?

    I’ve been using the cream based on your rec a few months ago. I alternate with using that at night and then Tretinoin cream. My acne is relatively clear, but I’m also on 100mg. of Spironolactone. I’m combatting the acne on all fronts!

    October 28, 2021/Reply
  4. Michaela says:

    Do you like the Revolution serum more than the Paul Roth Niacinamide you also tried? Also curious if you’re still using the Inkey C-50 night treatment.

    Thanks for the follow ups!

    October 28, 2021/Reply
    • Belle says:

      It’s a different product. The concentration in the serum is much higher. I use the Paul Roth when my skin is dry instead of moisturizer. I use the Inkey on my chest acne, it works better for that than on my face.

      October 28, 2021/Reply
  5. Aam says:

    I feel like Banana Republic is really stepping up. I think their soft trench looks so beautiful. And their washable silk feels so so good.

    Any insights on sizing for the commando leggings?

    October 28, 2021/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I am a 6-8, and I am in a Medium.

      October 28, 2021/Reply
  6. Lee says:

    I am very intrigued by (faux) leather leggings, but I’m having a hard time spending $100 on something I may not end up being comfortable wearing. Any recommendations for an entry-level option so I can get used to the idea?

    October 28, 2021/Reply
    • Belle says:

      This is one item where the entry-level option won’t give you the same experience. The lower priced faux leather leggings tend to look and feel cheap. I had a $40 pair from Express and they were physically uncomfortable to wear. Sometimes, you can find these or the Spanx option on sale.

      October 28, 2021/Reply
    • Laura says:

      I had the same hesitation last winter before deciding to buy the Spanx faux leather during a Black Friday 20% online sale. *I. LOVE. THEM.* (I had to size up FWIW). I wear them with anything I’d wear leggings with and now have three pairs. I think they look just as good with sneakers and a puffy vest as they do with boots and a cute sweater.

      October 28, 2021/Reply
  7. EMM says:

    SO intrigued by that serum (especially given the review)! How do you fit it into your routine? Nighttime? Every night? Thanks!

    October 28, 2021/Reply
  8. Anne says:

    Would love to hear your follow-up thoughts on the SIO silicone masks/patches!

    October 28, 2021/Reply
  9. Lindsey says:

    Do you still use the Conair jumbo rollers? Trying to figure out which hot roller set to purchase. I kind of want to try the T3 set but the reviews are similar to Conair.

    October 28, 2021/Reply
    • Eliza says:

      I have both the T3 set and a Conair set (1.5 inch). Personally, I would just get the Conair set. The T3 set comes in a nice soft case, which is nicer for travel, but there is otherwise not much difference between the two sets in terms of how well they curl or volumize my hair.

      October 29, 2021/Reply
  10. Natalie says:

    Any good dupe for the free people ottoman sweater? I can’t afford the real thing currently.

    October 28, 2021/Reply
    • Belle says:

      This Amazon sweater is the closest:

      October 29, 2021/Reply
    • Minnesota says:

      After admiring the Free People sweater for at least two years, COVID and WFH forced my hand. I now have two and I absolutely love them. Worth every penny and have held up great. For reference, I’m a 58 year old corporate lawyer and find these look very polished on zoom.

      October 29, 2021/Reply
  11. B says:

    Bless you for this series! It’s one of my favorites on this blog because it reflects real life – I need things that hold up over time not whatever the influencer product of the week is. As I try to buy less and buy better I really appreciate knowing what things have held up and which purchases are worth it. Thank you!!

    October 28, 2021/Reply
    • Kate says:

      +1 to this.

      I think I read like 4 total blogs on a regular basis, and this is the only one I check more than once a week.

      October 29, 2021/Reply
  12. k says:

    Leather leggings ordered! I was looking for a way to treat myself after a big work win, and this rec was perfect timing. Can’t wait to try them!

    October 29, 2021/Reply
  13. L says:

    I have to ask… did you pay full price on the BR Trench? I’m so used to seeing 40-50% off there that I don’t think I would pull the trigger with out it.But maybe they have shifted pricing strategy lately?

    October 29, 2021/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I did. I tried to wait for a 40%, but there wasn’t one that applied, so I bought at full price and it was worth every penny.

      October 29, 2021/Reply
      • Jessica Grennan says:

        Love the blog!
        The trench is on sale now but really limited sizes.

        November 7, 2021/Reply
  14. ashlee says:

    The Commando leggings are completely worth the money! I had the Spanx and the Commando leggings are slightly thicker, look more like leather, and have held up really well. If anything happens to them, I’d replace them without hesitation.

    I wear them with sneakers and suede boots. They look equally great with oversized sweatshirts and sweaters.

    October 30, 2021/Reply
  15. Lauren says:

    Hi Abra! Thanks so much for this series – it’s so helpful to get REAL feedback from someone using the product for a while, especially on big ticket items. I’ve been eying the Dyson Airwrap forever – I am hopeless with my own blowouts and was hoping this would do the trick, especially with the ability to curl my hair at the same time. I know you said the curls fell the next day, but how was the rest of the blowout? Still voluminous just straight? Or were you starting from scratch every day? Thanks!

    November 1, 2021/Reply
    • Belle says:

      The curl was still turned under, but no longer wavy. It still had good volume.

      November 2, 2021/Reply