Fashion & Beauty Queries: Vol. IV, No. Nineteen

Hi Belle,

Love your blog! I’m always on the hunt for a good summer espadrille wedge. I’ve had a hard time finding the right shoe because I tend to think platform wedges look clunky and often aren’t appropriate for even more casual summer events at my law firm. Any recommendations would be so helpful!


These Lyndsay Espadrille Wedges ($119) is a nice option. Chaps espadrilles ($35) makes a canvas peep toe.  However, these slingback Land’s End espadrilles ($69) are easily my favorite option


Coloring my hair has fried it.  You wrote something recently about a pre-wash treatment for damaged hair, but I can’t find it.  Can you remind me what you use to help your hair?

thx. Kim

I apply Olaplex to my hair once a week.  It reverses some of the damage done by chemical hair treatments.  I wouldn’t overuse it (because it will weigh your hair down), but it has nursed my hair back to health more than once.

Hi Belle/Abra

I saw in your suitcase post on Instagram you had packed a pair of Coach loafers. It got me curious as I don’t think I’ve ever seen you post an outfit with loafers on your blog. What do you wear loafers with? Ballet flats are slowly killing my feet so curious if you find loafers a good business casual alternative.

Thanks, DTC

I’ve had a surprising number of questions about those loafers.  They’re the Coach Frederica moccasin.  You can find them on Poshmark and eBay.  If you’re looking for something similar, try the Coach Arlene Moccasin or the M.Gemi Felize.

As for how to wear them, I usually wear them with jeans.  I don’t think they’re feminine enough to work with dresses.  But as a more comfortable alternative to ballet flats, I pair them with denim.


My partner and I are expecting a baby at the end of October, and we’re very excited.  Unfortunately, this bundle of joy also came with a bundle of breakouts, and just when I can’t use any of the good acne meds.  Why must everything be bad for the baby?  Do you know of any acne treatments that are effective and safe for pregnant women?  My doctor basically told me to live with it, which stunk as an answer.

Please help, Diana

If you’re hunting for pregnancy-safe skincare, you should look into the Belli brand.  Several of my friends raved about their lactic acid face wash when they were pregnant.  For spot treatment, you can try properly diluted tea tree oil applied with a Q-tip.


Do you know if they changed Zella leggings?  I own four pair (on your recommendation) and love them, but I bought a new pair last month, and they’re thinner and shiny.  If they have changed them, is there another brand you like?  


I don’t know if they’ve changed them, but they offer a wide variety of styles now.  I like their Live In Leggings for the weekend.  For the gym, my favorite are the cropped Wunder Under leggings from Lululemon.  I was really surprised that I liked a crop legging, but these are a surprisingly flattering length.  If you want something affordable, I’ve heard good things about Victoria’s Secret Everywhere leggings.

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17 Comment

  1. Reply
    June 15, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Please don’t tell me that Nordstrom changed the Zella leggings! I own a few pairs on Belle’s recommendation and was holding out to the Anniversary Sale to purchase new pairs.

  2. Reply
    June 15, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    I bought a new pair of Zellas recently and they feel different to me, too! Def thinner and weirdly baggy around the ankle. Might be time to check out Lululemon…

  3. Reply
    June 15, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Re: skincare during pregnancy — benzoyl peroxide is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy, and it’s a classic acne-fighting ingredient. Check with your doctor first, of course. I believe that retinoids and hydroquinone are the only topical skin treatments that are really dangerous to use when pregnant.

    Medical source:

    1. Reply
      June 16, 2017 at 8:31 am

      My derm and RE both said I was fine using Azelex (an azelaic acid cream). I rotate this with Paula’s Choice AHA 8% and I’ve been really happy with how glowy I am. Then again, it’s hard to know how much the skin care change helped my chronic adult acne and how much was just the process of going through IVF and getting pregnant and all the hormonal changes. I’m nervous about getting my old skin back once the baby comes.

      1. Reply
        June 16, 2017 at 2:23 pm

        I bought the baby quasar blue light device with my pregnancy and it was a life saver. I also got azalaic acid which helps a bit. The light treatment is by far the most effect, although pricey.

  4. Reply
    June 15, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    My OB was perfectly OK with topicals like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid face washes – just no retinols. Given I have pretty terrible cystic acne and psoriasis, those don’t do much for me. My dermatologist took me off my regular acne and psoriasis meds and prescribed some ones that are better for baby – which my OB totally signed off on. So my advice would be to get thee to a dermatologist and have the dermatologist and OB coordinate.

  5. Reply
    Rachel A.
    June 15, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I also bought Zella because of Belle’s recommendation (thanks!). I also noticed that the quality went down. I found Lyssé leggings and they are the BEST leggings I have ever worn!!! I get multiple compliments on them and they are well worth the money and have much more support than the Zellas. My favorite is the Center Seam Ponte Leggings but also own Lyssé Control Top High Waist Leggings. Try them out! 🙂

  6. Reply
    June 15, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    For us hippy lot, I think crops are more flattering. It’s really hard for me to make full length leggings look as flattering. Surprisingly, even 7/8 capris look better.

    1. Reply
      June 15, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      Yes. Crops or capris are much better for me, too.

  7. Reply
    June 15, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    For pregnant skincare, apparently the Vintner’s Daughter serum is a miracle product. She developed it specifically while she was pregnant so that there are no harmful things in it.

    1. Reply
      June 16, 2017 at 12:30 am

      Good to know, I’ve heard of it, haven’t tried it.

  8. Reply
    June 15, 2017 at 5:05 pm
    1. Reply
      June 15, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      I’ve been admiring those. Do they have a removable footbed that would accommodate an orthotic insert?

    2. Reply
      June 16, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      I’ve been stalking a few different pairs (Modern, Modern Tassle, and Modern Penny) of Everlane loafers and plan to pull the trigger soon–do you have multiple styles, and if so, an opinion on which one is best?

  9. Reply
    June 16, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Re: Skincare during Pregnancy. I’ve had terrible acne in pregnancy and my doctor recommended I use 1% hydrocortisone cream after I wash my face in the morning and evening in place of moisturizer and it’s worked like a miracle. It cleared up in days.

  10. Reply
    June 16, 2017 at 10:07 am

    I think the culprit in the Zella quality debate is the Slim Fit style. The Live-In high waist seem to be the same quality I know and love.

  11. Reply
    June 17, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Pregnancy was surprisingly good for my skin; I usually struggle with hormonal acne. Just to be safe, I continued to use the Aztec Secret benzonite clay mask once a week with apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil. I didn’t have much luck with the Belli line.

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