Browsing Category

Ask Belle

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

Hi Abra,

First of all, congratulations on passing the bar!  Secondly, I need some advice on a dress I recently purchased from MM LaFleur.  It’s the Sarah dress in black.  I love it and feel amazingly confident and powerful for my upcoming presentation.  But, I’m at a loss on how to pair a blazer with it.  I’ve tried sweaters, but they look too informal, and I even tried one of MM LaFleur’s jardigans.  I don’t want to have bare arms during the presentation, but I don’t want to ruin the fabulous dress either.

Help please, M

When you’re looking for a blazer to pair with a dress, it’s best if they have complementary necklines.  In this case, the high crewneck of the Sarah dress, would work best with a round-collared jacket.  I own this fringe-tweed jacket from Nordstrom, and I highly recommend it.  The higher neckline, the melange of blue, white, and black, it all works well with the black dress.  For something less expensive, try this Ann Taylor tweed jacket.

Looking for some other options?  I also considered this lantern sleeve jacket from boohoo, this white jacket with a peplum, and this long Ming Wang jacket.


Long time follower of your blog, here!  I’m looking for a pair of boyshorts to go under dresses for the summer.  Bonus points if they are “shapewear light,” meaning they suck in my post-partum belly but don’t constrict, so I can wear them with a tee shirt dress all day and feel comfortable. 


I typically wear Hanky Panky’s Eve thong underwear under dresses.  They’re seamless, comfortable, and no-show.

For something with some shapewear in it, there are a couple of options.  Yummie and Spanx both make thongs with high-waists to give you a slight slimming effect, as does a UK brand called Smoothees.  For something more affordable, H&M makes a light-shaping thong to slim the tummy.

I missed the reader’s original request for boyshorts.  I read the question too quickly, and thought she was merely looking for underwear under summer dresses.  I prefer thongs, because VPL is the bane of my jersey-dress dependent summer wardrobe, but ask for boyshorts, and boyshorts you shall receive.  Several very kind readers recommended the Jockey Skimmies in the comments.  I like the Yummie brand because they provide light shapewear that doesn’t feel like a cage; they also make a shaping boyshort. 

Hi Belle,

For medical reasons, I need to keep my right upper arm out of the sun for the next year.  I’ve got two weddings in June that will both be outdoors – one in Northern California near San Francisco and one by a lake in Montana between Missoula and Kalispell.  We are going to both in one trip so I’d prefer to pack just one dress. No black. Also, I can’t imagine spending more than $150 on a dress.  Suggestions?

Thanks! ALP

First off, let me say that if you’re headed to that region of Montana, you’re going to want to pack a warm shawl or a jacket.  Once the sun goes down, your summer nights get decidedly chilly.

Now to your real question, it is difficult to find a long sleeve dress that isn’t black.  I am loving this Aqua bell sleeve dress; very on trend in pale pink. This London dress is blush with a cool lace print to it.  This cobalt dress from Ralph Lauren is really bright, with the right accessories it would be lovely.  I also like this faux wrap in raspberry with a small cut-out detail.

Good afternoon!
I’m looking for a replacement for Hourglass Primer. I love the primer, but the price makes me cringe every time I run out. Any recommendations?
Thanks, SP

If you must use the Hourglass, I recommend buying the bigger $75 size.  Ounce for ounce, it’s a better deal than the smaller tubes.  But if you’re really looking to save money…The Interwebs informs me that the NYX Angel Veil is the closest drugstore alternative.

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

Hi Abra,  Have you or any readers actually worn the Banana Republic 12 hour heels- for a full work day? Are they more comfortable? Are they true to size?  Caitlin I haven’t purchased a pair yet, but I keep putting their pretty Madison pump in my cart.  The shoes are allegedly constructed to improve stability, and have added flexibility and cushioning.  They come in several day-to-night styles from the classic Mary Jane and this modern pump with a tassel accent.  If anyone has tried them or has a favorite style, please leave your thoughts in the comments. Hello again! A quick question…

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

Dear Belle, I’m on the hunt for a pair of white trousers.  Wide leg, flare leg, straight leg, doesn’t really matter.  The problem is, I can’t find any that are lined.  Not one pair.  Help a girl out because I cannot be flashing my undies at my co-workers. Sincerely, Isla Yes, lined pants are incredibly difficult to find.  The extra 75-cents that a polyester lining costs will certainly break a company like Banana Republic.  Not to pick on one retailer, since they’re almost all guilty, but there’s cutting corners and then there’s deciding that white pants made of paper-thin fabric…

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

Hi Belle,  I’m turning 33 next week, and it’s time to start looking out for my skin.  My gov’t salary cannot support a Sephora habit.  Can you point me in the direction of some glycolic acid or vitamin-C, or whatever the kids are doing now, that won’t bust my monthly budget? Thx! Wendy Several readers and a number of beauty magazines are saying really positive things about the brand The Ordinary.  The prices run under-$20 a bottle, and you can find their products at ASOS. Their Vitamin C Suspension is supposed to do incredible things to brighten up your skin.  I…

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

Dear Belle, Odd question, do you have a favorite toothpaste?  I’m scared to use a whitening formula with all the commercials about how they hurt your enamel, but my pearly whites are less than white.  If you don’t use whitening toothpaste, can you recommend another whitening product?   Appreciate your time, Frances I use Sensodyne Pronamel Toothpaste.  It whitens a bit, but it’s not the intense whitening that I used to get with the Rembrandt Intense Stain formula that I used to use.  Both formulas are supposed to help strengthen enamel; I switched because I didn’t like the taste of…