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Ask Belle

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

Hi Belle,

This may seem like a dumb question, but can you help me find a good long sleeve white tee shirt?  All the ones I see in stores are sheer and thin.  

Happy Holidays, Sofia

Several years ago, while visiting my Mother, I learned the secret to finding good t-shirts: You have to shop where either your outdoorsy Aunt or your Grandmother would shop.  Sadly, the retailers who skew younger seem to think that Kleenex is the preferred weight.  Brands like Columbia still make the heavy cotton tees we all remember.  In fact, one of the best tees on the market is the Orvis Perfect Tee, available on Amazon, and just $39.

I also like this Caslon Long Sleeve Scoop Tee ($25).  Land’s End has their go-to crewneck t-shirt, which comes in misses, petite and plus.  And LL Bean has both their heavier Bean’s Tee and their medium weight Pima cotton tee.

Dear Belle,

Do you have a favorite pair of jeans?  I just got a promotion and I think it’s time to leave my Old Navy ones behind me.  Love the blog!  Liz

First, congratulations on your promotion.  And second, while Old Navy makes a very respectable jean for the price, if you’re looking to move up, I suggest you go to a store like Nordstrom or Bloomingdale’s and try on lots of brands.  Because, my favorite, may not be your favorite.

I have two brands I like: Paige and AG.  My skinny jean of choice are the AG Farrah High Rise Skinnies.  A word of caution though, they have A LOT of stretch in them.  So I buy them one size smaller than I need, so that the fact they stretch out will work for me, instead of against me.  This way, the slightly smaller jeans have a slimming effect, instead of just stretching out.

If you prefer a lower rise, the Paige Skyline Skinny is the only way to go.


I just started on Capitol Hill as an intern and I’m covered in blisters from giving tours.  Help, please, help.

New and Sore

Hey kid, don’t worry, we’ve all been there.  First off, no one will fault you if you change into a pair of cute, comfortable shoes to give tours.  So if you’re giving them in high heels, stop punishing yourself.  If I had it to do again, I’d be given tours in a pair of M.Gemi Moccasins or a pair of rubber-soled Cole Haan flats.  And since a reader pointed out that it was dumb for me to suggest $200 shoes for an intern who works for free (facepalm), try these super cute $40 Isaac Mizrahi moccasins in pearl pink. (Duh, Belle, duh.)

You can wear a pair of nice, clean sneakers, if your boss says it’s okay.  I wouldn’t–but if it’s that bad, the worst that will happen is people will know you’re an intern.

Second, you need anti-chafe stick.  Smear it all over your feet to reduce the friction that causes blisters.  It will give you an extra half-hour-plus of walking.  And bring bandaids, just keep them in your wallet so you always have them.

Dear Belle,

Where did you get the nail polish set on your Instagram?  I can’t find it anywhere.

Sincerely, KL

If you’re referring to this berry-colored Deborah Lippmann set, you can find it at Net-a-Porter.  She also makes an all nudes set, and an all pink set.  They’re great for those of us who love nail polish, and want all the colors, but will never use the whole full-size bottle.

Ask Belle: Non-Drying Exfoliants

Belle, I recently had my make-up proffessionally applied before a formal event.  The attendant asked if I used an exfoliant – and we both knew the answer was no.  Do you have any recommendations for a good exfoliant that won’t over dry my skin? Thank you, Rachel A good exfoliant really is a lifesaver.  Exfoliating benefits oily skin by removing dead skin and keeping pores clear.  Dry skin will respond better to moisturizing.  Dull skin will be brightened.  But not every skin type needs the same type of exfoliation. Dry Skin.  If you need something gentle, Simple makes a smoothing facial scrub…

Ask Belle: Cold Weather Tips for Interns

Belle, By way of introduction,21 I’m a 3L from Mississippi, and I’ll be interning on the Hill during the Spring semester. I just ran across your blog today in a frantic search for DC fashion advice. While I have some college friends living in DC, they don’t work on the Hill. My question is, “What do I wear as a Hill intern trying to survive the DC winter?” I have several good coats and jackets, but I’m not sure what to do about footwear. Thanks! Ericka Ah, being an intern, I remember it well.  Giving tours, answering phones, licking envelopes…coming hope…

Ask Belle: Three Essential Necklaces

Hi Belle, I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, just a pair of gold stud earrings.  I’ve searched for necklaces that I like but I’m not really sure where to begin.  The only necklace I own is a pearl choker and I think you said once a long time ago that you don’t like pearls.  I could be wrong about that.  If you were starting from scratch, what would you buy? Thank you for your help.  Your blog has been on my daily reads list since college.  -Alex First off, let’s cover my feelings on pearl necklaces.  It’s not that…

Ask Belle: Big Purchases, Are They Worth It?

Dear Belle, Like you, I love, love, love Burberry.  I’ve wanted one of their trench coats for years but I don’t know if it’s worth it.  $2,000 for a coat is SOOOO much money.  Do you think it’s worth it?  How did you justify it? Love the blog.  Kaylee Having the resources to make a large fashion purchase–like a Burberry trench–is the ultimate luxury.  I searched for several years in outlets, on discount sites, eBay, etc. for a discounted trench, but never found one.  When I graduated from law school, I decided to buy myself a graduation gift, and what…