Capitol Hill Style

Friday, April 18, 2014 by Belle

Belle’s Weekly Reading: April 18, 2014

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1) Yale University threatened to suspend a student for having a BMI their health office considers too low.  Some are questioning how “unhealthy” is calculated, and whether suspension is an appropriate response to a potential eating disorder.

2) My must-have spring nail color?  Coral.  My favorite shade? butterLONDON Trout Pout.  Need a drugstore dupe?  Try Sally Hansen Coral Reef.

3) In the 1980s, the Walkman was the must.have.gift (until the Discman came out).  But how would today’s kids, who have access to iPhones, iPads and Androids, react to how their parents listened to music?  (h/t Kottke)

4) Banana Republic has some lovely jewelry for sale right now.  This crystal collar necklace would be the perfect thing for a simple cocktail dress.  This grey, multi-strand necklace would look great with anything in your closet.  I adore this pave bar bracelet, also in silver.  And don’t miss these blue cluster earrings to add some color to your spring attire.

5) The Levo League asks, “Do women undermine themselves with punctuation?!?!?!?”

6) I’m moving into a bigger place, which means more space to furnish.  I don’t want to go nuts with the new decor, but there are two pieces I’ve been eyeing at CB2.  I adore this oversized mirror (for Instagram outfit-selfies) and this charcoal-colored bar.  I might also grab this indoor/outdoor pouf from the sale section.

7) This recipe for Spicy Pineapple Chicken Stir-fry is really good.

8) Have a rare shoe size?  Nordstrom has kicks for under size 5 feet and over size 10 feet.   They also carry some styles in wide and narrow widths.

9) Frozen fever has hit the elementary school set.  Some parents are spending as much as $1,200 to get the sold out Elsa costume on eBay, while others are simply griping on Disney’s Facebook page about the lack of availability.  Is this what it means to raise a child in a post-Beanie Baby, post-Tickle Me Elmo world?

10) Why, J.Crew, why?

11) Should you sign the back of your credit card?  Since you’re “required” to sign the back of the card in order to use it, I do.  But I also add “see ID” in Sharpie, I’m still almost never asked for my ID.

12) I’m thinking about buying a white clutch.  I don’t usually fall for the magazine trends, but this Vince Camuto clutch with a detailed clasp is awesome.  This Milly clutch is also to die for.  Need something under-$100?  Try this BCBG envelope clutch or this Natasha Couture Box Clutch ($38).

Friday, April 18, 2014 by Belle

10th Commandment: April 18

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Judging from the comments in my email inbox, a number of you seem to think that I hate wedges.  This is not true.  I hate ugly wedges, the clunky, platformed kind that look like hooves.

Sleek wedges are a lifesaver if you plan on working a campaign.  That bit of added stability will save your ankles.

Elected Official

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Martina Patent Wedges ($228)

Normally, I would choose the Kate Spade wedges, but I could only find them in black.

Hill Staffer

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BR Maisie Wedges ($120)

Paid Intern

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CL Nima Wedge Pump ($40)

Thursday, April 17, 2014 by Belle

Ask Belle: Racerback Cocktail Dresses

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Hi Belle,

I’m searching for a dress for a friend’s wedding next month.  I’d like something with a racerback silhouette, but all I’m finding are casual dresses and maxis.  I’d like to spend under-$100 so I might be asking too much.

Please help! Jen

Asking too much?  Never!  We have the whole Internet available to us, let’s go searching.

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Trouve Ponte Midi Dress ($98) // LOFT Tulip Skirt Dress ($89) // ASOS Pencil Dress ($85) // Amy Matto Becca Dress ($78)

Ah, racer back goodness and all under-$100.  Nailed it!  But seriously, given that it’s wedding season, here are my favorite places to search for party dresses at reasonable prices.

ASOS, always, ASOS.  This flirty, strappy chiffon dress from Warehouse is perfection.  I also love this Oasis dress with a gorgeous coral color and collar embellishments.  They also have a wide selection of plus, petite, tall and maternity dresses.

Bloomingdale’s offers an under-$150 section that’s full of good stuff.  This deep blue dress from Coast has an interesting shape and a great look to it.  And this Michael Kors one-shoulder is a truly unique LBD.

Zara.  If you need to spend under-$100, Zara offers styles and prices that will suit you perfectly.  This navy dress with frilly sleeves could do double duty, casual with flat sandals or cocktail with strappy heels.  This dress with a knotted back detail is pretty fantastic.  And if it’s drama in the back that you want, don’t miss this racerback dress in a bold red with cut-outs in the back.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 by Belle

10th Commandment: April 17

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Prints. It’s all about prints.

Elected Official

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Escada Printed Knot Dress ($850)

Hill Staffer

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DKNYC Drop Shoulder Drape Dress ($139)

Paid Intern

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London Times Women’s Printed Dress ($53)

Plus-size: INC Floral Print Tiered Dress ($89) Petite: Maggy London Print Wrap Dress ($98, also in misses)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 by Belle

Work Wednesday: Hairstyles for Bad Weather Days

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Boy, yesterday was miserable weather in D.C.  It was windy, rainy and cold, a trifecta of awfulness.  And every time I stepped outside, all I could think was, “There goes my hairdo.”

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have a slight obsession with my hair.  If my hair looks good, my day will go 40-percent better than if my hair looks mediocre.  There’s just something about a good hair day that can lift my spirits.  But when the weather takes a turn for the worst, keeping my hair looking nice is a nearly impossible task.

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I discovered Kate from The Small Things Blog a few years ago, and she is still my go to source for easy, useful hair tutorials.  The one above is for The Alternative Bun, my new favorite updo.  This twisty chignon is great for someone who wants the look of the bun with a little something extra.  Just don’t forget the Catwalk Firm Hold Hairspray if you want it to stay in place.

If the classic ballerina bun is what you’re after, LHJ.com reminds us how important volume is to the equation.  I suggest a teasing comb or teasing brush and a good application of Pantene’s root-boosting dry shampoo.

Looking for a more unique updo?  This double twisted do caught my eye.  I was also really intrigued by this un-done hairstyle that is part French twist and part ponytail.  It’s very unique and sleek.  The double ponytail is always a good option.  I recommend clear elastics for these styles as a visible hair-tie kind of ruins the look.

Have naturally curly hair?  The Girls Guide offers 5 Easy Hairstyles for your hair type.  I don’t have curly hair myself, but some of my kinkier friends swear by DevaCurl products.

If you are loyal to your blowout, check out these Five Pro Tips to make it last longer.  I do my own blowouts at home, and I couldn’t get them just right without my Harry Josh blow dryer (cuts drying time by a third) and a can of Big Sexy Spray & Play Harder Hairspray.  It’s the only hairspray I’ve found that can stand up to the humidity.

Lastly, if you want your summer highlights to last longer without fading or brassiness, try Aveda Sun Hair Veil.  It’s sunscreen for your hair, because if you’re going to pay for those highlights, you need to protect them.

Do you have any inclement weather hair tutorials to share?  Maybe a favorite fall back hair style you couldn’t live without?

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Updated for 2014