Capitol Hill Style

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 by Belle

Ask Belle Roundup Vol. IV, No. Thirty-Seven

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Hi Belle,

I’m a very picky lover of black pumps. My staple is this pair from H&MThe combination of toe shape, heel height and (fake) suede finish make these my go-to black pumps. However, because they’re H&M, they’re cheaply made and the heel caps rip right off within months. I just love the look of them so much that I’ve bought and disposed of three pairs within the last year, and it just feels ridiculous to take a pair of $25 shoes to a cobbler. Have you happened to stumble across an identical pair from a higher-end line that would last longer? 

Thanks! Randi

If you’re sold on suede, I found a few pair worth considering.  The Michael Kors Flex pump is very comfortable.  This Ralph Lauren pump is a good basic.  These Aldo pumps are also a good choice.  But my favorite are these Dune Appoint heels from House of Fraser.

Willing to make the switch to traditional leather pumps?  Try these Adriana pumps from Nine West or these 424 Fifth pumps that have a great mid-heel height.

Dear Belle,

I just moved to Texas from D.C., and my skin is suffering.  Everything is so dry.  Do you know of a hydrating mask that will help my skin without plugging up my pores?

xx, Kate

For sudden dryness, I love Laneige Water Sleeping Mask.  The mask intensely hydrates my skin without overwhelming it.  I try to apply it as lightly as possible in the t-zone, just to be safe, but I haven’t noticed an increase in acne while using it.

In a pinch, I’ve also been known to smear a little Eucerin Aquaphor on the really dry spots.

Hi Belle,

Since when did finding a well made t-shirt become harder than getting into college?  It doesn’t matter whether I buy J.Crew or Old Navy or Helmut Lang, they’re all too sheer or they come apart in the wash.  I need long sleeve and short sleeve tees.  Suggestions?

Reanna

For short sleeve tees, I either buy the Everlane v-neck tees or Gap supersoft tees.  I’ve had good luck with both.

For long sleeve tees, I just found a great shirt in an unexpected place: REI.  These North Face sueded crew neck tees are awesome.  They have a heavy, not too heavy weight.  They are soft.  They don’t shrink.  They feel substantial.  I bought three more.

Plus-size? I would start at Land’s End, they’re one of the few retailers whose quality has stayed consistent from the start of the recession to the end.

Belle,

Here’s a weird question: Do you have a favorite razor? 

Kelly

Truth be told, I don’t.  I use the Gillette Fusion ProGlide men’s razor.  I like the flexibility when I’m shaving my legs, but I’m not enamored with it.  If someone else has a suggestion for a great razor, I’d love suggestions, leave them in the comments.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 by Belle

Pinterest Mondays: End-of-Summer Casual

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1. Fossil Paige Sweatshirt ($78) // 2. Paige Skyline Skinny Jeans ($179) // 3. Cole Haan Chesney Boot ($278) // 4. Topshop Raw Edge Scarf ($24) // 5. Ray-Ban Aviators ($150) // 6. Quilted Baseball Cap ($32) // 7. Michael Kors Chronograph Watch ($250) and Kenneth Cole Wire Wrapped Earrings ($28)

This week’s found-on-Pinterest photo is a casual outfit that is perfect for late summer/early fall.  The mix of light neutrals and brights keeps summer alive, while the lightweight sweatshirt and scarf will keep you warm on chilly nights.  It has a preppy vibe, but it’s still completely chic.

One. Tan is a difficult color to find, but I like the open-knit on the front of this sweatshirt.  I also like the chiffon details on this beige Express sweatshirt, which is a great under-$40 buy.  Plus-size?  Try this lace-front sweatshirt.

Two. Paige jeans, my favorite.  Need something less expensive?  Try these skinny jeans from The Limited or these Ann Taylor curvy denim jeans.

Three. The photo doesn’t show a pair of shoes, so there are a few ways you could go: a pair of on-trend sneakers, a pair of metallic ballet flats, or these block-heel booties.  Looking for a cheaper pair of boots?  These BP Andover boots are a nice option.  I also like these Report boots with a buckle detail.

Four. The bright coral scarf is what makes this outfit.  I love it.  Want a darker pink?  This Calvin Klein scarf has you covered.  Is lighter your preference?  This blush Banana Republic scarf is lovely.

Five. Aviators. Always, aviators.

Six. A baseball cap that’s free of logos is a good piece to have around.  I wear mine to cover post-gym hair on my post-gym errands.  I also like this embellished baseball cap.

Seven. A big, gold watch is a great accessory for when you need something substantial, but simple.  A chronograph from Michael Kors or Marc Jacobs is a good choice.  This $56 River Island watch is a good substitute if you’re looking for something inexpensive.

Hoops seemed like the appropriate choice for this outfit.  These wire-wrapped hoops are fab.  I also like these oval hoops from Dillard’s and these pave Karen Millen hoops.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 by Belle

10th Commandment: September 2

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When you have a professional job, it can be difficult to follow the trends.  After all, how many women can wear lace up booties, fur vests or open-back blouses to the office?  This week, the morning post will feature trends that even working woman can embrace.

ATembosstop

Exotic Embossed Top ($69)

Textured fabrics are a great way to add interest to a simple piece.  This Ann Taylor blouse has an snakeskin embossing on it to create texture.  This black Banana Republic blouse offers the same look.  I also like this Piperlime top embossed with a Baroque-style pattern.  And this reptile-embossed sweatshirt from Vince Camuto is bound to be a hit given its under-$100 price.

I also found this awesome Ted Baker skirt with a black, reptile look.

Plus-size: Calvin Klein Emboss Top ($79)  Petite: Banana Republic Embossed Top ($69)

Thursday, August 28, 2014 by Belle

Belle’s Weekly Reading: August 28, 2014

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1) The financial struggles of the city and residents of Detroit are leading to some interesting innovation as they try to do more with less.  Recently, the city’s farmer’s markets started offering food stamp recipients the chance to receive double-value for their dollar if they buy Michigan-grown foodstuffs.  As a result, people are eating more vegetables and struggling farmers have more customers.

2) This $28 Forever21 purse is amazing.  Perfect for fall.

3) The REWM has a review of the cleaning advice book, “My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag and Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha.” (Great title.)

4) Zara has some great sweaters right now.  I love this long, ivory cable sweater.  This shell pink v-neck is also a winner.  I also kind of love this high-neck, boxy sweater (esp. with the matching skirt).

5) GQ has an amazing long-form piece on a man who lived as a hermit in the woods of Maine for almost three decades.  He survived by stealing food from vacant cabins, and he did not speak to another person for almost the entire time.  It’s a really fascinating read.

6) Now this is a jewelry box!  Sadly, it costs more than the jewelry it would house.

7) The Burning Man festival has always intrigued me.  The idea that hundreds of people will voluntarily gather in the desert in August to camp and commune without access to modern amenities is fascinating to me.  Apparently, the tech billionaires are ruining it by trying to outdo each other.

8) This Bobbi Brown eyeshadow palette is the perfect mix of metallics and neutrals.  It’s my favorite thing since the Naked2 palette.

9) MSN Living and Refinery 29 have a thought-provoking piece on why more brands don’t sell plus-size clothing.  I don’t agree with all of the points they make, but I think it’s a well-researched, well-written piece.

10) Piperlime has so many lustworthy pieces right now.  I am obsessed with this slouchy Velvet sweatshirt, these Rachel Comey boots and this Rachel Zoe peplum jacket.  On the more affordable side, I love this Fifth Label coat and this RD Style chunky-knit sweater (in four great colors).

11) I laughed so hard at this blog post about the difference between sending your kids back to school in the 1970s and sending them back to school today.

12) BB Dakota is one of my favorite inexpensive brands. I love this midnight navy-to-charcoal ombre cardigan.  This midi-length, high-waist pencil is also nice.  And this amethyst, tank dress could be worn now and under a sweater two months from now.

Thursday, August 28, 2014 by Belle

10th Commandment: August 28

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LOFT Field Jacket ($98)

LOFT is one of my go-to shops for inexpensive pieces.  The secret to finding good things there is to choose wisely.  Feel the weight of the fabric, look at the seams, examine the hardware, if things feel cheap, walk away.  Sometimes, I have to leave cute things on the rack, but I still find pieces that I love.

Jackets & Blazers. This field jacket has a great fitted look.  I also like the simple pocket and zipper details.  This slouchy blazer comes in three colors and is perfect for the office or your off hours.  Looking for a denim jacket?  This one has a great style and is a good shade of blue–not too dark, not too light.

Sweaters. I still love this dolman sleeve sweater in pale grey.  I love that this ribbed, open-knit sweater is a little longer in the back.  It’s more flattering for those of us with hips, but it’s cute on everyone.  Their basic cotton cardigan comes in seven colors.

Skirts & Dresses. This sheer stripe dress is perfect for cocktail parties, dinners or a winter wedding.  Such a great pick for under-$100.  This curvy-fit pencil skirt comes in three colors–the deep plum is my favorite–and is available in tall and petite.

Belts. LOFT has a number of inexpensive belts.  This simple skinny belt is a great basic.  I loved this buckle-less so much, I bought both colors.  This leopard belt is also a nice choice.

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Updated for 2014