Capitol Hill Style

Friday, October 31, 2014 by Belle

Belle’s Weekly Reading: October 31, 2014

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This is a bit simplistic as life advice, but it’s great fashion advice.  The most you will ever like an item is in the store.  If you don’t think it looks awesome in the dressing room, you’ll rarely (if ever) wear it.  Also, if you go to clean out your closet and you pull an item that you don’t wear often, whether it makes you feel fabulous is a good metric for what stays and what goes.

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1) A woman walked around NYC for 10 hours and documented all of the unwanted attention she received. Kottke.org documents both the video and the discussion surrounding it, including whether greetings are acceptable.  Here’s the quote from Alex Alvarez:

Take a look at how they seek the woman out to wish her a good morning, despite her not having made eye contact or shown any interest in talking to them. Take a look at how they’re not wishing a good morning to any other person, particularly male people, also walking around.

Why is this?

It’s because they don’t care, really whether she has a good day or not. What they care about is letting her know that they have noticed her — her hair, her face, her body, her outfit. They want her to notice that they’ve noticed, and they want her to notice them, however fleetingly.

2) Looking for inexpensive hair accessories to keep away flat, winter-weather hair? This skinny gold headband is a lovely choice.  I also like this triangle hair brooch and this simple gold barrette.  And this black gem headband is understated but pretty.

3) It’s Halloween, and these minimalist horror movie posters capture all of the movies terror with incredible simplicity.

4) Looking for cool, under-$50 necklaces? This opal cherub strand from Bauble Bar has a lovely ethereal quality.  This lariat necklace from Banana Republic is simple and chic.  This long necklace with a black pendant is fantastic for $18.

5) Last year, several retailers opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day to get a rush on the Black Friday shopping.  They called it Brown Thursday.  This year, a Facebook group is encouraging retailers to stay close and cataloging those who plan to stay shuttered.

6) These skinny jeans from Blank have a great dark wash and are just distressed enough.  They’re also $88.

7) Time has a fascinating article about the bizarre history of women’s sizing including how the sizes were developed and why retailers lie in their size guides.

8) French clothier Sezane paired up with Madewell to create a collection of Parisian-chic pieces.  This oversized cable sweater looks perfect for winter, and I love this blue-and-black blouse with a geometric print.   And don’t miss this black leather clutch with all the modernist beauty of Alexander Wang.

9) Several filmakers and actors created a series of videos called We The Economy.  They cover many basic economic concepts and explain challenging ones in a creative way.  The videos are clearly done from a liberal political perspective, but I found them thought provoking even though I didn’t agree with some of them.

10) Dry winter skin got your down and itchy? Make the switch to African Black Soap ($11 for 1lb).  It’s suitable for face and body, though I just use it on my body.  It helps keep serious dryness at bay and gently clears body acne.

11) A company called Ficks is selling a cocktail “fortifier” that claims to prevent hangovers.  It contains B-vitamins, amino acids and a few other buzzword-y items designed to prevent the day-after curse.  I wonder if it works?

12) Would you believe that one of the chicest sweaters for sale this season is sold at Athlete?  This oatmeal wool sweater has graphite accents on the sleeves for a clean color combination.  I also love this cashmere drape cardigan; it looks like Olivia Pope’ coveted “wine clothes.”

13) After a disaster, Americans are told to donate to the Red Cross.  After Hurricane Sandy, they collected over $300 million to helps victims, but the story of how those resources were mismanaged, and wasted will shock you.

*image found here.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 by Belle

BPGP: Follow-Up Review Roundup No. 2

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When I review a beauty product, I use it for a minimum of two weeks before I write about it.  If I like the product, I keep using it.  Sometimes, after a few more weeks of use, my opinion about a product will grow or change.  Here are some follow-up comments on a few of my recent reviews.

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Foreo Luna Mini ($139)

When I wrote my original review for the Foreo Luna Mini, I didn’t expect it to replace my Clarisonic.  But it has.

There are no brushes to buy or change.  It almost never needs a charge (300 uses on a single fill-up).  The silicone is much easier to clean than the Clarisonic brushes, and it seems more sanitary as well.  I still think the Clarisonic gives a deeper clean, but since I can use this product every day with virtually no increase in dryness and the lower carrying costs, the Foreo is the better option for me.

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Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer ($9)

Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer is the best drugstore product that I’ve ever purchased.  The concealer isn’t heavy, but it covers well.  As I mentioned in my original review, I buy two shades, a lighter shade for under-eye and one in my skin tone for concealing my acne.  It’s a great buy.

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Emjoi Divine Hair Remover ($55)

When I purchased the Emjoi Divine Hair Remover, I thought that it would eliminate my need for waxing.  It hasn’t.  The epilator works well for touch-ups in between waxes, but removing hair from a large area is time-consuming.  However, if you don’t like to wax, the epilator is still superior to shaving.

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Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser ($75)

For the first few weeks of use, I loved Tata Harper’s Regenerating Cleanser.  It exfoliated and cleansed, virtually eliminating the need for a separate purifying mask.  The price was prohibitive, but it only took a little each wash, so I thought it might even out.

After a while, a breakout erupted like Kilauea on my chin, jaw and forehead.  I stopped exfoliating to give my skin time to heal, and the breakout cleared.  When I started using the cleanser again, the same thing happened.  I’m not sure if I developed an allergy to one of the ingredients, but the tube was quickly donated to a friend without skin issues.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 by Belle

Two Ways: Navy Cropped Jacket

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Jacket: Mango Cotton Cropped Jacket ($99)

From Left, Earrings: Nadri Inside Out Hoops ($48) Bag: Michael Kors Selma Satchel ($398) Tights: Spanx Uptown Tights ($42) Boots: Loeffler Randall Viola Boots ($298) Shirt: H&M Longsleeve Blouse ($25) Skirt: By Malene Birger Pencil Skirt ($158)

From Right, Earrings: Rebecca Minkoff V-Hoops ($38) Ring: Leith Pave Ring ($22) Belt: Carlag Suede Belt ($62) Bag: Zara Office City Bag ($100) Shoes: VS T-Strap Heel ($40) Dress: Topshop Bodycon Midi-Dress ($40)

For the Office. I love black and navy together, so when I saw that Mango paired this jacket with a sheer black dress, I had to recreate that look. Because the top and the sleek skirt are both black, they lengthen the body and create a foundation for the boxy jacket.

I chose the sheer texture top because it creates some lightness and interest when wearing all black.  If you prefer something sleeveless, this J.Crew Petal Top is on final sale.  If you’re plus-size, try this chiffon-front tee.

I’m still wearing my J.Crew pencil skirt from a few years ago, but I hear good things about Malene Birger’s skirts, so that may be where I go to replace it.  Halogen also makes a sleek, good-quality pencil at a wallet-friendly price.  I also like the look of this slightly-below-the-knee WHBM skirt (also in petite).

I picked up these boots at last year’s Shopbop sale.  They’re the perfect height, and very comfortable.  My one complaint is that they are pull-on boots, no zipper.  Need something under-$100?  These Alfani boots are a nice option.

For the hair, I would probably wear it up in a poufy ponytail.  (I always struggle with Step 3, so I need to practice getting it right.)  For the makeup, I like a grey nail polish and a Clinique Black Honey lip.

For the Office. I’m not crazy about the burgundy and black color combination.  For me, burgundy and navy is the better combo.  Similar to the black foundation above, the burgundy creates a nice silhouette for the jacket to complement.  I added the belt to define the waist, but it may not be necessary depending on your figure.

I like this burgundy dress from Topshop.  It is a snugger fit than usual works for the office, but in my experience, if you buy a dress in this shape one size larger, it can be appropriate.  If you’re looking for another style, this sleeveless dress from Target is just $18.  Plus-size? This IGIGI dress is a lovely choice.

Grey pairs nicely with the burgundy and navy combination.  These VS pumps are surprisingly inexpensive and come in a few fall hues.  You could also go with a heeled bootie if you prefer.  And if you need to legwear, I recommend grey tights or a nude micro-fishnet.

I chose silver jewelry to go with the grey accessories.  This inexpensive ring is a knock-off of a much price Vita Fede ring.

For the makeup, I would choose a lightly rosy cheek and a good coat of eyeliner.  (Tom Ford is still my favorite liquid liner; the application is so smooth.)  For the hair, I would probably wear it down with a bit of a wave, or perhaps half-up/half-down.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 by Belle

Morning Line: October 30

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Mango Cotton Cropped Jacket ($99)

A cropped jacket can be a chic addition to your wardrobe.  It’s a bit more modern than the traditional blazer, and offers a change of pace for women who need to wear a jacket or blazer nearly every day.  But how to choose the right cropped jacket, and how to style it, is a mystery to many women.

As the name connotes a cropped jacket is shorter than a blazer, but there is no standard length.  If you’re pear-shaped, look for a shorter jacket (usually at your natural waist).  If you’re bustier, a jacket that falls between your waist and hip is a better choice.

For years, I thought that I couldn’t wear cropped jackets, but then I found one that was the right length for my figure (slightly lower than my natural waist).  How do you know if it’s the right length?  When you look in the mirror, you shouldn’t feel like you look shorter or wider than you would without the jacket on.  And while I encourage you to try on a couple of lengths before you decide that the cropped look is not for you, I readily admit that some women will just never feel comfortable in one.

This Mango jacket is nice.  I like the boxy shape for a cropped jacket (I find it overpowering in full-length.).  I like the layered style on this cream Rebecca Taylor jacket and this classically styled tweed jacket from Gilt.

Looking for something fitted?  This Topshop Alexa jacket has a blazer-shape in a short length, as does this collarless Calvin Klein jacket.  For something a bit longer, try this blush jacket from Asos or this military-style tweed jacket from Piperlime.

The plus-size options were limited, but I like the look of this striped jacket from Kay Unger with the matching dress.  Petite ladies should check out this Ann Taylor jacket with a fitted shape a low-waist length.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 by Belle

Belle’s Workday Reading: October 29, 2014

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1) NPR has a great article on women in STEM careers, the unique challenges they face, and why “leaning in” isn’t right for everyone.  It also contains advice from a senior Caltech engineer that would be helpful to any career woman, “Bemoaning your fate is not going to solve the problem,” she says. “One has to move forward.”

2) This week’s under-$50 bag combines the femininity of Kate Spade’s bows with a modern shape.  It’s just girly enough.

3) Last week, I featured an article about desirable second careers.  This week, I read a wonderful article about octogenarians who are still killing it in their original professions.

4) If you are a working woman, bookmark Nordstrom’s wear-to-work shop.  This jacquard, long-sleeve sheath is a unique work option.  And this sleeveless sheath in black and navy is incredible.

5) Forbes has a list of the most ridiculous excuses ever used for skipping work.  The best on I ever heard?  The intern who borrowed his girlfriend’s car and couldn’t drive to work because he didn’t know how to adjust the seat or mirrors.

6) This Elizabeth and James ring is one of my favorite pieces.  I wear it almost every day.  If you’re looking for an inexpensive facsimile, try this $16 ring from Art Box.

7) 29 Brilliant Business Cards (I love the chef’s cheese grater card.)

8) I love little pouches for organizing my bags and purses, but what some of these brands charge is a scandal.  Luckily, One Kings Lane has some chic options at affordable prices.  I love this set with a charcoal geometric print, and these pouches with a whimsical (but not gaudy) floral.  Also, if you need a chic, simple keychain, this metallic leather keychain comes in gold or silver.

9) The Washington Post talks about a Pew Research poll, which found that women who want successful careers should look for a conscientious partner.

10) Target has some nice pieces right now.  If you work in a creative office, this faux-leather tuxedo jacket comes in four great colors (also in petite sizes).  This $30 ruched dress with a boatneck is a great day-to-night option.  I also found these inexpensive mid-height heels that are the perfect basic.

11) An economics teacher shared his best advice with his students, it may comprise everything a person needs to know.

12) My skin always flares up around this time of the year.  I turn the heat on in my apartment, and the dry air just throws everything out of balance.  The solution?  This lemony clay mask (really reduces inflammation) and a humidifier that isn’t ugly.

Copyright © 2006, Capitol Hill Style. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed on Capitol Hill Style by Belle, a guest blogger or those providing comments are theirs alone. They do not reflect the opinions of Belle's current employer, Belle's previous employers or any groups or organizations with which she is affiliated.

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Updated for 2014