Capitol Hill Style

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 by Belle

Three Ways: Hot Pink Pencil Skirt


Our Wednesday styling posts usually cover basics–navy sheaths, navy cardigans, etc.–but a woman cannot live on basics alone.  So when I spotted this Pinterest photo of a woman in a hot pink pencil skirt, I knew what I had to do.

rsz_screen_shot_2014-07-30_at_101411_amSkirt: Worthington Modern Pencil Skirt ($25)

I chose hot pink because I prefer brights to pastels.  If this color isn’t in your wheelhouse, all is not lost.  Dorothy Perkins has a berry pencil skirt with a herringbone texture.  Raoul has a skirt that is a delightful mix of coral and bubblegum.  Plus-size? JCPenney has you covered. Petite? Try Banana Republic.

Left, Earrings: Caitie Stud Earrings ($42) // Shirt: Iris & Ink Bow Blouse ($110) // Sweater: Land’s End Short Sleeve Pullover ($49) // Bag: Michael Kors Selma Satchel ($358) // Bracelet: KJL Open Cuff ($80) // Shoes: Michael Kors Serena Pumps ($147)

This is a recreation of one of my favorite outfits from the early days of the blog.  I love the femininity of the bow blouse with the boldness of the pink skirt, all balanced out with the navy sweater.  This sweater is Land’s End, so it comes in every size from petite to tall, misses to plus.

Because the outfit is so colorful, I kept to the “nude” shoes.  If you want a pair that are incredibly comfortable and under-$100, try the MK Flex Pumps.  And with a short sleeve shirt, it’s always nice to add a statement cuff.  I like this KJL cuff, but if you want something under-$25, try this hammered cuff from Saks Off 5th.

Right, Sweater: Collection Cashmere Tee ($99) // Bags: VC Owen Tote ($142) // Shoes: Willah Dress Pump ($60) // Bracelets: Fornash Enamel Cuff ($32) and Gorjana Teagan Cuff ($120) // Earrings: Kenneth Cole Hoops ($24)

Orange and pink are a combination for the bold.  If you like the thought of all this color, but you want something more subtle, try a mint top or a cobalt one.  Or if you want to keep it really basic, a white button-up.

The Vince Camuto tote featured above comes in several amazing colors.  So if you’re in a market for a leather tote with style and simplicity, definitely don’t miss this one.  I also recommend Fornash if you like bracelets.  They make theirs in a variety of colors widths and styles, all at affordable prices.

Bottom, Earrings: Ippolita Disc Earrings ($195) // Shirt: River Island Print Tee ($35) // Necklace: Stella & Dot Sanibel Necklace ($69) // Shoes: H&M Suede Pumps ($50) // Bag: Rebecca Minkoff Perry Tote ($218)

For a more neutral pairing, I chose this black and white dotted tee.  I like the contrast with the skirt.  You could also indulge in a geometric print like this top from Tanjay.  Plus-size? Try this NYDJ blouse.

I chose the soft aqua Stella & Dot necklace to bring in a bit more color.  It’s reversible, so you get smoky quartz on the other side.  It also comes in gold.

The bag is blush pink to complement the soft necklace and the bold skirt.  If you want something cheaper, try this under-$75 London Fog tote. And don’t miss these cute and classic H&M pumps.  They pack a lot of style for $50.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 by Belle

Belle’s Workday Reading: July 30, 2014



Especially in politics, you know you’ve made it when everyone knows your name.  Provided, of course, that it’s for the right reasons.


1) The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful list came out yesterday.  The fashion choices left a lot to be desired.  Some dresses were too short, others were too tight (one bordered on indecent).  At least one woman wore glasses she doesn’t need in an effort to look more intellectual.  And, as usual, there were pearls.

Pearls for days.  Real pearls, faux pearls.  Pearls of every size, compilation and color.  Even pearls with dresses that didn’t need them. As long as I live, I will never understand the Capitol Hill obsession with pearls.

2) This blush and black, leaf-print skirt from NY & Co. is a dream.  It’s also under-$50.

3) Love pale nail polishes?  Hate the streaks you get with your at-home mani?  Ivory and Olive has a secret ingredient to prevent streaky paint jobs.  My favorite office-appropriate, pale pink? Deborah Lippmann’s ‘Shape of My Heart’.

4) If long hours at work are making your skin look sallow, this Sephora Pomegranate mask does wonders for tired skin.  It’s kind of amazing.

5) The New Yorker examines the wage gap and wonders, “Are Men Overpaid for Overwork?”

6) Work in a casual office?  Piperlime has some stunning toppers.  This slouchy blazer from Cameo is perfect.  This BB Dakota piece is the perfect mix of coat and cardigan.  And this $99 quilted moto-jacket is not to be missed.

7) If your name is difficult to pronounce, a new software program, Mivoko, allows you to attach an audio file to your e-mails and LinkedIn page to clue in colleagues as to the pronunciation of your name.

8) I recently purchased the Rebecca Minkoff ‘Knocked Up’ diaper bag to tote my laptop and school books.  It’s easily one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.

9) Some good tips on “How to Ace Your Internship.”  The advice about knowing (and following) the office’s social media policy is very good advice.

10) Gilt has the best collection of sheath dresses right now.  This dark green Rosa sheath has a trendy faux leather sleeve.  This Ava & Aiden sheath has a gorgeous asymmetric neckline.  And this eyelet, short-sleeve sheath comes in white, navy and black.

11) If you spend a fortune on dry cleaning, you might want to look into Swash, a laundry appliance that lets you refresh and press your clothing in just 10-minutes.  It’s not cheap, but if you need to wear a suit every day, it might be worth it.

12) Pottery Barn has a fabulous travel jewelry case for sale.  They also make a smaller and less expensive jewelry roll.  With God as my witness, I will never sit in my hotel room, untangling necklaces again!

13) Woman Livetweets IBM Execs Discussing Why They Don’t Hire Women–their stupidity would be amusing if it wasn’t so infuriating.  It’s really too bad that women have to “keep getting pregnant again, and again, and again” in order to populate the human race.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 by Belle

10th Commandment: July 30


Elected Official


Nanette Lepore Keyhole Jacket ($498)

Hill Staffer


Rebecca Taylor Femme Fancy Tweed ($173)

Paid Intern


Halogen Mixed Media Tweed Jacket ($98)

Petite: Halogen Mixed Media Jacket ($98) Plus-size: 424 Fifth Tweed Jacket ($48) Tall: Ann Taylor Tweed Jacket ($125)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 by Belle

State of the Blog: An Erie Feeling



I’m off today so that I can finish a paper on adverse possession and a set of civil procedure outlines.  Back tomorrow with Work Wednesday and the Four Ways I promised you last week.  But for now, back to the leviathan that is Erie.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, July 28, 2014 by Belle

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


Dear Belle,

Can you help me find a v-neck sheath dress?  I’m on the bustier side and the crewnecks are uncomfortable and verging on inappropriate.  I’d love to switch up my style with more dresses, but everything I find has a high neck.  I want to spend $200 or less.

Thank you! Rachel

Navigating the challenges of having a large bust is not something I’ve ever had to do, but finding v-neck dresses is something that I can help you do.  If you like a bit of a sleeve, this Classiques Entier dress is one of the best things at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  I also love this navy dress from Banana Republic.  BR also has a short sleeve, v-neck sheath in pale grey and in charcoal pinstripes. (BR is having a 30%-off sale, use code BIGTIME.)

Looking for something under-$100?  This Adrianna Papell dress is on sale in cobalt, and this Ivy & Blu dress is gorgeous with an elbow-sleeve.

Petite?  Those Banana Republic dresses are made in your size.  Plus-size? Try this black, Kasper sleeveless sheath.

Hi Belle,

You recommended some pearl earrings awhile back that were on the smaller side.  Do you remember what brand they were?

Love the blog! Sas

That was awhile ago.  I looked for them, but they’re sold out.  They were from Juliet Co.  If I had to recommend a pair, I would refer you to these Kenneth Jay Lane faux-pearl studs or to these J.Crew pearl studs, both under-$50.

Dear Belle,

I bought the Halogen skirt you recommended last week and I love it!  Do you have a suggestion for trousers for work?  I used to wear the Express brand, but I’d like to buy something a bit nicer.


The J.Crew Hutton trousers are my favorite pants.  They’re $168 a pair.  If you’re looking to spend under-$100, LOFT has a great selection that can be snapped up at one of their many sales.  I like their Zoe trousers, which have a light flare leg, and their Marisa fit bootcut pants.

Banana Republic also has some nice trousers.  If you like ankle-length trousers, the Sloan fit has a straight leg.  But the Martin fit is my favorite style, just enough flare to balance a pear-shape. (BR is having a 30%-off sale, use code BIGTIME.)


It’s almost trench-coat season.  Do you still like your J.Crew trench?

Hope law school is going well, glad you kept blogging! Michaela

The answer to your question is: No, I do not recommend the J.Crew trench.  I bought it last year, and wore it less than ten times before the seams started coming apart.  That’s just not acceptable.

I’m saving up for this Burberry trench, because when something’s a staple, you should buy the best quality you can afford.  It’s a lifetime purchase.

In the under-$250 category, one of my friends owns this Banana Republic trench and likes it.  London Fog makes a nice trench, which also comes in plus-size.  This Gap trench is a good under-$150 option (wait for the sale and snag it for less), and it comes in petite and tall sizes.  (BR and Gap are having a 30%-off sale, use code BIGTIME.)

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Updated for 2014