Capitol Hill Style

Friday, July 25, 2014 by Belle

Belle’s Weekly Reading: July 25, 2014

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1) I love football.  From training camp to the draft, I’m never miss a minute.  But it’s an insult to the millions of female fans who love the NFL when the league suspends pot-smokers for an entire season, but a player who beats his fiancee into unconsciousness gets a two-game bench-warming.

The ESPN article linked above mentions nearly a dozen incidents in which small infractions (eating an unapproved protein bar, taking an unapproved fertility drug) yield greater punishments than acts of felony aggravated assault.  It’s sick, it’s sad, and it needs to stop.

2) Like personalized jewelry? Nordstrom has several customizable pieces from Moon and Lola for under-$50.  Instead of my name, I ordered a necklace with my motto–fail better–on it.

3) One of the most fascinating things that I read this week was a kottke.org post about pickpockets in New York City. One part Dickens, one part Thomas Crown Affair.

4) I’m trying to finish out the summer in the sandals that I bought last year, but they’re about to fall apart.  I’d like to find something for under-$150 that I could wear the rest of this season and next summer.  These silver and gold Yosi Samra sandals are awesome.  I also like these simple Splendid sandals for $65.

5) If you’re struggling to keep cool in the sweltering heat of summer, Lifehacker has some tips for keeping your bedroom cool and comfortable.

6) To prevent bathroom spills, I moved my Clinique Clarifying Toner and my eye makeup remover to these inexpensive pump bottles from Ulta.  So much better than the big bottles.  It’s also great for nail polish remover.

7) New York City’s Inclusionary Housing Program helps provide housing for working class residents by giving tax breaks to luxury condo buildings that allocate units for lower-income people. There’s just one problem, the lower-income tenants are supposed to use the “poor door” at the rear of the building. Keep it classy, Manhattan.

8) This BCBG sweatshirt with sheer sleeves is perfect.  The sleek, modern style is right in my wheel-house.  But at that price, maybe I should stick with H&M?

9) Need a quick way to clean your engagement ring or other diamond jewelry?  How about dishwashing liquid and a toothbrush?

10) BodenUSA is having a great sale.  There are more than a few lovely dresses to choose from.  I adore this Portland dress with a flirty skirt.  Their Alexa dress is a great basic shift.  But my favorite piece is this wonderful eyelet dress in white, navy or yellow.

11) Four words for you: Honey Beer-Glazed Carmelized Shallots.

12) A reader sent me the link to this Alessandra Rich dress with the subject line, “In case you need a laugh.”  That works.

Friday, July 25, 2014 by Belle

10th Commandment: July 25

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The Limited Drape Detail Sheath Dress ($98 +40%-off)

While I vastly prefer dresses with sleeves, sleeveless dresses have their advantages too.  They allow you to wear blazers and cardigans without adding bulk to your arms.  And when they look as good as this Limited dress (also in petites), how do you say no?

Calvin Klein has some lovely sleeveless sheaths for sale.  I especially like this colorblock and animal print dress, and this under-$50 v-neck sheath with flattering ruched details.  Love color?  Don’t miss this teal dress from Tahari or this orange cowl-neck dress from Vince Camuto.  And my favorite Adrianna Papell sleeveless sheath, in stunning white eyelet, is on sale for $75 at 6pm.com.

Plus-size?  This bright, textured Calvin Klein dress is a stunner.  Petite?  Checkout this lilac, eyelet-trim sheath, also in misses.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 by Belle

Two Ways: Flounce Pencil Skirt

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Skirt: H&M Ruffle Skirt ($30)

From Left, Earrings: M. Flynn Rose Quartz Drops ($68) Rings: Windrose Ring ($95) and Sole Society Midi Set ($25) Bag: Michael Kors Selma Satchel ($358) Shoes: Sam Edelman Opal Heel ($100) Jacket: Blush Dome Jacket ($59) Top: Mossimo Sleeveless Print Top ($20)

From Right, Bracelet: Alfani Texture Bangle ($28) Clutch: Crinkle Satin Clutch ($28) Shoes: Nine West Allysway Sandal ($78) Earrings: Mixit Chandelier Earrings ($12) Top: Cory Sequined Top ($128)

For the Office. Blush, white and black…one of my favorite color combinations.  It’s soft, classic and feminine.  Does that check all of the boxes, or does that check all of the boxes?

The blazer is a pale blush color from Dorothy Perkins.  I like the complementary necklines, but the Mossimo top could also be worn with this v-neck, structured Topshop blazer.  Prefer cardigans?  Old Navy has an awesome blush one that would look great worn open or belted with a double-wrap belt.

The Mossimo top is a great basic.  Need something similar in plus-size? Try this Calvin Klein top.  Petite?  Try this Kasper blouse.

I chose the rose quartz earrings because I wanted the pinks to work together.  Want something cheaper?  Have a look at these Ralph Lauren drops.

As for the rings, the Windrose is my perennial favorite.  I’ve worn mine nearly every day since I bought it last year.  In fact, I just bought two more in case I lose one or it gets too scratched up to wear.  Definitely something I’ll be wearing when I’m old.  As for the midi rings, how adorable are they?  And if you’re headed over to Sole Society, I also love this cutout ring and this round stone statement ring.

To finish up, I chose a simple D’orsay heel and a grey satchel.  I prefer grey with black and white because it’s less severe, but still neutral.  I own this satchel in red, and it’s worth every penny.  Need something cheaper?  Try this pale grey satchel from Steve Madden.

For the hair, I would do a soft updo.  I really like this tutorial from Pinterest that shows you how to do a low chignon on shoulder length or longer hair.  Makeup?  Play it simple with a neutral look.  Don’t compromise the color palette of the outfit, but do add black eyeliner.

For Cocktails.  This skirt is a versatile piece for work, casual and evening.  The flounce gives it a little something extra that can be paired with any evening top for dinner, cocktails or a semi-formal wedding.

I loved the look of the embellished top with sheer accents.  Like the sheer but want to skip the sequins?  Have a look at this inset top from BCBG.  Petite?  Try this sheer-yoke Banana Republic top.  Plus-size?  Don’t miss this Vince Camuto top.

The white shoe is a bit of a departure from the typically classic style on this blog, but sometimes, it’s nice to shake things up.  Not into it?  Go for a basic black sandal like this Isaac Mizrahi heel.  Or you can replace the clutch with something more basic and wear these glorious raspberry-colored sandals from Schutz.

How great are these $12 earrings?  Fantastic.

For the hair, I would wear it down in waves.  For the makeup, I would go for a red lipstick (of course), like MAC Ruby Woo, and a red nail, like OPI Red.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 by Belle

10th Commandment: July 24

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H&M Ruffle Skirt ($30)

Want an alternative to the basic black pencil?  I love the little ruffle on this skirt.  It’s so fun.  This Ann Taylor skirt has a more pronounced flounce to it.  And I found similar style in navy.

Like the idea of a little something extra, but not crazy about the ruffle?  This XOXO drape skirt is a great option (runs small), as is this River Island one.  I also like this peplum skirt from WHBM (limited sizes).

Tall? Dorothy Perkins Panelled Skirt ($19).  Plus-size? Lord & Taylor Fluted Skirt ($50). Petite? Banana Republic Flounce Skirt ($59).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 by Belle

Belle’s Workday Reading: July 23, 2014

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1) Huffington Post examines #sorrynotsorry, and how we may be teaching the next generation of women to succeed and “speak up in the world we wished they lived in, not the one they actually inhabit.”

2) Moving out of the D.C.-humidity has benefits (great hair!) and drawbacks (dry skin).  Every Anniversary Sale, I grab this giant bottle of Kiehl’s Creme de Corps.  It also comes with a desk-size bottle, so your skin can be moisturized as needed.

3) The Cut examines why we treat the public relations field like a pink ghetto–a place where women vastly outnumber men, and still struggle to have their accomplishments recognized.

4) Off 5th has some great work pieces right now.  From DvF, they have this cobalt Raquel dress and this black-and-white print wrap dress.  I also love this tweed Milly jacket for $125.  And don’t miss these mid-height black wedges for under-$100.

5) 11 grammar lessons leaked from the CIA’s style book.

6) Looking for cute tops under-$25?  This tulip sleeve blouse with a dot print from Forever21 is fab.  I also love this rust-colored crepe blouse and this teal-printed, tie-neck top (it would look great under a black cardi or blazer).

7) From Fast Company, an article discussing the five mistakes you’re probably making at work.

8) The Rebecca Minkoff sale at Gilt has some winning bags.  I bought the Knocked-Up bag that I’ve been eyeing for a cool laptop/work tote for half-price.  If you need a red bag, they have the stylish Perry satchel in the mini and large sizes.  Not a Gilt member?  Join here.

9) Financial concerns are relative, and it’s important to maintain perspective. In this article from Learnvest, a D.C. woman questions whether entry-level professionals who can afford to go to happy hour should ever call themselves poor.

10) Oh, Rouland Mouret, why can’t you just make me an entire wardrobe full of beautiful dresses?

If you love RM, he’s doing a collab with Banana Republic.  Sign up for the e-mail notification so you don’t miss it. I need everything he made…everything.

11) Several readers have written in this month asking for tips on how to get back into the working world after being fired.  Salary.com has some interview tips for the recently fired.

12) Zara has some cute flats right now.  I love these black, round-toe ones with black gems are cool.  These black cap-toe flats are also adorable.  And don’t miss these pointed-toe, basic black shoes–for under-$50, I bought them immediately.

As for the comfort of Zara shoes, I find the flats to be a 7 to 7.5.  They’re not well-padded enough for a long walk, but if you want to add an insole, they can easily go all day.

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Updated for 2014