Capitol Hill Style: Faux Pas

Entries Tagged as 'Faux Pas'

Thursday, June 6, 2013 by Belle

Ask Belle/Faux Pas: Wearing Sunglasses Inside


Can you please do a post on people who wear sunglasses on their heads when they’re at the office?

-Twitter Follower

Why yes, yes, I can. Just allow me to brush the dust off of my soapbox…

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 1.26.59 AM

Sunglasses are meant to be worn outside.  To shield your eyes from the sun.  No sun = no sunglasses.  So why do so many people wear them on their heads or around their necks from 9-to-5 when they have no plans to leave their office building?

Ladies, your sunglasses are not a headband.  Gentlemen, your sunglasses are not a necklace.  And don’t even get me started on the weirdos who wear them hanging off the back of their heads like some kind of Guy Fieri wannabe.

People wear them at their desks.  Staffers wear them in committee hearings.  I’ve seen folks wear them in church, in restaurants or at the movies.  And there’s simply no rhyme or reason to it.

What message are you trying to convey?   Are you trying to impress people with the fact that you own Oakleys, or Wayfarers, or Gucci shields?  Do you think the Congressmen, your boss, your lunch guest or the priest is going to be impressed by your sweet taste in shades?

I’m especially perplexed as to why someone would wear their sunglasses while sitting at their desk.  Would you want an applicant to walk into a job interview with her sunglasses on her head or his croakies dangling from his neck?  I would wonder if the person was taking the interview seriously or just passing through, because the sunglasses make me think he/she has somewhere else to be.

Of course, I’m willing to make an exception for someone who quickly runs into a store or a coffee shop before heading back outside.  Even I sometimes pull my sunglasses onto my head if I’m just running inside to grab something and coming right back out. But if you’re going to be indoors for more than 20-minutes or so, it’s time to take the sunglasses off.  So why do so many people rock sunnies under fluorescent lights?

The most common reason why people wear sunglasses regardless of location is because they don’t want to take them off and lose them.  Or so I’m told by the woman I approached in the gym yesterday while she was huffing and puffing on the elliptical, her Miu Miu shades bouncing around her scalp like a pogo stick with every motion. But you don’t need to have them surgically attached to your person at every second to keep them safe (in fact, hers would have been safer in the locker room).

Ladies, if the potential for losing them is a real problem, carry the case in your purse and get into the habit of putting them away when you step inside.  I do this so often, it’s almost second nature.  It also keeps them from getting scratched or damaged.

Men, buy a slim case and slip them inside your inner jacket pocket.  Not wearing a jacket?  I don’t mind seeing them tucked into the placket of your shirt as an alternative.  But if you’re going to be at your desk, take them off and set them down near your cell phone so all your possessions are together.

Keeping your sunglasses at the ready is only required when moving quickly from the indoors to the outdoors, so stop wearing them all the damn time.  It’s not chic.  It’s not professional.  It’s not a status symbol.  It looks like you’re trying too hard or not trying hard enough, dealer’s choice.

Thursday, April 18, 2013 by Belle

Faux Pas? The Air Curler.


I have no idea what to make of this product.  Am I intrigued?  Am I skeptical?  Am I mortified for the people who plonk down $15 for an air-powered,plastic pitcher that allegedly curls you hair?  Am I unimpressed by these lackluster curls?  Am I just blown away that, not only does this product exist, there is more than one version on the market?

Okay, the answer is clearly “all of the above.”

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 by Belle

Faux Pas: Do you smell what I smell?




A ruffled, skunk-printed silk top.  And it costs $225.  Sometimes, I think J.CREW is punking me.

Oh, and just in case you want this print to cover your entire body with the Pepe Le Pew Collection, there’s a skirt too.

Thursday, August 9, 2012 by Belle

Faux Pas: Stupid iPhone Cases


Recently, I decided to make the leap and purchase an iPhone.  I was tired of my Blackberry melting down like a German in a diving competition every time I needed to search the web, and every other fashion blogger on planet Earth has one, so it felt like the right thing to do.  

Shortly after buying the phone, I decided to purchase a case for it.  I really don’t know why I thought this was necessary since I’ve owned eight cell phones over the past twelve years and never felt the need to decorate any of them.  But nevertheless, hours after purchasing my iPhone, there I was, on the Internet, searching for a case that truly captured my essence.  

There were metallic cases and Swarovski-encrusted cases.  There were cases with sports logos and personalized monograms.  There were cases that glowed in the dark or had flashing lights.  There were even cases that smell like your favorite flavor of Jelly Belly.

Etsy had cases knitted by a woman in Massachusetts to look like sweaters, and cases covered in three dimensional cookies and cakes.  

Live in a cold climate?  How about an iPhone case covered in real fur?

Not satisfied with giving Apple free advertising by carrying an iPhone? Why not double up on the commitment to consumerism by shilling for Juicy Couture, Tory Burch or Marc Jacobs with a logo case?

And, of course, there’s a Hello Kitty case.  Or 200 Hello Kitty cases. Heaven forbid Sanrio miss out on a single penny of that billion dollar empire.

But the most abhorrent thing I found during my search for an iPhone case was this monstrosity:

Rabito iPhone 4 Case ($32)

Even more horrifying? It’s being sold at my beloved Nordstrom.  [facepalm]

After I finished weeping bitter tears, I began to wonder about the kind of person who carries a bunny-shaped iPhone case complete with pointy ears and bushy tail.  Who is the target demographic for this product?  What person would buy an iPhone in an attempt to look cool and urbane (isn’t that why we all own them?), and then wrap it in a fluffy pink bunny case?  

Teenage girls, sure.  But what grown person with a checking account and health insurance would carry such a thing?  I was determined to believe that no such person could exist.  Then, during my trip to New York, I found my unicorn.

My friend and I were sitting in the dining room of a restaurant with three Michelin stars when the woman at the table behind us pulled out a lime green bunny phone.  (Did I forget to mention that it comes in six colors? Including the very masculine black with striped bushy tail?)  

She was tall, attractive, late-30s.  She was wearing Manolos and a selection of Hermes bracelets.  And yet, there she was texting on a phone shaped like a freaking bunny.  

I wanted to ask her why.  I wanted to ask her if she was dropped on her head as a child, or if she’d done too many club drugs during her misspent youth.  I wanted to ask if she was making a philosphical statement about a topic that I wasn’t intelligent enough to understand.  But I didn’t.  I just watched in horror as she held her plastic lagomorph by the ears and dropped it into her Chloe bag.  

And then I ordered another cocktail.  A double.

I’m all for self-expression.  After all, that’s what clothes and fashion are all about.  I’m even willing to stretch the boundaries a bit and accept that choosing a whimsical, colorful case helps a person embrace his or her individuality.

But a case with ears and a furry, bushy tail?  I would endorse the wearing of Uggs in public before I would give the Rabito and its kin my stamp of approval.

All joking aside, before you step into your next business meeting, look down at your iPhone and ask yourself: What would my supervisor/client/Boss think if he/she saw this phone?  Because had I seen the woman from the restaurant on the street, I would have thought that she looked amazing and stylish.  But having seen her hidden shame, she would have to take a bullet for me before I could refer to her as anything other than the Woman with the Lime Green Bunny Phone.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 by Belle

Five Trends That Belle Is Totally Sick Of


Earlier this month, Corporette wrote an awesome post on trends that she is “totally sick of.”  Once I read it, I could.not.stop thinking about all of the trends that have sent me reeling.  Corporette hit the high points with peep toe booties and business suits made with shorts for bottoms (a professional short-suit is an oxy moron, and a waste of a good blazer), but I wanted to add a few of my pet peeves to the list.

1.  Call it a romper, a playsuit or a jumper but, whatever you call it, these grown up onesies are just atrocious.  And unbelievably unflattering.

Unless you’re walking the earth on long, skinny legs without a hint of belly fat and a perky bust, you will look dumpy, frumpy and squat in a romper.  There’s a reason why only supermodels and five-year-old girls can pull off this trend.

2. Multi-finger rings were cool, for a minute.  Now, these uncomfortable trinkets are, as a jr. high school girl would say, “So 2008.”

3.  I don’t know what it is about summer that makes women lose their minds and purchase canvas tote bags that cost more than $100.  The Anya Hindmarch bag above is $295.  Tory Burch sells her canvas totes for over $300.  And Kate Spade hocks printed canvas bags that cost as much as a month’s worth of my groceries.  The bags are canvas, one of the world’s cheapest fabrics, please do not spend a triple-digit sum on them.  Especially when you can only carry them three months per year.

4.  Corporette mentioned high-low or dip hem skirts in her post, but given this trend’s upward trajectory, the advice bears repeating.  This style is the epitome of a one-year trend.  Next year, this will be last year’s skirt.  In 20 years, your teenage daughter will come home wearing one.

Basically, the dip hem is to 2012 what the bubble hem was to 2007 and what the one shoulder neckline was to 2010.  One day the trend is everywhere, and the next, it’s played out.

5. Platform wedges.  They’re clunky, chunky and ugly, and yet, they’re so pervasive, I wonder if they will ever go away.  Just today, I saw a woman wearing them.  They really accentuated her cracked and blistered heels.

Bottom line, heavy footwear, like the wedges above, makes your legs look thick and stubby and draws attention to your feet for all the wrong reasons.  They’re not flattering, they look cheap even if they’re expensive and they need to be eliminated from wardrobes everywhere.

Still want wedges? Try a lighter and more graceful silhouette, like these Ivanka Trump ones or these Kate Spade’s.

Which trends are you totally sick of?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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.

Updated for 2014