The Daily Eight: September 20 2016



1) What we can learn from women who break the rules and fall apart. (The New York Times, book review)

2) This $29 bi-stretch twill dress from Target is shockingly chic.  I also love the hemline on this Merona sleeveless sheath.

3) How to make the most of liking your job but hating your boss. (The Everygirl)

4) This simple, suede skinny belt from WHBM is perfect for dresses or over cardigans.

5) If you earn six figures, it’s likely you have virtually no savings. (Bloomberg)

6) These Sole Society mushroom-gray tall boots must be mine.  Also, their Daphne booties are perfectly sleek.

7) With Brangelina calling it quits, it reminded me of this profile of celebrity divorce attorney Laura Wasser. (Jezebel)

8) Fall weddings, this $88 Charles Henry off-the-shoulder dress is a good pick for a not-quite-winter dress.

*image found here.


Ask Belle: Your Fall 2016 Office Legwear Guide

I love all the new blog features!  I hope you’ll still do “Ask Belle.”  If so, can you please do a post on when it is okay to start wearing tights (and maybe boots)? 

I saw a woman wearing horribly scuffed, brown knee high boots to an evening event two weeks ago, and I shuddered.  No tights, but definitely a mess.  But now it is starting to get cold, especially in the mornings!  Is it a faux pas to bust out the opaque tights in September?


The weather is crisp, the leaves are falling, it must be time for me to post my annual guide to wearing tights.  I love to wear dresses, so tights are the only way to do so while avoiding frostbite.  I think I’ve tried every brand and style.  So here is a wrap up of what I like, what I think looks good, and other tips.

When can I wear tights? My general rule is if the daytime high is going to be below 65 degrees, tights are okay.  If you live in a place where the weather is too fractious to control your decisions, October 1 is as good a line of demarcation as any.

Denier Matters.  Denier is a measure of the density of the fibers in a fabric.  Larger numbers mean a thicker, more opaque tight.  I like a higher denier, but there is a limit.  A few years ago, I tried on a 150 denier tight and it was like wearing a sweater on my legs.  No thank you.  Leg warmers went out in the 1980s.

Best High Denier Tights. The 110 Denier Ultimate Opaque Tights from Commando are beloved for their comfort waistband.  However, Spanx are my favorite.  They make a nice 70 denier tight.  And their Luxe Leg Blackout Tights are super opaque with 100 denier.  I also own their reversible tights in black/navy.

Looking for something more affordable?  Topshop’s 80 denier tight is a good buy.  Plus-size?  ASOS makes an 80 denier tight that they sell in a $17 pack of three.  Petite?  Merona probably makes the best selection of affordable tights for your size.  Tall?  Berkshire makes longer lengths.

The Wolford Debate. Wolford tights are the choice of fashion girls everywhere.  But, honey, are they pricey.  Devotees swear that they wear like iron and are worth it.  I’m just not there yet.

Sheer black nylons are a no for me.  I know some women love them, but I find them to be matronly.  To make them less church lady, I would recommend a pair with a seam back.  It adds just the right amount of sex appeal, but may be too risqué for conservative offices.

Colored Tights. If you want to wear a colored tight (navy, grey, burgundy, etc.), the sleekest way to wear them is to follow Belle’s Two-Out-of-Three-Rule.

Basically, match your tights to either your skirt/dress or to your shoes.  So if you have a navy skirt, wear navy tights.  If you have grey shoes, wear grey tights.  The continuous block of color gives you a look that is sleek and chic, and keeps your outfit from looking disjointed.  I always have black, navy, and grey on hand.

Leggings at work? Sweater dresses are my casual Friday go-to.  And when I want to be comfortable, I wear a pair of Zella Live-In leggings under them.  Why Zella?  Because they’re soft and super opaque.  Lululemon is for the gym.

Patterned Tights. Not as popular as they once were, patterned tights are still the subject of debate.  Patterned tights are not appropriate for a conservative or professional office.  Also, there may be an upper age limit on these.  I’m 34, and I think I’m past it.  Your mileage may vary.

What to do when tights won’t work?  We’ve all been there you have a great skirt or dress you want to wear and tights would just look weird.  It’s winter, you don’t want to wear bare legs, what do you do?

I like micro-fishnets in a flesh-tone.  Spanx makes a nice pair.  I’m intrigued by Commando’s ‘very fine’ fishnets.  Halogen makes a pair for $19.  Plus-size?  ASOS Curve makes a pair.  Not caucasian?  A friend bought a good quality new pair and a bottle of RIT dye and darkened them.  Sad that no one makes a flesh-tone pair in other flesh tones.

Nylons are also an option.  I like to keep mine super sheer to avoid that Hooters-waitress look.  Donna Karan Nudes are the best.

I’m also a believer that you can go bare-legged when need be.  I don’t do it often between November and March, but it sometimes is a necessity.  If you’re worried about being too pale, there’s always a moisturizer with a hint of self-tanner.

Questions, concerns, or suggestions should be left in the comments.  xo, Belle

The Daily Eight: September 19, 2016



1) When to say no at work, and why it’s important. (Forbes)

2) These mid-rise, burgundy ankle pants from Old Navy are a must.  Also, this textured-stripe poncho is on trend and looks more expensive than it is.

3) How Muslim women bear the brunt of Islamophobia–it’s exhausting playing both terrorist and victim. (The WaPost)

4) I wore my Boden Boy Fit shirt yesterday.  It’s definitely an easy fall staple.

5) Tips for using procrastinating to your advantage. (Well and Good)

6) LOFT has some great semi-casual dresses.  This fireball red flare dress and this pine green blouson dress both caught my eye for work Mondays/Fridays.

7) How the rich and poor are trapped in a ‘Free Time Paradox.‘ (The Atlantic)

8) I don’t know where I would wear this crepe-cape dress from Dillard’s, but I need to find somewhere ASAP.

*image found here.

Five Tips for Fighting Dry Autumn Skin


While many women love fall for the turning leaves, the comfort foods, and the tall boots, the dry skin that often arrives in September/October is another matter.  Why must the changing of seasons destabilize your skin?  Well, it doesn’t have to if you’re ready to fight it before it begins.  Here are a few tips to keep the flaky dry skin of fall at bay.

Read More

The Daily Eight: September 16, 2016


I have no idea if this is actually Lao Tzu.  Sites like Good Reads and Brainy Quote have made it impossible to check.


1) The $1,000 date night: Has D.C.’s tasting menu culture finally jumped the shark? (The Washington Post)

2) Ann Taylor has 40%-off with code YESPLEASE.  I grabbed this faux-leather pencil and these black, bow flats.

3) 25 well-known women talk about anger and how to deal with it. (The Cut)

4) For affordable sweaters, try this Sun & Shadow off the shoulder.  Also, this Topshop chunky funnel-neck.  Plus-size? Try this Halogen zip-back sweater.

5) Are state governments to blame for the rising cost of college tuition? (fivethirtyeight)

6) L’Agence makes the best tweed.  So does Iro.  Sadly, I didn’t win the Powerball this week, so Halogen.

7) Meet the second-grader who is a fashion Instagram star. (Narrative)

8) Traveling for work? Hit up Sephora’s On the Fly shop.  Thank goodness, Drybar makes a travel kit.

*image found here.