Capitol Hill Style

Monday, April 21, 2014 by Belle

Ask Belle Roundup Vol. IV, No. Eighteen

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Hi Belle, 

My law school graduation is in a few weeks, and I’m looking for a dress to wear under my gown.  Something light would be good, since the gown is so heavy.  I’d also like it to be knee-length or close to it and under-$200.  Any suggestions?

Thanks, Bev

My first suggestion about graduation attire is not to choose a strapless dress.  You’ll probably be taking a lot of photos, most of them head shots and you can wind up looking naked.

I would choose a short sleeve dress, like this chevron Collective Concepts dress from Piperlime or this stretch eyelet dress from J.Crew.  If you lose the bow belt, this printed Jones New York dress would be cute.  And this Felicity and Coco dress with cap sleeves is great for spring/summer (also in petites).

If you want to go the sleeveless dress with cardi route, this Wallis oval spots dress is adorable.  This Ralph Lauren white pointelle dress is also great and 25%-off with code FRIENDS.

Plus-size?  I like the look of this Land’s End dress with short sleeves and a square neck, the plum color is gorgeous.  They also make this elbow-sleeve floral dress that I wish came in misses sizes.

Dear Belle,

My makeup bag is looking grim and I want to purchase a few new eyeshadows to spice things up.  What is your favorite brand/colors?  I usually wear brown and gray and I want something with color.

Thanks! Love the blog! Aimee

My favorite shadows are Stila.  Good staying power, excellent color saturation. My favorite shades are Oasis (a pale gold) and Cassis (a royal purple).

If you want a drugstore option, I like the cream shadows from Maybelline Color Tattoo.  I also like the baked eyeshadows from elf who offer this lovely palette for $10.

Hi Belle,

I need a short coat for spring.  Not a trench, a hip-length coat.  I thought it would be easy to find one that cost less than $150.  I was wrong.  Please help, it’s still cold in Colorado.

Thank you, DB

Quilted jackets are a nice option for chilly weather.  Zara has a really nice looking one in navy for sale right now.  You could also try a short anorak like this two-tone one from Vince Camuto.  Or go for the trendy option and select a bomber jacket like this navy one from NYDJ.

Dear Belle,

You mentioned on Twitter that you buy hair sunscreen to protect your highlights. Where do you get it?  My wallet thanks you for saving my highlights from becoming streaks this summer.

xoxo, Kelly

I like Aveda Hair Veil, just remember to turn on your bathroom fan before you spray it.  Your nasal passages will thank you.  For a drugstore alternative, try Ion sun protection spray from Sally.

Monday, April 21, 2014 by Belle

10th Commandment: April 21

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You love shoes.  You love under-$100 week.  Let’s put ‘em together.

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Vince Camuto Ellen Flat ($79)

It’s springtime, and in my house, that means it’s time for new commuter flats.  I like to buy my walk-to-work shoes in a print or metallic so that they go with everything.  These VC flats in snakeskin are a great choice, you might also try these Steve Madden Heaven flats in snakeskin for $39.

Prefer metallics?  These gold Aertrex flats have orthopedic support but look sleek.  I also found these Hush Puppies flats that come in every color under the sun for $75 or less.  Some people also swear by Yosi Samra flats, but I don’t care for shoes with an elastic band.

While I don’t endorse the wearing of a full sneaker (unless you have a long commute), there are some in between options.  Classic Keds are my favorite sneaker-like shoe, Kate Spade also makes these gold-foil Keds for $125.

What’s your favorite commuter flat?

Friday, April 18, 2014 by Belle

Belle’s Weekly Reading: April 18, 2014

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1) Yale University threatened to suspend a student for having a BMI their health office considers too low.  Some are questioning how “unhealthy” is calculated, and whether suspension is an appropriate response to a potential eating disorder.

2) My must-have spring nail color?  Coral.  My favorite shade? butterLONDON Trout Pout.  Need a drugstore dupe?  Try Sally Hansen Coral Reef.

3) In the 1980s, the Walkman was the must.have.gift (until the Discman came out).  But how would today’s kids, who have access to iPhones, iPads and Androids, react to how their parents listened to music?  (h/t Kottke)

4) Banana Republic has some lovely jewelry for sale right now.  This crystal collar necklace would be the perfect thing for a simple cocktail dress.  This grey, multi-strand necklace would look great with anything in your closet.  I adore this pave bar bracelet, also in silver.  And don’t miss these blue cluster earrings to add some color to your spring attire.

5) The Levo League asks, “Do women undermine themselves with punctuation?!?!?!?”

6) I’m moving into a bigger place, which means more space to furnish.  I don’t want to go nuts with the new decor, but there are two pieces I’ve been eyeing at CB2.  I adore this oversized mirror (for Instagram outfit-selfies) and this charcoal-colored bar.  I might also grab this indoor/outdoor pouf from the sale section.

7) This recipe for Spicy Pineapple Chicken Stir-fry is really good.

8) Have a rare shoe size?  Nordstrom has kicks for under size 5 feet and over size 10 feet.   They also carry some styles in wide and narrow widths.

9) Frozen fever has hit the elementary school set.  Some parents are spending as much as $1,200 to get the sold out Elsa costume on eBay, while others are simply griping on Disney’s Facebook page about the lack of availability.  Is this what it means to raise a child in a post-Beanie Baby, post-Tickle Me Elmo world?

10) Why, J.Crew, why?

11) Should you sign the back of your credit card?  Since you’re “required” to sign the back of the card in order to use it, I do.  But I also add “see ID” in Sharpie, I’m still almost never asked for my ID.

12) I’m thinking about buying a white clutch.  I don’t usually fall for the magazine trends, but this Vince Camuto clutch with a detailed clasp is awesome.  This Milly clutch is also to die for.  Need something under-$100?  Try this BCBG envelope clutch or this Natasha Couture Box Clutch ($38).

Friday, April 18, 2014 by Belle

10th Commandment: April 18

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Judging from the comments in my email inbox, a number of you seem to think that I hate wedges.  This is not true.  I hate ugly wedges, the clunky, platformed kind that look like hooves.

Sleek wedges are a lifesaver if you plan on working a campaign.  That bit of added stability will save your ankles.

Elected Official

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Martina Patent Wedges ($228)

Normally, I would choose the Kate Spade wedges, but I could only find them in black.

Hill Staffer

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BR Maisie Wedges ($120)

Paid Intern

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CL Nima Wedge Pump ($40)

Thursday, April 17, 2014 by Belle

Ask Belle: Racerback Cocktail Dresses

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Hi Belle,

I’m searching for a dress for a friend’s wedding next month.  I’d like something with a racerback silhouette, but all I’m finding are casual dresses and maxis.  I’d like to spend under-$100 so I might be asking too much.

Please help! Jen

Asking too much?  Never!  We have the whole Internet available to us, let’s go searching.

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Trouve Ponte Midi Dress ($98) // LOFT Tulip Skirt Dress ($89) // ASOS Pencil Dress ($85) // Amy Matto Becca Dress ($78)

Ah, racer back goodness and all under-$100.  Nailed it!  But seriously, given that it’s wedding season, here are my favorite places to search for party dresses at reasonable prices.

ASOS, always, ASOS.  This flirty, strappy chiffon dress from Warehouse is perfection.  I also love this Oasis dress with a gorgeous coral color and collar embellishments.  They also have a wide selection of plus, petite, tall and maternity dresses.

Bloomingdale’s offers an under-$150 section that’s full of good stuff.  This deep blue dress from Coast has an interesting shape and a great look to it.  And this Michael Kors one-shoulder is a truly unique LBD.

Zara.  If you need to spend under-$100, Zara offers styles and prices that will suit you perfectly.  This navy dress with frilly sleeves could do double duty, casual with flat sandals or cocktail with strappy heels.  This dress with a knotted back detail is pretty fantastic.  And if it’s drama in the back that you want, don’t miss this racerback dress in a bold red with cut-outs in the back.

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Updated for 2014