Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: Roundup Vol. 7

Hi Belle,

Since graduating two years ago, I have been working with a consulting company with a strict dress code including but not limited to: nylons always, no open-toed shoes, suits 24/7 and more of the same. I never thought I would look back at my Hill wardrobe as “creative.” I have been known to toe the line with suit separates, bold blouses and slingbacks, but I find the options I have in my closest make me look older and plain.  Do you have any suggestions to liven up a business wardrobe for someone in their early 20’s? Thank you for any advice.


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, a sophisticated and youthful work wardrobe is blouses.  Blouses allow you to blend color, texture and shape into your wardrobe to give it a boost of life.  You can wear them under jackets and sweaters or solo with pants and skirts.

Polyvore Set Here.

These blouses are more traditional.  I would wear the coral blouse under a navy suit with a nude shoe.  The ivory blouse has a very modern sleeve with a slouchy fit making it the perfect compliment to fitted trousers or a fitted pencil skirt.  The black lace blouse would look amazing under a white or black blazer with trousers or skinny suit pants.

Polyvore Set Here.

If you can go bolder or want to branch out, these tops are more interesting but can be toned down for work.  The first blouse would look amazing with a pencil skirt, a stack of bracelets and a high heel.  The middle blouse can be worn under a blazer or layered over a long-sleeved blouse in grey or ivory to show off the shoulder detail.  The last blouse is made to be worn under a red or coral cardigan or a white blazer.

Hi Belle,

I have gotten a few new pairs of shoes and a pair of flip flops (but only because I’m about to go to the beach!) in the past few weeks, so what do I really have?  A lot of blisters!  Any advice for preventing blisters or how to heal them quickly when they do happen?  I know this is a bit outside of the fashion realm, but I thought I would ask. 


Aren’t blisters the worst?  To prevent them, invest in a high quality bilster block.  While some people swear by the drugstore brands, I walk so much that I need more oomph.  So I head over to the sporting goods aisle for Sport Wax or BodyGlide.  

If it’s too late for an ounce of prevention, let’s try a pound of cure.  Second Skin makes a great blister pad that treats the blister and protects the skin for up to five days.  This should heal any existing blisters while a liberal application of blister block will prevent any new ones.

Hi Belle!

As graduation fast approaches, us grads are despairing about what to wear. Obviously, I don’t want anything that’s going to make the graduation robe look weird, but at the same time I still want to look cute. This is completely beyond my ken. What kind of dress is appropriate for graduation? How fancy should the dress be? Obviously, nothing too ostentatious because the graduation is in the morning, but other then that…? I’m at a complete loss!



I wore a white suit to my graduation, and I wouldn’t recommend it.  I was steaming like a clam under that rayon gown.  So by the time we got to the “P” names, I thought I might pass out.  

When buying a dress for graduation, you need to consider comfort and how the dress will look in photographs.  This means no strapless (you’ll look naked in head shots), no corsets, no tight waistbands, and no body conscious dresses that will ride up.  I think the best styles for graduation are fuller skirts, sheaths and pleated skirts.

Polyvore Set Here.

These are the kind of dresses that you can dress up or dress down.  The pink dress could be worn with a bib necklace or with a simple skinny belt.  The second dress would look lovely with a nude heel or a metallic wedge.  The yellow dress would look lovely with a green cardigan (belted or unbelted) or with a simple sandal.  

This navy dress is amazing with a mesh neckline and a tonal stripe.  It’s the kind of dress that could be worn with metallic flats and cute earrings for the ceremony and then jazzed up with heels and an updo for dinner.  And if you like a traditional shape, the orange sheath is perfect.  Simple, elegant and yet, utterly bold.

Graduation is a time for solids and geometric prints.  Florals can look fussy in photos, like a little girl at church and they’re not what you want on your big day.  You earned this moment, and you should embrace the future with maturity and sophistication, not florals.  If you want to wow, pick up a bright or jewel-tone color.  Save the florals for Gold Cup.

Lastly, if you choose a fuller skirt, make sure that it doesn’t make the graduation gown poof.  That acrylic sack is unflattering enough, there’s no need to add any bumps or lumps.


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  1. Kaylee says:

    I've noticed a few Jane Norman pieces in your Polyvore sets lately and I've loved all of them! Do you know where to buy her line in the U.S.?

    May 2, 2011/Reply
  2. Belle says:

    I wish. Some of the Brit designers deliver. Not her.

    May 2, 2011/Reply
  3. A says:

    Love the grad dress advice. Thanks Belle!

    May 2, 2011/Reply
  4. Kaylee says:

    Thanks for the response, Belle, even though it's not the one I wanted. ­čÖü

    May 3, 2011/Reply
  5. SmallFry says:

    When ever I get new shoes, I usually try them on at home and walk a bit to see where the irritation might be. Then when I wear them (and break them in) I put on a piece of thin (1/2″) medical tape (you can buy it in skin tones). It prevents me from getting blisters and the tape stays in place as long as you wear it. Best new shoe remedy I've found.

    May 3, 2011/Reply