Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: Roundup Vol. 7

Dear Belle, 

I recently started reading your blog (to the detriment of my savings account) and I am a huge fan. Props to your principled stand on Uggs and Crocs! 

I work on K street, and I recently I have been seeing a lot of cufflinks on women. Is this a thing now? I’m intrigued by the trend, but I can’t decide if the look is too masculine for me to pull off. Your advice would be much appreciated!



It’s funny, because I notice cufflinks on a female colleague the other day as well.  I think the look can be very chic, if you choose your cufflinks correctly.

As for advice on the subject, I think you need to choose a small pair.  Men’s cufflinks often vary in size from a quarter size to a half dollar size.  This would be too large for a woman’s small wrist.  

I really like these fuschia cat’s eye pair and this square pair with braided rope detail.  A monogrammed pair or a vintage pair that belonged to a family member could also be a nice choice.

Hi Belle:

I have cankles and it is really hard to find cute heels. Do you have ANY suggestions (oh please) on how to select shoes to minimize my cankles. 

Thank you!!!


Betsey Johnson Maggi Pump ($100)

While I’m not crazy about the raffia on the front of this shoe, it does have three important features that someone with cankles should be looking for in a shoe.  

1) A thicker heel.  This will balance out the chunkiness of the ankle with a chunky heel on the shoe.  A stiletto will only accentuate the disparity.  

2) It shows a lot of skin.  When you have cankles, or even just a thicker ankle, you need to balance that out by showing a lot of the skin on the top of your foot.  

3) Choose a neutral color.  A nude shoe will accentuate the leg line and mitigate some of the thickness in the ankle.  

Some definite don’ts?  No kitten heels.  No spike heels.  No ankle straps or ankle cuffs.  No booties that cover the whole foot.  


I’m going to a wedding in a couple of weeks that won’t be black tie, but will definitely be a dressy affair.  I have a dress that I want to wear that is actually an old bridesmaid dress (don’t worry, no one from that wedding will be at this one).  It’s strapless and cocktail length from the J. Crew wedding line, in a cranberry color that looks great with my skin tone and fits me like a glove.  My question is how do I accessorize an old bridesmaid dress so it doesn’t look like I’m dressing like I’m in this wedding party?  Is there a way to dress down a bridesmaid dress just a smidge so it’s not completely obvious that it is a bridesmaid dress?

I appreciate any ideas you have!  Thanks so much!


The bride always tell you that you’ll be able to wear the dress again, so good for you for trying to make that lie true.  As for your question, to tone down a bridesmaid’s dress (I assume it’s silk or satin), try a leather belt.  

Jeweled Raina Belt ($215)

I love mixing thick, vintage-y leather belts with evening dresses.  Wear this decorated belt with a pair of metallic sandals will make the dress less bride’s attendant and more wedding guest.  

Theory Avonlee Top ($209)

If that doesn’t do it for you, you might also try wearing a chiffon blouse under your dress.  You see trendsetters wear strapless dresses over t-shirts sometimes, but I think this look is more approachable for most women.  And also, I think the chiffon will blend with the cranberry dress better than a t-shirt would. 


    leave a comment

  1. Suburban Sweetheart says:

    Please keep in mind that “nude” is not a color but a state of being. One woman's “nude” is another woman's “beige shoe against African-American skin” & will NOT achieve the results you're talking about for cankled Tricia. I wish more fashion folks would take a principled stance against use of the word “nude,” which is perhaps the most white-people-centric bit of fashion terminology I can think of. Unless you're positive that Tricia is white, please prove yourself better than BandAid & panthyhose companies & choose a different term.

    May 9, 2011/Reply
  2. P says:

    amen! an easy way to deal with this is to say “nude for me shoes” instead of “nude”

    May 9, 2011/Reply
  3. Dr. jean Grey says:

    When I see someone use the word “nude” I assume it means “pick a flesh tone close to your skin color.” Nude is shorthand for “flesh tone” to me.

    May 9, 2011/Reply
  4. dm58 says:

    I agree with Dr. jean Grey — Nude in Belle's post clearly meant whatever flesh tone you are. Accusing Belle of any other meaning — especially when she has proven herself to be as far from a bigot as possible – is ridiculous. This is a classic example of how we overreact and attempt to politicize the simplest, most benign terms.

    And, for the record, the offending shoe is not “nude for me,” so please don't say I only take this stand because I look like Belle (if Belle is even Caucasian. Do we even know that?). I knew that Belle meant “nude for you,” though.

    May 9, 2011/Reply
  5. Nitpicky says:

    Am I the only one who finds it ironic that Suburban Sweetheart uses the politically correct “African American” descriptor in one sentence and then the color-based “white people” descriptor in the next sentence when she is blasting Belle for her so-called politically incorrect use of “nude?”

    May 9, 2011/Reply
  6. P says:

    “nude” IS politically incorrect. so why defend it? no one is accusing belle of being a bigot, that's ridiculous. but another of my favorite bloggers, corporette, has started using “nude for me shoes” when referring to how she would style an outfit, and i think it works well. that's why i suggested it.

    May 10, 2011/Reply
  7. Amelia Bedelia says:

    P, I also read Corporette and have no problem with the “nude for me” phraseology. But why is the term nude politically incorrect? I don't understand what makes it wrong? Honestly, I am just wondering.

    May 10, 2011/Reply
  8. Katie says:

    I find it disturbing that one should take offense to the word NUDE! When you are nude and African American, you are the color nude. If a CAUCASION is nude, they are their own nude color. Plus, why is it not okay to refer to a color as ‘nude’ but okay for you (Suburban Sweetheart) to call anyone “white people”?

    May 10, 2011/Reply
  9. Not Nude Today says:

    Has anyone stopped to look at the description of the shoe? The colour on the website says “nude!” Perhaps Belle was simply using the colour description that the manufacturers of the shoe chose?? Must we read intent behind everything?

    May 10, 2011/Reply
  10. P says:

    Nude is fine when it refers to a range of colors that match the skin tone of the wearer.
    But it's not fine when “nude” refers to a “champagne” or “peach” type color, aka the skin color of a Caucasian person.
    I really don't see how you can defend “nude” as a stand-in for “champagne” or “peach” – it's just very ethno-centric and I think it's time to leave it behind.
    Ironically, I think the way Belle used it in this post is great – we all realize she meant “nude for us.” The only issue is when you show a beige shoe and call it “nude.”
    This blog makes an interesting point about Michelle Obama's beige dress:

    May 10, 2011/Reply
  11. P says:

    btw Belle I LOVE your blog…it honestly keeps me sane throughout the work day! And I think you do a great job making this an inclusive community. I just think this is a point worth making.

    May 10, 2011/Reply
  12. Tricia says:

    Dear Belle; Thank you so much for the shoe advice. It is so helpful to me. I have lost a lot of weight — except for my cankles — and your advice is just what I needed! I love your blog and appreciate the time and effort you expend to be supportive to the rest of us. Your tips are wonderful. With much gratitude, Tricia [who noted that the manufacturer's description was “nude”)

    May 10, 2011/Reply
  13. Belle says:


    I use the word nude unthinkingly, but certainly not with the intention to insult. I sometimes say flesh-toned or in your skin tone, but nude seems to be my go to word. I certainly didn't mean to create a controversy, and I will try in the future, to use something more inclusive, but I may forget as I am only human.


    May 10, 2011/Reply