Three Ways: Bubbling Over

Jul 26, 2011

It’s been a long, sad, stressful summer here in the Land of Belle.  My Father is currently battling bladder cancer, which has been the low point of my life, let alone my year.  And my future/career took some unexpected twists and turns at some inopportune times but will sort itself out soon enough. 

Now, I don’t want to turn this fashion and style site into a one woman pity party.  But last night, instead of writing a Three Ways post, I sat in my bathtub and drank champagne.  It was all that I had the energy to do.

Hopefully, my personal life will sort itself out in the next few weeks and this weight will lift from my shoulders.  But until then, the blog might be a little mediocre, and I apologize for that. 

Yesterday, I put out a call for Ask Belles and you ladies responded en masse.  These comments were incredibly helpful to me because there’s nothing more I like than having a sense of direction.  So why don’t we try the same thing for Three Ways? 

What items do you have in your closet that you don’t know how to wear?  What trends do you see in the glossies that seem unattainable?  And what items would you like to see in this space that could help lift your wardrobes?

Ask The Edit, Three Ways

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  1. Kelsey says:

    Motorcycle boots! I just got a pair from nordstoms and cannot think of what to wear with them besides black scuba pants.

  2. KH says:

    jean jacket – are they still in? or out? I picked one up at a thrift shop this wknd b/c it fit wonderfully and was super cheap – but not sure if they're still acceptable to wear.

  3. H says:

    Second the ankle boots/motorcycles/booties idea. I have thick calves from years of horseback riding and have an easier time with lower boots, but I often feel like I can't find the right skirt-length to wear them with without looking dumpy. But calf-friendly tall boot recommendations would be most welcome too! Thanks for an amazing blog, Belle, hope that things get better soon!

  4. Sally says:

    I own these shoes: I LOVE them. Sadly, I only have one outfit to wear them with…..

  5. L says:

    Cropped pants and high heels. I can't figure out a way to pull it off and not make myself look about 30 pounds heavier. I hope things start to turn around!

  6. EmilyAnne says:

    Keep your chin up, Belle! Your words bring me happiness and encouragement all the time and you deserve nothing less for yourself. Not to mention you are a great writer and hilarious to boot.

    3 ways suggestions:
    -I second the Jean jacket
    -something that could show me how to reappropriate my summer dresses for fall with sweaters, tights, etc.
    -something on the hot trends for this fall would be great!

  7. Meiqi says:

    I don't think that most people appreciate what a catastrophe it would be to the world financial markets if the U.S. were to be downgraded and and/or default, nor how hard you all must be working to prevent that from happening. If I were you, I'd be in the throes of a migraine right now. Anyway, I can't think of any 3 ways post ideas right now, but I'd love it if you could post some cute flats whose soles might stand up to daily pounding on NYC city streets for more than a couple months. It seems like all the cute flats that I can find have super thin soles and wear out within two months of daily use, but I also don't want to buy clunkers.

  8. Montana says:

    Hey Belle,

    Your mediocre is still wonderful!!!!!
    1.Advice on wearing dresses with boots
    2.What is your opinion of hair extensions
    3. Hope things turn around quickly!

  9. C says:

    I just said a prayer for your dad. Hope he pulls through and that all will be well again. Hang in there.

  10. VA Gal says:

    I am in love with the brightly colored pencil skirts for fall over at JCrew, but a little lacking in ideas to make one versatile beyond wearing with a neutral blazer and cream colored shell.

    Thanks, and I hope your father makes a full recovery!

  11. KC says:

    I second the boots/booties and dresses request. Really, anything with boots and booties, especially cognac and camel. I have camel wedge boots and cognac booties and would love as many options to wear them as I can get!

  12. SB says:

    I'm so sorry to hear this. I've been there with a dad terminally ill with cancer, and sometimes you just need a little self-diagnosed champagne and bathtime. And sometimes you need a lot. I found that the best way for me to deal with it all was to write it all out…it is its own form of therapy. Saying prayers!

  13. E says:

    I hope everything works out and your father gets well soon!! Your blog is NOT mediocre! Everyone gets busy.

    – I would eventually like some ideas on how to make flat boots session-appropriate for fall/winter…last year I always found this annoying/too casual for work.
    – And going off the previous post about high heels and cropped pants – I just got the J. Crew leather pumps in the matte red-ish color and I want to wear them with everything…any thoughts?
    – Silk scarves ideas for work
    – Things I don't wear that I would like to get more wear out of: beige sequined cardigan, black and white calf print skirt, and a cobalt blue dress
    – Going off the previous post that mentions the brightly colored pencil skirts/pants for fall – is this session-appropriate? My boss doesn't allow us to dress down during recess either but I can probably get away with those brights then, but I want to invest in things that I can wear often/whenever
    – Maybe another post on closet basics, or something more like pieces you can't live without BUT at the same time they dress up and put together any wardrobe

    Thanks for your advice! I love your blog.

  14. Julie says:

    Sorry to hear you're going through tough times, Belle. Hang in there! In the meantime, bubble bath sounds pretty great to me.

    @Sally, what about a denim mini-skirt with those heels – or short(er) shorts?

  15. Lara says:

    I agree about flat boots at work! I was thinking of splurging and buying these, but I'm not sure I would get much use out of them Monday-Friday. I don't work on the Hill, so my office is slightly more casual. Help?

  16. AR says:

    I'd love your take on how to wear a one-button black vest. I received it as a gift from a friend who also insisted on seeing it tailored and I need to make an appearance in it soon!

    I'll be keeping you and your dad in my prayers.

  17. vaki says:

    I second the bright JCrew pencil skirts! I own a bright yellow and a bright orangy-coral one. I usually wear the coral one with a royal blue or purple blouse and the yellow one with a black and white top…but my creativity ends there.

    My mother is battling with liver cancer, it's exhausting at times. Humor, a glass of wine and friends make me feel better =) sometimes combined, sometimes separate.

    I admire your courage, please hang in there and know that you're cared for…even by people that haven't met you.

  18. Amanda says:

    How to wear brightly colored pants- I have a pair on green jeans, and I have no idea what to wear with them besides a white tee! I know they're big for fall so I'd love your take on it.

    Colorful statement necklaces/statement necklaces in general- I always think they look great on other people but I don't know how to pull it off myself… can I wear in on bare skin vs. over a shirt? Can the shirt be a pattern?

    Maxi skirts- I bought a black maxi skirt and don't know what to wear with it (with a white top it just looks so catering company waiter)

    Also, not for a three ways post, but I'm curious where you buy all your basics. I can easily find fun statement pieces but finding solid basics that look great, last longer than a month, and are affordable is proving difficult.

  19. Meghan says:

    chin up my dear! all will sort itself out in the end. and if not, it's not the end 🙂 (or however that quote goes) xoxo

  20. Steph says:

    Belted dresses and shirts. I just don't get it. I see people do it well, but for myself I think it would just look silly. I am an hour glass shape, with extra me than needed 🙂 It seems as though I would be the perfect match for a belt on all outfits, but really I feel like I would just look like I belted the shirt because I think I'm overweight. Do I really have to belt my dresses, shirts, or things like jersey dresses? Thanks for your thoughts.

  21. vita says:

    I was going through a similar situation the last 6 months. And as much as I hate to admit it and didn't want to believe it, the old adage is definitely true: patience is a virtue. In the last 2 weeks things have been looking so great for me that I still don't believe it has turned out so well. Just keep your head high, have that occasional glass of champagne, take time to decompress, and soldier on. It will all turn out well.

    So switching gears – I bought a pair of Nine West Botto Wedges in Natural Leather at the beginning of summer and have only worn them once to a Gold Cup event. They are so comfortable and cute, but I am terrified that if I wear them with shorts or a dress that I'll either look stripper-esque (since I'm a curvy size 4) or too boho. My style is more Victoria Beckham / Kim Kardashian and I'm afraid that I might not be able to take advantage of these shoes. Help!

    Thanks in advance for your advice!

  22. LS says:

    Aw Belle, so sorry things are tough right now. Not that it's the same as a sick parent, but my young niece and my dad's longtime girlfriend were both diagnosed with cancer this spring. To say the least, things are stressful for our family. My niece is only part way through a long battle and it's gotten overwhelming at times. Focusing on one day at a time has been really helpful for us. I hope things start looking up for you, your dad, and your family.

    Career-wise, you are so focused and driven, I'm confident that things will work out for you.

    For three-ways, I'll mention snakeskins pumps again in case you want these requests all in one place. I have a beautiful Italian bone/cream colored leather jacket that I bought on a whim and love, but have no idea how to wear. It looks very similar to this one except it's hip length

    Thank you as always!

  23. Michelle says:

    I love headbands. I would love to see one done three ways – BBQ, office and formal maybe? Or maybe a brunch?

    thanks Belle!

    p.s. I'm 26 and my father paseed away a few years ago – not to say yours will, but it is a very emotionally trying time. Best of luck to you and your family. You will be in my thoughts

  24. VA says:

    I'd love to see an “LBD, three ways” post – my semi-formal uniform of black cocktail dress, colored heels, and chandelier earrings is getting boring, but I'm always nervous about pulling out all the fashion stops when I'm going to someone else's event (especially a wedding).

  25. Michele says:

    You send so much positive energy out in to the world! Keep your head up and your eyes on the prize. My suggestion: I only like on-line shopping if I can get free shipping. Wardrobe suggestions from Zappos? Or tips on how to find cool things on Zappos?

  26. Michele says:

    Ooops! One more thing: a dress to wear to a family wedding. Because of the millions of family photos, it needs to be a solid color and have sleeves (don't want my less-than-toned arms to be forever on the wall of family photos). Thanks again! (The wedding colors are dark purple and pewter, grandmother of the bride wearing navy, and bride wearing ivory lace with portrait collar and 3/4 length sleeves.)

  27. Thuy says:

    Take care, Belle! Your blog has been a great read and I appreciated your email response to me. Sometimes drinking champagne in the tub is the best thing to do.

  28. R says:

    Belle! I’m sorry to hear about your rough patch. I love your blog, your sense of fashion, and sense of humor. Champagne sounds like a good approach, however.

    I second jean jackets—it’s haunting my closet. And I need a pair of cute flats that are $70-90ish that are wearable even when it’s a little cold (skirts with tights and…flats?).

  29. Charleigh says:

    Yesterday I posted about leopard flats. In three ways I think they might be suited better.

    They have faux-pony fur, and a large shiny buckle across the top so they are somewhat fancy. I would like to know how to wear them to work, a date night out, and around the town.

    Look like these:


  30. sp says:

    Can you tell us whether you'd tuck the shirt in or leave it out when you put together these outfits? I've know you do this sometimes, but I need more guidance…

  31. alex says:

    I really want a pair of loafers/ driving shoes but if I get a pair I am uncertain how to wear them. Help with that would be great!

  32. Stephanie says:

    I just bought a black Halston Heritage halter jumpsuit (so pumped). I know this is a timeless, retro piece, but could use a bit of inspiration!

  33. Anon says:

    Sorry to hear things are rough for you right now! Hope they get better soon.

    I second the commenters who asked for: 1) bright colored skirts for a conservative office, 2) leopard print shoes (mine are kitten heels), and 3) LBD three ways (maybe work-ish annual dinner type event; wedding; bachelorette party or special occasion date).

  34. amysee says:

    Belle, in the short time I've read your blog it's become obvious to me that you are one of the hardest working women in Washington. Never feel mediocre. I hope everything improves for you very soon. Once it does I think you should celebrate it with another night in the tub with champagne… that's not a coping mechanism, it's a lifestyle. 🙂

    The thing I can never, ever figure out is a decent fall-winter transition coat. I've got my trench for rain and kind of cold, and I've got my big thick wool thing for really cold, but there is a middle ground that I can't figure out. Does this make sense? I feel like I'm supposed to go out and buy a black pea coat but I'd rather branch out. And be both work and off-work appropriate. And also maybe I'd like a pony.

  35. Ellen says:

    Belle, so sorry to hear about your dad. Thoughts and prayers.

    I posted this yesterday, but it is more appropriate for this one. I would love to see how to wear t-strap shoes. Specifically these t-strap shoes:


  36. Sarah B. says:

    Hi Belle,

    A few weeks ago you listed the J. Crew Jardin skirt as an item on your wish list. I would love to see this in a three ways post.

    I hope things start looking up for you!

  37. MidwestChic says:

    Belle, you are such a strong willed woman and a true inspiration to the women who read your blog! Many prayers are headed your way from all of us! Just remember, everything comes out in the wash 🙂

    I agree with those who want to see more of the basic pieces that are your wardrobe staples; I know you have done a few in the past with the classic white button up and such, but I rather put more money into those and then accessorize like crazy.

    Best wishes!

  38. LN says:

    Trouser jeans. I'm petite and hourglass/slightly bigger on top and can't seem to figure out how to balance the wider-leg of the trouser jeans w/o looking big all over…..General hints for those of us on the more-petite end of the spectrum would be nice, too.

    Hope things start looking up soon.

  39. Kelly says:

    I bought a pair of nude wedges that I love, but I don't know if there is any way to make them office approproate. Everytime I put them on they feel a little too beachy. Is there a way to pull off a professional look or should I keep them for the weekends?

  40. ALC says:

    Best wishes to your family, Belle.

    How about hunter green or other jewel tones? I always struggle to find things to pair with darker richer colors.

  41. B says:

    Everyone needs to drink champagne in the bathtub sometimes. Rock on.

  42. lakaribane says:

    Sursum corda!

    And I would like your input on how to wear a buttoned wrap skirt to work, specifically with a jacket. I know the blouse will be tucked in to show off the “double breasted” effect of the skirt but what do you wear over the blouse?

  43. a says:

    I just bought this ( shirt, and I'd love some different ways to wear it. I'm a redhead, so it's rare for me to find a red that I can pull off.

  44. Laura B says:

    Hi Belle,
    I bought these super fun black and white naughty monkey pumps ( and since they are such a statement shoe, I'm having some difficulty making outfits that go with the shoe. Perhaps a three way could be done, so I could where them to work or a social event.

    Also, I had another idea, but it's not about the three ways. I was wondering if it would be possible to create a new section that you have at the top (like next to Ask Belle and the Archives) for like basic rules in fashion. It could include some guidelines for belting tops/dresses for beginners, or mixing metals guidelines, or maybe even the current rules in fashion today about pants (like are skinny's in or not). And have this stuff always be available in that section. Sometimes its a little hard to go back and find older posts that gave some guidelines.

    Just an idea.

    Thanks for all your hard work!!

  45. KRF says:

    Hi Belle,
    In reviewing earlier posts I just want to echo my appreciation for this Blog and the time and effort that goes into it each each and every day. I continue to keep good thoughts for you and your family during this difficult time. My Father is still on the mend. These days our phone sign off is “stay outta trouble”, which is our way of saying “Love ya”–and since he is known to not always follow doctor orders its also very appropriate! All the best to you–KRF

  46. Kat says:

    I'm a fairly regular reader and have been meaning to post when you've mentioned your dad, and my life always seems to get in the way. However, I just wanted to let you know that you and your family are in my prayers. My mom was treated for colon cancer a few years ago while I was far away in college. I know every experience is different, but I know it's a special sort of hell when you can't be with your parents when stuff like this happens. Take all the mental health breaks you need! 🙂

    (That said, just because I didn't mention it doesn't mean there isn't anything in my closet that I don't know how to wear or with what — Lord knows, there is, I just can't think of it right now!!)

  47. Mia says:

    Belle, your blog is the best one I read on my blog roll. I appreciate your wit, candor, and snark. Everyone needs a champagne and bubble bath night. I just took myself out to a wine bar on a me date last night. I read a trashy book, enjoyed a plate of cheese, meats, then chocolates later and tried to unwind–inspired by this post.

    Saying prayers for your father, of course.

    In style terms…I just bought a chambray shirt dress and would love to see a 3 ways on it!

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