Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup Vol. 15


I am looking forward to incorporating my new pair of white jeans into my fall wardrobe (sans white shoes, of course). However, I did score a great pair on sale from Bloomingdale’s but they seem to be a little bit too big and stretch out by the end of a day’s wear. My question is – do you have any tips for shrinking jeans?

I tried washing them separately in hot water and running them through the dryer on high heat, but it didn’t seem to work too well – unless I need to run it through a few more cycles. The material is not particularly stretchy or anything, but I know that denim does usually stretch regardless so I am willing to accept that I might just have to make do with a loose fit.


Unfortunately, most modern denims are made to guard against shrinkage.  Depending on the brand, you can wash them all that you want, but they will never shrink.

You need to buy jeans so that they are tight in the store.  If you buy them to be comfortable in the store, they will stretch and sag and become too big over time.  This is especially true in the rear end, because each time you sit and stand they stretch a bit.  So when you try them on in the store, they should be a bit uncomfortable.

That being said, sometimes, a good tailor can take them in at the waist.  But if they sag in the rear, there is probably nothing that you can do to fix it.


In a few weeks, I’ll begin working in an office that requires staff members to wear a jacket every day. I’d like to continue wearing my pants and skirts (lots of black and navy, a few brown and khaki, a few assorted colors), so I’m looking for a few versatile blazers/jackets. Do you have any recommendations? 



Polyvore Set Here.

There are four basic jacket types that you should look for this Fall.  The basic wool blazer is a must have for both casual and work attire.  I like the camel for mixing with chocolate brown, navy and black.  But a navy or charcoal wool blazer is just as versatile.

Also big this Fall, the brightly colored blazer.  Whether you choose royal blue, fuschia, green or orange, there are many bright jackets to choose from this season.  I like this blue for pairing with black and white.

Peplum jackets are a sophisticated way to add a dash of sexy to your wardrobe.  Pair them with fitted pencil skirts or pleated skirts for a chic work look.  Add skinny and wide belts to emphasize the waist and play up the femininity of the cut.

Lastly, I see a lot of ugly tweed wandering the halls of Capitol Hill.  Pastel pinks and bulky boucle and heavy, shapeless blazers…blech.  If you’re going to wear tweed, choose a modern, tailored cut.  Think Coco Chanel meets Rachel Zoe.

Dear Belle,

I am getting married New Year’s Eve in Palm Springs. In September, I plan to have the engagement photos taken at the golf resort we have chosen for the wedding. And I am completely stumped on what to wear. The outfit has to be fabulous, but not too trendy or full of regret years from now. Also, it can’t compete with the natural backdrop of botanical beauty, palm trees, or mountains. Plus, my fiance is very much Texan, and he will be wearing something basic.  All of this I am trying to balance with the reality of the pictures are being taken in Palm Springs for pete’s sake and the outfit can’t be boring. The wedding planner suggested I pick something from my own personal wardrobe that I feel confident in, (serious truth to that statement) but I still feel I own nothing of worthy for the photo session. 

 Thanks! Trouble in Paradise (not really though) 

I agree with your photographer that you should choose something you already own and feel good wearing.  Too often, women buy new clothes for photos and discover too late that they pinch or fit poorly or emphasize flaws best hidden.  Choose your best outfit and spend your time and money on the perfect hair color and cut and flawless makeup.  That’s all anyone will notice anyway.

Additionally, avoid makeup with SPF when taking photos.  The SPF reacts badly with flash photography.  You’ll often end up with your body one color and your face a paler shade.  There’s no reason why you should wind up looking you have pancake mix on your face.

Lastly, avoid white in favor of darker colors.  Don’t wear a strapless dress, as this will make you look naked in headshots.  And don’t overdo it on the jewelry.  This is the time for simple earrings and necklaces, or none at all.


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  1. KLo says:

    @Trouble: My planner also suggested that I stay away from Clinique makeup, and she was right. One of my bridesmaids didn't listen, and she's a reverse-raccoon in a ton of pictures.

    August 22, 2011/Reply
  2. Alejandra (@frijolita) says:

    Speaking of blazers…where can a girl get a decent priced (under $200) tuxedo jacket, even one of the more modern looking ones with the rounded lapel? I looked everywhere, even Asos didn't have one!

    August 22, 2011/Reply
  3. Dr. Jean Grey says:

    Dear Trouble in Paradise–find a great fitting (I'm thinking flowy) dress in a solid color. Neutral..maybe a pale blush. And wear great classy jewelery. Diamond or CZ earrings.and your engagement ring. (Maybe a dress like this?? )

    August 22, 2011/Reply
  4. JA says:

    Thank you Belle for your post! I truly appreciate your insight and tips. I was unaware SPF in the makeup reacted that way with cameras and that is something I want to avoid. Also, thanks for the tip not to wear strapless. Dr. Grey, I too was thinking a flowy dress that I found, but the dress is strapless and it never would have occurred to me that I might look naked in some of the shots.
    Thanks you for your tips!!

    August 22, 2011/Reply
  5. Belle says:

    August 23, 2011/Reply
  6. L says:

    another make up tip- use matte eye, cheek and lip colors- no shimmer, glitter or sparkles. (Eye shadow and bronzer are usually the culprits here). The mica that creates the shimmer will reflect off the flash of a professional camera more than a hand held camera and also can contribute to making you look more washed out. Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming wedding!

    August 23, 2011/Reply
  7. Rory says:

    Mineral makeup will also react to the camera flash in a bad way, as L stated above it's usually due to mica in the formula. Make Up Forever, Cargo, and Smashbox are all solid choices for make up that won't react to cameras.

    August 23, 2011/Reply
  8. also says:

    any photographer worth their salt wouldn't use flash anyways. natural light FTW

    August 23, 2011/Reply
  9. Lauren says:

    Thanks for the jacket ideas, Belle! I'm so excited to see my question on your blog.

    August 24, 2011/Reply