+ Three Ways

Two Ways: Red Trousers


Pants: Premium Wide Leg Trousers ($120)

From the Left, Earrings: Aztec Studs ($18) Bag: Edie Calf Hair Bag ($448) Shoes: Kate Spade Licorice Pump ($209) Sweater: Cashmere V-Neck ($129) Blouse: Sold Out. Similar blouse from Aqua $88.

From the Right, Bracelet: Classic Wide Bangle ($28) Bracelet: Bastion Bangle ($88) Belt: Isabel Marant Belt ($105) Shoe: Indico Pump ($130) Shirt: Chambray Pocket Shirt ($27) Bag: DSW Convertible Tote ($229)

For the Office.  I think camel and red is a very rich-looking color palette.  It’s vibrant, it’s bold and it’s not too severe.  I far prefer it to black and red, which always looks harsh to me.  

Here, I mixed a classic camel v-neck sweater with a light, chiffon blouse in ivory.  You could use a tie-neck as I have done, or you could do a traditional button front blouse, either one.  Just make sure to choose a lighter fabric, it just tones everything down a bit.

I really wanted to do a shoe in a color other than black (I’m not getting my way at all today.), but nude just looks like a beacon of light and directs attention to your feet and chocolate brown felt forced.  So I looked at some celebrity style photos and saw that most people wear black pumps with red pants.  The key to keeping it from looking too strong is making sure that the shoes show off a lot of the foot.  That way the flesh tone sets off the black and relaxes the color scheme.

As for this pair of shoes, they are the Kate Spade Licorice pump, one of the greatest wear-to-work shoes in existence.  They are comfortable at a reasonable 3″ heel height.  They also go with everything, and right now, they’re on sale for $209 instead of $289.  Plus, they come in several lovely colors and patterns.

For the bag, we have another J.CREW bag. (I know, I’ll try to branch out, I promise.)  I like leopard and red together, because if you’re going to be bold, you should go all the way.  And the earrings are an Aztec-inspired black and gold geometric design to add a bit of funk.  

As an aside, I love how ever since the Navajo raised a ruckus about the use of the word Navajo on clothes from Urban Outfitters and H&M, the discount retailers are using Aztec instead.  I’ve probably seen a dozen pieces from different shops with “Aztec” in the product name.  I suppose that when you’re exploiting the artistic heritage of a culture, choosing one that died out in the 16th Century probably cuts down on the chances of litigation.  

Getting back to the outfit, I think the hair would look best up.  A wavy updo twisted into a bun would be lovely.  As for the makeup, I would do a red lip.  I would also try a lightly winged liner, just ticked out at the corners a bit, not Cleopatra.  And I’d do a pale pink or pinky-coral cheek.

For a Weekend Dinner.  This outfit is for dinner with friends on Saturday when none of you feel like being out past 10:00PM, so you hit the hippest restaurant at the decidedly unhip time of 5:45PM.  At least, you won’t have to worry about getting a table.

I wanted to relax the outfit a bit, so I chose a chambray shirt.  This one is from Old Navy, and since stylish pieces on sale at Old Navy tend to go quickly, if you like it, I’d go buy it.  And I mean, right now

I added a belt because the pants don’t have much of a waist band.  This is not a problem with the first look because the sweater covers it.  But for this look, I would wear this shirt tucked in, so you need a belt.  I like the ring buckle instead of a square buckle with a latch for this, it just looks a bit more elegant.

The bag is a nice mix of ladylike and deconstructed casual.  Basically, it’s just slouchy enough. I also wanted the color to be slightly lighter than the belt so it wouldn’t be matchy-matchy.

I chose leopard pumps with a low heel because why not spice it up? You’re already wearing red pants, why quit now?  And I thought we’d have a mini-Arm Party, as The Man Repeller would say, and wear two chunky bangles.  I like the enamel with the pyramid bracelet, you could add a few more if you’re feeling brave.  I prefer something a bit more subtle when it comes to jewelry, but if you want to, layer it up.

For the hair, I would do a natural look.  You know when your hair is neither straight nor curly, just kind of scrunched and lightly waved like you just got out of bed.  For the makeup, I would do a red lip for this look as well and I would stick with a pale pink cheek.  But for the eyes, I would do a selection of taupe and natural shadows with dark brown liner (or black if you have light eyes) and loads of mascara.  A bit softer, but still with a bit of drama.


    leave a comment

  1. mc says:

    Thank you for this post! Perfect timing. I bought red pants last week and needed a glam pairing that wasn't over-the-top.

    February 7, 2012/Reply
  2. Ellie says:

    The Kate Spade pump is beautiful, but Belle, I was wondering what you would recommend for a black leather 3″ pump in the $100 range (without a platform)? All I want is a pretty sophisticated black pump at a lower price point! I seem to be at a loss for finding a budget friendly pair that either don't look like I'm about to party all night or have lunch with my great aunt Alice… [In my perfect world where money isn't an issue, I'd own a pair of Louboutins, but who am I kidding]

    February 7, 2012/Reply
  3. Belle says:

    Ellie-Corso Como makes a good shoe, as does Vince Camuto. I would start there. I bought my Corso's at an outlet mall for $89, I think.

    February 7, 2012/Reply
  4. LAG says:

    Question- do you think red pants can be worn into spring/summer? I've been thinking about getting a pair but I keep feeling that they might look weird once the warmer weather starts rolling in to DC (which, if things continue, could be quite soon…)

    February 7, 2012/Reply
  5. The Other Ellie says:

    Love wearing my leopard Kate Spade heels (Devon?) with red pants!

    February 7, 2012/Reply
  6. BB says:

    Ivanka Trump makes some lovely black pumps also; check out Nordstrom. Also, I have the OldNavy chambray shirt; great buy!

    February 7, 2012/Reply
  7. JenR says:

    Sorry BB but I bought that chambray shirt after it was posted here a couple of months ago…and I returned it. I was so disappointed when I got it. The price seems good and the color was nice but it is a VERY THIN weird shiny cotton material. I have never seen a shiny chambray shirt before. I ended up buying the “Keeper” Chambray shirt for more $ at JCrew. It was more expensive but I got it on sale and with free shipping…and I wear it twice a week.

    February 7, 2012/Reply
  8. em says:

    Randomly went to the Kate Spade site to look for a bag and they're having a flash sale that ends at midnight tonight.The Licorice pumps are on sale for $125 (chocolate only).

    Kate Spade Licorice Pump

    February 7, 2012/Reply
  9. KC says:

    Thanks for the heads-up to the Kate Spade Suprise Sale, em! Am I looking at the wrong pumps, or do the Licorice pumps have a 5″ heel?

    February 7, 2012/Reply
  10. Maria says:

    Seriously, Belle, you're a genius. These two looks are perfect – love them!

    February 7, 2012/Reply
  11. Ashley says:

    Hey Belle,

    I was thinking of buying a pair of purple trousers….not overly purple….you need to look closely to see the actual shade (https://www.lanebryant.com/herringbone-trouser-with-tighter-tummy-technology/p121960/index.pro). Aside from the blue chambray, can these be styled similar to the red trousers?


    February 8, 2012/Reply
  12. ellabella says:

    Ellie — I like the Ann Taylor “Perfect Leather Pumps.” Simple leather, not too high, no platform, good for both work and a (classy) night out. They're $155 regularly but WAIT for them to go on sale — which they do, frequently. I paid about $80 for my most recent pair last month and am keeping an eye out for the next price dip.

    February 8, 2012/Reply
  13. CynthiaW says:

    I think that I'll have to steal The Other Ellie's idea about the leopard shoes – I've been dying for a pair of red pants, but wondering about the shoe and I already have a killer pair of leopard shoes.

    February 9, 2012/Reply