Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: March 19th Roundup

Dear Belle,

Do you have any opinions on black patent leather for spring?  I have always tried to reserve black patent for winter only but see so much of it out for this spring.  Is it in?


In my opinion, black patent leather as an expiration date.  Not patent, just black patent.  Nude patent, purple patent and the like are perfectly acceptable.

I don’t know why but something about black patent just says snowy days and “Pass the hot cocoa.”  It’s personal preference though, more than a hard and fast rule.


I read your blog every day. Beyond the obvious faux pas (Uggs, Crocs, ratty denim), what are some fashion faux pas that you see otherwise fashionable women making?


Oh my gosh, there are so many, but here are a few that I’ve been noticing lately. 

First off, women who wear shoes that shoe their feet–sandals, slingbacks, etc.–and they have chapped, rough heels. It takes so little effort to grab the pumice stone (or PedEgg) and some lotion that there really is no excuse for having ugly feet.

Also, the small faux pas I see most often is women who don’t clasp the hook-and-eye above the zipper on their skirts and dresses.  It’s such a small thing, but it makes a difference in the look of the piece, skirts especially. 

Dirty hair.  I notice this more in the summer months, partially because of the humidity, partially because it’s intern season and partially because there’s a lot more weekday, al fresco drinking during the warmer months.  It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make your hair look and smell clean, even if you didn’t have time to wash it.  Just buy a bottle of dry shampoo, and pull it into an updo.  Greasy roots are not pretty, chic or professional. 

Dear Belle,

Can you give me some examples of shoes that are on trend for spring?


There are some great shoes on the market this season.  Here are a few of my favorites:

From Left to Right, Viv Patent Leather Flats ($188), Liorah Bow Slingback ($135), Freesia Flat ($90)

I think nude flats are essential this season.  They can be worn with jeans, with pencil skirt, casually or professionally.  I guarantee they will become your go to shoe in no time flat.

I love these bright slingbacks.  The coral is right on trend, the bow is utterly feminine and the heel is the perfect stylish kitten height.  They would be lovely with dresses or skinny jeans.

T-straps are this season’s “it” shoe.  More flattering than a t-strap but also chic enough for the fashionista in all of us, this shoe adds whimsy to any outfit.  I also love the taupe, yellow and grey combination.

To submit a question for Ask Belle, e-mail capitolhillstyle (at) gmail (dot) com.

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  1. JA says:

    Something I've seen several times recently that bothers me: when the string is still holding a slit together on a skirt or a jacket. I've wanted to run up to multiple women and hand them tiny scissors.

    March 19, 2012/Reply
  2. Belle says:

    Amen sister, Amen. It's amazing how many women think the X-shaped string is meant to be a permanent fixture.

    March 19, 2012/Reply
  3. e says:

    On the slit-note: I've seen a lot of too-high slits recently. Like 'you are practically exposing yourself' high.

    March 19, 2012/Reply
  4. Katie says:

    “I guarantee they will become your go to shoe in no time flat.”

    I see what you did there!

    March 19, 2012/Reply
  5. n says:

    On the shoe note- I saw a woman with the cutest t-strap, nude, patent leather flats yesterday… I wish I'd asked her where she got them!

    kind of like these:

    March 19, 2012/Reply
  6. Ellie says:

    I lived in my nude flats last spring & summer. They match everything. It's fabulous.
    I've never thought about black patent being a wintery style. Interesting.

    March 19, 2012/Reply
  7. Emily says:

    Are we really wearing kitten heels this spring? I feel like I had that beaten out of me like, two seasons ago, and now they just make me feel like I am cheating. Am I alone here?

    March 19, 2012/Reply
  8. Meg says:

    Maybe it's just me, but I was raised in the south where you were only allowed to wear white shoes between easter and labor day – and black patent was the only acceptable black dress shoe in that time frame. When did black patent become a winter shoe instead of summer??

    March 19, 2012/Reply
  9. BBB says:

    Meg – I tend to agree with Belle, in that I prefer black patent in the winter. But, I think you're right – when I lived in the south, I was told it was a “summer shoe.” I was shocked! According to the person who scolded me for wearing my black patent heels in February, patent is for summer and suede is for winter. Whatever. I like black patent because I feel like it shows less wear & tear, so I wear it year-round. Rules were meant to be broken!

    March 19, 2012/Reply
  10. Meg says:

    Meg, I had to do a double-take because that's my name and that's exactly what I was about to write! But it's not just you – patent has always been just-for-summer! I can't say I dislike it in winter though; it has a Christmasy feel somehow.

    March 19, 2012/Reply
  11. A.J. says:

    It's funny you mention black patent as a winter material! I was always told it was a spring/summer material, and that I was actually breaking the rule by wearing them all year long. Either way…do what makes you happy. All my black heels are patent, and I wear them all year long because I love them.

    March 19, 2012/Reply
  12. Jen says:

    I'm a little late to the party here but can anyone tell me if there are “rules” for two things I've been thinking about…

    What is the appropriate time to wear opaque tights?

    Is there a rule for wearing “winter white”? I have a skirt and a pair of pants that I love for winter (both in ivory) but if I wear them in spring is it going to look like I'm trying to make easter come early?

    I feel like we've jumped straight into summer here the past few weeks and I think that can make a bit of a difference too.

    March 20, 2012/Reply
  13. CH says:

    Jen, I like ivory all year round. If you love a color and it looks great on you, who cares if it's “in season”?

    March 20, 2012/Reply
  14. Sarah says:

    For those of us who are on a MEGA budget (like…couldn't afford those shoes anytime in the next year without missing a car payment), Target just put out their new shoes for spring/summer, and they have some cute, shiny flats in a variety of colors for $14.99 each…I just bought the nude pair, and I've already had a few people tell me how much they love them/ask where they're from.

    March 20, 2012/Reply