Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup April 9, 2012

Hi Belle,

I know you buy clothes on eBay. I’ve tried several times, with varied success. Do you have any strategy / tips / suggestions for buying quality items on eBay? If something doesn’t fit quite right, do you return it? 

Thanks so much, eBay Illiterate

Very rarely can an item purchased on eBay be returned.  This is why I only buy brands where I am certain of my size or items that can be easily tailored.  If I do end up with an item that does not fit, I try to give it away or sell it on eBay for cost.  This is also why I always ask the seller for measurements if they are not provided.

As for eBay tips, I keep a list of items that I’m looking to buy.  Nanette Lepore suits, J.Crew pencil skirts, Kate Spade jewelry, Rebecca Minkoff bags, Milly dresses, Cole Haan heels etc.  Then, once a week or so, I jump on eBay and go looking for items.  I’ve found some amazing dresses and suits for less than $75.  

Lastly, feedback is king.  I don’t buy from anyone who has less than 99% positive feedback especially if they’ve only sold a few items.

Dear Belle,

I’m searching for a pair of summer sandals that won’t bust my budget.  I want to spend around $75, do you have any suggestions for a casual summer sandal?

Kelly

I prefer a structured sandal to leather thong sandal.  They offer more support, better traction and they look a little more “dressed up” than a thong or God forbid, a plastic flip flop.  Here are some options under-$75:

From the Left: Seychelles Caw Sandal (DSW, $50)DV Pansey Sandal (Piperlime, $69), Aldo Sprouls Sandal ($60)

Full disclosure, I own the pair in the middle.  I love them.  They’re the perfect mix of casual and structure.  I still need a metallic sandal to wear with summer dresses (these are just a tuch too masculine-Gladiator for that), but I love this pair with denim and casual attire.  I love them so much in fact, that I’ve stopped myself from buying the neon pink pair at least twice this week.

The other two pair are great all-purpose summer sandals.  They would look lovely with denim or dresses.  And I think that if you work in a more casual office, you could even get away with them at work.  

Belle,

What do you think about building a wardrobe around a particular color palette – do you recommend it? I’ve often thought that staying to a group of colors would help me create outfits more easily, but I’m drawn to a variety of different colors and oftentimes I’m not sure how to pair them, or if they’ll really work with what I already have in my closet.

Thanks, Heidi

If you came to my house and opened my closet right now, you’d notice two things: my mad organizational skills and the fact that I don’t really own any brown (I have one camel sweater.).  In the winter, I wear black.  In the summer, I wear navy, often referred to in my house as “summer black.”  And during the year, I mix in greys and whites depending on season.  

This did not start out as a conscious decision.  The truth is, I just hate tan.  I find it to be so boring and dependable.  If I were a psychologist, I would probably say that my hatred stems from the fact that my Father used to buy my school clothes, and most often, would dress me in khaki pants and sweaters.  Or khaki pants and button downs.  I called it the Safari Look, all I needed was the pith hat.  But I digress…

There are many woman who stick to a certain color palette to keep things simpler.  My advice? Choose one neutral that works for you and then build from there.  A navy wardrobe or grey wardrobe mixed with jewel tones could be really pretty.  You could also do a black wardrobe mixed with shades of white, ivory and grey and then, add in brights and bolds as needed.  If you think this could make your life easier, why not try it?  Just make sure to choose the color palette that is most flattering on you.

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  1. s-p-s says:

    For Heidi, I've found it helpful to sift through my closet to assess which colors I keep buying, most enjoy wearing, and feel best in – and to weed out all the things that don't make me feel or look good! This editing seems to help my style preferences emerge, and to help me build a wardrobe in a more logical way (and indeed, along the lines of Belle's suggestions, adding lots of navy and grey to work with all those jewel tones!) Even if you don't stick to just one color family or just one neutral, you might be able to more quickly assess whether any new item would work with at least a fair number of items in your current wardrobe.

    November 30, -0001/Reply
  2. Lane says:

    As a folllow up on the third “ask Belle” today… For someone who has a lot of navy and tan in the closet, what are a couple of good colors to pair with my navy, white, and tan pieces that don't make me feel like I'm overdoing a nautical look? Also, what pieces would you recommend to start with to mix a new neutral into the wardrobe (excluding a nice suit jacket, unless you happen to know someone giving it away, ha!)??

    April 9, 2012/Reply
  3. Belle says:

    Lane: I'd say yellow, orange, kelly green, different shades of blue.

    Pencil skirt, silk blouse, scarf, trousers.

    April 9, 2012/Reply
  4. Dorcas says:

    I have red hair; therefore, I focus my wardrobe around a rich brown (not tan). I wear black when formality is required, but otherwise my clothes are browns or other tones that compliment my skin and hair. (I'd rather look my best than wear my favorite color – purple which can make me look ill.) The benefit: like garanimals, the majority of my wardrobe is interchangeable!

    April 9, 2012/Reply
  5. Kay says:

    I recently bought the Seychelles sandals for the summer, and I can attest that they are very comfortable. I'm glad to know that my new shoes are “Belle-approved”!

    Also, as someone else who really doesn't wear brown, I'd love your advice on boots. (I know, a little unseasonal, but I like to buy them off-season to keep the price down). I don't want to get the same cognac boot that I see absolutely everyone wearing, but what's a good, goes-with-almost-everything alternative to black?

    April 9, 2012/Reply
  6. anon says:

    I tried on those DV Pansey Sandals at Bloomingdales today in gold. Definitely agree they are great (and comfy — run true to size), but too much leather to wear with anything shorter than ankle pants. Too much leather for a dress. Going to try those Aldo's next.

    April 10, 2012/Reply
  7. Sam says:

    I always tried to buy a variety of colors when I went shopping, just to have variety, but I'm getting to the point that I'm just going to stick with what I gravitate towards (blues/grays). Makes it easier to come up with outfits, and I can always add different colors with accessories. If it works, why fight it?

    I'm probably buying the Seychelles sandals too…

    April 10, 2012/Reply
  8. Heidi says:

    Belle: thanks for answering my question! Given my degree of color ADD, I was secretly glad that you didn't recommend choosing only a handful of colors to wear, but instead suggested to work around a well-thought out neutral.

    SPS: good follow on comment – thanks!

    April 13, 2012/Reply