+ Three Ways

Two Ways: Saint James Striped Tee


Tee: Saint James Galathee Tee (J.Crew, $90)

From Left, Earrings: Dogeared Square Studs ($38) Ring: Primadina Lapis Ring ($220) Bag: Trump Top Handle Shopper ($150) Shoes: BR Hope Peep Toe ($98) Necklace: Kate Spade Station Necklace ($98) Skirt: Double Serge Pencil ($70, limited sizes)

From Right, Ring: Clarice Sapphire Ring ($207) Ring Set: Reiss Stackable Rings ($57) Bag: Kate Spade Kaelin Bag ($318) Shoes: Guess Regent Sandal ($60) Enamel Bracelet: Chloe Enamel Bracelet ($248) Bracelet: Toggle Bracelet ($152) Watch: Michael Kors Runway Watch ($250)  Bangles: Blu Bijoux Crystal Studded Set ($22) Bracelet: Isharya Lapis Bangle ($125) Skirt: DvF Alex Sequin Skirt ($565)

Polyvore Set Here.

For Casual Monday. I just bought a bright yellow pencil skirt, and I am loving it.  It’s so fun and happy.  Here, I paired a similar skirt with the classic striped tee to bring a little color and life to a boring Monday. 

I always like the look of a long necklace with a horizontal-striped top.  The necklace can help lengthen the look and break up the stripes.  To pair with the necklace, I chose square studs and a square lapis ring.  (I am really craving a piece of lapis lazuli jewelry.)

This slim satchel is a lovely bag for work, especially for under $200.  I looked at one in Macy’s last month and was surprised by how solid the construction seemed.  I also chose a pair of basic beige pumps with a peep toe.

For the hair, I would wear it down, loosely waved and a little messy.  For the makeup, I’d paint my nails Parisian red and wear a bit of red lipstick.  I’d also make sure to play up my eyes by filling in my brows and adding a little extra eyeliner.

For a Birthday Party.  D.C. birthday parties (at least, the ones I attend) are an odd mix of work event and social function.  I never like to dress up too much for these events, because inevitably, most of the attendees will either show up in what they wore to work or jeans.  And I am a firm believer that, with rare exceptions (sporting event, concerts, casual dates), if you’re over 25, you’re too old to wear jeans as going out attire.

For this outfit, I paired a floral-print sequin skirt with the striped tee.  (If you need a less expensive sequin skirt, this navy version is $50.)  You get a bit of pattern matching and a bit of glitz, but you’re still wearing a t-shirt.  I’d also roll up the sleeves to give it a cool, casual-chic vibe and also because…

We are loading up the bracelets.  Here, I mixed natural stones, enamel, chain link, studs and an oversize watch to create a layered look.  And because you need to balance out the bracelets, I added a few small rings.

The shoes are an ankle-high cage sandal–stylish, but not prim.  And I brought in another color with the magenta Kate Spade bag. 

For the hair, I would concoct a messy, wavy updo.  I’d leave wispy pieces around my face, and tease the crown.  For the makeup, I’d stick with berry tones for the lips and nails and a pale pink for the blush.  I’d probably do a pewter eyeshadow for a bit of contrast, but not a full smoky eye.



  1. Beth says:

    Belle – at 27 am I really too old to wear a nice pair of well fitting dark wash strait-leg jeans (similar to these, https://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/denim/matchstick/PRDOVR~50520/50520.jsp) out with heels? Excuse me while I go sob in the corner…

    July 19, 2012/Reply
  2. Boardroom Belles says:

    @Beth, join me in the corner. I am of similar age and you'll recognize me by army green skinny jeans with zip details, a white silk theory shirt and a matte red lip ­čÖé

    @Belle, if you wouldn't have all these strong opinions, this office would have a lot less to talk about. When you make on of those all-encompassing statements we often have some heated debates during coffee break. Keep up the great work! Also, just out of curiosity – how long would the birthday-party-get-ready process you described above take you?

    July 19, 2012/Reply
  3. missy says:

    I'm with Beth. Dressing up for going out is totally a function of the circles you run in and the types of establishments you go to. Leather pants + heels is the dressiest I've gotten in the past several months for a social function and that was for a scene-y charity event.

    July 19, 2012/Reply
  4. Emily says:

    Belle what's the reasoning behind the no-jeans-after-25 rule?

    July 19, 2012/Reply
  5. Belle says:

    Emily: There are of course exceptions, but I just feel that a woman over 25 should be dressing up a bit more, and be secure enough in her style that she doesn't have to fall back on denim for evening events.

    July 19, 2012/Reply
  6. Belle says:

    Missy: Leather pants and heels is hot.

    Boardroom: I always love instigating a good debate. And of course, there are occasions when jeans are an appropriate choice, the army green ones sound awesome, but I go to a lot of business attire or better functions where people wear jeans and it just isn't enough. Heels help though, so if you want to wear jeans, never discount the power of good footwear.

    July 19, 2012/Reply
  7. SL says:

    Belle, by no jeans after 25, do you mean the dark-jean-with-a-dressy-top-with-heels combo or does this go for all jeans/denim, even white jeans or the trendy colored ones such as mint, cotton candy pink, etc.?

    July 19, 2012/Reply
  8. giggling gourmand says:

    I will never be too old to wear jeans to social events.

    July 19, 2012/Reply
  9. Belle says:

    Clearly I need to explain this better. I'll schedule a post for next week on denim alternatives.

    July 19, 2012/Reply
  10. IMM says:

    I don't mean to be obtuse, but can anyone teach me how you would stack all these bracelets? Would they all go on one arm? Also, would you split the rings up between both hands? Love the look…just don't know how to recreate it. In the past when I have tried, the bangles have been too loose and have slid down my arm and over my watch. Is this one of the secrets? To get smaller bangles?

    July 19, 2012/Reply
  11. Helena says:

    To nitpick about something other than denim– this site recommends J. Crew skirts often. I have purchased a few of the double-serge cotton skirts from J. Crew. They look great when I try them on and the first hour of the day I wear them. After than, they become a wrinkled mess. Trying different sizes, starching them, and wearing a slip made no difference. And I'm narrow-hipped and slender, so I don't think it's just that my proportions strain against this type of skirt. I've had enough– no more cotton pencil skirts from J. Crew. Buyers beware!

    July 19, 2012/Reply
  12. Erin M. says:

    Belle –

    I am now residing in the professional world buy my boyfriend and many of our friends are still somewhere in law school, grad school, etc. This means that a lot of my outings are, sadly, a little more causal than yours. While I love what you suggest for the birthday, unless it were a girlfriend specifying “let's get dressed up” I feel I'd be over dressed. I would love to see how you would style some more casual evening outfits, where I could feel fashionable enough to go somewhere after, but not too overdressed at the main event.


    July 19, 2012/Reply
  13. themadething says:

    I just turned 24 at the end of June. I'm starting to realize, as my BF just turned 25 on Tuesday, there are all these new “rules” and things I need to stop or start doing once I turn 25. What are things I absolutely must do before I turn 25? Things I should stop doing? Things I should start?

    At this point, I have “calmed down” since my college days, work a full-time professional job in government, am financially responsible (saving for retirement, emergencies, paying loans off, etc), and am slowly investing in my wardrobe.

    Any recommendations?

    July 19, 2012/Reply
  14. Parker (Boardroom Belles) says:

    @Belle – I think the confusion for people hear stems mostly from the fact that you mentioned it in connection with the “Birthday Party Outfit”. A bunch of people, rarely ever equate birthday parties with being only a quasi-social event (mixed business-social functions). I think there are many for whom birthday parties are just social gigs with their friends and they feel comfortable in uber casual. Generally speaking, I agree with, it depends on the footwear, the type of jeans, jewelry, what you wear with it etc.

    An of course, cultural norms. I think jeans in Europe for example are defined completely different than in a lot of mid-America.

    Would you be interested in doing a Polyvore style-off for different occasions? You could provide a no-jean alternative, we'll try to appropriate jeans (for as long as we think they can be appropriated)? Shoot us an e-mail if you are.

    – Parker

    July 19, 2012/Reply