+ Three Ways

Three Ways: Grey Silk-Tie Blouse

Editor’s Note: All of the pieces featured in the next three outfits came from my closet.  I’ve owned some of them for years; others are new or newer purchases.  The not-so-awesome photographs were taken by me, and hopefully, if you like this post, I’ll be able to improve my picture-taking skills before the next one.  If this does become a regular feature, it would probably run once per month, maybe twice.  So here you go, Three Ways from Belle’s wardrobe.

grey top for the office 12

Blouse: Silk Bowtie Blouse (Banana Republic, $79.50)

Shoes: Joan & David Darly Sandal ($99, Two Sizes Left)Skirt: Grey Crochet Pencil from COS (bought on eBay, similar $148) Jacket: Zara Collarless Car Coat (old, similar $99) Bag: Rebecca Minkoff Mini-MAC Clutch ($195, has a chain) Bracelet: Banana Republic Pyramid Bracelt (old, similar $79) Rings: Indulgems Lemon Quartz Ring ($100) and Gold and Emerald Band (old, similar $175) Earrings: J.Crew Pearl Studs ($50)

While I may hate the long suit jackets so many women are still wearing, I sometimes wear a long lightweight coat instead of a blazer.  It looks elegant and sophisticated when paired with the charcoal grey, crochet pencil skirt and the dove grey blouse.

The first time I wore this outfit, I wore a low heel.  At some point during the day, I realized that the kittens plus the long jacket was a bit matronly.  So the next time I wore it, I broke out my absolute favorite shoes, the Darly sandals.

The modern shape–a chunky heel with an open toe platform and ankle strap–combined with the avant garde color palette–snakeskin and cognac-colored patent leather–to lift the look tremendously.  And having the bag and the shoes color coordinate brings the whole look together.

The skirt is a dark grey crochet, and without a doubt, one of my better eBay finds.  COS is H&M’s European cousin.  The cuts are more structured and modern than its U.S. counterpart, and much better for women older than 21 or bigger than size 4.

If you want to go searching for a COS find of your own, look on eBay UK.  Most of those girls are happy to ship things across the pond as long as you are willing to pay the cost.

The jacket sleeves are 3/4, so I like to wear my chunky pyramid bracelet and some rings.  If you like the idea of a larger pyramid cuff as opposed to the small ones, check out this Asos bracelet ($14).  I also wear pearl earrings because there’s just something about the way they frame your face when you’re wearing white or ivory.

For the hair, I wear it down and tease the hell out of the crown.  It helps balance out the jacket.  If I put it up, the proportions look off.  For the makeup, I usually paint my nails red (Essie Geranium) and wear the sheer red lip treatment from Fresh.  I also wing the eyeliner a bit to give my eyes some definition.

for casual friday grey top 12

Blouse: Silk Bowtie Blouse (Banana Republic, $79.50)

Jeans: AG Premier Skinny ($172) Sweater: J.CREW Cashmere Henley (old, similar cardigan $35) Bag: Leopard Flap Clutch (old, similar $260) Shoes: Steve Madden Glitter Oxfords (old, very similar $34 or similar $154) Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Aviators ($145) Bracelet: Gorjana Triple Star Bracelet ($36) Rings: Indulgems Lemon Quartz Ring ($100) and Gold and Emerald Band (old, similar $175)

I’ve mentioned several times how much I love yellow and grey together, but I don’t think I’ve ever spotlighted my love for yellow and leopard together until now.  And this sweater isn’t just yellow, it’s citron–a vibrant, almost abusive, hide the women and children, yellow.

I only own a few pairs of casual shoes, and most of them are tall boots or sandals.  These glitter oxfords are as close to an all-season shoe as I get.  They just add one more bold piece to an already bold ensemble.

Some of the same jewelry as in the first post–the lemon quartz ring and the emerald band–but this time I added one of those delicate chain bracelets from Gorjana.  You could go bigger with the jewelry and wear several gold pieces, but on the weekends, I like to give my wrists a breather.  Besides, the leopard, citron, glitter combo is enough of an onslaught for sleepy D.C.

For the hair, I’ll either wear it up in a wavy, low bun or down with curled ends and some texturizing spray.  For the makeup, I stick with the Essie Geranium for the nails but grab a real red lipstick.  I like M.A.C RubyWoo.

Cocktail Date Grey Top12

Blouse: Silk Bowtie Blouse (Banana Republic, $79.50)

Skirt: J.CREW Hologram Tweed Skirt ($280) Shoes: Zara Grey Snake Platforms (old, similar $125) Bag: BCBG Flap Chain Clutch (old, similar $125) Bracelet: Banana Republic Pyramid Bracelt (old, similar $79)

My evening attire tends to be very simple and this outfit is no exception.  A white tweed skirt with silver and grey details with the blouse tucked into it and the sleeves rolled up a bit.  I added the high heel to make it a bit sexier, but looking at it again, this is more of a cocktails with the girlfriends look than a first date look.

In a perfect world, this outfit would have had a silver bracelet, silver dangle earrings with a hint of aquamarine and a berry-colored clutch.  But I don’t live in a perfect world, I have to work with what I own.  So I pulled out this ancient BCBG flap chain bag and the pyramid bracelet from before to make the gold hardware on the bag look intentional.  Because when you don’t have exactly the pieces you want, you can make subpar pieces work by finding a unifying element.  It’s not ideal, but it works.

For the hair, I would wear it up in an imperfect, twisted updo.  For the makeup, I’d wear a lot of eye makeup in a palette of greys with dramatic eyeliner.  I’d also wear pink blush and berry lipstick; I like Bobbi Brown Nectar blush and Clinique Colour Surge in Crushed Grape.  I’d also paint my nails with a berry shade like Sparitual Shoot for the Stars.

So there you have it, three outfits from my closet.



  1. Sarah says:

    Can you place the jewelry separately so we can really look at it? It might have to do with the quality of these pictures, but I had a hard time seeing the pieces!

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

    Love this!

    November 30, -0001/Reply
  3. Lynn says:

    I like this! Especially the part in the last look about working with what you have. It's easy to put together a perfect outfit with Polyvore; inspiring someone to use what is actually in their closet for multiple outfits with one new item is great.

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  4. Claire says:

    Love the concept! Thanks for doing this 🙂

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  5. Kath says:

    This is a great addition to the blog. I hope you keep it up!

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  6. L says:

    Love this post and the concept! Thanks.

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  7. Maria says:

    I love to see what real people wear with real items in their closet. I hope you keep doing this type of post.

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  8. Claire says:

    btw, use code BRUPGRADE for 25% off today (8/9/12) only. I'm ordering the blouse now!

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  9. B says:

    Love it! Are you taking the photos with that new iPhone of yours? I highly recommend buying the camera+ app if you are. There is a huge difference in clarity and quality of the photo.

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  10. Amanda says:

    Love this post! Seeing what you actually have and wear all pulled together is great!

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  11. Hannah says:

    I've just been reading your blog for a bit, but I'm loving it! I went thru all the Two/Three Way posts, and I love this new feature. However, i though we were going to get to see you ::wearing:: it 😉

    And this blog is making me sad that my company has a very casual dress code. Like jeans everyday casual…

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  12. mm says:

    I ADORE THIS. This is more helpful than the polyvore sets you create even though I love those as well.

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  13. Heatheresq says:

    Very nice. The only thing I would do differently is put the items against a more contrasting background to see better. Great post!

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  14. DB says:

    The resolution on iphone photos are usually very good, so I would only caution you in using instagram. For some reason, the added filters usually impair the quality of the photo and (where color is such an important aspect of the ensemble) change the colors and how they go with one another.

    That being said, I look forward to seeing more of this feature both to inspire me to just go digging in my own closet and to get an idea of what types of items you stock in yours that are versatile. Putting together a solid, versatile wardrobe that isn't obscenely large is still something I'm struggling with! Thanks for all your help over the years though!

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  15. r says:

    Love this new addition, Belle. Agree with Heatheresq on the background color. But please keep posting these even if your photography skills aren't quite as good as your snark skills 🙂

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  16. Belle says:

    Thanks for the tips. I think natural light would have been a big help. I live in a north facing, interior courtyard studio with one window, so I only get light for about 20 minutes a day. Next time I'll plan accordingly.

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  17. K says:

    I love this! Definitely would love to see this added 1 or 2 times each month.

    And I am absolutely kicking myself for not purchasing the Joan & David shoes sooner. I kept thinking they would go a little more on sale… and then BOOM sold out. I'm very, very sad!

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  18. Terri says:

    Bravo on all fronts and pics.

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  19. Deb says:

    For the casual Friday look, would you ever tuck the blouse in? Thanks.

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  20. Lauren M. says:

    I really like this new feature. The other sets are helpful for ideas but getting photos of the items in a more realistic environment actually helps me see what putting all those pieces next to each other would look like in real life. Aside from better lighting so the colors pop more, I think this is a great addition to the blog. Hope to see more!

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  21. Ashley E. says:

    Love the new concept!

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  22. MidWestChic says:

    Great post, Belle! Absolutely love this idea!

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  23. Jillian says:

    I LOVE this. As some other posters have said, the Polyvore posts are fantastic, but I really like seeing you work with what you've already got!

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  24. Kay says:

    Love this, thanks Belle! I'll second the camera+ app; the clarity filter makes a huge difference for iphone photos.

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  25. Susan C. says:

    Love this idea! We all want to make the most of what we have in our closet. Your photos are fine; just add some more light to dispel the shadows.

    August 9, 2012/Reply
  26. CynthiaW says:

    I love the feature – but agree that I'd love a close-up of the jewelry!

    August 10, 2012/Reply
  27. Irene says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this !

    It's a great idea for Two Ways series, from the first time I discovered your blog I've been reaaaally curious to see what's inside your closet !

    So inspiring!

    August 10, 2012/Reply
  28. nicci says:

    Great feature. I echo the requests for a close-up of the jewelry and better lighting (or a more contrasting background so we can see the clothes better). Also, I know you were trying to get everything into one frame but I'd like to see the jacket, for example, spread out completely as opposed to folded up.

    August 10, 2012/Reply
  29. J says:

    I like!

    August 11, 2012/Reply
  30. LE says:

    I really liked this post and hope this becomes a regular feature. You did an excellent job putting the clothes together for the photo, and I liked how it feels more realistic for planning an outfit. Best of luck figuring out the photography (it's better than I could have done)!

    August 12, 2012/Reply