+ Three Ways

Two Ways: Madewell Leopard Skimmers

Shoes: Madewell Leopard Skimmer ($135)

 From Left, Sunglasses: Kate Spade Oversized Retro Sunnies ($128) Earrings: Hive & Honey Hammered Studs ($14) Bracelet: Teardrop Cluster Bracelet ($13) Bag: J.Crew Biennial Satchel ($298) Belt: Vince Camuto Patent Turnlock Belt ($41) Wrap: Cashmere Wrap ($190) Shirt: Collection Draped Georgette Top ($198) Skirt: Theory Rita Pencil Skirt ($200)

From Right, Necklace: Lapis Scoop Necklace ($99) Necklace: Danielle Stevens Tortoise Chain ($85) Clutch: Kon Clutch (sold out in blue) Dress: Goat Lola Dress ($511)

Polyvore Set Here.

For a Business Convention.  This outfit was inspired by the glamorous of the 1940s and 1950s–the pencil skirt, the draped blouse, the cashmere wrap, the retro sunglasses.  But while the look may have an aura of old Hollywood, these pieces are classics that combine to create a chic and cozy work look.

I love the neckline on this blouse.  It’s flattering on a number of figures, and while it looks lovely on its own, it would look incredible under a one- or two-button blazer.  I would tuck it into the pencil skirt and wear the belt at the top of the skirt, just overlapping the blouse.  Need a cheaper pencil? Michael Kors makes a $70 version.

I added the cashmere wrap because convention halls are notoriously chilly.  You can roll it up in your purse, and pull it out when you get cold.  It’s an elegant alternative to stealing the hotel comforter and wearing it around (this is not a joke, I’ve seen this).

I’m still in love with my Biennial satchel, and the divided pockets make it an ideal travel bag.  If you need a less-expensive red bag, try this satchel from Express.  I chose the bracelet so that the outfit would have a bit of color even when you’re not carrying the bag.  And the sunglasses are an interesting retro shape.

For the hair, I would definitely wear it up.  My hair looks best twisted back into a bun, but you could also wear a French twist or a low-side bun.  For the makeup, keep it simple with neutral eye makeup, black liner and a flattering rose blush.  I’d also paint my nails red to match the bag, or pale pink if the convention attendees are very conservative.

For a Dinner Date.  This outfit is stylish and modern, but also relaxed.  The shift dress has a looser fit and the flats keep your feet happy all night long. It’s perfect for a dinner out with friends, a dinner date with your boyfriend/husband or a birthday dinner.

I love yellow and leopard together.  It’s a bold combination that looks effortlessly chic.  If you like this dress but can’t afford $500+ for a dress, Banana Republic has a dress that I like even better for $140.  If you use promo code BRFASHION save 30% until Midnight.

I wanted to liven up the outfit and I thought that a deep, almost navy blue was my best option.  So I paired a lapis pendant necklace with a long tortoise chain to add shimmer, color and texture.  Then, I added the blue clutch so pull it all together.  This clutch appears to be sold out, but the Crowston clutch from Aldo ($35) would also work.

For the hair, I’d wear my hair down and stick straight, or pull it back into a low sleek ponytail with a teased crown, covering the elastic with wrapped hair.  For the makeup, I’d wear cat-eye black liquid liner, a light wash of gold shadow (I like Stila Oasis) and red lips (MAC Ruby Woo).



  1. Meg says:

    I just purchased the JCrew Biennial purse in red. I was on the fence at first, but it's turned out to be one of the best purchases I've made lately. It is the perfect size for a work purse, travel purse, and to carry my overnight stuff when staying over at my boyfriend's place and I need to bring my work stuff for the next morning. The bag looks way more expensive than it is (although it is the most expensive bag I've ever purchased…)

    August 28, 2012/Reply
  2. LV says:

    I have been debating buying either the biennial hobo or satchel and can't decide. I love the shape of the satchel, but worry that it will get too heavy with just the handle. I am not in love with the shape of the hobo, but the long strap seems much more practical for my metro commute. Any advice?

    August 28, 2012/Reply
  3. BN says:

    I also have a question about the Biennial satchel: can it be carried on the shoulder? My current work bag cannot, and while I love the fashion statement I make when I carry it, it does become burdensome when traveling or when toting a second work bag or laptop case.

    Thank you!

    August 28, 2012/Reply
  4. Belle says:

    The Biennial does fit comfortably on the shoulder. It can get a little heavy when I pack it for the plane, but with my everyday items (ipad, umbrella, wallet, etc.) it's not bad.

    August 28, 2012/Reply
  5. CEB says:

    Belle- Do you prefer the J.Crew satchel to the Modalu Pippa bag? I know you loved that one as well, and I have been debating between those two for a new fall bag. Sadly, can't afford both!

    August 28, 2012/Reply
  6. Belle says:

    CEB: I like the structure of the Modalu better. I liked the black Modalu better than the red. The red was made with a weird fabric that I didn't like, but the black was perfect.

    August 28, 2012/Reply
  7. AM says:

    I don't know how long this sale has been up, but it looks like the biennial satchel is on sale in red. It's about 50 dollars off and you can find it here:


    August 29, 2012/Reply
  8. Ally says:

    LV- There is also the biennial medium satchel. It's obviously smaller, but it has the longer strap with the structure and shape of the satchel. There is a photo of it with a mannequin on the JCrew website that might give you an idea of the size.

    August 29, 2012/Reply
  9. Valerie says:

    Belle, do you think the yellow dress/leopard flats look would work for fall? I'm seriously considering the dress but would like to wear it into the next few months if possible.

    August 29, 2012/Reply