Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup Vol. II, No. Six

Hi Belle,

I’m curious about your opinion on multiple ear piercings. I’m currently an intern at an office where the dress code is very relaxed and my piercings, as well as another intern’s nose piercing, are completely acceptable. However, I’m concerned about future jobs that may look down on my piercings. I’m open to removing them in the future, but I don’t want to take out all the earrings unless I have a concrete reason to. Also, I happen to have crazy curly hair that hides all of my ears in any style that I wear to the office. Thus, my piercings are not visible in any circumstances at the office. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

-An intern with a dilemma
My generation was the first to really kick off the multiple-piercing trend.  I think I may be the only one out of my childhood and high school friend groups who didn’t have at least two ear piercings.  As a result, multiple piercings do not bother me as much as they might bother others.  I think that as long as the earrings you are wearing are tasteful and work appropriate, a few piercings should not be a problem.
That being said, I define a “few” as two or three.  And take this advice with a grain of salt, since some bosses will not approve of more than one earring.  But since, as you said, they cannot be seen easily, I wouldn’t stress about it.

Belle,

I’m looking for a black dress for work, but I can’t find one. I’d like to wear it through the fall and winter.  Any suggestions?

KW
 

DKNY Dolman Sleeve Dress ($68) // Michael Kors Logo Wrap Dress ($120) // Trina Turk Long Sleeved Colorblock Dress ($318)

Having a basic black dress that you can just throw on on those chilly winter mornings is critical.  I like to wear mine with black tights and boots, but I can also wear it with pumps and big jewelry.  But the key to finding your perfect fall back black dress is choosing one with a shape that flatters your figure, so try a few on and see which one suits you best.

If you’re plus-sized, Saks’ Salon Z section has a few basic black dresses to choose from.  This Michael Kors wrap dress is $130, and a gorgeous ruched David Meister faux-wrap is a bit pricier at $428.  And if you like sweater dresses, Ralph Lauren offers one of his classic silhouettes for $189.

Dear Belle,

I know that wet hair at work is one of your many pet peeves, but I have a two hour commute (car + VRE + Metro), and I just don’t have time.  Do you have any recommendations for hairstyles that I might be able to wear wet?

Alycia
Normally I would tell you to buy a travel blow dryer and a round brush and give your hair a style in your office bathroom, but I just saw an article on Refinery29 about this very thing, so I suppose it’s kismet.  In theory, you could pack some bobby pins and an elastic in your purse and style it while you sit on the train. 

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    18 comments

  1. Dr. Jean Grey says:

    If you can't style your hair for work, I strongly urge you to consider cutting it. A shorter cut that will air dry will look far better than wet locks.

    September 4, 2012/Reply
  2. MKM says:

    Alycia, when I used to have a long commute I would blast around the face for a couple seconds with a blow dryer then french braid or french twist my hair. By the time I got to work 1 hour – 1.5 hours later the part around my face was dry and the rest was secured away.

    September 4, 2012/Reply
  3. Amanda says:

    Can I just throw in there that if you do have multiple ear piercings- wearing 'diamonds' (and I use that term loosely)- does not make it tasteful. I have seen too many ladies with ears racked with faux diamond studs- and large ones at that! Keep it small- maybe then we wont be able to decipher they are not real! (doubtful)

    Also, in my area, the TJ Max always is stacked with Calvin Klein dresses. They are my go-to dresses. Usually simple designs, hold up rather well and go for about $50. It's all about finding that brand that works with your shape!

    September 4, 2012/Reply
  4. Erica says:

    I often braid my hair when I am short on time, and this 'do looks more professional and less childish than a typical french braid:

    1. side part hair
    2. grab a 1 inch deep section from the heavier side of hair right at the scalp line.
    3. begin french braiding normally, but keep the braid off to the side. (you should have a completed french braid completely straight, yet off centered on your head)
    4. when the braid is complete, wrap the braid around the bad of your head into a messy circle and tuck the loose end in.
    5. to avoid looking like a milkmaid, make sure it isn't too perfect. messier braid and a less-than-perfect circle is ideal.
    6. secure with lots of bobby pins and some hair spray

    I do this with wet hair, and it actually holds better when you style it wet. Throughout the day, it dries and the hold keeps. I get a lot of compliments on it and as long as you can french braid your own hair, its very easy!

    September 4, 2012/Reply
  5. Katie says:

    I've also wondered the same thing about multiple ear piercings. I interned on the Hill this summer, and during that time considered getting a cartilage piercing on my upper ear. However, I was unsure and put it off. I was asked to come back for the same office next summer, but was wondering if a cartilage piercing would appear more unprofessional (as opposed to double piercings on the lobe)? I currently only have one piercing in each ear, and usually wear pearl or diamond studs.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated!

    September 4, 2012/Reply
  6. Alice @ Earning My Two Cents says:

    I have three holes in my left earlobe and two in my right along with my right cartilage pierced. I used to have my eyebrow pierced. I took out my extraneous piercings because I went to work in banking which is conservative. Now at work in a government office building a small nose stud, not ring, would be acceptable for most women provided they are also neatly dressed, but any other facial piercings are a no go. I only wear one earring in each ear as any extras would be unprofessional. The eyebrow piercing scar has long since faded and is barely noticeable.

    September 4, 2012/Reply
  7. s says:

    i go to the gym over lunchtime and i style my hair in a sleek bun and that pretty much takes care of it. or i'll hold my head under the hand dryer for a while and then put it into a bun. dries kinda slowly, but my hair stays put, ha.

    September 4, 2012/Reply
  8. KMS says:

    I have a long commute and long hair but have found the new “sock buns” to be a life saver. The bun actually turns out better looking when done with wet hair and I always get compliments on how professional and stylish my hair looks. Hope this helps!

    September 4, 2012/Reply
  9. Caroline says:

    I have thick curly hair that takes an eternity to dry and can't be blow-dried. My solution is to wash it twice a week: once on Saturday or Sunday and once during the week. I do it during a time when I know I'll be home for several hours to give it time to get mostly dry. So for my weekday washing this will be around 6pm or so. Of course, when the weather's warm like this I can still go out and do things with it being wet so there's a little more leeway.

    September 4, 2012/Reply
  10. L says:

    Re wet hair-
    I think it's ok if your hair is still a little damp when you arrive at work, but it absolutely shouldn't be dripping wet. Blasting it for even one minute will make a huge difference. Taking an extra 30 seconds (really-it just takes 30) to dry your hairline nicely will also make an air-dried style look better.

    Up-dos are the obvious thing to do here, but giving advice is tough because how they look really depends on your hair (type, length, etc) and your face shape. I have a baby face, so pulling my hair back tight in a sock bun looks awful on me. My go-tos are a loose French twist and a low ponytail with a neat part (to counteract the messy look that comes from my hair's tight waves).

    Also, tasteful, coordinating hair accessories will make your up-do look more intentional and professional. For example, a nice tortoise clip instead of a visible rubber band. They aren't too expensive, so I keep a set of basic ones at home and at my office. I like to have one size for pulling half of my hair back and a larger one for pulling my hair in a low ponytail.

    September 4, 2012/Reply
  11. CynthiaW says:

    Have you considered just washing your hair at night? I don't want to get up any earlier than I have to and I prefer getting into bed all nice and clean, so I just shower at night, wash and dry my hair and then I just have to run the flat iron through it in the morning to smooth it out. It takes me less than 10 minutes to do my hair and make-up in the morning without having to blow dry.

    That said – unless it's in an up-do of some sort and the part of your hair that shows is dry by the time that you get to work, I really don't think that it's professional to show up to work with wet hair.

    September 4, 2012/Reply
  12. RB says:

    From reading previous posts, I think I remember Belle mentioning that she has very fine hair. For someone with that hair type, I agree it might be inappropriate to leave it wet. However, I think for someone with very thick and/or curly hair leaving it damp (not dripping wet) can be more tastefully done. When it takes nearly 45 minutes to dry your hair, even with top-of-the-line products, brushes, and hairdryers (as it does mine), a daily blowout is simply not practical. A sleek bun or a neat braid are good options when you don't have time to fully dry your hair. I work in a rather stiff, uptight office and have never had any problems styling my long thick hair that way.

    September 4, 2012/Reply
  13. R says:

    I also commute 1 hr each direction and I shower at night & just blow the hair dry. A quick swipe at the top layers with the hair straightener and off I go.

    September 4, 2012/Reply
  14. Lexi says:

    Thanks for posting plus size options!

    September 4, 2012/Reply
  15. Ellen says:

    I totally agree with Belle that wet hair is 100% inappropriate for work. It really is completely avoidable. I've had long commutes in the past and now I get up at 5:30 every day and these are the ways I have found around it (which I know many have already mentioned):

    1. The sock bun – great style for second day hair
    2. Showering at night – I've showered at night my whole life. My mom started me on it as a kid to save HER time. I continued it for me. My hair takes about 1.5 hours to do (between showering, blowing out and curling) so I do it at at night and sleep in pin curls. In the morning I just need to take out the clips and I'm good to go.
    3. A braided bun – I do this to my hair on humid and hot days. After showering put your hair (wet) into a pony tail. Braid the tail and then wrap into a bun, pinning the whole way. Even when still wet it looks put together.

    September 4, 2012/Reply
  16. Cara says:

    I have thick curly hair that I allow to air dry. A good haircut, a stylist who knows you air dry and excellent styling products are necessary to make this work. I condition it every morning because it gets too gnarly overnight and brushing is a no-no unless I want to look like the Cowardly Lion. I work from home now but when I worked in an office, the hour or so between my shower and getting to work was enough for it to get almost dry. If I need to be somewhere earlier than normal, I'll use a hair dryer with a diffuser and set to cool air for no more than 2-3 minutes. Any longer and it starts to frizz.

    As for multiple piercings, I'm a couple of years older than Belle and wouldn't think twice about it so long as the person was well groomed and well dressed. The most important thing is whether your boss allows it. The second most important thing is whether multiple piercings are part of the image you want to present to others. If you are still unsure, I'd stick to one earring per ear the first few weeks to get a feel for your office and go from there.

    Don't count on your hair hiding them either. Office buildings are notorious for blasting the heat in winter and you may want to put your hair back.

    September 5, 2012/Reply
  17. gingerr says:

    I wash my hair at night. I towel-dry and then pin or braid it. In the morning I brush it out, sometimes adding gel or a bobby pin to hold it if it needs a little extra. I pull my hat on and I'm off. When I arrive at work I brush and I'm ready to work.

    It's amazing how much more quickly I can leave in the morning when I'm not trying to wash my hair then.

    September 5, 2012/Reply
  18. Mo says:

    “In theory, you could pack some bobby pins and an elastic in your purse and style it while you sit on the train.”

    NO HAIR STYLING OR OTHER PERSONAL GROOMING ON THE TRAIN! Never. Under any circumstances. Find another way, please! Many thanks!!

    September 8, 2012/Reply