Belle's Favorite Brands for Fall 2012

 Nanette Lepore

Waterfall Dress ($298) // Perfect Escape Top ($278) // Avon Vale Dress ($328)

I love Nanette Lepore, though sometimes she makes it difficult (read: pale pink tweed with lime green).  I like clean lines and classic shapes, this Avon Vale dress is the kind of piece that I would buy this season and wear for years to come.  If jade seems to trendy for your wardrobe, it also comes in purple and black.

Looking for a similarly structured dress in a lower price point?  J.Crew’s Teddie Dress ($198) has a very similar shape in some fabulous colors.  French Connection has a v-neck crepe dress for $99, but there are limited sizes. And Tahari A.S.L. offers a short sleeve version that can run $70 or $80 in limited sizes.

Trina Turk

Femme Fatale Top ($218) // Madame Blanche Dress ($328) // Mysterious Dress ($328) // Prolific Dress ($318)

Over the years, I have purchased several Trina Turk dresses at outlet malls, on eBay and in stores.  They wear like iron, always look good–even on days when you feel awful–and if you buy the right ones, you can wear them for years.

I adore this floral peplum top, but I’m not willing to pay over-$200 for something so trendy.  Ann Taylor has a similar blouse for $78.   As for the classic dresses, your two best bets for finding similar shapes in lower price points are Ann Taylor and The Limited.  I love this basic black dress with the asymmetrical neckline and this colorblock dress in tan and black

McGinn Collection

Open Knit Sequin Cardigan ($320) // Sasha Jacket ($325) // Asymmetrical Metallic Tweed Jacket ($460)

I’ve spoken about my love of McGinn before, but I truly believe that they make the best jackets and toppers in the business.  I own both the black and white jacket in the middle and I just bought the multi-colored tweed jacket on the right.  Both times, I put on the jacket thinking, “I would never spend $xxx on a blazer,” and then looked in the mirror and thought, “Oh, crap.”  Now, I just have to wear both pieces enough times to justify their cost. 

If you like the look of tweed, you can find similar jackets in the Hill Staffer price point.  I like these jackets with classic shapes from Newport News and INC.  This jacket from Nordstrom comes in a cool dark teal color with a ruffle at the collar.  And in the just-barely-under-$100 category is this chic jacket from Last Call.

So what are your favorite brands for the fall?



  1. Nina says:

    Great feature! I love that in recent weeks you've been putting in links to lower price point options. I have definitely noticed and really appreciate it.

    That waterfall dress is great, but the color really doesn't work for my skin tone. If only they made it in that pretty green!

    September 5, 2012/Reply
  2. L says:

    Hey Belle (and others!) is there a place where you go in the DC area to try these collections, and other designer collections, on? I'm trying to slowly but surely upgrade my Banana and JCrew wardrobe with some classy, timeless pieces like the dresses and jackets here.

    Since the labels are new to me, I'd like to get a good idea of my size in various lines and with various designers so I wasn't guessing randomly or ordering multiples when I place an online order. Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's in Tyson's? I wear a 10/12, so finding designer clothes in the “bigger” sizes is kind of challenging to begin with.

    September 5, 2012/Reply
  3. Heatherskib says:

    I am beyond ready for the highlighter tones to die out…

    September 5, 2012/Reply
  4. LC says:

    L, I know you didn't mean anything negative by it, but it always makes me kind of sad to hear that 10/12 is a “bigger” size. I wear that size, and maybe I'm in denial, but I don't consider myself “big”, I consider myself normal / average. Although if I could squeeze into a 6, I gladly would… ­čÖé And just the other day I saw a girl in an ad – about my size – who looked average and was considered a “plus size” model. Crazy!

    September 5, 2012/Reply
  5. Juls says:


    If you live in VA I absolutely recommend Tyson's. At Tyson's I you can try Nordstrom and Bloomies. Tyson's II offers Neiman's (my preference) and Sak's. You might also want to check out Cusp in Georgetown or Tyson's I. The Mazza Gallerie in Bethesda is useful if you're in MD.

    Happy shopping!

    Belle, I love Trina Turk. I have had a pair of her black pants that have lasted for five years! Plus, she definitely employs generous vanity sizing. In terms of other designer collections, I have been very happy with Theory and Shoshanna lately.

    September 5, 2012/Reply
  6. L says:

    If you change McGinn to Kate Spade, you have my top 3. I guess that makes sense since I tend to lean a little preppier than Belle.

    Oh also- I'm wearing an outfit from Belle's summer packing list series today. I'm wearing the exact navy dot J Crew Naomi blouse and navy J Crew pencil skirt with a light purple cardigan (yellow looks terrible on me), similar nude pumps, and a nude handbag.

    The outfit is nothing new for me (I live in the silk shell+cardigan+pencil skirt combo in the fall), but revisiting that post has inspired me to add the chambray shirt to my “want” list.

    September 5, 2012/Reply
  7. L says:

    Oops. Didn't realize that someone else posted as L earlier. I'm a different L!

    September 5, 2012/Reply
  8. Ellie says:

    Add in Milly and Kate Spade and I'm sold.

    September 6, 2012/Reply
  9. Emily says:

    I used to be a die-hard Tibi girl for any cocktail or black tie event, or just a blue Monday. But Shoshanna's Fall 2012 has suddenly caught my eye!

    September 7, 2012/Reply