+ Three Ways

Two Ways: Camel Pencil Skirt

Skirt: Camel Wool-twill Pencil Skirt (J.CREW, $130)

From Left, Necklace: Enamel Necklace ($93) Ring: Lola Rose Julianna Ring ($45) Sunglasses: Chloe Square Frame Sunnies ($154) Bag: Dooney & Bourke Small Mitchell Satchel ($368) Shoes: Cole Haan Talia Pump ($198) Blouse: Silk Pintuck Blouse ($128)

From Right, Sunglasses: Michael Kors Sicily Aviator ($99) Bracelet: Karla Deras Bracelet ($88) Bag: Foley + Corinna Petra Tote ($550) Scarf: Sand Circle Scarf ($175) Boots: Halogen Brianna Boot ($220) Sweater: Merino V-Neck Sweater ($80)

Polyvore Set Here.

Commenters often ask why there is so much J.CREW on this blog.  Given that all of the substantive pieces in this set are from J.CREW, I thought I would take a moment to respond.  J.CREW is one of only a handful of retailers selling well-made basics for working women, which is why so many D.C. women wear J.CREW.  And they are the only one of those retailers who make their items Polyvore ready, ie. no model.  I don’t know why more retailers (I’m looking at you Ann Taylor and Banana Republic and The Limited) haven’t figured out that losing the model brings more attention to your items from style and fashion bloggers. 

For Casual Monday.  The weather in D.C. may be overcast and rainy, but it’s still 80 degrees.  So I am just.not.ready to start wearing black tights yet.  If you are, then be my guest, but the idea of donning tights in this humid, warm weather makes my skin crawl.  So while this outfit was supposed to be a black blouse, black tights and black boots, it’s just.too.soon.

Instead, I chose this navy blouse, which I recently purchased.  As with most J.CREW items, it needed to be taken in (their vanity sizing is out of control), but after the alterations, I fell in love with it.  The sheer sleeve is really a lovely touch, and adding this bold, blue necklace would definitely bring it up a few notches.

As for the other accessories, I went with a coordinating shade of chocolate brown.  These pumps from Cole Haan have Nike Air technology, so their comfortable for many women (my high arches aren’t well suited to the brand, sadly).  Need a lower heel or a lower price? Zappos has the mid-height for under $150.

I also added a chocolate Dooney satchel to coordinate with the shoes.  And I chose a simple but substantial statement ring for under $50.  You could also add a dark brown belt if you wanted.  I am a big fan of this belt.

For the hair, I would wear it down and curled under at the ends.  For the makeup, I would wear a taupe shadow and a berry lip (I love this gloss that I just bought from Jane.).

For Casual Friday.  I receive a lot of questions about what color tights to wear with a camel skirt and cognac boots.  I prefer not to wear tights with this look, unless the boots are chocolate, and then I’d wear chocolate brown tights.  Instead, I either go bare-legged or wear small weave nude fishnets.

I chose the ivory v-neck for this outfit, because this sweater is one of my winter staples.  I wear it under blazers, with scarves and over blouses.  It is so versatile, I don’t know how I would get by without it.  Need a less expensive version?  This sweater from Pink Mascara is just $48.

I added a orange hues in the scarf to coordinate with the cognac boots.  I also think rust may be my second favorite fall shade after eggplant.  To finish out the look, I added a cool bracelet, a pair of aviators and a chocolate brown tote bag.  I also liked this Tahari tote for $278.

For the hair, I would wear it up in a bouncy ponytail.  (Oribe Texturizing Spray helps lift the roots.)  And for the makeup, I would keep it simple but add a good amount fo black eyeliner and a pop of pink blush to the cheeks.



  1. Parker - Boardroom Belles says:

    You're on a roll here Belle. Totally loving all your posts from ystd and td

    October 4, 2012/Reply
  2. BN says:

    Belle, both pairs of boots featured (yes, I'm counting the black boots you only mention in the prose) have heels. Can this outfit be worn with flat riding boots (like the ones you so often feature)? A logical second question is: if we can only afford one pair of nice boots, should we get flat/low heeled or high heeled boots?

    October 4, 2012/Reply
  3. DB says:

    I'm glad to know that I'm not the only person with high arches! I feel like there are no shoes that will not leave me limping home at the end of the day. Belle, have you found any brands or styles that are more comfortable (i.e. wearable for an entire day)? I am on the epic search for a nice pair of heels that won't want to make me chop my own feet off. I thought Cole Haans might be the trick, but now you've got me second guessing…

    October 4, 2012/Reply
  4. ak says:

    FYI, this J Crew skirt is the double-serge wool, not twill. I own it — in this color — and I can't imagine wearing it this early in the season as the texture & weight feels quite wintery. For that same reason, I don't think I'd wear it with fishnets as my legs would freeze. Would love to hear your recommendations on what tights you would wear with this combo in the winter — or if you'd just stick to black tights & boots at that point.

    October 4, 2012/Reply
  5. ak says:

    Oops, Wikipedia tells me that “serge” is a type of twill. In any case, I still think this skirt looks & feels too heavy in person to wear this early in the season.

    October 4, 2012/Reply
  6. CynthiaW says:

    I can understand your frustration as a blogger and user of Polyvore with retailers who don't take out the model. However, as a consumer, I want to see it on a model – even if she isn't the same size as I am, it gives me a better idea of drape, fit, and length than just seeing the garment does.

    I don't know if the other websites do it both ways – both with a model and without, but I would hate it if they didn't have one at all and would be highly unlikely to purchase the item.

    October 4, 2012/Reply
  7. Belle says:

    CynthiaW: A lot of retailers do both. Mango, Net-a-Porter, J.CREW. And that is what I think everyone should be doing.

    October 4, 2012/Reply
  8. Beth Anderson says:

    I wonder what J Crew was thinking re: their model pose for the pintuck blouse. Frowsy hair, half-tucked in blouse? Really? She literally looks like she rolled out of bed.

    Our local J Crew (Reston Town Center) has such a sparse selection. I will have to check out a bigger branch. Good picks!

    October 4, 2012/Reply
  9. elz says:

    I agree, J Crew is one of a handful of retailers that I can count on for quality, fit, and office-appropriate stylish clothing. I happen to think that soem of their pieces are inflated, but I've rarely been disappointed in what I buy (which is an awful lot!). This set is perfect for Fall-love it.

    October 4, 2012/Reply
  10. Julie says:

    I am currently wearing the JCrew skirt in Grey – and here in MN, it's time! I have to say that I love this skirt, and will have to buy some more colors soon. We are in full on boots, tights and sweater weather here! Great post!

    October 5, 2012/Reply