+ Three Ways

Two Ways: Black High-Heeled Boots

Shoes: Ellen Tracy Colby Boot ($145)

From Left, Earrings: Belle de Mer Cultured Pearl Studs ($109) Bracelets: Bamboo Bangle ($30), Ikat Bangle ($30) and Crystal Station Bracelet ($25) Bag: Leather Bowling Bag ($150) Tights: Commando Ultimate Opaque ($38) Dress: Mango Chiffon Combi Dress ($70)

From Right, Earrings: Bird Lantern Earrings ($65) Bag: Carlo Fellini Tube ($49) Tights: Commando Ultimate Opaque ($38) Sweater: Michael Kors Off the Shoulder Sweater ($1,095) Skirt: Raquel Allegra Tie-Dye Skirt ($160)

Polyvore Set Here.

For the Office. A few months back, I went through a blue period where every set featured some shade of blue.  I suppose this month is my black period since every set seems to be drenched in black.  Perhaps I’m a little more stressed out by the coming election that I realized?

This outfit features a classic combo dress with a pleated bodice.  Frankly, I think this dress would be a great addition to any working woman’s wardrobe.  I added a pair of tights because I hate the look of high heel boots without them.  Something about high heel boots with skin showing strikes me as unfinished and a bit tacky.  Not so much with flat boots, but with high heeled boots for sure.

For the accesories, I chose to stack a few inexpensive enamel, metal and crystal bangles from Nordstrom.  If you are clueless about how to layer bangles, choosing a few from a matching set like this is a great way to get started.  I also chose pearl earrings because the top of the dress is ivory.

Lastly, I added a red purse to inject some life into the outfit.  This bag is a good price, but if you need something under-$100, this satchel from Express is $60.

For the hair, I would wave it and pull it into a low ponytail with some teasing at the crown.  For the makeup, I would wear red nail polish (like Essie Head Mistress) and black liner with a natural face.

For a Dinner Date. I love the look of an off the shoulder sweater.  It’s so sexy and chic.  This one is an insane price, but for my money, the Victoria’s Secret off the shoulder is the best bet (be advised these run a little small).  Why not flash a little collar bone?

I paired the sweater with a cool jersey skirt in a sort of ombre tie dye.  Simple and yet totally unique. They also sell a shirt in the same pattern if you like the effect but don’t wear skirts.

If you like really dark tights, but you can’t afford Commado, Hue is the next on my list at $14.  But you can often find them at Nordstrom Rack and the like for 2 for $10.

For the rest of the accessories, I chose a delicate tassel dangle earring.  I like the mix of gold and black in this pair, but if you need something cheaper, these gunmetal ones are just $16.  I also added a black tube clutch with gold accents to pair with the earrings.

For the hair, I would want to wear it in a way that showed off my shoulders.  So you could pin it up in a medium height updo or French twist.  Or you could pin it to one side ala Selena Gomez.  I’d wear a lot of eye makeup, in fact, I’d probably go for a smoky eye.  If you like the look but can’t pull it off, try using this double sided brush, this eye palette and a video tutorial.   I’d also probably paint my nails black but not for a first date or a second.



  1. Melissa says:

    question about the commando tights, since you rave about the pretty consistently.

    i don't mind paying $38 for a pair of tights, since they're essentially replacing a pair of pants (that's how i see it anyway) but i want to know- what's the durability like? i seem to be a little rough on tights, not through any one particular behavior, but they never seem to last terribly long. if i am going to shell out that much, i'd like them to at least make it until spring without any runs/snags/etc. what's your experience of the durability been like?

    October 25, 2012/Reply
  2. KC says:

    commando tights are pretty great, I bit the bullet after Belle's review, but I stocked up as they were part of the nordstrom anniversary sale. I snagged mine slightly, as there was a NAIL sticking out from under my desk at work, so i accidentally crossed my legs under my desk and cut my leg and snagged my tights, but this was a pretty extreme example – i had a gash in my leg, so this wasn't normal wear and tear. Other than that, they've held up great and I'm rough on my tights too, i have a job that involves a lot of filing, so climbing up file cabinets and ladders and no other incidents – they are worth it too for the comfort factor, by far the most comfy tights ever – i actually enjoy wearing them, rather than other tights that i can't wait to rip off.

    October 25, 2012/Reply
  3. Belle says:

    Melissa: I own two pair, they should take me all the way to April with no problem. Probably beyond.

    October 25, 2012/Reply
  4. Melissa says:

    thanks for the insight ladies!

    also, while we're on the topic of tights: belle, i'm a sucker, big time, for patterned tights. i'm currently job searching, and don't really know what sort of office environment i'll end up in (probably not suits, i'm looking mostly in the university and city/county government circles) what's your opinion of patterned tights for the office?

    October 25, 2012/Reply
  5. Nora says:

    You can often find Hue tights brand new on eBay for closer to $8.

    October 25, 2012/Reply
  6. SC says:

    What I would give for Commandos in a nude or sheer. What do other ladies use when wearing navy? Or when it's too cold for bare legs but not cold enough for opaque black tights?

    October 25, 2012/Reply
  7. Katy says:

    @SC I wear nude hose for in between times. Hue brand usually lasts me three wears.

    I'm also a fan of the Hue micromesh hose, and patterns in general. I stick to single colors, nothing too open, and geometric prints. I wouldn't wear patterned tights on a really formal day, but then again I wouldn't wear regular tights either. I'm strictly a hose girl for court and clients.

    October 26, 2012/Reply