Ask Belle Roundup Vol. II, No. Fourteen

Dec 10, 2012

Hey Belle,

Wondering if you have any ideas for jackets similar to this gorgeous, 100% out of my price range Barbour.

Doesn’t seem like it will be a crazy cold winter so I’m hoping to find something versatile that I can wear out to Sunday brunch or a casual work day. Ideally around the $200 price range. Thanks for any suggestions!

Anne

I never imagined that the Barbour coats once worn solely for hunting and outdoorsy activities would become fashionable.  But whatever the reason reason you are purchasing it, geez these coats are expensive.  Luckily, there are some fiscally feasible alternatives on the market.

Black Coated Belted Jacket ($99) // ASOS Popper Front Coat ($106) // Quilted Belted Jacket ($51) // Atlantic Parka ($129)

Beyond these choices, I would also recommend visiting Land’s End, Eddie Bauer and Orvis.  They offer similarly outdoorsy gear at lower prices.  You should also check eBay, you might be able to pick up the real thing at a discount.

Dear Belle,

This is my first year living in D.C., and my feet are killing me. I’m looking for a pair of foldable flats that I can keep in my purse for long commutes and nights out on the town.  Can you make some suggestions?

Lainey

If you are in the market for foldable flats, you need to answer one question first: How sturdy do I need them to be?  At the high end of the market, Diane Von Furstenberg makes a foldable flat that comes in nude and leopard. Yosi Samra also makes a durable ballet flat that runs about $70; I like the snakeskin print. 

But if sturdiness is not an issue for you, you can find inexpensive flats that are small enough to fit into a clutch or evening bag.  Overstock.com sells several brands including Sidekicks and Butterfly Twists.  I own a pair of Cityslips, which fold up neatly into their own little pouch.

Belle,

Can you help me find some skirts for work that aren’t black? I own nine black skirts. Nine! And I need a change. Thanks.

Sydney

Every professional wardrobe should have one or two black skirts in it, but it can be boring to only have black to choose from.  Here are a few skirts in different colors, some neutral and some bold.

 

Dorothy Perkins Berry Ruffled Skirt ($27) // Ted Baker Heven Skirt ($115) // J.Crew Pencil Skirt ($60) // Avenue Montaigne Skirt ($240)

I love the ruffle on the side of this skirt.  It’s fun, but it could still be worn to work with a fitted blouse and some basic pumps.  The blue skirt is not for very professional offices, but it could be cute with a tie neck blouse and some booties.  The bright color could really bump up a dreary day.

The winter white skirt is good all-season choice.  In the winter, you can wear it with camel and black.  In the summer, navy, pastels and brights.  The ruching on the grey skirt gives it a little something extra.  I would wear it with an off-the-shoulder sweater.  

I think you should sell a few of those black skirts (six or seven of them), and buy some other colors.  No woman can live by black alone.

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  1. M says:

    There are Barbour outlets all over the world, I have been to the one in Maine, and prices start at 50% off. Also, if you are in Europe, the one in Vienna is amazing.

  2. Megan says:

    I wouldn't recommend Cityslips, simply because I had a terrible customer service experience – despite the fact that they charged my card, and my email receipt confirmed that I gave the them the correct address, the shoes simply never arrived, and numerous emails and calls to their customer service department went unanswered. Literally two years later, I have never received a reply.

  3. Anon says:

    Dumb question but where do you ladies put your heels when you switch to the cute foldable flats you stashed in your evening clutch?

  4. CynthiaW says:

    The little pouch that the City Slips come in turns into a tote for your heels. That being said, I don't think that they're very comfortable for walking – I wear them around my classroom during break and when I'm trying to get work done after hours, I don't wear them to walk outside and can't imagine walking farther than the bathroom in them. There's no support whatsoever.

  5. Caroline says:

    Who cares if they have support or not? They're for emergencies, like when a heel breaks or you develop a blister that makes your regular shoes unbearable to walk in. I've worn mine on my walk home from work, which is a little over a mile, and while I can feel every piece of gravel under my foot it's a lot better than the alternative of going barefoot.

  6. Belle says:

    Caroline: Depends on how far you're walking. Short commute, who cares. Trekking a long way, you might want some more padding.

    Anon: By the time I put on my Cityslips, I'm headed home. So I just carry them.

  7. CynthiaW says:

    Yes- and they're fine for emergencies, but the original question asked about a long commute or a night out. I thought that it was worth mentioning that they aren't really comfortable enough for a commuter shoe, if that's what she's looking for.

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