Ask Belle Roundup Vol. II, No. Fifteen

Dec 17, 2012

Hi Belle,

I am coming to D.C. for job interviews in a few weeks and I need some fashion advice. I know you’ve said that women should wear nylons to job interviews if they wear skirts, but the only nylons I own came from a drugstore.  Can you offer some suggestions for nylons that won’t make me look like a Hooters waitress?

Thank you! Laura

When you’re interviewing for a job, you won’t know what the office policy–or just the accepted norms–is regarding nylons.  So I do recommend that you wear hose or tights to your interviews just to be on the safe side. 

The first thing you should know about buying nylons and tights is “denier”–the linear density of fibers in a garment.  In tights, you want a high denier number to ensure opacity (Commando Tights have a 70 denier, Levante’s cost half as much and are 80 denier).  In nylons, you want a low denier number to give you a sheer, natural look.

I like Calvin Klein Infinite Sheer Nylons ($15), denier seven.  I also like Donna Karan nylons, which you can often find for less at places like T.J. Maxx and Nordstrom Rack.  Donna Karan The Nudes hose are $18 and also a seven denier.

Lastly, if you have multiple meetings in a single day, put a bottle of clear nail polish or a small can of hairspray in your purse in case you get a small run.  I also keep an extra pair of tights in my desk.

Belle,

Thank you for adding some plus sized items to your recent posts. I know this isn’t your specialty, but I appreciate it.

I have a rough time finding blazers for work that aren’t ugly. Can you make some suggestions? I love your style and hope you can help.

Cara

Finding a well-fitting blazer is difficult for women of all sizes.  I’m happy to make a few recommendations, but I am willing to bet that other readers will have a lot of great suggestions as well.  Hopefully they will leave them in the comments, but here are mine.

Tahari Denizard Jacket ($178) // DKNY Cropped Tweed Jacket ($179) // Vince Camuto Blazer ($99) // Eliza J Open Front Jacket ($128)

Whenever I search for plus size items to feature on the blog, I always end up at Nordstrom. They seem to have the best selection of classic, but fashionable, plus size items.  Here we have a basic blazer, a cute cropped tweed jacket, a bright jacket for a bit of pop and an open front blazer with a modern look.

I also asked a couple of friends for other suggestions, and one of them recommended this blazer from Forever 21. She also mentioned that Land’s End has some nice basics.

Hopefully my readers who are plus size or who know more about dressing different body types can make some suggestions as well.

Belle,

I know every woman should have a clutch for going out, but I’ve really struggled to find something to work for me. I have juvenile diabetes and need to carry semi-bulky insulin, needles, and other assorted medical items with me everywhere I go, and can’t fit my things into a clutch. I drag my big old bag with me when I go out, but it’s a big old pain and I’d rather not. Any ideas or recommendations for larger night-on-the-town clutch substitutes?

Sincerely, Sofie

I’m sorry to hear about your health issues, and they certainly present a unique need.  I’m not sure what exact dimensions you are working with for your medical supplies, but I think I can help you find something.

I’ve seen a few oversized clutches, but they’re somewhat rare.  I would look for a product called “laptop” or “tablet” clutches.  This soft grey one from Kimchi Blue is $39, and this black Cole Haan Envelope Bag is a bit more at $128. 

Asos also has some great options.  This $23 clutch which isn’t terribly large, but it also expands widthwise. This bag is in the same price point but tall. This bag is large, folds over and is soft enough to expand a bit, and it’s under-$75.  

But evening bags don’t have to be clutches, chain bags or crossbody bags styled for nice occasions might be a better fit for your needs.  I own a Rebecca Minkoff Mini-MAC Clutch ($195) that I picked up on Gilt for a great price.  It holds A LOT of stuff, enough to use it as an evening bag or a regular purse.  If you need something cheaper, I’m not sure whether this bag qualifies as a clutch or a chain bag, but either way it seems to be a good size and all of the colors are under-$25. 

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  1. gingerr says:

    An evening bag doesn't have to be tiny-tiney. I carry an Epi-Pen and various emergency supplies as well as a cellphone almost all the time. Find something that isn't a big shoulder bag you can tuck under your arm in a dressy material/leather and don't worry about it if you can't hold it in your palm.

  2. Ella says:

    @Sofie
    I own the Rebecca Minkoff MAC which is a good bit larger than the Mini MAC. It holds all of the usual stuff plus my inhaler and epipen with room to spare and without looking overstuffed. I usually wear it as a cross-body during the day and double-up the strap to make it a shoulder bag at night (but usually change back to cross body once the dancing starts).

    The full size MAC is great because it can accommodate thicker items without looking lumpy. I can put my trifold wallet in mine along with my inhaler and epipen without problems.

    I also really like that the top zips. Most designer cross body bags seem to have snap closures which makes me worry about losing things through the holes on the sides if my bag tips to the side while I get in and out of the car. I suspect that this is also a concern for you with your medical supplies.

    I bought my bag on eBay. I wasn't sure how I would like it, so I got a gently used one at a fantastic price. I love it so much that I want both the mini and another full-sized one in a different color.

  3. Heatherskib says:

    2 sets of advice-
    #1 for hose- I get the Spanx tight end pantyhose. I can get them at one of our fashion warehouse stores for $10 a pair. I also like their reversible tights.
    3- for suiting also look at Talbots. they offer plus size suiting in regular, petites, and talls

  4. AttiredAttorney says:

    For plus size suiting/jackets, Talbots is a great pick. Ann Taylor also goes up to a size 18 online and in their outlet stores.

  5. Wendy says:

    I am a former plus size girl and Fashionista – Lane Bryant offers affordable options that are very stylish. Talbots also has classic looks however they do run small. Macy's at Pentagon City Mall has a really good plus size department with name brand designers. Avoid Avenue and Torrid — poorly made clothes and very tacky.

  6. helixy says:

    Touche, you are correct. Since I don't lust over these things, I was going on info available from Friday and Saturday. Can't help but think it a little strange that that info wasn't available sooner.

    Anyway, that much doesn't make a difference. Dude could've used a bomb or any number of things.

  7. bess says:

    love the last look. the hem finish on the jacket adds a bit of “that something”. Plus size and classy. Appreciated.

  8. Em says:

    Follow up on the nylons question – I recently wore a winter gray suit with these tights https://www1.macys.com/shop/product/hanes-silk-reflections-tights-blackout-super-opaque-tights?ID=600317&cm_mmc=Google_Pla-_-PLAhandbagsale-_-53426650420-_-mkwid_Bd5bF9B0 to an interview. Was that a bad call? Should I stick to nylons for future interviews?

  9. Ellen says:

    Speaking of Talbots….. If you are in the DC area and have access to a car and want to make a trip there is a Talbots Clearance center (way better than an outlet) in Springfield, VA. They are store items from as far back as a year ago to some current items at dirt cheap prices. Recently they were running a promotion for the longest time (not sure if they still are) where everything was $19.99 or less. I got so many blazers that were originally $200+ for $19.99. It can be hit or miss but you will always find something. Since this is the reason they came up, I'd like to mention that they store is divided into thirds. One third for each plus sized, petites and regular sized clothing.

  10. Tierra says:

    As far as professional plus size options go, I'm going to recommend Eloquii – The Limited's new plus option. All the quality of The Limited's clothes, just cut for a plus size woman. There is one in Pentagon City. Check out the website and then get over there to try some stuff out so you can be sure of the fit and size. They frequently have really good sales. Also, as a side note, their jeans are WONDERFUL!

    I'm NOT a fan on Lane Bryant. They have gone way down in quality since becoming part of Charming Shops, Inc. I think Eloquii has picked up the quality that LB USED to have.

    Best of luck in finding a nice blazer.

  11. H says:

    I totally agree, Tierra. It's pointless walking into Lane Bryant these days. I moved back south a couple of years ago, and I really miss having a Talbots Clearance so close to me. They have them in Charlotte and Atlanta, so if you're close, I highly recommend it. I did take a trip to the store in Charlotte earlier this moth, and yes, I got some 100% wool, fitted blazers for $20. Crazy.

    Aside from Talbots, I love Coldwater Creek, Macy's, and Nordstrom for blazers. I haven't tried Eloquii – but thanks for the recommendation! My favorite blazer still is one I bought from Lane Bryant back in the good old days when The Limited owned them.

  12. JessBee says:

    Just wanted to chime in on the plus size issue and second/third the recommendation for Eloquii. It's definitely become my go-to for work clothes. I still buy the occasional item at Lane Bryant, but rarely for work– it's mostly a jeans and casual place for me now.

    Macy's sometimes has good plus options as well, and I love Talbot's Woman suiting.

  13. Angie says:

    For a good cross-section of plus size clothes online, I would look at Madison Plus.

  14. Angie says:

    Oh, another pick for plus and misses – for nice tops and dresses is eShakti and they have all sizes and customization available. Make sure to go by measurements and not your assumption of size, though, and expect to size up.

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