Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: Inauguration Edition

With the Inauguration just around the corner, I thought I would take the time to answer a few last minute Ask Belles.  Because when it comes to an event that only happens once every four years, there are bound to be questions.

Dear Belle,

A friend in Chicago, huge Obama supporter and worked on his campaign..  scored last minute tickets to the Inauguration as well as the Inaugural Ball. 

Last minute means probably a 3000 wkd for him and his wife.  He can afford it, but is debating if it’s worth it.  He met Obama at the campaign HQ, so it’s not like this is his only opp ever to meet Obama.  But overall, is the energy level and chance to “be there” a must-do, regardless of cost? 

His wife is actually on the fence, and if she decides not to go he’s really not sure he wants to go – should he come alone, anyway, though?

Thank you, Beth

Attending the Inaugural and attending official events is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people.  And if he believed in the President enough to volunteer for the campaign, then he would probably love all of the pomp and spectacle.  So I would recommend that he attend.  

That being said, if it will take them more than a few months to pay off the accumulated debt of the trip, then I would throw my own Inauguration cocktail party and stay home.

Hi there,

This is my first time in DC for an inauguration, and while I don’t plan on going to any balls, I will be attending work-related viewing parties and industry afterparties. What do you recommend I wear? Can I get away with a cocktail dress?



Absolutely.  Once you step outside of the official balls, the dress code becomes a lot less strict.  If you think you’ll be more comfortable in a short dress, or you just don’t want to buy a long one, then wear a cocktail dress.  

Hi Belle,

Some friends and I are attending the “Black Tie and Boots” ball the Saturday before the Inauguration, and I can’t wait.  But my boyfriend and I are both wondering if it’s okay for a couple of city slickers (we’re from Miami) to wear cowboy boots to the ball?


I consulted a few friends from Texas and they confirmed my suspicions that, yes, attendees actually wear cowboy boots and hats.  There’s no rule that you have to be from 

Also, if you don’t have a broken in pair of boots, I might caution you against it.  Because while a perfectly broken in pair of cowboy boots are a joy for the feet, dancing in new ones is not recommended.

If you choose to buy a pair, invest in a pair that you might wear again.  Like most Westerners, I wear Lucchese boots (this leopard pair are crazy/awesome), but those are pricey.  So if you’re looking for something less expensive, this brown pull on pair has a worn look, this under-$50 pair has a traditional Western style and if you need high heels, this pair should do the trick.

And if you don’t have plans for the weekend and would like to go to an Inaugural Ball, tickets to the Black Tie & Boots Ball are still available


My coworker invited me to attend one of the official Inaugural Balls and I’m struggling to find a dress, shoes and jewelry at the last minute.  You wrote once before that makeup and hair are just as important, so I booked an appointment for a blowout but I’ll need to do my own makeup.  Any tips?


First off, decide which facial feature is and focus on that.  Love your lips, try a bold red, coral or burgundy shade.  Obsessed with your eyes? Pick a palette of eyeshadows to create a smoky eye (I love this Bobbi Brown one), or add a colored liquid liner (purple for green eyes, blue for brown, grey for blue).  

Second, YouTube.  Need to learn the perfect cat eye? How to make your eyes look brighter and larger?  Create the perfect winged-liner look? YouTube is the place for you (same goes for hair styling advice).

Lastly, if you don’t want to or can’t do it yourself, call a makeup counter for help.  Macy’s downtown or one of the Bluemercury locations will be happy to help.  


    1 comment

  1. Katherine says:

    In my experience, the inauguration and ball are not really opportunities to meet the President, so unless Beth's friend has some other arrangement that will give him face time, I don't think he should come if one of his aims is to meet the President. But I do think it's an amazing experience and worth it if they can spare the money and time.

    January 18, 2013/Reply