Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup: Vol. III, No. Twelve

Before we begin, a little March Madness Challenge update…

375 readers and friends entered this year’s Capitol Hill Style Bracket Challenge.  I promised prizes to the three top finishers, and they are: 1) Maggie’s CHS Bracket with 136 pts, 2) the Sensible Heels bracket with 128 pts and 3) Emily’s Bracket with 128 pts.  The tie between second and third was broken using the score of the final game.

Let’s give these ladies a round of applause.  And if you are one of the lucky winners, send me an e-mail (capitolhillstyle at gmail) from the e-mail account used to create the bracket containing the address where I should send the gift card to.  See you next year!

Hi Belle,

I have noticed that Aztec/Tribal print has become very popular. I love it, but I am having a hard time finding anything other than accessories. I have seen plenty of great phone cases, bags, scarves and sandals…but could you recommend some clothing items? A lot of the tops I have seen have been cropped and very wide. I would prefer something with a normal fit, as cropped tees only look good on beanpoles (if anyone).

Thanks! K

I found two great peplum dresses in tribal prints–this Nicole Miller and this Alice + Olivia.  I also found some less-expensive dresses like this maxi from ASOS and this fun short dress from Dorothy Perkins.

For skirts, I like this beaded mini-skirt, this black and white maxi and this brightly colored full skirt.  For tops, this subtle embroidered blouse caught my eye. I also liked the simplicity of this silky tank.

If some of you are in the market for tribal, but all you want is accessories, I also have some suggestions.  I love this scarf, and this one.  I dig this iPhone case.  And this clutch (cheaper one) and this weekender are cool.

Hi Belle!

I’m only 28 years old but recently started having to wear thick, custom-made orthotics ALL THE TIME.  Can you recommend any sneaker-ish shoes that aren’t dowdy and probably will have enough space for both the orthotics and my feet?  I’d love shoes I can even wear with a skirt or a dress as it gets warmer.

I know this is a tall order, but thanks for any help you can provide!


For a sneaker-like shoe, I’ve always liked classic Keds.  Try a solid pair or choose a patterned pair, like this stripe or these dots.

You might also try a pair of oxfords.  I like the contrast ribbon on these ones, and these slip on metallic onesThese printed ones are also fun.  And my last suggestion would be a slip-on loafer like these ones from Rachel Comey or these Steve Madden’s.

Hi Belle,

I’m going to a relaxed beach wedding in May and am having trouble finding a dress that would look good with flat sandals (the bride and bridal party will be barefoot during the ceremony).  Some are too casual and others too structured to look good with sandals. I’m not a fan of maxi dresses, so those are out of the question.  Help?



I would recommend a flirty, fit and flare dress.  I like this scoopneck dress in aqua.  If you’re not averse to cut-outs, this hot pink dress is adorable.  This $98 “puckered lace” fit and flare is also fun and chic.

For a beachy-California look, I also love this trapeze-style halter. I also like this J.CREW eyelet halter.  And I cannot believe that this McGinn halter is only $50!

Plus size?  This ruffled floral dress is lovely.  If you’re petite, I love this bold and bright halter or this cocktail-appropriate dress in punchy coral.



  1. Mary says:

    For Laura: take a look at the Barking Dog Shoes blog if you haven’t already. She did a post recently on shoes that accommodate orthotics. I thought the Naots in that post were cute. Good luck; hope that helps!

    April 16, 2013/Reply
  2. AnnR says:

    Sorry to say, for shoes that will take orthotics 24/7 you probably are going to need to frequent BDS or someplace like “The Walking Store.” Lots of brands will have an insole you can remove and substitute your own. Hopefully your feet will get better over time, allowing for the now and then dainty show.
    I recently read that Victoria Beckman has been plagued with BUNIONS and is moving to lower heels — so consider the benefits of being forced into easier-on-the-feet shoes at a young age.

    April 16, 2013/Reply
  3. RS says:

    Mary – Thanks for the Barking Dog Shoes link! I can no longer wear heels or narrow shoes due to foot issues linked to running — that blog is a great find!

    April 17, 2013/Reply
  4. Rachel says:

    For Laura: I am having the same issue! I am 26 and just got orthotics, because the bones in my feet are starting to do weird things. I just bought three pairs of shoes, which fit my orthotics. Also keep in mind you’ll probably have to go up a half or full size to get them to fit in your new shoes.


    2. (but in gold)

    3. These are extremely comfortable even with the insoles they come with, but I peeled mine out to put in my orthotics.

    April 17, 2013/Reply
  5. Laura says:

    Thank you so much for your helpful suggestions! I am going to buy lots of shoes today!

    April 21, 2013/Reply
  6. Carolyn says:

    Another reply to Laura re: orthotics. I also have the same issue, as I have bunions and an only 23! I work retail and am on my feet all day. I am required to wear cute and nice shoes but with my foot issues and needing orthotics I have had to find what works best.

    Nine west boots and loafers are a great option for orthotics, but as others have mentioned, you will have to go up in size. Also, Munro makes great shoes (I like their loafers) and they have removable insoles that you can replace with your orthotics. If you look around your town or city I’m sure you’ll find one good shoe store. Nordstrom is a great place to go visit, take your orthotics with you and put them in each shoe. A shoe store is not going to look down on you for wanting to get the best shoe for your money. Dansko also makes a good shoe, recommended! Good luck!

    April 21, 2013/Reply