AdviceStyle + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup: Vol. III, No. Nineteen

Hi Belle!

Love the blog. I’m getting married next year (march) to the most amazing man.  He’s only about an inch taller than me, so I’ll be needing to wear flats for the wedding.  I’m totally stumped on what to wear.  It’s a really traditional gown– here’s the link.

Any help you can give is appreciated!  Thanks! E

Pretty dress.  With that hemline, you’ll need to decide whether you want pointy-toe shoes that will show, or round-toe shoes that won’t.  As for material, I would consider satin or glitter or perhaps a color that complements your wedding palette.

If you want to wear designer, Manolo Blahnik makes their famous “SATC I” shoe in a flat.  Nine West also makes a sweet little satin slingback that comes in a handful of colors.

For glitter, Jimmy Choo makes an understated glitter shoe in both flat and kitten heels.  But this Steve Madden wedge has a similar look for much less.  I also like these really simple open-toe metallic flats.

But whichever shoes you choose, just make sure they’re comfortable.  You don’t want to be covered in blisters and bruises by the end of the reception.

I put this lace top in my shopping cart (, took 48 hours to think about it, and was grief-stricken to find that it had completely sold out in the interim. Has anything similar crossed your radar while perusing the online windows of the internet shopping world?

Hi Belle,

I put this lace top from Anthropologie in my shopping cart, took 48 hours to think about it, and was grief-stricken to find that it had completely sold out in the interim. Has anything similar crossed your radar while perusing the online windows of the internet shopping world?

– Unlucky in lace

Ah, the pain of the sale sell-out, I know it well.  But, if the Anthro website is to be believed, the top is only backordered until September, not gone forever.  Though if you have a bit of money to spend, that blouse is a knock-off of the more expensive lace blouses from Joie.

There are also a number of choices in the under-$100 price point to consider.  This short sleeve tee from Loft is $45.  I also like this Alloy top with an eyelash lace yoke. And Gilt has a lace blouse with an identical shape that comes in a hot coral color.

Dear Belle,

Can you suggest some colored pencil skirts that are NOT made by J.Crew?  I love the look but I won’t spend that kind of money on a skirt that isn’t well-made, and nothing from The Crew seems to be well made these days.


I second that emotion.  The swimsuit I ordered from there last month was a pink print but was inexplicably sheer, almost see through.

As for skirts, if cobalt is your hue of choice, Dillard’s has this great pencil at a great price.  They also have this citron skirt with a color so bright, you’ll have to wear shades.  I like the Iris & Ink brand, and their pencil skirt comes in turquoise and tomato red.  And Elie Tahari has one in coral, while Ann Taylor likes dark lilac.

Plus-size ladies should check out this bright poppy skirt from Calvin Klein and this bold cobalt from Modcloth.  For petites, I found this lilac crochet skirt from Ann Taylor and this turquoise skirt from Lord & Taylor.

Hi Belle,

I have noticed on your blog that you have mentioned often wearing tie-neck blouses. I also really like them but find them a little bit difficult to wear! When I wear them under a buttoned blazer, I find the bow often looks childish hanging out over the lapels but strange tucked under them. How do you normally handle this? Any suggestions on how to tie a blouse in a less juvenile manner?

Thanks for your time – I’m loving your blog! Regards, Sallyannie

There are two types of pussy bow blouses: high-neck and v-neck.  High neck blouses are best worn alone or under crewneck cardigans.  I prefer v-neck blouses because they’re a bit less matronly and more modern.

When I wear a v-neck tie blouse alone, I usually tie the bow.  However, when I wear it under a suit blazer, I found that a simple knot or a demure fold-over is best.

Hi Belle!

Sorry, this is kind of a depressing subject, but can you suggest some appropriate clothes for summer funerals? Many of the services are graveside and frankly, it’s HOT (this is the South). Summer dresses don’t seem appropriate, but more and more people aren’t just wearing black to funerals- I’ve had situations where the family specifically requested that people NOT wear black. How can you keep it appropriate for such a solemn occasion without passing out in the cemetery?

Thanks! -Cait

If the family requests that you do not wear black, then you should absolutely conform to that request.  A college professor of mine had it in his will that everyone was to wear white to his funeral and 1/3 of the mourners still showed up in black.  So similar to a wedding, if a funeral has a dress code, follow it.

My first tip for staying dry is aerosol deodorant.  Something without a cloying scent is best.

Secondly, I think natural fabrics and loose cuts will help keep you cool.  You want a breathable fabric, and you want a breezy shape.  And unless the tenets of the particular religion or church dictate otherwise, I think sleeveless or short sleeve is acceptable.

This sleeveless Kate Spade strikes me as appropriate, as does this short sleeve ASOS dress.  I’ve also seen some black eyelet dresses on the market, like this full-skirt DKNY or this sheath from The Limited.  I also think those would be fine and a more seasonally appropriate.

Lastly, I would throw a handkerchief in my bag to blot sweat as needed, and I would wear a hat for a bit of shade and sun protection.  This wide brim black sun hat is a stylish and functional choice.

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  1. SK says:

    I love love LOVE the Halogen pencil skirts at Nordstrom. They come in a million colors and certain colors always go on sale during half-yearly, anniversary, etc.(though they’re reasonably priced even when not). But my favorite feature is the fabric – I hate when pencil skirts get wrinkly from sitting at a desk all day (hello J.Crew cotton pencil), and these have completely eradicated that problem for me. I’d recommend sizing down, though.

    June 24, 2013/Reply
    • Amber says:

      Ditto SK. They’re the only pencil skirts I own, and I have them in about 6 colors. No wrinkling, very comfortable, and I’ve had success throwing in the washing machine on the handwash cycle and hanging to dry.

      June 24, 2013/Reply
  2. Stella says:

    I had a similar situation with a sale jacket at Piperlime. I didn’t pull the trigger and my size was sold out. But I suggest checking back frequently: whether it’s abandoned shopping carts or a return, your size might reappear. (That is what happened to me with the Piperlime jacket–several weeks after I’d thought it gone forever…)

    June 24, 2013/Reply
  3. Chloe says:

    I swear by pencil skirts from the Limited. I have one in green, red, purple … the list goes on. Perfect length for office and budget-friendly.

    June 24, 2013/Reply
    • Caroline says:

      The Limited pencil skirts are a cornerstone of my work wardrobe. I have them in black, yellow, magenta, floral, and black & white stripe. I’m gradually replacing the rest of my ill-fitting pencil skirts with them; the fit is absolutely perfect and the quality is very good.

      June 25, 2013/Reply
  4. M says:

    To the bride to be, a gown like that will drop an inch to two inches during the course of the night when you wear it. A bridal gown tailor should know that and account for it, but its something to consider when picking a shoe. Most likely it will show at the beginning of the night and if your dress is tailored properly won’t at the end. The dress falling is why you always see gowns tugging at the top of their sleeveless gowns or holding up the skirt. Congrats!

    June 24, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Curious. What causes the falling?

      June 24, 2013/Reply
      • M says:

        Not completely sure, but it definitely happens (happened on my dress at least?)! Something about the tulle underneath settling and relaxing? Its not something you have to worry about with some materials, but the beading on that gown and anything in an A line of fuller skirt can experience it. When I bought my gown 7 years ago I just said “oh, ok”, to my tailor. now I can’t find anything on the internet to back me up!

        June 24, 2013/Reply
  5. Melissa says:

    The Anthro blouse is very similar to the Talula Betsy blouse, available at Aritzia in Canada, not sure about the US.,default,pd.html

    June 24, 2013/Reply
  6. Ellen says:

    To E, the bride to be, you are going to be so happy you are wearing flats on your wedding day! I didn’t need to but decided to because I’m one of those girls that refuses to take her shoes off to dance etc because they are part of my outfit and I didn’t want to be in pain (as I currently am from a poor shoe choice on Saturday) on my wedding day. I spent a fair amount on flat sparkly Jimmy Choos (no longer available and it was an amazing purchase. It was priceless to be able to not be in pain on your wedding day plus I’ve worn them multiple times since! Your wedding is always a good excuse to get a great pair of shoes. Just make sure you bring them to your fittings so everything is tailored accordingly because people always expect a bride to be in heels. I also had a traditional gown that has some similarities to yours and they looked great.

    June 24, 2013/Reply
    • m says:

      I agree that comfort is most important. Sorry, but nobody is going to look at your shoes. (Or, at least, nobody looked at mine).

      And I agree with you, Ellen. Flats are 1 million times more classy than barefoot in my book!

      June 24, 2013/Reply
      • Belle says:

        Or $3 flip flops. I’ve seen that a few times.

        June 24, 2013/Reply
  7. Alaina says:

    Madewell also has a similar lace top to the Anthro one.
    Here’s the link:

    June 24, 2013/Reply
  8. m says:

    Belle! When I click on the Anthro link it says that the top is on back-order and available for all sizes. Hurry!

    I bought the Ina dress when it briefly popped back last week as supposedly “backordered” and it shipped and arrived within a week.

    June 24, 2013/Reply
    • m says:

      never mind. I got really confused by the formatting of Belle’s Q&A and didn’t finish reading.

      Unlucky in lace — you can also call Anthro and ask them to check store inventory for you. Stores will do a charge-send if you ask. Also, just do the backorder. They might ship before Sept if the inventory arrives sooner or they receive a return.

      June 24, 2013/Reply
  9. Giggling Gourmand says:

    For a non-black attire funeral I think navy could work in the summer and grey in the winter. In either case just a simple shift (with sleeves) should look appropriate.

    June 24, 2013/Reply
  10. GingerR says:

    I think the solemn occasion of a funeral is best achieved by getting dressed up in what I’d term daytime business formal. A tailored dress, skirt/pants, jacket paired with traditional shoes. If you go back to work after the funeral people should wonder if you’ve got an interview scheduled. If you go to the reception or gravesite you can lose the jacket.

    June 24, 2013/Reply
  11. A.C. says:

    I recently noticed these GORGEOUS low-heeled Valentino couture bow pumps that would be perfect for a wedding. They also come in a higher heel.

    June 25, 2013/Reply
    • Giggling Gourmand says:

      I wore the higher version of those and managed to keep them on almost all night. They are surprisingly comfortable for shoes that high.

      June 25, 2013/Reply
  12. k-t says:

    Summer funeral: navy shift dress or sheath with a jacket or cardigan for arctic AC (or religious reasons). And flats or wedges. Thin heels and gravesides don’t mix. Last funeral I attended a few people ended up in flip-flops at the cemetery because they realized their heels weren’t going to work and they didn’t have another alternative in the car.

    June 25, 2013/Reply
  13. Sofie says:

    @Marni – I was also seeking some non-J. Crew pencil skirts earlier this year, and I’ll definitely echo the Ann Taylor recommendation. Ann Taylor’s sizing isn’t as ridiculously off as J. Crew’s, and you can get a fabulous deal on a decent-quality piece because the Ann Taylor skirts are just about ALWAYS on sale. I’ve picked up a great blue pencil and a turquoise lace pencil on some ridiculous sales, and they add a great pop of color to my wardrobe. Because of sales, I only ended up paying $26 – $34 per piece last time I ordered pencils online from Ann Taylor. I’m a huge fan now.

    June 25, 2013/Reply
  14. Ellen says:

    I laugh as I type this but Talbots has some decent pencil skirt options. I still think of them as the brand my mother used to wear that I hated as a child but they have improved (or have I turned into my mother). If you have a car and can get to Northern Virginia they have a Clearance Center in Springfield that basically gives things away it is so cheap.

    June 25, 2013/Reply
  15. SB says:

    Unlucky in Lace, call Anthro and see if they can find it in a store for you. The exact same thing happened to me two months ago on a pair of linen pants…I called and they found one pair left in my size in Portland, OR and they had them put it aside and ship it to me for free. Always worth calling customer service to see if they can find it for you.

    June 26, 2013/Reply