AdviceStyle + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup: Vol. III, No. Twenty-Two

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Dear Belle,

My birthday is in a few weeks and we’re going to Vegas, any suggestions for a fun dress that doesn’t make me look like an extra from the Real Housewives franchise?  My budget should be under $200.

Thanks! Kate

Given that the promos for RH usually show women in too small satin cocktail dresses or Herve Leger-like frocks, I’m going to guess that is the look you’re trying to avoid.

For a Vegas trip, I find that brightly colored dresses are a good choice.   This pink Amanda Uprichard dress is kind of fun, I also like this orange one shoulder from Bailey 44.  I also like this Alice + Olivia dress in yellow; it’s snug, mid-thigh length and classy.

But why not wear sequins?  After all, it is Vegas.  This sequin swirl tank dress is nice.  I also like this platinum-colored Parker dress with a racerback.  But if you want a drop of sequins, as opposed to a cascade, this Julie Brown dress has a unique shape and sequin trim.

Plus-size: This navy sequin dress is nice and this hot pink dress has a cool shape. Petite: This illusion and sequin sheath is hot, and this split sleeve cobalt dress is fun too.

Dear Belle,

Are there any ways to make headbands or headwraps look professional? I have a huge forehead, that I normally cover with bangs or wearing my hair down but the humidity here has made it impossible to wear my hair down most of the time. I’ve found many headbands that work well for casual settings, but I can’t seem to find anything I can wear with a business casual outfit.


I once had a direct supervisor who wore a selection of puffy Burberry headbands, and it made it very hard for me to take her seriously.  But that doesn’t have to be the case.

In my opinion, thicker headbands look more juvenile than thin ones do.  I like this thin gold one from Nordstrom, or this simple tortoise headband.  If you want a little more detail, try this one with a simple pearl embellishment or this wavy black resin.  You can even use an inexpensive elastic headband to create a chic updo.

Bottom line, as long as the headband is simple, and you’re not styling your hair in ringlets like a little girl, you should be fine.  That being said, I do think there is an upper age limit on this look, but it’s up to you to decide where it is for your office.  I would say somewhere in the range of 28-30 for mine.

Hi Belle,

Hope everything’s going well with you! It’s time for my next big handbag purchase, but I am stumped and realized I should turn to you. I have been looking for a black and cream handbag and have been having the worst luck.

I want a structured satchel or shoulder bag with clean lines that is big enough to take to and from work (does not need to hold my laptop) but isn’t so big that it kills my shoulder. I was looking for something with black and cream that transitions from season to season and because it will go with most things. I’m hoping for a bag in the $200 or less range, but everything is either too slouchy or monochromatic. Does this exist, or am I doomed to failure?

Take Care, Jenna

Black and ivory bags that I found include this $60 Olivia & Joy satchel, this Aldo Donetsk bag or this ASOS colorblock tote.  If you don’t mind something on the medium-size side, I like this flap satchel from Deux Lux.

Black and white bags are also plentiful.  I like this Topshop satchel, this studded Aldo bag and this colorblock Francesco Biasia satchel.

Hi Belle,

I’m in need of a red pump to finish out the summer.  Any ideas in the $125 or less range?  Love the blog!


Red pumps are great for any season, so don’t just limit them to summer.  Try them with black, camel and grey in the colder weather as well.  They also look great with animal prints.

I like this round-toe Ivanka Trump pump and this J. Renee slingback.  This rsvp kitten heel is nice, as is this vanEli almond-toe pump.  You should also look at this simple open-toe pump, if you just want to wear it in the summer.

Looking for a more unique shape?  This ankle strap Steve Madden has a very modern look, and does this Nine West shoe that looks like a bootie-sandal combo.



  1. AS says:

    I have followed this blog for 4 years now and I have been debating whether to leave feedback on this issue or not for a while now, but I can’t be silent any longer. I have noticed recently that you seem to include mostly links in most of your entries instead of images. I can only imagine that this is for the purpose of forcing your readers to have to click on the link, which you then profit off of (I know, only a few cents per click). I find this to be extremely annoying and certainly does not make me want to continue reading your entries when I have to click dozens of links per entry just to see what you’re talking about. This is purely meant to be constructive criticism from a faithful reader.

    July 22, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:

      In the Ask Belle post, there aren’t photos because the post would be unbelievably long with multiple questions being answered each week as opposed to the one or two per week that I used to answer. Also, most of the other posts do feature photos (Two Ways, Ask Belle stand alones, BPGP, Weekly Favorites, etc.), usually of between four and 10 items per collage. I try to put the best of what I see in the image, and the links below give more examples of the same thing, or a slightly different thing.

      I started giving more examples because people asked for options in specialty sizes, or would say, “I like this blouse, but what about something similar with a sleeve” or would ask for a cheaper option.

      Per a reader request last week, where possible, I have started trying to put enough description in the text (this orange DvF dress from the Outnet) so that if you wanted to see that specific thing and not click the link you could Google it and probably find it. Also, I regularly use retailers like Zara, that don’t participate in affiliate programs. But part of the reason for the links, is that I use shopstyle to find the items in the first place.

      If you ultimately decide that you don’t want to read this blog because of the links, then that’s unfortunate. But it takes hours to write these posts and answer the reader emails (last week, I had over 30 hours in the blog) so I don’t feel I need to apologize for monetizing that work where I can. I’ve tried to be upfront about the affiliates and to choose the best items regardless of whether they belong to Shopsense. I’ll keep your thoughts in mind going forward and see if there might be a way to do the roundup differently, but right now, I don’t see one.

      July 22, 2013/Reply
      • Wj says:


        July 23, 2013/Reply
        • Wj says:

          I always click through everything. It’s mostly because I’m procrastinating at work. I hadn’t thought that that’s how the money comes in. But now I’ll keep it up and I feel like I’m procrastinating with a purpose! Get ’em Belle. I’d be totally happy with you making bank off this blog.

          July 23, 2013/Reply
          • Addison says:

            Now that the links open in a new window, I don’t mind clicking on them at all!

            July 23, 2013/Reply
            • Belle says:

              I’m really glad people like this. Whoever suggested it, thanks.

              July 23, 2013/Reply
  2. Callie says:

    I used to work for a woman who wore ludicrous headbands and her hair (which was very, very thick/full) pushed forward. Not only was it an incredibly dated look — she looked like she was going to a hair band concert in 1986 — it was quite unprofessional. We called her Bandy behind her back :/

    Personally, I am far too scarred from the experience to ever wear headbands to the office, but don’t think there’s anything wrong with them as long as (a) the headband is simple and (b) the hair is polished (ie, not teased to within an inch of its life).

    July 22, 2013/Reply
  3. Anna says:

    I imagine it’s for time and to be able to provide multiple options in each response. It would otherwise look really jumbled to have four or five or even more images per answer. Plus, they would take additional time to format. Most of the posts have at least one image and then links to similar ones while many posts have multiple images. I for one appreciate the clean look of the blog and would rather have more options that I have to click on instead fewer options but more images.

    July 22, 2013/Reply
  4. SHS says:

    I wish I could “like” AS’s comment. I know a lot of time goes into these posts, and I can imagine posting photos is more time consuming, but it’s a fashion blog. I would prefer fewer posts per day with more pictures. The links are super annoying and not helpful.

    July 22, 2013/Reply
    • Emma says:

      Have to disagree – I think the links keep things concise and make the posts a manageable size. Given that other posts seem to have a lot of visual aids (2 ways, etc) that I can imagine take longer to compile than just posting pictures, I don’t mind having some text- or link-heavy posts interspersed, especially when a featured piece is pictured and the links are to “similar items.”

      July 22, 2013/Reply
      • Anna says:

        I also like that now the links open up in a new tab, whereas that wasn’t the case before. As long as I can keep reading through the post and click and load the images in the background, it’s not too bad at all.

        July 22, 2013/Reply
      • lindsey says:

        I agree. I think there’s a great mix of photos and links throughout the blog. I also really appreciate that they open in a new tab, so I can keep scrolling through the post easily. I can see the amount of work that goes into on of these posts so if me clicking through a few links actually helps support the site, even better.

        July 22, 2013/Reply
    • Anon says:

      Ugh! First world problems, anyone?

      July 23, 2013/Reply
  5. MM says:

    The Vegas-bound birthday girl should check out Rent the Runway!

    July 22, 2013/Reply
    • Giggling Gourmand says:

      Or take advantage of the fabulous Vegas shopping options!

      July 22, 2013/Reply
      • GoGoGo says:

        I really dig the navy plus dress. Hot.

        July 23, 2013/Reply
  6. AC says:

    I’ve been eye-ing the bags and totes available on the Stella & Dot website! I’ve been eyeing their “How Does She Do It” tote which appears medium-to-large (can hold a laptop), functional (has multiple interior pockets, one can hold a bottle!) and is pretty affordable at $89.

    July 22, 2013/Reply
  7. Miss C says:

    @Jenna- If by “big handbag purchase” you mean $$$, the YSL Muse color block bags are beautiful. They cost more than I’ll ever be willing to spend, but I’m sure Google might be able to point you to other bags inspired by the YSLs.

    @AC- while I agree that the amount of links is getting too high, I’m not ready to give up. I usually read on my iPhone or iPad, and I’ve found that Chrome is less of a pain than Safari because it allows more tabs to be open at once. I can just click all of the links quickly and then quickly X the items that don’t appeal to me.

    July 22, 2013/Reply
  8. m says:

    Jenna — look at the Nordstrom anniversary sale for a good selection of black and cream bags for work at a range of prices. This one is feminine but still formal looking:

    July 22, 2013/Reply
  9. Jame Jame says:

    I second the Ivanka Trump pump in red, as I have just purchased from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, and they are really beautiful. As for fit, I’d say that they are probably better for a more narrow foot than a wider one, but they look like a designer brand and they are well under $125.

    July 25, 2013/Reply