AdviceStyle + Ask The Edit

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

Before we begin, I know that some of you have been having trouble reading Capitol Hill Style on Bloglovin’.  We looked into the issue, and it seems to be resolved.

Also, after weeks of using Bloglovin’ myself, I switched readers to AOL Reader.  Who knew AOL was still around?  But their reader is as good as Google Reader ever was.

Hi Belle,

Any suggestions for mascara that won’t give me raccoon eyes?  I walk to work, and by the time I arrive, I look like an emo chick.

Thx! Anna

I am unfailingly loyal to 2000 Calorie Mascara by Max Factor.  It gives good volume and length, and doesn’t run down your face.  And thanks to a top from a reader, I can now buy it at instead of having it shipped to me from across the pond. Yippee!

Hi Belle,

I’m in the market for a new wallet. I adore the pink leather Kiki Wallet by Corrente, but it’s no longer available online. Do you have any suggestions for a similar wallet? Preferably under $100.

Thanks, Jessica

They don’t make a lot of wallets in the tri-fold style for women.  However, I did find this Lodis wallet and this wallet from Hobo.

Personally, I like a checkbook length wallet.  I just bought this Marc Jacobs vertical zip wallet from the Anniversary Sale and I like it a lot.  I also own this Rebecca Minkoff wallet in gold, and it’s a great choice as well.

Lastly, a co-worker picked up this Hobo bag that is half-clutch, half-wallet with a little strap on the side for easy carrying.  It’s called the Silvana, and I think it’s a great choice for women who want a wallet that can also hold your cell phone and a lipstick.  That way you can carry it to lunch or a hearing without having to tote your whole purse.


I need to replace my “little black dress,” but everything I find is either dowdy, too trendy or trashy.  Any recommendations for something classic and gorge under-$200?

Love the blog! Bina

This Maribeth lace dress from Joie with scallop trim is a great choice at $122.  If you like the look of lace, but want something with a lighter feel, this Maggy London dress mixes illusion and lace to create a pretty frock.  And if you like illusion, I like the simplicity of this mesh yoke dress from Jax.

I also like this Andrew Marc crepe sheath with a square neck.  This racerback Isaac Mizrahi is a great buy for under-$100.

Plus size: Try this black lace Xscape dress or this simple Ralph Lauren v-neck.  Petite: Try this simple jersey dress from Donna Ricco, and I adore the way they did the lace at the hem on this Tadashi frock.

Dear Belle,

You posted about black skinny pants last week, but I’m in search of the opposite.  Any ideas where I can find a nice wide leg trouser that isn’t going to swallow me up?  Every pair I try on is more like a wool stretch pant than a work pant.

Thank you so much, Ella

I love the J.Crew Ludlow pant.  It’s not a traditional wide cut, but it grazes the leg beautifully.  You should also check out the basic work trouser from Bop.  And one of my girlfriends, who likes a generous wide leg, swears by the Magaschoni brand.

Hi Belle!

I recently bought J. Crew’s collection icon trench during one of J.Crew’s recent promotions.  I’m usually an 8 in J. Crew’s clothes, but I went for a size 10 in the trench. I just received the trench and love it. However, the bust area seems to be a bit big. When I belt it, the material definitely gathers in the back, but it fits well otherwise. I’m currently debating whether to go to a tailor or try to exchange the trench.

So I have two questions for you! Do you have any tips for how a trench should fit? Also, do you have recommendations for a good, well-priced tailor in DC?

Thanks so much! Lesley

The Icon trench is definitely the best one on the market right now, but you can’t go wrong with a simple London Fog Heritage trench if you need to spend less.

When it comes to buying clothes, women need to realize that most of us are not a standard size.  The retailers and designers are not making clothes that will fit our bodies perfectly right off the rack.  So most of your clothes should need some tailoring.

I always recommend that women who are disproportionate (and who isn’t?) size up and then take in.  So for your trench, you probably need to have the back seams or the side seams taken in a bit.  I recommend Cheryl Lofton on T Street NW without reservation.  She does a great job at a fair price.

Dear Belle,

My hair is melting into a haggard mop in the D.C. heat.  I am in need of a good…nay, a great…hairspray.  Whatcha got?


Big Sexy Hairspray in Play Harder is all I use.



  1. Terri says:

    Also use and Love the Big Sexy Hairspray Play Harder. None better no matter where you live.

    July 29, 2013/Reply
  2. E says:

    Firstly, that Joie dress is really short, so buyer beware, and has no bust room.

    Secondly, do you think it’s possible for a tailor to fix a Burberry coat without ruining the printed lining? Just curious if it’s possible/how do they even do that.

    July 29, 2013/Reply
    • m says:

      Check out the Extra Petite blog for a number of posts on altered Burberry coats. If you buy your coat from a Burberry boutique, alterations are complimentary.

      July 29, 2013/Reply
  3. Amy says:

    You can also get 2000 calorie mascara through the Vermont Country Store website, but I think it’s more expensive than

    July 29, 2013/Reply
  4. m says:

    I’ve been shopping for Burberry trenches, but I honestly can’t find one that fits well enough to make me want to shed my Banana Republic trench. BR trenches come in petite and tall, are a great deal during a sale like today’s, and they have many of the quality details (lining, leather-covered buckles) that you would expect at a higher price point.

    When it comes to style, there’s just no substitute for good fit.

    July 29, 2013/Reply
  5. CH says:

    Another vote of confidence for Cheryl Lofton – I’ve had everything from jeans to my wedding gown altered at her shop, and can’t speak highly enough of the work!

    July 29, 2013/Reply
  6. Casey says:

    Check out the tech wallet from Stella & Dot! I absolutely love it!

    July 29, 2013/Reply
  7. sarah says:

    Can you re-post the link to the black skinny pants entry you did last week? I somehow managed to miss it. Thx!

    July 30, 2013/Reply
  8. CL says:

    Mascara that doesn’t run? The only kind that has EVER worked for me is Trish McEvoy high definition mascara. Too expensive but worth every penny not to have dark circles under my eyes every. single. day.

    August 1, 2013/Reply