AdviceStyle + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup Vol. III, No. Twenty-Eight

Dear Belle,

I’m looking for the perfect red nail polish.  I want that classic 1940s red, and I can’t seem to find it anywhere.  The shades are either too dark or too orange.  What’s your best red polish?

Thanks, Kelly

If you want a bold red, I would suggest trying Essie Lollipop or OPI Big Apple Red (which I am wearing right now).  Should neither of those strike your fancy, one of my old co-workers swears by OPI I Am Not Really a Waitress.


My boring black wool coat needs to be retired, and I’d like to find a cool winter coat that has real style.  The trouble is that I need to spend less than $300 and the coats I like cost wayyy more.  Can you help me find something?

Love CHS! Anne

I spotted this colorblock car coat in oatmeal and grey at a Macy’s a few weeks back and have been eyeing it ever since.  This raspberry-colored, mandarin collar coat from Vanessa Bruno has been on my radar since last season, and now that it’s on sale for $225 at The Outnet, I’m finding it hard not to pull the trigger.  I also love this Via Spiga coat in charcoal tweed with faux-leather trim, though the sizes are somewhat limited.

But my advice to you, and anyone who needs a good winter coat, is this: Go to the J.Crew website.  Pick out the coat you want.  Wait for it to go on 30-40% on sale, and then buy it.  They make a great winter coat, esp. with the Thinsulate liner, but there’s no reason to ever pay full price.

Dear Belle,

I don’t want to sound like a stalker, but I spotted you in Adams Morgan a few weeks back and admired the lipstick you were wearing.  Can you tell me what it was?  

Have a good day, Lila

Adams Morgan?  I’m guessing it was a Saturday morning.  I think I was wearing my usual combination of Clinique Black Honey on the bottom, and Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster Gloss in Brighten Pink on top.


Can you suggest a simple flat black knee-high boot for fall that is under-$200 and free of embellishments?  I’m seriously sick of buckles, medallions and extras.  I just want a plain black boot in round or almond toe.  Is that so much to ask?


Finding the simplest items can be difficult.  Thanks to a reader, I discovered that Victoria’s Secret is now selling my beloved Ciao Bella riding boots.  They’re simple, comfortable and chic.  That’s a great place to start, esp. at $129.

I also really liked these Enzo Angiolini Zeric riding boots (under-$100!).  They have a stretchy back and peaked shaft in the front.  And if come of you don’t mind paying more for a great boot, I’m told the Loeffler Randall sliver wedge riding boot is sublime.

If you have wide calves, check out these Enzo Angiolini Shobi boots.  They come in a handful of colors.  Narrow calves?  I had trouble finding options for you, but I think some of our commenters might be able to help.



  1. Lauren says:

    For a perfect red nail polish, I swear by Revlon’s Valentine (OPI Kennebunkport and Sephora Mr. Right Now are the same shade, but obviously cost more).

    September 3, 2013/Reply
  2. R says:

    I like Rimmel’s Stiletto Red. Not orange at all. Works great too.

    September 3, 2013/Reply
  3. D says:

    I worked with a girl in college who always, always wore OPI Red. It always looked great and when I think of red nails, I always think of her.

    September 3, 2013/Reply
  4. J says:

    I love the Madewell riding boots- the leather quality is great and you can usually find them on sale at some point. Be careful- these are the most narrow-cut riding boots I have ever tried! Extended calf sizes came in very handy

    September 3, 2013/Reply
  5. maggie says:

    I really really love corso como boots- they’re often featured on Rue La La and last year I found a pair at Costco! They’re simple, well-made, and very comfortable.

    September 3, 2013/Reply
  6. Mo says:

    After years of looking for narrow-calf, simple riding boots I realized I should just buy actual riding boots. I ordered mine from Rideaway in the UK (mine are a brand called Regent), because I couldn’t find brown dressage boots in the US but you shouldn’t have a problem finding black ones at your local tack shop or Dover Saddlery online.

    September 3, 2013/Reply
    • M says:

      How have those been for you? As a rider, I’m shocked that you’d do this. True riding boots are designed to crinkle at the ankle and (in my experience) are terrible for walking around in. I wear mine all day and all over giant show grounds and while they are amazingly comfortable when I’m on my horse, putting my heels down, the heel crinkles give me blisters when walking with my feet (not on horseback). I’m a hunter jumper, not a dressage rider, and I’m fairly confident dressage boots are stiffer, so maybe there isn’t the ankle smashing while walking problem?

      Also, a low end pair of real riding boots will run in the $200 – 300s range – but should last you about 10 years – so if you don’t have the walking issue its a good investment. There are a few custom riding boot makers in the DC area if you want to go real authentic with your look. Those will run you between $650-2,000 depending on the options you want.

      September 3, 2013/Reply
      • Mo says:

        I worried about this, there is a bit of tightness in the ankle (especially since they break in as quickly without your heels jammed down for 4 hours a day) but I think this also breaks them in differently. I put in a pair of drugstore arch supports and so far, so good!

        I also did hunter-jumper, but didn’t want a field boot lace up the front.

        September 3, 2013/Reply
  7. A says:

    Last fall I got OPI’s “Danke Shiny Red” and got lots of compliments… also a fan of Essie’s “Jag-U-Are”

    September 3, 2013/Reply
  8. Kari says:

    I’ve been wearing “I’m Not Really A Waitress” as my go-to red since I was actually a waitress in high school over 10 years ago. I love it. Even chose to wear it on my wedding day.

    September 3, 2013/Reply
  9. B says:

    My favorite red is a cool-toned OPI with a little shimmer – OPI A Oui Bit of Red. I think it’s been discontinued, but you can probably still find some on Amazon.

    September 3, 2013/Reply
  10. terri says:

    Still lovin “I’m not really a waitress” red polish after over a decade.

    September 3, 2013/Reply
  11. Karin says:

    Anyone have ideas for wide calf? I have tried fitzwell but the ones I got were not “real” leather. I am looking for calf size in the range of 16.5″.

    September 3, 2013/Reply
  12. Michelle says:

    For wide calf I got a pair of Me Too riding boots at DSW. They do have a buckle, but I don’t mind it. They were $89 with my coupon and come in black and brown. I’ve also had good success with Michael Kors- he makes one with a stretchy back that is really pretty. I’ve heard that Vince Camuto makes a nice wide calf riding boot, but haven’t tried it myself.

    September 3, 2013/Reply
  13. dancinglonghorn says:

    For wide calf boots, can’t be beat. They are a british retailer that lets you shop by calf circumference. I have instanely wide calfs (thank you Irish dance!) and they are the only boots I have ever found that work for me. They are great quality too! Only negative is that they rarely go on sale.

    September 3, 2013/Reply
    • Karin says:

      Thank you for the information. I will check it out. I danced for years too. I have searched for years but would rather spend some money or “real” leather than pleather.
      Thanks! 🙂

      September 3, 2013/Reply
  14. Helena says:

    Fellow skinny-legged gals: La Canadienne and Marc Jacobs boots fit well, in my experience. My true calf circumference is 13″, but I can wear up to 14″ without looking totally silly.

    September 3, 2013/Reply
  15. Kay says:

    Belle, are you only posting twice on Mondays now?
    Oh wait it’s Tuesday isn’t it? The Monday holiday always throws me off. The question still stands, sort of. Sorry haha.

    September 3, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I’ve been on a weird schedule traveling and trying to get ahead on some personal stuff. I thought I would be back to normal last week, and then that didn’t happen. But we’re solid moving forward, so we should be back to the regular schedule next week.

      September 3, 2013/Reply
  16. constellation says:

    Not a frugal choice, but Fiorentini and Baker works for my very narrow calves without making it look like I’m wearing Shaq’s galoshes.

    September 3, 2013/Reply
  17. kim says:

    I have a pair of tall boots from Enzo – they’re a few years old and have held up great! I highly recommend.

    September 4, 2013/Reply
  18. Ann S says:

    Chanel Cinema is a great red!

    September 5, 2013/Reply
  19. elizabeth says:

    for a drugstore brand, Maybelline’s new Color Show in Keep up the flame is a fantastic red.

    September 5, 2013/Reply
  20. Jane says:

    RATS! the Ciao Bella boots at Victoria’s Secret are plastic, not like the leather ones I also love!

    September 8, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:

      SAY IT AINT SO!!!!

      September 8, 2013/Reply