AdviceStyle + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup: Vol. III, No. Thirty

Dear Belle,

I love the moto jackets that you keep posting.  I like this jersey jacket by Helmut Lang but I can’t afford it.  Can you find me one for less than $100?

Lucy

If the look of Lang is what you’re after, I found this Anthropologie jacket in rust and this Bar III jacket in olive. This heather grey jacket from Dorothy Perkins has the same relaxed style.  And at $128, I found this terry cloth Pencey jacket with rocker-chic details like grommets and exposed zippers.

However, if you don’t mind faux leather accents, I also found this awesome Blank knit jacket with leather sleeves.

Belle,

Thank you for coming to speak to my sorority about professional style, we all really appreciated it.  I have a networking day on my campus next month and I need to buy a suit.  Where can I find a decent quality, non-Grandma suit for $200 or less?

Thanks again for your visit! Kaley

First off, don’t discount the power of tailoring for making a cheap suit look like a more expensive suit.  Many women consider tailoring an added expense that they don’t want to pay, but it reaps innumerable benefits.  So when you buy a suit, budget $50-$100 for tailoring and turn your inexpensive purchase into a suit with a custom fit.

As for stores, The Limited has some nice suits.  The quality is good for the money, and they offer a lot of styles and colors.  Also, Banana Republic makes a decent suit.  Both pieces will set you back around $300, but with the 35%-off code, you can spend just under-$200 plus tax.

But my secret weapon for inexpensive suiting is Dillard’s.  Especially if you already own the basics, Dillard’s carries suits that are a bit more unique in a variety of price points.  I like this Arthur Levine suit with a slight peplum, and this Preston & York suit with contrast trim.

Hi Belle,

I walk/metro to work every day, and I refuse to wear heels when doing so.  However, most of my dress pants are tailored for 2-3 inch heels, so they end up dragging when I walk.  They never stay rolled up unless I peg them at the ankles, which looks ridiculous, and bobby pins failed me.  Any ideas to preserve the hems?

Thanks!

There are a number of products on the market that are supposed to solve this particular problem.  They come in a number of types, but most have clever names.  I found Hem Helpers, Zakkerz and Cityclips.  I don’t have an opinion as to which are best, but maybe some of the other readers do.

Dear Belle,

I own a black wool coat and a brown wool coat. Where can I find a coat in a bright color that is office appropriate and awesome?  I’d like to spend under-$200 but I could go up to $250.  Love the blog, SH

I’m not sure what you mean by bright, but this gorgeous cobalt coat from Banana Republic is within budget.  Anne Klein has a coat in cashmere-blend that comes in dark raspberry and a pine green.  Also Land’s End has a coat that comes in regular lengths and tall in a great pumpkin color.

My favorite coat that I found comes from a brand I’ve never heard of, DEPT.  It’s cherry red with a funnel neckline and a dipped hem.  I kind of love it.

Belle,

My hair is fried from the summer.  Too much sun and surf and peroxide.  It needs some serious help but nothing seems to work.  I tried the Kerastase Nourishing Treatment you recommended last year.  It helped, but I used up the whole tub in about two weeks.  I’m not made of money and need something from the drugstore.  Help. Help. Help.

Jenna

I still think Aussie 3-Minute Miracle is the best conditioner for the money.  But if your hair is really suffering, go old school and opt for pure Coconut Oil.

A word of caution though, it will make your hair greasy and limp after you use it.  So apply it on a lazy Sunday or have an updo at the ready.  Also, if you can use it just on the ends and not the roots, that will help.

LEAVE A COMMENT

    20 comments

  1. Daisy says:

    I second coconut oil for fried hair. I put it on overnight and wash it out in the morning 1-2 times a week. It’s my go to deep conditioner in the fall and winter.

    September 23, 2013/Reply
  2. Red in the City says:

    The TJ Maxx downtown has some great leather moto jackets for about $50. I got one in a gorgeous honey brown that I can’t wait to wear.

    September 23, 2013/Reply
  3. Pancakes says:

    Unfortunately, most Banana discounts don’t work on suit jackets. Just fyi!

    September 23, 2013/Reply
    • Whitney says:

      Really? I have used discounts every time I’ve purchased a suit there (and applied it to the jacket).

      Also – don’t forget to bring your student ID if you’re shopping in person, it’s 15% off!

      September 23, 2013/Reply
      • Pancakes says:

        You have to read the fine print. Some of the discounts do work on suit jackets but only in store. But today’s 35% off does not apply.

        September 23, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I have the card, so the discounts are available even on items exempted from the public. It’s the one store card with real benefits.

      September 23, 2013/Reply
      • Pancakes says:

        Oh wow, I didn’t know that about the card. Maybe I should get one. I’ve just been using my Gap Card.

        September 23, 2013/Reply
        • ~M says:

          I would check the fine print. My banana card gets deals on Gap and piper lime too…
          I love my Zakkarz. I lost one in my latest move and am about to order more.

          A good friend bought a suit for $50 at target got it tailored and wore it to all his fancy big law interviews and it looked great.

          September 24, 2013/Reply
  4. GingerR says:

    Head into an Anthro store and try the rust jacket on. It looks good in the photos but I didn’t think that the collar draped as nicely as it should when buttoned up. Lord knows I don’t like to spend a lot, but sometimes if an item is good looking and seems like it’ll hold up for a couple of seasons I’ll save up a couple of paychecks and spring for it!

    September 23, 2013/Reply
  5. Addison says:

    For the person asking about hair treatments…if you want something you don’t have to wash out like coconut oil, you might like Carol’s Daughter moisturizing leave in conditioner. It’s not a drug store brand but it’s $14 as opposed to $98. I use it after shampooing to detangle and on days when I don’t wash my hair to refresh the style

    September 23, 2013/Reply
  6. Katie says:

    For a drug store option, I would recommend the Neutrogena triple moisture hair mask. I got it for about $7 at CVS. It is not as good as the Kerastase, but it does great work for the price!

    September 23, 2013/Reply
  7. PSP says:

    I am required to wear suits every. day. to work. I’ve invested literally thousands of dollars in suits in the past 6 years. This is going to sound ridiculous, but I cannot say enough good things about JC Penney these days. I swear its not the JC Penney you knew growing up! The Liz Claiborne line carries excellent quality suits for an unbelievably low price.

    September 24, 2013/Reply
  8. Allie says:

    Do you still recommend Cheryl Lofton for alterations, or is there another top pick? I’ve been trying to find a good tailor in DC and have not been having much luck.

    September 24, 2013/Reply
    • Natalie says:

      I second this! I just moved to DC and am looking for a good tailor to take in a lot of suiting pants/jackets. Thanks!

      September 24, 2013/Reply
    • CH says:

      Love Cheryl Lofton. I’ve taken everything from jeans to my wedding gown to her shop, and each time the tailoring is perfect. It’s pricier than the neighborhood dry cleaner but her staff works fast and does a fantastic job, so it’s a case of getting what you pay for.

      September 24, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Yes. She’s the only person I go to. But if you’re a new customer, I recommend going on a day other than Saturday so you can really have a conversation with her about what you want. She’s not cheap, but she’s better than anyone else I’ve tried.

      September 24, 2013/Reply
    • kp says:

      I highly recommend Fareida Dosky at Westlee Cleaners and Custom Tailoring in Arlington. She is fantastic and very honest. Won’t take on a job that is impossible or not worth the money. She does custom gowns also. Contact info is as follows: 2200 NW Moreland Street, Arlington, 703-237-5651, westleetailors@gmail.com

      September 25, 2013/Reply
  9. kp says:

    This is for Jenna,

    I am all too familiar with rehabbing hair. My hair takes a lot of abuse with color and styling. I use Kerastase products religiously. If your hair is VERY damaged you should be using the Resistance Force Architecte line (the green one). This will help repair your hair. Once the condition is healthier then change to Nutri-Thermique (orange for dry and sensitized hair). Or mix them up, which is what I do because I find all orange makes my hair to oily. With that said, there is no reason you should be using a tub in two weeks. Using more doesn’t make it work better. I have long and thick hair and only use a quarter size amount every time a wash my hair (which is about every other day). One of those tubs lasts me about 6-8 weeks. I do however use Aveda damage remedy as my deep conditioner, leaving it on for a couple hours on Sunday. Also, consider taking at a minimum 2500 micrograms of Biotin daily. Biotin seriously helps hair grow and does amazing things for the condition of hair. It has taken me about a year to get my hair healthy after a blond to red to blond color experience, but it is possible.

    September 24, 2013/Reply
  10. LC says:

    I’m on the lean side — and I have found other affordable suits at fast fashion places like Zara and H&M. My best fitted suits come from United Colors of Bennetton, which I caught at a good sale.

    September 24, 2013/Reply
  11. Julie says:

    Hello! This is Julie, I live in DC and I’m the inventor of Hem Helpers. My friends and I think they’re fabulous for commuting, and have saved so many of our pants. (At under $10 a pair they’re so worth it) Also perfect for bikers! Please use coupon code 15OFF to receive 15% off your next order!

    September 27, 2013/Reply