Ask Belle Roundup Vol. III, No. Thirty-Two
Oct 7, 2013
I have been a devotee of J.Crew’s black Minnie twill pants for a long time, but I am fed up with how they do not keep their shape. I’m looking for a replacement to get rid of the saggy bottom look. Can you recommend a pair of slim, capri or ankle length black pants, ideally with a little bit of stretch, that would be a good replacement? I typically wear them with both flats and heels.
ps – Love the blog even out here in San Francisco!
Unfortunately, you’re not going to learn whether they stretch in a bad way until you wear them a few times. But if you wear skinny black trousers a lot, it might be a good idea to buy a couple of mid-price pieces and test them out to find a favorite.
I keep seeing these WHBM Perfect Form Ankle Pants advertised everywhere. They claim they stretch, while retraining their shape, and that they’re flattering. So that’s where I would start.
I also found these Alfani pants that cost less-than $50 and have a pull-on style to ensure a smooth tummy, and these Gap true straight trousers, also under-$50. I also like these Elie Tahari Verda slim pants. Plus-size ladies should check out these INC straight-leg trouser, and petites should check out these Julie straight legs from LOFT.
Hi Belle –
I love your blog and am hoping you might be able to help me. I desperately need a grown up weekend purse that doesn’t look odd when I’m out in jeans and a sweatshirt or at the farmers market. I find that I have a lot of work bags, but nothing that I can use for the weekends.
Can you help? Thanks! MW
First off, thank you so much for this question. I am a firm believer in having different bags for the office and uber-casual times. It makes your work bags look newer longer, and it pulls a casual outfit together better. So let’s find you some choices!
The IIIbeca Thomas Street Tote ($198) is a great casual bag. How do I know? I own one. It holds it shape, is a great size and the adjustable straps are always the perfect length. Plus, it’s super durable and holds up to a lot of wear. Need something cheaper? In the under-$100 category, we have this Melie Bianco Aria tote and this vegan-reversible tote from Urban Outfitters.
A hobo bag is a great shape for casual wear, and this Deux Lux Bowery bag ($49) has great details and a cool look. I also like the shape of this round French Connection hobo, and this taller turquoise Kelsi Dagger hobo.
Lastly, this Fossil Crossbody ($126) has a classic shape in a bold color. It jazzes up neutral basics and breathes life into casual duds. Should you want something with a bit more interest to the shape and embellishments, try this faux-leather bag from Street Level for under-$50.
I’m obsessed with embellished sweaters, shirts and dresses. Can you suggest some cute pieces for fall? Also, are embellished dresses work appropriate? Daily reader!
Whether an embellished piece is work appropriate depends on a) your office and b) how embellished the pieces are. Most embellished pieces are better for after-hours, but some subtle sparkle can work in a more casual setting or on a casual day.
Some of my favorite embellished pieces right now are sweatshirts with sequin details. I like the juxtaposition between the soft, casualness of the jersey fabric with the sparkle of the sequins. This Aqua sweatshirt has a cool, jeweled crown on the front. But for something subtle, check out this BLU Pepper sweatshirt with some beading on the sleeves.
For the office, you could try a blouse with embellishment on the collar. This Markus Lupfer sweater has a Peter Pan collar with sequins that would look nice with trousers or under a blazer. I also like this jewel-embellished top from Rebecca Taylor. I also like the sequin trim on the sleeves of this Club Monaco top, and on the shoulders of this Mango blouse.
Hi Belle,I have been wearing cheap black ballet flats for years but am ready to invest in a nicer pair. I’ve heard good things about London Sole. I want something that is comfortable and has some support for my feet, while not looking like a grandma. Any recommendations?Thanks, Sarah