Ask Belle Round Up, Vol. III, No. Forty-Two

Dec 12, 2013

This time of year, my inbox fills up with Ask Belle questions, so I thought I would respond to a second set of questions this week.

Dear Belle,

I was just thinking about needed evening shoe ideas! Thanks! Do you have any suggestions that would accommodate tights or nylons? It’s sub-20 here and I can’t fathom bare legs!

KC

While writing yesterday’s post on evening shoes, I made a critical error. I forgot that not every woman shares my affinity for bare legs in the winter, or my Montana-bred ability to laugh in the face of any temperatures on the positive side of zero.  (Below zero is another story.)  So here are a few picks for tight-friendly evening shoes.

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 4.17.52 AM

From Left, Ann Taylor Perfect Satin Pump ($128 + 40%-off) // Nina Elise Glitter Pump ($30) // Audrey Brooke Venice Bootie ($70)

On the left, we have basic satin pump.  These pumps aren’t terribly exciting, but they’re very comfortable.  So they would be perfect for an occasion that will have you walking, dancing or standing for hours.  To jazz them up, you can pin a brooch to the shoe.  If you like the look of satin, try these sky-high Mango stilettos or these Nine West heels with bows on the back.  And if you like sparkle, these Gianni Bini sequin heels are a good place to start.

I believe that tights should always match your shoes when wearing evening attire.  If black won’t work with your outfit, give grey a try.  These Nina shoes are a good choice.  If you have more money to spend, use the 30%-off code to snap up these J.Crew pumps with a glittery heel.  You can also grab a similar look for less with these silver-heeled Zara pumps.

If you’re not feeling shiny or sparkly pumps with tights, try a pair of ankle boots.  This pair from Audrey Brooke has a mesh accent and a glamorous look to them.  I also like these Fergie boots with a metal accent and these suede Nine West booties, which come in several colors.  Not feeling boots for evening?  Try these Vince Camuto t-straps with a sparkly accent instead.

Hi Belle,

My sister is the only gift that I have left on my Christmas shopping list and I hope you can help me find a gift.  She’s 22, and obsessed with her monogram.  I’d like to buy her a piece of monogram jewelry, but I want something simple and classic.  Thoughts?

Belle (No, really, that’s my name.)

It may be too late for a customized piece to arrive by the 25th, but I love Maya Brenner’s simple initial necklaces.  They’re also a bit pricey, so if you want a similar look for less, head over to Max & Chloe.  They have this Robin Rhodes pendant and this Miriam Merenfield pendant for under-$100.

If you’re not feeling a necklace, try a simple Gorjana initial ring.  I also like this Sara Chloe monogram bracelet.

Etsy is also a great place to find monogrammed pieces.  The trouble is that, with Xmas being right around the corner, you may have trouble finding a seller who can do a custom piece on the fly.

Hi Belle,

I’m older than your average reader, but I need your advice on how to accessorize a holiday dress.  I’m too old to wear opaque tights (or, at least, I think I am), but I need to cover my legs.  You’ve mentioned that you hate sheer tights, but are there any exceptions to this?

Justine

True, for normal, every-day wear, I am not a fan of sheer tights or black hose.  That being said, yes, there is an exception.  I am a big fan of the vintage-style nylons with the seam up the back.  I think they’re really sexy and chic, without being over-the-top.  This Wolford pair is pricey, but I also found this pair from Spanx for half that price.

You should also consider a pair of micro-fishnets.  Spanx makes them in black and nude.  Hue also offers a fishnet in a more affordable price range.

And, no, Rent the Runway, I don’t want to borrow tights. Gross.

Dear Belle,

My parents generously offered to buy me a new work satchel as a holiday/birthday gift.  I’d like a red bag, but I don’t know where to start.  I can spend $500, but I’d like to spend less.  Can you help me find a sturdy bag that’s classic enough to stay in style?

I love the blog. It was such a big help when I was job hunting.  Thanks, Katey

Funny, I’m getting a red bag for Xmas, too!  Great minds, and all that.  I asked for the Rebecca Minkoff Amorous bag because it has a unique, but not too unique, shape.  It also has some dividers and a large inside pocket.

I also really like the look of this Michael Kors Jetset Dome Satchel.  It’s a simple classic in Saffiano leather.  The details on this Henri Bendel Carlyle barrel bag are also nice.

In the under-$300 category, this Ralph Lauren Newbury satchel is a stylish knock-off of the Fendi 2Jours bag.  And in the same price range, I like this simple, cool Folli Follie bag and this Michael Kors Hamilton satchel.

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  1. K says:

    The tights say they are for sale, if unavailable right now. 🙂

  2. Kelly says:

    i’m pretty sure those Rent the Runway tights are for purchase, not rent. It would be pretty gross if you could rent tights!

  3. CSJ says:

    Nude micro-fishnets saved my sanity. My boss (she’s old school finance) once made an offhand comment that a woman should always wear nude hose in formal settings when wearing a suit. I spent a lot of time stressing over how I could meet this standard without having to wear sheer nude (I’ll say it) pantyhose until I found the Hue micro-fishnets. The only downside is that I have to replace them after one or two wears. Might be the nature of the beast, but if anyone has tips about how to care for them and extend their life I would appreciate it!

    • B says:

      I buy a size up and find that it helps prevent runs and tears in my fishnets and sheer tights. I think when the fabric is not pulled too tight and has some give, especially in the toe, it helps quite a bit. I’ve gotten about 8-10 wears (seriously!) out of many of my sheer tights now whereas before I was only getting between 2-3.

  4. AR says:

    FYI I own the Spanx stockings along with a similar swiss dot pair. I thought they were the greatest thing ever until I wore the dot pair for the second time ever this morning and showed up at work with a huge spider web style run on one leg. I know girls with similar stories re Spanx hosiery. They look fantastic but I don’t think the quality is worth the price.

  5. G says:

    Target has hose with the seam up the back. I seem to ALWAYS get a run after a wear or two, so I just go inexpensive and bring a spare pair.

  6. LS says:

    Hey Belle – I know you get a bazillion questions about tights, but I’m unfortunately once again in the unique situation of not being able to wear heels. Do you or readers have any thoughts on bare legs, opaque tights, or sheer nylons for the following dress and shoe combo for my office holiday party? Opaque tights with flats seems little girl-ish, but I can’ picture how sheer nylons would work…
    Dress: https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/adrianna-papell-bonded-lace-sheath-dress/3612474?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=&resultback=2985&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_8_A
    Shoes: https://www.bellenyc.com/VANESSA-p-19982-b-64929-col-314-cat.html#.Uqn8Eyfy2E4

  7. For closed toes shoes I love the idea of really high stiletto booties with some kind of very poofy (knee-ish length skirt).

  8. Addison says:

    Belle (the one who asked the question!) could always order something for her sister and then print out a picture of it and wrap that so she still has something to open on Christmas Day or whenever they’re planning to exchange gifts

  9. Katie says:

    Great monogrammed gifts at http://www.yorkdesignco.com

    I’ve ordered a few items from there and am in love with my purchases!

  10. Jamie says:

    To Belle (the one looking for monogram pieces),

    I just got this bracelet for my birthday and love it!

    https://www.swellcaroline.com/sterling-monogram-rope-bracelet.html

  11. s-p-c says:

    Good back-seamed nylons at Nordstrom at a reasonable price: https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/nordstrom-back-seam-pantyhose-3-for-30/3490453

  12. Alexis says:

    Here’s another great initials/monogram jewelry designer: https://www.ericasaradesigns.com/initials/

  13. s says:

    i’ve also been thinking about getting a red bag, so this was super timely! yay!

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