Ask Belle Roundup: Vol. IV, No. One

Jan 2, 2014

Belle,

I have a pair of tan pants that are my go-to for interviews and more professional scenarios, and plenty of nice blouses and sweaters to accompany them, but nothing as far as footwear. So far I’ve been wearing my brown boots but I want to upgrade to some work heels. What would be a good color with tan that wouldn’t be considered inappropriate for an office or interview environment?

Thanks so much! Robyn

I think chocolate brown heels are the simplest choice.  If you’re going to wear them with pants, choose a pointed toe shoe.  I like these J. Renee embossed pumps and these BCBG Cielo pumps (under-$100).  Want something under-3″?  These Nine West Austin pumps are a good choice.

If you want a slightly preppier choice, try cognac pumps.  These Aldo Brasilia pumps.  I also like tortoise pumps that can be worn with many colors, but look good with tan.  These LK Bennett pumps are pricey but fantastic, these Corso Como pumps are a less expensive option.

Hi Belle,

My New Year’s Resolution is to start going to the gym.  I don’t own any workout clothes, so I’m starting from scratch.  Any suggestions for finding workout clothes that won’t put me in the poor house?

xx, Ellen

For name brands at greatly reduced prices, I would start at 6pm.com.  I recently bought this Brooks Epiphany Sportsbra and this Under Armour Cold Gear turtleneck.  Sizes can be limited, so search by size for the best results.

Old Navy also makes decent workout wear.  They carry a wide variety of styles and colors to suit your comfort level.  I really like this drawstring sweatshirt for lounging or working out.  And their compression leggings are a less expensive alternative to the Zella brand that I love.

Dear Belle,

I’ve never worn eyeliner before and I need your expert guidance.  Do you prefer pencil or liquid?  Do you have a favorite brand?  Can you suggest a tutorial for those of us clueless about lining our eyes?

Sincerely, 28 and Bare Eyed

Whether you like liquid or or pencil depends on your skill level.  I think a pencil liner is easier, and then you can work your way up to a liquid.  My favorite liner is Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Liner.  However, if you want something incredibly easy to apply, try Clinique Quickliner for Eyes.  Need a drugstore brand?  Try CoverGirl Queen Collection liner.

Want to try liquid?  I like Stila Stay All Day Liner, it mixes the ease of a pencil with the control of a liquid.  As for the tutorial, I like this YouTube video on every day eyeliner.  I also thought this BuzzFeed article on 15 eyeliner hacks was helpful.

Hi Belle –

Love your blog. I am trying to start off the year right with a new pre-work gym routine. However, carrying my work clothes, lunch, purse etc., leaves me feeling like a bag lady on the metro. Can you suggest some options for a stylish gym bag that I can carry all of my stuff in? I’d like to spend less than $125….

Thank you so much!  Whitney

Kate Spade makes a mini-weekender that might fit the bill.  If you want something you can wash and roll up when not in use, try this Baggu Canvas bag.  I also really like this nylon Lipault satchel.

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  1. I used to work out on my lunch break at the gym near my office in downtown DC. I would bring in gym clothes for the week in my backpack on Mondays (hands free for the metro!) and store it at my desk, then bring home the dirty gym clothes on Friday. That makes it easy to only have to tote the extra bag one trip down and back, plus I am less likely to forget my gym clothes (no excuses!). I kept a separate bag at my desk for the dirty gym clothes so I would keep the clean and dirty separate.

  2. Dakota says:

    Any discount store is a good place to stock up on workout gear. Places like TJ Maxx, Marshalls or Ross. Target has its own brand of workout gear that is pretty good. Workout gear gets stinky and worn out fast, plus it takes some trial and error to figure out what brands, styles and sizes are best for you.

    • MCF says:

      I second this recommendation. You can often find decent yoga pants for $20 at TJ Maxx and the like, and tops for $15.

  3. Heather says:

    fila.com has had really great sales lately. I just had to replace a ton of my tennis and yoga gear. Plus they have a soles for soles campaign that a donation will get you up to an extra 50% off most items.

  4. Chloe says:

    Second Old Navy for workout gear and also TJ Maxx has a good selection. I just bought that sweatshirt turtleneck-ish thing from Old Navy and I wear it all the time. SO comfy. Gap Body might be a good place to look as well if there’s a good site-wide sale.

    • m says:

      Yes, Old Navy! I don’t shop there except for workout clothes. Consistent fit, low price, decent quality — can’t beat that. Plus they have petite sizes too.

  5. Jenn L. says:

    Tip for those trying gel liners – an angled (bristle, not neck!) brush will help you immensely.

  6. NB says:

    I buy most of my workout clothes from Costco! Admittedly, they have a very limited selection and it is hit-or-miss; but when they do have workout clothes, I stock up because they are good quality and inexpensive.

  7. Lynn says:

    Target has cheap workout stuff from Champion! If you want to start running, Road Runner Sports usually has good deals.

  8. GoGoGo says:

    Hey 28 and Bare Eyed, I’m a latecomer to makeup too. I had to figure out a lot of really basic stuff by trial and error. So if it helps to crowdsource this, here’s my casual and totally inelegant eyeliner routine in a stupid amount of detail. (But you should listen to the experts, probably.)

    First you do the top lid. Use the fingers of your left hand hand to stretch the whole area tight by pulling the skin outward from the outer corner of your eye. (They don’t seem to do this pulling part on Youtube. How they do this, I don’t know. My eyelids are all soft and blinky and don’t stay still without help.) Draw a nice solid line right from the inner corner to the outer corner. Make sure to get as close as possible to your lashes. Color in any white space there and you will look fine. You can play with making the ends fancy later. If you’re using a liquid eyeliner, when you’re happy with it, take a minute at this point to let it dry. Look downward. Like, stand there and look at your hands a minute.

    To do the lower lid, pull downward in the same way with your left hand to hold your eye open. Draw right on that slightly wet line of skin above your lashes, not on the skin below them. It seems weird, but it’s not.

    Clean up any smudges. If you’re using a pencil, you can usually do that with your fingers. If you’re using a liquid eyeliner, you might need to wipe the whole thing clean and start over a few times. You can use makeup remover and a cotton ball or something for this if you’re home. Realistically, I end up using some toilet paper and water.

    Check it out in a mirror every couple hours to see if it’s doing anything weird. Look out for smudges up under your eyebrows, where your lashes hit when your eyes are open.

    If you get an eye pencil, you should pick up an sharpener too and do that periodically when you’re home.

  9. My favorite fitness brands are: Zella, Old Navy, Lululemon, Gap, and anything I can find at Marshalls or Target! I also saw some great sales at Athleta. On my blog I usually mention when I come across a new fitness clothing item that I love!

    https://nyviewsnikeshoes.com

  10. MR says:

    I’m a runner/triathlete/personal trainer, etc. and I swear by Target’s workout clothes. Many of my target gear has stayed in good condition, despite a lot of use, and is very comfortable. Plus – super cheap! Just avoid the cotton socks – those will give you blisters crazy fast

  11. Maddy says:

    I have extremely oily eyelids and never used to wear eyeliner because of how easily it would transfer and create that awkward black line in my crease. Even waterproof or “stay-all-day-24/7-smudge-proof” stuff just wouldn’t work. I recently tried Kat Von D’s tattoo liner and FINALLY found a product that works for me. If anyone is having the same issues, I guarantee it’s a product that truly won’t budge.

  12. Boot lover says:

    Forever 21 has cute inexpensive workout clothes too. They have some more interesting/stylish pieces like something you might see at Lululemon but for 1/5th of the price.

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