AdviceStyle + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup Vol. IV, No. Seventeen

Dear Belle,

I have a lot of weddings to attend this year, five in all.  Four of them are cocktail attire and one is casual.  I have dresses aplenty, but I need a pair of shoes to wear that will work with anything and everything.  Suggestions?


Metallics are always a good choice.  I like something with skinny straps so they don’t overwhelm the look.  Since you didn’t specify a price range, J.Crew offers both this ankle-strap pair and this Dirty Dancing-esque cage sandal in the under-$250 price point.  I also love these gorgeous, understated pewter Pelle Moda slingback sandals for around $150.

Looking for something less expensive?  Try these silver Caparros ankle-strap sandals or these Charles David Bezel sandals.  But my favorite are these  Steve Madden Dussty Sandals in gold, which have a very Kate Spade look to them.

Hi Belle,

I saw on the news that it’s spring where you are, but it still feels like winter where I live.  How long can I wear tights and boots before it becomes faux pas?  

Thank you!  KW

I usually hang up my boots and tights around April Fool’s Day, though with the unseasonably cold weather, I’ve pushed that boundary a couple of times.  But wearing tights and boots is more weather dependent than date dependent.  So here’s my new rule:

If you have to wear a winter coat to tolerate the temperatures, than boots and tights are fine regardless of the date.  If it’s just a bit nippy and it’s after April 1, whether you wear tights is your choice but, no boots.  If you most of your compatriots sporting bare legs, it’s time to hang up the leg wear until October.

Hi Belle,

I love the blog! Do you have some quick tips for getting my feet into sandal shape?  I’m on a tight budget and don’t want to fall into the pedicure trap.  Once you pop, you can’t stop on the pedis.


First off, I recommend a PedEgg to remove calluses and dry spots with minimal effort.  Secondly, to prevent calluses from forming, try a product like Bag Balm to prevent dryness and cracking.  Lastly, to get the skin in shape, I recommend Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil.

Once you have everything prepped, I recommend Deborah Lippman Gel Lab base and top coat for a long-lasting polish application.  It’s a great product that keeps your polish looking pristine longer.

Dear Belle,

I’m on an intern budget but need to buy clothes to wear to my new job.  Can you recommend a few stores where I can find professional clothing cheaply?  I went to the outlet mall to look around but everything was cotton mini skirts and ripped jeans.

Thanks for your help and your blog, Amy

H&M would be a great place to start.  They make a wide variety of types and styles.  This chiffon blouse is perfectly appropriate for work in comes in several colors.  I also like this black fitted blazer, it’s a great basic.  And don’t miss this printed teal dress for something a bit more unique.

I would also try Zara for blazers and Nordstrom for under-$100 skirts.  Limited has great suits for the price (please take a pass on the capri pants).  And if it’s dresses you’re after, LOFT has a few nice options, like this tulip skirt dress, as does J.Crew Factory.

Lastly, don’t forget to keep an eye out at Target.  Their Merona and Mossimo lines often have basic blazers, skirts and dresses for under-$50 prices.



  1. Anna says:

    For the intern, try Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, and Nordstrom Rack. It takes a bit of scouring but you can find really good deals on quality pieces. Loft and Ann Taylor might also seem a bit out of budget at first glance, but they have crazy good sales all the time. Check their online stores for deals like 40% off sales prices. If there isn’t a sale going on now, there will be in a few days. And if you don’t want to pay shipping and can afford to wait for the refund, you can buy up to the minimum for free shipping and return the extras in store.

    For the pedicure, a cuticle pusher and cuticle scissors also go a long way to making a pedicure look professional.

    April 15, 2014/Reply
    • J says:

      totally agree with the TJ Maxx & Nordstrom Rack recommendation. I’m not even an intern anymore and still go there regularly to save money on nicer items

      For the pedicure, I always recommend Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream – it’s great for softening cuticles and also calluses

      April 15, 2014/Reply
    • Charleigh says:

      I was just about to write TJ Maxx/Marshalls when I saw someone already post. Both are GREAT for cheap work cloths and work dresses, as is Nordstrom Rack and Burlington Coat Factory.

      April 15, 2014/Reply
  2. Sarah says:

    I put on tights today (not boots). It is cold and miserable and this was all that got me out the door. Snow tonight? #$*%*&%$*&

    Also if you are around here, and you looked at the Leesburg outlets, you may have looked at the wrong places. There are plenty of well-priced professional clothes out this way.

    April 15, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I know this weather is truly annoying.

      April 15, 2014/Reply
  3. Diane says:

    If you have the time to shop regularly, thrift stores can also be a great source of good quality professional clothing on the cheap. I recently scored a new-with-tags three-piece Kasper suit and an almost new Banana Republic blazer for $40 at Goodwill. Just remember to be discriminating in choosing items that fit well and aren’t too dated or worn to make sure you’re truly getting a good value.

    April 15, 2014/Reply
  4. PSP says:

    I think I’ve said this before on here, but if you’re looking for inexpensive suiting – JC Penny! I wear the Liz Clairborne line daily and frequently get asked if it’s JCrew.

    April 15, 2014/Reply
    • Anne says:

      I just hit up the local Penny’s last night and bought 2 pencil skirts and a Liz Claiborne popover, and they look very “J. Crew”. Everything came to $50 total, because JCP always has insane deals.

      I also shop at thrift stores a lot. With practice, you can have a pretty high success rate.

      April 15, 2014/Reply
    • Charleigh says:

      Oh yea! JC Penny too. Their online story is easy to navigate, and there are always online coupons you can use for additional savings. TJ Maxx/Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack and Burlington don’t have online stores I don’t believe.

      April 15, 2014/Reply
      • Alaina says:

        TJMaxx now has an online store! It’s just not the same though as the in-store experience of the treasure hunt 😛

        April 15, 2014/Reply
      • WW says:

        Kohl’s. I’ve gotten a few pieces from there that have earned me tons of compliments. And everything is so cheap!

        April 16, 2014/Reply
  5. MB says:

    This is somewhat random but if you are near Boston, DC, or Chicago, you should check out the Talbots Clearance Outlets (different from Talbots Outlet Stores in that the clothes at the Clearance Outlets are (mostly) not produced for sale at outlet stores – they are from the actual Talbots stores). They have some seriously great deals on quality professional clothing! While I used to think of Talbots as store for more “mature” women, I would say 35% of the work wardrobe is from there and I’m 28. PS: The clearance outlet near Boston has both petite and plus size sections, FYI.

    April 15, 2014/Reply
  6. rar says:

    Weighing in from Chicago, I typically wear my tights and boots until at least May 1. It’s kind of a combination of time of year and temperature for me – the earlier it is, the warmer it has to be. I typically toss my tights if it’s over 70 and/or after May 1; boots-wise, I’ve pretty much stopped wearing snow boots but have been commuting in my Fryes. I saw a girl on the bus in flip flops and bare legs last week when it was about 50 degrees. She looked miserable (and ridiculous).

    April 15, 2014/Reply
  7. Maria says:

    Uniqlo for business attire.

    April 16, 2014/Reply