Ask Belle Roundup Vol. IV, No. Eighteen

Apr 21, 2014

Hi Belle, 

My law school graduation is in a few weeks, and I’m looking for a dress to wear under my gown.  Something light would be good, since the gown is so heavy.  I’d also like it to be knee-length or close to it and under-$200.  Any suggestions?

Thanks, Bev

My first suggestion about graduation attire is not to choose a strapless dress.  You’ll probably be taking a lot of photos, most of them head shots and you can wind up looking naked.

I would choose a short sleeve dress, like this chevron Collective Concepts dress from Piperlime or this stretch eyelet dress from J.Crew.  If you lose the bow belt, this printed Jones New York dress would be cute.  And this Felicity and Coco dress with cap sleeves is great for spring/summer (also in petites).

If you want to go the sleeveless dress with cardi route, this Wallis oval spots dress is adorable.  This Ralph Lauren white pointelle dress is also great and 25%-off with code FRIENDS.

Plus-size?  I like the look of this Land’s End dress with short sleeves and a square neck, the plum color is gorgeous.  They also make this elbow-sleeve floral dress that I wish came in misses sizes.

Dear Belle,

My makeup bag is looking grim and I want to purchase a few new eyeshadows to spice things up.  What is your favorite brand/colors?  I usually wear brown and gray and I want something with color.

Thanks! Love the blog! Aimee

My favorite shadows are Stila.  Good staying power, excellent color saturation. My favorite shades are Oasis (a pale gold) and Cassis (a royal purple).

If you want a drugstore option, I like the cream shadows from Maybelline Color Tattoo.  I also like the baked eyeshadows from elf who offer this lovely palette for $10.

Hi Belle,

I need a short coat for spring.  Not a trench, a hip-length coat.  I thought it would be easy to find one that cost less than $150.  I was wrong.  Please help, it’s still cold in Colorado.

Thank you, DB

Quilted jackets are a nice option for chilly weather.  Zara has a really nice looking one in navy for sale right now.  You could also try a short anorak like this two-tone one from Vince Camuto.  Or go for the trendy option and select a bomber jacket like this navy one from NYDJ.

Dear Belle,

You mentioned on Twitter that you buy hair sunscreen to protect your highlights. Where do you get it?  My wallet thanks you for saving my highlights from becoming streaks this summer.

xoxo, Kelly

I like Aveda Hair Veil, just remember to turn on your bathroom fan before you spray it.  Your nasal passages will thank you.  For a drugstore alternative, try Ion sun protection spray from Sally.

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  1. Hair sunscreen! I will definitely try this during the summer. Not to protect highlights, but to keepy hair dark. Hate that it lightens every summer. Hope this works!

  2. Trace says:

    For the graduation girl, make sure your shoes match the gown! (And ideally the dress as well.) I, unfortunately, wore tan sandals (which matched my dress) with my black robe for graduation and the pictures looked horrible. I wised up when I got my masters and wore classic black pumps. I don’t even know what dress I wore under because all the pictures were of me in my cap and gown.

    • Anna says:

      Great point and so rarely considered. It does look odd when you’re wearing a heavy dark gown and dainty sandals (which is often the case when you’re wearing a summer dress underneath).

  3. Joules says:

    Zara has the best coats. I just wish they were slightly less expensive. :c

    style by Joules

  4. Airlie says:

    On question 1, the square-neck/plus size dress you linked to is fabulous. It’s incredibly flattering if you are an apple shape. I wish they made it in a million colors.

  5. Nancy says:

    What is hair sunscreen? I don’t color my hair but I use straightening treatments so it probably works the same way.

  6. Rachel says:

    Am I missing something? That LE floral dress does come in misses sizes. Just click on the “regular” box. Also comes in petite.

  7. Dulcinea says:

    For law school graduation be mindf to choose something that won’t clash with your regalia. My gown was black, sash was red(school color) and if purse part of the sash is purple, the traditional color for law. The green a and green vintage dress I picked ended up sticking out beneath and around the collar and clashed horribly. Good luck!

  8. GingerR says:

    Be mindful that if you receive any awards, were in the Order of the Coif or Law Review or other groups that there will be small group photos without your gown. If you cite these activities in your resume someone may look the photos up, so wear something professional looking.

    If you’ve got a job lined up for the summer you might as well stretch your dollars with an outfit that will go to work as well.

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