AdviceStyle + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Vol. IV, No. Twenty-Four

Dear Belle,

This is sort of a weird question, but a fun one: If you could splurge on a few pieces this summer, what would they be?


As you might imagine, I do a lot of window shopping.  So I have a folder on my computer of pieces that I’m waiting to go on sale or that I’m looking for on eBay, Gilt, etc.  Here are a few of the pieces that caught my eye recently, and (since this is a blog for women with realistic budgets) a few less-expensive equivalents.


This Rachel Zoe Holloway Jacket ($395) is phenomenal.  I love the ivory color for summer or winter and the classic shape.  I also found this Club Monaco jacket for $249 and this Tommy Hilfiger ivory tweed jacket for $72.  Like things a bit sleeker?  Try this Ann Taylor jacket.

Hugo Boss is one of my favorite brands, right up there with Burberry.  So this Hugo Boss Dipera Dress ($356) with sleeves in a bold color is right up my alley.  For an under-$100 equivalent, try this jersey dress with a side-buckle from Gilt.

The Annabel Ingalls Isabella Tote ($415) has a sleek simplicity that’s just eye catching.  But these leather totes are so popular right now, it would be a little silly to spend this sort of money on one.  Try this Zara shopper or this Old Navy tote instead.

Shut the front door.  These Loeffler Randall Calf-Hair Polka Dot Pumps ($350) are just sublime.  I love the calf-hair and the cool pattern.  Closest thing I found?  These Corso Como Del pumps in white with black dots.

Hi there,

I love fashion jewelry, but it’s all so cheaply made now.  Can you recommend a good brand?  The gold tone has worn off of half my necklaces and it makes me feel like I’m waisting my money.

Love the blog! Jensen

Like you, I’m disappointed in the quality of most of the affordable jewelry for sale.  You buy it, and then four weeks later, it’s no longer shiny.  How lovely.  Over the past three years, I’ve found two brands whose pieces consistently outperform the rest: Stella & Dot and Elizabeth and James.

My favorite pieces from Stella & Dot are this long pendant necklace and these two bangles (a spiky one and a chain one).  From Elizabeth and James, I purchased their Windrose ring.  These pieces are worn with such regularity that it is amazing how new they look.  If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.

If you’re looking for something less expensive, the brand I’ve had the best luck with is LOFT.  Have an inexpensive piece that you love?  Spray it with Krylon clear coat to keep it from tarnishing and losing its tone.

Dear Belle,

What is your take on a-line skirts?  Most of the skirts you feature on your blog are pencil shaped, so I was wondering whether you don’t like a-lines.  I really prefer them and I’d like to find some new ones that don’t cost much, but I never see any posted on your blog so I thought I would ask whether I should even be wearing them.

Thanks, WG

The reason you don’t see many a-line skirts on CHS is simply that I don’t think they’re very flattering on me, so I don’t go searching for them.  That doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with them.  If they’re what you like and you think they’re flattering on your body, then that is what you should wear.  Now, let’s see if we can’t find a few for you to try.


J.Crew Sunburst Skirt ($69, petites) // Liz Claiborne A-line Skirt ($20) // Harlowe and Graham Pleated Skirt ($78)

Many of the a-line skirts that you see on the market this season are pleated.  On the left, we have a skirt with knife pleats and on the right, we have a wider, box pleat skirt.  Different styles will be flattering on some, but not on others.  If you prefer to avoid pleats altogether, you can choose a skirt like the one in the middle.

Fuller skirts also seem to be more popular this year.  I found this stretch cotton skirt from Halogen in basic black, and this Topshop skirt that has a bell shape to it.  If you prefer the simpler skirt and have a bit more to spend on a staple piece, try this Ming Wang skirt from Nordstrom.

Plus-size? For a good basic black skirt, try this one from Alfani.  If you like pleats, this Calvin Klein skirt is nice.  Petite?  Have a look at this inverted pleat skirt from Jones New York.



  1. Anna says:

    I’m wearing a necklace today that’s gotten super tarnished. It’s a little rustic, so I’m hoping it’s not too noticeable, but I was definitely contemplated buying some gold paint to touch it up. Obviously, not the ideal choice, but I otherwise love it so much!

    June 5, 2014/Reply
  2. GoGoGo says:

    That Krylon spray sounds cool. Has anyone used it?

    I get tons of jewelry from the very-cheapest sources like Forever 21 and H&M. (Because $2.95!) The enamel and colored components always hold up well, but the gold turns into a gross aluminum color real quick. If that’s the kind of “tarnishing” that the spray can prevent, that would be fabulous! But I assume they mean actual tarnishing of the kind actual precious metals do…

    Any intel would be super.

    June 5, 2014/Reply
  3. J says:

    I’ve actually had terrible luck with Loft jewelry lately. Not as much with bracelets but all of my necklaces have gotten disgustingly tarnished pretty quickly. Surprisingly I’ve had great luck with some pieces from Forever 21. At least if it tarnishes quickly I only spent $5 versus $30.

    June 5, 2014/Reply
  4. Phoebe says:

    I’d also recommend Gorjana for tarnish-free gold necklaces. I have a few that I’ve even worn in the shower/sweaty conditions and they are still great.

    June 5, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      My more recently purchased Gorjana rings have lost their tone very quickly, I’m no longer buying their pieces.

      June 5, 2014/Reply
  5. Kate M says:

    Looking at my own daily jewelry… I’d really recommend C. Wonder and Rebecca Minkoff. I have a few pieces from each that have found their way into frequent rotation and don’t look worse for the wear.

    June 5, 2014/Reply
    • Kate M says:

      Oh, also the less blingy Kate Spade stuff that is occasionally in their sample sales.

      June 5, 2014/Reply
  6. Randi says:

    Chloe + Isabel jewelry is great also, and comes with a lifetime warranty!! Totally worth checking out!

    I also sell it, but I wouldn’t consider selling it if I didn’t totally love it first!

    June 5, 2014/Reply
  7. m says:

    I have amassed a large collection of Kate Spade costume jewelry. You can find it on deep discount at Nordstrom Rack and the Kate Spade Outlet.

    June 5, 2014/Reply
  8. B says:

    That Rachel Zoe Holloway Jacket is marked down at Nordstrom.

    I have that Harlowe and Graham skirt. It makes my waist look tiny. It is amazing and is versatile.

    June 6, 2014/Reply
  9. Joules says:

    Thank you so much for the jewelry advice! It seems like all of my peices wear out after a while (particularly those that I get from Banana Republic, grr…)

    Style by Joules

    June 6, 2014/Reply