Ask Belle Roundup Vol. IV, No. Thirty-Two

Jul 22, 2014

Hi Belle,

I recently bought this dress in seashore to wear to a summer wedding but unlike in the picture, it looks like I am wearing a sack when I put it on! I was thinking of belting it, any suggestions on color and shoe pairings?

Thanks! TT

First, even if you’re trying to add structure to a dress using a belt, you may still need to tailor it.  In this case, even just taking a shapeless dress in an inch or two can make a huge difference.  Because if you add a belt to a dress that looks too much like a sack, you won’t help anything.

For a dress in a bold blue, I would add a wide belt in either grey or cognac/medium brown.  Whether you choose grey or brown for the belt, I think a flesh-toned shoe is best.  I like these Pour la Victoire ankle-strap sandals.

If you wanted to add some colorful accessories, I would choose either a coordinating aqua bracelet or a contrasting coral earring.

Hi Belle,

I’ve always been pear shaped. Recently I’ve put on a few pounds and they’re – you guess it – on my butt. I need a couple new pairs of jeans to make me feel good again! Help!

Thank you!! NS

Whenever you gain weight, regardless of where you gain it, it should change how you dress your body.  After a long vacation or a visit from my parents, I break out the flowy tops and a loose-fitting dresses.  Concealment is the name of the game.  In the case of weight gain in your tush, you have a slightly different calculus: am I concealing or am I embracing?

If you’re on team bootylicious, I would go for a skinny jean.  Not a jegging, not an uber-skinny like one would find at AE or the like, but a skinny jean that could even be considered a slim or straight jean.  My favorite jeans, as a pear-shaped person, are the Paige Skyline Skinny Jeans or their Straight Leg jeans (on Anniversary Sale for $119).  If you need something cheaper, you may need to try on many pairs, but I would start with the Lucky Sweet n Straight jeans.

If you prefer the concealment route, I would suggest a bootcut or slim bootcut to balance out the disparity in proportion.  AG Ballad jeans are a great choice, they have a bit of bootcut, but don’t cross the line into flare.  I also like 7 for All Mankind’s mid-rise Kimmie jean for a wider leg opening.  You can usually find these jeans, and all 7 products on sale for under-$100 if you do a bit of Googling.

Plus-size or petite?  Leave your thoughts on the best jeans in the comments, jean shopping is something that requires first hand knowledge to be helpful.

Hi Belle,

Do you use a pedometer or a Fitbit? I would love to start using a pedometer (one that I could swim laps with would be awesome), but they aren’t especially stylish, and they also seem a little unprofessional, depending on the situation. Do you have a stylish pedometer? I work in a business casual setting.

Thank you, and good luck with your classes. M

Last summer, I used my FitBit religiously.  It was a great way to hold myself accountable for getting off my ass.  Then, I broke it.  This year, since I’m driving more, I haven’t replaced it.  However, I love the new Tory Burch for FitBit accessories, esp. the gold pendant necklace and the navy bracelet, so I think I’m going to put one on order.

As for the style aspect, so many people wear pedometers or Fuel Bands now, that I think it doesn’t matter so much.  I don’t think it’s unprofessional, and as long as whichever model you choose doesn’t beep during my meeting or flash in a distracting way, I don’t care.

If you want one you can wear to swim laps, a friend of mine owns this Shine Sport Watch, you can wear it while swimming and it will track your entire workout.  It also looks pretty chic for a pedometer.

Belle–

My black twin set is worn out and I need a new one, but can’t seem to find any in the stores. Any ideas for me? I prefer petite sizing because regular cardigans are too long, and v necks seem to look better on me than crew necks.

Thanks, Lisa

Twinsets seem to go in and out of style, but there are a few retailers you can count on to stock them.  J.Crew always has them, but crewnecks only.  But I think your best bet here is going to be Land’s End.  They stock cotton crewneck twinsets, and cashmere crewneck twinsets at reasonable prices.  They also have every color imaginable, and offer misses, petites and plus.

If you must have a v-neck, I think you could also put together a twin set from their separates.  This v-neck sweater vest seems to go with this v-neck cardigan.

Hello!

I hope law school is going well out west. After five years in the workforce, I finally have my own business cards and I’d love a cute holder for them. When I looked around for one, all I could find were very masculine silver business card holders. I’d love to find one that was nice, feminine, and professional without being cutesy for under $50. I have no strong feelings about materials or color. Any ideas? 

Thanks! -Allison

For my business card case, I went the non-fancy route and picked up a $5 aluminum one off Amazon. (It’s far too likely that I’ll lose it to carry something nice.)    Kate Spade also makes a cute $20 case that is just whimsical enough without being unprofessional.

Another great option is a leather case.  I like this snakeskin print case from Leatherbay (shocking, right?) and this fold-over card holder which comes in several colors and can be monogrammed.

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  1. jen says:

    Try Etsy for great card case options. I work in a male dominated industry, so I wanted something stylish, but not twee. I use this one, and get tons of compliments: https://www.etsy.com/listing/168988836/zebrawood-business-card-case

    There are a ton of options for less than $50

  2. Megan T says:

    Email fitbit to tell them that yours broke! They have awesome customer service and they should replace it!

    • Mo says:

      Agreed, their customer service rocks! I have had 3 replaced – two because I washed them (doh!) and one just stopped working on its own.

      Also, if you ever find someone’s lost fitbit, they will send you a little mailer to send back to them.

  3. Lexi says:

    For plus size jeans, I like the way Jag Jeans fit. I used to get them at Nordstrom, but have also gotten them on sale at Zappos.

  4. Amber says:

    Your comment to the first question blew my mind. I’ve never liked belts for gathering things that are too big, but it never occurred to me that they should be tailored instead. Now to revisit my too-big tops and dresses…

    • Belle says:

      A belt can only do so much. The dress can’t be too big to begin with, or you’re just tying thread around a sack. A little big a belt can fix, too big is a no.

  5. Cat says:

    Hi Belle, I was wondering if you have ever tried wearing boots (like riding boots) over the Paige Skyline Straight Jean? They look like a good style for me but I would like to be able to wear them with boots without them looking baggy around the knee. Thanks!

  6. Sarah says:

    For the twinset person, I know it’s not trendy, but Brooks Brothers’ women’s store usually has them!

  7. Gabby says:

    I have a very similar Kate Spade business card holder and I love it because it makes me smile when I see it (mine says “let’s do lunch” on it). It scratches SUPER easy, though…I just tell myself that the scratches give it character

  8. Want to put in my 2 cent endorsement for Lucky Brand jeans.

    Around $100 or less (when on sale), they are just as good (sometimes better) than the $300 premium denim jeans. Super soft, comfortable and my favourite go-to brand now.

    • MissMaple says:

      I love Lucky Brand too, but I will add that you definitely need to try on different styles. Some work great for me (curvy, petite-ish) and some just don’t fit right. Sophias are my go-to 🙂

  9. Deb says:

    I’m just under 5’0″ tall and comparatively curvy to boot so finding a good fit for anything is difficult. I bought a pair of Ann Taylor Skinny (as opposed to Super Skinny) Modern Cut jeans (I’d post a link but I can’t figure out which ones they’re showing online are the ones I’m wearing) in May which have become my new favorite item of clothing. They’re not skinny enough on me to wear under boots without getting some serious wrinkles but are otherwise incredibly comfortable.

  10. E says:

    I have a gold leather Kate Spade one that I love

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