AdviceStyle + Ask The Edit

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

Dear Belle,

Can you help me find a v-neck sheath dress?  I’m on the bustier side and the crewnecks are uncomfortable and verging on inappropriate.  I’d love to switch up my style with more dresses, but everything I find has a high neck.  I want to spend $200 or less.

Thank you! Rachel

Navigating the challenges of having a large bust is not something I’ve ever had to do, but finding v-neck dresses is something that I can help you do.  If you like a bit of a sleeve, this Classiques Entier dress is one of the best things at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  I also love this navy dress from Banana Republic.  BR also has a short sleeve, v-neck sheath in pale grey and in charcoal pinstripes. (BR is having a 30%-off sale, use code BIGTIME.)

Looking for something under-$100?  This Adrianna Papell dress is on sale in cobalt, and this Ivy & Blu dress is gorgeous with an elbow-sleeve.

Petite?  Those Banana Republic dresses are made in your size.  Plus-size? Try this black, Kasper sleeveless sheath.

Hi Belle,

You recommended some pearl earrings awhile back that were on the smaller side.  Do you remember what brand they were?

Love the blog! Sas

That was awhile ago.  I looked for them, but they’re sold out.  They were from Juliet Co.  If I had to recommend a pair, I would refer you to these Kenneth Jay Lane faux-pearl studs or to these J.Crew pearl studs, both under-$50.

Dear Belle,

I bought the Halogen skirt you recommended last week and I love it!  Do you have a suggestion for trousers for work?  I used to wear the Express brand, but I’d like to buy something a bit nicer.

DS

The J.Crew Hutton trousers are my favorite pants.  They’re $168 a pair.  If you’re looking to spend under-$100, LOFT has a great selection that can be snapped up at one of their many sales.  I like their Zoe trousers, which have a light flare leg, and their Marisa fit bootcut pants.

Banana Republic also has some nice trousers.  If you like ankle-length trousers, the Sloan fit has a straight leg.  But the Martin fit is my favorite style, just enough flare to balance a pear-shape. (BR is having a 30%-off sale, use code BIGTIME.)

Belle,

It’s almost trench-coat season.  Do you still like your J.Crew trench?

Hope law school is going well, glad you kept blogging! Michaela

The answer to your question is: No, I do not recommend the J.Crew trench.  I bought it last year, and wore it less than ten times before the seams started coming apart.  That’s just not acceptable.

I’m saving up for this Burberry trench, because when something’s a staple, you should buy the best quality you can afford.  It’s a lifetime purchase.

In the under-$250 category, one of my friends owns this Banana Republic trench and likes it.  London Fog makes a nice trench, which also comes in plus-size.  This Gap trench is a good under-$150 option (wait for the sale and snag it for less), and it comes in petite and tall sizes.  (BR and Gap are having a 30%-off sale, use code BIGTIME.)

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    30 comments

  1. Julia says:

    The Gap trench coat is a solid piece for the price. I’ve had mine for two years and it hasn’t so much as popped a thread. It isn’t too heavy either, as some trenches tend to be. I would highly recommend it for those who want to save and still get a quality coat.

    July 28, 2014/Reply
    • Mrs Type A says:

      I have a Gap trench from about 2006 that looks basically new. Great quality!

      July 28, 2014/Reply
  2. SB says:

    The BR/Gap ‘BIGTIME’ sale today is 40% off! (The 30% off is for Old Navy.) I only know because after your earlier post this morning I immediately purchased that Gap chambray shirt (thanks! haha). 🙂

    July 28, 2014/Reply
  3. MRitz says:

    I bought a London Fog trench during last year’s Nordstrom sale and I love it! My colleague loved it so much he bought his wife one. One thing to consider though is whether you’d want a hood. Mine doesn’t have one but I wish it did because with two kids under 3 getting to and from the car while holding an umbrella is not possible.

    July 28, 2014/Reply
    • Clare says:

      I recently bought the London Fog version that Belle linked to, and I like it so far, though I’ve only worn it a couple times. It does have a detachable hood, which I love for Seattle rainy weather. It’s also much more water resistant than my old Old Navy trench.

      July 29, 2014/Reply
  4. A says:

    As a counterpoint to Belle’s experience I wore my J Crew trench coat almost every day for a 6 months and it has held up perfectly. I could not be more happy with it.

    July 28, 2014/Reply
  5. Mo says:

    Anyone else having issues applying BIGTIME to that BR dress?

    July 28, 2014/Reply
    • Lily says:

      it’s a BR Pick so it’s excluded from the sale… typical BR

      July 28, 2014/Reply
  6. Leigh says:

    The internet filter at work has stopped blocking Shopstyle and I can click the links now. Oh, frabjous day!

    July 28, 2014/Reply
  7. CH says:

    I’ve had a BR trench for about 6 years and it’s holding steady. Recommend!

    July 28, 2014/Reply
    • Liz says:

      I too have had a BR trench for several years! I think mine was purchased in 2009 or 10. Either way it has held up beautifully!

      July 28, 2014/Reply
    • Jenna says:

      I’ve had the BR trench (in black) for about 3 years now and it looks and wears like new. Love it and love that they it in petite for those of us on the short side.

      July 28, 2014/Reply
      • m says:

        Ditto on BR. I just bought a beautiful Burberry trench on sale but am having trouble snipping the tags on the Burberry and letting go of my BR trench. The BR trench held up well, and because I’m petite, the BR trench honestly fits infinitely better than the Burberry because it’s designed for somebody with my proportions.

        July 28, 2014/Reply
        • Anna says:

          Save the money then. If the BR fits better, it should be a no brainer. No need to keep something just because it’s high end.

          July 28, 2014/Reply
  8. Dawn says:

    I love the Burberry coat you’re saving for. I bought a Burberry on steep discount nearly a decade ago. That coat has lasted through a decade of frequent use, living in three different countries, being stuffed in airline overhead bins, having a friend’s baby throw up on it, coffee spills, and everyday life. I highly recommend it. It has been by far the most sturdy piece of clothing I’ve ever owned!

    July 28, 2014/Reply
  9. Nora says:

    I have the swing trench from Everlane and it’s awesome. Very good weight, very good fabric, unique (and flattering, for my pear shape) fit!

    July 28, 2014/Reply
  10. Sarah says:

    Same for me. Found a Burberry for 1/3 of the price about ten years ago. It’s been perfect. Looks brand new. The buttons had to be attached better at some point, but that’s pretty minor.

    July 28, 2014/Reply
  11. Laura says:

    I have a trench from Boden that I love – navy blue with stripes. I’ve gotten so many compliments, and my Boden products have always held up well.

    July 28, 2014/Reply
  12. former big law says:

    I bought a classic burberry trench with part of my first big law bonus check 10 years ago. At the time, it was the most I had ever spent (by an order of magnitude) on an item of clothing. I still wear it several times a week, and it has held up spectacularly. And, every time I wear it, I remember my accomplishment of surviving my first year at a big firm.

    July 28, 2014/Reply
  13. Contracts says:

    I bought my trench at a Talbots outlet. It’s lasted two years so far, and I can run it through the washing machine.

    July 28, 2014/Reply
  14. Save. spend. splurge. says:

    I own a Burberry trench I bought on sale and it is worth every penny. I look good in it, feel good and it doesn’t wrinkle or get that weird look to the fabric once you wear it a lot. Definitely save up and buy a great trench because it is a classic.

    July 28, 2014/Reply
  15. Faith says:

    Rachel – I have the same body shape as you and NEED to wear v-necks. I’m not too keen on ponte though. My personal shopper brought out the dress linked above, but I ended up buying this:

    https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/boss-hugo-boss-dilina-stretch-wool-suiting-sheath-dress/3733122?origin=category&BaseUrl=Dresses

    Since I’m more of an apple shape I have a lot of tailoring on the lower half. With the faux pocket it made it difficult. (It looks so much better on!) At 5’5″ the hem was brought up just a smidge to hit me mid-knee.

    She had also brought out a couple of vnecks with leather trim. While cute, I couldn’t see looking like a dominatrix in front of clients.

    July 28, 2014/Reply
    • Faith says:

      Actually I don’t recall seeing that long zipper on the linked dress but then again I shot down the ponte fabric immediately (except for a pair of casual pants). Yes this dress is a little more expensive but I think it’s better to get the wool then the ponte.

      July 28, 2014/Reply
    • Anna says:

      Out of curiosity, what don’t you like about ponte?

      July 28, 2014/Reply
      • Faith says:

        Maybe it’s been the dresses I’ve tried (and I bought one) but it seems a little too thick/heavy for my tastes. I’ll have to revisit the fabric this fall after I wear the casual pants. For business wear I’ve found that having something heavier isn’t really necessary for winter – offices are the same temp year round.

        July 28, 2014/Reply
      • BBB says:

        Not Faith, but thought I would add – ponte is a mixed bag for me. If it is cut well and LINED, I love it. If not, it shows every dimple or ounce of cellulite on my size 6 frame. Not a look I’m going for.

        July 29, 2014/Reply
  16. Gabriela says:

    Brooks Brothers also has a fantastic classic trench that’s pricey but far less than a Burberry. It’s well-insulated for cooler days but not too heavy for spring or fall!

    July 28, 2014/Reply
  17. Maura says:

    I also recommend the BR trench! I got it on sale two years ago in black and still looks almost brand new!

    July 28, 2014/Reply
  18. Lesley says:

    I agree with A’s comment…I also have that Jcrew trench and it’s held up well for about a year. If you would look to buy it, I would totally scope it out using a promo code. I bought mine when it was reduced in cost and used a promo code and ended up getting it more than half off.

    July 28, 2014/Reply
  19. CXialu says:

    I bought the Banana Republic Navy Lightweight Wool V-Neck Sheath on the recent $50 off $100 or more sale. I’m also busty and tend to avoid v-necks at work due to cleavage concerns. This one is definitely slightly lower than I would normally wear, without showing actually cleavage while you’re standing, but the fit it the waist was so perfect I went for it.

    July 29, 2014/Reply