Ask Belle: Planners & Agendas

Aug 5, 2014

Hey Belle,

I was looking at my weekly/monthly planner and it’s less than chic. I saw a Kate spade planner at Nordstrom that was huge but so gorgeous. Do you have any recommendations for a weekly/monthly planner that is functional, fabulous, and can fit in a standard tote? Love your blog…you have helped my style so much.

Thank you. AM

Carrying a paper calendar, agenda or planner has come back into style after years of electronic dominance.  And when you see some of the stylish planners for sale, you’ll understand why.

For the girly-girl, Kate Spade is the standard.  I like her gold-dotted planner and her green brushstroke planner.  They’re whimsical and feminine, but not juvenile.  I also love (love!) this gold-dipped journal from Anthropologie.

For the lady who likes minimal basics, I heartily endorse Moleskine products.  These leather journals and planners from Graphic Image are also a nice option.

Want to go all-in?  If an Hermes agenda is out of reach (and really, whose putting her perfectly manicured hands on that?), Coach makes a lovely leather agenda that would make a wonderful gift.  It’s sophisticated and elegant, and perfect for the woman who wants something classic.

As or myself, I prefer something more utilitarian.  One of my classmates carries a Russell + Hazel binder, and it’s great.  Perfect for students, teachers, professionals and ladies on-the-go.  I like it because you can add what you need–calendars, blank paper, dividers–and build a one-stop organizational shop.

If you have a favorite planner, leave it in the comments.  And if you prefer to keep your information electronically, leave your favorite apps in the comments as well!

Ask The Edit, Ask the Editor, Style

share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Larissa says:

    Lilly Pulitzer planners are my go-to! Love the breakdown of months/weeks. I have the Jumbo Trippin’ and Sippin’.

    Also KiKiK makes some nice ones.

  2. Stami says:

    I love my Erin Condren planner.

    I believe there are different sizes, and you can customize it which makes it really fun.

  3. Kristi says:

    I love the weekly planners from You can customize your planner (I have my name on mine), and it is very professional, has a lot of room to write your appointments as well as weekly and monthly To-Do lists.

    I have used Lilly Pulitzer agendas in the past, but they do not look very professional. So far, I am loving my planner from minted.

  4. Blythe says:

    I’m SO picky about my agenda – the Lilly Pulitzer Large Agenda is the only one I’ve liked in recent years. I try to stick with their navy (and slightly more muted) patterns since I’m not a huge Lilly-print girl.

  5. Steph says:

    I swear by the Erin Condron life planners- they have an extremely functional design, in addition to having beautiful cover options. I work in a pretty conservative office, so I chose a very muted cover this year, but I still get to enjoy the fun interior. It is pricey, but I get so much use out of it that it’s worth it to me!

  6. Mary says:

    I’m also picky about my agenda. There are many lovely designs available, but I am most particular about the interior layout. I switched to this Moleskine weekly diary a few years ago: I use the left page for planning/appointments and the right page for a weekly to-do list and additional notes.

  7. Kim says:

    I second the Coach planner suggestion. I am 31 and I have carried my Coach planner since I was a senior in high school, through college and law school. Love it. Classic. Black. You just purchase a new insert every fall for $20.

  8. Monica says:

    I’m obsessed with Levenger (or it’s cheaper twin, Arc at Staples). Like Russel & Hazel you can change up what is inside, and I think it’s a polished step up from the binder look.

  9. Jen says:

    I own one of the Bloom daily planners… I love it! Great trendy designs made by two women who are adorable!

  10. Meghan says:

    I have the gold dot Kate Spade planner and I love it. It has whimisical little sayings on the front tab for every month, which I find fun and makes me want to use it.

    It isn’t lightweight though. I carry in my MK Selma (which I found relatively heavy on its own), so adding in the planner is noticable but not uncomfortable. YMMV.

  11. Steph says:

    I just switched to a Planner Pad It’s not super cute, but I really like the layout. And if you need a cover, that’s an option.

  12. G says:

    I purchased a Tumi Leather Planner binder when I graduated from High School with some of my graduation money. I love it that I can add whatever inserts I like, cute to functional, and since it’s a standard calendar size, there are accessories available at places like Target, so I can put my phone in there too!

  13. I use a Sugar Paper LA 8.5×11 wire bound planner for my desk at work–bought it at Target and I love it. Tons of space, well laid out, and gorgeous kraft paper/gold metallic visual. I used to use a Franklin Covey planner, and I loved that, but once I got an iPhone it became a bit redundant and bulky. I still heartily endorse them, though!

  14. Laura says:

    At-A-Glance makes a planner the exact shape/size as the Moleskines, but has both monthly and weekly pages (which alas, the Moleskines don’t unless you purchase or download inserts.) I’ve been searching for designer alternatives since I’m not a fan of the writing on the outside, but it really is the perfect size to throw in my bag, and the elastic keeps it tidy. Found the magenta one at Staples on a whim, and have been super happy with both form and function.

    • Mary says:

      Moleskine has more than one interior page layout (although you are correct about not being able to have weekly and monthly in the same book). The one I use has the whole week on the left page and the right size is ruled instead of splitting the days across both pages. For people who have a lot of appointments on each day, it might not work as well as it does for me. I usually have 4-6 appointments written on the days. In the 2nd day column, I record things that have to be done on that day. On the right side, I keep a weekly to-do list (things that don’t need done on a specific day, but within that week sometime). I fill the rest of it up with encouraging quotes, notes from dr appointments, sometimes doodling ;), and whatever else I feel I need to record. It serves as a combination planner/journal that way.

  15. Catherine B says:

    My friend has a Lily Pulitzer planner, and loves it. It’s adorable.

    I have this “I am Very Busy” agenda from, which I love. It’s very, very girly, so be warned. I like looking at it so much, that I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget things because I always want to add them to my agenda!

  16. Amy Baker says:

    Erin Condren life planners are amazing too!

  17. Jessica says:

    Back when I was still lobbying, a friend introduced me to the PlannerPad and I still love it. More function than style, it is unlike any other planner on the market.

  18. sarah says:

    As a designer married to paper planners, I’m turned off by almost anything you find in a store (Kate Spade’s wire spiral gets in the way of my wrist, and everything at Staples is printed on bad paper with a terrible burgundy ink).

    I’ve found my favorite version to be the <$14 one from B&N:

    Good paper, it has a section in the back for notes (perfect for meetings), and the edges are lined with gold.

    • Lauren says:

      Ditto to Gallery Leather Planners. I’ve bought one every year for almost ten years. The leather is so simple, but chic. I get compliments on mine regularly. I order straight from the source, but beware that their stock runs lows close to the holidays. I assume because everyone else and their mother is purchasing one for the next year.

  19. Amanda says:

    I’ve used Franklin Covey planners of different varieties since I was in high school, and looking back – the years where I used them are some of my most focused, calm, and productive. They have a wide variety of planning pages (e.g. themes and layout), and you can purchase many of them in different sizes to fit the planner you have. The planners can be pricey, but the pages are actually not bad. If you get a binder style planner, you can carry around only the pages that you need, which can cut down on weight. They’re not Kate Spade level stylish, but they’re incredibly functional and many of the styles are quite pretty.

  20. Trace says:

    I’m a fan of orange circle studio do-it-all planners. It isn’t lined but does have a bunch of boxes for each day to document other people’s schedules. The front product detail in the middle is a sticker so if you peel it off you just get a pretty pattern with no year on it. That way it looks pretty incognito when in use; at the end of the year I sharpie the year on and file it away.

  21. Gabriela says:

    I second the Lilly recommendations above- the prints are pretty wild, but they’re simple and concise with plenty of space for writing!

  22. B says:

    I just invested in the Russel + Hazel set a week ago, and I love it already. My business has a fairly fixed schedule, so I need the ability to sketch out to-dos and goals for the day/week/month, with less focus on specific events/times. This planner offers me that ability, without trying to lock my planning into a time schedule. I just mostly ignore time suggestions on the side of the specific day sheets.

    I also purchased the extra loose leaf paper and the tabbed folder pockets, I like the ability to condense some of my to-do down by project instead of just by week/date, keeping my notes in that section until I’m done with the project, and then filing the whole thing away.

  23. Stefanie S. says:

    I love my Emily Ley Simplified Planner – don’t know what I’d do without it.

  24. raww says:

    Love the blog and I recently signed up to get the posts in my email.
    But I had to do a double take on this post, since I couldn’t believe Planners & Agendas are in vogue.
    Why o why? no disrespect but in the digital age where you have your calendar at the touch of your finger (literally), would you need a paper calendar. May be my opinion is influenced from being in the silicon valley, but ladies, do we really need to go back in time?

    • Belle says:

      Just because you can do something on your phone doesn’t mean that you have to. I think there’s something lovely about people who still write things out, given what texting has done to the English language, technology isn’t always better.

    • Christina says:

      For a lot of us who are students paper planners work best. I know for a fact that being able to hit an ignore button on a reminder to finish a paper is a dangerous thing. Don’t write of out beloved planners please!

    • Corporate Attorney says:

      There is evidence that handwriting is significantly more effective for certain purposes than typing is. That’s particularly the case when you’re trying to organize or synthesize information (here’s one story, but the issue has been covered extensively:

      The act of writing my daily to-do list forces me to organize and formulate my thoughts in a way that typing one would not. I also outline memos by hand, for the same reason.

      • I think for a calender the electronic reminder function make it so that my memory is kind of moot. I do find that handwriting notes (my one computer free note taking quarter in law school resulted in the best grades) is helpful. I hadn’t ever considered outlining memos by hand, I might try it. I totally keep a handwritten to-do list, but also rely on electronic prompts to follow up.

  25. Amanda says:

    I’m all electronic these days, and recently made the switch to Evernote. It might not be for everybody, since it’s pretty much a blank slate, but I love that it syncs across all my devices. Also awesome for recipe organizing (and reference at the grocery store).

  26. C.Lee says:

    I am shocked that no one has mentioned the CLASSIC, Filofax! I have a wonderful personal organizer size and have refilled it for 30 years. Totally able to customize it and MANY gorgeous options!

  27. Elizabeth says:

    I’m late to this, but have to put in a word for Levenger Circa planners. You can use the refills from Staples ARC version if you need to go budget, but the Levenger options are endless. If you are a compulsive planner re-arranger like I am, the ability to move pages at will is priceless.

  28. I second the Moleskine rec – so chic and classic. If you can get it as a splurgy gift I really like the LV monogram vernis small planner. It costs a fortune but I’ve had mine for 10 years and while it shows some wear it has held up well. Plus it has a hilarious guide to presige cuvee champagnes in the back – in 10 years I think I’ve used it once. Smythson also makes some really cute agendas:

    Let’s face it though I fear raww is correct, these days I pretty much use outlook or google which is far less charming but more effective. I do agree I remember things better if I write them down, but once they are in my phone I get reminders so the added benefit is kind of moot.

  29. I use my iPod Touch and the best app for this is Awesome Notes (ANotes).

    I can’t live without it. It honestly organizes my life. For quick ToDos, I like Wunderlist.

    I TRIED to get on board with paper as a kid with an agenda but I never stuck with it because it bothered me that I couldn’t change the info without making a mess (crossing out the words) in the agenda. Ever since I went electronic with PalmPilot back in high school I have never looked back.

  30. Marisa says:

    I love quovadis!! I have used them for years. Beautiful simple covers, most have a very classic style – I have had a few different ones, replaced them when they got a little worn or when I just decided I was ready for a new color. Check out their site!

    These are cover options:

    I have used the Space 24 and Scholar inserts in the past, which I have been happy with, but they have a ton of different options and you can view most on their site!

Join The List

Stay up to date on the latest from Capitol Hill Style!


Solving The Skinny Jeans Conundrum

Depending on who you ask, Gen Z has cancelled skinny jeans or perhaps they are back? Trends change, and we should change with them. But what do you do when you have a closet full of skinny jeans in a wide leg world?



Recent Posts

The Find: An Affordable Work Dress

This winter was particularly hard on my psyche, on my self-esteem, and on my waistline. As we move into spring, I need to make a plan for how I am going to dress this additional weight over the months of work that it will likely take to shed it. So I was so glad to […]



Ask the Editor: Vol. IV, No. Seventeen

This week, I returned from my trip to Montana completely exhausted. So it’s time to reach into the reader mail bag to answer a few questions. Let’s start.




Style, Style Translator, Top Posts | April 11, 2024

Solving The Skinny Jeans Conundrum

Depending on who you ask, Gen Z has cancelled skinny jeans or perhaps they are back? Trends change, and we should change with them. But what do you do when you have a closet full of skinny jeans in a wide leg world?



Fantastic Finds, Posts, Style | April 11, 2024

The Find: An Affordable Work Dress

This winter was particularly hard on my psyche, on my self-esteem, and on my waistline. As we move into spring, I need to make a plan for how I am going to dress this additional weight over the months of work that it will likely take to shed it. So I was so glad to […]



Ask the Edit, Posts, Style | April 10, 2024

Ask the Editor: Vol. IV, No. Seventeen

This week, I returned from my trip to Montana completely exhausted. So it’s time to reach into the reader mail bag to answer a few questions. Let’s start.



Features, Posts, The Range | April 10, 2024

The Range: Eyelet Tops for Summer

Airy eyelet fabrics are one of my favorite spring/summer looks. White is, of course, the traditional fabric. But white is tough to wear when you have a toddler, so let’s go with navy this summer. Corner Office Ralph Lauren Embroidered Eyelet Top ($203) Cubicle Farm Ann Taylor Cotton Eyelet Top ($95) Front Desk Joe’s Jeans […]