Ask the Edit: Vol. V, No. Four

Jan 30, 2018

We have a great Ask the Edit this week.  Can you wear Loboutins to work?  Also, weekend cardigans, wallets that double as clutches, under-$100 flats, and more.  Let’s answer some reader questions.

Hi Belle!

I love the envelope clutch/wallet that appears in so many of your instagram photos! Where is it from? If it’s not available anymore, do you have any suggestions for something similar that can serve both functions? Thanks so much!

– Nadine 

That beige clutch was a gift several Christmases ago, and it has paid for itself 100x over.  I use it to hold cash and the card case that holds my debit card and license.  It also doubles as a clutch, so it’s a multi-tasker that goes with everything in my wardrobe.

Rebecca Minkoff makes a similar clutch in both gold and in beige.  This pale grey Halogen clutch ($45) would work nicely.  For something in beige, try this Sole Society clutch or this Ann Taylor clutch.


I need a weekend cardigan.  A Olivia Pope wine-drinking cardigan.  Something with weight, with a cozy look.  What have you got?  Everything I find is either cheap cheaply made or $400.


The first cardi that came to my mind was this Patagonia cardigan.  It’s made of recycled materials, super soft, and has a cool texture.  I own it and I recommend it for warmth and coziness.

For that Olivia Pope look, you want a shawl cardigan style.  This AllSaints cardigan is a bit pricey, but it is gorgeous.  This Love Scarlett cardigan looks shockingly cozy with a cocoon shape.  This Calvin Klein cardigan has a smoother fabric, but a great look.  Plus-size?  Try this Neiman Marcus cascade cardigan.

Other options?  This rib trim pocket cardigan from LOFT does double duty for work and weekend.  And I love the outdoorsy feel of this LL Bean cardigan.

Hi Belle,

I want to update my shoe wardrobe and was looking for leopard print flats and a pair of red flats. Any recommendations under $100? I prefer pointed toe flats.

Thank you! -MK

Leopard Flats. These Sam Edelman Rodney flat has a lovely shape to it.  I also like these Karl Lagerfeld flats because they’re patent leather instead of calf hair.  If you want a round toe flat, these Audrey Brooke flats are nice (also in wide widths).

Red Flats. These Jack Rogers flats have unique details.  These classic ballet flats have a bit of Parisian chic.  These Kate Spade flats are on sale at Gilt; I adore the bows.  For something truly affordable, try these $20 A New Day flats (also in wide widths).

Everyone out in Silicon Valley raves about the most comfortable shoes – the allbirds. Granted it is a much more casual environ than dc, but have you tried these out as a weekend shoe? Do you know anyone with any experience in wearing these?


I haven’t tried Allbirds.  They’re not really my style, but maybe some other readers have.  I’m intrigued by their Wool Loungers for travel, so if anyone has any reviews, please share.


Can you recommend a great deal on a winter to coat?  Or just where to look for one?  It’s the end of season, and I don’t want to miss a good deal.

Bonnie R.

Girl, I like the way you think.  My top coat picks from the sale table are this blue Michael Kors officers’ coat,  this London Fog trench in olive, and this gorgeous 60%-off Rag and Bone coat.

J.Crew always has great sales on coats, and they often have promo codes that offer additional savings.  I bought a grey cashmere coat for $79 a few years ago and it’s one of my best purchases.  The sizes are a little thin, but if you catch one, you’ll get a great bargain.

Lastly, Nordstrom.  They have hundreds of coats, most of them 33% off or more.  Sort by size and hunt for the right coat for you.  This Tahari coat is a great option, as is this Calvin Klein.

Hi Abra,

I have a question – do you think it’s inappropriate to wear Louboutins to work as a junior staffer on the Hill? I bought these shoes when I was in undergrad after saving for months at my retail job. I’ve only worn them to work once and no one commented, but I still wondered if it would be seen as inappropriate or something. Thank you for your time!

– Laura 

First, it depends on which style of Louboutins.  The platform front heels skirt (and in some offices cross) the line of what is work appropriate.  But there are many other styles, like the Simple 85s, that are perfectly appropriate.

Second, I think your question tilts more as to whether it is okay for a staffer earning <$50k to wear a $700 pair of shoes.  On the one hand, shoes don’t typically have the visibility that a bag does; so your Louboutins are more likely to go unnoticed than a Louis Vuitton bag would be.  On the other hand, because you work for a Member of Congress, you have to worry about how a taxpayer seeing a pricey pair of pumps on a legislative aide would feel.

So here’s my advice: In most offices, it’s no problem.  In others, they might be wary.  In my office, I would have asked one of the well-dressed senior women above me for their thoughts.  But, if there’s no one to ask,  I’d keep wearing them until someone tells me otherwise.  However, I wouldn’t wear them back in the district, and I’d be wary of wearing them to constituent meetings.

That being said, good for you for saving up for a pair.  You worked hard for them.  Enjoy them.

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  1. M says:

    My Allbirds runners might be one of my favorite pairs of shoes – I can wear them all day, and my feet feel so cozy and comfy the whole time; they’re even that comfortable after washing! I work in a more casual DC office and have seen them around here, though I tend to wear mine more on the weekends and for travel.

  2. Kere says:

    W/R/T Allbirds: They are crazy comfortable (basically ideal for airplanes because they keep your feet warm but don’t constrict them) but they aren’t great for actually working out in or doing any sort of vaguely serious hiking. I wear them to run to Trader Joe’s on the weekend if I’m even vaguely tempted to leave the house in slippers. They’re not great in wet weather and there’s very little tread on the bottom so if there’s snow where you are I wouldn’t wear them out in that either.
    It’s also important I think to realize that simply by virtue of being wool, the Allbirds will wear significantly faster than a shoe of a more sturdy material. I’ve had mine for a while now and I’ve noticed wearing around the toe at the top of the shoe, like where you might get a hole in a sock.
    Other than that they are super super comfortable!

  3. Re: Allbirds. I love love love them. I work in tech in San Francisco and I wear them almost everyday. Seriously comfy and they wash nicely. I haven’t tried the slip on style yet, but my three pairs of laced ones have served me very well.

  4. Mo says:

    Love my Allbirds. I live in Denver, so I can pretty much get away with wearing them anywhere outside work. Very comfortable and I wash them regularly! I have the Runner style, I think the vamp is too high for my taste on the Lounger.

  5. Zahra says:

    Regarding the Allbirds – honestly, these have been one of the best things I’ve ever bought my feet. I have crappy feet and no problems wearing ridiculous heels (no pain, no gain!), but the Allbirds are my saviours! I wore them while travelling around New Zealand and Australia for two months and they were the best. I would not wear them at work, but for casual, non-work situations, I’d HIGHLY recommend.

  6. Reanna says:

    I LOVE my allbirds. They are exceptionally comfortable, easy to wash, and I get compliments on them every time I wear mine. My only complaint is that the soles wear down more quickly than I expected (regarding traction), but I also notice that they have altered the sole design since I purchased mine.

  7. Ashley says:

    My husband has the Allbirds and LIVES them. He wears them to his government job and around the city. He has horrible feet and often has trouble finding shoes due to foot pain. He also says they breathe really well if you have foot odor issues.

  8. Cassidy Sansone says:

    To Anonymous who asked about Allbirds – I got a pair for my birthday last year, and wore them (and a pair of Clarks slip-ons) almost exclusively when I traveled to London and Dublin for 9 days. They are incredibly comfortable – no blisters and my feet didn’t hurt from all the walking I did; they’re stylish for a sneaker, and they’re very easy to care for (machine-washable!). I highly recommend! (As soon as I can save up, I’m planning to buy another pair in a different color!)

  9. kate says:

    Hill staffer for a few years. I wouldn’t wear the Loubs anywhere that visible- no committee hearings, no constituent meetings, no events.Around the office would be more appropriate.

    The writer likely bought the shoes to have the red bottoms noticed. I don’t think the attention they would gather at work will serve her well.The Hill has such a weird, unwritten dress code and too much flash is judged.Even if it’s a simple Louboutin style, that red bottom is too flashy.

    • Anna says:

      There are a lot of imitation red soles, so people might assume they’re not legit.

    • beth says:

      Another former hill staffer here, and I generally agree with you (especially on the weird unwritten dress code!!), especially because so many Louboutins are meant to be noticed. But, I think if they’re a more subtle pair of them (i.e. more of a “plain” pump), she may be able to wear them in the office with a pair of wide leg trousers. I’d just let them peek out from under the pants in that case, but I wouldn’t wear them with a skirt or ankle pants that puts them more on display. Does that make sense?

  10. AK says:

    I LOVE my allbirds wool loungers – they are light, cozy and offer sufficient support. But, though they are machine washable, some stains have not come off, even after a soak in Oxyclean. I would suggest the darker colors might be the way to go.

  11. Amy says:

    Hello! I really like the Allbirds wool loungers too. Great for travel: easy to take on and off for airport security, comfy for planes, and good to wear around in a hotel room. My feet don’t hurt at all in them and there was no breaking period.

  12. Jules says:

    I’m intrigued by the Allbirds but I wish it weren’t wool-looking. It’s too dang hot where I live it would look silly 🙁 Maybe they’ll come out with a canvas-like version

    • Regarding AllBirds and warm climates: They will never be as cool as a sandal, but I wore them for a whole trip to Austin when it was 85+ and humid and didn’t have any problems. The merino wool is very breathable.

      • anna says:

        Second that wool is very breathable. They make for some of the best running sock material. I’m intrigued by Allbirds, but agree with another commenter that the vamp on the loungers is too high. The sneakers I’ve seen out and about also don’t look very flattering. Would love a slightly more feminine style.

  13. Jess says:

    Love my allbirds – for running errands and whatnot. They don’t have much for arch support and are definitely not workout shoes, but are lovely and soft. I want a pair of loungers to wear as slippers…

  14. S says:

    I have a question related to the Louboutins. My mother is very successful and believes purses are an integral part of someone’s wardrobe. So, she’s been gifting me very expensive purses, and I’m not always comfortable carrying them around.

    I got her to stop purchasing purses with highly recognizable labels (think LV), but she still purchases purses in the $1000+ range for me. Most recently, for my birthday, she got me a $3000 Bottega Veneta purse, and I’m torn about if I should carry it to work.

    I work in the private sector and make decent but not great money. My superiors are mostly male but the few female superiors I’ve seen don’t carry expensive purses. Should I carry my purse around now?

    I’m also heading into an MBA program soon and am not sure if this is a good purse to carry with me when I go on interviews. The jobs I’ll be interviewing for will all be very well paying jobs, so it would likely not be out of place. But I still feel odd being in my early/ mid twenties and carrying a purse this expensive.

    Any thoughts on this?

    • shanghai says:

      I’m an MBA and have a few nice purses. You won’t be out of place at all at interviews with a nice purse, unless you’re doing something non-traditional (such as trying to work for a non-profit post-MBA). For more conservative companies/schools, stick with the less flashy purses to be safe. But a more subtle Bottega weave, a dark leather Prada, etc. will not detract from the overall look. Now that I’m out of school and in the working world, I see women with all kinds of bags–from dingy shoppers to very large and flashy LVs.

  15. Nicci says:

    I was totally going to ask you to review Allbirds!
    Also, for weekends cardis, I love Athleta : )

  16. M A says:

    I love my Allbirds, They are the most comfortable shoes that I’ve every owned. Typically a tennis shoe outside of working out is not my style but with popularity of athletic wear I’ve worn them to work on several casual Fridays.

    Re: the red flats – I’m surprised that Rothy’s was not mentioned! Granted you would have to upgrade your budget slightly but I’m obsessed with my red Rothy’s.

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