Style + Ask the Edit

Ask the Edit: Vol. V, No. 21

A reader needs wedding jewelry.  Another needs tops for work that cost under-$75.  What about shoe solutions for a standing desk?  These and other questions answered in this edition of Ask the Edit.

Hi Abra,

I am getting married in October and I’m trying to figure out what jewelry to wear. My instinct is to go with statement earrings and maybe a bracelet. Any suggestions? I would love to keep my total bridal jewelry budget under $300.

Thank you! DEH

I wish I knew a little more about your wedding or your dress.  Wedding jewelry is really about completing a look.  Maybe you want something elegant or romantic or modern or colorful, lots of options.  But let me choose a couple of pairings, and you can decide.

Romantic. This crystal and pearl Ben Amun bracelet is so pretty.  Pair it with these Ben Amun cluster earrings with pearl drops.

Simple Elegance. I adore these tiny BHLDN drop earrings with this coordinating bracelet.  The pieces have a slightly vintage feel.

Modern. These long, linear Adrianna Orsini earrings are just fabulous.  So unique and gorgeous.  And to really up the look, try Orsini’s decadent wave cuff bracelet.

If you’re feeling more avant garde, you can mix in a piece that’s beautiful, but more relaxed.  I like this Gingko leaf cuff from BHLDN.  I especially like that you could wear it to other occasions besides your wedding.

Hi Belle (no, I’m not giving up on calling you Belle),

I’m searching for a polka dot skirt.  My favorite dotted pencil is off the table post-baby.  I don’t care if they’re big dots or small, I just need some fun in my wardrobe this summer.  

Can’t wait for your speech this week!  Alyssa

I love a printed skirt, and dots are one of my favorite prints.  Like a simple stripe, it’s a great print for people who are afraid of prints.  It’s not too challenging, but it’s also not boring.

The first dot skirt I thought of was this Maeve Flounce Skirt ($118); it really doesn’t get more fun.  If you like pretty, this mint-colored Mango pleated skirt ($79) is not to be missed.  Prefer a pencil?  Surprisingly enough, the nicest looking one I found was at Walmart.

But, if I was buying for myself, this Boden Floaty Polka Dot skirt ($125) would be the only one for me.

Plus-size? I love this City Chic skirt.  Petite?  Talbot’s has a simple dot pencil skirt.

Dear Abra,

I work at a financial services firm with a business casual dress code, and we’re all lucky enough to have adjustable sit-to-stand desks. I like to stand as much as possible, but that presents the issue of shoes . . . .

I’m 5’2″ so I’d prefer to wear heels, but standing all day in heels is painful. Do you have any recommendations for comfortable wedges or flats that don’t make me look childish? I tried Cole Haan, but their quality hasn’t impressed me lately. I’d like to stay under $200-$250.

Thanks! -Lil’ K

I have two recommendations.  First, I would suggest that you buy a padded mat to stand on.  These anti-fatigue mats help your circulation and fight discomfort.  You can go for a basic anti-fatigue mat or a topographic mat that allows you to change your standing position.

My second recommendation would be to have a pair of “desk shoes” for those days when you want to wear high heels, but you don’t want to stand in them all day.  I love my Rothy’s for their comfort and their cushioned sole; so I would highly recommend those.

If you want something with lift, a Nine West Jessa wedge could be a good choice.  J.Crew Factory also makes nice wedge shoe.

Hi Abra,

Can you help a newly minted manager find some nice blouses that won’t bust my small pay bump?  I’m looking for sleeves, and I need to pay less than $75/$80 a top.  I’m just trying to dress nicer and it’s so hard on a budget.


Sing it, sister.  One of the toughest parts of dressing for a great job is not going broke while doing it.  So let’s see if I can find a few tops to help you look the part.

I know that we mostly stopped shopping at Express in the mid-aughts, but almost every top that made me say, “Oh, I like that one,” was from Express.  The top above ($39) would look amazing with jeans or with a pencil skirt or with a skinny trouser.  It also comes in several colors.  I also liked this tie-sleeve cotton blouse and I’m also into this square-neck puff-sleeve top for reasons defying explanation.

Other tops I loved:  This Topshop asymmetrical blouse; it’s a little kooky, but hip.  From LOFT, this split sleeve tee (trust me) and this cheery floral that will look great under a jacket.

Plus-size? This pipe-trimmed Alfani and I really adore yellow Modcloth v-neck.  Petite?  This dotted Topshop blouse and this NY&Co. bow blouse both caught my eye.


My favorite lipstick was just discontinued.  Do you have a suggestion for something that lasts?  I hate to reapply every time I take a drink or eat something.

— Soya

When I need my lip color to stay put, I only wear Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lip.  I like the Lovecraft shade, it’s like a mauve pink.  What keeps me coming back to this product is that it’s long lasting, but doesn’t feel like a straight jacket for your lips.  It also comes in just a million colors.

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  1. Marisa says:

    For the reader asking about affordable work clothes – I recently transitioned from a laid back digital marketing position to financial services and needed business appropriate and affordable work clothes quickly and have had so much luck with Poshmark!! If you know your size in mainstream retailers, you can buy so much great stuff for pennies. Worth a look!

    June 13, 2018/Reply
  2. Lauren says:

    Kat Von D recently announced that she’s anti-vax and will not be vaccinating her child. I won’t be supporting her company anymore and I just wanted to let you know about it in case it affects your buying decisions

    June 13, 2018/Reply
  3. Katie says:

    I hate to be like, “BUT KAT VON D DOES NOT BELIEVE THE EXACT SAME THINGS AS I DO, SO SHE MUST SUFFER!” but the anti-vax stuff is…bad.

    Sephora cream lip stains are great! They’re very long lasting on me and come in 1000 colors. It looks like the Sephora cream lip stain in Day Dreaming is a dupe for the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lovecraft

    June 13, 2018/Reply
  4. Dakota says:

    Nars PowerMatte lip stains are amazing. It takes a little practice to apply the right amount but the shades are great and long-lasting.

    June 13, 2018/Reply
  5. MOnica T says:

    For wedding jewelry I would recommend looking on Etsy. There is a lot of custom stuff and if you can find an artist that speaks to your style you can get a whole coordinated set made for you for really reasonable. It makes them really special when you know they are yours and yours alone.

    June 13, 2018/Reply
  6. Kathryn says:

    Thanks for the recommendations re standing desk. My firm is generous enough to give us all mats, too. I hadn’t thought to look into Rothy’s and the pointed toe would be great. -Lil’ K

    June 13, 2018/Reply
  7. Sara says:

    In addition to the anti-vax issue, Kat Von D also has a history of antisemitism and Nazism. I can’t buy from a company with a lipstick named “Selektion.” Everyone is entitled to decide how to spend their money, but wanted to share this information as well.

    June 13, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Interesting. I will look into that. Thanks.

      June 13, 2018/Reply
  8. Clark says:

    To the reader with the standing desk, I keep a pair of White & Warren cashmere slippers under my convertible standing desk. They (& the matching wrap) also keep me warm in my freezing (formal) office. I just got back from lunch and the heels went off, the slippers and wrap went on, and the desk went up.

    June 13, 2018/Reply
  9. LP says:

    A warning on that Express tie-front top–I LOVED it online and ordered in a couple colors, thinking it would be a chic way to hide my (very very small at the time) baby bump at work. Turns out that was the day all the secretaries started gossiping about how I appeared to be showing… may have just been my body type, but wanted to point it out! The material is lovely though, feels much nicer than your typical Express shirt.

    June 13, 2018/Reply
  10. Lexi says:

    I 2nd Marisa. Have found some great deals on brand new clothes..

    June 13, 2018/Reply
  11. SC says:

    Another yay for Poshmark. I actually buy more things on eBay but you have to really narrow your search terms down.

    And while I’m at it, a big yay for the Sephora Cream Lip Stains too. I cannot abide drying lip colors, but this one is surprisingly comfortable to wear.

    June 13, 2018/Reply
  12. Margaret says:

    You guys, no lie, the Kylie Jenner lip kits are amazing. They don’t dry out my lips, stay on forever, and have tons of shades. I’m not a huge Kardashian fan by any means, but I have four shades and I love them. Also, $29 for a liquid lipstick and a liner is a pretty good deal …

    June 13, 2018/Reply
  13. M says:

    The NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream has wonderful staying power, especially when its paired with a lip liner. The matte finish does not make your lips feel like the Sahara and it layers well with gloss for days that I don’t want a complete matte look.

    June 13, 2018/Reply
  14. Jo says:

    I’ve tried that Express top on! It’s SO cute (and surprisingly thick, nice fabric) – but warning, it runs very short and a little wide. I’m short but couldn’t even wear it with high-waisted pants / skirts, so back it went. Don’t bother if you have a long torso.

    June 13, 2018/Reply
  15. ANoN says:

    For the question re: finding new work blouses after a promotion, the OP should check out ThredUP, an online thrift store. I get all my sleeved work blouses from there now and they’re always in the $10-$20 range from well-known brands. ThredUP has vigorous quality thresholds so everything I get looks brand new. It’s also easier to shop at than a brick & mortar thrift shop because you can filter results and just scroll through photos. I can’t recommend it enough

    June 13, 2018/Reply
  16. Kristen says:

    Express has been crushing it lately! I haven’t shopped there in years, but so far all of my summer basics – tanks, tees, silky shirts, blazers, etc. – have all been from there AND on sale.

    PSA – the top you posted also comes as a dress, and it’s fab. Packs well for work travel, and easy to transition. Yesterday I wore it on a long train ride to a client. I had to go meet friends straight form the train, so I changed into sneakers and threw my hair into a bun and wore it to a casual Mexican restaurant for happy hour.

    June 14, 2018/Reply