Style + Ask the Edit

Ask the Edit: Vol. VI, No. One

How to style tie waist pants, the perfect red polish, and more.  You asked, I answered.  Let’s spin the wheel and play Ask the Edit.

Hi Belle!

I just bought these pants, and I love them. I’d like to incorporate them into a “relaxed” court day look (district court means less formal, but still requires a jacket.) I’m terrible at creating outfits with suit separates. Any ideas? Thank you!

– Naomi  

The issue with these pants is you’re limited to a smaller number of tops.  The reason is that the belted waist means a voluminous top will make the outfit look a bit dowdy.  A slimmer top will look sleek and fitted.

My first choice for a combination would be a J.Crew collarless bodysuit in navy and a navy blazer.  I know navy and black still looks like it clashes, but I swear it doesn’t.  With two navy pieces it looks totally intentional.

Another option would be to recreate one of my favorite outfits.  I would wear a white mock neck blouse, a white blazer, and a leopard shoe (or black for court).

I think for my money, the simplest outfits would be to keep the blouse sleek and choose a jacket that matches in color.  You could go with a deep plum, a pine green, a grey, or a camel.  That will keep the top simple, so the slightly trendy pants aren’t an issue.

Hi Abra,

I work in the nonprofit sector, in a business casual environment that skews more casual most of the time. Recently I’ve started doing some consulting work with a firm doing nonprofit development. Frequently, we go to some of the nicer restaurants in our midsized city with local and national executives— and I just don’t know what to wear! Any tips?

– Kate 

A wrap dress or faux wrap dress is always a good day-to-night option.  You can dress it up or dress it down.  And, with a simple shoe and earring change, you can go from day-to-night.

We talked about wrap dresses yesterday, so I’ll refer you to that post for the best suggestions on where to buy them.  Especially if you love a faux wrap, the best faux wrap I (and so many readers) have owned are talked about.

For this post, I’d like to focus on this under-$75 ponte wrap dress from Banana Republic in a vibrant red, modern floral print.

For a casual workplace, I would pair it with a great black flat from J.Crew.  Then, I’d add a simple open cardigan in black.  And finish it off with a pair of black and gold studs.

Then, for dinner, I would add a black peep-toe heel and this $9 pair of black drop earrings.  Also, lose the cardigan.  And grab a smaller black bag, so you’re not hauling your work tote.

Hi Belle,

I know you love Valentine’s Day, but I’m a single girl (for the first time in four year) and I flipping hate it.  What can I do for myself to make me hate it less?


I was single for a very long time, and Valentine’s Day was always a bit of a mixed bag.  Some years, I didn’t care at all.  Some years, I felt a little lonely.  But mostly, I just wanted to get past it.

First, if you have some single girlfriends, it never hurts to do something on that day or weekend to celebrate each other.  Because Valentine’s Day is mostly a commercial holiday, and the ever present-ness of it is the hardest part.

Second, if you want to do something solo, really do something for yourself.  Go to a spa and get a facial and massage.  Or do something you’ve been putting off for a long time.  Maybe it’s a museum you swear you’ll go to, a job search you promised you’d start, or a gym class you wanted to try.  Make it about self-care and self-improvement.

On Valentine’s Day 2013, I sat down and made a plan to go to law school.  I got my list of schools together, figured out what I could afford to spend, and spruced up my resume.  This way, when applications opened in the fall, I just needed to touch up.  I ordered takeout from one of my favorite DC places, put on my pajamas, and did something for my future.

If you want to buy yourself a gift, I love these pajamas from DKNY.  I always love climbing into a pair of cozy pjs at the end of the day.  Another good option would be a new skincare product that you’ve been wanting to try, like this great ice roller.  Or, if you want to put some good love-vibes out into the world, I’m told rose quartz may help bring that your way.  And even if you don’t buy that, these rose quartz earrings are great.


Can you help me find a nail polish that’s red, not red-orange or red-pink or red-berry?  Just red.  All I want is red.  Why is that so hard?


My go-to red polish is either OPI Relentless Ruby or OPI Big Apple Red.  Big Apple Red is probably closer to the classic Hollywood-in-the-40s red you’re looking for.

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  1. Not Romantic says:

    I just want to say, you can be coupled and still Not In A Good Place for Valentine’s Day. There’s been years when I’ve looked for a card that says, “You are my husband. Happy Valentine’s Day”

    February 7, 2019/Reply
    • Belle says:

      It may not be romantic, but it’s honest. Marriage and long term relationships are hard work.

      February 7, 2019/Reply
    • Jess says:

      This is great in its truthfulness. And I am so thankful that my husband and I have both not, not been in love with each other at the same time. Because there are days and holidays and sometimes extended stretches of time where the sum of our relationship is “you are my husband, happy valentines day”.

      February 7, 2019/Reply
    • anna says:

      This is looking like one such V-Day for me, but either way, I prefer celebrating this holiday by making kitschy treats for friends and coworkers and going full-on camp. Celebrating with an SO has always felt kind of contrived anyways. It’s an otherwise meaningless date for our relationship, and I don’t think there’s anything classy or romantic about a restaurant covered in red and pink streamers and balloons.

      February 7, 2019/Reply
    • Denise says:

      Absolutely where I am, for the past couple years actually. I still love the day because I use it as a time to send silly cards to my girlfriends and nieces and nephews, dote on my young kids, and bake for neighbors 🙂 You can share the LOVE without it being the romantic kind 🙂

      February 8, 2019/Reply
  2. Colleen says:

    My go-to red nail polish is Essie’s She’s Pampered. It looks really good against my fair skin. Essie’s Fishnet Stockings might be a good one to check out too.

    February 7, 2019/Reply
  3. RL says:

    As a perpetually single gal on valentines day — I try to channel my inner Leslie Knope and celebrate Galentine’s day: which is to say, I like to make a treat or something special for my friends and colleagues. Doing something nice for others always makes me feel good and takes the focus off “romance” of the day yet still leaves me feeling connected to others.

    February 7, 2019/Reply
  4. Alli says:

    My birthday is Valentine’s Day. I’ve had mostly single years with only a handful of coupled years. While I personally enjoy it either way (it’s a celebration of one more trip around the sun for me), I remind myself that I can choose my reaction to this day. It’s simply a day that falls in February; it shouldn’t affect your life materially in any way.

    February 8, 2019/Reply