Ask the Editor: Vol. II, No. One

Aug 12, 2021

Need a better way to store jewelry when you travel?  Hunting for work or work from home attire?  Need a dress for a special occasion?  Let’s answer some reader questions.


Hi Abra,

I was browsing a random article about air travel and there was a link to a mini travel jewelry bag.  Pre-COVID I just stuffed my jewelry in one of those free with purchase bags that come with cosmetics.  But maybe I can do better.

Thanks for your blog, Kirstin

I’ve tried a couple of different travel jewelry cases from different makers.  In the under-$100 category, the Mark & Graham medium case is the nicest.  It keeps necklaces from tangling and doesn’t increase the amount of tarnish.  I just bought a second one, and I keep my jewelry divided between the two cases.

For something under-$50, this one from Royce at Saks Off 5th is a nice option.  For something under-$25, this one from StorageLab is a good option.  The key to buying a cheaper one is just to make sure that the necklaces hang, otherwise they’ll just tangle.

Abra,

I have been reading your blog ever since I was an intern in DC. Now, I am a principal at a political consulting firm in California and if we ever go back into the office again, things will continue to be impossibly casual. 

In October, I am going to Las Vegas to a conference where I am being honored with one of those 40 under 40 awards. And I would love it if you would share ideas on what I should wear to the reception. I was thinking something sleeveless but still work appropriate. I have great arms!

Jamie

Congratulations on the award.  I think in this case, I would be looking for a dress and a matching mask, since I’m told Vegas is back to masks.  The break was nice while it lasted.

This Badgley Mischka dress in red is a power look.  I would wear it under a white blazer for day, if you need to.  And the mask to go with it should be skin-tone.  I also like this cobalt dress from Sachin + Babi.  Cobalt is another power color, but one that’s a bit more accessible.  For a less expensive cobalt option, try this Halston dress from Outnet.

Dress the Population always has a nice selection of dresses that are simple with a little something extra.  So I would definitely check out their wares.

Hi Abra:

I’m still wearing my Rothy’s into the ground and my Birkenstock’s or teva’s at home. When I last wore heels I wore Payless comfort predictions Karmen, which were comfy and cute but don’t last long. Recently I’ve tried Cole haan, rockport 7, taryn rose and sarah flint, but everything is so uncomfortable. Help, I need comfortable heels!

-Sheryl

Comfort is in the eye of the beholder.  So I’m going to give you some tips before I give you recommendations.

First, you need to find your ideal heel height.  Alterations Needed has a great tutorial on how to measure your foot to find the height that’s best for you.  Most ladies find theirs is between 2.75″ and 3.25″.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to add an insole.  If you need a little bit of gel to make your shoes more comfortable, that’s what you need.  You can also look for heels with a rubber sole to absorb some shock.

Lastly, look for heels with a thicker heel.  The block heel provides more stability, and improved comfort.

None of these tips is a panacea.  We’ve all been wearing flats for a year.  So we have a new perspective on how uncomfortable high heels can be as opposed to flats.  So if you can’t find a heel that you think is comfortable, just wear a point flat.

You’ve tried a bunch of the viral brands it seems, but I want to recommend the Inez shoes.  I have a pair of the Lola heels and they are the closest thing I’ve found to a perfect shoe (since J.Crew discontinued mine a few years ago).  2.8″ heel, excellent arch support, I had a cobbler add a rubber sole to the shoe for more shock absorption.  They’re fantastic, but even then, I still won’t wear them without keeping a pair of flats nearby because I’m out of practice.

Belle/Abra,

I need a shirt to wear with leggings.  I’m on Zoom all day.  I want a button-up tunic that must be non-iron.  Please help me find one.

LH

First option, Land’s End.  They have a few no-iron shirts, but this tunic with a 3/4 sleeve is a good option.  They also make a plus-size no-iron tunic.

Second option, Chico’s.  Don’t let the zebra-print caftan in the window fool you, this retailer has a great selection of no-iron button ups.

Last option, Banana Republic makes a no-iron line, and this great tunic is in it.  In fact, your question prompted me to buy both the white and the black because I’m gonna need them myself for WFH.  Also in tall and petite.  I also recommend their washed poplin tunic, but that might need to see an iron, or just come straight out of the dryer onto a hanger.

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  1. Laura says:

    To Jamie (and anyone else), Johnny Was makes wonderful, fancy, comfortable masks in silk and with embroidery. They all have a filter pocket. You can find them at Saks Fifth Avenue and on his website. https://www.johnnywas.com/masks.html

  2. Laura says:

    I find Ann Taylor heels are generally pretty comfortable and have multiple pairs. I also like the Jcrew Colette heel, which is about 2.5 inches.

  3. Erica says:

    Re: comfy heels…I have several pairs of Michael Kors flex fit pumps. I have round toe, pointed toe, leather, suede, patent, black, nude-to-me, navy, ivoiry, etc. They are the most comfortable I have found for a professional high heel shoe! Macys often has a good selection of them and they are typically priced around $100.

    • e says:

      I haven’t thought of that brand forever but without question the most comfortable heels I owned back when I worked on the Hill was MK Flex Fit. I may need to pick up another – thanks for the reminder!

  4. AB says:

    Just want to make a comment about skin colored masks… sounds like a great idea, but from a distance they just look like you have an extremely distorted face. I’ve caught myself doing a double take more than once seeing a woman from a ways away before I realized it was just a mask.

    Also wanted to vote again for the Ann Taylor pumps. A great place to get good looking, well made pumps at a nice price. And you can almost always find them on sale if keep an eye out.

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