Style + Ask the Edit

Ask the Edit: Vol. II, No. Five

Hi Abra!

Question for Ask Belle or just advice: My sister and I bought impulse tickets to Rome for a long weekend in October (woohoo European travel again!) and our plan is to walk around the city in between stuffing ourselves with pasta and gelato. I could use some recommendations for walking shoes – ideally with at least a little arch support. And since it’s Italy, I feel like I need to step up my fashion game and not go full Melanie Griffith. Any thoughts or ideas would be super welcome.

Thanks!! K

When I traveled to London a few years ago, I wore a pair of Coach driving moccasins.  They had some arch support, good padding, and were comfortable for long stretches.  Sadly, Coach doesn’t make that pair anymore, but they make a very similar one.

Brands to consider for a pair of non-sneaker, supportive flats are: Easy Spirit, Trotters, and Vionic.

Hi Abra,

I used to go straight from my office to things like PTA and charity meetings, and carried my work bag.  Now I’m coming from work from home and my standard black leather bags don’t go with my more casual outfits.  I’m looking for something sporty and casual, but big enough to fit a folder, a pen, my water bottle and other necessities. I’ve been looking at MZ Wallace totes but there has to be other options.

Thanks!  – A

The MZ Wallace Bags are a good place to start.  Several friends own them and like them.  I’ve heard they’re durable with good organization.  They’re not really my taste though; I never warmed up to the quilted embroidery.

Looking for another option?  Rothy’s makes a cool tote bag that I’ve been looking at.  I really love the look, but the price is a bit off-putting.  I also like this cotton Dagne Dover tote.  It’s simple, the storage is good, the black wears well and it’s under-$150.

Prefer a leather-look bag?  Anthropologie has this slouchy tote and this awesome Isa tote.  Both bags are fabulous.

Hi Abra,

I’m headed to a ritzy family wedding in Miami in October and I’m stumped on what to wear for the “casual chic” rehearsal dinner. I feel like I can barely dress myself for outside life these days, let alone for what I know will be a fashionable crowd at this event.

What would you suggest, especially if I’m not looking to spend a ton of money (<$150 total)?

Thank you! CK

I definitely understand that feeling that you barely know how to dress yourself.  I’ve never felt so unsure about what to wear to simple occasions.  But let’s see if I can rustle up a few casual dresses for a rehearsal dinner.

This puff sleeve midi dress from & Other Stories is a nice option, bright, fun, wedding-casual.  I also liked this floral ASOS in a similar style.  If you like the square neck but not the print, this simple black dress is for you.  Plus-size? This dress from Eloquii is similar to the image.

I also liked this belted shirtdress and leaf print maxi.  The shirtdress could easily be worn to work, or casually on weekends with boots and a cool denim or leather jacket.


Can you tell me how you store your dog toys again?  It was on an Instagram story some time ago.  We just got two puppies and their toys are everywhere.  I think you were keeping them in a basket.

Thanks. April

We have three of these Goodpicks rope baskets.  They’re a good height because small dogs can stand on the edges (which fold in) to pull out toys, and big dogs can reach in.  They’re washable.  And they hold a bunch of toys.  Good luck with the puppies!

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  1. Lee says:

    I am in desperate need for a shoe wardrobe makeover. I’ve been wearing sneakers pretty much exclusively for the past 18+ months. I’m still working from home full time, and my social life usually consists of playground visits and outdoor coffee with friends. But I’m eager to step up my wardrobe a tiny bit, and feel like the shoes are where I’m really stuck. I love my cute sneakers but I want a boot or shoe that will still let me run around with the kids without looking like I’m in athleisure wear. Would love some recommendations!

    September 23, 2021/Reply
    • E says:

      Team Rothy’s flat here. The washability is great so if I chase kiddo into what I thought was dry grass that actually turned out to be a mudpit, into the washer they go. Now that we are getting into cooler weather, dansko booties and cole haan loafers are my go-tos.

      September 23, 2021/Reply
    • SG says:

      The Allbirds flat is super cute, machine washable, and I find it comfier than my Rothy’s! I think Abra just posted about a cheaper alternative to Rothy’s that had better support as well – check her last few posts!

      September 23, 2021/Reply
      • Lee says:

        Thanks so much for the great ideas!

        September 24, 2021/Reply
  2. Erin says:

    Re: Italy shoe advice – I just got back from Italy and I can report that yes, you definitely need shoes with arch support. Everyone was also wearing sneakers/tennis shoes a la Golden Goose/Vans/etc. I think a nice lace-up sneaker would work fabulously, plus it will match decently well with all your outfit choices.

    I would also advise that in October, Romans will likely be wearing boots/booties, so you could also bring those.

    September 23, 2021/Reply
    • Amanda says:

      Came here to say this! You can wear a cool pair of sneakers no problem. Ecco makes several styles with arch support.

      September 23, 2021/Reply
      • Allison says:

        Building on this, some high tops would be great this time of year too! I love Vejas, but recommend getting an arch support. (10$ on amazon)

        September 23, 2021/Reply
    • Cecilia says:

      Seconding Ecco sneakers, particularly the Soft 7. I wore a pair in Italy in Sept/October 2019, and they had the right mix of support and style. For your trip, I recommend bringing a pair of supportive sneakers for heavy walking days and a pair of lighter boots/booties or flats for evenings or days with less walking.

      September 23, 2021/Reply
    • E says:

      I live in Europe and can attest that any cute sneaker will be totally fine! I have low-top white sneaks I wear year round and am getting ready to invest in some Vejas!

      September 24, 2021/Reply
    • Elizabeth says:

      Came here to say the same about nice sneakers in Rome…I did not feel underdressed at all and my feet were much happier. And also to say that Rome is perfect in October! Have the most wonderful time!

      September 24, 2021/Reply
  3. AJT says:

    Ooo I love that dress from & Other Stories! Great find!

    September 23, 2021/Reply
    • Chelsea says:

      Same! If only I had a reason to leave my house…

      September 23, 2021/Reply
  4. Hannah says:

    That Rothys bag is gorgeous. Does anyone have it and can comment on how practical/heavy it is?

    September 23, 2021/Reply
  5. Justyna says:

    The shirtdress link doesn’t work for me. Any more suggestions for shirt dresses? Would love to get a few more.

    September 24, 2021/Reply
  6. RAQUEl says:

    Does anyone have recs for a 2nd tri friendly fall (Oct 30 in the Midwest) formal/black tie optional wedding guest dress?

    September 24, 2021/Reply
  7. Annie Q says:

    I am doing exactly the same thing in Rome right now! A friend and I spent a week here and I am spending an extra few days. I visit friends in Italy often but I rarely shop for clothes because I find that clothes from the little boutiques often just don’t quite work in the US. But here’s a beautiful little find in Trastevere: Blu Cachemire (Via San Francesco a Ripa, 155). I bought a sweater-jacket (236 euros) and a sweater (200 euros), both cashmere. Both are going to be perfect this fall. I also bought a really great cardigan at a street market for 10 euros and I was thinking about a linen shift for about the same.

    September 25, 2021/Reply