Style + Ask the Edit

Ask the Edit: Vol. V, No. 17

Another week, another set of reader questions.  We have formal wedding attire, commuting shoes, nude lipsticks, and more.  You asked, I answered.

Hi Belle,

I’ve started walking to work more (nicer weather, efforts to move more, etc) and I need better shoes to walk in.  I’ve already done some damage to my ballet flats and would like a dedicated commuting shoe.  I’d love a sneaker, but I’m wary of leaning too far into Melanie Griffith territory.  Do you have a recommendations for a substantial shoe that won’t look too odd paired with my work outfits?

Thanks! -SK

Commuting shoes are a necessity, but it’s difficult to find ones that aren’t truly hideous.  The best you can usually do is 10% hideous.  But it’s the price you pay for the comfort necessary to get to work without wishing you had unlimited Uber funds.

One of the most comfortable brands I’ve worn is Gentle Souls.  Their Dana ballet flat and their Noa short wedge are both basic without being offensive.  Neither is gorgeous, but I’d wear both in a mild comfort/looks trade-off because I’ve walked miles in my GS sandals with no issues.

If you’re committed to a sneaker, I would go sleek and simple (and not white).  Several readers speak glowingly about AllBirds.  You can pretend to be an SF tech billionaire.  These blush Cole Haans and these gunmetal Cole Haans both caught my eye.

If I was buying for myself, I’d go with these CK moccasins in orange-red.

Abra,

My favorite nude lipstick was recently discontinued by MAC.  Do you have a favorite shade?

Via

I bought Charlotte Tillbury’s Pillow Talk lipstick a while back and it lives up to the hype.  If you need a more affordable option, this elf Touch of Nude shade.

Can you do another Rothy’s referral link?! It looks like the link expired, and I would like to use it if it’s even still possible. Many thanks!!

– Kristen

Sadly, after I sold several hundred pairs of shoes for the fine people at Rothy’s, they disabled my referral code.  They kindly informed me that that was just for customers to use and not for influencers who were supposed to request a sponsorship.  Do other bloggers have these problems?  I doubt it.

Regardless of that stunning email chain, I still love Rothy’s shoes.  They’re comfortable, and great for travel because they stretch to accommodate swollen feet.  They’re also made from recycled plastic bottles, which is a nice bonus.

My favorite style are the Point shoes, I own the black and just bought this leopard pair.  I’m thinking about buying a pair of their new loafers.  This taupe heather pair caught my eye.  So while I can’t offer you a $20-off referral code, I will tell you that they’re worth full price.

Belle,

I’m attending the wedding of two friends next month in La Jolla, CA, and at a complete loss as to what to wear. The 2PM ceremony is a Catholic mass, and the reception starts at 4:30 PM. My husband is a groomsmen and will be in a black tuxedo, and I just found out that the bride upgraded the dress code from formal to black tie optional. 

What the heck do I wear?? Would love your thoughts on options under $300. Thanks so much!  Sincerely, shopping for a unicorn is making me crazy. –EH

The trouble with black-tie gowns for weddings is that you want to look formal, but not like you’re heading to prom.  Given this is a Catholic ceremony, you also have to be moderately covered.  And you need to make sure that no one confuses you with a bridesmaid.  It’s a lot of work for a single dress.

I like this red JS Collection dress with a sleek look to it.  This canary yellow Lovers + Friends gown would look lovely with these green earrings.   This navy gown from Saks and this strapless coral Halston also caught my eye.

Plus-size?  I love this Adrianne Papell dress in teal and this very affordable eggplant dress also caught my eye.

Abra,

Do you use any products to treat frizz?  My hair is suffering in all the wet weather and it’s beginning to look like a halo around my head.  Not great.  I’ve tried the John Frieda products and they help some, but I’m hoping for better.  My hair isn’t curly but it isn’t straight either, if that helps.

Monica

If you wear your hair curly, a friend of mine swears by DevaCurl.  She loves their shampoos and conditioners, but she would voluntarily give up a limb before she would be parted from their frizz-reducing towels.  This kit is what she recommends for first-timers.

If you’re just looking for a treatment, I don’t really struggle with frizzy hair.  My hairdresser keeps this Rita Hazan Triple Threat in her bag to use at outdoor weddings.  She swears that it will not only smooth frizzy hair, it will heal over processed hair and hid the appearance of split ends.

Hi Belle,

My favorite open blazer is too worn out to keep wearing.  I’m looking for something black, open front, and sleek.  Please no ruched sleeves or cropped sleeves.  I wear this jacket every week and I need a replacement that costs under $175 if possible.  A little more is okay for the right jacket.

Thank you! Leesa

J.Crew makes this very popular “going out” blazer.  It’s got a lovely modern cut with a professional air.  This BCBGeneration blazer has a sleek look to it.  This Nine West blazer is an affordable option.

Plus-size?  Check out this Angels open front blazer.  Petite?  Try this Ann Taylor blazer with a traditional cut and an open front.

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LEAVE A COMMENT

    40 comments

  1. Crystal says:

    Monica — I have thick, wavy hair and fought the DC frizz for *years*. I was a committed Redken products and T3Micro hairdryer user, but the frizz continued. This is what worked for me (I switched for awhile, then tried going back to Redken twice, which confirmed *for me* just how much better my new system was):

    I shampoo with a sulfate-free, silicone-free, moisturizing shampoo bar from Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve (usually one of these two: https://www.chagrinvalleysoapandsalve.com/p/shampoo-bar-rosemary-mint-charcoal/ or https://www.chagrinvalleysoapandsalve.com/p/shampoo-bar-caf%C3%A9-moreno/). I condition with a high-quality, thick, non-silicone moisturizer — Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea. I will use a dab of heat protectant — not picky on type (although many use silicones, so use with caution). I use my T3Micro hairdryer and a good brush to dry. And if there’s any leftover frizz, which is rare unless it’s pouring outside, I use a hint of Caudelie’s Divine Oil (https://www.sephora.com/product/divine-oil-P374502).

    For me, once I gave my hair a couple weeks to acclimate, getting rid of the silicone/sulfate loop seemed to do wonders. But of course you have to find what works for you. Good luck!

    April 18, 2018/Reply
  2. Orla says:

    For frizzy hair, try TreSemme Keratin Smooth range. I use the shampoo, conditioner and heat protector spray and they really do calm the frizz and help straighten my voluminous, kinky/curly hair.

    April 18, 2018/Reply
  3. af says:

    Here is Rothy’s referral link. https://www.talkable.com/x/tFtBOb

    April 18, 2018/Reply
  4. Mary says:

    Kristen – When I bought my Rothy’s a month ago, I googled for a referral code and found one that worked, maybe even on RetailMeNot. You should be able to find an active one that way. I ordered the taupe heather round toe, inserted my orthotics, and wear them all the time. I’ll probably try the point next time, but the loafer looks great.

    Belle – I did find a couple other blogs that had expired referral codes, so you’re not the only one. I certainly don’t understand all the influencer/blogger/sponsorship stuff.

    April 18, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Yeah, sadly I got an email from them asking how I had accrued so many referrals and then a reply chastising me for abusing the privilege. I didn’t understand the problem since the $20 referral is only good on a single pair of shoes, so it’s not like I was buying 500 pairs of Rothy’s for myself.

      April 18, 2018/Reply
      • Hj says:

        How is the Rothy’s compared to M gemi flats would you say? I’ve been eyeing both.

        April 18, 2018/Reply
        • Belle says:

          Totally different. The Rothy’s are a soft, comfortable flat. M.Gemi is a traditional leather flat.

          April 18, 2018/Reply
    • Kelly says:

      I found an expired code from a fashion blog (not this one) a year ago. It wasn’t working, I e-mailed the company, and they gave me the $20 off with zero problems. So they have no qualms about giving the discount to new customers. But the shoes are amazing. After beating them down in the rain one day, I checked with the company about replacement insoles. They said they were working on selling those separately and sent me a replacement set in the meantime.

      April 18, 2018/Reply
  5. SE says:

    Happy to share my referral link if people want to use for Rothy’s: https://www.talkable.com/x/CkYyDT

    April 18, 2018/Reply
  6. e says:

    2 changes I made that keep my curly hair relatively frizz-free:
    – I’ve cut down on shampooing my hair to 1 or 2 times a week, but still condition daily, and
    – I bought a cheap microfiber towel on Amazon and use that right out of the shower now to get some of the wetness out without creating frizz.

    April 18, 2018/Reply
    • Ashley says:

      I second the cheap Amazon Microfiber towel to combat frizz. It makes such a difference!

      April 18, 2018/Reply
      • Jess says:

        I have super curly hair that is prone to frizz and the two best (non product) things I have done to keep the frizz down is to rinse in cold water and to wrap my hair in an old t-shirt rather than a towel. the tighter weave on the tshirt doesn’t rough up the grain of my hair and keeps it smooth, and who doesn’t have several dozen old tshirts laying around from college…

        April 19, 2018/Reply
  7. Mila says:

    Re: wedding – this is kind of a non-answer to the question and I’m not sure about the logistics, but maybe consider a wardrobe change. Wear something more conservative and “day” appropriate for the church ceremony, then pull out the gown for the reception. I’ve done this before and had plenty of time to swap outfits while my SO was busy with wedding party photos. Just a thought.

    April 18, 2018/Reply
    • raq says:

      I”m curious about this, has anyone else done the wardrobe change? I often think about it for weddings with the catholic gap

      April 18, 2018/Reply
      • Emily says:

        When my college roommate got married, I had no idea about the Catholic wedding gap. I didn’t change (didn’t know that was a thing). However, MOST people did – her cousins and Aunts were dressed in conservative outfits for the church ceremony, then changed into ball gowns for the reception. I’d recommend having an outfit change!

        April 18, 2018/Reply
      • kelly says:

        I was raised Catholic in the Midwest. I’ve never noticed people changing between events, but I’ve also never been to a wedding super formal. Usually bride/bridesmaids are the only ones in floor-length dresses while guests do knee-length. None of the churches I’ve been at had dress codes, many bridesmaids even wear strapless dresses. I once did a shrug over a strapless dress during the ceremony, but it really wasn’t necessary.

        April 18, 2018/Reply
    • ashley says:

      No one changed at my black tie optional 2PM Catholic wedding and 6:00 reception. We also had a small tea and snacks minireception for out of town folks to hang out at between, so there may be something like that for you.

      April 19, 2018/Reply
      • Belle says:

        Can someone explain the need for the gap? I’ve been to 20 Catholic weddings, but I didn’t realize this was a thing. I just thought the couples were taking photos.

        April 20, 2018/Reply
        • Barbara Lisette says:

          Belle: I think there is only a gap because many parishs don’t want to do a wedding mass later than 3 pm on a Saturday because of the usual Saturday evening mass. Andbmany people don’t want a reception to start until 5/6. And I think many do, do pictures. But there is no “Catholic” reason for the gap. And if you do have an evening mass, for instance Friday evening, which is getting more popular than there is no gap 🙂

          April 20, 2018/Reply
        • Anna says:

          There’s a photo gap of an hour, maybe, but some weddings have a much larger 2-3 hour gap where people go home, freshen up, then head back out to the reception.

          April 20, 2018/Reply
    • yael @ Nosherium says:

      I’ve never been to a formal Catholic wedding, but I have been to formal Jewish weddings that have an Orthodox rabbi officiating. That usually calls for covered shoulders, minimum. I have done an ankle length dress with a suitable topper – shrug or jacket. It’s even easier to bridge that gap if you do a midi-length dress because a jacket or blazer is easier to pair.

      April 19, 2018/Reply
  8. Kirby says:

    Kristen, here’s my Rothy’s referral link – it should work for $20 off. Enjoy – I love mine so much i have 4 pair! https://www.talkable.com/x/LQP88s

    April 18, 2018/Reply
  9. Jessica says:

    I have had trouble getting Rothy’s to fit me. I ended up exchanging once (maybe even twice) and then just returned. I don’t mind toe cleavage but it seemed excessive in these shoes. I felt like the toe box wasn’t big enough but that if I went up another size, or half, then it would flop off of my heal. I bought the pointed toe but wondered if I’d have the same issue with the rounded toe. Has this been an issue for anyone else?

    April 18, 2018/Reply
    • maria says:

      Same problem here! I can’t find a comfortable fit in the pointed toe (I’m between an 8.5 and 9) and I don’t like how the other styles look. It’s a bummer, but I guess Rothy’s just aren’t in the cards for me.

      April 18, 2018/Reply
      • Anna says:

        I’m thinking of buying the round-toe flat because the cut of the top looks a little more feminine than most round toe/ballerina flats, but I’m kind of worried. Would love to find another (preferably cheaper) option with a similar design in case these don’t pan out.

        April 18, 2018/Reply
    • rUCHITA says:

      The same thing happened to me. I really wanted to like them, but Rothy’s just don’t work for my shape of foot. I tried toe pointed toe style because I prefer that look to the rounded to. Size 6 was to small in the toes. 6.5 kept slipping off my heels.

      April 18, 2018/Reply
  10. Anna says:

    Formal weddings are pretty much made for Rent the Runway. Unless you attend formal or black tie events a few times a year and need to have a staple dress you can pull out at the last minute, I definitely think renting is the way to go. You can find formal enough dresses for $50-100, which is way better than spending $300 on a meh dress you’ll maybe wear twice.

    April 18, 2018/Reply
    • Denise says:

      +1 for Rent the Runway! I use them annually for Christmas parties and Kentucky Derby dresses. I’ve not always gotten the dress I’ve ordered, but I’ve never been disappointed in what they sent me. So convenient!

      April 18, 2018/Reply
      • Anna says:

        I had that happen once or twice and when it did, or when I’ve had any other sort of customer service issue, they’ve really bent over backwards to get it fixed. I’ve used them once or twice a year for the past 8-9 years, and have never been disappointed.

        April 19, 2018/Reply
  11. RKT says:

    Regarding the open front jackets, I have a Vince Camuto one I bought at Nordstrom a couple years ago that I love that was in that price range. I don’t see the exact jacket, but there are a couple similar ones available now. They really do run large, so size down! (One, possibly two, sizes)

    https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/vince-camuto-texture-base-blazer-regular-petite/4620482?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&fashioncolor=RICH%20BLACK

    https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/vince-camuto-zip-pocket-blazer-regular-petite/4692392?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&fashioncolor=RICH%20BLACK

    April 18, 2018/Reply
  12. Liz says:

    I rented the BCBG blazer you mentioned in response to the last letter from Le Tote and just wanted to raise that the sleeves are VERY thin and unlined. I considered buying the blazer because I loved the fit but the sleeves made it look very cheap.

    April 18, 2018/Reply
  13. elle says:

    Belle, have you ever tried vionic shoes? I’m curious if they are any good!

    April 18, 2018/Reply
    • LP says:

      I have not tried Vionic flats or other shoes, but I bought a pair of Vionic waterproof suede low-heeled booties for my honeymoon in Italy last fall. Walked around cobblestone streets pretty much all day everyday, and they were incredibly comfortable. Also surprisingly stylish!

      April 19, 2018/Reply
      • AVV says:

        I have two pairs of Vionic sandals that I absolutely love – enough that I replaced one with the exact same shoe when my first pair wore out. The arch support is great, and as long as you’re a little careful in picking a style, they’re cute.

        April 19, 2018/Reply
  14. MWH says:

    Re black blazers… I received the black Woolf jardigan in my MM Lafluer bento and was stunned at how sleek and comfortable it is. Strongly recommend. MM Lafleur, like Rothys, is an online brand I would have been hesitant to try, particularly for the price, were it not for your recommendation on this blog, btw.

    April 18, 2018/Reply
  15. H. says:

    I have that J.Crew blazer in black — bought during one of those 30% off sales — and I love it. It’s very comfortable/not constricting, and I love the sleeve length. Plus, it travels really well; I’ll fold it up in a bag for an overnight trip, hang it up when I arrive, and any wrinkles have fallen out by morning.

    April 18, 2018/Reply
  16. Yk says:

    I’ve been wearing black champion original keds with the laces taken out for a few years now. I walk about 3 miles round trip a day. They are sneaker level comfortable (I add an insole for squish), you can wear real socks with them and they’re a bit more Audrey Hepburn than Melanie Griffith. Also cheap and they dry quickly if you get caught in the rain.

    April 19, 2018/Reply
  17. Nellie says:

    I have actually had some success finding non-nerdy flats at Clark’s that are super comfy and wear like iron. Perfectly professional if you need to wear them for an event or actually at work when you are on your feet.

    If anyone is like me and suffers from sweaty feet, particularly in commuting shoes, I highly recommend a shoe dryer which you can buy on Amazon for like $20. I’m seriously considering a second one for my office to further prolong the life of my shoes.

    April 19, 2018/Reply
  18. Caitlin says:

    I love Rothy’s! Here is a referral link: https://bit.ly/2K1vBxE

    April 19, 2018/Reply
  19. Cecilia says:

    Do Rothy’s stretch out? I ordered a size 8 in the pointed toe but they are just on the edge of too big and definitely would be if they stretched. And if they stretch a 7.5 might stretch to right size. Help!

    April 25, 2018/Reply