Weekend Open Thread

Steven – MelaneeSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

Admittedly, I am late to the brogue/oxford party — they’ve been in stores for more than a year and a half, and so many chic New Yorkers wear them all the time with skirts and dresses. Yet I’m still hesitant about them for a conservative office — hence my weekend recommendation. I like that they have a higher vamp than flats, making them easier to walk in, and I think they can look amazing with tights. This pair from Steven is on sale today at Zappos — was $99, now $68.77 (available in black, brown, and olive leather).  Steven – Melanee (Black Leather) – Footwear

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  1. Ugh. I cannot get into this look at all.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Given this shoe suggestion, I’m really looking forward to next Friday’s TPS and Open Thread suggestions! They should be awesome :).

      • Praxidike :

        I can’t get into this look, either. I love the high-heel oxford look and finally bought a pair of those (which I guess I can wear for another month, and then I’ll put them in storage for the winter), but the brogues are just too masculine for me.

      • LOL, SFBayAssoc

    • I hate ’em too. And I don’t like the heeled ones either!
      Didn’t like them in the 80s/90s with the acid-washed, pegged, trouser-pleated jeans with off-the-shoulder distressed pastel sweatshirts and bleachfried over-gelled standup hair…and I don’t like them now!

    • I didn’t think I liked the look until I saw a girl yesterday wearing a nude, sleeker version.

    • I get menswear-inspired items, but these look like they ARE men’s shoes. Not cute.

  2. People wear these with a skirt? Really?

    • Elaine Benes (Seinfeld) used to …

      • My point exactly.

      • Lawyering Mom :

        LOL, I thought of Elaine…but not in a good way.

        • Oh, I wasn’t intending it to be a good thing! There’s one episode in particular I remember where she wore a red calico dress and oxfords – I still have the visual stuck in my brain oh so many years later.

      • Anonymous :

        Elaine’s look is very fashionable with young women. You have to be a bit breezey about it, and life. If we rule out things we remember the first time around, we rule ourselves into the ‘older woman’ camp before our time. The longer we live, the more things from our yout will come aorund againa and again… we are too young to be old. Let’s smile and enjoy.

        E;aine in fashion…

        • I’m 27 which is fairly young and think these look like ‘for the man in your life’ as well. Or at least to be worn with trousers.

        • Lawyering Mom :

          I am in my 30s and I remember disliking the Elaine Benes look in high school. At that time, I wore heeled penny loafers, but never Oxfords. I think they look like my husband’s shoes. The posted oxfords are particularly bad. I have no problem re-embracing old fashions, but not the ones I thought were ugly the first time around! I don’t mind some of the high heeled Oxfords however, though I wouldn’t buy them myself!

    • Taylor Swift does this all the time! You can Google image search Taylor Swift + Oxfords.

      I think it takes a very special person to pull it off, and I am not one of those people…

  3. Anonymous :

    I have been on the feminine oxf0rd-crossover bandwagon for a long time. (Probably a leftover from seeing my IBM-employee father wear nothing but suits and oxfords to work my whole life.) So I have many, many iterations in my shoe wardrobe. But these look very masculine to me, and I can’t see wearing them with a skirt at all. At the same time, I don’t live in NY and would never be mistaken for a “chic New Yorker.” I am sure I could be persuaded if I saw the whole look on the right, fashionable woman.

    • I live in NY and I have never seen that shoe or anything similar on anyone in danger of ever being called chic . . . Aside from maybe Miyam Bialik on Blossom, way back in the day . . . :)

      • Miyam Bialik was recently on a What Not to Wear episode. I believe Stacy & Clinton would have something to say about this shoe.

        • Haha, I saw it! (So was one of the girls from the Facts of Life)…

          In defense of my comment, I only said she was cute on Blossom — as a 12 year old. Not that she should have stuck to that wardrobe ;)

      • I am going to be vain and say that I am in NY, and I wear these and I look chic. :-). Also, I have really missed this site this week.

        • I’m also in NYC. I have numerous pairs of similar oxfords and I receive compliments every time I wear them.

    • I have some Frye oxfords, believe it or not (I never considered their boots very ‘feminine’ looking so it was something of a surprise to me) that fit my foot very well and look feminine. They were pricey, but I absolutely love them, and I’ve gotten TONS of wear out of them.

      Ooops, just realized capitalizing a whole word makes me veer into Ellen/Alan territory. I miss those two crazy kids.

  4. I wear these with pant suits at least once a week and usually more. Love love love. Warmer than flats and more comfortable too but narrow and feminine just because of their smallness, no heel/health issues, perfectly appropriate IMO and super cute.

  5. found a peanut :

    i wear a pair of oxfords (gray) to work with skirts and dresses all the time. I think the look is really cute. Granted, I wouldn’t pay $200 for a pair of oxfords because they are clearly a trend. But for under $100 they were worth it for me.

    I don’t understand why these would not be considered office appropriate. Men wear oxfords so shouldn’t women be allowed to?

    • Obviously plenty of women do wear them to work (or they wouldn’t be such a big trend right now) but to me it is akin to a woman wearing a tie or a man wearing a skirt suit.

      • Anonymous Poser :

        I think a woman wearing a tie and a man wearing a skirt suit are completely different things. Ties on (and sometimes made for) women have been viewed as trendy, at times, though often in a sexy sort of way (blouse unbuttoned, etc.). It’s a woman wearing an accessory usually meant for men.

        I’m not googling it, but I’ve never heard of a skirt suit for a man. It would be, arguably, a man wearing an entire outfit meant for a woman.

        Oxfords are just shoes. So long as they’re of a quality that’s appropriate for your office, and not inappropriate for your office culture, I don’t see the problem. I consider it a matter of people having different tastes.

        • skirt suit on man :

          A skirt suit designed for a man does in fact exist: Thom Browne (high-end suits for men, known more for the almost cropped-leg men’s suits that were briefly popular over the last few years) made one in 2009 that was later spotted on the street. Thought of it immediately when I saw this!


          To be honest, there is at least a precedent: formal kilt regalia with jacket is a skirt suit for a man as well. But I definitely haven’t spotted Thom Browne’s version taking off.

          • Yeah I’ve seen these on the runway (and on Marc Jacobs, haha), but I can’t imagine anyone outside fashion circles–and especially any man working in a corporate environment–wearing them. I would absolutely welcome it, but I don’t think it would ever take off, because it’s not “masculine” enough. :-/

  6. I was in a (completely unscheduled) semi-marathon working session with two partners yesterday that totally made me think of our discussion a few weeks ago on what to eat/drink during long meetings.

    FWIW, this was only about 8 hours long, but they took a 20 minute lunch-break, and both stepped out to take calls from clients (I got a client call later in the day and did the same as it was a semi-urgent matter). The 20 minute break would have been enough except that just as soon as I stepped out of the conference room to get my lunch out of my office, I got pulled into a third partner’s office for 15 minutes. So I gulped down some of my lunch but not much. A couple of hours later, as I was starting to get hungry, one of the partners fortunately demanded a break, so I ate one of my emergency Lara bars which I keep in my desk walking down the hall to find my green smoothie in the fridge (I bring one most days, and eat it around 11am, but by then I had been pulled into the conference room for this session). I poured most of it in a large, opaque coffee cup (all I could find fast in our pantry) and brought it back into the conference room with me. I kept it behind my laptop, so really, I don’t think either ever noticed what I was drinking, and it just about saved me for the last few hours.

    I did get the sense that it was understood that there were things that required us to step out at times (ie urgent client calls, bathroom breaks) and that it was not a big deal to do so. I did not feel comfortable eating in the room because both made a point to take a lunch break, but had they brought their lunches in and worked through lunch, I would have had no problem.

    It helps I have worked here over two years at this point too, and that I have a ton of food with me every day. This would have seriously sucked were I not one of those who brings lunch and snacks every day, and has a couple of emergency Lara bars in her desk.

    • I should add this started at 10ish am, and the lunch break was early, so by 3.30pm I was glad for the second break (and had put the lara bar in my pocket already)

      • I feel badly that anyone works in an environment where you cannot say to your coworkers (partner or not), “I have to step out to get something to eat, or I won’t be able to function.” A twenty minute break for food is going to reflect badly on you? That’s unfortunate.

        • Agreed. I’m in BigLaw, and I can’t think of a single partner in our office that I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying “I need to run out to get something to eat” to. Or order something online and have it delivered to the lobby.

          • I also would have little respect for a partner who doesn’t take time to FEED the people they’re working with if they work through lunch or dinner. At my big law firm, they throw food at us like candy. And if a team is working late, the partners often are the ones who say “lets get dinner, what does everyone want.”

            Maybe its just because I lack social skills, but I’d always say “feed me” (not to start THAT fight again).

          • ElevenElle :

            I completely agree, but I’ve worked with these ultra-efficient types and there seems to be an unwritten policy of bringing a lunch on those busy days. Valerie said this was unscheduled, which I’ve had happen as well. I tried to have a lean cuisine stashed for those days but I did end up eating a fiber one bar for lunch more than once anyway.

  7. Oh, you chic New Yorkers. In my neck of the woods, these would just look like I was wearing men’s shoes. Perfectly acceptable for the office, in my opinion, but not my style. I do like pumps with an oxford-inspired style, though.

    • I’m in NY and I think these are mannish and ugly, to be honest.

    • no, I think even in NYC this would look like men’s shoes.

      I agree, I do like the pumps that are oxford-inspired (not so much on me, but I think they look great on the right people. like those more stylish than me). I think the key is “inspired,” not actual oxfords.

      • I’m a little confused by the mannish comments, I mean yes they are men’s shoes but they fit really close to the foot and thus make women’s feet look slim and tiny, how is that mannish? I always think of delicate as being the opposite of mannish. Certainly they don’t make anyone look like a man.

        It just makes me sad that anything really comfortable is for some reason a no go for women. I’m guilty of it too – I think 99.99% of all loafers are hideous. And of course some women wear loafers and some wear brogues and there’s no law against it but a lot more people disapprove than on pumps. But surely it can’t be right that everything good for our feet is ugly?

        • At least from my point of view, I don’t think the issue with these shoes is that they’re oxfords and t/f mannish. I think (at least for me) it’s that they’re mannish (at least from the picture), which does not mean that other oxfords — that are cute more close to the foot, as you describe — are a problem.

          Same with loafers. Some are terrible looking, some are really cute. Not all pumps are cute, either. This particular shoe, based on the way it is pictured, strikes me as a bit too big and bulky for its purpose. Maybe it looks different in person. Certainly, I know there are lots of really cute versions of it out there!

        • I think it’s something about this particular pair I’m objecting to. Maybe the color? or the shape? I kind of like the creamish/pinkish pair someone posted a link to above. But I thought these were guy’s shoes until I read Kat’s description.

          As for comfortable shoes, I think there are plenty that work for women, especially recently. “Comfort” shoe lines have gotten way cuter recently, imo, both flats and pumps.

        • Ballerina girl :

          Yeah I am a big fan of comfy shoes–including oxfords. It’s just that this particular pair look like men’s shoes. When I saw them, I thought to myself: wow, Corporette is doing a piece on men’s shoes?

  8. Completely office-appropriate – just very man-ish and unattractive.

  9. I would love to get the Corporettes’ views on wearing suit jackets as blazers. I like the look of gray slacks, a colorful top and a black blazer, (a little less formal than a suit for my sort of biz casual office, but still professional I think) but can I sub a black suit jacket for the blazer? Are there some fabrics that are just “suit” and some that are more flexible? I also like blazers for dressing up jeans on the weekend, can I reach into my suit repertoire for this?

    • I think the answer to the question above (Are there some fabrics that are just “suit” and some that are more flexible?) is “yes.” But fabric is not the only factor that distinguishes a suit jacket that can be mixed and matched successfully. Fabric is part of it, but cut/style seem more important to me.

      Kat’s Wednesday suit posts are explicitly NOT interview suits but I think the jacket of any suit that fits her description of an interview suit would not work as a separate. But many of the jackets that go with her Wednesday suit posts could be used as a separate.

    • I’d like to hear thoughts on this too. Good question.

    • Basically you’re asking whether you can wear a suit jacket as a separate. If it was sold as a separate, it probably can be mixed and matched with different pants and skirts. If the suit was sold as a 2-piece and the fabric and trim are distinctively matched, then the jacket may not be well- (er) suited to wear as a separate. The best way to decide is to try on an outfit and see how it looks. The only thing I would caution against a priori is wearing a suit jacket with a non-matching skirt/pants of the same color (but different material). That combination would give the impression you dressed in the dark.

  10. The only reason I don’t rock these is that my legs are short and on the thicker side. I would love a pair, but even with pants they just cut me off in a very unflattering manner. I either need a heel, or the vamp needs to be down by my toes (a la ballet flats).

    • Yes indeed, these foot-devouring styles don’t work for us petite ladies. And when you have small feet too like I do…even worse!

      • Who knew? I wear an 8 1/2 shoe, which on my frame looks almost disproportionate, and I always thought if my feet were smaller that might take care of the problem. Guess not! Good to know.

  11. I think the right oxfords can look really cute, but I think they have to be thin-soled and a tad “dainty,” for lack of a better word:



    • definitely agree! i also like black oxfords better with darker tights , and think i need some lighter (grey or beige?) ones to go with bare legs – i am of fair/med complexion though so ymmv

    • Anonymous Poser :

      Oh! I get it! They fit more like jazz shoes…

    • I’ve been lusting after these gray ones for a while — I think they’d look super sharp with just a black pencil skirt and a silky gray top. Alas, outside my shoe budget:


  12. Love oxfords, esp. since I like supportive shoes and those ballerina flats kill my feet.

    For weekends only — any thoughts on the “Zoe Beige”? Not for the office, clearly.


    • Anonymous :

      I like these. I have some similar in light gray that I wear with pants and shorts all summer long. They take me back to high school/college, when as a complete prepster I owned Bass bucks in just about every color/material available. These are the 2K10 version.

  13. Yay! Whatever Kat fixed to banish the 403/404 errors has also stopped my work software blocker (aka the thought police) from banning the site. So now instead of copying posts/comments from the previous day into a Word doc to email to myself, I can actually read posts in real time. It’s a happy day!

    • I love that you email comments to yourself! Kat, that is a real compliment that people would go to such extremes to read your site. :)

      • Unfortunately, I have a lot of down time at work, and it a) keeps me sane and b) makes me look productive to be paying attention to a bland-seeming Word doc. ;-) But hopefully I will not have to do it anymore!

  14. I was a little late with this on the TPS report comments, so in case you missed it:

    Shopping PSA: Ideeli has the Tahari grey dress from Wednesday’s TPS report on sale for $59 today.

  15. Thanks to the recently re-posted recommendation/review for L’oreal Infallible Lip Color, I picked up a few at the drugstore — I dig the colors (and was surprised they all worked for me, given that it’s hard to tell what the colors are really like and my South Asian skin tone means a lot of mass-market lip products are just off).

    BUT – I’m not sure how to best remove it — suggestions?

    I had tested/compared colors on my hand, it stayed on there over night (tried soap, lotion) — a minute and a half with my Clarisonic (which I love) FINALLY did the trick.


    • Makeup remover, mineral oil, olive oil, or really any oil-based product should work.

      • Agree, I’ve done repeated use of Pond’s cold cream to take off tougher makeup.

    • Oooh, what colors did you get? I hate buying lip colors also – at least half the time the colors are SO WRONG for me.

    • I’ve heard using a toothbrush on your lips is best!

    • The super-stay formulas are oil solvent, usually, so I’d just rub olive oil on my lips, it’s good for them anyway!

  16. marketing advice? :

    I recently transitioned from family law to liability defense/workers’ compensation defense. I love the work, but I feel my old networking strategies (to gain family law clients) won’t be effective for gaining clients in my new field. Any advice/suggestions?

    • Polka dotted :

      If you will be getting your work from insurance companies, I would suggest joining professional associations or at least attending their free events.

      I find PLUS has good events for professional liability. http://plusweb.org/

      I’m open to marketing ideas as well!

      • I just started taking work in family law and would love to hear your old networking strategies…


  17. http://www.toryburch.com/ROSS-LACE-UP-FLAT/21108652,default,pd.html?dwvar_21108652_color=415&start=19&cgid=privatesale-shoes

    I just picked these up at the tory burch online private sale today (just type in your e-mail addy for access). any thoughts? i plan on wearing them with jeans and cords on the weekends, but maybe once in awhile with a skirt?

    • Cute! I like them, and I think they would look especially cute with a more girly skirt (e.g. with flowers and flowy, knee length or shorter)…like in the pics someone posted above.

  18. Alias Terry :

    The connectivity problems with this site are insane.

    If anyone has responded to anything I have commented on and wanted an answer, I am not ignoring you. I just have now become one of the group having extreme difficulties accesses the site.

    I was not having problems for the longest time and now I get “server can not be found” and 403 and 404 errors every day. I am surprised that I can log on now.

  19. Lawyering Mom :

    With all of the cute shoes in the world, I couldn’t imagine wasting closet space on those. Ugh.

    • For real. These are hideous, and I don’t like any of the others that have been linked to. I’ll take the high heeled pink ones over these any day!

  20. New Meadowlands Stadium? :

    I am heading there this weekend to watch a game, but I don’t know anything about the area. Does anyone have any suggestions for nearby bars/restaurants that would be appropriate for before/after the game? Given that the weather this weekend is going to be TERRIBLE, I’m thinking that tailgating is out.

  21. I saw these online the other day at JCrew and think they are darling ..


    • Anonymous :

      Really like these! Unfortunately, every pair of flats I’ve ordered from JCrew has gone back to JCrew – they never fit right (too wide, strange toe box, I can feel the texture of my carpet through the paper-thin sole, etc. etc)

    • soulfusion :


    • I love those!

  22. Sigh. I just lost my temper and snapped at my boss (deserved, I think, but still). Now I’m half mad at myself because I lost control, and I’m half mad at myself because I got my control back before I got it all out there and I really want to finish my tirade. There are some things that need to be said to the partners here that I’ve tried to bring up in diplomatic ways to no avail, and I need to be more direct in the future, but yelling at them isn’t going to help anything.

    • What was the nature of the snap? I know folks will probably heartily disagree with me, but I have actually found that with *some* managers, and *some* situations, saying something rather sharply when all other options are exhausted can actually be productive. I’m almost always working with all men, and I actually think I’ve earned respect this way–and also solved some problems that otherwise weren’t going anywhere. Obviously no raised voice, no personal attacks, no blanket statements like “this sucks” or “I’m angry” or “I hate working with you.” Come to think of it, no show of emotion. Just a contained, blunt statement addressing a specific issue.

      • The gist was that we need more help and my coming in on weekends isn’t going to do it. And I said that it was bs that our paralegal hasn’t had a lunch break in months PLUS works even longer hours than I do and that she needs help even more than me. If nothing else, maybe she’ll get a lunch out of the deal. Sometimes I feel like you need to whomp them in the head with a 2X4 to get them to wake up and pay attention.

        • No advice… but I did the same thing this week. I’m waiting to hear from several interviews (as you girls now because I’ve been whining non-stop) and so ready to give notice that I just found myself talking without thining first. Can’t hurt to have them know that you’re unhappy though…

        • I have to say, Anon, it sounds like your snap was the kind I was talking about. I.e., might not have been a mistake at all. Feel good about having taken the risk on behalf of someone junior to you, too. If something ugly comes of it, then lesson learned–but otherwise it sounds ok.

          • Thanks for the reassurance. If I’d continued, it probably wouldn’t have been the right kind. Oh well, I am trying to get out of here, anyway. Like Hopeful, I’m so ready to give notice. Just need to find another position first.

        • Beginning to think maybe I need to have a similar snap…

      • I agree with Monday that sometimes that works. Also, from discussions with my husband (who works as a manager in a mostly male retail store), I think that that is particularly true for men, even if they don’t realize it at the time, they hear it and remember it later.

      • I agree that sometimes the best way to get respect is to lose our temper. Men get that, for some reason. On the other hand, when it happens monthly due to hormones, it is not so good at all!

    • I started a new job 6 weeks ago and had a similar heated discussion with my new boss last week. I knew I hadn’t handled the discussion well, but I knew I was too upset to address it that day. Late that night, I asked him to have lunch with me the next day and was better able to articulate my frustrations after a good night’s sleep. It actually worked out great. Cleared the air, set us on a good path, and he now understands that I will be blunt (not rude) and expect the same in return.

  23. When is it okay to start wearing white pants and skirts to the office? Do I really have to wait until after Memorial Day or are those rules outdated?

    • Corporate Tool :

      It depends on your office culture, and how conservative it is. But the current trend is wearing white as soon as it is warm enough to warrant it.

    • I have some coworkers who will go on about how horrible it is, but for the most part people think it’s fine to wear white as long as it’s warm enough to do so. My thoughts are that it’s already almost 90 out so I should be able to wear white if I want to.

    • Anon in TX :

      In Texas, it is certianly warm enough. My rule is that when the highs end up hitting 80 all summer wardrobe is acceptable.

  24. I have been wearing oxfords with my suits for about 5 years now after I discovered my first pair at Fratelli-Rossetti in Chicago. I love the freedom of being able to walk anywhere without changing from uncomfortable heels to tennis shoes (ugh). I must own 15 pairs now!

    • Anonymous :

      I think FR make the cutest oxford-inspired shoes out there. I am incredibly jealous that you have 15 pairs. They are generally out of my price comfort zone, but a girl can dream.

  25. Hi ladies:

    Someone posted yesterday (I think) about Re-Mix shoes and having to size down. I am currently salivating over a couple of pairs of their shoes but don’t have a source near me so will have to order online. What is your experience generally with their sizing? Are they pretty much TTS? I am usually a size 7. Thanks!

    • Nonny –where is that original thread? I’m super interested in reading it, but I can’t find it….

      • Can’t recall exactly, I’m afraid – it wasn’t a complete thread, just one person who mentioned they bought (I think) a size 6.5 and had to size down….?

        • Ugh. I’ve searched all of the last week’s comments and can’t find it anywhere. From what I see on their website, they are now supposed to be more ‘true to size’ than what their sizing was in the past. I am lusting over the hand-tooled leather wedges myself.

          • Nonny — was it someone else looking for a smaller shoe??? Because I think we read the same other blogs!

  26. Praxidike :

    Ugh, ladies, I am feeling down and competitive – not a good way to feel on a Friday afternoon. The gist of the issue: I’m in a small law firm, the “senior associate” here, and probably going to be a partner sometime in 2012 (2013 at the latest, or so I’ve heard).

    One of the partners has had some … difficulty … retaining associates because of his personality. Now what he wants is to re-hire someone who left our firm a few years ago for part-time work. She went to another firm, and then quit from there after having a couple kids. I find this person objectionable because she is a gossip and she is cliqueish with this attorney’s staff. In addition, after she left our firm she bad-mouthed the firm and the partners to a lot of people, including me.

    I know there’s nothing I can do about this because I am not a partner. But I am feeling really competitive and crappy about it and I just wanted to vent on here. My assumption is that the best way for me to handle this situation is to just continue working my ass off, continue putting out good work product, and ignore while still being professional and cordial. Thoughts?

    • If she’s as gossipy and badmouth-y as you say, I’d just put my head down, not play into it, and work hard – she’ll eventually hang herself. Do you like the firm enough to make partner even if she is working there? I think that would be my big concern at a small law firm.

      • Praxidike :

        I’m not sure if I want to be a partner for a number of reasons (and that’s one of them). But I think there’s a certain cache to being a partner, and of course there’s the higher hourly wage to consider. I would say that I support myself about 80%, and the other 20% of the work is given to me by another partner with whom I work very closely.

        I guess my initial posting isn’t very clear. I’m feeling down because I think she’s going to make the office even more divided than it already is because of her gossipy, cliqueish behavior. And I’m feeling competitive because I’m concerned that my clients are going to start sending her work once she’s back on the letterhead. I know I can’t control for that, and I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but I don’t want this person to jeopardize my chances of becoming a partner even if I’m not sure it’s what I want.

  27. Well my day just took an unexpected turn for the worse…we sold our place recently and were lucky that we didn’t have to eat too much $ even though we bought near the height of the market. But the buyer’s appraiser didn’t think the market has come back at all from the bottom and appraised us at almost $20K below the contract price (and more than double that much less than what we actually paid for the thing), and the buyer just terminated the contract. I know these things happen and there was an appraisal contingency in the contract, but I am devastated. I hated being on the market; it’s so disruptive and stressful. And now we will almost certainly have to cut the asking price now. I’m in shock, and I’m really irrationally angry at the buyer…she is protecting her own rights, but she didn’t even try to negotiate on the price before terminating. I just want to sit her down and explain how she is messing with our plans and beg her to reconsider.

    • Keep in mind that she may not have a choice in the matter. Lenders are very strict these days with mortgages and it’s possible the home did not meet some condition required for the mortgage- be it the appraised value, vacancy in the neighborhood, or other issues that might not have come to light until after they put in the offer.

      • This is so true. Lenders are still being very difficult and inflexible, even for borrowers with great credit. Blame the bank, not the buyer!

    • I’m so sorry. We’ve been on the other end of things (buying) and just had to walk away from an apartment we loved because the sponsor was being really shady. We’re dreading going back on the market and having to spend more time searching. Just think how relieved you’ll be once it does finally work out.

      • Thanks for your sympathy, it’s what I needed. Good luck with your search!
        (Unless by some freak coincidence, you’re our former buyer, in which case I’m giving you the Evil Eye. :) )

        • Nah, we were buying a new construction condo, so unless you’re a developer it wasn’t us.

    • I think there is a lot of CYA-ing going on with appraisers of late because of their E&O insurers. We bought a house in January (still have not sold our old one . . . anyone want one?). The appraiser hired by our lender decided there was a roof leak over a spare bedroom, which lowered the value by $x,xxx in spite of the fact we’d already had a very qualified home inspector go over the house thoroughly. Our lending officer had no discretion to ignore the appraiser and could only order a second appraisal after a lot of red tape. The loan officer said we either had to have a roofer fix it and submit the paid billing statement, or have it reinspected and have some documentation it was an old leak and had been fixed. We had the inspector go back out on a rainy weekend with a moisture detector and he did not find any leak. Turns out, it was a paint stain on the ceiling. The appraiser was not qualified in any way to say such a thing, but it was a tense few days. I think with the recent deflation in house values, appriasers are overly cautious and do not want a claim against their E&O policies. My realtor and the sellers’ realtor were both very experienced and stated they had never seen such a thing before.

      • Yes… I’m obviously an interested party here, but among friends, allow me to say that this appraisal is BS. Don’t get me started on his comparables. Just so discouraging.

    • This happened to me last summer. We had to cut our price to the bs appraisal price. All of the “comparables” were to 25 year old houses while ours had been remodeled top to bottom and we had 3 offers in 3 weeks at the full asking price!!! Okay, I’m walking away from my keyboard now…..

  28. If anyone is looking for a cheapter alternative to the multi-colored blouse Kate posted earlier this week, I noticed that H&M has something similar.

  29. Here’s a really cute pair (and vegan, too, going back to a thread from a few months ago). They come in black and black-and-white.


  30. I love oxfords, but I don’t like ones with this sort of half-heel. I like them either super flat like the Steve Madden one somone posted above or as a pump.

    I’m so happy for the mens-wear inspired footwear that’s been so trendy lately. I have big, wide, sensitive feet, and it’s so nice to have a shoe trend that works with them and is so comfortable! I just hope it keeps up for a few years.

    • Me too. I have already bought a pair and am so comfortable in them, but I wear them with jeans on the weekends, not at work. I think if I could get a pair in brown suede, that would be even better, but this is a great start at comfort and style.

  31. At 5’2″ with athletic, short legs, I can’t do the oxford thing, but, on taller women, I think the right pair with a pair of ankle skimming pants is really cute. However, me thinks, this pair is *not* the right pair.

  32. I know this is late in the day, but just noticed a little while ago that Boden’s dresses are 20% off today only.

  33. Mary Bennett :

    Hey ladies,

    I wrote earlier this week asking for fun/cheap/interesting places in San Francisco to explore: both activities and cute stories. SF Bay Associate and an anon both recommended Ambience and asked where I’ll be staying. I’m here for a week (though probably have only a few days to shop) and I’m staying in the Lower Haight. Any more suggestions?

    Thanks so much!

    • Love the handle! I’m an Austen fan too.

      • Love the handle too… But why Mary Bennet? I always thought she was kinda boring and flaky.

        • Mary was the very studious one – Kitty and Lydia were the bored troublemakers!

          My parents (well, mother) chose Elizabeth for my middle name for that Bennet – I’ve always liked that :)

          • Kitty and Lydia were absolutely the troublemakers! I always had the impression of Mary as being a little oblivious – nose always in the book and not really noticing what’s going on around her (this coming from someone who loves having her nose in a book :) ).

          • Mine too! So funny.

    • Love your name! I think poor Mary Bennett got a bad rap because she wasn’t as pretty as the other girls in the family.

    • Check out Hayes Valley (walkable from the Lower Haight) for fun non-chain boutique shopping. Boulange is a great place for a break/brunch/lunch (French bakery/sandwich/salad local chain . . . there is one on Hayes St. at Octavia or so). Gimme Shoes and Paolo are both great, as is Lava 9 (leather coats/jackets and jewelry).

  34. Simple oxford flats in black aren’t conservative enough for your office?! how much more conservative can you get? good grief

  35. "Confidential" Resume :

    A friend just asked me a resume question, and I don’t know the answer, so I’m turning to you ladies. Is there a proper way to indicate that your resume is to be kept confident/private/etc.? If so, what is it? (She is employed but is exploring her options and does not want her current boss to know.)

    • When she emails it, just say “please don’t forward to anyone without asking me first.” There’s nothing weird about that.

    • I just went through this. While I asked for my cv to be confidential in the email that I sent, it ended up in the hands of someone who I have worked with in the past who I had no idea is consulting with this organization. I am very paranoid word is going to get out.

    • I think the reality is that you can’t really guarantee confidentiality 100%. It would be great if you could, but we live in a real world populated by imperfect people.

      When I sent it, I would include a note, as another Corporette suggested, that you hadn’t really made it public that you were looking, so you’d appreciate confidentiality.

      But also keep in mind that it’s much easier to dissipate electronic files than hard-copy ones.

  36. I am transitioning from being a non-traditional student to a full-time job in May. This is post-kids and after a long break. I need professional help to up my style. Any ideas for who I should be looking for? I am in North Virginia but can make it to DC if necessary.

    • Anonymous :

      This may sound crazy, but I used to sit in the Starbucks in the business area of town and look for fantastic outfits — and note down why they were so great (usually they fit perfectly, flattered, and were in great fabric and had great accessories).

      Good luck!

    • A lot of stores will do personal shopping for you with an appointment. I know JCrew for sure, probably Nordstrom– call some stores around you and see what you can get.

    • Good suggestions! I didn’t know the stores did it.

      Anon, I like how some people look in outfits but have never thought about why. I am going to think about this some more.

    • Sitting in Starbucks is a fantastic idea. Pick the one by a courthouse or something.

    • Stores will certainly help you will personal shopping but and very biased (As I am a stylist myself) check out personal stylists in the area if possible. Google and shop around- most stylists will give brief consults so you can see if you like their personalities first. The advantage of stylists versus store appointments; we are not making commission off of clothing- we want to help you look your best! And give you as many possible options without sticking to one certain “look”. However, an appointment at a store may just be easier for you! Choose Nordstrom- more options and generally speaking, the best customer service anywhere. Good luck!

  37. No Longer Job Hunting in LA :

    I’m curious about fabrics and colors and seasonal-appropriateness. I know tweed is for fall and winter, and linen is for spring and summer, but what about charcoal wool pants? If I’m not hot, can I wear them year round? I would love some advice about fabrics and colors for the seasons.

    Also, I HATE my legs (pasty pale bordering on purple when I’m cold, some spider veins), but don’t want to use self-tanner. Are hose my only option for spring/summer when tights are out?

    • I don’t see anything wrong with charcoal gray for the spring. As for wool, as long as it’s not an obviously very thick wool I don’t think it should be a problem. Personal for my suiting I like to get fabrics that I can wear year round (seeing as it appears you live in LA, I live on the FL gulf coast and our climates are probably fairly similar). You can always bring in more springy colors with your tops, shoes, and accessories.

    • I think that any material is fine as long as it’s not wildly inappropriate looking (i.e., really bulky in hot weather) and you’re comfortable. I doubt most people notice whether what you’re wearing is actually wool or not.

      As a super-pale redhead, I have very similar leg issues (and, additionally, moles and a tendency to bruise easily on the legs). I use self-tanner regularly in the summer, which is a pain but I think it works OK. I usually mix it with a little lotion to even it out and make it less harsh, then keep it up with a lotion/tanner mix (about 1/2 and 1/2) regularly. If anyone has better solutions, though, I’m all ears.

    • Great question! I hope you don’t mind a semi-threadjack, but along these lines, I’d be interested in comments on the wrinkle factor of various fabrics (i.e., On a continuum, what are the best and worst for wrinkling across the hips/waist from sitting? Are there any that should be avoided completely because they wrinkle too much to be worth buying?)

    • Wool is generally for fall/winter- it seems you already know this. I would not suggest wearing wool during spr/summer. Charcoal is a beautiful color though. OF COURSE you CAN wear them year round if you want to! It also may depend on what field of work you are in, do you care about fabric/fashion “rules?”
      May I ask why so opposed to self tanner? Jergens rules (does smell though.) Also- as a stylist and from other stylists- Sally Hansen has a spray that is called “Airbrush Legs” that is miraculous. And Wolford of course makes some great sheer hose.

    • Hi–I’m from LA. If you buy a seasonless wool (like J Crew stretch wool, which is really lightweight) there’s no reason you can’t wear it in the summer. If you are wearing a more heavy wool, like flannel, then I would not wear it in the summer. Personally, I transition some of my darker colored wool (even seasonless) to lighter colors (I have some light charcoal pinstripe pants for instance, instead of dark, bordering on black, charcoal pants). You will find that you can “brighten” most outfits in LA by adding a lot of color–there’s no fear of color there at all.

      I would also add that nylons are REALLY uncommon in LA, even in pretty formal dress situations…there’s just something very LA about everyone being perma-bronzed that means that most folks, even outside of the entertainment industry, don’t wear nylons at all in LA.

      Not sure if this is helpful, but my two cents as a longtime SoCal girl who now calls NorCal home.

  38. I just discovered reusable silicone muffin cups – to be used instead of paper/foil liners for muffins/cupcakes/etc. It always feels wasteful to throw away the liners, but I’m wondering how practical the silicone cups are…. For anyone who has them – any preferred brands? Are they reasonably easy to clean? Do the muffins get stale quicker without the liner to keep moisture in? Thanks!

    • I have them, and I’m not super thrilled with them. They’re kind of a pain to clean because I handwash them. I put them in the dishwasher once and two of them sort of melted and cracked, which made no sense to me since they’re designed to withstand heat. I also have two different brands, and one seems to be better than the other, but unfortunately I don’t remember what they are. Also, they seem smaller than the cups in a regular muffin tray.

      • L from Oz :

        I have a silicon muffin tray, which works reasonably well, but I still have to use a fair bit of butter if I go without paper liners. (And things must be cool before you turn them out, or else you get a catastrophe.) I’ve certainly had more luck with the tray than with individual silicon liners, and it’s dishwasher safe. Might be an option?

    • I haven’t used muffin cups, but I have used other silicone products for baking and cooking. Generally, I haven’t been impressed. As others noted above, cleaning can be a chore, and quite frankly I worry about toxicity. Of course, I am overly cautious to the point of paranoia in that department.

      Have you ever tried using non-stick metal muffin tins with no paper? I’ve had really good results with spray oil or a thin layer of vegetable shortening , then gently prying the muffins out of the tin with a fork once they’ve cooled a bit.

    • Another Sarah :

      I have a silicon muffin tin, and haven’t really had a problem getting the muffins out, etc. I usually spray it with some baking Pam before I load them, so that may be it. They are a pain to clean, and I handwash, because my silicon stuff is specifically labeled that it’s not dishwasher safe. I’ve found that if you clean them as soon as you can (so while everything is still soft) things go much, much easier. I’m also afraid of it getting mangled in the dishwasher. As for stuff going stale, I’m not sure because I’ve never had to keep any of the muffins I’ve made. My stuff is Le Creuset, and I think it works pretty well.

      Annnnnd I just realized you weren’t talking about a muffin tin, but the little muffin cups. Oops. :-D

  39. Dutch Fan :

    Hi everyone, I have a quick question for those who work in the IP field….

    I have a bachelors in biology (cell/molec mainly), but I am looking for a masters that combines biology with some other field. I want to do a Masters that will be competitive in the IP job market (which is the primary reason why I want to do a M.S.).

    Which types of degrees are in high demand? I know that engineers always have an easy time with getting IP jobs, but I can’t transition to a purely engineering masters from biology. I was looking into biomed engineering, genetics, or maybe even pharmacology? I’m going to be applying in the fall so I have to start thinking of my options!

    Any help would be appreciated!

    • Dutch Fan, Are you looking to work in an academic setting or an industrial one? Take a look at the Technology Transfer offices of some universities. Usually, they have staff profiles and you can see what sort of folk they hire.

      Take a look at the NIH OTT website also for other ideas.

      Another thing you could do is check out job listings at your university’s career development office or talk to a counselor there.

      • Dutch Fan :

        Oops, I think I was a bit unclear in my post. (There are so many lawyers on here, I thought people would assume I was a lawyer).

        I am a first-year lawyer (I have my JD already), so I want to work in IP law. I either want to work at a law firm (which seems more likely for the first few years of practice) or even at a biotech, pharma company, etc. (basically, in house) after awhile doing legal work, consulting, etc. My dream job would be to move on to some sort of consulting-type of thing after I work as a lawyer for a few years.

        Basically I’m looking to get my Masters to make myself more competitive for the legal market.

        But thanks for the NIH OTT suggestion! I think that’s a great starting point!

        • Anon IP Lawyer :

          Do you want to do prosecution or litigation? If you want prosecution, you are going to have a tough time unless you get a PhD – it seems like most employers require a PhD in any of the bio fields. Without a PhD, I’d focus on smaller employers who do a lot of work in your area of specialty, whatever it is (with or without masters). All in all, I’m not sure any MS specialty is better than any other to make you more “generally” marketable”

          If you want to do litigation, you probably don’t need a MS. But, given you are already out of school, you’ll have to do a lot of personal networking to show firms that you have the personality for litigation.

        • Here’s some unsolicited advice from a non-lawyer: make sure that another degree is really going to increase your marketability more than, say, a good network of professionals in the field or more work experience. I have interviewed a few young candidates lately who had multiple degrees but no substantive work experience – sorry, not helpful for what we need. I interviewed an MBA the other day who had worked for a year in a totally unrelated field from mine before going to business school, and it was very obvious that despite the degree, she had limited skills. A lot of younger people are looking at employability as a game where he/she who has the most letters after their name wins, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Have you talked to someone in the field you want to work in about your resume, and gotten advice about where to go from here? In some cases, I see people getting multiple degrees where a a couple of years of solid experience, a certificate program, a tested certification, or something else that requires less time and money would work just as well. Good luck.

          • Thanks for all of the advice!

            Again, I didn’t give all the details of my situation. There is something about giving all of the unique details of your career situation that weirds me out. I feel like people will figure out who I am, so I was trying to be as discreet as possible, but clearly this left a lot of questions!

            Risking somehow ‘outing’ myself…I want/do work in litigation in a big IP market. I have a job in litigation right now. (prosecution sounds tortuous, to be honest!- I’m definitely a litigator at heart).

            I’d like to maintain contact with my firm while I go out there and get my masters (maybe even still do some part-time work, which would keep me developing some practical skills). It seems that in IP, law firms DO look for those silly letters behind their name, probably to impress clients in all honesty. I was lucky to get a job with my bachelors only- it’s probably due to my extensive research background (even though I only did a bachelors, I was lucky and got my name on some publications).

            And I do agree a lot of young people are trying to rack up 5 degrees behind their name. It’s probably because of all of the joint programs that have sprung up. It does definitely come down to who you know, and if you are respected in the legal community. That’s why I don’t understand why all of these people I know seem to be burning bridges left, right and, center.

            I was thinking of cold-calling some firms in other cities than mine to see if they would give an honest opinion about what makes a person marketable in IP litigation (in terms of degrees, etc.). Would that be pushy? Obviously, if they did not want to respond, I would not be offended.

        • former patent litigator, Silicon Valley :

          Have you taken the patent bar yet?

          You don’t need a master’s degree here. I have several friends practicing as patent litigators in the bay area, at big firms and patent shops. None of them have masters degrees, just undergrad degrees in hard sciences/engineering, including biology. In my group, the most junior masters degree holder was the most junior partner (no associates).

          Associates are never listed on pitches to clients unless they have something truly impressive and directly relevant to the client, like a Federal Circuit clerkship or a clerkship with the judge we’ve been assigned. That’s impressive because it shows directly relevant practical skills. A master’s degree is not the kind of “impressive” that clients care about, with the probable exception of trial counsel i.e the most senior and second most senior partners on the case.

          I highly doubt that big firms would respond to your cold-calling idea, nor would the prestigious patent shops in my area. They’d probably also remember your name when you started applying, and not in a good way. Instead, do your own research. Pull some patent suit dockets and see who is on the pleadings. Then look at their firm bio pages – how many of them have master’s degrees? Or talk to recruiters who do work here.

    • I agree with the others who have said that you really don’t need a masters for litigation. I just wanted to add that a masters in bio could even potentially hurt you, because some people who have bio PhDs will assume that your Masters is a result of starting and then quitting/being asked to leave a PhD program, because most of us know a number of people who got their Masters that way. So, if you do go down this road, I would at least try to find some way to make it clear on your resume that that is not the case.

      • Also, I would not just cold call random people. However, you could look for alums of your undergrad and law school who are in IP at the firms you are interested in and email them. I get emails like this occasionally and am far more receptive to them than if it was just some random person that I had no connection to. And I would email, rather than call, so that the person can respond at their convenience rather than being interrupted in the middle of a busy day.

    • Most IP jobs these days are for electrical/computer engineers, if not pretty much all. I know a lot of PhD bios who can’t get squat.

  40. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    I have a question, but I feel the need to provide a little background first. At the end of my 1L/beginning of my 2L year, I decided I would like to go into Probate/Trusts & Estates matter once I graduate. So I found an internship that has been really helpful and my school has a Wills Lab that you can take for one semester and write one will for one client. The five year old in me decided that it wasn’t fair that people who wanted to practice in Criminal or Environmental Law got a clinic, sometimes semester long and sometimes full year, where they got to operate like a law firm and have many opportunities to practice. So, in January I went to a professor I really trust and told her my idea about possibly getting a “Probate Clinic” started. She loved the idea and immediately through her full weight behind it. Last Tuesday, we had a meeting with the Dean and Thursday we were writing a course description to have a Probate Practicum placed in the upcoming fall schedule! It’s not a clinic, but I will still get the credits and experience I want.

    So here is my question, how do I incorporate the fact that I have done this into my cover letter and resume. I am very proud that I have taken this from an idea to reality and pleased that it has happened in such a short amount of time, but every time I try to write something it feels too awkward. Thanks in advance.

    • Anonymous :

      “My accomplishments include formulating and establishing the Mrs. B.E.F. Probate Clinic at XYZ school… “

    • On your resume: “Founder, State Law School Probate Practicum”.

      In the cover letter, “I conceived of and initiated the State Law School Probate Practicum, which will allow law students to spend a semester working under the supervision of local probate attorneys to provide services to indigent clients beginning in fall 2011. I plan to participate in the practicum during its first semester.”

      Or something like that.

      congrats, btw – that’s awesome to see your initiative take off!

  41. Sale PSA:

    Ann Taylor is doing 40% off all sale items w/ code EXTRA40. Can’t find anywhere when the sale actually ends.

    I picked up a t-shirt, button-front shirt, slacks, and cardigan for about $140.

  42. SF Bay Associate :

    PSA – in searching for a trench with a zip out liner, I had ordered and returned London Fog’s Iridescent trench from Nordstrom:
    http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/london-fog-iridescent-double-breasted-trench/3097637?origin=styleResultsPager_next The wine red color was gorgeous, but the S was sadly too big for my small bust and narrow shoulders.

    I just found it again at Sierra Trading Post in petite sizes:
    on sale for $112, and you can stack two codes: SITESAT311 for 20% off, and AVMARCH1 for another 25% off off $125+ (or, extra 20% off with UOUT), and ebates for another 2.5% rebate. Shipping is pricey ($15 for the XSP and SP coats, plus $7 to return one/both of them), but I am rationalizing it by my stacking coupon codes. With the two discount codes, the coat was $84 (plus shipping), instead of retail $250.

    Fingers crossed for success!

    PSA2: always check retailmenot.com for coupon codes before you buy anything online, and always use ebates – that extra 2-6% back really adds up.

  43. Visiting Tulsa :

    Any suggestions for places to stay and things to do in Tulsa? BF and I will be traveling there for a long weekend sometime this spring to visit family and would like to make the most of it.

  44. I hate my job. I hate being a biglaw lawyer. That is all.

    • Anonymous :


      Hope you have a good escape plan because living like that sucks.

      I’d take you for a beer if I could.

    • Boston atty :

      Agree with Anonymous above. And as a fellow biglaw lawyer, totally agree that it tends to suck the big one.

  45. Netflix recommendation: Morning Glory, about a young woman (early 30s) working her ass off trying to make it as an executive producer of a morning show. I saw it last night and thought Rachel McAdams gave a good performance that reminded me a lot about my job in biglaw… sometimes almost too much. It’s not often we see a hard working, smart, career-oriented woman character in movies that isn’t an awful person, secretly desperate to get married/have babies, or an ice queen. Her character is a corporette.

    • lawyerette :

      Cool! Will have to put that in. Thanks!

    • LOVED IT. She reminded me…so much of myself.

      I also appreciated that the love story was peripheral – so many movies about young woman are rom-coms, and I liked that the romance was present but not central.

    • Thanks for the recommendation. I’m home for a week alone with my 2 year old while my husband skiis in the backcountry for a week. A good escape movie is great!

  46. Footloose :

    Another shoe question —

    What kind of shoes do people wear on the weekend? I am a fan of wider leg pants, and have trouble finding casual, comfortable shoes that are weekend appropriate but still a little cute. Sometimes I wear my Cole Haan work flats, sometimes I wear fashion sneakers, but have you found anything in between that would look good with jeans and a sweater but still allow me to walk as much as needed? Although I think they look good on others, I am not looking for riding boots . . . Thanks!

    • Danskos. I love them.

      • Second the Danskos. They’re pricey, but they last exactly forever. (I live in the Pacific Northwest, where it is not uncommon that we have moisture on the ground all four seasons. Danskos are waterproof, too, which is awesome.)

        • Danskos are now made in China and among other issues do not have the longevity they used to have. I would recommend looking at Sanitas — they are the original Danskos, and are still using the original factories and sites. Not the widest range of patterns, but I am wearing a “tapestry” clog that has really stood up very well. Price range is the same, last I purchased.

          • Agreed. Danskos aren’t what they used to be.

          • Hmm, I haven’t had any problems with my newer Danskos (I have 3 pairs, one very old, two newer). But Sanita used to be the same company as Dansko, they split into two companies. I agree with the rec to look at Sanitas as well.

    • Check out some of the “comfort” brands like Clarks, Sofft, Born…

      With wide pants, I love flats with a little bit of structure

      or sometimes mules or clogs, depending on how casual the rest of the outfit is

      Too high of a heel sometimes seems off though, so you have to really try on and see.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I tend to wear more casual fabric flats. I have a few pairs from the brand Blowfish that I got on Zappos that I love.

      I have these in a light gray color that doesn’t appear to be available anymore. I wear them with everything and find them really comfortable. I live in NYC so I walk a lot and they aren’t necessarily the most supportive, but they are comfortable enough.


    • I’m more comfortable in a bit of a heel. I stick to comfortable wedges like these: http://www.zappos.com/softspots-bellina-brownwood-calf?zlfid=111

    • Can’t offer any specific brand recommendations, but I usually go for more fun/trendy flats (think fuschia-pink suede with ruffles or leopard print) and sandals.

      Unless I’m looking for something that I’ll be doing a lot of walking in, I don’t give as much thought to quality/price. Usually these are shoes that I won’t be wearing very often and/or want to be wearing after a few seasons.

    • I usually wear my Me Too flats. You can usually find them at TJ Maxx for under $40, but they are also available at endless, zappos, 6pm, etc. They are very comfortable and have never given me blisters. Some of them are ugly, but they do have some very cute shoes.

    • I like Keen brand shoes (not the sandals, but their closed toed options).

      They have a range from more “sporty” to more “weekend casual” but they’re all really comfortable.

    • Bensimon sneaks. Love ’em.

  47. I love weekends :

    Earlier this week, someone mentioned buying a grey pinstripe skirt suit. If you are reading this, could you please share details or a link? Other ideas also welcome. This item has been on my need list for a while.

    • I have a Tahari gray pinstriped dress suit I bought on sale at Lord and Taylor.

    • That was me. I found my suit on Rue La La ( for $79!). It was a Calvin Klein. Two-button shorter length jacket with pencil skirt. I just wore it to an event where I was introducing a speaker with a yellow top underneath and felt fabulous. Good luck with your search!

  48. I’ve been spending a lot of time this week thinking of hanging a shingle. I’ve been a public defender for several years, and some well-known private criminal defense attorneys in my city have some empty office space in their suite. I’d expect to get some indigent defense contracts from the local courts, and maybe have some paying customers too. (For some reason, in my area, most of the criminal attorneys are solo, with shared office space. There aren’t a lot of firms that do criminal at all. I’m not sure why this is.)

    Mostly right now I’m planning budgets to see if it’s even possible for me. It looks like it’s possible… but some of my friends who are solo talk about a period of austerity in the first 6-12 months.

    Have any of you left a steady paycheck and benefits to hang a shingle? And if so, what was some advice you would have liked to get early in the process?

    • I did it about a year and a half ago. I did it with very little in my checking account. Very scary, but things weren’t working out with my current firm. I was never paid on time, wasn’t paid everything, etc. What helped was that a lot of my current clients went with me (and paid . . .) I realize that’s not strictly applicable to you since you’re in criminal defense. I borrowed money from my parents once to make my house rent, but other than that, I’ve paid my bills every month.

      I would advise keeping your expenses as low as possible. Use your current computer, don’t splash out on a yellow page ad. I don’t know if the office sharing you’re looking at will include a fax, but if it doesn’t, I can’t recommend Myfax.com enough. It’s cheap, makes it easy to work from home, easy to keep efiles, etc.

      I honestly paid a lot of my bills early on by referrals from my former opposing counsel, and also some contract work with them. Contract work is great in your early days, you won’t make a ton, but it’s easy money that will keep a roof over your head. I ghost wrote a lot of motions to suppress, etc. I also did a few court appearances when they had scheduling conflicts. A year and a half later I make much more with my own clients, but it helps in the early days.

      You should network with some of the established criminal defense attorneys in your town. They will probably refer clients to you that can’t afford them, but could afford you.

  49. I have a wardrobe question for everyone: I am in law school, and I have a big presentation coming up (I’ll be participating in a debate where I’ll probably have to stand for a long time). I already have a suit picked out: dark gray skirt suit. My question is: what shoes should I wear? I need to look sharp and professional, but I also don’t want to be thinking about how my feet hurt the whole day.
    Thanks for any advice!

  50. There are people in ANY city who would wear this with dresses and skirts??!!

  51. Just want to rant about what law school has done to my vision. I’m now stuck switching all day long between one pair of glasses for distance and another for reading/the computer. My doc says no bifocals for a year and no LASIK (if I am a candidate) for 2. Sigh… Anyone else out there with annoying vision troubles?

    • Yes! My poor vision was stable for 5 years before I started law school. Three years in, my vision has deteriorated substantially. I normally wear contacts, but I had to buy a new pair of glasses because my old pair was too weak.

    • My vision improved exponentially during the five or so years after I graduated law school. I went from -450 to -175. So there’s hope.

    • My vision went from bad to worse during law school and the year after that I spent clerking. My prescription doubled.

      …But then the year after, my vision got slightly better.

      And almost 100% of the lawyers I know wear glasses.

      And if you’re nearsighted, an eye doctor once told me that nearsightedness tends to get worse throughout your mid-late 20s and then level off once you’re 30. So that’s good – it may have happened even if you didn’t go to law school.

    • I highly recommend eye exercises…take some time to focus near and then look far (15 to 20 feet), waiting for your eyes to refocus far awat. Do the near-far combo about 10 times every twenty minutes or so. This really seems to help the constant deterioration.

      I am not sure if this helps, but you should also consider investing in a good, big monitor (even if you have to pay for it yourself) to do some of your computer work in larger font. You may have to scroll more, but your eyes don’t have to work as hard.

      Last, talk to your eye doctor about this, but if you get contacts, and wear them, they help “shape” your eyeball such that they can slow your prescription’s increase. My doc said contacts were better than glasses for this.

      Good luck!

      Also, sadly, just an FYI–my vision had gotten worse EVERY year since I graduated college, and got much worse when I worked in biglaw in New York (tons of long merger agreements, all day….). It has never gotten better, but the demise has slowed a bit since I hit 30!

    • Why can’t you do bifocals? I love my bifocal contacts- so much better than having to wear reading glasses or progressives all the time. Even contacts plus reading glasses would be better than switching. What do you end up doing in class? It doesn’t make sense to be stuck either not really seeing the professor or getting a headache from the computer.

      FWIW my eyes did not change in law school, but I was almost 30 when I started so that probably had something to do with it.

      • I dunno I didn’t really understand why no bifocals, but he said no to them for a year. I guess b/c my eyes are having such a hard time focusing, he wants me to switch between the two glasses to give my eyes a rest.