Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Silk Animal Print Drape Neck Top

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Silk Animal Print Drape Neck TopAnn Taylor has been having some great sales lately — you can take 30% off a full-price suit set, as well as taking an extra 50% off all sale styles. It’s the latter of these sales that brings this silk cowl neck down to a very reasonable $25. I like that it has sleeves, as well as the fact that the shirt is long enough enough to be tucked, belted, or layered. It has a touch of spandex (8%) and an empire seam. It was $88, but for the last weekend is now down to $25. Not bad at all. Silk Animal Print Drape Neck Top


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(L-2)

Comments

  1. Always a NYer :

    Cute top but I’m not a fan of anything with an empire waist. Love the pattern though, and the cowl neck.

    Early threadjack – I can’t seem to wrap my head around why a skirt suit is more conservative than a pants suit. One would think having their legs covered rather than exposed would be conservative route. While I love a good pencil skirt when the mood strikes, I only own pants suits. I do plan on addidng a few skirt suits to my wardrobe but not to be more conservative, just to add variety.

    Looking forward to your thoughts/comments.

    • What exactly is an empire waist?

      • Always a NYer :

        An empire waist hits right where your bra ends. I always think it makes one look pregnant. It’s great when you are pregnant but I’ve never wanted to look pregnant when I know I’m not ;)

      • Curl Friend :

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_silhouette

        If you’ve ever seen portraits of Empress Josephine, Napoleon’s squeeze, she is wearing empire waist dresses. That was the empire invoked in the name. All the women in all the Jane Austen film and TV adaptations you’ve ever seen are wearing empire lines.

        It can be very flattering for some shapes. It’s one of my favorite silhouettes.

        Incidentally, in America, some people use the French pronunciation, which is something like “ahmpeer.”

        • I’ve been trying to figure out which pronounciation is approriate (or maybe both are?). I’ve always though it was Em-Pie-er, but then I heard Stacy London saying “Ap-pier” and now I’m afraid to say it at all.

          • I live in the US and I always say “em-pie-er” (despite being a fluent French speaker). I think Stacy London sounds a bit ridiculous, frankly. If you want to use a foreign-language pronunciation either because that pronunciation is (1) almost universally used or (2) because that foreign language is your native language, then go for it. Otherwise you just sound affected.

          • I don’t know, Anonymous at 11:02. Shouldn’t we allow people to change? I mean, people used to say croy-sant and now say cra-ssont for croissant. Other examples are “Ni-ka-rag-you-a” vs “Ni-ka-rog-wa” for the country and “h’oat” vs “oat” for haute. I think it shows an increasing consciousness for other languages/countries and origins of the words we use. I’m for it.

            And, by the way, I am a native speaker and still carefully say cra-ssont instead of croissant, because I’m speaking English. I will say om-pier rather than empire (a la francaise) when I am speaking English. I think I’d sound affected if I pronounced French words in genuine French rather than adapting them to the language I’m speaking.

          • It’s actually “om-PEER” if you want to be fashion-correct. But if that sounds too poncy to you, by all means, pronounce it the American way.

          • I say om-PEER, which is technically correct (French being the language of fashion, or whatever). But, as regular Corporettes have probably figured out, I speak both French and English. I wouldn’t judge a native English speaker who pronounced it the same way you’d refer to the Austro-Hungarian one.

          • Darn it, Anonymous 11:27, now you just gave me a whole new list of words that I’m afraid to say. (And I really like croissants . . .)

    • I have often wondered the same thing. The only reason I can come up with is the old-school thought that men wear pants and women wear skirts. I, too, look forward to other thoughts/comments.

    • I think it’s more conservative because it’s more traditional. And it’s more traditional because men wear the pants, women wear the skirts and dresses.

      This was always my impression, anyway. And I think it’s a load of crap. But I think only semi-recently, for example, were women allowed to appear before the Supreme Court in pantsuits.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Yep, just like that wretched Dockers commercial from a few years ago: men wear the pants. Continuing in the SCOTUS dress code vein, I heard recently from a partner in my office that women who appear before SCOTUS have to wear some kind of “tie,” whether it’s a neck scarf or a RBG lace doily thing, just as men must wear ties. Is this true?? My Google kung fu has failed.

      • Anonymous Poser :

        THIS

        • Anonymous Poser :

          Grr. “THIS” was supposed to be in response to this comment from Emma (I did leave out her last sentence here). It’s a load of sexist crap, IMO.

          “I think it’s more conservative because it’s more traditional. And it’s more traditional because men wear the pants, women wear the skirts and dresses.

          This was always my impression, anyway. And I think it’s a load of crap.”

    • I think it is a hold-over from the days when women really only wore skirts/dresses, and wearing pants was seen as a bold statement and outside the box (see: Katharine Hepburn).

    • I think women tend to view skirts as less formal than pants because nicer clothes for women in social situations tends to be skirts/ dresses. (For example, most female wedding guests wear dresses.) We feel that professional clothes should be different.

      • To clarify, particularly when we start our careers, most of our experience with nice-clothes-situations have been social, so we view skirts as social clothing.

        • Who is this “we” you are referring to?

          I don’t view skirts as social clothing or pants as professional clothing. I have casual/social skirts and pants, and business skirts and pants.

    • I thought that for a long time, too (and maybe I still do, but know that others won’t perceive it that way). Skirt suits just seemed, I don’t know, more sexy and feminine. I agree that for 95% of people, it doesn’t matter, but I do sometimes think that I feel a little bit more authoritative in a skirt suit- perhaps because it feels like a bigger deal to put one on, or that I feel a little bit more self confident because of the idea that I feel a little sexier? I guess that you could say that, to me, a pants suit is more conservative, in the sense that I feel comfortable and covered up in it (and I think they can be (aren’t always, just can be) perceived as more frumpy), but a skirt suit is more formal and powerful, so I usually wear one when it’s a big deal (interview, important court appearence, etc.)

      I love this top. I think I’ll stop by Ann Taylor on my way home today. (and cross my fingers for it- this top would look great with a pencil skirt for the date that hubby and I have planned tonight!)

      • I agree, though I am not sure why. But when I argue in front of my state supreme court, I and most of the other women I work with, wear skirt suits. We kind of joke that someone is being daring when they appear in a pantsuit, though there is no rule requiring skirt suits.

      • Annon for this :

        I agree and HATE pants suit. I wear pants to work with blouses, sweaters, etc. But when I put pants with a matching jacket, even if high end and fashionable, I just feel sooo dowdy and Hillary-esq that I cannot bear it.

      • I don’t understand the idea of feeling more authoritative when I feel “sexier.” Personally, I feel less authoritative when I feel like I look “sexy.” I don’t think a man is going to take me seriously if I’m dressed in a way that looks like I want attention for my body or looks.

        I do prefer skirt suits because I think they look nicer, but not because I feel sexy when I’m wearing them.

        • I think that it’s more of a confidence thing than not (and I’ll add that I’m not exactly a va-va-voom, I’m too sexy for my shirt kinda girl- I’m definitely the girl-next-door type at best, so sexy isn’t really high on my list of attributes). More powerful, which is sort of a sexy thing, than actually sex-appeal, come-and-get-me, sexy. But I’m just describing how I feel in different outfits; I’m sure that it’s different for different people.

          • I’m in your camp – if I think I look good, I feel more confident, which translates into feeling more powerful. I also don’t mind that skirts are considered more traditional than pants because I look better in skirts. :)

    • I think skirts are only considered more conservative than pants from the sexist point of view that women shouldn’t dare “dress like a man.” That point of view is completely unacceptable to me.

    • I think its ridiculous that pant suits would not be acceptable attire somewhere where skirt suits are
      BUT
      I prefer skirt suits and think they are more formal. A pantsuit on a woman is not as formal as a pantsuit on a man most of the time because men wear ties and sort of “dress up” the suit (often). I think women are not good at knowing the difference between a dressy pantsuit and one that is a suit but not dressy. Quality of fabric, cut, dressiness of the shirt under the suit, etc all make a difference in terms of whether a pant suit is dressy.

    • Always a NYer :

      No snark intended but why does everyone seem to think skirt suits are more formal? Even though you may not agree with the logic of “men wear pants and women wear skirts,” skirts are still perferred.

      The feminist in me just cannot agree that skirts make a woman appear more powerful than pants. Personally, if I were to go for my most authoritative look, I’d probably reach for the navy pinstripe pantsuit with a vest that I got when I graduated from grad school but have yet to wear. It may seem manly but at the end of the day I am a woman and I think people know that regardless of what I’m wearing.

      Thoughts?

      • Anonymous Poser :

        Years ago, I rebelled against the idea that skirts are more appropriate/formal attire for women than pants are (in certain business settings) by wearing a button-up shirt with pants and a tie: The same boss who’d previously suggested I wear skirts on the weekends (I was working retail at the time) complimented me on my outfit. :-)

        I don’t know why society has decided that skirt suits are more formal than pants suits, and I wish we’d just get over it. It’s ridiculous and, of course, sexist. My pants have to be dry cleaned just the same, are made of the same material, and were just as expensive as my skirts…

      • Let’s separate formal from powerful/professional. They are not the same thing. “Formal” basically means an occasion where you need to show a certain level of respect, in both attire and appearance. “Professional” (or powerful) means that you look ready to do your job.

        As a lot of people on this thread are pointing out, notions of formality stem from social occasions, where dresses/skirts are almost always more formal than pants, traditionally speaking. If you were meeting the Queen, or going to a wedding, you probably wouldn’t wear pants.

        When it comes to work, some people seem to think that women look more powerful/professional if they are dressed a bit more like men, e.g. in pants. Others identify a powerful/professional appearance with a formal look, hence the skirt.

        • Interesting thread. I think there are pitfalls to both skirt and pant suits! I always prefer a skirt suit because I feel more “powerful” and “professional” in one–due to the simple fact that skirts are more likely to actually fit me properly. (Dress pants are always a nightmare for me, and right now I own zero that I actually like.) However, in my field, skirt suits are almost unheard-of, so wearing one makes me stand out and, I suspect, look like I want to be girly or bring attention to my legs.

          • I agree about the fit. I feel like pants suits have to be tailored perfectly to look good, and that’s really difficult.

          • LadyEnginerd :

            I’m in the same boat! I like skirt suits, but since most of my suit-worthy occasions are likely to involve touring labs or other skirt-unfriendly facilities, I feel that wearing one will make me stand out (and not in a good way). Maybe someday when I’m further along in my career, I’ll build enough of a reputation for being “serious” to offset some girly skirts?

      • Is a man wearing a pant suit more formally dressed than a man wearing a skirt suit? Probably, since it’s much less traditional for a man to wear a skirt. I think dressing in your gender’s tradition is an aspect of what it means to dress formally. Doesn’t mean there can’t/shouldn’t be drift in fashion, and I’m glad it’s drifted toward women in pants as well as skirts.

      • I was told in law school not to appear in court in Virginia in a pantsuit because I’d be kicked out of the court.

        • This. I was told in law school that pants suits were not allowed in the Virginia Supreme Court. We were also informed to always wear skirt suits to interviews.

      • One of my female mentors wore a skirt suit to oral arguments in appeallate court precicely in her mind to combat the idea that women must dress like men to appear authoritative/smart/professional etc. She said that we as women lawyers can still look feminine and represent our client well.

        • Always a NYer :

          Now this is a mindset I can support. I guess my main issue is that I don’t like people telling me to wear a skirt suit because I’m supposed to. If I want to wear a skirt or pants, I’ll do so for me and no one else. Thank you for sharing this, I never thought of the issue this way before. I’m looking at this in a whole new light now.

    • I don’t think it’s true that they’re considered more conservative, but rather, more formal. Women’s formal attire has traditionally consisted of dresses or skirts, and that bled over into the workplace. I don’t think it matters anymore whether you wear pants or a skirt, but a lot of women (myself included) only feel truly dressed up if we’re wearing a dress or skirt.

    • This top doesn’t look like it has a waist at all… how is it in empire waist?

  2. I think this top is really cute. Empire waists certainly can make someone look pregnant, especially if below it is flowing or poofy. But it doesn’t always–I am very high waisted with a long torso, and empire waists often fall at my natural waist, which can be incredibly flattering. As with so many things, it just depends on the individual garment.

    • Westsidebee :

      I often avoid empire waists, but this one looks fine to me — it looks more like just a seam, for visual effect, rather than an actual shaped waist. I think it looks cute.

    • I’m high-waisted too. An empire waist makes me 10 pounds thinner. Garments with “average” normal waists, or low waists fall just above my rear and emphasize it.

      I happen to love me some florid floral Laura Ashley and Liberty of London, but that silhouette appears in more sober business clothes made out of wool crepe or tropical wool fairly frequently these days.

    • Me too!

  3. I own this, and the empire waist is not pouf-y. It’s a very flattering cut, with the line of the shirt dropping straight down from the waist, for a very slimming effect. Not all empire waist shirts are created equal!

    • S in Chicago :

      I totally agree. It’s not at all poufy. It just sort of delineates chest slighty and goes straight down. It’s very flattering. For anyone looking to cover a bit of tummy though, this isn’t the cut for you.

      I have the same shirt in solid cream (it’s more expensive right now). I believe I saw it in an orange as well. If I wasn’t opposed to animal prints I’d be snagging this right now.

    • Westsidebee :

      I was thinking this when I commented above! Thanks for clarifying.

    • Curl Friend :

      Nope, they’re not. I love them. Just not this one.

    • How does it look tucked in?

      • Anonfrom 10:34 :

        I tucked it into a suit recently and it looked fine. The empire waist isn’t really noticeable.

        • I’m getting ready for OCIs and hate trying to find tops that look nice under a suit. I have two suits (one gray, one black) but pretty much only one top that I am comfortable wearing with either of them (and with several interviews, I’d like to have more than one option). I was reading another thread about what to wear under them, and people were saying that a silk top with a crew or cowl neck look nice. Is this top something they were referring to? Is the print too crazy for an interview? If I could find something similar to this in a solid, would it be more conservative?

          • I would steer clear of most bold prints for interviews (and I think animal prints are bold by nature) but a subtle print (stripe, etc) is probably fine. My personal preference is for collared, button-front shirts for interviews as I think they give the most polished impression, but I know that opinions on this vary WIDELY.

          • Do you have any recommendations for button front shirts that fit under suit jackets well? so far I find that many have a tendency to bunch or wrinkle oddly when under a suit jacket, even if it lies normally when it is worn on its own.

          • I’m anonymous from 12:37. I like Brooks Brothers Tailored Fit for under suit jackets (I also like JCrew’s button-fronts but they aren’t wrinkle-resistant and so I don’t wear them under suit jackets – if I end up removing my jacket, I look messy). One key is to use your opposite hand to hold your shirt cuff tightly while pulling up your jacket sleeve – it helps to keep the sleeve lying flat.

            Also – when you shop for a suit jacket, make sure you are trying it on with a sleeved shirt underneath it. I’ve noticed that suit jackets are being cut increasingly slim these days and you may need to go one size up to make sure you can fit more than a camisole underneath!

          • The silk cowl neck top at Ann Taylor (Item number 258810) and the Halogen Pleat Neck Silk Top from Nordstrom are both great choices for under suits.

          • Thanks for the suggestions! I’m thinking I’ll get a cowl neck like the Ann Taylor one that Eponine suggested and a Brooks Brothers button up. I loved the Halogen top, but for religious reasons need any top I buy to have at least short sleeves.

  4. Curl Friend :

    I’m not crazy about this blouse. To start, I’m not a big fan of animal prints. Next, the combination of the cowl and the empire waist doesn’t seem to work, it’s too much.

    Or maybe it’s not enough, the cowl seems underdeveloped; I don’t like the way it’s formed. The photo of the teal-ish blouse shows a nicer-looking cowl, one that is more geometric, maybe it can be manipulated.

    I don’t even find this flattering on the model. It broads her shoulders and makes her body look straight up and down. She actually looks too thin (Which, course, in America is impossible!). She looks like she’s about to go bowling.

    As for why skirts are considered more conservative, I think it goes back to the days of strictly mandated dress codes for men and women. At certain points in history, individuals could be arrested for wearing the clothes of the other gender. Women in skirts could be easily be picked out and excluded from many business and social activities reserved for men. Dress codes were used to control the individual, which is typically more of a conservative impulse than a liberal one.

    At least that’s my guess.

    I prefer skirt suits, I just look better in them, but I wish more women should wear tights, not useless, expensive pantyhose that runs after one wearing.

    • Curl Friend :

      “broadens her shoulders”

      “Which, of course”

      Sorry for the typos. Guess I’m tired today.

    • It is a great buy at $25, but not everyone can wear this, unless you are a bone. My sister wore this and people thought she was pregnant.

    • I buy inexpensive pantyhose ($10 is the most I’ve ever spent, and I like that brand and will probably keep buying them), and they usually last me for a number of wearings, at least 10+, probably more like 20. I like tights fine, but they look and feel kind of silly in hot weather and are just too cutesy for really formal/important events.

      • found a peanut :

        which brand do you buy? I buy the Calvin Klein ones and I like them. They are $12.50 a pair but I wait until Bloomingdales has F&F and then I buy like 20 pairs. If I’m feeling extra special I will buy Spanx or Wolford ones. I got some Spanx ones at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. I like the Spanx ones as well, they feel nicer than the CK ones, better control top and I think they do last longer. Wolford I am “eh” on (although I love their tights).

        • How do you keep the Spanx ones from running?! I got a three-for-one deal through Ideeli or Gilt a while back and every single one I put on ripped the first time I wore them. (I’ve been known to have the cheap-o drugstore brand last for several weeks without getting a run in them, so I doubt it’s my form in putting them on!)

        • I’d been buying leggs or whatever they had at Wal-Mart (yeah, that), but I was never happy with the color (I’m very fair), so last time I bought some from Belks. I kept the packaging so that I could remember what they were; I’m pretty sure that they were some slightly specialty version of Hanes. Definitely nothing special. I just wash them with my delicates and try to be careful with them. I think that it helps to make sure that they’re the right size (too tight is both uncomfortable and prone to running, but of course too loose will look horrible and make you want to pull them all the time). I don’t wear them all of the time, but I really don’t find that I have a big problem with them wearing out.

          BTW, when they do get a run, I mark the waistband with a permanant marker and set them aside to wear under pants in the winter. I have a huge collection of unacceptable ones to help keep me warm.

    • toohottolitigate :

      Re tights versus pantyhose – I’ve always been unclear on the difference. Tights are thicker, right? So are opaque black stockings tights, and sheer black stockings pantyhose, and more women should be wearing the first rather than the second? (no snark intended, I’m just curious about what you mean).

      • Yes, yes, yes and no. I don’t more women should be wearing pantyhose vs tights, but I am biased as I almost exlcusively wear tights. I save panty hose for very formal occasions like a winter wedding or a job interview. I think a lot of people who are opposed to tights are thinking of the thick little girl type tights and not the opaque black stockings.

      • I love tights but I hate pantyhose, partly due to Curl’s reasoning (pantyhose are just too disposable) and partly because I think unless they are really expensive, fine, sheer, easily-runnable pantyhose, they look dowdy.

        So like many women, I wear tights in the winter and bare legs in the summer.

        I wear skirts just about every day. I do feel more authoritative in them. We have a business casual dress policy, which I hate with the fire of a thousand suns, so I try to keep my professional edge by wearing skirts and nice tops or cardigans or casual jackets. On me, and this is me only, I feel pants casual-down my look too much for my taste, unless I really put some effort into making all other elements of my outfit very formal.

        • Why do you hate business casual? I live in an area where almost all law firms are business casual, if not completely casual. People here seem to love it.

          • Yes, a lot of people love business casual here, too, but the range of what individuals consider acceptable business casual wear is much wider than it was when we had a strict business attire policy. I feel it reflects poorly on our office when we have visitors, and I have also observed that many people behave less professionally when they are not dressed professionally. Lastly, I really really enjoyed seeing men in suits every day. :)

          • Fair enough. I think those are completely legit reasons to not like it.

  5. Francie Nolan :

    Hi Lovely Corporettes,

    I am having a crap day…I found out I lost my job …I have two weeks until my last day. Monday I have a meeting to start the process of handing over my tasks to a different group…How do do that as professionally as possible?

    • I’m so sorry.

      I’d say take the weekend to thoroughly face your feelings. Get as upset as you need to, and wallow/comfort yourself in whatever way will help (within reason of course). Then think through your exact words for the Monday meeting. Write them down and even practice in front of a mirror if you need to. This way, when you’re actually in the meeting, it won’t be the first time that you’re admitting what has happened or talking about it. It won’t be raw like it is now. You’ll have a plan, execute it as smoothly as possible, and feel better about yourself for having done so.

      Also, FWIW, I suspect you’ll get a lot of leeway in this meeting. Everyone knows that losing your job is awful, and you’ll be forgiven for seeming down about it. Anyone else would be the same. Whatever grace you show will also be doubly impressive to the people you’re talking to.

      Best of luck.

      • Francie Nolan :

        Thanks Monday,

        I knew there would be great advice. I really resent having to teach the new person even though it isn’t their fault.

        It petulant six year old in me feels like saying figure it out yourself. :)

        • So sorry to hear about your job, Francie.

          I know there would be a petulant six year old inside of me too, but I’ve been on the incoming trainee side of this and it is reeeally uncomfortable. As Monday said, everyone around you will appreciate any grace you can bring to the situation.

          If it’s practical for your position, I’ve found it helpful to have a written “pass down” that includes links/file paths to important electronic documents, notes on where to find physical copies of other reference materials, and name/contact information for people you collaborate with regularly, along with any common pitfalls you wouldn’t want to learn the hard way again (Or leave that part out to satisfy the six year old!). The extra benefit is that you won’t have to keep your composure through as much face time if you can put a lot of it in writing. Deep breath. Good luck!

          • Francie Nolan :

            I took your advice Mir and I am up to nine pages of instructions and not done yet. I am trying to be as professional as I can and include as much as I can to be helpful.

            The funny thing part, I want them to suceed with or without me.

            I forget that companies have no loyalties to you, so it’s not wrong to think of yourself first.

    • I’m sorry Francie. I concur with Monday’s advice. I think everyone will understand your position.

    • That’s awful! My feelings go out to you.

      I’m trying to figure out which would be less awkward – having the folks at the meeting know you’re leaving involuntarily, or having them not know and wonder.

      Either way, it totally sucks. You deserve a lot of ice cream and crappy movies and sweatpants this weekend.

      Hugs to you. :(

  6. Ugh, how did I miss this when I was making all my 40% off with free shipping purchases at Ann Taylor the other day? So cute, but I don’t want to place another order (or pay for shipping).

    Also, can I vent for a second? My belt just broke. It wasn’t straining, but I went to unfasten it, I must have pulled too hard and the buckle broke free from the leather loop. What? It’s a j crew skinny belt, and I probably have worn it only 3-4 times. Unfortunately, don’t have the receipt. Very disappointing that it was apparently so flimsy.

    • found a peanut :

      I would return it to JCrew regardless. It says JCrew on it, so they know it’s theirs, and it’s defective.

    • Can’t hurt to give return a shot- the worst they will say is no. I’ve found my local JCrew is very accommodating for complaints/returns and customer service in general.

    • Maddie Ross :

      J.Crew is super reasonable about returns for defective merchandise. I had a pair of those ubiquitous j.crew clogs back in the late ’90s which ripped down the side after about a year of wear. J.Crew couldn’t replace them because they were out of stock, but they gave me a store credit for the value of them.

    • another anon :

      Yeah, totally take it back and ask. I would actually go in with the expectation that they WILL make this right, and just calmly explain that it’s defective, since it broke after you had only worn it a few times, and will they please make this right by exchanging it (if it’s still in stock), or giving you store credit (if it’s not).

  7. Anyone have a recommendation for a good tailor near Tribeca?

  8. I just called to accept a job offer and left a really stupid voicemail. I hope they don’t revoke the offer because of it. Blargh.

    • You probably didn’t sound nearly as stupid as you fear. I’m guessing you were excited and maybe long-winded as a result. Unless you drunk dialed them to thank them (or something else that would call into question your professional judgment regarding the time and place and requisite sobriety to make important phone calls) I can’t see them revoking the offer.

  9. Anon in ATX :

    I was seriously interested in this until I saw it was dry clean only – bummer ’cause I’m really trying not to buy anything that requires dry cleaning now that I’m not wearing a suit every day

    • I haven’t dry cleaned anything silk in years. Hand wash with Woolite in cold water, hang dry, iron if necessary. Silk has been around for thousands of years. It will water stain if you only get a few drops of water on it, but immersing the entire garment in water is fine.

  10. AccountingNerd :

    Threadjack: beautiful upholstered white dining chairs. Is this a bad idea for people prone to spills/messy eating? We don’t have kids yet, but I’m worried about the chairs looking stained and dirty after a while. They aren’t cheap, so I want to make sure this is a good idea…What do you all suggest?

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I have no kids or pets, and bought a very high end white upholstered couch on super sale. It is incredibly comfortable and it was beautiful when I bought it. But two years later, it is dingy and grey. It looks absolutely terrible (though still very comfortable). We are not messy eaters, and we don’t often eat on the couch. I swear up and down that I am NEVER, EVER buying white upholstery EVER again. I really recommend against this idea, AccountingNerd.

      • AccountingNerd :

        Oh no :( That’s not what I wanted to hear! But, we would’nt be spending as much time on the chairs as we would a couch, so maybe chairs would hold up better? I should also mention the chairs aren’t stark white, they are actually called “Soap”. Kind of beige. Here’s the link: http://www.worldmarket.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4301226 In the reviews on the website they talk about “Scotch guard”. Does that stuff work and is it safe/non-toxic?

        • Scotchguard helps somewhat, for sure. Will it mean you can wipe red wine off with no problem? Nope.

          In terms of safety… unless you’re licking the chairs you’ll be fine. Scotch guard at one point even suggested the product was safe for baby and pet toys, though I wouldn’t go that far.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          I will rant against this as much as I can because I regret my white couch that much :). Yes, your chairs are the color of my couch. I will also note that my couch was 75% off and cost less than 6 of your chairs. It wasn’t worth it. Scotchgard did not work – it works ok for shoes, but didn’t work on my couch.

          Look, if you want the chairs, get the chairs, and enjoy the heck out of them while they last. But don’t try to rationalize it by saying they will hold up better than a couch – I would counter by saying that you’re planning to put them in the dining room, where food, and red wine and coffee, are and accidental spills will happen. Dark denim pants and newspaper ink happen, too. Do you ever come home and put your purse/briefcase/shopping bag/grocery bag on a chair? Are you really sure that there’s no trace of dirt on that item?

          White upholstery is pretty in pictures and showrooms, and totally impractical in real life.

          • AccountingNerd :

            I don’t know what to do now! I’m so conflicted. I have a 15% off coupon that expires Sunday, and they only have five left at the store that they are holding for me! I think i might just buy two of them. I’ve gotta have at least two! :)

          • SF Bay Associate :

            You can always get another coupon. They have them all the time, or check retailmenot. And it’s only 15% – that’s what, tax and gas to/from. Hardly a discount.

            Just say no to white upholstery :).

          • Anonymous :

            Don’t do it. If you’re set, buy them. But don’t kid yourself that you’re different and you’ll be able to keep them clean – and don’t say we didn’t warn you. Don’t.buy.white.chairs. They’ll look like you were dragging them around outside within a year. Doesn’t matter how careful you are. They will. The coupon does not make them a good purchase. They would not be a good purchase at 50% or 75% off either.

        • We have modern white dining chairs that are actually resin/plastic, purchased from an indoor/outdoor entertaining company, and I LOVE them. A few months ago we had a party and caught a toddler drawing on a chair with a crayon, which came right off. If you really, really want white and can add a modern element, give it a try! (Our table is a solid walnut table with simple lines bought on clearance from C&B. The rest of the room is mid-century modern antiques.)

          But forget white upholstery. We had two white couches and they turned dingy fast. OxyClean was a good, good friend, but it still didn’t keep them from getting gross within 2-3 years of DINK use.

    • Not unless they’re slipcovered and you can take the covers off and wash them regularly.

      • AccountingNerd :

        They aren’t slipcovered. I’m thinking maybe I will just buy two to put on the end of the tabel, and then four wooden chairs for the rest of the table. I like the mismatched look and was planning to do 4 white and 2 wood chairs, but maybe I’ll just do 2 white and 4 wood.

        • Buy white slipcovers, and if a cover gets dirty, just wash it with bleach. If it gets really dirty, just buy a new one (like with suits, you probably want to launder/replace all the covers at once so they don’t fade differently. If in a few years your tastes/needs change, you can get different covers.

          I always see slipcovers for parsons chairs at Homegoods, TJ Maxx, etc. Pottery Barn currently has floor-length ones in ivory. You can probably google to find true white, at a better price.

          Failing that, slipcovers are relatively simple to construct. If you are not a sewer, an upholsterer should be able to make some for you inexpensively.

          • AccountingNerd :

            I like this idea. I think I will buy two of the chairs and see if I can find some nice slipcovers.

    • I have non-beautiful Ikea chairs at my kitchen table that have white upholstry on the seats. They are 2 years old, removable and washable, and even with careful table manners and without kids, they have seen better days.

      You will not be able to wash or spot-clean white back to its original glory, so I think it’s not a good idea, unless you don’t mind paying for re-upholstering occasionally.

    • I wouldn’t do it. My mom has white upholstered chairs and they look terrible!

      Even before they looked as terrible as they do now, eating a meal in her home was torturous because she was so worried about anything staining her chairs.

      Don’t do it!!!

    • Even if you’re careful, white upholstory witll discolor just from dust and particles in the air. I had a light beige couch before our present one and it looked awful after a few years.

    • Actually I think this is doable … A good friend of mine with toddlers and dogs had her beautiful white sofa covered in a thin layer of vinyl. Sounds weird, but the finish is totally pliable (you can even tuft the fabric if you want to) and it is easy to clean. She used a company called Schneider banks fabric finishing in Texas.

    • Not only is is prone to spills/messy eating, but also it will show dirt stains from just people sitting on it over time. If you love it then get it knowing that in a couple of years you will need to re-upholster (which may be perfect timing because either you want something different or you have kids!).

    • another anon :

      If you really want white, I would look around for something similar in pleather, which would be MUCH easier to just wipe down if you spill on it. Even real leather would be better than the upholstery.

    • Not sure if you have pets, but I have an upholstered white ottoman, and my cat pukes on it like it’s her job.

      • That’s funny. My cat insists on only throwing up on my nicest rug. I once watched her start hacking on the floor and then she literally went over five steps and puked right on that rug.

        • My cat pukes in my shoes. Or sometimes from high up on a window sill, like an evil little garden fountain of puke. Why the hell did we domesticate these monsters?
          Re the chairs: I would only get them if you’re committed to reupholstering in a year (which is fine!) I have white dining room chairs and they’re soon going to be slipcovered, for they are ugly ugly.

          • Uh, that came out a little strong. I love my cat. She just…upchucks in some very inconvenient places.

      • Eponine, you just made me snort laugh. I’m not sure why, but cats always look for the most inopportune place to throw up. Still love mine though.

        • Indeed, we have woodfloors in hearly our entire house…where do the cats puke? On the carpeted stairs to the basement. Usually after going outside and eating grass, so it’s really green puke.

          • Our cats “yodel” before yopping, so we get just enough warning to run into the room and catch them in the act of ruining another throw rug.

      • DammitJanet :

        This comment just clinched you as my favorite Corporette commenter, Eponine.

    • MaggieLizer :

      When you say dining chairs, do you mean that you intend to use them every day or does your dining table get special occasion or weekend use only? How well it holds up really depends on the fabric, whether it’s treated with anything, how you use it, etc.

      FWIW, my dining room chairs have cream/beige textured upholstry and have held up beautifully. I got to choose the fabric and the store treated it (not sure with what, but I know from experience it’s as close to stain proof as you can get). I sat in the same chair every day all through law school, but that chair is still exactly the same color as all the others. I’ve had them for about five years and couldn’t be happier.

    • Just say no to white upholstery. You couldn’t pay me to have white upholstery, because I would want to get rid of it in a few months, and you would be paying the disposal fee.

      White leather or plastic? Better, but still a pain.

      I’d rather live comfortably in my house than worry about spills all the time.

    • We have white upholstered ones which we love (more of a cream than a white), and they have stayed pretty much perfect looking for almost eight years.

      That said, we a) don’t have kids, and b) almost never eat in the dining room. I’d be surprised if they’ve been sat at for dinner 15 times over that time period. So, I can’t say that they would hold up under normal usage.

      Of course, you could always price re-upholstering them and consider that in your cost.

  11. anon in Texas :

    can anyone speak to the quality of Ann Taylor’s tropical wool? lined/unlined skirts/pants/jackets? cheap looking/feeling?

    since I’ve lost a bit of weight, I am replacing a ton of suits, and think that this is a good price point to make it happen :)

    • chi corporette :

      i have been disappointed by quality. pants stretch outrageously after a wearing (higher drycleaning costs). jacket developed a ‘sheen’ relatively quickly. but the blazer has still become a casual go-to (with jeans and heels on the weekends, sleeves rolled) since the fit is so great.

    • I had an AT tropical wool pencil skirt from last spring/summer. I wouldn’t buy more. It developed pills, retained creases on my lap, and stretched out to look awkward.

    • I haven’t experienced the sheen or pilling issues, but I have their black tropical wool suit and I’ve found that it wrinkles if you look at it wrong, is really difficult to iron, and attracts every piece of lint or pet hair within a ten mile radius.

      (I do like the fit though.)

    • I own a couple of the tropical wool suits, and I actually really like them. I have not had any problems with pilling or the material stretching out. My only complaint is that when I dry clean the suits, they have an odd scent to them (that I haven’t noticed when I dry clean other suits).

    • The quality has gone up and down. Not reliable, but you may get a good batch.

    • I bought one of their tropical wool suits in black, and would not buy another – it came to me with a strange smell that hasn’t gone away and has gotten worse with dry cleaning, the fabric is a lint magnet, and the pants stretched like crazy (luckily I bought two sizes/cuts, because the bigger pair is now unwearable). I haven’t experienced the pilling or wrinkling issues , but the smell drives me bonkers.

  12. PSA – 6pm has free shipping today and a bunch of Bruno Magli shoes for $89.95.
    Can anyone comment on how Magli shoes fit? My feet are on the wide side, with high arches.

    • Your feet sound like my feet and my feet don’t find BM shoes all that comfortable. One thing to keep in mind — 6 pm does not let you do exchanges and you have to pay yourself to return ship. Sometimes, their prices are so great it’s worth it, but if you’re unsure, I would think twice before ordering.

  13. I bought this blouse at Banana Republic yesterday. At least in D.C., all regular priced shirts and pants were 40% off. It fits beautifully and is machine washable. The print isn’t as loud as it seems in the photo and it also comes in solids. FWIW. http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=35356&vid=1&pid=858978&scid=858978012

  14. Two cents :

    My husband and I have been living in two different cities due to our jobs. I just found out that I got a fantastic Big Law job in the city where my husband lives!!! Woo hoo! Thanks for letting me share. :)

  15. Confessions :

    Update: Thank you to all that responded to my post a couple of days ago re: horrible boss upset about me taking a week off for foot surgery. I went back to the Dr.’s office for my pre-surgery appointment and was informed that my surgery has to be in two parts this time because of the bone structure. My firm is super small: 2 partners, 3 associates, no HR dept., no FMLA, etc. Both partners were in one partner’s office, so I took the oportunity to explain my surgery scheduled for Monday and it was just awful. I ended up heaaring about their war stories of working while injured, recovering from surgery, etc. So, in the end, I reluctantly agreed to work from home for one week and come back full force after that and did not tell them about the 2nd surgery. I rationalized the not telling them part based on the fact that I, myself, don’t know when it’s going to happen and what it will entail. But, ladies, I now feel like a huge WIMP. I’ve been told by people that I respect and that are respected in my field that I am a stellar advocate, but when it comes to my own personal battles, I just feel like I sell myself short! I really don’t know what to do in this situation now and I am just so upset.

    • What would you do differently next time?

    • I guarantee that those guys were not actually working while recovering from injuries/surgery. They just said they were and maybe were tracking emails just enough so their claims seemed plausible (or it was long enough ago that they didn’t have emails and could “work” from home without actually having to be available). I broke my ankle in March, and the pain was so bad I was on vicodin for a week straight, even though it made me batty and gave me a stomach ache. No way in hades would I have been able to do anything that required any thought. I’m guessing they were in a similar condition, but since they’re men, they can’t just admit that they are too messed up on painkillers to be of any use to anyone.

      Maybe have a second meeting and say that you just found out about the second surgery, and darn it all, you are also under doctor’s orders to not be working for x time period. If you can’t use your own authority to say you need to rest and heal, use your doctor’s authority.

  16. Beautiful Dead Scarf :

    I just got an email for this scarf from Hayden Harnett. I had to click thru since it sounded so strange/intriguing.

    http://haydenharnett.com/news/F11-BeautifulDead.html

    It’s actually quite pretty but I still don’t think I could wear it! Curious what others think.

  17. Hi ladies! I’m assuming many of you go out on a regular basis, for socializing and for work. What is a normal of number of drinks for a night out that is social? For work? I am just interested in your personal opinion. Thanks!

    • Ugh…the older I get, the lower this number falls. I’m down to three drinks if I’ve eaten enough and put more than an hour between drinks. Otherwise, two is my max. My test is standing up and walking to the bathroom; I make sure to do this before ordering my second drink, and then before ordering my third drink. If I have any (seriously, any) difficulty navigating the path to the bathroom or closing the stall door, I’m cut off.

    • 2 or 3, 4 if it’s a dancing club rager where tipsy is the whole point. always a non-alkie drink between each alkie drink. and never get tipsy (for me, never more than 1 drink) if not with a trustworthy group of won’t-leave-me girls and/or my guy.

    • One, two c—tails or on the rocks drinks, tops. One to three beers, tops. I’m a lightweight. I feel quite buzzed after two c—tails or three beers. If I have another I’m drunk and have an awful hangover the next day.

      I should note that I don’t mess around with my drinking. I either drink a true c—tail – two liquors, no filler – or something straight up. If I drink a mixed drink with just one shot of alcohol and a mixer, I can drink a lot more, but why bother? :)

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