Suit of the Week: DVF

Diane von Furstenberg Meyer Tuxedo BlazerFor busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

If you’re in the market for a lady tuxedo this season, my vote goes to this chic one from Diane von Furstenberg. Those cool lapels (moire) and almost a boyish cut to it — it’s very, very cool. I think the jacket would look nice on top of a sheath dress as well as worn with the pants. The jacket (Diane von Furstenberg Meyer Tuxedo Blazer) is $465, and the pants (Diane von Furstenberg Tailor Tuxedo Pants) are $345.

Diane von Furstenberg Tailor Tuxedo Pants

(L-5)

Comments

  1. SF Bay Associate :

    Wow are those some high-waisted pants. Even if one likes the look, I find that waist height uncomfortably starts to dig into my stomach after sitting at a desk all day.

  2. Boy I hate what she’s wearing with it, but love the idea of a lady tuxedo/ le smoking.

    • However, I think le smoking jackets are supposed to be longer. I’m looking forward to longer jackets making a return (which Vogue says is coming)

    • The term “lady tuxedo” just strikes me as dirty. I’d be afraid to look it up on Urban Dictionary.

  3. Today I have a pair of black pants on that I have lint rolled twice already yet two minutes later you can’t tell the difference. I swear every 10 minutes there is more lint! Could it be because of the material of the pants? Do I need to do something different when I wash them? It is SO annoying. I feel like it makes me look so sloppy but I’m losing this battle today! I’ve never had a pair of pants with this problem.

    • It’s the material. The last pair of Martin pants that I got from BR is like that for me. Heaven forbid I sit on my couch before I leave the house in them, every last invisible cat hair ends up on the back of my pants. I might as well be sprouting a tail. I also have a few items from Gap & AT Loft that do that, and a pair of JCrew cords (that luckily I got on clearance for $9.99, although this may explain the low price). It’s annoying because short of carrying around lint to try things on, you can’t always anticipate this happening with an item. Whatever it is, though, it is not you or your laundry skills!

      Also, I desperately wish that I was in the market for a lady tuxedo. I’d wear it everywhere. Including weddings (other people’s, obviously). It would be awesome. Now I am getting ideas….

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I’ve resorted to wearing sweatpants until I’m ready to leave my apartment so I don’t risk the cat hair issue. It’s completely invisible on my desk chair but certain clothes of mine have a magic ability to attract it anyway!

      • Nicorette :

        Yes, it’s the material. About five years ago, I bought a black dress from Banana Republic that also was a lint magnet. It’s as if the fibers themselves were short and attracting the lint. After three wearings, I threw it out.

        At $150, it looked like a reasonable purchase. It wasn’t.

    • Are you wearing a sweater that leaves fuzz and you are getting them on your pants from your arms?

    • I have found that if I wear athletic socks on my walk to work, I end up with white fuzzies all over the bottom of my pants, which spread as I cross my legs until my pants are completely covered in fuzzies. Could your socks be the culprit?

    • No socks today and my sweater doesn’t appear to be the culprit (purple sweater and white fuzz). It looks like I have been smuggling in a tiny white puppy to sit on my lap and shed but then hiding it when people come around.

      Thanks for all the responses. I might just be these pants unfortunately. Good thing I don’t like them all that much.

      • Linen napkin at a reataurant?

      • I just thought about the prospect of smuggling a tiny white puppy into my office and it made me really happy. If you’re going to be covered in fuzz, you might as well have a puppy on hand.

      • law talking girl :

        I actually did smuggle a tiny white fluffy puppy into work for 2 months. She spent most of her time napping on my lap. When she started pushing 3 pounds she had to stay at home. :-(

        • Aw. My little dog would just lay next to my chair in a state of sleepy adoration if I could bring him to work with me. Someday, when I have my own firm, it will be dog (and fuzz) friendly!

  4. I really like the lapel style of the blazer, but like SF Bay Associate said, high-waist pants sound restricting if you sit for the majority of the day.

    Super-early semi-threadjack on suits:

    Has anyone tried on the new women’s ludlow suit jacket from J Crew? It has interior jacket pockets (!!), and I just ordered mine online in time for the 25% off (code:STAYWARM) sale. Alas, it is out of stock in my brink&mortar store and won’t ship out until early next February :(
    Any feedback on how the jacket sits, esp when stuff’s in the interior pocket, is greatly appreciated!

    • Business&LawStudent :

      I can’t afford it (see: student), but I love that style! I just looked it up and want one. You’ll have to let us know about it when you (finally) get it in February!

    • Do you mean the pocket on the left front, big enough to fit a cell phone? All of my JCrew and Banana jackets have those, and I loooove them. So useful.

      I like the jacket, too!

    • Thanks! I’m glad to hear they interior pockets are well done, and am more eager for it go get here, haha.

      Kay – can that inside left front pocket hold a smart phone?

      Curse the waiting game of back orders :P

    • Oooo – jealous! That is the next suit on my list. It looks beautiful – would love to hear feedback when you do eventually get it!

  5. I love the details on the collar! Very cute.

  6. Barrister in the Bayou :

    At first I saw the pic and thought it was a misadventure in photoshopping… but then I noticed that the pants are just incredibly high-waisted. :-X

    Even curvier ladies like myself run the risk of pancake butt in those pants… what a shame!

    • Ugh. I can’t wait until the high-waisted trend goes back into history. Doesn’t flatter any woman with actual curves.

  7. I’m confused. When do women wear tuxedo suits? Is this appropriate for a professional office, or is this evening wear?

    • I think evening wear, though it would be OK (with a less hideous shirt) for one of those holiday after-work cocktail parties.

    • I would not wear this to the office. I would wear it to work evening functions, other dress up occasions, etc. I would also totally wear the jacket alone on top of fun dresses.

    • Anonymous :

      Evening wear that in some cases, depending on the suit and the office, can be worked into your rotation in cool, creative, sophisticated ways. Certainly also for dates and casual-ish-cool own-time wear as well.

    • I love, love, love this suit. If I weren’t pregnant, I would buy it straight away. I’m a partner at an accounting firm and would definitely wear this to work. I would probably pair it with a ruffled tuxedo button up shirt. Or maybe a plain white button up with a scarf worn ascot style. I think the jacket would also look great with a casual t-shirt, jeans and either boots or sneakers. I’m due in less than 30 days so my fingers are crossed that this suit might still be available once my waist reappears!

    • Nicorette :

      Thanks, that was unclear to me, too. I assume this is office evening wear.

      I’m very distracted by the top, which I don’t like. The rest is OK.

  8. interview nail polish :

    Is a pearlescent light pink okay for an interview or is it better to stick with clear/matte?

    • interview nail polish :

      the color is OPI’s Hawaiian Orchid.

    • I think the big test is: If you make any hand gestures, etc., is the interviewer likely to notice and rememeber your nail polish. As long as the answer is no (and I would say it would be here), it’s fine.

    • interview nail polish :

      Thanks, all. I am keeping my nail polish on, and because of your encouragement, now looking through my jewelry box for something classic that’s not a strand of pearls… :)

      • Yay! I’m with AIMS on this, and in fact I don’t even own a strand of pearls. If you need an idea, my go-to necklace for big professional occasions is a strand of clear crystals, and I’m in the market for a pair of matching studs. Good luck at the interview! Strong Hawaiian Orchid handshake!

    • I wore nearly black nail gel/polish (Marilyn Merlot) to my job interviews, and I’m wearing it again today at the office now that I’ve got the job. I vote for anything neutral, even if it is a very dark neutral like mine, or clear. Anything too glittery, pastel or bright doesn’t work for me and is more likely to clash with various outfits anyway. If it’s a sheer pink and you like it – rock it!

  9. question –
    Do any of you with sensitive skin have an eye makeup remover you absolutely love?

    I have come to realize that my gentle facial cleanser is not getting the job done completely, yet Clinique’s supposedly “Naturally Gentle” remover makes my eyelids sting.

    I prefer something that goes on like lotion rather than the liquid on a cotton pad thing, but really, I would use anything that didn’t sting.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Neutrogena. It’s in a bluish green bottle. It’s a lotion, no irritation, and no greasy feeling after. It’s the only thing I use, and I have tried almost everything.

    • I really like Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple. It’s more lotion-y and I rub it directly on my eyes and lashes to get all the mascara goop off. Doesn’t sting for me at all. Works lovely – it’s not specifically an eye makeup remover, just a makeup remover/cleanser. I think they also have it available as a foaming cleanser too.

    • I had the same problem and use Aubry Organics one from Whole Foods. I have no irritation anymore – it’s great.

    • Equity's Darling :

      I use the Neutrogena oil-free eye makeup remover. It does involve the liquid on a cotton pad…BUT, I have super sensitive skin, and I find it not only works well, it most definitely does not sting.

      • I used to use this before I discovered the Biore towelettes I mention below – it does work great for sensitive skin. I switched to the Biore towelettes b/c I too didn’t like the liquid on a cotton pad thing.

    • Anonymous :

      If there’s a lotion that doesn’t upset your eyes, just use that as eye makeup remover (my derm’s solution to my similar problem)

    • Yes! Biore’s makeup remover towelettes with green tea. Found them via a rec on Beautypedia dot com. They work great and I rip them in half and only use half a towelette to remove a full face of makeup, including eye makeup.

    • Kiehl’s supremely gently eye makeup remover. It’s a lotion. You can ask for a sample at your make up counter (Bloomingdales and Nordstrom both carry Kiehl’s, if you don’t have a free standing one).

    • Anon in NC :

      Clarins Gentle Eye Makeup Remover – is fantastic. They also have one for waterproof makeup but the gentle one is my preference.

    • I have very sensitive skin as well. I found a lotion eye makeup remover from Avon that doesn’t irritate my eyes. http://shop.avon.com/shop/product.aspx?pf_id=30988
      I don’t use any other Avon products and can’t remember how I started using this!

    • I bought a jar of good ole’ Pond’s Cold Cream the other day. Haven’t put it down since. It’s what my mom used, and despite all the other products available, it’s still a fantastic moisturizer and makeup remover. (Use your hand to rub on, and tissue off, preferably with a tissue that has lotion in it.)

      • Seattleite :

        Tissues scratch my sensitive skin. I bought a big stack of washcloths and just use those.

        • Same here re the tissue problem. I use a Lush cold-cream-esque product (9 to 5) and have to use cotton pads to take it off, and even then it’s a little harsh. Best part of using it: it smells like Pond’s, and immediately takes me back to my childhood, reminds me of being tucked in by my mom or my grandmother or my great-grandmother. Maybe I’ll try the actual Pond’s next!

    • Thank you everyone. I’m bookmarking this page for all your responses.

      I checked the local Walgreens at lunch and they did not have the Neutrogena lotion, but they have the liquid. I bought that. I figure for $9 it’s worth a shot, and they would take it back if it doesn’t work for me.

      (I know I personally would never get around to taking anything back, but it improves my mood knowing that I theoretically could!)

    • 20th Century, Esq. :

      Vaseline and a Q-tip

    • I use the Almay non-oily makeup remover. It comes on pre-moistened pads but I prefer the liquid in a bottle that you use with a cotton pad. I have very sensitive skin and eyes.

    • I hate using the stuff, but there are two I’ve found that don’t sting and work well for me even with waterproof eye makeup. The Neutrogena one already mentioned is okay for me, but I’m more of a newly converted fan of the Body Shop’s Camomile Gentle Eye Makeup Remover, which doesn’t have that soapy/greasy feel to it that some do. http://tinyurl.com/7kd2hv6

      • Agree Neutrogena is okay. However, I tried using the Body Shop Camomile years ago and while I loved the texture (totally agree with WestDoc), it stung my eyes terribly every time. Maybe they’ve reformulated it since, but if anyone wants to try it you might see if the Body Shop will give you a sample first.

    • I have incredibly sensitive skin, and I’m also sensitive to fragrances. I use Cetaphil cleanser and a baby washcloth. It removes my mascara, but I don’t use waterproof.

    • I’m a little late on the response, so I hope you see this. I use Physician’s Formula eye makeup remover. It’s a lotion, cheap (about $4) and super gentle. I have accidentally gotten it in my eyes before and it didn’t sting at all!

  10. I know we talked about this before, but I am looking for more of your communal wisdom. My best friend’s husband just filed for divorce. She’s only 31, and they have two small babies, the youngest just 6 months. They never had a good marriage and have been fighting for what seems like always, but she is still shocked and, obviously, very angry and in a lot of pain. I would love thoughts from those who have gone through this – on either end- of what to say, do, not say, not do… We live about an hour away so just dropping in to make sure she’s okay is not an easy option.

    I really want to help and be there for her, I’m just having a hard time knowing what to say since -
    1) I always thought it would come to this, though, of course, I would never ever say so, and
    2) she is a stay at home mom, quit her job when they got married, and is in a very different position from me (not married, no kids, very career oriented) so I feel like there is a bit of a disconnect in our experiences, and I don’t want that to prevent me being as supportive as she needs me to be right now.

    Thoughts?

    • AnonInfinity :

      I have a close friend going through a divorce, too, though she doesn’t have children. I asked the hive about ways to be supportive, and everyone agreed that spending time with her was one of the most important thing. I try to go otu with her at least once a week and do something where we’re not tempted to talk about the divorce unless she wants to. Someone suggested weekends, so I try to do Friday or Saturday night girls’ night as much as possible. I think it’s at least not hurting.

      One thing that my friend has told me — She hates it when people badmouth her ex. A lot of people have said something like, “I always wondered why you were with him”; “he never seemed smart enough for you”; etc. She’s mad at him but doesn’t completely hate it, and she said it makes her feel stupid because she was with him for so long and because she initially did not want the divorce at all.

      • This. Especially watch the bad-mouthing if there’s a chance they’ll get back together. I had some uncomfortable dinners with my friend and her husband after they reconciled mid-divorce. It’s hard to make nice with someone you’ve spent the last few months bashing. (Fortunately, my friend ultimately DID divorce this guy a few years later. Just took a bit longer than it should have.)

        • I think it really depends on the situation. I have a friend in a bad marriage (her children are the same age as the OP’s) and her husband treats her horribly- he’s mentally abusive and possibly physically abusive. I think my friend realizes that at this point, it’s really going to be hard for me to be BFFs with this guy no matter what happens. I have told her I will be friends with her no matter what she chooses, but I have referred her to a divorce lawyer.

    • I have 2 friends who have divorced, and another who was abruptly dumped by her long-term cohabiting SO (having shared finances, made career decisions related to him etc). Of course you make a point to listen openly, spend plenty of time with her (or at least offer), and don’t indulge in unproductive bashing. Beyond that, though, you might be surprised at how naturally it comes to continue connecting with her, without following any special protocol. Like you, I had made a lot of decisions different from the friends I have just mentioned. But I found that we were still able to talk across the “disconnect” for all the same reasons that we had always been able to. The friendship transcended that gap before the divorce, and as long as you’re both still yourselves (though there may be moments when she isn’t), that will continue.

    • Maybe bring over a meal (for her, and one for babies, if they eat solid food), and a movie for a girl’s night in? I think just spending time with her will be the best.

    • Actually, your friend’s stay at home mom friends might distance themselves a little from her because her situation hits too close to home.

      She probably needs you more than ever!

      • This. x10.

        ALL my married friends disappeared after my divorce, without so much as an email expressing condolences. Instead, I heard from my single friends. It crushed me.

    • Seattleite :

      Reassure her that She Can Do This.

      I was a SAHM for 17 years, and didn’t think I had self-esteem issues. But when I started looking for work, knowing that my marriage was circling the drain, I felt incredibly insecure and insufficent compared to all the women who had kept their careers. I’m so grateful to my working friends who reassured me that yes, I would indeed compare well to the rest of the job pool. Two friends in particular helped me with interview role-plays, etc.

      I’ve gone to more than one attorney’s appointment with divorcing friends to help with follow-up questions, take notes, etc. It’s sort of the legal equivalent of going with a friend to the medical ‘let’s attack this cancer’ appointments.

      • I was recently at a luncheon where a retired judge said, “If you want something done, hire women with children.”

    • DC Association :

      I tried posting before and got the “you’re posting too fast” notice (i don’t understand that, but whatever). My H and I jsut decided to separate and we have a 5-year-old. Honestly, I think it is OK if you tell her you’re not surprised. My friends were not surprised about it when I told them and I wouldn’t expect them to be because of things I’ve told them. At least you’re being honest.

      Otherwise, as others said, just tell her you are there for her to talk, hang out, whatever. You could offer to sit for the kids so she can take some time for herself. Treat her to a manicure. Do a girls night.

      I can tell you that mostly, she probably feels very alone. Esp when you have kids, you try to be really strong for them. A lot of times it is easier not to talk about things because then you don’t break down. Personally, a really fun night out is what I need most. One with dancing or karaoke and not a lot of talking! But that is just me.

      Invite her to visit you for a weekend. Or go visit her.

      Good luck! just letting her know you are there for her no matter what is really all there is to it.

    • Help her find a really good attorney.

  11. Bursting out :

    PSA for pregnant ladies -

    (I posted this at the bottom of the previous thread, but not sure anyone will see it)

    Rosie Pope, high-end maternity wear, on G I L T today. Lots of good stuff for work and holiday parties.

    (She writes, while working at home in $20 yoga pants from Old Navy….)

    • Thanks for the head’s up.

      Kind of jacking this comment, but I wanted to ask a general question related to this. I was a little surprised at how expensive the Rosie Pope clothes were on Gilt, even with the discount. [Bursting out - please don't take offense by this, it just made me think in general terms].

      I’m willing to spend money on clothes that will last years (most of my work clothes come from J.Crew, Talbots, Anthropologie, etc)…but I just can’t make myself spend $70 for a maternity sweater or over $100 for a maternity dress. Obviously people are willing to pay these prices, and more. So, am I just being cheap and unreasonable?

      • That certainly sounds reasonable to me. (But I haven’t been there yet. I fear that issue!)

      • Bursting out :

        Totally hear you, JJ. I’d been reading raves of Rosie Pope on pregnancy websites, but just couldn’t pull the trigger on $100++ jeans that I’ll wear for perhaps 6 mos. more (assuming the weight comes off with reasonable dispatch…).

        I posted this mainly in recollection of the Corporette who was looking for high-end maternity clothes near Boston.

        I have spent $100ish on a couple of work dresses – but that was an easier pill to swallow, since I *have* to look professional at work, and can’t slink around in yoga pants for the foreseeable future. $100 on a dress is a complete outfit. The work dresses felt more like an investment in maintaining my image as competent, professional woman in an all-male section, where I fear being marginalized for procreating & taking time off, rather than a luxury (like jeans).

        Another thing I’ve noticed: perhaps I’ve swallowed the koolaid of someone’s advertising campaign, but I do feel like it’s ‘the most beauty time of my life’ and I feel like celebrating that with clothes that look nice (but still don’t want to spend a lot of money…)

      • Manufacturers of maternity clothes, like all clothes, are catering to a lot of different budgets. Buy the ones that fit your budget. When I had my kids (two kids, a few years ago), my general clothing budget had me shopping at the places you list. But I got most pregnancy basics as cheaply as I could — Target dresses were key, t-shirts and tops from Old Navy, pants from Target, Old Navy and Gap. But for each pregnancy, I got a couple of special pricier tops I could wear during months 5-9, which I wore again and again. I looked great in them (relatively speaking!), I felt pretty, I got complements, and the money was well spent. In my case, the splurges came from places like Japanese Weekend (a velvet top I wore to about 6 holiday parties with different groups), Isabella Oliver (a cool knit wrap top), and BabyStyle (a nice sweater). And one two piece suit from Pea in the Pod that I wore into the ground. The nice clothes have been passed on to other expectant Moms and continue to get wear.

    • Diana Barry :

      Thanks! I checked it out but still too expensive for something that I will wear for 3 months. Maybe I’m just a cheapskate? :)

    • I spent a bit on my maternity clothes. I was pregnant three times and got good use out of them, and I also let them to two different friends.

      I felt large and unattractive while pregnant, so it helped my mental state to feel I looked the best I could.

      I had probably a total of seven work outfits, plus pants and jeans I wore with 3 or 4 maternity tops on the weekends. I defintiely went cheap for the weekends.

      I also had one fancy two-piece maternity dress and jacket that I wore to two different weddings and a new years party.

      Most of my really nice pieces were from Pea in the Pod and Babystyle (if that’s still around.)

      • Totally agree with this! I started out saying that I didn’t want to spend much $$ on maternity clothes. But after wearing some (very generously) loaned clothes for about a week, I just didn’t feel like myself! I am still trying not to spend too much but I find that it is important to me to feel like “me” in maternity clothes! I discovered for sure that I’m willing to spend a bit more than I originally thought!

      • This. My around the house type clothes for maternity wear are old navy (for the most part) but I’ve splashed out on some nicer pieces from Rosie Pope, Japanese Weekend, and Ann Taylor (hey, its nicer than old navy) for work.
        I just think its hard to go from wearing JCrew/Theory/etc. for work to suddenly transitioning into cheap throwaway type clothes just because you’re pregnant. Plus, its hard enough feeling attractive sometimes when pregnant, nicer work clothes made a big difference in my self esteem.

  12. Equity's Darling :

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/the-law-page/why-supermom-is-leaving-the-firm/article2229757/

    I wonder whether the G&M considers these articles to be an “expose” or shocking? Because this isn’t really news so much as a regurgitated existing commentary on the state of the legal profession.

    • Just one more article that presumes that childcare (and the associated “work-life balance”) is the woman’s responsibility, rather than something that, like breadwinning, either men or women are capable of doing and that each family should split up depending on that individual family’s needs, wants, and and abilities.

  13. I LOVE Diane Van Ferstenburg, but I can NOT fit into any of the pants b/c the sizes are to small for me.

    You have to be a BONE to fit into these pants, and the suits are also cut ONLY for someone who is alot more SVELTTE then I am.

    It does not make it any easier that we are now approching the holidays, and I unfortunately am prone to packing on the holiday pounds.

    The manageing partner is looking over here stareing ALL of the time, and he walks by my office door about 6 times every hour. I think he will need to get his heels and soewls replaced b/c of all of the walking. I just wish he would NOT be busy stareing all the time at me. It is CREEPY!

  14. a nonny miss :

    that awkward moment when you try to empty your hole punch and you get paper punchouts all over you.

    just that kind of day. anyone else?

  15. Stinkin' slips! :

    Sigh, the tights+slip+knee-length dress is not working today. I have a short slip that’s pulled down really low on my hips, but since it’s not the exact length as my dress, the dress is clinging to the tights just below the slip. (does that make sense? there’s less than 1/4 inch difference in length, but just enough for the skirt to touch the tights and cling). Anyways, how do you ladies keep items from sticking to the tights? How to do you make your slip the EXACT length as your skirt, so that there’s no gap for tights, but the slip doesn’t show?

    • Static guard! It’s a spray you can buy at the drugstore. I’ve now even seen it in travel size.

    • use a dryer sheet and run it all over your tights in the morning – works great.

    • I sometimes take a dryer sheet and rub it over my tights and the inside of my skirt- that seems to help stop cling. In a pinch, just lightly wetting your hands and rubbing them over the offending areas helps for a while, too. (I don’t wear slips.)

    • That was me yesterday. Ugh. Sadly I don’t have a solution for you.

    • Sometimes I tuck the slip in the waistband of my tights, not that this is the best solution. That’s probably why slips are sold in various lengths

    • Stinkin' slips! :

      Alright, I’ll try the static guard and dryer sheets. My winter default used to be just wearing pants, so this whole skirt+tights is just not working :( I also wondered if it would be possible to just sew a little 1″ strip of “slip” material around the bottom of the dress, to account for that gap between the end of my real slip and the end of the dress. Probably more effort than it’s worth, in light of the quickie alternatives you all mentioned :)

      • That might make it worse. Most slips and tights are made of synthetic material, so they tend to pied piper static charge. Physically there’s not much difference than a slip+skirt sewn together combo rubbing against tights and just a skirt rubbing against tights because the slip+skirt acts as a unified static charge loving piece.

        Wearing natural fiber clothing helps a lot to reduce static charge, but it’s much easier to stick a safety pin at the bottom hem of your slip than wear 100% silk skirts :)

        The safety pin acts like the electric ground of a building (like a lighting rode stuck in the dirt).

    • In a pinch, just wet your hands and run them over your tights.

    • another anon :

      Put some lotion on your hands and rub it in mostly, but not completely. Then run your be-lotioned hands over the problematic portion of your tights. This should help, and I assume you are more likely to have access to lotion than to a dryer sheet if you are still at the office.

  16. Anonymous :

    (Posted in earlier comments section.)

    After being in law for about two years , I’m tempted to leave and would like some input from the hive. For background, I’m 29 and am in my first job for a very small county government. There are only two attorneys in the office and no support staff, not even a secretary/receptionist. Basically, I completely run the office and my boss goes into court. Generally, I enjoy most aspects of the job and I am also given a lot of freedom, flexibility and responsibility. But there are downsides: I am severely underpaid (can barely afford my monthly bills despite living frugally in a small town), have no opportunity to move up or be promoted, and my boss refuses to learn any computer skills despite my repeated requests and offering to help him learn. I’m not exaggerating when I say he does not know how to even use Microsoft Word; his incompetence means that I am given a lot of tasks that could otherwise be shared. I also rarely get real time in the courtroom, but admittedly I’m not comfortable there. This has made me hesitant to apply to other jobs for which I might be at least considered.

    Unrelated to my specific job but more to law in general, I feel really strangled by the state licensure. I cannot afford to take another bar exam on my salary but want to move out of my current state and closer to my family.

    I have considered shifting to a law-related field that would require me to go back to two years of school for a Master’s. I have been told by people in the field that I would be highly employable in the other field after the Master’s. I wouldn’t need to take out loans. On a personal note, I was sharing all of this with my oldest friend who is not a lawyer. She asked (in a judgmental way, not a nice way) why I wanted to leave a field if I had spent so much time in school, she said I tend to want a new career every year, I think the grass is greener on the other side, and basically implied that I have no follow-through. For background, my undergraduate is in a humanities field, I took one year to work, and then went to law school. Her comments hurt my feelings but perhaps she is right; am I jumping ship too soon? Should I be determined to see this out for a few more years before I change careers? On the other hand, I feel like law is a job for me and doesn’t necessarily use my strengths and interests to the extent that the other field would.

    I’d like some input from anyone who’s changed fields, thought about changing but stuck it out, or anything else that might help me make an informed decision.

    • Reposting my reply from the original thread in case you didn’t see it:

      I think you should apply for a new legal job. You mention you’re hesitant to apply for jobs for which you might be considered because you’re not comfortable in the courtroom. It is completely normal for a second-year attorney to be uncomfortable in the courtroom; you become comfortable as you practice. Employers will not expect you to be a trial whiz at your current level of experience.

      I also think that you should apply for jobs in your home state. Not all jobs require licensing in the state (for instance, jobs with only federal litigation may not require a state license), and you can always take the bar exam after you get a new job if you need it.

      I think your friend’s comments are right. You would be jumping ship too soon. You haven’t even been a lawyer for the amount of time you spent in law school! Your current job sounds like a bad fit, but that doesn’t mean that the profession as a whole is a bad fit as well.

      Read more: http://corporette.com/2011/11/09/a-designer-auction-manolo-chanel-louboutin-vuitton-armani/#ixzz1dFCcgvl5

    • I agree with J – the things that you say you don’t like about the job (underpaid, no upward mobility, boss lacks computer skills) are not necessarily true of the legal profession in general. It sounds to me like you are in a uniquely difficult situation, and if you could find a different job you might enjoy using your law degree. I’d say give the job search a try before leaving the profession altogether.

      As far as the Bar goes, a lot of employers will pay for your Bar exam if you move from another jurisdiction. I wouldn’t let that requirement stop you from moving back to a state that you prefer.

    • If you find a job in new state first they may pay for you to study/take the bar. I think it is perfectly reasonable to look for the new job first. I do think it is a bit odd that you don’t want to pay for a new state license but would take out loans for grad school for a not guaranteed job. I would take out a credit card to take the bar in a new state before I would saddle myself with student loans for 40 grand or so!

    • Think about your friend- is she usually thoughtful, or is she often harsh and judgmental? If you usually don’t see her as being like that, consider that she may have a point. I agree with the other posters that you should probably look for another law job – what you’re describing is not really a normal legal job, so you may find something else is a completely different experience.
      Good luck!

    • Heatheresq :

      1. I agree with the above poster about bar costs vs. new school costs.

      2. Can you give us straight facts about your ability to secure a new legal job though? I am talking law school performance, journals, school tier. I don’t want to advise you to go out and look for a job in this bleak (legal workforce) economy. Hiring is up but top tier candidates are still getting their mailboxes flooded with rejections. I just urge you to be realistic.

      3. I think your friend doesn’t know much about the legal profession. A lot of people have exactly the same schedule as you. Many dump biglaw firm experience after 2 years (albeit to do something else in the legal field). I don’t think it is strange that you are getting antsy if you are in a career you hate.

    • Only you can know whether your friend is right. My impression, reading through your thoughts here, is that you are jumping ship too soon. Your experience is not the typical “law” experience, like many above me have pointed out. You don’t have to be a litigator to be in law, and you don’t have to be comfortable in litigation to be a litigator! My advice, knowing nothing about you, your personality, or your ambitions, is to attempt to find another job, perhaps a larger firm, in law. Maybe a different area of law even.

      But, you, above all others, know whether law is or is not for you. Do remember that even with a law degree, you don’t have to practice “law” there are other alternatives out there.

      And move. Find a job near your family if that’s where you want to be, and go home. Make it a part of your transfer that you want them to pay for your bar exam and studies. You’d be surprised at how many are willing to do that. Maybe one reason you aren’t happy in this career path is that you aren’t happy in your location.

      Good luck, and let us know what you decide!

  17. Threadjackish: I know it’s early, but I need some holiday gift ideas for my staff. I’m an administrator at a private (nonprofit) high school and supervise 7 people. Last year for various (valid, institutional-culture) reasons I went on the very low end and gave everyone a handwritten card with a long note and a $10 gift card somewhere.

    I’d like to spend about $20 per staffer. Ideas? I supervise two thirty-year-old men and five women ranging in age from 30 to 60, if that helps. Four report directly to me, with three more people underneath them.

    • Always a NYer :

      I would check out the sale section of the Levenger website. I remember getting my high school teachers leather card cases that were on clearance and they all loved them. One teacher actually started transferring his cards from his old case to the new one I got him. Their quality is excellent and I have yet to be disappointed with them.

    • I’ve given movie tickets to men, iTunes gift cards to the younger generation (or anyone with iphones or headphones), and spa gift certificates to women.

      • I would hesitate with the iTunes gift cards. I am 29 and have all of the signs of someone who would have an iPod and love that kind of gift (I work out, generally am fairly tech savvy, etc.), but I would never use it. I don’t have an iPod, nor do I want one. What about an Amazon gift card? That way they could use it for music if desired but also buy an e-book or one of the millions of other things they sell.

        • Business&LawStudent :

          I second this. While I often listen to music and am tech savvy, I do not use an iPod or iTunes. I do, however, constantly use Amazon – and that gift applies to anyone that uses internet basics.

    • I’ve used this company for years for personalized correspondence notes and paper goods – great service and products. Here are some ideas in your price range: http://www.classiccommunication.com/stationery_tablets.htm

      • Thanks ladies! Keep the ideas coming. This is all good fodder.

        • Also look at Stationery House and American Stationery….I have given teachers a lucite holder w/name on it filled with pads, stickies, memos etc…you could do them in school colors to avoid “what’s your favorite color?” dilemma.

  18. Question—

    This is a tender subject for me, but I’ve been so impressed with the support and advice shared on this blog I thought I’d post about it anyway. I just found out my Mom has breast cancer. She says the lump on her breast is about the size of a piece of gravel. At this point, that’s realy all I know. She is going to get more tests done and will talk with more doctors and specialists about treatment next week. I’m wondering how to best support her and if you know of any resources that might be particularly helpful.

    • I’m so sorry.

      A dear person in my life was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer some years ago, and one of the things that I think she appreciated most was help with all the little things — coordinating doctors and appointments, having help organizing all the treatments, someone to cook (lots of little nibbles to eat when the appetite was there) & clean up; someone to tend to paying bills so nothing fell through the cracks, someone to deal with the insurance…

      Everyone deals with this differently, some people are very private, others like to reach out. But I think it always helps to talk to people who have been through it. Oddly enough, one thing that helped get us through some of the dark days was Fran Drescher’s Cancer Schmancer.

      Also, please be encouraged that it is much more treatable than it used to be, and if detected early, the chances of survival are very, very high.

      And I am happy to report the dear peson in my life is still here and cancer free despite some a rather negative initial prognosis. Best wishes to you and your mom for getting through this, too.

    • First of all, I am sorry that you are going through this, and I am sorry that your Mother is going through this. I held my Grandmother’s hand through her breast cancer every step of the way, and it is hard. But she just passed the 10 year mark this year.

      My piece of advice is to not let yourself get depressed or overwhelmed. Breast cancer, while still very scary, is not the monster it used to be. I am not trying to downplay it, but I am stressing that there are tools to fight it more successfully now, and I am so grateful for that.

      Contact a local breast cancer survivor group and see if you can get someone to speak with your Mom. My Grandmother is on a list of people that can be called with questions, concerns, fears, etc. It’s one thing to hear it from a book or a website, and another to hear it from someone who has gone through it personally.

      As far as supporting your Mother, it really depends on the type of person she is. My Grandmother did not want to hear any news. So, my support to her was to be her bridge to the doctors. I would talk to the doctors, since she just didn’t want to know how bad it was. Your Mother may want someone there to hold her hand, someone to drive her to her appointments, or just someone to listen to her fears. Alternatively, she may need you to continue to act like everything is the same. I know this isn’t helpful, but it’s honestly what I think is true.

      If she ends up having to go to chemo, make sure she has a chemo buddy, especially if you can’t go. I was my Grandmother’s chemo buddy (I was in high school, and she had it over the summer). We had a picnic basket of movies, snacks, drinks, magazines, and blankets, and we would go “camp out” for chemo every session. There are great websites online that tell you what to pack in your chemo bag.

      And don’t forget to take care of yourself. You can’t be the support your Mom needs if you aren’t well, mentally, and physically.

      I will look for links that were helpful when my Grandmother went through it originally (10 years ago), and when my other Grandmother went through it this past Spring.

      • http://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/supporting-friend-who-has-breast-cancer

        I hope these links work, and don’t get caught in moderation.

      • My paternal grandmother, my mom’s sister and my mom have all had – and beaten – breast cancer. They had different kinds, and different treatments, and they are all doing great. It is really so much more treatable these days, particularly when it arises in an older lady like your mom. From what I’ve been told, the really aggressive breast cancers tend to show up much earlier, in women in their early thirties (scary).

        So far as what to do – I live out of town from all of them, so I made sure to call frequently, keep up with appointments, check in shortly after the appointments were over to help digest the news, help in any research (my mom and aunt are all about having as much info as possible; my grandmother just had faith and didn’t really want to talk about that), talk about how they were feeling from treatment. And, decide about a masectomy – my mom had a smallish tumor as well, but decided to have a masectomy and was so glad after the fact. It’s not an easy decision to make or easy thing to do, but they found another tumor elsewhere in the tissue that had been removed, and now she’s entirely cancer-free.

        One word of warning – my mom did go to the local breast cancer survivor group and had someone assigned to her. The woman was clearly traumatized from her own experiences and honestly was just freaking my mom out and using her like a therapist. If your mom tends towards being overly accomodating, like mine, keep tabs on that!

    • I’m sorry to hear this and will be thinking of you and your mom. My mom is a 25 year survivor and I hope in 25 years you will be on here saying the same thing.

      There are a lot of great support groups for this stuff – check out http://www.abcdbreastcancersupport.org/ and see if they have anything in your area.

      Are you in the same geographical area as your mom? Offer to go to treatment with her if you can.

      • Thanks for all the thoughtful responses. It means so much! I live in the same town as my mom, thankfully, so I offered to attend treatments with her (although I think my dad might want to be the one to do this). I will also check out the links you all provided. Thank you and thank you again.

    • to you.

      Susan G. Komen website has a lot of good information and resources for you (as a person who knows someone who was diagnosed) and also for your mom (as a person who was diagnosed). Breast cancer runs in my mother’s side of the family (4/6 sisters have had it, all still with us today!), so I have been through this a bunch of times. It varies with the person. Some people like the “hands on” support and others will want a more “I know you are there for me and will ask you if I need active help” approach. If you live close by, prepared meals that can be frozen in 1-2 person quantities really helps. If she is going through chemo/radiation, she may not have a “regular” appetite, so having small meals on hand for when she does want to eat is great. One of my aunts could only stomach clear chicken broth, so I made her a batch in small aliquots that she can store frozen and reheat. The key thing is that she knows you are there for her (whether in person or on the phone/skype). Sending you best wishes.

  19. Please excuse the typos…

  20. Quick threadjack! the firm I am going to be working at next summer invited me to sit at their table at an awards banquet tonight. The invitation came very last minute, the banquet is in only a few hours. Is this the sort of thing I would wear a suit to?

    • panic attack averted – I just got an email telling me it was “courtroom attire” (so I’m going to wear my interview suit). Luckily I didn’t procrastinate cleaning it.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I would go with a dress that you can wear a blazer over.

      If you don’t already have that in your closet, then suit. People from the firm will probably be wearing suits if they’re coming straight from work.

      Have fun!

      • AnonInfinity :

        Sent this before the “courtroom attire” comment.

        Suit, indeed!

        I’m going to stick with the “Have fun,” though.

    • Heatheresq :

      Google the event. See if they have pictures directing you what to wear. If not, a dress suit is very appropriate. If the event ends up being fancy, you can take off your jacket and voila, a cocktail dress (accessorized with some fancier jewelry).

      Don’t have a dress suit? Another suit with appropriate accessories should be fine.

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