Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Rolled-Trim Blazer

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

Rolled-Trim BlazerI’m intrigued with this blazer by Helmut Lang. From far away: it’s your classic black wool jersey blazer; perhaps a bit on the boxy side. But up close: I’m digging the interesting rolled hem. It’s $595 at Bergdorf Goodman. Rolled-Trim Blazer

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(L-2)

Comments

  1. Equity's Darling :

    I really like this- it’s professional, but has a hint of something interesting if someone looking at you is paying attention.

    Apparently the same company that owns theory also owns Helmut Lang now…I can see a lot of similarities in their vibes and the shapes of the two lines.

    • Diana Barry :

      Ditto, I like this a lot – very interesting.

      I would also like the dress they paired it with if it were about 6 inches longer!

  2. It’s an interesting take – but part of me feels like it looks like they couldn’t figure out how to find the fabric bias and do a proper turn. Shrug – maybe it looks more intentional in person.

  3. Anon seeking advice... :

    Early threadjack:

    For NYE weekend I will be going to my boyfriend’s hometown and staying 2 nights with him at his parents’ house. This will be my first time meeting them. I’m 31, he is 33, and we’ve been dating less than 6 months but are potentially pretty serious. I know his parents, especially his mom, are very, very excited to meet me. I want to make a good impression and get off to a good start.

    However, I’m nervous about something: I am very career-oriented and work A LOT. BF and I are in the same field and have the same degree, so he gets it. He also gets that my priorities may never change, and that this means I may not want to have kids. He is totally on board and supportive, but I am afraid his mom may not be. She did not go to college and has never worked. I have nothing but respect for her decisions and those of any other women who make different choices from mine. However, I’m afraid that I am not what she wants for her son, and/or that I will offend her during our visit. I can’t be honest about who I am if I try to pretend that I can picture taking any time off to have a baby, that I would decide where to live based on BF’s job rather than my own, that I would ever scale back my hours to make more time for family, etc. I know that when I write it all out this way I sound very cold, but I’m putting it bluntly on purpose because this is how I’m afraid I may come across to BF’s mom. None of these issues may come up, of course, but I suspect it’s just a matter of time.

    Does anyone have a dynamic like this with their SO’s female relatives, or a MIL? Any do’s or don’t's for me as I go into this first meeting and, hopefully, beyond? My goal is for her to see me as a good partner for her son, and us as a couple who simply are making different decisions than she and her husband have made. My fear is that she may think I don’t really care about him, or that I judge her for not working. Thank you for any advice.

    • AtlantaAttorney :

      You are borrowing worry. No need to discuss any of that with BF’s mom. Surely it will not come up, but if it does, simply say, “Oh heavens, we’re a long way from any of that! We’re just happy to be able to spend this time together.” And then ask for her recipe for whatever she’s most proud of.

      • This! I am very different from my MIL and FIL. We get along just fine, partially because we avoid talking about our differences.

        Talk about your career when asked (and if they ask you about your reproductive plans, say something non-committal). Otherwise, just talk about neutral topics and be really helpful around the house.

        And remember that the most important thing is that you and your BF are on the same page, not that you and your theoretical MIL are. :-)

      • I agree–don’t turn this into an issue until you know that it is one. My MIL was not very career-focused but she has never been anything but supportive of my choices and I have never heard her express anything that would indicate that she feels judged by me.

      • Anon seeking advice... :

        So I pretend that I cook? :) I don’t mean to be sarcastic at all–just giving you a sense of how concerned I am about relating to her. But I take your comment to heart. Thanks.

        • Well, the suggestion was to ask for the one’s she’s most proud of – no implication that you would use it. :) It sounds like a way to show interest in her and the things she likes to do, which is the same thing you would do when meeting other, non-boyfriend parent people, right?

        • Mountain Girl :

          You don’t have to pretend to cook. But you do need to be interested in her. And part of being interested in other people is being interested in learning about what makes them tick.

        • First, I think cooking has nothing to do with career/not career. Some women with super-ambitious careers cook, some “housewives” do not cook (there was a whole cookbook based on this in the 1960s, the “I Hate to Cook Cookbook, by Peg Bracken). Second, you’ve gotten some good advice here – don’t borrow trouble, it’s no one’s business but your boyfriend’s how you feel about having children. Third, be yourself and show interest in your boyfriend’s family – admit you don’t know how to cook, but maybe be open to learning. This applies to other things, too. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new activity to enjoy!

      • Agree, don’t borrow worry or trouble and ““Oh heavens, we’re a long way from any of that! We’re just happy to be able to spend this time together.”
        is a great line you can learn, love and use that is a useful answer for so many awkward questions.

        I would also suggest thinking about this situation as if you were going home with a gal pal for the holidays. If this was just a friend’s mother that you had never met, how would you act? what would you do? I think “re-framing” it and taking the scary relationship factor away might make it easier.

        Life hack has an article about how to be a great house guest here: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-to-be-a-good-house-guest-or-host.html

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I have a friend who was in a similar situation to you – raised by a single mother and VERY career driven (and unwilling to sacrifice her career for a man at all) who was in a serious relationship with a man who’s mother had literally dropped out of college as soon as she was married and never worked. There was some friction there but it was never outwardly expressed to her (they were serious/headed to marriage, etc).

      I certainly wouldn’t bring up these topics (especially on first meeting them!) and if they did come up, I would gracefully sidestep. It will be pretty clear that your career is important to you from the way you talk about it, but you can also make it fairly clear that the choices that are right for YOU are not necessarily the same choices that are right for other people. There might be some friction there but I imagine it won’t come up on this visit. My guess is the “may never have kids” would be the biggest sticking point for his family – but honestly, I would leave it to him to fight the good fight and if I were you, I’d just try to behave gracefully and politely and show them all the ways you ARE a good partner for your son and you CAN take care of him – just not necessarily in the traditional ways they expect. I would sidestep any “debate” conversations about what your longterm plans should be (kids/SAHM plans, etc). It may never be EASY for them to accept that but if their son loves you, and you make him happy, then that should be all that matters in the end.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      What are your reasons for thinking that she might react this way? You might be getting nervous over nothing, especially if your significant other gas already told his parents a lot about you. I’m not in a situation where I’ve had to meet a boyfriend’s parents before like this, but I think you should try to not project your fears onto her if there isn’t a clear reason for you to expect her to react that way.

      • I agree, and I’d go even further: the biggest problem you may have with the MIL is that you are pre-judging her. You don’t know her life or why she ended up where she ended up or what she expects of you/her son. Many people are able to function in life without projecting their own values/life course onto others. Don’t assume that you know how she feels based on certain characteristics. Maybe she resents that she never went to college/worked outside the home, but feels that she did what was expected of her by her parents/in-laws/spouse. Maybe you have some other reason for knowing how she feels (her son has told you), for instance, but the best way to show you respect her views is to not assume you already understand them.

        As for getting along with difficult in-laws who wanted something else for their son, an area in which I unfortunately do have some experience: be patient. They probably will not love you right away. It’s natural, and it’s ok. It takes a while to get used to someone as a potential DIL, and there are a lot of hopes, fears, etc tied up in it. So don’t expect too much too soon, and just take care to be a respectful houseguest. It is awkward staying in a semi-stranger’s house like this, so I sympathize. The best you can do for now is to show them that you are kind, respectful, and care about their son.

        • Seattleite :

          “the biggest problem you may have with the MIL is that you are pre-judging her”

          THISTHISTHIS.

          And if she does turn out to be fairly difficult: There are tons of expectations loaded into the words that name family relationships (mother, father, MIL, sister…). Release the word “MIL,” with your expectations and desires about what a MIL could/should be, and think of her as “that lady who’s known BF for his whole life and cares about him” and see whether that allows you to be a little more detatched when she misbehaves. (I did this with my own very difficult mother, and it helped immensely.)

    • When househunting, in-laws visited, and for fun & information, we drove them through some neighborhoods on the way to dinner. They didn’t see why we wouldn’t live in some of the farther-out hoods where it’s cheaper & housing bigger. I chipperly reminded them we’re condo, city people, and pointed out that the commute would be intractable, demoralizing, impossible.

      MIL reminded *me* that I’ll be barefoot and pregnant soon, so what do I care about commute. That I’d soon get over myself and out of my own way. That we’d soon be growing out of being selfish city people. That husband would manage the commute as a sacrifice to the kids we’ll be having and their right to have a yard.

      It was a bunch of slaps in the faces, all at once. Dinner was not super pleasant after that.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Ooh! Ouch! I’m impressed you stayed calm at all!

      • Did she actually SAY barefoot and pregnant? Because if someone said that to me, I think I’d just burst out laughing because I’d assume they were being sarcastic!

      • wow! Sometimes it really surprises me that there are people who think that kids can’t grow up in a city with no yard (!) and heavens forbid, take public transportation.

        • I think I’m going to start blaming every problem in my life on the fact that I grew up in the city with no yard.

          Didn’t get the job? It’s because I didn’t have a yard growing up.
          Lost a case? No yard. Nuff said.
          Epic papercut? Definitely the yard thing.

          Yup.

          • Tired Squared :

            “Epic papercut? Definitely the yard thing.”

            You just made my morning!

          • I do blame the fact that I can’t keep house plants alive for more than 2 weeks on having no yard.

          • I grew up on a farm with acres and acres of “yard” and still can’t keep plants alive :-)

            Now I live in the city with no yard and we’d love to raise kids here, when we get good and ready for them. They will probably need years of counseling for having to take the train to school.

      • Yikes. I always wonder why people say it’s selfish not to have kids.

        • Yeah, that bugs the cr*p out of me, too. I’m sure that raising a kid requires you to be more selfless in a lot of ways, but deciding to have a kid or not? Seems like that decision is (or should be!) all about you and what you want out of life.

          • Not to mention that, in terms of our carbon footprint and overall impact on our environment, city dwelling is usually much less “selfish” than suburban living. Not that I judge either choice (and I’m reluctantly living in a suburb now for lower rent), but it’s interesting how relative terms like “selfish” can be.

          • I think because men and boys don’t talk about these things as much, his parents assume I alone am the weird feminist reason they do not have grandchildren. They assume he always wanted kids and that I must have put the kibosh on that assumed dream of his and definite dream of theirs. And that, as above, even my weird feminist choices are temporary and will give way to the normal, right way of things.

            For the OP, it’s probably best to talk about these things, casually but confidently, before marriage, if mayhap not at the first meeting. And, crucially, I think sons must talk about them with their parents, too. It can’t all be on your head if you make mutual happy life plans with your love on the way to your mutual happy life. It might not look like happiness to the folks, or make them happy. But live your life, expressing your hopes optimistically and having your SO do so as well.

        • Well, from a societal/economic point of view… population growth is important.

          • I think there are enough kids around; not gonna be children of men anytime soon….. 7B people on earth now, I believe is the current count?

        • Anonymous :

          Go ahead and shoot me but I tend to see many people who choose to remain childless as a just a wee bit more immature than those who are parents. Not all, mind you, but many. I noticed it myself before I had my son; my friends who had kids just seemed more grown, more centered, more selfless, and more balanced.

          • Do you think maybe that the causation runs the other way? That is, *because* they are more selfless, grounded people they chose to have kids because they knew they could handle them? Personally part of the reason I am not interested in having kids right now is because I like having time to myself, and being “irresponsible” by drinking and staying out late on weekends. I don’t think my choices are objectively “bad” or that people who don’t make those choices are “good,” and I also don’t think maturity per se has a lot to do with it. But I do think a person who makes the kind of choices I do should probably not have children.

          • Childless by choice :

            This may be your experience; however, for every grown, centered, selfless and balanced parent that I have met, there are an equal number whose utter lack of maturity makes me question their decision to have children in the first place. Likewise, I know many child-free people who exude all those positive qualities you mentioned (I would like to include myself in this category!)

          • Hmm, and I see people without children as more interesting.

    • Focus on sharing positive things. Try to talk about things you like – the boyfriend, aspects of your job, hobbies, memories growing up. If you are concerned about how she’ll take the career women vibe, make it more about how much you love the work you do, rather than why you would choose it over kids. Offer to help where you can and in general, be a good guest.

    • DH and I have been married for two years, and this comes up pretty frequently with my MIL (stay at home mom of 4 / philanthropist) and SIL (stay at home mom of 3). We bought our first home together before we were married, and it was a very small three-level townhouse. My MIL’s first question upon seeing it was, “But there’s no room for a baby!” I responded, “If we get to that point, we will move.” Her response: “When are you moving?”

      Empathetic anecdote aside — it seems like you still pretty remote from that juncture. It seems you can defer any of that discussion to another day, with a pleasant comment like AtlantaAttorney suggests.

    • I’m a MIL, although one who has always had a career, and many years ago I was in the same situation that you are. Speaking from my perspective as both the MIL and daughter-in-law, I am virtually certain that the most important thing to her will be that you love her son and and that he loves you and that you both want to make each other happy. You shouldn’t pretend to be something that you’re not, but you might also recognize that life has a way of throwing curve balls at you and that nothing is set in stone. So if she is so bold (or nosy) to ask about if you plan to have children and whether you would stay home – which she probably won’t be – you can say something like, “We’re not at that point yet, but we’ll see. I love my career and we’ll try to figure out what works best for us if and when we get to that point.” And FWIW, my late MIL might never have had the same ambition or opportunity that I have, but she was a wonderful woman and had raised the man I love, and we got along great.

      • Ha! Good for you for being that kind of MIL, but I can emphatically disagree with you that the most important thing to all MILs is that her DIL loves her son, that her son loves her DIL and the want to make each other happy. My MIL, for example, is counting the days until her son finally wisens up and leaves me (and presumably, her grandbabies).

      • I’m glad that you posted this. I love my ILs, even though my (SAH) MIL and I couldn’t be more different. My experience with them and my feeling towards them are very similar to what you have written here. Also, as a mom, I always get a good-hearted chuckle from listening to young women plan their future with such certainty (such as, “I plan to go back to work right away” or “I don’t want children”). The thing is, being a woman means you have options (most of the time), and I wish women wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the unknown. So, Ladies, my plea: refrain from overstatements of how you’re life will be. Allow yourself the space and the wisdom that comes from living your life to be your guide. It’s OK to not want to have children, ever. And it’s OK to say this, and then fully change your mind later. :)

    • MIL&Career :

      I have a similar dynamic for a slightly different reason. My husband and I have been married for three years and together for six. We are getting ready to have kids – actually, we have a preconception visit tomorrow!

      However, my MIL has made it clear for some time that I am not the type of woman she wanted her son to marry. She actually told guests at our wedding that she wished he wasn’t marrying me because it would change his life so much to marry a ‘career woman’. The type of woman she wanted him to marry was a teacher who would only work for 2-3 years, and she has made it very clear that any decent mother would stay home from when the first child is born until the youngest is in school full time. She often makes comments about other women and how their husband/child must be “suffering” because of her outside work.

      We have no plans for me to stay home. You don’t sound cold at all. And I hope that the above doesn’t sound terrible. I’ve had six years, and here’s what I’ve learned:

      1. The most important thing is that your boyfriend feels loved and valued, and that in return you know that he supports and agrees with your decisions. you+him > everything else.
      2. Right now: make sure she sees that you care about him. say good things about him in front of her. Even if you have discussed all of these issues in detail with your boyfriend, you don’t have to tell her. If she says something about how old you are, when you’re going to have children, etc, you can say genuinely that there are a lot of other things that would need to happen before you make a final decision on that. …or see #3
      3. My favorite difficult MIL tool: “Why do you ask?” When my MIL starts questioning our decisions, we’ve found that responding with “Why do you ask?” causes her to clarify whether she’s asking genuine questions (she want to make holiday plans, etc) or whether she’s asking a question just for the purposes of getting an opportunity to disagree with us. Usually if the questioning is inappropriate in terms of timing or purpose, that ends the conversation pretty quick, while being gracious. I love “Why do you ask” in lieu of a substantive answer.
      4. If you’re worried about her being judged, ask her about things that she has excelled in – the recipe for a favorite dish she used to make for your boyfriend, what sorts of holiday traditions she had with the family, etc. Show that you value the contributions she made to making your boyfriend into the man he is today.

      Also – you’re 31 and a professional. His mother probably has an idea that you value and prioritize your career. If she sees that you make her son happy, then she’ll like you just the way you are.

      • Didn’t see this before I wrote my response to anon above, but THIS. On top of the working/not-working issue, my MIL and I also have cultural conflicts (she’s a high-wasp, I’m first generation Asian-American), and general personality conflicts (she’s very old style feminine, and I’m… not).

        I mostly agree with many of the previous posters that you’re in a sufficiently new relationship and that this issue may not come up at all in your first meeting (though my MIL pulled my now husband aside the day after meeting me and told him that she thought I was nice, but he was young and should be playing the field more – yikes!). However, one thing that may be helpful for you to observe when you meet his family for your own future reference is your husband’s relationship with his mother. Is he super deferential to her or will he take a stand against her? I learned (too late) in our relationship that my husband will basically never take my side against his mother. There’s too much backstory about why that is to get into, but she has spend the last 20 years taking me down using every method known to man. My husband sees it, even acknowledges it, but refuses to tell my MIL to cut it out. His excuse – he only spends a week or so a year with her (and the rest of the year with me), so he has no right to tell her to behave.

        IF your ambitions are going to be an issue with your MIL ultimately, make sure your BF will back you up. My issues with MIL have nearly broken my relationship (and it may happen yet), so this isn’t something to take lightly. I applaud your foresight in seeking preemptive measures.

        • This is great! It can be really telling to watch the parents interact together too. Remember that’s what your boyfriend group up viewing as a marital relationship. It can really be a window on to what he thinks, expects, believes.

        • MIL&Career :

          “However, one thing that may be helpful for you to observe when you meet his family for your own future reference is your husband’s relationship with his mother. Is he super deferential to her or will he take a stand against her? I learned (too late) in our relationship that my husband will basically never take my side against his mother. ”

          AGREE. With the amount of time and energy I have expended trying to deal with the dysfunctional relationship my husband and MIL have, I’m pretty sure I could have designed and built the Eiffel Tower. Without a doubt, my MIL and my husband’s inability to stand up to her, or choose my side if it might hurt her feelings, is the single biggle challenge in our relationship. And I’m jealous of one week per year…I had to fight tooth and nail just to live 13 miles away from my MIL. An entire 7 day period without her visiting/calling would be incredible. I wish someone had sat me down six years ago and given me the advice you’re receiving here.

          • Okay, I’m taking a moment to give a small thanks to the universe for my MIL — I complain about her and the wacky stuff that she does probably too much, because it’s nothing like this. My sympathies :-/

          • Oh, we (I) nipped that in the bud by moving every few years (different states, different countries). Though every place we moved, she would come visit and make ridiculously passive-aggressive motions of (a) trying to move into our home or (b) pretend to be looking into buying in the neighborhood.

            MIL&Career – sounds like you and I could trade MIL stories for quite a while. If it’s any consolation to you, husband and I have made it 20 years so far, though dealing with his mother is always excruciatingly contentious.

          • To Kady below (it won’t let me reply) thanks – as the holidays approach, it’s nice to remember I am not the only person who has to deal with a MIL whose only two modes of operation are passive-aggressive and aggressive-aggressive.

            Here’s a humorous one: for my birthday this year, she gave me a replica of a cookie press that she owns that she found at a yard sale. When my very nice brother-in-law’s girlfriend said to her “oh, that’s so sweet you passed down your family cookie press” she turned to her and said so that we could all hear “oh, no, I would never give her MY cookie press…I’m saving that for you.”

          • Ha! Here are my favorites: (1) MIL often has “medical emergencies” when she is with us, including – one Christmas eve, when we had plans to drive to my family’s home for dinner, she disappears with our (only) car, is incommunicado for several hours, only to return just before we were supposed to (all) be at dinner with the excuse that she had to visit a dentist (on Christmas eve! in a totally random not-her-own city); and, ON OUR WEDDING DAY, so my husband had to spend the morning getting her to various “doctors” (don’t know, don’t want to know). (2) MIL has visited and been invited to stay at my mom’s home several times. Once, to show her “thanks,” she dug up my mom’s ENTIRE FLOWER GARDEN and planted it with “more suitable flowers.” (3) I have been with her son for 20 years. But if you ask her, she still doesn’t know what I do for a living, where I went to grad school (she only knows where I went to undergrad because it is where I met her son), or what general size I am (as in, she buys me clothes every year that are size L or XL. I am a size S).

            At this point, I just http://is.gd/5HVKzh

        • Totally agree, however also be aware of how he portrays you to them. My husband was a mama’s boy, but with a streak of independence. He also was very fair; he defended me to my MIL and vice versa. This took a huge toll on him personally, to the point where he nearly ended our r’ship.

          So, if this is the case, you should be aware of the difficult position your BF is in, having to defend you to MIL and vice versa. I was in constant turmoil about the MIL and always shared my angst with my husband. This lasted for about 2 years. Now we are on neutral territory, possibly because I’ve borne her some healthy grandkids. (Yes, she is very old fashioned and did not like the fact that I am an attorney – she had less control over me. I could go on about her particular gripes about my physique). This constant, acute stress took a toll on him and nearly caused him to give up on the r’ship. So pick your main gripes about MIL to share with BF, if at all. Better yet, vent with close friends and then think of the best strategy of bringing it up to BF.

          • Wish we could move to different countries every so often. My MIL is due to move to the same city next year!

            My MIL nearly broke up our engagement, up to the night before the wedding (she went through my things while we were out, probably looking for “incriminating” evidence against me). This type of behavior continued to our wedding day when she screamed at me and my mother and berated me the day after, right before she left. No one was good enough for her son. Needless to say, we didn’t have a honeymoon period since our every argument was about her – this occurred throughout our first year of marriage. Even now, she has not even asked when my birthday is nor acknowledged me in holiday cards. Just last week, husband received a “To my son” Christmas card addressed solely to him.

      • The “why do you ask” suggestion is great. I’ve learned to use this along with similar responses–”why does that matter,” or “why are you telling me this”–to respond to weird gossip and gossipy questions within my family that I want no part of. It makes the person at least realize that you don’t care to discuss the subject with them, and bonus points if it makes them realize that they are just being nosy or judgy.

        OP, unless you have some reason to think you need to prepare yourself for this issue, I wouldn’t worry about it, at least not for this initial meeting. It seems like stressing about it could only make you read into things or hypersensitive to anything she might say.

        If something happens, I agree with the posters that pointed out that this is a BF issue, not a potential-MIL issue. If she’s not ok with your decision not to have kids, then she also should not be ok with your BF’s decision not to have kids, and that’s something he needs to make clear to her is his decision, too. It shouldn’t be you against her–not that it never is (like Kady’s post), but it shouldn’t be, and that’s something you can address early with your BF.

    • I would be less worried about potential MIL and more worried about BF. What are the chances that as you get more serious and he sees you more as “wife” and less as “GF,” he will be less indulgent of your career efforts “because I want to give my kids what I had: the stability of a stay-at-home mom.”?

    • My step-MIL and SIL have a mentality that is similar to what you are concerned your SO’s mother will have. I’ve been in conversations with them where they’ve told me, point blank, that any woman that works outside the home is “selfish” and that your life can “begin again” when your youngest turns 18. As a biglaw corporate litigator, I have very different opinions about what a home life can look like.
      In any event, we have a very good relationship, largely because I realize I’ll never change their opinions about family life, and neither DH nor I expect to structure our lives based on their opinions. I approach our conversations from this angle, answer their questions – if any are asked – honestly but without any sort of defensiveness (this is key), and change the subject when it’s polite. As far as this coming up this weekend, the topic comes up very rarely.
      Sometimes I feel guilty that I don’t try to better explain that a wonderful home life can look different to different people, but we try to lead by example rather than through heated discussion. It’s kept the peace for 10+ years, and fingers crossed it will continue along this vein.

    • Yep, I have this dynamic with both my parents (my mom still talks about being pregnant as the best time of her life), and his parents (his mom lives in a small town and is on the board of the rural women’s association). I have no intention of having kids, and didn’t even want to get married unless there was a pressing legal reason to do so (ie, immigration).

      My advice would be: 1) Don’t go to bat over these things yourself — I agree with what others have said that you should just gently set these issues aside, and if anything actually needs addressing at this stage let him do it behind the scenes. At our first meeting his mom was all about the babies and wedding plans and whatever else, which I politely avoided. After a few phone conversations between my then boyfriend and his mom, she was sending me emails letting me know that it would be fine if he took my name instead of me taking his (!). I guess that was her version of trying to adapt to my “non-traditional” stances :)

      2) Remember that if your BF has made it clear to them that this is a relationship that he’s serious about, they’re probably going to be trying to impress you as well (which can lead to some potentially wacky behavior). My now MIL nearly drove me crazy the first time we met because she was trying so hard to entertain me and I’m a person who needs some down time and peace and quiet. So, cut them some slack too, these meetings can be stressful for everyone!

    • I think you might be underestimating your potential MIL. Women didn’t always have all the choices that we do now. She may have wanted those things, but never thought they were practical. Just because she never pursued a career does not mean that she might not have wanted to.
      Assume that she’s not going to judge you for your life choices. Just like you shouldn’t judge her for hers. If it comes to that, let it roll off your back, but don’t worry about it unless it becomes an issue.
      And I agree on the cooking. You don’t need to pretend that you can cook, but don’t look down your nose at those who do. I’m not saying that you would. Be appreciative of what she does, even if it’s not what you want to do.

    • MIL&Career :

      This is a pretty hot topic. And from reading the replies, I can see I’m not the only one who feels perfectly confident professionally, but really struggles and wishes I had a guidebook on how to deal with MIL issues – how MIL views me, and how boyfriend/husband and MIL relationship effects my relationship with boyfriend/husband.

      I’m sure that’s not an appropriate topic for a post, but nonetheless, I’d love to see one. Dealing with MIL causes as much anxiety as any interview or performance review ever has.

    • you’ve been dating less than 6 months and it’s the first time you’re meeting – I think it’s way premature for his parents to be asking your commitment to children and where you’re going to live, and if they did so you would think their son would be mortified and change the subject. I think deflection is the way to go, but I wouldn’t go so far as the recipe if you’re truly not a cook; it could come off patronizing. I think the proper focus is on getting to know his parents as people, and learning more about where he came from and what he and his family are like.

    • meet the parents :

      You’ve already received such great advice, but I’ll chime in as well. My MIL has blatantly commented that maybe if the family left DH and I alone while on vacation, we could find time to make some grandbabies, so I get where you’re coming from!
      I’ve found it helpful to just contribute when I’m there. ie: she knows I don’t like to cook, but I can chop onions, butter bread, set the table, etc., so that makes her happy. This was a huge issue for my new SIL, when literally EVERYONE was contributing (even just putting ice in the drink glasses) and SIL just sat on the couch reading a magazine until it was time to eat. So, you don’t have to pretend to cook, but at least offer to set the table.
      I would also say that it’s more about you and the BF than you and BF’s family. While you want to make a good impression, “good” doesn’t need to mean “traditional housewife”. My mom was a SAHM, but even she accepts that we may not have kids, and that education/career are more important to us. If you can find common ground to encourage her, definitely do it. My MIL makes these incredible hand-decorated cookies, and I make sure to compliment her on the taste, design quality, etc., to affirm that her talents are different than mine, but they are talents nonetheless!
      Last, I wouldn’t worry about MIL bringing up these issues upon first meeting. Enjoy the time :) There will be some awkward moments, but lifestyle choices are usually brought up at a later date. Good luck!

    • She’s going to want to like you. Keep that in mind. Be nice. Show a genuine interest in what she likes. Don’t be fake. If you are fake, you’re going to have to keep that up for the entirety of your relationship or risk having an odd reaction when you all of a sudden change personalities.

      I am pretty different from my bf’s family and we’ve managed to get along just fine for the past 3+ years. You can do it if you approach it with a warm and open thought process. If you come to them with walls up and judging everything they say its going to make it awkward.

      • Anonymous :

        For some reason, it seems natural for them to want to like you at first, but then once you’re in, to judge and change you in their image. Both impulses are probably compliments at bottom, but the latter makes life tricky. I wouldn’t not have married the love of my life b/c of family dynamics, obviously. But not SO obviously. Because it really does take a toll on peace and life.

    • Anon seeking advice... :

      Thanks to all. Just got out of meetings, but will check back again later in case anything more is added.

      I should clarify: I am not getting this concern out of nowhere. My boyfriend has emphasized how hard a time his mom has in relating to people who focus on work, and when I mentioned that I’m worried that she may think I’m too career-oriented, he said that indeed might be an issue. He also made clear that he will have my back if necessary, though, and that dealing with any static from her is going to be his job and not mine.

      I also don’t think I’m way too precocious in worrying about this because his family is chomping at the bit for him to get married, and if anything, I am the one trying to keep things at a slow pace between us. I think he might propose within a year if not for the signals I am sending that I would rather move more slowly.

      Thanks for all of your thoughts and experiences. I really appreciate it.

      • It’s really really good that your BF is telling you what to expect ahead of time. If it hasn’t been covered already, ask him how to best handle his mom. I too, met my MIL for the first time after about 6 months of dating (we were already serious and I was 31 y/o at the time) and I was not prepared for the major judgment that occurred. My husband did nothing to prepare me for that meeting, which really set the tone for my r’ship with MIL. So, it’s a really good sign that your BF is communicating with you ahead of time. Hopefully he will help you navigate this r’ship.

        Also, sometimes nothing you do is or ever will be good enough for a MIL, so control the things you can and focus on what’s really important – your r’ship with BF. Best of luck.

  4. momentsofabsurdity :

    Sorry for the threadjack but — is it normal to ask for headshots along with resumes? Is that something I ought to be providing?

    A consultant I work with at my startup (who will join the startup if it’s funded appropriately) has asked me to provide him with a headshot and CV. We’ve worked closely together for the past few months and he said he’d just like to forward it on to some contacts, help me with longterm networking etc. I have no problem giving him the CV.

    I’m a liiiiiiitle skeeved out by the headshot request though. Is that normal? I’m a recent college grad and was always taught by the career center that photos should NOT be included for networking/job application purposes. Additionally, FWIW, I think I’m reasonably attractive (and I don’t think, for several reasons, he would be asking for a headshot at all if he disagreed). He has always had a bit of a vibe of “older man liking to be seen helping/spoiling young women” but he has also been VERY helpful giving me career advice, etc. I have some (professional etc) headshots and will provide them (as he’s asked) but I’m also not used to sending my picture along with my CV. Is this just something that is standard and I’m overthinking?

    • AFAIK, you only need a headshot if you’re an actor. Otherwise, I’ve never heard of a job application or a networking request requiring one. I know some people have a picture on their LinkedIn – but usually the ones that already have one on their company’s profile page.

      Honestly, I’d be a bit skeeved out too.

    • I don’t think it’s normal unless you’re a model or actor! And honestly, if you haven’t explicitly told him you’re looking to explore new opportunities, it seems odd to me that he asked for a CV to send to contacts.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        I am DEFINITELY not a model or an actor. I think the CV was a genuine attempt to be like – you are early in your career and have some big decisions to make (I have an MBA acceptance in hand) and I want to help you realize all the options out there. The headshot, I’m not so sure about.

    • Equity's Darling :

      I think it’s relatively common in Europe….but if you’re in the US or Canada, I’m thinking it’s odd, depending on what industry you’re in.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Yep, in the US and in the biotech-type field. I have never been asked for one before but then again – I’m a recent college grad.

      • I’ve been asked for a photo for European jobs, but never for North American ones. It skeeved me out too, but in the end I decided to go with it because I have a head shot on my professional website anyway and I was basically sending the same photo in print form. If it’s inappropriate to ask for a head shot on an application, then why have I included one on a website that’s meant to be seen by colleagues/potential employers? I still haven’t really resolved that one for myself.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’ve seen job postings that request a photo be included with a resume, but I always find it a bit odd.

    • A picture can be an easy, smooth way for recruiting committees to see quota information without asking about it. If they need X demographic on the team, they can see if you’re a good fit.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        That’s an idea I haven’t thought of yet (though the idea of being hired to fill a quota also freaks me out a bit, but who knows). Even if it’s not that, I feel better knowing there may be a legitimate reason for this.

        • But even if it is the case – why wouldn’t your contact, who presumably knows you to some degree, express that information. I would only call that a quasi-legitimate reason.

      • …or an easy, smooth way for a recruiting committee to end up (consciously or unconsciously) acting on prejudices regarding certain groups in making their hiring decision. Typically, photos aren’t requested in hiring precisely for this reason.

    • Are you working primarily with people from other countries? I’ve worked in countries where the headshot is the norm (Japan) but it’s definitely not the norm in the US/Canada as far as I know.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Nope, all US contacts and primarily US business — the consultant is European but has lived in the US for the past 40-50 years (came over here in in high school).

    • In my opinion, this is neither normal nor acceptable. Generally, photos aren’t to be requested for the same reason that race or religious preference can’t be requested. I would be very nervous about a professional job that asked for a head shot.

      • This. It’s not a common practice in US because of the implications for discriminatory hiring. I would not give a headshot with my resume.

    • I’ve seem resumes where the applicant provided a small, passport-sized picture embedded in the resume, usually at the top, next to the name. I don’t know if this is an option for you. It cuts down on the skeeve factor somewhat (since the picture is smaller and thus less likely to be used for nefarious reasons – it can also be b/w, which cuts some of the model/actress association with headshots), and it lets you avoid the potential uncomfortable conversation about why you didn’t provide a headshot when the consultant asked for it.

    • I’m skeeved by the “older man liking to be seen helping/spoiling young women” thing. Honestly it sounds like he just wants your picture. “Forward it on to some contacts” without discussing with you who they are?

    • FWIW, I’m in Canada. When assisting our HR manager a few months ago in hiring for our department he told me to immediately dismiss any CV that had a picture becuase it was, not illegal, but would be difficult to prove no bias if we were ever challenged on our hiring or non-hiring decision.

      I wouldn’t include the head shot.

      • This seems like going to the other side of ridiculous. Wouldn’t people in the company ultimately meet candidates in person for interviews? Surely whatever criteria that might be revealed in a picture would be revealed in person as well. Maybe all interviews should be done via phone to avoid legal problems.

        • The point is, you should be getting the interview based on your qualifications, and how you look is rarely related to those qualifications. How you interact with people in real life is related, hence I would consider an in person interview far more pertinent to a hiring decision than someone’s physical appearance, which is the only thing being offered by a photograph.

    • Just note that this could be totally legitimate. I work at a large law-firm–has you ever noticed that on the website of most big firms every attorney has a head shot along with their “bio.” I know when we do RFPs we also send head shots of all the attorneys along with the bios to the prospective clients. I do not think it’s a huge deal. I would just ask him why he needs it–he may have a good reason.

  5. Don’t be so sure she “never worked”. She may have worked very hard indeed, in a less defined role and without a paycheck.

  6. Threadjack — I would like a new pair of diamond studs and want something high quality. Where would you order from?

    • Brilliant Earth. And they’re ethically sourced too.

      • Tired Squared :

        Speaking of ethically sourced, I’d like to share the following:

        Yesterday, I popped into a jewelry store to look for some Christmas presents, and the saleslady came up to me to tell me all about their store’s “ethnically sourced” diamonds. I figured it was a one-time mispronounciation (plus it was busy!) so I nodded and let her keep talking. But she kept saying it!

        Anyway, my favorite part was when she told me that the “best part about ethnic diamonds” is that they come from countries that are “home to people like you.”

        Sooo… merry Christmas/happy Holidays from your ethnic commentator!

        • Haha…though I normally wouldn’t support making service people really uncomfortable…this seems like the perfect time to bust out “What do you MEAN people “like me?”

          • Tired Squared :

            Agreed. I think my friend knew something like that was coming, though–she (very smartly) dragged me out of the store before I could get snippy with Miss Ethnic Diamond!

        • Equity's Darling :

          that’s hilarious re: ethnically sourced.

          though the “people like you” comment would irk me. A lot.

        • Wow. That is all I can say. Just, wow.

        • Ha! This is a great story. When sales(wo)men and good intentions go awry. What in the world did you say in response to that?

        • Anonymous :

          Ethnic Diamonds? Well, maybe it’s something I’ve never heard of.
          There’s a mine in Canada that produces over 30% of the world’s diamonds, maybe that’s what she meant. (That’s where my earrings are from.) Blue Nile is also great.

          FWIW, with earrings cut (read sparkle) is more important than color and clarity. No one is likely to closely inspect your earrings. You can get away with “L” color and big inclusions as long as the cut is Ideal.

      • Second. Love them.

    • I’d also check out Blue Nile. We’ve been happy with them when we used them.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Blue Nile.

    • a passion for fashion :

      If youre in New York or Chicago (and potentially other big cities), you can go to the diamond district. ask for recommendations from people first for reputable dealers. I have studs and a fancier-use pair of diamonds. both pairs are from the diamond districts and I am very happy with both.

      also, you dont want junk, but there is no need to get real high quality for earings (its not the same as a ring) becasue of how they are worn.

  7. Ladies, I could use some advice:

    My mentor and boss from someplace I worked several years ago is getting pushed out of the organization. I think he is awesome and he has been instrumental to my career. But due to internal politics he was asked to leave and will be leaving by the end of the year. He is in his early 60s but very energetic and not ready to retire. I don’t think he’s found another job yet, and given the economy and our field, I can’t be confident that he will.

    There’s nothing I can do, obviously, but what do I SAY in this situation?

    Thanks all.

    • Tell him you heard he is leaving and how helpful and terrific he was to you (that means a lot!). Ask him to breakfast or lunch. Ask if there’s anything you can do to be helpful as he thinks about what he wants to do with the next chapter of his life. Listen to what he has to say, and if he would rather talk about something other than his future plans, follow his lead.

    • Do not forget about him in the months after he leaves. Call him up to chat, to ask mentoring type questions or go out for coffee. Being out of work is very hard and he will probably want a chance to talk shop and know that you appreciated him.

  8. Wedding Attire :

    Am I right in thinking it’s mostly right to wear black at weddings these days? I was talking to someone at work who was appalled that women were wearing black to a wedding in New England. Even in my part of FL it’s really not that uncommon and I think of it as a non-issue. I would probably not wear it for a midday wedding, but anything with a dinnertime reception seems fine to me.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      In New York it’s very common. In much of New England, it wouldn’t be looked at askance, but there are parts where it might be (I haven’t seen it much in Maine, for example).

    • I think its fine to wear black for an evening wedding, especially in the winter. For summer, I would, personally, likely try to find a more summery color, but if I found a black dress I loved, I might wear that, too.

      I think its a non-issue.

    • I think it’s more of a “city” thing to do – wear black to a wedding – than a “country” thing, if that makes any sense.

      I’m fully in favor, but 90% of the weddings I’ve been to are city weddings. I’d think twice about doing it in my very small hometown, where most of the female guests would be in floral prints.

      • Ehhh most of my family is pretty country (one side foxhunts, the other side goes to NASCAR, so I’ve got pretty much all bases covered) and I see plenty of women wearing black at weddings. In fact, I wore black to my cousin’s midday, country-church wedding this summer, and got no weird looks. I had another cousin whose bridesmaids wore black. Could be a regional thing, I guess? Although I’m from a fairly traditional area.

        I think color choice is, overall, less important than looking tastefully celebratory and occasion-appropriate :)

        • It might be regional. Also, in my small hometown, it might also be generational, as most of the younger crowd have moved away by now. I just know my mom and her friends would raise an eyebrow at anyone wearing black to a wedding.

    • Here are all the rules I’ve ever heard for wedding guest attire (for women)
      Don’t wear white, it competes with the bride.
      Don’t wear black, it’s the color of mourning.
      Don’t wear red, you’ll stand out more than the bride.
      If I were to follow all these rules I’d be down to a very pale shade of blue.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I still follow these rules, but I recognize I am in the very small minority. I think a black and white print is fine (a la Middleton at a recent wedding), but no to solid/predominantly red, black, or white.

    • I think black is fine. I’m in New England and wore black to 3 of the 5 weddings I’ve been to in the past year. One wedding was in Boston, but the rest were on Cape Cod. And it’s perfectly acceptable around here, even when the wedding isn’t during the evening.

    • Tired Squared :

      I think it’s definitely normal at evening weddings like you say. That said, it seems to me that people try to wear a bit more color during summer weddings, but black is still not frowned upon.

    • I’m from New England and my bridesmaids actually all wore black — so its okay by me (and seems to be okay at every evening wedding I’ve been too.) The only time I wouldn’t wear black is if you were going to an outdoor afternoon beachy type wedding in the summer (though now that I think of it, I wore black to just such a wedding in Long Island last summer).

      I think if its a fun LBD with bright jewelry, you’re fine. :-)

    • I have been to two (evening) weddings in FL in the past 2 years. The bridesmaids wore black in both, and lots of guests wore black in both. I’ve also worn black to at least one evening wedding in LA this year.

    • I think black used to be frowned upon at weddings (black = mourning, like the earlier poster said), but that “rule” really isn’t in play anymore, as the comments have suggested.

    • I got in a debate with a friend over this earlier this year. She usually wears a black dress to all weddings, I think just because she thinks it makes her look skinnier. My take: I would not wear black to a daytime spring/summer wedding. Not because it’s offensive or whatever, it just seems incongruent with the occasion. You shouldn’t have the same dress for weddings and funerals, you know? It puts out the message that you care more about looking skinny than looking cheerful, or I guess that you only own black. Now I’m not opposed to wearing any black at all- I have a cute retro style black dress with colored flowers that I’ve worn to weddings before. And I view this as just a personal preference- in the same vein I view bows/accessory flowers on women’s clothes (not in favor) .

      It’s not a big deal either way. I can’t even say that I would notice if someone was wearing black to a wedding I attended, so wear it if it makes you feel comfortable.

    • Wedding Attire :

      Thanks all for the answers. The weddings in question were around Thanksgiving/Christmas, and I think it’s perfectly appropriate to wear black this time of year as a lot of the appropriate attire for this time of year does tend to be black. I would probably think twice about black to a summer/spring wedding as there is a lot more available in color, but you’d look kind of silly wearing a pastel dress in December, IMHO.

    • AtlantaAttorney :

      I will be the dissenting voice here. I do not think it’s an appropriate color to wear to a wedding. There are so many gorgeous color and pattern choices these days that I never feel like there’s nothing else to wear.

      I don’t dispute that many, many people wear black to weddings, because they certainly do.

  9. Threadjack:

    I interned as a 1L with a small firm (in a small city) last summer and will be having lunch with them over the Christmas break to talk about interning with them for 2L summer. Do I have to wear a suit?

    Normally I know the answer would be yes, but this is a fairly laid back firm and I only wore a suit a couple of times the entire summer (first day and a couple of court appearances). There were three other female attorneys at the firm and I *never* saw any of them wearing a suit- mostly skirts with blouse or wrap dresses (also saw no hose, peep toes, even glitter heels!!!). At least one of them will be coming to this lunch.

    Because of both the weather here and the desire to not look completely out of place in the office and around town, I would feel much more comfortable in a pair of trousers and a silk blouse. Would that be completely inappropriate?

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      I think this is a know your firm question. From what you shared above (small firm, small city), and the fact that it’s lunch and not a formal interview, I would say you should dress the way other women partners and associates would dress on any given day. Trousers and a silk blouse sounds good – just make sure the blouse has sleeves, and if it doesn’t, add a cardigan.

    • I think the outfit you’ve described sounds perfectly fine. Maybe add a blazer if you have it, or a cardigan. At this point they know you and it makes more sense to dress to fit in, maybe a notch above.

      • If you have a nice pants suit, you could always wear the outfit you describe, with the suit pants, and carry your blazer. That way, if you feel under dressed, you could always slip on your blazer at the last minute. Or, arrive in your blazer and then act like it’s a jacket and take it off, so you’re wearing just a blouse with pants.

    • Tired Squared :

      I think your outfit sounds fine, especially because you know the office and people. Just don’t wear glitter heels!

  10. Threadjack:

    This weekend I got my highlights touched up, and I wound up in a situation that I wanted to ask you all about. While my highlights were still cooking, the hairdresser had another client came in. When my timer dinged, my dresser was still working on the other client’s highlights, so a second dresser washed my hair (including a deep conditioning treatment, which I didn’t ask for, but my dresser had her put on probably to buy her some time). Since the second dresser washed my hair, I ended up having to tip her! (At least, that’s my understanding what’s appropriate). But I got to thinking, why do I have to spend another $10 just so my dresser can squeeze another client into the day?!? Any thoughts on this?

    • I would’ve tipped the usual amount, and then I would consider it up to my stylist to share the tip with the second person for helping her out.

      But maybe I’m not following proper etiquette, I don’t tip my mailman either. Not when he smashes packages into my tiny apartment mailbox to avoid walking them up the stairs to my door.

    • I’ve had this same issue come up before too, but I don’t know if I handle it correctly. I will take a couple dollars from the hair dresser’s tip and give it to the second person who washed my hair. This means my hair dresser gets tipped a couple dollars less (but shouldn’t she, if her service was less than what I expected?). If I leave the tip on the credit card, I leave that up to the hair dresser to share. However, if I called at the last minute and asked to be fit in, I will probably over tip them both – because I am overly grateful. That doesn’t sound like your circumstance here.

    • viclawstudent :

      I’ve had that happen a few times, and never even really thought about it – just tipped the same amount to the hairdresser (although I don’t hand my tip directly to my hairdresser, I either put it on the credit card or give to it to the woman who’s ringing me through and say, “This is for so-and-so”) – but my theory on this is like m’s – it’s up to the stylist to share with the person who helped her. Because she had a second client while you were there, she was able to make more money during that period (and get a tip from that person), so she really doesn’t lose out by sharing.

      I could be wrong, but I figure, you pay for a service, you tip for that service as a package – you wouldn’t tip extra just because you found out that a different chef did your dessert at a restaurant, or if a different waiter/waitress had to fill in during the appies course … the exception might be if you were booked for a service where you knew in advance that you had two people (say, a massage/facial where you knew you’d have a massage therapist and then an esthetician), but I might still give a blanket tip when paying and assume they’d split it rateably.

    • I usually give the hairwasher a small tip if I go to a place that has one person that exclusively washes hair for all the stylists.

      If one stylist washes my hair to help out my stylist, I would not tip the one that just helped out. I would assume that either my stylist would share the tip or that the stylists help each other out when needed to allow for more clients to get through the salon, so it would even out.

  11. PSA for those of you who like Red Envelope – there is a Google Offer ($15 for $30) today.

  12. Style question :

    Hello ladies,

    I received a beautiful smoky quartz necklace as a gift, but I don’t know what colors to wear it with. I wear a lot of black and gray and I feel like it just blends in with those colors. Any suggestions?

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