Suit of the Week: Jones New York

Jones New York Mini Houndstooth JacketFor 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.

Jones New York is having some good sales on suits — 60% off original prices. I like this mini houndstooth suit from them — it’s a great basic (even for an interview), and there are a lot of sizes left at good prices. The jacket (Jones New York Mini Houndstooth Jacket) was $199, but comes to $79 when you add it to your cart; the skirt (Jones New York Mini Houndstooth Skirt) was $119, but comes to $47; the pants (Jones New York Mini Houndstooth Pant) were $129 but come to $51. (Incidentally, it’s hard to find matching suiting pieces, but there are some crazy good sales at Anne Klein and The Limited today — I’ll try to do a post with my top picks.)

Jones New York Mini Houndstooth Jacket

(L-all)

 

Comments

  1. Slacktory.com did a post today on “What your favourite blog says about you” (link in reply). Although they somehow managed to miss Corporette in the post, I suggested it in the comments and apparently it says “You are the opposite of a cat lady. You own negative-three cats.” Does that mean I now have negative-cat-hair on all my black clothes?

  2. I know Kat may not care for the “Calvin Klein suits from Ross” – but evidently they are overloaded right now. I bought two last night for $23.99 each. They aren’t Ann Taylor, but they’re certainly better than JC Penney. If you need a cheap emergency (or in general) suit, now is the time to buy!

  3. Bursting out says:

    Cute skirt — good basic for wardrobe building at a reasonable price.

    And now the threadjack: it’s a follow-up from my question yesterday afternoon about maintaining productivity and motivation during the final weeks of pregnancy – many thanks for the tips yesterday. I am working at home (still in PJs!) and the comfort factor does seem to up productivity, as does breaking tasks into tiny little pieces. What helped even more is learning that one of my main competitors at work will complete a major coup/ hit a major milestone this spring that is still probably more than a year away for me… any time I’m tempted to slack, I think about her ‘getting ahead.’

    Now the question: how have you pregnant/ formerly pregnant ladies handled the comments and actions that suggest you are somehow incapacitated by your pregnancy? I’m already hearing comments about ‘mommy brain’ and seeing people jump to help me with non-demanding tasks like erasing a white board (for the record, these were both junior, childless women). On the one hand, pregnancy is comprising my work productivity and general mental and physical capacities. It seems only fair to recognize that pregnancy takes a major physical toll on our bodies, which can sometimes affect our mental focus as well. On the other hand, I am still a professional, doing my job as best I can, and resent the comments (esp. from junior colleagues!) that suggest that I can’t. What are you suggestions for navigating between this Scylla and Charibdis? What can I say to these junior colleagues to convince them not to rule me out, and further, to be a positive role model in case they decide to have children in the future?

    • Can I just ask why you have to think of a woman coworker as a major competitor you have to not let get ahead.

      The comments from junior colleagues are annoying and rude, but I would try to handle them the same way you would handle any other slightly offensive comment. For me I would say cool-ly “have you noticed a change in my brain?” which could possibly backfire since you say you have but I doubt they would respond “well yes actually.” I would not worry about being a mom worker role model to them, you don’t even know if they will have children. The erasing the whiteboard thing, they were just trying to be helpful there so I would just say “oh i can do it” if they try to do a task you feel fine with.

      • Bursting out says:

        Regarding the coworker/ competitor: It’s not that I cannot let her get ahead, but that I should have hit this milestone already, and knowing that she will hit it sooner than me spurs me on. It’s a necessary step for a promotion, and there’s some degree of “up or out” in this field and organization, so it’s better to hit these marks sooner than later. The pregnancy has slowed my work down significantly for the past several months, but I’m going to have to buckle down and produce, or my slacking will have negative repercussions. I’m afraid I can’t be more explicit about the type of milestone w/o outing myself, but I’m in a competitive field that’s not law.

        • And she is the only one, no men you have to compete with as well? Is she really the number 1 or do you feel extra competitive because she is a woman. Just wondering in light of the conversations on here the last few days

          • honeynotvinegar says:

            cc – I think you’re making this into a bigger issue than it really is from her post. She said that one of her main competitors at work just hit a milestone she needs to hit. It only came out that it was a woman through a pronoun, and it was very clear to me that this person was a competitor because of these milestones, and not because of gender.
            Finally, I’d also note that she said “one of her main competitors” – not her only competitor, which is what you’re making this out to be.

            I can’t read anything into this post that suggests the issue is some sort of woman-eat-woman competition here. If anything, it emphasizes a merit/work-based competition. The issue here is being marginalized based on her pregnancy. Hopefully future comments will be about to find ways to support her as she works to be a positive role model as well as a productive employee, rather than question her on a separate issue.

            Bursting out – I thought atomic’s comments were particularly on point.

          • I’m just expressing what I gleaned from her post. She mentioned that she felt that way about the woman and was competiting with her, and made a point that she is feeling frusterated at the junior childless women. That’s three women in one post that she has a problem with. I only mentioned the competitor part in one sentence in my first post, than went on to offer help. (ironically, giving very similar though not as well worded as the advice you point out is good below: I think the physical things should be taken as honest efforts to help, but mention the comments about mental things)

          • Bursting out says:

            The “competitor” is the only other person at the exact same level as me at our organization. There are no men in this particular role. We have extremely similar educational backgrounds, and started at the same time, working in different units. It’s because of the similarity of our backgrounds and expertise that I feel competitive, not because of her gender. (I felt similarly about a boy in high school who seemed to be on an exactly parallel path with me.)

    • I understand that what you’re saying isn’t each comment or action itself, but the pattern of comments/actions, which is a large and real problem – and you’re in the right to want to make things better for yourself, and easier for those down the road.

      That said, this is difficult. But in every phase of life, there’s something society will use to discount a woman’s ability to work – she’s going to get married, she’s just going to get pregnant and leave, she’s pregnant and has “mommy brain”/complete physical incapacity, she has a baby and can’t concentrate, she has kids and will have to leave early, she’s about to retire.

      I wish I had advice that said “say X” and “do Y”. But all I can tell you is to take the high road. I’d love to hear specific comments/actions that have worked for others, too.

    • atomic says:

      It sounds like some people are assuming physical impairment while others are assuming mental impairment. Trying to help with a presumed physical impairment is more defensible to me because pregnancy is a big physical change (and hey – no one reading this blog was hired on their ability to lift 50 lbs). Pregnancy brain comments are obviously very different. I would pick the fight against assumed mental decrepitude but perhaps let people feel good about helping with physical things.

    • "getting ahead" says:

      Just a note about your female peer “getting ahead.”

      I am an attorney and went to an AmLaw 200 firm immediately after law school. A former colleague graduated the same year I did, but clerked for two years before joining the firm. We were both stars on major trials and there was really no question that we would both make partner. I made it in the traditional 7 years. She was not considered until the next year because she got only one year of clerkship credit even though she clerked for two years. During our annual review season that year, she left her annual review in the partner’s office crying. She always hated me, so I can only imagine what she felt when she realized I would make partner that year and she would not.

      In the end, she made partner the next year. I left to go in-house. Now we are both out of each other’s lives and, presumably, much happier. I know I am.

      So although your peer may make this milestone before you do (and I appreciate that I don’t know what your milestone is), in the long run it might not matter.

      • Bursting out says:

        Wise advice. I’m sure we will both find the trajectories that suit us – and her success does not in any way comprise my ability to hit the milestone. I just wish I’d hit it already!

    • Let's be fair says:

      Is getting up to erase a white board (not likely a “demanding task” for the junior either) really so offensive? To me, that smacks of basic human courtesy, and has nothing to do with being pregnant or junior or incapacitated or capable of demanding tasks. It’s a show of good manners and thoughtfulness.

      • Bursting out says:

        The reason I mentioned it was that the junior colleague came up to me and asked “Are you ok? Hoooow are you doing? How are you feeling?” when I had done nothing to indicate that I was feeling anything other than fine. While I was erasing the white board, she said “here let me do that for you.” I certainly appreciate the courtesy, but in the context of her appearing concerned about my physical well-being, it felt demeaning. But, as you have said, maybe she was just trying to be thoughtful. I was perhaps already oversensitive, following the previous day’s ‘mommy brain’ comment.

        • as a childless person who had a pregnant boss, I literally wanted to do anything I could to help her. I had no frame of mind of what its like to carry around a baby inside you. I tried to help her with anything physical, but it was more of in a oh my gosh you are literally the miracle of life right now -in no way was I feeling like oh look at this weak person she needs my help. If everything else about the coworker is nice I would assume she is trying to be nice, and laugh it off with something like “now this i can lift!”

          • Bursting out says:

            Ah ha, this may well have been what the colleague was thinking. We are generally fairly close, and she may be a bit in awe.

          • IA with this – I’m generally in awe of pregnant women and think that they have better things to do than wipe whiteboards – so happy to help when I can.

        • Sorry, OP, it sounds like people were just trying to be nice to you. I think you’re overthinking it and being too defensive about someone just trying to offer help.

    • I am due next week with my second. In your example about the white board, I would just continue erasing the board and ignore the comments. (When people went to help me with lifting boxes, of course I let and thanked them! But erasing a white board? Come on!) I would also ignore the “mommy brain” comments and focus on keeping your productivity up. I’d only be concerned if the comments were coming from senior colleagues.

      For me, the true challenge was coming back from maternity leave. Being up with/nursing a newborn really took a toll on me and I made some stupid mistakes that I never would have made pre-baby. Once I realized that I was prone to that: (1) I forgave myself for the first mistake instead of repeating it over in my head; and (2) I took a little extra time to proof things/think about things before reacting. It worked.

      • Bursting out says:

        This is a really helpful perspective. I hadn’t thought about how much harder work may be post-pregnancy. I really need to hone my attention to details and productivity now to be able to pick up again post-mat.-leave.

        Senior colleagues have not expressed any concern about my work and productivity, which is partly why I found these comments/ actions – from women! – especially annoying. It’s almost as though they are suggesting that one cannot be a successful professional and a parent, and seem to be looking for an indication that their beliefs are correct.

        • And congrats to you! Pre-baby I was not a kid person, but now I can tell you being a parent is the coolest thing in the world. (Maybe it explains the mere 16 month gap that will be between number 1 and number 2.) And while the juggling is complicated, you can keep your performance/hours up at your job if its important to you and not feel like a terrible parent. I have found that people don’t care where I am so long as my work is done and they know it will get done.

        • The mommy brain thing is rude, straight up. But I think you may be projecting a bit. I think you may be sensitive because you mention you are feeling not yourself. Think about sometime when a male coworker, say, broke his leg. Didn’t everyone kind of bend over backwards? (or at least, does that seem like something these women would do, maybe tell him they could grab something off the printer for him if they saw it) You have a brief physical difference, and people who aren’t pregnant don’t know -is this like a broken leg where she doesnt want to get up if she doesnt have to, or is it just like having a weird bruise you dont even think about but people can see. Is it something that doesnt effect her at all, or should I be trying to do more to help.

    • Research, Not Law says:

      In my experience, 99% of the time such things are well-intentioned or simply conversation filler. Unless your workplace is becoming hostile due to a perceived ineptitude to perform your job that you feel is unwarranted, just let it slide. It doesn’t sound to me like it is.

      When I’m not in the mood to discuss my health or wellbeing with a coworker who asks how I’m doing (which is almost always), I say politely, “I’m doing well. How are you?” I find that directs things back to a more normal interaction.

      In my first pregnancy, I was very bothered by people jumping up to offer me a chair or pick something up for me, but simply be gracious and thank them. If they offer first, politely decline saying “I’m fine, but thank you.” Honestly, now pregnant with my second, I’m more than happy to take them up on the offer. I’m exhausted and uncomfortable; I DO want that chair and for someone to pick that pen up off the ground! LOL.

      Despite suffering for terrible pregnancy brain in both pregnancies (I blame karma – I always thought women were making it up), I do consider comments about it rude or presumptive unless responding to my own comment. However, it’s not worth getting upset over, so nod and get back to doing your work to prove them wrong.

  4. no call, no show says:

    Just curious as to what people’s office policies are with regards to people who no call, no show. We have someone who has been missing work on a regular basis for almost two months. Some days she will not contact anyone and other days she will tell people she’ll be in later and never show up. This leads people to believe they do not need to reassign her work, but 3-4 days later people are scrambling to complete the projects she should be doing. Several people have gone out to her home to make sure she is okay, at which point she always says she’ll be in the following day. I’m thinking this behavior would result in some disciplinary action every where else, but am just wondering what other people’s experiences are with incidents like this.

    • TCFKAG says:

      This has been going on for MONTHS and hasn’t been addressed. My mind is blown. I’m amazed she has a job.

      Short answer is, yes, most employers have a policy and would have fired this person if they didn’t have a good reason for no-showing (and by this time would probably have required a doctors note or a medical leave).

    • um fired would be the answer.

    • Lourine P says:

      I would call, and if need be, visit, because there are alot of people that take off and are goofing off but are not even sick. I am so sick and tired of covering for lazy co-workers who do virtually nothing, then come in late and leave early. Meanwhile we are working our kiester’s off because they are not pulling their own (considerable) weight.

    • momentsofabsurdity says:

      Um this is very strange. A day here or there is not the end of the world (though, of course, not ideal) but I can’t imagine a coworker who summarily missed random days.

      However, are you in touch with her direct supervisor? I know I have a coworker who randomly decided to WFH, or will come in late, and only lets his direct supervisor know. That’s fine except the supervisor doesn’t always communicate that to the rest of us. It might be that she is letting people know about this – just not everyone.

    • Most employers would have fired this person without documentation of some need for accommodation for a medical condition. Even with a medical condition, though, it doesn’t seem acceptable to me to not communicate that one will not be in on a given day.

    • Options says:

      If she’s sick, she needs to go on FMLA leave, and when she runs out of it, she will be terminated.

      If she’s no-showing for non-health related reasons, she needs progressive discipline. Maybe she will shape up, maybe she will end up being terminated.

      If you’re not sure, call the local police and ask them to do a welfare check on her home (they send two officers who knock on the door and make sure everything is OK).

      As for the work, I would assume from this moment on that she will do nothing. Armed with that assumption, I would either: (1) give her nothing (or nothing important) to do, or (2) double source every assignment you give her with someone reliable so you have work done when you need it.

      • Emily I says:

        Please don’t bother the police to do a welfare check. If she regularly no-shows, there is no need to be concerned about her well-being. Law enforcement has plenty to do. They don’t need to be dispatched to catch a slacking co-worker.

    • Lyssa says:

      I work in a really small office, and I’ve picked up that the person that I replaced ended up getting fired for something similar to that, but that it did go on for quite a while. To some degree, I think that it was the partners being somewhat clueless (it’s really laid back and there aren’t a lot of, or really any, formal policies – I know that I don’t always say exactly when I will and won’t be around, even if I try to), my assistant (the former employee’s assistant as well) has mentioned that they asked why she didn’t say anything about the former employee’s behavior (she says that she tried but didn’t want to say too much).

      It really hurt us and we lost some clients because of it (she missed court a few times, even), so it really is something that needs to be addressed better. But I guess, particularly in a warm, small office, people don’t like to make waves/complain/reprimand.

    • It would only happen once at our office, and then only if she had a good reason. The second time she would be fired.

      • Agreed. We have a strict policy that if you are unexpectedly going to be out of the office (ie: not planned/approved time) you must call your immediate supervisor AND our admin. assistant. And you must have confirmation from at least one of them they have received your message that you will be out of the office that day.

        Who just doesn’t show up to work?

        • I do all the time. As long as I don’t have a meeting, no one cares where I work from. Or really if I’m working, as long as all my projects get done in time. This thread is kind of making me love my job!

    • Three no call-no shows and she’d be fired at my firm.

    • Research, Not Law says:

      Unfortunately this flies in my office. I do not understand how or why.

    • no call, no show says:

      Thanks for the comments. For further information, we have no official sick leave policy for exempt employees. It’s really up to the individual departments to implement policies on using accrued leave. In my department we typically call our supervisor or assistant. I believe by this point, we’ve missed some significant deadlines because this employee has been leading us to believe she’ll be back any day now. The cycle has been to no call, no show one day and then call the next day saying she’ll come in late. These days she’s only showing up about 1/3 of the time she says she’ll be in late. Because she keeps telling people she’ll be in, her work never gets reassigned. I believe by this point we have missed several significant court deadlines. Our supervisor has gone out to see the employee and was given the same runaround. No one really has any idea what is going on.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is not to make ANY – at all – justifications for such poor and irresponsible behavior, but I am willing to bet that your colleague is pretty severely depressed or is dealing with similarly serious mental-health issues.

    • anon for this says:

      I supervise a woman who occasionally gets into these patterns. Well, I should say that she doesn’t ever not call at all, but she will call in and say she’ll be right in then shows up hours later or not at all, or she’ll call in sick very late in the day. It has happened when she has been depressed, which is really unfortunate and hard to do anything about. This fall, after she had run through half of her vacation time as sick leave because of various ailments (not depression), I had to sit down and have a talk with her. She was under the impression that she was owed the vacation so it didn’t matter how she took it. I explained to her the major difference between unplanned and planned absences and how that affects her work and the work of others. At first, she felt threatened and picked on, but she eventually got over it and now is back to normal work patterns. Unfortunately, this person’s supervisor is the one who has to take care of the situation. By the way, my workplace has a policy that if you don’t call and don’t show for three days straight, it considered abandonment of position.

  5. I am working as a paralegal and going to law school at night, and lately I have been so burned out. I have a giant, thankless project going at work, so when it comes time to go to school I would much rather go home and have a glass of wine and vent to my boyfriend. Any advice on how to combat this? Maybe I should just cut my hours at work so that I can be more serious about school. I did a similar schedule last year and was totally fine, but maybe it is catching up with me now. Any help is appreciated!

    • Kelly says:

      When I did this I tried to lump all my classes into 2 nights a week and leaving work early those days. 6 hours of class in one shot was rough, but I liked only going to school/having late nights twice a week, but I was also commuting over 50 miles.

      I cut my hours to 32-35 a week which helped tremendously. I definitely thought first year was the worst, but obviously you’re past that. Do you take summer classes? I took classes every summer so that eased up the academic year, and aside from first year LRW I took all my other writing classes in the summer, so during the academic year my only responsibilities were basically reading and a final. My law school offered one online course and I took that.

      I mainly just focused on getting through one week at a time, and the semesters never seemed that bad. I would start my reading before classes resumed and try to remain ahead so if something came up that I needed to do/wanted to do on the weekend I could do it.

      You’re totally awesome for making it this far already with those responsibilities!
      Bond with other working night students! Looking back it went really fast (I finished in 3.5 years.) I actually kind of miss it. I also worked full time up until 2 weeks before the bar (and took 2 states, and passed.)

      • Ellie says:

        Agree with all this. Take summer classes whenever possible. My law school also offered a couple weekend classes and those helped a lot (eg I got 3 credits for a negotiation class that took up two weekends). I also structured classes on Mon-Tue or Mon-Wed whenever possible, so I left at 3 or so on those days but only had to go to campus a couple days a week.

        Night students are great company; they’re all going through what you are. And they tend to have a better grip on school-life priorities than day students IME.

        I also finished in 3.5 years, and so much appreciated having real work experience (not to mention a salary) when it was time to find a job.

    • AnonInfinity says:

      Another night student here! I also tried to take everything one week at a time. There were points when I felt like I had so much work and school stuff going, but I’d think, “In [insert time til deadline], this will be over.” Somehow that worked for me because it meant that the high-stress parts wouldn’t last forever.

      I second (third?) taking summer classes. I took 1-2 classes each summer, and I’m very glad I did. However, I graduated in 4 years rather than 3.5. It had a lot of advantages — I got to serve on the law review editorial board my final year because it wasn’t a half year; I did not feel rushed through my last year of school, trying to fit everything in; I exited school at the “normal” time of year for starting at a large firm in my area (i.e., they’re expecting associates to start in August rather than April, so it was easier from an employment perspective).

      There were times when I really felt the same way as you — so burned out and wondering if I could make it through. To be completely honest, there were times that I left work and went home to wine rather than go to class. It felt kind of good to get a mental break like that.

      • Kelly says:

        That’s a good point about law review. I wasn’t aiming for big law so I had different priorities. I also really liked taking the bar in February. There were a lot less people, and I’d rather be holed up in the winter studying than the summer. I took two full days off from bar study to go skiing.

        In my entire law school career, I think I skipped class 2-3 to go to the bar with friends, and maybe 2-3 times out of shear exhaustion.

        Also, I know a few night students who took leaves of absence/banked sick/vacay time to take a summer position that was directly relevant to what they wanted to practice, and they got jobs in those fields.

    • Thanks, everyone, for your insight and support! It’s very good to hear that you all made it through. I am definitely taking it one week at a time.
      This community is so great for support and encouragement. Yay! (Can you tell I chose to go home and have a glass of wine…)

  6. For those of you who watched SOTU last night, what did you think of Secretary Clinton’s attire? I feel bad for focusing on something so trivial, but . . . all the other female officials brought it in formal business wear (very colorful) and Secretary Clinton wore short sleeves! Also, the headband . . . .

    • Tired Squared says:

      I didn’t notice the short sleeves, but I did notice the headband and the longer, flowing look to her hair. I thought her hair in particular looked a lot better than it used to when it was short. Plus the headband gave it a bit of a youthful touch… so I thought the hair/headband looked rather nice, if not excessively formal. But then, looking around at a lot of the other people in attendance, I think having one “sparkle” (in the form of a headband) was fine.

      • Lyssa says:

        I like her longer hair look, too. I think that it gives her a nice soft, but still age appropriate and professional look. I’m torn on the headband, but I’ll go ahead and proclaim that I really hate it when all the men are in suits, but women who are at the same acheivement level wear things like short sleeves and non-suits (or weirdly/brightly colored suits*). I always think that it would make it a lot harder to take them as seriously as professionals. (I didn’t see the Secretary’s outfit, though, so that’s not a knock on her personally.)

        * Not all colored suits are bad, but they’re hard to pull off, particularly in non-classic colors. There was a pic of Sec. Clinton in a florescent orange suit a few months ago – that was bad, but a red or blue or hunter green suit might not be.

    • The headband really got me – sorry, Hil, but you are too mature of a woman to wear a sparkly skinny headband from jcrew a la Blair Waldorf (and the way she was wearing it seemed kind of dated – with a slicked-back flip?).

      She would have looked much more polished with a low bun or loose hair IMO.

      • This

      • I hate the headband look on her, I don’t find it flattering to her features. She really should re-think that style.

      • mamabear says:

        I will admit I didn’t see it, but Hillary Clinton OWNS the headband. She brought heabands back in 1992 during Bill’s first campaign. Suddenly they were in stores everywhere, and they hadn’t been seen in a decade.

        Honestly, they shouldn’t even be called headbands. They should be called Hillary Bands.

    • I think she was wearing a short-sleeved(or maybe 3/4 sleeved) jacket. Not the most formal look, but she’s the Secretary of State and the most powerful woman in the country, so she frankly doesn’t have to be the most formal person in the room. Since it was black and she wore it with pearls, I think it was appropriately conservative.

      Not crazy about the headband, but I didn’t think it was inappropriate. I just didn’t think it looked great.

      • Gooseberry says:

        I agree. I didn’t think she looked “fashionable” or “did the best with what’s she’s got” (a la Glamour or Marie Claire’s advice), but I didn’t think she was inappropriate.

        • I didn’t like the headband. I think it looked super informal, like she was hosting a bake sale, not attending one of the most political events of the year. I also though the combination of longer blonde hair, sparkly headband and bold makeup was a bit much all together. Obviously, she’s the SOS so she can get away with it, but I didn’t think the look did anything positive for her. On the other hand, I thought Nancy Pelosi and Michelle Obama looked really great, as did Gabrielle Giffords.

          • And just to make it a tad more gender neutral, I thought Obama’s tie could have been a little bit more “power tie” for the occasion.

    • Anonymous says:

      I did not like the headband and think it should be removed from her wardrobe altogether. But, I wonder sometimes with her whether she’s been working at her extremely important job and did not get a chance to, say, sit to have her hair done in a more appealing fashion. I don’t know if she was at all involved in the hostage rescue last night, but I always assume that there may be an explanation related to her duties, which do not always break for the U.S.A.’s political speech schedule.

  7. ahh510 says:

    Fashion question threadjack! I got a velvet blazer at the end of last year – Talbot’s, a deep jewel tone green. Worked great for holiday parties, which is what I purchased it for. Now I’m staring at it in my closet, wondering if I should put it in storage until next holiday season, or if I can wear it any other time of the year, or, at least, this winter. If so, how would you style it? Thanks!

    • Can't wait to quit says:

      St. Patrick’s Day is coming! (Just kidding!) Assuming you are in a cold climate, your velvet blazer will look great with dark jeans, shiny shoes (I depend on black patent flats) and a coordinating scarf for a casual-but-put-together look. I live in DC and feel comfortable with velvet through the end of March, as long as it’s not one of those days when it suddenly shoots up to 70 degrees.

    • TCFKAG says:

      I think you could also make it less “Christmasy” by either pairing it with a brown tweed skirt and leather boots. Or with something like an eggplant or another similar color skirt.

      I think also if you paired it with black trousers and a contrasting color shirt it wouldn’t read too holiday for work, since its not the holidays anymore.

    • Bonnie says:

      You could also wear it with a printed shirt to take away the holiday vibe.

      • ahh510 says:

        Ooooh, I like this idea especially. I think, reading these suggestions, it may just be that I’ve got Christmas on the brain when I look at it, and that, in fact, others wouldn’t necessarily make that association.

    • The traditional rule with velvet used to be Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day, so even under the most conservative of standards, you can wear it through most of winter. I think as long as you don’t pair it with red, you should not come off as too christmasy; and I would also personally avoid purple to avoid feeling too mardi gras (or you could be into that sort of thing, your call).

      I think pairing it with gray, brown, navy, or black would all work. It might be boring, but if you’re concerned, try doing an all one monotone (e.g., black) outfit and let it be your “pop of color,” as they say.

      I have a taupe velvet blazer that I wear as long as the weather is cold (I’ve worn it as late as late march so long as there was snow on the ground).

    • nikkiesq says:

      Pair it with a teal/turquoise scarf?

  8. I am in need of some new winter work pants. I would prefer something that is wool (or contains wool) and that is also lined. I have tried Banana Republic (awful quality) and Ann Taylor (too snug on my rear). I’m not quite sure were else to look…

    • so anonymous says:

      Talbots. There is one style with wool (can’t remember the name), but they have belt loops and are unlined. I bought three pairs and wear them all the time.

      • Do they get less scratchy over time? I recently bought a pair of Talbots unlined wool pants, and I like they way they look and fit, but the wool is very scratchy. I wear a pair of LL Bean silk long underwear under them, and with that, they are fine. I’d like to be able to wear them without the extra layer, though.

    • Did you try all 3 of the fits at Ann Taylor? They have Curvy, Modern, and Signature. I love their tropical wool pants.

      You might try JCrew. They have both a higher rise (Favorite Fit) and a lower rise (City Fit). Our local store never has any of the Favorite Fit dress pants in stock, though, so I have to order them if I want them. I’ve noticed they also offer fewer of that fit on the website than they used to, so I guess I’m the only one that likes it. Nice quality, though.

      • I tried all of the pants at Ann Taylor- the modern fits me best, but still too tight on the backside. I’ll look into Jcrew- I just bought a pair of jeans from there that I LOVE

        • JCrew runs a little smaller than Ann Taylor, imo, so you may need to go up a size. I’m actually in between sizes at JCrew (12 is a little too big, 10 is a little too tight), and a 10 at Ann Taylor fits perfect, so I stick with them. I have one pair from JCrew that I had tailored, and I do like them. If Ann Taylor was a little snug, maybe going up to the next size at JCrew will work. Good luck!

      • I LOVE the curvy fit from Ann Taylor. So flattering.

        • Anonymous says:

          J, You and I have the same body type and similar taste. You comment on a lot of my (anonymous) posts. I’m going to “follow” your comments here.

          • I’ve been thinking I need to come up with a better moniker, because there’s at least one other person posting as J. Maybe Jay? I’m not the most creative.

    • phillygirlruns says:

      try the j.crew “hutton” trouser – great drape to the wool, lined, high-rise and wide-leg. their cuts tend to be a little narrower through the hip and thigh, but the hutton is wide-legged so it works well for my thunder thighs. i took a big risk and ordered them without trying them on in-store, and they’re now my favorite pants. general recommendation has been to size up one on that style – i wanted them for flats, so i ordered petite and sized up two. they’re loose, but i think i went the right way.

      • eaopm3 says:

        So, do you size up one from your regular JCrew pants size, or from your normal pants size? I am a pretty solid 8Tall in JCrew pants and am getting ready to pull the trigger on a pair of Hutton pants that are on final sale. Should I go with the 8 or the 10…?

        • phillygirlruns says:

          i sized up from my normal j.crew size, which was the consensus from the ladies on jcrewaficionada. i would get the 10, especially on final sale – you can always have them taken in, but if they’re too small in your normal size you’re stuck.

    • SF Bay Associate says:

      Ah, my holy grail – lined wool pants. Hoping to hear of new leads.

      • PollyD says:

        I just tried some wool pants from Boden (I think they were the bootcut ones). The wool was nice, not scratchy, and they were lined but only to about the knee (I guess they figure most women will wear kneesocks with the pants)? They were close, but no cigar – just a bit big in the waist and tight in the thighs for me. I’m a 2 at Loft, but the 6 (US) from Boden fit best, the 4 was too small. Also, I think they run short! If I remember properly, I got a 6 long and with heels, it really wouldn’t have had to be hemmed – and I’m only about 5’3″. For $70, I couldn’t justify them, but if they go super low, I might consider getting them and altering the waist. The thighs were snug, but not awful and I think wool pants do tend to stretch a bit.

        • ahh510 says:

          I have the same pants, I think. I like the pants in general, but despise the lining-to-the-knee. It always feels like the lining has become bunched up or something. It also just strikes me as such a cheap thing to do. Granted, I got the pants on a good sale; I’m sure it would irk me even more if I’d paid full price.

      • I have a bunch of wool pants from Brooks Brothers that I really like. All wool, all lined, not too tight, still flattering, hold their shape, etc. I don’t remember the name of the style – there were ones that were really frumpy and awful, and this was their more modern cut. I will check to see if the ones I have at home have the name somewhere, but they’re really great. I got them during one of their big sales, and they were a good deal for the quality.

        • I should add that I also can’t make do with Ann Taylor pants, and while I used to love the Martin pant at BR, the quality is so awful now I just can’t wear them (plus their new “wool” is a total lint magnet). I have not tried the Hutton pant but will add to my mental list of things to try on.

  9. Amelia Pond says:

    Does anyone know how this suit fits? I was looking for a new not solid black suit and I think this it cute. However I haven’t bought something from Jones NY in 3+ years and I am concerned the skirt won’t work. I am rather curvy (very hourglass) and some skirt cuts look very va-va-voom on me.

    • Samantha says:

      Second the request for sizing info for Jones New York. I love this suit!
      Looks great on the model, and is what I’ve been searching for, but I’ve never bought from JNY before and not sure what size will work. Is it like Banana Republic? Roomier?

      • viclawstudent says:

        Thirded. I like the skirt and the jacket (and really like the fabric) but am not sure what size to order – especially as the skirt is only available in a 4 or an 8 and I’d generally start by trying on a 6 in this fit of skirt.

  10. Circe says:

    Does anyone have experience with desk bikes? I guess I’m not sure what they’re called – I am talking about a little unit you put under your desk so you can move your legs like you’re biking while you’re sitting at your desk. I would love to hear your recommendations and experiences! Thank you.

  11. K in NYC says:

    LEGAL QUESTION HELP PLEASE!

    I was terminated from employment on 11/2/11 and ended up having to spend over 80 days fighting and threatening court to get my last earned paycheck (just got it last week). They never sent COBRA paperwork but blame the insurance company. Now I find out that, to qualify for some loan forgiveness programs and for some loan paperwork, I need a statement from the company on their letterhead that lists dates worked, job title, duties, and location, and is signed by my supervisor. The company is saying they are under no obligation to provide me with such.

    Is there anything I can do about this? Is it legal for them to choose to prevent me from being eligible for state programs and such? (I’m in the non-profit field, will likely never make even 60k, and could really use these avenues as they’re intended for folks in my field only.)

    Thanks!

    • You need to talk to an attorney. Attorneys cannot provide you anonymous advice on internet message boards. Since you’re in dire financial straits right now, I’d suggest you check out an NY provider of free legal services. The ones I’m familiar with are the Legal Aid Society and the NY Legal Assistance group, but NYC readers can probably provide better recommendations.

      • K in NYC says:

        Ah, didn’t mean to ask someone to overstep, just wasn’t sure if this was a cut and dry, lost cause kind of thing or obvious answer to people in this field! Thanks :)

        • No prob. I realized I may have come off as a bit abrasive – we can’t provide advice like this due to professional ethics requirements, not because we don’t want to help.

    • Labor Agency says:

      In CA, there is a state department of industrial relations, which has a division of labor relations. They have offices in every county. They will go after employers/former employers for back pay owed and similar issues. Their services are completely free. Does NY State or NYC have anything similar? I would recommend trying that.

    • Bunkster says:

      I got laid off from my last company and had a terrible time with HR. They didn’t end up sending my cobra information until the week I’d already gotten a job offer from another company.

      I kept calling and emailing and they would say it was in the mail and not even verify that. Eventually, they admitted that it had never gone out. It was really bad. I live in a state where it’s illegal not to have health insurance.

    • In my state there is a statute that requires former employers to provide certain information (which information is further defined) to employees that maybe in their personnel file for up to a year (I think) after the employee has left. I’d see if you can find something similar for state and let them know they maybe obligated to provide that information. Barring that – I’d go back to the agency requesting the information and see if you can provide any other proof of employment.

  12. Woods-comma-Elle says:

    It has been talked about on here a lot, and now I’ve joined the Corporette-readers who are experimenting with the world of online dating. I tried it once before and found it awkward and too much like hard work. I’ve tried a different site this time, inspired by my roommate, so we shall see how it goes.

    Good luck to all the other readers who are doing this!

    • K in NYC says:

      yay for you… here’s to hoping your roommate’s right!

      • springtime says:

        For anyone who is considering online dating…I joined eharmony back in August. I’ve had ONE date since then (my subscription ends in February). The people I was matched with were NOT at all for me, and they were so bad with replying/taking forever to answer a 5 second question it made me question all of this online stuff.

        Then on a total whim I joined okcupid, which I thought would be less serious because it’s free. I joined on Thursday, I had a date Tuesday (which went well! It wasn’t sparks but he was really cool and in the least I’d love to be friends). I’ve had so many people contact me (most good, but some weird) that I am having a hard time keeping up.

        Just thought I’d mention it because apparently what site you use really does matter.

        ps- I was matched on OkCupid with some guy who totally led me on when I first joined eharmony- replying super quick, wanted to meet up, then BAM ignored. When I tried to reinitiate contact he said “oh I started to date someone”- I didn’t know things changed so drastically in two days. Anyway I saw him on OkCupid (guess the girl didn’t work out) and I promptly hide him from my view. Very funny.

        • Bunkster says:

          I had a similar experience with eharmony. I was on for about 15 months and did not go on a single date.

          Unfortunately, in my region, okCupid is weird. I kept being asked for threesomes or getting date offers from guys who admitted they were married.

  13. Snarky In House says:

    Shameless plug… (but I’m not sorry)

    For all the attorneys out there – I want to bring your attention to a conference I’ve helped put together. It’s the New Partner and In House Counsel Conference. It’s geared towards those new to being a partner or going in house – within the last 3 years. We had a great conference last year and this year will be even better. For info please see: http://www.ambar.org/newpartner .
    Please also pass along to those you think would be interested!

    (I promise to not do this often!!) Thanks!!

    • Another In-House says:

      This looks really cool. Alas, not anywhere near me and we have no travel budget this year. But thanks for sharing.

  14. Samantha says:

    I was going to pull the trigger on the suit, but am unsure about the sizing, and also just realized that returns are online only! No in-store returns. I hate returning things online, and never get around to them, so I guess I’d better be really sure it’ll fit me, and I’ll like it.

  15. Totally unrelated, but… I’m looking for the perfect pair of classic black pumps for interviews, etc. I always wear heels, but mine are usually a little quirky and vintage inspired. I loooove these, but are they too high to look professional? Awesome sale price, and I’ve been really pleaced with other VC shoes I’ve had.
    http://piperlime.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=77937&vid=1&pid=576724&scid=576724022

    • For me, for conservative-industry whole-shebang interviews, those are a little high and spiky-looking and a little patent. I would go for a heel between 3 and 4 inches (and not too spindly), an almond toe, and matte leather. Any of those is negotiable, but I wouldn’t negotiate on all of them (i.e., I wouldn’t do a 4.5″ in patent, even if it did have an almond toe). I will say that I find that a thin front platform actually makes a higher heel look more conservative to me, since you don’t get the same spike/foot-arched-really-high effect to the same degree. These are more expensive, but they’re patent. (And Corso Como has these lovely, buttery soft insoles.)
      http://piperlime.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=59269&vid=1&pid=128152&scid=128152012

      • I agree. Sophie, your shoes are a bit much for most interviews. Would they prevent you from getting the job? Doubtful. But they won’t help. They’re what I call – in my own mind, when I see them – intern shoes. Because 90% of interns wear them when they first show up. They usually stop at some point.

        Anon’s shoe suggestion is much better though I think perhaps a tad too high still. I am not usually a fan of nine west but something in this silhouette would be much, much better.
        http://piperlime.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=59270&vid=1&pid=831512&scid=831512032

        • Funny! I was all over the Corso Como Del until I saw those other ones, which are more my style–but yeah, probably too pointy-patent-high for an office. I guess it’s just my youth, but those Nine West ones just aren’t as handsome to my eye because they lack height.

          Thanks, ladies!

    • Tired Squared says:

      I think they are a little high to look professional, honestly. The ones that Anon linked to below (Corso Como) are definitely better!

      • springtime says:

        The corso como deal is SO comfortable. I rarely wear them to work because they are high, but I wore them all on NYE and my feet were fine. I love those shoes! I do wish they were a tad shorter to make them more daily-wear.

    • Bonnie says:

      Sophi I love funky shoes but would not wear those to an interview. I’d actually avoid patent leather period.

  16. Kelly says:

    i’m debating getting this with the 50% off frenzy

    http://www.thelimited.com/detail/large-leather-tote/1204689#BVRRWidgetID

    any comments? I’m thinking red, one of my fave colors. I own probably 60-70% grey/black suits; 30-40% brown/taupe suits, so I don’t think I want black.

    As far as profesisonal bags go, I have a pleather black tote from kohls, a black nylon franco sarto tote i used in law school, and black coach canvas attache bag.

    Read more: http://corporette.com/2012/01/25/deal-alert-up-to-80-off-at-the-limited-kats-picks/#ixzz1kWVWdvxz

    And PS, I like that suit, and her accessories. I <3 chunky necklaces. I think I have an oval face and don’t know if I have a long or short neck, but chunky chokers look good on me. Probably because I think my face is long.

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