Holiday Weekend Open Thread

Splendid Draped cotton and modal-blend cardiganSomething on your mind?  Chat about it here.

I’ve been buying a ton of cardigans lately, and I got this one a few weeks ago.  I love Splendid in general for great quality cotton and casual wear — and now with The Outnet’s Friends & Family sale, you can get an extra 20% off until midnight on Monday with code 20SHARELOVE. This cardigan, for example, was $68… but is now marked to $23.80… so with the extra 20% off it’ll come down to $19.04.  Nice!  Splendid Draped Cotton and Modal-Blend Cardigan

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P.S.: Happy President’s Day to everyone who has Monday off.  Stay tuned to the blog — we’ll try to do a roundup of some of the best online sales for the weekend.  (Some are already starting!)


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  1. First!

    • Ha! I’ve always wanted to do that….

    • Guys in my high school used to be first all the time; it was no big deal.

      • +200 LL points to KE for inter-blog meme application.

      • I hope they are NOT first in doing bad things! That would be bad!!!! FOOEY on guys that do bad things to ladie’s in the HIVE!

        I have a rant about the manageing partner. Today, he brought in BAGLES for everyone, but he forgot to get BUTTER or CREAM CHEEZE! So he sends me out to go to the Morton Williams store to get some and I do, but then he complains that I did NOT get the cream cheeze with CHIVES in it. FOOEY!

        I do not even like CHIVES, so Why should I get that? I got some with STRAWBERRY and some PLAIN, but why is he so dumb to complain?

        FOOEY on him I said get it yourself, and he was mad.

    • I think Ellen should rename “herself” as “Unsuccessful Troll.”

  2. This looked good…until I went to checkout and the price of shipping to Canada was $25. Sigh.

  3. Finally, I’m about a half hour from my vacation. Usually, I’d be an hour and a half, but my boss is out so why not…

    Tomorrow I’m driving to NH. I’m spending the week at Sunapee with my 3 nieces, while my sister and her husband go to Antigua. So I’m being the good aunt and taking care of them during their school vacation. They’re 5 1/2, 7, and 8. They’ll be in ski school during some of the day and my parents will come up for part of it. But I’m the boss and it will be just me for most of the week. Wish me luck!

    Also, if anyone posts a “what’s everyone wearing?” thread, I’m psyched to say fleece-lined long-sleeved shirt, yoga pants, and black cargo ski pants!

    • Have fun! Hope the slopes aren’t too icy.

    • If they are going on vacay without the kids, why did they pick school vacation week?? You have them for way more time during the day and everything is more expensive on the slopes.

      • I know. A friend of my sister’s is celebrating her 10th birthday (she was born on 2/29) by having a bunch of friends come to her family’s compound on the island. So basically it’s all (or most) expenses paid since they’re going with frequent flyer miles.

        • Anonymous :

          It can be hard taking care of kids during school with the routine and homework, etc. It makes sense to me.

  4. Research, Not Law :

    Coworker vent.

    The woman on the other side of my cube wall curses profusely and *pounds* her fist on her desk continuously at least once a day. We all have difficult moments, but she carries on like this for five solid minutes! While tantrums normally annoy me, today it may be the straw that breaks me.

    • I had someone like that on the other side of my cube at my last job. Apparently, she was going through a divorce. When she wasn’t punching the cube wall (seriously!), she was sobbing at her desk.

    • Ugh, that sounds rough! I am having coworker issues this week too… things kind of came to a head late yesterday and now two people I work fairly closely with are livid and basically not speaking to each other. How far along in my career do I have to be to feel like I’m working with actual adults…? They both have valid points, but are handling the conflict like middle school girls! /vent

      Hopefully the weekend is refreshing for everyone in my office and yours!

      • Ah biophys…I think the error you’re making is that “adults” handle things in adult ways. I have found it to be quite the opposite really.

        • My officemate and I (who have both done some babysitting in our day!) have been joking that the best response would be to tell them to each go to their rooms, calm down, and come out when they’re ready to talk. Instead they are screaming at each other in the conference room. Fun times!

          TCFKAG – you’re right, that was a silly assumption on my part…

    • Can't wait to quit :

      We have one like that. Very odd, emotional woman to begin with (starts conversations in a whiny voice with things like ” why aren’t you my friend?”), but when she gets worked up her voice gets higher and higher until she sounds like she has inhaled helium. I will not miss her.

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      I shared an office with someone who did that! Actually he would take his keyboard in both hands and slam it repeatedly on his desk while cursing. Even better, he would slam down the phone receiver and yell “Morons! Idiots!” at the phone at least once a day. And he was supposed to be my supervisor. Good times….

      • love your name, MAS

        • Anonymous :

          Be thankful she isn’t your boss. My former boss, a man well over six feet tall and an elected official, was so angry that he punched the inside door of the elevator so hard that it shook. It was hard to keep my own tears of fear from streaming on my way to court that day. And he wasn’t mad at me.

  5. Disappointment with wedding pictures – we just got our wedding pictures from the photographer, and while my husband thinks they are beautiful, the first thing I thought when I saw them is that I looked pregnant. It is a food baby, not a real baby, but from every angle, it looks to me like I’m several months along, with a fullness or roundness just on my abdomen. I am really kicking myself for not working out a little more or eating a little less, especially in the last few weeks before the wedding, because now these are the pictures we’ll have for the rest of our lives. I’m trying to see the pictures the way he does, but every time I look at them, I am so disappointed in myself and the way I looked on my wedding day. How do I get past this?

    • Somewhere mid-way through our ceremony (I think probably actually when I went out in the wind) — a bunch of the little fly away hairs came out of my hair do and were basically plastered to my forehead for the entire day. Why someone didn’t tell me, I’ll never know. But when I look at a lot of the pictures, all I see is forehead hair. It took awhile, but I’ve pretty much moved past it.

      :-P We’re all our own worst critics. Also, from some angles, my behind looked HUGE in my dress. I had no idea until I saw all the pictures. haha.

      • Haha, I have a thick black elastic hairband on my wrist in all of mine. I took it off when I was getting my hair done and like you said, why someone didn’t tell me, I’ll never know. Now I know it was so I could share it with you Corporettes here!

        • Count your lucky stars you weren’t in a job interview and only at your wedding! that would have been a true gaffe. :)

        • Can’t figure out if you’re joking or if you’re serious. :-P haha.

          • I think she is referring to a recent thread in which one poster was complaining about a new worker’s attire, specifically pointing out that the woman hadn’t even taken the hair elastic off her wrist before the job interview.

          • I hate my wedding photos. So much. We just don’t put them up or look at them, 10 yrs later. Whatever, we have pictures from other events.

        • This was such advanced trolling that you did it without even having heard of Corporette yet! +10000 LL points.

      • But at least you are married! I also have a tush but no boyfriend. Fooey!

    • Give yourself a few weeks ‘off’ from looking at the pictures. There is so much pressure involved in weddings and the photos being permanent that you may just need a little time and distance to be able to see what your husband sees.
      If after a little time you still don’t like the pictures, choose the ones that you feel flatter you most for your album and give yourself permission to ignore the rest. Or ask your photographer if they can retouch them a bit. Remember, there is no rule that you *must* display your wedding photos, or that your wedding is the only time you’re allowed to take formal photos of you and your family/spouse. You can always take anniversary photos in the future if you want to!

    • I’m sorry. I know you must be disappointed.
      I would put the pictures away for a little while. I don’t know if this will help you right away but my mother always said to me that no matter how much I dislike a picture, when I am older I will look back on it fondly and just think about how young I look. Now that I am a bit older, I think she’s really on to something. I even like my license picture from 3 1/2 years ago, whereas when I got it I just kicked myself for not putting on a little makeup.
      Sometimes we imagine our pictures in a certain way and when they don’t match up perfectly, it can be very disappointing. But if you give it a little time to separate what you imagined from what you got, you may find that the pictures are actually quite great on their own.
      And, if after some time they still really truly bother you, ask the photographer if they can be airbrushed a little. Technology can solve so much.

      • I have to say that is so true. Now, looking back at pictures in which, at the time, I thought I looked hideous, all I can think is how good I looked back then compared to now. For most of us, the way we look now is most likely better than we will ever look in the future. Embrace it.

    • A few thoughs from a photographer here (& I do weddings) — I think people like pictures better in a few years (amazing what time does) than they do immediately. I would focus on your expressions/the overall scene, which I’m sure is beautiful — I’ve never seen a bride looking anything but happy or a wedding scene that wasn’t charming. All of that said, talk to your photographer about your concern. Perhaps he/she could do some creative cropping for you — find some of the photos where you love your expression but hate your pooch & ask to have it cropped tighter so your area of concern doesn’t show. I wouldn’t do this to all your pictures, but maybe you can find a handful where this would work & you have that “framer shot” you love. Just my .02.

    • I know someone who is naturally just a little pudgy and worked out hard and got in great shape (while barely eating) for her wedding. Now, she hates looking at her wedding pictures because in her words “I looked so great then and I look so fat now in comparison.” But the wedding pictures weren’t “her.” It was her crash dieting and overexercising. Yeah, she looked good but it was unsustainable. Now, when you look great you can say “look how thin I look now compared to when we married!” It is the reverse of getting married and letting yourself go. If she could do it again, she would have had her pictures done “as is” without the crazy weight loss.

      • Morning Sickness = gone! :

        This is exactly why I refused to crash diet or “get in shape” for my wedding. I didn’t want to create an unrealistic image of myself that I would covet in the future.

    • Formerly Preggo Angie :

      Girl. I hear you – but give me a moment. I lost 30 lbs for my wedding, and when I got the pictures back, I felt that I still looked fat – my arms weren’t shapely enough, my waist not small enough, etc. So what did I do? I didn’t order any. pictures. at. all. It’s like it never even happened.

      Fast forward 5 years. We’re moving, and I happen upon the cds with the photos on them. I go through them. After 5 years and 2 kids, Damn, I look good! And happy. And all those great wedding memories came flooding back, like when everyone jumped up from their seats to dance to “SexxyBack.” So I ordered my book (finally!) plus a bunch more photos to frame.

      I’m not saying 5 years from now you’ll be hideous or anything. But you’ll definitely want the memories. Take some time off, and look at them later.

      • This made me smile. Happy memories. :)

      • Research, Not Law :

        Completely agree! My heart sank when we got our photos. I couldn’t stop obsessing over a hunched shoulder, “chubby arms,” odd expressions, etc. I couldn’t even get one framed. I felt happy enough with one for an announcement and put the rest aside. Fast forward a few years and I feel completely differently! Aw, we look so young and happy! What a great day that was! LOL, and I also envy my figure two kids later ;)

      • phillygirlruns :

        agreed. when i got my wedding pictures, i was disappointed at how thick i looked through the middle. now i look back at them a little more than three years out, and i can see that i looked fabulous…AND i remember how much fun the party really was.

        sort of related: on my college graduation day, i accidentally put my mortarboard on backwards, so i had an eddie-munster style peak in the middle of my forehead. not a goddamn soul told me about it and i look ridiculous in every single picture. oh well.

    • PhotoShop! :

      Pick out a few favorites and have them professionally photoshopped. I did this for the first time with our family Xmas photo in December, and I was amazed at the results. Everyone looks incredible, and it looks totally natural. To anyone who says you are vain (or I am), I say so what!

      • Research, Not Law :

        How did you find a professional photoshopper? I have a couple of pics that I love except for some odd background things, etc. I’m confident someone could fix it, but I have no idea how to find that person.

        • is great for finding a contractor for little things. I had my professional mug shot lightly photoshopped and I love it. I used Lianny Kusuma.

        • Ask your photographer about this. You want to make sure that whoever alters your photo is working with the RAW image, not just a jpeg. They can make better alterations to the photo that way.

      • agree — I learned how to photoshop almost especially so I could photoshop my wedding pictures. Turned out it wasn’t such a good idea at the last minute to fasten the corset on the tightest hooks on the bottom and loosest ones at the top, as my seamstress/tailor recommended — just pushed everything up and out, especially in the back. kills me every time i think of it.

        • And if you have a Mac, the iPhoto program allows you to do some pretty good editing. I’ve edited out my shellacked hair in several pictures. :-)

      • On this point,your photographer should do some retouching for you as part of what you’re paying for. You shouldn’t have to contract this out, but you’ll need to explain what you’re looking for.

    • Also, if in three months you still hate them, find a cool photographer and shell out some bucks to do a few “formals” and then a wreck the dress session. It’ll be fun, cathartic, AND you might get a few better pictures to display around the house. :-)

    • goirishkj :

      Hugs! I disliked my wedding photos too. I didn’t get the “perfect” shots I wanted. Honestly, now that time has passed I am OK with it–there are a few pics I love and happy memories. I know letting go of disappointmeent is easier said than done (especially since several friends got married at the same church I did and I was jealous for a long time) but time will pass and it will be OK. And husbands just don’t get the picture thing at all! Mine still doesn’t understad why I dislike our pics!

      • I could have written this post word for word.
        And . . . Photoshop is your friend! Don’t feel like it’s “wrong” or “cheating” . . . I guarantee that all of those gorgeous shots on wedding p*rn blogs and photographer websites have been edited to make them even more striking or “perfect.”

        On a more philosophical front — I am completely OCD perfectionist Type A, and the thought that helped me get over the *truly tiny* things that went “wrong” at our wedding (incl. not loving most of the photos) was this: Which would you rather have had —
        * A wedding that looks perfect in the photos, with jaw-dropping photography that gets published to strangers the world over through the magic of the Internets, but in real life it was a difficult, stressful day that you’re just glad is over with — or it passed in a blur; or
        * So-so photos (or photos that failed to capture some of the most incredible moments) but incredible memories and the knowledge that you were able to be in the moment and present and enjoying so many of those wonderful moments on the day itself and the knowledge that all of your guests — your actual loved ones — had an amazing time getting to celebrate and support you?

        • goirishkj :

          Compltely agree with the second option! And part of the reason we didn’t have all those “perfect” shots is that I wanted to spend time with our loved ones instead of spending hours getting the perfect photos with the best poses and such. Can’t win :) We have a couple of great shots and one in front of our alma mater’s signature building that we have displayed at home. To the OP, I swear, it stinks now, but it really will be OK. It took me years to move past the photos but I’m truly OK with it now.

    • SV in House :

      14 years later and I still wonder why no one told me my eyebrows should be shaped/thinner, but I do love looking at them now, particularly the ones with my dad, whose health sharply deteriorated after my wedding.

      • North Shore :

        Also 14 years out, and it’s sad how many of the people at my wedding have passed away. I look at my wedding photos to see my loved ones all together, dancing and eating and having fun. It was a great time, and everyone looks so happy.

      • My dad passed away unexpectedly (heart attack) three years after our wedding (five years ago). I treasure my wedding photos for capturing that day so perfectly. We had the pics done in 35 mm rather than digital, and I didn’t even bother to order the negatives (which the photographer would give us one year after the wedding) until he passed, when it suddenly seemed so important to have them. We used one of the happiest pics of him at my wedding as the cover photo on his funeral program.

        I also am so glad we had a videographer. I originally didn’t want one but ended up booking someone at the last minute who was the friend of the photographer and had an unexpected cancellation. We watched the videos when they came in, but I haven’t done so since my dad died — too hard. But I’m really grateful I have a video of him walking me down the aisle and giving the first toast.

        Not to be a downer, but just a bit of perspective. I totally get not loving your photos – I was like that for the first couple of years,, as well. But I agree wholeheartedly with the advice to put them aside for now, and appreciate them in the future for what they are — memories of your big day and your loved ones.

    • I reading all these wedding photo posts and thinking of the similar attitudes I had towards my wedding photos, and it got me wondering… Do you think maybe some of this is because leading up to your wedding, you are completely surrounded and drowning in pictures of models and beautiful people in wedding dresses? Between the magazines and wedding websites, I must have been looking at dozens of gorgeous women, usually models, wearing wedding dresses.

      I’m not usually one to get all “I blame the media!” But it makes sense. At the time, I was comparing bride-me to all those model-brides. Now a few years out, I just see that it was me, who just happened to be a bride that day, and I compare that version of me to regular everyday me. So now I see that, gosh, bride-me looked so pretty and happy!

    • I had the exact same experience. No good advice, but i feel you!

    • ah, I am pretty happy with our wedding pics overall (got married last summer) but I do wish that someone had advised me to blot my damn oily forehead at some point, and also there are several where my crappy posture is driving me crazy. I did well for the posed photos but in a lot of the candids, I’m so slouchy! To be fair, the dress weighed a million pounds.

      Anyway, I would say we are definitely our own worst critics.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I had the same reaction to my pictures. My feelings are better about it now, but still leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

    • Can you get the CDs or digital images and wait a couple years to order prints? In a couple years, I think the judgement will fade and you’ll be left with the happy memories – you won’t think about your belly, just about how wonderful the day was, and how you want photos to remember it.

    • There was a post on A Practical Wedding recently (Wedding Graduates Sarah & Jonah) about the pressure to be “The Most Prettiest Bride Evah,” which is just so true. There’s so much pressure to have a perfect body and perfect skin and perfect eyebrows. Check it out when you have a moment – it might make you feel a bit better.

      On a practical level, if you don’t like the full body shots, can you find other shots from the waist up that you like better? Or crop some from the waist up? I know photographers give you thousands of photos, but you really only need about 5-6 to frame.

      I was a bridesmaid a few months ago in my best friend’s wedding, and she looked jaw-droppingly gorgeous. GORGEOUS. The best I’ve ever seen her in the fifteen years I’ve known her. And guess what? I was out to dinner with her last weekend and I asked if she had her wedding photos back, and she said “ugh. They’re awful. There are no good ones of us – we look horrible. Do you want to go through them for us and find 40 photos for the album?” So yeah… you’re not alone. And I haven’t seen the photos yet, but (1) I highly doubt they’re as bad as she says they are, and (2) if they aren’t flattering, they don’t properly reflect how she looked that day, because I’m telling you, she looked drop-dead stunningly gorgeous.

    • People have basically covered it but I’ve decided I’m NOT going to try to get in better shape for my wedding. Wedding planning is way too stressful to up my exercise/reduce my calories. I’m healthy and all, just 10 pounds over where I want to be and I certainly have a pooch etc. Oh well. On to the next one.

      • Four years after getting married, I am yet to order my photos – partly because of the pressure to pick the best fifty, out of what must be hundreds!

        Thanks to everyone who commented here, and put things in focus so nicely.

        Think I should get on to it today!

    • Photoshop.

  6. Anonymous :

    I have a question for the hive: do any of you out there have severely dry lips, possibly caused by use of Accutane as a teenager? It’s been over 10 years now since I did 2 courses of accutane (and of course, I still get zits, way more lately in fact – ahh, personal and professional stress), and my lips have consistently been insanely dry and chapped, to the point of bleeding. I religiously use chapstick, and at night use aquafor, and I even have Rx stuff: desonide ointment. Nothing really seems to help. I’ve tried vaseline and pretty much every other moisturizing over the counter type stuff you could possibly imagine. Am I destined to have chapped lips forever?

    Anyone had any luck correcting this issue with any particular products or meds?

    • Have you tried any non-petroleum products like Aquaphor? I did six months of Accutane (in my 30s) so I understand, believe me, but my chronically dry lips are more likely due to the extremely dry climate where I live. My suggestions are 1. stay hydrated, 2. use a sugar scrub (GENTLY!), 3. Aquaphor or unrefined shea butter.

    • Second the recommendation for Aquaphor. I was on Accutane as a teen, and had insanely dry lips (and the inside of my nose. nosebleeds! surprise!), and Aquaphor was a lifesaver. You can get it at most drugstores, and it works much, much better than chapstick.

    • It sounds like OP already uses Aquaphor at night. When I was on Accutane, the only thing that worked was Carmex – you’ve probably already tried that. At this point I would turn to a dermatologist (or a new one, if you’ve already seen one).

    • Seattleite :

      The only thing that helped my son’s Accutane lips was Dr. Dan’s Corti-Balm. You can get it on Amazon – I haven’t been able to find it OTC anywhere, although my small local pharmacy will order it for me. FTR, he’d tried every other product mentioned here, and this was way way better than them all.

    • YES YES YES! I am the accutane/dry skin pro!
      Regular chapstick is irritating for me, I think it’s the wax & dyes they use and it just makes me lips worse, esp when I was on accutane. The only thing that I found that helped for lips and didn’t make things worse is Blistex Herbal answers.
      For a while, they sold them at the drugstore, but now I can only find it online:
      I seriously buy them by the dozen and leave them everywhere.
      I’ve also heard really good things about bag balm (but the smell always drove me nuts).
      AND, I know you didn’t ask about this but for dry skin, but cuticura salve (a canadian brand I think that is extremely hard to find in the US, but when you do find it, snatch up like 20) is like neosporin on steroids.
      And jojoba oil (available at Trader Joe’s) is crazy good for dry scalp, everything else.

      • Sorry, I obviously can’t write in English. I think it was the over excitement about my fave chapstick ;-p

    • Maybe you’re allergic to the stuff you’re using? In addition to my wonderful skin problems, I’m allergic to any lip stuff with dye and/or menthol in it. That pretty much wipes out everything except vaseline. Also, you could have a skin sensitivity/allergy to your toothpaste – maybe cut out toothpaste with whiteners in it.

    • I don’t like chapstick or vaseline – have you tried high-end lip products? A lot of beauty bloggers (who have tried it all) swear by Jack Black – you can buy it at Sephora or Ulta. Lanolin based products are also good (I like Lanolips, but it’s made in Australia so you have to order it online).

    • I never used accutane, but I do have horribly dry lips. They used to crack and bleed a lot in the winter, and regular chapstick just seemed to make it worse. The only thing I’ve found that helps is Lansinoh HPA Lanolin. I get it on Amazon. It’s actually for breastfeeding mothers, but it works great as a lip balm.

    • I am currently on Accutane and I have been to the mountain recently so my lips were beyond chapped.
      During the day I apply a lip balm called Ictyane by Ducray which comes in a tube and feels like oil or for a more natural product I use Rêve de Miel by Nuxe which comes in a jar and feels like honey.
      At night, I apply old fashioned vaseline and every 2 days I gently use a moistened face sponge to somehow scrub my lips in circular movements without exerting pressure.
      Also, drink loads of water. It is cold in here so I have a tumbler at all times filled with water and some concoction (green tea – vervein – licorice – anything)
      And avoid the temptation to pass your tongue on your lips to moisturize them, saliva just irritates your lips further.
      I hope that helps.

  7. SoCal Gator :

    For once I have a decent “What I am Wearing” response. Cobalt blue J Crew boyfriend merino cardigan, cream popover shirt with navy polka dots (J Crew), kahki compact doubleweave trousers (signature fit) from Ann Taylor, coral skinny belt (J Crew) worn over the sweater & blouse, silver spiral ball necklace from Tiffany’s that my DH just gave me for Valentine’s day, silver hoops with small channel diamonds, brown Munro Tour loafers. I feel very stylish and great on this casual Friday!

    • That sounds really cute! I’ll play:

      Dark wash Gap skinny maternity jeans, tucked in to brown equestrian-style boots (so no one has to see how swollen my feet/cankles are. It’s appalling). Navy floral print tunic, brown drapey cardigan. No jewelry other than earrings because my fingers and hands are too swollen.

      It’s my last day before maternity leave, so at this point I was proud to even have clothes on.

    • I’ll bite just because you guys have all inspired me to kick it up a notch before I go on vacation. Black Talbots tweed sheath with grosgrain ribbon ruffled trim at the neck that I got for $14 at the Talbots outlet, black tights, black aerosole wedges, black cashmere fitted cardi, red beaded sparkly ball drop earrings, shiny red beaded necklace, assorted bangles, and black leather Emporio Armani tank watch.

    • So cute!
      Yoga pants and a tshirt. Not having class on Fridays is the best.

      • I am also super casual: leggings and sweatshirt, because I went home sick. Today has not been my day.

        And now the dog wants to play and is giving me the eyes of You Don’t Love Me Anymore? But I’m Such A Good Dog, but I feel too nauseous and light-headed to move. Blegh.

    • phillygirlruns :

      big fan of the coral/blue combo. i like my casual friday outfit today, too – built around this:,default,pd.html?dwvar_JG005517_color=730&start=3&cgid=womens-sweaters

      slightly cropped, boxy v-neck cardigan. very substantial knit. navy with wide hot pink cuffs/collar/placket, over a plain white tank, dark j.crew matchstick jeans, leopard flats, 16″ single strand pearls, smaller three-strand pearl bracelet with three “diamond” and silver brackets, pearl studs, rose gold MK watch, wedding set/yurman blue topaz petite albion ring.

    • just Karen :

      As usual, I’m boring – dark boot cut jeans with a rose scoop neck t-shirt, fitted brown fine-wale corduroy blazer, and dark brown/metallic/patent loafers. Dangly antiqued gold earrings.

    • Boden polka dot cardigan, j crew no. 2 pencil in light blue (it’s nice, but it’s no “the skirt,” especially once you take price into consideration), blue tights, coach booties, navy enamel bangle. I’ve been in sweats all week with sick kids, so thought I’d kick it up a notch today. (Polyvore link)

    • Grey Tahari dress with interesting neckline (first corporette recommendation I ever bought, probably two years ago now), black cardigan, black hose, and black Ann Taylor pumps. Fairly boring, but at least its a dress. :-)

    • Gray military style jacket with a double row of buttons, cobalt blue tee, dark skinny jeans tucked into brown equastrian boots, a big brown belt and a silver necklace with multiple colored stones.

      I love Splendid tees. I wish they had Kat’s pick in other colors. Baby pink just doesn’t do it for me.

    • I’ll play too! light gray Calvin Klein pantsuit with a black and white hounds tooth silk blouse from Banana Republic that’s from 4 years ago but I still love it. Red patent leather Ferragamo pumps, pearl earrings , an opera length freshwater pearl necklace and my standard watch, wedding band and engagement ring.

    • Merabella :

      I was hoping for one of these, because I love my outfit today. Cobalt blue sheath dress from the limited with grey v-neck cardigan with a bright yellow patent leather belt, black tights, and amazing spectator shoes that I found in my closet that I bought like 4 or 5 years ago. Going out for drinks later with people from work so I kicked it up a notch from my office’s regular “business casual” attire.

    • I tried a new color combo today, and I think it’s worked out nicely, so I’ll play.

      Black tights, black patent flats, and black pencil skirt. Dark teal, long, cowl neck tee, untucked. Short, 3/4 sleeve, purple cardigan with big sweater rosettes on upper left/shouder and rhinestone-y buttons, buttoned in the middle. Silver post earrings.

    • Am I the only one who skips over the “what are we wearing” threads every time?

    • Oh, I’m pretty boring – white scoo-neck satin-trimmed tee, short-sleeve blue cardigan, jeans, brown patterned flats, and antiquey brown beaded earrings.
      BUT – I’m leaving from work to meet some friends for dinner and a show at the local theatre and have change of clothes in my bag. I’ll be wearing a white pencil skirt, black lace blouse, burgundy satin peep toe heels, dangly silver earrings, and a big silver c*cktail ring.

    • Grey cashmere v-neck, white Lands’ End Canvas scoopneck tee, dark wash Talbots bootcut jeans, ridiculous black/pink/purple/grey argyle socks, black Naturalizer wedges, pink/turquoise street pashmina, moissy studs and e-ring, watch, Cape Cod bracelet.

      I love casual Fridays.

      • Gray and black striped shell, J. Crew hot pink boyfriend sweater, black Ann taylor signature fit boot cut slacks, silver belt, dangly earrings with silver and gray beads, black pumps. A little on the boring side, actually.

  8. Accountress :

    Calling all chic, silver-haired Corporettes! I need your help.

    My mom decided a few years ago to stop trying to store-dye her hair, and has come to terms with her hair. She’s close to 75% gray at this point, and wears her hair in a bob. The problem is that her hair routine consists of hotel shampoo & conditioner, and wearing it curled under.

    She’s going to a cousin’s formal wedding in two months, and has FINALLY agreed to let me give her a mini-makeover so she can look better than any of my trashy relatives. We’re getting a personal styling appointment at every big store in the area to find a her a great dress, so that’s all covered, but her hair is a problem.

    What shampoo, conditioners, and other things should she be using for gray hair? She has fine hair, but a lot of it. I’ve got a bunch of beauty supply stores that I can go to in search of something, and ordering online isn’t an issue if there are good reviews for the stuff.

    Please help make sure my mom’s the classiest AARP member at the wedding!

    • Anonymous :

      My mom has the same hairstyle, she uses Nature’s Gate organics poo/cond and shine drops to style it.


    • no specific product recs, but my MIL has gorgeous silvery grey hair. I know she uses some kind of “blue” shampoo, to offset the yellow tones that creep in. (Not old lady blue hair, just some kind of rinse that makes the grey a true silver grey.) She’s said it makes her hair look 500 times better.

    • My dad has more white than gray hair, and patene makes a special “gray hair” shampoo. I think they have to order it from the drugstore or you could order it from the internet.

    • Aveda’s Blue Malva shampoo & conditioner.

  9. shackalackadingdong :

    Interested to probe everyone’s opinions on this.

    I recently started working at a large corporation. I work with very senior executives. All men. I’ve noticed that “getting pregnant” is a common phrase around here. As in– “Are we already halfway pregnant with this deal?” in reference to something we’re having second thoughts about. Or– “We need to get that other party pregnant with this deal” when we know we need to get someone locked in before they can back out.

    This really bothers me, but I’m having trouble articulating why. It seems to be used most commonly in a negative context, so that certainly bothers me.

    Am I out on a limb here? Can someone in the hive articulate more artfully than I can why this is problematic / offensive / etc.?

    • ha. so weird. no I can’t really explain why its offensive but I understand that feeling, and that is just really weird. I’ve never heard it used before like that

    • Totes McGotes :

      That’s creepy as hell. I don’t have a rationale; it just is.

    • I’m trying to spin this in a funny way, in my head, like “I love this ____ so much I want to take it out behind the dumpsters and get it pregnant” (sounds funnier in a Tracy Morgan voice, idk), but I can’t.

      It’s obviously not a gender-neutral phrase. And the way they’re using it sounds like they attach negative connotations. You might be over-thinking this; it’s plain offensive.

      • FOOEY on this. It is CHAVUNESTIC! FOOEY! FOOEY ON MEN who do this and say this!

    • I’ll give it a shot. To me, to say that “we got them pregnant with the deal” suggests that we talked sweetly to them until they caved and committed irrevocably. In some sense, pregnancy is a good analogy to irrevocably commited (modern medicine not withstanding). The problem to me is more that “we got them” part of “we got them pregnant”, since it suggests that the object of the phrase has been duped.

    • pregnant, with emotion? 10 points to the first person who gets the movie reference.

    • Ugh, gross. I’m not sure if I can articulate why it’s offensive either. It seems weirdly aggressive, like making someone/being pregnant is a way to make them/you subservient.

      I feel like I didn’t articulate that well.

    • Um…at least they don’t use abortion (see below) or “raped” in the sense that “that exam raped me” — which I also hate more than words.

      • I hate that so much too!! Ugh. I also hate when people call someone a Nazi (thank you, Seinfeld), but maybe that’s just me.

        • My coworker (a Mombie type) once, completely seriously, compared the rules about bathroom breaks at the Montessori school to a, quote, “Nazi camp.”

          Members of my family died in the Holocaust. It didn’t go over well.

          • Anonymous :

            Thank you, Bluejay. I have used the word Nazi to describe totalitarian rules myself, and I honestly never thought about how offensive and trivializing it can be. I consider myself on notice now. However, I do think it is okay to talk about Germany’s slide into fascism in the context of our own government. People get mad and say that the US is not committing genocide and that there is no comparison. But, it is important to remember that the Nazi rise to power was subtle and legal.

          • @Anonymous – I don’t think any reasonable person will be offended by your referring to Naziism in the context of facist or nationalist policies – don’t worry. The hyperbole involved in comparing an f-ing Montessori school to a death camp was just mind boggling – I mean, really, what a stupid thing to say.

          • I feel like people throw around “Nazi” to mean “bad” or “oppressive”, and the those things aren’t interchangeable at all.
            I guess I’m one of the few people that *do* think that comparing today’s political climate to Nazi Germany is completely ridiculous. I’m really tired of pundits using the Holocaust as an analogy for what seems like every other thing.

          • ShortieK, if you don’t see the comparisons between the laws that have been passed over the past ten years and the rise to power of Hitler, then you haven’t read enough books. I understand that the word “Nazi” to describe a ridiculous or oppressive rule is wrong, and I have been guilty of that. I just don’t understand how so many people are okay with the TSA, and the Patriot Act, and Guantamano, and the war on drugs, and the militarization of our police force. Wake up woman!

          • @Anonymous
            Cue “d’oh” moment for me. I honestly thought that by “in the context of our own government” you were alluding to current Catholic organizations’ objections to the Affordable Care Act. (Which, unfortunately, I’ve heard compared to the prosecution of Communists in the MacArthur era and Nazi Germany.)

            Yes, I can better understand the totalitarian state comparison for the Patriot Act (or the recent Nation Defense Authorization Act).

      • SF Bay Associate :

        A partner in my office used to say that. After hearing it a couple times, despite being a first year, I was so pissed that I called him out on it. He looked surprised. And he basically stopped. He’s slipped a few times, but I keep calling him out on it, so he catches himself now. I feel like it was a Good Deed.

        • What did you say, exactly?

          • SF Bay Associate :

            I said something along the lines of “You shouldn’t use that word. Rape is a very serious crime, so using that term as a metaphor for something that happened in a lawsuit, even an important lawsuit like this one, trivializes how serious rape really is.” I had my Not Kidding face on, and to his credit, he actually took me seriously.

        • As a summer associate, listened to the head of the firm tell a story about negotiation that included “Are we going to rape them” as a way of wondering how much the other side would concede. One of my top life regrets is not having the guts to call him out on it.

        • Good for you, SFBA, that ish is ridonk. And not acceptable.

    • That is odd – I have never heard that (thank goodness) in our office! It would bother me, too, for the same unknown reason.

    • CPA to be :

      I agree that it’s creepy and not appropriate. I think its the fact that to “get something pregnant” is such a biologically masculine thing. It sounds forceful and wrong when used to describe locking someone into a deal that they can’t back out of.

    • Let me try…

      They are equating the creation of something as a bully tactic to get what they want. It implies pregnancy as a “bad” thing for the other side that benefits your side – as a kind of power play. They are skewing a feminine word to mean something undesirable – like “crying like a girl”, “hit like a girl”, “don’t be such a girl about it”

    • Just a really belated note that its funny you started this post saying you wanted to “probe” our opinions.

      I am a 12 year old boy, nothing can be done about it.

      • The English language in South Asia has a life of its own with many interesting usages which I don’t come across elsewhere. One of them is the word ‘thrust’ to convey action, as in ‘our key thrusts for 2012 are to raise margins and improve quality’. I’ve been in many meetings in India where the discussion is all about ‘our thrusts’ and ‘their thrusts’ and ‘the thrust of our case’, and I’m torn between wanting to blush and giggle.

        • I sit in meetings where we talk about our penetration in certain markets, and whether accounts are virgin. Sometimes we talk about deep penetration.

          TCFKAG and I should have a 12 year old boy playdate together.

    • It is offensive. It sounds like they say “get them pregnant,” meaning to prevail on the opposing side in the negotiaiton.

    • job hunting :

      It is horribly offensive. It implies rape of a woman by a man. “Halfway pregnant” connotes s*x, maybe w/some pulling out action (at least for my visual brain). I would speak up. Just say that the visual image that language conveys is offensive/inappropriate, and ask if they can just literally say what they mean and cut the pregnancy metaphor.

    • shackalackadingdong :

      You guys are great and have given me some ammo. I’m planning on bringing it up with my SVP and VP. It really is pervasive here, and it needs to stop.

      • Well, I’d caveat with ‘pick your battles’ particularly if you are a relatively new arrival at your company. Is this the only instance of offensive language/ locker room behaviour you’re intending to call them out on ? If yes, go for it, plenty of good advice above on what to say. If no, well, have a think about how much you can call out without affecting how your seniors see you, and whether you’d want to save your bullets for other battles.

        I’d be the first to admit that my tone has been irredeemably coarsened by many years in banking though. I say ‘half pregnant’ all the time as in ‘are we doing this or not, can’t be half pregnant’ and often used to respond to requests by my (mostly male) staff to join a meeting ‘need you to swing your dick around for 15 minutes’ (meaning put a difficult client or counterparty in their place). ‘Get them pregnant’ I haven’t heard before and thoroughly agree it’s pretty offensive.

        Good luck either way.

      • Well, I’d caveat with ‘pick your battles’ particularly if you are a relatively new arrival at your company. Is this the only instance of offensive language/ locker room behaviour you’re intending to call them out on ? If yes, go for it, plenty of good advice above on what to say. If no, well, have a think about how much you can call out without affecting how your seniors see you, and whether you’d want to save your bullets for other battles.

        I’d be the first to admit that my tone has been irredeemably coarsened by many years in banking though. I say ‘half pregnant’ all the time as in ‘are we doing this or not, can’t be half pregnant’ and often used to respond to requests by my (mostly male) staff to join a meeting ‘need you to swing your d**k around for 15 minutes’ (meaning put a difficult client or counterparty in their place). ‘Get them pregnant’ I haven’t heard before and thoroughly agree it’s pretty offensive.

        Good luck either way.

      • I would just say “What?!” next time someone says the phrase, then continue with “Get them pregnant, what do you mean by that? What a strange expression!” Focusing on how it is a weird or strange expression may be easier to start with, then you can move into the inappropriate or offensive disucssion if they keep saying it.

    • I would be really tempted to just look at the person saying that and respond with a pitying, “Oh, that expression just makes you sound so stupid.” And if you’re sitting next to him, pat his arm sympathetically, like he needs some comforting about his stupidity.

    • I don’t know if anyone will see this, but I just found out my husband and all his colleagues use this when referring to deals at his work. (He does a lot of M&A work at his company). I told him the hivemind finds it creepy as all h*ll. I also told him rape and abortion were beyond the pale (even he agreed abortion seemed weird as heck).

      So…one small step for womenkind?

    • Anonymous :

      I find this a bit offensive, too. Interestingly, it suggests that one would intentionally impregnate in order to create commitment, or be sorry when one gets pregnant because then they are stuck. But I always think men look at this from the opposite perspective in relationships — the woman gets herself pregnant, making it impossible for the man to leave, which is, of course, something he always wants the option to do. Perhaps I am just jaded and there are actually a lot of roving men out there trying to lock me into a committed relationship with them, which is why they want to start sleeping together immediately.

      • The other St. :

        Can we just cut to the chase here?

        Getting ANYONE pregnant is a sexual reference. Period, full stop. Flip it to what you actually want – their trust, their commitment, and do NOT fall into use of that word. It may also be creepy because really, it takes a male to make a female pregnant, or access to semen, if you want to be technical. Total sexist foundation.

        That’s a foul Fowl.

        Penetration, probe…all have wide usage in other contexts, and can be acceptable without a lot of squeam, though in a few decades, who knows, the sexual reference may trump the meaning. Example, I had an audio book of “Pollyanna” yes, THAT lovely Mary Sunshine Pollyanna from days of yore and common idiomatic reference. How many days of yore?

        When I put in the CD and my dear 10 year old was listening with me, instead of saying things with great enthusiasm – such as an interjection (cue Schoolhouse Rock) she would ejaculate her words, phrases and sentences – and she is a happy, excitable character. Cue seeing a puppy:

        “Wow!” Pollyanna ejaculated, “that sure is a cute puppy”.

        Had to return it without finishing the first CD. My inner 12 year old just went “what?” too many times.

        So yeah, sometimes the word choice distracts from the message, even if you are technically correct.

  10. Need to vent, too :

    I need to get a gazillion things done but I can’t because my boss doesn’t get me the stuff I need from her.
    And she is doing what she always does in difficult situations: going on lunch for 3 hours and then avoiding me at all cost.

    Monday will be a ginormous cluster-[enter profanity here]. But for now it’s Friday. Must.Stay.Positive.

    Thank goodness I can go home in an hour.

  11. I am super excited. I recently booked a sixteen day trip to Russia this summer. The trip is a river boat cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg, with stops along the way. I’m having trouble trying to figure out what clothing I need to get for my trip. From what I understand, the temperature should be in the 80s since we will be there in July.

    Has anyone ever been to Russia in the summer? Thoughts on what to wear/what may be in style in Russia? Thanks!

    • I’ve been to Russia twice, both times in summer. Unfortunately, the first time was when I was 17, which was almost 25 years ago (omg) and the second time was 17 years ago so I can’t tell you what’s in fashion, although both times the fashion was out-of-date. The second time I went with a group from my business school. We consulted small businesses in Eastern Europe and even the men wore colored suits. I rocked that trip, by the way, because I actually spoke Russian.

      I have to go, but I’ll check in later with more thoughts.

      • Bunkster you speak Russian? That’s awesome.

        OP – I’m from Moscow, and I went on one of those cruises (but for Russians, so no private bathroom, 50 year old boat and terrible food) when I was a teenager. It’s going to be amazing. Especially Kizhi. Make sure you take the subway in Moscow. It was a huge culture shock for me when I moved to NYC and saw what passes for the subway here…

        I’m frankly surprised at some of the comments below. Russians don’t hate tourists or try to rip them off any more than New Yorkers. If you’ve traveled abroad a lot, you’ll be fine. Yes, Russian citizens get discount prices for admissions to attractions, it’s a relic of soviet times when all attractions where practically free. Russians consider it wrong to charge citizens to visit their own culture.

        Your maxi dresses will work well. Bring a cardigan or scarf in your bag to cover your shoulders for visiting churches. Over air conditioning will never be a problem anywhere.

        If you happen to be christian, in churches feel free to ask someone to help you to buy and light a candle, if you want. You can also pay a little money to put the names of loved ones on a list of names for prayers. But DO NOT buy those little icons in churches as souvenirs unless you are religious and will treat them as such, it’s very disrespectful otherwise. Everyhing sold in the church shops has been blessed While most Russians are not religious, the ones that are are very serious about it, possibly because our religion was illegal and underground for decades.

        If you want to try something resembling Russian home cooking, in Moscow go to cafe moo-moo, it’s buffet style, but as authentic as you cAn get outside someone’s home, plus you can just point to things you want. get the sirniki (translated as cheese cakes) near the end of the line.

        Last piece of advice – learn the alphabet before you go and make sure you can sound things out. There is no English signage in most places. If you want to learn a little Russian, get Rosetta stone it’s great.

    • RussiaRepeat :

      I have been to Russia several times, including Moscow and St. Petersburg. I recall the weather varying a lot in St. Petersburg because it’s on the Gulf of Finland and gets a lot of weather moving through. I bet on a boat you’ll also be cooler, so I would go with lots of layers and fairly comfy shoes — lots of cobblestones sidewalks and marble palace floors.

      As for style, it’s been a few years, but Russian women in general tended to dress much more evening/club than I am used to here in NYC. As an extreme example, there was the 20-something young woman in the Hermitage Museum in an open-weave fishnet crop top over a bra, but generally people just took it up a couple notches. I stuck to my own style and, since you’ll be with a tour group, I doubt you’ll interact much with Russians casually.

      Have fun, St. Petersburg in July is White Nights, which is a great time to be there!

    • I have. Weather can really vary, even in July. So check it before you go and plan for contingencies. Sometimes it’s cold and rainy, sometimes it’s hot. Lately it’s been hot in the summer. But I would check closer to your departure date. And no matter what the forecast, I’d bring a light jacket.

      As to fashion, Russia tends to be a lot more sparkly and formal but in an odd sort of way (bedazzled capris wouldn’t be entirely out of place). Moscow and St. Petersburg are big cosmopolitan cities so the usual rules apply – think how you would dress for any big city. Places you’ll stop along the way will probably be more provincial so you can dress down more. Honestly, every time I’ve gone, I dressed more or less how I dress in NY and did not feel out of place. Just keep in mind that people there love to dress up so if you’re going to the theater or a nice restaurant, nice shoes, clothes, and a certain level of decorum are expected. If you go to any churches (and you should, they’re gorgeous), bring a shawl – you’re expected to cover your head and any bare shoulders. You may want to bring closed shoes – streets are very dusty and I had to scrub my feet with a pumice stone every night to get the dirt off of them. Whatever shoes you do bring, be prepared for them to get dirty (there is a reason it’s a big faux pas to not take your shoes off right at the front door in a Russian home). I would not wear flip flops. Also, while it’s reasonably safe, pick pockets do target foreigners so be vigilant and bring a bag that is secure — something cross body maybe, that zips well. Also bring an umbrella. Umbrellas there are either crappy or very expensive or both.

      Your trip sounds really lovely. I am sure you will have a fantastic time.

    • I have only been to Russia in the winter. I’m jealous of your summer trip…

    • Whatever you do, please do not wear or bring characteristically American items like tennis shoes, back packs, fleece, Northface wear, etc. Absolutely nobody in Russia wears stuff like this, and the only people who do are the occasional western (American) tourists you see. American tourists are rare enough in Russia and get duped enough already- don’t add even more fuel to the fire by wearing quintessential American tourist clothes. From a safety standpoint, you may also draw negative attention to yourself by doing do. Blending in is very useful in Russia.

      When I lived in Russia, I wore dark skinny jeans, boots, nice blouses, nice coats and sweaters. When the weather was nice, I wore wedges or kitten heel sandals with dresses and trendier outfits with shorts/blouses. Carried purses always or large, nice totes. A stylish messenger bag would probably be fine, but I never, ever once carried a backpack (the other Americans in my group were really the only people who I ever saw with backpacks, except for the occasional rowdy “cool”/trendster, semi-goth Russian teen). Think pretty much dressy casual all the time.

      I was never once asked if I was an American, even given the accent I spoke Russian with. Most people thought I was from somewhere in southern Europe… I had many guesses of being Turkish or Italian. The other Americans I was with who wore the bright Northface jackets, faded baggy jeans, and sport tennis shoes were scrutinized far more, and many were victims of theft as well.

      I’m not trying to be an alarmist, but American tourism to Russia is still somewhat infrequent, and Russians just have such a particular way of dressing (you’ll know what I mean when you see it), so you’ll just stick out awkwardly if you dress a certain way that would probably be perfectly normal in Western Europe…

      • Thanks everyone. I appreciate the tips so far. I am not particularly concerned with looking fashionable, I mostly just want to blend in to some extent. For example, I was thinking of bringing a few maxi dresses because they are comfy, travel easily, and relatively stylish, plus I can layer with a jean jacket or cardigan. But I’m wondering if this would be something that stands out in Russia. Also, jeans – yay or nay?

        • I think stylish maxi dresses and other sun dresses would be great. You would probably look European, which is good. Jeans are a definite yes, but I would say only if they are darker/a little more form fitting/slightly unique. What do I mean by unique… jeans that are white or different colors, jeans that are embellished, etc., would not stand out at all. But darker jeans would be just fine.

          I think you’ll be fine so long as you stay away from typical American tourist clothes and dress more as if you were going out somewhere here and feeling cute (ie, you wouldn’t take your black Jansport backpack out to a summer cocktail party with a bunch of girlfriends).

        • Depends on the maxi dress and how you accessorize it, but I think that would be fine. Jeans would also be fine as long as they were more dressy jeans (trouser style is popular there, skinny as well) and you paired them with more formal tops (any cute top would do, but not a loose tee or sweatshirt) and cute sandals/shoes. If you really want to blend in, keep in mind that Russians, like many Europeans, love details on their clothes so look for stuff that’s a bit unusual, for lack of a better word. Patches, embroidery, ruffles, you name it. But you’ll be fine regardless as long as long as you avoid the comfort-over-all-else aesthetic that’s typically associated with US tourists. Frump’s advice, here, is rather spot-on. And Clueless Summer is also on point – the heels will blow your mind.

    • Oh yes, I wanted to add as well. While you MIGHT be able to get away with particularly American looking clothes in Moscow or St. Pete’s, I imagine you’ll be stopping at some of the smaller cities like Samara and Saratov, etc. I have been to those places as well, and you will stick out *even more* wearing those clothes in the smaller cities. Many of those places are even *less* frequented by Americans (and the cities themselves can feel like a true step back in time), so if you don’t garnish potentially negative attention in Moscow or St. Pete’s, you probably certainly would elsewhere.

      Second the comment about making sure you have scarves for *all* churches (light weight summer scarves would be fine), and if you are stopping in Kazan, wear something modest for the day (probably arms covered, longer skirt, and have a head covering) because you might tour the large mosque there and they are strict about clothing. If you are touring any older monastaries, you will need the same types of clothing (and they *will not* let you in with pants… I visited a monastary in Izborsk and they made us don skirt-like, wrap pieces of fabric over our jeans to even enter the grounds).

    • Clueless Summer :

      Can’t say what’s in style now…but all the women will be wearing ridiculous heels. And you will feel super in awe and also slightly inferior because you can’t walk around all day wearing 4 inch stillettos. Or that was how I felt, lol.

      • Oh, the “tyfli.” I was in awe until I found out how many young (as in, late teenage) Russian women have horrible foot problems (like bunions and frequent dislocated ankles, etc.). Then again, I bought some great stuff while I was there thanks to the completely different sense of style they keep, and my only regret is that I didn’t buy more. I would take a trip back just to shop.

        • Clueless Summer :

          Oh I can’t even imagine the foot problems. A friend who grew up there had high heeled boots as a 5 and 6 year old child. She assures me they were stacked heels, not thin ones…but still!!!

      • dancinglonghorn :

        When I was there, the thing I noticed about fashion was:

        #1 – the women all wear crazy high heels but CANNOT walk in them! I saw women tripping all over the place! It is somewhat hilarious, especially in Moscow. (St Pete’s ladies seem to have more class!)

        #2 – they love lingerie. They love to show their lingerie to the world (I would too if I only had government approved panties for 50 years!) Be prepared to see so much of their lingerie in public. They wear colored bras underneath mesh tops – as dayware.

        I would just admit that you will stick out. Russia is the only country where I have ever felt a real culture shock (and I’ve traveled to every major (populated) continent.) I think its because I “look” Scottish – red hair and freckles and eyeglasses. And I hate to say it, but if you are not white, you will feel unease. I was shocked at the way I saw people of many different nationalities treated on the streets in Russia. (I used to think Americans were racist until I spent a summer backpacking from Berlin to Moscow – now I think that American’s are not that racist)

        My standard travel uniform for a backpacking trip is jeans, plain colored t-shirts, a street shoe (like Puma ballet flat), and a plain black hoodie/cardi. If I am in one area for a long time (Like Eastern Europe), I will buy a cheap anorak and messenger bag from a local Target-equivalent. That one habit is probably the main reason I have never been a victim of any sort of crime, as I look totally native (when my hair is covered). Absolutely no jewelry of any kind. Anything I wouldn’t mind being stolen, I leave at home (so my lovely shoes, $300 purses, engagement ring, all safe at home) If you really want to fit in, consider buying a cheap jacket in Russia. Remember – they have clothes there too. Don’t ever travel with anything you wouldn’t mind losing/ripping/being left behind/being stolen/etc.

        By the way – bring bug spray. I couldn’t locate any in St Pete’s and the mosquitoes are terrible in the summer. I vividly remember lying in my hostel bed at midnight in St Pete’s with the sun still fully up outside trying really hard not to scratch at my bug bites!

        Have a blast!

        • I got some of the worst bug bites of my life in St. Pete’s, and this was in October even when it was still a bit cold. I had huge, swollen welts all over my face and the only way to avoid being bitten in the night was to sleep completely under my covers… I realized this because each morning I would wake up with bites only on my hands/forehead/TOES/whatever part of me happened to be slightly exposed. I would almost recommend bringing a mosquito net, or at the very least, very very strong bug repellant. I can only imagine what the bugs must be like in the summer on the river.

    • I did St. Petersburg in the summer a few years ago (during White Nights, by chance). Peterhof and Katherine’s Summer Palace and the Hermitage were absolutely stunning. Many people there were warm and friendly. However, I did not enjoy Russia as a tourist–a lot of the “friendly” customer service ethos is lacking, and there were too many negative experiences to make me feel that they were isolated instances.

      As to weather, it was awfully windy there…sometimes humid. I wore skirts, t-shirt, cardi’s a lot. I looked nice and not necessarily touristy. The women there were DRESSED UP (full makeup, short skirts, high fashion (think very chic Gucci suits, etc.)). In my “comfortable” tourist garb, I could not keep up with their high-fash, nearly clubwear. We got fancy when we went to the ballet and were dressed appropriately.

      Overall, the Russians took almost any opportunity to part us from our money, and not in a “fair” way. Anyone not Russian is charged double, quoted exorbitant rates at restaurants, museums, in the street markets, etc. Our car service tried to charge us AND the total random passenger they threw into our airport car full price (e.g. each of us were charged the price of a separate trip, until I complained.) My hotel cheated me out of my “visa stamp.” I was like $50, and the clerk completely lied when I called her out on it the next day. (My friend met me the second day and wasn’t charged anything for the arrival stamp, and when I asked about what had happened to me the day before, the manager told me I was “imagining” things and that no one would try to cheat an American out of such little money ($50)). I even got shoved in a huge line to get inside Katherine’s summer palace and a couple screamed at the “Americanski” for wanting to see the Romanovs because they were “their tsars.” (People knew we were American because my friend and I had been waiting in line for hours, and spoke English.)

      All in all, it was not my most positive tourist experience. And I say that having visited thirty plus countries and knowing how NOT to be a sticking-out tourist wearing tennis shoes. I think if you are on a guided tour, you will fare better. At every place we went, tours were whisked into special entrances and had guides. We were traveling on our own.

      Still, glad I went and will probably still do my dream Trans-Siberian railway trip at some point!

      • dancinglonghorn :

        I totally agree with you about the culture shock. I didn’t have any experiences with the money issue (but I was a student and clearly didn’t have any money), but the Russians really are different.

        I remember once, in torrential rain in St Pete’s, watching passers-by walk by holding umbrellas but not bothering to open them to keep themselves dry. I feel that this anecdote really illustrated the Russian psyche to me.

      • All 100% true, and I even experienced some of this as a foreigner speaking Russian most of the time.

        One of the most telling scenes I watched was a sale to some American tourists in the one main kitchy souvenir area of merchants in St. Pete’s. Prices were already way too high for what was being offered, but because I and the others I was with were speaking Russian, we were generally able to get money knocked off the listed prices. For example, a lot of merchants were selling those metallic scarves you sometimes see on the streets of NYC for about 500 rubles/$20 at the time. That was very expensive, as you could buy one from a subway beggar for about 100 rubles/$4 or less. Anyway, a couple of us wanted scarves so we ended up getting them down to about 400 rubles/$16 or so. Still expensive for what they were, but not too bad if you saw one you really liked/just felt like getting something.

        A few minutes later, we saw the same merchant in broken English selling one of those scarves to this clueless, older American couple, telling them that it was hand made and unique and all that nonsense, and she quoted them a price of 90 DOLLARS. I am not even kidding. I almost choked when I heard that/wanted to somehow pull those people aside and tell them how horribly they were getting ripped off. This was a $4 beggar scarf that these Americans were going to buy for $90. It was horrible. And the merchant did this with ZERO qualm after selling one to us for $16.

    • I’ve been twice. Once I went on the train through Mongolia up to Moscow and then up to St. Petersburg and then I just had a short stop on a cruise. I don’t think I dressed very fashionably and really had no problems. The temperature in August was anywhere from 35-75. Maybe I am just clueless about the fashion, but during my first trip I was coming from 2 years in Japan, which probably has an even more ridiculous dressing sense and at that point I was just immune to it and did not care. People still asked me for directions, in Russian, more than once.

      One thing to know about St. Petersburg now in summer is that they have a new huge cruise ship terminal as of 2009ish and it is EXTREMELY crowded. Think trying to go to Disney World in July. Even if you take tours there, you’ll be waiting in long lines.

    • I would get on Netflix and watch (or skim) a few recently released foreign films from Russia, especially things that look similar to romantic comedies and would have “normal” russian life/people/clothing in them.

    • law talking girl :

      Late to this party, but are there any tips about traveling in far eastern Russia? I am going to Kamchatka for 2.5 weeks in May with my boyfriend. I won’t be able to avoid the fleece/North Face look since we will be backcountry skiing and camping. I need to minimize the amount of clothing I bring since I will need the space and weight in my luggage for skiing and camping gear. We will only spend one night in Moscow on the way to Petropavlovsk. Neither of us speaks Russian, however when traveling in other countries I have had people try to speak Russian to me.

  12. Anonymous :

    I worked at an office where the term ‘abortion’ was used to describe a spectacular failure of some sort (by the men. there were women who worked there though). Ie: “that was an abortion of a case” or “that meeting turned into an abortion by the end when opposing counsel did negative-something-XYZ”

    I’m not really feminist or politically correct (I actually prefer a non-politically correct environment where people don’t have to be so concerned over what everyone thinks of what they say, as long as it isn’t meant to offend someone), so it didn’t bother me in that way, but it was kinda just icky and gross. That job was several years ago, and that one phrase still sticks in my mind.

    Sorry that was not very responsive, but I guess it could be worse/accompanied by a gross mental image?

    • Anonymous :

      sorry that was in reply to shackalackadingdong about the pregnancy comment. Got the posting too fast comment and then it didn’t reply in the right place!

    • HOLY CR*P. I thought the other one was bad, but that is way worse.

      Next we’re going to hear from people saying that “raped” is used frequently in their office for when things were hard. Then I will have to punch someone.

      • You don’t have to be a feminist to think that’s tacky, distasteful and potentially very upsetting for anyone with a personal story about that particular procedure.

        • Anonymous :

          OP here: oh I totally agree, but I know sometimes these discussions will devolve into a female-power damn-the-man kind of thing, so I wanted to make it clear that I thought it was gross/slightly disturbing period, not just because I’m uber-sensitive or have a specific point of view or something.

    • The usage doesn’t even really seem to make sense. Maybe if they used the verb “abort” to indicate a decision to terminate to stop a project, I could see it. This usage just seems deliberately inflammatory.

      • Anonymous :

        OP here: oh yeah I’m sure it was just used as an inflammatory descriptor. Like you could have inserted “disaster” or “calamity” (that was a disaster of a case, a no-good-very-bad case, that meeting was horrendous etc) or any non-disgusting/potentially-offensive descriptors in there. I think it was just for the shock value probably.

      • Totes McGotes :

        Deliberately inflammatory – I think that’s what bothers me about the pregnancy analogy above. I have heard this usage of “abortion” before to refer to anything that’s just a horrible travesty, such as a truly godawful movie referred to as a “cinematic abortion.” Oddly, I didn’t find it as offensive as the pregnancy analogy, and *that*, upon reflection, I am finding pretty strange.

    • I remember people using that expression about 3-5 years ago, as a slang word for disaster or clusterf-ck. I’m glad it went out of style.

      • how bout the word clusterf*ck? hate that. not as bad as the others mentioned but ick

    • job hunting :

      This reminds me of when people use the word “marry” to mean something other than 2 people joining in a committed life long relationship (like the marriage of two viewpoints to reach a compromise or something). It bothers me. I guess I’m a purist about language. But I generally dislike when people complicate their message by using words to mean things they don’t mean, especially when there are other perfectly suitable and appropriate words available. For example, today in class my professor was trying to convey a difficult concept and she used 2 figures of speech in the same sentence. It would be way less confusing to just use words that mean what you are using them to mean! Maybe I should have been a linguist instead of a lawyer… so far all my comments today are about words.

      • I find this much less offensive, especially since the word “marry” can be used legitimately in other context (OED def. 8 – To unite intimately, to join closely or permanently; to correlate, link together (also with up); to cause or enable to blend together). It also doesn’t have the same sexually violent undertones that “get pregnant” “rape” and “abortion” have. I think that’s what makes them ultimately unsettling – they attach male physical and sexual dominance to “winning” and being a female victim with “losing.”

        Using the word “marry” like “let’s marry these two versions” seems way less problematic in those terms, and ultimately seems passive and/or peaceful.

      • Marry the ketchups :)

      • Unrelated-ish but two expressions I am over are “deep dive” and “drill down”. Yes, we need to explore X in more detail, can we not jus say that?

    • I’m pretty sure you guys are actually feminists–I mean, you’re reading Corporette, for pete’s sake!–but have only heard it used pejoratively. This makes me sad :(

      • You’ll NEVER hear me use the word feminist pejoratively! My first full sentence was “I’m one strong woman” — though I might have been coached. I just the above person was trying to explain that they were not prone to taking offense easily, but I tend to agree that its annoying when you have to say “I’m not a feminist” to say “I’m not oversensitive” or “I have a sense of humor”.

        I blame Fox News.

  13. I’ve decided to give up shopping for Lent, so in the greatest missing-the-point kind of way, I want to do a little shopping before then. What’s the one thing you are buying this year in anticipation of spring?

    • Totally not missing the point – Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday is the same thing – party it up before you go all somber. I’d say you are right on point.

    • I give up chocolate for Lent every year – it never occurred to me to give up shopping! I am committed to eating all of the chocolate in my house and my office this weekend. Then again, I looked at the “Holiday Weekend Open Thread” and thought “What holiday?” I mean, here it’s Mardi Gras, but not many other places have a four day weekend. I am off to Ft. Worth for my girlfriend shopping weekend so I’ll tell you when I get back!

    • Last week I bought some nude wedges that are work appropriate for Spring/Summer. These are they:

      First off – greige is exactly the color they are! Ha! Turns out greige isn’t the best color for me.

      Secondly – they are totally grandma on me! I have some black peep toe wedges from Giani Bini (a Dillard’s store brand, I think) that are so much more flattering, even though they look really similar to these Cole Haan shoes. I’m going to see if I can find some from there in nude.

      So…I suggest some nude wedges for work and play. Just not those!

      ps – giving up internet for Lent (minus work stuff) … I’ve spent a lot of time on here today. ;)

      • Research, Not Law :

        I quit recreational internet for Lent one year. By far the hardest I’ve ever done (although it was probably good for me). GL!!

        I’m not doing anything this year. I’m going to have a baby (and toddler) any day now and figure I deserve any indulgence I can manage, lol.

        As for spring purchases: For some reason, I’m super excited to buy cropped pants and some new flats.

    • Formerly Preggo Angie :

      I would like to give up red meat entirely this Lent, so I’m thinking of getting some juicy ribeye steaks for Tuesday.

      Now, to your question, we moved so I’m planning on getting a bunch of plants to spruce up the front yard. It’s pretty sad.

      • The last couple of years, I’ve given up gossip for Lent, and I’ll do it again this year. I don’t feel prone to a huge amount of gossip, but it’s totally pointless when it happens, and I feel like this is a good reminder to keep my words purposeful.

    • A few years ago I decided to give up giving up stuff for Lent. I’m doing great so far!!


      • Good plan! For me, it’s the only way to get myself off of chocolate for any reasonable period of time, so I do it. One of my friends gave up chocolate for Lent one year and she said she lost her taste for it. Ha! I have been known to take a bag of chocolate toffee peanuts to church with me on Easter Sunday morning…

        • That is awesome! Maybe I’ll do a little internet shopping during Easter Sunday church. :) I did it a few years ago, and I must admit that things were still arriving on my doorstep about a week into Lent, which kinda felt like cheating.

          • Well, since I’m a church soloist, I have to be at church at 8 am on Easter Sunday morning and don’t leave until about 1 pm. We serve breakfast for about 40 people in between. It’s fun but I need to keep up my strength so chocolate in my purse is a must.

          • Oh sister. I’m a church musician and we kick off Easter Sunday with a 4:30 AM mass, with a 3:45 call time. Depending on how many baptisms we have, we wrap up around 7:45, and then have a break until 10 AM call for second mass of Easter, which goes another couple of hours. All of that is after a Holy Week chock full of multi-hour services.

            Anglo-Catholics: that’s how we roll.

          • cbackson – my favorite Easter service is usually the Saturday Easter Vigil service. At least the way my church used to do it. Mostly it was the music that made the 1.5 to 2 hour service as great as it was. So thank you for sharing your talent!

      • I follow the doing one extra good deed a day route rather than the giving something up route. I feel much better about it and don’t have to worry about forgetting. :)

    • I’m no longer practicing, but when I was, I used to give up “thinking mean thoughts” for Lent. I have a tendency to be catty (at least in my head and, in my younger days, in my conversation as well). It was extraordinarily hard to do, but I found that by Easter each year, I liked life and my fellow human beings better. Forcing myself to have positive thoughts about people really helps you empathize with those around you. I highly recommend it for those looking for something meaningful to do for Lent.

      Hope that wasn’t too preachy. Just food for thought.

    • For the last couple of years, I’ve prayed a rosary every day during Lent. For me, it offers a better way to be reflective and accountable than giving something up (I just don’t have anything that would be all that meaningful or powerful to give up), and I am still doing something I wouldn’t normally do. I fast on Fridays, as well.

      Another thing to consider as your “doing something different” thing is making sure to get to church each Sunday during Lent as a minimum, or make going to daily service every day, or a few times a week, your special Lenten devotion.

      What are people’s thoughts about going to work with forehead ashes?

      • I’ve done it (though I have a job which doesn’t involve interacting with the public or clients). Now that I live in the burbs it isn’t even a consideration since the Ash Wednesday mass is in the evening.

      • I do it and I work for the local government. I usually will go to Ash Wednesday service before work because I tend to have night meetings.

  14. Woods-comma-Elle :

    Whoop, Friday! This is slightly marred by the fact that (1) I am still in the office drafting a contract to send out the partner by ‘COB’ (whenever that is) – it is 8.25pm here and (2) my planned weekend of errands/gym/general lounging is being interrupted by the fact that I have to go on a date.

    I gave up on the online dating many weeks ago, but one guy sort of caught on and we exchanged a bunch of messages and talked on the phone. But I’m just. not. excited. I like my little life and as much as it would be nice to have ‘someone’, I resent having to use up my precious free time to meet these people. There is clearly something wrong with my attitude here, which probably explains why I am single…

    • I feel the same way, if that helps. I always resent going on dates, and I never seem to want a second one.

    • Maybe there’s something wrong with your attitude… but I have exactly the same attitude about my first date scheduled for tomorrow. I will say that once I’m dressed and out the door I almost always have a good time, even if it’s a dud. Dating sucks…

    • Me too. Why do we torture ourselves like this? Grumble….

    • “close of business”

      • I think she knows what it stands for. To me, COB stands for “before whatever time I know the reader checks his/her email”.

        • I hope the person was being snarky — because if they really didn’t think Elle knew what COB meant…well….

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        Yes I do know what it stands for, I was more referring to the fact that since it was 8.30pm when I wrote the post, any kind of standard 6pm COB was well and truly gone!

    • Thank you for posting this! It makes me feel so much better to know I am not the only one dreading the use of my “precious free time” for a date this weekend… Wish dating worked like the corporate world, and we could just take applications, conduct interviews, pick the best candidate, and be done with it. :)

      • That would be great, LR. And nice to hear I’m not the only one who feels vaguely resentful when I’m scheduling / thinking about / getting ready for most first dates!!

  15. My Jason Wu for Target review:
    For reference, I am 5’8, 150 lbs. Usually a M on top; size 8 in dresses and pants in JCrew/Banana. B cup, moderate hips.

    Sleeveless Pleated Shift Dress in Navy Dots with Black Belt, M ( Cute, but not really sure where I’d wear this. Too cutsey (and short– hit a couple inches above the knee) for work, but a little more fancy than I’d wear to brunch with girlfriends. Pros: It’s actually a button front dress, but the buttons have an extra layer of fabric over them so they’re not visible. Going back.

    Blouse with Tie in Navy Dots, M ( Love it. Snap front, but again are hidden by fabric. Would look really cute into a pencil skirt for work. Not sheer either as I was worried about. My only complaint is the decorative ribbon on the sleeves is very tight. I don’t have particularly large arms, and let’s hope I don’t bulk up, because I’m definitely keeping this.

    Keeping it in pink too.

    Sleeveless Chiffon Dress in Navy Floral with Gold Belt, M ( Did not like. Very unflattering– way too big in the bust, a little too large everywhere else. There’s no zipper or anything, so I guess it’s cut to let you pull it over your head. Also, the belt looks super cheap and you’d at least have to swap that out.

    Shortsleeved Tee with Cat, M ( Too cute. A little sheer– my bra showed through, but it’s casual, so it’s fine. Wore it with a cardigan to cover the show-through.

    Pleated Skirt in Black, 8 ( Not flattering on me. One of those delightful styles that I think only works on petites or people without hips, because it poofs out just enough to emphasize mine. About an inch above my knee, so long enough for work if your workplace is casual enough to wear something like this. Going back.

    Same thing on the same skirt with daisy print.

    Sleeveless Top with Sheer Panel in Navy Floral, M ( Not flattering for me. Very boxy. The sheer panel extended down to where the actual bra started (eg wasn’t just bra straps and a strapless wouldn’t have helped).

    Short-Sleeve Printed Cycle Dress with Pearls in Cream, 8 ( I actually like the fit of this the best of anything I’ve tried. It nips in nicely at the waist and the bust fit well. However, don’t really love the look of it otherwise. It’s more modest than I would wear out with friends, but too girly girl for work (light colors, and built in pearls on the neckline). The sleeves are very light and ruffle when you move. Sending back, because no idea where I’d wear it. Seemed very “going to tea with the ladies” to me, which is a problem since I don’t do that.

    Pleated Canvas Skirt in Belize Blue, 8 ( Ugh. This is the item I was most excited about, and it was a flop. The material was pretty terrible– really heavy, and rough. Felt very cheap. Not super flattering in the hip region (can you tell I have hip issues?!). It is only $30; if I had only ordered this I probably would have kept it for casual summer get togethers, but since I’m already sending back a ton of stuff, away it goes.

    Long-Sleeve Sheer Blouse in Blush Dots, M ( I posted my story on this blouse earlier. Love love love it. So feminine and pretty. Wore it for short times on two days in a row, and pulling it off on day two I noticed a huge hole on a back seam. It’s a genuine tear too, not a simple seam to resew. Very disappointed. Hope I can get my money back (TWO WEARS?!). At least I have the tie-neck version (above).

    Tried to order the lace-front tee in blush, but target in all their rush to get these items out slapped the label for it on a “BEBAND” which was a terrifying shock upon opening the box. I thought it was a very cruel V-day joke from my fiance.

    Hope that helps someone!

    • Merabella :

      I got one of the clutches from this collection and it was AMAZING. I was disappointed by the clothes however, so I didn’t take any of them home, but the accessories were actually pretty awesome.

    • That’s helpful. Thanks.

      On another note, I just don’t see how we can be the same height and almost the same weight and yet apparently be shaped totally differently. Crazy.

      • Sounds like everything would fit you perfectly, then! So bummed more of it didn’t work out, although my bank account is happy.

    • FWIW, I got the navy floral dress and it works great on me. I’m 5’4″, 115 lb, size XS. The dress is shaped like a tent and needs to be belted, I have a ton of cute belts so the cheap one on the dress didn’t bother me.

  16. Layoff v. Fire :

    I’d appreciate advice for when it’s time to let an employee go. We need to let someone go for performance reasons. The person just doesn’t get the work, isn’t improving, etc. The person also doesn’t have that much to do because, of confidence reasons, we just don’t assign much to them. We’ve considered calling it a “layoff”, just because we like the person, but I think we have some duty to tell them it’s really performance related. How specific do you get when letting people go/what would you want to know?

    • Your company must have HR policies around this, but in principle, you can lay somebody off (thereby entitling them to severance, easier transition to a new job, etc) while also acknowledging privately that perhaps it wasn’t a great fit because of working styles, etc.

    • I’m very interested to hear what other people think! I’m wondering if you really have a duty to share the whole truth behind your decision. For instance, when people quit their jobs because they work at a dysfunctional company, they will often stay tight-lipped on their way out the door to avoid burning bridges and causing potential problems down the road. Obviously, the power dynamics are different in your case, but perhaps some discretion is not uncalled for in this situation as well. Maybe you could stick with more generic talking points like “This was not a good fit and we think you will be better suited to a different role.”

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I have a friend in this situation – from what she’s described, it seems like she and her work environment are not meshing. This is at a big company, so there are several steps HR is taking before (my hunch is) initiating termination. She’s at what I’m pretty sure is her last step – they sent her a letter saying you will be evaluated on your performance on X date (a couple months away) and a decision will be made as to whether you can continue with the company.

      I think she appreciates that she knows that the issue is with her work – but she also feels like people “made up their minds” about her work/work product early on, and are now resistant to change their opinions, regardless of what she actually produces. She also feels that since they plan on firing her on X date anyway (she is fairly certain no matter what she does, she’ll get fired) she’s just going to be a terrible employee for those last few weeks. It’s a bad situation for everyone I think.

      • I have unfortunately had to terminate two people at different times and this is the process – with my HR’s assistance – that I have used. (and no, I’m not a bad boss or person, ultimately it was the best thing for my entire staff since other people were having to take on work that these individuals couldn’t handle.). In both cases the individuals were given small severance payments.

        My understanding is that it is good practice to establish and document the reasons for the termination, including warnings or using performance plans, from a liability standpoint but I personally think its also more fair to give the employee some advance notice so that they can start considering other options. Momentsofabsurdity, your friend may be partially right that the decision is already made but I know of instances where people have been faced with situations like this and made a complete about-face. I think it may depend on whether there’s a specific performance issue vs. bad fit for whatever reason.

        To the OP, what would be the consequence of calling it one vs the other? In my company, if I used the term “lay off” that would imply that I wouldn’t be replacing them. In terms of communicating to others, we have very carefully stuck to the “X is no longer with the company” script to respect the individuals’ privacy, if you’re more concerned about how to present this publicly. However, I’m sure that everyone will know exactly what happened if things have gotten to the point where they have little work actually assigned to them.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          I agree – I think it’s better to address this issues if they’re performance issues and (hopefully) give the person time to fix them. And even if not, I think it’s good she’s getting this extra time to focus on a job search.

          In general, I think for my friend, it’s a bad fit compounded by a boss she doesn’t get along with. I think her boss is an ineffective manager (granted, I’m only getting one side of the story) but also, my friend is not proactive enough to change things and doesn’t work independently enough for her boss’s style. I think in her case, it’s basically a done deal – they have switched her to a different boss because her current boss refuses to work with her any longer, and sent her the pre-termination letter. I believe she HAS honestly tried to improve at all the steps thus far but right now she’s just given up and is waiting to be fired (and hopes it’ll be phrased in such a way that she can collect unemployment).

          • often times people tell them it’s time to job search and they will have the option to resign within a few months. avoids you having to do legal layoff/termination.

    • Have there been any prior communications that their work is inadequate? If not, it may be problematic to tell them it is performance-related. Either way, you’ll want the justification for the decision well-documented in accordance with your HR policies.

      I’m struggling with an employee right now for the same reasons…and the biggest problem for me is the increased work that I have because of those confidence issues. Good luck to you!

    • I try to be honest, but tactful. Point out the person’s strengths, but let them know their strengths and skills are not a good fit for this job. We had a secretary who was smart and had great organizational skills, but just couldn’t type very well. I told her she should consider going through paralegal training (I really thought she’d be good at it, with some training), but that she just wasn’t a good fit for the secretarial position she as in, and we had to let her go. I tried to point out that this wasn’t her dream job, and she could find something better, or go back to school. We gave her 2 weeks severance pay, and agreed not to contest an unemployment claim. Not ideal, but the best we could do under the circumstances.

    • One thing to consider is this: if this person turns around and sues you/your company, what would you say under oath as to why the person was let go? If it truly is performance, but the person was told it was a “layoff” (i.e. economic based, or some other reason that is NOT performance), it will be hard to defend. Even harder if there are no poor reviews in the personnel file.

      It’s hard to tell someone bad news (i.e. that their performance sucked and they need to go), but that’s just part of a manager’s job.

  17. Oh good – it’s a three day weekend!

  18. Hoping you can help with some recommendations. I’m looking for good quality classic black leather pumps that come in wide sizes (and are not pointy since I need a wide toe box) and that are not frumpy yet comfortable. Is this the holy grail or something, because I cannot seem to find it. Or it could be that I live in Ohio and no stores around me carry this sort of thing? Willing to spend some $$ since it’s a staple.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Anonymous :

      I did a quick search for Bandolino in response to your query. I have wide feet as well, and I have a pair of 10W pumps from them, but they’re a dark pewter color, not black, but I figure they’d have something similar in black. Take a look through these:

      I know you said you’re willing to spend more, but if you don’t have to…

      Also, I have a pair of Tahari classic black pumps from DSW, the model name is escaping me right now, maybe Brett? They have a bit of a pointy toe, so I didn’t think they would work for me, but I tried them on and they feel quite lovely on the footsies. You could give those a try to see if they work.

      • Thanks! I’m willing to go for reasonably priced shoes if someone can vouch for quality. I have never seen the “the find” website before, but it looks great! I feel silly for not thinking of DSW, though — blasphemy — I’m not much of a shoe person and have never been there.

        • Bandolino :

          Second the Bandolino, just bought black pumps from Macy’s, and they have built in padding. Very comfortable, not frumpy!

        • I have not been impressed with Bandolino quality. Granted I have never bought. But when I’ve tried, they seemed on par with Nine West for me.
          Ferragamo and Cole Haan are both available in wide, and for me there are no shoes more comfortable than Ferragamo. If you want to spend less, Clarks makes wide shoes and are very well made. I also like Ecco for quality but not sure if they come in wide. They are wider than most though in their regular widths.

    • I have large (size 10) fairly wide feet, and Kate Spade shoes are the most comfortable for me. They have lots of styles and generally you can find a plain black pump. These are patent, but if you search, I know they make a basic leather, too.

    • I have a wide toe box, and most Cole Haan’s I’ve tried are too narrow, but these Cole Haan Air Talia Mid Pumps fit really well in my regular size (8m), and are really comfortable.

    • indigo by Clarks?

    • I’ve been searching for the same thing lately. I’ve ended up with a black and a brown pair of Ros Hommerson Loyal. I can’t do high heels though, I have to stick with kitten or low block. These have a one inch heel, make my wide feet look slimmer, and the leather feels like driving gloves. I haven’t found a professional situation these couldn’t handle, but I wish I could find something very dressy, though.

  19. Just purchased this cardigan for my spring break trip! Looks comfy for the plane ride! I think the blush color will look perfect with a tan.

  20. After staring blankly at my closet full of clothes but with nothing to wear for the gazillionth time, I am motivated to finally do a closet purge and tackle my wardrobe. My problem is that I tend to buy whatever I think looks good or cute or whatever when I am out shopping – especially if it is on sale – but I end up with a closet full of stuff that doesn’t really go together and most of it I never wear because it doesn’t really feel “me”. I know I need to figure out what my style is, purge my closet, and start to shop with intention (looking for specific pieces to fill gaps in my wardrobe) as opposed to impulse shopping. But knowing this is what I need to do doesn’t seem to be making it any easier to actually do it.

    How do you develop your personal style? What are the bones of a good wardrobe (I am pretty sure it’s not 50 cute little patterned tops that aren’t really appropriate for any aspect of my life…)? These are questions I feel stupid asking, especially on this site, but I really do feel quite stumped by this. I know style rules, I think I usually look put together enough not to be featured on What Not To Wear, but I still feel lost when it comes to my own personal wardrobe and style, and I wish I could figure out how to put together a wardrobe that works for me.

    Any advice? Resources I can look to? I am familiar with Kendi Everyday’s working closet series which I recall being helpful and I will have to go back and have another read through of that.

    • Go to fashion blogs that are not focused on one specific person (e.g., the sartorialist) and save images that really speak to you – regardless of gender, height, body type, race, coloring, etc. After you’ve compiled 25-30 you’ll start to notice certain things – maybe you’ll be saving outfits with great tailoring, military inspirations, 1950s references, or bright pops of color. When you get to that level of generality you can normally adapt clothes for any situation (work, drinks, dinner, etc.) to the theme(s) you notice running through your images. The key here I think is not to get too specific, which is why Kendi Everyday (although I *love* her blog) is not going to help if you don’t feel like her particular style is “you.” Then you can start building basic, investment items from it. For example, if you’re noticing a military trend, a great trenchcoat that will last forever. Or if you’re noticing you love colors, a pair of deep teal wool trousers conservative enough for work or whatever.

      • In addition to fashion blogs, you can also view images on Pinterest (where I go online when I am not on Corporette!). Re-pin pictures of items/outfits that appeal to you and then figure out what are the common themes, whether it’s color, silhouette, a particular fabric, etc.

    • if you seriously have 50 cute patterned tops and think you have nothing to wear, maybe the problem is that you’re lacking the basics that turn them into outfits? dark wash classic jeans, black work pants + v neck cardigan, cobalt pencil skirt?
      i’d start by focusing on what in your closet you love and figuring out what you would need to turn those items into outfits. that might help with the gap filling
      separately, focus on what the current awesome items in your closet have in common?

    • If you’re looking for a guide to finding style, I would recommend Already Pretty. Her personal style is a bit funky, but she has some great advice about dressing in a way that makes you happy and works with your lifestyle. Check out her Greatest Hits page, there are a ton of “how to” guides: http://www.alreadypretty(dot)com/greatest-hits

      • Ok, I don’t know how I haven’t come across this blog before but I’m sold. Her “greatest hits” are absolutely hilarious. Her style isn’t really for me and I don’t agree with all her advice, but it’s a pleasure to read, which is the most important part!

    • Angie at has done some posts on this exact topic recently. One of the best suggestions that she had was to pull out a few outfits that you feel great in and actually set the pieces out together. Look and them to determine what characteristics they have, and see if there are traits that start to show up in more than 1 outfit. Assuming, of course, that you do actually have a few outfits you actually like.

    • Merabella :

      I recently did this. I decided in the new year to no longer have a ton of clothes I felt blah about, but have enough clothes that made me feel fantastic when I wore them. Start out by looking at everything you have. Pick out those pieces that make you feel great when you wear them, and pieces/outfits that you have been given tons of compliments on when you where them. See what those things have in common. Like someone else said above, if there are common themes then you can build from there. I got an app on my phone and took pictures of all the stuff that I put back in my closet after the purge, it have a feature where I can make outfits out of the individual pieces (kind of like the computer program in Clueless). I find this helpful when shopping too, because I have all of my clothes on my phone I can see where I need to fill in the gaps. It also lets me see how a piece would fit in with the wardrobe I already have. If I can’t make at least 2 outfits with a piece from things I already own, I think twice about buying.

      I’ve also seen it mentioned to meet up with a personal shopper at places like Nordstroms. You can tell them what you already have and they can make suggestions on what to buy to create a wardrobe that fits your lifestyle and personal style.

      Hope these suggestions help.

      • Merabella :

        sorry for the typos, end of the day

        • Merabella, that sounds like a cool app! Could you share the name? I hope it’s available for Android.

          • I’d also love to know what app this is. I was looking for something to do exactly this!

          • Merabella :

            on my iPhone is is called Closet App. I’m not sure if it is on Android, but there are a ton of them out there.

    • 1) Evaluate your current wardrobe with a critical eye. The garments must fit, flatter, and free of tears and stains. You should not just like the items in your wardrobe, but really like/love most of them. Some items can be reworked by a seamstress to improve the fit or change the silohuette.
      2) Determine your style. What colors do you like? What cuts are flattering? Whose wardrobe would you love to raid?
      3) After editing your wardrobe, think about the holes. What basics are you missing?
      4) When you see those basics on sale, go for it! Aim to shop with restraint. A sale isn’t a deal if the item doesn’t fit your life.

    • I like Kendall Farr’s books for exactly this. They’re called “The Pocket Stylist” and “Style Evolution.”
      Online, you might check out this post from Wardrobe Oxygen: [DOT] html
      I also like this list of basics from Real Simple: [DOT] html

    • Rats. I tried using [DOT] to avoid moderation but it didn’t work.
      I like Kendall Farr’s books for exactly this. They’re called “The Pocket Stylist” and “Style Evolution.”
      Online, you might check the “Staples for Every Woman’s Wardrobe” post on the Wardrobe Oxygen blog (Scroll down and it’s under “Best of Wardrobe Oxygen” on the lower right.
      I also like the list of basics on Real Simple — just Google “real simple wardrobe basics” and it’s the first link to come up (it’s the checklist).

      • I would love to know what other readers of Wardrobe Oxygen think about the Miss Sixty booties that Allie sports so frequently.

        • Can’t stand them. She obviously loves them, because booties seem to make up a large portion of her shoe wardrobe.

          But, she’s not trying to make me wear them so I’ll leave her alone about it. And she has such a great tone that even with the never-ending parade of booties shes a zillion points to the good.

          • *she’s

          • I can’t (or won’t) wear *any* heels as high as most of what Allie wears, including the Miss Sixty booties (which are not my style, period). But I still like reading her blog.

          • I also think the skirt length on most of the skirts she wears would not fly in a law office! Nor would I be comfortable wearing skirts that short even on my own time. But she’s not an attorney, and clearly she is dressing for her own office and her own job. . . .

    • How To Tell? :

      Pick out your 2 or 3 favorite:

      * pairs of pants
      * skirts
      * jackets
      * dresses
      * tops

      The ones you wear all the time.

      Put on neutral pan*ies and b*a and a plain white Tshirt.

      Try on the three jackets, one after the other. What do they all have in common? (Probably color, definitely cut.) Next do the same with skirts. Then with pants. Then with dresses. Then with tops.

      If you’re having trouble figuring out what they have in common, try on a similar garment that you DON’T like. What is different about it?

      When you’re done with this exercise, you should know what works for you. For example, for me it is:

      * pants: flat front, side zip, no cuff.
      * skirts: no waistband, flat front, straight, at the knee.
      * dresses: fitted, at the knee
      * tops: fitted, knit, crew neck, sleeveless (with matching long-sleeve cardigan)

      Colors for all of the above: black, charcoal, jewel tones.

      Now, you’re ready to shop! (And donate anything that doesn’t make the grade.)

    • This is great everyone, thank you. I think my biggest problem is that I don’t have very much that I love, mostly because (1) I have a problem spending money on quality clothes and (2) am terrible at coming home with impulse buys that I never wear because while cute, they just aren’t me. I end up wearing the same jeans and shirts on the weekends and the same black pants and inoffensive knit tops to work, wishing I could pull together stylish outfits but not having the components to make that happen. I want dresses! And skirts! And to belt things! I mean, I enjoy fashion – I am here on this blog after all! But I have no idea where to start. Or I should say I *had* no idea; you’ve all given me helpful advice.

      So, I’m off to start studying up and will aim to face off against my closet by next weekend (need a plan or else I will put it off forever!). I have a feeling it will be a major purge with a long must-buy list resulting from the process. I know I need to be more intentional about building my wardrobe and I am hope this is the kick in the pants I needed!

      • You could look on Craigslist or just online for a wardrobe consultant. A lot of people will come by your home for an hourly rate and help you work with what you have/tell you some new pieces to round out your wardrobe that will help you make more outfits. I feel like one of the ladies on here was recently talking about this- she mentioned that she got a wardrobe consultant who suggested getting a forest green top, and that rounded out so many outfits!

      • Watch an old season of Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style. His advice for building a wardrobe and developing personal style is spot on.