Weekend Open Thread

Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

I love simple cotton dresses like this one from LOFT in the summer — easy, washable, and generally cool and flattering too. I bought this dress a few days ago myself during a 50% off pants sale — and wouldn’t you know, the entire site is now 40% off. Grumble. So the dress was $49.50, but code SHOP40 takes it down to just over $29. Dolman Sleeve Surplice Dress

(L-2)

Comments

  1. Anne Shirley :

    Gift question. Have been invited to a male coworkers surprise 30th by his wife, and am attending (um, in hopes he has single friends). Gift? I’d like to bring one. Under $30, he doesn’t drink, has a baby, and I have no idea of hobbies/interests.

    • Since you work with him, does he drink coffee? Maybe a starbucks gift card or a travel mug? Or else if there’s a favorite lunch place near your office that’s another idea. Another option is to go to a bookstore and kind of look at the recent best sellers in Non-Fiction or Fiction that’s more aimed at men and get him a book (that’s pretty safe).

      Whatever you do though, I’d still bring a hostess gift for the wife, like a plant or flowers.

    • catch you on the other side... :

      does he drink coffee or tea? if so, you could go with some gourmet treats in that direction.

    • Ask his wife if she has gift suggestions? also, I’d bring a hostess gift if the party is at their home.

      • Anne Shirley :

        He doesn’t drink coffee or tea and always brings a lunch. Hadn’t even thought of a hostess gift! Party is not at the home though, so is that still necessary?

        • Tricky. My etiquette is, quite frankly, not up to snuff here — but maybe a gift they both could enjoy like a gift certificate to a restaurant? I definitely wouldn’t bring a plant to a restaurant or a bar. hmm. maybe someone else will have a better idea.

          • Hostess gift (or one joint gift) is key. You want the wife to be an ally, not a potential detractor. I would add “especially if she doesn’t work” but that would land me in hot water.

        • I wouldn’t bring a hostess gift to a party not at someone’s home, but I would send a thank you card or email to the organizer.

          Also, I think one group gift from the coworkers who are invited to the party would be fine. Can you pool your money and get a gift certificate or something? Maybe one of your colleagues knows what his hobbies are.

          • really, a thank you card for being invited to a birthday party? do other people do this?

    • We have some interesting specialty oil & vinegar stores locally. How about a small gift set of something like that?

    • This is a tough one . . . everything I think of seems too personal. I suppose a book is not too personal, but without knowing anything about his interests, its kind of a shot in the dark.

    • Last resort – get him an Amazon gift certificate.

      • Or, since its a dudes 30th birthday party who you don’t know very well, I vote for “your presence is your present” and just bring a card.

        • Yeah. I wouldn’t bring a gift.

        • At most, I’d get some kind of gag gift, something funny. He’s 30, maybe something with an Over the Hill theme. Although I wish I was 30 again, it sounds so young to me.

        • She said she’d like to bring a gift, and I don’t think there’s anything gauche about that even if others don’t bring a gift.

          • I don’t think it *gauche*, I just think its hard. :-P And since you can’t just stick cash in an envelope for a colleague, I’m out of ideas! haha.

    • If your relationship with your coworker permits it, the “Go the F*@k to Sleep” book? I disagree with the suggestion for the Amazon gift card. A gift card to Art of Shaving?

      • Anne Shirley :

        Perfect! Go the F to Sleep! Thanks so much all (and I’m not at all concerned about whether his wife works and whether that makes her a detractor or ally. We’re associates, not characters in Game of Thrones. Tragically)

        • Unless he's Mormon :

          Long-time lurker here… Doesn’t drink, including coffee/tea, plus has a wife and kid relatively young for a professional – this sounds to me like he might be Mormon or otherwise more conservative than you might think from working with him day to day. If so, he (and his wife) might not appreciate that particular book. If this seems at all possible, or you don’t know him enough to rule it out, how about a different dad /kid book, or a gift certificate for a local kid thing (tot park, museum, etc.)?

          • Doesn’t sound Mormon to me, just a dude who doesn’t like coffee, and having a baby before 30, especially when you’re not the one physically having it, doesn’t mean the end of a career. Plenty of mainstream folks have kids at that age.

            Mothers get given all sorts of stuff related to the kid, so much that they wonder if anyone ever notices who they are any more. I love going out with my son, but can’t imagine being given something for him on my bday.

          • Dear Unless,

            many of us don’t drink by age 30 for many reasons. Health, just sick of it as overdid when younger and find it boring, too busy exercising or otherwise being productive instead of sitting at a bar… myself and majority of friends barely drink at all. They are from many different countries where frankly socializing doesn’t revolve around alchohol like it does here- we are busy at art events, dancing, hiking, movies, celebrating special occasions, traveling, etc. we are sooo not mormon- not an assumption you want to make to anyone personally.

          • Mormons and members of other conservative religious groups have a sense of humor too, you know.

          • bluejay- meant absolutely no offense toward mormons whatsoever i swear, or anything at all towards them- just meant that not drinking does not equal religious reason, can be simply a choice. honestly it annoys me when the drinking world makes these assumptions- was very prevalent in new york years where most people can’t live a day without alchohol and wondered what was ‘wrong’ with you if you didn’t get drunk often. i view it the opposite- why are grown ups so fixated upon alchohol.

          • ps i also don’t drink caffeinated coffee as it makes my heartrate go too fast. even here in seattle i know plenty of people who don’t drink coffee for various reasons.

          • @ Ruby – oh, I wasn’t objecting to your comment. I was objecting to the idea that Mormons (or any other group) wouldn’t be amused by Go the F to Sleep.

    • itunes gift card? can’t think of a guy that doesn’t like them- my husband always ‘oops’ uses any i get

  2. Is this shell appropriate in the color Rose Quartz for law firm interviews? I don’t know if pink is a bad choice for interviews.

    http://www.talbots.com/online/browse/product_details.jsp?id=prdi27993&rootCategory=cat70008&catId=cat1040071&sortKey=Default&section=Regular&conceptIdUnderSale=cat70008

    • The color is only a bad choice if it doesn’t flatter you.

    • Former MidLevel :

      Yes, it is appropriate. I don’t think pink is necessarily a bad choice, unless it makes you feel uncomfortable/less confident/unsure in some manner. On the other hand, if you love that color and it makes you feel confident, smart, and ready to kick a**, then by all means go for it.

    • I like that pink, but I think if you’re going for a bold color for interviews, maybe even go even bolder (I actually like the pink next to it better). But if you’re going with a pale pink, I’d pair it with a contrasting necklace rather than pearls, so it doesn’t become too *something*.

      • I like the top (and wish I could buy it Sunburst Orange for my interview Monday!), but ugh, pet peeve–when they photoshop in the different colors instead of actually photographing them. Nice try, Talbots, with your alternating smiling-woman-with-arms-down and pensive-woman-with-one-hand-on-hip.

        • I hate this, and I don’t think that any websites actually photograph each of the different colors these days. It drives me nuts.

    • I think it really looks good under a suit. I’ve got spring coloring – golden brown hair, green eyes. I’m pretty terrible at picking out colors so I bought a lot of white, grey and black work clothes, which I don’t really look so great in. I just wasn’t sure if this was a distracting color.

      • Part of the goal to interviewing is to be memorable (as well as being appropriate) so I actually think rocking a color is great. As long as its not, you know, see through or something.

        • I think the goal for interviewing is for YOU to be memorable, not your outfit, at least in my field (surgery is pretty conservative). The most I want to remember about a candidates outfit is “pretty blouse” rather than “oh, she was the one in the pink knock off chanel tweed skirt suit with a VERY short skirt and platform white patent stripper shoes” (true story).

          Just my 2 cents.

          • Okay, that’s why I clarified appropriate. (And come on EC MD, I’d like to think you’d know I’d never recommend knock off chanel and platform shoes for anything!) I was just recommending a slightly bolder pink or a contrasting necklace!

            Lol.

          • EC, that’s funny. And I think you’re absolutely right about not wanting your clothes to be memorable–not ridiculous like you mention, and not the best thing about your interview either.

      • I’m the same hair/eyes, and I love doing grey suit + pink tops for interviews.

        • viclawstudent :

          Definitely not a distracting colour. Softer pinks with grey suits have a beautiful look, in my opinion (and perhaps even sharper-looking with a black suit).

  3. Equity's Darling :

    Does anyone have a curling wand? Can they comment on it vs. a curling iron v. using a straightening iron to make curls? Brand of curling wand? Size of curling wand? Worth purchasing?

    • Mountain Girl :

      Bought one – hated it – donated it to my teenage niece.

    • I only used a wand once, and it made no sense to me. Why would I want to use two hands when I could use one? The risk of burning myself seemed much higher as well, and the curls weren’t as nice as an curling iron or flat iron. I don’t recommend one.

    • I have one, and love it. I haven’t used a curling iron before, but it makes the curls a bit differently from what I’ve been told– more of a wave. I have a 1″ SEDU Revolution (link: http://www.folica.com/tools/curling-irons/sedu-revolution-clipless-curling-iron). I seriously love it. I’ve never burnt myself (it comes with a glove). It took me a little while to figure out how to use it– the first time I tried was, stupidly, the morning of my engagement pictures at 6 a.m. It took me 90 minutes. Now I can do my whole head in 15-20. It looks fabulous and lasts for 2 days (although I get greasy and wash on day two). I think you have to get a good iron. I got mine on a Groupon Goods deal and it was so so worth it.

    • Bought it (Nordstrom), used it 3 times, returned it. It didn’t make my hair look better and wasn’t worth it burning myself – I am prone to clumsiness. I really wanted to like it….

    • Clueless Summer :

      One of my fave hairblogs is The Small Things Blog – she does amazing hair. Anyway, she did a review on the wand and said it’s basically best for people with very long hair or no layers. She had a review for a cheapish on the blog – just google it.

      Personally, I think flat irons are the most versatile and the quickest to do curls. You can easily change it from super curly to a little bit of flip at the ends by how fast you move. Youtube a tutorial. It takes a little bit of trial and error – but there is a smaller chance of burning yourself, and its quicker than a curling iron, imo.

      • Equity's Darling :

        Oooooh, thanks for sharing her blog, I really like it!

        And I think the verdict is no wand, I’ll practice with my straightening iron. Thanks everyone!

  4. I bought a jumpsuit. I feel like I have to confess my sins. Its really cute, but I know I’ll likely never wear it.

    • Merabella :

      More power to you girl! I always see them online and think they look cute, but I am large of butt and long of body, and a jumpsuit will never ever flatter me. Wear it out so I can live vicariously through you!

    • I bought a black one and wore it to my high school reunion! I loved it, and it fulfilled my Charlie’s Angel fantasies :) Rock it!!

    • I think they are great looking, but can’t get over the idea of having to take my top off to go to the bathroom!

  5. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    Ladies, I need some shoe help. I found my graduation dress (link to follow, but it’s a white jersey dress), but I am having a hard time finding shoes. Please help. I don’t have time to look because I am preparing for my final trial of law school! So please vicariously shop for me. I want something fun that can be worn again, under $100, and I wear a size 11.

  6. Can someone recommend a maxi dress that is NOT rayon that might work for an hourglass shape? I like these two, but both are rayon, and I’ve read that that won’t wear well if I don’t dry clean (which I’d prefer not to do with summer clothes).

    http://www.jcrew.com/womens_feature/NewArrivals/dresses/PRDOVR~83954/99102707018/ENE~1+2+3+22+4294967294+20~~~0~15~all~mode+matchallany~~~~~kimono/83954.jsp

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/felicity-coco-stripe-jersey-maxi-dress/3270869?origin=keywordsearch&resultback=0

    Super shoppers have any thoughts?

  7. Can anyone recommend a NYC creative writing class? Should I just try going through NYU’s continuing ed school?

    • No specific recs, but I have friends who audit classes at the New School and really like it.

    • Thanks! I’ll check out both recs!

    • I took an online class with Mediabistro and absolutely loved it. I believe they have a location in NYC where you can attend in person, too.

    • I took several courses with Gotham and loved them — I’d recommend hanging through the Level I “pre-req” type course (I wasn’t thrilled with mine and have talked to other people who had similar responses) and then taking a Level II as well — my Level II fiction class was a lot of fun.

    • LOVED Gotham Writers Workshop Advanced fiction writing many years ago. I like their “booth” method. (And fringe benefit: met my husband in that class.)

  8. Associette :

    Good non-law jobs for lawyers? I posted about this a few days ago. I am contemplating a career change from my mid-sized litigation firm, into a female dominated industry. Ideally, I would like to work less, but still make OK pay (I don’t need to get rich, but need to pay off my student loans). I am considering working as a buyer, but am not sure if my lack of experience in the fashion industry will mean that (1) I cannot get hired, or (2) that I have to take a significant pay cut.

    Any thoughts on buying, or other job suggestions, would be much appreciated! Has anyone else made the transition successfully? What do you love doing?

    • I have no idea if this is of interest to you, but I’d recommend planned or major gift fundraising at a nonprofit. If you’re at a bigger institution (higher ed, large healthcare, national office like American Red Cross) you can make in the high fives or even six figures. Many, many planned giving officers are attorneys, although a law degree isn’t necessarily required.

      • What does this entail?

        • you’re basically helping people bequeath to the organization, or writing an org into their will, etc.

        • Yes — what zora said. Somehow, a donor is identified at having an interest in including the organization in their will or estate plan — perhaps they contact the org independently, or you meet with them based on their giving history and have the conversation, whatever. You do not do the will-writing (b/c that would be a conflict of interest), but you help the donor understand how their money could be used (ex: leaving money behind for an endowed scholarship, or making sure it goes towards capital projects, etc.) and act as an advisor from the organization’s perspective.

          Larger nonprofits typically administer or accept other gift planning instruments in addition to wills/bequests — things like IRAs, life insurance policies and charitable gift annuities. Being an attorney can be useful when navigating these, too.

          Happy to answer more questions if you have ‘em — I work in this field (though am not an attorney) and could not possibly love my job any more than I already do! It’s amazing, fulfilling and totally rewarding.

          • Will also add my $.02 – was a mid-level tax associate and made the switch to gift planning, now at a major university. I also love my job and would have never guessed this was out there as I was in the depths of misery as a practicing attorney. It is a fantastic job, particularly if you like a lot of personal interaction in addition to the legal geekery – the perfect combo for me! (It may say something that I always got the “YOU’RE a tax attorney?” question as I chatted away.)

          • I realize this may be a bit too late to get a response, but I’d love to hear more about what you do? How did you get your foot in the door? And what do you love about it so much? Do you interact with people a lot? Thanks!

      • I was going to suggest planned giving as well. I have a good friend who works in the planned giving office at a major research university, and makes well into six figures. She was a mid-level biglaw associate prior to taking the job.

        Her hours are great and she loves her job.

      • How do attorneys get these jobs/at what level do they go in? Do they start at the bottom of the totem pole and work up or do they start with some level of seniority?

        • Depends on the org. At a smaller “shop,” you could probably be a low-to-midlevel associate and become the Director of Planned Giving (a.k.a. top estate planning dog) if you had good people skills and could demonstrate the knowledge of the necessary gift vehicles. The key with fundraising isn’t necessarily technical knowledge, because in many (not all) cases, that can be learned. What will make someone successful in a job like this is good relationship-building skills.

          At a larger institution, there will likely be a more tiered structure in the gift planning department. It totally depends, but in that type of situation I think it would be possible to begin in a more junior role.

    • associate :

      not at all related to fasion but…Risk management?

    • I’ve heard of lawyers going from firms to doing compliance work. Probably not female dominated, not sure about the pay.

      I wanted to open a chocolate shop in an expensive shopping center. But didn’t have the balls to take that risk–and feared my butt would more than double in size as I ate my profits.

    • Merchandising jobs are extremely competitive, especially in the major fashion cities (NY, LA, SF). They tend to hire people straight out of college (and especially fashion programs) and sometimes MBAs. Starting pay is very low. However, those that are successful buyers can move very quickly and superstars get nice salaries (or, more specifically, they get wooed to jump ship often which allows them to ramp up their pay). Since you don’t have a fashion background, you might want to start with the department stores (Saks, NM, etc…) which often have a merchandising training program, which are willing to take on smart but untrained folks. Brands (AT, BR, JCrew etc…) are usually looking for folks with experience, and there is much more or a break-down into specializations: design, product management, planning, production, etc… If you don’t live in one of the fashion metropolises but happen to live in a city where a brand is located (look up Limited, Kohl’s, Target, etc…), these companies are often more willing to take a chance on career changers.

      If you are good with numbers, you could be a product planner/analyst – they are the ones who look at market trends and plan buys (give money to the buyers to spend). These folks tend to come from more business (as opposed to fashion) backgrounds.

    • Politics! Lobbying, policy, or fundraising.

  9. I wanted to give an update on some recent travel clothing purchases, since I know a lot of other readers take long haul flights regularly. I posted looking for a wireless, claspless, comfy bra that would fit my 34H bra size. I ended up buying the Gap Racerback bra (item 636142) in an XL. I wasn’t sure it would fit because the size chart said it was 40″, and when it arrived it looked really short and I was skeptical. However, it actually fits perfectly over my 42″ bust. It provides just a bit of lift and very little support, but it decently covers the headlights and it is extremely soft and comfortable. It is short, stopping immediately below my boobs.

    I also bought the Old Navy adjustable strap sports bra (item 731901) in an XL. This bra fits like a dream; it is longer and goes a couple of inches below my boobs and comes up a bit higher. It provides a bit of lift and a bit more support than the Gap bra with decent coverage, but it is not as soft as the Gap one. I’m really happy with both bras, though, and they will both be great for extended travel or for quick trips to the grocery store, laundry room, etc where I don’t want to be bothered with putting on a real bra.

    I also got the Gap a-line maxi skirt (item 137710) in a petite L (normally I’m a size 14P). This skirt is the bomb. It is super soft and comfy, feels like pajamas, but is made of a thick enough jersey that no bumps or lines show. I wouldn’t pay full price for it, because $49.95 is ridiculous for a casual rayon/spandex skirt, but I plan to order it in a second color with a discount code.

    And in unrelated news, I have to put in a plug for Old Navy’s activewear. They’ve really ramped up the quality, and I got a great pair of workout capris there recently for less than $20. It definitely is the equal of Target’s C9 by Champion line and I think it’s a better buy than Under Armour or other pricey brands. If you’re looking for new workout clothes you should check it out.

    And in totally unrelated “I read the morning thread way too late to respond” news, karenpadi, we could be sisters (if I had one). Carhartts are a necessity to my family, indeed.

    • Thanks for the update! Some great options here.

    • karenpadi :

      Hi sis!

    • AttiredAttorney :

      As one of the ones posting recently about long haul flights -thank you! Will look into these recommendations. Old Navy has been doing some nice jersey options lately.

      Unrelated to fashion, but also just found out that I’m seated next to one of my superiors on my upcoming 14 hour flight…should be interesting…

      • I would seriously go online and chagne your seat assignment. Then when you check in, say “oh, weird, they moved me to another seat.”

        • Second this. 14 hours is too long to sit next to someone you know unless they are your best friend or family.

          • yes, have done it next to close work buddy, but we agreed in advance either one could stop conversation for quiet/movies/sleep. we mainly spoke during meals and otherwise not. it was fine but wouldn’t have wanted boss there.

          • Oh yes, change the seat. My colleague and I were going to refuse an upgrade if it meant we had to sit next to the boss on a long haul flight.

    • Oh.so.tired :

      I just bought their compression shorts online. After reading this, I cant wait until they come in now!!

    • Joan Holloway :

      Definitely going to look into these bras now. Thanks for the report!

    • I’m curious if you tried any of Title 9s. They’re supposedly sports bras, but they don’t give you the uniboob/lumpy ironing board look.

      • I didn’t. I didn’t really want a sports bra – I have great sports bras from UA (they’re the Moxie DD) but they’re just a little too restrictive to be comfortable for 20+ hours and all the various weird positions and whatnot you find yourself in on a plane. I wanted something more like a half-cami that didn’t have any sort of closure on the back. But I have heard that Title 9s are great for actual sports.

  10. SAlit-a-gator :

    Grumble about LOFT: They do not do price adjustments if the item was already on sale. I bought something at 30% there, and 4 days later is was 50% off. I emailed their customer service and they stated they only do price adjustments on full price items and only within the first 7 days. Seems like a stupid policy, because if I can buy the item in the store I will just show up and return + re-buy. Unf. I had a online only item so that was not an option. Nordstrom has spoiled me too much, so I’m used to stores with actual customer SERVICE. *End of rant*

    • YMMV, but I have had better luck calling LOFT customer service. Not as great as Nordstrom or J.Crew, but better than when I emailed.

    • I feel like Loft has really increased their prices and then have crazy sales. I refuse to pay anything close to full price there.

    • this!
      I only look at LOFT when things are 50% off or more (60% off sale yes please!) because I got tired of wasting money. They are ALWAYS having a sale.

    • MaggieLizer :

      I’ve gotten price adjustments at LOFT for something more than 7 days old, but I think they made me return and repurchase it. Thanks for the heads up, I’ll remember not to buy online-only items from them now!

    • That’s standard AT policy. It sucks, but it is their standard policy.

      • Anonymous :

        That wasn’t always AT standard. I discovered it a few years back when trying to get the adjustment,. Even more annoying when I said to the person in the store, well, I can just return it and rebuy it, she said only if we still have the item in the right size. I said you have it right here because I’m about to return it. She wouldn’t let me. Let’s just say my purchases from A T have gone down significantly since then

        • Wednesday :

          I’ve stopped shopping at AT because returns are such a pain. The last time I tried to return something the person in the store kept trying to make me change my mind and then gave me the stinkeye when I said I didn’t want to walk through the store to find alternatives to exchange for.

    • Chocolette :

      I’ve had this experience before! The price actually dropped twice, so I ended up buying the dress three times…

  11. Christiana :

    I need something to carry my business cards, any favorites? The top search result seems to be “Things Remembered,” and I’m not too wild about the ones they carry.

  12. I am starting a new job in two weeks. Am making the transition from appeals to litigation support. While I am soooo excited, I am also very, very, very nervous. I don’t feel qualified. Also, the new office is much smaller and more formal than my current position. Will need to wear a suit and makeup every day, which is a big change from only having to get dressed up a couple times a month for oral argument. Is it okay to wear the same (basic, clean) suit more than once a week?

    • Definitely. Especially if it’s a relatively plain suit in an “every day” type color. No need to rush out and buy a bunch but I might keep your eyes peeled for sales/outlets/etc. and slowly stock up.

      I typically wear my black suits more than once a week but try to keep my more distinguishable ones (I have a khaki suit and some pinstriped ones, etc.) to once a week at most.

    • Totally Qualified :

      I would like to make a bet with you. I bet that within the first month of your job, more than one of your new colleagues will ask you whether, in all your years of reviewing trial transcripts, you ever saw X and what you thought of it.

      Are you game?

    • Related TJ – 3L here, really want to work in appeals – but wondering if you need to gain litigation experience first, or if its common to go straight to an appeals division of a law firm or government office?

      • Chicken Counselor :

        Do you have a clerkship at a state or federal appellate court? That is the most common way to get into appeals in a firm (and the only way at my bigfirm).

        • Working Girl :

          I agree that a clerkship is one of the only ways at a lot of firms. You may want to apply for one for fall 2013 and do something else in the interim. Also, most federal Court of Appeal have a pro bono program that allows you to get your feet wet.

        • Former MidLevel :

          I generally agree that, for BigLaw, you generally need an appellate clerkship. At my firm, that meant federal–not state–appellate clerkship. But I know some people in small (i.e., less populous) states who have gone straight from law school into their AG’s appeals division. They often do criminal appeals, but some get to do constitutional law (e.g., federal challenges to state statutes). So that is one option you might consider.

      • Maybe they’re outliers, but I know people in Philadelphia BigLaw who have gone to work in appeals w/o appellate clerkship experience.

  13. Two cents :

    I posted this yesterday but am reposting because I think this dress is so stunning (plus sizes only). It’s exactly what I want in a work dress – sleeves, classic color, and cinch in the waist. I wish they made this dress in every size.

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/sejour-elbow-sleeve-dress-plus/3211809?origin=keywordsearch&resultback=0

    • I love dresses with sleeves. It seems like there are far more cute dresses with sleeves in plus sizes. I’m just 2 sizes shy of plus sizes – perhaps I should eat more…

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Fabulous dress, but now only available in a 22 :(

      • I SO agree with Bluejay. I’m a size 4-6 (occasionally an 8). Thanks to bad keratosis pilaris on the backs of my arms as a child and teenager, I never feel totally comfortable in short sleeve shirts and dresses. The kp is mostly gone now, but I feel so much better with sleeves that mostly cover my upper arms. SO SO SO many dresses are sleeveless or have cap sleeves. Cap sleeves double the visual width of my arms, and I NEVER wear sleeveless items.

        • This is also kinda weird- whenever I shop online, I always look for a picture of the item on a plus-size model. I think it gives a MUCH better idea of how the item fits and how flattering it will be than the shapeless, hanger-like “normal” size models.

        • Strangely, this is the exact same reason I hate sleeveless dresses and tops (except mine isn’t mostly gone now unfortunately). And yes, cap sleeves are a tool of the devel.

        • Ditto. I love wearing dresses with sleeves because I hate showing off my arms. It seems everything that’s not plus-sized is sleeves or cap sleeved. This dress is stunning. Too bad they don’t make it in my size. :(

    • new york associate :

      I own this dress and love it. If Nordstrom made it in every color, I’d buy every one. It’s a perfect work dress. Sejour dresses are generally great.

  14. Okay ladies, I really need your help. To give you guys a little bit of background, I was laid off from my big law job as a very junior associate in 2008. I have since had no luck in finding another one. I have been doing contract work -some substantive, related to my experience, but often doc review.

    I initially interviewed at many places but got no bites. Now, its been so long now since my last full time job that I do not get much traction at all!

    I am transactional attorney with really no interest in litigation.

    Am i doomed to doc review rest of my life? I also apply for non- attorney positions in corporations doing similar work, but over qualification comes instantly on play.
    What are my options at this point?

    • My suggestion is to go all in, forget the contract work, and try to find some substantive volunteer gig that puts the kind of experience you want on your resume. Some state attorney generals’ offices are still looking for volunteer attorneys to fill the gaps in budget crunches. If there is something that fits what you want, offer to commit for at least 3 days/ week for at least a few months, and make ends meet on the side. This is what turned my search around post-layoff, albeit in litigation.

    • A friend had your exact situation (got laid off from Biglaw as a young associate and did doc review work for years). She didn’t think she was likely to get another firm job as an associate. She recently took a job with a firm on the admin side–decent pay and benefits, more 9-5 (rather than typical hours). They like her because she was a lawyer and understood law firm culture; she likes being back at a firm.

      I think a recruiter contacted her about the position. As I recall from my own job search, NALP posts a lot of these types of jobs on their website too.

    • law talking girl :

      How about a clerkship in a state trial court? They are less competitive to get than state supreme court or federal court clerkships, pay nearly nothing, but might help you make connections that could lead to a full-time job.

    • What else are you doing? Are you active in local bar organizations, have you connected with alumni in the area, have you tried getting contract work with smaller firms in your practice area or firms that you know are hiring? Right now, I think given that your resume isn’t “traditional”, you’re going to get the most traction through personal contacts. Getting involved in those sorts of organizations (ask around which ones are the most active/supportive) may allow you to explain your situation, pitch the work you have done, and otherwise build a personal rapport (which might motivate them to help you.)

      Another suggestion, while still working contract work to pay the bills, maybe you should consider taking on some pro bono transactional clients through the local bar association. They’ll usually connect you with a mentor who (in addition to being a good professional contact) will help you with the work product AND this would be good experience you can write about in a cover letter. Or talk about at networking events or in interviews.

  15. ‘Rettes, I need your finely-tuned sense of gift etiquette.

    Does one bring presents for the bride to a bachelorette party if the invite doesn’t specifically indicate a “theme” of present? (For instance, it’s not a lingerie shower, recipe whatever, adult toy extravaganza, etc).

    Relatedly, if it (or at least, the initial drinks/dinner/games portion of the evening) is being hosted by a friend of the bride at her apartment, do you bring a hostess gift? It is Cinco de Mayo-themed, so I was thinking a nice bottle of tequila, but I just haven’t been to enough/any of these things to have a sufficient sense.

    • First off, may I say your user name is HI-larious. But putting that aside.

      Do you know the friend throwing it, because you might be able to asks them. Most bachelorette parties I’ve been to the bridesmaids get the bride some kind of fancy underoos and then some guests bring small other presents (like a funny book about marriage or something that would be good). Nothing fancy or anything. But I know some people go more all out for bachelorette things.

      As for the pre-party, if you know the friend, I might contact her and see if there’s anything you can bring. If not, I think a nice bottle of tequila or a six pack of mexican beer would be nice. Another idea if you wanted to bring her something cool and funky and fitting with the theme would be one of those cool dried pepper garlands or wreaths (if you could track one down before the event.)

      • Thanks–didn’t realize bachelorette parties were for presents too! (I thought they were for tiaras and straws shaped like male anatomy).

        The only other one I’ve been too was a very last minute affair, so I don’t have a good frame of reference. Time go looking for something for the bride.

        Anyway, as they say— that’ll put marzipan in your piepan!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I would bring a gift for both, regardless, but I’ve always brought gifts for bachelorettes and my friends have done the same. Gift for the bride because well, she’s the bride and the party is in her honor and gift for the hostess because she’s going to the trouble/expense of putting the party together.

  16. anonforthis :

    So this may not be the right forum for this but I’m hoping karenpadi and others with similar backgrounds might have suggestions…

    Any suggestions for non-law enforcement careers that don’t require a bachelor’s degree? My fiance doesn’t have a college degree, has worked in law enforcement for 10 years, and did residential construction before that. He is really over his current job (couple of changes in leadership/policies, etc.) and would like to make more money. My instincts are to tell him to go back to school (after researching careers so he can tailor his classes to his desired industry), but he feels like that would take too long. He is phenomenal at math but not the best writer.

    • Does he have any mechanical inclinations/likes to work with his hands? There are a ton of job openings in the skilled trades — e.g. CNC machinist, electrician, etc. Employers have a really difficult time filling them because few people have the right skill set. He would probably have to go through some kind of trade school program, but those are much shorter and cheaper than a traditional degree.

      • anonforthis :

        That is a great idea, thanks! He works on cars for fun in his spare time and his mom still uses the iron he took apart and put back together as a kid.

        • My husband is the same way. He’s staying home with our daughter right now (before that he worked as a motorcycle mechanic), but we’ve discussed the possibility of him going to a program like that when she’s a little older.

      • THIS! I work in manufacturing and I think the youngest machine operator we have is 45. Seriously, our insurance rates are ridiculous because so many people are over 50. I know our local community college has a program for machinist training. If he can learn to program a machine he will make at least $30/hour and probably get overtime. If he can get into tool making he will be set for life, you can’t find tool makers anywhere. I think that is more of an apprentice-type thing though and I’m not sure how to get into it.

    • karenpadi :

      Thanks for thinking of me! I don’t do much in law enforcement, though.

      My instinct is that he should check out the local technical college. They usually have open houses this time of year and into the summer where he can look for inspiration–but if he’s a police officer, he might have already exhausted the tech school route.

      What about something like going over to the sheriff’s department or becoming a parole officer? Maybe become a bailiff?

      • anonforthis :

        He’s actually done the sheriff’s office route already and covered working both as a bailiff and in the jail. He enjoyed being a bailiff for awhile (I’m pretty sure if he did everything over, he’d choose to be a prosecutor) but now he says he’s over law enforcement completely and the only part he still enjoys is teaching at our local criminal justice academy. But no full time positions there and no interest in teaching K-12.

        • Many community colleges have criminal justice programs. He might find teaching opportunities there, although probably not full time.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      My parents don’t have college degrees either. Think union-type jobs. What about being an electrician or plumber or HVAC maintenance operator? Those careers usually require apprenticeships, but are very steady, well paid, non-outsourceable, portable, no-degree-needed work. Or working for your local utility or transportation agency. I wonder also about air traffic maintenance/controllers. Depending on where you live, the oil and gas industries are booming. Though if he’s truly phenomenal at math, he should go back to school and get his degree – there’s a world of opportunity for college graduates with math degrees. My parents’ careers have been seriously limited by lack of college degrees and not finding a good non-degree trajectory, which is especially scary when approaching retirement.

      • anonforthis :

        Thanks, these are great ideas. We’re not near oil/gas but we are certainly near utilities/transportation/airports/etc.

        And thanks for the advice on the degree thing, too. In my world, you have to have a degree so that’s clearly my inclination but he is hesitant due to a combination of things (self-esteem, time, money, the belief it can’t possibly be “the only way,” etc.)

        • A lot of utility jobs in major cities are union jobs. If you can get in (which is the hardest part), you are set for life. My uncle made a great salary and retired at age 50 working at the sanitation department; he started as a garbage collector in his 20s and ended up with a 6 figure salary and an office job in his 40s.

    • I have several ideas that don’t require a college degree. My stepbrother works on an oil rig, and he makes a LOT of money, but of course this requires him to be away from home really all the time. If he’s good at math, he might be interested in an office position in the construction industry. My cousin is a project manager for a construction company; she doesn’t have a college degree, and basically she just checks and makes sure things are moving along and done the way the client wants. Someone who likes math and problem solving would also probably like working for a cable company or something similar, where he’s installing cables, figuring out why systems won’t work, etc (these companies provide training). Working on a private security team, for example at a university, is also a good option for someone who has law enforcement experience; the pay may not be higher but it’ll be a cushier job with good benefits.

      I think Lyssa mentioned that her husband does something along the lines of installing cable? She might have more insight, but I think that’s a really good job for someone like your husband.

      • Hey, thanks for remembering me, Bluej! My husband does intallation (cable, phone, and internet) for a major telecom company. He’s had 2 years of college, but didn’t graduate. We were both surprised at how easy it was to get the job, given that he has no experience (though I’m sure that his years of really solid work experience were a plus, and they happened to be in a big expansion in our area). He’s really enjoying the job, it’s fun and challenging and he seems to be doing really well. Pay is pretty good and benefits are good (far better than my law firm’s). Hours stink, but whatyagonnado? If you live in an area that’s hiring these folks, it’s definitely worth looking into.

        Before that, he was in retail management for an office supply store, which he was also really good at. But the downside of that (in addition to the hours) is that you usually have to build up to it with the company before they’d give you a management position.

    • What about the companies that transport money for banks? They like former LEOs because they are trained in security and using a weapon. Most are required to carry a gun.

    • lucy stone :

      Would he be open to doing security work or is that too LEO-like? A lot of the officers who retire from the PD here get jobs at the nuclear plant doing security.

    • Has he considered investigative-type work? Lots of lawyers use investigators (criminal defense, death penalty appeals, personal injury, etc.). He could also be an investigator for your state child service agency, work for the court as a custody investigator, or be an insurance adjuster.

  17. I have one from Things remembered that wasn’t online (I got it in the store with a groupon leftover I had) and it is silver on the back and doubles for a great secret mirror. Only holds about 10 cards though. Maybe if you call the store close to you they have more things? I love the Kate Spade ones too.You could always use teh Jcrew magic wallet also

  18. Yeah! TGIF :

    TGIF

  19. PharmaGirl :

    I received a large (for me) order from Nordstrom and nearly everyting is going back. Bummer.

    Also, if you have narrow hips, a short (yet high?) waist and a left-over baby belly, “the skirt” will not work for you. At all. The waist landed up by my armpits.

    Also… I ordered not your mothers jeans and the fit is great for above-mentioned mommy pooch but the brand name makes me feel oh so yucky.

    • Kontraktor :

      If it makes you feel any better, I had the same problem with the skirt. So depressing because I love it, but it makes my (I thought non-poochy) stomach look like it contains a deflated beach ball. It sits way too high on me as well, and I couldn’t even get it to look right sizing up 2 sizes (when apparently everybody else gets to size down?). UGH. So frustrating.

    • I have not been able to get over the NYDJ name despite the promised benefits. I looooove my JAG jeans though.

      • PharmaGirl :

        Never heard of JAG. What shape do they work for?

        It just hurts to replace my lovely low waisted Lucky Brand skinnies with mom jeans. Ouch.

    • MissJackson :

      You’re not alone on The Skirt. Fellow short-waisted, narrow-hipped, here, and The Skirt makes me look like I gained 10 pounds (at least). I actually have to frequently remind myself how terrible it looks on me because the colors are so great and the price is so low that I find myself contemplating buying one now and again.

      I have a couple that I sometimes try to wear, but I can’t tuck in, ever, I have to wear a long-but-not-too-long untucked shirt, and usually a cardigan with a belt underneath for it to look anywhere approximating fine. Not worth the effort — I should have sent mine back, too!

    • Love your review. You described by body type, thought I haven’t had kids. I feared the style would look awful on me and I didn’t buy it. I’m glad. My favorite pencil skirt is a black NYDJ sized up that I wear low rise. I love it. Don’t feel down on yourself. Every body style is different. I consider myself slim but I know some styles make me look far from it.

      • PharmaGirl :

        My body type hasn’t changed all that much since having a child, there’s just more of it. Having a short waist plus carrying my weight in the middle leads to a funky shape that just doesn’t fit the clothes I used to wear. I’ll have to try the NYDJ skirt. Thanks for the tip!

    • Try Paige Skyline straight jeans mid-rise. I’m short/high waisted with narrow hips and a bit of a belly (sigh) and they’re a DREAM. I know that’s not what you’re looking for but check ‘em out!

  20. swimsuits for the busty. and hippy. :

    I’m finally getting back into swimming after a long hiatus. I feel self-conscious about the swimsuit, though. Sorry for TMI, but I am very busty (40DD) and have generous thighs with stretch marks. I can get over the stretch mark thing, but I really need a suit that will cover the girls. I only have one, a black ruched-in-the-bust, criss-cross-back number from Speedo, which I adore. Any suggestions? Especially for other Speedo suits? Thanks, ladies!

  21. I was promoted a couple of months ago, and now I manage people, and I’m not sure I’m doing a great job. My boss doesn’t have any issues, but I sense that one of my direct reports doesn’t seem too happy with what I’ve been doing. The thing is, I’ve never really been in a position where I was managed before, so I don’t have any great managers to look to as a role model. I’m an accountant, and all my roles in the past have been very independent. “Here’s your task, let me know when you’re done or if you have questions” type things, and I do really well in that type of environment.

    Of course, there also may be other things going on that are her issue and not mine, but I want to make sure I’m doing the best job I can and not adding to her issues, kwim?

    Anyway, I was wondering if anyone could recommend any ‘managing people for dummies’ type books or blogs I could read to help me figure out what I’m supposed to be doing?

    Thanks!

    • The One Minute Manager

    • Ask A Manager dot org! It’s not just for job searchers ;o)
      good luck!

    • karenpadi :

      When I do managing-type stuff, I try to think of myself as more of a facilitator rather than a manager. So,

      1. If the direct report turns in work product that isn’t up to standards, define the standard (e.g., pull it out of the employee manual/best practices manual) and ask what she needs from you to meet this standard.

      2. If it’s general miscommunication/rubbing the wrong way, sit down with the report (don’t schedule anything, just drop by his office or ask him to stay after a meeting/review session) and address it like any other elephant in the room. “Hey, I’ve noticed that you and I seem to have some communication issues. Remember the Smith project where we didn’t have defined deadlines and the Doe project where we didn’t know what deliverables were expected?” Listen to him vent. ” I’d like to improve our communication. I like working with you and I respect the work that you do. What can I do to improve the way I communicate with you?” If this isn’t the first conversation, set out clear “communication” goals like you filling out a “form email” to define a project (and yes, I’ve written these up for direct reports) and him sending you a weekly progress email (write an example in the meeting).

    • Not sure if this applies in your environment, but I work leadership development and the most common thing that managers don’t do, but should, is have conversations with their people about their professional aspirations, strengths and growth areas and take an active role in helping them grow through reflection, challenging work and support. There’s a ton of books out there on this, one I really like is “Growing Great Employees” by Erika Andersen. Often it comes down to just asking what went well, what they could have done better and what you can do as a manager to support them.

      • I second this. Although the “here’s your task” approach may work in some roles, most people need more than that. Think about whether you are giving feedback to them (good and bad, kudos and how to improve), and whether you are keeping them informed about larger company company stuff going on, or how their work product was used, etc. Good luck!

    • ChocCityB&R :

      Also check out the management tools/career tools podcast. Lots of really great advice, and they lay things out in a basic, easy to understand manner.

      • 1) say please and thank you
        2) acknowledge work done well, and what *specifically* was good about it
        3) be direct and transparent if something wasn’t quite right (don’t wait, don’t sugar coat it, and don’t “be nice” to the point the report doesn’t understand that no, actually, it wasn’t right)
        4) ask what they like to do and try to give them more of that
        5) ask which skills they would like to improve, and get creative about how to help them with that goal
        6)don’t steal all the fun work in your office
        7) sing their praises to your boss when warranted and let your reports know you did
        8) don’t complain about their work to anyone else unless you’re asking a mentor or confidant (who will keep it confidential) for advice on how to help them
        9) sit down with your reports and tell them specifically how you like to communicate. Ask them how they like to communicate. I, for example, hate phones and sometimes get buried in email. I want my reports to come into my office – right next to theirs! – and give me updates on hot issues or let me know if there is a problem brewing. Regular updates and docs get emailed. My former boss wanted everything by email. Another one would pick up the phone and call me…from about six feet away. YMMV, but you’re the manager and get to decide, but should tell them if you hate the phone vs. hate being interrupted. Ask what they like and figure out if there’s a big difference in style, then set parameters.
        10) set up regular counseling sessions for each of your reports. This is what is going well; what do you think you should work on? how can I help you be more effective? Bonus points if during your counseling sessions with employees you spend more time listening than talking.

    • You’ve gotten good advice above – a more pro-active management style can be rewarding in the longer term, even if it may not come naturally at first. A couple of thoughts :
      - It may also be useful to take a look through your team’s HR records and past performance reviews to understand what kind of communication and development they may have had under their prior manager. If they had identified goals and aspirations earlier, these should be a starting point in your discussion – lack of continuity is one thing which makes employees cynical about ‘being managed’.
      - Also be aware that by adopting a more pro-active management style, you are likely to be initiating a long-term project – encouraging an employee to discuss their development goals etc creates an expectation that you, as a manager, will be active in enabling progress. You will need to be setting intermediate targets, rewarding progress and so on over time. Also you will need to be seen to be providing the opportunity for this kind of hands-on attention to all of your team, not just the unhappy staff member.

  22. I’m sort of loving this BR black and white textured pencil skirt, but can’t think how to style it. I need to wear a blazer or cardigan for work. I have black blazers, but what would you put under it? Black blazer with a jewel tone shell seems kind of dark. I have a coral cardigan that I would love to wear with it, would you put a white tank under it? Nothing seems quite right, but maybe I’m overthinking this. I need to just go try it on, that might make it easier. Although with my luck it won’t be available at my store.

    http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=35288&vid=1&pid=905367

    • Merabella :

      Coral blazer with a cobalt shell or some other bright color would look great for spring. and then wear it with the black and jewel tone in the fall.

      • I never thought of coral and cobalt together, I actually have a coral blazer and a cobalt shell, I’ll have to try that.

    • Kontraktor :

      If you wanted to style with a coral cardigan, I think a black or white shell would be fine (since the skirt is black and white), but I would probably favor a black shell. I’d probably wear black pumps with a black bag in that case. But, the outfit would also be pretty with a white shell- in that case, I’d keep your bag and shoes lighter. I’m thinking like, nude shoes, maybe a cognac bag, and a really fun turquoise or similarly colored necklace could really make the outfit super nice for summer.

      I also think you could really have fun with the type of shell you put under a black blazer with this. I really like the idea of a bold color of sorts, like yellow, cobalt blue, fuschia, or a vibrant print. I think with the jacket being solid black and the skirt having such a subtle pattern, you can get away with a lot of brighter shell choices just because the rest of the outfit is pretty neutral.

    • Personally I’d treat it as a neutral and pair it with either of the options you mentioned. Frankly, if you’d wear it with a white or a black or a grey skirt, you can probably wear it with that. :-)

  23. Business, Not Law :

    I actually tried on this dress in the store a couple of weeks ago and while great in theory, it made me look about 7 months pregnant. It’s got ruching below the banding on both the front AND back which creates a false (and not in a good way on me) silhouette. So flattering from the front view and then you turn to the side…
    Maybe if the back ruching did not exist it would help. I even sized down (to the XS, for reference) and the extra fabric drape was still there.

  24. Love the dress.

    Kat, is it as short as shown on the model?

    • okay i’m not kat, but I have this dress and it is very short. I’m 5’6, and it hits mid to mid-high thigh. I’ve worn it to work once and felt like an idiot all day. it also shrinks a little in the wash, so now it’s basically just a weekend dress.

  25. Have a phone interview in about 40 minutes and work is slow. The wait is killing me. That’s all. Meh.

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