Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Ruched Sleeve Long Cardigan

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

MOD.lusive Ruched Sleeve Long Cardigan (Nordstrom Exclusive)I think a long cardigan can be really versatile — dress it up! dress it down! belt it! — and I love the 13 great colors offered for this MOD.lusive cardigan (which has lots of positive reviews). The “silky jersey” sounds nice, and I have a feeling the modal/spandex blend would hold its color really well. It’s $42 at Nordstrom. MOD.lusive Ruched Sleeve Long Cardigan (Nordstrom Exclusive)

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Comments

  1. UGH…how secretarial. (OMG…I’m going to have to flame myself.)

    • To be clear, I’m just joshing. I think its actually quite cute.

      • Soooo relieved. I have a cardi like this one, and I was concerned by the comment. To fail in TCFKAG’s eyes would be the ultimate failure!

      • I was one of the early responders to that thread the other day, and I feel the need to revise my statement. My opinion is really that cardigan does not equal blazer. If the guys in your office wear button ups and slacks, go for it. But I see women wearing a cardigan instead of a jacket often, and I don’t think that’s appropriate.

        • Agree. But I also think that not all cardigans are created equal. Some, like this one, are decidedly casual. Others like the classic Jackie are, to me at least, a bit stepford wifey. Others actually make a stylistic statement and look purposeful enough that I think they can be worn with more authority, if that makes sense.

          As to this particular one, I bought something similar from Nordies in black. It looked awesome until I washed it. After a few washes, it’s become a pilly mess that I feel embarrassed to even wear around the house.

          • This is actually my greater issue with cardigans, I get much more wear out of jackets than cardigans because they tend to just de-shape and pill so quickly. Also I do think jackets are MORE formal if you work in a very formal workplace.

            But I do think if you work in a place where some guys are in shirtsleeves and ties, some in polos, and some in suits (come on, there are always the old guys who wear suits) — then cardigans are a nice middle ground. I never commit to only one. Some days I go cardi, some days I go jacket, and no one has ever told me I look too casual (at least not to my face. :-P)

        • I agree. It’s not an issue of secretarial or not (other than the fact that in many offices, the support staff dresses less formally than the non-support staff, which can lead to confusion); it’s that a cardi is just not a blazer. Cardi, I think, looks a little more put together than nothing, but not as much as a jacket. (Full disclosure, I work in a fairly casual office and wear cardigans all of the time, but it’s perfectly acceptable to not wear a jacket at all in my office, and I do usually try to throw on a jacket if I’m meeting a client, particularly if it’s the first time. And I wear a suit if it’s a planned meeting or I’m in court.)

      • I love it. Might need to order in a couple of colors.

  2. Love the bright yellow. Besides navy and grey, what color bottoms would you pair this with?

  3. Early TJ — anyone ever deal with bouts of loneliness, especially those that live alone? I have nothing going on this weekend (not for lack of trying, but friends are busy/out of town), and I feel pretty pathetic, even though this rarely happens and I do enjoy time alone. I guess I just prefer it when it’s my choice and not forced upon me.

    • Yep, this happens to me sometimes, as I don’t know many people in my city. Try making plans with yourself. Is there a class you can sign up for to force yourself out of the house and to be around others? Maybe a yoga class or even something like a knitting/sewing class you’ve been meaning to get to?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I don’t have much advice except to tell you you’re not alone in feeling this way. I like being alone but sometimes when I don’t have plans I feel very, very lonely and feel like everyone has an exciting, filled, never lonely life except for me. I try and still get myself outside on those weekends rather than staying cooped up inside. I go to a coffeeshop with a book or go for a nice walk by the water and try and remind myself that even though I am not 24/7 busy, I have a pretty good life.

    • I am interested to hear the responses. I am dealing with the same issue. I just moved in with a signficantly younger roommate who is gone a lot (I work a lot but then prefer to be home and save rather than go out so that I can go on vacation this winter with a girlfriend). I do not have plans for the weekend and even doing chores alone at home I feel lonely and resort to movies and pizza instead. I have lived alone once in college but I was out every night of the week doing something and I had cable. I grew up in a big family as the oldest so I am just not used to no one being around.

      I am going to try to make a list of stuff that needs to be done ( I need a coffee table) vs. stuff I could do (bike ride, buy stuff to paint my room). That way when no one else is around I can choose from the list. So far it has only been a month!

    • Always a NYer :

      Plan something really fun for yourself! Go to a movie and then out to dinner, or try a new activity you’ve been wanting to for a while but weren’t able to get anyone to do with you. It may feel weird at first but soon you’ll forget you’re by yourself and enjoy it. As much as I enjoy hanging out with my friends, I cherish the times I get to myself.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        That is what I do! I actually really enjoy going to see movies by myself. It comes in handy whenever I want to see the newest Twilight or The Fast and the Furious movie and I can’t find anyone to go with me. :-)

      • It can be really fun to go to movies by yourself and dining by yourself (bring something interesting to read.) I actually prefer that. Also, sometimes, a movie turns out to be a real clunker– I feel no qualms about leaving if I go alone. (I can waste my money, but I sure as heck don’t want to waste my time on top of that if the movie sucks.) Harder to leave if you’re seeing the movie with somebody.

    • What about making it a little bit of a me weekend to get in touch with whatever town you live in.

      Go out to your favorite brunch place, take a yoga or pilates class, go to a museum you’ve been meaning to go to, get a mani/pedi, and then download/rent/whatever your favorite trashy chick-flick and make something fancy for dinner and cook popcorn. By the ned of the day you’ll be so happy you’ll want your friends to go away ALL the time. :-P

    • K in... Transition :

      so so much me right now… it’d be the best time to adopt a dog but the adoption fees are just too high to make that feasible. Sometimes I try to force myself to go do something, even if it’s just to see a movie, other times I find entire series of shows online and marathon them for a weekend.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        K — have you thought about partnering with a local rescue to foster a dog? That would let you enjoy some doggie companionship without all the $$$ while you are still “in transition”.

        • K in... Transition :

          the problem with fostering is that I’d never be able to give the animal back!

          • You’d be a foster failure!! (That’s what the rescue group my dog came from calls it. And its why my husband doesn’t want to foster…he says we’d never ever give them back because I’m such a soft touch and we’d just end up with a pack of dogs.)

      • Puppy Love :

        If you adopt from a city pound or shelter, the fees are usually really low. And you’re saving an animal! Dogs aren’t free after you adopt them certainly – there is food and vet bills…but they can be a great way to meet people. We adopted a dog at a time my husband was traveling for work 5 to 6 days a week. I found a group that met, puppies in tow, at a local park every weeknight. It was a great way to meet people. And having the puppies around meant we always had something in common and something to talk about.

      • Another idea is to volunteer at the local shelter/pound so you can walk/play with dogs but not have the full on costs and responsibilities of having one. Plus, you get to meet people!

        • K in... Transition :

          I’m considering it but they often want long commitments and since I’m job hunting, I can’t really give such.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            I’ve been looking into this in NYC and there is at least be place that just has open hours when you can come down to walk a dog without having to commit to any set time or amount of hours or anything. I can’t remember which city you moved to, but try checking out a few of the places to see if one offers something similar in case the main shelter doesn’t.

        • I adopted a cat…it is amazing how much having her helped me get over the loneliness (I love dogs too but a cat was much easier for my busy lifestyle at the time)

    • all. the. time. :o(

    • Yep, it’s definitely the choice thing. I’ve even felt this way, then had some socialization offered, and decided to stay home and watch a movie and knit instead, perfectly happy. It’s the choice part -I think it harkens back to our fears and loneliness from middle school.

      I find the best thing to do is to force myself to be productive -FINALLY getting around to putting away my winter clothes and washing everything in a huge burst of spring cleaning, for example. Then I start to feel proud of myself instead of pathetic. (This may be why my cleaning has been piling up -I’ve had a very active social life these past few months.)

    • Can you find an impromptu volunteering activity? If you check your local United Way, they might be able to point you toward a one-time activity that you could jump into. Painting, outside cleanup, spring planting, etc., are options to get out this weekend.

    • There’s good advice here. I’ll add that I think during these bouts of loneliness, stay OFF Facebook (and the like). Baby/party/wedding photos can be painful when one is feeling “pathetic.” Of course, you are not pathetic or anything close, and you need to be nicer to yourself. It’s no big deal to have an open weekend, so don’t judge yourself for it!!

    • Yes, all the time. I enjoy being alone but not when it’s not my choice and I want to socialize.

      I’m listing some ideas in the hopes that you plan an amazing weekend despite your friends being out of town: try a new gym class or go to one that lifts your spirits (zumba, cardio kick boxing, lifting), go for a long walk by the water or try a new hiking trail, cook for the following week and try some new recipes while blasting your favorite “happy” music, plan a skype date with long distance friends/family you haven’t contacted in a while, clean your place top to bottom (it will tire you out and your home will be clean and ready to invite people over the following week), car maintenance – oil change and wash, go through your closet and get a donation pile/give to friends pile going, plan a social event – make a list of food, drinks, invitees, etc., email the people in your life who you care about and tell them you love them (corny but I don’t have any family where I live and this calibrates my brain and perspective on life especially when I feel low), return items you’ve been meaning to bring back to stores, shop/window shop for something for an upcoming event (graduation, wedding, etc.), grab a movie you’ve been meaning to watch and make popcorn/pour a glass of wine for yourself, work on your LinkedIn profile/resume and other paperwork you’ve been putting off, go to a coffee shop and bring a book – the ones where I live sometimes have great live music on weekends, get takeout from a place you’ve been meaning to try and send out a review to your friends, take a solo day trip somewhere close by -plan the route and find a nice place to stop on the way for a walk or meal, read Corporette:).

      Hope this helps – my “alone” weekends tend to be some of my most productive.

    • Some things I like doing when I’m alone for a weekend: sleep in, make a decadent breakfast/brunch, laze around, and then go to the gym; hang out on the patio or at the beach with a good book; catch up with a tv show I’ve been meaning to watch and have a “me” day with face masks, doing nails, and watching a million episodes of Downtown Abbey; got to a matinee of something really cheesy or art house or whatever that my friends/bf don’t want to see (bonus! it’s cheaper); check out a museum exhibit and make a day of it with a nice lunch; plan a phone call with a friend you haven’t spoken with in a while and drink some wine and catch up; start a sewing project; go shopping; cook something elaborate; drive somewhere in the area you’ve been meaning to visit; check out some tourist destination in your area you’ve never visited because you’re a local…

    • On solo days, having NPR or some other talk radio on really helps me feel connected to the outside world. Music is good if I’m doing something like reading, but in-depth stories about other countries is useful when cooking, cleaning, sewing, etc.

      Podcasts are good for this purpose, too, or conservative talk radio if that’s more your thing.

    • Thank you all so much. These are excellent suggestions. I’m actually already feeling more excited about the weekend now that I’m thinking about all the fun things I can do and accomplish. I’m going to try and do as many things on this list as I can — I already signed up to volunteer, am planning to get a mani/pedi, and set up a phone date with a friend.

      Thanks again, ladies. Your ideas really help! This is such a great community.

    • I live with my teenage son, but when he’s gone, it can get lonely if everyone is busy. I keep thinking I’ll go down to the food bank and volunteer on one of those empty weekends, but haven’t done it yet.

    • Another suggestion is a group ride. In DC, BicycleSpace does lots of group rides every weekend, totally free–just show up with your bike. I’ve done several and everyone is super friendly and not like “OMG you came alone you must be a loser!!!!” Check out the local bike shops in your city, I’m sure at least some of them do the occasional group ride.

      And yeah, I can relate. The thing that killed me about that situation is how much damn work it is to line something up for every weekend. You have to start on Tuesday or Wednesday, emailing all your friends and trying to make plans. So much work.

      • Oh, and I should say, the rides are at varying levels of fitness, they’re not all insane pelaton rides. The one I’ve done is the “Cupcake Ramble.” It’s not much more than 10 or 15 miles at a slow pace. Anyone who can walk a mile at a normal pace can do this ride. For reals. Plus, pastry.

    • Just remember that Sunday is Mother’s Day, therefore many restaurants will be very crowded w/ a long wait. On that day – if I were you – I would relax at home, or go shopping.
      Or you could map out a long drive along a scenic route ; first planning it, and search for a small dive to eat at . You know, one of those places off the beaten path that has a counter with an apple pie on display :)

      • SoCal Gal :

        I’ve actually had good luck on Mother’s Day as a party of two or smaller. Most people who are taking Mom out for brunch are taking a spouse, siblings, kids of their own…the two-tops are mostly empty.

    • anon for this :

      I live alone and don’t have any friends or family that I talk to regularly. So, yes, all the time.

    • TurtleWexler :

      I’m married, but my husband travels quite a bit and I always end up sitting home and feeling pathetic when he’s away, particularly when he’s gone over weekends. And even when he’s around, sometimes it would be nice to have other people to hang out with, either alone or as a couple. We’re pretty new to this city and, while I’ve met some nice people through various activities, there’s really nobody I can just call up for an impromptu happy hour or girls’ night. So it usually ends up being me, the cat, a glass of wine, and Netflix. I think I need to be a little more assertive about trying to plan things with the people I do know here, but I tend to be a little shy so I’m always afraid of rejection. But I guess, nothing ventured nothing gained.

  4. PharmaGirl :

    This is a cute pic. I’ve been really into cardigans lately after not wearing my entire life.

    Question for the cardigan belters… do you use the same belts you wear with pants or do you have a separate stash of smaller belts for wearing at your waist? The whole belting thing is new for me and I can’t seem to get it right.

    • Most of my belts fit on both places, but I have one belt that I punched extra holes in for this purpose. I fold the excess belt tail (is there a name for this?) around the main part of the belt.

      My issue with the belted cardigan looks is that I need to wear a belt on my pants to keep them from falling down off my flat hips and rear. I don’t want to wear two belts, though, because that’s insane, right? So I just end up hiking up my pants all day, which does not feel glamorous or professional.

      • MissJackson :

        I use the same belts — I buy them big enough to go around my pants and use a belt hole puncher thing if necessary to make them small enough for my waist. I ususally just tuck the extra belt under, but I occasionally do belt knots (not sure if this is the real name for them) which are basically just fancier/more whimsical way of folding the excess belt under. I have narrow hips and not-that-small of a waist, though, so this is probably easier for me than your average person.

      • Maybe the “invisibelt” would solve your problem? (note, I do not work for them, I’ve never used them, but my friend swears by them and I keep meaning to try one out).

        http://www.invisibelt.com/

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Separate stash of smaller belts but if you are more straight up and down, that may not be necessary. My waist is very small (I need to punch holes in the XS skinny belts) but my hips are broad so belts I wear with pants are regular sized.

    • separate stash and a few that can do both. The small sweater belts are all from the JCrew outlet. The ones that can do both have holes on the entire belt.

    • Same set of belts, though I rarely belt my pants and just leave my shirts untucked. I usually do a belt knot with the excess on the skinny belts, and I don’t wear my wide belts around my hips anyways.

    • I use the same ones. …and sometimes two belts. (Who cares? No one can see.)

      But I’m hourglassy, and then belted cardi thing just doesn’t work that well on me. I always feel like things scrunch up at my natural waist and make my hips look huge. Maybe I’m just not used to the silhouette.

  5. I dissagree! It is very long which is good b/c the manageing partner will NOT be abel to look at my tush. I do agree that the color is not the best, but I do LOVE Nordstrom’s.

    My mom wants me to go with her shoppeing with her this weekend. She is going to drive into NYC, pick me up, and drive to New Jersey mall in Pyrammus! I have to buy her something for Mothers’ day. Maybe a nice brooch!!!! Yay!!!!

  6. SF Bay Associate :

    Bay Area ladies, keep your eyes peeled for a weekend open thread post today on Kontractor, our fabulous new friend who was posting yesterday afternoon about being new to the area and her husband unexpectedly getting deployed yet again. She’s in Concord, and he’s based at Travis. I’ll activate the Hive signal on the weekend thread. Clearly, the next meetup should be on a Bartable East Bay stop, and now it’s not just because we’re hoping to entice the attendance of mamabear :).

  7. momentsofabsurdity :

    Okay – mildly relevant TJ:

    I love cardigans. LOVE them. Secretarial or no. I own several JCrew Jackie cardigans, probably 9-10 LEC Heritage cardigans, and an array of other cardigans in various colors. A cardigan + tank/shell + dark jeans / pencil skirt is basically my uniform, in other words, in my very, very casual/business casual office.

    This season, I have noticed there have been a lot more sheer and open weave/mesh cardigans. I like the look a lot – not all of them, but cardigans like these: http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/michael-michael-kors-mesh-stitch-bolero/3262647?origin=category

    Are these types of cardigans ever appropriate for a business casual environment? Or are mesh and officewear two words that should never be in the same sentence?

  8. Hey, all. So my hair is getting a lot of scraggly grays, and I think I want to cover them. My hair is v. dark and my skin v. light. I have been wanting to go a bit lighter—I think the contrast between my hair and skin can really make me looked washed out. But I’m not sure I’m ready, financially and commitment-wise, for the whole salon/highlight thing.

    So, if you were me, would you: (a) suck it up and wait; or (b) try at-home hair color? If I color my hair with an at-home product, will it screw things up for my future colorist? I wouldn’t attempt to go lighter; just cover the gray…

    Thanks!

    • I would try at-home color, close to your natural color. It will make upkeep easier and be much cheaper.

      • viclawstudent :

        So I’ve started going grey relatively early (late 20s), and so if I don’t do anything to my hair I end up with a lot of, as you say, “scraggly” hairs that I want to cover. My skin is also very light, but my natural hair colour is a medium brown – kind of an ashy shade? – so I started by trying salon highlights because I’d been told it would help. Unfortunately, it required a ton of upkeep because of the roots issue – I couldn’t let it slide when I wanted – and the colouration shift clashed with both my skin tone and my eyebrows, which are black.

        So then my hairstylist suggested that we instead try an all-over demi-permanent colourin a darker shade, and it’s been amazing – now my hair is a sort of dark-coffee colour when I have it done, the greys pick it up and are diminished, and as a bonus, the demi-permanent treatment seems to soften up those hairs for a while so they’re not so scraggly. It fades in a totally natural way over time, so there’s never a roots issue, and it’s a much better match for my colouring. It’s also cheaper and doesn’t take as long to get done. If you’re debating between lighter highlights and home coverage, I’d definitely suggest you consider this middle ground.

    • I am dreading this day. I’m a natural ginger and know it is going to be a chore to find the perfect color/colorist to come up with something even close to my natural color, which I adore.

    • MissJackson :

      At-home hair color has come a long way. If you’re just going to match your natural shade, or even go a tad lighter I would not fear at-home color.

      I have the financial means to do salon color, but I actually do at-home color because my schedule can get insane and I can’t schedule a hair appointment at midnight, but I can do it myself then. I’ve been doing it myself for 6 months or so, and I get compliments on my hair all the time. No damage, no horror stories. I think that drastic hair-color changes are best left to the experts, but a little tweaking here and there is fine to do at home. (I go a shade or two darker than my natural color, for what it’s worth.)

    • Try a semi-permanent hair color first. They fade after 20 or so washes so you won’t have to worry about visible grow out.

      • Thanks, guys. Side rant: why is it that super dark hair/super light skin looks cute on Zooey Deschanel, but my dark hair/light skin combo makes me look like the wicked witch in Once Upon A Time (i.e., severe)? Is it the closetful of quirky dresses from Kate Spade/Marc Jacobs that makes the difference for ZD? If so, I’m screwed!

        • it might be the tone in the color you are using. I also am pale and have gone dark w/ my hair, and I think it has actually made my skintone *more* glowy! But I go to a really great colorist (i give her so much of my money) and I think that is why. You might try a different box color, or go ahead and drop the moolah for a colorist who is really good at their job. They are mixing colors individually, too, so they can make it more customized to your coloring.

          Also, I wear more/darker eye makeup now that my hair is dark, I don’t know if that helps.

          • Alas, the severe hair color is my own virgin hair. This is why I’m considering a professional (vs. a box dye to match my existing color). My fabulously pale young son has hair the color of straw (my childhood color!) and I envy him daily. Sigh.

  9. Cookies and Wine :

    I have this cardigan in a teal color. Just got it this week, so have only worn it once, but it is super soft and comfy. I got it because I needed more cardigans for pregnancy and it is very flowy and has no buttons, so serves that purpose. But I think it would work well as non-maternity attire too.

  10. Threadjack–I need advice on how to talk to a friend about not going to law school. One of my close friends recently informed me that she has decided to go to law school next year at a very low ranked law school and asked my advice (I recently graduated from a top 10 law school). For various reasons, I do NOT think that my friend should go to law school. First of all, because of the legal market right now, I would not advise anyone to go to a low ranked school. And on top of that, I quite frankly just do not think that this friend should be going to law school at all. She is an absolutely wonderful person and I think she could be very successful at a lot of things, but because of her personality and a few other things I think she is incredibly ill-suited for law school and legal practice. I quite honestly think that she will end up at the bottom of her class and have no job prospects. I’m planning on talking to her about how bad the legal market is, how hard it is to get a job, etc, but I’m pretty sure that that’s not going to really be enough to talk her out of it. I can’t figure out how to broach the subject of how I think that she personally is ill-suited for law school because I can’t think of a way to do it without coming across as incredibly arrogant and offending her. Is there anyway to talk to her about this without ruining the friendship??

    • I don’t think you can say that she’s ill suited for the law but maybe you could ask her to read this: http://www.itsuptoyou.net/why-you-shouldnt-go-to-law-school/ and really walk her through her monthly budget if she gets a salary that is average for her school (i.e. even if you get a 50k job you’ll make this much per month after taxes, pay this much per month in loans an only have __very low number__ to live on until you are x age (10 years after graduating)).

    • K in... Transition :

      don’t make it about her or she’ll just feel insulted… make it about the costs and the job market while highlighting her skills that’d make her awesome in a field she’s already in or could do well in!

    • Former MidLevel :

      How do alumni of the school do in your local area? Some schools that are nationally low-ranked actually do pretty well at home (e.g., the only school in a smaller state/metro area). If this is not one of those, could you find some employment statistics to discuss with her? (Preferably the more realistic ones that are coming out now, not the ones in U.S. News.) She asked your advice, so maybe you could frame it as “I was thinking about your question about School X and I got worried when I saw these stats – just thought you should be aware of them.”

      As to your other concern, why do you think your friend would be ill-suited for law school and legal practice?

    • If you outright say “you are not well-suited for law school” you are likely to get a lot of resistance and piss her off. I know that the instant someone tells me that I shouldn’t do something, the more likely I am to want to do it just to prove them wrong. Sometimes the best way to get someone to not do something is to make them think they came up with the idea on their own. I usually get to this by asking a lot of questions. Why do you want to go to law school? What kind of skills do you think it takes to be successful? How much time/effort do you think you need to commit to being successful in law school? Have you looked into the job market? How do you think this school will help you get a job? What kind of loans/financial assistance will you have to get? Etc…then I don’t lecture, but if I have more information on a subject, I will gently counter what they say, or the assumptions they make with what I know to be true or what I have experienced (i.e. “in my experience…” or “I had a classmate who thought that, too, but…”). They may not change their mind right away, but you give them something to think about, and you don’t have to specifically say “I don’t think you will do well/this is a bad idea.”

    • I have tried, unsuccessfully, to dissuade others from the same fate as your friend. It was unsuccessful. People tried to warn me not to go to law school but I suffered from the same hubris. Luckily, things worked out for me. But they didn’t for a vast majority of my classmates. People always think they are an exception.

      There are some great articles (most from Above the Law) on why law school is a terrible proposition for most, I have sent them to prospective students, again to no avail. Maybe your friend will be less thickheaded. Links to follow.

    • I would take the approach of listening to her goals and trying to help her reach them. Don’t suggest that she can’t cut it at law school or as a lawyer. Focus on the fact that law school is a professional school, so the decision to go should focus on the ROI.

      I’d run some loan calculations for her and then point her to the web sites that break down the numbers on what employment prospects really look like out of the school she is considering (they go behind the reported number and do the math on the basis of how many people responded to the school’s surveys).

      After you do that, then brainstorm about ways she could make law school work. Point out that raising her LSAT could mean thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in merit aid. Discuss markets that have less competition in hiring and regularly recruit a local schools. Show her what steps she would need to take to set herself up for success. Then hope that she either follows them or choses another path.

    • I made the decision to not go straight to law school out of undergrad because of the state of the legal market, as well as general uncertainty about whether law school was necessary for the sort of work I want to do.

      Obviously, it’s a huge investment, so I’d suggest going over the finances with her. I ended up talking several of my friends out of considering law as well when they actually took into consideration the costs of tuition, living, and loan repayments. Several of them were of the mindset that sure, law school is expensive, but they’d graduate with a six figure job and repay it immediately. Unfortunately, that’s not really the case.

      One final piece of advice I received many times was to work as a paralegal. Perhaps this is an option for your friend? It’s a much cheaper way to realize if law is the right fit, and she might even realize that she enjoys that sort of work on its own.

      I understand your concern about sounding arrogant or snobbish, but if she’s asking your advice, you really ought to be frank with her. This is a decision that will have an enormous effect on her life, and as her friend, her well being is in your best interests.

    • Have you asked her why she wants to go? I find a lot of people who think they want to go to law school have impressions that are out of sync with reality. Focusing on the specifics of why she wants to go and what she hopes to achieve afterward might be more productive than rehashing all the general arguments and criticisms that the media have picked up on lately.

    • As someone who has considered law school off and on since high school, I suggest asking why she wants to be a lawyer. Specifically, what about it appeals to her. For me, I loved the thought of litigation and trials because I thought that’s what lawyers did after watching TV shows with lawyers. When I realized all the paperwork and (in my humble opinion) stupid technicalities, that killed it for me. Coupled with the insane cost and time commitment, I realized there were many other careers that would allow me to use the skill set I thought I would use as a lawyer (ie: public speaking and debate). You might also bring up her long-term plans. Does she want the family and kids? Flexible scheduling? 80-hour workweeks? When I started seriously researching law school and the practice of law, I realized that it didn’t coincide with my long-term goals and my view of a fulfilling career.

    • Data Driven Decisions :

      A tax law professor friend just sent me a blog post about 15 low-ranked law schools who have more unemployed alumni and alumnae than employed. I will post the link in reply. If her school is on the list, that could help.

    • There was a post on Corporette this year about happiness in your career with lots of comments on why they were/weren’t happy with their jobs and how long in their careers it took for them to find a job they enjoyed. I remember some excellent comments on what practicing law is actually like and evaluations on why the commenter was suited to it or not. That post might help her evaluate her goals and what she expects out of a legal career?

  11. Love this! However, I’m highly suspicious of trusting the color because the model is in the exact same position for all of the photos. What are people’s experiences when the color is obviously photoshopped in?

  12. There was an interesting post on the usefulness of cover letters on Lifehacker yesterday. The author suggested that they don’t really matter, but many commenters disagreed. I’ve always been under the impression that they are very important in law, but what about other fields? Is it the size of the company that matters? Does it matter more in non-profits, academia, or other areas where employers might be looking for people with a special passion for the job?

    • I look at them as an additional writing sample, even if they’re not intended that way. A particularly well (or badly) written cover letter has definitely influenced whether the candidate gets an interview or callback from me.

      • karenpadi :

        This. Especially for applicants with less than 2 years of experience. I expect their writing sample will be heavily edited/revised by someone else. The cover letter is a writing sample that I rely one to evaluate the candidate’s own writing skills.

    • Geezer-e t t e :

      The letter is crucial! Use it to show that you closely fit the desired training and experience listed in the job description. Don’t make reviewers connect the dots by wading through your resume.

    • I wouldn’t consider a candidate without a cover letter. I usually pay more attention to them than the resume.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      It’s crucial. I doubt an application sans cover letter would even make it out of our recruiter’s inbox. I saw that article flying across my facebook from the much younger alumni of a college group I was a member of. They were so excited at finally having a legitimate reason to not write the dreaded cover letter. I wanted to smack them all upside the head. Thankfully, another alumni pointed out that it’s another opportunity to show the employer how well qualified and professional you are, so why on earth would you pass that opportunity up? I thought to myself, “kids these days! Argh!” and then realized that makes me a geezer-e t t e.

    • My experience in financial services is that many of us who made decisions seldom saw cover letters, we just got a file from HR with the relevant resumes. You could try to parse for personality and passion if the applicant had provided info on their non-professional interests.

    • I’m in academia and we require a cover letter. Your resume just covers your experience and skills and we want to hear about how your experience and skills fit the job in question. Too many cover letters just reiterate the resume rather than addressing the requirement. It’s really frustrating. We’re also looking for written communication skills.

  13. I just got a dress in the mail yesterday from Ideeli that I love, but it is a bit garbage bag shaped on me. So, I’m thinking I want to belt it, but no idea what color belt should go with it or if skinny/think would do the trick. The dress is 3/4 sleeved, and cobalt blue, with kelly green and white color blocking on the bottom, and as I said, it is currently garbage bag shaped on me. So… belts?

    • If the dress were in my closet, I would probably wear either my black thick belt or my pewter skinny belt- but would have to try both on to see which way I liked it. As far as color, green or white to accentuate the color blocking, black, metallic, or brown all would work.

    • No belt ideas, but you might think about just taking in the sides. Dresses are always too loose on my waist because I have to buy them big enough for my bust, but I look horrible in things with belts. I take in the side seams in a curve, if that makes sense, to make clear that in fact I have a waist and am not the same size as my b**bs all the way to my hips.

    • hellskitchen :

      I would go for a medium thickness belt instead of skinny. I have a silky dress that’s a couple of sizes big and it looks much better with a thick belt than a skinny one. I would pair this with a nice tan or medium brown leather belt. If you wanted color, I’d go for something in the magenta/purple family since those shades work really well with blue, green and white.

      • This is sort of what I had in mind, after trying it on with one of my skinny belts and thinking “ehhhh, maybe not.” It’s sort of a silky dress with 2 layers, so I don’t know if taking it in would be an option. I like both the brown and purpley ideas – may have to try both!

    • I would go with a dark brown, medium width woven belt for a casual look. Or maybe white.

    • You didn’t ask for this, but I was at Target last weekend and they had a bunch of cute belts in a variety of shapes. You could wear it there and just try them on to see what worked. They all cost in the 10-20 dollar range as well.

    • A white or kelly green belt would nicely coordinate with the dress.

    • I like a medium-to-skinny yellow belt, if I’m picturing the colors right. Make the belt stand out so it screams “fashion choice” rather than “this dress is too boxy.”

  14. K in... Transition :

    Yesterday, someone gave me something of monetary value and said that she’d have just spent the money on shoes had she not given it to me. It was beyond helpful for me. So now I’m thinking about this… for so many here with self-proclaimed shopping addictions and such (or for me who goes rounds of eating too much take-out when I can afford it), what would happen if we each took the money from one shopping purchase and did something for someone else with it?

    What if we spent $30 and sent flowers to a friend for no reason than because she’s a good person? Or if we went to Goodwill, bought all of their blankets and pillows and dropped them off at the local homeless shelter? Or bought work appropriate clothes and dropped them at a battered women’s shelter? Or if we paid the toll for the car behind us every so often? Maybe it sounds silly, but I wonder what chain of events would begin if we each took just a moment for something like that.

    Anyone ever done such and care to share the story? Heck, anyone want to do such and then we can share the stories?

    • Hmm… I bought a homeless guy smokes and a coffee (who am I to judge).

      • There was an episode of Sport’s Night (an Aaron Sorkin show) where one character was trying to figure out what to do with his money for charity and he was asking other characters. One character said, whenever he had a little extra, he gave it to guys on the street. And the guy asked “Aren’t you worried they’ll just spend it on booze.” And Isaac (the boss-man who was awesome) said “I’m hoping they’re going to spend it on booze. Look, Dan, these people, most of ‘em, it’s not like they’re one hot meal away from turning it around. For most of ‘em the clock’s pretty much run out. You’ll be home soon enough. What’s wrong with giving them a little novacaine to get ‘em through the night?” Now — I’m not sure I agree with that, but it has always stuck with me. Who am I to judge. Life deals different hands to different people and if I slept on the street and had severe mental illness…I’d want a drink too. And me not giving them my pocket change won’t get them to stop drinking or get off the street or not be ill. So I give.

        • PharmaGirl :

          I feel the same way.

          A former co-worker was screaching on and on about a homeless man outside of a Dunkin Donuts who refused to take a bagel from her. The way I see it, just because you want to give someone food doesn’t mean they have to like it or even accept it.

          • There was a beggar near my office who had a sign that said essentially that he was hungry and that he would not use the money for drugs or alcohol. As he turned down offered food, he would amend his sign with things like no bagels, no fast food, etc. He was the most picky hungry guy ever.

        • dude, Isaac was played by Robert Guillaume, anyone remember Benson!?! He was so kick-@ss!!!!

    • Gooseberry :

      K in… Transition, I am in! Let’s do it!

      • K in... Transition :

        I figure even if it’s something small, like paying the $1 toll for the car behind me or telling the drive-thru worker to put my change toward what the next person owes, maybe it’ll start a chain reaction. Plus, since the people won’t know about it until I drive off, it’s very clearly not about me or wanting them to do/react a certain way, they’re free to continue it on anonymously too!

        • This happened to me in a fast food drive thru about 6 months ago — person in front of me paid for my meal. It was amazing! I’m in.

          • When I’m in the fast food drive-throuhg, I wish the person in front of me would come steal my food away from me, since I’m inevitably making a poor decision. But oh how I love Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets.

    • I did this the last time I went on a shopping ban. I put the amount I set aside each month for discretionary spending on a charity that I thought was …well, really charming to me. (For those who are curious, it’s: http://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/ ) (Maybe it’s because I was given a classic Pooh and Eeyore when I was a little one…)

      Anyways, I’m deciding who to give my “discretionary fund” to this time, and I’m having a tough time deciding between Medicin san Frontieres or the Somaly Mam Foundation. I think, when I’m done with my shopping ban, I’ll ask you all to vote one or the other and I’ll put my 6 weeks of discretionary fund monies towards whichever one who wins (and reveal the amount I set aside for random shopping!) :-)

      • K in... Transition :

        I have 3 organizations:

        tiny: Mommy-2-Bee, which provides education for pregnant women and new moms

        small: Royal Family Productions, which provides theater classes to youth on a sliding scale which allows even the poorest to have access s/he otherwise wouldn’t

        huge: Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS, which is well known in the Broadway community and combats HIV and breast cancer

    • I am older than several of my friends and don’t have debt so I have a bit more “play money.” I try to pay attention when we’re out and they say that they love something but won’t spend the money and I buy it for them later. I went to the art market in December with a couple I’m friends with. They’re young, just bought a house and have tons of debt from her graduate education. They loved a beautiful photograph but wouldn’t buy it because they were Christmas shopping for others and they didn’t want to pay to have it framed. My SO and I bought it for them for Christmas and had it framed. I love being able to do that! It was a splurge for us but they’re really special to us.

  15. Nutrition advice? :

    I just got a call from my doctor saying that despite all of the headaches/dizziness/nausea/reduced stamina/problems concentrating/fatigue, my bloodwork all looks okay. Originally I was going to go on the South Beach or Dukan diet to lose some weight, but I’ve changed my focus to healthy and high-nutrient foods. Does anyone have any advice on books or online services that are easy to follow or worked for them? Thanks in advance!

    • check out marks daily apple (dot com). I went primal at the beginning of the year and its really changed my life.

    • Headaches/dizziness/nausea simultaneously to me screams either hypoglycemia OR migraines, neither of which would show up on bloodwork, but are treatable. Have you discussed the possibility of them with your doctor. Depending on your age, its apparently very common for women to begin experiencing migraines somewhat suddenly in their 30s (or late 20s in my case). I’ve gotten mine mostly under control with a cocktail of drugs and some diet changes.

      All those symptoms also could relate to dehydration, which is another possibility if you’re actively trying to lose weight (especially if you’re not getting enough sugar in your diet along with your water). Are you drinking enough water or do you drink mostly caffeinated beverages?

    • The paleo diet is definitely about high-nutrient foods. Als0 – there seem to be lots of success stories of people curing different ailments by eating that way. Check out the website whole9life and the book the Paleo Solution. Hope you feel better soon!

    • I’m in moderation for reasons unclear. So I will summarize, the symptoms you describe could be migraines, hypoglycemia, or dehydration (to name just three), none of which would show up in bloodwork. Have you discussed these with your doc? Before changing your diet, you probably want to get these under control — because not only are these things uncomfortable, but they can and probably will get worse if you go on a restricted calorie diet.

      • Please get a second opinion! Just because a doc says there isn’t a problem doesn’t really mean there isn’t a problem. There could be tests he didn’t think to run that another doc will or questions he didn’t ask that another doc will and you may end up with a different answer. I assume if he did a full blood workup, then your iron and vitamin levels are fine, but something else could be wrong. How you feel is not normal and you need to figure out why.

        Sorry if this sounds preachy. From personal experience in my family, I know that docs don’t always get it right (and, of course, they aren’t the only profession we could make this statement about–I’m not just ragging on docs here) and seeing someone else can be really important. The longer you wait, the worse a potential problem can become.

        • Nutrition advice? :

          And don’t worry, you don’t sound preachy :-) I’m just doing groundwork and am looking for background info for whatever changes I end up making. Sorry if that wasn’t more clear in the initial post!

      • Nutrition advice? :

        Yes, this is just preliminary research. I just moved, so I got a doctor who is a sweet, attentive, elderly gentleman. He told me to take it easy this weekend (hydrate a lot) and talk to him on Monday. If anyone else has any tips on things I could talk to him about re: symptoms, I would appreciate it!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’ll throw in there sleep apnea. It is often mis-diagnosed in otherwise healthy young people that are not over-weight. I had similar symptoms and other medical issues and each doc kept treating the symptoms but not finding the cure. Finally I saw a specialist in a totally unrelated field and the NP there looked at my chart and said “has anyone tested you for sleep apnea?” I thought they were nuts but did the test anyway and sure enough I had severe hypopnea where my breathing would change 30+ times per hour taking me out of my sleep cycle.

      I wear a cpap at night now (so sexy) and feel much better.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Beware though, they tests without insurance are $4000+ each so know your insurance coverage before diving in. Mine at most was a $25 copay but I know others have faced huge deductibles.

      • Solo Practitioner :

        My BF just got a CPAP. He was worried that it wouldn’t be sexy either.

        I told him that it’s much sexier than having him die early from a stroke or heart attack, or not be able to sleep next to him because I was worried that he was going to stop breathing every few minutes. (The sleep study said he was waking up 80x per hour!)

        Do you really wash yours out with vinegar every morning? It’s kind of a pain.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          No, not at all. My home health person said if I use too much water one night I can just use it again the next night. Every 2 days or so I rinse the hose w/ tap water and rinse the water tank and let it dry. Every other week I wash the filter out. I make mask liners that I throw out every other day so I don’t really wash the mask. I have chlorinated city water so maybe that’s why I don’t need to use the vinegar.

    • SpaceMountain :

      If you’re just looking into nutrition issues, check out the work by Carolyn Dean, M.D., on magnesium deficiency.

    • High Nutrient Diets :

      If you are looking for a high nutrient diet, check out Eat to Live and the work of Dr Joel Furhman, who calls his plan the “nutritarian” diet. You eat foods that have a high nutrient to calorie ratio.

      My husband and I started it 7 weeks prior to our wedding last summer to shed the last few pounds we both wanted to lose and not only did we succeed in quickly losing weight (10 lbs for him, 9 for me), we have been doing a modified version since and feel amazing.

      http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/are-you-a-nutritarian.aspx

      http://fatfreevegan.com/blog/2010/01/01/eat-to-live-6-week-plan/

    • Yes to second opinion and sleep apnea check. Another thing you might want to check is thyroid levels. I am sure they tested you for this, but I have heard that some women can have thyroid levels within the normal/low-normal range, but still have symptoms and would benefit from treatment. I don’t really know the specifics, but you might want to do a little googling and maybe push on this a bit.

      • Very true. I always tested in the normal range, but had all the symptoms of low thyroid. I finally went to a good endocrinologist, who did more extensive testing and started treating me, it made a big difference.

  16. Looking for the holy grail of cardigans: one that does not pill. I’m so tired of cardigans that look worn and shabby after only a few wears. Can anyone recommend brands that make high-quality cardigans that won’t get covered in fuzzies?

  17. Long Haul Flight Q :

    Anyone here ever spend the night in the city where your layover is to split up the time between two long flights? I was thinking of spending the day touring the layover city (easy access to the airport from the city so it’s convenient) before heading to Sydney, Australia on a 15 hour adventure. I also think it would give me some much needed rest before the long flight.

    Thoughts?

    • Great idea! Check how long it’ll take to get to the airport, maybe splurge on a tour or dinner out?

      Schipol is really good for that.

      • Long Haul Flight Q :

        Oh Schipol- I studied for a few months in Amsterdam, so I’m quite familiar with that place.

        That’s what I was thinking- I have the whole plan in my head- go for a quick run in the morning (beautiful running city), have a nice dinner, do some touristy things, then brace myself for the 15 hour flight at midnight.

        Thanks everyone for the input!

    • We do this for work when our flights are over 11 hours… I’ve spent many layovers in Honolulu. I think it can help with the jetlag. I prefer to fly straight through, but I know a lot of my coworkers really like the layover, and it’s a fun way to take in the layover city.

    • I did this in Zurich on a flight home from Istanbul. I had a lovely dinner and walk around the neighborhood, stayed in a cool hotel, and spent the evening watching German MTV before waking up for my flight the next day. Highly recommended!

    • The only suggestion I can offer from personal experience is: don’t get overly frustrated if you’re too wired to sleep.

    • I’ve done it twice on long-haul flights, and I would recommend it. It’s a great way to see at least a little bit of a city that you otherwise might not visit or that you haven’t been to recently.

      When I was single, I had to fly through Amsterdam for a business flight. I scheduled a layover that lasted from 10 am to about dinner time, left my bags at the airport and took public transportation into the city. I had time for lunch, one cultural event and a short walk. I chose the Ann Frank house (Van Gogh museum was a close second). This was pre-9/11, so I don’t know how long the layover has to be to make going through security again later in the same day worthwhile.

      Last year, my husband and I took his kids to the Middle East, and we stopped in Paris overnight on the way home. We had never been there together, and the kids had never been there at all. It took some advance recon, but we managed the Louvre, a walk through several nice parts of town, the Eiffel tower, Sainte Chappelle and a couple nice meals.

      I am pro-layovers.

    • DC anonymous :

      I have a relative in Australia and I now do this every time I fly to visit. Not only is it less exhausting that way, I’ve found it’s often cheaper to buy two separate tickets than a round trip from the midwest. I buy a discount airline ticket to SFO, spend a day or two hanging out in the bay area, fly on to Sydney, and then rinse and repeat on the way back. It’s great! Also helps ease the jet lag, which hits me REALLY hard flying west to east.

    • A couple of thoughts : first, your ability to enjoy your tour will depend on whether you have jet lag – if your first leg is a red-eye, chances are you’ll be tired and groggy while wandering around a new city. Second, check that your layover airport has shower facilities and left luggage, in a convenient terminal. The left luggage may seem obvious for any airport but I’ve just received a note fr my mum saying she’s stuck in Orly airport (domestic flights for Paris) with nowhere to leave luggage during her 6 hour transit (she’s not impressed). The shower is a bonus which will make a huge difference if you’re hoping to feel clean and comfy onboard your 2nd flight after walking about all day.

    • I stayed a day in London on my way back from Israel, and it was great! I had been living in Israel for a year, so spending a day in London was like a transition day back into American/English life. I was ridiculously overjoyed to go to the grocery store where all the foods had labels in English. But I also got to sight-see a bit, which was nice, and generally get a better night’s sleep than I would have on a long plane flight.

    • karenpadi :

      I have acted as a lay-over “host” to people going through the SF Bay Area on their way to Hawaii or Asia. It’s pretty fun to see people again and it’s a short visit so I don’t feel like I really need to do a lot of entertaining–they arrive in time for dinner and leave after breakfast.

  18. TJ: I wonder what the hive thinks of open-toed booties for casual wear? I used to think they were ridiculous, but now I am strangely attracted to these for spring weekends with jeans:
    http://www.naturalizer.com/en-US/Product/EC0201733-3008743/Naya/Tan+Suede_Leather/Naya+Genesis.aspx

    • I like them with jeans/pants!

    • I am still too uncool for booties. I will probably come around to them when something else (who knows what) has come into style and my teenage mentee will look at me with derision for wearing them. Thus is the life of a late adopter.

    • I hate open-toed booties with a passion but won’t judge you for wearing them.

      • I hate them too and am not sure why! To lay my soul completely bare for judgment, I think it’s because the first time I saw them a woman who I find REALLY trying was wearing them and was WAY overdressed for an occasion (i.e. completely falling out of her clothes 1 metric ton of makeup) and then started babbling about her upcoming b**b job and how she just really did not want to look fake (see prev. 1 metric ton of makeup and raise completely fake/anime looking red wine colored hair) and I just had to roll my eyes at her. Now every time I see them I think of her.

        *sigh* I really do try not to judge and I think I do well most of the time but this one person (who is in my life forever, not like a co-worker or something) just gets under my skin every g*dd*mn time!

    • Seattleite :

      Sorry, you’ve just combined my two Shoe Hates: wedges and open-toed booties. I love closed-toe non-wedge booties, though.

      • Seattleite, I’m with you 100%.

        I always chuckle when I get the V*ctoria’s Secret shoe catalogue full of 6′ wedge-heeled open-toed-booties with ridiculous straps all over the place. Who the heck wears such shoes? And, where would one wear such shoes? I’m thinking these the customer-base has to be people who don’t walk anywhere– they must drive everywhere! (Or be driven everywhere.)

  19. Assuming the style is the same, is it better to buy a 100% silk blouse or polyester blouse? The silk one is $30 more but I always thought silk was a more luxurious fabric and wouldn’t look cheap….

    thoughts?

    They are both white, long sleeve, slightly sheer (through the arms), with a neck tie.

    • Factor in the wash/dry clean angle and how often the item will be worn. Dry-cleaning items oft-worn is expensive and a hassle.
      There are polyesters out there that do not look cheap, and cr*ppy silks.
      Lastly, $30 could be the difference between $60 and $90 item, or $200/230, so it is more useful to state the percentage.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Silk will probably look nicer but will probably require more time consuming and/or expensive upkeep. I love my silk blouses and think I have the maintenance down to a minimum — machine wash on delicate, then steam rather than iron. But it’s still more than just wash, hang dry, and go for my polyester blouses.

      • True, but I find that I wash silk items much less frequently than polyester, which absorbs odor much more quickly. If I air out a silk blouse after wearing, any lingering smells dissipate within a few hours. Polyester just stays stinky.

  20. For 360 Assessment :

    My very long comment went missing when I tried to submit yesterday but luckily I had typed offline, so am giving it another go.

    On your specific questions :
    – Not sure what you can fix on ‘how to approach this’ if you haven’t been making a special effort to be everyone’s favourite co-worker all along. If you have had friction with people, it is reasonable to expect that they will recall and comment on it when given the opportunity.
    – For your own questions, think first about the areas where you want to improve. Seek out the relevant questions and show some self-knowledge by making sure you score yourself in a way leaves room for improvement. For other areas, feel free to err on the side of generosity.
    – Don’t be defensive about criticism when you see the final outcome. Extend some trust that your boss is sufficiently experienced to triangulate everyone’s differing views and watch to gauge his response before leaping to your own defence. Most bosses are happier to dispense feel-good advice than to re-hash office battles. When I communicated 3rd party criticism to my staff, I would only really be looking for a response along the lines of ‘ok, I see where X is coming from, will try to avoid making this an event in future’. That’s it – no need to hear someone’s take on office politics, territoriality, insecurity etc (if you must, share it on this board !)

    Good luck and hope you aren’t losing too much sleep over this. It is a necessary part of toughening yourself up to work with others in a corporate setting.

    • Thank you so much for these thoughtful comments. I understand as a manager wanting a response more along the lines of “got it, I’ll try to improve” then “that’s not exactly what happened that day, let me give you all the reasons I am right and Johnny is wrong.” But what is the graceful way to respond if there is simply a factual error (e.g., “clients didn’t like having to wait for your response on the Jones matter” when I didn’t work on the Jones matter)? Or is there no graceful way?

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