Wednesday’s TPS Report: Cholula Eyelet Top

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

Nanette Lepore Cholula Eyelet Top, Tomato Neiman Marcus has a ton of new markdowns, including this great top from Nanette Lepore. I normally hate eyelet for the office (particularly eyelet jackets — yuck) but this top is unexpectedly lovely. I like the way it’s both a V-neck and a crewneck, and how the flowers on top add dimension, texture, and coverage to what otherwise might be too low of a V-neck without overly emphasizing it. The sale is pretty good, too: the top was originally $248, but is now marked to $148. Nanette Lepore Cholula Eyelet Top, Tomato


Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]


  1. Those flower appliques look like they’d be painful to maintain. PASS.

    • As a busty person, I also worry about the deepness of the “V.” It’s gorgeous, but I don’t think I’d be comfortable wearing it to the office.

      • I’m with you– I think it’s very cute and I’m always looking for appropriate splashes of color but I feel like this one would be “hello these are my boobs” to an office-inappropriate level on me.

      • I do NOT have this probelem, but I STILL do not want the manageing partner (or any one else) lookeing at my breasts and makeing coments about them. FOOEY on men that only look at us for our bodie’s!

        Also, I would NOT pay $148 for this blouse, even on sale, b/c the manageing partner would start questioning my shopping habit’s. He wants to think I am getting the best deal before he kick’s in his 20%.

        The manageing partner is keepeing me very busy the past few day’s b/c he says he wants me to EARN my 3% raise. FOOEY!

  2. Always a NYer :

    To the ladies on Monday who were commiserating about burning themselves with depilatory creams, I feel your pain, literally. I used Veet on my legs yesterday and left it on a minute too long and suffered immediately. Not only did I burn them, they’re covered in red bumps and itch like mad! I sprayed them with an antiseptic and then put lotion on them but it’s taking all my willpower not to scratch…thank god I’m home. Any suggestions so I don’t rip my skin off? Thanks.

    • Cortisone cream. And, they make an aloe vera with lidocane (sp?) which numbs your skin and will help with the itching.

    • Oh no. Cortisone cream. I’ve been using Veet for years, but I once left it on too long and had the same experience.

      I can tell when it needs to come off because it starts tingling a bit in a non-painful way. That’s your sign to take it off NOW because if you wait a minute it will burn. If I have some leftover hairs, I just put the Veet on the spots where there’s hair and leave it on for a minute or two and that works fine.

    • Always a NYer, this is going to sound TOTALLY CRAY CRAY but I promise you this worked with the worst case of poison ivy I got earlier this year.

      Use a blow drier. You don’t want to burn yourself, obvs, but heat up the skin just to the point where it starts to get uncomfortable, then move the drier to another spot so you don’t burn. Do this a couple of times. This is called noxious stimulation, and although there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on why it works as a scientific/physiological matter, it does.

      I’m super allergic to poison ivy and had a rash that cortisone was doing nothing for earlier this year. I’m also too lazy to go to doc in a box and get steroid injections. Spending about 10 minutes in the morning and evening going over my legs with a blow drier provided me with about 8 hours of itch relief.

  3. I like this and the color is lovely.

    Another fashion-related color question: I have a pair of J.Crew swim bottoms that are a muted raspberry pink. I can’t wear the matching bikini top anymore, but the bottoms are still in great shape. I want to replace the top with a tankini, but beyond something basic like brown, I’m stumped about what might work. The pink isn’t a bright, clear pink so it’s harder to find something that goes. Would kelly green make me look like a watermelon?

    • I love any color pink and navy together. Maybe that would work?

    • If it’s the right green, I think it could be a pretty combo. What about a patterned top? It doesn’t necessarily have to include the colour of the bottoms as long as the pairing works.

      • I like the idea of a pattern. With a relatively bright color on the bottom (even a muted raspberry is going to draw the eye), a darker color on top could easily draw attention to your bottoms and away from your top. That may be what you want, but I’d think drawing the eye to your top would be more desirable, and a patterned top with a solid bottom should have that effect.

    • Green sounds fine, but I would also try a light blue if I am imagining the colour righ.

    • Don’t know your skin tone, but what about cream or white?

      Know you didn’t ask, but I totally recommend checking out the outlet part on the Lands End and Lands End Canvas site (or even better an inlet store if you have one nearby) as you do your search–they sell a huge variety of tankini separates and you can often get a really great discount.

    • new york associate :

      How about aqua?

    • Green could work, but it would need to be the right green to avoid watermelon-ness. I second the suggestions of navy, turquoise, and patterns. I also think pink looks awesome with red, burgundy, orange, and yellow.

  4. Yesterday’s discussion of gifted programs made me realize that you ladies might have some thoughts on something I have been struggling with recently.
    I work fulltime in finance and in my spare time run the Manhattan chapter of a well-known national middle school math competition (that I won’t name here so that this thread doesn’t come up in searches for the organization).  Participation among local schools is growing by leaps and bounds, which is fantastic. The problem is fundraising.  While the costs are by no means astronomical (still under $10k assuming we can continue getting most of our event space donated), it’s proving quite difficult to bank away a few years’ worth of expenses.  Via a pass-through from the competition’s national office, we do have 501(c)3 status.  Registration fees paid by the participating schools are not directed to the chapter, and I do not think it would be appropriate to ask the participants for an additional fee.
    I’ve put together a short slide deck explaining the organization, showing photos, offering rewards at different donor tiers (e.g., recognition on our website and t-shirts), etc. and sent it around to NYC businesses, banks, quant hedge funds, charitable trusts, etc. with very little response.  A few of my personal contacts who offered to share the request with the “right people” at their companies ended up donating personally, which was wonderful – but I’d really like some corporate sponsors.  I’ve seen events like Japan Day at Central Park that have managed to attract dozens of corporate sponsors, and I just feel like I ought to be able to attract a few.  Part of my frustration is that I do have a job and really can’t offer business-hour in person meetings (not that that’s been an impediment in any specific case), and just generally feel like this could be someone’s job.  Does anyone have any tips for me? 
    (And of course, if any of you work for a company that might be interested in sponsoring a great educational event like this, or if you’re local and interested in volunteering, that would be wonderful!)

    • You need a volunteer development/fundraising person. This is too much work for the president of the organization. Perhaps one of the students’ parents or an alum of the competition would be willing to volunteer? If that person works in development/fundraising, they may even be able to count it as a pro bono activity and schedule meetings during the workday.

    • Maybe you can coordinate with local professional organizations like ASCE, ASME, IEEE, etc, in terms of picking their brains for how to get a sponsor. I know they also have some educational programs for kids. Also, booze. People will come out and drink for pretty much any cause, so happy hours and trivia nights, etc, draw people in and they contribute (raffle off a t-shirt or whatever). I know EWB raises money for various projects that way.

      • You might be able to get small businesses to donate goods/services for a raffle. If a local restaurant is willing to give $75 because the owner’s child did the program, you could raffle off a $75 gift card to the restaurant and hopefully get more money for your org.

    • Almost done :

      As someone who recieves these requests, I can tell you that 99% of the time, regardless of how worthy the cause, I delete/discard them if they’re sent directly from the organization to me. The ones that get funded are the ones where an attorney/partner/etc submits it and says “we should do this. One of my client’s kids is in this program and it’s important to show them our support so they stay happy and keep sending me work.”

      So you need to work the connections of the participants’ parents, their service providers and clients and have them request it at their companies. We have a budget for how much we donate each year to organizations, and we’re not going to spend that money on a request that has no direct benefit for our firm. As much as I’d like to say most of corporate America doesn’t function this way, it’s what I’m seeing.

      • This. I currently worked in small law but when I worked in midlaw, our firm had a set budget for end of year giving and all employees could submit organizations that they wanted to receive donations. The employee-submitted orgs were the orgs that got funds, not the ones who sent solicitations.

      • Yep, this is unfortunately what I seem to be finding. I am still trying to decide whether I want to use my work email and reach out to professional contacts that way (I am client to many large institutions). I would want to run it by my boss and maybe our compliance folks, which I haven’t wanted to do… but perhaps I will.

        thanks for all the advice so far, everyone!

        • What about finding a list of past winners and seeing where they are now and asking them to ask their employers? I think going that route and also the parents of competitors is a good way to go because they will have personal connections. I know not all of the participants will have parents who are in a position to help like that, but some certainly will.

      • This may be true, but is so so sad for me to read. I use to teach in an under-privileged school, and when people talk about funding problems and lack of parental involvement… I think the inability to tap our parents as THIS kind of resource was our biggest problem, not state funding and not that parents care too little. This might be what Mathlete needs to do, but it saddens me that there aren’t more/better/more accessible options. Just as an aside.

    • proud geek :

      What about corporate sponsorship? My middle school team won the state math championship. An insurance company was the main sponsor of the competition and we had to pose for a billboard ad. They got good press, we had fun, and the competition got money.

    • anon in tejas :

      as a part time fundraiser, I think that you can easily raise a reasonable amount by just having an alumni social or happy hour and ask for a $100 donation. It may have a little cost in getting an invite out, but the return would be great, and easy to put together. Find a bar, find a date, etc. House parties are even easier. My charitable org (I was the board president for several years) just raised over $4K at a house party and $1600 at a birthday party earlier this year.

    • Hey, Mathlete, do you have contact info? I might be interested in volunteering!

    • Thanks again for all the great suggestions, everyone!

  5. Next time I’m planning to stand out in the roadway and direct traffic around a construction site, I’ll have just the top to wear. Not a fan of the color – would feel like a traffic cone.

  6. Callmemaybe :

    I’m feeling a bit stuck at my job (government attorney). However, I’m hesistant to make a move right now because I’m trying to get pregnant. Has anyone else switched jobs while trying to get pregnant/newly pregnant? I’m weighing the pros of staying (market is less than stellar, this job would be great while pregnant/a new mom, concerned about starting a new job and announcing my pregnancy a few months into it) vs. the pros of leaving (taking on a new challenge, better pay, advancing my career). Any thoughts???

    • What would you do if you weren’t trying to get pregnant? Trying is no guarantee that you’ll be pregnant on anything like your planned schedule–so my vote is to do what you’d want to do, regardless of Schroedinger’s uterus, and then if you are pregnant it’s a pleasant bonus.

      Also, I think it’s a little easier to work maternity leave in when you’re just starting a position. People have learned to work without you, you’re probably not fully up to speed as you’re learning the ropes–I’ve seen it work really well for at least two women.

      • omg, Schroedinger’s uterus! that is great.

        Maybe I’m a bit cynical or risk averse, but if your fertility is in good shape, I’d stick it out at hte old place, maybe try to get a start date at a new place 4 mos after giving birth.

      • Agree with this. I don’t want to be a downer here, but there are SO many things that can happen surrounding pregnancy. Just because you are trying to get pg doesn’t mean it will happen right away, or that it will be successful. Of course I hope you get pregnant quickly and have an uneventful pg & birth, but you just never know.

        Don’t leave before you leave, continue in your career as if you aren’t trying to get pg, and then when you actually do get pg you can start making other decisions. If you aren’t able to have a baby right away, where would you like to be in a year or two? Work towards that now, and re-evaluate as your family circumstances change.

    • AnonInfinity :

      You could always try applying and looking for other opportunities but then halting the job search if you haven’t found something else and you get pregnant.

      I’m a big proponent of the theory that you shouldn’t put your life on hold just because you are trying to get pregnant because you never know how long it’s going to take.

    • I have not done it personally, though I know others who have and it has worked out fine. Maybe a good solution would be to keep an eye out for and apply to “dream job” type positions or other great opportunities, but don’t quit your job or go full out into the job search (applying to every acceptable position) for right now.

      Do you have a specific job in mind or are you just feeling bored where you are? If the latter, is there anything you could do within your current agency structure to take on more/new re responsibilities and develop different skills?

    • academicsocialite :

      I changed jobs in February – almost 2/3 through my pregnancy. I decided that the stress of the transition was easier for me than staying in a job where I was unhappy. The other upside was that because I told my prospective employer I was pregnant, I was able to negotiate my planned leave/part-time return strategy before starting the position. But – and this is a big but – I was in a somewhat privileged position where I knew I was their top candidate, so I was able to have those conversations.

      I’m only 5 weeks into this mom thing, but I sense it’s easier to make a big life change before a kid is on the scene, rather than after. But other parenting veterans may disagree?

    • I am kind of conflicted on this, because I do think there is something to the whole “don’t leave before you leave” thing. But I also know that it can be very hard to start a new job with a newborn baby. I did that with my second child and it was so stressful. 2 years later, when I had my third and had been working at this job for a while, it was so much easier since I knew what to expect, had already proven myself, etc….

    • While there are plenty of success stories (and certainly you will hopefully be one), I will just remind you that the market still isn’t great for attorneys depending on your desired role/geographic area. I’ve been trying to get out of private practice litigation for 16 months and into government or in house with no luck. The jobs I’m best qualified for keep going to attorneys with more experience (I’m a 5th year).

      That being said, if you’re feeling stuck, why not apply to your desired places and see what happens? You can always turn down an offer if you decide staying would be better pregnancy/baby-wise and at the moment there’s no telling when you might get an offer or have a baby.

      Good luck!

    • Make sure you consider maternity leave. At my non-law job, FMLA doesn’t kick in until a year after you start and they offer no maternity leave otherwise. From what others have posted on this site, it seems like there frequently is not an established maternity leave policy at smaller law firms where FMLA would not apply. If you can negotiate leave or can afford unpaid leave, great, but I’d be especially wary if your current job offers paid leave.

      • Callmemaybe :

        Ladies – thank you for all the good advice. I absolutely agree about not leaving before you leave. And, you are right – no one know how long it will take to get pregnant. I supposed what gives me pause is that the market is not the greatest – and I think I’d need to do network, use contacts, etc. rather extensively (rather than casually apply) to get any traction. Appreciate all your thoughts! It gives me a lot to consider.

        • Well, it’s never a bad time to make some calls to catch up with folks and have a listen to what’s happening in the market place, even without the part about job-hunting or trying to conceive.

        • While I agree on not leaving before you leave, pretty much all of my lawyer friends w/ kids that “juggle well” have gov’t or in-house jobs, and the ones that don’t and burn out have law firm jobs. I would really consider staying if in the next couple of years you’re planning on some major changes like starting a family. In a new job, you have to establish your credibility and that can be hard to do if you’ve got a lot of personal stuff going on & you may actually hurt your career more than if you stayed (e.g. you aren’t able to handle it/do bad work/need to quit, etc.). If you are looking for a challenge/more money, what about trying to seek that out at your job now? Even if you can’t get promoted up into a new title, what about trying for new projects (create some of your own, even) or trying for a grade level promotion? I’m not trying to make sweeping generalizations, but this reads to me like there’s more reasons to stay given what you have going on in your personal life.

    • I’m planning to try to get pregnant very soon and just accepted a new position. I might hold of on trying for a couple of months but I’m at the age where time is limited so I can’t let my job be such a huge factor in the procreation game. This is something that weighted heavily for me when considering the new job but I couldn’t stay in a position where my key reason for not leaving was the fact that I wanted to be pregnant again and didn’t want to lose the disability benefits or FMLA coverage.

      You never know how things will work out when you start trying… it could take a month, it could take years. So I say go for it and figure out the job issues on a parallel track.

    • My data point to share is that I interviewed for a new job (but within the same company so the FMLA considerations didn’t apply) when I was 7 months pregnant, got it, and then had about 6 weeks in the new job before being on maternity leave. It all worked out very well (thanks in large part to a supportive manager and coworkers). Additionally, having a job I liked and was excited about made it a lot easier to come back from maternity leave.

  7. academicsocialite :

    Maybe this is a question Kat will need to answer, but is there a Corporette Moms newsletter/FB group? I’m now halfway through my maternity leave and am desperate for smart thinking about the challenges of being a career-minded new mom with style (any holy grails out there?). The forums on Babycenter just aren’t cutting it/are just too depressing. Thanks to the hive in advance for recommendations of other resources…

    • I have plans for one but haven’t started it yet. In the meantime check out; it’s my favorite mom blog.

      • academicsocialite :

        Thanks for the rec, Kat! And for the record, I think ‘Rette Moms would be a tremendous success if it’s something you end up adding to your media empire. :)

      • I’d be in for sure! Academicsocialite, I’m exactly halfway ML myself and find myself trolling Babycenter, kellymom, whattoexpect, etc. at 3am as well but nothing is as entertaining, consistently insightful, or thought-provoking as this site!

        • I’d be in as well… I was just thinking this morning that I would like an easy way to converse with the other moms-to-be or new moms on this website, other than catching random threadjacks (almost missed the one on Monday which was helpful when I saw a reference to it and went back and looked). I’m due in 12 weeks with my first, and I totally agree, academicsocialite, about the forums on babycenter… helpful for some things, but not for the issues about which I’d want advice from the wise ladies on site!

          I’ll check out hellobee too, thanks Kat!

      • In House Lobbyist :

        I like too for working mom issues.

  8. I actually love this top! Any suggestions for finding an inexpensive version?

  9. Sydney Bristow :

    I think the top is pretty, but it made me realize I should ask you guys for some shopping help. I’ve been hunting for short sleeve tops… anything with short sleeves actually. I’m a size 14/16 at Eloquii and fit in 18/XL at New York & Co. I feel like I’ve ordered and tried on everything they have that comes with short sleeves, so I’m looking for other suggestions. I don’t know if I’d fit in clothes from Ann Taylor, Banana, etc yet (although hopefully I will soon!) but I’m willing to try if anyone knows of short sleeve tops from those types of stores that run large. ideally I’d like things on the cheaper end since this is the 3rd wardrobe rebuilding I’ve done as I’ve been losing weight and I am still losing now. Any suggestions?

  10. About the top- I don’t want to seem negative, nosy, etc., but do you ladies really spend $148 on a top? I have three kids, and my husband is a SAHD, so I can’t imagine spending that much on one top, but I’ve been thinking more about impressions and investing in better pieces because, as explained below, I’m going back into the private sector and want to be sure to dress the part. But since the pay increase won’t be that much, I will still need to be conservative on spending. I guess I’m just looking for a reality check. How much money (household income) would you think needs to be coming in before someone spends $148 on a top?

    And to Callmemaybe- I would wait to transition from your govt job. I’ve done both Biglaw and govt (and am about to go back to Biglaw). I had three kids while at my current govt job, and I would not have made it through three pregnancies and three babyhoods otherwise. It has been super flexible, and I’ve loved every minute of it. You might not feel particularly challenged by your work now, but when you add in the little ones, a less challenging job is just right….. Good luck!

    • long time lurker :

      I work in NYC biglaw (no kids but H makes about what I do), and I would not spend that much money on a sleeveless top. A suit jacket for $150 yes, but not a top. But I am cheap about material items, and buy most things on sale so I suspect I’m not representative. I tend to spend my disposable income on vacations or experiences like good restaurants.

    • I would not spend $148 on a top and my income alone (with working spouse in Med Law) is in the six figures. But then again, my husband says I am cheap!

      • Thank you! That makes me feel better. I generally only buy things on sale, and, like you, I spend most of my money on other things that I prioritize over clothes like the house, college savings, and kids’ activities, etc. I really appreciate knowing that I am not the only one out there!

      • Yeah, same here. I like the top though and if I find something similar at Marshalls I’d get it to wear under a jacket. I wouldn’t wear it to the office by itself though.

      • My SO says I’m cheap too! I end up wearing the same things every weekend because I either can’t find things that fit or things I’m willing to pay for. I’ve even returned gifts from SO (think Prada or Chloe bags) because I couldn’t bear to think of how much they cost us.

        Now that I’m typing things out, I might be on the extreme side…

    • new york associate :

      Also NYC biglaw, with kids. I would never spend $148 on this top, though I agree it’s beautiful. I will spend for things like dresses, suit jackets, and if I ever found the Holy Grail of black pants, I would spend whatever it took to make them mine — but for a top like this, no way.

    • I’ve never spent that much on a top. In fact, other than a few nicer purses (which I found at outlets or at steep discounts at Marshalls type places) that cost at most couple hundred dollars, I think the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought was my wedding dress )and even that was a less than $1k). I have a lot of nice things in terms of brands and materials, but I probably never (maybe rarely) buy full price. I always wait for sales, I shop a ton at outlets/factory stores, and I make lists of what I need to fill holes in my closet and search around for those things so I can get the best deal. I also like to look at make and construction of things over brand alone. For example, I have found silk blouses at F21 or wool skirts marked down at Limited and I might pick those up over something poly and unlined/wrinkly at Ann Taylor that’s 2x as much (ie, I am not going to get something ‘just because’ it’s Ann Taylor).

      I think there are plenty of ways to buy nice things on a budget. It just involves patience in waiting for sales and a bit of persistence in terms of having to search for items at the best price. It also involves knowing what looks good on you and making solid outfit combinations that make you look polished. These things can convey a great image. You don’t obligatorily need a $150 top to do that.

      • Hehehehe! I hear you on the black pants. What is F21? I’m so new to this paying attention to fashion thing. I need all the help I can get!

        • Forever 21/the cr*ddy teen store. I rarely go in there but will occasionally trawl the Love 21 line racks for cheap (usually under $30) silk blouses that can easily be made casual for summer weekend stuff but also be layered nicely under suits and sweaters. I don’t think I buy much else from there, but I’ve definitely been pleased with the silk shells I’ve found.

    • I think there is also one intangible that comes into play when considering how much you’d pay for any item of clothing, and that’s how it makes you feel. If you feel like a million bucks when you put on this specific $148 top, then I think the cost is worth it. Nine times out of ten the expensive items won’t necessarily make you feel better, but when its the one time it does, in my mind that makes it worth it.

    • It really depends. I have spent that much on a top while making between 75 and 100 K, earlier in my career. But it was usually when the item was really flattering and something I could envision wearing regularly and for at least 2 years. The other thing is, I had less expenditures in general back then. No husband, no kids, no mortgage, no car. Now, my total household income is a lot higher now, but I have more expenses and I spend less on clothing, except for investment pieces like coats or boots.

    • Biglaw income. Would not spend more than $75 for a sleeveless top, no matter how nice (but that $75 would never, ever be full price for whatever it is – with the exception of Ferragamo shoes and DvF wrap dresses, which never make it to sale prices, I try to buy always at the “marked down twice and now on the 40% off rack” level so spend typically $100-200 on a dress that was originally $400-600… my wardrobe accumulates somewhat slowly as a result, but I love all my clothes!).

      • MissJackson :

        Also Biglaw income with a husband in midlaw. I was not immediately horrified by this price, but in racking my brain I can’t think of a sleeveless blouse that I’ve ever paid more than $75 for. I recently bought a very flattering tank at Talbots on sale for $35 and, frankly, thought that was a bit much!

        Most of my clothing is purchased on sale, and usually in the less than $100 price range. The exception are dresses and suit jackets, which I’m willing to pay a bit more for (although still in the less than $200 range, on sale). I don’t believe that I’ve ever bought something that was much more than $300 (except shoes — I have terrible feet and am willing to pay whatever it takes to not be miserable).

        At a certain point, I’m not convinced that paying more yields you better quality. I grant myself permission to try things on in just about every price range. On the occasion that one of those splurge items is a “holy grail” I will go ahead and buy it — but honestly I’ve only ever found a couple of those (and even then, they’ve been on sale). Off the top of my head, I can think of only one in the last couple of years — an Elie Tahari blazer that I was obsessed with for months, finally went on sale for roughly $300 and I bought it with no regrets.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I have not paid $148 for a top, but I think I do own tops that were originally $250. I can see why someone would pay $150 for this top, though I would not. I agree with newyorkassociate about Holy Grail clothing though – I just bought a dress at the Anniversary Sale for $364.90, which is more than I’ve ever spent on a dress other than my wedding dress (which I bought used ;) ). The dress will go back unless it really is the Holy Grail of a wool work dress with sleeves which I’ve been searching for for years, in which case I will probably have to keep it.

    • I’m single, no kids, no more school debt and in big law and still couldn’t bring myself to spend almost $150 on a top — especially one like this (very cute, but I can’t see it as a long term, wear all the time piece).

      It’s not a criticism of either Kat’s choices or other people’s spending habits, I’m just too cheap (I’d like to think of it as risk-adverse) when it comes to clothes. However, I do realize that I can and should start spending a little more money on certain quality pieces.

      I am interested in other people’s answers.

    • I recently spent over $100 on J Crew top and felt horrible about it at the time. But it is kind of a holy grail item for me – cotton, short sleeves, doesn’t need a jacket over it, really pretty, fun color, fits like a dream, polished for work – and I’ve gotten a ton of use out of it. So I think you have to consider your overall clothing budget and the use-per-wear potential of an item rather than the absolute cost if you are trying to get the most utility out of your wardrobe.

      • Oh, and FWIW, I’m on a government salary in an expensive city with massive loans.

      • I think everybody has the occasional splurge as such! I’m sure we can all think of the few random things we’ve bought that are over our budget but fill a gaping hole or we love to death. I think those things are okay. But usage and wear are definitely huge things to consider. That’s why my biggest ticket items are probably purses- I carry them every day and beat them up a whole ton with use, so I like them to be better quality. A silk shell I wear once every now and again doesn’t need to be quite as nice.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      If I liked, it? Yes.
      But I don’t shop until after bills, investments, retirement and college funds are funded, so if I like it and it makes me happy, feel pretty etc… when I wear it – I buy it.

      Same for the $4.99 top.

      • Research, Not Law :

        Pretty similar here, too.

        I don’t earn much, husband is SAH, two kids. I buy very little, but I will spend money on the right item. I only spend maybe $1k a year on clothes and accessories, but it’s a mix of steals and splurges.

    • DH and I both work corporate. I’m in finance and I can afford to buy a $148 top, but my poverty-laced blue-collar upbringing won’t let me without some serious thinking. It’s not that I won’t spend that amount of money on *stuff*, but it has to be good value as in:

      1)I think it’s well-made and will last several cycles of washing or dry-cleaning. (I’ve moved away from the Forever21/OldNavy stuff and some of the lesser Target stuff, too because they are so cheaply made. The rise of fast, cheap fashion is also why we’ve killed our U.S. textiles and sewing industry. Also, the export of jobs away from the U.S., as well as horrific abuses of workers abroad.)

      2)Is it versatile enough that I can get a lot of use out of it? I’m more than happy to spend the $300 on something I’ll wear several times every month than something $48 that I wear once and never again.

      3)Is it flattering and does it not require additional steps like going to tailor to take something in? If it requires the additional step of going to a tailor, I’m less likely to buy it, regardless of the price. I simply don’t have the time.

      For me, this top fails my second criteria. I could see myself wearing this once and never again. Or maybe never, not really sure where I’d even wear such a top. Don’t know about #3 as I haven’t tried it on, but Nanette Lepore is one of the few designers who’s trying to limit outsourcing and try to hire Americans (especially in the NYC garment district.)

    • One general theme I’ve taken away from a number of women on this site – we may have disposable income to blow on a $150 top, but d*mn if we don’t love a sale.
      In all seriousness, I’d never spend $150 on a top. Ever. On a really good purse, classic, super comfy pair of black pumps, or a pair of pearl or diamond studs – in general, something I would keep for a very long time and get a ton of wear out of – maybe, assuming I had the room in my budget.

    • 2 six-figure incomes, kids, low mortgage payments. No way I would pay $148 for a top.

    • I would, and have. Earning the equivalent of a big law salary but I pay <20%tax as I'm not in the US. And I'm not the primary breadwinner either.

    • I’m trying to change my mindset about clothing and buy fewer quality items. The cheaper items I’ve bought at places like Loft, F21, H&M etc all seem to disintegrate quickly. That being said, $75 is about my limit for tops and I never buy anything full price.

      • Public Relations :

        I would pay the equivalent for a dress or skirt, but for some reason, spending that much on a top gives me pause. But then I will regularly spend $500 on a pair of shoes. I make about $300K and husband (we have no kids, no student loans) makes around $180K.

    • I have definitely spent $148 on a top before…. And don’t think twice about it if I really love it.

    • I don’t think it is anyone’s business how much money you spend on a top and if you can afford it or not.

      Sorry but something about people saying that yes, in fact they could afford to spend X on something but choose not to because “that price is ridiculous” just really turns me off.

    • I also have 3 kids with a DH who has inconsistent employment (contract to contract). We have a low debt load (finally) but I still would never spend $150 on a top. I can’t see myself spending $100 on a top. Many reasons for this. First, I’m frugal. Second, woven tops rarely fit me properly. Third, I sew, so I can get the fit right and buy the fabric at a much lower price. I don’t count my time in the cost of a sewn garment because it’s my hobby. I shop sales, the thrift store, and sew my own.

      I’ve only purchased 3 clothing type items that cost more than $100 in my life – my wedding dress, a leather purse, and a Calvin Klein LBD. Not counting running shoes. Luckily I don’t need suits for my job.

    • Okay, I’m going to be one of the (what seems like tiny minority) that will volunteer that I have and I will spend $150 on a sleeveless top. I was raised middle class (<100K, single parent working, 3 kids), went to public schools, etc. so I know the value of money. However, I also am single, make 6 figures, and consistently work 80+ hour weeks. I'm not a big party person so I rarely go out and spend all that money on bars/drinks and I feel absolutely no guilt spending on nice clothing that I can afford and makes me feel so happy in my skin when I wear it.

    • I have, but that is probably the most I would spend on a top. I pride myself on having a small but very well-put-together wardrobe. I shop seldomly, purchase judiciously and am probably keeping my tailor in business. I’m in my mid-20s (no kids, no husband, decent salary), and most of my friends prefer having a larger wardrobe of cheaper (and more prone to falling apart) clothing in order to have more variety in their wardrobes. I’d rather have a smaller one full of pieces I love, can mix and match and I know fit me well – even if it means having to wear pieces every other week or so.

      Plus, in my small NYC apartment, it makes sense to have less!

    • I give myself a weekly allowance of what I call my “frivolous spending dollars.” I spend it on things that I love or that make me feel super-fancy, but that I otherwise would not be able to give myself permission to buy. I would (have) bought things like this, but have to save several weeks of frivolous money for it. And its still hard to get past the idea that I could get 15 other shirts for this price, but didn’t. In the end I can walk around saying to myself “I’m the richest person alive because this shirt cost me as much as 15 shirts!!!!” and since I’ve set aside money for that sort of totally unnecessary thing, I don’t feel guilty.

    • No. Not a chance. I’d spend that much on a dress, but not on a top that would also require a sweater/jacket and a bottom.

    • In a word, no…you do not need to be spending $100+ per item of clothing to fit into the private sector. If it fits in your budget and you love it, be my guest. However, it is by no means expected. Really, so long as you look sharp, no one will know (or care) how much you spent.

  11. I need a reality check.

    Yesterday I met one of the contractors that works with our group. Now the contractors are mostly kept separate but I was warned ahead of time, typical male dominated, chauvinistic, old boys club type mentality. Within the first ten minutes of this conversation he’d said the words “I’m resisting jumping your bones”. To make matters worse I tried to highlight the age difference between us and when he learned I was in my mid 20s he said something to the effect of “well now I feel like a pedophile”.

    I know this is sexual harassment but I have to work with these people and I’m not willing to martyr myself to make a point. I usually respond with either silence, a disapproving face, changing the subject etc. But yesterday I just got too annoyed. After a few lines like the above I cracked and said something to the effect of “I never date anyone that talks more than I do or spends more time in front of a mirror”.

    Now I think this is a very blatant “leave me alone” comment that doesn’t come off as harsh enough to ruin a working relationship. My Boyfriend maintains that this kind of comment constitutes flirting…..wth?

    • Ugh, I’m sorry. That’s totally icky. I do think, depending on your tone of voice, that your comment could have been perceived as flirting and not as the blatant “leave me alone” you were intending (in fact, if you want them to leave you alone, I would suggest being more direct – i.e., you don’t think these kinds of comments are appropriate, then change the subject). You’re teasing, which is why it comes across as potentially flirty.

      • The problem is that while we don’t have much face to face contact with them, they could very easily torpedo my ability to get work done. We rely on them to collaborate on a lot of things and I’ve seen time and again that they take offense to someone or for some reason they just don’t like working with one of the staff, and it becomes an uphill battle to get anything done. In essence, I tried my best to stay friendly (cause it would be really detrimental to get blacklisted amongst the contractors) but still be firm. But I would agree that I should probably be more direct in the future.

        I hate dealing with this kind of sh**.

      • Agreed. This isn’t the time to be witty or clever in any way, no matter what zingers are coming into your mind. You have to say something totally bland that will dump cold water on it. It’s not martyring yourself, it’s standing up for yourself. Good luck.

        • Poor you. Sounds like a rotten group to work with. I agree with the others that this requires a blunter response. Maybe a, “let’s not go there, Jim Bob” and refocusing on the work would help….though the pattern might need to be repeated a few times before this dimwitted geezer realizes he’s not the guy on the Dos Equis commercial.

          • Senior Attorney :

            “Let’s not go there, Jim Bob!”

            Love this.

          • Research, Not Law :

            I agree. This is the best way to handle it. Tell him to stop and move on with the task. Don’t continue the game by mentioning dating etc or explain that you’re too young, even to make a point.

            I’m sorry. I’ve had to deal with only relatively minor infractions, but they infuriated me and left me feeling really bad. I can’t believe he said that.

    • Or you could have said your boyfriend wouldn’t want you dating other men. If he’s halfway decent he’ll get the message and back off.

      • Respectfully disagree with this suggestion. If DC Darling was single, or dated women, this guy would still be being totally inappropriate. I also don’t like the idea that a man has to respect her boundaries because some other man would be offended if he didn’t.

        • Agree. It reinforces that women are property to be claimed by men. That if you aren’t with one, you’re “free to be grabbed” by the nearest, most pushy man.

          Additionally, in psychos, it sets up a clear obstacle. Normal slightly neolithic guy might back off, but psycho thinks: oh, i just need to murder the boyfriend and then she’ll be mine! Not saying this guy is a psycho or not, but there are some out there and this is how they respond.

      • Referring to my husband worked out well for me when I was in my 20s and 30s, in client-facing roles, with clients who occasionally had scuzzy behaviour. Yes, it would be infinitely better to call out inappropriate behaviour but sometimes you just have to pick your battles.

        I still think it’s valid advice though, so thanks DCM for putting it out there.

    • I would suggest saying something very direct but in a joking tone of voice and with a big smile. In response to the pedophile comment I would have said something like, “wow, you’re creeping me out here man. Do I need to start reporting you?”

      Also, if there is someone else in the room with you that is reasonable I would make aggressive eye contact with them when totally inappropriate things are said. A united front pushing back against these comments is sometimes more helpful, especially when your male peers join in.

      • Unfortunately we were alone. I mentioned that I talked about it with my mentor but she blew it off as nbd.

        Thankfully he’s leaving pretty soon so I won’t have to deal with him for much longer. But I take away a lesson about dealing with these types of people in the future at least. Hopefully his successor isn’t such a d***.

    • I have to agree with Ms. Manners below, I think the issue is that you mentioned dating at all (even in the form of an insult.) I’d say next time I’d think of a more polite way of telling him to leave you the f*ck alone.

      Like literally a disbelieving look and “Are you f*cking kidding me?” Sometimes a well timed f-bomb is all that gets through to a jack-*ss. Oh…and I’m really sorry that your work tolerates that sort of behavior, even from contractors. They really shouldn’t.

      • This is true. I actually HATE cursing but throwing around a few f*cks and sh!ts really makes working with men easier. So, add in a “Not this sh!t again” into your repertoire.

      • Yeah I’m starting to see how my comment may have been misconstrued. To put it in context it was right after he asked how my parents would feel about bringing home a white guy (I’m Middle Eastern).

        Went to my mentor and I couldn’t believe how casually she shrugged it off. It’s just institutionalized and her reaction more than anything made me the most angry. Thankfully there was no touching at all.

        I also like Bette’s suggestion. Possibly next time after he says something “and here I thought the contractors and skeezy creepers thing was exaggerated”. Thoughts?

        • I’d pull out the old “why on earth would you ask/say such a thing?”

          • Though I like your proposed response too :)

          • Use this response. I understand the urge to soften it with a joke, I really do (I hate dealing with this kind of stuff, too, and I don’t quite have the personality to pull off feisty easily), but you just need to make it clear that this is not an appropriate way to talk to you, period. I think with this kind of guy, even calling him “skeezy” might encourage him further (i.e., you’re still a challenge). A question like “why would you say such a thing?” makes it clear that he crossed a line and should not come across as so aggressive that he’d refuse to work with you in the future.

            Good luck. Again, I’m really sorry that you have to deal with this.

        • When you respond, do not do it in a joking manner. Doosh will think it’s ok. You should go for a serious or even angry tone. Do not back down, do not think you’re being mean, you have to stand up to this tool and all other tools. Unleash your inner Godzilla.

          Also, I had a Godzilla sushi roll yesterday and it was DELICIOUS.

          • I agree. Time to bring out some inner godzilla. Don’t dismiss the fact that he may be doing this to you partially because you’re young (you said your mid-twenties, right?) and partially because he thinks you come from a community that maybe allows him to treat you this way.

            So fight back a little. Don’t yell and scream, but be straight up with him. You don’t have to be polite in the face of this, even if you have to keep working with him…in truth if he sees that you have backbone, he’ll probably respect you more for it. And if he doesn’t, well then we’ll strategize more! Maybe we’ll put fish in his bottom desk drawer until he quits. ;-)

          • you fed godzilla to a godzilla?!

          • I like to think it was named in my honor. It had broccoli in it. Like eating trees. Which I do, occasionally, for the fiber, you know.

          • Godzilla went all straight up National Geographic channel graphic on us!!!!

      • I’m glad that we have these discussions on this site, because I tend to just get a deer-in-headlights-baffled look and then figure out what I should have said 20 minutes after something like this happens.

        • DC Darling :

          I’m worse. My gut reaction when I’m uncomfortable or awkward is a nervous laugh. Which only encourages more awkward and uncomfortable behavior.

    • I just want to say this is a symptom of this guy, so I would shut it down and not worry about how it effects the work relationship. I worked with a branch of the military, very old school mens club. inappropriate things for most work places were said (swearing like crazy, etc) I was only disrespected once, and I just said “that’s completely inappropriate.” he tried to do the “oh I’m just kidding” I just kept staring at him with a slightly raised eyebrow and didn’t say anyting. He gave me the “oh come on” and looked around the room for support. What he found were a room full of men glaring at him. He left then came back and apologized that afternoon, and I heard through the grapevine my supervisor also spoke to him. Don’t think you have to accept this type of mentality, you are in DC and its 2012.

      It sounds like you cracked two jokes (saying he was too old for you) I would not do that I think it does sound like flirting.

      You can still be civil after it.

      • I just wanted to add I have found (and this is obv different for different people) that I look silly when I give a straight “mean face” If someone says something inappropriate though, I have a great raised eyebrow look. My girlfriend saw me do it to a dude who said a gross pick up line to me. He completely fell apart.

        But to follow up on TCFKAG comment below, this look took me a bit to master. I think the first time a situation like that happened I think I turned red and might have laughed. Interestingly enough, once youve become a person who doesn’t take any sh*t, you get a lot less sh*t. I think it changes your demeanor.

        • Always a NYer :

          This. It took me a while to get down my “don’t f*ck with me look” but my friends/family/colleagues all know to back down when they see it, and on occasion have told others to do so. And I 100% agree with your last two sentences.

          • I developed my don’t f*ck with me look rather young, when I studied abroad in Italy my junior year at the ripe young age of 19-20. Men on the street there, when the caught site of some of my fellow student’s blond hair, would immediately glom on to us. I had a really good mean glare down by the time we left.

            When I got back I had to tone it down a little, I realized I was freaking people out on the street. But, it still comes in handy at times.

        • cosign everything you said in this thread.

    • BTW…you’re getting lots of tips on what to do if this guy or one of the other guys does this again, but know that this isn’t your fault. You’re young, this his presumably one of your first jobs, and we’re trained from a very young age as women to react to these sorts of things in just the way you did…with deflections and polite jokes, etc!

      So don’t feel bad. You’ll just be ready to get him if it happens again…which hopefully it won’t. Grawwwrrrr.

      • DC Darling :

        Practicing my B**** face now. Thanks ladies!

        And to eek’s point, yeah I’m floored at how this has been treated with such nonchalance by my mentor. More or less a shrug of the shoulders and a boys will be boys. I’m grateful at least that I now have a better strategy for the future. I’ll keep you guys updated if I see him again which is unlikely.

      • This. I made the same mistakes early on in my career. I just didn’t know what else to do.

        One trick that has been good for me: don’t make extended eye contact with men. It sends an “interested” signal instead of an “I’m paying attention” signal. Also, come up with a facial expression that says “I’m grossed out by this and you are weird”.

    • Want to add, yeah no more joking around. If it happens again, speak to his project/program manager. No one can talk to like that. I’m sorry your boss was such a DOOSH about all of this; she should’ve spoken to the on-site program manager about this. He should’ve been removed immediately from the project for talking to the client (you) like that. You’re not martyring yourself. This guy is straight up inappropriate and out of line. Write all of this stuff down, word for word please so you can start building a case.

    • “Really? I am resisting the urge to break one of your bones. Don’t speak to me like that again.” That probably doesn’t preserve the relationship though.

  12. Ms. Manners :

    Hmm, I think it might come across as flirting, even though to you it sounds harsh. Because to him, he’s just going to see it as a challenge. Saying “I don’t date guys with [x characteristic]” sort of implies, “If it weren’t for [x characteristic], I’d date you.” So in his mind, he’s thinking, “I bet I can sway her.” It’s a classic romcom scenario! Boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, but girl doesn’t date [actors/lawyers/artists/politicians] because she comes from a family of [actors/lawyers/artists/politicians] and knows what they are all about, after a series of mishaps boy convinces girl he is worthy and they live happily ever after.

    So yeah–don’t say “No. I don’t date your type.” Say “No. You are acting inappropriately.”

    • I hate it when my bf is right.

      Noted and will do in the future. Thanks.

    • This. He’s a doosh and if you have to indulge him with dooshspeak so he understands you, do so. So when he says his next inappropriate comment, be ready to stay something back. Rehearse it with your bf so it comes naturally.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Agree with Ms. Manners and my deepest sympathies that you have to deal with this. I was s3xually hara$$ed by a colleague a few years ago and it was just awful. Don’t do anything that could be remotely construed as flirty even by someone with serious boundary issues. Maintain a personal space bubble and professional conversation at all times, so if you do have to go to your bosses, there can be no question as to whether you were “sending mixed signals.”

      • This is all great advice. You can also always go the Hax route, and simply say, “Wow.” (Hard stop. Then, if necessary, “That’s completely inappropriate.”) Don’t say anything else. Let the silence hang (assuming he doesn’t pummel you with excuses). It *will* be awkward. Just go with it. Once you make it through one of these scenarios and react appropriately, it is empowering, and they become much easier to handle in the future.

  13. I am wearing the eyelet suit that somebody posted about from Lord & Taylor, and I freaking lurve it. It’s really classy and beautiful, and tons of people have been going on and on about it today.

    I love this top also. Unfortunately, $150 is still a little too high for me.

    • I am wearing an eyelet dress! I laughed when I read the “eyelet – yuck” statement above. To each their own I guess. Meanwhile, I am also totally considering the eyelet blazer in the JCrew sale….
      PS: I remember that suit – it was really cute. So glad you got it!

    • I’ve been saving some beautiful eyelet fabric – midnight blue with a circle design, both girly and dignified. Will get round to having it made up as a dress some day but happy just to admire for now.

    • Yay! I am the one who posted that, really glad someone out there is enjoying it. It’s a little too frilly for my workplace and I didn’t have money for it anyway.

    • Eyelet is one of my favorite summer fabrics! TO each their own, to be honest over 70% of the stuff on this blog I really don’t like, so who knows (for example, that cheap looking eighties graphic print jacket a week or so ago. . . ugh!. . . but others liked it).

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      I was seriously considering buying that too! I may give it a second look now after your positive review.

      • It is so pretty. The fabric is even more gorgeous in person. It is sort of a bold print, so if you have a largely neutral wardrobe, it may be difficult for you to feel like you can pull it off, but I certainly don’t think it’s too much for big law.

    • Migraine Sufferer :

      I love eyelet. And lace. I like texture. Anyway- I would wear it to work, but I’m a solo so I can wear whatever I want.

      I also love the top- but he red color is too much for my complexion and $150 is too much for this particular shirt.

  14. SF Bay Associate :

    Just hit the Nordie’s Anniversary Sale online (early access for cardholders) and may have found the holy grail: a v-neck wool dress with *sleeves* **to the elbow.** It’s Boss Black, comes in a lovely medium blue color called “peacock”, $364.90 instead of $550, item 558900. There’s also a pencil skirt with a flounce hem in the same color for $183.90. I have another Boss Black dress I got on super clearance that fits great, so I am hopeful that, despite the high price, I finally will have a tailored wool dress with non-cap sleeves. If it does fit, it will sit in my closet for the next two months while I wait to see if it goes on hard markdown for a better discount after Labor Day. But I’m excited at the mere prospect of a sleeved wool dress.

    FYI, I also saw a classic Burberry hooded trench with a button-out liner for $700 (which I did not get).

  15. SF Bay Associate :

    Ooops… peac*ck.

    Just hit the Nordie’s Anniversary Sale online (early access for cardholders) and may have found the holy grail: a v-neck wool dress with *sleeves* **to the elbow.** It’s Boss Black, comes in a lovely medium blue color called “peac*ck”, $364.90 instead of $550, item 558900. There’s also a pencil skirt with a flounce hem in the same color for $183.90. I have another Boss Black dress I got on super clearance that fits great, so I am hopeful that, despite the high price, I finally will have a tailored wool dress with non-cap sleeves. If it does fit, it will sit in my closet for the next two months while I wait to see if it goes on hard markdown for a better discount after Labor Day. But I’m excited at the mere prospect of a sleeved wool dress.

    FYI, I also saw a classic Burberry hooded trench with a button-out liner for $700 (which I did not get).

  16. I’m also hitting up the Nordstroms Online Sale — so far I just have a couple of The Skirts in my “shopping bag”…haven’t found too much else yet, but then again my computer is sooooo slow.

    • I think it is their site. It is not letting me check out.

    • The site is down completely… annual sale pre-shoppers are out in force!! I have some Via Spiga pumps waiting for me when it comes back up, and a sweater blazer I’m praying works!

      • I cant get on either. So frustrating

        • I finally completed my purchases. I had to break it down into several transactions to make sure the site didn’t crash and I would have to start over. When I first filled up my shopping cart, it crashed and I had refill all my anniversary sale picks, although an item I had left in there that was not part of the Anniversary Sale was still there.

          I’m on WW and losing weight, so I didn’t get any hosiery, suits, pant or skirts. I am in the market for low heel black boots, so I picked up three pairs and will choose one and return the others when they arrive. I got some tanks for layering, some lingerie, and a grey Ted Baker purse. I’m very tempted to get a Burberry trench in Peat. I bought a Burberry trench in black at a NAS two years ago and still love it and wear it every year. I have not been able to find Burberry trenches marked down less than they are at the NAS (just under $700).

    • MaggieLizer :

      I’m resisting the Skirt. I already have three, I shouldn’t get more right? But so many pretty colors….

    • Ok, site appears to be working at least intermittently. To the bane of my bank account, that is. I’m diving in and trying my first Skirt(s)!

    • I tried on The Skirt today and it fits differently! I’m afraid they might have redesigned it for the Anniv Sale! Anyone else have that experience?

      • How does it fit different, can you explain?

      • I wouldn’t be surprised if they redesigned it. Nordstrom does that sometimes. They did it with their Caslon scoopneck tee shirts. They were hugely popular and got great reviews two years ago, then they redesigned them to make them tighter and lower cut and lots of people complained in the reviews. They redesigned them again and the ones they sell now look like they have a higher neckline. I believe that sometimes the buyers at Nordstrom think, “We have a great product that a lot people love. Let’s cr@p all over it.”

  17. I saw that dress too and loved the peac*ck color and the sleeves, but I wish the neckline were higher! I have a feeling the V-neck will look too low on me.

  18. I’d love to get the hive’s opinion on this jacket that I got from the Limited. It’s cute and fits well, but I’m not sure about it – I’m not sure if the print is too much, or it’s too young looking or what. I’m in my late 30’s. It’s the lightweight schoolboy jacket in the pink print. Link to follow.

  19. Okay… since we have boundaries on the table today, here’s my problem. I posted a week ago about my “work husband” paying more attention to me than I was really comfortable with, and I am beginning to think that I want a work divorce. I did not realize the first time that I agreed to go out to lunch with him, just the two of us, that I would be agreeing to a standing weekly lunch date with him forever more. I did not realize that giving him my phone number would be an invitation for him to text me every time he thinks of me when we’re not at work (asking if he passed me on the road, wishing me well in a race over the weekend, giving me directions for how to get to a dinner party… none of this was solicited by me).

    I had also complained about missing an opportunity to suck up to my boss when she complained about having a bladder infection (don’t even get me started on that) and another clerk brought her a bottle of cranberry juice. When I returned from vacation last week, I found a bottle of cranberry juice on my desk with a note from him that said, “To earn ‘good clerk’ points.” I think he’s lonely at the office. I’m not convinced he’s trying to woo me, per se, but I’m not comfortable with the level of attention, either. I brought it up with a co-worker and she said she’d noticed he was paying too much attention to me and warned me that if she’d noticed, other people probably had, too. Thoughts? I don’t want to be mean, but I don’t like the way this is going, either.

    • AVOID AVOID AVOID. Also, do not respond to his texts. Completely freeze him out. It is awkward and hard but do not speak to him unless it’s about work. I literally walked away from my coworker yesterday when she asked me about smtg I posed on facebook two weeks ago (yes, I should have listened to my inner voice not to add her when she requested to be my friend for the farmville neighborship and I will listen to my inner voice now to completely limit all the things from her).

      • This is just over the top mean and would not compltetly freeze him out. That’s a sure fire way to turn someone who could be an ally into a foe and seems drama queen dramatic and over the top “mean girl”.

        Just next week tell him you have other lunch plans and don’t respond to the texts. He’ll get the point (maybe just a little slower than others).

        • Perhaps my writing is dramatic but I am Godzilla, after all. She has a clear issue with setting boundaries with her coworker. Obviously, her coworker doesn’t understand that she is uncomfortable with innocuous behavior that is seemingly harmless but unprofessional. I agree with the others that context regarding her work environment is important (small office vs large office, etc).

          From your other comments, I’m also going to play the assume game also and guess that you haven’t had the pleasure of coworkers going beyond the norm of typical professional encounters. When you’re stuck in that kind of a situation, you know that it’s not ok and you just want to make it ok. It’s hard to understand that being nice and sociable with some people is not appropriate because they don’t understand that bff-ness is not ok in most offices.

          Also, perpetually postponing lunch plans and ignoring texts isn’t going to mitigate her concern. For better or worse (no pun intended), January and coworker have developed a very close relationship. Once she changes the tone of the relationship to something acceptable to her, the lunch dates and texting issues will resolve themselves. Those are symptoms, not the issue at heart.

          • I’m in my late 30’s biglaw previously, gov now, and in every office I worked in I have made a BFF and wouldn’t trade them in the world. Hence, I don’t relate at all to this: “being nice and sociable with some people is not appropriate because they don’t understand that bff-ness is not ok in most offices. “

          • Freezing him out is just mean and also a little wimpy. I think the appropriate and gracious thing to do is talk to him about it in person. Try not to make a huge deal out of it, but a few sentences about his gestures being a bit too much for you right now will help set some boundaries. Otherwise, he’ll just be confused and you’ll let a valuable working relationship go completely sour.

          • Making a BFF and behaving like a BFF at work are two very different things. I work in govt, too. The behavior January describes would not be taken well here by anyone, especially the higher-ups. If it’s acceptable for your office, then congratulations.

            As for freezing people out, ymmv. It’s something I’ve had to resort to because direct actions didn’t really take. Shrug.

    • Eek. In light of this new information, it does seem like much too much. I would start by getting out of lunch for a few weeks–e.g., “Can’t do lunch today; Imade plans with [someone who is clearly a friend, not a supervisor/potential client/etc].” If he says something like, “But Tuesday is our day,” you need to explain that you can’t commit to a weekly “date.” Also, ignore his off-time texts to the extent that you can. If you respond right away (or at all, to the more banal ones), you make it seem like they are welcome. Sorry you’re going through this–you sound like you are looking at it with compassionate eyes, but that doesn’t mean its easy.

    • long time lurker :

      I agree with everyone’s comments to not respond to the texts and make other plans for lunch. You can also call yourself from your cell phone (under your desk) if he comes to talk to you and you need space. It also sounds like this coworker needs more actual work to do so he would have less time to focus on you. Not sure that’s in your control but just an observation.

    • new york associate :

      Are you guys clerking for a judge? If so, then I think the parameters are slightly different because clerkships are so intimate and cloistered. But what I’d do is IGNORE the texts and EXPAND the lunches. (Sorry about the caps; I feel very Ellen today.) No more standing lunches with just the two of you. Invite other people, whether co-clerks, deputies, WHOEVER. But open up the social circle.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      What about having an open discussion with him about it? Are you in a relationship? If so you could say “hey, I’ve enjoyed our friendship but I’m not comfortable with the amount of attention you have been paying me lately. Just to be clear, we are work friends and nothing more. Please do not text me about non-work related stuff.” If you are in a relationship, you could say something like “I wouldn’t be comfortable with my husband receiving such texts so I would also prefer not to receive them.”

    • I think you can try handling this directly before you resort to straight up ignoring him. Just say something like “Look X, my co-worker said people were starting to wonder about our relationship because of the thing you left on my desk and also our weekly lunch dates. I really don’t want to give anyone the impression we’re crossing a line when there is really nothing going on. I think we should try to include the other clerks more from now on, so I invited Y and Z to lunch with us on Wed.”

      That’s enough to make the point w/o accusing him of anything. If he doesn’t get it (or worse, reacts by making an overt move), then resort to ignoring him.

      • Ada Doom Starkadder :

        Yes, I like KK’s approach, because it gives him the benefit of the doubt.

        It’s a lot harder to do, requires more effort on your part, but it’s more honest and generous.

        • Totally! Sometimes the hardest thing is the best thing in the long run. More effort up front will mean far fewer problems down the road. He seems to be a thoughtful person who would make a great friend (maybe not for the OP, but for some other person in his life) and it would be so cold to just drop him altogether because it’s not convenient anymore.

      • new york associate :

        I really like this.

    • Thanks for all the advice, everyone. I am not in a relationship; he is married, however. I actually think I would find this situation less awkward if we were both in relationships (but on the other hand, I also find him overly interested in my not-too-active dating life). We are law clerks and I have been trying to include other clerks in our lunches to try to minimize the appearance of an exclusive relationship forming, but that totally backfired last week when one of the interns stuck his foot in his mouth and offended my overly friendly friend, leading him to instruct me not to invite the intern to our lunches anymore, because he made “both of us” uncomfortable. I do feel badly about it – I think he is trying to be nice, but I guess I’m not as interested in developing a close friendship as he is. :-/

      • Anonsensical :

        Are you clerking in a city that’s new to both of you? When I was interning at a district court, I noticed the clerks were a pretty tightly bonded bunch. It struck me as odd until I realized none of them really knew anyone else in town.

        • Nope, we both grew up here (but went to law school elsewhere). He dated a close friend of mine when we were all in college, but I went to school in another state so we were more acquainted than friends at the time. He comes from a large family and spends most of his free time with them, though he seems to have some friends here and in the city where he went to law school that he visits. Clerking is an oddly claustrophobic environment, and I do think part of the problem is the cliquishness of the clerk class – neither he nor I quite fit in, though I’m not sure that we fit with each other as well as he seems to think, either (and maybe therein lies the problem – I am thinking we are work friends and he is thinking we are friends friends).

          • Seattleite :

            January, he “instructed” you? And assumed that you were “both uncomfortable?” Look, you know the guy and I don’t, but that’s beginning to sound fairly controlling and creepy to me. (I shill this book a lot, but have you read “The Gift of Fear?”)

            I’m now wondering if you need to shut this ish down explicitly rather than implicitly.

  20. Mark you calendars ladies: DC meetup one week from today. Location TBD. Email me at dccorporette at yahoo dot com for more info or with suggestions

    I’m drawn to the color of this shirt but not the flower applique.

Add a comment.

Questions? Check out our commenting policy. Tech problems? Please report it to the tech team.