Thursday’s TPS Report: ‘Refined Silk’ Blouse

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

Classiques Entier Atelier 'Refined Silk' BlouseOooh: gorgeous silk blouse from Classiques Entier Atelier. I love the cowl neck and the darts near the waist, as well as the fact that it’s made of a silk/spandex combo. I might wear it with a light gray or crisp white for the office, or even a nice navy suit. It was $128, but is now $64 at Nordstrom. (It’s also available in plain white.) Classiques Entier Atelier ‘Refined Silk’ Blouse

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Comments

  1. Gorgeous gorgeous top I’d love to own.

    A quick update; I managed to exchange my shoes this morning, and found a rec to a place that should stretch these out a tad too. My feet seem knobblier than they should be which needs attention in its own right I suppose. Thanks all for the support and advice!

  2. Legally Brunettte :

    This is pretty, but I find CE Atelier clothes really frumpy on me (not CE, just the CE Atelier line).

    • AnonInfinity :

      I agree. I think this looks a little frumpy, even on the model. But I love the idea of the top.

    • I bought a CE blouse in two colors this summer. It did look frumpy when worn untucked (and I think it ran quite large, so that was part of the problem.) However, when tucked in, it looks much better. The silk fabric is beautiful. It’s one of my favorite basics.

      You just have to be the boss of your clothes, I think.

      • Legally Brunettte :

        I could see that, butI am so short waisted that tucking looks silly on me. I wish I looked good in tucked tops!

      • Hmm, maybe that is my problem – I am letting my clothes be the boss of me!

      • I love CE silk; I think it’s gorgeous quality. I often won’t wear silk because if I get it the least bit damp it gets this fishy smell to it (am I the only one?) but CE doesn’t. The heft is nice, it has a beautiful sheen to it but not shiny. I heart them. I would buy this in a heart beat except I won’t be able to wear it for months.

  3. I like the neckline on this top. Really pretty! I just can’t wear silk. Something about the texture that I don’t like.

    Update: Yesterday was a pretty awful day – I spent the afternoon dealing with an emergency over fire code violations in our building that came to light because of the move. Thanks to the calm and competence of the project manager from our movers, we have a resolution. Needless to say, the last thing I wanted to do was come home and have a confrontation with my SO. He came in, we talked, he acknowledged that he had been an a$$, I acknowledged that I had blown up what started out as a joke, he tried to say he’s “old and can’t change” and I point-blank told him that’s BS. He also admitted that he wakes up every morning and freaks out about the date he set for his move and he’s rethinking it. Then I burned dinner and blah blah blah.

    I’m off for a long weekend with my family. Hoping to get some rest and relaxation. Today is my nephew’s 16th birthday and I am the surprise! I can’t wait. He’s going to die. He’s been bugging me for days to set a date to come visit and he has no idea it’s today.

    Thanks all!

  4. AnonInfinity :

    A small dilemma — My 1 year workiversary is coming up, and I’m thinking about writing thank you notes to a couple of the people who have helped me a lot. My firm does not have a formal mentoring program. Cheesy? Suck up? Good idea? I can’t decide.

    • Would you like to receive such a note yourself? I would. If you would, too, write em up.

    • At my workplace this would seem kind of odd. What about just a quick email to people to thank them for what they’ve done? That would seem less awkward, especially if you can tie it into recent events. (“Our client loved the final result on Project X–thanks for helping work out Issue Y!”) Nothing wrong with thanking people, its just the idea of a written thank you note out of the blue that could be weird.

      • Especially since its the “1 year” anniversary. This is def a know your workplace situation. It could come off as kind of try hard, or it could be very nice. It sounds like you’ve worked with them enough to know how it would come off, so just trust your gut

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      I brought in food for my 1st year anniversary. I got a nice cheesecake (from the Factory) and arranged for the secretary to invite everyone to the conference room at 3pm as if we were celebrating a birthday. I then took the opportunity to thank them for a great year. In retrospect, I was the only associate to do this (small firm) and the other associates did think I was sucking up. It came from the heart, but if I had to do it all over again I’d go more low key with breakfast tacos (can you tell I’m practicing in Texas?) or breakfast bagels and cream cheese.

      • Anon for this... :

        A coworker of mine brought in a cake for his anniversary, and it actually said “congratulations” on it. He then sent out a sappy email thanking everyone and reflecting on his time here. Lets just say it got him alot of attention, and it was not the nice kind, so definately know your office on this one!

        • Whoa. Bringing a cake for yourself that says “congratulations” on it is pretty weird.

          I wouldn’t write thank you cards like the OP suggested. I’d take those people out to lunch instead and let them know in the invitation that it’s a “thank you” for everything they’ve done over the past year.

      • +1000 awesomeness points for the breakfast tacos.

        Even if you were sucking up, I’d have appreciated the gesture. ;-)

    • Good idea if this is your 1st year in the work force – most people regard supervising incoming graduates as a pain and it is a lovely thought to acknowledge the nice folks who’ve gone out of their way to settle you in.

      Perhaps a tiny bit cheesy if it’s merely your 1st year at your current workplace and you are addressing your colleagues, not your superiors. But I’d go for it if I really had a heart-felt thank you.

    • I would be touched to receive such a note from a junior colleague. I think that anyone who takes the time to mentor a colleague is the type of person who would appreciate your gesture.

    • I think it’s a nice touch. Someone once told me that when it comes to thank you notes, if you feel moved to write one, do. I am in the south, but I think it’s a nice gesture. If you feel cheesy, perhaps organize a celebratory lunch, and in the e-mail say “Please join me for lunch to celebrate my “anniversary” at [the firm]. Thank you so much for all of your help this year!”

  5. NAS order review: I tried the BOSS Black grey suit and sheath dress (Diotta) and they were a complete bust. The jacket is way too long and made my short legs look shorter; the sheath is too low cut and the waist hit me too high (I’m long-waisted).

    Halogen sleeveless tie-neck blouse was also a bust; it’s long in back, shorter in front, and so short on the sides that I couldn’t tuck it in with a potential skin gap to show.

    Got The Skirt in grey; the waist seems a little tighter than the previous design but the same size still fit.

    Also got the Halogen boiled wool peplum jacket. LOVE. It’s a peplum that would look great on anyone. Can’t wait to wear it.

    Also got Vince Camuto Parker satchel — amazing new work bag. It’s light and chic but I’ll still be able to shove a file folder and my laptop and a pair of shoes in it. The grey color is fabulous — I think it will go with everything and it’s more exciting than black but still professional.

    Given the bust of the BOSS Black dress, I’m going for the Calvin Klein ponte knit sheath dress. Anyone tried it?

    • Re: the Halogen boiled wool peplum jacket, I also adore it but can’t decide if it maybe runs a smidge large — is yours a bit loose? I got the black and think it’s a bit more casual than I expected, but I still love it.

      Re: the Calvin Klein ponte sheath ( assuming we’re talking the “seamed” ponte knit sheath dress) — that is my favorite buy of the sale. I am hippy with a small belly & found it to be too loose in my usual size. I reordered the grey (which is lovely) in a size down, and threw in the burgundy for good measure. Very very flattering and easy to wear.

      • SoCal Gator :

        What do you think of the Calvin Klein color blocked ponte sheath (item 540038)? I tried it on and it fit like a glove but was concerned it might be too busy so did not get it but am still considering it.

      • I didn’t think the Halogen jacket was too loose although I usually err on the side of bigger with their stuff. I’m a size 8 and got the M.

        Good to know about the ponte sheath dress! Ordering it now (plus The Skirt in bright blue).

    • Not a cardholder :

      Thanks for posting this! I was contemplating the same BOSS Black pieces, but was wondering about those very issues (neckline on the sheath, length of the jacket.) These reviews from all of you pre-sale shoppers are super helpful.

    • downstream :

      I agree with your assessment of the Boss dress & jacket. I’m short waisted – the dress was waay too low cut for me but the fit otherwise agreed with me.

      Want to add a review for the CE yellow ponte dress – it’s beautiful but NOT made for women with curves. I have what Kat refers to as a “bubble butt” and my butt was extra bubbly in this dress. I even ordered a size up and it was still ridiculously tight in the rear. If you are more of a pancake tushie, this might be great.

    • AliceClone :

      I cannot find The Skirt online — can someone post a link? Thanks!

  6. I haven’t tried this exact blouse, but I’ve had my heart broken by several similar CE and CE Atelier blouses due to the side zip, which creates a stiff, noticeable solo-love handle effect when tucked in. Maybe this one is different, but one of the online reviews mentions that effect. If anyone has any solutions, I’m all ears!!

  7. LOVE this top. Great pick!

  8. 2/3 attorney :

    Quick early TJ question – a “pleated vent” means it’s not just a ridiculous slit, it has fabric in the vent right? Wondering if y’all think this skirt looks weird. L ink to follow-

  9. Woods-comma-Elle :

    A rather specific question fo any NJ/NYC PATHcommuters out there:

    I need to make my way from Newark to Manhattan (Financial District) and NY transit reliably tells me that I can get the PATH to WTC. My question is, this being a commuter train, is it mega busy? I will need to take it around 9am on Wednesday with a suitcase and if it’s cray-cray, I may need to reconsider my options. I’m hoping it won’t be too bad as the line appears to start at Newark, but any tips from regular commuters would be appreciated!

    • Yes, it’s crowded. Very crowded. But doable. Are you coming from Newark airport? Regardless, a train leaves every 5 min or so, so I would suggest waiting for a new train to come and get yourself a seat by the door at the end of the car. Be ready to sprint out at WTC.

      Alternatively, you can take NJTransit to NY Penn Station and take the subway down but the subway is MISERY for luggage.

    • Yes, it’s crowded. Very crowded. But doable. Are you coming from Newark airport? Regardless, a train leaves every 5 min or so, so I would suggest waiting for a new train to come and get yourself a seat by the door at the end of the car. Be ready to sprint out at WTC.

      Alternatively, you can take NJTransit to NY Penn Station and take the subway down but the subway is MISERY for luggage.

    • I think it is the best option – go for it.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Thanks – I’m staying in a hotel at Newark Airport as I get in super-late the night before.

      • hellskitchen :

        If you are coming from Newark airport, I highly recommend taking the bus that leaves from every terminal *every 15 minutes*. It will drop you off at Port Authority, Bryant Park or Grand Central and you can take a quick cab from there. It costs less than or almost the same as the train but is super convenient since the operators will handle your luggage. Link to follow but in case I am stuck in moderation, google Newark Liberty Airport Express.

        • Oh yes, I’ve done this before and it is Awe.Some.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          Not at rush hour. bad, bad idea. It once took me like 2 hours on the bus. Take Amtrak or the Path. I’ve tried all the options and like Amtrak the best, but it takes you to Penn Station. If you’re coming to the Financial District, take the PATH. Note that you can’t get on the PATH directly at the airport–you either have to take the AirTrain to NJ transit and take NJ transit one stop to Newark, or take a bus from the airport to the PATH station (or a cab, I suppose)

        • I second this. It is great. Just note though, in my experience, it isn’t exactly every 15 minutes (more like 20-25).

      • hellskitchen :
      • Take the train from the Newark airport to Penn Station then grab a cab on the 8th Ave queue. Avoid the taxi queue on 7th Ave at all costs.

  10. Great blouse!

    After a somewhat raucous happy hour with coworkers, I was too lazy to go all the way uptown to my apartment and just crashed at my boyfriend’s nearby one. I realized too late that the top I keep there (for situations like this) requires a different bra, so I’m wearing my (clean!) t-shirt for the gym — an old, gray v-neck. I dressed it up as much as I could by tucking it into some black cigarette pants and adding jewelry and bright heels. My office is business-casual (emphasis on “casual,” especially in the summer), so I’m not conspicuously underdressed, but I feel like a schlub!

    Oh well. Everyone’s allowed to be off their game once in awhile, right?

  11. Tired Squared :

    Love this top! I’ve been looking for tops like these for under suits — they still look appropriate when I’m back from court and I want to take my jacket off…

  12. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    So I received this dress (link to follow) in the mail. Didn’t work for me because the skirt was too straight, but wanted to let you ladies know the quality of the fabric was amazing and it had a good weight, but was light enough to wear in the summer. For someone with a straighter body, this would be wonderful. Definitely worth the price.

  13. My first purchase from a [this site] rec! I hope it works!

  14. Anon job seeker :

    Love the cowl neck on this blouse.

    TJ:
    I am applying for a job at a very progressive company and a question on the application and to be discussed in the interview is what is the theme song of your life? I am stumped. Obviously it should be positive and empowering and I prefer something from the 80’s or 90’s. Any ideas?

  15. I have what may be a silly question. If my moisturizer has SPF35, my primer has SPF20, and my foundation has SPF15, in theory am I wearing SPF70? I’m very fair and always make sure I wear a high SPF but can never find a high one in anything other than straight SPF, which isn’t my favorite. Thanks.

    Also, any good recommendations for light body lotions with an SPF higher than 15?

    • Nope, you’re wearing SPF35. Sorry the math doesn’t work out that way. Neutrogena has a babillion lotions with high SPF values.

    • And don’t forget, physical (anything “oxide”) is best, vs. chemical (avebenzone, etc.), and everything needs re-ap after 2 hours. So a sheer powder with an oxide spf that you can carry in your purse or stash in desk and re-ap before lunch break, commute, or date night is super-duper handy.

    • As a fair-skinned, redhead, I relate to the need for lots of sun protection, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Also, you really don’t need SPF higher than 30 because it isn’t any more effective. What you need to do is reapply your SPF every two hours. If you can find a powder with SPF 30, that is easiest to reapply without messing up your makeup.

    • Sunscreen drives me batty. Why are they always changing the rules? And why do we have to reapply it approximately every 30 seconds??? FOOEY!

      Sorry, this subject frustrates me for no particular reason. I know there are serious risks involved and I don’t want to offend anyone who’s suffered from skin cancer. This is just a rising pet peeve.

      • For the longest time, products were advertising having high SPF because that’s what consumers thought was important. But SPF only relates to UVB rays, which generally cause burning, not UVA rays, which cause skin aging and cancer, generally speaking. So, a product can have an SPF of 80 or 100, but still allow just as many UVA rays in! Drives me nuts how “high SPF” is marketed as something that will protect against skin cancer and skin aging.

      • UVA rays cause skin cancer and aging, generally. UVB rays cause burning, generally. SPF relates to UVB rays–not UVA rays. So, a product can have SPF of 80 or 100 and still do almost nothing to protect against skin cancer and aging. There’s a lot of misleading advertising out there related to sunscreen. That’s why sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are best–they are physical blocks so block both UVA and UVB rays, whereas avobenzene (I believe) blocks only UVB rays by causing them to “scatter” when they reach the skin. Blocking UVB rays without blocking UVA rays is particularly harmful because burning is a “sign” that you’ve spent too much time in the sun. So, by using products with high SPF and no UVA blockers, you’re getting tons of damaging sunlight, and yet eliminating your body’s ability to tell you!

        Even worse, there is some evidence that products containing avobenzene may actually contribute to skin cancer.

        I was pretty floored when I realized the sunscreen I had been wearing all these years was effectively useless, and even harmful.

    • Research, Not Law :

      For light body lotions with an SPF higher than 15: Neutrogena and baby sunscreens

  16. We had a great DC Corp***** meetup last night! Turn-out was great, and I thought everyone was remarkably personable, intersting, and, of course, stylish. Thanks so much to Bonnie for putting it all together!

  17. Might anyone hint at why the name of the blog triggers filter red flags? I am prolly naive, can’t find anything creepy-adjacent in the word. Insight?

  18. Hoo boy, the perfect gift for passive-aggressive messages to someone with body odor:

    Deodorgrams.
    http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2012/07/anonymous-deodorant-is-a-brilliant-idea.html

    • Ouch. This is also reminding me that I can’t remember if I wore deodorant today or not. Oh wells.

      • I remembered, but the only reason I know that is because I specifically noticed it was working and had seriously improved and lightened the darkened skin on my underarms.

      • I keep a stick of deodorant in one of my desk drawers for precisely this reason. I learned this the hard way. Specifically, the morning of my first deposition, I was so preoccupied that I forgot to put on deodorant. It was the middle of summer. In Texas. And I was wearing a tank under a suit jacket. I realized the lack of deodorant sitch when I was about a block away from my apt. I didn’t think I’d have enough time to go back home and figured I’d just have to rough it. Fortunately, made it to the depo location faster than I thought I would and with loads of time to spare. Cut to me in a CVS parking lot sitting in my car, suit jacket still on, trying to jam deodorant up under my arms. … not my most graceful moment. I kept a stick of deodorant in my car and in my office after that.

        • I must be a slow learner. I had a similar experience as you, but then thought it’d be a bright idea to keep a stick of deodorant in my purse.

          It all worked out well until I changed purses. I grabbed the smaller wallet-thing where I hold the essentials and put that in the other purse, but didn’t grab the rest of the stuff (which included the deodorant.) *sigh*

        • I also keep it in my desk.

          Word of caution on keeping it in your purse – deodorant can melt and it will ooze all over everything. (I know from experience.)

  19. This time anon :

    I am a eighth year litigation associate at a national BigLaw firm—I work in a Texas office. While I think I’ll make partner (find out at the end of the year), I’m so sick of the litigation rat race and am ready to go in-house.

    Any suggestions for resources to find good in-house positions (websites where such positions are generally posted)? Am I better off making partner and then going in-house (wait a year, make partner at my firm, and then go in-house as a former partner instead of a former associate)? Do people looking to go in-house use recruiters? Any other tips?

    • anonynonynon :

      Check the Association of Corporate Counsel’s website! acc dot com. They post in-house jobs there.
      No tips, sorry. Best of luck.

    • Former Partner, Now In-House :

      Two things to do before you go in house:

      1. Stay and become partner. You worked hard for it. Don’t stop now. It will make you more marketable for the rest of your career. Plus you deserve the bragging rights.

      2. Figure out how much money you need in your retirement account as of the age you will be when you stop being a partner in order for it to stay invested and be enough to retire on when you retire. Do not leave private practice until you have that amount in your retirement account. Once you leave private practice, you won’t be able to add to your account at nearly the same rate every year. If you haven’t talked to a financial advisor yet, do it now (and do this with him/her) before you leave.

      Please trust me on both of these.

      • I agree with #1 (and #2 is very sound advice as well). I think being a former partner will make you much more marketable in terms of the types of in-house jobs you will find in the short term, and also in the long run.

  20. Sort of going off of yesterday’s “change your first name” TJ, I was wondering if you ladies could share your experience either changing your last name or not after you marry. My gut feminist reaction has always been that I should keep my name, but I absolutely *hate* it – it’s long, cumbersome, and hard to pronounce. Taking either my name or his name as my middle won’t work either – the result would be almost as funny as whatever Ellen said her last name would have been if she hyphenated with Alan’s :) Do any of you regret not taking or taking your SO’s last name?

    • I accidentally posted below. Sorry for duplicate posts.

      I kept my last name when I got married. I don’t think it is a problem if you take your husbands name though. I kept mine for personal reasons, as it is unusual and I identify with it very strongly. My parents were also both divorced multiple times, so in part it is practical (which sounds terrible, but true). My husband balked a little at first, but he is in athletics and understands the importance your name has in your life, and it is really a non-issue for both of us. Do what feels right for you. Honestly, you are probably going to get crap about it either way, so doing what is right for you is the best option.

    • LeChouette :

      I struggled long and hard with changing my name and in the end decided to change it. Notably, my now husband did not care either way (though he was not going to change his name). I did it for a few reasons, first, I felt like marriage in general is a symbolic gesture the purpose of which is to communicate to the world that you are a “unit” — I liked the idea/tradition of us being “The Chouettes” and the symbolic value of having the same name. Second, coming back from our honeymoon (I still hadn’t decided) the passport control line at Newark was all “if you’re one family you can wait in line together” and defined “one family” as having the same name on your passport. I realized I didn’t want to deal with hassles and explanations for the rest of my life. Third, I anticipated that if I didn’t change my name, and we had kids, I might want to change it then, and I did some research and found that if you don’t change your name within 2 years of being married you can’t just change it at the social security office, etc., you actually need a court order and it becomes more of a hassle. So, I figured, might as well get it over with.

      I did, however, take my maiden name as my middle name and I do use it. I don’t regret changing it — it makes me happy that he and I have the same name — not like it’s that big of a deal, but just sort of how wearing my engagement ring makes me happy — almost like a daily reminder.

      Changing it has been a HUGE PAIN IN THE A**. In fact, I got married almost a year ago and I am still not done. I have been told that when you have kids, not changing it becomes a huge pain in the a**, so maybe its the same pain either way, just whether it’s up front or over time.

      • I did a similar thing, for similar reasons. I like the idea of us being a “last name unit” and figured that if we had kids it would be easier if we all shared a name. I kept my maiden name as a middle, but also kept my given middle name because it is a family name. So I have 4 legal names now in total. This is confusing for some people, but I have no regrets. That said, my last name was super easy to spell and say, and his is more difficult for people in both respects. I feel like he should have warned me! I like having my maiden/middle name, though. When I write it (and I frequently write it out in full) it is a symbolic reminder of my decision to enter into marriage and not lose myself (having seen that happen to too many women).
        In the end its a personal choice, but I like sharing a name with my husband.

      • Second all of this and the reasons for changing (and that’s it a PITA). It’s a YMMV thing and I chose to change mine. As long as you do what feels right to you.

    • This is definitely a YMMV thing. I was adamant about taking my husband’s name because I grew up with a mom who kept her maiden name and just found it annoying to constantly explain that to people, even though I love her maiden name (it’s my middle name). My sister, on the other hand, kept her name when she got married and wouldn’t have it any other way.

      • Same thing for me–my mom kept her maiden name and the kids each had two middle names, with her maiden name being one of them. This gave me THE longest name ever (only person to take up two lines on the graduation program). I also was continually annoyed at having to explain to people that yes, this person with a different last name is my mother. I am in the process of changing mine now that I am married to first, maiden, husband’s last name, and love how simple it is to have just 3 names! I also like sharing a name with him for the “unit” reasons people mentioned above, and for the sake of our future children. I don’t feel like I’ve lost my identity because my maiden name still appears on my e-mail, facebook page, etc.

    • Didn’t change my name, and since I am now in the process of getting divorced, I’m really really happy about that.

      I won’t lie, I tend to be kinda judgy of people who change their names *just because*, especially as I don’t know even ONE man who did that (the only man I know who changed his name to his wife’s name was in your position, where he’d always hated his last name). But it’s totally different if you hate your name and like his name.

      • I know a man who did – both partners hyphenated both names. He told me he got crap about it though going through the legal process, because its so much less common for men to do.

      • Always a NYer :

        When I was in college, two of the admins got married and both changed their last name to a hyphenated version incorporating each, Hers-His. I thought it was the sweetest thing in the world. It’s not every day you see a man changing his name to be his wife’s.

      • Ugh, I’m so sick of the judging. I like my last name but want to change it. Its not a fair comparison to judge it against men who change their names. Its way, way more common for women to change their name. It doesn’t mean you have to and it doesn’t mean a man shouldn’t but come on.

        • anon in DC :

          Now who’s judging?

          • How is that judging? Its not anti feminist to change your name. Its not being anti family to keep your own name. Every women and man should just make their own decision without everyone in the world having a say on it.

          • anon in DC :

            “Its not a fair comparison to judge it against men who change their names. Its way, way more common for women to change their name.” Sounds like you are, which you have every right to. Just not the best thing to say when you start with, “I’m so sick of the judging.”

          • Sorry if I’m being dense, I really don’t get how I am judging. I am giving a specific example of the judgment I received. Like “Oh why doesn’t he change his name.” I think its a fact that more women change their name to their husbands than husbands change to their wife’s name (Is this where I am judging? I honestly think this is a fact, but please correct me if I’m wrong) For our personal circumstances, and the environment he works in, he would take a lot of sh*t for changing his name. That’s not fair obviously, and in an ideal world it would just be a mutual decision each time about how the couple would chose what name/names they go by, but I’m not going demand my husband change his name if he doesn’t want to, just like he would never demand I change it.

        • This. I didn’t change mine, but don’t judge anyone for changing (or not) for whatever reasons they want.

          It’s really none of my business, yunno?

        • But the whole point is that men don’t ever do it. I agree that it’s not anti-feminist on a personal level to change, but on the societal level, the fact that it’s still more-normal-than-not for women to change but EXTREMELY rare for men to do so rooted in patriarchy. I can’t help but be aware of that.

          If the issue is about all-one-family-name, the melding of names is great (unfortunately, my last name is such that both syllables are slightly off then on their own) and avoids all the angst.

          That said, I have plenty of friends who changed and it’s not like I was an a** to them about it. I just was kinda judgy in my head.

          • It’s certainly circular, right: men almost never change their names, because it’s awkward, because it’s unusual, and so men almost never change their names. Repeat. A critical mass of dudes who just dealt with it would make all the difference.

          • Agree, JoMarch. And I’m old enough to remember when women had to change their name, because well they were his property now..

      • Mr. Monday says he always aspired to change his last name to his wife’s, just as a FU to convention. The only reason he’s changed his mind over the last few years is that he has a publication record now and doesn’t want to deal with the confusion. He’d still be willing to hyphenate/combine, but I want to keep my name as-is so that’s what we’re both going to do.

        I’ve been surprised to see how many of my friends have ended up fighting with husbands or boyfriends about this. I guess people can end up surprised by their partners’ wishes, or even their own. I used to feel pretty strongly about it, but now it’s just more like “eh, I’d like to keep my name.” It’s long and cumbersome, and of course just refers to another man (father, rather than husband) but I feel very attached to it. No opinion or judgement on what anyone else decides to do.

        • I’m also surprised by how contentious this can be! I was more surprised though at how contentious people expected it to be – like how much they hesitated to ask me if I was keeping my name when I got married. I was never dead set either way, but I felt like there needed to be a big “coming out” about the name situation so people would stop tip-toeing around it. I was never closed lipped, but they (people who deserved to know – his parents, my parents, etc) acted like they were afraid to ask.

          • Fascinating.

            I also know a newlywed couple who are in kind of a deadlock right now: they want to have kids, don’t want to hyphenate, but each want the kids to have their own last name. He said “I’m the last _____, so my kids should carry the name forward.” But SHE is also the last one carrying HER last name, and feels the same. Hmmmmm

          • It is true that people are so scared to ask you about it. Though I did have a very brazen bank teller tell me how horrible I was for keeping my name. It is a great litmus test for people’s views though.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Monday, it seems to me that in the newlywed situation you describe, the girl children should take the mom’s last name and the boy children should take the dad’s last name. Easy peasy.

          • Senior Attorney: I think it’s highly likely that there will only be one kid. My friend (the new wife) is older and feels that she will be lucky to conceive at all. I thought of this too, but what an awful twist of the knife for a couple that would have preferred more kids–to be fighting over the name of the only one they will (HOPEFULLY) get.

    • Ellen actually did consider it, and negotiated with Alan before they broke up. This is one of the last times she spelled “prefer” correctly.

      http://ellenwatch.blogspot.com/2011/01/hypeneting-our-names-to-become.html

      Just trying to help,
      ELLENWatch

    • I changed mine. It was something I gave considerable thought to because I didn’t want to change my name “just because” it’s tradition. In the end, I went mostly with practical reasons.
      – My maiden name is one of the 10 most common surnames in the U.S., so I never had that deep connection to my name that many people experience.
      – Hyphenation was off the table because my new last name would’ve been 16 letters long. No thanks.
      – The deeper DH & I got into planning our lives together, the more appealing the idea of sharing a name became. And I knew that once we had kids, I would much prefer everyone sharing the same name, both for sentimental and practical reasons.
      – If I kept my name, I was certain that some relatives would still call me Mrs. Hislastname and it would really tick me off. I can barely stand getting letters addressed to Mrs. Hisfirst name/Hislast name. I don’t care if Emily Post says that’s the way to do it; I really resent having my first name removed from the equation!

      • And maybe this is weird, but after nine years of marriage, I still avoid the title “Mrs.” I think I associate “Mrs.” with little old ladies and teachers. In my mind, I’m still the 22-year-old whippersnapper I was on my wedding day. :)

        • I don’t get called ‘Mrs’ very often, and whenever I do I look around for my mil because she is a former teacher and is the true Mrs Married Name in my mind!

      • My mother (who did take my dad’s last name, after some considerable debate so I’m told) HATED getting mail addressed to Mrs. Hisfirstname Hislast name. She used to say, “D*mn it, I didn’t take his first name too!” She would then throw the mail out. :)

        • My husband and I both went to the same college, and after we got married our first alumni magazine came as “Mr and Mrs Hisfirst Hislast.” I threw a fit – I paid all that money to go there, graduated with a degree of my own, have a career of my own, personality of my own, I refuse to lumped in on the address label! Did not get my MRS degree, will not be just “Mrs.” to my degree-granting institution.

    • I get so tired of hearing women judge other women about name changes! If you want to change it, then change it. Not everything you do has to conform or be consistent with some larger socio-political purpose or worldview. It’s OK to be a feminist and change your name. For reals.

    • I didn’t change my name. My husband kind of wanted me to, but he wouldn’t change his name, and he wouldn’t ask me to do something he wouldn’t do himself (his words). I like my last name–short and easy. My first name is common and my husband has a boatload of cousins, so there’s already a “Myfirst Hislast” in our family. I know these aren’t earth-shattering reasons, but given that there weren’t super-strong reasons on either side, I decided to err on the side of not doing what has been historically/traditionally expected of women.

      I do not judge women that change their name, though. It’s just a name–doesn’t make us less of a family to not have the same last name, or you less of a feminist to change your name.

      • I changed it because my maiden name was so common, and his is pretty ethnic and cool. Also it was before law school graduation, so I had no professional reputation to keep up. And finally the family unit idea – it’s honestly just easier when the parents & kids have the same last name.

        • If one wants to change one’s name, that’s fine. As Elle said, feminism is about choices.

          But changing it just because it’s easier where “easier” means, “making it easier for lazy people who can’t be bothered to remember names properly” makes me sad.

          Because I’d be willing to bet that these are the same lazy people who can exactly chart the Kardashian-Jenner family tree.

        • Could you please explain what is easier? My brother and I have hyphenated last names and our mother kept her last name. The challenge has to do with people who don’t know what a hyphen is, or file information under the second last name. Our family is a unit – a married couple and 2 adult children. Considering the positive aspects of my maternal grandfather, I am glad to have his name.

          Sometimes it means double the mass-mailed freebies. Other times, it’s a clear indicator that a caller is a salesperson, and not someone who knows our family. It’s generally not a big deal.

    • Feminism is about choices! If you want to take your fiance’s last name, you should.

      I haven’t given it much thought, because I’m not engaged or planning to be anytime soon. My boyfriend and I both have very ethnic-sounding last names while have way too many vowels to be hyphenated! Also, we are different ethnicities, so it *might* be weird to have a last name that is associated with an ethnicity/race other than my own.

      That being said, I definitely understand why women choose to take their husbands’ name, and I understand why they choose to keep theirs.

    • We had a long corporette discussion about this a few months ago that got pretty heated. I’m of the view that I really can’t believe women are *still* changing their names in 2012. The pro-name-changers, however argued that it was ok because it was their choice, that their husbands didn’t care, and that feminism means the freedom to choose and not have decisions dictated to you. I understand these arguments, and I don’t doubt that for women who change their name it really is a choice on a personal level, but on a broader, social level, well, is it really a “choice” if that’s what most people do? And if so, then why don’t men do it? I think what bothers me is not any single individual changing her name, but that as a society, it seems to be the default that women change their names, and not men. I believe that it’s a sign that we are still far from true equality when so many defaults in our society are male.

      My mother changed her name when she got married. Thirty years later, she and my father are still happily married. And you know what? She regrets changing her name, because she felt it was a loss of identity.

      • This x 1000. Feminism is not “just” about having choices and “freedom” to choose is at least somewhat illusory in the context of a system where women are absolutely thought of as trying to be a feminist or make some sort of statement about independence if they keep their own name. There was a study in Indiana (I think) and something like 60% of respondents thought women should legally be required to take their husband’s name upon marriage. (!!) Saying that feminism is just having the right to choose whatever you want is so oversimplistic, it’s humorous.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m with you. I have a cumbersome last name, but I wasn’t about to change it. When women and men change their names with equal frequency, we’ll talk about the choice of whether or not to change your name. Until then, it doesn’t look much like a genuine choice to me.

    • I changed my name when I got married – I never considered not changing it. My maiden name was long, and when combined with my first name it was a total of 17 letters. And it was far down in the alphabet. It was easy to read & pronounce, but people misspelled it all the time.

      My married name is shorter and higher up in the alphabet. However it’s not pronounced like it’s spelled and I always have to spell it or correct people on pronounciation. It’s kind of annoying, but at least it’s short when it comes to spelling.

      It was so long ago (18 years next month) that I don’t remember the hassel of getting it changed.

      • I had similar reasoning. My maiden name had an usual spelling and I was sick of dealing with it. I changed to my husband’s 4-letter, somewhat common name and people still screw it up all the time. Oh well. Easier for my kids I suppose.

    • I kept my surname, as it’s an inoffensive one (albeit a bit boring).

      I am not a fan of hyphenating certain names; they just don’t sound right together– too clunky or too many halting short syllables. Although I understand for some couples, the symbolism matters more than euphony. Also, if more than one generation wants to hyphenate, things will get long and clunky and at some point, some names do have to be dropped. If Jane Smith-Rogers marries Thomas Johnson-Friedman, are their kids the Smith-Rogers-Johnson-Friedmans? (Granted, a lot of British lords and ladies actually do have as many, if not more names, but it seems cumbersome.)

      As for the “we’re a family unit” idea– this always sounds good until I realize how loaded it is. The name change is almost always done by the woman, taking the man’s name, never the other way around (hence the loaded-ness.) If it’s truly so important that the family all have the same name, then why shouldn’t it be the woman’s name in 50% of the cases?

      • I kind of wanted to hyphenate, and I think our last names would work well together, but my husband didn’t want to change his name at all. There’s the hyphenation on top of hyphenation issue for the kids that you bring up, too, otherwise I might have pushed for this option a little harder.

        • I think a big part of what’s making this discussion so heated is that it appears the women are always the one to back off. He doesn’t want it but you do, push harder, demand compromise for such a huge life change. Sure, a man will probably catch heat for taking his wife’s name or hyphenating, but so what? Women do it and get judged for not *completely* giving into their new husband and taking only his name while giving up their own in the process. Until more women act as territorial and aggressive as men, sadly I don’t see anything changing.

          • Exactly.

            This is the type of heat the man gets for taking his wife’s name: “you’re being submissive, yadda yadda.” This is what reveals that it’s not a neutral decision for women to take their husband’s name. If it were neutral, the man wouldn’t be taking heat for taking his wife’s name.

            Well, if a critical mass of people think that taking [someone's name] is a sign of submission, and I guarantee, most guys think it is, then of course think women are being submissive when they take the man’s name. The fact that they think this is how it should be suggests that they think women should be subordinate/submissive to men.

          • I get what you’re saying, but I don’t think it was the case for us, since it was either hyphenate or no change. Not hyphenating meant we both just kept our same last names, not I changed and he didn’t.

    • emcsquared :

      Here was my feminist analysis: my former last name was imposed upon me by my parents, and especially my father (who I love dearly – not a blame thing, just an objective fact). Upon marriage, I got to choose whichever name I wanted (maiden, husband’s, entirely new one), so any route I took was my choice and therefore empowering. I chose to take my husband’s name. Empowerment achieved.

      To make it easier, I hated my old last name, it was hard to pronounce and the most common mispronounciations was an obscene slang term. Plus, I like the idea of having the same name as my kids and my husband. It felt like I was making a choice to grow up and move on with a new kind of life.

      And as to the ease of changing your name – plan to spend many hours working on this over the course of the next several years. The Social Security documentation took me almost 10 hours to round up and mail in. I’ve been married almost two years, and my student loans, Paypal account, frequent flyer miles, mortgage and various other infrequently used financial instruments are all still in my maiden name. Changing those requires a certified copy of my marriage certificate and various other forms of proof that are not easy to scramble together when I need to use that resource. I could not get a gmail account in my new name without using numbers or middle names, so I still use my old gmail account. I have no nickname, because my old nickname was dependent on my last name. The name change was worth it, but I have a feeling that it will take years before the world fully recognizes me as my new name.

      • Not to split hairs, but if you really disliked your surname, you could have changed it at any time you were legally of age to do so in your state of residence. You didn’t need to marry to change it, although it’s more societally acceptable (and less wounding to your parents) to wait till marriage.

        • emcsquared :

          It’s also significantly easier to do it after marriage – in my state, you generally have to go through a court hearing to change your name, but a change with the Social Security office is enough post-marriage. It’s also easier to change with credit card companies, banks, etc after marriage because they already have a process in place for handling that.

          Trust me, I thought of this many times throughout high school.

          • I have to say, the bureaucracy and all the paperwork does sound cumbersome.

            I wonder about all those folks with really objectionable (firstnames) given by kooky parents? I think it really should be easier for people to get rid of outright ridiculous names.

            Perhaps it’s really easy to change your name in California, especially if you have celebrity parents who insisted on giving you a weird name? :-)

          • !! This just made me remember. I dodged a *total* bullet on the kooky parent front. I have a pretty standard first name. Only because my dad resisted my father’s efforts to name me Athena or Persephone or [insert other Greek mythological character here]. We’re not Greek. Not even close. And I have a very VERY Polish last name. Can you imagine? Persephone Tomaszewski? Athena Wojciechowski? (Not my real last name, btw.) Nope, I’m sure I wouldn’t have been teased AT ALL. EVER.

            … adding this to the list of stories for my That Time My Dad Picked Me Up from a 3rd Grade Slumber Party & Asked if I’d Been Smoking Pot (or, How I Learned What Pot Was) memoir.

          • * that should have read: only because my MOM resisted my father’s efforts…

            My copy editor is so fired.

          • I want a “Herbie Family Stories: Special Edition” post on here one of these days.

            You can call me kooky, but I do think the Greek names from the myth & epics are beautiful, and yet…knowing the Greek Myths, I’d have cringed over any person (Greek or not) being named Persephone!

            But yeah [Greek Mythological Name] [Long difficult-to-spell Polish surname] is a tough combo. As is Pilot Inspektor Riesgraf Lee.

    • Kontraktor :

      Is it bad I want to get a PhD so I can be Dr. HisLastName just so I am not Mrs. HisLastName, ie the same name as my mother in law?

      In all seriousness, I changed. Didn’t really see why I wouldn’t. I didn’t really care for my old last name and I was young enough when I got married that it didn’t really matter. Plus my initials are a palindrome now because of the change and who wouldn’t want that? From a monogrammed towel perspective, things are just so much… neater and more orderly that way.

      • You can be Ms. Hislastname. It’s 2012; women don’t have to go by Mrs. anymore. In fact, most publications default to Ms. for married women unless the subject has stated that she prefers Mrs.

        • Kontraktor :

          Yeah I always select Ms. as the salutation when I need to/make it clear that this is what I go by when people ask at work, but sometimes people still address invitations/social correspondence and things as such with Mrs. And I hate having the same address sometimes as MiL. I don’t like her. We are not the same person. :-P

          • I did not change my name, but friends of my husband’s parents often address wedding invitations to Dr. and Mrs. [first and last name of husband]. I have decided to just laugh at it — I don’t know them, they don’t know me, and it’s not worth getting worked up about.

          • I don’t get worked up about it when I get addressed by my husband’s name, either. He gets addressed by my last name a fair amount, since I tend to do a lot of our travel planning and put it in my name, so he gets his share of “Mr. [mylast].”

      • Traditionally, I don’t think PhDs get “Doctor” in social settings (and you might get judged if you insist on it), so it might not be worth the effort :)

      • Part (a small part) of my motivation for finishing my PhD was that if I never married, I could be “Dr. PollyD Old Lady” instead of “Miss Old Lady.” For some reason the “Ms.” option didn’t really occur to me – growing up in the 1970s, it seemed the only women who used “Ms.” were those who had divorced.

        I’d probably socially take a husband’s name, but at this point in life, I probably won’t have kids, I have a publication record, so there’s no point in going through all the paperwork to change it. Although BF does have a kind of cool ethnic last name that says something about his family history.

        • I am fine with socially taking my husbands name. I have officially kept my name, but I don’t care if down the line our kids friends call me Mrs. HisLastName. My parents were divorced and my mom took back her maiden name and my friends still called her Mrs. DadsLastName, she never corrected them, because to her it didn’t really matter.

      • When I was married, it made me cringe to get work thank you letters addressed as Mrs. Oh well.

    • Anonsensical :

      To me, a big part of feminism is about being free to make choices and not just having them imposed on me because I’m female. I see nothing wrong with legitimately *choosing* the same thing society would otherwise impose on me, and I think that flouting social norms just because they’re social norms gives those norms as much power over me as blindly conforming to them would.

      So, I changed my name to my husband’s, but I chose to do so and was not just resorting to some societal default option. He didn’t care one way or the other, but I never liked my last name, I liked his, and I liked the idea of us having the same one. We contemplated making one up and both changing, but couldn’t come up with anything that didn’t sound silly. After several years, though, I have to admit I don’t feel like his name is really “me” and I’ve contemplated changing it back. I kinda miss my long, awkward, hard-to-spell, last name, and my new name almost sounds too nice and clean for me now. Go figure.

      • I agree that knee-jerk-against-anything is not synonymous with “free, unconstrained choice.”

        But is there such a thing (with this, as with any other desire/preference) as a “free, unconstrained choice”?

        Society is pretty dominant; it imposes itself on us explicitly and implicitly, and it’s really hard to disentangle how much is because one really likes the idea vs. our being told from birth onwards that that particular idea is what we should like. I’ve wondered about this for a long time, not just in the context of name-changing, but in things like: “why do I like the type of clothes I like? why do I think the job I do is meaningful?” etc.

        Sorry to get so rambly & philosophical, but this question touches on a very broad topic that’s of great interest to me.

        • Comment in moderation, so re-posting. We had a long discussion about this a few months ago that got pretty heated. I’m of the view that I really can’t believe women are *still* changing their names in 2012. The pro-name-changers, however argued that it was ok because it was their choice, that their husbands didn’t care, and that feminism means the freedom to choose and not have decisions dictated to you. I understand these arguments, and I don’t doubt that for women who change their name it really is a choice on a personal level, but on a broader, social level, well, is it really a “choice” if that’s what most people do? And if so, then why don’t men do it? I think what bothers me is not any single individual changing her name, but that as a society, it seems to be the default that women change their names, and not men. I believe that it’s a sign that we are still far from true equality when so many defaults in our society are male.

          My mother changed her name when she got married. Thirty years later, she and my father are still happily married. And you know what? She regrets changing her name, because she felt it was a loss of identity.

        • And that’s the rub. If it were truly free, uncontrained choice–***why do only women do it?*** (yes, I know there are a couple men who have changed their names. that doesn’t change the question.)

          • Yes– that’s the crux issue. If it’s such a free choice and not loaded by societal pressure, then why are almost all the name-changers women?

            I’ve often felt that the so-called “choice-feminism” was hijacked to shut-down debate and discussion. The example is: woman makes a choice that’s retrograde, submissive, and limits her financial or physical autonomy. The people who want to keep women down laud her “choice,” and try to silence everyone who points out that she’s living like an oppressed peasant wife as being, “judgy” and that because she’s made a “choice”, everybody should shut up and accept it. That’s BS.

            At the end of the day, choices are good for feminism, some aren’t. Some are irrelevant. One could argue that the name-change is irrelevant to feminism, or not.

            Granted, it’s not to say that an individual should make every decision based on whether it’s good for a cause (that she may not subscribe to) or not, but *let’s not pretend it doesn’t matter.* Get enough individuals, and then you have a vast majority. When a vast majority does X, it only adds to the pressure on those who don’t.

            I will make the argument that judgment is necessary. How else do you think we choose our friends? Choose our spouses? Choose our places of employment? We’re making judgments about whether these people have similar values that we consider to be good, and whether they’re nice or not. Also, how else do we set standards for what is appropriate behavior or what is ethical or moral? We’re making judgments, that’s how. And when a critical mass of people make the same judgment, and vote on that, it becomes law.

          • +10000000.

          • So are choices are to be, in your words, pressured by society to change our names and become peasant wives. (This is def my biggest fear. Right now I’m a lawyer, breadwinner, feminist and have a really kick as* fiance who literally can’t stop gushing at how in awe he is at how great I am at work, is an active supporter of planned parenthood and volunteers to help low income women and families have access to bc and healthcare. I do worry that when I change my name no one will point out that I am now an oppressed peasant wife, and that if I take time off from work to raise a kid no one will save me from my caveman)

            Or! instead of being pressured by society, we can be pressured by our female peers who dismiss our professional accomplishments because of a name change and downgrade us to peasant wives.

            So now either way women are apparently only being motivated by societal pressure, either at large, or here by their peer group.

          • @ cfm–um, that’s really not what she said at all.

          • It’s exactly what she’s saying. She is saying that its a choice she sees as submissive and retrograde. many, many, women in my peer group feel that way. She is saying is ok to judge the choice to name change or not name change, because judgment is how we decide who has values similar to ours. (which is true, I just don’t think changing your name is a submissive move) so now women just need to pick who they would rather be judged by, instead of making a choice about what is best for their families.

          • Alanna of Trebond :

            anon @ 12:02–I love your comment. “Choose my choice” feminism really doesn’t seem like feminism to me for these reasons.

          • Is it a choice if men, in general, don’t change their names? I mean, do they even have the same discussion we’re having here (“should I or shouldn’t I)? I don’t think they do. That doesn’t sit right w/ me.

        • Anonsensical :

          That’s an excellent question, and I don’t think there really is any such thing as a free, unconstrained choice. For me, the important thing is to try to be aware of what constraints are part of the equation and make a deliberate, conscious choice in light of them. I don’t think constraints are necessarily a bad thing, either. In fact, I tend to be at my most creative when working within some kind of boundary. When I studied art in college, my favorite class was a functional 3D design class that would impose a set of parameters on each project like, “make something that lights up” or “make something you can sit on.” It was so much easier for me to work within those parameters than to have no limits other than “make something, anything, by the end of the semester.”

          • Your art class example makes me think of fashion. Plus, this topic is getting very serious, which I like, but I don’t want it to get heavier, so I ‘ll throw a frivolous fashion example in.

            Sometimes, there’s just something in the Zeitgeist– certain things just start to look more attractive, like certain colors, certain silhouettes. Like, mint green– I’d not thought of the color until it was splashed about in many retailers windows and in magazines. That I can more easily point to as “outside influence” but things like my gradual acceptance of skinny jeans is more subtle– did I opt for them because I truly like them? (And I do like them NOW. Hated them when they first started showing up everywhere.) Or did I opt for them because a critical mass of shoppers liked them, stores stocked more, and soon, I had difficulty finding bootcut jeans that fit me well?

            Broadly, I also think about fashion designers and some recent disputes about copying/infringement. I’m in the U.S., where there are far fewer IP protections on fashion designs than in many parts of Europe. To some extent, there’s some nudging from powerful fashion editors about what’s going to be “IN” this season, but even before these powerful editors really had that kind of clout, it was interesting to see designers spontaneously come up with similar ideas, often because they were all reacting against whatever was the previous trend.

    • I think it’s worth thinking about. My last name is Maiden His and his last name is also Maiden His. His name only comes second because of flow (Blah Blahblah vs Blahblah Blah). Our kids have the same last name we have.

      Other things I’ve seen:
      Woman Maidenname, Man Bachelorname, Kids Bachelorname
      Woman Maidenname, Man Bachelorname, Kids Maiden-Bachelor
      Woman Maidenname, Man Bachelorname, Femalechild Maidenname, Malechild Bachelorname
      Woman Maidenname, Man Bachelorname, FirstKid Maidenname, SecondKid Bachelorname

      Good luck!

    • I’m still V Maidenname. I married later in life and have all sorts of life and business stuff relating to V Maidenname. My stationery is Mrs. John Doe though, so all of the elderly relatives think I’ve changed it (and socially, I don’t object to V Doe or to my children bring little Does). Maybe it’s like how Kate Middleton can be, at the same time, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Or how Elizabeth Taylor is also Mrs. John Warner (et al.).

      I do carry a tiny laminated copy of my marriage license with me in my purse so that there’s never any question who I am in case any of the Does wind up in the hosptial, etc. (there is a prior Mrs. Doe that I’m also wanting to avoid confusion with, this being a Faulknerian part of the world that is just full of THAT sort of drama).

    • I kept mine, in part because I’d been working for 10 years by the time I got married and everyone knows me by that name (it’s also an uncommon last name). My husband has a long, cumbersome last name, so that was also a reason. Mostly, though, I did it because I wasn’t comfortable changing my name. My name is mine. He could have shared it if he’d wanted, but I didn’t want to give it up.

      Personal reasons aside, do consider the work/networking factor. Also my friends who have changed their names have told me it’s a pain in the a**.

    • TurtleWexler :

      I kept my name and thus far, no regrets whatsoever. My husband had a strong preference for me to change it but he’s mostly gotten over it (though every once in awhile he still whines about it). I like my name, and I was not willing to be the only one to go through the name-change process; I told him that if he wanted to share a name so much, we could come up with something together and both change, but he wasn’t on board with that. For whatever reason, I just don’t get the idea of sharing a name as some indicator of us being a “team” or as some warm fuzzy symbol of our union — I know it’s really important for some people but to me it’s a non-issue. And on top of my general (and long-held) objections to the tradition itself, and my passionate but probably irrational loathing of the word “Mrs.,” I also know I would never be comfortable with the name “Turtle Hislast.” It just wouldn’t fit me right, like a pair of shoes that pinches around the toes and rubs at your Achilles tendon…

      Anyway, the only time it has ever been an issue was when we were returning from a trip abroad and the passport agent in the foreign airport demanded to see our marriage certificate because we didn’t have the same name. We just ended up going through separately, no big deal. But I do keep a reduced-size copy of the marriage certificate certificate in my wallet now, just in case I ever need it. But it’s been several years and that has never happened.

    • I changed mine. My husband is Jewish and has a Jewish last name. I am not Jewish (no religion or discernible ethnicity at all) and have a very strained relationship with my father, where my maiden name came from. As an aside, I hate the term “maiden.” It was really, really important to my husband that I change my name, not for I-am-man! reasons but because he lost a lot of family in the Holocaust, so he feels a very deep urge to add people to this name, and he’s very close with his father and grandfather. It was not really important to me to change it, other than general “I shouldn’t have to change for a man!” things. It will also be a lot easier for me to “pass” as Jewish-ish, and for our children to “pass” as Jewish if we all have a Jewish last name. Given the complexities and debate about who is a Jew, I thought it best to do what I could to make that just a little easier on our kids. I found posts on the blog A Practical Wedding immensely helpful in sorting out my complicated feelings and deciding that on balance, it was the right decision for me to change it.

      I actually found the name change process surprisingly and remarkably easy. I ordered four copies of my marriage certificate instead of ordering just one, just in case. I made an appointment online to go to the Social Security office. It took less than 10 minutes to complete. Once the new card arrived in a few weeks, I made an appointment online to go to the DMV. It took less than 30 minutes there. I sent messages through my logged-in credit card and bank and insurance websites to customer service, and new cards arrived within a couple weeks. I told IT at work, and my email, nameplate, and log-ins changed overnight, and new business cards arrived in a week. I haven’t changed my passport yet because I still need to get the dang picture, and I haven’t tried changing my frequent flier miles yet, which I hear is a huge PITA.

      I refuse to use Mrs. It is no one’s business what my marital status is. I am Ms. I don’t regret taking it. It was the right decision for me. But, I completely understand keeping it, or having him take hers, or hyphenating, or making up a new one. It’s not like anyone makes this decision lightly, so I presume that each decision was made with careful thought about what was right for that person.

    • Never considered changing my name. Mr. Anon had absolutely no opinion, and probably would have been surprised if I did change it. I was still in law school, but I’d worked in law before that with many of my current and (hopefully) future colleagues, and wanted them to think of me as my own person, not a unit of my husband (who is also in this practice area). Our kids (one of each sex) have my last name for their middle name and my husband’s last name as their last name. My SIL’s all hyphenated and it’s crazytown; that was never an option.

      Whoever said that no matter what you’ll get judged is right; I’ll own up to a little judging of ladies who change their names because on some basic level it feels to me like you’re subsuming yourself into your husband’s identity. I know that most people think that being able to choose is the important point, and I’ve learned that this is one of those topics that people don’t really change opinions about, so mostly I just shut up. It’s none of my business, in the end. Although I know I would probably feel differently if I had a bad last name.

      Finally: I once went to a lecture in law school on this very topic, and the (awesome) speaker was a contracts professor who was studying the effect of the default option on naming conventions. I.e., in many states the default is that women change their names, and in those states you have to put in some effort to keep your maiden name. Ergo less women keep their names in those states. In other states, like New York, the default is that everyone keeps their name, and in those states more women keep their maiden names (and possible more men change? Can’t remember). Was actually one of the best talks I ever went to, even though it totally devolved into everyone’s personal anecdotes about their own name situation/opinion.

    • Unfortunately, you’ll be judged either way, as others have said. But, if it isn’t your name, it will be something else because people like to judge. Frankly, I don’t know where they get their energy from–just figuring out my own life makes me tired :)

      But to answer your question, DH and I both hyphenated. I don’t regret it. It was definitely outside the norm of our social circle, but here’s the background. My first name was crazy common in college so my friends called me by my last name. I got really attached to my last name. I’d always just figured I’d change my name if/when I got married, but when that time came, I was really attached to my maiden name. While waiting to officially change my name, I tried to add my maiden name as a middle name socially, with his last name. It kept getting dropped. At about the same time, I gave up my first choice grad school so that we could both go to grad school. My mail was being addressed to “Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast” and I basically felt like I had completely lost my identity. It didn’t help that my sister in law has a very similar first name. He saw how much this was bothering me and agreed to hyphenate his name as we both wanted the same name. It took 18 months to figure this out, but it worked for us. It helps that we like the way our names sound and that when we dated friends called us the “her name-his name” since he want by his last name too. So we were used to how that name sounded.

      As for the age-old question “what will your kids do”, my answer is that this will delay marriage until they’re old enough to figure out what they want to do with their lives! And if the worst I do as a parent is provide an annoying hyphenated last name for my kid(s), well then I’d say I will have done OK as a parent.

      So basically, do what works for you and your husband, whatever that choice is!

    • SugarMagnolia :

      I changed my name for exactly the reasons you describe. My last name is now only 5 letters, just like my first name and is MUCH easier to spell/pronounce.

      I have never regretted it, but it has been a minor hassle. I still haven’t changed my passport, and have just been too lazy to do it.

      Since I am now expecting, I LOVE that I don’t need to worry about what my child’s last name will be.

      • anon for this :

        To the “feminists” in this thread… you realize you’re keeping your father’s name, right? If you’re not an oppressed barefoot peasant wifey you’re daddy’s little girl. Last names are family identifiers — so I think that truly the most egalitarian, feminist thing to do is for both partners to change their names, creating a new one in recognition of the family they’re creating.

        That said, I changed my name to my husband’s because I liked his better than mine and it was easier. I’m so, so thrilled to have the same last name as my baby.

        • Why do you use “feminists” in quotes? I think there’ve been a number of posters who did take their husbands’ names, but who are feminist.

          Also, why do you think the objection is to taking “a” man’s name? For some who don’t want to change their name, I think their view is closer to: “why should the situation of marriage trigger a loss of identity in a woman, but not in a man?”

          As a data point, I opted to keep my (birth) surname. I was the one who started the thread on boring firstnames, because I think I have a boring firstname. But overall, I’m content enough with my [firstname birthsurname] that I didn’t bother to change it. I like the identity I’ve created as this name. I didn’t see why marrying my husband should cause me to erase that part of my identity but do nothing to his identity. It reminded me too much of someone buying naming rights to a stadium because it would have been one-sided.

          The fact that my birth surname came from my father (a man) doesn’t bother me. And I think many of the posters who did not change their names have said the same. So I’m not sure where you’re getting this “hate that the name is from A MAN” thing from.

    • Reading this thread is giving me heartburn. I have a hyphenated name (given to me at birth) which I’ve been very proud of my whole life. From an astoundingly young age, people have been asking me “but…what ARE you going to do when you get MARRIED?” As though that was (a) any of their business or (b) I could have ANY idea at 15 or 20 or whatever what I was going to want to do when I got married.

      Of course, now I am married and I’m still not sure what I want to do. Some days I think I’ll keep my whole name because gosh darn it, that’s what Gloria Steinem would want me to do. Some days I think that, after a life time of dealing with hyphenated headaches, maybe I just want to have one, easy to deal with last name. Other days, I think…well…I’ll just change one of my last names and keep the other (of course, abandoning one of my parent’s last names comes with its own emotional toll.)

      But no matter what, no matter the choice I make, I’m still going to be a feminist the next day. Because my last name doesn’t define who I am and neither does some narrow old ideas about what a feminist *has* to do. And personally, I think it would be a big step in the right direction of the cause if we could all just be a little bit nicer to each other, but maybe I’m just naive.

      But right now, I’m keeping my last name…because I’m too darn lazy to fill out all that paperwork. It took me like, a year, to just change my address last time I moved. Changing my name strikes me as a disaster of a whole other level.

      • standing slow clap

        • But no matter what, no matter the choice I make, I’m still going to be a feminist the next day. Because my last name doesn’t define who I am and neither does some narrow old ideas about what a feminist *has* to do. And personally, I think it would be a big step in the right direction of the cause if we could all just be a little bit nicer to each other, but maybe I’m just naive.

          Standing, cheering, and stomping my feet (because I can’t whistle).

          • If that’s Naive, sign me up for the naive club, TCFKAG! Also, joining the standing o.

      • Me too! I’ve been married for a couple years and am still torn…so the default is keeping my name since paperwork sounds scary. And I don’t even have the added complexity of the hyphen, just an unusual surname with no brothers or male relatives to keep it after my generation.

      • Yay TCFKAG! You are the favourite.

        I got married about a year ago and just recently started changing things over (so now I’m FirstName Middle Name MyLast HisLast). I had planned on not changing anything officially or at work, and just letting people call me HisLast socially, but I’ve heard from quite a few people that it can complicate things when you have kids. And I do increasingly like the idea of being a family unit. At the same time, I’m very attached to my (ethnic) last name, and to my own family, so I wanted to make sure it didn’t disappear.

      • SugarMagnolia :

        Bravo!

    • I had no idea how intense people felt about this subject! Seriously, do what you want. For me it took about 2 days to do the whole changeover process; not a big deal (but I’m a planner, I had everything in order way beforehand, mapped out when I was going to which office, and I live in a city so there are many close-by to choose from. I could see it being a hassle).

      I changed mine because I liked us having the same name, and it wouldn’t confuse kids later on life when I wasn’t Mrs. MarriedLastName but Ms.MyLastName or whatever. Also, my first and last name wer both very traditional Irish, so it’s a super super common name (along the lines of Megan Murphy, or Bridget Sullivan, etc). You can’t find unmarried me on google. Now I like that I’m unique and share my husband’s ethnic heritage.

      The only thing that’s weird is in college on my sports team/in my sorority I went by my last name, and now at work people call me MarriedLastName when they call me by my last name. Irish last names just seem to work so much better for that than long, ethnic ones… but I’m getting used to it!

    • SpaceMountain :

      Beware airline tickets if you change your name. I changed mine 15 years ago and I don’t think I’ve straightened out my name on all the airline frequent flier programs yet, and that can be a problem with the TSA when the airline insists my last name is something slightly different than my license says now. I use all my names in a variety of different ways for different situations — officially with Soc Sec it’s now First Middle Maiden Hislast, but I still use them all in different combinations, personally and professionally. It’s only the TSA and DMV that really seem to care.

      • Argh. I’m sorry you have to deal with TSA and DMV stupidity.

        Again, my biggest pet peeve with this whole name change thing is that some people are just too lazy to get people’s names right, regardless of whether you keep/change/hyphenate.

        In a perfect world, the name change decision would not factor in “ease of use for lazy TSA/DMV/other people” but sadly, we live in the world we live in.

    • I got married young–at 22 and I was so excited to change my name. I felt a real sense of independence. My family is also quite dysfunctional, though I love them, it just really felt right to sort of break away from that dysfunction. I also knew that once we had kids I wanted us all to have the same last name.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I’m not married yet, but when we get around to it, I’m keeping my name. Partly because I like it, but mainly because I’m far too lazy to want to have to deal with the paperwork (see: the whole “when we get around to getting married” thing. I don’t have a lot of momentum on life changes.). But I don’t judge people who do change. Whatever works for you.

    • Recently had a discussion about this with my bf (we’re planning on getting engaged in the next year). Both my middle and last names are important, family names (one from mom’s side, one from dad’s), and while many “good Italian girls” like yours truly actually have four names (First Middle Maiden His), that would be VERY long with my names, and the initials would spell a word. Or two words. Just not good. We decided I’d probably go with First M. His, but that when we have children, my maiden name will be their middle name. While I’d always thought (prior to this bf) that I would be First M. M. His, the names just don’t work, so I found a compromise I liked that doesn’t involve giving up the man, too :).

    • How timely for me! I have actually been married for 14 years, and just recently changed my name. I am an actress, so when we first got married I didn’t change it since I didn’t want to confuse people who knew me as an actress. I had already received roles under my maiden name as an actress, and didn’t want to bother with my actress entry on IMDB. But recently I changed it, and my husband was so touched. Changing my name really cemented that we were a family (I know, I know, 14 years and four children should have cemented it, but for me it really was finally serious when I changed my name.) But have fun with it ladies! I threw a really fabulous party with dimonds, champs, and a custom cake. Unfortunately a total nutjob ate the BOW off my CAKE before I got to give speech. (did I mention she was not even invited, and showed up looking like a call girl) But anyway it is a huge deal to change your name! So I feel just like all of you girls with this problem

      • Judge me all you like, but I’m having a terribly dull day and I’m thinking there’s a great story to be told about the (uninvited) nutjob who ate the bow off your cake. DO SHARE.

      • Heather, I’m in a sort of similar boat. Been married for 10 years, but hubby is changing his last name to a family ancestral name, and he has hinted that he’d like me to change it too (although he’s not pushy, and I’ve basically already told him no). When you changed your name after 14 years of marriage, did people assume that you had gotten divorced/remarried? That’s what I am sort of worried about. I’ve had my maiden name all of my life, and it’s been my professional name for hte last 10 years. I also don’t want to deal with all of the questions about why hubby is changing his last name (the short answer is that he is estranged from his dad, does not want to keep his dad’s last name, and really really wants to adopt his ancestral family last name).

      • So you’re on the Real Housewives show, huh?

      • I loved this comment so much I want to snap it off a cake and eat it.

    • So I didn’t change my name either of the two times I married (currently married to #2) and I’m so glad I didn’t. My father died when I was 23 and had only daughters. My current husband is fully supportive.

      I tell my tale only to counter those who say a woman should change her name to make it easier for the children. I have kids and I will tell you that I have 100% never had a problem with schools, hospitals, or any sort of paperwork. It is so common for kids to have different last names from their parents or siblings, either due to divorce and remarriage or simply my situation, that it’s a complete non-issue.

      In fact, my kids have attended the same elementary school together for four years now and I’m always hearing people say, “OH, I forgot you were little brother!” or the other way around, and my kids have the same last name. They just have different hair colors.

      There are always going to be people who have something to say about your choices, so I think you should make your decision in a vaccuum – what do you think? What does your husband think? End of discussion.

      • Seventh Sister :

        I have two kids who are quite little, and I’ve never had a problem with school/hospital/airport over the fact that I have a different last name (despite my mother’s tearful protestations that “your kids won’t know you’re their mother if you have a different last name” and my MIL’s suggestion that I give the kids temporary aliases).

        The only time it has ever been mentioned is in the immediate post-hospital period, since babies are usually assigned their mother’s last name for hospital charts (e.g., my daughter was Baby Mylastname, even though her real name is Baby Husbandslastname). So the pediatrician was a little confused, but figured it out (he did go to med school after all).

        My reasons were varied – some aesthetic, some professional, some personal, some possibly political or philosophical. I don’t give a baby mouse patootie what other women do, and probably would have changed my name if I’d liked my husband’s last name better.

    • Anonymous :

      I have a genuine logistical question about hyphenating that I didn’t see addressed in these comments. If you have a hyphenated last name, what are you considering doing for your future/hypothetical child’s last name? As an example, if Mr. Smith-Jones marries Ms. Brown, does the name become Smith-Jones-Brown?

      I struggle with whether to hyphenate due to my Irish last name. O’Irish-Smith seems like too much punctuation in one last name, considering the never ending logistical nightmares that tiny apostrophe has caused me over the years (I have had documentation rejected on numerous occasions because one document said OIrish and one said O’Irish. For real.)

      I was wondering if people with hyphenated last names have come up with a more elegant solution to the double punctuation problem.

      • I have a two-word last name, no hyphen. It’s confusing to people (understandably), but they learn. So you could be Anonymous O’Irish Smith. Some people will call you Ms. Smith, but some people do that with hyphenated names, too.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I changed my name (six years ago) and don’t regret it.

      It really wasn’t hard to do, just a relatively quick stop at the social security office and DMV, then faxing the marriage certificate to a couple of places (mainly banks and health insurance). I delayed changing until after the (international) honeymoon so that I didn’t have new passport stress, so mailing it in and getting a new one was easy. Yes, my mortgage and school loans are still in my maiden name, but I don’t care and they still take my money. It was all just a small bump in the road relative to the lifetime I have ahead of me.

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