Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Seamed Pencil Skirt

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

Halogen® Seamed Pencil SkirtSo: The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale continues (prices go back up to normal prices on 8/6 — all of my picks from the sale are here and here). Included in the sale is the Halogen Seamed Pencil Skirt, a Nordstrom classic that readers have been so fond of that it’s known primarily as “The Skirt” around here. A few weeks ago, readers started commenting that The Skirt had been redesigned — some thought for the better, but many were upset at the change. So I brushed off my journalist hat and decided to investigate, contacting Nordstrom on Twitter. “We refresh designs from time to time,” someone named “Sam” responded by direct message. “The seams changed but the fit should be the same. Let us know how you like it!” So, readers, go to town — how do you like the redesigned skirt? (I’ll forward them this post on Monday.) As part of the Anniversary Sale, all eleven colors are marked to $45.90, down from $69. Halogen Seamed Pencil Skirt

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Comments

  1. This is pretty but I’m looking for a pencil skirt that has a good old fashioned waistband. I don’t like the no-waistband look (on me, anyway – looks great on some of you). Anyone know where to get a pencil skirt with a waistband?

    • MissJackson :

      J Crew — I need a waist band, too. All of their pencil skirts have waist bands, and they make them in a large variety of colors, patterns, and fabrics.

      Note: J Crew pencil skirts are cut very straight up and down, which works very well if you have narrow hips or not a very thin waist, but might be more challenging (or require tailoring) for those with a curvier lower body figure.

      • Second the J Crew suggestion.

      • Of Counsel :

        Second the point about J. Crew pencil skirts possibly being a challenge for women with curvier lower bodies.

        • Thirding the point on curviness: I am NOT curvy and have always assumed that I couldn’t wear pencil skirts because I have no defined waist. I still need to be careful about styling, but I was amazed to find that the double-serge pencil doesn’t have inches of extra fabric in the hips. (FYI, I have a 28″ waist and can wear a size 0 in JC pencil skirts.)

          • The cuts of J. Crew’s pencil skirts vary widely, depending on fabric, style, and sometimes even color within a particular line. I’ve found the No. 2 pencil skirt in Super 120s to be quite forgiving to my bubble butt. I also have an eyelet pencil skirt I like (can’t remember the exact style, sorry). But yes, in general, every other J. Crew skirt looks atrocious on me.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Banana Republic skirts often have waistbands and tend to fit my hourglass figure pretty well. I just got this one and I like it:

      http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=35288&vid=1&pid=407387

    • Halogen also makes a skirt with a waist. I’ve bought a few in fun colors for about $20.

    • I have a few with waistbands from Anne Taylor (the factory store/outlet) that I really like. My J Crew skirts also have waistbands.

    • Ann Taylor skirts normally have waistbands. I agree with you – I knew I didn’t like The Skirt but I could never put my finger on why. It’s because it doesn’t have a waistband!

  2. Midwest Attorney :

    TJ right off the bat–but somewhat related to NAS. I finally decided that a good move would be to go to the Nordstrom makeup counter for some fresh makeup, and maybe learn how to apply it from a professional. Now that I’ve made the decision (I’m very indecisive, obviously) I’m super anxious to go. Do you think I should wait until the anniversary sale in the hopes of getting more attention/time with the stylist? I would either have to go after work on the evenings, or sometime on the weekend. Thoughts, experiences with this? I do plan to buy quite a bit, assuming I like what they come up with, so not sure how much taht will help?

    • Midwest Attorney :

      Oops. “Until the anniversary sale is over.”

    • Call and make an appointment. That way, when you go, the salesperson will only be working with you and not trying to serve other customers also.

    • Go on a weeknight (not Friday) or late on a Sunday afternoon when things are likely to be slowest. Skip Saturday when a lot of folks use it as a way to get a makeover before they’re going out on the town. I seem to recall Bobbi Brown even charged if you were a Saturday appointment. I loved my BB consultation, they even sent me home with a chart to use as a guide. It may sound geeky, but maybe have a notebook handy. The stylist I had was wonderful and offered so many great tips–I just wish I could remember half of them!

    • Bobbi Brown sales clerks do not work on commmission, and I have never been subject to any pressure. I have had several make-up consults with at Bobbi Brown and I recommend highly.

      • Ex Counter Girl :

        Actually, if it is a BB counter within a dept store, then the artists work on a base hourly rate plus small commission percentage. At Nordstrom in mid 2000s, it was $11-15 an hour plus 3% of your sales.

    • You can go on a Saturday – just go at the beginning of the day – even during the NAS, it’s not crowded right when they open. And SA are willing to sit down with you.

      I also noticed on the Nordstrom website, they have a “beauty stylist” similar to the personal stylist. Which might mean they will give you suggestions from the wide variety of counters (and not a single counter). Maybe event give that a try?

    • Call ahead. I find it helps to let them know in advance that you are planning to drop some money (I’ll phrase it along the lines: I have nothing anymore and need to stock up on all the essentials. I need you to help to make sure they are all right for my skin tone and go well together.). I find out that way, they are more inclined to help you put together a complete look and take their time, because they know their time is worth it.

    • Associette :

      Midwest Attorney – at the 2 Nordstroms near me, the makeup departments have what they call a “Beauty Stylist.” The Beauty Stylist does not work for a particular counter, but will pull good products from each counter, make recommendations and show you how to use the products. I am not sure if they are on commission or not. I had this done and did not feel pressured at all, and ended up with really great makeup!

      The Beauty Stylist takes appointments, so I recommend making an appointment and you should have no trouble getting the attention you need. Good luck!

      • microscience :

        I will third (or fourth or fifth) the Bobbi Brown at nordies recommendation. I went years ago, the rep did an excellent job, the colors she gave me still work and are very classic. She showed me how to do everything and picked full makeup (foundation, etc) but she also understood that I don’t wear it all. She just wanted to show me how everything looked, and then what would be most useful if I wanted to limit it. Also, she was budget conscious and showed me which brushes did double duty so I would only have to buy 4. Definitely made me a Bobbi Brown fan for life.

  3. In the Pink :

    As a long time lover of The Skirt, I have at least a dozen of the originals. The rough underside of my prior conference table made many pill…so I was looking to replace them ” in kind.” (Yes, I just got a new conference table!)

    Well, they are in no way the same.

    1. the hand/weight of the fabric is much less substantial so it does not drape as well and shows more lumps and bumps of the wearer

    2. seaming is boring and cannot really be detected as a style declaration

    3. on hourglass figures, it seems to be more of a straight fit skirt now, instead of rejoicing at having an hourglass

    4. the high waist pencil skirt is a better choice, in my opinion, although there is no variety in colors and the weight/hand of the fabric is also less substantial.

    Despite low pricing on these halogen skirts, why did they have to decrease the weight/hand of the fabric? Unacceptable.

    Yes, I bought some because I needed replacements, but it was in mourning. I did indicate this all to the store’s buyers and managers. AND told them to read this blog!

    • I agree with all this. While The Skirt was particularly flattering on the hourglass figure, it appears the new design works better for straighter figured folks. Perhaps that allows it to appeal to a wider market, but its also what made The Skirt unique.

      But my biggest beef with the new skirt is the fabric. Its MUCH less substantial than the old design. It is less stretchy and feels like it will certainly wear out faster. Plus, the lack of stretch makes it less flattering.

      I bought a version in the black because, well, its still a decent pencil skirt — but it’s no longer amazing. And for the particularly curvy, it probably will no longer work at all.

      • CP in seattle :

        Oops, I didn’t even notice the redesign (but i’m a straight figure). I bought the deep purple and dark blue and love them! Especially with the new eclair blouses!

    • I like the new skirt, for kind of the same reasons you dislike it, so to each her own! I thought the old Skirt was a bit heavy, and I like that the new one seems lighter. I also find it drapes better on me. I like the new seaming too, as I thought the old seaming kind of made my hips look wider. I will still happily wear my old Skirts and buy a few of the new ones too.

      • I get mine today and am hopeful for the same reasons. I tried the old skirt, and the waist was too tight while the rest of the skirt was too big, and I disliked the heavy fabric bunching everyone. So I’m eagerly awaiting my shipment!

        • I’m totally with you, DC Law – i actually really like the lighter fabric – it’s nice to wear year round, where as the old one felt pretty heavy in these humid DC summers. The new fit also falls much better on me, as the straighter shape leads to less bunching and extra fabric. And a PSA to those of you who havent bought these yet, the commando tights that are on sale as part of the NAS are AMAZING. the most comfy tights ever. stock up, they are phenomenal.

        • I meant “everywhere.” Doh.

      • The old skirt did not work for me at all. I’ll have to try the new one.

      • In the Pink :

        I would ADORE it if Nordstroms simply bit the bullet and made BOTH versions. It wou d be a good customer relations move on their part and they’d double their sales.

        • In the Pink :

          oops – it would be …

        • Seriously – wouldn’t that double their sales? Both customer bases would be served better, instead of only one. And I’m kind of grumpy that yet again, hourglass figures are getting the boot here. There were already options (JCrew, elsewhere) for straighter figures, but not so many for us. :(

          • Seconded. I loved The Skirt because it worked beautifully for my waist to hip ratio. I don’t live in the US and I have gone to Nordie’s specifically to purchase The Skirt. If it doesn’t work for hourglass figures anymore, I guess I won’t be going to Nordie’s as much.

        • Ditto on this. They’re basically different skirts. Why not make them both? I loved the old skirt, but haven’t been wearing it during the hot NYC summer this yea as it just feels too substantial. Just got the new skirt (in the black/grey and black/purple two-toned design — nice!), and the lighter fabric is better for this time of year. But I’m sad that I won’t be able to buy the old skirt in the lovely, heavy but stretchy fabric anymore.

        • That would be a fabulous move on Nordstroms’ part. The new skirt will work for me okay, but the Skirt was fabulous and the seams on it made it really special.

    • I also agree with points 1-4 above – the new version of the skirt doesn’t work for me at all. The cut is too straight for my hips, the skirt itself is shorter (not a blessing for this tall person), the fabric is nothing impressive and seems practically see-through compared to the old fabric, which hung and concealed much better. Also, the sizing is off – my old size in The Skirt is now too tight, but the next size up is far too loose. I’m so sad I had only discovered The Skirt last year and only own three colors of the old design!

    • Unfortunately, I see this in so many classics. Stores keep bringing them back, but the material gets thinner and more flimsy over the year. I’ve stopped buying some because I just cannot take the low quality of the material any more. Way to ruin a perfect piece.

    • Agreed 100% with In the Pink, except that I’m an X shape and don’t like to accent that lower-hip area, and I feel like the seaming does exactly that. Like it would be hard for them to offer both. I’m more upset about this than I expected I would ever get over an article of clothing. It was so special…sniff…

    • Agreed on the above points 1-4 and TCFKAG’s analysis. I dislike the new seaming – much less flattering on my curvy shape, and the fabric is much less forgiving. As someone who sits at a desk for way too many hours a day, I appreciated that the old fabric didn’t wrinkle much. I sat in the dressing room in the new skirt for a few minutes and it seemed much more wrinkle prone.

      Also, as I was explaining to the sales associate the fit issues, one of the tailors walked out the dressing room with one of the skirts pinned through the waist, exactly as I was saying I would have to do. Didn’t buy the new skirt (I have three of the old).

    • In the Pink :

      I thought this high-waist pencil skirt was a fit like the Old Skirt, although not of the same great fabric. The pockets don’t make bulges as I feared they might.

      http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/halogen-patch-pocket-pencil-skirt/3271546?cm_pla=bottoms%3Awomen%3Askirt&cm_cat=tellapart&cm_ven=display_rt&cm_ite=ann12_saleb

    • I am losing weight and trying not to buy (too many) things now, but I did break down and buy the “original’ skirt in black for $40, which is such a steal. I am so glad I did, as I love the old one so much more. As I shrink, I’ll just have to have it altered! It would be great if Nordy’s would make both.

  4. Got my box from the NAS last night and, unfortunately, it’s all going back. The Chantelle bra was beautiful but oddly emphasized the fact that one of my girls is smaller than the other. The jacquard cashmere scarf was more purple than denim and too close in color to one I already have. The gorgeous Vince Camuto booties would have been a keeper but they are too big. Really big around the ankle, but also too big in the foot. They are a lighter red than I expected but the gold accents are really pretty with the color. I reordered them in a 1/2 size smaller so we’ll see!

  5. Yesterday’s post about Kate Middleton’s dress got me thinking. I love her style but I do have to say that I don’t always think her fashion choices are the most appropriate. She always looks adorable but something about seeing the future queen in jeans that are so snug I can see the underside of her bum just doesn’t sit well with me. Not the same choice I would make if I were in her shoes.
    http://whatkatewore (dot) com

    I do love her clothes though!

    • anon prof :

      I, too, was surprised at just how tight those cobalt jeans were. But she looks great and usually wears such beautiful clothes! I love how she wears affordable things as well as couture.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I don’t mind how tight they are because it seems like the style of colored jeans is meant to be worn that way – I think what’s throwing off the proportions is that one wouldn’t normally style a shorter, close fitting polo with such tight jeans. But it seems like she didn’t have a lot of choice/option on the top.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Also – I thought her shoes were a bit clunky. Would have preferred to see pumps or a more understated wedge.

      • She probably didn’t have a choice on top, but she could have balanced the tight top with classic flare jeans. That would have also lessened the clunky feel of those wedges at the same time. Incidentally, I just picked up a pair of cobalt jeans from Express this week and styled them for a Casual Friday outfit on my blog and while those jeans aren’t nearly as tight and they are also a tad longer. I think that was what bothered me slightly about those jeans, too – they were a tad too short. But whether long enough or not, I think it would have looked better had she a loose fitting blouse or structured blazer on top, like the time when she visited the hockey team.

        http://boardroombelles.com/2012/06/19/ask-brbs-jeans-friday/

      • If I looked like her, hell yeah I would style a tight top with tight jeans.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Well that’s the thing – she’s never going to look BAD in what she wears, even if she goes out in a burlap sack. If anyone can pull off tight top and tight jeans it’s her – but I think she can do better and look even better (and we’ve seen her do it).

    • Okay, normally she’s dead on — but giving the way she’s holding her hands, I’m not even sure SHE’S comfortable with how tight those jeans are. She looked much cuter in the tight, but more reasonable, pinkish coral jeans she wore when she visited the British field hockey team.

      But either way, girl’s got a nice booty. :-) I don’t think Brenda could quite pull of skin tight blue jeggings. Rock it while you got it I guess.

      • MissJackson :

        I agree that normally she’s spot on. These skinny jeans are perhaps a bit too tight (although I’m not offended by them personally)– but lord knows I’ve had days where I thought I was dressed fine and caught a glace at myself in the mirror mid-day only to discover that I’d erred (sometimes egregiously). So glad that no one photographs me on a daily basis :)

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Yeah, she looked uncomfortable to me, too. The way she was holding her hands and bag looked like that “oh crap” moment where you’re already out at an event and realizing that your outfit is too tight/short/revealing. I felt badly for her. I adored that pingpong dress yesterday though. Wow.

      • This is why it wouldn’t kill her to hire a stylist to work with her.

        Honestly, I appreciate the fact that she buys her own clothes, does her own styling, etc., but having a stylist would (a) help her avoid these occasional but glaring missteps, and (b) help her get out of the current rut that is her hair and makeup. When you are in the public eye that much, having someone help you with these things is not a bad thing.

    • I dunno, the way she styled those jeans wasn’t the best (with a short, fitted polo? and those godawful shoes? c’mon Kate, you know better) but I don’t object to her wearing clothes that show off her figure. She’s fairly young, she has a lovely body (not to imply that other bodies aren’t lovely, of course), and why shouldn’t she show off her bum? And not everyone in the world is happy wearing staid, buttoned-up, unobjectionable dresses every day of their life.

      • yah – I wish she wouldn’t pair wedges with her outfits as much. Even though in this particular photo they are Stuart Weitzmans which means I can get my grubby paws on them….

    • Associette :

      Love Princess Kate and what kate wore dot com. I agree, her outfit yesterday wasn’t her best because the proportions were off. Each piece could have been fine with a different ensemble, but together, not a cohesive, flattering look. Nonetheless, she is fabulous, and if someone’s jeans are going to be too tight, they should be P. Kate’s because she is so ridiculously thin she can get away with it.

    • I think she may have been trying to do a fashiony version of the UK team uniform. It didn’t work well, but I think the polo and jeans are a reference to the uni.

      • Agree. I’m not sure what would have worked better, given those constraints. Maybe she should have gone up a size in the jeans. I can’t picture her in flared jeans, and I can’t remember seeing her in any pants other than skinny jeans since her marriage.

  6. anon prof :

    I’m a broken record by now on this, but I like the new skirt better. I like the old one a lot, though! I live in the South, so the lighter weight is good. The new cut also fits better on my waist and rides up less. I have at least old one with tags still on it that I’m trying to decide whether to return or hang on to–ridiculous that I can’t decide!

    Anyone else notice that the model in an HP ad for printers that ran in the WSJ print edition for weeks was wearing the old skirt in tan?

    • You may have some interested buyers for the (old) skirt on this website :). As I’ve said before, I am a fan of the new skirt, but I realize that I have a different body type than was flattered by the old one. I’m a zero petite with no discernible waist or hips, but a bit of a booty, a small tummy, and muscular legs. I will also say that the new skirt is a nice basic, and I love that it will be consistent sizing, etc., but it does crease quite a bit at the hips and is not precisely AMAZING so much as a nice basic.

      • Here's the thing :

        I understand that some of you like the new “Skirt” better–but the problem is, us hour-glassy types don’t have much to wear! Every piece of clothing out there feels like it is designed for people without curves.

    • Another Apple with a vote for the New Skirt here. I just got it in storm and the black and plum two-tone yesterday, and I can’t wait to wear them.

    • In the Pink :

      If your old ones with tags are a size 10 … I’m interested!

      Gee we could hold a The Skirt swap meet.

    • Great idea! Anyone have new or gently used size 2 old Skirts?

    • SoCal Gator :

      Add me to Team New Skirt. I was at Nordstroms today to exchange a shirt and tried on a size 2 new Skirt and size 2 original The Skirt. Hands down the new one looked better on me. It hung better, hips fit better and the waist was fine. The original version was too wide at the hips and did nothing for me. I am small boned and have have slender hips, a small waist and small butt. I bought two of version 2 — black and a lovely corally orange.

  7. TJ–and reposting because I posted a bit late in the day yesterday:

    Wedding dress question–help most appreciated!

    One of my dear friends is looking for a J Mendel pre-fall 2009 collection dress that she hasn’t had much luck finding on the internet, and she’d like to buy at a discount if possible. Does anyone have any recommendations? We’re on the East Coast, so any of the major East Coast cities would probably be fine places to scout, and I’m sure she’d be willing to at least call places elsewhere.

    Thanks in advance to you all!

  8. Two cents :

    As a hourglass/pear shape, the new version of the skirt doesn’t work well for me. I could definitely see how it would look great on straight figures. But, as others have posted, so many retailers make pencil skirts designed for straight figures, which is why there was so much love for the Halogen skirt (not to mention the great price point). I really wish that Nordstrom would consider keeping the original version of the skirt and making this second version as well, so that women of all body types would be happy! Until that happens, I won’t be buying this skirt anymore.

    • Agreed.

    • Honey Pillows :

      I was all set to buy the Skirt (camel and blue aster!) until I found out it was no longer The Skirt, but merely another pencil skirt that wouldn’t flatter my curves. I agree, can’t we make multiple versions of styles that will look great on different body types? Does one type have to be the fashionable one? Can’t we all just be fashionable in different cuts of the same style?

      • say it, sistah!!

      • Research, Not Law :

        Me, too. I was ready to buy several in the coming months due to weight loss, but I won’t be since The New Skirt isn’t going to work with my hourglass figure. I’m already a loyal Nordstroms shopper and would have been a life-long devotee of The Old Skirt. They lost an easy sell for the next 30 years.

      • Dead Quote Olympics :

        Exactly! Due to this site’s recommendations, I have exactly one of The Skirt, and was looking forward to buying more this year. However, not only am I an hourglass, I’m a mature working woman who needs the extra thickness of the fabric and the bit extra on the length to be comfortably professional. I do wear J Crew pencil skirts, but they tend to twist around on me when I walk because they have the straighter cut, although I do love the wool ones. As many have said, Nordstrom seem to have missed a chance to sell twice as many by selling both designs. I’ll try the new one, but I’m not hopeful.

    • Migraine Sufferer :

      Ditto. Tried on the “New Skirt” yesterday and it was just… not right anymore.

    • Another hour glass figure, i loved the old version of the skirt, had it in 3 colors and would have bought more this year if the cut was not changed. I tried the new version in store, the fit was horrible for someone who does not have a straight figure. I am pretty mad at nordstorm for pulling out the “old” version of the skirt which was unique in the market for professional women clothing. Now the new skirt is simply no different from jcrew/ann taylor/banana republic pencil skirts catering to women with straight figures. What about the rest of us? Are we doomed to wearing frumpy/ill-fitting clothes ? I did not buy any “new” version of the skirt, it was not flattering for my figure and I refuse to pay my dollars to a retailer who believes in only catering to general population of thin/straight figure/skinny girls. In fact, without a new good fitting skirt, I also cut rest of my shopping budget at Nordstorm sale to 30% of what I usually buy. Nordstorm, if you are reading this, you are definitely loosing a good chunk of my shopping dollars. We hour glass women also have good chunk of cash for clothes and it is definitely not going towards Nordstorm revenue.

      • I am a pear shape who has had the exact same experience as all the women here, the old skirt was wonderful. The new one does not fit properly, and I will not be buying them in the current design.

        But it just hit me what Nordstrom’s should do. Just like you have Halogen pants labeled in different fits, why don’t you also have skirts labled in different fits! They pose the same fit problems, and the reason the skirt was so wonderful for so many of us here, is we can never find skirts that are cut for curvy figures anywhere! So, you could have Halogen skirts labeled as ‘Curvy Fit’ just like the Taylor pants. And still have a new pencil skirt for more straight figures.

    • Hate the new Skirt! Need more “old” The Skirt alternatives!

  9. If anyone needs some cute, really comfortable sandals, I just got a great pair on sale from Naturalizer. I have a vacation coming up where I’ll be doing a lot of walking, but don’t want to look like a tourist wearing sneakers. So I wanted some cute sandals that could be worn with shorts but also were dressy enough not to look dumb with a skirt or sundress, and were comfortable to walk in. These fit the bill perfectly — they’re like walking on a cloud of air. And they’re on sale (not available on Zappos, though).
    http://www.naturalizer.com/en-US/_/_/_/_/Srch0+niche/Products.aspx

  10. Lindsay V. :

    Ugh. I just got mine in, and I’m not happy with it. My old one used to be like Spanx in a skirt and it smoothed everything out. It was soo flattering. I bought another hoping it would be the same (and despite the poor reviews), and I’m not happy. I have to wear Spanx, and even then, I’m not sure it will be good. I’m thinking this is a return.

  11. I love the old version of the skirt. I have 4 of them. Black, blue, turquoise and berry. I will sell my first born child to anyone who has size 12 old skirt laying around in any color. As someone who is hourglassy and longwaisted/shortlegged the original skirt was a God send to me. I often have trouble finding pencil skirts that don’t show off too much. The weight was also perfect for sitting at my desk all day. I didn’t get those dreaded sitting induced wrinkles at the crotch.

  12. Anonforthis :

    The new skirt is definitely different, but I can’t say I find it better or worse than the old version. I went up a size and wear it lower on my hips now, and I kind of like the thinner fabric even though it means there is the potential for VPL now.

    Threadjack / job hunting question: I was the valedictorian of my law school class and, while I mention it on my resume along with my other academic honors, I’ve never called attention to it in a cover letter. I’m approaching the end of a clerkship and, despite having looked for a job almost nonstop since the clerkship started, I haven’t found a thing. Everyone seems to want someone with 2-5 years’ practice experience, and I’ve got a little over a year of not-practice. Should I come right out and state my class rank in my cover letters in the hopes that it will make employers consider giving me a chance despite my relative inexperience? Or would it just come off as obnoxious?

    • The point of a resume is to sell yourself. Include it. It is a significant academic honor.

    • This is an academic honor, and it’s not like listing your GPA in my mind–I would definitely include it.

    • Former MidLevel :

      I wouldn’t put it in your cover letter – the resume is sufficient. And I wouldn’t write “valedictorian,” though. (Does your school actually use this term? I’ve never heard that for law school.) I would put “Class Rank: 1/3xx” in the education section of your resume, probably on the first line of that section–I’ve seen it that way before and it looks good.

      • Former Partner, Now In-House :

        Exactly.

      • Anonforthis :

        This makes me feel better – that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I just wonder how many people ever see my resume. If they skim my cover letters first and see that all I’ve got is a clerkship and some internship/clinic/volunteer experience, they might be tossing my application packets straight into the reject pile without seeing my academic accomplishments. Then again, maybe those accomplishments wouldn’t have as much of an impact as I’d hope in light of the current job market and the number of experienced attorneys looking for jobs right now. And yes, my school does designate a valedictorian every year. Didn’t realize it was unusual.

        • It’s more likely that they skim your resume first and toss your cover letter in the trash. I do think you might want to think about reframing your cover letter in terms of the substantive experience you’ve gained at this point. What exactly have you done in your clerkship, for example? Talk about your success in law school in terms of how it shows your strong work ethic, attention to detail, ability to perform exceptionally well under pressure, etc. At a certain point your academic accomplishments stop mattering so much in and of themselves and become more valuable for the things they say about you.

          I can sympathize, by the way – I am finishing my second year of clerking and was very frustrated by how frequently I was rejected for not having enough experience in practice. You really want to try to sell yourself as someone who knows her way around a courtroom and is extremely familiar with the litigation process, and not so much as The Best Law Student Ever.

    • A related question. I was the commencement speaker for my university departmental graduation (we had separate ceremonies for each department where the diplomas were awarded). It’s been over a decade since then…should it be removed from my resume now?

    • I graduated summa, and you bet your booty that I mentioned that in every single cover letter and professional bio I’ve ever written. Definitely include your valedictorian status. It’s enormously impressive.

  13. So, I purchased a pair of shoes from 6pm.com (the Calvin Klein wedges featured here recently). I love them, but they don’t fit me well. 6pm.com has a 30-day return policy and I have missed the deadline by about a week – do i have any options left? Does anyone have experience with returning items to 6pm after the 30 days?

    • Not to 6 pm, but this happened to me with Rue La La. I called them up, apologized, said I miscounted, loved their website, hoped to shop there in the future lots, could they please make an exception once? They gave me an online credit. I think the trick was highlighting that you want to be a good customer but this experience will sour you on them forever. It can’t hurt to ask.

    • Just send it back. They usually keep it and give you store credit, if not credit back your card. This is Amazon afterall. AIMS’ suggestion is certainly a plus, but I doubt you’d even need to go to that length if you don’t have the time. I inadvertently missed a Piperlime deadline by a few days back and just received an e-mail that stated they’d still give me credit asking me to make sure to send it back on time the next time.

  14. NAS Suggestions? :

    Any suggestions on things you bought from the NAS that you like that would be good for:

    1. wearing under a suit?

    or

    2. An outfit for biz casual Fridays in a large nyc law firm?
    TX!

  15. momentsofabsurdity :

    Here’s my shopping challenge of the day:

    I’m looking for a cream-colored looser-fitting blouse one could wear under a blazer with a navy pencil skirt.

    Caveats:
    Needs to have some sort of sleeve (however short) so I can take the blazer off
    Must look good tucked in
    Neckline can’t be collared or turtle

    Would love any suggestions!

  16. I didn’t buy The Skirt out of laziness (I never imagined that they would change something so popular), but I will try the skirt. My figure is not hourglassy in the slightest so maybe the new version will work for me. The change in fabric aspect is worrisome, however.

    Engagement ring TJ:

    Did any of you decide not to have an engagement ring? The BF and I are discussing engagement/marriage (which is exciting!). I definitely want a wedding band when I’m married. But, frankly, I don’t want an engagement ring at all. I’m just not into jewelry, and I’d rather spend our money on The Most Awesome Honeymoon. The BF is thinking about how he feels about no-engagement ring thing.

    My question is: If any of you went sans engagement ring, how obnoxious were other people about it? If people were obnoxious, how did you deal with them? I don’t want one, but I also don’t want to have the same conversation about why I didn’t want one to acquaintance after acquaintance.

    • I do have an engagement ring, but I didn’t get it until we’d been engaged almost five months (my husband didn’t want to pick it out on his own and then it took several months to get from the jewelers). I had maybe two people ask to see my ring but when I said I didn’t have it, they just moved on to asking whether we’d set a date. Most people never even asked/noticed the no-ring. And then once you get your wedding ring, it’ll be a non-issue.

    • Honestly, I think people will be a little bit obnoxious either way. Everyone has their own idea of what’s appropriate and what they would want, and if your ring is too big, too small, too traditional, too untraditional, exists, or doesn’t exist… someone will be irritating about it. No matter what. Go with what you and your fiance want. Just write yourself a little one-sentence script for any questions – something like, “oh, you know, I’m not such a ring person and we decided we’d rather spend our money on the perfect honeymoon than on a ring I would never wear! We are so excited! Yay!”

      I personally love my ring, but I had started wearing rings (passed down from my mom’s collection from when she was my age) in the year or two before I got engaged, and I’m the type of person that will wear the same piece of jewelry day in and day out for years (I only switch up necklaces for events). I know my ring is not this enough for some people, not that enough for others.. whatever. It’s my ring and it represents continuity, love, and commitment to me. But I think the same could be said about a house (spending money on a down payment instead) or an amazing trip with beautiful memories.

      And congratulations!!

      • Congrats!!!
        I agree, there’s no winning. If its big, then people think its TOO big. If its small, people wonder why its so small. If its not there, not there, if you don’t wear it, if you wear it all the time…
        I personally wanted a ring, and helped him pick it out and love it. It is a small ring, because we’re both frugal people and while I wanted SOME ring, but no matter what it cost it was going to be the most expensive piece of jewelry I owned. I also have a really simple wedding band, and I wear both all the time with everything.
        The “let me see the ring!” enthusiasm wore off pretty quickly, honestly. The only obnoxious comment I got was actually the very first – it was the day after we got engaged and I hadn’t really announced things yet, and someone saw my ring and asked, “Oh, is that a promise ring?” I coulda punched her – who says that to anyone after high school? After I actually announced the engagement, most people focused on that.

        • Wow. Who says something like that?

          • Thank you! A total frienemy. I was super upset at the time, to tell you the truth. It wore off – then and now I love my small ring. Marriage isn’t about enormous rings and fancy engagement photos and ice sculptures and cakes taller than most people. It’s about love, trust, respect, shared values… If you have those you don’t need a gigantic ring to “seal the deal.”

    • We got engaged without a ring, and then thought about it together afterwards. People asked to see the ring, but no one was obnoxious about it. I just said, “Oh, I’m not sure that I want one,” and while some people did encourage me to get one, the really exciting thing is the actual engagement, so people moved on from the ring.

      I think that engagement rings are pretty personal, so as long as you don’t say anything that indirectly insults the person you’re speaking with about their choice to wear or give an engagement ring, they aren’t going to get obnoxious.

      I ended up getting a ring that both my husband and I picked out. It is fairly modest, and part of the rationale for not spending several $k was that I wouldn’t feel like I had to wear it all the time because we spent so much. I found that when we went to some jewelry stores and I tried on certain rings, they looked fine, but I felt that I’d be wearing it just to wear something. We ended up getting a ring from a small store’s estate case that is more my and my husband’s style. That said, I’m only wearing my uber-plain wedding band today, just because I didn’t feel like wearing both.

    • Agree that people will be obnoxious either way. Just found out my sister thought my ring was fake :) If you’re matter of fact “yeah, I didn’t want a ring. We’re so excited…” most people will leave well enough alone.

      If you’re not into it and he is, some friends of mine reached a great compromise. He bought her a small (possibly CZ) ring and used the rest of the money he’d planned to spend to buy her an expensive piece of sporting equipment for a sport they both enjoy and do together. I thought that was a great idea!

    • I had just one ring, but it was a band with some channel-set diamonds on the sides, and one larger diamond set in the middle (but not channel-set, sticking up? not sure of the correct term), so I went ahead and wore it as an engagement ring and took it off for the ceremony. No one thought it was odd. The marriage did not last, but I still like the ring, maybe I’ll have a granddaughter some day to give it to.

    • I didn’t want and don’t have an engagement ring. No one cared.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Congratulations!! I think you can just say, “He proposed, it was awesome! I don’t think I really want a ring but I can’t wait to get married!” People (if they are polite) will usually let it go with that.

      Speaking of engagement rings, a note:

      A friend just got a ring from Do Amore and I think it is one of the cooler things I’ve seen. Definitely recommend, if you do want a ring, checking out the company.

    • Not Traditional :

      We got engaged three years ago and we don’t yet know when the wedding will be. Second wedding for both of us, older, kids on one side etc.

      We shopped for the ring together, and I selected a three-band rolling ring. Each band is platinum pave set all the way around with diamonds. So while it does have stones, it is less flashy than a one-stone traditional ring. Also, when we do get married, I will wear the exact same ring every day and instead of calling it my engagement ring, I will call it my wedding ring. Dual purpose :)

    • I initially wanted just a pave diamond band for an engagement ring (like an eternity or 1/2 eternity band) and a plan band for a wedding ring. I still think that would be a very cool and low key approach.

      But, just to warn you, I ended up with a more traditional engagement ring because my DH felt very strongly about buying me one. This was a big surprise to me because I always figured he would just be excited about having a cheaper option. Instead, he was concerned that everyone (my family, his family, colleagues etc) would think he was (1) stupid (he comes from a different culture) or (2) cheap. Now, I’m of the school of thought that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks and I honestly didn’t give a crap about it. But I guess men feel that the ring reflects on them, even though you’re the one who wears it, so sometimes they care more than you might expect. Anyway, we picked out my ring together and I love it. It’s a lot smaller than what he would have gotten on his own, and a lot bigger/more traditional than what I would have gotten if it were just up to me.

      • I agree with KK. A lot of men care about the ring because they feel it reflects on them. I told my now husband that I didn’t want a ring, but he kept insisting that he wanted to get me one. This went on for years. I finally agreed and told him what kind of ring I wanted. He ignored me and got me another kind of ring that I ended up hating. I wore it for two minutes after he proposed to me and never wore it again. As you can imagine, this caused a lot of problems and we got into arguments about it during our engagement. He only cared about me wearing it when we were around people from his work or his clients. Once when we were going to a client event, he said, “You need to wear your ring because Client X is going to be there and she’s probably going to want to see your ring.” Our engagement period was awful because of that damn ring. I genuinely think that he thought if he just ignored the problem long enough that I would finally give up and start wearing the ring. I never did and he finally returned it.

        When we were picking out our wedding bands, he started up with the diamond nonsense again. He wanted me to get a band that was covered in diamonds and I just wanted a plain, thin platinum band. Thankfully, I ended up with a plain band like I wanted but sure enough my husband bought me another diamond engagement right a week before our wedding. I know he just couldn’t stand the idea of me without a diamond ring on our wedding day. Sadly, it still wasn’t what I told him I liked so it was a double fail. I rarely wear it and whenever I do it makes me sad that he cares more about what other people think than about my feelings.

    • First, congratulations!!

      Second, I did not want a ring…and if I had decided to ask my now DH to get one to ward off other people’s obnoxiousness, I think I would have hated it.

      When people asked, I joked that “I’m not going to wear a ring until he does!” (Which is actually part of why I didn’t want one. I didn’t like the connotation that I was “spoken for”, but he was still a free agent.) That usually stopped further questions. In my case, my DH did buy me a piece of jewelry to commemorate the engagement…but no one views it as the same thing. In our case, we didn’t do the formal “surprise” proposal thing either, so people were extra confused…as if somehow our engagement was less real because I didn’t have a specific piece of jewelry and my SO didn’t plan a “surprise” to ask me a question to which he already knew the answer. We did celebrate our engagement with a special weekend that my DH planned, FWIW, but it was after we decided to get married.

      You’ll find that people can be incredibly intrusive and judgmental throughout your wedding planning process. Most of that falls off after you get married…I know many women who stopped wearing their e-ring once they had a wedding band on.

      Obviously I support your decision since it was the one I made, but I also think you’ll find it’s not such a big deal in the end. I did get a fancier, custom-made band though with an inset center-stone…I like it better because I’m not a ring person and it’s much smaller than an e-ring would be.

    • An engagement ring doesn’t have to be a single rock sticking out of a band and a wedding band doesn’t have to be a circle of gold. Maybe a good compromise would be to get a non-traditional engagement ring and use the same ring as your wedding ring?

    • I don’t have an engagement ring, but we’ve talked about getting a sapphire ring (birthstone!). I tend to lose things (the last two necklaces my SO got me…) so we might not even do that.
      People are about as obnoxious as they are about all the somewhat standard decisions you make. I found the easist thing was to say “I’m not a ring person”(true), and then ask them about THIER engagement ring or mention how excited you are to be getting married. That’s what people really want to talk about :) Congrats!!
      Family was the hardest for me b/c some relatives think no ring = not engaged. But aquantices would hopefully keep those type of thoughts to themselves.

    • Thanks for the comments!

      I like the idea of responding with “I didn’t want an engagement ring but we’re so excited about getting married!” If someone keeps going, I like rtg’s response of “I’ll wear a ring when he does.”

      If the BF wants to buy a ring for the engagement, I like the idea of having a single ring that serves as my “engagement ring” during the engagement and then my “wedding ring” after the wedding.

      • Can I make a random suggestion, MOlaw? If you read my comments above, you’ll see that I desperately didn’t want an engagement ring but my husband got me one anyway, which I ultimately ended up hating. I got him to return it but he just ended up buying me another one that I’ve never really learned to love. But . . . I would suggest that you not use a pre-existing ring as your wedding ring. As callous as I know I can be about romantic nonsense, there is something very meaningful about having your husband put your wedding ring on your finger on your wedding day. I hate the engagement ring and rarely wear it, but I have very fond feelings for my simple, platinum band. That was the platinum band he put on my finger when he vowed himself to me forever. It was never on any other woman’s finger and it was never on my finger before the day of our wedding. There’s something very meaningful to me about that.

  17. I have to post a positive customer service experience. Lo & Sons, which Kat has featured a couple times, has a lifelong customer in me. Last summer I bought a TT as a work bag. It’s the most durable I’ve ever had–not breaking and remaining comfy and great looking despite schlepping my laptop and files daily. When I bought it, they actually emailed me that they started a sale after I ordered and adjusted my price significantly.

    In April, I bought a Mott–a little crossbody/wristlet thing that I put in my work bag during the week and use to go to lunch and on the weekend when I don’t want to carry the whole big bag. The zipper pull broke, and I contacted the company about fixing it. They shipped out a new bag right away.

    Had to share. I love great customer service. and figured the best way I could reward them was to post here (and of course continue to shop there).

    • Jacqueline :

      Great to hear — I was actually just considering biting the bullet on the TT myself. This might push me over the edge! It’s always nice to hear a good customer service story.

      • I love my TT. I’d been through two bags (a Target and a $300 Hobo International) before that didn’t make it 6 months before the straps broke. My TT gets a daily beating, and it still looks great. It’s also naturally very light, so it doesn’t add all the weight of a heavy leather bag. It’s comfortable to wear, and it has good convenience features (I had no idea how much I’d like that you can slip it over the handle of a carryon while traveling, for example). I hope you buy and enjoy! :)

        • Jacqueline :

          Can you comfortably fit your laptop, files, lunch, wallet and makeup in the TT, or is it a tight squeeze? I was trying to decide between the OMG and the TT — I prefer the shape of the TT, but I was concerned that it wasn’t big enough.

          • I can fit my 13 inch laptop (it goes in short end down (like portrait orientation), if that makes sense–it really confused me at first because I expected it to fit long side down (landscape orientation)), my iPad, an inch or so of files, the Mott bag (previously a HUGE Hobo wallet), makeup and other loose ends. I can put my full Built lunchbag in it too, but it’s not comfortable to carry on my shoulder at that point, and I don’t think it would zip. If I did a smaller lunch container or when my lunch bag isn’t very full, it is fine. I haven’t seen the OMG in person. I was torn too.

          • I only carry my laptop (13” macbook pro) in my TT when I travel, and it’s a comfortable fit with a book, some reading material, a sandwich, and a waterbottle. I don’t think you could fit that many files in it, though.

            For daily use, I sometimes don’t put my lunch in my TT. I usually have multiple plastic containers that I carry in a Built lunch tote, and they can be too heavy for me to carry in the TT and also certain containers will make the bag seem to bulging–it’ll still zip shut, I just don’t like the profile.

          • Jacqueline :

            Perfect — that’s about what I’d need it for (and I, too, have an overstuffed Hobo wallet). I have an Air, so I’m not too worried about bulk there. Thanks!

      • TurtleWexler :

        In case you didn’t already know, Belle at Capitol Hill Style has a coupon code for 25% off Lo & Sons, good until July 31…

    • Honey Pillows :

      Does anyone have the OG? I’m kind of in love with the cobalt one.

    • Thanks for your comment. I have not yet bought a Lo & Sons bag, mostly because there are so many lovely styles and colors to choose from that I can’t decide which one I want. It’s good to know they have good customer service.

    • I don’t love Lo & Sons quality – the strap on my bag has broken three times now – but I must say their customer service has always been very nice about sending me new straps right away.

  18. Speaking of the NAS Sale, has anyone tried the Zella workout gear? I keep meaning to try on the capris, but haven’t had the chance.

    • downstream :

      I got a zella top, which I like, and the Under Armour and Nike capris. The Under Armour ones are weirdly VERY shiny. The Nike ones are really nice. I’d go for the Nike ones.

    • I haven’t tried the Zella capris but love the Zella shorts. The wide waistband hits me at the perfect spot and they don’t shift much.

    • I have the capris and love them. They are very thick and smooth all lumps and bumps. I want a pair of leggings for fall / winter.

      • Chicken Counselor :

        I only wear Zella capris. My lulu and lucy and others are sitting unworn in my closet and will likely never see the light of day again. They are thinner than lulu, yet substantial enough to ward off any jiggle. Wide waist is perfect.

  19. iworkinazoo? :

    Our office has a seminar on money management today, but the person who sent out the invite mis-typed it as “monkey management” so now I keep getting reminders to show up for “monkey management at 1:00.” I think monkey management would be a much more interesting seminar.

  20. I just wanted to say a big thank you to all the ladies who have supported the bar takers this summer. I was the one who posted a couple of weeks ago in serious panic mode about the CA bar. Of course it is impossible to gauge my performance, and I am mentally prepared for re-taking it as I said, but I did not panic and just did the best I could. Thank you for being kind enough to share your experiences and advice.

  21. Dry cleaning question. I recently got a navy sheath dress back from its first trip to the dry cleaners. Half of the hook at the top of the zipper is missing, and there is a little bit of lightening in the back by the zipper. Are these things it is reasonable to ask the dry cleaner to address? I am mostly satisfied with them and would like to continue using them, so I was planning to go in and ask them to mend the hook and look at the fabric on the dress, and if they agree (at no charge), I will drop off more stuff at the same time. Is that reasonable? Other suggestions?

    • Or they can give you enough money to replace the dress, which is unwearable in it current condition.

      Yes, what you are asking for is reasonable. And no, you do not need to sweeten the deal by giving them more work.

      Also, be specific that you want whatever hardware they put on the dress to match what is already there EXACTLY.

    • You are being more than reasonable. They damaged your clothing – whether it was intentional or not, negligent or not, is irrelevant. At a minimum they should attempt to fix the damage done.

  22. Ugh, such a wardrobe fail today. I wore some black pants that are skinnier through the leg than what I normally wear to work, and just ankle length, but I thought they looked professional enough with heels and a longer blazer. But every time I stand up, they get caught bunched up around my giant calfs, and I have to reach down and pull the legs down. Staying in the office as much as possible today.

    • PharmaGirl :

      That happened to me earlier this week. I felt so awkward every time I left a meeting and had to yank on my pants. But they were super cute and out of the norm for me!

  23. This has to be one of Nordstrom’s worst styling photos. Faux snake-skin platform peeptoe’s and chambray? Really?

  24. TJ – NDA for a new housekeeper?
    I have enjoyed (and benefited greatly from) prior discussions on this site about housekeepers and pay, privacy, extent of cleaning, etc. However, I don’t recall any discussion about whether housekeepers were asked to sign a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement upon hiring. Due to the nature of our jobs, my husband and I are both public figures and we work closely with confidential information (that inevitably pervades our living space). We have resisted temptation to hire a housekeeper solely for privacy issues, and we just can’t keep up with the cleaning. We have a friend who highly recommended their housekeeper to us and I’m wondering if she might be willing to sign a confidentiality/ND agreement. Anyone had a positive experience with this type of situation? Any suggestions about specifics to be included? Or feedback on whether this is a good idea at all? Thanks in advance!

    • Anon lawyer :

      I’ve never done this, but something to think about is that all a contract (like an NDA) buys you is the right to sue if information gets out. It can’t actually prevent disclosure. Just something to keep in mind.

    • I’ve never had a housekeeper sign one, but I can’t imagine a reputable company/cleaner refusing. Presumably discretion is part of the job. I agree with Anon lawyer that the NDA doesn’t technically prevent disclosure but 1) studies have shown that people are, for example, more honest after they have signed something affirming that they will tell the truth so just going through the exercise of having the housekeeper read and sign the document should help and 2) the NDAs I use (not for housekeeping but in general attorney life) state that disclosure would cause irreparable harm beyond what could be fixed with monetary damages. Obviously, the irreparable part can only do so much because your recourse is…monetary damages. Still, I use them in my work to put the signer on notice that disclosure would be really bad and to create at least some recourse if something got out without limiting the damages.

    • So bad of me, but this immediately reminds me of 50 Shades……

    • I have no experience with this, but I can’t think it is that odd of a request. I have seen confidentiality clauses in nanny agreements. Example: During the course of your employment, you may legitimately see, hear or otherwise become privy to information about our family. It is understood and agreed that all information relating to the parents, including but not limited to financial, household or career, is confidential information which may not be disclosed to anyone without the written consent of the undersigned parents. It is also understood that a failure to abide by this agreement may, at the parent’s discretion, result in immediate termination. The obligations of the employee under this clause survive termination of this agreement.
      I would approach it in a non-threatening way during the interview and see how it goes.

    • I wouldn’t hire a housekeeper who doesn’t normally work with public figures and others who will require a certain level of confidentiality. I’m sure there are services that specialize in working with families like yours. I’d talk to some of your friends who are also public figures and find out what services they use.

      Having said that, if the information is truly confidential, you should not leave it lying around your living space. That’s just irresponsible. Buy a filing cabinet and lock it in.

    • I don’t think a ND agreement is out of the question, although it’s not a guarantee that info will be safe. The daughter of a close friend is a nanny (one of, oh, four) working for employers from hell, a super-rich couple in finance. She has had to sign a ND agreement, but she has shared with her mother some horrific stories about how they treat her. (If there weren’t already a sequel to the Nanny Diaries in the works, she could write it.) After a few glasses of wine, my friend told a few of us all about how bad it is there and some personal things about the employers’ marriage — and then blithely told us their names. The information basically meant nothing to me, I don’t move in those circles, but still . . .

    • Senior Attorney :

      Honestly, I think I would have a locked closet and discipline myself to shove the confidential stuff in there as part of the “cleaning up for the cleaning crew” ritual the night before. That’s not to say a confidentiality agreement isn’t a good idea, but if you are trying to actually prevent disclosure, then keeping the secrets away from unauthorized eyes is the best way to go.

      Plus, having your work pervade your living space isn’t the most comfortable way to live, and if you know you have to gather up the sensitive material once a week you might find your home environment more pleasant overall.

      • karenpadi :

        This. I usually spend 30 minutes just picking up stuff before my housekeeper comes so she doesn’t have to work around things like shoes lying on the floor or dirty dishes or on the counter or clothes I haven’t bothered to hang up.

        Part of “the big pick-up” is rounding up cc bills, bank statements, and other personal documents and putting them in my locked file cabinet. I don’t see why you can’t do this with all types of confidential information.

  25. Anne Shirley :

    Hey Nordstrom, welcome! I loved The (old) Skirt, and hate the new one. I’m very curvy, and it was so nice to have a pencil skirt that worked. The new one fits like a cheap JCrew No 2 skirt. In related thoughts, if you had a “refresh your work wardrobe” event with wine at Short Hills from say 7-9 pm on a Thursday, or a Saturday 8-10 am power breakfast event, I would so be there. Less commitment required than a personal shopper, but it would be nice to have the salesladies geared up for work ware.

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