Suit of the Week: Brooks Brothers

Wool Milano Fit One-Button JacketFor busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

It was actually the pencil skirt that sold me on this wool plaid suit from Brooks Brothers — it just looks like a perfect length, perfect plaid, perfect navy (perhaps with a bit of purpleish in it?). Of course, you can just buy the skirt, but then look how professional it looks with the matching jacket. I’d wear the jacket as a separate, also, perhaps over a black sheath dress or with gray trousers. (To those of you who doubt that you can wear navy and black together: note how great the navy suit looks here with the black suede heels.) The jacket (Wool Milano Fit One-Button Jacket) is $698, and the skirt (Wool Plaid Pencil Skirt) is $298.

Wool Milano Fit One-Button Jacket Wool Plaid Pencil Skirt

(L-5)

Comments

  1. SAlit-a-gator :

    I love this suit! Very classy and timeless. I’m in my twenties and this is exactly the kind of piece that adds authority. I like the old-man vibe from the jacket and I think it could look really modern with a nice silk blouse. Thankfully I’m not tempted at all though (one button, and way out of my price league).

  2. WANT. Oh, so very want. Oh, so very cannot afford, though. Beautiful suit.

    • ME TOO. This is an awesome suit.

    • Agree – it’s lovely but out of my price and size range. Even if that were not the case, I am always so reluctant to buy fall/winter clothes in the summer time, simply because the idea makes me sweaty and uncomfortable. Someone posted yesterday about how the best time of year to buy clothes is never when it’s the season to wear them … I understand the rationale for this from a retail perspective, but it irks me all the same.

  3. Two cents :

    Speaking of suits, I’d like to give myself a little pat on the back. I went to my first recruiting event on behalf of the firm (I did not interview candidates, but I chatted with them in the “meet and greet” room beforehand. I was originally going to wear a navy blue suit but I don’t really love any of my suits, so instead I wore a really cute printed blazer with a pencil skirt. I am SO glad that I didn’t wear the usual boring navy blue suit because all of the students were wearing that exact uniform and given that I already look young, I would have just looked like another OCI recruit. And frankly, I think it made me look confident/not trying so hard that I wore something totally different.

    Anyways, this isn’t a huge deal but I think this is a lesson that I will take with me throughout this recruiting process.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yay! Your outfit sounds great! Let’s hear it for being oneself!

    • I would love to show this suit to the manageing partner. It is VERY expensive, but so CLASIC in it’s lines and everything. Plus, it is conserveative enough for me to go in to COURT.

      Mabye if I RUN IT BY JIM, and then get Jim to talk to the manageing partner, the manageing will put the suit on the FIRM’s AMERICAN EXPRESS CARD.

      Then all I need is a NICE pair of CLOSED toe Jimmy Choo shoes!!!!! YAY!!!!!

      BTW, Lourine has been stickeing up for me. Yay!!!

      • Ellen, did you ever ask the manageing partner for 10% of billings from your new cleints? We never heard what happened with that.

        I hope you and Lourine can work things out with the fake Ellen. I’m fealing overworked, which I know you can relate to.

  4. Can’t believe I just read “perfect plaid”

  5. Diana Barry :

    Very nice! But too expensive.

    Thanks for the advice on the maxi dress – I will try it on for DH and if he likes it, keep it. :)

    • anononononono :

      do you mean too expensive for you or too expensive in general? I’m always interested in people’s thoughts on what seems to be the ever increasing price of clothes, and particularly higher end clothes. I think this suit is lovely and I would totally wear it. probably a lot if it fit well. And i own a couple of suits in this price range, but im not pulling the trigger on this one. It seems like i really have to be “in the mood” or something to spend this kind of money on clothes, and that “mood” doesnt happen very often.

      • Diana Barry :

        Too expensive for my budget right now. We are low on cash and I already have plenty of suits. I don’t think I would ever buy Brooks Brothers or Theory regular price (not on sale) unless I felt we were rich, and that point is about 5M liquid to me.

        • Alanna of Trebond :

          Really, you wouldn’t buy a $1k suit without having 5 million in the bank? Do you mean because you already HAVE some of those suits?

          • sugarmagnolia :

            I don’t know when I would EVER buy a $1,000 suit, because I can’t ever envision making enough money to justify it. If I had 1 Million in the bank, I would think about it. If my house were paid off. And if I owned a house. :)

          • Diana Barry :

            I have one theory suit, but I bought it at 30% off and it was still a huge splurge.

          • I’m with SugarMagnolia – I am not sure that I could make myself justify a $1000 suit, regardless of riches – I’d still feel like I could put that money to better use.

            Absolute most I’ve done so far is approaching $400, and that was for 3 peices (jacket, skirt, and pants, so I feel like I have 2 suits there). In better financial times (should they ever occur!), I could see myself going to maybe $700, $750, but that would still be a splurge (and I would insist on all 3 pieces – I try not to buy suits that don’t have pants and a skirt now).

          • I used to feel that way. Then I started watching The Good Wife and really see how amazingly superior some top-brand suits look in action. Now I’m hypothetically sold on them, although not anywhere near pulling the trigger on one.

      • I think this is a beautiful suit, and not too expensive IF it fits well. I’m thinking of trying to find it at a Brooks Brothers store where I can try it on first. And in response to the comment above, re the timing to buy, if the main objective is to save money, off-season purchasing makes sense. If the goal is to develop an investment wardrobe to last years, then the best pieces are available the start of the season. For lawyers looking for good suits, make that the start of the *fall* season.

      • I would not spend $1000 on a plaid suit even if I had money to burn. It’s not versatile enough – you could really only wear it once a month or so, because otherwise everyone will notice you’re wearing the plaid suit yet again, and it’s a winter fabric so really I’d probably only get 3-4 wears per year out of it. And it wouldn’t work for special occasions like court, big meetings, interviews, etc.

        Having said that, I hope a lot of other people think like me and it will go on sale.

        • Migraine Sufferer :

          I’ve worn a similar suit to court. (But I also asked for advice regarding a leopard-spotted skirt to an interview.)

        • Anon from Chicago :

          I dont think this is true. I have plaid suits and wear them just like any other dark suit. It is more of a fall/winter (or spring here in Chicago) material, but so are many of my dark suits. I would wear this to court, meetings, deps etc. Men wear plaid suits all the time

        • Of Counsel :

          “…otherwise everyone will notice you’re wearing the plaid suit yet again…”

          :-)

          It’s a nice suit, and would be a good pick for the person who was worried about looking too safe and conventional for her interview.

    • I think it’s like what Kat has said about handbags- if you can afford it in 1-2 months of budget, then it’s probably not “too expensive.” For me, this is too expensive for me. It also seems “too expensive” in the sense that I don’t understand why it is so expensive. Can it really be 5x better than a $200 suit? Especially the skirt, skirts are not that complicated to sew and don’t have that much fabric. It also seems a little too expensive for such a distinctive suit. You are not going to be wearing this wool plaid suit 2x a week 3 seasons a year.

      Still, this is all budget dependent. If you have money to spend, and $1000 isn’t of much consequence in your budget go for it. If it’s going to be your clothing budget for 3 months, then it’s probably not worth it.

      • yey for August! :

        This skirt is cut on the bias – see how the plaid is at an angle?- and the plaid is hard to match up. As a result, it probably uses as much fabric as a pair of pants.

        $1k is my entire budget for starting first law job in September, but I’m having a hard time talking myself out of blowing it all on this suit. Sigh. Reality sucks.

        • Of Counsel :

          Exactly. Plaid has to be matched, plaid cut on the bias consumes more fabric than a straight suit. There’s no back slit, which may mean more fabric was used to provide room for walking. The fashion fabric (the most expensive part of the suit) and lining fabric and notions like the zipper and hooks are probably of better quality.

          I’m not saying, especially without seeing it, that this skirt is worth $298 in some absolute sense, just that with a higher price usually comes higher quality.

  6. Oooh, love the longer jacket and the intentional misalignment of the plaids. I may need that skirt.

    dam you co–p-ret–e! * shakes fist skyward *

    • I am currently wearing my birkenstocks to spite you.

      Just thought you should know. ;)

    • Agree re: plaid misalignment. Didn’t even know that was A Thing, but once I read your comment I realized that’s what I love about this suit (among other things).

    • The skirt is on the bias, right ? I don’t know how they could have done it otherwise.
      I like bias A-line skirts, but I’ve no idea how a bias pencil skirt would behave.

    • Of Counsel :

      They’re not “misaligned.” It’s common in a plaid garment to cut a section on the true bias (on a 45% angle) for contrast. It provides design interest and obviates matching the plaid, which is very tricky and time-consuming.

      It’s a valid style choice for the skirt to be cut on the bias. A suit in which the plaid pattern ran uninterrupted from jacket to skirt would probably have to be custom made and would be very expensive.

  7. momentsofabsurdity :

    Meh. Don’t like the jacket. The proportions look off to me and it looks like its adding bulk to her midsection. I do like the skirt though.

    • Cornellian :

      it looks like maybe she’s wearing a chunky cable sweater underneath, which would deifnitely add bulk. I like the suit but agree… is she wearing the wrong size?

    • I really don’t like it either.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      Yes, I think it looks like she’s wearing the wrong size. Maybe if she tucked in the top?

    • amberwitch :

      I think it looks as if it pulls at the front – not a good look.
      Not as well tailored as I would expect at that price. But then I don’t like one button jackets unless there is some asymmetrical interest somewhere.

  8. Love the suit; definitely too expensive, though.

  9. I love this, though not with the green sweater pictured.
    PS: This model has really lovely hair.

  10. anon for this.... :

    There was a deposition at my office today, and opposing counsel asked if I was even born when the action in question “may have” occurred! The action “may have” occurred 15 years ago! I know I should not be upset, but I am slightly irked by his comment.

    • Oh yes, I recently had some partners comment on something that happened during the CLINTON administration, and then joked that I probably wasn’t even born then. I’m 34.

    • I have a really hard time with the fact that many of my young colleagues weren’t born when I started college. But that’s a me problem…

    • Ask if he’s upset someone so much younger is so much more competent or if he’s looking for a new angle on his arguement

    • phillygirlruns :

      UGH. infuriating. i had some similar comments from my deponent a few weeks ago – he affectionately called me “kid.” as if i didn’t represent a financial institution to which he is several million dollars in debt.

      also a few months ago, i had a case come in that required me to have a partner from another office cover a hearing last-minute. i didn’t want to just stick him with it, so i told him i’d be happy to dial in and handle by phone if he wanted me to. that *&^#% had the balls to say “ms. phillygirlruns, i was handling this exact issue when you were at your high school prom.”

      GUH. i told him it wasn’t my fault i was one of the great legal minds of a generation far later than his.

    • Anon from Chicago :

      Don’t let the comments like this bother you. The fact that you are having this reaction, and had any reaction, whether outwardly or not, is exactly what opposing counsel wanted — to throw you off your game, make you feel inferior, less competent, etc. I dont know how long you have been practcing, but with time, these type of comments will roll off your back.

      • anon for this.... :

        I need to learn how to perfect my poker face.

      • For me, the “roll off your back” thing just didn’t kick in. Over time, I stopped losing sleep (literally) over jerky remarks from opposing counsel, but they still bothered me, somewhere on the scale from anger-blushing to dreaming up comebacks in the shower days later. Or, more often, venting to my husband (or here) about it. Some litigators gets an adrenaline boost from the conflict; for me, it was exhausting. The inability to just let it go is one of the biggest reasons I’m taking break from litigation. There is something quite freeing about going entire days and weeks without verbal altercations!

        • Aww, that’s just what I miss about litigation! I loved getting nastigrams from opposing counsel or watching them try to zing me in a deposition. Definitely gave me a jolt for the day.

        • AEK, I’m totally with you. Even when I know they’re just trying to get a rise, I’m like “Do we all have be jerks?”

    • One of the partners in my office frequently reminds me that he has underwear older than me. I’m always at a loss for words when he does… I’m 29.

    • I’d pretend it’s a huge compliment and be all “why thank you! I need to keep up my skincare regime to look so young!”

    • Of Counsel :

      It’s not always a put-down. Some people are genuinely amazed by how old THEY are. They kind of lose track of the years. It’s not early senility: the years begin to blur when you don’t have the tidy demarcations of h.s., college, law school, first job, etc. It’s depressing to keep all that personal history in sharp focus.

  11. Early TJ – I posted this late on this morning’s thread and am hoping to get some advice from the hive. Thanks for everyone who responded earlier.

    Regular poster but anon for this. My sister recently confided in me that she is having some major issues in her marriage. A little background: she got married in fall 2011 after a relatively brief courtship. Her and her husband were both somewhat older (she 35 and he 40), so they said they knew pretty quickly they would get married. She’s pretty private and had never mentioned any issues while dating or since getting married. She always seemed happy. Husband is nice, but seemed slightly controlling, and my sister is a headstrong person.

    She says she is reaching her breaking point, and this is why she finally confided in me. They have terrible screaming fights regularly. After each fight, she ends up in tears, and he eventually apologizes and says he is going to change. But then the same thing happens again and again. I believe she is doing what she can on her end not to instigate fights, but her husband sounds like he has some anger management issues and blows up at minor issues. She is beating herself up because she saw some signs of this while they were dating, and now she feels stupid for going through with the engagement, marriage, etc. and being stuck in a relationship that is unhealthy.

    My advice was to go to marriage counseling or ask him to see a therapist. She says he has refused – he is fairly traditional and conservative, and he sees therapists as “wack jobs”. I suggested that she try to convince him to get counseling as I think that is the best advice, but I don’t know what else to do or what other advice to give. I am worried about her. I want to be supportive of her and let her know that she can come to me anytime, but I don’t want to “meddle” and give unsolicited advice. How do I go about being supportive and looking out for her best interests without being intrusive? Again, she is very private and hasn’t told any of my other family members. If he refuses therapy, what other advice can I give? I honestly don’t see him changing or things getting better on their own, and I want her to know that its ok if she needs to get out of the relationship.

    • Suggest that she should get therapy alone – it will help her sort out where her priorities are. Sorry you (and she) are dealing with this.

    • If “fairly traditional and conservative” translates into church-going, then you may want to recommend talking to the minister, someone at their church, or someone the church recommends. Maybe that wouldn’t be read as a “wack job”.

      Just because he won’t go to counseling doesn’t mean that she can’t go. In fact, it may be even more important for her to go for individual counseling if he won’t go to couples counseling, especially since she seems to have some guilt over having seen this ahead of time. She needs to treat that as a mistake and forgive herself.

      I’d try to remain as supportive of her as I could. She could leave or go and you want to maintain your relationship with her, so you don’t definitely want to lean either way if he’s not hurting her. Let her know that whatever she decides you love her and will be there for her.

      • Agree with this. When I was younger and having issues, my dad (who thinks therapy is ‘stupid’) enthusiastically took me to talk to our minister. Its an even better idea in this situation, I think, because most clergy are trained to some degree for couple’s counseling since they often do pre-marriage counseling. They might not be the ideal person to ultimately help her work our your issues, but if she can get him there, it’s a start.

    • You might suggest that she find a therapist herself, even if her husband doesn’t go.

    • one perspective :

      As someone of a similar age, I wonder if your sister sees this marriage as her last chance to have kids. It may make her reluctant to go to marriage counciling or therapy if she thinks she’ll realize/ be advised to divorce.

      • OP here. I suggested that she see a therapist individually, and she said he would probably resist her going alone, and she doesn’t feel like she can go without him knowing due to shared insurance. I suggested that she should still insist on going to individual counseling, but that was her reservation. Also, I think having kids and timing is a big issue for her and probably why she was eager to move the relationship along. She said that she doesn’t want to bring kids into an unhealthy relationship, and I think having kids together would make it much harder for her to leave and would make the fighting worse, but time is passing by and I know she wants to have kids sooner rather than later, so you hit on a particularly important and tough issue.

        • Not to mention, does she want to expose kids to his temper? I grew up with a Dad like that, and it was extremely damaging.

        • I read up on abusive men a while ago because someone I love was dealing with her husband’s anger issues. The pattern of blowing up, abject apology, sweet making up and making her feel like the most wonderfully loved person on earth are typical. Watch out, sister!

    • Also, this is bugging me, so I just need to say it: Why do people tolerate those who “don’t believe in therapy”? Mental health is way too important to kowtow to some retro jerk who doesn’t think people should get the treatment they need in order to be happy and healthy. If your sister said, “I have cancer, but my husband doesn’t think I should go to a doctor,” would you be looking for suggestions for vitamins and herbs she could take to maybe help with the cancer? I hope not. I hope you would sit her down and say, “You have a right to take care of yourself no matter what this jerk says.” I hope you would call the doctor and make the appointment and drive her there and do whatever she needed to get help. As a society, we have got to stop tolerating people who don’t “believe in” mental health care and acting as if their opinions are valid. If this were my sister, I would tell her to get whatever treatment she needed and tell her husband to eff off if he didn’t like it, and she could come live with me if she didn’t feel safe with him. So I guess that’s my advice. This guy sounds scary, and I think she really needs some help from a professional.

      • Anita (formerly S) :

        Hear hear!!!!

      • Amen! I have an older sister that is going through a similar situation. She lives on the other side of the country, though, so I can’t drive her to a therapist. The best I can do is offer encouragement that she take care of herself.

  12. Sydney Bristow :

    I need to rant for a minute about big stupid corporations. Wireless phone company, it would be helpful to your customers if you’d release information about a scam happening where the scammer spoofs your phone number, calls pretending to be you (and already has all sorts of personal information to fake it very well), and gets identity information out of your customers. Not wanting to “cause a panic” is not a good enough reason. Your customers could use this information as well as advice on how to handle the situation when it occurs instead of having their identity stolen and calling me for advice on how to fix it.

    Student loan company, when your website gives me the option to make an extra payment and choose whether to apply it to principal or advance my due date and I choose the apply it to principal option, it would be great if you actually did that instead of advancing my due date. I bought your excuse in March when you said it was a glitch in the system. I sort of believed you in May when you said you were still working to correct the glitch. It is now August and I’m tired of calling you to get this fixed only to have you try to set my due date back to this current month which I ALREADY PAID (plus extra!).

    • SF Bay Associate :

      The only thing I hated more than my still burning hatred for Comcast was that of my student loan companies. They totally suck. My sympathies, Sydney.

    • baby weight :

      I had that happen, too, but I had made a written request (days before online payment option). I think they intentionally ignore the request. Student loan servicer did the same thing with my husband’s request to apply extra to principal!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        This is the third time in a row it happened. Customer service lady fixed the due date and said she had no idea why that was happening so I asked to speak to her supervisor. We went through each time this happened and he kept telling me how I needed to do it to make it work (wait for the first payment to post, then make the extra payment within the same month) and I kept saying that was exactly what I did this time after trying to make them on the same date the first time then a week apart the second time. He just kept repeating himself and said he’d have someone research my account. I cannot stand it. I just spent 20 minutes talking to someone who was treating me like an idiot and not listening to me explain why his proposed solution wouldn’t work since it was the EXACT SAME THING I DID and could prove it because of the dates my payments were posted. Grrrrrr

        • Sounds like a class action to me. ;)

        • Sorry about the wink. I meant that very seriously. This company may have amassed significant additional income in interest and late fees if they treated other borrowers the same way they treated you. The conduct is shameful.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            Well they keep pushing my due date back when I make extra payments, so they wouldn’t really get late fees from me because I wouldn’t have to pay for the month they skipped and the interest compounds daily. I am planning to write them a letter and will likely contact my congressman about it. I’m open to other ideas to get them to fix this as well. I’m just sick of taking the time to call every month to get my due date fixed. Which I suppose I don’t really have o do and can just keep making regular monthly payments plus any extras that I want and having my due date pushed out repeatedly. I’m not sure what potential consequences there are to that though and I’d ask them but I wouldn’t trust any answer they give me.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            I take that back. I just checked my account again and they shifted my due date back another month so even though I made this month’s payment plus an extra payment I showed another payment being due this billing cycle. It’s a good thing I looked again otherwise I would have been charged a late fee when I went to pay for September.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            sorry to keep going on and on about this, but I had another idea. In my letter, I think I’m going to include a bill for my time down to the minutes of each phone call, the time spent checking my account, and the time it takes to write the letter.

          • Dead Quote Olympics :

            I’m so sorry, I hate interface glitches. A technique that’s worked for me in the past when dealing with these sorts of issues is making little videos with your phone or ipod nano or other device of what you did (both times, because your vidoe should get a time and date stamp) and sending them in an email. It may not fix it, but it stops that infuriating “must have been user error” attitude. I use it with computer interfaces and the car dealership and certain intermittent problems. It’s the perfect comeback to “Well, it’s not doing it now.” Well, here’s the proof it was doing it then, sport.

    • Can we add another type of company to the list? Benefits administration companies. I was on COBRA for a few months last year and received paperwork – including statements – from a company that, it turned out, was not even the actual benefits administrator for my former employer. Former employer hired a new vendor, but the old one kept churning out garbage until I brought it to their attention. They also sent me a lot of stuff instructing me on how to get Medicare … I am in my early 30s.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Oh we can add all sorts of companies to the list! Rant away!

      • If you’re feeling extra special angry (which I often do) you can call 1-800-Medicare and tell them the companies name and that they were sending you Medicare enrollment stuff. They won’t send you anything after that!

      • I was arguing with mine about why they had my birth control in what I considered the wrong price tier for prescriptions. After like 3 letters we started getting really blunt, and they just kept sending us replies to prove that they “heard” us, which was just them copy and pasting what we wrote into a reply that said the same “no.” What they were claiming was that there was a generic alternative to my bc – there is not. It lead to this awesome sentence in their letter to us: “We understand that you think the v@gin@ and the mouth are distinctly different so far as administering medication is concerned.” Thanks, Company, I’m glad we can all agree on that.

      • e_pontellier :

        Can we add AARP? I started getting mail from them when I was 23. SO UNNECESSARY.

    • Student loan companies are the devil who actually don’t want you to pay off your student loans ever. Department of Education, having a loan through you is 100 times more repulsive than my mortgage.

      • Exactly. When I was paying off my loans, I wanted to pay much more than the minimum, so I would pay it off sometime before, oh 2025 or something. I finally called and explained what I wanted to do, and the guy told me if you want to pay more than the minimum they have to set up a “custom payment plan”. There was no way for me to do it on my own, he had to set it up. They really don’t want you to ever pay off your loans.

    • Anne Shirley :

      It is never a glitch in their system. For whatever reason this happens to me every time. I now think of it as part of the plan. Make extra payment, wait for it to advance payment, call, demand angrily they fix it, get told this is impossible, ask for supervisor, insist it get done. Repeat every signle time. I only make extra payments now when I can handle the rage.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        There is an end in sight (well 8 months away) if I can continue to make the same size extra payments, so I’ll continue to put up with the rage. But I know what you mean, but that means they win by squeezing the extra interest out of us!

    • My dead friend SallieMae used to do this to me too. I got wise to her game though and set up an ING account where I can move money over to easily and fee-free whenever I have a bit of cash (and earn a little bit of interest, and I stress LITTLE bit). Now I make large year end transfers to SM. I consider it a win for my sanity because I only have to deal with them directly once a year, write one letter saying “please apply to this principal” instead of keeping track of multiple requests, and I feel a greater sense of satisfaction when I see a large chunk wiped out all at once.

  13. Not related to this suit (which I think it lovely, if too expensive for me at the moment):
    I wrote a while ago about having problems with stinky shoes, and people suggested shoes made of natural materials. I’m having trouble finding such things in a style I like! I’m looking for black flats made from non-synthetic materials.
    As a reference, I currently have (and love, don’t judge!) these shoes from Payless:
    http://www.payless.com/store/product/detail.jsp?catId=cat10088&subCatId=cat10276&skuId=126258080&productId=69922&lotId=126258&category=&catdisplayName=Womens

    At the moment I just keep buying a new pair every few months when they start to stink, but I’m ready for grownup shoes if they exist. Willing to pay up to, hrmm, $120. Any suggestions?

  14. Given my track record with Brooks Brothers, I would not be at all surprised to discover that the only reason this woman even appears to have a waist is because the jacket is safety-pinned in the back.

    I know all stores do that with mannequins to make the garments fit them, but BB takes it to a level that verges on false advertising, IMO. I can’t tell you how many cute items from the window have turned out to be boxy nightmares on the hanger.

    • I’ve long since accepted that I simply do not have the figure to wear things from Brooks Brothers. I’m very straight up and down with a small waist and no chest to speak of. I should have been clued in when I realized they don’t carry many sizes smaller than a 4, but oh well. Theory will get my money instead.

    • Mousekeeper :

      My brother used to be a fashion photographer, and I watched one of his shoots for a catalogue. Yes, they pin the clothes in the back on the models to make them look like they fit better.

    • I had written off Brooks Brothers until I found out that they do cheap alterations. I can’t even think of fall clothing now but will certainly consider this suit when it gets marked down 50% in a few months.

      • Migraine Sufferer :

        Which is actually why they cut them boxy- so more people can custom fit. I, unfortunately, probably can’t even get this at 50% off. :(

  15. This article in the Atlantic (link in reply) about things foreign visitors didn’t expect or know about the US made me think of a fun idea for a thread.

    US C o r p o r e t t e s, when you’ve traveled abroad, what are the biggest surprises/unexpected annoyances you’ve encountered? Non-US C o r p o r e t t e s, what are the biggest surprises/unexpected annoyances you’ve found in the US?

    I’ll start. Hey, Great Britain – why are there no outlets (other than the specially-shaped one for electric shavers) in the damn bathrooms?

    • I actually know the answer! It’s because the voltage in the UK is higher than in the US and totally unsafe to come in contact with water (220 vs. 110 volts). I think the rest of Europe is the same as UK but not positive.

      • So interesting. I love threadjacks like this but am wary to start them after getting a bit flamed with the last few ones. So thanks, Bluejay!

        I’ve known this for a while (I promise I’m well traveled – ha ha), but the biggest annoyance while traveling in Europe is the lack of public restrooms. Seriously, when you’re having an emergency and don’t have the change to pay for a restroom, things can get serious quickly. It also seems like there just aren’t as many restrooms, even of the paying variety, in Europe.

      • It was a rhetorical questions… the rest of Europe has outlets in bathrooms (well, I’ve only been to 15 or 20 European countries, but I think it’s enough to generalize). And it’s not because of the voltage (although you’re right that Europe has 220v and the Americas have 110), it’s because of some strange British panic about people splashing water in outlets that just doesn’t seem to bother the rest of the world.

        • Darn, thought I was all knowledgeable. But now that I think about it, I have been able to plug stuff in in bathrooms in other European countries that use the same voltage as the UK. So I guess the real question is why Brits are so much more frightened of electrocution than those on the Continent?

          • The British are so much more frightened of everything than those on the continent. :)

            I have no idea why.

          • It’s a bizarre fear of fire. I swear, we have so many firedoors and they all need to remain closed. To get from my bedroom to the outdoors, I have to go through 8 doors.

      • Yup. But as a result our power supply is more even/reliable then that of the US (something I never expected as a visitor)

        • European 230V doesn’t have much to do with better grid reliability. Power in western Europe is more reliable than in the US because of regulatory differences, underground wiring in Europe (less vulnerable to weather), and chronic underinvestment in US infrastructure.

          • Cornellian :

            YES! I didn’t realize having power above ground was generally relegated to the third world and for temporary projects over huge overland distances until I left the US. Chronic underinvestment, indeed.

          • @Cornellian – the main reason isn’t investment in infrastructure; it’s distance. Power lines have to go a lot farther between houses and towns than they do in Europe, because we have much lower population density. In big cities with tightly packed buildings, lines are underground.

    • I was not prepared to throw used toilet paper in the trashcan rather than the toilet when I spent the summer in Turkey. Yikes.

      Also no screens in the windows + no air conditioning lead to me having to hose myself down with mosquito repellant before bed every night. I wondered how people could stand it and assumed I’m just extra sensitive to mosquitos. Then, on my very last night night in the country, I found out everyone has these little things that plug into an electrical socket and have a repellant soaked pad that heats up and keeps the mosquitos away. It would have been nice to know that about 4,000 bites earlier.

    • The UK was one of the first countries to electrify. It adopted a lot of very conservative electrical safety practices back then, due to lack of experience with electric power, that have yet to fade out of the public consciousness and building codes. As a result, building regulations in the UK require many things that are very antiquated by the standards of the rest of the world.

      It’s illegal to install regular outlets in British bathrooms. Until fairly recently it was even illegal to install normal, wall mounted, light switches (!) inside a bathroom and there are still people who prefer pull cord switches (with non-conductive pull cords) in bathrooms for “safety” reasons.

      None of this changes because the British are very risk adverse and hostile to change.

      • Yes – the light switches thing! Back in 89, I visited family friends in London. Their Edwardian house had pull cord switches in the bathrooms, which I asked about. They told me the stuff about voltage that I stated in my earlier post.

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      On another note for Great Britain (and all of the UK?): I did not enjoy using the two faucets, where one was ice cold and the other had the possibility of burning you. I get that this is how it was back in the day, but couldn’t they modernize just a bit?

      France: When shopping for groceries, you had to bag them yourself so I definitely felt rushed every time I shopped. It didn’t help that the clerks and the other customers could tell we were Americans and gave us dirty looks to hurry up. Having a grocery bagger is one of the luxuries I enjoyed when coming back to the U.S.!

    • So interesting! In Paris (I don’t know about the rest of France), I noticed that it’s considered rude to go into a store without saying hello/goodbye to the sales clerk/proprietor. As someone who frequently zones out and just doesn’t notice other people, this took a lot of getting used to!

      • you get bonus points if you say it before the sales clerk says it to you

      • Cornellian :

        In Austria, too. And apparently the correct greeting is “May God greet you,” and lord help you if you don’t spout it off within 1.5 seconds of entering.

        • Equity's Darling :

          Indeed, in Austria and south Germany (like Bavaria) the greeting is “Gruss Gott”.

          I felt so silly when I used my regular greeting in Berlin, where they are not into the Gruss Gott at all, they looked at me like I was some weird rural hick who barely spoke German with a terrible accent when I went with the Gruss Gott in Berlin.

          • Cornellian :

            similarly, Brandenburg-trained me saying “Moin” or “Servus” or “guten Morgen” in Austria got me some looks. So many German dialects for such a small part of the world!

      • No offense, but isn’t this rude in the US as well?

        • No not at all. In the US the clerk almost always greets you first. And you dont need to say goodbye when you leave ann taylor! But if I was entering a tiny shop with one person working I would say hello goodbye

          • Maybe it’s a regional thing. It has never occurred to me not to say hi on the way in and thank you on my way out (if I didn’t buy anything).

    • No top sheet on the bed in my German hotel. Just a fitted sheet and a comforter.

    • Les toilettes turques en France. A squat toilet in a first world country?

    • In London apartments, why is there (1) carpeting in the bathroom (gross), (2) a lack of full size refrigerators (don’t they want it to fit more than one day of groceries), and (3) a small combination washer/dryer machine that burns your clothes if you use the dryer setting (don’t the english like soft, fluffy towels)?

    • Encountering only bidets (no toilet paper) when traveling in the middle east. Took some getting used to. Also: people showing up to hang out without calling before hand. Conversely, friends and relatives who visit the US have told me how shocked they were that public restrooms in hotels, restaurants, etc. don’t offer bidets, so that you may be forced to rely on toilet paper, which they viewed as unhygienic.

      My cousin came to visit the US and we took him to Ikea. He was shocked by the sheer number and variety of items for sale. To be fair, I was born here and I am also overwhelmed every time I visit an Ikea.

      • I would kill to have an Ikea in Morocco. I literally have this looong wishlist in case Ikea opens

      • Cornellian :

        oh, on eastern europe/russia/central Asia, people who show up to hang out unannounced, AND THEN STAY IN YOUR APARTMENT ALL DAY EVEN THOUGH YOU’VE DONE EVERYTHING BUT PHYSICALLY REMOVE THEM. mostly an older generation thing, from what I can see.

    • When I was in London in college and my roommate and I asked for mayo at a restuarant, and the fellow reached over to an open shelf and brought out a bowl of mayo, uncovered and which had clearly been sitting out and unchilled all day. Having heard horror stories about food safety all of our lives, we poked at it for about 10 minutes while we debated whether it was safe, but, of course, ate it and were absolutely fine.

      • It’s been my experience that Americans are a lot more wary about food safety and bacteria than people are in a lot of other places.

    • Things I discovered during my visits to the US:
      - You can buy something and if you don’t like it, bring it back and get a refund no questions asked, the sales clerk won’t even give you a nasty look
      - I bought tweezers in target and they charged me for 2 whereas i bought one and I was so scared to ask, but my friend who lives in the US said it’s not a problem so I told them and they refunded me :D
      - Random people smile at you in the street if you were to accidentally make eye contact. This NEVER happens in my home country
      - Americans are surprised that I speak 4 languages
      - How some people truly expect me to live in a desert with no access to technology..
      - I love being able to wear anything in the street, and sometimes am amazed how people dress in the US. But it’s so great to know you will not be judged (too much). Never in a million years will I be caught in the street walking in pajamas or those crocs
      -I love US SALES and OUTLETS and TARGET and LOFT (90% of my wardrobe is from them) .. we don’t have these at my home country
      - There is an incredible choice of products.
      - Americans are borderline obsessed with dental hygiene :D

      That’s it for me

      • Cornellian :

        Yeah, the wearing whatever you want without judgment can be a blessing and a curse. In my experience, eastern Anglo Canada is even worse/better.

      • Americans are surprised that I speak 4 languages too, Houda. And if you think the Target clerks were scary, you should try being an American with only rudimentary Arabic in the souq in Fes. :)

        • I think the wording was twisted. What I meant to say is: unlike the clerks in my country; the Target clerks were happy to help and didn’t give me the nasty look.
          In Morocco, if you get into a store you are expected to buy things, and the clerks make you feel bad for not buying or taking too long to make up your mind.
          I’ve never been to a souq in Fes or any other city because these are tourist attractions and some tourists love haggling the prices. I simply don’t know how to discuss a price because I never learned so I’d rather go to a regular supermarket or mall :)
          To me, nothing beats shopping experience and customer service in the US, that’s why I make it a point to go at least once per year.

    • Cornellian :

      NL, why can men pee in little cubicles on the street? I can see both the men and their urine!

      Germany, how come nothing can be open more than 47 minutes a week?

      Germany, why do you unleash groups of 13 year olds on the city for their recess/break?

      Russia, why can’t people shower 2x/week in the summer?

      Germany, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland, why do you think you can make shirts of mesh?

      Conversely,

      US, why don’t you turn the titles on the sides of books 180 degrees so I can read from left to right, as one generally does in English?

      • “Germany, why do you unleash groups of 13 year olds on the city for their recess/break?”

        Even worse are the packs of unsupervised 13 y/o Germans in countries that are not Germany!

        • Cornellian :

          Yes! You know what I really think the neighboring countries would appreciate? A busload of underage drunk 14 year old German tourists trashing their city.

          I will say I appreciated the ability to leave the school and do what I wanted when I didn’t have class as a 17 year old, but man, 7. Klasse’s a bit young for that.

    • I’m from Canada. When we visited London we were amazed at how close everything is in England. I mean, I know England is much much smaller than even Alberta, but knowing it and experiencing it are different, kwim?

      Also, love London’s public transportation. And foresight to limit the size of the city. My city lacks almost any type of urban planning foresight, unfortunately. They are always trying to play catch up.

      And when we visit the US we are always amazed at the huge portion sizes at family restaurants. And the level of service that is provided! Always nice to never have your water glass get less than half full.

    • SoCalAtty :

      Dear Italy: Firenze cannot be both north and south of here. Thanks. I think Italy has the same lack of public restroom issues, but I hate public restrooms anyway and planned accordingly.

      Re: used TP in the trashcan – I think that is a Mexico thing as well. If it has something to do with the sanitation system, ok, but carrying the custom over here to the US where toilets are ok with the TP and putting it in the trashcan at a jobsite or public restroom? Not so much.

    • Anonymous for This :

      Hotels in many countries don’t have face/washclothes. I feel not quite clean the entire trip n

    • US: Portion sizes! Main courses are called entrees and all the side dishes that come for free.

      UK: Washing machines in the kitchen! And baths being the norm, instead of showers. The first time I stayed in a house (or a bungalow as they call them!) I searched the bathroom for the shower.

      Italy: Parking by feel!

      India: Aunties making adjustments to your outfits, hair, just generally sorting you out like you are their daughter! It was so warm and embracing.

  16. Blerg, awaiting moderation. Sorry if this posts twice.

    I am the worst at buying basics. My basic black pumps are giving up the ghost. They are the Nine West black pumps, and I really like them except 1) the leather on the heel got scraped up badly enough to be unwearable in one year, and 2) even though they are mostly very comfortable, when I wear them for long periods I can get blisters on my little toes. The leather thing may be because I bought them at the Nine West outlet to save $30, and I think the leather is nicer if you don’t buy the outlet version. I was thinking of just buying the nicer version of the Nine West shoes again, but worry that along with the leather change there may be a difference in the fit/comfort I’m not expecting.

    I know lots of people here recommend Cole Haan pumps. First of all, is the Air Talia pump the one everyone is talking about?

    If so, has anyone compared it with this Nine West shoe? http://www.ninewest.com/Caress/6279317,default,pd.html?variantSizeClass=&variantColor=PINKPA&ep_tag=LPPMP2
    What was the comfort difference? Did one or the other have more potential for rubbing and blisters on your toes? I don’t think a store near me has both of them to try on and compare, but if worse comes to worse maybe I’ll just order them both and return one.

    Read more: http://corporette.com/2012/08/01/suit-of-the-week-brooks-brothers-6/#ixzz22KLgslhe

  17. vacation ideas :

    I just found out some Southwest flight credits will be expiring next May and are not transferable (they used to be transferable?). Any ideas for a vacation with a 1.5-2 year old sometime from November-January? Something in the US, fun for a toddler and not too exhausting for his parents. He loves the beach and CA is close, but will be too cold at that time. We’re already taking a vacation in September, and I (hopefully – if all goes well) will be too pregnant to travel after January, so that’s the reason for the timeframe. We’ve been to Miami pre-kid and it doesn’t seem particularly baby-friendly.

    • I went to Ft. Myers about a decade ago (holy cow, I can’t believe it’s been that long) and liked it. It’s on the Gulf so it would be warm, and I remember liking the town and the beach.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Tampa? Very baby friendly/family oriented, and it should be great weather then. There are beautiful beaches in Clearwater. Busch Gardens is there (they have a zoo-like area that the kiddo may really like), and you can go see a manatee at SeaWorld.

    • Portland, Oregon? Likely to be rainy, but not too cold, and plenty of indoor, kid-friendly things to do.

    • Sanibel Island, FL? Little kids love picking up shells . . .heck, I do too.

    • I know they have changed their policies a lot in the past few years, but I know you used to be able to pay a $50 fine to reactivate your ticket within a year of its expiration. If they still do this you’d have until 2014, although you’d then be traveling with two kids. You also used to be able to get a ticket on credits/points and then cancel and keep the points but I do believe they rolled over to a later expiration date. Also, where are you coming from? The amount of points required varies a lot based on distance, so that is also something to take into consideration.

    • L in the city :

      San Antonio! They have Sea World, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, the Riverwalk and Alamo and much more. Temperature is generally fairly moderate and everyone is super friendly.

    • eastbaybanker :

      I have actually called Southwest and gotten my free flight expiration date extended just by asking nicely. This was 2 years ago, before they changed their rewards program, but it never hurts to ask.

    • vacation ideas :

      Thanks all for the suggestions. I actually meant that I have a dollar amount of credit from an unused flight, not a Rapid Rewards free ticket. I’m in the Southwest.

  18. Any thoughts on the below Talbots jackets that are on sale? (Kate Fit Pique Knit Jacket, Kate Fit Faille Peaked-Lapel Jacket, and Kate Fit Pique Jacket)

    Lots of women in my office don’t wear full suits every day, so I need some non-tweed jackets to wear with black pants. (I have 3 in tweed, that is probably plenty!) Do you think these could go into fall (September/October at least)? I’m looking at dark green, lighter green and “Granite.

    • These are the ones!

      http://bit.ly/NUHqTx Pique in Aloe Vera
      http://bit.ly/MRZr7R Other pique in “Clover Leaf”
      http://bit.ly/NJR3qT Faille in “Granite”

    • Kate Fit Pique Jacket – I bought and returned. The cut was very, very boxy. The Faille Peaked-Lapel looks like it has a more fitted cut though. Also, I do recommend the Grace Fit Refined Ponte Knit Jewel-Neck Jacket. Substantial weight, not super dressy, but definitely not a sweater either. Nice jewel tones, if you like that.

      • Really! Based on the description “Kate Fit” sounds more curvy and Grace sounds more boxy, and that’s how it looks on the model. Good tip!

        I could wear a sweater, lots of people do. I just feel slouchy in a loose cardigan and chubby in a tight one.

  19. Boardroom Belles had a post today about cheaper alternatives to the basic equipment silk blouse. I thought it was great and that I would share! (Link in reply)

  20. Midwesterner :

    Hi ladies. I am trying to forge a sheet compromise. I like stiff cotton sheets, SO likes soft jersey sheets. What type of material might I find somewhere in the middle? Thanks!

    • We just bought bamboo sheets and are loving them. Extremely breathable but don’t feel like they’re just “sitting” on you like jersey sheets do. We both err on the side of soft cotton sheets, though.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Adding “must defer to me on questions of linens” to my list

  21. Sheesh. Just heard that there was a huge traffic jam out in the ‘burbs from people lined up to eat at Chik Fil-a to support the owner’s views against gay marriage. The only good thing about it was that it actually sparked an intelligent conversation between my SO and me about our differing views. If there could be a bright side to that little tidbit of news.

    • I’m glad to hear that NOLA! I was similarly pleased that it gave me an opportunity to clarify my views for my stepdaughter. She told me she learned in her church with her mom that the President is trying to shut down ChikFilA because they are Christian so I clarified that along with my thoughts on free speech, voting with your wallet, and gay marriage. Not that I thought one hour-long conversation with me would erase 8 years of attending a Southern Baptist church every other Sunday but at least we got to talk about it and hopefully it gave her something to think about.

      Keep us posted!

      • Yes, I had to explain to him the difference between “faith” and “religious beliefs.” And also to challenge him to find in the Bible where Jesus said that marriage is between a man and a woman. I talked about some real-life examples of my friends whose lives were endangered because they could not get health insurance when their longterm committed partners had excellent health insurance. Of course, that doesn’t have to be marriage, but I think it helps him to hear about real people. I also got him to admit that my friends’ children are much better off with their gay dads than in foster care or with their crackhead birth mother.

  22. I like the cut of the suit and the style, very classic. I also like the skirt length. I find the Brooks Brothers brand to be pretentious however, and I don’t do plaid print or wool. The expense of this suit is rediculous! But gernerally speaking, nothing beats a good skirt suit for interviews, business meetings or for just around a professional office environment. Add some nice tall heels and some pantyhose, and you’ve got a look that is super professional and appropriate for just about anything.

  23. SoCalAtty has a TRO question :

    The other day someone mentioned that litigating in the TRO area was kind of a big deal – and now I’m wondering what specific kinds of TROs the hive was talking about? I do them with real property/construction projects, and have made it through to preliminary and then permanant injunction stage on several – even against a few big banks and developers. Is that the TRO area the hive was referring to? I had just never heard of any kind of TRO practice being particularly prestigious.

    • This is interesting. I missed the earlier discussion. I always thought that going out and getting a TRO was a basic nuts-and-bolts kind of thing.

  24. Just a random vent: I ordered two pairs of Bloch flats from Rue La La last week: one size 40 and one size 40.5 (I’m a US size 10). The size 40 flats fit well, but the 40.5 ones are too small! This makes no sense. I guess the inconsistent sizing is just proof that each pair is hand-crafted, which is nice. Oh well.

  25. Did you see the economist talking about China on the Daily Show Monday night?
    Bright red dress, no jacket, over 35 with long hair not pulled back…she did it all wrong. Didn’t she? What did you think? “Sexy” and “professional” are supposedly opposites, but once the interview got going there was no hiding that what got her on the show was not the vavoom-vavoom of the dress.

    • Dambisa Moyo? She’s an extremely well-known and well-respected development economist. I didn’t find the dress particularly va-va-voom; it was high-necked and not too clingy. She appears on TV a lot. I think she looked perfectly professional for an economist appearing on a TV show.

    • um daily show =/= a day in a conservative office

      Is this a real question?

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