Wednesday’s TPS Report: Bow-Waist Striped Dress

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

Bow-Waist Striped Dress, Black/RoyalOk: I liked this dress when I saw it in pink/black, and tan/black, but when I saw it in blue I was sold. I like the unusual mix of horizontal and diagonal stripes, as well as the small and large stripes. The boat neckline looks totally appropriate for work, and I like the teeny cap sleeves. It was $138, but is now marked to $105 at Last Call by Neiman Marcus. Bow-Waist Striped Dress, Black/Royal

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]
(L-4)

Comments

  1. I’m wearing the dress today! It’s totally cute, but for those who like to have skirts to their knees for work, perhaps a little short. That said, it makes me feel hot!

  2. Diana Barry :

    Ugh, it’s that awful blue color again!

    /color preference rant

    Question for the hive. Is $68 too much to spend on a maxi dress that I’m not sure I will wear much? This is the dress: http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=42231&vid=1&pid=423814 (got it for less bc of coupons) It is a cross front so I can nurse and pump in it (this is big, otherwise I can’t wear dresses when I go out), but I’m not sure if I love it.

    • I like it. FWIW, I’ve worn my maxi dress more this year than I thought I would.

      • Do y’all wear maxi dresses that you have to wear heels/wedges with as much? Mine are all so long that I need some height in my footwear, but that means I end up wearing them less because they feel too dressy for a lot of events.

        • Nope, flats or bust. I’ve had a lot of luck finding maxis of appropriate length at Target, FWIW. I’m 5’4.

        • Get them hemmed? I like them better with flats too, but I have seen a lot of women on the street recently wearing maxi dresses that actually drag on the ground, and it looks awful.

        • I do too. I thought I was the only one. I wear mine with wedges or wedge sandals all the time. I think its better to be overdressed than underdressed anyway!

    • I don’t think so, but then I love maxi dresses and bold prints! That dress has both, so I know I’d wear the heck out of it. It looks like it would be a very flattering shape, though, and I’d think the practicality of being able to nurse and pump would be pretty huge. I say go for it.

    • I like it, and I would think that the combo of being able to nurse in it, being easy to throw on, and being good in hot weather would lead to a lot of use. If you don’t think that you will wear it that much, though, then return it, but, like I said, I would think you would get a bit of use out of it.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I spent $50 on a maxi dress at Gap and find I’m wearing it a ton this summer, so I say go for it!

    • I am so with you on the color.

      As for the dress, I think $68 is just about the cut off for something you’re not 100% on board with but that you know will be useful to you in the near future. I think it’s a nice dress. I also generally love maxi dresses and when I tend to wear them around the house a lot because they’re just comfy so if you end yup not wearing it out much, eventually it could become a house dress?

      • mintberrycrunch :

        Also not feeling this blue/black combo we’ve been seeing so much of recently. And also wear my maxi dresses way more than I ever expected!

    • Nonprofit-ette :

      I bought a maxi dress from Boden last year on a whim and ended up wearing it much more than I ever intended. If it’s that convenient for you, I say keep it and enjoy!

    • Senior Attorney :

      My feeling is that although $68 is a decent price, I try not to spend any money at all on pieces I don’t love because that’s how closet orphans are made.

    • Love this maxi dress, especially for the ability to wear a real bra with it. Debating buying it, because I have a coupon. $68 seems reasonable to me if it’s truly useful — the ability to nurse seems fantastic — and in this heat (on the East Coast, at least), it seems like the dress would be an easy way to look good and stay cool. But if you don’t think you’ll wear it often, then don’t buy it.

  3. I feel like I’m channeling my mother, who has often said “you can only wear a trend the first time it comes around in your life.” I had a black and cobalt plaid skirt I wore with a black top in 4th and 5th grade, so this color combination will always smell like chalk dust and workbooks to me.

    I like the shape of this dress, though – wish it came in solids or a less contrasting stripe!

    • See, I’ve added a corollary to this rule: If you were technically able to wear a trend, but were too young/poor/shy to wear it the first time around, you totally get to wear it the second time around. This has allowed me to indulge in a lime/neon green skirt and neon green necklace, even though I was in high school when neon was big. I’d like to think my neon choices this time around are a bit more refined than an over-sized bright green sweatshirt.

      But I have to say I’m not too fond of the ’80s shades of cobalt and pepto-bismol pink that seem to be floating around now.

    • This reminds me of the background in elementary school photos when I was a kid. And not in a good way.

      I don’t know, I’m not even sure I like the shape. In that fabric, it looks like it would just cling in all the wrong places.

    • Seattleite :

      I’m not certain that rule can logically apply to colors. Realistically, there are only a few colors that are going to make it into clothing. In my adult life, we’ve had the trends of: cobalt, red, purple, lime, lavendar, raspberry, fuschia, yellow, all the neons, all the earth tones… and those are just the ones that I remember, and I don’t particularly follow fashion trends. If you remove those colors, or those colors-mixed-with-a-neutral, from the options, what are we going to wear?

      • Hm, to clarify – I don’t think there’s many colors that are per se dated in clothing. I think it’s the combination of cobalt with black, which was so ubiquitous when I sported it 20 years ago, that’s the issue. Pairing cobalt with white or gray, for example, would look just fine to me now.

        • Senior Attorney :

          I tend to agree with this. I loved cobalt and wore it all the time back in the day, and I am super happy to see it back. But this black-and-cobalt dress isn’t doing anything for me, and maybe that color combination is the reason.

    • OMG I had a black and cobalt plaid skirt too. Had totally blocked that memory out of my mind until I read your post. God, that was ugly.

    • Ada Doom Starkadder :

      There’s more than one way to read that saying:

      It could mean, “the first time, the trend is fun. The second time, it’s tired.” Or, it could mean something age-ist like, “if you’re worn this trend once, you’re too old to wear it the next time around.”

      I hope it’s not the latter. If it’s the latter, given the thread yesterday, I’m imagining if women of a certain age are expected to line up for their regulation badly-cut short bob in their uniforms of sackcloth & ashes.

  4. Early TJ: Any doctors out there whose style is stifled by the white coat? I love getting dressed and putting together fun outfits but then put on my dumpy, frumpy white coat and poof! it seems like it doesn’t matter what I am wearing. (Which has led to me wearing t-shirts and khakis to work, keep my coat buttoned and feeling blaaaah all day about it.) Limited by inability to wear heels (on my feet the entire day), open toed shoes, sleeveless things (in case I need to do a procedure, etc). I have gotten my white coat tailored (put darts in, etc) which has helped a bit but wanted to some advice from others!

    • Do you have to wear your coat at all times? I have had several female doctors who didn’t wear their coats for office visits and they wore cute clothes. For procedure days or when they were on call, they were in scrubs. I guess this may vary depending on office policy and specialty. I’m not a doctor though.

      • I HATE wearing a white coat– lame, germ transmitter, snotty “I’m a doctor” thing– but we have to per our contract and our hospital protocol. Probably b/c there are lots of students/residents so they want to ensure “the leader of the pack” looks the way s/he is supposed to.

        Thanks for these suggestions! I agree with statements about people noticing how one dresses under the white coat but when I’m super exhausted, I like to be in denial about this statement.

        I had not thought about a scarf– it doesn’t look awkward? I’m in the hospital not in the clinic where I think it would be more appropriate. Maybe not though– I shall experiment.

        My usual outfit is not khakis/t-shirt but dress slacks, a blouse, fun belt and 2″ Cole Haan wedges– have them in 4 colors. I have a skin reaction to all costume jewelry necklaces and wear the same earrings every day (diamond studs). Need to branch to dresses and skirts but the ick factor (stray poop, for example) still lingers!

        • Senior Attorney :

          Seems like a washable jersey dress in a great color or fun print would be just the thing, and even easier than khakis and a tee!

        • Wouldn’t a scarf be an even bigger germ transmitter than the white coat, especially in the hospital?

    • Oh yeah! My solution: move to a place where the medical community doesn’t wear white coats.

      Okay, maybe that’s not a realistic choice for you. Other things I did: I spent more that I “should” on pretty silk blouses (think Classiques Entier) to go under my white coat. I actually did go sleeveless, one for temperature comfort and the other because so many pretty blouses are sleeveless. I kept a black cardigan in my office to cover up, and essentially took my white coat off when I wasn’t seeing patients. If I had to do a procedure, I always gowned to protect my clothes (and that whole sterility thing).

      I also think in some places, if some of the men wear blazers to clinic, you can do the same. I had a few cute toppers from Boden that I would rotate in every few weeks. I felt like I was a rebel, but it really was totally appropriate.

      One of my friends was a big scarf wearer, and often had a beautiful silk scarf around her neck that coordinated with a plainer top. I think you can also use statement necklaces to dress things up, and if you keep them short (16 in or 18 in) then it won’t drag through things.

      I also, when I finished residency, made a rule for myself that I would only wear clogs in the OR. Even cute clogs are clogs. So I spent quite a bit of time searching for comfortable low heels or wedges to wear.

      Another thing that I did that seems silly but I learned from my husband was just to accept a high dry cleaning bill. Wearing neatly pressed things under your white coat, and upgrading from khakis to lined wool slacks, does really make a difference in your overall appearance. My typical “uniform” was wool slacks, pretty silk top (usually not button front, due to my issues with the girls) white coat and nice cole haan heels, usually in a noticeable color. I specifically avoided white shirts so that nothing looked weird with the white coat.

      And getting your white coat tailored is a great idea, it makes you feel so much better. I had several and the department had them cleaned and starched, so I rotated them every week or so and then anytime they got dirty.

      I love this topic! I’ll add more if I think of things later.

      • I have also discovered the concept of “dresses” this year (I know, after 30 years of life, I suddenly adore them). A shift or sheath dress under a white coat can look really sharp; you may need to wear tights or nylons. I am in to the dress + tights + riding boots look which makes me feel covered enough if I have to do some weird acrobatics as part of my day (somehow, I regularly end up crawling on the floor).

    • Nice earrings? Flattering, somewhat unusual shoes? I think these exist in modest heel heights (say 2″-3″), despite the post earlier this week. Brands like Miz Mooz and Fluevog have interesting styles without the high heels and they are a bit “chunkier” (although not in a terribly dowdy way) so should be easier to wear for someone on their feet all day. Maybe also really nice pants, since that’s what will show beneath the coat? I guess I’d also wear a nice, yet comfortable shirt, even though no one else sees it, you’ll know you are wearing it. And you’ll look nice when you do get to unbutton the coat.

      I sympathize. I worked in the lab for a number of years and the white coats + rules about footwear can really put a damper on your style and desire to dress nicely or interestingly.

    • I have to tell you, my dermatologist is a very fashionable lady and I always notice what she’s wearing under her white coat (which she wears open.) Your efforts may not be going as much to waste as you think.

      However, we need to talk about the birkenstocks.. :)

      • (PS the birkenstocks comment was for EC MD)

      • Likewise, my allergy doc is very fashionable and I always notice what she has on under the white coat.

        Doctors – The germ magnet comment made me wonder. Do you really only have one white coat? I always assumed you had a few and wore clean ones every day. I know germ transfer can be a problem for people who wear scrubs, especially if they’re wearing them on their commute on public transport, but I never thought about this with white coats.

        • Oops – this was me.

        • Definitely don’t change my white coat every day. I do have 3-5 in a rotation at any time. I am religious about getting mine cleaned — either via my hospital or I bleach them at home then send them to the dry cleaners. But I don’t think I know anyone who has enough to wear a new one daily.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Yikes. I don’t think I needed to know this…

          • It shouldn’t! There are good studies that demonstrate (shockingly) that white coats aren’t the germ spreaders– hands and neck ties are. And imagine the number of white coats we’d all need to have!

          • Senior Attorney :

            Okay, I’ll take your word for it. You being the doctor and all!

      • TurtleWexler :

        My former primary care doctor was the same way, I always loved the outfits she wore under her white coat. She is one of the things I miss most about my old city, actually…my new doc is fine, but my former one totally rocked.

    • On a somewhat unrelated note, I’m trying to figure out what to do with compression stockings. They’re easy enough to wear with my scrubs, but when I wear nice clothes, they don’t really go with my shoes. And then my legs really hurt after just one morning on rounds, or a day doing consults. Any suggestions?

    • Thank you all for discussing this!

      I am also quite frustrated with the white coat syndrome. After looking like a slob under my white coat during residency out of practicality/exhaustion, I have been trying to pull it together. Since all the men are all in suits/ties, it really is important to look put together, or people think you are the nurse/therapist etc…..

      I find that the white coats provided for us are really not tailored well for women and NEVER fit correctly. Do any of you get them tailored?

      For me, I wear nicer slacks (longing for lined wool pants….), cute blouses (love the sleeveless blouses under the coat) or vests (out of desperation), and heels. I really want to be as tall as my mostly male co-workers and I definitely notice people talk to me differently when I am eye to eye. But I am always searching for more comfortable, yet fashionable, heels with a stronger/fuller heel. More suggestions?

      I would like to wear dresses/skirts, but I have to get down to the floor when examining patients (neurology), and it just doesn’t seem practical.

      I am a broke fellow now and my dry cleaning bill is already killing me. But I feel like just after a few days my coat looks dingy. Since I am in neurology, we are always carrying a lot of tools/equipment/stroke cards etc… I find that keeping things in pockets also always looks bad. Do any of you carry a very “stylish” doctor bag (I actually liked the one posted here from Ivanka Trump yesterday!) for when you are rounding in the hospital/doing consults? I am sure it would get stolen though….

      Also, do any of you have other websites/blogs you look too for guidance on MD life/style/more issues?

      You guys are great… thanks so much for all of your suggestions and experiences…

      • I tailor my coats with darts and get hem and sleeves shortened.

        For heels: wedges, wedges, wedges! As mentioned, I love Cole Haans.

        Are you a mom, Lyn? There are some fun mom/doctor sites but none that I know about for fashion and related things….

        • LadyEnginerd :

          As a lab coat wearer, I’ve been somewhat fascinated by the ladies attire at Doc’s Duds (.com). The Diana and the Jennifer are my absolute favorite. Why have a white coat when you can have a white coat shirtdress? or bathrobe?

          I do kinda like the Barbara.

        • Thanks DCMD.

          No, I’m not a mom. Unfortunately not in my future.

          I will definitely try tailoring the coats. And I will go look at some Cole Haans tomorrow. Never looked at wedges in the past as I assumed they were too casual, and the upturned toe looked a little ?odd to me.

          The expense of clothes is just so daunting. I guess in some ways we are lucky that we can “hide” under our coats!

      • well the folks on Grey’s Anatomy, etc. *definitely* have their coats tailored… And their scrubs! So, why not? go for it!

  5. There was a discussion a few days ago about big, public marriage proposals. Here’s one from last night’s Cubs game, http://yhoo.it/MQ6PRi, she was at the concession stand when it showed up on the screen.

  6. Love the color and the stripes, but Ican’t get past the bow.

  7. First thing I thought when I saw this is, “AIMS will hate this!” Am I right?
    I am not a fan, especially in these colors. That bow is just silly.

    • Hahaha. I kinda do! I wasn’t even going to say anything but then Diana Barry’s comment above re: color was too much to resist.

      But then again I’m totally wearing an eyelet skirt today in navy and I know not everyone would approve, so to each their own, I guess… :)

  8. Road to Somewhere? :

    Diana (above), I think that BR dress looks great! If you can nurse and pump in it, I say go for it!

    Question for the Hive: Trying to put together suggestions for a family resort to spend a long weekend late next spring for my mom’s 60th birthday. Active family, ranging from 23-64, but more into hiking/flatwater kayaking/sightseeing than golf/tennis/shopping. A nice spa would be a bonus. Ideally somewhere in west within short drive of a major airport, to maximize the weekend. That rules out Jackson Hole or Lake Michigan, which were my first two thoughts. I was thinking there might be somewhere in Colorado or Utah, but I’m not familiar with those areas. Thanks in advance!!

    • Big Sky, MT? It’s about a 45 minute drive south of Bozeman, which has an airport, though I’m not sure you would call it major. Big Sky is mostly known for skiing, and depending how late in the spring you are you might still be able to ski. There is some good hiking and whitewater rafting/kayaking on the Gallatin River in the area (I realize you said flatwater, but I’m not sure about that). Yellowstone is a shortish drive away; you probably couldn’t do the whole park in a day unless you were prepared for a hardcore day of driving, but you could spend a fun half-day seeing a part of it. Big Sky also has the tennis/golf stuff.

      • Mary Ann Singleton :

        I second Big Sky! You can also fly in to West Yellowstone but that’s an even smaller airport. Bozeman has direct flights to/from many major airports.

    • Come to Lake Tahoe! Truckee is 45 minutes from the Reno airport, which is small but has a lot of flights. We have everything you need an more. I’m a snob and prefer the north end of the lake to the south (too many casinos down there). But it has everything you are looking for and more. And 300 days of sunshine a year so it should be nice. The only caveat is depending on when you are talking about and the year, there could be snow still, but I think that’s true of most high elevation places in the late spring.

    • I’ve offered this one up before for things like this (Ellen’s even made fun of me for it!), but have you considered the Smoky Mountains in TN? Inexpensive, a lot of outdoors activities (it will be hot in late spring, if you want watersports), some cheesy tourist stuff in Gatlinberg/Pigeon Forge, sort of centrally located depending on where your family members are, and Knoxville, which is a major-ish airport, is maybe 45 minutes away.

      • Second this! I’m kinda meh on the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg stuff personally, but the Smokies are gorgeous and I’ve had fun trips hiking and such. Knoxville pleasantly surprised me when I was there for a wedding a few years ago. And you could rent a cabin or two depending on how many people you’re bringing. Not sure about the spa availability, just because I haven’t looked into it on previous trips, but it would meet the active part. One fun option if people are active is to hike Mt. LeConte and stay at the lodge at the top. We did the hike as a day hike but wish we would have stayed. Our last trip to the Smokies was Memorial Day weekend so maybe a little later than you are planning and the weather was fine for hiking.

    • My sister and her brood spend late spring vacations in Aspen. They love it because it’s upscale but less pricey than it would be during ski season. There seems to be tons of activities – her husband is the super outdoorsy/active type, and they’re always sending photos of themselves hiking or biking, etc. – and my sister gets to go to the spa and do a little shopping.

      (for those of you playing the game at home, this is my “good” sister.)

    • Moab, Utah, sounds like it would be a perfect choice. It’s about a 3 hour drive from Salt Lake City airport.

    • The Vail valley might work for the same reasons as Aspen. You have Vail/Beaver Creek as resort options at that way, plenty of spas and good food. Not sure what you consider a short drive though, as the Denver airport is (I think) about two hours away given how far the airport is from Denver itself.

      • I love Colorado with all my heart, but the weather there in late spring is totally unpredictable. I was there in mid-May one year and we got a foot of snow in Estes Park. Many of the places at higher elevation may still have snow cover – great if you want skiing, not so much if you want hiking.

    • Tucson AZ isn’t exactly a resort area, but does have some nice hotels and good food. Plus plenty of hiking and riding in the mountains. Lots of other fun things to do as well. But it will be getting HOT in late spring.

    • Park City, Utah! (disclosure: I’ve never been in the spring so I can’t comment on weather then—maybe Kanye East can).

      I go every summer to visit family and my whole week is spent outside hiking, biking, running. Olympic Park is there and has a ton of outdoor stuff to do (I still haven’t made it to the zipline, but I really want to). And it’s only about a 45 minute (beautiful) drive from the SLC airport.

      Lots of lodging options from the very high end to the affordable (and I would think spring would be off season so it shouldn’t be expensive). The hotels all have spas and there are a lot of good, independent spas too. I always make an appointment at Knead a Massage for the best and cheapest massage of my year.

      • Utah Native :

        Park City would be great in the late spring. If we get a lot of snow this year (didn’t this past winter, but lots the year before), late spring is perfect because the ski resorts are usually still open but it’s melted enough that hiking and biking trails are open. Within a couple hours drive there are lakes in the lower Uintah mountains that are great for kayaking and camping. Most Park City resorts have great spas. And like SunnyD said, easily less than an hour from the SLC airport.

      • Utah Native :

        Also, SunnyD – the zipline is kinda meh, in my opinion. The alpine slide and mountain coaster are more fun.

    • Breckenridge – although depending on how late in spring could still be a bit cool

    • Santa Fe! Mountains for hiking, Rio Grande for kayaking, tons of great cultural experiences, great spas and restaurants (and great shopping!) The weather is mild, but on the warm side in late Spring.

    • What about Asheville, NC? It’s about 2 hours from CLT. Outdoorsy and with breweries / walkability.

    • I can suggest some great spots near Portland, OR. Timberline Lodge is beautiful (and happens to be where I got married AND the hotel that supplied all the outdoor shots for The Shining)–lots of hiking nearby. About an hour from Portland airport.

      Another more close-to-town type of option is Edgefield, which is in the Columbia Gorge (near hiking, windsurfing, gorgeous small towns, etc.)–they have a fantastic par-3 golf course (not for the golf-n-tennis set, more for the beer-n-hiking set) and a cool soaking pool, as well as neat history and decor. About 20 minutes from Portland airport.

      Bonus–Portland area in the summer can’t be beat! 80 degrees, sunny, and no humidity.

  9. I just bought this cheap-o $20.00 dress at Ross for maternity wear (it’s not actually maternity, but it was stretchy enough and I figured at that price, I wouldn’t feel bad if it stretched out and I couldn’t wear it post-pregnancy). I was kind of on the fence about it (does the color look right? Is it too cheap-looking?), but I think I’ve gotten a complement from every person in my office so far this morning. Win!

  10. Dear Hive, send me on vacation, please.

    So the Fiance and I have decided that once my detail is over (end of the year) we will treat ourselves to a tropical vacation, sometime in January. Here is what I am envisioning: a Carribean island, a nice hotel (or cottage/bungalow-type thing), a pool, a beach, some good restaurants, some activities (horse-back riding? jet-skiing? yoga?), maybe a little nightlife, not over-run with crowds or kids (of the little variety, or the college-age variety), and not a pain to travel to and from as we are talking about a long weekend. Any suggestions? I’ve never been anywhere in the Carribean, so I have no clue where to even start. If there is a certain island or country or specific hotel you recommend, I would love to hear it.

    • I love St. Maarten. One side is French, one side is Dutch. The whole thing looks like an impressionist painting, dotted with sail boats. It meets all your other requirements.

      If you need a not too expensive hotel rec., I’ve stayed in Divi Little Bay and enjoyed it. They have rooms that are literally right on the beach.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        St. Maarten is incredible! I was on the Dutch side for only a few hours while on a cruise, but it was so picture perfect.

      • I was going to suggest St Maarten too! We stayed on the Dutch side when we went, but maybe the French side would be more what DC Jenny is looking for. And they have a really fun ‘aerial obstical course’ with rope bridges, zip lines, etc.

    • It’s not an island, but Belize has a lot of really great activities ( amazing snorkeling/diving, ruins, hiking, cave tours, etc). We honeymooned there and loved it. The beaches aren’t the prettiest in the Carribean thanks to the reef but the country is still beautiful. We stayed down the coast so our resort was kinda isolated. Staying out on one of keys like Ambergis would give you a few more dining options. You can get direct flights from Atl and a few other places I imagine.

    • Vieques. (I know I always trot this out, but seriously it’s wonderful.) You do need to factor in the extra hop from San Juan, but I don’t think it should be too much of a pain. It’s a more relaxed place than most resort areas. There’s no big hotel but you can get a pretty cottage right on the water, or stay in one of the guest houses on the “strip.” The nightlife tends to be the kind where you can wear cut-offs and a bikini top but there are some terrific (and not at all expensive) restaurants, the beaches are beautiful, nothing is crowded, and there’s great snorkeling/diving, swimming, and yoga (like in the jungle with a totally fun hippie lady). There are lots of horses around but I think they mostly wander wherever they want, or are used by the Viequans for travel (I saw a lot of the young men riding them to get around the island).

      • Vieques is gorgeous and sooo relaxing. Also Turks and Caicos, if you go after the holiday crush has subsided – super easy flight and Grace Bay is stunning.

        • oh, TBK – one large hotel (a W?) opened on the north side of Vieques. I found the airport lounge solely for that hotel at the little Vieques airstrip quite amusing.

          • Funny! I haven’t been there since 2008 and I know it was starting to get more built up. (The mainland Americans, i.e., the ex-pat community if you can be an ex-pat when you’re still technically in your own country, were not at all happy about that.) My favorite part of the Vieques airport is the baggage carousel. It can probably hold all of four bags.

        • Second Turks & Caicos, though flights can be a bit inconvenient for long weekends. The Sands at Grace Bay is a great hotel and much more reasonable than other Provo resorts.

          St. John’s is another great option— direct flight to St. Thomas and ferry over. Trunk Bay is gorgeous, but there are also lots of more secluded beaches toward the Coral Bay end of the island. The USVI are very convenient for short trips. Skip the Bahamas.

          • St. John is gorgeous. Another possibility is St. Lucia — check out Anse Chastenet. No matter where you choose, don’t go with high hopes for the food.

          • 3rd T&C. Or Antigua, depending on where your point of origin is.

      • I agree – Vieques is the best. I’ve never been so relaxed.

    • Aruba! It’s a short flight from DC, there are tons of hotels and you can absolutely get everything you specify above. The beaches are beautiful and (my favorite) the food is AMAZING. I can’t say enough good things about it — happy to provide more specifics if you’d like.

      • Where did you eat in Aruba? We found one good restaurant (tourists only, just behind the government buildings) the entire time.

        • Are you serious? (I don’t mean that in a mean way at all, sorry if it sounds snarky.) One of the reasons we picked Aruba as a honeymoon spot is b/c people raved so much about the food. We hopped around — ate at a few different hotels, Salt & Pepper Cafe (on the main tourist strip), and my favorite was the Flying Fishbone where we had dinner right on the shore with our feet in the water. Amazing! I’m so sorry you didn’t have that experience.

          • We actually had reservations there and cancelled them since it was right after our snorkel tour. We had problems finding local seafood and produce. We were in that hotel strip, but even the restaurants you would expect to have local stuff (ie, not Ruth’s Chris or Benihana) only had Chilean sea bass or Alaskan salmon. We were there for just over two weeks. The best restaurant we found was right behind some govt in the main downtown area. It had local seafood right off the owner’s boat (I believe there was even video of it being caught). It was packed, but there wasn’t a single local.

      • We loved Aruba and ate fresh local seafood every day. I’d recommend staying in the low-rise hotel area. The Bucuti was phenomenal.

    • I went to St. Lucia recently and loved it. Jet Blue flies there so airfare was reasonable. We stayed at Ladera which is just incredible – the rooms only have three walls, with the fourth completely open to the gorgeous ocean view. It was in the 80s every day but we didn’t miss air conditioning with the great ocean breeze, and we had only minimal interactions with wildlife. Geckos hang out on the walls and we had one bird stop by for a visit. Oh, and every room has its own pool (win!). The food at Ladera was so good we didn’t really bother going elsewhere, though I wish we had. Ladera is in the Soufriere area, which is gorgeous and has lots of outdoor activities available.

      I saw reviews on TripAdvisor for B&Bs and cottages, so those are available too in more urban areas. I’d avoid Sandals (I think there are three on the island) but that’s just my personal preference.

      • TurtleWexler :

        Loved St. Lucia too. We stayed in a vacation rental “cottage” (though it was more like a mansion, really, we were pleasantly surprised!) rather than a resort/hotel, so it wasn’t as convenient to the beaches, but we had a wonderful time. IIRC, the beaches are all public, so you don’t have to be staying at a resort to use the beach it’s on, you just might not be able to use the chairs, umbrellas, etc. We went swimming at the Jalousie resort one day and it was probably the most scenic swim I have ever taken in my entire life — basically in a valley with mountains on either side of the bay, framed by palm trees… Also, there’s a restaurant inside the park with the fort, right down on the beach (not the pub in the old building in the middle of the park) that served the most incredible Caribbean food. I think we went there at least three times during our weeklong stay. I would seriously go back just for that restaurant.

    • Puerto Rico and Cayman Islands. Both are wonderful, for different reasons. Both have Bio Bays, which you MUST see. If you go to Cayman, I suggest Turtle’s Nest Inn, it is quiet and away from 7 Mile Beach.

    • What about Bermuda? It’s a short hop (direct flight) from Baltimore. Usually not very many kids, but in Jan may be a bit cooler than you want.

  11. Nonprofit-ette :

    I wish I wouldn’t have gone back for a second look at the Nordstrom’s anniversary sale. I fell in love with the Cole Haan Poppy boots (541559) but they are twice as much as what I normally pay for shoes. I’m going to have to spend my whole day trying to talk myself out of buying them.

    • Darn it. I bought them. And the pair of CH jodhphur boots too. Somebody stop me!

      • locomotive :

        at least it’s cole haan stuff that will last a while and be good to your feet! *sorry for enabling*

      • I have Cole Haan shoes that are four years old and I wear them at least once a week. And other than replacing the heel caps, they’re holding up well. Yay enabling!

    • Praxidike :

      Sorry to enable, but I bought the Poppy boots and they are BEYOND comfortable and flattering. My legs look killer in them, and I have had no problems with the heel. I bought in black, and am considering buying in brown as well.

    • My only happiness is that I know that my calfs are almost 100% sure to be too large for those things. Otherwise, I’d be wanting those really bad.

      But that’s a lot of dough to drop on one pair of shoes, yo. Do you already have enough outfits to wear them with, or is it going to be, like, now I have to buy clothes to go with it? Because sometimes that happens to me.

      If you’re looking for some cheaper options, I’d check out Clarks and Nine West boots, I just did a quick search and they had some really cute brown knee high leather boots for about half the price.

  12. anon for this :

    Ladies – thanks in no small part to yesterday’s “Unhappily Married” thread, I told my husband last night that I want to separate. I suggested this about a month ago as well, but per my therapist (and his response), took some time to maintain the status quo and see if we couldn’t improve things.

    Well, nothing really improved, but I did get more clarity. We had planned to move this month anyway, and I am signing the lease for the new house alone. I don’t know right now whether he will be moving with me or not, but the fact that I felt immensely relieved after getting the big news out speaks volumes. We are seeing our counselor today.

    Thanks, Internet Strangers, for reminding me that I am not the only person in the world to have gone through this, and that sometimes decisions aren’t easy even when they are the right ones.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      The good feelings don’t always come in the same envelope as the right answers. Don’t worry – you’ll get there. I’m sorry you’re going through this.

    • Hugs and good luck!

    • When I was 21, I used to bartend at a fancy restaurant. This guy in his late 50s early 60s used to come in 2-3 times a week to eat dinner. I got to know him and he was divorced, kids were grown, and lived alone down the street. One day I finally asked what I thought everytime he came in: “Don’t you get sooo lonely?” and he said “The only thing worse than being alone is WISHING you were alone. When I was married, I wished that I was alone whenever she was around.” I wish I could say that I’ve never been afraid of being alone after that. However, I do think of it when I am lonely and I go down the street at eat dinner at the bar of a nice place. :)

      • I totally went through the loneliness after my divorce but now I am very happy to be by myself most of the time (my SO lives out of town).

        • How are things on the SO front, NOLA? I remember reading about your troubles a few weeks ago and have been thinking about you.

          • Oh that’s so sweet! I just saw your message. My new faculty member and my new boss started today so I haven’t had a minute to myself since about 8:15 this morning.

            As for my SO, he was supposed to move in September and time has been flying and he’s sort of freaking out about it. Today he said “eventually” so who knows. As for the stuff we argued about, he got the political stuff but I haven’t really been able to get over the weird homophobic comments. We have had one conversation where it came up and I didn’t get a chance to say what I really wanted to say. But I think that somehow there was damage done and I’m not sure I can keep it together after he moves. I think that in my mind, I always had to tell myself that we would have a longterm committed relationship if the circumstances were right, but now I am completely unsure about that. So the answer is, I don’t know!

    • Unhappily Married :

      Wow! I don’t know whether I should be taking blame or credit, but in any event I am sending you all kinds of love and support over the interwebs!

      And thanks from me, too, Internet Strangers. I really appreciated all your comments and they gave me a lot to think about! I got a copy of “Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay” and it’s full of interesting stuff, so special thanks for that rec.

    • Good luck, my dear. I hope things work out well for you.

    • I’m sorry you’re dealing with this, sending internet hugs… and I agree, just hearing strangers dealing with the same things I am has really helped me through some tough times this year.

    • karenpadi :

      You are so strong.

  13. Has anyone seen a really nice and professional neutral colored dress for maternity wear (I’m fairly small overall, so a nice wrap dress with some stretch might work, even if it’s not actually maternity)? I’m thinking black or dark grey, something that I could put a blazer over and look as put together as I would with a suit for court, etc., and something neutral enough that I could wear it a lot. I would prefer not to go over $150 (actually, I would prefer not to go over $80, but I’m trying to be realistic!).

    • I love Boden’s clothes and I have a couple jersey dresses that are fabulous, though not maternity. Here’s one of a couple on their site:

      http://www.bodenusa.com/en-US/Womens-Maternity-collection/BP020-BLK/Womens-Black-Easy-Jersey-Dress.html

    • Target. They may have some maternity ones, but they definitely have a lot of black jersey dresses in the non-maternity section.

    • I actually purchased a couple of dresses at Dress Barn, of all places, when I was pregnant. They weren’t maternity dresses but were super-stretchy and long enough that they totally worked. I got tons of compliments on them. And I didn’t even have the problem with them hem that pregnant women often have with non-maternity dresses (where the front is higher b/c it wasn’t made to accommodate a pregnant belly). They were super-inexpensive too. Worth a peek, IMO. Congrats!

      • sugarmagnolia :

        I have 2 dresses from there, and you are 100% right. Dress Barn stuff may not be someone’s first thought when searching, but they do have a lot of stretchy stuff there.

    • One thing to think about…I am also fairly small overall but I found that when I was pretty far along in pregnancy, maternity dresses were much more flattering than regular dresses I was trying to wear as maternity. Regular dresses made me look like a tent while the maternity one said “I’m tiny with a big ole bump!”
      As for locations, I had good luck with Ann Taylor (watch for coupons), Target and even found some good things on ebay.

    • Diana Barry :

      Old Navy. Once they get their fall stuff in they should have a maternity wrap dress that looks AWESOME. Ditto to the other ladies re wearing non-maternity stuff as maternity, after a while it doesn’t really look right. Gap also has a nice wrap one (and a ponte knit one) that both look nice
      http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=6035&vid=1&pid=907305&scid=907305012
      and you could throw a blazer on over it and it would look nice.

    • I don’t have a specific dress rec but my favorite work maternity dresses are from the Gap. I only found one black dress that I liked, at target, and it’s probably way too casual for work, but in the third trimester I just don’t care any more – and I’m wearing it to my business casual office with an open jacket or cardigan and just making sure I accessorize with nice jewelry and actually fix my hair and make-up.

  14. So, some color advice. I bought some pants at Loft yesterday (I was on a pants-ban, but their Julie cut makes my butt look so good!) in a cabernet/burgundy color. I think this color will look good with gray and black, and also leopard if I can find leopard that I like, but I’m at a loss about other colors. Any suggestions?

    • I really like blue with burgundy. Both navy and cornflower blue.
      Eggplant could also look really nice for fall.

    • if you like them, pastels would look modern with that color. and mustard yellow! and navy or cadet blue!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’m on the verge of buying a skirt in a similar color (NY & Company’s black cherry color) and I was thinking of pairing it with a dark top and a light pink sweater. The idea of other pastels is good too. Actually, now I’m imagining it with a white top, mustard yellow belt, and navy sweater. I love fall clothes!

    • phillygirlruns :

      why the pants-ban?

      are you looking for summer or cold-weather combos for the burgundy? for summer, i think i’d try some bright stuff with a white shirt – i feel like coral or a bright blue would work (on the greener end of the spectrum rather than cobalt).

      winter is easier – navy, darker purples, cream. maybe even a forest/dark green, if the green AND the burgundy are the right shade so as to avoid christmas.

      • Oh, I just have a lot of pants. Don’t really need more, but I was captivated by the color. And the a@@-enhancing properties, once I tried them on.

        I think they’re definitely fall pants. Given how hot summer is here in DC, and how long it lingers, the pants probably won’t make it into my daily wardrobe rotation until October at the earliest.

    • I was thinking I might experiment with navy and mustard. Didn’t really consider pastels, but then again, the shirt they show with the pants (which I also bought just because it’s pretty) is sort of a pale gray with pink/purple undertones.

      White shirt, mustard belt, and navy sweater sounds really nice. I have some mustard shoes I love, have to check out those with the pants.

      Leave some room for me on the fall-clothes-loving-bench!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Ok, now I’m going to have to take the leap and buy the skirt. And a mustard belt. And all the other fall clothes. I’m feeling inspired to mix it up with colors this fall and try the third color thing that people talk about around here. I typically stay with a neutral plus 1 color but I’m going to make an effort to go neutral plus two colors.

    • Teal/turquoise/mint would be gorgeous. I also like blue, chocolate brown, orange if you can pull it off, green. I like the idea of prints too – if you could get something with any of the above colors I think it would be good.

  15. I just purchased a slightly different version of this dvf wrap dress:

    http://www.dvf.com/New-Julian-Two-Dress/D5131001V12S,default,pd.html?dwvar_D5131001V12S_color=CHNLS&start=17&cgid=sale-dresses

    We all probably agree that the pattern is office appropriate but the twist is mine is the maxi version, called the abigail dress, seen in another print here:

    http://www.dvf.com/Abigail-Dress/D2768001L12,default,pd.html?dwvar_D2768001L12_color=TWDLB&start=11&cgid=wrap-shop-fashion

    office appropriate, yay or nay?

    • Senior Attorney :

      I can’t imagine this being appropriate in any office in which I’ve ever worked. Maybe in fashion or publishing.

    • karenpadi :

      On the west coast, yes. I would probably wear it on days when I don’t need to be overly formal–no meeting days or meeting with established clients.

    • Sorry, this is a know your office moment. Maxi-dresses, no matter the pattern, are going to be a problem in many (most) offices I’ve worked in. But, in some places and some offices you’d be fine I’d imagine.

      Its a cute dress though!

  16. What questions do you ask at job interviews to get a sense of company culture? Based on my interaction with the person I’m interviewing with soon, she is either absurdly overworked or completely disorganized (or both). Her behavior is causing some major red flags for me and I haven’t even met her yet! I’m trying to figure out what sorts of questions I can ask to find out if this is an office wide problem or specific to her. I can handle a disorganized boss, but I’m planning to do grad school while in this position, so I don’t want to get myself into a job where I’ll be working 60 hours a week as well.

    • This is a great question!

      I’m currently dealing with a boss who is both absurdly overworked AND completely disorganized. It’s very frustrating and something I never thought to anticipate, since my last boss was a.ma.zing.

      Not sure how much you can suss out during the interview process, but perhaps some questions along the lines of, “Tell me how I might be supporting you in this position?” and “How will my responsibilities fit into the big picture here at Company?” That might give you a sense for how much time you will have to devote to managing her, what is slipping through the cracks that you will have to address, etc.

      Good luck!

    • If you could change one thing about how the company / firm works what would it be?

    • What does a typical day look like?

      What hours do people typically work? Do they come in early/normal/late? Leave early/normal/late?

      What is the busiest time of the day/week/month/year?

      • karenpadi :

        These. And:

        How is this firm different from other firms you’ve worked at? (If the interviewer is a lateral.)

        How is work assigned or delegated?

        We have a reputation for being work-from-home friendly: “How often do you work from home?” “At my level, how much face time is expected?”

        What kinds of events does the firm do for the attorneys and staff?

        • karenpadi :

          Oh, and ask these questions of more than one interviewer for multiple perspectives. We don’t “compare notes” in any great detail so I have no idea if you are recycling questions.

          Three benefits:
          1) You can see if the culture is monolithic or more diverse.
          2) You can see if this interviewer is more strict or more lenient than other interviewers.
          3) You never “run out of questions” in an interview, avoiding the kiss of death.

  17. Totes McGotes :

    Interviewers:

    Please be advised that Sephora is instructing young ladies to extend the lives of their manicures by painting glitter polish at the base of the nail as it begins to grow out. Just know this now and expect to see it, before this becomes the next “one blue fingernail.”

    Signed,
    If I Ever Painted My Fingernails At All I’d Probably Do This Too

    • I want to know what these young ladies are doing to create manicures that last long enough for the nail base to grow out! Mine chip in 2 days, maybe 3 if I remember to wear gloves while doing the dishes.

      • You can keep yours for two days? Lucky duck!

        Sometimes my toenail polish is on long enough for the nail base to be noticeably unpainted, but at that point I just toss on another coat of whatever was on there already. I do the same when it chips/rubs off. No one looks that closely at my toes.

      • Equity's Darling :

        Use a great top coat and double up on it -I like Lippman’s Hard Rock or Seche Vite.

        I also find zippers much harder on my nails than dishes….

        • Does the Lippmann polish shrink up like the seche vite?

          • Equity's Darling :

            Nope, at least not in my experience.

          • Thank you! I’m sold. Also, I got Chanel’s new color in Frenzy. I really like it with my skin tone.

          • Equity's Darling :

            Oh, that Frenzy looks nice! I worry that colours like that make me look sort of washed out, I think I’ll have to take a trip to the Chanel counter and see whether it looks good :)

            I think Dior’s Nude Chic is next on my polish buy list, plus the butter fall 2012 collection.

        • Where do you find Lippman polish in Canada? I have never been able to find it here.

          • Vancouver :

            If you are in (or near) Vancouver, “Kiss and Makeup” at Park Royal (North Van) usually carries it. Also just a great little boutique overall, makeup, clothes and accessories.

          • Equity's Darling :

            Holt Renfrew, or nailpolishcanada . com

          • Thanks, both of you! Vancouver: yes, I am in Vancouver but don’t get to Park Royal all that often, so will have to go and check out Kiss and Makeup. ED: I guess I haven’t looked closely enough at the HR beauty department….

      • Jacqueline :

        Try Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails as your top coat. Without it, my nails chip in a couple days. With it, they last a solid week!

      • most likely shellac or gel mani’s. mine last 2-3 weeks.

    • Funny timing, I just saw a woman with this manicure yesterday! It looked very busy. I guess this is helpful with those gel manicures that last forever?

  18. New Corporette :

    Hi Everyone,

    I have been reading this site for the past few months, and I will be starting my first job after college in a week as a entry level consultant. As I will be traveling every week, I read some of the threads about traveling for work and am becoming increasingly anxious about my suitcase. It is a plaid print of browns and cream. It is in good condition (and a very nice suitcase) and I thought fairly subdued but easy to spot, however on previous threads it seemed only solid blacks, navys, reds, and greys were really appropriate. What do you all think?

    Also, any words of wisdom for a young women new to professional life? I head off to training Monday and I hope all goes well. Thank you all for all the wonderful comments that have been posted on this site previously, the comments have really helped me wrap my mind around what the professional world may be like, and gave me the wisdom to purchase some Cole Haan black pumps before I even started work.

    • Anne Shirley :

      I think as long as Hello Kitty isn’t on your suitcase, it’s fine. I’d think more about whether you should go checked or carry-on- if you’re traveling with people they may get annoyed waiting for you to retrieve your luggage. The best tip I’ve gotten from consultant friends is to be nice to people when you travel. If you’re flying the same route to the same hotel frequently, people will start to recognize you and can be really helpful if they want.

      • Agree completely. My suitcase is brown with pink accents (super easy to spot) and I wouldn’t hesitate to bring it with me anywhere. Your suitcase sounds perfectly appropriate!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I think it’s fine. I am all about the whole “easy to spot” thing!

      I also second the “be nice to everyone while you’re traveling” suggestion. My husband travels a lot for work and he is always getting upgrades and free stuff because he is nice and chats everybody up everywhere he goes. And also, he is not shy about asking for what he wants and needs. If his hotel room is right next to the noisy elevator, or if the a/c isn’t working properly, he never hesitates to call the front desk and ask (nicely) to be moved, and they always accommodate him if they can.

      • Middle East Munchkin :

        OMG, can I just say that I totally had a Corporette moment a few weeks ago when I had to travel to Dubai for a company conference (it’s a 1 hour flight from my current location). We were all only staying 2 days tops and despite being moderately ‘high maintenance’ I was perfectly satisfied with a carry-on. HOWEVER, the other women in my office checked in suitcases and I was a bit wtf at the whole scenerio. I’ve never quite understood the Corporette irritance at having to wait for one’s colleagues bags (and, I’d certainly be very inclined to check baggage in if I was making a trip of 5+ days) but I was gobsmacked that that my colleagues needed to check in a whole SUITCASE for two days. I guess a lot of women behave like princesses out here.

    • Always a NYer :

      Your suitcase sounds perfectly acceptable. I second not checking a bag. Road Warriorette’s blog is great for packing tips as well general advice on business travel. Good luck and congrats on the new job!!!

    • Re general advice, I think one of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a now-ex boyfriend who was a management consultant with a big firm. He said when he was very junior he was in a meeting with a client and he was bored so he just sort of stared into space and didn’t really do anything. He later got chewed out by the team lead (or whatever they’re called in the consulting world) who said “You cost $X and hour. Look like it!” Meaning, if the client is paying $200/hr or whatever it is for you to be there, make sure they can see they’re getting their money’s worth. Even if they’re not. Or even if they are but it’s not obvious. Take notes, make comments, do whatever to justify your presence. Also, several people on this site have recommended Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office. It may not apply to you (I apparently was raised like a boy because a lot of it seemed alien to me — although it did help me understand why women I work with do what they do) but it’s probably valuable if it does.

    • Congratulations for you new job! Welcome to the working world. Your suitcase sounds like it is fine. Because you will be using it weekly, I suggest getting a better one if the one you have is difficult to maneuver, like if it is unusually heavy or is not a spinner, or doesn’t have all the organization you need.

      • karenpadi :

        This. And don’t be afraid to ask more senior people about what suitcases work for them. One of the best ways to make a connection is to ask for a small 5-minute favor. It’s counter-intuitive but it works.

    • watch Up in the Air & follow George Clooney’s advice re suitcases. :-)

  19. im trapped in moderation due to links — any thoughts on whether a collared dvf wrap maxi dress in a conservative neutral print would be office appropriate?

  20. anon in tejas :

    I have seen a similar dress at Kohls. I haven’t bought it, but it’s in the tan/black.

    Also, I have a similar dress, same shape, but different colors. It’s pink with whites and oranges. More of a splatter pattern with the side tie in purple. It’s a very cute dress. I bought it to wear to my brother-in-law’s wedding. It looked great, and it has a very conservative scoop neck. I wonder if it’s work appropriate. Thoughts?

  21. missed the boat? :

    Anyone ever felt kind of mediocre at/in life? Instead of browsing profiles on Facebook and feeling bad, I’ve been doing LinkedIn and comparing myself mercilessly to everyone. I love my job and I’m good at it, but outside of work, I feel like my interests have become just pointless hobbies. I draw and paint on the side, but other people are curating their own shows, starting collectives, and blogging about their work! I volunteer, but it doesn’t directly relate to my job. Sometimes I see people’s profiles and marvel at the fact that almost everything they do relates to their job, their interests, and their passions. Naturally, this seems to lead to more opportunities (scholarships, connections, fellowships, volunteer opportunities), and it seems like a never-ending cycle. I feel like I’ve missed the boat.

    I was very successful in high school and college because I knew what I needed to do to get an A, and I was involved in tons of activities. But now it’s like I don’t know how to get an A in life. I can succeed at work because I have a list of goals/tasks and I know what to do to achieve them. But what about everything else? I get overwhelmed because I have so many interests that I don’t know how to focus on just one.

    I realize this is kind of rambly and possibly silly, but lately I’ve been feeling like I want to accomplish more, give more, do more, and I just don’t know where to start. I’m in my early 30s, and sometimes I think, “It’s too late to make a change; you just ARE mediocre — accept it!” After all, most people aren’t going to be exceptional at everything.

    Anyone else feel this way?

    • Short answer? Yes. But nothing you’ve described makes you “mediocre.” Accomplishment for its own sake is meaningless—you’re living a life, not building a resume. Working toward a goal can be enjoyable, but the goals should be related to something that interests you or will scratch some itch. Do you want to start a gallery? No? Then you’re not a failure for not having done so!

      I didn’t relate 100% to this article (a response to the Anne-Marie Slaughter piece) but found it pretty enlightening, especially this part:

      “It is not, ‘Can we have it all?’ — with ‘all’ being some kind of undefined marker that shall forever be moved upwards out of reach just a little bit with each new blessing. We should ask instead, “Do we have enough?”
      http://tinyurl.com/czhzwzu

      I am going to start asking myself that question more often when I get restless.

    • There is no A in life. The only one grading you, is you. Are you happy with your hobbies and activities? I mean, not with the way they might appear to others on a Linked-In profile, but with what you do and how and when you do it? Then you don’t have a problem. This isn’t being mediocre, it’s being well rounded, and I am the same way. I am not a fantastic tennis player, or a master yogi, or the most well-read person, or an art-insider, or a regular in the theater scene, but I can play a game, love to do a yoga class once a week or so, read things I enjoy, occasionally look at some nice art, and see a couple of plays a year. It’s great. I would hate to exclude the other things just so I could focus on getting really, really good at tennis because it’s my personality to enjoy lots of different things.

      If this doesn’t sound like you, then I think you need to pick one thing, realize it will be to the exclusion of all the others, and really buckle down on it.

    • It sounds to me you are missing the defined goals you had while in school. What about setting more goals for yourself? Such as to run a 5k, or marathon, or whatever. I sew and set a goal for myself a few years ago, when I was getting back into the hobby, to make something each month. Some months it was hard, but I loved the sense of accomplishment, and if someone happened to compliment me on something I had made it made me feel fantastic. Now I have sewn the majority of my skirts, about half of my pants, and the majority of my dresses (still working on fit issues with shirts).

      Everyone likes to feel like they have accomplished something and are successful at something. For me, goal setting helps me feel this way.

      • This. I have been feeling the same way as missed the boat? and realized a big part of that is that I no longer have goals. My life is really good—I have a good job, good family, good friends, but there isn’t a sense of accomplishment. And sometimes I feel like life is just going along and I’m not living it or doing anything other than working out, going to work, seeing people, and sleeping. And I’ve realized goals are the big thing that’s missing (and that wasn’t missing when I was in school).

        Unfortunately, I just reached this realization this week—CKB is way ahead here—and so I haven’t figured out what my first goal will be, but I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it.

        So missed the boat?, you’re not alone. Hope you can find something you both enjoy and are good at (or want to be good at!) and start feeling like you’re accomplishing something again. Thanks, CKB for your example.

        • missed the boat? :

          That is exactly how I feel… like life is just passing me by. And you’re right. It’s because I have no goals, no way to measure accomplishments, and nothing I’m really striving for. Time to set some realistic but challenging goals so I have something to work toward.

          Thanks, ladies, for the thoughts and words of encouragement.

    • Yes, yes. You’re not alone. Same age here. Not many thoughts, but a lot of commiseration. One thing too is until college, everyone’s on the same track. After college, most pronouncedly after your mid-20′s, everyone’s paths start to diverge. I struggle with feeling ahead of some friends and behind others.

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      You are definitely not alone OP. I agree with what the above posters have mentioned about how in college/grad school, there are certain measures of “success” such as all As or being leader of a journal that we can work toward and feel accomplished when we achieve them. Beyond that, it becomes more difficult to have these reachable goals, and there is definitely no one-size-fits-all measure of success.

      I myself am trying to get back into doing some hobbies I enjoy so that my entire focus will not be on just work, so you’re already ahead of me there! If that makes you feel better. Also, you don’t sound mediocre at all, you have a job that you enjoy and that you’re good at, and have time for outside activities? Sounds pretty amazing!

    • Usually when this issue comes up here, someone posts: “Stop looking at Facebook and LinkedIn!” Nobody has done this yet, so I am. And I’m quite serious. These kinds of sites are perfect for sending me on a spiral of feeling inferior, and the hurt usually doesn’t come with many constructive thoughts or ideas. Think of these sites as tools to use for specific purposes at deliberately chosen times, not for aimless browsing of the fabulous lives/careers/connections that you don’t have.

      The real, useful reflection on my life and priorities has come from actual conversations with people I know in a meaningful way. Some of it can still make me feel like a loser in comparison, sure, but MUCH less often, and the payoff in terms of “well what does this mean for me?” makes it worthwhile.

      • missed the boat? :

        You are so right… I need to stop. That’s what prompted my downward spiral. I was actually feeling kind of good about myself until then.

        And it’s such a good point that meaningful conversations with people in our actual lives (as opposed to meaningless virtual interactions online) can prompt positive change. I always feel better after talking to a friend.

    • I could have written your post! I know a lot of exceptional people in creative fields and it’s overwhelming at times to see their tweets and blog posts. “Compare and despair” is one of my most wretched pastimes. Social media curates our best moments in life, leaving out our failures, insecurities and losses. Your life sounds balanced, creative and lovely to me.

      As for being “too late to change,” I’m also in my thirties and recently took a leap by writing about my creative passions. While not financially solvent, writing/blogging has taken me to some surprising heights. It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve done in a life filled with hard work in another field. You never know where things may lead you. I was worried that I was “too old” to write for a site started by hip twentysomethings. Later today I’m interviewing an acclaimed artist that I have no business talking to really, but I’m just starting to trust that things will work out, even though I feel like a fraud!

      So my advice to you is to allow yourself to enjoy your full, balanced life and stop comparing yourself to others who seem so singularly focused. OR, if you want, get outside your comfort zone and try some new things. Small steps are fine because you never know where the steps will lead you.

      • missed the boat? :

        This is especially inspiring to hear because I’m a fellow creative. Measuring success is difficult when there are so many ways to get there. I guess the point is that you have to just start somewhere. Thanks for posting.

        And congratulations on scoring that interview!

        • Like Calico, I’ve found that writing/blogging helps fulfill my need to pile up “accomplishments.” Completing a project and drafting a blog post require me to be both creative and analytical, as well as working on writing skills. Nothing I do is earth-shaking, just a fun little hobby, but the tangible results satisfy me.

          I also get way more satisfaction than is warranted from using Goodreads to write little reviews of all the books I read. Going back through the list and reading the reviews makes me feel smart again, in a way I missed after getting out of college (even though I’m a lawyer and technically have to be smart every day, it’s just not the same when you mostly do the same thing every day).

    • Bunny Boo :

      I have experienced similar feelings in my life. While I totally agree with what others have said about setting goals, I find that what I really missed about school was the achievement of getting that “A.” So I created a reward system for myself to create that same feeling of accomplishment as doing well in school. I printed off a bunch of homemade $5 coupons and when I do something well or achieve a goal I’ve set for myself, then I add a $5 coupon to a jar. For example, someone compliments me on a job well done at work – $5; finish a project before the deadline – $5; finish a 5K under the time goal I set for myself – $5. Then I allow myself to buy whatever I want with the money – no matter how frivolous it may be. This works for me because I’m not normally a very big spender, but any reward system can create that tangible feeling of accomplishment that is missing once school is over. You just need to figure out what is right for you.

      • missed the boat? :

        That’s a great idea! And it would work for me; I’m also pretty frugal about fun, frivolous purchases.

    • I read something recently that really resonnated with me. I’ve been feeling inferior lately because I’m unhappy with my job but I’ve been trying to figure out what exactly would make me happy. I’m very aware that I can be overly status conscious and have my self-worth and identity too wrapped up with my job (so unhappy with job = feeling completely worthless…not healthy). But I read an article by the guy who wrote How Will You Measure Your Life and what I realized is that I need to focus on figuring out what my values are and then making sure that what I’m doing is working to support those values. I really think that is key to fulfillment. I think a lot of people who are very sucessful in school have as a core value “education is important.” Therefore, all their time in school is working toward their closely held Education Value, even if they don’t realize it. Once school is over, it’s hard to then find that next great value to work for. Sorry if this doesn’t mean anything to you. Kind of my own rambly thinking-out-loud post.

    • TurtleWexler :

      I’m 30 and I feel your pain. I feel like I took a wrong turn career-wise back in college, and everything I’ve done since has just compounded it, and now I’m kind of stuck in this life I made for myself without quite realizing that was what I was doing. I like my job enough, but it’s not one where I can ever really make much of a difference. My HS/college friends are in similar positions, so at least I’m not always comparing myself to them, but my husband is in a unique field and is near the top of it, as are many of our (his) friends. They are all awesome people, but I feel pale and uninteresting next to them. I’ve started to realize that I need something outside of work thats creative and that I can eventually be good at, unfortunately I just don’t really know what that “something” is. Sigh. Anyway, I’m sure you aren’t mediocre, but I absolutely know the feeling, as well as how hard it is to break out of that mindset once you get in it (which I obviously haven’t done).

      • Middle East Munchkin :

        I feel your pain. I am haunted by the constant feeling of inadequacy both as a consequence of FB and LI. I graduated with my Master’s a couple of years ago from a prestigious University and felt that the world was my oyster. Since then, I’ve sort of felt my worldview crumble. I don’t do much else but work long days for an organization that doesn’t value me, have to contend with bosses who’re thicker than mud and, whatever the spin I might put on my CV, engage in mundane, idiotic tasks as part of my job. On the personal side, this summer seems to have been the season everyone I know has gotten hitched (including the fuglies and the hos) so I am rather miffed at that as well. Needless to say, I am not a happy bunny.

        That said, I have been trying really hard to force myself out of my rut. I am trying new activities. (Well I forced myself to join my church choir, makes a change from skulking in the pews at the back. ) I am also trying to rediscover the hobbies I enjoyed growing up: I used to read voraciously; I played the piano. I find list-making helps. I like ticking off accomplishments; it makes me feel like I am getting somwehere. The small pleasures really help so make sure you find time for those as well. Most importantly, remember that you are not alone. I find solace in the fact that there must be more women out there facing my predicament.

    • Seattleite :

      I think this is something that most overachievers have to deal with sooner or later. And, some of us, repeatedly.

      “But now it’s like I don’t know how to get an A in life.” But when you were getting As, you were living by someone else’s plan, playing by their rules, and accepting their judgments of whether you were worthy. The absolute BEST thing about being an adult is that you don’t have to do that any more. (It’s easy to forget that, given lifestyle mags, fashion blogs, and TED talks.)

      When I don’t know where to start, it’s usually because I’ve allowed the noise of ‘what I should be doing’ to drown out my inner voice. So then I breathe, pretend there are no consequences to my choices, and see where that takes me.

    • Lots of good thoughts here. If you haven’t already read it, check out “The Artist’s Way,” by Julia Cameron.

  22. After asking for advice on wearing more color last week I stepped out of my comfort zone today and am wearing an aqua/turquoise/silver print pencil skirt, white top, navy short sleeved & ruffled cardi & maroon pumps. I like it. Oh, and a silver & bead flowered statement necklace.

    What are you wearing today?

    • Middle East Munchkin :

      That sounds cute – I love ruffled cardigans :)

      Today I wore a rust coloured pleated silk skirt from Talbots (still available on the site), navy Zara blazer, cream shell, gold Butter heeled slingbacks and carried a quilted gold leather Elliott Lucca bag. I also wore some beady gold jewelry to bring the whole outfit together.

    • The blood of my enemies.

    • I’m wearing a Boden tunic (Printed Henley in the pink Tulip color), an open Boden cardigan in navy (Como Cardigan), J.Crew chinos in khaki, and dark brown Frye Carson flats. I love everything except the khakis, but they were the only pants I could find in my closet that would work with both the tunic-length top and the navy cardigan. It’ll look even better with skinny jeans after work. :)

      I went to the Boden outlet store in Pittston, PA last weekend and it’s fabulous. The selection isn’t huge but tops are $30 (including the cardigan and a long linen tunic that is styled as a dress on the website), dresses are $40, and coats are only $50. It’s so much cheaper than even the sale prices online! Pittston is on a drive I make a few times a year so I think this will be a regular stop for me.

    • I’m wearing JAG jeans (zipper less and button-less, they pull on) and a t-shirt. But I’m home recovering from wisdom teeth removal…so…its amazing I put on pants.

      But your outfit sounds super cute. :-)

  23. 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.

    • If he refuses therapy she should go on her own. Actually, couples counseling can be damaging when one partner is controlling (he ends up running the counseling), so she should really go one her own regardless of what he does. And, I’m sorry. This must be so tough on both of you.

      • Thanks for responding. I suggested individual therapy too, but she thinks he would be opposed to her going and she doesn’t feel like she can go “behind his back” because of shared insurance, etc. I still think she should go to individual therapy and deal with him not wanting her to, which I suggested.

        • Wow, that is a really scary level of controlling-ness on his part. Maybe you can do some research and help find a place that she could afford without going through insurance.

    • e_pontellier :

      Wow, are you my sister?

      Don’t worry, you’re not (I’m not 35), but you have really struck a chord about my marriage. We tried couples counseling and while the first session was helpful, the second was a train wreck and we haven’t gone back. Some people on here have recommended the books For Women Only and For Men Only — I bought both, I read For Women Only, and it really helped my perspective. I’m hoping I can convince DH to read For Men Only (which comes with a one-page Quick Start guide!) but no luck yet (got the books less than 2 weeks ago though). One helpful hint for me was that men get angry the way women cry. By that I mean, I view crying as no big deal and just something I do, whereas I view anger as a really huge problem. Learning that men get angry as part of “something they do” was really helpful, and helped me feel like DH’s anger wasn’t crushing or personal anymore.

      Also, I’m in individual therapy, and while DH does feel therapists are “whack jobs”, every time I come home from therapy, I share that *I* think it helps *me* a great deal. DH has grown quite supportive of it, since I started in May.

      The best thing you can do is be a safe place for your sister. There are days, nights, weekends, when I wish I could go somewhere safe and just be by myself. I would never ask my sister or any of my friends though, because I don’t want to intrude and I don’t want anyone else to know that I’m having problems/challenges in my marriage.

      If she starts individual therapy, that may give her the courage to know when to get out of her relationship. My therapist asks me lots of questions about my DH and we talk about his reactions. She gives me strategies for dealing with situations in the future and has helped me feel safe about whatever choice I need to make in my marriage. For me, staying together is working.

      Hope that helped, and good luck to you, your sister and her marriage.

    • I think she would get a lot of emotional support from seeing a therapist on her own. Her therapist could help her think through some options that work for her, and may be able to help her talk to her husband about the issues.

    • I was going to ask if you were my sister, too. Only differences are that I’m not 35 and my husband doesn’t apologize after he flies off the handle. I did get him to go with me to therapy once but afterwards he pronounced the therapist a “douchebag”.

      My husband definitely has anger management issues combined with some OCD and anxiety-tendencies. For example, we visited my parents this past weekend and my mom got very upset that my husband doesn’t want her to drive our toddler anywhere since he considers her an unsafe driver (she may drive a little on the fast side occassionally but it’s not like she’s constantly getting speeding tickets or having accidents). I’ve let it drop for now since we had compromised that his parents won’t drive our daughter anywhere either (it doesn’t seem to be as big a deal for them). But I can tell this is going to come up again with my mom and I have I feeling he might dig his heels in if I try to push him on it.

      Any thoughts? FWIW I really didn’t see these issues before we became parents.

      • Seattleite :

        My first off-the-cuff thought is that giving in to his anxieties is a good way to hold you and your daughter hostage for the next 18 years. His anxieties are his to manage, and I’d be careful about getting into a pattern of accommodation just to keep the peace.

      • Just be careful :

        Your husband sounds a lot like my dad – anger management issues combined with anxiety makes for an interesting mix. He and I still have a touchy relationship as a result of his behavior. Honestly, it has made me questioned how much exposure/interaction he would have with any children I may have; I have spent years working to unlearn behaviors I picked up from him, and I am still not where I would like to be. I say that not to sound overly dramatic, but just as a reminder that your children will model the behavior they see. It came as a total shock when I learned friends of mine had never seen their parents fight. It never occurred to me that was possible.

        Bottom line, just be careful that it doesn’t cause you to question yourself or devalue yourself. If that happens, I think you should consider it a red flag.

    • What a hard situation. Is she afraid that he might hurt her, or is this more about fighting styles? All of my advice assumes that the issue is about fighting styles, and your sister wants to remain married to her husband.

      My BFF is in a similar relationship to your sister. Her husband’s fighting style is yelling, and she cries when really angry/stressed or withdraws to process the argument. She says that over the years it’s gotten better, but it took work on both sides to reach somewhat common ground on how to fight (without therapy). He has calmed down some (but is still a yeller), and she has gotten tougher (including some yelling) and forces him to take a break from yelling (by leaving the room) so that she can process why he’s upset (the upside is that the break usually calms him down). Now, this is really just one story — and frankly, I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with her husband — so take it for what you will. I think a decent recommendation would be for your sister to approach her husband when he’s not angry and discuss some “ground rules” for fighting, like, no name-calling, calling time outs, etc.

      I agree with others that it would be beneficial for her to seek individual therapy, if for no reason other than to learn how to deal with his fighting style in a way that is healthy and less emotionally damaging to her. And I think that she can (and should) cite that as the reason for why she is seeking therapy — perhaps this can be one of the items in the discussion about ground rules.

      As for you being supportive: I think the best thing you can do is let her know that you are supportive of her and whatever her decisions are. Tell her that if she needs a break, she’s welcome to your guest room, can cry on your shoulder, etc. But I think above all, do not bash her husband to her or anyone else, and don’t discuss this with any of your family members. You don’t want her to feel like you’ve betrayed her trust or are using this conversation as leverage against her husband, because it will make it harder for her to get out if she needs to.

    • Oldest Sister :

      She should go to counseling without him. She needs a counselor for advice in addition to a sister for support.

      If she thinks he will be violent when he learns she is going alone, she should pay in cash.

      If she just thinks he will get angry, she should suck it up because he is going to get angry before anything gets better (either with him or without him).

    • We also got married in 2011 after a brief courtship and there is definitely a feeling that we have to make things work so as not to look like idiots for marrying so quickly. So there’s that. And living together is quite difficult as neither of us had lived with anyone before. So there’s that. And my feeling that I can’t talk badly about hubby to people who know him because that will make him look bad when the reality is he’s not bad, just a bit frustrating at times.
      Just be aware that she may feel like a failure for not having a perfect marriage and may be worried about people thinking that her marital troubles were inevitable due to the fast courtship.
      Could you share some stressful example from your own relationship and say something like “married life can be so stressful, this is how I cope with the stress”. Or mention that married people need to learn how to live together and that this is not necessarily something that “just happens” but is a skill that can be learned or figured out? It might help relieve some of the pressure that she is feeling.

  24. Looking for suggestions on how to style a burgundy blazer with navy piping. I’m not too creative with color combinations, and can’t really think what color top would look good underneath – other than neutrals such as navy or gray. Link to follow.

  25. Can anyone recommend a lightweight conditioner that will leave my baby fine hair silky and smooth but not limp? No Moroccan oil – even 1 drop of that stuff turns me into a major greaseball.

    • I have really fine, flat hair (naturally blonde), and I started using the L’Oreal Vive sufate free conditioner, and it is working well. I’ve noticed that my hair is softer, not as flat, and I can actually go more than one day without washing. I am using up some old shampoo with it, but after that is gone I plan to use the sulfate free shampoo with the conditioner.

    • Not a conditioner but Its a Ten leave in spray has made my hair ridiculously soft. I was a little suspicious but it really is great. I like the one with keratin better. I will say that when I use it my hair was too silky to put in a sock bun and I had to add hairspray to give it some hold.

    • Always a NYer :

      I love Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo and Conditioner. It’s very light and I can go 2-3 days between washing my hair and it never looks greasy.

      • I second the Aveda Rosemary Mint rec, although I find it leaves my hair a bit on the dry side. Like you, I have super-fine hair (a former hair stylist held up a strand and pronounced it “almost invisible”) and find that I have to choose between volume and silkiness. I always choose volume, and have found the Aveda products to be the best so far.

      • Boston Legal Eagle :

        Second the Aveda products – I too have really fine hair and this shampoo/conditioner works well with it. Bonus, it smells great too!

    • Anon Analyst :

      I like Pantene Volume shampoo and conditioner. They have a formulation for fine hair. I read a tip recently to use volume conditioner at your roots and ends of your hair. This seems contrary to what I’ve tried before, but I’ve tried this and have noticed a bit of extra volume at my roots after I dry my hair.

    • Sephora will give you samples – even though their stores drive me batty, it’s worth it to try out high dollar items.

    • Migraine sufferer :

      Kerastase by loreal. I’m pretty sure they have something for fine hair. I use the product for long hair and also the creme riche hair mask. It makes my frizzy curly hair smooth and wavy. Love it even though my hair is not color treated.

    • Paul Mitchell – I have baby-fine, oily hair and this is about the only conditioner I can use.

    • Anonymous NYer :

      do you really need a conditioner? what about using a light moisturizing shampoo only? I use redken clear moisture shampoo (lightish blue bottle) and only condition when my hair is feeling really tangly for some reason (at the suggestion of my stylist). Has made my hair much lighter feeling.

    • It’s pricey but I love Kevin Murphy products, they are all botanical (i.e. non-petroleum based) and sulfate-free all those things. My hair is also thin and easily tangled, but the Angel Wash (shampoo) and Angel Rinse (conditioner) are amazing on my hair. They are made for thin hair to be light and not weigh it down, but they really nourish my hair and my hair has not been this silky and bouncy and beautiful ever in my life. I buy it on Amazon, and yes, it’s pricey, but i only have to use a tiny amount, so it lasts for a long time.

      Alternatively, you could consider what the commenter above said about not using Conditioner at all. I use the “It’s a 10″ leave-in product, with just a small spritz, it magically takes out all the tangles and leaves my hair smooth, and it’s a heat shield and all kinds of other stuff. You could not condition, and then use that leave-in while it’s still damp.

    • Anonymous :

      aveda shampure. I don’t think it’s as drying as rosemary mint.

Add a comment.

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