Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Faux Leather Trim Top

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

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Chaus Faux Leather Trim TopI feel like the brand Chaus is having a resurgence — I remember a lot of pieces I bought and wore happily in my 20s, and then the brand disappeared for a while, and now it’s back.  I like this top, with its fresh color combination, and the drape neck looks totally appropriate for the office.  The top also features a panel of faux leather on the back shoulders — not my cup of tea, but not enough to make me not like the lovely pattern.  The whole shebang is machine washable and $49 at Nordstrom. Chaus Faux Leather Trim Top
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  1. locomotive :

    I have a general question for anyone who knows about PhD admissions. I’ve been working for 2 years post undergrad in finance (undergrad degree in chemistry) and am recently decided to apply for statistics PhD programs. I had felt like I wasn’t ready when I first graduated, didn’t want to go into chemistry, and also am not loving my current job.

    Does anyone have any advice about the admissions process? I am not really sure what the committees are looking for – is it a really cohesive story/person that you need to “sell” like with MBA programs or is it more of a ‘need contact with a certain professor to push you through the process’ sort of deal? My background is not entirely standard (as in I didnt major in stats) but my job is an analyst position where I do a lot of stats. If it matters, I’m aiming for pretty selective programs that I know are a long shot in many cases.

    • Cornellian :

      My grad degree is in a different field, and I’m basing this in part on my then-boyfriend’s grad school application process, but my impression is that professors matter quite a bit in the sciences, and that you need to find a bit of a protector who will advocate for your interests and push for you to be in their research group.

      • This seems to be the story for sciences (based on my understanding of friends doing Chem & BioChem PhDs), but I would imagine stats (along with math, econ, etc.) don’t have quite the same importance of getting into a good “research group”.

    • darjeeling :

      My husband is in a stats masters program part time with an underground background in chemistry actually and I think he may have gotten a rec from his employer (different field altogether) rather than a college prof since he’s been out of college 10+ years. He only applied to one school which isn’t probably the most selective, but stats were essentially a hobby for him previously (although he’s very mathy). Good luck! He really enjoys it.

    • In my experience, grad programs are looking for more of a serious, “this is why I want to get a PhD and this is why I want to go to your program in particular.” Contact with professors definitely helps, but even starting now you can start reaching out to professors you might want to work with at the programs you’re most interested to ask them about the program. Even better if you have a former professor who can do the introduction for you.

      • Geneticist :

        It’s highly dependent on the field of study as well as on the university. In my field (you can guess what it is from my username!), you’ll do some reading on a few professors you are most interested in and mention that in your personal statement, but once you arrive in grad school, you take classes and decide on a lab over the course of your first year. In other fields of biology (ecology for example), you MUST identify a professor before you even apply and the professor has to agree and be able to fund you. If you just apply blindly, you won’t get in because the students are funded by individual professors — no funding, no admission.

        Definitely don’t “sell” your packaged story. (No one cares except in so far as they want to know that you’re serious about scientific/mathematical/statistical research and that you’re serious about devoting 5-6 years of your life to it).

        Assuming you don’t have any personal contacts in statistics grad school, your best bet is to look at each of your targeted university webpages and go down the list of currently enrolled grad students. Email a few of them at each university to ask them about their views on the application process. To get details on the application process itself, email the graduate program administrator — they know all about how applications get evaluated, which professors must be contacted, etc.

    • I’m in the social sciences but the professor definitely played a big role in it. I think the job experience and that narrative is really helpful for securing funding.

    • LadyEnginerd :

      They are looking for someone who will be a good fit for their specific department and who is committed to a PhD, which means that you must tell them what kinds of dissertation topics are so interesting to you that you would like to spend 5 years making them the foundation of your career while taking a huge pay cut. And even if what you describe is interesting and important and you’re qualified, the might not accept you if no one in the department works in that area and could mentor you.

      I advise that you dig deep first and answer for yourself what questions in statistics really seem appealing. Read current scholarly publications in those areas. I’d then look for programs where faculty work in your area of interest and in your personal statement mention both what sub-field or two you’d like to work on and who, based on your research, could mentor you and serve as your advisor. This should be more of a matchmaking process between you and a potential advisor (after all, a PhD is to some extent an apprenticeship) than trying to get into the highest ranked program you can.

      • This.

        And once you’ve identified those potential advisers, talk to both them *and* their students. You need to get both perspectives on the situation at your school. A faculty member might be a superstar, famous, and genuinely a nice person – but also over-committed, going though a bad patch mentally, or really only interested in a certain subsect/topic. I had such a person on my committee (I finished my PhD earlier this year) and while I don’t regret his presence, I also would not recommend someone coming to my university specifically to work with him unless they fell into a very narrow set of parameters. And even then…

        • Definitely talk to the students as well. You might want to know the teaching/mentoring/managing style of the faculty member before you commit and will it suit you. Also, you might find a faculty member who’s a superstar, famous, etc. but an utter horror to his/her students… no need to turn what will anyway be an intense and stressful period of your life into a nightmare.

      • locomotive :

        This makes sense. I do have a compounding complication of a significant other who is near a few specific schools that I would like to go to. I would definitely be open to a lower ranked program with an advisor that is a better match, but I’m worried about funding availability in those cases.

        • LadyEnginerd :

          My advice then is that the professor is more important than the department. Find who you want to be when you grow up and work for them, whichever department they happen to live in. I read below you’re interested in applied stats/energy policy, and this could live in several departments and/or dedicated multidisciplinary centers. Energy is a hot area, so I’m going to go out on a limb and bet that there’s someone in your SO’s area who does something close enough. Also, the advisor is a better predictor of funding than the department. I think you should apply to all of the programs you reasonably see as being a good fit (which includes distance to your SO as well as the academic factors) and then evaluate their funding offer in the acceptance letter. You might be surprised as to what shakes out.

          Side note: read the rules for the many varied fellowships. I think applied math and econ are both eligible for NSF funding. Between NSF, DOD, DOE, the Hertz, university fellowships, etc. you should be able to find plenty you’re eligible to apply for.

    • It would definitely help to contact professors…but your references and personal statement will matter a lot as well (my PhD is in the physical sciences, but I have several friends with stats PhDs). The latter is especially true because of your slightly unusual background.

      Because you’ve been in the workforce for a few years, the admissions committee will likely expect a little more sophistication from your statement. You should demonstrate that you know what a PhD program entails and be able to provide a coherent story for why you want a PhD. For example, if you want to transition back to academia, what did you learn from your work experience that made you want to do so? If you want the PhD to help you further along some other career path, you need to explain why you need it/want it (the latter is okay too, BTW). And you should definitely be able to identify, with more than a cursory degree of detail, a research project or two that you’re interested in (this goes back to the part where you need to demonstrate that you know what a PhD program entails). You won’t be bound to any specific proposal. You just need to show that you understand what it means to do research (i.e. articulate a hypothesis and describe what you’d do to test it).

      • After reading PPs, I should also add that your PhD advisor matters a lot…for the rest of your career. That said, you may not know going in exactly who/what will be the best fit. In that case, you need to make sure the faculty of the school you choose are doing research that you find interesting.

        Also, based on my own experience, grad school rankings matter less than your advisor’s standing in the community (the two are correlated, but not exactly the same). If you don’t want to stay in academia, the school rankings matter more. That said, a PhD program is a long slog…if you hate the school/environment/city, you are very likely to drop out. I would not recommend selecting solely on ranking and faculty…it is 5-6 years of your life.

        • +1 on the rankings issue. But also consider your target audience. If you want to go on to academics in stats, then your advisor will almost certainly be more important than the program. If you want to move to a different field, however, the school may become important, as people you target may be less familiar with stats folks. Even then, though, your advisor will be your best contact/reference/network point.

      • locomotive :

        This makes a great deal of sense. I would be interested in groups where the research is tangentially related to my current job, so that’s a really solid idea to write about. Thank you!

    • A Ph.D. is a highly specialized degree. They want to see that you can handle the material (good grades in relevant classes, good test scores) and that you will be committed to the program. References will help, but your application should show that you know your stuff. Can you demonstrate your expertise in statistics somehow (e.g., by taking a test or publishing something in an academic publication)? That could be important if you don’t have test scores and do not have an undergrad degree in the topic.

      A Ph.D. is very different from an MBA. They are not looking for a well-rounded class. They are looking for scholars.

      Also, in the sciences you don’t pay for your degree. Do not enter any program that would cost money. If the program won’t fund you, then the degree and program are not for you.

      • Geneticist :

        Everything Homestar says. Any halfway decent graduate program (stats included) will require the general GRE. Most stats programs will also require the mathematics GRE as well.

        Agree with Homestar about funding as well. If you’re not getting a stipend of $25-32k, don’t go (because if they can’t fund you, that means program/professors aren’t successful enough to have funding to provide).

        • I agree that one shouldn’t get a science PhD unless funded, but I was rather amazed to find out many people do. I am running into some Epidemiology PhD students who are not paid, or if they are, it’s through being a TA or some other time-consuming activity. I had fellowships, but had I not, I would have been paid off my mentor’s grant and the work I did in the lab would have been my thesis project.

          • I got funding as a TA for my first 2 years and take offense to your comment. Some of us prefer to interact with others and I felt it was generally easier for the first 2 years to teach general bio with some undergrads than focus exclusively on research the entire time, especially while you have core classes to take.

            Totally agree – go funded or don’t go. but go however you get the funding.

          • dancinglonghorn :

            Almost all positions for PhD students in fields other than science are funded through teaching – either full classes or TA work. This is the norm – expect to teach in fields like stats, humanities, business, etc. I dont know about science.

          • Didn’t mean to offend anyone. I TA’d for one semester and would have found it very difficult to keep up with my research and with teaching duties. Maybe I was just lazy.

          • Additionally, if you are interested in getting your PhD to become a professor, you can learn a lot TAing.

        • I agree with Geneticist, but would revise down the stipend expectation. One of the best stat departments in the world’s stipend is closer to $20K/year (plus tuition and healthcare). In my very limited experience (e.g. my PhD institution), stats may have a lower stipend than some other departments (esp. chemistry).

          • locomotive :

            This makes sense. Stats can’t get funding from NSF (I could be wrong but I’ve been told this) so a lot of it comes either from business school type funding if there’s an association between the phd program and the business school, or the school’s own funding (TAs, random fellowships).

            Thank you for all the responses. I think I am prepared for the academic rigorousness as well as the duration (I’ve been missing research a lot) but wasn’t sure on what the most important parts of the application were. I will get on trying to contact some current students or professors and learn more about each program. Thanks again!

          • Me, too. In my field, $25-32k would be AMAZING. :) I’m looking down the barrel of $18k, if I’m lucky.

      • dancinglonghorn :

        It is incredibly unlikely that the poster will be able to public in an academic journal if (1) the poster is not working with a prof right now on research, (2) They didn’t publish in the past. This is not the type of article that you publish in law journals – in my field it takes about 3 years to write an academic journal article. So don’t worry about publishing in an academic journal and focus on finding profs who will help you. I don’t want to out myself here but I am in a field of academia (not stats) very similar to what the poster does.

        • Agreed. And it leads me to something else– consider finding a research assistant/associate position to work at for a year or two in the field before applying. This will help you get more specific, demonstrable experience, it will help you learn more about the field, make contacts, and possibly even produce publishable research. Higher Ed Jobs dot com is a great resource for searching for these positions, many of which do not require advanced degrees. They don’t pay well, and they would delay your start for a year or two, which is definitely not for everyone. But if you can swing it, it’s a great way to bolster your application.

    • dancinglonghorn :

      I am in academia – have you considered a PhD in finance instead of stats? Either way, you don’t need a cohesive story to “sell yourself” – I know in my top 10 department, those applications went straight into the trash. What you need is your essay to read more like a persausive essay about why you won’t drop out/are prepared to succeed. So my essay was:

      1. Intro – why you want to go to that particular school/program/long-term career aspirations (don’t say anything about teaching)
      2- 3 paragraphs about why I am ready for a program – 1 about my past research, 1 about my math skills, 1 about my writing/public speaking skills
      3- closing, where I said what types of topics I want to research

      For my type of program, it should be no more than a page and very clean (no flowery language, no imagery etc.)

      The best thing you can do is contact the schools that you are applying too and arrange campus visits (you will need to pay for this to fly out). You then get friendly with the students in those departments and find out what they did. Also, you must talk to your profs who are recommending you. They need to be research active and well known to get into a good program. They can help you a ton with your application materials.

      • locomotive :

        I hadn’t considered a finance PhD since I was told that those are even more difficult to get into and that my background would usually earn me an immediate ‘discard’ from the admissions process. I’m not so much interested in finance as applied statistics and policy in the energy industry so I’m not sure if a finance program would consider that as a possible dissertation.

        Those points about the application are extremely clear – thank you for them. I’m visiting the area in a week so I’ll scope out some leads on professors then.

        As an aside, I have published 2 abstracts (posters at conferences) and 1 article in chemistry. Would that be beneficial to add to my CV, or is it not relevant?

        • Geneticist :

          ABSOLUTELY add them even if it’s not in the same field. It means you can do research!!!!!!

        • i'm like this too :

          I actually suggest finance because:
          1) Pay is better/job options better when you graduate
          2) Your current job (ibanking, right) is perfect for applications. In my program, almost all of the students have an ibanking background.
          3) Finance research IS Applied stats!
          4) Having a stats edge can make you really stand out in finance (ie, be a bigger fish in a smaller pond versus being a small fish in a small pond)

          Also, most of the profs won’t want to meet with you. Email the phd students instead. In my program, any interest emails for meetings with profs get automatically forwarded to phd students anyway. Ask if they have a research workshop – most schools have at least one per week. If you can sit in on that and take the students out for lunch after, that’s a great way to get connected.

          Also, include the prior pubs. I know a guy who’s got a PhD and is a prof in accounting who previously had finished a chem phd and published in chem! So its def good to show you know what research is about.

          Also good questions to ask the students are:
          1) Whats the drop-out rate? Why did the students leave (look for students leaving because of no financial support/advisor issues as red flags. Also, if you are a woman who wants a family, consider that as I’ve def heard of a few programs that refused to graduate women who conceived or other issues)
          2) What’s the job placement (make sure its ALL of the students who graduated that they tell you, not just a few rock-star placements)
          3) What’s the faculty interaction like (for instance, in my dep, all the students and faculty go out for drinks together once a week and chat. This is one of the biggest reasons I came here)
          4) Are the students happy? You cannot assess this over email but it will become obvious when you meet them.

    • Get thee to a stats professor! Seriously. Everyone here is absolutely right that there are a lot of variations between fields, and that you will be best situated for success if you know what the game is like in your field before you start. You’re only 2 years out of undergrad– there must be a professor you can talk to by email or, better yet, in person. If you don’t know a stats professor, look for one nearby whose research sounds mildly interesting and email them. Tell them you’re interested in their work and you wonder if they have time for a BRIEF meeting (this is important, because many of them will have just gotten back from summer trips and are in the pre-semester prep crunch right now). Ask them what they think is most important in admissions. Tell them what your interests are (which should be at least slightly related to their own) and ask them if they have suggestions for people you should talk to or research you should be reading. Alternatively, if you have trusted non-stats professors, call them up! Meet with them to ask their advice about the same things–take their field-specific advice with a grain of salt if necessary– and ask them if they can suggest someone to talk to in the field. They may know someone in Stats or who can point you in the right direction. Also consider contacting the career advisors from your old major department– they have an interest in helping you succeed!

      As others have said, most PhD programs are much more like applying for a job than applying for school (unlike MBA admissions, which are much more like undergrad admissions). You are looking for someone who fits your interests (which may be more or less important in your field), has an opening for a new PhD student, and decides that you will be a good addition to her research. You will need to determine what it is that draws you to stats specifically. You will probably need to be able to propose a program of relevant research (although the requirements on this vary from field to field and program to program, and in any case may bear little resemblance to the work you ultimately end up doing– so don’t worry too much if you think your interests might change). If you don’t have a demonstrable background in the field, you may also consider trying to bolster your credentials– a lot of high-profile schools (read: Harvard, MIT, etc) currently offer online classes for free, and stats is well-suited to online classes. Taking such a class could be a good use of your time, if it can show that you are willing and able to do stats coursework. the right class could also help you solidify your interests a bit more.

      You will almost certainly need to take the GRE if you haven’t already, and your quantitative score will be hugely important, in that a bad one will make it hard to get looked at by elite programs. A top score won’t help a lot, unfortunately, but it will at least help you get through the first round of application-tossing.

      Sorry for the wall of text — I’ve been preparing for PhD admissions for the last 2 years, and I’ll be applying this fall as well, so I’ve done a LOT of research! Good luck to you!

      TL;DR: Find and interview a stats professor. Figure out what you really want to do. Ace the GRE.

      • One other thing. Once you know what you want, be flexible about what the label is on the programs you apply for. Look for a good match for your research interests, regardless of program. For example, business PhDs are increasing in popularity (finance, suggested above, may dovetail into a business program in some schools), and the business schools have the advantage of often being better funded (i.e., they can pay you more!) and less professor-specific (i.e., they often require less specificity in the research proposal aspects of the application process, which can be great if you’re still unsure what you want to do).

      • locomotive :

        No, thank you so much for the wall of text. The comparison to applying for a job puts this more into perspective. Because I was readying myself for grad school 2 years ago, I took the GRE and did pretty well so I will just re-check if it’s valid or if I should re-take. Would you recommend re-taking even if the previous scores were good? I think it was like a 780 quantitative (I know this isn’t ideal, especially for a quantitative PhD) and a 720 verbal.

        • This is hugely field-specific, but I would guess that 780 is fine (really good, even!). I wouldn’t bother taking it again (I also took it a while ago and don’t plan to retake), but others may have other advice.

          If you do decide to retake, know that the format has changed since we took it. However, I think they also just changed the way scores are reported. It used to be that, like the LSAT, the GRE reported all of your scores to every institution you applied to. Now (I believe), they’ll let you select which score to send– meaning you can now ensure that only your highest score is sent. I’m pretty sure. Definitely double check before relying on me, though! :)

        • i'm like this too :

          You can always call the admissions coordinator at the schools you are interested in and find out what the average score of the previous incoming class was and if you need to retake it.

  2. mintberrycrunch :

    Not a fan of this pattern/color combo, but darn Nordstroms and their amazing “suggestions” on the side bar. I love this top:

    • I noticed that, too! I like both of the patterns, but don’t like the faux leather on the one Kat recommends.

    • mintberrycrunch :

      Related – do you think this top (the watercolor one) would be appropriate for interviews under a charcoal suit? Or is it too busy? I hate the whole “pale blue button down” business that law schools seem to insist on, but I don’t want to look like I can’t follow rules, either… ?

      • I think it’s a little bright, but you can definitely show more personality than a blue button down. Plus, for interviews where you’re taken for lunch or drinks, you won’t be able to slip off your jacket. If that doesn’t bother you, though, here’s a similar option that wouldn’t be as distracting, color-wise:

        If you’re sticking with the button downs, I like b/w stripes, pink and lavender with charcoal, and all would look perfectly appropriate.

      • I think it’s fine. I’d totally wear it for an interview or to court.

      • Not a lawyer, but I think it’d look too busy. If a plain button down seems too boring, go with a striped or [small] polka-dot blouse maybe?

      • Boston Legal Eagle :

        At my school’s OCI, most of the women wore button downs, or at the most, a solid color blouse. I would suggest going with the shirt that Cat suggested above over this piece. Be memorable for your personality, not your clothes!

    • I really like both although I’m getting over the cowl neck trend.

    • yeah, I looked around and i LOVE Chaus’ colors and patterns, but they’re all polyester, which doesn’t work for me. sad retroactive baby panda…..

  3. Frugal Friday myself :

    I bought the JCPenney “Connected Apparel Dotted Side Drape Dress” in XL and am wearing it to work today. It is fantastic. I am short and chunky, with an apple shape, and this pulls in my waist, sleeves come to (but not over) my elbows, and skirt hits right at the bottom of the knee on this 5’4″ lady.

    Also it’s $35. It is a stretchy jersey-type knit, but it is a much thicker, more substantial fabric than what I think of as the ‘cheap jersey dress’. I’m very pleased and wanted to pass along what I thought ended up being a great find at a real bargain, especially for those of us who, based on yesterday’s thread, are learning to deal with the thicker waist issue.

  4. from yesterday :

    TJ – I saw yesterday’s thread and there were a few topics I wanted to reply to, but since there’s already a new post, I decided to aggregate them here.

    @b23: Don’t stop asking your questions/posting polls, etc.! I actually went on a wonderful walk with my husband and brought up your question about whether America is exceptional. From that question, we spiraled down a wonderful rabbit hole about what defines success, happiness, hedonic adaptation, etc. etc. So, even if posters on this board jump on you, some of us go home and pose these questions to our real-life spouses :)

    @ANP: I’m salaried, but based on what you describe, I’m probably also a “nickel and dimer” on hours. I am a department of 1, and I report directly to C-level employees, so sometimes it’s a little hard for me to gauge situations, like whether leaving early for a dr. appt. is appropriate without taking PTO. For example, our employee handbook says that sick leave is for dr. appts, ourselves, or caring for a sick spouse/kid/immediate family member, so, though I’m salaried, I use PTO time when I have to go to the dr.. I also sometimes do the substituting of hours, ie: stay late at an event, leave same number of hours earlier on Friday. Or, need to go to an appt. and leave work 2 hours early, I would come in 2 hours earlier. However, I would never drop a project on someone when I’m heading on vacation “because I already stayed 2 hours past my time.” I’m still a stickler for arriving “on time” to start work, take exactly a 1 hour lunch, and basically leave exactly at 5 pm if I’m done with my work. I would just explain the policies/cultural norms to her. In my office, the culture is face time, people rarely use sick time, and people inquire about your life if you take off. They aren’t trying to be nosy, just friendly, but everyone pretty much sticks to standard business hours, so coming in early/staying late/taking a long lunch needs a reason. Maybe your policy says one thing, but the culture seems to say another, and since she’s new to salary, she might have difficulty reconciling the policy with the culture.

    • Just wanted to say thanks for this! Very insightful, which I appreciate.

    • On your comment to @b23:

      I agree! I ended up bringing up the topic to my boyfriend and we had a great discussion about our perceptions of the world. I wish I could invite you along to dinner parties ;)

      • Cornellian :

        I thought the thread was fascinating, as well, but I really didn’t see anyone jumping anyone else. Of course it’s sort of a controversial topic, but I was impressed with how restrained almost everyone was (at least the repeat commenters).

        • Agree completely. That was one of my favorite discussions thus far on Corporette – it was interesting to read everyone’s opinions and how (for the most part) people respectfully disagreed. Not at all controversial like whether Louboutins are too much for the office (no!) or whether bringing baked goods will squire you away into eternity as an unqualified female (no!).

      • from yesterday :

        Speaking of dinner parties, to my knowledge, we’ve never had a Dallas meet-up! I’m in the Dallas area, but I would be willing to drive down to Austin if some other ‘e t t e s would be open to a meet-up there (I also have family in the area, so I’m not stalkerish of this site, I promise). Any other TX ladies want to try to plan something?

      • I agree! I thought it got heated, and a few comments were more personal than necessary, but overall it was fascinating. One of the things I LOVE about this community is the ability to discuss very controversial topics without totally devolving into emotional insults. I feel like I really learn from people here, especially those who’s opinions are different than my own.

    • I agree. It is also possible she was salaried elsewhere, but the office culture was one where people tended not to work much more than 40 hours. I am in government. The salary is pretty low, but people take it as a tradeoff for a workweek that is typically not much more than 40 hours. I can see how moving to a job where you work as long as needed to get the work done may require some adjustment/training on office culture.

    • I agree on posting questions! I think this blog is an unusual space on the internet because of its overall civility. When I was engaged, I stopped by the boards on The Knot a couple of times (I know, I know). It was a bloodbath! It was a snarky evil place inhabited by bitter old trolls. Then there are places like ATL, where the comments are the biggest d—k-swinging contest I’ve ever seen. Or Jezebel where it’s like the female equivalent (b—b swinging?). Then there’s here. Ahhh. So refreshing.

      • Cornellian :

        b–b swinging! hahah

      • from yesterday :

        Man, now I need to find a situation IRL to use b–b swinging!

        • don’t like the visual on that. On the other hand, v—-a swinging isn’t much better.

          • from yesterday :

            Now that I think about it, b–b swinging would be really painful to do, particularly for those of us that are “blessed” with more chest than we need.

          • BigLaw Optimist :

            Ovary swinging?

      • i agree, i really enjoy the interesting debates and discussions on here and the different perspectives and opinions that are offered… but then i work in politics and i like indepth debates on big topics, as long as theyre respectful and civil, that is. And I really appreciate your contributions, b23.

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        This is totally what I was trying to say yesterday! You all rock!

    • To b23 and others, that was a terrific thread on American exceptionalism – not American myself but can’t think of many countries whose citizens would have such passionate views about whether they are or are not ‘the best’, and very much enjoyed hearing them.

  5. YAY! I love Fruegal Friday’s!!!!!!!! I was abel to get 3 depo’s prepared yesterday on the computer just by changeing the name and date’s in MS Word and then changeing the name of the DOCUMENT! Just about everything else is the same!

    The manageing partner consider’s me a huge computer wizz kid b/c I am abel to churn out alot of document’s even tho most of them are the same.

    Jim has sugested that we go over the question’s tomorow, then go to Pastrami King and take his car service out to Coney Island. I never liked Coney Island, b/c it is kind of taudary and cheep, but Jim said he grew up near there. He said we would NOT have to take the F train b/c of his car service. I would like to get the HIVES’ advise on this, b/c I do NOT want to date him but need for him to keep the WC case’s coming in.

  6. Dress Advice, please!
    My fiance and I decided to escape the wedding planning circus and sneak over to the courthouse this Sept. Problem is, the dress I wanted to order for the occasion is on backorder until November! (

    I’d like to find something classy in white/ivroy/cream/light beige/blush pink that I can wear again for summer events, around $250 or under (preferrably under), size 12.

    Any ideas?

  7. Angry DC specific rant. Bliss spa really irked me this morning. I go to get my eyebrows done their for the first time. Check in girl, rude. Staff person, 20 minutes late. After explaining I don’t want pencil thin eyebrows, but I do want the shape changed, I get a cleaned up version of the fluff (which I grew out from a previous disaster) I had going. I explain again, no I want them to look like X, go back. Not even close. Completely uneven etc. At this point I’m out bc clearly not working. Check out and no “how was it” “thank you” anything. For almost $50 I should walk out happy not irritated.

    Any suggestions on where to go next round for my eyebrows?

    • locomotive :

      I go to elizabeth arden red door spa. I’ve only had my eyebrows done a few times, but the waxer at the tysons location for..erm..elsewhere is AMAZING. It’s about as painless as a wax can possibly be.

    • Equity's Darling :

      Does your city have any brow bars/brow studios? I was always unhappy until I started going to a brows only place in my city, and now I love my brows. And it’s only 30 in my city, much cheaper than 50.

    • I haven’t been in a long while, but I love Nusta spa.

    • I have an appt next week with Simone/Anastasia Beverly Hills at the Pentagon City Nordstrom. I’ll report back. There is a 3-4 week waiting period, so I hope it’s worth it. I know a lot of people like Erwin Gomex.

      Also, I think you should email the manager and explain all the salon missteps.

    • It’s far away, but I went once to the threading place in Dulles Towncenter and was very happy with the results. Overall, I think threading places tend to have an aesthetic that’s less pencil thin and more, I don’t know, Bollywood? (High arch, fuller toward the middle, nicely trimmed all around.)

      • SF Bay Associate :

        That’s my experience as well. That culture seems to be more in favor of tidy but natural looking brows, so that’s their default shape, which is what I want, too. I have had much better experiences with threading that at Benefit or such.

      • Me too. I *love* my threading place. They always do a great job, keep my brows natural-looking, and only charge me $5.

    • If it helps (vindication – wise), I have had the exact same level of disappointment everytime I go there. Personally I get my eyebrows threaded, there is no one else in DC who can get it right. I reccomend Natasha at DuPont Threading.

    • Not a waxing recommendation but rather a threading rec: I got to Dupont Threading, on 18th St in Dupont. $12 + $3 tip; you can’t beat that. You can just walk in, no appt necessary; the longest I’ve probably waited is 5-10 min.

    • I used to go to Dupont Threading, and Natasha does a great job, but just a word of warning that it hurts like a mo***er f***er. Every time I’ve been there, I’ve left with tears streaming down my face.

      • Thanks ladies. I may have to try it and suck up the pain because the hot mess that is happening on my face right now is seriously unattractive. I’m waiting to see what their customer service says back to my email.

      • Pain level is individual. I can take eyebrow threading with no problem, but it hurts [see above] when I get the upper lip done.
        Otherwise, second the recommendation for threading.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          Me, too. Eyebrow sounds weird but doesn’t hurt, but man… upper lip. Ouch.

      • I am the worst pain wimp ever, and while I don’t consider threading a walk in the park, its not heinous . Pop an advil about 20 mins prior if you are nervous. (or head over after happy hour LOL)

        Bliss customer service on the other hand – I have had trouble getting them to even answer me. They will hold you to the letter of the law, but I have had them cancel services on me 20 minutes prior without so much as a sorry. UGH. time wasters drive. me. nuts.

    • $50???? The ladies at R&R Nails at Connecticut and R do a great job with my brows for $12. I’ve heard good things about the threading place also near Connecticut and R, under Chipotle.

    • I looooove Kirsten Peterson at the Aura Spa (Metropole location).

      • I should add, I much prefer waxing to threading. Threading irritates my skin (I think due to the rubbing of the thread) whereas the redness from waxing goes away very quickly. I would recommend trying both at some point if you haven’t before, because I know some people have exactly the opposite reactions.

    • That’s too bad that you had a bad experience at Bliss. When I lived in DC, I loved Preeti at Threads. They have a location in Dupont, U Street, and Bethesda. Preeti is the owner, super nice, and listens exactly to what you want.

    • BigLaw Optimist :

      I’m so sorry! No suggestions, as I get mine done at Bliss… can I ask you who you saw? If they were that terrible to you, they’ll be terrible to me down the line, so I’d like to switch!

      • I *think* judging by my receipt – Beata. She was very nice, but it wasn’t working for me. I know that sometimes the way people describe things are different, but I felt like she missed some basic stuff the first two times and kept saying I’m not going to change the shape when I point blank asked to change the shape.

    • Michelle at Bang Salon at the Verizon Center. I’ve been going to her for probably five years now and she’s great.

    • For greater clarity, bringing a picture of the brow shape you prefer is helpful, since words can leave too much up to interpretation. Here’s hoping the next place gives you the brow shape you want!

    • Dupont threading! Just do it. you will love your eyebrows and it’s a fraction of what you are paying. I’m in California now, and I wish I could find someone nearly as good as Natasha.

      • related — im going to bliss DC tomorrow for a bikini wax – they are expensive$$ and the staff is so-so, but i like that they use hard wax. any recs for better bikini wax places in DC?

    • Norya at Roxsan Day Spa at White Flint Mall is the best I’ve ever had for eyebrow shaping (waxing).

    • Wow, that is expensive and it’s terrible they did such a bad job. I go to Angelica at Bluemercury in Dupont. She’s great and I think it’s $25 for an eyebrow wax.

  8. NAS update on the Halogen Stretch Cotton Blend Pencil Skirt.

    I’m 5’9″ and about 145 lbs–long, muscular legs so most of my weight is in the bottom half (although I wouldn’t call myself a pear shape). I ordered a size 6, which fit really well (I almost always wear a 6 in skirts—except Talbots where it may be a 4 because of their absurd sizing.

    What I like:
    Color–I bought the “tan oxford” and the black. Liked the tan because it doesn’t have any yellow undertones, which I find a lot of colors in this family do.
    Material–thick, looks like it will hold up.
    Waist—I look a lot better in skirts and pants with a waist band
    Zipper–generally I hate side zip on me (which this skirt has) because they make my hips look wide. This one didn’t do that.

    Two problems:
    Skirt is about 2 inches too short (there is a good hem in it so I could have it let out). Looks the same on me as it does on the model (not many times in my life I’ve said that!!!)–at least in terms of length.
    Skirt goes in/tapers slightly. Because I have larger legs, I prefer my skirts to be straight down so I don’t look like a funnel.

    End result is I’m probably going to return it because of the length issue. But now as I write this post, I’m reconsidering and thinking I may just have the hem let down.

    • I’ve been eyeing that, but was worried about the length. Thanks for reviewing it!

    • @SunnyD
      With skirts that are too short for me, I sometimes just go a size up and have it taken in.
      P.S. I am just slightly taller than you, similar weight and I also ordered the six and 8. The six hasn’t gotten here yet but I am probably going with the 8 and just have it taken in, because I really like the length on the eight.

      • Unless you have short legs-long torso (or can wear shorter skirts to work), the 6 will definitely be too short. Sounds like you and the 8 are going to be good friends.

        Thanks for the sizing up idea.

  9. I remember Chaus! Had forgotten all about this brand.

    I love the blouse and will probably be ordering it. I need more easy, washable basics like this in my wardrobe.

    • sugarmagnolia :

      I have a Chaus blouse I bought about 5 to 6 years ago and have washed it about 40 times. It still looks as great as the day I bought it. Highly recommend.

  10. Fall wardrobe question…

    Looking to update my closet for fall. What pieces do you think are essential?? I am looking mainly for outfits for work and I work in an office that leans to the conservative end of the spectrum. My style is more tailored and classic.

    • re-reading this makes me think of another question: does anyone know how to do a proper wardrobe inventory? I am not even really sure what pieces I should be looking for. Any books/websites that can help with this?


      • mintberrycrunch :

        I like the book “Nothing to Wear.” It’s a little hokey (there’s a quiz you take to figure out your style), but I like that it emphasizes dressing in a way that reflects your personality & what you want people to think of you. I used it cleaning out my closet last year and I definitely look at pieces differently when I’m shopping now – things in my closet are starting to “go” together much more nicely than they used to (when I would just buy everything on impulse and then have… nothing to wear.)

        • 2/3 attorney :

          It’s really funny that if you look that book up on Amazon, the other book that comes up with it is “Taking Control of Your Fertility”… c’ r e t t e influence, much?

          Also, I am one of the people Boardroom Belles helped with this last week, and it was extremely helpful and I hope you taker her up on that offer :)

      • @Anon – we just helped 2 readers in this forum last week with this and would be happy to put something similar together for you. Email at boardroombelles [at]

        We also have a special feature planned in mid-August, where we do a series of posts on updating your fall wardrobe.

      • Check out the Vivienne Files. I stumbled across this blog when I was in Paris several months ago. Her whole schtick is to get readers to pare down their wardrobes and only buy clothes that fit and flatter. She does “capsules” so you can see how many different outfits you can make out of a handful (usually 8) of pieces. Her website changed my whole outlook on clothes and got me to finally clean out my closet.

    • Black, charcoal and navy pencil skirts and pants (if you wear pants)

      A variety of blouses or shells in colors you like. Also try to pick these up in colors that match your bottom half so you can do the “column of color.” (very flattering)

      Third pieces such as blazers, structured cardigans or even suit jackets is you’re in a business formal environment. If suits, obviously they should match the bottoms. If not, they should deliberately not match but cooordinate. This is the hardest to find, in my experience and is an ongoing quest.

      I would also add a couple of fine quality v-neck cashmere sweaters for chilly offices & a more casual look without the third piece. I like them to be the colors of my skirts but more colorful sweaters are OK unless they’re neon.

      Shoes that go with the above. If you’re doing pants, decide what heel height you’ll wear with them and get them all hemmed to that length. Don’t wear higher heels with them after that – they’ll look wrong.

      That’s all I have. I’m sure others will chime in. I also work in a conservative office, but business casual so it is confounding. As LPC says, business casual is the devil.

    • Not sure about weather in your part of the world but a tailored coat in navy or camel, with a bit of cashmere in the mix if it’s cold. The ideal would be a style with a soft shoulder which doesn’t fight with a jacket underneath.

  11. NAS update – bought the JAG pull-on jeans on TCFKAG’s rec. Tried them on this morning. I think they’re made for people with bigger hips and thighs than I have, but I like the concept in a heavier denim. I have the Hue lightweight denim bootcut pull-ons and they fit me better overall and are very flattering. That said, I’ll keep these just to give them a try. I may have to shrink them a bit. I also re-ordered the Vince Camuto booties in a smaller size but I had no time to even take them out of the box last night.

    Other updates: Marathon meeting with the new boss and my direct colleague late yesterday – great meeting but exhausted and left for the gym way too late. Ran into the boss in workout clothes on my way out (he didn’t seem to care). So far, so good. He seems like a good guy and is very good at reading people and is relying heavily on the two of us to get him up to speed. He had correctly sized-up some of my colleagues already. Pretty funny. Oh and for those of you keeping track, we have not heard another word about the 101 ideas booklet. He is bringing up some of the themes in meetings, but no booklet. Yay!

    Also, my new faculty member told me this morning that she’s hitting the gym pretty hard because she’s gained a few pounds this summer. That could explain why her first day dress was so tight and too short. She continues to dress very professionally otherwise, so I don’t think there will be a problem. All in all, she’s dressing more formally than our summer environment, but she’ll figure that out.

    • They don’t call me thunder thighs for nothing. :-)

      Glad to hear the 101 ideas book disappeared. Maybe he just had time on his hands between positions and was like HAVE ALL THE IDEAS.

    • Cornellian :

      congrats on the new boss problem working itself out!

      I’d say giving the new faculty member a break on her first-day outfit is a good idea. Gaining five lbs definitely changes the way some of my things fit for the worse. I suppose I should recommit to the gym if I want to be able to wear the smaller half of my wardrobe…

      • There’s no better exercise/healthy living motivation than pretty clothes, IMO :)

    • So glad things have been working well with the new boss and that he’s perceptive. :-)

    • yay for the death of the booklet!

  12. Just wanted to say thanks for all the Miami restaurant suggestions from yesterday. I now cannot wait to get to Miami and EAT!!

    I do have to say, however, that in general, restaurants have the MOST ANNOYING websites! I just want to see the menu, the hours you are open, a button to make reservations – I don’t need a little movie panning through the restaurant and telling me about your food philosophy. Plus, Flash. Why?? It is evil. Also, put the prices on the menu, I’m much more likely to go somewhere if I know, ballpark, how much I’m going to spend. But maybe I’m just cheap.

  13. TCFKAG – I couldn’t figure out how to leave you a comment, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE those oxfords. Those made my cranky Friday, so much better. You’re awesome.

    • Yeah, if I become more active in this, I might have to install a comments feature. :-) But glad to hear it.

  14. Former Partner, Now In-House re: Sleeveless :

    This morning I watched Fox News from about 7:00 to 7:30 CA time. (I usually run outside, but this morning I am traveling for work and ran on a treadmill in the hotel gym. Fox was the only station I could find that was running news along the bottom of the screen, and I did not have earphones to listen to the TV.)

    I saw four female newscasters during the show. All four were wearing sleeveless tops and no jackets or anything else. All four wore their hair down, just past the shoulders. Every one of their male newscaster colleagues was wearing a suit and tie.

    I thought the female newscasters projected far less authority than their male counterparts. Remember, I had no earphones, so this is purely a visual assessment.

    Two questions:

    1. Does Fox do this on purpose so that it can report roughly equal numbers of female and male newscasters while secretly ensuring that viewers do not see the women as carrying any authority?

    2. I wear almost exclusively sleeveless sweater shells under my suits and do not think twice about taking my jacket off in my office or in meetings. Should I rethink this?

    • Were the female newscasters all blonde (real or dyed) with beauty-pageant-levels of makeup?

      • Former Partner, Now In-House re: Sleeveless :

        Two were blond (can’t report if natural :) ), and two were brunette. Normal TV levels of makeup, although I am no expert.

    • Cornellian :

      1. Yes, IMHO.

      2. Yes to meetings, IMHO. But, ymmv. I’m in my mid-20s and routinely get carded, so I’ll take what authority I can get. If you’re inhouse after being a partner, you are probably already projecting a lot more power, sleeveless or not. I think it’s fine in your office.

    • Just want to say on my local fox news channel, the woman is the best. shes almost always in suits even though they are fun suits. shes the authoritative voice in boston news. i think its less about what they are wearing and more about their skill. but if the men are in jackets, i think sleevess is too casual. What I usually see on the newa is men in shirt and tie, women in nice sleeveless business dress.

      in the office I think sleeveless is fine, especially if you are high up. but if everyone else is wearing a jacket into the meeting, I wouldnt take the jacket off.

      • a passion for fashion :

        Its interesting re taking off the jacket. I used to go into meetings/deps etc and not take my jacket off until someone else did — inevitably a man. Then I realized why was i waiting for a man to take his jacket off to take mine off, particularly if i was hot or otherwise uncomfortable. And i also realized that when i would take my jackt off first, others would follow. So i think the authority can actually come from being the first to take your jacket off in a meeting.

        • I have never thought about this before. Im junior and work with mostly all men so I think that is why I tend to wait to see if this is a “jacket off or on” meeting. But I like your point a lot

          • a passion for fashion :

            and this is what i feel about all of the “rules” re peep toes and sleeveless stuff etc. If I look put together (which i *almost* always make sure I do) and I carry myself well — with confidence etc, then I can wear whatever the heck I want. Now, obviously I am not going to show up to court wearing a pair of jeans with a blazer, but you know what i mean. I suspect that while some people may notice my high heels, peep toes, and *gasp* patterned tights, i’m often getting compliments on them and i like to think when people notice them they are usually saying “oh, i guess you can wear peep toes and look professional”

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I totally know who you mean and I LOVE her clothes.

    • LadyEnginerd :

      I think it’s to make them “relatable.” And, obviously, relatable women don’t project authority and are best described as cute. Also, from watching with the volume on, relatable also seems to mean perpetually confused (see also: NBC’s coverage of the Olympics opening ceremony).

    • A random thought related to this: I just wish the female version of formal business attire didn’t equate to wearing a curved version of a man’s outfit. I wonder what “business formal” would look like had women rather than men established business dress!

    • Fox News (not the local fox affiliate) is known for hiring very attractive women anchors who all look very similar for their morning and daytime shows. What’s worse is they often act deliberately dumb when in fact they often have very impressive backgrounds (I’m looking at you Gretchen Carlson). Make it of it what you will, but I don’t find it encouraging.

    • Seattleite :

      I don’t know about Fox, but our local news stations used to give newscasters clothing allowances and let them pick their own clothes. Unless the female -casters were lying in interviews, the station didn’t care.what they wore.

      So I don’t think I’d jump to “ensure viewers don’t see women as carrying authority.” Maybe, like many commenters here, those females feel like they’ve earned their place at the table, and don’t need to reinforce it by wearing stuffy old suits?

      • I’d be really surprised if any national news station doesn’t have at least a heavy hand in choosing what all of their newscasters- male and female- wear on-screen.

    • 1. Men wear suits for pretty much any occasion that involves dressing up, from the office to a date. Women only wear suits in conservative office workplaces. My guess is that Fox wants to promote a less stuffy/corporate image, because most viewers cannot relat

      Incidentally, the women anchors on CNN and MSNBC don’t wear suits much either. I used to watch CNN in the mornings and the woman anchor always had really cute, colorful tops, which I envied.

      2. So long as the sleeveless shells don’t show your bra straps or your underarm/side boob area, you’re a-ok.

  15. So it's that kind of Friday :

    Just went to wash my hands, and realized, at 11 in the morning, that I completely forgot to put on any makeup this morning. Just totally skipped over that part of the routine. Awesome.

    • Lol, this happens to me frequently enough that I keep the essentials work. On the bright side, your skin got a little break from makeup?

      • So it's that kind of Friday :

        Glad I’m not the only one. However, it’s such a basic part of my routine, like getting dressed, that I fear next week I’ll be at work and realize I forgot to put on pants or something. Must.schedule.vacation.

        • Im almost left the house without a bra this week. and I am a DD

        • I was in the elevator leaving my apartment building earlier this week when I realized I didn’t have shoes on.

        • I took the boiling kettle off the stove, but then never poured the water INTO the french press. Just had to start all over. UGH

        • My biggest fear most mornings is that I’ll leave the house in my bathrobe rather than my coat (obviously not this time of year, of course).

    • a passion for fashion :

      i did a much smaller version of that this morning — forgot to put on mascara. saw myself in the mirror and thought something looked off, but couldnt figure it out.

      • I dropped my mascara wand on the floor. Now I’m thinking I should replace my mascara tomorrow. Argh. And then later I discovered that it had hit me on the chest and the foot on its way to the floor. I have to be a complete creature of habit in the morning or I will forget something major.

    • Anon for this :

      I may have accidentally taken two of my add med this am instead of one. I might have taken it, forgotten I did, and then taken it again. I only say this b/c it was not where I usually keep it so I was out of routine and I was insanely wired this morning like I had drank 10 cups of coffee. Oy.

      Which makes me wonder, if I did double dose the amphetamines, did I forget to take my birth control??? At least that is in a nice labeled pack so I can see for sure.

      • Also Anon for This :

        I love the labeling on the pack! I’m usually pretty good about taking both of my meds (BC and another) at the same time, so I know that if I missed a day on the nicely labelled pack, it means I forgot the other pill, too!

    • I walk aroun my house in my underwear all the time so *every time* I walk out the front door, I always look down to make sure I’m wearing bottoms. I’ve never gone outside without bottoms on, but I’m so paranoid that one day I will.

  16. I’m late to the USA swim team call me maybe video, but this made me want to change my answer to b23’s question the other day slightly. Regardless of how you feel, at least our athletes have poise AND a sense of humor.

  17. Stuck in the dreaded moderation… Second try:

    ‘r3ttes, I need some styling advice. I bought this maxi skirt:

    We are going to a large, casual party tomorrow night and I am having trouble with how to wear this skirt in a way that looks fresh. I am body conscious about wearing a tight shirt, because I have a little bit of a belly. Help plz?

    Read more:

  18. For MissJackson from SFMK :

    THANK YOU for sending me the Skirt! Fits great and I love the moss color. It really made my day, especially when I held up the package and said to my boyfriend “guess what this is?” and he said “some clothes from a stranger on the internet?” Yes, I had told him the story. :)

    • MissJackson :

      Seriously, sorry it took me like a month to get it in the mail! So glad that it made it to you, and enjoy!

  19. RuralLawyer :

    Looking for workwear suggestions… I’m an attorney in a small town (rural area), and am getting tired of my usual cardigan/shell/trouser combo. More fashionable (or formal) pieces usually look out of place in a town where half my clients drive their ATVs to my office. Looking for classic, subtle pieces that look put together but won’t draw attention to me in the grocery store!

    • Have you checked out the LL Bean Signature collection as well as Lands End (and Lands End Canvas) and perhaps some items from Jones NY or Coldwater Creek? All of these have some kind of more refined, but still what I think are probably country-casual appropriate wear, if you know what I mean?

      • RuralLawyer :

        I love the LL Bean Signature collection… I like the “heritage-y” look of a lot of their pieces, which blends in well in my neck of the woods. Looking for more, perhaps lesser known, designers along those lines.

    • Frugal Friday myself :

      I’m also a rural attorney and while I’m not fashion queen, I’d be happy to share with you my various tricks, but first – about how old are you? Are you a solo?

      • RuralLawyer :

        I’m in my late twenties, and am the sole associate at a general practice firm with a couple older (middle-aged) partners.

        • RuralLawyer :

          Which adds to the difficulty of dressing, btw! It’s hard to know how to dress when I’m one of the only young female professionals in town, and the only female attorney in my office (in fact, the only female attorney that’s ever worked in my office…)

          • On the bright side, you can determine what the expected dress code for female attorneys in your area will be!

            If I were you, I’d wear a lot of dresses + blazers. Dresses can be more casual, and then you can throw on a blazer if you’re going to a meeting or court. I am the same age as you and work in a casual court environment (like family and social services stuff) where full suits are ok but look over-dressed, and I am really transitioning my wardrobe to be mostly dresses and blazers. You can wear boots or tights in the fall, sandals in the spring, and it’s a good mix of professional and casual.

        • Frugal Friday myself :

          Is it wrong that I’d like to throw out a lifeline and pull you in so that we can be friends? I, too, am a late 20’s, sole female associate at a small general practice firm in a rural area (and on top of that, I practice in an area where clients regularly show up in their overalls!).

          I have found (as I said above) that dresses with elbow or 3/4 sleeves can be dressed up or down very well, as well as modest wrap dresses. When I wear a dress, I match it with plain low-heeled black pumps in the office and more formal jewelry. Then, if I have to go to the grocery store/etc after work, I put on flats and take off the jewelry, and sometimes throw a colorful scarf in there. I’m also a big fan of an appropriately-fitting – not sexy – pencil skirt to throw in with the cardigan, and love the knitted cardigans that look like blazers. Including khaki skirts. I probably wear dresses 2-3 days a week, skirts 1-2 days a week, and pants 1-2 days a week.

          One thing I’ve found is that nobody where I practice really knows that a a female attorney “should” look like, so as long as I look decent and like I could get out and pump my own gas, then I’m okay. I agree that lots of the things featured here are totally not workable for my life; but I love the community of women.

          I’m also working on the delicate balance between not sticking out, but being dressed in a manner that has me be taken seriously as a lawyer by potential clients, and not as someone’s secretary. Goodness, I’d love to continue this dialogue.

          • Can I get in on this action, too?

            I’m in my late 20s, also in a rural area, and striking it out on my own as a solo next month after working as one of two female associates in a small firm in an area where most attorneys are older men.

            FWIW: I do the sheath dress/cardi/jacket combo a lot.

    • Wrap (or faux-wrap) dresses! They’re always comfortable, flattering on pretty much anyone, and easy to dress up or down. And I think a wrap dress is the rare piece of clothing that can look appropriate in an office and at a BBQ. It’s fashionable, but not super urban.

      • Yes, dresses! I was going to suggest jersey dresses that you could dress up with a blazer or cardi, but when you went to the grocery store you could ditch the second layer. And having lived in small towns, people will get used to you being slightly more dressed up and it will just become part of who you are.

    • See our comment above. We would be happy to help you, email us at boardroombelles [at] and we’ll work with you individually.

  20. Since I’m not ready to share with coworkers yet but feel the need to celebrate: I just had a general counsel for one of my clients calls me personally to request that I oversee all of the corporate work that the client sends to my firm. I’ve been working with the client for around 2 years on individual projects but will now be their go-to person for all deals, contracts and corporate work. I’m only a midlevel, so this is a huge step for me. [Will now try to stop doing the happy dance in my office with the door shut :-) ]

    • Always a NYer :

      Congratulations!!! Do your happy dance =p

    • Former MidLevel :

      That is amazing! Congrats!

    • Congratulations! That is so terrific! Hope you go out and celebrate tonight. Seriously, client relationship skills are like gold. Not everyone (including many brilliant people) have them.

    • That’s amazing! Congratulations!

    • phillygirlruns :

      congratulations! don’t hold back the happy dance. you earned it.

    • That’s amazing! All the other midlevels will be insanely envious. Way to set the bar!