Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Colorblock A-line Dress

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

Taylor SLVLS COLORBLOCK A-LINE DRESSSo: Loehmann’s seems to have a ton of dresses marked to $49.99 right now. I love this colorblocked A-line dress from Taylor — the mix of black, gray and teal looks really sophisticated to me. It was $138, but is now (you guessed it) $49.99 (and today: free shipping, no minimum). Taylor Slvls Colorblock A-line Dress

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Comments

  1. Sydney Bristow :

    If you had to buy staple items for your dream work wardrobe and price was no object, what would they be?  I’m thinking of the things you would want to invest in because they will last a long time and be worn all the time. 

    I’m reading the book “You Are What You Wear” by Jennifer Baumgartner right now and she refers to French women who only need a black cashmere turtleneck, dress pants, white button up shirt,  jeans, a Hermes scarf, a pair of ballet flats, and a pair of heels. That got me thinking about what I would want as my staple items and where I would buy them. 

    I like most of that list and think I’d want a black cashmere sweater (not a turtleneck though), a crisp white button up shirt (assuming that when I finish losing weight that it will look good), that elusive perfect pair of dark wash jeans, a pretty Hermes scarf that somehow matches everything, black flats, and super comfortable black heels. I’d also add a charcoal gray suit with both the pants and skirt, nude-for-me heels, and an incredible sheath dress with short sleeves and architectural detailing. I’m planning to poke around online to find my dream versions of each of these items later today, but I’m interested to see what you all would choose!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Here is one of my dream dresses: http://tinyurl.com/9azvf2k

      I think for the black heels, I’d really like a classic pair of Christian Louboutins like these http://tinyurl.com/8esjdk3. I don’t think the red sole is too much flash for me in the world of my dream work wardrobe. 

    • I think I’d also nix the turtleneck (and probably replace with a v or scoop neck, still classic).

      Instead of black heels, I prefer grey. And instead of a charcoal gray suit, I prefer navy. Sheath dress definitely. Also, the perfect black pencil skirt. And the perfect button front silk shirt.

      • But honestly, dressing this way sounds like no fun AT ALL. I mean….I guess as long as you can still buy cheaper, fun items. Right? I’d get pretty friggin’ sick of my “perfect” pencil skirt after about a month if I only had one of them.

        • Rose in Bloom :

          I agree. While I like this idea in theory (and I know DH would love it if I downsized my closet), I like variety. I’ve had largely the same classic style since high school and so have accumulated a lot of staples over the last ten years. While none of them are designer, I also stay away from fast fashion. Because I’m not wearing the same pencil skirt each week, what I have lasts a really long time.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Oh of course! I want lots of the fun stuff too, just trying to think about the beginnings of a dream wardrobe. To add fun stuff to the list, I currently also want a long green wool coat, a long white wool coat, mustard yellow flats, those malachite heels from yesterday as well as a pair of flats in a similar color, dressy winter hats, and a ton of tops in jewel tones.

        • Senior Attorney :

          I couldn’t agree more. I always feel like The Vivienne Files represent my worst wardrobe nightmares!

        • yeah, i am way too ADD and get bored too easily ;o) I totally need to have a variety of things to choose from to mix it up.

      • East Coaster :

        TCFKAG – I have seen you recommend grey heels before. What kind of outfits do you wear them with? My work options are pretty conservative – black suits, grey suits, navy suits, or navy slacks grey jacket so I’m not sure how those would work. Any recs for a comfortable, low heeled (2.5 inches tops) grey pump that’s not narrow? TIA!

        • I have a pair of grey heels and I wear them ALL THE TIME. Seriously, they go with everything (except for other greys, then I’d be worried about them not matching)

          • SoCal Gal :

            I’m wearing grey suede heels and a slightly-darker-grey dress today and I feel utterly smashing. I don’t think different greys clash. Look up at a stormy sky sometime.

          • I wear different grays together too so long as they are in the same color tone, cools v. warms.

        • Hi East Coaster…could you maybe submit this question to my tumblr (click ask me anything) with a price range and specific size requirements.

          Oh…and I’d wear them with all those colors. I even wear my grey heels with grey, though sometimes I switch off to black if the colors are really different.

    • I think part of why French women look so good is that they find their personal style, stick with it and just accessorize a lot. One of my best friends is French and she owns a whole laundry hamper full of scarves. She also never wears anything that she is not “comfy” in. My other French friend always wears the same type of skirt and top and ballet flats, but she is completely at ease in her own body and haphazardly throws on bangles, necklaces etc. and always looks like she stepped out of a catalogue.

      I think closet-downsizing and organizing is a great idea, because you will be forcing yourself to work within constricted parameters which really brings out your creativity. It also helps to wear fewer things and focus on a single element, which really pulls outfits together. However, don’t be too disappointed if it is not as easy as it sounds in the book. From personal experience, you don’t really know which pieces turn out to be your go-to’s until you find out how they wear over an extended time. Sometimes pieces I though would investment basics and spent a lot of money on looked terrible after a few months and on the other hand there was the occasional H&M piece that lasted me years. Even if you don’t own these pieces for a long time, I think even just downsizing can really help your style. You don’t even need to throw everything out. Just pick a few basics that go together, buy a couple accessories and store the rest. Then when some of those favorites fall apart try to replace them with new stuff or the stuff that you stored.

    • I read that book too and honestly, that wardrobe also struck me as boring. I would be bored to tears wearing those outfits over and over, even if I accessorized them differently.

      This is my dream sheath dress, courtesy of Princess Kate. Once I’m done with my pregnancy and lose the baby weight, I’m going to ask a designer on Etsy to make this dress for me (same color, but boatneck style and a touch longer hem length).

      http://whatkatewore.com/2012/08/02/kates-day-starts-in-stella-mccartney-for-tennis-its-a-change-for-cycling/

      • Baby DC Attorney :

        OOoo great idea! Any recommendations on Etsy sellers that would do that? I am going to copy your idea!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I love that dress.

        I actually didn’t mean to give the impression of downsizing, but meant to refer to the items from the book just as items to start with. The reason I posted this is that I’ve lost a significant amount of weight over the past 8 months and still have a long way to go, but I have to buy new bridge pieces every time something gets too big and I’m looking forward to the day that I’ll be at a stable healthy weight and can buy clothes that I expect to have for more than a few months. I’m just looking for ideas to start building an awesome wardrobe from scratch.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Ooh! I have giant pearl earrings just like hers!

        Exceptinfer I doubt she got hers at drugstore.com.

    • Mmmmh, so let me say : I’ve lived around France quite a bit and, believe me, the “small wardorbe – turtleneck + ballet flat” myth is … well, a myth, mostly. I’ve also lived in Germany and it’s a bit like lederhosen : yes, some people wear them, but it’s not mainstream (except during Oktoberfest maybe?).

      All the French women I’ve met who cared about clothes had an overflowing closet with a lot of fast fashion. And some of them were really die-hard stylish maven.

      However, maybe it’s because I don’t really like that kind of “French style” (there I said it. Now you can strangle me with an Hermes scarf).

      • I agree that I’d get bored with that closet super quick. And I may get my C – r e t t e card revoked for saying this – but I think there is a place in most women’s wardrobe for “fast fashion”. Yes, build that wardrobe of great quality staples that you will keep until they fall apart. But use a handful of the less expensive fast fashion items to keep your wardrobe current and interesting.

    • Chanel flats, Tory Burch riding boots, skinny jeans, black pencil skirt, patterned collared shirt, polo plain cardigan, David Yurman ring & necklace, diamond studs, Hermes bag (.. I can dream, for now the Michael Kors look alike will do), and a Burberry trench. Theory suit with pants, dress, and skirt and 3 inch nude Louboutins for work. That should about do it :)

    • Tim Gunn had a list of essential items in one of his books, and I toyed with trying to narrow down my wardrobe with regards to that. I’m not currently at the point where I have to dress formally (my office is very informal in clothing, as my supervisor put it: “as long as you cover all essential bits, you’re fine”) but I think such lists are a very good starting point for upgrading one’s wardrobe.

      1.Basic Black Dress
      2.Trench Coat
      3.Dress Pants
      4.Classic Shirt
      5.Jeans
      6.Any Occasion Top
      7.Skirt
      8.Day Dress
      9.Jacket/Blazer
      10.Sweatsuit Alternative
      Bonus: One Indulgent Trendy Item

    • Oh fun! I would want perfect black pants, classic navy suit in season-less wool that would, of course, come with the most perfect pencil skirt (and pants), black and grey cashmere crew necks (I already own 4-5 t-neck sweaters somehow) that was perfectly cut to be more sideways-oval than round at the neck, I’d skip the white shirt because it would never stay white and trade it in a for a pretty print, perfect pair of dark jeans, and two pairs of comfortable yet gorgeous heels, one in medium grey suede and one in that just-right shade of cognac leather. Hmm…. what else? I’d add a button-down, knee length, swingy skirt in a light weight wool, black — I have one of those (with pockets!) and it’s on it’s last legs, but it’s one of the most versatile things I’ve ever owned. Oh, and yes on the sheath dress and riding boots.

      • Oh, and as far as boring or not, I think that for me, the clothes that actually make me feel like a million bucks never bore me because I always feel so freaking amazing in them. I bought a work dress a few years that was just perfect, and I have to tell you guys that if I could have worn that sucker every single day without it being weird, I would have. Everyone’s different, obviously, but I am much better with directing my energy at changing up my accessories or figuring out how to tie a scarf just so.

        • I think I agree with this! After receiving a pair of diamond studs as a graduation gift, I rarely want wear my other fun, cheaper earrings. Same with Theory – once I had a couple of nice Theory suits that fit my body well, I stopped wanting new colors or shapes from the brands I used to frequent. And I feel like a million bucks in my same old Theory suits.

    • I love the idea of a uniform although I have to say, I’ve never met a French person who has this oft-cited Parisian wardrobe.

      I’d keep: the turtleneck, ballet flats, and heels
      I’d nix: white shirt and pants (don’t own them)
      I’d add: the perfect trench, a colourful wool pencil skirt, high boots, a navy lace dress for evening, perfect breton striped top, and a denim mini.

    • Diana Barry :

      I have tried to buy the ‘perfect white shirt’ about 10x now and I NEVER wear them. Except for the puff-sleeve “poet shirt” that I had in HS in the 90s. Good times!!!

      So not that. Jeans and a nice silk print top that would magically never get dirty or sweaty, and red ballet flats. 3 piece suit. prob grey, with dress and pants and jacket, and fun (purple?) heels that wouldn’t bother my bunions. And a fun dress and cardigan for the weekends.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      I think the original list would be just fine. I’d add a sheath dress and pencil skirt and a pair of nude heels, and I could make it work….

    • My 2 cents : that’s a lot of black ! I’m not a fan of black basics myself – reckon black-coloured fabrics tend to age badly and don’t actually go with colours other than ivory and maybe tan.

    • I am so all over the place with my wardrobe, which I have been trying to distill with little luck. I try to incorporate the mantra of The Vivienne Files, but all the lessons I learn about capsule wardrobes and careful curation go out the window every time I set foot in TJMaxx, Marshall’s or see an online sale. http://theviviennefiles.blogspot.com/

  2. I love how these online outlet shops try to create a feeling of exclusivity by blocking out the brand name and putting down something like “Famous Designer” revealed upon login. And when you do it is something like Tahari or Calvin Klein. Really?

    • I always assumed they were restricted by IP law from using the actual brand names in their advertising.

    • WestCoast Lawyer :

      I’ve heard that brands often put restrictions on how low their products can be advertised by resellers to prevent online search bots from pulling up the lower prices in search results. I think this is why you will sometimes see stores like Best Buy offer sales on electronics, but you have to place the item in your cart before you can see the sale price.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’ve also noticed that clothes that end up at Marshalls or somewhere tend to have an x through the name or the tag somehow cut as if to prevent you from claiming you bought it full price.

  3. PharmaGirl :

    Is it just me or is this dress puckering in the blue section? Other than that (and the short length), I think it’s cute.

  4. I have ants in my office! Yikes. They seem to have migrated from my colleague’s office. They’re crawling up my arm as I try to type. Heading out to the morning meeting wondering if I’ll come back and find a swarm.

    • Got any cinnamon in your office kitchen? Or some other strong spice or chemical that you can sprinkle or spray on your desk to disrupt their chemical scent trail?

      • I love this DRESS so I am going to find a LOMANS near here on the INTERNET!

        In college, I roomed for a few month’s with a girl from France (Mimi) , and she was very styleish, but she NEVER washed her sweater’s! It was HORRIBLE! And she ALWAYS wore the same black pencil dress. Every time she put them on it was OK until they got WARM, and then they began to SMELL bad. FOOEY!

        Everyone in the dorm knew about Mimi, and NEVER sat next to her in the cafeteria!

        So EVEN if you get styelish clotheing, you MUST remember to keep them clean!!!! That mean’s WOOLITE!!!! And DRY CLEANEING!!!! Every time I think of her (Mimi) FOOEY!

    • If you have an orange and cloves in the kitchen, stick the cloves in the orange and put the orange on a plate on the floor. It should help.

    • e_pontellier :

      Corn meal also works… though probably better at home than in an office. Good luck!!

    • I had good luck repelling ants in college with Lysol, if your office has that around.

    • If you do a google search, there are 101 ideas for getting rid of ants. Good luck at meeting!

    • ah, grosss!!!! does the 101 ideas booklet have any ideas about getting rid of ants? That would make it actually helpful…..

      • The exterminator came this morning! Of course he also pulled me out of my meeting. Boss didn’t exactly present the 101 ideas, just themes. And the provost came to talk with us and he teased the new boss about the 101 ideas a couple of times in his talk. Too funny.

  5. Big brother is watching me…

    I noticed today that our NetNanny has blocked a site I read a few times a week (clothing blog.) It had a message like: “if you choose to view this site, you will be on a time limit. You have a quota of 3 minutes per day to view this site.” It just left me feeling a bit uneasy. How soon before this site falls under the same restriction?

    So, I think it’s time for me to spring for my own portable computing device that lets me visit whatever websites I want whenever. Plus, no more concerns about everything being captured by a keylogger.

    I don’t see the point of a tablet– they’re expensive $400-$800, and they’re not friendly to people who want to type and post a lot. I hate touchscreen typing, and the idea of paying another $50-$125 just to plug in a keyboard really defeats the purpose. Especially since I don’t do e-books or plan to do any sort of graphics/photo manipulation.

    I think my solution is to buy a cheap netbook (Asus, Acer, etc.) for $250-$350. And then go to AT&T, Verizon or whomever, and pay for USB Broadband. I have plenty of room in my purse for one of these: http://tinyurl.com/9gmvfjp

    Any tech-savvy folks see glitches in my plan? I’m trying to avoid using the company Wi-Fi, as that is likely to have plenty of prying eyes. (Is there a way for a garden variety corporate IT* type, not too bright, not too hard-working, to snoop if I were to use say, AT&T or Verizon Prepaid Broadband USB for internet access while sitting here in my cube?)

    *14yr old techsavvy kids can hack anything, but I’m not so worried about them. They don’t work here.

    • Always a NYer :

      I had an Asus when my Sony broke and was deciding what laptop to buy next (I chose a Mac and love it). While the Asus was small, it served its purpose and was small enough to fit in almost any purse. If you just want it for web browsing, I say go for it.

    • I think if you have your own internet connection and it’s reasonably secure/password protected, you should be good. Somebody somewhere would be able to use it, but 1) the IT guy is probably not going to take the time or effort, since it’s usually only worth it to someone if they want to steal your identity/credit card numbers, and 2) If he did, and wanted to use the information against you in any way, it really wouldn’t be you with egg on your face. He’d have to explain how (and why) he got such info.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Makes sense. If you have unlimited data on your Android phone (I think only Sprint has this now) you can get an app on the Android market that lets you use your phone’s 3G/4G connection as wifi. It’s a $15.95 one time cost. It’s called PDANet.

    • My husband works in IT and saw his own online time log and was appalled. He bought an Acer netbook and uses that exclusively now at work. They have wifi that is not traceable to an individual user (no sign-in – he knows these things) so he feels fine about it.

      Honestly, he would work with a couple of news sites running in the background and then read car blogs as a break. But having all those windows open showed up as usage on his part.

      • Thanks for the tip, Mamabear. I wouldn’t have guessed that, so thank goodness your DH is a smart IT guy.

        I think I’m running into the same problem, I have NYT, Washington Post, Daily Telegraph, FT, WSJ, NYMag, this site, and 2 fashion/clothes blogs open in the background almost all day and I’m sure that looks terrible.

    • This is the reason I can only read this site on my phone now. So sad.

    • anon for this :

      It could be worse. My employer just blocked all web-based email sites. For realz??

    • Y’all must not be in banking/finance. Most banks block all personal email sites (gmail, yahoo, hotmail), this site, many blogs, facebook, youtube etc. NYTimes, WSJ and CNN are ok, thankfully, but we have to be extremely careful what we click on.

  6. Philly CPA :

    Just wanted to pass along a deal after the talk yesterday about boots. I just ordered these in brown. Anyone already own them and can comment on fit/style?

    http://www.6pm.com/born-carpenter-brown

    • I don’t have those particular ones, but do have a pair of tall Born boots (more of a nubuck finish to the leather and a bit taller heel). And I really like them. They were very comfortable (as Born usually is) and I’ve been very happy with them.

    • SoCal Gal :

      Those are gorgeous, and a great price! Mouse is wavering over the buy button now.

  7. Anonforthis :

    So sorry to bother everyone with a wedding questions but it has a professional bent to it…

    Do I have to invite my boss or other coworkers to my wedding? I took a job in December just to be close to my fiance. I hate it and have kept applying for jobs but haven’t managed to land anything else yet. It’s a small office (1 partner, 3 associates-including me, and about 5 staff members). I HATE HATE HATE my boss. He’s a total “glassbowl” and has mentioned repeatedly that I have to invite him to my October wedding. I don’t want to invite him or anyone else from the office (everyone else is actually decent but I’m not BFFs with anyone and will leave this job for ANY other offer I get-I toy with quitting and doing contract work in a nearby city all the time…). My wedding is not small due to my huge extended family (207 invited guests) so it’s not like I can say it’s an intimate wedding but at the same time, 200 people is a lot and I’m not looking to add anybody else, especially a jerk I can’t stand. I would appreciate any thoughts from the hive.

    • No, you definitely don’t have to invite anyone from work to your wedding.

      • Definitely do not invite the jerk or feel obligated to invite coworkers.

        I got engaged shortly after I started this job, and debated whether to invite my boss, but ultimately decided not to. At the time, I didn’t know him well enough, and I didn’t want to fall into that trap where one piles obligations on top of obligations (e.g. Person X feels obligated to invite Person Y, is annoyed by that, Person Y then feels obligated to get Person X a wedding gift, and is annoyed by that.)

        After several years of working really well together, I wish I could retroactively invite my boss, who I truly respect and get along great with, but I did the right thing at the time.

      • Agreed. You can tell him that you are keeping the invite list to family, if that helps. Doesn’t matter that family only =/= small.

        And then, don’t talk about the wedding at work (not that you are). Or tell him that the pressure got to you and you just decided to elope.

      • Agreed.

    • Nope, you definitely don’t have to. In my experience, my co-workers appreciated the invitation but didn’t expect it as a given. If he asks where his invitation is, just say something like, “You know, I have a huge extended family which really fills up our guest list, so neither myself nor Fiance are inviting our co-workers.”

      Good luck with the job search and congratulations!

    • You don’t need to invite him. I would say something like, ” I have a huge extended family and the wedding is just too large to accomodate more guests. We already have to manage over 200 people! I won’t be inviting anyone from the office.” Then I would apply to a million jobs.

    • You absolutely should not invite anyone to your wedding that you actively dislike, including your boss. :) You started so recently at this job, no one is going to fault you for not inviting coworkers. Don’t give it a second thought.

    • I would just go with what you’ve said here (not the part about hating your boss…) but that you have a large extended family, and have decided to keep the rest of the guest-list small because of that.

    • I don’t think you even need to say anything about your extended family. What about a simple, “I’m sorry but our guest list is full”? Or maybe a boss needs more explanation?

    • SF Bay Associate :

      No, you don’t have to invite your coworkers to your wedding. I like my coworkers and I still didn’t invite any of them to my wedding, even after being invited to several of theirs. One coworker did invite a whole table of us to his wedding, which was fun, but since his wedding, half of them have quit and I doubt he’ll see them again. Seems dumb to me to invite people to your wedding, an important day for you and your family, that you’re never going to see again if they or you change jobs, let alone people you don’t like and don’t actually have to invite.

      Your dbag boss will either get over it, or he won’t, but either way, if you don’t want him at your wedding, then don’t invite him. I do think that if you don’t invite this dbag, you can only invite a coworker if s/he is extremely discreet and won’t ever mention at work that s/he went, but it sounds like that won’t be an issue for you since you don’t want to invite any of them :).

      • This last part is key.

        Also, remember– inviting your dbag boss won’t cure him of being a dbag. :-)

      • You absolutely do not have to invite them. I’m getting married in September so the was an issue my fiance and I struggled with. My boss kept dropping hints about being invited, our receptionist (after a few too many martinis) asked at the holiday party, infront of everyone, when they were getting invites. And to add to it, in the last 5 years, the bosses daughter got married, an associate, and a secretary – each of them invited everyone in the office (but then again, they had each been here about a decade, I’m only in year 2).

        However, when we thought I about it, while I get along with my office, I’m not close with anyone. I work in a 9 attorney firm where I am the only female attorney and I am the youngest person in the office by about a decade. I’m going to cry like a baby during the ceremony and I don’t need everyone I work with to see me like that.

        As a result, we decided to draw the line…no one from work. I deflected invite questions saying that we are trying to keep it small and my fiance has a huge family. Your office does not know what your definition of small is or how many people are coming. Also, what if you get a new job between now and the wedding. It is not like you can uninvite them.

        So for now just grin and bear it. Do not talk about the wedding at the office. At some point they will realize invites are out and everyone will move on. Or you will have a new job and all will be right with the world.

        Happy wedding planning!

    • Anonforthis :

      OP here. Thanks for the support, all. At previous places of employment, I wouldn’t even have asked but I’ve never had a boss who is so presumptuous as to say “You know you have to invite me, right?” I am a bit concerned he will make my life a living hell for not inviting him, but I also think it’s ridiculous to invite someone I can’t stand just because I don’t want him to make my life hell. Here’s to hoping I can give two weeks notice before October!

      • Don’t invite him, or anyone else, but also this means that you absolutely can NEVER, EVER bring up a thing about your wedding at work. If you aren’t inviting people, don’t make them listen to your wedding talk.

    • emcsquared :

      Don’t invite them. Here is my story: My family insisted that I invite my bosses from my prior job, even though I was miserable at the job and several of the bosses were insufferable. It was awful to have them there; they didn’t mix with other people, they learned personal information about me that they used in uncomfortable ways afterward, and they made it into every.single.picture. I don’t work there anymore, and wish I could retroactively go back and uninvite them.

      Oh, and the partner for whom I billed upwards of $250K that year gave me a $15 dustbuster as a wedding present. I probably wouldn’t have noticed if he had given me no present, but for some reason, that $15 dustbuster still leaves me shaking my head.

    • You’re having a “small family wedding.” It’s small in the sense that you don’t aspire to a “big wedding,” not in the actual guest count. Try not to share the actual number of invitees. If you do have to say something, just say something like “[fiance] and I are blessed with lots of family who can join us to celebrate the day, so it’ll mostly just be family.”

      • Totes McGotes :

        I’ve heard it said (it may even be attributable to Miss Manners) that any wedding to which the person you’re speaking is not invited can be classified as a “small” wedding.

        Unfortunately I had not read this before a friend of my fiance’s family came up to me at a party a couple weeks ago and advised me that I was inviting her to my wedding. Oh, is that a fact, total stranger?

        • Any person that pulled such sh!t with me would make me check to see if she was in fact invited, and if she were, I’d make sure to personally rescind the invitation.

          Such cheek.

          Should be slapped.

        • Did she at least give a reason why you should invite her? Like – she gives really awesome wedding gifts?

          • Totes McGotes :

            Nope! There was no persuasion involved (which I would have received better), just, “Hi [introduces self]; congratulations; you’re inviting me, right? You’re inviting me [repeated multiple times and spoken firmly as if to shut down any debate or questioning that might arise].”

            I just gave her a big smile until I could get away and ask my fiance, “Who the F was that??”

  8. Neurotic over-thinking question here:

    I’m emailing back and forth with a recruiter. My emails to her are really professional and formal, but she writes very casually. (e.g. I told her I had passed a section of the CPA exam, and her response was “You rock!”)…. I feel like I sound so stuffy, so should I make my emails to her more casual? Do I get a little closer to matching her tone, or do I presume that she is allowed to say whatever she wants however she wants because she is incredibly successful and well connected here?

    • I personally wouldn’t try to match her tone. I would just relax certain formalities. For instance, if she signs the email with just her first name, I would address my response with her first name instead of Ms. Recruiter.

    • I have been in your shoes and I am now in hers. I am the same, with my interns and when recruiting, as she sounds. I really want them to feel comfortable with me and talk to them like I would talk to a coworker, at my level and below. The interns/prospects always reply professionally and I would probably be a little turned off if they said something like “k c u then”.. ? You can let go of the Sir/Ms. but I wouldn’t get overly casual. My name is Melissa and I once had a recruit call me “Mel” .. I was like wtf?

  9. After a few really rough years my family is finally starting to feel financially secure, and we are building our savings after paying off our consumer debt & most of our student loans.

    So now that we’re feeling better about our finances, I have a question. For those of you who have clothing as a line item in your budget, what percent of your take home pay is it? We’re big budget people and I’d like to see what other professional women spend on clothing before deciding what we’ll put in our budget.

    Thanks!

  10. I love Nordstrom, but annoyed by the fact when you go to plus size there is no “suit” filter. GAH. I need a new suit and am hoping to avoid shopping in stores until I get back down to where I want to be. Any suggestions?

    • I’ve had good luck with Jones New York and Talbots.

      • Ditto Jones New York. I usually order JNY suiting separates from Macy’s. You can also try Anne Klein (try 6pm to see if anything is on sale).

      • Yep, Talbots is my go-to for suiting, and you could get some pieces on a deep discount right now during the Red Hanger sale if you’re not looking to spend a lot before you reach your goal. I have one JNY suit, but they don’t sell their suiting as separates, so you have to be the same size on the top and bottom.

    • They don’t have suits. You have to buy separates. So filter on jackets/blazers, and when you’re looking at one, 9 times out of 10 they’ll show the matching pants or skirts in the side bar.

      • This. Their suit selection has decreased considerably over the past couple of years (for plus sizes anyways). I think they currently have 2 sejour suites (sold as separates), plus some ponte knit blazer jackets and skirts and Lafayette jackets.

    • You can also go to the general suits and separates section and just filter by size.

    • Agreed on Nordstrom looking at “Jacket/Blazers.” Agreed on Jones New York (Their site is what I use). (Be careful with JNY, sometimes their suits have those IMO disgusting elastic waists.) Agreed on Talbots. Adding Eloquii.com with the same site navigation problems and if you can wait, since I think they only have 1 right now.

  11. SF Bay Associate :
  12. Just FYI, I just bought a couple of very cute Calvin Klein colorblock dresses at Marshall’s. They have a bunch at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, all for the same price – $49.99. Another alternative to find great work dresses!

  13. I have a bunch of pretty pendants that I wear on a 16 inch silver chain that bends (as opposed to a classic silver chain that does not bend, if that makes sense). The chain has turned black in places, and I’m looking for a replacement. I’ve searched around on google and etsy and haven’t found exactly what I’m looking for, probably because I’m getting the terminology wrong. Can someone point me in the right direction?

    • Have you tried cleaning your chain ? You can buy silver polish or if you’re ready to buy a new one and not enormously concerned about rubbing the plating off the old one, toothpaste may work too.

    • did you try polishing it?

    • Honey Pillows :

      It sounds like it’s just tarnished! Try taking it to a good local jeweler -sometimes they’ll clean your tricky pieces for free.

    • There are types of polish just for jewelry. It’s a little plastic jar with liquid polish in it. You drop the jewelry in for about 10 seconds and then pull it back out and rinse it.

    • Thanks ladies, I never even thought to clean it! :) Let me try that first. But in the event that it doesn’t work and people know where I can a bend-y chain, let me know. There are so many different chains online that it’s overwhelming.

      • You could also take it to a jewelry store and ask them what that type of chain is called – would also facilitate your online search. Of course the brick and mortar store might also have them too…

        • I used to work in jewellery sales, and it sounds like you have a snake chain – the good news is that snake chains are among the easiest to clean! A silver polishing cloth imbued with silver cleaner is the easiest to use.

  14. **Paging HM**

    Did you have that conversation with your SO about his promotion last night? How did it go? Are you ok?

    • Thanks for thinking of me!

      Well, it turns out this promotion is very much in the “potential” stage. If someone else gets a promotion into a different department, then my bf is on the very short list. Timetable is TBD, as are a lot of the specifics. Apparently this meeting was to gauge interest and introduce the idea of his promotion into a different role to the rest of the group.

      What does that mean for me? We both reiterated our desire to move our relationship forward (engagement and marriage within the next year). I brought the “hypothetical” to my boss this morning, and asked what the likelihood of being able to transfer to the nearby town, and work with my department remotely. He seemed very keen on this idea (more client development opportunities, etc.) .

      I really don’t want to move, but so far, everything has been really really positive.

  15. Maddie Ross :

    Ok, maybe TCFKAG can help with this, or someone else may have thoughts, but I am in the market for a striped blazer. I saw two at J.Crew I liked, but both are sold out in every size but L and XL and with J.Crew’s new(ish) vanity sizing, I’m sure I’d swim in a L. Any suggestions? I’d like to spend less than $100 ($150 tops) since this is a bit of a frivolous purchase and may only last a season.

  16. Anonforthis :

    So . . . does anyone know anything about collecting unemployment after a clerkship ends?

    And for the record, I like this dress even though I’m really over the colorblocking trend. I keep thinking it can’t possibly last much longer and I don’t want to buy anymore colorblocked pieces because I have this feeling they’ll look really dated in the not-too-distant future.

    • It likely depends on your state’s unemployment laws. It can’t be done in my state because a clerkship is a term position and the conclusion of the term does not render one eligible for unemployment insurance. Sorry – hope things are different where you are.

    • HR should be able to help you. Unemployment is available for federal clerks post-clerkship.

  17. Seattleite :

    Threadjack for advice –

    I’ve had a rough few years in which a divorce, selling a house, and a major surgery pretty much ate my life outside of work. Finally, this summer, I have been much more active and able to see that it’s a big world out there. I like my job and my boss but have hit the ceiling there, so I’ve been polishing my resume, etc.

    I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Best case scenario, surgery and daily radiation will eat my life until Christmas. Worst case, add chemo and it’ll take about a year.

    So. Now is clearly not the time to look for another job, nor to add a profile to a dating site. I have been warned that with my medical history, radiation will probably wipe all my energy. We’re expecting lots of couch time.

    I am angry, resentful that once again it feels like my life is on ‘pause,’ and fearful that I will overload my friends with yet another Big Thing. (They’ve been fantastic and right there with me, so I think it’s just me.)

    I also want very much to just quit my job, sit on my couch, and hug my cats and cry. I have a killer commute which doesn’t help.

    I know that there are women here who have been through this. How did you do it? I’m looking for practical tips as well as mental self-talk.

    Thank you.

    • Cornellian :

      Oh god. No experience with that, but I doubt your friends would respond that way, especially as it seems like you’ve been supportive of them in their endeavors/tribulations.

    • Hugs. I don’t have any experience with this, but I wanted to say hang in there. I would spend the weekend on the couch with the cats, having as many good cries as you think are neccessary.

    • K...in transition :

      First of all HUGE hug! Second, you say you were just diagnosed… just breathe! It’s ok that you want to cry… do it! Feel whatever you’re feeling and quit feeling badly for having feelings, ya feel me?

      As for your friends, let them in on the secret. They love you and they will be grateful to have the opportunity to help support you. Speaking of support, consider joining an online support group, something you’re able to be a part of while having cats on your lap, in your comfy clothes, in your house. Lean on them too, it’s what they’re there for.

      And as for the rest, the ways to cope and deal, you’ll find your strength in time. For now, let those who love you (us included) do it for you! lovelovelove

    • Francie Nolan :

      I am not much help with practical advice,I am so sorry to hear this Seattleite. I am sending you good thoughts and a big huge internet hug.

    • I’m so sorry. Could you talk to your boss, when you know more about your treatment plan, about working from home some? Or a modified work schedule? Until then maybe take a day or two off just to sit on your couch with your cats. I’m so sorry.

    • A million hugs. Please tell your friends, they love you and want to be there for you. Please take a day or two off, hug your cats, and cry.

      I have no advice but I wanted to say your life is not on pause. This is part of your life, a huge, momentous part, and you will learn so much about your self and loved ones while you go through this. It is not a pause but a part of your journey- a part that’s there for reasons that may be unclear right now.

      Is there anyway you can take immediate action to fix your commute? Could you work from home two days a week?

      we all care about you deeply

    • Hey. My heart hurts for you so much. It feels like maybe you were getting your head above water and then whamm-o.

      I haven’t been there. I really haven’t and I wouldn’t dream of pretending I had. But I have taken care of a lot of women who have, so I have an inkling (only an inkling) of what you are going through.

      I also know a ton of breast surgeons and people who take care of women who have breast cancer in Seattle. I’d be happy to give you my opinion on your providers (if that has any worth to you), or give you an outside opinion on what you hear from others.

      You will get through this. It will blow. My email is ECMD(thissite) @ google’s mail provider. Please feel free to email me about anything at all.

      The only thing I can add is that a huge number of women have gone through this. You will find support in corners you didn’t expect and unfortunately a lack of support in places that will disappoint you.

    • I’m so sorry. I don’t have personal experience with this, but having worked with someone who underwent a very brief round of radiation treatment and was very tired throughout the process, I’d discuss the situation with your boss, and tell him that you’ll need flexibility to work from home (frequently). There is no reason why your commute should drain so much of your energy.

    • No advice here – but many, many hugs. You are already clearly a survivor in many ways – allow yourself the time to feel what you feel about this piece of news. And your friends will want to know – they’re your friends and want to be there for you!

    • Always a NYer :

      No advice, just hugs. I’m so sorry to hear you’re dealing with all this and sending good vibes your way.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Seattleite, I am so sorry about your diagnosis. I agree with K, that you should just let yourself cry right now. And hug your cats. If you just found out, it must be a huge shock and something that will take some time to accept. Be kind to yourself right now before trying to figure out how to get through it all at once.

    • I am so sorry to hear this news. I can’t offer you any practical advice on your situation. I did want you to know that I’ve always appreciated your advice and wisdom here on the blog, even though it sounds like you had to go through h*ll to get it. I’ll be thinking of you. Please keep us posted.

    • *Hugs*

      I know it’s a pain, and $$, but right now I wish you had a P.O. Box address (if you didn’t feel good about giving out your real addy to people on the internet), so we could all mail you care packages.

      I know you can get through this, but I understand how demoralizing it feels to have life throw yet another obstacle in your way.

    • Huge internet hugs to you. I don’t have any experience with this, and therefore can’t even pretend to give you coping advice. However, with regards to tiredness/treatment: does your current employer offer short term disability that you could use during your treatment? In the meantime, is it possible to take a few days off to process/cry/hug the cats/just generally take a break?

      I’m so sorry to hear this news. Please know that while we haven’t met, I really enjoy reading your comments and insight here. I’m sending you good thoughts and lots of internet love.

    • No advice, just thoughts and prayers headed your way.

    • I don’t have any advice but I am so sorry to hear about this and am sending my thoughts and prayers your way. You will get through this. Lots of love.

    • oh no, sweetie!!! I am so sorry. Sending lots and lots of {{internet Hhhuuggsss}}… all I can think to say is you can always come here for support when you need it, we love you. <3

    • Jacqueline :

      I’m so sorry to hear that! But don’t worry about burdening your friends — I’m sure they want to be there for you, even if it’s just to listen.

    • lucy stone :

      Oh, I am sorry to hear this. My mom kicked breast cancer in the tuchus 25 years ago and I pray that in 25 years you’ll be saying this too. I’d encourage you get an ABCD mentor, which you can do at http://www.abcdbreastcancersupport.org/get-support/get-a-mentor/. A woman who has been there before will help you through this.

    • Oh, Seattleite. The world is just really f’ing unfair sometimes, isn’t it? It’s thing like this that make me wish there was the life equivalent of a freeway rest stop, and you could just pull over for a little bit and take a d*mn breather. But failing that, give yourself what time you can to be utterly self-indulgent, and then let the people who love you love you. I had a near-fatal accident after I was divorced, and nobody said, “Wait! You don’t get support now, because I used up all my love on your divorce!” Do what you need to do for yourself, including letting other people take care of you.

      (And if coffee with an internet friend would help, I’m coming back to town for a wedding in mid-September…)

      • I was just thinking the same thing. Real friends would never dream of saying “what is it NOW, Seattleite?” like you’re some kind of drama queen who just had to outdo herself with another challenge. Forget that and let them meet you where you are.

        I’m sending lots of hugs to you. Unfortunately I have a lot of experience with cancer among loved ones, including my late father. I will email to ask for your address too.

    • Totes McGotes :

      I am so very, very sorry and I wish you the best in beating this.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Oh, man! That sucks! So sorry this is happening to you!! Big hugs from this stranger on the internet who cares about you and wishes you well!!

    • So sorry for you that things just don’t seem to be looking up!!

      If you have the energy, I think working on your resume and looking for new positions is still a great idea! My husband was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease right as his company was going under and had to scramble to find a new job. The biggest worry for us was of course insurance (we were not married at the time, so he couldn’t go on mine) & his autoimmune therapy costs like $25K a year . He didn’t tell potential employers he was sick (as it’s not really their business), and he was well enough at the time to go on interviews. If the same is true for you, I would go for it. You need to imagine a life where you’re not sick and in a job you love, and hopefully that will be you a year from now!!!

      I guess it depends on your industry, but his boss (and mine) have been very understanding of all his hospital visits, outpatient procedures, blood tests, infusion therapy, etc. Infusion (ie chemo) you just sit in a chair with an IV, so you can do work on your laptop anyway. That is my main piece of hospital advice : ALWAYS bring your laptop even if you think you are going for 5 mins. Things never take five minutes. And bring your own food- not only does the food suck, but sometimes you can’t really go get something to eat on your own.

      Since he started this job he’s had two promotions- proof that even when you’re sick you can keep moving forward in your career! hugs & feel better!

    • Seattleite,
      I have not been through personally having cancer but have had other similarly stressful situations (a child with cancer and a divorce.)

      I found it helped not to think about 6 months from now, but just think about today and tomorrow. Easier said than done, I know, but insurmountable obstacles seem insurmountable because we’re thinking of them as one big thing. Which they are, but they can also be thought of as many individual items.

      So you can tell yourself, today I have to get this work project done. Tomorrow I have to get this medical procedure. And then stop. Don’t think about next week, don’t think about next month, and if you can, please don’t think about what-ifs. It’s natural to want to think about these things, but thinking about them won’t change outcomes. It’s the decisions you make today and tomorrow that matter.

      I am so sorry to hear of your diagnosis. Please know that this stranger in San Franscisco is sending very positive thoughts your way. All the best to you.

    • So sorry to hear this. No advice, just hang in there and take care of yourself.

    • TurtleWexler :

      I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis and I’m sending you huge hugs. Even though I’ve only been on this site a few months and didn’t know all your backstory, it sounds like any of the things that have happened to you recently would be difficult on their own, but all together…definitely give yourself some time to cry. And I know we’ve never met IRL, but please don’t hesitate to let me know if there is something I can do to help you — I’m absolutely willing to bring you a vat of chicken soup and other goodies if you have a day where you just can’t get out of the house. My email is acorpo r e t t einseattle @ gmail (all one word, just avoiding the mod-bot with the spaces).

    • No advice, but I am sending you my very best wishes. I pay attention to your comments on here because I really appreciate some of the family stuff that you have shared in the past (which has helped me deal with my own family stuff). We’re pulling for you!

    • Roly Poly Little Bat-Faced Girl :

      I don’t have any advice because of all the good advice you’ve already received here, but I wish you the best as you fight this latest challenge in your life. You are clearly a strong and remarkable woman. Don’t lose sight of that. Sending positive thoughts your way.

    • Seattleite :

      I am about to do the Ugly Cry at my desk. You are all terrific, generous women. I have to back away until after work but will check in then. Thank you all so, so much.

    • Hugs Seattleite. Don’t worry about overwhelming your friends. Your real friends will be there for you through this hiccup in life. If they’re not, then they’re not friends worth keeping.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Hugs, and I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Please come vent here whenever you need to.

    • Oldest Sister :

      Seattleite, I always read your comments with interest. They mean a lot to me.

      I am so, so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, especially on top of your last few years.

      I just want to say that if you have the energy for it, there is no reason not to put up a dating profile. In other words, don’t let concerns or fears that potential mates will say “Eeeuw, she’s getting cancer treatment, so I’m not going on a date with her” stop you. To the contrary, you have as good a chance as any [insert caustic comment here about what those chances may be given our demographics] of meeting someone wonderful who will have an opportunity to really bond with you in a way that could form the basis of a strong, long, wonderful partnership.

      We never know what is around the corner. The day before your diagnosis, you didn’t know you have br@#st cancer. The next day, you did. Today, you don’t know when you will beat it. But one day, you will receive the news that you have. Today, you don’t know your new partner (or, if you know him/her, you don’t know that s/he is the person yet). One day, you will meet your new partner and then, s/he will be your life.

      I have no experience whatsoever with major illness. But I have a lot of experience with life going very, very wrong and then, one day, starting to go right.

      Please hold out for the day it starts to go right.

    • Please add me to your list of well-wishers. My Mom was diagnosed in 2004 (when she was still in her 40s) and had to have a mastectomy, but she has remained perfectly healthy since then. It’s obviously a rough road, but lots and lots of people make it through just fine. Please take care of yourself and let your support network take care of you too.

    • Away Game :

      Seattleite – As a regular reader and not regular poster, I can only echo what the others have said. However, (although I haven’t been in your shoes), I can offer some random thoughts on the practical side of the house, fwiw.

      You will be tired and in some cases stuck at home, right? and probably emotionally drained. You’ll probably want to pare down the errands and other things that life requires to those you enjoy and aren’t energy-suckers. I’m a bit (very?) OCD on lists and plans, and maybe you could try to list out things that will make your life easier/help get the stuff you may not want to be doing out of the way/find an easier way to do it. For example, shop for groceries over the internet. Can you look up stores that deliver the things you need? If you like to read, check out your local library’s ebooks collection so you can borrow books while sitting on the couch. Do you have any hobbies that you like to do that don’t tire you out but you can stock up on materials for? Or something you wanted to start doing? (say, embroidery or painting.) Knowing myself, I’m pretty sure I would end up crawling into a corner and disappearing for awhile, then feeling sorry for myself because I’m out of touch with people. are there folks you can skype with where you have a standing appointment? Old pen pals you can reconnect with? Can you find a drycleaner that picks up and delivers? If someone offers that well-meaning and undefined “let me know what I can do to help,” do you have a list of things you would find useful? (find a gift for my niece’s birthday, pick up some cat food, pick up Ben and Jerry’s at the store, drop something in the mail…) People will really want to help, but probably won’t know what to offer.

      Anyway. Hugs.

    • Big hug. I am so sorry for what you have to go through. If you can figure it out financially, I think that you can quit your job and focus on yourself. You deserve a break. Take care of yourself and don’t worry about your friends. They want to be there for you!

    • I am late to post a reply to this, but I just want to say that I am thinking of you and rooting for you.

    • Seattleite, I’m in Seattle so if you need anything (a ride, a meal, a shoulder to cry on), drop me a note. I don’t know what you’re going through but I do know the feeling of wanting to get off the merry-go-round and just hug the cat. I also know you can get through this.

    • No advice other than I am so sorry and thinking of you.

    • I am so very sorry you are having to go through this. I have not been there personally, but my twin sister has, as has my mom many years ago. My sister teaches at a community college, so her schedule was more flexible. OTOH, she had to move to a larger city for 2-3 months for radiation treatment, as she was 3 hours away, it was Wyoming, and just not reliably drivable.

      First, Do cry and hug your cats. I will tell you what my sister’s doctor told her: just try to look at this as in five years, it will be “2012 was the year I had breast cancer.” you have to get through it one day at a time, and there will be hard days, but it is for a finite period of time, and you need to keep telling yourself that you will get through it.

      Take care of yourself, don’t be afraid to call on your friends for help, including those of us here, and know that you will get through this.

    • Thinking of you :

      I know I am late responding but I wanted to send you a comment and let you know its 100% okay to want to sit on your couch and cry. Life just stinks sometimes, and you should do whatever you want to make yourself feel better right now. I did sit on my couch and cry about a year ago to date (different cancer, surgery + chemo). But the best thing I did was get on with my life. I know this sounds easier said than done, but I discovered I got sick of “sitting on my couch” and I found that distractions were the best thing to help me heal. You’re right, it’s probably not the best time to look for a new job, and yes, chances are your energy will be zapped. But what are things you can do right now, that you will look forward to each day or week? Maybe it’s taking a yoga class (some studios offer classes for those recovering/dealing with illness) or doing an online writing class. Maybe it’s just meeting your friends for a walk around the block or a movie. Or if you don’t feel like doing anything, just having someone come over and visit (and promise not to mention the c-word!). Distractions are a good thing!

      I also want to add that everyone responds to treatment differently. I was told I would lose my hair and I chopped-off my hair into a Ginnifer Goodwin pixie to prepare. Guess what? Still have my hair! This happened with a number of the symptoms I “should” have had.

      As for practical tips, some things to think about… Can you take a day-off/ telework on days you just don’t feel like commuting? Do you have a back-up person at work who can keep you in the loop/cover when you’re out of the office? Do not be afraid to ask anyone for help – you will repay the favor some day. Do you want to join a support group (if you’re into this thing, your doc should have recommendations)? The most important thing I learned is to take one day at a time. I know this is a cliche, but at first I was constantly worrying about my next bloodwork, and if the chemo was working, etc. and it was really detrimental. Right now the plan is surgery and radiation until the end of the year. Try not to let chemo or 2013 enter your thoughts. Focus on now (like I said, easier said than done).

      It sounds like you have been through a lot but it sounds like you have a fabulous support system to get you through this. I know it’s annoying to feel like you have to put your life on hold. I was so angry about this because I’m a planner and I had some plans! I think the best thing you can do is look at this time as “me time” or a mini-break – consider it a break from your plans of job searching, dating, etc. – and do what makes you smile and helps you heal.

      Ugh, I know how difficult this is. I am sending good vibes your way and will keep you in my thoughts. Please let us know how you’re doing.

  18. Brooklyn, Esq. :

    Has anyone had success starting the Couch to 5K program as a complete non-runner? I know that’s what the program is designed for, but I would love to hear personal stories about it. I just bought new running shoes, and I’m thinking of starting the program next week.

    • I loved that program until I was derailed by an old injury. I used the GetRunning app on my iphone. For the first time, I enjoyed running and looked forward to my workouts. The structure is such that you see improvement and it keeps your from doing too much too fast.

      • Brooklyn, Esq. :

        I didn’t even think about looking for an app! Thanks for the recommendation.

        • I couldn’t have done C25K without podcasts. Try the Podrunner series. I went from never running a mile to5ks in triathlons and a couple of half-marathons in under a year, and I’m pretty old.

          • Rose in Bloom :

            I used the podcasts from runningintoshape dot com. They have a lot of upbeat pop music, which makes me run / walk faster. She also did rock versions for each week too if that is more your thing.

      • TurtleWexler :

        +1 on GetRunning. I’m currently on week 3. The woman’s voice is kind of annoying, but you can change it to “just the essentials” in the settings, and then you don’t have to listen to her as much. I really like the workout program the app has, though.

    • K...in transition :

      I have bad knees so I’m not sure how that’d go for me, but I’ve been considering it, in part because, with the new puppy, I figure it’d be a good way to also tire him out some… just not sure if I have the motivation to stick with it, to be honest!

    • Me! When my 3rd (& last) child was about 2 (5 years ago) I decided I needed to lose all the weight I’d gained through my pregnancies (30 lbs). I joined sparkpeople & soon realized that one of the highest calorie burning exercises is running, so I took a deep breath and decided to do the C25K. Bought myself a cheap mp3 player, downloaded the podcasts & got started. Now, I did a very, very little bit of running in high school, but that was it. I considered myself a non-athlete.

      The C25K program was perfect for me. It was inexpensive (important at the time), started right outside my door, and it got me moving. It builds up slowly and never really got too much for me. I had some stitches when I got to the 20 min run, but I think that would have been solved if I had better shoes. By the end I was amazed at what my body could do, and the runner’s high was awesome. The high didn’t come after every run, but I when it did I felt powerful – like I could take on the world. I know I sound very enthusiastic, but I really do believe it changed my life. I no longer consider myself a non-athlete. I ran my first 10k earlier this year. My dh was inspired by my success and 3 years ago did the C25K (he was an athlete in high school but hadn’t been very active and needed to lose weight as well). He ran a half marathon last year and hopes to run another this year, but he’s dealing with a bunch of injuries. My middle son is really interested in doing the C25K (he’s 10) but I’m also dealing with some injuries this year, so we’ll have to wait for next year for him.

      Anyway, if you couldn’t tell, I highly recommend the program. It has been great for me – has boosted my confidence and increased my health – and my family as well.

    • Anon in NY :

      I did, and I loved it! I was a *complete* non-runner before, as in I could barely get through the 60-second jogging intervals the first week. It took me a little longer than nine weeks to finish the program, as I had to repeat a week a couple of times before I felt ready to move forward, but it really worked. I ran a 5K three months after starting the program, which I never thought I would be able to do.

      So I’d say go for it! If you’re in Brooklyn, you could sign up for the Coney Island Turkey Trot 5K around Thanksgiving — it is supposed to be a flat, easy course, so it would be a really fun goal to keep you motivated. (And I think you get a free shirt when you sign up.) :)

      • Yes, this is what else I was going to say. Don’t be afraid to repeat weeks if you need to, or even do an extra day of one set of intervals before moving on to the next.

        And register yourself in a race for a couple of weeks after you’re finished. It gives you another goal, and that high from finishing your first race is amazing. And you’ll get a t-shirt you can wear with pride.

    • YES. I never ran in my life (besides when they forced you to run a mile in gym class) and I did couch to 5k about a year and a half ago. When I started it was hard for me to run 60 seconds straight. I stuck with the plan and even when the running time increased and I thought “there’s no way I can do this!”— it actually worked. If a week was really hard for me or if I didn’t get in all the runs than I might have spent a week and a half or so on that “week” of the plan. I ran only about 3 days per week while doing this.

      After finishing it I was able to run a 5k with one walk break, and with continued running, without stopping. I now still run about 3 times a week, run about 5 or 6 races, and have grown to love running.

      I can’t say enough about it! My sister (also a non-runner) used couch to 5k to train for a specific 5k that had personal meaning to her, and she was able to run the whole 5k at the end of it as well.

      Definitely give it a shot at least!

    • Avant gardener :

      I haven’t used that training program specifically but am in the middle of getting back into running shape after a long hiatus. For any program, consistency is key. You *will* make progress if you train regularly. You will have bad days, and you will hit walls from time to time, but you will get past that stuff.

    • Yes! I couldn’t even jog/run for 1 minute when I started, and yesterday I ran for 15 minutes! (walk 5, run 5, walk 3, run 5, walk 3, run 5, walk 5). Tomorrow, I run for 8. :) And while it’s not easy, it’s much easier and less fatiguing than I’d expected. I’m still wearing crappy shoes because I have gotten around to getting good ones, I’ve missed sessions and had to either repeat or push to the next level due to life getting in the way, I even joined a gym and am doing this on treadmill because it’s not safe to run in my neighborhood. And I still love it. I listen to goofy podcasts, which is distracting and eliminates the boredom of running inside.

      And I’ve found friends on Facebook and elsewhere to be amazingly supportive, even as a baby runner. They were so thrilled when I could jog 5 minutes, even though they run marathons. I encourage you to go for it! :)

    • My SO used Couch to 5K to get in shape after he was cleared for exercise post-cancer so I can assure you it works for people who are in no shape to do anything physical whatsoever. Part of the nice thing about the program is that you can repeat weeks if you are struggling so it’s slightly customizable for any situation. He’s never going to run marathons or anything (his lungs were damaged by one of the chemo drugs) but he enjoys it as a way to get in some cardio to help stay in shape and I do think it helped his lung capacity.

    • Add me to the list of Couch to 5K survivors! I did it just over a year ago, wanting to increase my level of activity and take up a form of exercise I could do anywhere. I started the program with no expectations but found it really easy to stick with and it felt really great watching myself progress from week to week. I fell off the running wagon over last winter but have started again and am so happy that Couch to 5K provided me with the tools and experience to get myself going again.

    • I started it a bit less than a year ago, and it worked extremely well for me. I wasn’t exactly on the couch before, but running wasn’t part of my exercise routine AT ALL before I started (I did a lot more cycling/spin). I found that my body was a bit cranky about the whole running thing when I first started (sore knees, sore feet, sore lots of things really), so I repeated some weeks rather than pushing myself to go on to the next week right away. It probably took me 12 weeks rather than 8 to work up to the 5K. I think you really do need time for your body to get adjusted to the mechanics of running, even if your cardiovascular fitness is good already. Now I’m working on the 5K to 10K program, and just (just!) make it to 10K a few days ago. I’m doing my first 5K race this weekend, and I’ve already signed up for a 10K race in the fall. I’m pretty amazed at how well the slow-and-steady approach worked!

    • Brooklyn, Esq. :

      Wow, these responses are great, thank you all so much.

      KLG, best of luck to your SO! He sounds amazing.

      K… in transition: If you decide to do it, let me know! We can be motivation buddies. :)

    • MissJackson :

      Yes, indeed.

      To be clear, I was the girl who could not run the mile as a teenager, and things did not improve as I aged. I was the ultimate non-runner. I did C25K… gosh… 4 or 5 years ago now. I am not exaggerating when I say that it was life-changing. I genuinely believed that running a full mile without stopping was something that I would never do. When I managed to survive the first 20 minute run (in week 5, maybe?) it was such a revelation. Like, holy crap, I just did something that I thought was impossible.

      Since then, I’ve run a couple 10-milers, 2 half marathons, a 30K, 2 full marathons, and about a gazillion 5 and 10Ks. (I’m not fast, and probably never will be. But I’ll be d*mned if C25K didn’t turn me into a “real runner”!)

    • Unemployed :

      Yes! I successfully completed the C25K program having never run in my life, except a few laps in 8th grade PE class.
      I used the kissmyblacka$$ dot com podcast. I’m now re-doing the program trying to add a little bit of speed.
      Good luck!

    • Yes, started it as a complete non-runner, in fact running-hater (but fit hiker) 2 years ago (at age 37).

      Went well for a few weeks then derailed by shin-splints due to over-enthusiasm, 6 week break, Got back to it and finished on schedule, and have continued running 2-4 times a week since, working up comfortably to half-marathon distance. More recently my 46yo non-runner SO went through it in one go successfully as well. It is a great plan! I would say stick to the schedule – you may feel you can do more, but don’t. It works, and the satisfaction of turning myself into a runner has been one of the most profound in my adult life, since I was the nonathletic bookich, clumsy kid whose only B or worse grade was in PE… :)

    • Late to the party but I’m another C25k fan. I had wanted to be a runner for awhile, but couldn’t run more than a few blocks without needing to stop to rest…c25k helped me pace myself (I didn’t realize that you didn’t have to run fast) and like others, I repeated a few days/weeks as I made my way to running 5k. Since I did the program 2 summers ago (can’t believe it’s only been two years!) I’ve done a bunch of 5ks, 2 10ks, 2 half marathons and one full marathon. I’ve been lazy with running this summer but next week I start training for half marathon #3. I do consider myself an athlete, which I definitely did not before.

  19. 2/3 attorney :

    Hive! It’s my last day at my summer clerkship (headed to DC, yay!). I work at a small firm (8 attorneys). I would like to leave thank you notes for the partners whom I have worked closely with. Do you think it would be rude/awkward if I didn’t give a thank you note to everyone? I barely worked with some people and wouldn’t have much of substance to say. And should I give thank yous to the entire support staff? I don’t have a secretary. And yes I am aware I should have planned better for this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • AnonInfinity :

      I think it would be more awkward to give thank you notes to people you didn’t work with much. I always went around my last day and shook everyone’s hand and said that I enjoyed working there or on a specific project or whatever. The folks who weren’t around, I sent them an email saying basically the same thing in written form.

      But if written thank you notes are something you like to do, then certainly give them to a few people who meant a lot to you.

      • 2/3 attorney :

        I’m afraid I’d cry if I said it in person. I just always do that when saying goodbyes, even if I’m not really sad about leaving! Ugh, feelings.

        • AnonInfinity :

          Oh, definitely do the thank you notes, then. I would still do them to just the few that come to mind.

          I cried once when leaving a job that I didn’t love and left feeling like, “WTF, self?!”

          • I cried on bart, all the way home. At 8am. While clearly wearing my clothes from the day before. And maybe still a wee bit tipsy.

          • 2/3 attorney :

            The first time I read this, I definitely wondered who bart was!

  20. I’m currently 15 weeks pregnant and will be going to a fancy wedding in 3 weeks. I’m trying to figure out whether I should buy a dress for the wedding. I’m not showing at all right now, and I know that the popular advice on this site is to not buy maternity clothes until you need them. However, I’ll be traveling for work for the next few weeks and in the event that I start to show, I don’t want to be scrambling around for a dress. Any advice? And if anyone has ideas on great maternity dresses to wear to a very fancy wedding at a five star hotel, let me know (c*cktail is fine, not a floor length one).

    • Try Rentmaternitywear.com. I haven’t actually tried it, but it seems like a great way to get maternity wear for a single event at a not unreasonable price. I’m planning to try it for my brother’s wedding in September

    • Can you buy something that you like that has a little bit of wiggle room in it? I got a lot of use out of non-maternity empire waisted, pleated waisted clothing in my early pregnancy. I also thought it might come in handy for the 4th trimester (time right after giving birth when you sadly, still look a little poochy).

    • Asos Maternity has some decent cocktail dresses that might work. This one could be cute if you’re just starting to show:

      http://www.asos.com/ASOS-Maternity/ASOS-Maternity-Katie-Lace-Dress/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=1768146&cid=5813&Rf900=1465&sh=0&pge=1&pgesize=20&sort=-1&clr=Black

    • PharmaGirl :

      My belly started showing at precisely week 20 so you might be fine. If you’re feeling worried about it, look for an empire dress or something with a little stretch (assuming you are okay with everyone being able to tell you’re pregnant).

    • I’m 20 weeks along, and definitely showing, but still find that empire waisted dresses and fuller/pleated dresses from before work fine. (I’m even wearing a non-maternity wool sheath dress today, belted just above my belly, that amazingly still fits.) So, even if you’re fairly showing by then, I’d bet that you have something in your wardrobe already that might work, or can buy something non-maternity that would (and would still be wearable post-maternity), if that’s what you want to do.

    • Chances are, your 18 week belly will not stick out enough to change the fit of any standard dresses. I’d go with a non-maternity empire waisted dress or a sack dress (loose in the middle.) Nothing with a defined waist at the waist and you should be fine.

      Of course, please don’t wear this all nine months! I was just on the elevator with a very pregnant woman wearing an (obviously) non-maternity dress that was a good 10″ shorter in the front than in the back, and her spanx were showing.

    • Two cents :

      Thanks everyone! Rentamaternity sounds very interesting, and I also like the idea of wearing a more empire waisted dress (although I have nothing like that in my closet right now, for the very precise reason that that style made me look pregnant back when I wasn’t pregnant!).

      • I am 21 weeks pregnant and fairly tall, so not showing much yet (still look like I’m just getting thicker about the middle). I’m in maternity pants but normal shirts and dresses, because maternity shirts and dresses are way too big.

        That being said, I have found that the best thing for me right now are those items that used to be unflattering because they made me look vaguely pregnant. As a vaguely pregnant person, they’re perfect!

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