Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Shift Dress w/ Novelty Neckline

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

Anne Klein - Shift Dress w/ Novelty NecklineHooray for Friday! This dress caught my eye earlier this week, and I like it so much I’ve actually ordered both the red and the black (but haven’t tried them on yet). I like the lattice neckline, the cap sleeves, the ladylike length, the slight bit of spandex, and, oh yes, the price: was $129, but now marked to $31-$38 (depending on black or “persimmon”) at 6pm.com. A good number of sizes are still available as of Friday AM, too. Anne Klein – Shift Dress w/ Novelty Neckline

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Comments

  1. There is something off about the fit of this dress. Or does the model need to size up?
    Tummy section seems oddly accentuated and not in a good way.

    • Agreed. There’s something just slightly–off about this one. I think it’s the waistband making the model look stumpy. And the fabric seems kind of shiny, which is one of my sartorial bêtes noires. Like the neckline, though.

    • Yeah, the top doesn’t seem to fit the model at all – see how it sits sort of uncomfortably at the shoulders and then pulls across her chest. Either a bigger size, or a sign that this dress is better for more straight up and down body types..

      • Right. I think this dress has a lot of potential, but it’s odd that they chose this model/dress combo. It doesn’t fit her right. Hopefully it’ll be better for Kat! I think it could be really cute.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Yep. I think that they wanted her to wear a dress that fit her waist, but her bosom is bigger than the dress size that fits her waist, so it’s straining oddly. She would need a bigger size to fit her chest, but then it wouldn’t be fitted in the waist.

    • I think the model has a long torso and the waist of the dress is way too high for her. I have a long torso as well and often have this issue.

    • Yeah, this dress is not flattering at all on the model. Not exactly a great marketing tool.

    • This dress is like a low self-esteem moment in the Banana Republic dressing room.

    • DC Association :

      Plus it is so wrinkley. Iron the darn thing!

    • Could also be the model’s carriage/pose and camera angle.

    • I agree. The waistband is sitting a bit too high on the model and needs to be lower, and the skirt seems too long for her with the short torso of the dress. Also, the dress is pulling a bit across her chest. I think the dress has potential on the right body type, but it’s not being showcased at its best right now.

      Natalie
      ourstylefile.blogspot.com

    • I actually kind of appreciate sites like that where the pictures are not altered and you can see uneven seams, etc.. Since I won’t be photoshopped in real life . . .

  2. Yay! I LOVE Fruegel Friday’s!!!!! This dress is very nice, and the price is right, but I do NOT love the colors’. I perfer deeper red’s.

    Anyway, my father told me that it is NOT all about me, but every time I try to give advise to peeple, other peeple do NOT want me to do so I will only tell about things that are about me.

    Jim called this morning and he told me to look at page 3 of the NY Times. He said that he would get me this ring b/c I had said I liked it and it was on SALE. The manageing partner showed me the paper and it was a ENGAGMENT ring. I have NOT made any intentions to say I was interested in HIM giveing me any ring. FOOEY! But the manageing partner now says to tred very carfully with Jim b/c he is giveing us alot of cases.

    Also, Jim said that he can give me a HEART SCOTT RADINO filing to do. I have NO idea what that is, but the manageing partner said he would help me. I think he does not know what it is either, but he just said PISHAW, and left.

  3. momentsofabsurdity :

    You’d think they would have pressed the dress for the photoshoot…

    • It looks like a cotton sateen – which will wrinkle as you put it on, or look at it cross wise. I treat 100% cotton like linen – expect it to get mussed.

      • Yes, but for a photo shoot marketing their product, they could have steamed it while on the model!

        • How are you going to steam a close fitting garment like this without burning the model?

          And then steaming it wouldn’t solve the problem of the fabric not draping well (b/c its stiff) or the wrinkles that happen because the thing doesn’t fit well in the bodice, or the puckering happening along the seams. That’s going to happen just from wearing it.

          Basically, stiff cotton is a stupid fabric to use for clothing. Either add a little polyester so it doesn’t wrinkle as badly, or use a finer weave of cotton that drapes better.

          • I agree it is a stupid fabric to make clothing out of and I avoid it for the most part. But it is possible to steam close fitting fabric while on the person. We had it done when we were bridesmaids–the person steaming just stuck their hand up our dresses, haha! (She put a piece of fabric over her hand so she wouldn’t get burned and then followed underneath the dress while steaming the outside.)

    • This!

  4. Bike riding question. I’ve been riding my bike more since I can’t run and am thinking of trying road races to replace running races. Will I get laughed at if I use my hybrid bike in a race? I’m planning on switching out the tires for ones that are better suited for roads. Any suggestions for training for a 50 mile race? I ride about 15 miles at a time now.

    • No suggestions for training, but I don’t think you’ll get laughed at for using a hybrid. My boyfriend’s dad rides in a lot of races and also rides a hybrid. I think some people are out there just to help with motivation and have fun, just like running races.

    • Are you planning to actually race or do organized rides (which do usually keep track of the fastest times)? The former are generally shorter and flatter, and people often have “teams” to draft off of. The latter are longer, and may even have rolling starts depending on skill level and distance (often rides will have courses that are 50, 70, and 100 miles).

      I’m going to guess you mean organized rides. I wouldn’t recommend racing with a hybrid…and starting off racing if you’ve never ridden in a large group before. As for training, how do you feel after 15 miles? Are you exhausted, or do you stop because that’s the route you planned? If the former, you’re going to have to pick up your training quite a bit to increase your mileage 3+ times, but it can be done. I would recommend gradually increasing mileage. And maybe do shorter rides after work on weekdays and longer ones on weekends. If you think you can push your mileage, I would encourage you to do so on weekends to see how long you can ride until you drop (obviously terrain plays a role). The courses for most annual rides don’t change much from year to year, so you can probably find the route of the ride you’re planning from a previous year. If it’s local-ish, I would recommend trying to ride some of it so you have a feel for the terrain.

      As for your bike, I don’t think anyone will care in an organized ride. In a race, it would probably be a real impediment because your bike will be intrinisically slower…it could just lead to a nasty situation since everyone’s so packed together.

    • I am going to assume you are talking about organized rides, as opposed to racing. On organized rides, even if they are timed, the only goal is to finish. There are usually rest stops with food, water, and sports drinks. They are usually a fun, nice way to ride in new places and push yourself to do longer distances. You will see all kinds of bicycles on them and you will be fine on a hybrid. I have even seen hybrids on century (100 mile) rides and multi-day rides. Just slowly increase the distance you ride regularly and you’ll be at 50 miles before you know it. Once you are riding several hours at a time, you might want to think about bike shorts for comfort.

      If you are actually talking about racing, then you do need a road bike and you will need to spend a lot of time training for that specific type of riding, including riding in very close, fast groups.

    • I would think you will get some looks. The road bike crowd is almost as bad as the “what should I wear to the office” crowd – there are lots of opinions, but some rules are more followed than others. I think this is like a “know your office” situation – “know your race.” If it is really casual, check with the organizer and it may not be a big deal. If you’ll be the only hybrid, you’ll be frustrated with your equipment.

      It is totally possible to get a decendly priced road bike, like a Giant or Felt, for a reasonable price on craigslist or at a shop that sells used. I was shocked when I switched – from 10-12 mph on the hybrid to 15-18 mph on the road bike!

      To train, I would do at least 2 days a week on the bike – one shorter, 25 miles, and one longer – not 50 yet, but maybe 35? Every other week, add a few miles and by the time the race rolls around, you’ll be ready. I thing spinning helps a ton, but not the “at a gym” type spinning. Find a good spin club near you and do that once a week. Also, find some local “casual” group rides you can go on. Riding in a group is really different and can be a little crazy so practice is good.

      Good luck!

    • It’s a 50 mile ride in two months. Supposedly it will be a fairly flat course and there will be break points every 10-15 miles. I stopped at 15 miles because I reached my destination but felt fine.

      • I suspect you will be fine (esp with road tires), though you definitely want to get a lot of riding in so that you feel more comfortable on your bike. When I started cycling I went from 7 miles to a 50 mile ride in a couple months. Since you mention running, I suspect you’re already in decent shape.

        I think a hybrid with road tires won’t be a big deal on a ride like this. If you do decide to get a road bike, I second the suggestion to buy used. And look for quality components over bells and whistles. Depending on where you live, you should be able to get a pretty decent quality older road bike (like from the 70s) with shifters on the frame (i.e. older shimano components) for a couple hundred dollars. I would highly recommend doing that before dropping close $1K+ (even used) on a more expensive bike…and having gone from skeptic to true believer about these things, cheap road bikes really are not worth it.

      • I have a hybrid bike with racing tires and I ride on it frequently. Training rides of 25 miles, and I’ve done a few 100K rides. Its FINE. Yes many bike people are equiptment snobs but I gotta say its awesome to pass them in my $350 hybrid with skinny tires. My best biking friend and I both have crappy bikes and we are faster than our other friends with way better bikes.

    • Thanks for the advice everyone. Sounds like I have a long ride to do this weekend.

      • No advice for road races, but I’ve done tris and some organIzed rides on a hybrid and it’s been fine. Other riders tend to assume I’m not as experienced (which is fine, since I’m not), but no dirty looks or discouragement. In fact, I’ve seen plenty of the opposite – faster riders on nicer bikes being really supportive and encouraging as they pass me.

        That said, I very much want a road bike as soon as I can justify getting one! :-)

      • The other thing I would add is that road bikes are meant to be ridden longer distances and are much more comfortable for such (carbon components that absorb shock, better geometry, etc). Your butt will probably hurt a ton on a hybrid after 100 miles. Plus, you are working harder than you would be on a road bike so it will actually be more tiring to do it on the hybrid (and much more impressive!).

        I ride both a hybrid (for commuting) and a road bike (for recreational riding & organized rides) and the road bike is just so much more FUN. if you think you’re going to keep riding, I’d definitely look into it!!

    • What kind of races? and what kind of hybrid — is it more like a road bike, or more like a mountain bike?

      I’ve ridden a heavy, bumpy-tire hybrid in my first few triathlons, and let me tell you: even if no one laughs at you, it is depressing to get passed so much. Your equipment makes *so* much difference in biking speed that it’s not even fair. Some tri’s have a separate “fat tire” division in recognition of how you can’t expect to keep up with a road bike when you’re on a hybrid, even if you’re a good biker. I felt like I was flying the first time I switched to a road bike!

      That said, if you’re not trying to be competitive, there is no reason you can’t do 50 miles on your hybrid. Especially a road hybrid with smooth tires and a little bit lighter frame. No one will laugh at you, and you definitely won’t be the only one if you’ve picked a casual sort of race/ride.

  5. Anonymous :

    Hey, I’m trying to remember the name of a website for a pair of designers that make (mostly) shirts for women at work. The shirts in question are the classic oxford (mostly) and the shirts have double buttons.

    I think one of the designers is named Rebecca and I’m fairly certain they’re biased out of NYC.

  6. Hmm, I’m not much of a moto jacket person, but this is really hitting me. Have I lost my marbles?

    http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=293064012&tid=gosp1r&kwid=1&ap=14

  7. Anonymous :

    Never mind, Rebecca and Drew is their name. Apparently I just needed to write that all out.

    Also I hate the dress (above).

  8. lawsuited :

    Make-up PSA – Revlon LipButter is FANTASTIC! I don’t like wearing lipstick because I think it’s aging and drying, but lipgloss is sticky and doesn’t have much pigment.

    Last night I got Revlon LipButter in Candy Apple and Berry Smoothie – I love them! It adds a lot of dramatic colour to my lips, costs $7.99, and glides on like, well, butter!

    • Think you might be providing the push I need to get this. I’ve been meaning to try it, since for some reason I’ve been finding my lipstick too heavy for the summer.

    • Just do it! Checking the bottoms of mine, I actually got Candy Apple and Raspberry Ice. Raspberry Ice is the perfect burgundy/wine colour for fall!

    • I guess I’m the only one who was less than impressed with the lip butter? Maybe it’s just because I tried it in a pale shade (paler than my natural lip color), but I found that the color disappeared in like 5 minutes. Even though it costs an arm and a leg, I much prefer Fresh Sugar lip treatment.

      • Love the Fresh Sugar lip treatment. All the other lip stick/gloss/butter I’ve tried really dry my lips out and I end up going back to the Fresh products. They seem to be the only product I can use that don’t do this.

  9. Sydney Bristow :

    Does anyone have a heart rate monitor that they like? I’m looking for one under $100 that has the chest strap. There are just so many to choose from on Amazon and mixed reviews on each, so I’d love suggestions from anyone here.

  10. Threadjack.

    A girl I work with (at biglaw) is really smart, but she is just so insecure. One of the most unsure of herself people I’ve ever met. For example, yesterday she emailed me to say that she had sent something to her partner the day before for his review. It was due yesterday. Did I think it would be okay if she stopped by his office to remind him to look at it? Or, the support staff haven’t done this for her yet. Do I think it would be okay to go talk to them about it again? She emails me things like that all the time. She also starts questions like, “This is a stupid question, but . . .” Usually, I don’t know the answer, meaning it really isn’t a stupid question (not that I’m so smart, but if two people don’t know the answer, it’s probably not so obvious).

    Anyway, it just makes me sad. Is there anything I can do to encourage her to step it up? Is there a way to recommend NGDGTCO without being condescending or too obvious?

    • How long has she been working? I know I asked some questions like this as a first-year, when I was trying to get a feel for the workplace routines and personalities, but grew out of it as I got comfortable knowing how best to handle different roles/preferences/work styles.

      • as for actual advice, I’d first respond by asking her what her instincts were – forcing her to actually come up with an opinion herself before you provide her the easy “agree with b23″ approach.

    • When did she start? If she’s fairly new, it might just be an adjustment as she gets used to the concept that you have to manage your managers (which I hate, but is normal because of so much going on, priorities, etc..). Either way, I think you would be doing her a favour if you took her out for coffee one day and explained this to her. Something like – “Everyone thinks your work product is great! I just wanted to give you some tips on how to manage your deadlines with other people and project yourself a little bit better.” I can’t imagine that she would be offended by that. You could definitely throw in a reference to NGDGTCO as a book that you found helpful and she might want to check out.

      • She is fairly new, but I think it’s more than that. For example, a group of us is planning to go to lunch today. She has an appointment that will likely last until 12:15 (she’s had these same appointments all week, and they all last until 12:15). Rather than asking us if we could eat a later lunch, like at 12:30, she cancelled. Then I emailed her and asked if she’d like us to wait so she could join us, and she was so effusively grateful, said she hadn’t wanted to mention it, but she would love that. So *I* emailed the group to ask if everyone was okay with eating at 12:30, and of course, everyone was.

        She just seems really afraid to make herself stick out in any way, if that makes sense. That is so different than my personality.

        • Please be nice to her! She obviously sees you as a friend and a mentor. Some people are just built that way. It’s less insecurity, and more shyness. Like you said, she’s afraid to stick out and probably cares very much about following the right protocol at your firm. I say this from experience, as I am that same shy person. I look back with such gratitude on the people like you who helped me through the first few months at a new job and made it possible for me to fit in. Now that I know the ropes, I do the same for other newbies. And it’s funny, now I always ask myself, what would (my version of b23) do when I need to take an action that would cause me to “stick out.” It helps to get me out of my comfort zone in a more positive way.

          • I completely agree. This is how I am. I think part of it was how I was raised and part of it is just my shyness. I am an effective lawyer, but still have a hard time managing office politics, like the lunch thing.

          • Crabby blonde :

            Agree with the shyness/awkwardness possibility here. I’m a fantastic worker but I’m awkward and miss basic social cues a lot, so until I figure out situations I often lean on friends to tell me if I’m being weird or not. She’s lucky to have a friend in the office like you!

        • It sounds to me like she is just new and doesn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. She is probably still trying to get acclimated to the office. The lunch thing doesn’t seem that weird to me. Her personality may be different than yours, but that’s not a good or bad thing. Agree you could offer to take her to coffee or lunch if this is ongoing.

    • emcsquared :

      Does she work with the same people you work with? My first set of bosses in biglaw were manipulative perfectionists who blew up at me for ridiculous things (like printing double sided or not using the “right” font on signature pages). When I started in a new place, it was hard to adjust to bosses who didn’t sweat the small stuff, since I was used to that stuff being treated as life-or-death. I asked a lot of questions that my colleagues probably thought were dumb, but it took me a while to be comfortable making judgment calls of any magnitude.

      So…if she’s relatively new, I’d give her a few months to figure things out. If this is ongoing, take her out for lunch and figure out what’s happening. She may be insecure and needing some reassurance/boundaries, or she may be in a really bad place professionally and needing a lifeline.

      • +1

        I have been yelled at for some really ridiculous things in the course of my career and it really does erode your self-confidence and self-worth. She may just be nervous about testing the waters. I agree that if she is new, give her a little time to settle in and if nothing changes, do the lunch/chat thing.

      • Second this advice. After starting in a firm where the culture was manipulative and back-stabbing, when I lateralled over to my current firm and first received an email from a partner that said “Great job! Thank you!” I was suspicious that he was being sarcastic…

        As for your coworker, is she junior to you at all? Maybe just some friendly advice the next time you’re alone with her and let her know that everyone really likes her and to not be afraid to speak up. And if you’re close enough, maybe buy her a copy of something like NGDGTCO? (I’m not beholden to that book, but the general idea is helpful).

        • Ekaterin Nile :

          How terrible! I’m glad you have moved on to a more positive firm.

        • SoCalAtty :

          My first two firms were the same way, and it has taken me 6 months at the new firm to not let every tiny criticism completely send me into panic mode. My first two years of lawyering out of law school were pretty terrible, and I’m just now partially starting to get over it….and that was 2006-2009! Almost 4 years ago…

          • emcsquared :

            *hugs*

            I went to a therapist because of those panic attacks (after it was pointed out to me that panic attacks are *not* normal during a routine signature page collection), and it was diagnosed as PTSD. Knowing what it is and how to cope has helped me function more normally at my new firm. I don’t know that the therapy was strictly necessary – I probably would have come to the same realization at some point anyway – but it certainly expedited my return to the world of reason and I’m grateful for that.

      • Third. My self-confidence got shredded at my first firm out of law school and honestly, I have yet to fully recover.

      • Kontraktor :

        Agreed. I feel like this as well, but not only do I care a lot about protocol but I have been yelled at/disgraced/berated/really treated poorly for the dumbest things in the past, so that affects my attitude going forward, which can be hard to break.

    • Senior Attorney :

      When I was a young lawyer I was very much like this, too. One of the younger partners noticed it and told me , “It’s crazy, because the best associates are the most paranoid!” For some reason that made me feel a whole lot better, but it still took until somewhere in Year Three before I stopped being afraid of my own shadow.

      All of which is to second the advice to be patient and continue to be nice to her!

    • Anne Shirley :

      I think you should let it go for a few months. Those are just the types of questions I had when first starting my current job, and there’s no way I’m generally insecure. I think she’s probably recognized at some point in life that her instincts in office politics aren’t great, so she’s taking time to learn how you do things.

      When you can, Id answer her q, and also toss in general advice. Ie “sure stop by A’s office and remind him. In generally, it’s always fine to poke your head in As door, B likes calendar alert reminders, and C never forgets a deadline and will be insulted if you imply otherwise”. And pat yourself on the back for a good deed well done.

  11. compensation negotiation :

    TJ – I’m in the final round of interviewing with a company, and we’re discussing compensation. During the initial phone interview, I tried to side-step the question initially, but the HR person pressed for my current comp if I wasn’t wanting to say my expected comp. I told her I’d rather give what I’m looking for now, as it better reflects my skills, experience, and soon-to-be-finished relevant graduate degree. Six interviews later, and the regional HR person asked about comp, I told him the same number as the first HR rep, which he said was within range, but he then asked about my current comp. I said, once more, that I would prefer to discuss my expectations vs. current salary because it reflects the value I would bring to their organization, and he said he wouldn’t press it right now, but he would probably come back to it. I also asked about stock options, since I have only previously worked in privately-held companies with no stock options. He said stock was only available to senior management, and I said that was fine, just asking since I hadn’t had that as even a potential before.

    How do I go about getting the salary I’m worth now, not my current comp? Is there a more graceful way to side-step that question other than, “I feel my expectations reflect the value of my current skills, experience, and education”? I just worry they’re going to lowball me, and I’ll end up as another article statistic about women who don’t negotiate salary and thus my wage gap is all my fault! (not trying to start a debate about whether that is true or not, but I feel like this situation is one that contributes to that mentality)

    • Is there anything you can say about your current compensation to explain why it’s lower than you believe you deserve? For example, that it was the salary you were offered X years ago, but you’ve added A, B, C skills since then, or it’s in an industry that tends to have lower salaries (e.g., government, non-profit), or you have A, B, and C skills, which would add great value to the new employer, and therefore should be compensated, but that they were not as applicable to your current job? I think it’s stupid, btw, to fixate on current comp for the reasons you state, but if they’ve got their teeth into it and aren’t going to let go, you’ll need to throw them something.

    • hellskitchen :

      Is HR allowed to pressure you like that to share your salary?? Is that even legal? I know this isn’t the right advice but one of my SO’s work friends was interviewing for a new job and he lied about his current comp because he was confident that they wouldn’t be able to verify that. He got an offer for almost twice as he was making. His case was diff because he made a base salary + bonuses + stock options etc. so even if they did find out, he planned to say “oh i was giving you the full number, not just the base number.” I don’t think I myself would ever the chutzpah to do this and it feels really wrong, but it makes me wonder if this is another thing that creates the wage gap

      • Yes – it’s legal for them to ask, just like it’s legal for you to decline to give them the information.

        However, lying on your application materials, can get you fired, as it signals a lack of integrity.

        • hellskitchen :

          Oh, I completely agree! But it feels so wrong that the HR isn’t honoring her request to not share this info but repeatedly pressuring her. I also didn’t realize that an applicant could decline to give the info – but I guess it wouldn’t matter if the new HR dept has the ability to ask your old employer your salary and nothing prevents the employer from sharing it

          • compensation negotiation :

            So, I’m not actually sure if they can verify my salary with my current employer, but I certainly wouldn’t inflate my salary or outright lie about it. I declined to give any salary history on the application as well, so basically, the only number I’ve thrown out there is my desired salary, which I got by researching salaries at their company, salaries for those with my level of experience, starting salaries for those coming out of my degree program, and salaries for the title in the market.

          • hellskitchen :

            compensation negotiation – someone on the askamanager thread suggested that the candidate ask the HR dept what their salary range is and then they could opt out of the process if it’s too low. Is this feasible in your case? Would they give you the range for this role, perhaps in return for you sharing your salary info? That way, they can’t low-ball you, come offer time

          • compensation negotiation :

            I have asked them for the range, and they pushed back and didn’t give a range, but I’ve heard from several people in the process that they think we can make the compensation work. This makes me think that they know my number already, and have accepted it, roundabouts, which makes me frustrated that there’s been more questions about my current comp. Either I’m worth the number I threw out there and that number is within your range, or I’m not worth it or that number is way outside your range. I feel like I’ve done my part in the whole game to give the concession of naming my price first, but they haven’t really reciprocated by dropping the questions about current comp.

          • hellskitchen :

            Wonder if it’s just a paperwork formality, they need it for their records etc. Either way, I hope it works out in your favor. Much luck!

    • And just because they are asking about current comp, doesn’t mean they are going to pin you back to it. If they ask again, ask them how that fits in to their decision making metric.

      You also might look at askamanager . org to see if she’s written any blog posting on that point, or ask her as well.

      • In fact, here is something that is very much on topic.
        http://www.askamanager.org/2009/11/how-to-handle-requests-for-salary.html

        • I would be honest about what you are making now but follow TBK’s advice to explain why you don’t think this accurately reflects your value. In my experience switching jobs, the HR people actually contacted my prior employers to confirm I worked there and that the salary I stated was correct. Once you receive the offer, I’d ask to take a day to think it over and feverishly research whether or not the compensation reflects the fair value for comparable positions. Remember, once you receive the offer, they WANT YOU. The worst they can say to your efforts to negotiate a greater salary are “no.” It’s worth trying!

  12. Jacqueline :

    Could you say something like, “You’re being too hard on yourself! There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” Then maybe in a friendly way you could add something about how using those phrases might change the way others perceive her or make them less likely to take her seriously.

  13. Heading off to visit the family for the weekend. I’m looking forward to being back in New England, but I’m also dreading the trip because my mother and husband do not get along and every trip I wind up in tears. Part of it is that they each do things that exactly push the other’s buttons. For example, my husband gets very irritated by people who interrupt and who hog the spotlight. My family’s commuication styles is to all talk all over each other all the time and, frankly, my mother does have a terrible habit of making every conversation all about her (it’s really awful — you’ll be talking about something really upsetting and she’ll say “oh, I know all about that!” and then launch into a story about how the same thing happened to her only it was way worse). My mother, on the other hand, dislikes anyone she thinks is not creative (she’s a musician and an artist) and finds guests who are very quiet to be rude. My husband is probably the least artistic person alive (although he’s a terrific storyteller) and his response to my family’s overwhelming clamor is to be very quiet. My mother has never liked my husband, I think because she thinks he’s boring. (She’s thought this about all my boyfriends, even though they were all the classic, well-educated, well-mannered, respectful young men most parents would be delighted to have their daughters date. Basically, I’m Alex P. Keaton and my mom is a judgy version of Steven and Elise.) Also, my mother has very fixed ideas about How Things Should Be and anyone who deviates from this is worthy of contempt. I’m not talking big issues. I mean she hates the color brown and is contemptuous of any person who likes brown. I’m not exaggerating. My husband, on the other hand, hates to feel controlled and my mother’s insistance that things be a certain way makes him feel trapped and controlled, which makes him quiet and surly, which makes my mother contemptuous and controlling, etc. etc. Neither talk directly to the other about this but both complain to me. Both get upset with me if I defend the other. If I step back and refuse to participate, both get upset with me that I’m being insensitive to their needs. Ultimately, I tend to spend more time defending my husband to my mother and prodding my husband to do little things to accommodate my mom. My mother is almost 70 and one of her defining characteristics is her raging insecurity, which results in a giant chip on her shoulder and an approach to the world that says that she’s not going to change for anyone or any reason, that everyone spends all their time trying to make her different from how she is, and f**k them, she’s better than they are and they’re all sheep. So I figure it’s a lost cause to try to get my mother to be more accommodating to my husband. But my husband doesn’t get why he’s the one who has to do all the accommodating to my mother (I also partly feel that the younger generation should accommodate the older generation in families, but that’s another difference in how our families are). Anyway, just venting. If anyone has had a similar situation, I’d love to hear about how you handle it. Lately I think it’s been just a little better (my mother is less dismissive of my husband when we talk on the phone) I think because, despite what my mother expected, I remain very happy and very in love with my husband.

    • This sounds like a nightmare. Does you husband have to come on the trip? It seems like it would be more plesant for everyone if you went by yourself.

      • Sometimes I go alone, but if he doesn’t come, my family assumes he doesn’t like them. And my husband feels like part of being a good husband is being part of his wife’s family. I also meant to mention that I have an in-law who’s been having some issues lately. My husband’s family is VERY private while mine is VERY gossipy. My mother knows something is up and I worry she’ll press us. She’ll find it disrespectful and insulting that we don’t want to confide in her, while my husband will find it disrespectful and insulting that my mother is pressing for information about his family. Each is very hard-headed on this issue (I can see both sides, although I prefer gossipy, but that’s because it’s what I’m used to), so that’s one more headache.

        • I think I have to side with your husband here. It sounds like you are spending way too much time and energy appeasing your mom, who, from your description, sounds completely unreasonable. If your mom is intent on browbeating your husband, I don’t think it’s fair to ask him to capitulate to her demands to like brown and become creative and spill private family business. I think you have an obligation to protect him. So consider, what is the best possible outcome here? What are you trying to achieve, because it sure seems like a nice, conflict-free visit isn’t possible. Can you stay in a hotel so he can have a breather away from the family when needed? Can your husband have some time to do activities on his own while you visit with the fam? Can you lay down a boundary with your mom to say, “X topic is off-limits,” and actually enforce it? Maybe you tell your husband it’s ok to stay home and tell your family, “Husband is staying home because he’s tired of being attacked by Mom.” Sometimes honesty is the best policy. If your goal is to make everyone happy and not rock the boat, I’m sorry to say it sounds impossible.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          But it sounds like your husband doesn’t actually like your family, or at least your mother. Obviously I’m not in your shoes and don’t know the whole situation, but I wonder if it’s worse to continue having him come with you than to just give in to the fact that he doesn’t like her. Although if your husband is the one who wants to go, then that isn’t really an issue.

          It all sounds so stressful and I’m sorry you have to deal with it. Hopefully having a hotel room this time will help! Maybe you should come up with a signal that you need a time out from the situation and offer to go to the grocery store or something. Your husband will likely need breaks at some point, but don’t neglect your own mental state for theirs and take a break when you need it.

        • I wrote more below, but if your husband actually wants to be a good husband by going, then explain to him that while you understand his feelings, if he is going to go then he should try to be a bit more accomodating while there. Maybe tell him to treat it like a networking event.

          Your mother sounds a bit unreasonable but, frankly, so does your husband (and I say that as someone who also has a somewhat unreasonable SO in these situations, so please don’t take offense). There are artful ways to dodge questions. Every family is different. You’re making allowances for his family being a certain way and I assume you take that into consideration when you deal with them; he needs to do the same for yours. It’s not like his family’s customs/norms are the “correct” way to be; he shouldn’t act like they are.

          • I agree completely. And I’m somewhat surprised that so many people think the solution is to tell off Mom, who is basically being the same person she has always been and has not been outwardly horrible to the husband. And at least 50% of the problem is that the husband admits that Mom’s personality annoys him, perhaps reasonably so, and I suspect this sentiment comes across in their interactions which just worsens things.

            I’m not saying OP should not to defend DH when Mom says negative things about him, but DH needs to check himself because he is acting just as self-centered as Mom in this situation. He is the newcomer to the family, not Mom. He can manage to at least humor her, no? He should let her be her annoying self and not take it personally. Treating it like a networking event is exactly right.

            OP: How long have you been married? How long did DH and Mom know each other before then? I think some of this sort of behavior (the whining to you about DH, in particular) should decline over time as your Mom begins to accept that DH is now a permanent fixture in your, and therefore her, life.

            On a personal note, I have an annoying and somewhat passive aggressive mother in law. I would never dream of acting the way your husband is here. This is the epitome of a “kill them with kindness” situation.

          • We’ve only been married two years, and he met my family about 18 mo before we got married. It has been getting better over time, I think because, as I mentioned, my mother has figured out that, even if it’s not what she would want, my marriage is a happy one.

    • that last phrase made me smile

    • As someone who is on the receiving end of my MILs insecurity I feel it’s unfair to subject your spouse to this. It will build resentment from your spouse. I would never let anyone treat my husband poorly and I expect the same from him.

      We deal with my MIL by walking away when she starts tearing into me. We say “we can’t talk to you when you’re like this” and leave.

      • She never treats him poorly. She just asks later why he was so quiet, or why he doesn’t talk to her more. If I mention about him doing something I think is impressive she’ll say “oh” in an unimpressed way. Or she’ll ask questions that suggest that she doesn’t think whatever he’s doing is worthwhile. When I’ve asked if she dislikes him, she says he’s “fine” but she was never at all excited about our wedding. It’s more that each dislikes the way the other one is, and then complains to me about it.

        • You and I have different ideas of what being treated poorly is.

          You write: ” I’m not talking big issues. I mean she hates the color brown and is contemptuous of any person who likes brown. I’m not exaggerating. My husband, on the other hand, hates to feel controlled and my mother’s insistance that things be a certain way makes him feel trapped and controlled, which makes him quiet and surly, which makes my mother contemptuous and controlling, etc. etc.”

          This tells me that your mother is controlling, she expects everyone kowtows to her, she is contemptuous of anyone who does not agree with her.

          Personally, I wouldn’t put up with this behavior. If your husband is a guest in your mother’s house then he should be treated as an honored guest with all the rights and dignity the words “honored guest” conjures up. Likewise when she is a guest in your home he should do the same. But no one should have to put up with rudeness, ever. They don’t have to be friends but they should respect on an other; I suspect the blame lies with your mother more than your husband as I very much doubt he is walking into the situation looking for a fight, whereas your mother is accustomed to everyone orbiting around her.

          Much like the Holy Catholic Church before her, she too must learn she is not the center of the universe.

          And before anyone counters with “she’s old” remember she could live an other 30 years, do you really want to keep on playing referee for the next 30 years? How old are you? 30?40? Is this a game you want to keep playing through your sixties?

          • Anonymous 2 :

            I’m sorry but I think you are totally projecting here. This screams issues.

      • SoCalAtty :

        Agree! It is the spouse’s job to deal with their own parent. If my mom is being a problem, then I let her know (she isn’t around anymore to tell, but when she was around, despite her other issues, she would never do anything to get between us). My husband is the one that won’t stand up to his family for me, and it has built a lot of resentment. Luckily I have known his family since I was 15, so if I need to tell them to bring it down a notch I can without hard feelings.

        I’m a big one for working things out usually, but when it comes to my relationship with my husband, I have a 0 tolerance policy with my family members and they have all been respectful of that.

        I just saw your not that she never treats him poorly, but it sounds like she is almost trying to talk you out of him? I think the constant underhanded comments would drive me more crazy than open dislike.

    • I don’t really have any advice, but I am stuck in a very similar situation and sympathize. As DC Jenny suggested, I usually try to visit my mother without my husband. I hate being in the middle, and while I see both of their sides, I sort of feel like both of them are disrespecting me. To me, it is not worth it to engage my mother, and I just behave below the radar for the most part. I feel like if they both loved and respected me, they would both do their best to not engage each other.

    • I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I have some similar personalities in my family, so I am surely seeing your question through the prism of my own experience and therapy – take a grain or ten of salt. I hope you have your own hotel room – this is crucial. First, remember you are on team marriage with your husband. Stop making your husband, who sounds like he is behaving in a respectful and polite way, feel like he’s doing anything wrong. That is really unfair to him. Second, your mother sounds narcissistic and possibly manic. My mother also makes everything about her and can’t see why anyone could disagree with her obviously right opinions. As you have realized, your mother is never going to change, so stop trying to make her. You’re just frustrating yourself. And by making your husband and yourself bow to her poor behavior, you are just perpetuating that cycle, giving her the attention and control she wants and gets through her bad behavior. You need to set boundaries that protect you and your husband and follow through on them. Acknowledge to your husband that you’re on his side as long as he behaves politely and respectfully. Team marriage. Agree that if her behavior gets to be too much for either of you, you will let your mother know in a polite and firm way, warning her that you will leave if she continues to be mean. If she does continue, follow through – politely excuse yourselves (to epic drama from your mother, I am sure) for your hotel, and say you will return tomorrow when she has calmed down. Then leave. Repeat as needed. I know this is very, very hard to do, but it is essential for your mental health and your husband’s. Your current system is not working.

      • Co-sign this 100%. This is exactly how you keep unreasonable people from holding you hostage to their demands and their drama.

      • Yes, this time we are finally getting a hotel room. I wasn’t as good about this as I should have been and I now realize I should have insisted on this, for my husband’s sake, a long time ago. We’re just a guest room family and for us, it’s incredibly insulting for visiting relatives to stay in a hotel (or to be asked to stay in a hotel if we’re the ones visiting). It implies the host relative’s home is not good enough. I even had relatives stay in my tiny studio apartment in law school when they visited. But we’re getting a hotel from now on.

    • emcsquared :

      My mother isn’t that bad, but she is complicated and makes DH very nervous, which causes a similar spiral of mutually aggravating behavior.

      My dad (lord love him) offered the suggestion that DH would probably be more comfortable having a concrete task to perform when he needs to be with our family – for instance, tending the grill while we’re making dinner or minding the dogs when everyone is hanging out. It gives DH an excuse to be a bit more withdrawn, and my mom doesn’t feel the need to directly engage him because he’s “busy.” Plus, he’s helping so he gets some son-in-law points.

      Dad has also been good about proposing outings that get him and DH away from Mom – golf, a trip to the hardware store, etc. So those are my suggestions – give your husband something concrete to do, and try to find another family member who can help run interference and give your man some breathing room.

      As for picking between mom and husband – no idea. I generally try to stick up for my man, since I dragged him into my crazy family. I try to keep it gentle though – “Mom, I know you have a problem with how DH does X, but please remember that I love him and he makes me happy. I’d appreciate if you could try to see the good things I see in him.”

      Sometimes when the issue is just too little and I can’t stand the nattering, I ask him to give in. I’d probably do that on issues like wearing brown; that’s too much brain damage for me.

      • This. There’s no reason your Mom and DH need to sit and chat for hours. Let DH go to the driving range if no one else is available or find someone for him to golf with. Surely other people understand your Mom is ridiculous and want to cut your DH a break?

      • new york associate :

        This is such good advice – I echo it wholeheartedly.

      • Agree!
        This is a great idea re: other person to run interference. My dad and my husband had this issue for years – its all better now- but basically my dad kinda gave my husband the silent treatment/minimum courtesies, my husband withdrew and felt uncomfortable, etc. etc. Thank god for my brothers and my mom, who all adore my husband. It was still uncomfortable, but much nicer for my husband when my brothers would ask him to ride along to the grocery store, or beg him to look at a game on their phone, or want to show him a new website they discovered, etc. If there’s anyone else around- siblings, cousins, etc. who could help make your husband feel more comfortable or take Mom/husband out of the room for various activities/purposes, by all means, encourage that.
        hugs to you, its so hard to be in the middle!

    • I am in a similar situation with my fiance and my mother, who sounds very similar. At first, I tried your method–asking my fiance to appease my mother. It did cause resentment between myself and my fiance: he would be angry that instead of standing up for the two of us, I was letting her get her way, which ultimately enabled the behavior and ensured that it kept happening.

      Recently, I’ve realized that it isn’t fair to myself or my fiance to keep trying to cater to my mother’s insecurities. This might be weird (and may not work for everyone), but what has helped me immensely is just to not take it seriously at all–as in, when she says something rude, I just roll my eyes and don’t even respond. It’s almost become an in-joke between my fiance and I. Sometimes I even, seriously, just laugh in her face about it. When we don’t become upset by it, she realizes she’s lost her power over us, and so she nitpicks less. It embarrasses her when we laugh instead of being seriously affected, especially when other people are around, who almost always laugh with us.

      Also, as some other people said, it is critical to stay somewhere other than with your parents. My mother picks at little things, like what we’re wearing, etc., but if we just show up she can’t really do anything about it.

      Hope it works out for you! It’s a really stressful dynamic.

    • I have somewhat been in your situation. Most of my friends and family are very outgoing, vivacious, artsy/hippy types and my SO tends be very reserved when not in his own element (fine with his own friends, don’t you know it – ugh). This has led to more than a few uncomfortable weekends, to say the least.

      The way I handle it now (though it doesn’t always work 100%) is I say to him well in advance that it is important to me that he act a certain way because whether he likes it or not, his behavior reflects on me and our relationship and I would hate for anyone to think anything negative about it, us, him, etc., and whether it’s reasonable on their part to think this is besides the point. And I explain that this means that he has to engage in a certain amount of small talk, and to smile, and to do X, Y, Z and etc., and that I will make it up to him for his misery (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

      As I said, it doesn’t always work. But it has markedly improved the situation. And at a certain point, you just have to accept that it is what it is, and you are not going to get upset about it. But I think explaining to him that you want your family to be happy for you and that this means he has to reach out a bit could help. Tell him that while, yes, they can be obnoxious about certain things, they are still your family and he has to deal with them.

      As I said, it’s a struggle. And, if he doesn’t have to come on the trip, I would leave him home. That’s my other solution.

    • Have you ever just told your mom to knock it off? I mean I get trying to be respectful but if she wants to dump all over your hubby bc he doesn’t fit her definition of perfect? Maybe something along the lines of Mom, you’re entitled to your opinion but us sheep like our lifestyle just the way it is, so if you want to keep pick on Hubs we can just head back to the hotel. We’d really rather have fun here with you, so how about we talk about X.

    • Thanks for the advice everyone. And for the support! AIMS and KK, I agree with you. I think my mother is a difficult person to be around sometimes, but she isn’t directly mean to my husband. What irks him mostly is that she interrupts people, and that she likes to call attention to herself. My husband is very hard-headed about what is and is not rude, and he believes she is objectively very rude. He also tends to think his family does things “right” and my family is just a stereotypical northeastern group of rowdy Irish (we are, and I love it). My mother totally picks up on my husband getting irritated by her. Meanwhile, my mother *is* irritating. And she’s dismissive of my husband behind his back, which is not okay (I tell her off for this, and I do NOT pass along what she says to my husband). Anyway, I’ve told him he has 100% cover from me this visit any time he wants to get away. I’ve also apologized for not giving him enough cover in the past. My parents divorced when I was very young, so I never really saw how couples cover for each other at the in-law’s. Let’s hope that the hotel plus the chance to get away lead to the first trip where I do not cry and my husband and I do not wind up fighting.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        From another rowdy Irish family, I totally understand and I am also loud and interrupt and talk over people and I’m working on stopping it. I also always think I’m right. :)

      • If it’s any solace, in-law tensions are very common (as you can tell from the responses). Good luck this weekend!

      • Anonymous :

        Um, I can’t refrain from pointing out that a person who cares so deeply about what is and isn’t rude doesn’t have the option, for himself, of then being rude in response. Miss Manners would never go for that!
        I think a frank discussion with your husband is in order: I agree with you that my mom is rude, attention grabbing, and inconsiderate of others.
        So what is your plan going to be for being with a rude, attention grabbing, and inconsiderate woman for a weekend? How are you going to handle your irritation and disgust? I would love it if you would decide to be kind, considerate, and generous, and if you’d come up with a plan for some things you can do when you feel yourself reaching your boiling point.
        . For my part, I’ve decided I”m not going to be someone who talks behind other people’s backs. That means I’m not going to talk about you with my mother, and if she pressures me to talk about your family, I’m going to say, I know it doesn’t sound right mom, but I’m not going to talk about that. Their story is something they want to keep among their own family. I’m not going to betray confidences just to make my mom feel good about herself. This is going to be hard for me, but I’ve decided I’m not going to be a gossip. I want to be driven by loyalty, consideration, faithfulness, and kindness — not pressure and drama.
        So, what’s your plan? What are you going to do when you can feel irritation and disdain for my mom rising up? How will you handle that? What kind of man are you going to be?

  14. TJ- my apologies if this has been covered here before, I am relatively new (and would love someone to point me to a thread if this has been discussed). What are items you ladies replace annually or semiannually? I tend to find a couple of new white t-shirts (ugh yellow deodorant stains…and I’m not much of a sweater), a black cardigan, and summer sneakers (like my fave Chuck Taylors). I have a pretty casual job but imagine many of you replace heels every fall. I tend to hold onto things forever and am looking for permission to replace and discard the old.

    • Emily Elizabeth :

      Good question. I’d be curious to hear answers, too.

      I am not a very good shopper and realize that certain items of clothing are in desparate need of replacement long after I should have replaced them.

      I replace the following on a regular basis (probably not annually, but with more regularity than anything else in my wardrobe:
      - Black work shirts (cardigans or layers shirts) once they turn grey. The “black-grey” ones get relegated to non-work wears.
      - I don’t even buy white shirts or button downs anymore b/c of armpit stains. I have over-achieving sweat glands. But I used to replace these more frequently than annually.
      - Underwear and bras
      - I probably add a new cardigan or blazer twice a year and, again, relegate my oldest, pilliest ones to weekend wears only.

    • emcsquared :

      Cardigans and sweaters get replaced if they are pilled, faded, smelly or shrunken; they are immediately taken out of rotation and then I do a big re-stock once a year (BR during the holidays, woot). I also swap out work shirts seasonally (I wear suits and like to wear t-shirts underneath) so I can have the “cool” colors, but I usually buy these at Target.

      Undergarments – replaced annually. Suits – replace every 3-4 years or when they start looking unprofessional. Pants – I replace when they start to get thin in the rear. Jackets – apparently never?

      Jeans start as work jeans, are demoted to Saturday jeans when the bottoms start fraying, and are demoted to “early morning dog walk” jeans when they start tearing (but only if they are comfortable – otherwise they are repurposed or donated).

      I’m terrible about wearing shoes for too long; I read that tennis shoes should be replaced at least every 12-18 months because the plastics begin breaking down even if you don’t wear them. Having said that, I still own shoes that I bought in 2003 and wear frequently.

      • Can you speak more of “repurposing” jeans? Would love to know as I have a stack of old ones and would love some creative ideas!

        • cornellian :

          dog bed stuffing, insulation in an outside wall, rag-making, and shorts are hte best ways I’ve found to repurpose.

        • emcsquared :

          I have:
          made a quilt out of cut-up old jeans
          cut the legs off, tied knots and given them to the dog as toys
          cut them into strips to use as tie-downs in my hatchback car
          made shorts/bags/skirts/plastic bag holders/impromptu coasters
          used them as packing materials during moves

          and then rag-making of course – always the need for dog-mess rags in our house!

    • Pro-Stylist-Lady :

      I just had a local stylist come help me do a closet clean, which I HUGELY advise–my brain starts to freeze after about five items. To have someone ELSE, an EXPERT, come say whether sometime fits, whether an item (though it’s five years old) is still stylish, etc. was REALLY helpful in deciding what to keep and what to let go of. One thing she had me get rid of a lot was t-shirts and cotton work dresses that had started to pill. Seems obvious, but I needed someone to tell me. I had her permission to shave (just like your legs, with a razor) one or two that still had good color and style otherwise (and obviously would just wear them on non-big-meeting days).

      • Pro-Stylist-Lady: I’m interested in hearing more about your experience with a stylist. I’ve been considering having someone come in to help me in exactly this way but don’t know anyone who’s actually had it done before, so have no way of knowing whether it would actually be helpful or is something better left to the Real Housewives.

        • I did it too, and do so on a regular basis. The first time she went through all my clothes and made me throw away about half of them. Then we went shopping. Then we made up outfits with the new and old clothes. Now, at least twice a year, sometimes more, she comes back and looks through my clothes so see if I have bought anything on my own and if I get to keep it or not, and to help me make up outfits, and then we make a list of what I need. Then — here’s the best part — she shops (without me) and puts stuff on hold and then I meet her at the stores, try on the clothes and decide what to buy. Then if we need to, we do another session back at home to make up outfits again. Before I did this I looked positively frumpy and now I am far better. I still have much to learn (which is why I come here — plus I like the comments), but I am a lot better at knowing what looks good. I don’t try to make up my own outfits all the time but when I do they look okay.

    • I replace clothes when they get holes or otherwise cease to be wearable. As for shoes, I make every effort to repair the ones I have before acquiring new ones; for heels, it’s so easy and cheap to get them re-heeled, I can’t imagine chucking them every time the heel started scuffing. I’ve gotten flats and boots re-soled as well, for pennies on the dollar a new pair of equivalent quality and/or utility would cost. It’s important to me not to just chuck something as soon as it stops being “perfect,” for reasons both budgetary and environmental.

      For tips on getting out the gucky yellow deodorant stains, see this: http://thehairpin.com/2012/07/ask-a-clean-person-pits-revisited#more and hay presto, no need to replace your white t-shirts annually!

      • Yep, I am a fan of getting my nicer sweaters re-woven when holes appear.

        • Does a regular tailor do this? I have a black wool BR cardigan that is perfect that I bought several years ago. It has two holes along the neckline, and I was about to throw it away!

          • Get thee to a yarn store, find some black yarn that more or less matches, and darn the holes! No need to throw away a perfectly good sweater.

          • Nonny’s right, it can be fixed (depending on how fine the knitting is, etc.) but you’ll need someone to show you how to catch the loops in the knit so it doesn’t run. Anyone who is an experienced knitter should be able to do it. I fixed a hole in my friend’s sweater while I was visiting her and you couldn’t see it at all. It was a fine knit so I could use thread.

      • Wow…is there anything white vinegar does not remove? It was the only thing that worked on the hard water stains in my toilet (with baking soda).

      • On the topic of environmental…what do you do with underwear and bathing suits when ready to discard? Most charities don’t accept them for sanitary reasons (can’t say I blame them) but I hate the thought of them going into a landfill. I have bags of old bathing suits and underwear in my closet and no idea what to do with them!

        • I take them to textile recycling. I don’t actually know what they do with them, but they have a booth at the Greenmarket, so it’s easy to drop stuff off.

    • I need to work on being less of a disposable shopper, but I usually replace the following once a year:

      - basic t-shirts
      - basic tanks
      - black and grey cardigans
      - black flats (usually semi-annually)
      - add 2 pairs of pumps, get rid of 2 old pairs of pumps
      - add 2 pair of jeans, get rid of 2 pair of jeans
      - add 2 pairs of workout pants, get rid of 2 pairs of workout pants

      • Second on the black flats…forgot about those! I beat them to death. I probably get two new pairs of jeans every year but have trouble parting with the old, even the ones that have been downgraded to “not in public” ones…

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Oh yes, me too! I feel like I’m constantly buying new black flats because I’ve completely destroyed another pair.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I tend to replace cardigans, camis, socks, and underwear fairly regularly (annually or semi-annually). Other items stay in my closet until they are worn out or no longer fit. Then they stay in there until I manage to toss them, but that is an entirely different issue.

    • Ooh, I’m also working on overcoming this issue. What’s helped me is to commit to a quarterly closet evaluation. For example, I’ll probably do my summer purge during Labor Day weekend while it’s still fresh in my mind that I didn’t wear X garment because of Y issue. Otherwise, it’s too easy for me to hold onto things and rationalize that I’ll wear them next year or when I lose 10 pounds. (Which almost never happens.) Also, I’ve found that it’s way less overwhelming to do this quarterly because I feel no obligation to focus on anything other than the season that’s just ending & coming up.

      Stuff I update every fall:
      - Socks. I am really hard on my dressy socks and can’t stand overly worn-out/holey ones.
      - Bras and undies. I’m finally a believer in wearing nice undergarments. Even though I’m only a 34B, a good bra really does make a difference.
      - Layering tees/tanks. After about a year, most of my tees are too worn for work wear, but I still wear them around the house or under a cardigan for casual wear.
      - Cardis, in seasonal colors.
      - I am not a shoe girl at all (fussy feet), but I try to buy at least one new pair of work-appropriate shoes or boots. I like to be prepared as soon as the weather turns.
      - I try to get rid of summer skirts and dresses that are faded or just not looking sharp anymore.
      - Jeans. I hold onto the ratty ones for way longer than I should, but I use them for wearing around the house, gardening, etc.

      If I remember correctly, Angie on you look fab has some good tips for closet purges and a guideline for how often to restock basics. If only I could get my husband to spend some time getting rid of the 5,000 t-shirts he never wears …

    • I’ll take, things my dog has destroyed for $100 Alex.

      Otherwise, what is this “replacing and disposing of the previous items” you speak of? I just hoard all the old things, for the zombie apocalypse when old, tattered jeans will keep me alive.

      • BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

        Side note: I was having nightmares about a zombie apocalypse after watching Walking Dead, so DH prepared a Zombiepocalypse Plan so I would feel better. That’s real love.

    • I tend to only replace things when they wear out, so don’t really have a schedule. I do tend to throw out and replace 1 bra a year, and throw out and replace 3 or 4 prs of undies per year, but other than that replacement is strictly on an as needed basis.

    • I replace all white t-shirts and tanks every summer. I wouldn’t trust my own ability to detect a shabby specimen if I’m dressing or packing in a hurry, so prefer to rely on everything in the drawer being of the same relatively recent vintage.

  15. So I have a couple button-up shirts that I really like EXCEPT they have these pockets on the chest that are unflattering. I am larger-of-chest, and I really wish those pockets weren’t there. Has anyone ever removed pockets on a shirt with a seam ripper? It seems like it *should* work, but I’m hesitant.

    • It probably depends on the stitching and fabric. I unstitched an annoying ribbon appliqué from a t-shirt, and it worked out okay. I could see the stitch holes at first, but after washing and sort of “massaging” the area, the holes are pretty much imperceptible. Not sure how it would work for woven rather than knit fabric. /unhelpful

      But I want to say, I am intrigued by this idea. I’ve bypassed many a shirt with b**b pockets and never though about just removing the pockets (I’ll put this in the same category as re-hemming a high-low skirt to be one length – brilliantly obvious!). I hope others weigh in!

    • emcsquared :

      It depends on the fabric and how big the needle was when they stitched the pocket on. If there are small holes left behind in the fabric, you can usually steam them to close them up (quilting trick). If there are large stitch holes that don’t close, you could just have the pocket sewn back on and be no worse than you were before.

    • If the shirts are cotton, go for it. There will be tiny holes once you remove the threads, so give the shirt a wash and an iron. If the holes are still visible, you can use the seamripper to “massage” the fibres around the holes closer together to fill in the holes.

      • Just be careful taking out the stitches. Pockets are usually over-stitched on the upper corners to reinforce them against stress of use, and and it be easy to rip the fabric as you are trying to rip out the stitching.

    • Thanks, guys. I’m going for it. (They’re made of a lightweight 100% cotton.)

  16. Blonde Lawyer :

    Anyone else having problems with Chrome lately? I have the latest updates but I can’t get Lexis Nexis to work properly on it now. The page will load but the box in the middle that displays the case won’t. Also, every time I open Chrome and type in a web address I have to refresh it to actually get it to load. It is happening on both my work and home computer so I don’t think it is a virus. Anyone else?

    • I’m running Chrome on my work computer right now and haven’t had any issues. I feel like I’ve had that happen to me, though, but can’t remember how I fixed it or if it fixed itself.

      I am also aware that this is probably the least helpful comment ever posted on this site. Sorry!

    • e_pontellier :

      I had to sit through a Lexis seminar yesterday, and the rep said that Lexis doesn’t work on Chrome. period. No helpful advice at all, but thought I’d at least share.

    • My biggest problem with chrome is that shockwave flash causes it to crash all the time. I can’t figure out why. I’ve partially transitioned back to firefox for this reason, which is unfortunate because (1) I really love Chrome otherwise and (2) it seems like such a silly problem, it’s not like shockwave is a new thing.

      But my problems aren’t new. For your lexis problem, it could be that they made changes to the website so that now it is having problems with chrome. There have always been a few websites that just are not compatible with chrome.

  17. phillygirlruns :

    last day of work before my staycation. i feel like i have a lot to catch up on/get done before i leave, but it’s hard to get moving.

    not helpful: 4.5hours of sleep last night, then up at 5:30 to get to the gym by 6:30. i recently started two-a-days to train up for some crossfit and strongman competitions and i do NOT know how you morning exercisers do it. i feel like i don’t really wake up until i’m almost done working out.

  18. Does anyone else watch Project Runway? Last night they had a team challenge, to create a line for the working woman. The clothes were so inappropriate for any office I’ve ever worked in, I had to laugh. I guess if you work at a fashion magazine, they would work. The winning design was a pretty blue dress, which was cute except for the neckline, which was just bizzare. Kind of a cowl neck that stuck up around the neck? It reminded me of a flying saucer for some reason. Also, lots of those big exposed zippers, and one dress with a cut-out in the back. The judges argues a little over whether the cut-out was appropriate, but the consensus seemed to be it was fine to show a little skin. Anyway, I thought they needed an advisor from this website to talk to them about what’s office-appropriate. I was just shaking my head.

    • I haven’t been watching this season (they’re building up on my DVR), but whenever they’ve done this, the clothes have always been fairly to wildly inappropriate for I think “normal” workplaces. I think entertainment and fashion workplaces are just different — I mean, they can wear shark shorts to client meetings!

    • I totally agree. Though I was thinking that maybe if you unzipped the blue dress a little and flipped the collar down it might work.

      I like the blue and black color blocked dress, but I thought it was hilarious that they were even discussing whether it would be okay for someone in finance or law to wear a dress with a triangle cut out in their mid back. Heidi must hire some interesting lawyers and accountants if she thinks that’s okay. But how on earth did the Marie Claire editor think those big poofy shoulders were okay for a finance professional?

    • I had the exact same thought watching it. If only the color blocked dress did not have the cut-outs in the back, I could see it working. What I really couldn’t understand was the one-shouldered print top that everyone thought would be appropriate for a 50 year old in the office.

    • About the only thing from both of those collections that I thought would work was the outfit with the printed skirt (which may have been too short though, don’t remember), white/cream blouse, and black blazer.

    • The whole time I was watching last night I kept thinking to myself, “I wonder if anyone else from [this site] is watching!?!?!” because basically everything the judges had to say was crazy!
      Jacket with giant shoulders? Exposed lower back? Enormous cowl neck? Give me a break!
      And of course I wondered what everyone here would have to say about the plethora of exposed zippers… :)

    • LadyEnginerd :

      Yep. Especially that awful pleated pant and one shoulder print top. That’s a Nana on vacation in Florida look, not one that projects any kind of professional image. Jeans and a t-shirt are more professional than low back cutouts too low to cover with a jacket, IMHO.

      I think Heidi learned about work attire from some combination of Aly McBeal and the dead extras on CSI Miami.

    • PharmaGirl :

      I saw most of last night’s episode and it was the same as every other ‘work wear’ episode they have ever done on the show. The clothes are never appropriate for an actual office, unless you work in fashion. Same goes for their workout/sportswear challenges in past seasons… totally inappropriate for real people. But I guess that’s the point of fashion, right?

    • YES
      My mother called me after that episode, and we cackled over their idea of the illusive animal, the “working woman”.

      This challenge also had a photo shoot component — one team styled the three models around a desk, one sitting and the others standing beside her. I almost died when Micheal Kors pointed to the sitting model, actually in a suit jacket, “see, she even looks like the boss!”
      Good to know that a sharp blazer and minions are the only thing standing between me and the corner office.

  19. Question on something I can never get right — What’s the rule on words that should be capitalized in a title / heading vs. not? Is there a consistent rule for little words like Of, From, For, And, To… etc?

  20. Mountain Girl :

    Gap used to have the Perfect Shirt. That was my favorite white button up shirt ever and it came in talls (which is essential). I don’t see it any their website anymore but they do have a Perfect Oxford. Is it the same thing? What about the BR sateen button up?

    • cornellian :

      I don’t remember the perfect shirt, but the perfect oxford works well on my mysteriously long-torsoed 5’4 self. I actually often wear tall tops if I can find them… and then hem my petite pants.

  21. What do you guys consider to be “curvy”? Specifically, what difference between waist and hips becomes “curvy”? And does what size you are matter? I ask because I’m a smaller size and most people probably would not consider me curvy, but I’ve realized the j.crew pencil skirts don’t fit me that well or look great on, and those are supposed to be meant for a straighter figure.

    • This is an interesting question! I have a ~11″ difference between the smallest point on my waist and the widest point on my hips, but the difference comes more from b*tt than my actual hips. I’m also long-waisted, so there’s a really gradual expansion between the small and wide parts. So, looking at me from the front, I don’t look *that* curvy, but from the side, you can see where the extra inches come from. There’s generally a pretty big gap in the waistband of my pants, but still pulling a little across the hips. Dresses can be problematic because I also have a pretty big bust. I’m almost exactly the measurements of a classic hourglass figure, which, as I understand it, is definitely considered “curvy”.

    • I don’t know. I think I would consider myself curvy — my waist is much, much smaller than my hips — but the JCrew skirts work really well for me. On the other hand, “the skirt” looked like crap on me and yet everyone says how it’s great for curvy figures. I think there is no meaningful concensus on these things. People are “curvy” in different ways and I think that has more to do with what works and doesn’t. For example, my waist is very narrow compared to my hips but my hips themselves are not super curvy, which is probably why the Jcrew skirt works; a good friend of mine, meanwhile, has a wider waist but much curvier hips and the clothes that look good on her don’t always look good on me, and vice versa.

    • I think the standard measurements are a 10″ difference between the waist and hips/chest. I have about a 12″ difference between my waist and hips and do well in “curvy” styles. Straight styles are probably best for women with an 8″ or less difference.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I also would define “curvy” as a 10″+ difference between hips and waist.

      It really bothers me that “curvy” is also used as a euphemism for overweight. I like that it’s a positive term, but it’s just so darn confusing.

      • As an overweight woman who is also “curvy” in the actual, definitional sense (11″ difference in my hips v. waist), I agree.

        I’m glad that those of us with some extra have a positive term, but it makes it difficult to determine what the term actually MEANS.

    • cornellian :

      I get called “curvy” sometimes, but I think it’s because I have athletic/generous upper legs and butt. I have almost no waist. I think it’s a pretty meaningless term, but I think in terms of clothes fitting, it has to do with butt to waist ratio.

  22. Anon bc this is embarrassing.

    A friend popped up on the people you may know thing on my FB. I’m apparently and old woman and can’t figure out how to add him. Through some easy google-fu I found his email. Do I shoot an email and say hi (explaining the situation above) or does that sound like i’m some crazy person who is trying to hook up (no, not the case).

    • Zero judgment and lots of love, but I would find an email saying “I really want to add you on facebook and I tried but it didn’t work so I got your email” strange. However, an email saying “I was just thinking about [wherever you know him from] and thought it’d be nice to reconnect” would be nice.

      • Thanks! I was struggling with the creepy sounding email, but the actually nice intent. Promise I’m not a weirdo, just apparently can’t manage my technology appropriately.

        • Senior Attorney :

          On Facebook, just click on his name, and you should get a little button to click that says “add friend” or “send friend request” or something similar.

          • I think the link is toward the middle/right side of the page under the main picture if they have timeline (where there’s a big picture across the top).

  23. Migraine Sufferer :

    Just a quick Huzzah! for me. I started Weight Watcher’s a week a go and have dropped 2 pounds. not much- but I still feel awesome. :)

    • 2 pounds per week is the top of the healthy weight-loss range, no? Continue to feel awesome!

      • PharmaGirl :

        I had the same weight loss experience immediately upon joining weight watchers… 2 pounds per week several times. I even got a warning message from WW that I was losing too much too fast. There were a few weeks when I lost nothing as well so it turns out okay.

      • Double Hoo :

        If the OP has changed her diet a lot, it’s not unusual. I recently started eating a lot more paleo-style and drastically reduced grains/sugar, and I dropped about 5lb in my first week. It was probably water weight or bloating, and I’ve since stabilised at about a 1lb/week loss. I was in the 130s to begin with, but I understand that people starting from a higher weight can expect a much bigger initial weight loss.

        Congrats and keep it up, Migraine Sufferer!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Woohoo! Congratulations! How are you liking the program so far?

    • Go you! Enjoy that ooh-my-pants-fit-better-already feeling, and keep it up!

    • This sounds like I’m disordered, and I swear I’m not, but I was losing weight with WW very successfully, then had to sign off because I got pregnant. Not only have I not gained a ton of weight while pregnant (yet) because of the good eating habits I got used to on WW, I also am looking forward to going back on it after the baby is born. I felt so successful and in control and happy on it. I had never felt that way about weight loss before. I’m a total WW believer!

  24. I’m having the worst 2 months where I feel like nothing is going right and stress keeps piling up. It all started with bf of 2+years getting a good job offer in another state, which given the distance and the circumstances would have meant us breaking up. After 2 tortuous weeks of him mulling over whether to take the job offer – he kept going back and forth and was really torn and admitted that it was the hardest decision he’s ever had to make – he ended up turning it down and deciding to stay here, partially because of me, which made me really happy and relieved that maybe we things were getting really serious with us (we had been talking about marriage a bit). During this time, my sibling had a really awful fight with the spouse which turned into a sudden separation and they will be getting a divorce. I’m really close with my sibling and have been trying to be really supportive. But all of this has caused me to have to a lot spend less time with my bf. And with all these family emotions, I’ve also been taking it out my bf getting mad at him about little things here and there, since I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed and stressed. I want him to comfort me, but when he is unable to, I get annoyed and apparently pick silly fights about other stuff. Anyway, last night we had a huge fight over the phone and it ended with him wanting to take a break from us because as he says we have no common interest so talking to me is boring (as opposed to hanging out with his friends where they can talk about music and sports (which is apparently all he wants to talk about)). I agree that our main interests are different, but I think we also have other things in common. After our fight, I was able to sleep much last night and kept replaying conversations and things that I wanted to say to him. He’s coming over briefly tonight so we’ll have some time to talk, but I dont know what to say. There’s so much I want to say, but I’ve been so stressed with my family stuff too, that I am unable to form coherent thoughts, but I feel like this is my only chance to help him see that we are really good together. What should I say?

    • Always a NYer :

      So sorry to hear you’re going through this, hugs. No real advice but write down all you’re feeling and if need be, have a list of things ready to discuss with him. I know that when I’m stressed having a list helps keep everything in perspective and I won’t forget something I want to discuss. Good luck!

    • You need to be completely honest with him. This other thing happened that is making you really stressed and not interacting with him in positive ways, which is making you both feel bad about the decision he just made. Also, saying to him that all of the stress is causing you not to be able to talk about it coherently may be important, too. Lay out how you’re feeling and how it’s changing your interactions with him.

      As for the not having stuff to talk about, that’s kind of hard to address. My SO and I don’t have a lot in common on the surface (I’m into sports, he’s not, he’s a Republican, I’m not), but we do talk a lot about current events and our take on them. And he asks me about sports stuff because he knows I’ll know way more about the details than he will. Can you find some common ground?

      Good luck with this. Not an easy situation to be in.

    • lawsuited :

      1. DH and I do not have common interests, but we do have common values and goals and we love each other very much. We’ve been going strong for 7 years, so I don’t think you have to be the same to be a great partnership.

      2. I get stressed, overwhelmed, sad, mad, etc. and take it out on DH. You don’t need to apologize for being stressed, overwhelmed, sad, mad, etc. but you might need to apologize for taking if out on your BF. If you can say, “Look, I know I’ve been picking fights lately, it’s because I’ve been going through some family problems, not because I really care about the silly stuff we’ve been fighting about. I’m sorry for taking it out on you, and I think it would help if you could support me through some of this.”

      3. It may well be the case that your BF wants to support and comfort you but doesn’t know how. Some men aren’t naturally good at comforting, and certainly it takes time for a particular man to figure out the best way to comfort a particular woman. You might have to tell your BF what makes you feel comforted.

  25. Yay you!! (Which reminds me, I should go look for the WW group of ‘ r e t t e s ….We have a group, right?)

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