Wednesday’s TPS Report: Cuillin Dress

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

Cuillin DressThis is an unusual dress — and yet, it reminds me of Akris’s scene-printed dresses from a few seasons ago. I like the relaxed “fit and flare” style, the ruching at the top, and the heavy silk. With a dark blazer (navy, let’s say) and a skinny patent leather belt (perhaps navy as well, maybe a bronze), I think this would play simply as an abstract, slightly stripey print at the office. The dress was $248, but is now marked to $129.95 in regulars and petites. Cuillin Dress


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  1. Tj – What shoes do you wear with a navy suit? I currently wear black pumps but it feels off somehow. Nude-for-me seem too flashy for my conservative firm with a dark suit but black isn’t right either. I’m thinking dark red or brown… Thoughts?

  2. I normally love Akris dresses but this one is terrible, IMHO. Not sure whether I hate the colour combo or the weird stripes or the thickness of the stripes, or all of these.

  3. This dress reads very Tommy Bahamas to me.

    On another note, did anyone catch Michelle Obama’s speech last night? Loved the periwinkle nail polish she was rocking!

    (And on a bipartisan note, I thought Anne Romney’s red dress was great.)

    • Love M.O. — what a lady! CBS reported that she wrote that speech herself.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      And her J.Crew pink suede shoes. I thought about buying them for a split second, and then I remembered I hate the tactile feel of suede.

    • I thought the speech did the job, but it annoyed me how she would repeat words as though trying to figure out what to say when in fact the whole speech was prepared and teleprompted. For example, she would start some of her sentences, “If- if- if-,” as in, “If our troops are sacrificing for us, we can give up a little for them, too.” (Sentence invented.) I did that when I was younger because I thought it was cute, and then my mom told me to stop because I was driving her nuts. Also, I hate when Americans articulate the “t” in “often,” and MO did that multiple times. (I’m sure this is a point of contention on c-rette, and perhaps in the UK/Canada it is more common, but I (in the U.S.) always hear it as someone trying to sound fancy.) Even more superficially, I loved her dress, hated that piece of hair that was going the wrong way on my left/her right side. And while I’m glad she’s helping her husband get reelected, I wish she could discuss more controversial topics. Maybe after 2016 (or 2012, depending on how this election goes), she can reveal her professional side and not just her mother/wife/daughter/sister/friend-of-children-and-veterans side.

      Other speakers — healthcare reform lady was great, so was NARAL head; ex-Republican woman was not the most well-spoken, but I can see why they invited her; San Antonio mayor had the better speech but MA governor gave the better delivery; Lily Ledbetter was fine (although I listened to her accent primarily). I liked how there were minorities and openly gay people and women under 50 at the convention, and it wasn’t hard for the TV cameras to find them. I also spotted some Sikhs, Muslims, and ultra-orthodox Jews in the audience. This was a very big and welcoming tent. I think the week has been very well orchestrated so far, and suspect that Haim Saban’s NYT op-ed (about Obama’s support for Israel) was intentionally published the morning after the first night of the convention to make that big, important point during but not as a part of the convention. To my mind, the whole point of this week is to articulate Obama’s accomplishments and positions, and the fact that they are clear and identifiable, vs. Romney’s nebulous/malleable/shifting positions.

      Or if you just wanted my opinion about her appearance, yes, she looked fine :)

      • I actually think the repeated words might have been due to the volume in the room – like she would start a sentence, realize it was too loud for people to catch the beginning of it, and then repeat herself till she thought she was heard and people were settled down. Just my opinion though as a TV viewer; I wasn’t there.

        • That was my sense, too, that she was partially trying to cut the applause a bit shorter so she could get through the dang speech and partially waiting for everyone to shut up. I agree that it was a little distracting.

        • Nah, I’m convinced it was a rhetorical device. Helps her sound less practiced, more extemporaneous, and more “real.” Purposeful for sure. I think she overused it though.

      • It wasn’t hard for the TV cameras to find the minorities, but there was nothing organic or unscripted about that. It’s akin to those “candid photos” of a rainbow of minorities studying together on the campus quad that you see in every single college admission brochure.

        On the speech: I was flipping through, so I saw a large portion of Mrs. O’s speech but not much else. I thought she delivered the speech very well. I forgot how good of a speaker she is. I think she looked nice, though the outfit wasn’t my personal taste- with the pink pumps, it was a bit too Elle Woods for my preference.

        As for effectiveness, I’m politically independent and have no particular affinity or animosity towards the Obamas. The speech did remind me that I like Michelle O. because she comes across as competent, smart, and polished. The content of the speech was pure contrived party propaganda, nothing interesting or worthwhile, but that’s to be expected at the party convention.

        • Divaliscious11 :

          Actually, as someone who has spent a lifetime of being in those photographs (Private elementary, New England prep school, Hysterically white undergrad vs Historically black college and well as professional school – which were all VERY orchestrated, because there were so few of us), I’d say the diversity at the DNC was not orchestrated. Those multi-racial/cultural people reflect the make-up of the party.

          So no, it was not hard to find them because we are at all levels of the party, not because it was orchestrated.

          I guess I am also not sure how telling a story about the lengths/challenges your parents went through to get you educated is party contrived propoganda, particularly as she wrote her own speech, but if you say so…..

          lol – this made me think of one year when we were taking an all school picture when I was in 7th grade. All the black/brown student stood together. Why? Because we could find ourselves – just look for the chocolate chip in the sugar cookie!

      • “I wish she could discuss more controversial topics.”

        She mentioned gay marriage and a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her health several times…those topics are about as controversial as it gets.

        • “a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her health” – sucks that that’s considered controversial.

          I’m pro-gay marriage, but the being able to make my own choices about my own health hits a bit closer to home.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I’m a fan of hers, but that little piece of hair going the wrong way was bugging. I was so impressed with her self control to not try to smooth it down, as I don’t think I would have been able to resist. She must have felt it flapping every time she moved her head. Hairdresser fail. And I agree that she had to keep restarting her sentences until the crowd would quiet down.

      • I noticed the “of-ten” thing too!

      • Am I doing something wrong? I’ve always pronounced the “t” in often. Maybe it is a Midwestern habit, but never thought it sounded pretentious.

      • Wait, how else would you pronounce often?

        I’m a Chicagoan like the FLOTUS, so maybe it’s a regional thing? But it certainly isn’t “trying to sound fancy” – it’s how the word is spelled.

        • with a silent “t” – so “offen.”

        • Soften(!)

          All words with a silent “t.”

          My assumption when I hear someone articulate it in “often” is that this person is trying to sound educated. My prejudice, yes, but I don’t think I’m the only one. I tried to look this up and couldn’t find it, but I think there was an article (in Slate maybe?) in the past year or so that listed various phrases and pronunciations and indicated whether they were more likely to be used by someone who was or wasn’t highly educated. The pronunciation of “often” was definitely on that list, with the silent t on the highly-educated side. U.S. dictionaries generally omit the “t” sound when indicating the pronunciation.

          • a passion for fashion :

            i dont pronounce the t in those words, but do pronounce it in often,

          • Ditto to what a passion for fashion said on pronunciation.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Me too – no “t” in Gorges list, but “t” in often. I’m very educated. I actually thought pronouncing it without the “t” was folksy, along the lines of using a word like ain’t. I am pretty sure Eliza Doolittle’s gentleman caller in My Fair Lady says the “t” in his song “On The Street Where You Live.”

          • Same as the others, I wouldn’t pronounce the “t” in the other words you listed, but always have in often. I’m in the deep south, and I’ve never noticed others not doing this.

          • I don’t pronounce the T in those words, but I do in often and so does pretty much everyone else I know, regardless of level of education. So maybe instead of making judgments about people you could just consider that maybe, just maybe, they aren’t from where you’re from?

        • I pronounce the “t” too, at least most of the time. Can’t say I’ve ever thought about it before now, and I’m certainly not pronouncing it that way deliberately to sound smarter or something. I’ve also never paid any special attention to how other people pronounce it, I’m sure I’ve heard it both ways and both sound ok to me.

      • I think the JURY is still out on Michele O’Bama, at least with me. She seem’s sincere, but I wonder what hapens when she get’s mad! I think if she bear’s her teeth, look out! OMG!

        I am NOT polietical at all; in my office, it is NOT sometheing that is talked about alot. I also do NOT care at all about voteing, b/c I am NOT in a polietical party; so I can NOT vote in the primary’s. FOOEY!

        My friend Myrna has a job on Election Day as a pole watcher. I do NOT know what this intails, but she says it is fun. She say’s it has NOTHING to do with pole danceing, and I beleive her! I have to work alot now, but will update mabye tonite. I may be heading South soon to do some do dileigeince! YAY!!!!!!

        But first I have to figeure out what that mean’s! HELP!!!

      • Divaliscious11 :

        Well, apparently its okay to pronounce it either way, so its likely regional…

    • Can anyone identify the polish? It was gorgeous. I’m not sure it would work on me, but I’d like to try it.

    • You see, TCFKAG?????? I’m not the only one that noticed the nail polish =).

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      I love Michelle Obama–and her speech was wonderful–but I actually don’t really like her style. I greatly prefer what Kate Middleton wears, but it may just be me.

  4. i hate hate hate hate super hate how anthropologie doesn’t have free shipping.

  5. Not loving this dress at all. The print is odd and distracting. Looks like my 7 year old got a marker and “decorated it.” LOL. No belt or blazer can make this boss-like. I think Kat has gotten much more “relaxed” about corporate-wear now that she’s left BigLaw…

    • i agree that this isn’t biglaw appropriate, no matter what you do the dress you’ll look like you’re dressed for an afterwork engagement. that said, i generally try to pull of this kind of styling and it only works half of the time.

    • I disagree. I think with a navy blazer this would be very office appropriate, even in a Northeast Biglaw office, and especially during the summer months. Not every woman wants to wear some variation of blue, black and gray, nor do all women feel like they have to do so in order to appear authoritative. In fact, going outside the standard Biglaw uniform can in itself be authoritative – a way to say that you don’t have to color in the lines because you make your own lines.

    • I agree that Kat has definitely trended toward less traditionally “corporate” looking items as she’s gotten further from the office – those platform peep toe ankle strap shoes, for example – but I don’t think this is the dress to pick on. A little unusual, but with a cardigan and closed toe pumps I would definitely wear it to work if my style were a little quirkier.

    • Some BigLaw offices are business casual. Based on the comments here and the people I’ve met at the Bay Area meet-ups, a good portion of her readers don’t work in BigLaw in NYC or DC where the only option is a charcoal or navy suit.

      Kat does a great job of recommending items that work in a variety of offices. Just because one or two things each week don’t work for your office doesn’t mean Kat is ignoring you (hello? Suit of the Week feature?). My guess is the Kat includes more casual wear because there are many readers who work in places where a suit is “too formal”.

  6. Anon For This :

    I’m a regular poster going anon for this because I feel really embarrassed about this…

    My boyfriend and I have been together for over 8 months and it’s a fairly serious relationship for both of us. We talk about the future all the time and he doesn’t seem to be freaked out by anything. This weekend, I told him I loved him (for the first time) which was a huge step for me because I’ve never said it first in a relationship. I had actually been feeling it for a while but was just scared of being the more vulnerable one so I had been holding it in. I finally said, and he didn’t say it back… I know he’s bad at expressing his feelings but he does care for me a lot (and probably even does love me) and I can tell that based on the way he acts with me.

    But I just feel so stupid and vulnerable and I don’t know how to be ok with the fact that he didn’t say it back… And I also am scared that because he didn’t say it back, I’m starting to close off again to protect myself, which won’t help the relationship any…

    Any advice or commiseration?

    • Oof, that’s hard. No advice, just commiseration. :(

    • I went through something similar with my now-fiance. What helped was having an open honest conversation about it. And maybe this is because we are both lawyers, but it really helped us to define our terms. I told him that by love I meant that I enjoyed his company, missed him when he wasn’t around, and felt completely comfortable and like myself around him. After I explained that, his response was that, based on that definition, he loved me too. Then we signed an Memorandum of Understanding: Mutual Declaration of Love and got it notarized. Just kidding. It was kind of awkward and unromantic to discuss it like that, but it was nice to find out that we were on the same page, and now we say it to each other regularly.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I was totally nodding along when you said you signed an MOU. That totally makes sense to me :). Or as I constantly tell my single and dating co-worker when she asks, communicate!!! When you use X word, does he have the same definition you do? If not, no wonder you’re having misunderstandings. There’s a reason there’s a table of definitions in the beginning of every merger agreement. We assign different meanings to words.

      • Ha! Sounds like my husband and me! (We’re both lawyers, too.)

      • This sound’s way to legal for me. FOOEY on the law. It does NOT mix with love. FOOEY!

        Now I know what a MOU is. Thank you for helpeing me with the term the manageing partner has been useing for year’s! I never knew what he was refering to and WHY! But NOW I do. YAY!!!!!

        If a boyfreind does NOT say he love’s you back, FOOEY on him! And rememmber that NO MOU or Contract is going to make him comply with it anyway’s, b/c what are you going to do if he breeche’s? Sue him? No way, Hoze! DOUBEL FOOEY on that!

    • I never say it back the first time. I want to say it myself, when the moment hits me, not just as an autoresponse, so he knows I mean it. Maybe your guy is the same. I know I’m not the only one.

      • Yes, that was my first thought. If he said it back right then, you’d be wondering if he meant it or just felt like he needed to say it. He might be waiting for the right moment.

        Also, there shouldn’t be anything embarrassing about making yourself vulnerable. Loving someone isn’t a weakness, whether they love you back or not.

        • Yes, exactly- there is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about here. You said it sincerely because you felt it. That’s a good thing. I don’t think anyone should ever regret telling someone they love that they love them.

    • Yeah, that’s an uncomfortable place to be. But there can be a lot of reasons why he didn’t say it back that do not mean he doesn’t feel that way, too — maybe he was surprised and unprepared, maybe he didn’t want to say when it sounded obligatory instead of spontaneous, or maybe he’s NEVER said it before and it’s a big hurdle. Some guys are weird about this. Do not panic or close down, which won’t help the relationship and in the end won’t help you feel better.

      If he acts loving and behaves like he cares about you, that’s more important than the words. It is better to be with someone who treats you well and who makes you feel valued through his actions than with some guy who can toss out “love-yas” but behaves like an uncaring doosh. Do not ask me how I know this.

    • First of all, congrats to you for saying it. Please please don’t let your SO’s response make you close back up. As for your SO’s lack of response, it’s just something to be aware of and discuss. I was with someone who despite acting like he loved me, never said it. I ended up breaking it off after four years, not because of the no-i-love-you thing but because it just wasn’t working. In hindsight, the no-i-love-you was a symptom of bigger issues he/we had. Give it some time, and then start the coversation about why he hasn’t said it. Then let us know, and we can mull over it somemore ;)

      • This. I too broke up with someone because in hindsight, the no-i-love-you was a symptom of bigger issues. For me, his inability to commit to me in a marriage.

    • A really good friend of mine said it first to her boyfriend and he told her “thank you, I think you’re really hot.” She was crushed. But he’d never said it to anyone before and was just on a different time frame than she was. He said it soon after (in his own time) and now they’re getting engaged. :)

    • Anonynonynony :

      So, regular poster saying this anon. My husband and I have an on-going argument about who said “I love you” first, because I said it once by accident when he did something adorable….and then pretended I didn’t because I freaked out. And it was a couple months before he said it purposefully and I said it back….. Anyway, I maintain that if it was accidental it doesn’t count (he disagrees).

      Anyway, not really a helpful story as much as commiseration. But, on the more helpful front, some (many) people don’t say it back the first time someone says it because they think you’ll think they’re only saying it because they feel they have to. Twisted logic, but I’ve heard it from more than one person. So…don’t worry TOO much about it and don’t feel so vulnerable…just be proud that you were brave enough to put yourself out there and didn’t pretend you didn’t say it!

    • Hugs. I said it first to my now-husband, and he didn’t say it back for maybe a month or two. At first I was really anxious about the fact that he didn’t say it back, but then I realized that 1) this was actually how I felt, and I wanted to say it, and 2) I wanted him to say it when it felt natural to him (even though I thought he loved me too and should just say it).

      What I did during that month or so was to just not say “I love you” all that often. I had already said it and it was out there, but there was no need to inundate him with it and force him to say it before he was ready (or, have a “gee, thanks” in response). I think I only really said it once during that time frame, when I was traveling and wouldn’t see him for a week or so.

    • Anon in PNW :


      I said it first a few days ago. We’ve been dating for almost two YEARS. He says I should be able to read his devotion by his deeds (which are frequent and wonderful), rather than his words. I’m still at a loss.

      • Others will recommend the love languages book, but I think it is totally fair to tell him that while you *do* read his affection by his actions you also *need* to hear the words. It doesn’t cost him anything to fulfill that need.

    • I now have the song “Fast As I Can” by Great Big Sea in my head (the lyrics are sweet). Let his actions reassure you, those are more telling than anything.

    • Say everything you said in your post to your boyfriend.

    • Anon For This :

      OP here. I’m glad I closed my office door before reading all these amazing responses because I’m actually in tears now. Thank you so much for all the amazing support and advice.

      I actually said it to him twice this weekend, but the first was after I had had a few drinks so I don’t think it counts. And the second time, I did tell him he didn’t have to say it back because I didn’t want to put that pressure on him, and I just didn’t want to blurt it out over the phone or something. I still maintain that was the right thing to do but I guess I didn’t realize how emotional I would be about him not saying it back.

      When we were deciding to actually give our relationship a real shot, we did have a very frank discussion about what essentially would be the terms of our relationship etc. so I don’t have a problem having this type of discussion with him – we are generally very open about things and not romantic or idealistic about things at all.

      And I’m usually good about communicating with him – telling him how I feel, telling him what I need etc. But I just don’t think I can do it in this instance. I know logically that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about by telling someone that you love them but I’m always so cautious about opening up myself to someone else. I just feel so weak and powerless now – like now because I showed my hand too soon, he holds all the power in our relationship.

      I’m not going to bring it up for a few weeks I think, and I’m not going to say it again. But I don’t think I can be myself around him – he called me last night and I found myself being much more guarded than normal.

      Sorry this response is now so long but I’m way too embarrassed to share this with any of my real life friends…

      • Senior Attorney :

        Aw, cyber-hugs to you!! This is just hard!! I’m so sorry you’re feeling blue, and I second and third and millionth everybody who says there’s nothing to be embarassed about! I hope it works itself out sooner rather than later!

      • Not sure if you’ll see this, but when I told my now-husband that I loved him for the first time (after 6 months of dating) I also told him not to feel that he had to say it back. He didn’t, and I was quietly offended and mortified. Years later, he says he didn’t say “I love you too” in that moment because I told him not to feel that he had to say it back – he didn’t want me to think he was just saying it because I had and he took the time to sort through his feelings for me before saying telling me he loved me a month later. Now he says “I love you” so much it’s exhausting!

  7. I never dig the blazer suggestion Kat is so fond of, but I could do this with a navy cardigan.

  8. I keep thinking I should dislike this dress, but I don’t. I am not sure I would wear it to work, but I can see how one could pull it off in some places. Word of warning though: the print is much less abstract and much more of a photograph in person.

    • Me too! I saw it and thought, that dress is so strange and yet so perfect for a wedding I’m attending Saturday…

      I’m picturing it with a big floppy sunhat, and a basket of flowers, maybe while seated on a boat in the middle of a pond with a handsome guy rowing me around.

      And while I could get away with it at my office…I don’t think I’m going to try.

      • I would so love to be seated on a boat in the middle of a pond with a handsome guy rowing me around right now! That sounds so much more fun than going to what is sure to be the most boring meeting in the history of human interactions.

    • I can’t help myself from suggesting a citrus-colored cardigan or jacket. Mustard, canary, lime green, bottle green, burnt orange, but not navy. It’d be perfect for when it gets chilly on emcsquared’s fantasy boat ride.

    • Not even gonna lie. I love a landscape dress.

    • Brooklyn, Esq. :

      I really like the dress, but not for work. What do you all think of it as a guest-at-wedding dress? emcsquared, did you try it on? I have tons of weddings coming up this year and I’m looking for something fun to wear.

      • Sorry, I haven’t tried it on. But I totally would wear this as a guest at a wedding. In fact, I have a navy blue dress with a more watercolor-y landscape across the waist (that sounds awful, but the colors actually give it the effect of nipping in the waist so it’s good), and I’ll probably wear that to my Saturday wedding.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I feel the exact same way. I have no idea where I’d wear it in my normal life, but I do think it’s oddly pretty.

  9. A few things :

    I actually love this dress. It is so dreamy looking. Not sure if I’d wear it at the office.

    Also, I wrote here a few months back about my sister’s very high risk pregnancy. I was the one who didn’t know what to do or say so I was sending her videos of cats eating watermelon. I’m happy to say that she’s made it to 38 weeks, the problems resolved themselves, and she’s being induced tonight. The baby is small but healthy as far as her doctors know. Thank you so much for your support during that horrible time when she first found out.

    Lastly. I’m going to be going on interviews without letting my boss know that I’m looking for another job. What is a good groundwork to lay to be able to make excuses to take off work, or should it be a case by case basis (call in sick one day, “in laws in town” another day, etc.)?

    • AnonInfinity :

      I don’t think you should lie about what you’re doing. I would either call in for the day or say one of these three options: “I have to run some errands,” “I have a meeting,” or “I have an appointment.”

    • anon in tejas :

      I had a ton of sick time at the previous job. I would routinely scheduled doctor’s appointments and instead of taking 2 hours, take the whole afternoon. I feel hugely guilty about lying, so this was the way that I could sleep at night. Also, I am really bad about preventative medicine (i.e. physicals, pap smears, flu shots, etc.) so it was always a good focus to get me to take care of that stuff too.

    • Woman of Color :

      Just been through this process. And generally because my interviews were located far from my office, it was sick days and vacation days. Sometimes I would schedule the interview very early in the morning or late in the afternoon, so I would not have to miss work. I find it easier to just take the day off rom work. Also, consider your office dress code. I am always very formal in my attire, so showing up in a suit never raised an alarm. Happy to report that everything paid of, and will be starting my new position in a few weeks. Good luck.

    • Glad to hear your sister/baby are doing okay.

      Personally, I have no qualms about lying about my whereabouts for interview purposes. I get nervous about it, but mostly just that my boss will find out I’m on an interview, not that I lied to him.

      If I can schedule my interviews for first thing in the morning or in the late afternoon, I usually say I have an appointment and will be in/leave around lunch time. I try to schedule phone interviews for lunch time and then just pretend I was running errands on my lunch break. Tomorrow I am going to call in “sick” because I have both a morning and an afternoon interview. If they schedule your interview enough time in advance to take a vacation day, I would do that just for your own peace of mind.

      • AnonInfinity :

        By way of explanation — I think that leaving by saying you have an appointment or that you’re running errands isn’t lying. That’s true. When I said I wouldn’t lie, I meant that I wouldn’t concoct some elaborate ruse about the in-laws being in town or whatever. Stories like that have major backfire potential, but vague statements about meetings are much safer, in my mind.

        • Plus, my bosses wouldn’t give a flying fig that my inlaws were in town and would expect me to put in a days’ work regardless. But then, I’m at a firm where I took a legitimate sick day and then ended up billing six hours in bed for research my boss called and asked me to do.

    • <3

    • A few things :

      I should add– I’m a complete low level peon right now. I can’t leave the office to run errands or go to meetings. So… doctor’s appointments, you say?

      • I find if I just say “appointment” everyone assumes it’s a doctor’s appointment, even if it’s really an appointment to have lunch with a girlfriend or an appointment to interview for a job.

  10. phillygirlruns :

    so…moisturizer and eye cream recommendations?

    i’m 30, oily skin, large pores and occasional breakouts. need something with SPF and some kind of anti-aging properties. i had been using super by perricone’s “daylight savings” moisturizer and “bright eyed” eye cream, but it looks like they may be getting discontinued. i’ll probably order another round directly from their website but would prefer something i can get at sephora. anyone have anything magical?

    • It is not miracle cream, but I like Olay’s Total Effects eye cream. I bought it at the last minute after I developed reaction to my $100 Caudalie eye cream. I’ve been very impressed with the Olay cream, especially for the price. It does the job and the slight tint actually seems to help cover up dark circles. I’m still browsing other eye creams, but happy I found something I can get at the drug store in a pinch.

    • For night, I love clinique super rich eye cream (somethng to that effect, comes in pink jar with silver lid) effective and not too spendt.

    • kerrycontrary :

      I have oily skin and I use neutrogena’s oil-free moisturizer with spf 15. For night I use that plus Estee Lauder’s advanced night formula and eye cream. I use some cheap garnier eye cream with spf in it for the day, but I’m only 25 so I’m not overly concerned with wrinkles yet.

    • MsLurksALot :

      I’ve got the same skin challenges – right now I’m using Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector (spf 42) for sun protection topped by Smashbox Photo Set finishing powder (spf 15). The powder is supposed to be transparent and it pretty much is on me, but not sure if it would make someone with darker skin look chalky or not.

      Peter Thomas Roth Ultra Lite Oil-Free sunblock is pretty good for oily skin too.

      With oily skin, I’d be careful about some of the anti-aging stuff out there. A lot of it seems to be some sort of snake-oil miracle ingredient mixed in with a lot of moisturizers. I don’t know about you, but that extra moisture makes me break out like a 16yr old.

      • phillygirlruns :

        “…some sort of snake-oil miracle ingredient mixed in with a lot of moisturizers” – SO TRUE. that’s why i was hoping someone here would have a real-life miracle story for me.

        thanks for the recs, everyone!

    • I have oily skin too, and I really like Clarins bright plus hydrating day lotion with SPF 20. I don’t see any major brightening effects, but I love that it is so lightweight – it feels like wearing nothing at all – and that it absorbs immediately and has SPF. As for eye cream, my major issue is under-eye circles and I’ve tried many different brands and nothing so far helps much at all.

  11. So my “rebel moment” of the day – I’m wearing a brown scarf with *skulls* that my MIL bought me in England. To the office. On a Wednesday.

    Anyone else having a rebel moment? Would love to hear.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I love this! I need to work in more rebel moments…

    • Former MidLevel :

      Go you! As for me, I’m not sure if it counts as “rebelling,” but I have been taking the opportunity to wear more fashion-forward/dramatic nail color in my new, more-casual job. Today – Essie Stylenomics.

    • Woods-comma-elle :

      Ha, someone in my office has this scarf and she totally rocks it!

    • Wore my rain flats, a pair of bright red jelly ballet flats, to commute into the office today. I have a pair of black dress shoes under my desk, but I’m loving the bright pop of color and don’t want to take them off…

    • phillygirlruns :

      i love it!

      i went to the gym this morning and realized i forgot to bring flipflops for my commute to work. so i had to walk to work in my suit and converse one-stars. obviously i changed out of them when i got to the office, but for that 10 minutes i felt kind of cool and funky and rebellious. (not like flipflops are more professional than chucks, of course…)

    • Today was my first day of class – 59 freshmen! I decided to keep it casual so I wore jeans, a mint green tank, a turquoise hooded cotton slub jacket and tan slingbacks. I usually dress up early on to have some authority but then decided that there was really no point. I have authority no matter what. And I’m old enough to be their mother.

    • I just painted my nails. In my office.

    • In the Pink :

      OK…Betsy Johnson’s Tava heels in pink/purple with the zippers on the back. They are nonfunctional. Except that they clack when I walk. Thank goodness for lingerie tape at the office! I wish the zippers were silver…sigh.

      However, the shoe goes so well with my linen fuschia/navy sheath that I snagged at talb@@@ this summer… I had to have the shoes. Other than my 3 joananddavid peep toes for going out, all my shoe purchases need to work at the workplace.

      Good thing I have my own shop! These shoes look professional from the front…and people usually don’t follow me down my hall, it’s the reverse order.

      • I have decided to indulge my inner nerd/possibly wannabe hipster/Rachel Maddow-loving side and am wearing new chunky black glasses, one of two chunky black framed glasses I recently bought. (In my defense, they were both from Walmart and together, with lenses, cost less than $200.) My eyes haven’t changed over the last 1.5 years, the first time I haven’t had a new prescription since I started wearing glasses, so I thought this was a good time to splurge on some funkier frames.

        Needless to say, I lurvs them.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Given what I normally wear to the office I’m not sure this counts as “rebel,” but today I’m wearing a red skirt and red blazer (they match in color but not in texture) and gray reptile pumps. Oh, and a red lizard belt.

      Your scarf sounds fab!!

    • I’m having an accidental rebel moment because I am accidentally wearing a Gilligan O’Malley loungewear wrap cardigan instead of the more tailored cardigan I thought I was grabbing in my closet.

      It’s OK because the loungewear cardigan is black so inconspicuous (no hello kitty print or anything) and the big meeting I’m attending today is mostly guys who will never ever notice. But I know. And the definitely loungeweary ribbing at the cuffs is driving me nuts.

    • Fuscia lipstick (with matching fuscia nailpolish) and cat-eye black eyeliner – I look like I stepped out of the 60s!

    • Wearing Rainbows to work. My feet are so happy.

    • Honey Pillows :

      That scarf sounds fantastic. I love the unexpected idea of brown instead of black!

    • I want your mother-in-law.

    • I’m not in an office, but I did decide to wear chartreuse colored eye shadow today. I am pretty preppy, so this is a case of evening shadow during the day for sure!

  12. S in Chicago :

    Just a heads up for fans of the GAP academy blazer. Target has something very similar in some great colors. Although the fabric isn’t as nice as the academy blazer, it still is far better than I would expect from Target. I found the fit TTS. If between sizes, order smaller. Links to follow.

  13. I spent the holiday weekend going wild … cleaning out my closet. Which is great, but it now means I have tons of clothing (everything from winter coats to tshirts to suits) that need a new home. Any recommendations for places (NoVa or DC) that accept donations at anytime? For example, while Dress for Success is a great program, they only accept drop-offs once a month, at certain hours, and it is not a convenient time for me. I need this stuff out of my apartment, but I don’t want to just dump it in a bin where it may get ruined. Any suggestions?

  14. just curious — any of you ladies motorcycle or scooter riders (or even passengers)? I’m looking into buying street riding boots for the first time and would love some suggestions. The interwebs have been showing me highly unattractive options.

    • Totally agree about the ugly options out there! I just wear Frye boots though I’m not doing any highway riding or dealing with inclement weather.

    • I also wear the Frye motorcycle boots but also not doing highway riding and I’m a passenger on the bike, driver on the scooter.

    • Just a TMI PSA: please choose substance over style.

      I’ll never forget the morning, when I was working as a summer receptionist, the wife of one of our employees called in to tell me her husband had a motorcycle accident on the way to work, and “they’re trying to save his foot.”

      He was wearing sneakers.

      • I second this. A relative was in the same situation only it was his leg not his foot and they didn’t save it, or him.

      • Yeah, one of my colleagues used to ride a scooter to work until the day when he started to spin out and put it foot down. He broke his leg badly along with his collar bone and some ribs. He was in a wheelchair for awhile because he couldn’t use crutches due to the various breaks.

      • Honey Pillows :

        I think motorcycle boots are pretty sweet, anyway.

  15. any recommendations for a barre or ballet-style workout program in the DC and NOVA area?
    I need to change up my fitness routine and this seems fun.

    • I know people who do Bar Method in Metro Center and they love it.

    • I go to Studio Body Logic in Ballston — they primarily do Pilates, but they’ve recently introduced a Barre Body class that’s fantastic, with lots of scheduling options. Their main studio is located in Del Ray, if that helps at all. I’ve been a student there for over two years and LOVE it!

    • LavaBarre in Clarendon? Just opened, so I haven’t been yet, but I know it’s there.

    • kerrycontrary :

      Bart Method DC in Chinatown. If you are looking for actual ballet classes I suggest the MD Youth Ballet in Silver Spring (they actually have adult classes that are challenging-not just intro to ballet) or Joy of Motion in DC.

    • There is also B Fit on 14th Street, although I cannot speak to it personally. The website is www dot bfitdc dot com.

      I am also thinking about doing a purre barre type thing, so am interested in the responses.

    • I did Bar Method while visiting DC and loved it! If I lived there, I’d definitely be a regular. The instructor (I think she’s also the owner?) knew everyone’s names and was great at giving encouragement and form correction. I’ve done Core Fusion, Bar Method, Pure Barre, and Physique 57, and I think the Bar Method “brand” is great for someone just getting into barre workouts because they put so much emphasis on proper form.

    • Barre3 in Georgetown.

  16. Vacation planning help! Looking to go to the Great Smoky Mountains (TN side, Gatlinburg) and stay in a nice cabin or mountain resort. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated!!

    • are there actually nice resorts in Gatlinburg now? I remember it feeling crowded and dirty and tourist trappy, like mini golf alternating with t-shirt and shot glass stores… but, that was 15 years ago when I was a young teen going with my family, so more recent visitors please correct me if times have changed!

      a friend went on her honeymoon to Blackberry Farm, which I believe is also in the TN smokies, and looooved it.

      • There are nice places in the mountains (not sure about resorts, but B&B’s and rental homes), but that’s pretty much still the main drag, though you left out the As Seen on TV outlet stores and mega-churches. Also, Dolly Parton’s face at least once every 1/4 mile. I live in Knoxville, and I cherish opportunities to drive down there – it’s absolutely hilarious.

        But seriously, the mountain areas are really pretty, and I’ve heard really good things about Blackberry Farms (though I’ve never been myself).

    • Blackberry Farm is outside Knoxville — not sure if that meets your geographic parameters, and it is pricey, but it’s a little slice of heaven for outdoorsy foodies/winos.

    • My SO and I go every winter and rent from Timber Tops cabins. If you call, as opposed to reserving online, they pretty much always give 10% off. And they allow you to bring dogs if that’s your sort of thing.

    • Groupon getaways almost always has some cabin rentals in the Smokies. I haven’t tried any of them, so can’t give personal recs. If I were going, I’d probably check out the rentals in state/national parks first. I do have a B&B rec for Abingdon, VA, but that’s a bit north of where you’re looking, I’d guess.

    • To TJ slightly — gosh, Blackberry Farm looks beautiful — any recommendations on something like that a bit further north (closer to Baltimore, for example)?

  17. I want to get myself a nice, classic, bag, that will last, to mark a significant life event. Budget=$1500.00. I keep coming back to LV Speedy (not monogram), but I can’t pull the trigger. So…. what would you get?

    • Ghurka. Because the leather is beautiful. And it will be classic for about 400 years or so.

    • I’m also thinking about doing this. Either a nice bag or a nice watch, similar price range. Can’t figure out what to do. I like Prada bags, but they’re more expensive. I also like the Hermes Cape Code PM double strap (although, I fear that may be most popular among rich high school/college age women).

      I plan on buying used to stretch my money more.

    • phillygirlruns :

      YSL roady hobo. i bought a dark purple one just over two years ago, as an impulse purchase in a fit of “omg need retail therapy,” and carry it constantly. the leather has broken in beautifully, the size is perfect, and i have never once regretted the purchase.

    • BV medium veneta bag. It’s a little more than your budget but it is a beautiful classic bag that you will wear for years. You can check to see if you like any of the colors there (HG Bags sells authentic bags at a slight discount – the venetas are $1495 there)

    • I think you can get a bottega veneta medium hobo for that price. Best bag ever and sooo versatile.

      Or if you still want LV, then the epi range for sure.

    • MissJackson :

      YSL Muse in burgundy, hands down.

      • Second YSL Muse. I have it in a rich brown and have carried it as my everyday work bag for 2 or 3 years. Big enough to fit a redweld if necessary; plus work shoes and a yogurt and lunch and a cardigan and whatever else needs to be schlepped.

    • First Year Law Student :

      There were some lovely Prada totes (I can’t find an actual name on the website, but the double zipper on the top ones) I was eyeing for a long time, but I felt bad accepting a bag that expensive as a gift when I was taking out massive amounts of loans to pay for law school. (a couple of them fall in your budget)

      Also there’s the new YSL chyc bags, which are gorgeous in my opinion.

      I’m also a fan of the Burberry all-leather bags, although that might be more up to personal taste.

      From this I have concluded I spend too much time looking at nice things I cannot afford. But hooray for deciding to give yourself a present!

    • eastbaybanker :

      I dream of owning anything by Celine. For big purchases, I think of myself in 10 years and try to buy something that might feel slightly conservative or a little too classic now, but I that I will grow into style-wise.

  18. For those of you who love knit blazers, I was just perusing JCP and they have one for $35, no idea on fit, I’m going to check it out this weekend. Just thought I’d give you a heads up. Seriously, I know how much some people here love JCP, but I never think to go there. I really need to re-evaluate that because they have super cute stuff at reasonable prices.

  19. Honey Pillows :


    TJ Fashion Poll:

    Leather pencil skirts. Yay or nay?

    They’re edgy, but cut conservatively, very “in” this fall, and I’m kind of feeling the bad gal vibe, but… leather pencil skirt! I can’t decide.

    • AnonInfinity :


      Especially with sweaters. Love love love.

    • I have a pencil skirt in black thick ponte knit and leather. I think it’s awesome in the extreme, but soon will not be able to wear it in my pants-only office :(

      • AnonInfinity :

        I know we’ve addressed it before, but this pants-only thing is really freaking me out.

        • I’ve never gotten any explanation of this pants-only policy, and every time this comes up, I’m really curious. Totally get it in an industrial/chemical/lab setting for safety purposes. But, lawsuited, that’s not where you’re headed, right? Can someone fill me in on this pants-only business?

          • Didn’t it have something to do with men in the office saying that if women could wear skirts, they should be able to wear shorts?

      • Lawsuited, I am curious if you work in criminal law? Does your employer just not want you to deal with the issues that could arise if you visited clients in jail wearing a skirt? I think it should be your choice what to wear, but I do know that when I was an intern I was warned not to wear a skirt on days that we had to visit a jail. I wasn’t told that I absolutely couldn’t wear one, several female attorneys just warned me that I would probably be more comfortable in pants and I would probably get unwelcome comments if I wore a skirt.

    • I like ‘em! Just not too short, yo. And maybe skip the hooker boots?

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Not in my office. A secretary since fired for unrelated reasons periodically wore a leather pencil skirt of an appropriate length and size if it were fabric, but whenever her name comes up, someone always mentions her leather skirt.

    • Former MidLevel :

      Yay. And second “no hooker boots.” :)

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I just ordered one. The office I’m currently working at is fairly laid back and my supervisor wears sleeveless tops and capris some days, so I think it will be ok. I saw someone last year wearing one with a sweater and looked awesome. I wish I could remember the rest of her outfit so that I could recreate it!

    • For my two cents, I think it would have to be an expensive-looking leather skirt. The leather would have to be non-shiny and very soft so it wouldn’t “squeak” while you wore it. I would love to wear a leather pencil skirt but the ones I want are all too expensive.

      • This is I think the defining difference between “classy leather pencil skirt” and something that is pleathery and poorly cut.

        I think it’d look amazing with a chiffon blouse, sweater, or even a tweed jacket. Very versatile!

    • Always a NYer :

      Yes, yes, and yes!!! I’d style a black leather pencil skirt with a cashmere long sleeve sweater, black opaque tights, and plain black leather pumps. Hooker boots are definitely to be avoided ;)

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yay! I rock mine with, inter alia, my black and white tweedy Kate Spade blazer.

    • eastbaybanker :

      I bought a leather pencil skirt last fall but have only worn it a couple times to parties. It looks amazing but it’s just not that versatile. It’s too dressy for a lot of my weekend activities and wearing leather in my office would be a major faux pas.

  20. Hoping this comment will be seen by one of you ladies in the mental health administration field. A large vacant home in my neighborhood has been assumed by some entity that is operating a mental health facility out of it. While I’m glad that the home is no longer vacant, and that the patients have a beautiful neighborhood in which to live, the patients wander our neighborhood at all hours of the day and night, including wandering on private property (digging through neighbors’ fire pits for cigarette butts, etc). Last night one of the patients tried to enter a neighbor’s home. This is disturbing to me and my neighbors, and it’s not safe for the patients. A neighbor spoke to a supervisor at the facility today, who told my neighbor that the patients aren’t supposed to leave but the facility can’t lock them in.

    My first thought is to find out what kind of entity is using the home and who licenses them, and then I can review the applicable regulations to see where the facility is falling short and the proper channel for a formal complaint. Does anyone with any expertise in this area have a different idea? Thanks so much in advance.

    • Why don’t you call the police? Trespassing and attempted break-ins are crimes, and if the facility isn’t adequately supervising its residents, the police and social services agency should know about it.

    • I would check with your HOA (if you have one) or the city. They might not be able to run it from there because of zoning issues. They may be getting under the radar, but I feel like they shouldn’t be able to operate a business in your neighborhood.

      Also document like crazy.

    • I think your idea is correct but I would also advise that you complain to the police, social services, and your local zoning board. Keep a list of incidents to use.

    • Would the facility be willing to do a meeting with the neighbors? Just an informal getting to know you session where they could talk about (generally) the type of residents that they have, the type of services they offer and what to expect. It would give everyone an opportunity to ask questions and to make things less antagonistic.

    • These types of entities are usually licensed on the state level. I would check with them first to see what type of licenses a business like this should have and if this group is licensed. I would also make them aware of the issues at the property and keep calling them about the issue.

      I would also contact your municipality to check the zoning on that parcel. Typically, social services can’t be administered in a residentially zoned parcel. If you believe that they are administering services there, along with just housing a specific population, I would also make a complaint to your local code enforcement agency.

      Finally, I would be sure to keep calling in all trespassing complaints to the police and keep contacting state and local authorities to report other issues. It takes quite a paper trail of issues to cease a business.

      Best wishes.

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