Suit of the Week: Kay Unger

 Kay Unger New York Tweed Jacket & Skirt Set For busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

OK. This set is pretty far outside my comfort zone as far as suits go, at least for most younger women. But that said: I think the two pieces, individually, would get a lot of use — when I first saw the set over at Neiman Marcus I was kind of shocked that it was a $330 suit instead of an $800 suit. Then, while browsing around Lord & Taylor, I realized that not only can you buy the pieces separately (if you only like one of them, or if you want different sizes), but the set is eligible for the Friends & Family sale going on. So with the 25% discount: The jacket (Kay Unger Tweed 3-Button Jacket) comes from $220 down to $165, and skirt (Kay Unger Tweed Pencil Skirt) comes from $100 to $75. (The long-sleeved matching dress, not pictured, is quite nice as well — was $190, now $142.)

KAY UNGER Tweed 3-Button Jacket KAY UNGER Tweed Pencil Skirt

(L-all)

Comments

  1. anon re: IUD :

    Coming to you from the other side of the IUD and I can say with confidence —

    800mg of ibuprofen was not enough. I needed Vicoden, Xanax, and maybe that cervix softener. Or maybe I just needed conscious sedation. I lay on the table, shaking and dizzy, for a good 1/2 hour after insertion. The pain was so all encompassing that my heart was racing, I was sweating and had tunnel vision. This has never happened to me before (except when I’ve gotten hurt while alone) but I was literally gasping and moaning out loud from how much it hurt.

    That said, I’m back at work now and have some minor pressure in my uterus, but that’s it. No additional cramping. I’m a little scared to go to the bathroom even though I’m sure everything will be normal.

    Still, I told them if they find it’s expelled during the 5 week follow up visit, I’m probably not getting it put back in.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I’m glad you made it through. I had a similar experience — sweating, tunnel vision, dizziness. I even had your same fear about going to the bathroom (unfounded!). I’m quite jealous of the women who had it in with little pain.

      BUT. The next day I had very mild cramping for a few hours and nothing by the afternoon. I haven’t had a period or cramping at all since. So, things got dramatically better very quickly for me. And now I’m an IUD evangelist.

    • just Karen :

      Mine was awful too, and I wouldn’t have done it again if it had come out, but two years in with only mild spotting in lieu of periods and almost zero concern for pregnancy, and I am loving it.

    • Oy. I had the cervix softener plus muscle relaxer plus 800mg Ibuprofen and it still hurt quite badly for a minute. I’m glad you’re ok.

      • anon re: IUD :

        I am now mad at my NP for dismissing my question about the cervix softener and telling me I wouldn’t need it. I saw the NP who then scheduled me with the doctor for insertion. The doctor was nice, took the time to answer my questions, and also told me “it’s just going to feel like a mild cramp” (bull).

        However, when I was shaking/crying/etc and trying to apologize for it, the nurse in the room said, “Honey, don’t worry, SO many women react like this.” The doctor told her, “Well, let’s not say that, most women are totally fine with it.” That made me a bit rage-y.

        • AnonInfinity :

          WTF. I feel rage-y reading that. I’d definitely want to find a new doctor if that happened to me.

          • anon re: IUD :

            Yeah, I’m not sure. I love my NP otherwise (very s*x positive, answers all my questions, listens to me, and I do believe she didn’t think I’d need the cervix softener).

            I never see the actual doctor, but I found that to be a really frustrating comment. Maybe I did react more strongly than a lot of women but I’m 24, have never had children, and have had multiple doctors comment that my cervix is small while doing paps – it’s really not surprising that it hurt.

            So, I’m sorry I didn’t react perfectly but it *did* hurt and telling me in that moment that “most women are totally fine with it” was sooooo not what I needed to hear.

          • AnonInfinity :

            Ahhh… I think I was conflating the NP and the doctor into one person.

            I’d stick with the NP if you love her. My normal gyn doesn’t insert IUDs at all. I thought it was inconvenient that I had to go to another doctor for that, but I really like my normal one, so I’m sticking with her. In other words, I don’t think it’s always a good idea to switch health care providers you’re otherwise happy with because there is just one thing.

            But the doctor’s behavior was very insensitive, I think. And your reaction was perfect. It’s not like you had control over sweating, and at a certain pain threshold, you can’t really stop yourself from squirming and making noise. You shouldn’t be made to feel in any way like you reacted badly to a procedure that can really hurt. The doc that did my insertion was so kind and sat with me for a bit after to make sure I was doing ok and said that it’s really common to have such a reaction and not a problem at all (I was apologizing, too).

          • When I was 9 I had 2 teeth pulled. The oral surgeon (not my normal dentist) injected Novocaine into my mouth. I cried, as 9 year olds do, when getting shots anywhere, but especially in the mouth. The oral surgeon told me to stop crying because “No one else in the room is crying.” Even at 9, I was like, “no one else just got a shot in the mouth!!”
            Meanwhile, my dad heard me crying from the waiting room and tried to get in to see what’s going on. Yay daddies.

        • Anon E Moose :

          Does that doctor also use a plastic speculum? Maybe I’m projecting something that isn’t true here, but I’ve personally seen a correlation myself between pain during/after procedures (and the amount of concern/blowing off I get from the doctors performing said procedures) and plastic vs metal speculums. Metal = traditionalists, better bedside manner, went slowly to make as comfortfortable as reasonably possible. Plastic = all business, get in get out move on, brisk bedside manner, tells me it “won’t hurt” or “is normal” when actually quite painful

          Anyone else have this kind of experience or are my personal experiences isolated data points?

          • anon re: IUD :

            The speculum was definitely plastic! I actually haven’t noticed that but I’ve only ever had a doctor (actually an NP) use a metal one once. Although come to think of it, that was the only pap smear that was really not uncomfortable for me.

          • I haven’t had that experience.

          • I love plastic speculums (specula?). The metal ones are evil.

          • Hmm — I’m a primary care internist and usually use plastic speculums for Pap smears, mostly because it includes a slot for a flexible light so I can see better to do the Pap smear. If I use a metal speculum I have to move around a lamp over my shoulder and can’t always see as well. But I can see how the metal ones can be more comfortable (I think ob-gyns prefer the metal ones?).

        • I had the cervix softener and muscle relaxer, and it felt to me like what I imagine labor feels like. Only for 30 seconds, but still. I am really angry on your behalf. I also think this demonstrates why it is so important to have IUD insertion performed by a gynecologist.

          • anon re: IUD :

            Sorry if I didn’t clarify – the insertion was performed by a gynecologist. The initial visit/consultation and follow up will be performed by my regular NP (who I go to for paps).

          • @anon re: IUD – you know, for some reason in my head NP stood for naturopath, not nurse practitioner. I have no idea why a naturopath would have anything to do with an IUD. My own gyno is actually a nurse practitioner. Let’s just pretend my comment never happened. :)

        • I don’t usually comment on the ladyparts stuff here, but I’m sorry that happened to you

          check this out
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasovagal_response

          this is what happens to me when my c*rvix is manipulated. Sounds a lot like what happened to you.

          • SoCalAtty :

            That’s what happens to me under extreme stress mamabear! Usually it is a result of prolonged anxiety over work or family, and it is really weird when it happens. The last time I felt it coming, and sat myself down in a corner – and passed out anyway!

          • I had a vasovagal response while i was talking to a former senator. And the senator had to catch me. Until someone could bring a chair.

            Cuz I’m smooth like that.

    • Okay, when I get mine at some point, I’m definitely getting the straight story from my Ob/Gyn friend. I find annual exams to be incredibly painful so this just sounds awful.

      • anon re: IUD :

        For whatever it’s worth, I consulted at length with my med school friend (just finished her OBGYN rotation) who basically told me “it’ll hurt but you should be fine.” She was right, I am fine, but I don’t think she adequately conveyed the extent to which it hurt.

        • e_pontellier :

          This just sounds so horrible and any thoughts I had about getting an IUD are now completely gone. I’m perfectly content sticking with the pill for my foreseeable future. So so so sorry you had to deal with that, anon re: IUD.

          • anon re: IUD :

            I will say that everyone I know has told me aside from the insertion/initial “getting used to it” experience, the IUD has been totally worth it. I honestly don’t know if I could go through the insertion again though, but maybe the passage of time will dull my memory to it.

          • For a counterpoint, I had the cervix softener and muscle relaxer, and it hurt for 30 seconds max and didn’t hurt at all thereafter. It was painful enough that I gasped, and then it was over.

          • Anonforthis :

            For another counterpoint, I took 2 advil beforehand but nothing else, and it felt like an ordinary pap. I was actually shocked when my gyn said “All done!” because I was expecting it to be somewhat painful. And I had not yet had children when I had my IUD. Everyone’s experience is different, e_pontellier. And to the OP – I’m so, so sorry your experience was not a positive one!

          • Mine definitely hurt for a few minutes, not excruciating pain, but ‘Ow!’ … but it was over in a couple of minutes, and in the 3 years since my memory has definitely been dulled. I am a total baby about pain, I do NOT like paps, and the thought of childbirth completely freaks me out, but if I got to the end of the life of my IUD and had to get a new one, I would do it in a heart beat. The 10 minutes of yuck is so worth the years of uncomplicated, reliable birth control and reduced periods.

            I am sorry you had such a bad experience and I do NOT minimize your pain at all, it sounds awful. :o( just trying to share my perspective so folks can see there are a variety of experiences.

        • I am so, so sorry that anyone has endured awful pain or had practitioners minimize it, especially if there were ways to reduce pain that weren’t used. I have to say though, that my IUD insertion was completely painless. It wasn’t the most comfortable thing ever, but it wasn’t painful and I don’t think it was any worse than a pap smear – and it only lasted about 1/3 as long. Mine was done by a NP/midwife who is extremely gentle, so maybe that helped. I talked with several friends who have IUDs before I got mine, and it seemed like half had pain and half didn’t. It does seem to correlate with whether they have pain during regular pap smears. I definitely feel lucky to have had a good experience after reading these horror stories!
          I don’t have a particularly high pain tolerance – I had an epidural when I gave birth and I don’t even like getting a flu shot. I think the IUD pain experience is pretty individual, so I hope others who are considering it don’t think that the pain is necessarily a part of it, because it may not be!

  2. Blonde Lawyer :

    I normally use chrome as my browser. I had the genius idea today to block images on internet explorer and use that browser for all the medical research I do for work. I hate looking at all the gory pictures in articles and journals! This idea spawned while viewing pictures of root canals while eating my lunch.

    On the less exciting side, I sent an expensive watch with sentimental value back to the manufacturer to have a repair under warranty. I was so worried about it getting lost and desperately wanted it back. I normally wear it daily. I called to check on the repair today and they mailed it back to my office on Sept. 18th. My receptionist signed for it on the 20th. While waiting to speak with her about this, I saw the box behind her desk. I told her I had been waiting for a package, called to check on it, and that it had arrived on Sept 20th and she had signed for it. She had no idea what I was talking about. I said, “this has my name on it” pointing to the box and said “could this be it?” She handed it to me, I walked away and it was my watch. This makes me worried about what else she may have forgotten to give me. I am pretty pissed but I also understand that people make mistakes. I’m just letting it simmer for now. I know she has been on thin ice here already so I’m treading the fine line between our officer manager needs to know this and if I tell the office manager it could be the final event that gets her fired. She is otherwise a very nice person and seems to be treated pretty harshly by the attorneys sometimes.

    • Did she apologize?

    • I did this when I was worried about bedbugs. The photos were inducing panic attacks so I shut them off. Text is much easier to deal with!

      • 2/3 attorney :

        I have often wondered what became of your teddy bear after the bed bugs?

        • Me too! My roommate was worried we had them, and the first thought that came to mind was “I wonder if Cb’s teddy bear survived?”

          • Ha! I love that you two remember that. AG is alive and well, sleeping on my bed as we speak.

          • Glad to hear it! I’m extremely protective of my stuffed animals, so the thought of an innocent bear being the casualty of the infestation made me sad :(

          • Cb, I’m relieved that your teddy bear survived. :-) I know it’s embarrassing that I’d have a Velveteen Rabbit-weepy moment here at my desk if it hadn’t.

        • Apparently it was an isolated case? I found one but they think I picked it up from padding through the halls in my socks. It’s been more than 2 months since it was identified and no signs. I washed everything before moving to a new room. The bear spent 6 weeks in tupperware isolation and came out post move.

          • Susan: Whenever I’m sick, AG goes off the bed because, “I’ve read the velveteen rabbit! I know how this ends!” Never mind that I’m pretty sure I haven’t contracted something that contagious in Western Europe.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      This is a genius idea, BL. I’m going to try that next time I have a health Q.

    • Is this the kind of problem that she’s been having the whole time, or is this different? Has she been given ways to try to prevent mistakes like this in the future (keep a list of the things she needs to do, add “give BL her package,” for example)? If she is constantly making this kind of mistake and not making any effort to prevent them going forward, that’s a problem. Glad you got your watch back!

    • e_pontellier :

      Sounds like we really have a case of terrible legal assistants this week. That’s terrible that she never gave you your package – good sleuthing skills on your part!

      • Mine brought me gorgeous flowers for Boss’s Day yesterday… they aren’t all bad :) Its probably like the DH/SO comments the past few weeks– this is a safe place to complain and its less common to recognize the good.

  3. I’ve been working on a case for almost a year. I did a huge portion of the briefing (probably over 60%). It was apparently argued yesterday and my partner didn’t even mention it to me. He brought another attorney who hasn’t been working on this case at all. It kind of hurt my feelings, and he has a tendency to do this. He sort of operates on a need to know basis, and apparently I didn’t need to know about the argument because I wasn’t directly helping him. But I would love to have gone to the argument even if I couldn’t bill for it.

    Should I say something? I feel like I’m left out like this on a lot of cases, just because I guess he doesn’t think to include me. I think he’s happy with my work, but this makes me feel really weird.

    • AnotherLadyLawyer :

      Yes, yes, yes, a million times yes. Just make sure you say something in a non-confrontational way (or at least not too confrontational). Make clear that you are interested in the experience, first and foremost.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I hate this feeling. It stinks. The associates at my firm have all been through it; so know that there’s a good chance that it’s not something against you.

      Here’s what I would do and have done successfully. First, I get to know the person who calendars deadlines for the cases. This might be Partner’s assistant or it might be someone else. I ask very nicely to be put on all the calendared dates “because I want to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.” As the event gets closer, I ask Partner if he or she needs help getting ready and express interest in watching. How I express interest varies on the situation. If the hearing is at the courthouse across the street from our office, I just say, “Can I come watch? I like to learn from watching, even if I can’t bill for the time.” I’ve never been told no. If it’s across the state, it’s a little more delicate. I might say something like, “Do you think the client would be ok if I came to this?” Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. After doing this for a while, a couple of the partners have started inviting me to a lot more things. I still have to ask a couple of them, but that’s ok with me.

      The second tactic is just talking to Partner about it. Be sure to do this very carefully because you don’t want to seem like you’re whining that you were left out or that your feelings were hurt at all. You can say something like, “I have been learning a lot from briefing these issues, and it might help me do a better job if I can watch some hearings. Do you mind if I tag along in the future? [Insert way of determining when the hearings will be].”

      Most of the lawyers at my firm are happy to teach younger lawyers. Some are better at it than others, but most of them are very receptive to allowing me to observe. I think they like having enthusiastic people around who seem really interested.

      • This is great advice. Pitch perfect and most likely very effective.

        • Thanks, guys.

        • I agree with TBK. I’m not in law, but when it comes to client meetings asking to attend as a matter of experience/learning is usually warmly received as long as it’s not taking you away from a pressing matter. More often than not, I think higher ups have so much going on they forget little things like providing people who worked on the case with updates/inviting them along. If you ask as a matter of “I’m interested” instead of “Why didn’t you include me?” I think your request would be well received.

      • I just stalk their outlook calendars.

  4. Switching to Appellate Firm? :

    I’ve had the opportunity to work on several appellate cases at my firm over the past year. I love this work more than any of the rest of the work that I do…and am considering applying to a few firms that do mostly appellate work.

    My concern is that I’m getting pretty fed up with litigation – mostly with the part where Partners hang on to assignments until the last minute, keeping me up all night to meet a filing deadline.

    Are appellate firms any better? Has anyone else made this switch?

    • My first job was in the appellate department of a large firm. I was contstantly working through lunch, working nights and weekends because of last minute ideas the partner had for briefs/oral arguments. I now do about half and half (litigation/appellate) and run my own files. I can keep last minute deadline issues to a minimum, but I always feel briefs are never done. I say switch to appellate if that’s the type of work you love, but whether you get away from last minute deadline stress, IMO, depends more on where/who you’re working with rather than whether you are doing appellate or litigation.

    • regular poster, anon for this :

      I don’t think so. My firm is an AmLaw 250 firm that has an appellate department, and that department notoriously burns out its associates because of exactly what you’re complaining about. The few projects I’ve done for them have left me exhausted and stressed beyond all reason. This is only anecdata, but it does seem to be common.

    • I work for the government, so I’m sure that makes a difference, but I have complete control over my cases and rarely have emergencies/late nights/etc, despite working a full caseload. The only thing that messes up my calendar is too many oral arguments in a row, which happens sometimes.

      • This is my experience too. I have nearly complete control too. And never any emergencies. A late night is 6 p.m. Of course, I do keep my boss looped in so she doesn’t get any surprises.

    • Switching to Appellate Firm? :

      Thank you very much for the replies! This confirms my suspicion that, well, litigation is litigation and law firms are law firms, appellate or no. I think I will continue to pursue my ideas of things that are still legal positions, but not law firm. Maybe city attorney’s office (if they would ever have an opening!), maybe State Bar, maybe teaching. I do know I need a little less crazy in my life. 6 years is plenty.

      If anyone has any tips on transitioning into government legal positions in California, I would really appreciate it.

      • No idea what the gig is in California, but I work for a state court appellate judge as a career law clerk and it’s awesome. My life is no longer crazy (as it was at a firm doing litigation), my life is my life outside of 9-5 when I’m in the office, some of my cases are interesting and others are not so interesting, and I go home at the end of the day and don’t think about work anymore.

        Good luck.

      • lucy stone :

        I work in a City Attorney’s office and love it. I generally control my calendar, with the exception of night committee meetings. I control the municipal court calendar so I decide when I will be in court for what, and court is only scheduled by someone else when cases are appealed. I definitely have long weeks during budget season and insurance renewal season or if a hot piece of legislation is up, but most of my weeks are about 50 hours and I have a lot of responsibility. One concern I have about people who want to transition in from private practice is whether they are used to doing things on their own rather than having tons of levels of review – most documents I send out the door are mine and mine alone.

  5. DC Meetup :

    DC Meetup Tomorrow Night at Vapiano in Chinatown (7th and H)

    The early shift will begin at 5:30 and will be lead by the illustrious eek who is still deciding what color rose to carry as an identifier. I will probably get there around 7 and keep the party rolling f0r the late shift.

    As an sometimes cocktail snob it pains me to admit this, but I am super-excited for the Vapiano gummy bear cocktail. (I refuse to call it a martini.) http://www.vapianointernational.com/vapiano/menu/menu-chinatown/bar/list.html

    Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow and thank you to eek for arranging the early shift!

  6. DC Meetup :

    DC Meetup Tomorrow Night at Vapiano in Chinatown (7th and H)

    The early shift will begin at 5:30 and will be lead by the illustrious eek who is still deciding what color rose to carry as an identifier. I will probably get there around 7 and keep the party rolling f0r the late shift.

    As an sometimes c@cktail snob it pains me to admit this, but I am super-excited for the Vapiano gummy bear c@cktail. (I refuse to call it a martini.) http://www.vapianointernational.com/vapiano/menu/menu-chinatown/bar/list.html

    Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow and thank you to eek for arranging the early shift!

    • I am so excited for a DC meet up! Can’t wait to meet everyone!

    • Thought I would be making the early shift, but now instead of hoping down one Metro stop, I am coming from my house in the ‘burbs because I will be working from home. I am looking forward to meeting you all!

      Don’t judge my fashion – I will not be dressed up for work!! haha

    • Legally Red :

      Oh no, conflicting meetups! I just moved here, and would love to meet new people, but of course all of the happy hours/meetups are at the same time. But, at least they’re near the same metro stop, so I may stop by for the late shift.

    • early bird special FTW!

  7. I think this suit is waaaaaay out of my comfort zone. My mother would look bad a*s in it though.

  8. Sydney Bristow :

    @NOLA-

    I ordered boots today. Cross your fingers for me!

  9. At first I didn’t get it but if you look long enough, it’s a sailboat.

  10. Question (note that I am not a lawyer): for you managers out there, how do you balance how much to project your anal retentiveness (or as I like to think of it, attention to detail) on your employees without letting things slide? What I’m trying to say is that I’m kind of uptight about things matching and looking right and just plain old being correct, even if I have to spend a little extra time double-checking or confirming, but I have a direct report who I suspect is letting some little details go by because he just doesn’t want to look them up (which of course means I go off and do it because I don’t want to approve his report without the information correct or I have to take the time to explain again where to find this stuff) but the fact remains that leaving some of the information out or marked TBD has not ever really caused a problem. This example is a report we send to a very big client so I would rather just look as correct as possible, even if it costs me time. But on the other hand the report is just product information and some of the products I know they’re not going to even use so why bother spending time chasing down every detail? It’s hard for me to justify wasting his time when we both know they’re not going to use this stuff, but on the other hand… it’s a big client and we should give them the info they’re asking for!

    I also think he doesn’t really like my constant nitpicking on everything he does (I’m not apologizing for pointing out his minor errors, that’s my job, I’m just explaining his frame of mind. He doesn’t like me and I think he thinks I’m a nitpicker so maybe I should just let this stuff go. And I do let stuff go all the time. I just struggle with where to draw the line.) Being a manager is hard!

    • I’m not a manager but I work in an industry where things have to be right.

      I would ask myself, is his work going to make the client happy? If not, then you need to train him up to that standard. Are any of the details he lets slide going to be audited or in any other way reflect negatively on your organization? Train him up.

      If not… let it go.

    • But it’s not wasting his time. You want all the information to be there because it presents an image of your company as professional, very together, and eager to meet the client’s needs. It doesn’t matter that the client won’t use the information for ordering purposes; the client is using the information to inform its opinion of your company. I would explain to him why you think it’s important to have this information. Then, if he gives you something without all the details filled in, just hand it back and say “this isn’t finished.” If you keep doing the work for him, he’ll make sure you keep doing the work for him.

    • karenpadi :

      When reviewing documents, I try to separate real issues that might affect the client with style issues. I then base my “level of review” on the experience level of the drafter:

      1. Newbie lawyer: change everything so it looks like how I would have done it myself. Newbie lawyers need training and they need to learn various attorney styles in order to create their own over the next 2 years. I include lots of comments and compare my style with their other mentors’ styles. I try to point out the strengths and weaknesses of each.

      2. Experienced lateral (new to firm): make necessary changes (typos) and comment the heck out of it. Ask why they did certain things; validate the good things in the draft; make concrete suggestions and ask them about potential issues in the draft; provide stylistic suggestions if their writing style is outdated.

      3. Experienced attorney: fix typos and make necessary changes. Comment only if an argument is incredibly weak and provide specific, concrete suggestions for improving it. If the only thing wrong is that it isn’t how I would have done it, it’s good.

      Also, I work with a reviewer who is very nit-picky and changes everything. He takes up twice as much of the budget as other reviewers. Because I know this, I’m not as careful because I figure he’ll catch mistakes and typos and I don’t like working for free because he blew the budget. There is just no plus-side to me making my work perfect for him.

      Have you ever sat down with your employee and set standards for him? It sounds silly but just defining standards and what you mean by “things matching and looking right and just plain old being correct” might be really helpful. Also, take a look at yourself: are your standards consistent and objective or do you unknowingly expect him to read your mind for each project?

      • What is an outdated writing style? Not snarky, just curious.

        • karenpadi :

          My niche had a few Supreme Court decisions and some major legislative reform over the past few years. Some people with decades of experience never bothered to update their writing style to take those changes into consideration.

      • This is *really* helpful, karenpadi – I’m saving it for later.

      • SoCalAtty :

        karenpadi – I love you and may I please come to work with you? I’m still getting blasted on “tone” – my tone is much more neutral, and while my arguments and law and logic are never changed, my “style” sections are always re-written into what I call the “in your face, your honor” style. I’m trying really hard to be more punchy in my work, and I’m getting less revisions, but that kind of change is tough!

        • SoCalAtty, I think you will really benefit from looking at your work from this perspective–the judge and his law clerks are over-tired, bored, and have a limited attention span. Given this, how can you best get your argument before him in order to best represent your client’s interest? In my opinion, this means you need to have an attention-grabbing (1) preliminary statement; and (2) argumentative headings, which are both punchy and which get the highlights of your argument across. Keep working at it! Remember, litigation is advocacy–we are not in the business of writing opinions here. We are SUPPOSED to spin the facts and law.

          • I agree, but (and maybe this is obvious) be sure you don’t spin the facts and law too much. The biggest thing I learned clerking was the *real* importance of credibility. It was part of the teaching in law school, but it became so much more real to me when I got my first brief that went too far. The minute something you’ve said is not true/trustworthy, your ENTIRE BRIEF is useless to me. Seriously– as a clerk, I have to do a ton of my own research anyway, so if you show me that I can’t trust the things that you’ve written, it doesn’t matter how punchy or persuasive the brief is– I’m not going to read it. I might skim it, to make sure I’m addressing all of your arguments, but you’ve given up the ability and the right to make any strong points– I’ll just assume you’re exaggerating again.

            Not that you were suggesting that anyone over-exaggerate, but this is (as you can probably tell) a major issue of mine, and one I try to impress on law students and lawyers whenever I get the chance! :)

        • karenpadi :

          Love to have you!

          I had a mentor with an “in your face style” (he was a litigator some of the time). I pull out that style from time to time but it’s not that useful in my line of work.

          Here’s the key: don’t be condescending or patronizing when “sticking it to the man”. Be upfront, be bold. Instead of “Clearly, the standard is de novo review on appeal.” say “The court must apply a de novo standard of review.”

          Remember, subtlety is lost on men and most litigators and judges are men. So don’t bother with subtle or building to a conclusion. Put a strong conclusion up front, then back it up.

          • This is true for writing in engineering as well. I have to remind myself to put the TL;DR point first and then explain the statement with a lengthy analysis.

          • SoCalAtty :

            bc, makes sense, and I do try. karenpadi – I can be bold, but, just as an example, partner wanted me to actually use the phrase “hysterical paranoid speculation” in a recent motion. The suggestions tend toward the condescending when it comes to refuting opposing counsel’s arguments, and that just isn’t my style.

            I have completely instituted your suggestions from the last time I came to the board asking for help, and I think I’ve noticed a real improvement in clarity. Thank you! I don’t think I would ever come up with the hyperbole they throw out though.

          • karenpadi, your example of the difference between condescending and punchy (“clearly” vs “must”) is excellent. I’ve never seen it explained so elegantly. (Btw, can we just delete the word “clearly” from the brains of all new associates? Not saying it’s only the newbies who use it, but if we got them young, we’d undo all kinds of silly writing down the line.)

    • Research, Not Law :

      To the general question: I always ask myself “Is this incorrect, or is it just not how I would do it?” I only address points that are actually incorrect.

      To the specific situation: Competing a task as requested by a client is not wasting time. It’s his job. Ask him to complete it; do not do it for him.Depending on your relationship with him, you can either assert the importance with “It’s not finished. When do you expect to have all the information entered?” or commiserate with “You and I both know they may not review this document so closely, but it was the request so it’s critical for our image / making the sell that it be complete. When can you have all the requested info?” It sounds like this is a chronic issue, so I do think discussing standards with him is important.

      • Thanks everyone! TBK I do sometimes wonder if he’s just letting me do the work for him, a lot of times I’ll go look up the info just to verify that it’s wrong and in correcting I’ll give him the right thing with the result that he doesn’t have to look it up in the first place if he just guesses. But I have no proof that he’s doing that.

        He’s basically at the #2 level in karenpadi’s post although I should point out these are facts that he’s providing (dimensions of the item, color, price, stuff like that) so it’s not just a case of standards or doing it the way I would. (I also do the internal test of is it how I’d do it or incorrect.) I think he thinks, “well they’re not going to order this so I’m not going to spend 5 min searching for the color” and I can completely understand that and I kind of feel like a jerk making him spend the 5 min we both know is futile. Pick your battles, right? Maybe he’s right and his time is better spent doing something else and I’m wrong. That’s I guess what I’m debating internally right now.

        But on the other hand…it shows a general lack of attention to detail (which is VERY important in his job) and it just kind of sticks in my craw. Spend the 5 min and be correct! And the comment about the nitpicky proofreader really rung true with me – I know in his mind he thinks that since I’m his supervisor I’m ultimately responsible for everything he does anyway, which is true…and not true. I know he thinks this because he dropped the ball with something and when I called him on it he had the temerity to email me saying that I knew what was going on throughout the project (not true, I’m constantly struggling to get him to keep me updated on what he’s doing) and he would “not be held responsible” for this. I was flabbergasted. Unfortunately my boss wouldn’t let me fire him over that so I’m trying to work with him but I guess I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about him just leaving things for me to catch. But there’s always the option that he’s genuinely making a mistake or he just doesn’t know where to get this information (it’s one of those things where there are tons of little details coming from lots of different places.). I just internally really struggle so much with trying to find that line between spending too much time obsessing on a project and not spending enough time obsessing (so mistakes slip through) that it’s hard for me to impose that line on someone else, if that makes sense. But venting helps!

        • karenpadi :

          Can you do a training session? An individual session might be too shaming if others are doing the same tasks he is but a group-wide training session might work. Just say you are trying to set standards and maintain consistency across various projects.

          If he truly doesn’t know where to find information, training will help. Even if he does know, you can refer back to the training session and any materials from the training session. Then you can start to build a paper trail if you really want him gone.

          It sounds like you might benefit from sitting down and defining your expectations in an objective way as part of planning the training. Instead of just saying “ack! I must vent!”, you’ll be able to say “Guy, you are failing to meet xyz expectation. It’s affecting your ability to provide abc work product in a timely manner.” This will save you time because you’ll have a way to identify the problem, what to obsess over, and the solution. Plus, it’ll make annual reviews so easy to write.

    • Is he really “done” when he passes it to you, or is he handing you a mostly done draft? I had a manager that tending to rewrite a lot of what I had written, so it reached the point where I started giving him basic outlines with “TBD” in for the calculations, because I wasn’t going to spend the time doing the calculation if he struck that part (that he originally told me to put in – rawr!), or I could do the calculations/research while he was proofreading the format/structure/layout of the document.

      I would talk to the employee about what he thinks of his work. Does he think its customer ready when he passes it to you? Do you expect it to be? Have a sit down with him and find out if he’s leaving TBDs because he’s not proofreading carefully and didn’t realize he still left them in, because he doesn’t think filling them in is value added, or because he knows you’ll fill it in for him. Also, does he have enough time to reasonably write the document, fill in the TBDs and do the rest of his work? Or is this how he prioritizes – doing 90% on all the projects in order to get everything on his plate done, and he needs assistance with tasks or less assignments so he can do them to 100%, or some time management assistance to learn to get it all done.

      • Good advice – I think I will talk to him.

        • I would also point out to him that when you are presenting fact based info like you mentioned (item is blue, x inches long, uses y watts, costs $z), if one of those facts is wrong, especially if it’s something obvious like color it calls into question every fact on the page and whether it is correct or not – not inspiring customer confidence. However, is whether it is blue or green going to make a difference to the client? Unless they requested color data, it would be better to delete the line on color, for instance, rather than have the wrong info.

          Or, unless this job IS writing product data sheets, if this is something that your department does often, it might be worth talking to someone about pulling the data from diffrenet systems you mentioned to make standardized product data sheets, then you could re-use the same data sheets each time and just provide an update on price and not re-invent the wheel every time a customer wants a comparison between widget a, b & c or a, d & e.

          • It’s the client’s format and we’re under strict instructions to not alter it. But I think I’ll ask him how many follow-up questions he’s getting from them on any missing information and also speak to the client and see what they have to say. This guy thinks he’s god’s gift and he’s incredibly defensive and accusatory and I have a tendency to be sarcastic so our conversations tend to devolve quickly, despite my best efforts. I might hide a bottle of vodka in my desk and do a few shots before I go over to his cube.

            And FWIW I have a full paper trail on this guy and if I can just convince my supervisor to pull the trigger he’s out the door. I just want to make sure I’m being fair here. I don’t want to fire someone because I personally dislike him and we have different work styles. That sort of thing can be worked out/gotten over, I want to make sure he’s objectively not doing a good job before I fire him. My supervisor is a bit sexist so he thinks I’m just PMSing or something and it will all blow over, which means I don’t really have any support on that end and it’s a big decision to make without a second opinion when it’s really not so clear-cut. There are a lot of other areas to his job, some of which are important and he’s doing well, and some of which he’s pulling this sort of stuff. Just because my manager is sexist doesn’t mean it’s wrong to fire this guy. It’s complicated so thanks for helping me work through it. It’s a small company and I have limited support and resources so I appreciate the opportunity to hear some other viewpoints.

          • I guess my only question then would be, if you fired this guy could you hire someone else to do the important stuff that he’s doing well, as well as he is? Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t, but not always.

            In your conversation (and follow up in writing) if I were you I’d make it clear that at a certain point (in the future, once fully trained) you are going to expect his work to be correct and you are just going to be proofreading for gross errors, not rechecking every detail, so in fact, he will be “held responsible” if he sends out something wrong. If he doesn’t know where to find something you will be happy to help him, but leaving it incorrect rather than ask or expect you to correct it is not your job as his boss.

          • MsLurksALot :

            He sounds like quite the craptacular person to work with :-P

            Putting on my manager hat, it sounds like Bubba is having a hard time with this issue and perhaps a few others (playing well with others, etc). Do you already have a formal counseling/review process in place? If so, that’s a good place to start because it give you a place to go to all of your supervisees quarterly (or monthly as may be needed in special cases like Bubba) and say “As I mentioned in our last performance discussion, I expect A, B, and C. You’ve been doing really well at A and B and should maintain this. However, with C (quality control), you need to step up your game because this is important to our clients. So you and I are going to come up with a plan to help you improve your performance in C. We’re also going to create a timeline to meet back and re-evaluate this” Then you and Bubba can identify challenges (lack of time, concern that the work will be redone by you anyhow, or other things he sees as reasons not to do good work).

            I think this kind of formal conversation (which you should document with a copy to each of you) will let him know you noticed where he does well and where he’s lacking and that you’re concerned enough to listen to his concerns. If over the course of several months he refuses to follow the steps or improve his work, it will show your supervisor exactly what steps you’ve done to help improve Bubba’s work, but either Bubba isn’t a good fit for that type of job or he is not motivated to improve – this could be used as grounds to fire Bubs.

            But plan B could always be that vodka…..!

  11. Is there a limit to how many sizes something can be taken in before it completely loses its shape? I am debating whether to schlep a stack of skirts (lined, basically straight but some have side zips and others have backs) home for Christmas (tailor is much cheaper in the US than here) but am not sure if 2-3 sizes is too many.

    • Not a lot of experience here, but I know the rule for jackets is no more than 2 sizes down. Seeing as skirts are typically less complicated as far as structure/design, I would think 2-3 sizes would be doable.

    • MaggieLizer :

      2-3 sizes should be fine for skirts unless there are unusual details about them that you don’t want to lose or that would make tailoring difficult, like pockets or pleats or something.

    • eastbaybanker :

      Skirts are more forgiving than pants in this departments. A back zipper pencil skirt with side seams can be taken in 2-3 sizes. A side zipper is a pricier fix, since your tailor will have to reinstall the zipper after taking it in. A good tailor will replicate the shape of the item in the smaller size.

      This site has definitely made my tailoring costs skyrocket! But I’m so happy with the results of some of my new again clothes.

  12. Vent/rant

    Omg, pro se plaintiffs! (insert sound of forehead banging against desk here) You are all ruining my life!

    Thats all, thanks.

    • As someone who is dealing with pro se plaintiff(s), I heartily agree. Sometimes I think the Courts give them TOO much leeway.

    • I hear ya, I hear ya. I don’t think there’s ever such a thing as a good experience with a pro se. And if there is, no attorney I know has ever had one.

    • Sames. I am not your attorny; you do not get to meet with me whenever you feel like; you don’t get whatever you want just because you ask for it; no, I will not file that for you; you’re not paying me. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    • sweetknee :

      I can one up you there. I have a pro se Plaintiff who is a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic who refuses to take meds. . . . . Ack !

    • I saw a great cartoon once that said something to the effect of “Pro se representation is at once the bane and the glory of our legal system.”

    • Former MidLevel :

      I hear you!

    • The divorce courts are filled with pro se litigants, and their cases invariably go to trial. It is such an unbelievable drag on the system, but when people run out of money to pay for representation, what else can they do?

    • Frankly, I think Legal Zoom and the like are giving people the impression they don’t need lawyers. Some people truly cannot afford legal representation, but some people just THINK they can’t afford it. There are lots of baby lawyers out there looking to do work for a song. So frustrating!

  13. I’ve just realized that I fit all of the risk factors for PCOS. It’s developed slowly over the last few months and I’m very very angry at myself. I could stand to lose quite a lot of weight and have no one to blame but myself. I’m booked into see a doctor on Friday and now know what I have to do. But looking for help and encouragement here: has anyone ever reversed PCOS with weight loss?

    Also, if you are thinking about losing weight and are on the fence, tomorrow, tomorrow – do it! I feel and look pretty good. However, I’m 26 and realistically, I may never have children because of this. It’s not worth it.

    • I have PCOS. I don’t understand why you are beating yourself up. PCOS causes you to gain weight and makes it very difficult to lose. You haven’t done anything wrong. Get thee to a good endocrinologist and get properly medicated. No need to freak out.

      • Ditto. There are also varying levels of PCOS. No need to freak out until you know.

        For a positive example, a friend of mine has PCOS, and through diet (low-gi) and exercise she lost the weight and conceived within two months of starting the diet.

    • I have PCOS and have 2 kids now. I’ve also been taking metformin which helps with the insulin resistance. My symptoms are definitely better when I am closer to a healthy weight (which I am not right now), but its very, very, very hard for me to lose weight once I gain it. Weight Watchers, metformin and a strict exercise regime helped me lose the weight after the first baby but it was a long, slow road, and I am kicking myself with how much weight I put on with the second baby. So its possible, but difficult.

      I’ve heard others on this board say they were able to use HSA/FSA money for a personal trainer since it was doctor ordered, you may want to ask about that. Also ask about making sure your vitamin levels are correct – I have a tendency to have low iron, which does not help my energy levels at all.

      What type of doctor are you seeing? A gyn, an endo, a GP? I’ve had best care under an OBGYN who specialised in PCOS and and endo, and mediocre to no care under the GP and general GYN.

    • Please get the book “A Patient’s Guide to PCOS” and read it, and make an appointment to see an endocrinologist. If you’re in DC, I can recommend one.

      Also, what Jenny said. No one to blame but yourself? Honey, assuming you do have PCOS, you didn’t give yourself the disease and you’re not to blame for its systems.

    • Please don’t get down on yourself. As Anne said, there are varying levels of PCOS. I think mine is definitely not severe (I had acne problems, trouble controlling weight, zero periods, no ovulation, but no excessive hair growth nor obesity). Mine is kept under control with birth control pills, lots of exercise, and a diabetic-type diet. Other than seeing an endocrinologist, the best thing I did was work with a diabetic dietitian (I only saw her 3 times, but she was tremendously helpful; she modified my diet and helped me understand why the food I thought was supposed to help me lose weight wasn’t).

      As I’ve never tried to get pregnant, I cannot comment from personal experience. But I do know two women who successfully used chlomid (one got a single baby, the other had twins).

      • I was diagnosed back in my late teens / early 20s (4 periods / year, lab tests).
        I’ve been to several OB/GYNs specializing in PCOS and, I’ll be honest, nothing helped. I was put on Metformin, Prometrium, and Yasmin (extremely suicidal. Terrifying. Never, ever again.). Hopefully you have better results. Ten years post-diagnosis, I’m on no treatment at all and now have consistent periods. I haven’t tried to have a child, though, and I suspect my testosterone levels are still higher than they should be.

        To work on the weight, you should read the book “Eat For Health.” It might change your perspective on weight loss. I suggest you at least try his eating style for 6 weeks and see if it makes you feel better. His focus on fruits and vegetables would probably be good for your hormone levels.

  14. Does anyone have experience reserving seats on American Airlines for travel on international flights? I bought an economy ticket to Hong Kong and was not given the option to select seats. I’ve tried to by looking up my reservation on the AA site and still no seat select option. I read in their fine print that on some flights, seat selection isn’t available until check-in 24 hours before the flight. Now I’m anxious that I’ll get a terrible seat for a very long flight! Anyone have any advice? Thanks!

    • Are you flying on American itself, or is it a codeshare with Cathay/some other airline? I’ve had luck calling Cathay directly if it is the second.

      • It is a codeshare with Cathay! Thanks, I’ll give them a call. :)

        • Try logging into cathay’s site with your ticket information and see if you can pull up the seat locator for your flight. This happened to me all the time during the United/Continental merger (I’d buy a flight through United but it was a legacy Continental flight, so I’d have to log in to Continental to select my seat). Now it happens when I buy a US Airways codeshare flight through United. *rawr*

    • phillygirlruns :

      i just booked flights to buenos aires on AA and was given the seat-selection option for all four flights during the booking process.

    • A lot of airlines do this nowadays. Don’t stress it. Go online 24 hours before your flight and see if you can do an online check-in and select your seat then. Alternatively, show up at the airport early and ask the ticket agent for help finding you a good seat. Especially if you’re flying alone, this shouldn’t be a problem.

      FWIW, I hope you’re flying a codeshare with some other airline – I have not had good experiences with AA, esp. on long flights. If you have an ipad, I would recommend downloading some movies in advance – I flew AA to Europe last year and they didn’t even have TVs (to be sure, some of their planes do, but they also still fly a very old fleet).

      • I am flying codeshare with Cathay- hopefully it will be a little better than your experience. I’ve heard the same thing regarding AA’s older fleet. Maybe this will give me an excuse to buy an ipad. Haha. Thanks!

    • Another S :

      Is it a true AA flight or actually a Cathay flight? If it’s the latter, I think I usually get my seat assignment when I book my ticket. I’d try calling them (Cathay is pretty awesome in my experience). On a related note, when I fly to Hong Kong on Cathay I’m not able to check in online ahead of time, I have to wait until I get to the airport. I don’t know if this is something unique with my Asia travel itinerary or what – I just don’t want you to freak out if this happens to you too.

    • Call AA and ask. The leg to Hong Kong may be with another airline partner who does seat assignment at check-in. I’ve had that happen before. AA or the partner may be able to assign a seat over the phone.

    • Not to fear monger, but I’ve sometimes had this happen to me when the flight was overbooked.

      I’ve always made it onto the plane, though.

  15. There is a religiously affiliated organization that I am interested in applying for a job with. It does not provide religiously affiliated services and focuses more on social justice (affordable housing, domestic workers bill of rights, etc.). I am a member of this minority religion, but it is not the defining characteristic of my identity. I am truly truly interested in the work, but do not want to get pigeonholed into only working for religious organizations in the future, being discriminated against for this in the future, or having people assume that I had religious motivation rather than intellectual motivation. I have no idea if this is even a problem or consideration for future employers, but I have never really thought about working for a religious organization before. Any thoughts?

    • karenpadi :

      I think this depends by geography. On the West Coast, I look at the resume and if there are religious-y details, I note it but I never use it to weigh in on an interview decision.

      At the interview, one factor is whether the person will fit with the office culture generally. Honestly, this has only come up in cases where the (male) candidate had major creepy vibes or mentioned taking clients to strip clubs. So I think that as long as a candidate isn’t trying to convert an interviewer, or denigrating other religious traditions or those who lack a religious tradition, it’s not an issue.

    • In my field a lot of people work for religiously-affiliated organizations. A few such organizations require adherence to a certain doctrinal statement, but most hire without regard to faith. I would never assume anything about an applicant just because she’d worked for a particular religiously-affiliated organization.

    • I’ve worked for multiple religously-affiliated organizations in the nonprofit sector, and I am not a member of any of those religions. As Bluejay says, it is common in certain fields, and most people hiring will not assume that you belong to a religion just because it is on your resume. I wouldn’t worry about it.

  16. Diana Barry :

    I wouldn’t wear this as a suit, but really like the blazer by itself.

  17. Out of curiosity: Did you start visiting this site because you love fashion, or because you struggle with fashion and wanted to figure it out?

    I am definitely the latter. I’ve learned a TON from Kat and the lovely ladies here, but I just do not have that natural fashionista instinct. It bums me out, actually. I’m one of those people with a closet full of basics but very few pieces that are fun or express my personality. I’ve been reading lots of fashion blogs in an attempt to figure out what my style might be, and they just confuse the heck out of me. For example, I like skinny & straight-leg jeans on other people but they are SO UNFLATTERING on my body type. But boot cuts look weird with all the cute tops and long cardis that are designed to be worn with skinnies. I’ve concluded that unless you have the type of figure that designers love to design for, it takes a ton of time, money and effort to dress well … and for what?

    Sorry, that turned into a longer vent than I’d intended. I’m just curious if there’s anyone else who struggles with How to Be Fashionable.

    • On the jeans thing: I struggle with pants sometimes too. Depending on your budget, I would recommend going to a large Nordstrom or Bloomingdales in your area (if you have one) and talking to a denim specialist/personal shopper. Some brands make “baby bootcut” jeans that are better than straight legs but still go with the tops. And they can help you figure out wth the difference is between cigarette, pencil, straight, skinny, etc cuts of pants. There can actually be a big difference. I found last time that I look much better in cigarette than pencil, but I avoided cigarette for a long time because I didn’t think totally straight up and down form fitting would be that great (and besides, how are they that different from straight leg?).

      • Moderation for cigar e t t e.

        On the jeans thing: I struggle with pants sometimes too. Depending on your budget, I would recommend going to a large Nordstrom or Bloomingdales in your area (if you have one) and talking to a denim specialist/personal shopper. Some brands make “baby bootcut” jeans that are better than straight legs but still go with the tops. And they can help you figure out wth the difference is between cigar e t t e, pencil, straight, skinny, etc cuts of pants. There can actually be a big difference. I found last time that I look much better in cigar e t t e than pencil, but I avoided cigar e t t e for a long time because I didn’t think totally straight up and down form fitting would be that great (and besides, how are they that different from straight leg?).

    • karenpadi :

      I’m the latter too. But I’ve given up on fashion and got a personal stylist. If you shop at Nordie’s, I highly recommend theirs!

      • Dude. That would be amazing. The nearest Nordie’s is 8 hours away. I wonder if they’d do video consultations? :)

        • Call the local store. One of them might work off of photos! You’d have to purchase and return her suggestions if you couldn’t go to the store in person to try them on, though. But maybe consult via photos and then make a weekend trip to go shopping?

          Alternately, you might find a personal shopper near you and shop the Nordie’s website together. But you’d probably have to pay her fee.

        • I believe Lord & Taylor offers personal shopping (for free) if there is one of those near you.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I have an appointment with karenpadi’s Nordie’s PS on Saturday. Excited!!!

    • I actually started reading this site when I had the job offer for my current job. I tried looking up dress codes online, found this site and stayed for the comments.

      My style is pretty relaxed, but so is the dress code in my current department, so I don’t worry overly much. I’m usually living in long-sleeved tees, jeans/skirts and a cardigan on top for days when I don’t have any meetings.

      I’m still trying to find what is my style, and what would ultimately work and look a step-two step up from my current style.

    • My problem is that I THINK I have a fashion instinct but instead I have a closet full of odds and ends that don’t really look all that great on. What I’ve started doing, and maybe it could help you, is to pick one actress or one character on TV and try to follow their style. When I see something I love in a store- I think would “so and so” wear this? Often times I couldn’t picture the person in it so I pass. (My style icon is Ellen on Damages- I only wish I had that kind of budget!) I’d say find someone who has a similar shape to your and keep them in mind when you shop for things.

    • I struggle. I had never worn heels and didn’t even know what a cardigan was until I started law school and realized that maybe I should know something if I want to get a job where I have a dress code.

      I still have found that it is way too time consuming to figure it out. I still just wear the stuff I bought at goodwill 4-15 years ago. I kind of like the personal shopper idea, though it sounds expensive and nearest nordies is 2+ hours away.

      • Nordies does not charge for using a personal shopper! Assuming you can afford to shop at Nordies in general, it won’t cost you any more to have a personal shopper. And they don’t expect you to buy a ton of stuff all at once – they make money by building a relationship with you and having you come back to them over the years.

        Macy’s also has personal shoppers, btw, which may be an option for those of you who don’t live near a Nordstrom.

    • I struggle. My mother, bless her heart, has a personal style that isn’t to my liking. She is a wonderful person, but maybe wasn’t the best person to learn fashion from as a small child. Due to the trauma of middle school and intense compulsion to fit in, I developed a very (VERY) bland personal style (if you could even call it that) through my teens and twenties. My husband has wonderful personal style and has a beautiful eye, and has always encouraged me to branch out, try different colors and styles, invest in pieces. I also have some body image stuff that is better than it used to be, but still present and informs my decisions. I’ve been plus sized, borderline plus sized, and only recently fit firmly into misses. It was on this board that I learned that even if you are size 2, different clothes fit you differently. I know that this is crazy, but I seriously thought that if only I could be smaller, then everything would fit me. Crazy, right? The idea of a size 2 pear shape didn’t occur to me. Anyways, long tangent. I find this to be a great resource for pieces, both Kat’s recommendations and others. Also, people think about color in a way that I used to be afraid to (like, more than one color in an outfit? That’s crazy!). Plus, I freaking love this community. So that’s why I’m here. I feel like it has unlocked this secret society of smart motivated women who like fashion and live a life that I can relate to.

    • Try wearing skinny jeans with slouchy boots. This creates the widening-at-the-ankles effect that you get with bootcut jeans, making your figure more balanced, but the jeans still look good with the longer shirts and cardis.

      Um, I love fashion. No doubt about it.

    • I came here for one of the “”lifestyle” articles and stay for the comments and tips, the fact that it is a fashion blog gives me some nice tips that I hope to someday be able to use. Right now I’m just hoping to make the transition from “not frumpy” to “somewhat in fashion” as I am allowed to wear jeans and t-shirts to work, ruin clothes on a regular basis and am struggling to lose post-baby weight. Right now the fashion advice is being filed away and I am building a mental file of what type of pieces I should buy for my long term wardrobe when my size stabilizes a bit more. Its also helped me indulge in some virtual shopping without actually spending money.
      Thanks hive, you are an inspirational group of women, career and fashion-wise!

  18. onehsancare :

    Question for the hive: my sister is being offered a choice of being laid off after 26 years with the same company with a good severance package, or a demotion with a pay cut. This company has had several waves of layoffs, so we know that the general justification of budget trimming is supported by the evidence, but there is also a sense that after all this time with the company and the years of excellent reviews, she is being singled out because of a personality conflict with the now-general manager. (If that’s the case, she recognizes that that’s not going to change.) My question—one piece of the severance package can be outplacement services. Is that ever structured so she will retain her current job until the outplacement is successful, or are the services provided after she leaves, so she may still end up finding herself unemployed?

    • Only know one example of this but the services were only provided after the individual left the position.

    • I’ve only seen outplacement services offered after the individual left.

      Is the severance payment lump sum or like a regular paycheck for x number of weeks/months? She might be able to negotiate that she’s still “employeed” for the period of her severance as far as references.

    • I don’t know about outplacement, but that sucks so much. What’s to stop them from laying her off anyway if she takes the demotion? If there’s some sort of contract that prevents her from being laid off,it might be a better bet than taking the severance and relying on an bad job market.

  19. My go to black flats AND my go to brown wedges decided this week would be their last. It’s extremely sad and I’m not particularly looking forward to the epic hunt it will take to adequately replace each. First world problems, I suppose.

    • My dog ripped up my favorite black flats last night. I sympathize. The quest for replacement will be long and unpleasant, for sure.

    • My trusty black flats that I’d had for about four years were looking pretty battered and I ended up getting rid of them in the midst of moving. So of course, with all the craziness that comes with packing and unpacking I didn’t have time to search for a new pair/it slipped my mind. Fast forward to the first day of my new job and I had a near panic attack that I had no black shoes. Oh moving problems…

    • May I suggest Cole Haan Air Tali (not Talia)? They may be the solution to your wedge problem. I think they come in a flat too.

    • lucy stone :

      I lost my go to black flats, yellow flats, and two pairs of funky flats in the last month. FOOEY. My condolences on your losses.

  20. e_pontellier :

    In the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to network a lot. A number of people have asked where I went to high school. I give the city and state, but some people inquire as to the specific name. My high school was private and extremely religious, and you had to be religious to attend. I’m no longer religious, but the religion was fairly extreme-Christian and does not have a very good reputation, generally. I have an interview on Friday and I’m concerned about being asked where I went to high school and whether that’s something I should be nervous about. Any advice on how to deal with this? Or is this no big deal?

    • Instead of giving them a specific name, you could say “a very small private school” and then change the subject. I don’t think its a big deal either way, but I understand not wanting to tie yourself to any religion in a networking setting, let alone one you no longer practice.

      • I say “very small private school” as well, and it usually works. If you went somewhere local-ish or from somewhere that the interviewer is familiar with, then you might get more questions. Usually deflecting works. My small private high school is embroiled in some scandals right now and I don’t really want to be associated/remembered for that. Most people take the hint when you say small and private.

        • e_pontellier :

          I have to say, I am a.s.t.o.n.i.s.h.e.d at how many people have NOT taken the hint when I say “small, private high school in [city, state]” but here’s to hoping my interviewer on Friday will! Thanks : )

          • Here’s one thought – is City, State a city and state known for having several small, prestigious private high schools? Because it may be that the interviewer thinks you are either trying to be modest or, alternatively, that you are trying to get them to fish for it to call attention to it. An analogy would be the number of people who answer “Where did you go to college?” with “In Boston” and then, upon further prodding, “Well actually in Cambridge” and then finally “Harvard”.

          • Interesting. I wouldn’t have thought that about high school. There are definitely several prestigious small private schools in my hometown, but unless you’re from the area, have family there, or there is some external reason to know the school, why would you have even heard of it or its competitors?

            And for e.pontellier: Does the school name have the name of the religion in it? Many of the prominent religiously affiliated schools in either my hometown or where I live now do not name the religion or sect. (Excluding many Catholic ones that tend to be more obviously named along the lines of Notre Dame or Mater Dei.) If it is X Christian Academy that might be different from X Academy that is Episcopalian. However, there are a lot of people in my hometown who send their kids to religious schools (particularly Catholic) because they are better than public but cheaper than private. I have no idea, but it may not be as obvious to your interviewer as you are afraid of.

          • This is totally minor, but I might try only answering “City, state,” in response to the first “Where did you go to high school?” Then, if they ask a second time, “Oh, which high school?”, you can answer with, “A small, private high school.” Most people, I think, would realize that asking a third question seeking the same information would be prying.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I don’t think you should be nervous about this. Handle it like you have been — name the city and state and only name the actual school if the person asks specifically asks.

      There’s nothing you can really do about what high school you attended, and if you try to skirt the issue, you’ll just seem weird. And it’s also strange to say, “I went to Ultra Conservative Religious School That You Might Not Like, but I don’t believe those things anymore!”

      As a side note, it’s weird to me that people ask your high school and then get weird about you not saying the name of it. Is this regional? Maybe it’s more common in an area with more private schools?

      At any rate — Good luck with your interview!

      • e_pontellier :

        That’s a very good point – disclaimers will make me sound weird. The people who have been asking are in NYC and I did not attend high school in NYC, so I also find this phenomenon weird. I guess I’m just overly sensitive to it though. Thank you!

      • I’m in the midwest and EVERYONE wants to know where you went to high school, what your parents do, and if you’re related to so and so. It’s a good time.

      • I have to say I agree with Anoninfinity that I’ve only been asked once or twice where I went to high school and it was only when people were from my hometown.

        But I’d just answer confidently and then move the conversation along. Being evasive makes it almost more awkward.

    • I agree with TCFKAG – just answer confidently and move on.

      New Orleans is one of the places where people are defined by where they went to high school. When I first came here, I didn’t get it at all. The funny thing is that I went to a very small public high school in western PA that nobody ever heard of so it makes me laugh to say it.

      • Baltimore, too. When people here ask you “where you went to school,” they mean high school. So the proper answer to “Where did you go to school?” is not “Oh, I went to undergrad at Awesome U.” The correct answer is: “Oh, I’m not from here.”

        I’m just now (maybe?) getting the hang of it.

    • I agree with Betty. I normally answer “Where did you go to high school” with “in City, State” and no one has ever asked a followup.

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