Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Milano Rib Blazer

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

Women's Regular Milano Rib BlazerThis jacket looks a bit dowdy on screen, but 101 mostly glowing reviews tell me that it’s worth a shot.  I like the blue and the red (the “Mazarine” blue, pictured, is very on trend this season) and the promise of a comfortable rib knit sweater jacket that still holds its shape.  The price doesn’t hurt, either:  it was $94, but is now marked to $35 (select colors only) — and it’s available in regular, petite, tall, plus, and petite plus at Land’s End.  Women’s Regular Milano Rib Blazer

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Comments

  1. Super cute, it looks like a better quality one of the gap version from a few months back.

  2. I have a deeeep distrust of Land’s End sizing. Go two sizes down (unless your other clothing is also similarly vanity-sized). You’ve been warned…

    • This bugs me especially because they often don’t even offer anything smaller than a 4, and their 4 is really about an 8. I am a perfectly normal sized person and it irks me that I can’t buy this blazer.

      • I think that it’s less about vanity sizing than it is about customer base. I remember reading something about how companies generally make a “medium” that is the median for their general customer sample. I recently noticed it with BB mens’ line. I don’t think men have the same vanity impulse to go for a medium over a large, for instance, but the BB “large” has gotten larger in the past year – my SO always got their pajama pants in this size and the last two pairs have been bigger on him even though his weight has stayed basically the same.

        • Yeah, I have the same problem with tall ranges as well. Few retailers make their smallest sizes in a tall because there simply isn’t a large enough market.

          I always love the Land’s End coats people post here, but have sadly resigned myself to not buying them for a while…

        • Research, Not Law :

          This. Manufactures set their sizes to their customer base. There’s no gold standard for sizing. You may not like it, but it’s a reasonable system.

          Fit of clothing also matters. Their intended fit is looser than other stores, so yes, you’re going to have to size down quite a bit for a slim fit. Again, it’s about their target market. When I was younger, I wanted a body conscious fit. Now I want a looser fit. My physical size hasn’t changed, but I have to go up one or two sizes at the stores where I shopped when I was younger which intend their clothes to be tight.

          • Same here, and at 51yo with limited shopping options (the usuals discussed here are too young, too tight, too whatever for me), Lands’ End’s fit is a RELIEF.

      • kerrycontrary :

        Agree with lands end, and then even LLBean too. I’m a normal sized person and I’m swimming in their smalls.

      • It sucks to not be able to buy something you want, but that’s also how those of us in the 14-16 range feel about some 75% of the clothing featured here, and those larger about more than 90% of it.

        • this.

        • Thank you. Yes.

        • +100. Esp at 16. 14 is better, having recently put myself back into that size. There is very little at 16+, and I would have been swimming in 16W sizes.

        • little advice :

          seriously. different retailers target different markets–what’s wrong with that?

          • Sizes are not about different markets!!!!!!! Maybe older fashion clothes, yes, but it is ridiculous that I can’t fit by butt into ANYTHING at J.Crew at 5 foot 4 and 155 pounds. And I am sorry but there is no way that Mrs. Obama, with her fabulous hips, just waltzes into J Crew and buys off the rack because the only clothes in the store are small and extra small. I will say, however, that I gained forty pounds after I quit smoking and once I hit 170, I realized that I would not be able to shop anymore in regular stores. That was enough to get me on a diet. But, I don’t see me losing much more weight and I have more money than I ever did to shop. So, STORES! Start carrying more 12 and 14 clothes!!!

          • Cornellian :

            As much as it sucks to be on one end or another of a company’s market, I think little advice is correct. Different stores target different markets. They don’t have some abstract moral obligation to carry average sizes, or small, or extra large sizes. They carry what they think makes a profit for them.

            That said, it does seem strange that I’m a 2 and XS at many stores, when I’m 131 lbs or so. My poor 4’10 85 lb sister has no hope.

          • I would guess that Michelle Obama is a size 8T. She definitely buys off the rack at J Crew.

          • I would say Michelle O almost certainly can buy off the rack at JCrew (and perspective is interesting — I find a lot of JCrew stuff I try on to be absurdly vanity sized so I appreciate hearing your viewpoint that it’s cut small) but, while she may do that, she 110% has everything she wears tailored. And that is 3/4 of the reason she looks so great in them (the other 1/4, of course, being that she’s Michelle Obama). It was a big wake up call to me to realize that celebrities have EVERYTHING tailored, even simple white tees, and helped me realize why nothing ever hangs as nicely on me as it seems to on celebrity bodies.

          • Well, if by off the rack, you mean online :) Jcrew tall sizes are only available online.

          • Off-the-rack is a turn of phrase that just means that it is a size that comes ready-made from the retailer. Not that you literally have to buy the size on a rack.

          • locomotive :

            I’m 5’2 and 150s lbs and can buy off the rack at Jcrew (size 6-8 and S/M) so I seriously doubt MO can’t buy off the rack there…

          • Midwest Transplant :

            She looks great, but as a gal with a similarly shaped waist, butt and hips, MO must get them altered. I love JCrew clothes, but all dresses and skirts have to be taken in at the waist, and forget about the pants, too much work.

            No issues with companies making clothing to fit their customers though. I know the brands and styles from those brands that work for me and try to stick with those.

          • The problem is that so many clothing manufacturers aim for certain populations, while many others are routinely ignored. Aiming for different age brackets makes sense, and Country Outfitters sells different clothes than Urban Outfitters. However, regardless of size and shape, it is a cultural expectation to cover our nakedness, and in a professional setting, to dress appropriately. This can be quite difficult. As a tall woman, I used to be confused at the lack of options because tall is a dominant gene. At some point I realized that tall as a dominant gene is more commonly expressed in a woman who is 5’7″ than 5’11″.

            It seems like if certain clothing manufacturers focused on typically-ignored sizes and shapes, they could be quite profitable, as long as they’re not aiming to be the next [insert major brand].

          • I am not suggesting that Michelle Obama is large but the cut of their clothes is very boyish. I have a hard time seeing how a size 2 woman with hips fits into their clothes. I do get the idea that older women want a different cut though. I like Hilfiger and JCP t-shirts because they fit on my shoulders but don’t hug my belly.

        • Agree

        • Sing it!

    • They are very much hit and miss. I generally go down a size and to a petite.

    • YES. Wish I knew this when I bought one of my favorite winter coats from Land’s End. I truly love it, but it was bigger than I expected when it arrived. To add to just the general larger sizing, it was during my heavier stage while in the midst of law school, when I was about 20 lbs heavier.

      • Cornellian :

        Same. I got a nice Lands’ End coat in a 4 (I usually wear a 6 in dresses and jackets as I have wide shoulders and a pretty muscular back) and I SWIM in it. It worked out okay, though, as I can wear sweaters underneath easily.

  3. It looks very dowdy in the picture! I think this probably would work only if you generally like Land’s End clothes. For me, they are way too frumpy on, so I doubt this would be any different.

  4. Hi Ladies, I bought the Land’s End dress based on recommendation here a few days ago (google “Women’s Regular 3/4-sleeve Knit Faux Wrap Drapey Ponté Dress”) . The dress arrived yesterday, the fabric is quite substantial and love the green color. It was a great deal at $25 (now it is $19) Definitely size down, I got an XS and the top part is a bit loose and deep but I can wear with a cami underneath, the bottom actually fit me really well with my pear shape. I am usually XS on top and 4-6 in bottom for AnnTaylor/BR. Happy with the purchase !

    • Cornellian :

      I ordered one too! I hope it arrives today. I got an XS, and am generally a 2-4 in pants, 6 in dresses, athletic shape. Looking forward to seeing if it works on me!

    • Mine is arriving soon! I got the red for a relatively casual Saturday night wedding in the NW. It looked post-pregnancy shape friendly and nursing friendly. I figured for 22 bucks it was worth a try.

    • I’m convinced! Off to buy the dress!

      • I bought it in green as well and love it! Their whole line of those dresses have been great. I love them because they do not wrinkle at all and for business travel it is such a plus! I have three more other than the wrap one that I just really adore.

        • Paralegal :

          Turns out I just missed out :( I was trying to coordinate with my mom so we could order $50+ and get free shipping and all the smalls sold out.

        • Chicago Lawyer :

          Sold! Just ordered the green (and the blazer).

          I have a somewhat general question about wearing green/other colored dresses and skirts – what color tights/nylons do you do with green? I’ve been trying to do brown tights with green and other colors (such as camel) but can’t figure out what color shoes to wear with them. Maybe I just need to give up on brown tights?

    • Anonymous Poser :

      Hey, I’m tempted by the Land’s End dress. Those of you who have tried it and are gifted with (ahem) large tracts of land on an otherwise average frame, I’d love to hear what you think. I’m a 32F, with narrow shoulders, to boot. TIA!

    • I have two of the LE wrap dresses – one in black and one in tomato red; I think I got them for $28 each on Cyber Monday. I’m usually in low plus sizes, but the LE XL fits me perfectly. It’s a very forgiving dress, both in terms of the nice thick fabric and the cut, and always gets me compliments. I’m on the busty side, and the top is great for me because it’s very adjustable – I can position it in a way that’s flattering for the girls and it stays that way. I always wear a camisole underneath; it’s possible that the fabric of the camisole is part of what makes the top of the dress stay put.

    • Sugar Magnolia :

      I was the original poster, and I absolutely love the dress on. I am wearing it in the green today, with a black cami under it, black tights, black heels and a black scarf around my neck. I got a compliment the second I walked into the office.

      And because I am BFing, it has plenty of room in the chest area. I am a tiny bit concerned about fit once I stop BF, but for now, it is perfect.

  5. I like it, but it looks a bit slouchy to me. Is that just the model not having the correct size?

  6. Paging Miss A! :

    Sorry for the immediate thread jack y’all, but I’m hoping Miss A is reading this morning, who so kindly recommended a rental agent for NYC when I posted a couple weeks back that I’m moving to the city. Miss A, I tried emailing you at the address you listed, but it bounced back each time. Would you be so kind as to post it again (or send it to dissident1L at the gmail) so I can contact the agent? We are supposed to meet with an agent from Anchor Associates tomorrow but she is being super flaky and ducking our calls as we are on the train to NYC this morning. Panic! Any and all advice welcome, and thanks for being so kind, all of you!

  7. I love the color, but not the way the blazer is shaped. The arms look too wide and not sharp, the waistline is vaguely defined and kind of baggy.

    Separately, this woman is amazing and inspiring– I was listening to this story this morning, and very much in awe of Emem Isong and wanted to share the link to the NPR piece on her:
    http://www.npr.org/2013/01/04/168589567/nollywoods-female-pioneer-aims-for-global-audience

    It’s not enough that she’s made her way and been successful in a very male-dominated industry (in a very male-dominated country), but she’s also trying to get her country (Nigeria)’s film industry more visibility in the rest of the world, and trying to create more opportunities for women.

  8. Diana Barry :

    Hey ladies,

    Query for those of you with bangs, I have a hard time with my bangs in the winter – they get matted down, staticky and fall off my forehead with my part – I can’t get them to lay flat across my forehead as usual. Any tips? Particularly with wearing hats? I am not sure what to do with them these days!

    • Try to find a loose beret that you can wear above the bangs, kinda like this:
      http://www.polyvore.com/pieces_fuzzy_beret_bangs/thing?id=59730711
      A structured or fur hats are bad for bangs.

    • It’s the battle of my life. I tend to bring a comb and hairspray and restyle when I grt to the office in Winter and avoid hats as they are almost always unfixable under a hat.

    • I haven’t had bangs for years, so this may be outdated advice, but I used to pin them up and then put on a hat. That way they wouldn’t be matted down, but would instead have a bit of fluff that would settle nicely after half an hour or so. I also used to throw a dryer sheet (weird, I know) into the top of the hat to eliminate static.

      • No Problem :

        Yes, this. I have sideswept bangs, and my stylist recommends pinning them back to the opposite side of my head while commuting, especially in the summer with the humidity and sweat (though I imagine the same would apply to winter static and hat hair). So since my bangs fall on the right side of my forehead, I would pin them back and to the left. I imagine the same would work with bangs that fall straight onto your forehead.

      • The Manageing partner does NOT want me to comb my hair in front of my face or eyes. That is why he forbid’s BANGS. He also dos not like me in an up do so I can onley wear my hair down and some times in a pony tale. He is not big on my scrub hiss either. FOOEY b/c I have a lot of colors I was hopeing to wear with my color outfit’s!

        So I got one of the 2 supermarkit guys to send over 15 cases. The other is going to think about it. He is big on alternate billeing arrangement’s. FOOEY if that means less money for the firm. Since I am not a partner I could.not comit to anything and the Manageing pArtner decided to take Margie to the boat show instead of helpeing me! Yay b/c the supermarkit guys were telling off color jokes, but I could Handel the DOUBEL entenders.

        Yay for fruegel Fridays but dad has frozen my clotheing expenses. That is also good for the Manageing partner but NOT for me. DOUBEL FOOEY!

    • I usually stick a dryer sheet in my hat to avoid the static.

  9. Legally Red :

    I finally jumped on the bandwagon and ordered the Lo&Sons OMG and TT. Trying to decide which to keep… :)

    • Are those bags still on sale? My OMG must have fallen off Santa’s sleigh.

      • Legally Red :

        Alas, no. I’m not sure when their bags tend to go on sale. I felt like I’d always just missed the sales until now.

        • Anonymous Poser :

          shopping notes dot com
          is a great way to stalk an item on a particular website. It updates you when the price changes, and you get to set parameters as to how much of a discount will land a notification in your inbox.

  10. I just posted yesterday about how much I love the Land’s End ponte pencil skirt so I’m not going to say everything they make is awful. But this particular blazer looks like it’s meant for their older client base (and I say this as a 47 year old), particularly with the big patch pockets. It looks like something my mom would love to pop on for running around town doing errands. She’s 73.

    In fact, I might get her this for her birthday.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I agree. I always read the age category of reviews.

    • I’ve been wanting to get a black pencil skirt so I just ordered the Lands’ End ponte one (and the dress discussed above). Thanks for the rec, Mamabear!

    • lawsuited :

      Agreed. I have been looking for a comfy ponte blazer, but the patch pockets, buttons and boxy shape of this one means I’ll just have to keep looking…

  11. Can I wear leopard print shoes with a red dress? The dress is more of a brick red, not a Christmas/Valentine’s Day red.

    I always wonder if wearing animal print with red makes it look like I went hunting, killed the animal, and the blood spurted all over my dress, thus turning it red. But maybe I’m the only one who thinks this…

    • Personally, I think of it as an older woman look. I prefer leopard with colors other than red (like emerald green or cobalt blue). It does not make me think that you killed the animal and are covered in blood, though.

    • a passion for fashion :

      of course! you can wear animal print with just about any color. i treat animal print (and particularly leopard) as a neutral. You have to be a little more careful than normal when it comes to prints, but otherwise go for it.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I am firmly on Team Leopard is a Neutral, and I particularly love leopard with red. And green. And, you know, polka dots…

  12. AnonForThis :

    Relationship TJ – So I’ve been with my current SO for about a year and things are going great. But I can’t seem to get over this creeping insecurity that he doesn’t really want to be with me, or doesn’t want to do the things that I do but does things like going to the movies with me and holding my hand because he’s trying to be nice.

    I know logically this is ridiculous and doing things just to be nice isn’t him at all, but for some reason, I’m scared of losing him and I just feel a little insecure.

    Has anyone else felt like this? Is this the type of thing that goes away with time? We’re talking about getting engaged before the end of the year and I know he cares about me but that doesn’t stop the insecurity…

    • goldribbons :

      It doesn’t go away with time. My advice would be to either: have a very honest discussion with him about this if you feel you’re capable of expressing ALL of your concerns, and/or start some therapy. You need to feel like this man is going to be your biggest cheerleader, and a ring doesn’t change any insecurities you have. I suggested therapy because this could be a hesitancy YOU have about the relationship or about him, and you really should unearth that before getting married. Being married is no walk in the park, and you need to feel that this is the man you want with you when ALL THE SH!T hits the fan later in life. Good luck, and [[[hugs]]].

    • Honestly, I would recommend a few sessions with a counselor/therapist. There may be more facts which you have not described in your posting, or you may be gun shy from a prior relationship, but your insecurity does seem to be internal and not based upon his actions. A counselor can really help you work through these issues, and I’m guessing you would feel a lot better after a few sessions. Best of luck to you!

      • +1000 If you’ve never felt like this in other relationships, then it’s possible there are signals you’re subconciously picking up on that are making you feel insecure. But if you haven’t had (m)any long term/serious relationships before or you’ve had bad experiences (getting dumped seemingly out of the blue, for example) in the past, then that’s something to figure out before you get engaged.

    • Hard to tell if your concerns are justified or not, but if you are young and in a serious relationship for the first time, it may help to know that we had a lot of emotional episodes that year when I was in my first serious relationship at 23. In hindsight, many of these were prompted by my own insecurity and desire to know where our relationship stood … oh … every couple of days ? Luckily my bf was older and not so easily rocked off his balance. We’ve been married nearly 20 years now, and the confused weepy emotional storms of that first year have never recurred.

    • Apparently :

      Being happy (in a relationship or otherwise) is largely dependent on internal factors. Once you find your perfect partner, you can still make yourself miserable if you fail to *choose* to be happy and content.

      I read an article in Forbes called “Key To A Happy Marriage: Be Delusional.” I tried it in my own marriage: I am normally a cold, rational, pessimisstic robot-b!tch, but I forced myself to become “delusional” and drop my paranoia of my husband straying. It worked! I’m happier, and no longer constantly jealous, and even my husband noticed that I’m happier. And now *he* is happier (and more affectionate, mainly because I no longer interrogate him like a bad police drama).

  13. I love these “What They’re Wearing At…” columns in the WSJ. My favorite piece in this one is that DVF dress (of course, worn by an ex-model). But I don’t love any of the other female looks in this round. That fur blazer at the end is a bit much, especially with the shoes. What are the weather conditions that require strappy shoes but a furry sweater?

    http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2013/01/02/what-theyre-wearing-at-halstead-property/

    • especially because all the men except 1 or 2 are in suits! My favorite was the lady in the Dana Buchman jacket – although too “old” for me right now to wear without playing dress-up, she looked womanly, not like she would clash with the homes she was showing, and still fit in with the men in traditional attire. Least favorite is a tie between fur cape and the brightly patterned long coat with fishnets.

    • I love that feature too and concur that the women’s outfits weren’t nearly as good as the men’s. I thought the woman in the last slide looked way too casual. I also thought it was interesting how many of the folks were former actors…

    • I liked Diane Ramirez’s outfit. I think she looks fabulous.

      As for the ex-model, I can see why her old job would be useful to her new job– because it’s just like her new job– by changing clothes, she can change personae.

      It seems that she changes her style depending on which client she’s dealing with. And I’m not surprised it’s working for her. It just makes me subtract a few points from humanity, because it reminds me that a lot of people are egomonsters who want to see their own style mirrored by the agent, because they need that much validation.

      In modeling, the play-acting is out in the open and official– “today, you’re the biker!” “tomorrow, you’re the edgy nerd”, “and on Saturday, you’ll do the ballerina look!”, etc. At work, it would come across as weird and fake to me if I felt like I needed to look like a hipster one day, then a formally-suited corporate type, and then 70s rocker-chic just to “connect” with my client.

      • Yeah, it’s cynical, but as a business model, I’m sure it makes perfect since to dress to the client’s expectations/with the property in mind.

        I do like the red DVF and the Dana Buchman jacket, but agree with the others that the guys really outshone the ladies here.

    • I have that DVF dress in grey! It’s my favorite work dress.

    • The guy who works in Dumbo has some pretty insane style. OMG.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I love the first outfit — Eve Penson! I have a skirt that color and I would totally wear that look from head to toe!

      LOVE the shoes on Jim Gricar!

  14. SF TJ: I’ll be in SF Sun through Thurs for a conference. Is it warm enough (even at night) for a trench coat instead of a wool coat? I’ll be in sheath dresses for the most part and will be out and about during the day and at night, with some walking possible.

    • We’re having a particularly cold spell right now, though it might rain again on Saturday. If you’re out and about in the evening you may be chilly in your trench coat (unless it’s lined) but you won’t get frostbite or anything. It depends on your comfort level with being a little chilly. SF is chilly year round because the air has a high moisture content and you feel the cold more.

      As an example, yesterday I went out around 3:30 in the city wearing no coat, but a wool cardigan and a cashmere scarf. It was fine until about 5PM. Then I started really wishing I had my coat.

    • I think so. I’d bring a scarf and sweater for some layers, but it’s not that cold right now. I’ve been wearing a blazer (wool) over a sweater and socks with my shoes (to AEK’s question, shoes without socks and a sweater are SF appropriate about 70% of the time here). It is supposed to start raining again on Sunday so keep that in mind.

    • Thanks! Sounds like a trench and scarf will work, esp with the rain forecast Sunday (and my coat has a lining, although not a “Lining”, if that makes sense – no thinsulate, etc.). I don’t mind being a little chilly but don’t want to be cold.

    • It’s been getting to the low 40s/high 30s at night recently. It was 38 degrees when I was going home from dinner two days ago. Definitely bring gloves and a scarf at least.

      • SF Bay Atty :

        Also tights if you’re going to be wearing skirts/dresses. I wear a wool coat these days and am STILL cold without gloves and leg protection.

  15. applesandcheddar :

    TJ: I’ve been with by SO for about 4 years or so, and now we are considering moving in together. This will be a major adjustment for me as I live in the city and he lives in the suburbs. Needless to say, I will be mourning over city life quite a bit. However, we plan to move back to the city in 1-2 years as soon as he can rent out his house or sell it.

    Other than this adjustment, I’ve been a pretty spoiled person living on my own for 5 years now. Can anyone offer some things you wish you knew or discussed with your SO before moving in together?

    • Talk about finances and division of chores before moving in. Those are often the big sticking points. Also, think about and talk about the adjustment of living alone and having independence vs living with another person, how much space (physical, mental, etc.) you need for yourself.

      • I was living with my husband, then pregnant, then married, then had a baby before he even considered putting our money in one pot. At the time, he made twice what I did as I was fresh out of law school. My salary has steadily gone up and I am now the major breadwinner. He wasn’t being selfish: he payed 2/3 of the rent when we were just living together, but he didn’t want to give up control of the finances. NOW! He won’t take the bill responsibility back if I begged.

        • I let my then-husband pay our bills, etc. and he totally f-ed it up. Thank goodness I was able to get back on my feet financially after my divorce. I am now ultra-careful about keeping track of my finances.

    • Finances. Pet peeves. If you hate water splashed all over the sink, tell him that so you aren’t stabby because he floods the vanity counter every morning. To that point, having separate bathrooms is really awesome and I highly recommend it if the house allows. Same for closets. Also, have a talk about division of labor for chores and the tolerance for mess. How much alone time do you need each day? Some of these things you have already experienced if you have done any traveling together or overnight visits. So you probably know what the sticking points will be.

      • GirlMeetsWorld :

        Yes to separate bathrooms!! Now if only I could have a separate kitchen.. So yeah, relative cleanliness is a big one.

    • we plan to move back to the city in 1-2 years

      If I had a nickel for every friend that said that 5 years ago..

    • 1. HOUSEWORK!! (Not a general “oh, we’ll both share it equally!” but what does each person think are the household chores that need to be done, how often, and how will you decide who does what when. Factor in not only cooking and cleaning, but also grocery shopping, taking out trash, lawn work, paying bills, car maintenance, pet care, calling/dealing with plumbers etc.)

      2. How much alone/w. out SO time does each person think is okay. If you go out with friends 2-3 nights per week, how does he feel about that? Do you need to discuss it with the other person before committing to plans?

      3. If one of you has a more flexible schedule than the other, will that person always be the one to wait for the cable guy, pick up the clothes from the dry cleaner, etc.?

      4. Money (duh) Assuming you’re not combining finances (I don’t know many unmarried people who do that), you’ll have private little pots of money to spend however you each want. If there’s a big difference between your incomes, how will you deal with that? (Is it okay for you to spend $1,000 on something you want for yourself if SO only has $100 of personal money to spend on himself?)

      5. Houseguests. Does family stay with you when they visit, or do they get hotels? (This was HUGE for us. I’m from a family where relatives would NEVER stay in a hotel. It would be insulting to ask anyone to do this and it would be insulting to the hosts to not stay in their house. Mr. TBK is from a family where staying at someone’s house is seen as a huge imposition and guests should always try to get a hotel first.) How much notice do you need to give the other if you’re having a houseguest? How long can a houseguest stay? (I have friends, from another culture, whose in-laws/parents visit for 6-8 weeks at a time. In my and my husband’s culture, 2-3 nights tops is about right, absent something like coming to help care for a newborn.)

      6. Is dinner always a joint venture? Or if one person wants pasta and the other wants chicken, can you eat make your own dinner?

      7. We didn’t live together before getting married, but I know a lot of friends who’ve moved in with SOs without a clear plan for the long term. Do you plan to get engaged soon? Have you even talked about it? Not that you have to have plans, but you should at least be on the same page so no one is surprised in a year or two by the other wanting/not wanting to get married (or worse, having one person fine with things as they are while the other feels like it’s an endless limbo).

      • One more little piece of general advice: make sure you’re in a place where you can each tell the other when something is bugging you without sitting on it or letting fester, and without undue drama. Resentment is an evil, evil little monster that can creep in for the first time when people start living together.

        • +1 Cosign everything TBK has said here. OP, print this out and talk to your SO about it. :-)

          • I’m a few years away from this, but TBK, I’m making a mental note to come back to this someday. Great advice :)

      • 2. How much alone/w. out SO time does each person think is okay. If you go out with friends 2-3 nights per week, how does he feel about that? Do you need to discuss it with the other person before committing to plans?

        Yes, this one. And in addition, whether you expect to check-in if you’re not coming home per your usual routine for some reason (like you need to go shopping one night). It’s helpful to check in–not for permission–just so the other person isn’t sitting there expecting you to walk in the door any minute. This was an adjustment for both of us though.

      • I agree with #7. My DH and I moved in together well before we were thinking of getting engaged/married, but we were both fine with it, so it worked. If you/he expect this will lead to an engagement in the near-term, you should discuss it.

        I also think that you need to talk about everything, as things arise. There’s no need for “serious talks” every single time, but both of you need to be clear about what it is that each of you wants. Passive-aggressive behavior is annoying. A simple, “hey, hon, dirty dishes in the sink gross me out. Can we put dishes in the dishwasher after every meal?” is sufficient. And it’s also important to (nicely) follow up if there are slip ups. Recognize that it takes a while for ingrained habits to go away.

      • +1000 (and some additional comments)

        #1 – Housework is important and for us, laundry was a huuuuuuge issue. My mom is nuts about laundry being done just so and my husband only did his own laundry and never his mom’s or sister’s so he didn’t learn about checking labels or delicates bags and we had a major fight about a week into living together because he threw everything in the dryer.

        #2 – Discuss how to have alone time in your shared space. I think it’s easier to say “I have plans with Carol on Saturday afternoon” than “I really want to watch sappy rom coms on Netflix and paint my toenails tonight, do you mind?” Trying to have alone time while you’re both at home can be tricky at first but I’ve found that usually if I say I want to veg out and do stuff I know he won’t like/isn’t interested in, he can find other ways to amuse himself.

        #4 – We agreed upon a monthly amount we would both contribute to a joint household account and the rest of our paychecks we kept separately. This was nice because we accounted for rent, utilities, groceries, household items and jointly eating out and it was just a direct deposit we each set up once. Then he wouldn’t pay the cable bill and ask me for a check or vice versa.

        #6 – I love to cook and my husband does not. I plan the meals and the grocery list but he gets veto power. Sometimes my love of food blogs or tendency to eat the same thing for weeks on end doesn’t mesh with what he wants to eat and he’s encouraged to tell me when the menu doesn’t sound good to him.

        Above all, you’ve got to communicate with each other and allow for an adjustment period. When we first moved in together, I had a hard time asking him to do things. I love that now I can ask him to empty the dishwasher and he’ll either do it or tell me when he plans to. If it doesn’t mesh with my timeline, i.e. I want to run the dishwasher before we leave the house, we can discuss it. Same thing with him asking me to do something. It took us a while to get there and I really hope you allow some time for growing pains. We had “pretty much” lived together for a year already (I stayed over at his place all the time) but it still took us some time to get used to living together.

        • “We had ‘pretty much’ lived together for a year already…but it still took us some time to get used to living together” +10,000!! Also, remember to have s3x. (really.)

    • Talk about how you will spend your time as well. My now-DH and I had an adjustment period with that. He has many hobbies and thought that once we moved in together, we didn’t need to make plans or spend time going out doing things together because we could see each other all the time. That setup didn’t work for me, though. We worked it out and it turned out fine, I just needed to communicate my needs.

    • People on here have mentioned before that you and he should make sure you agree on how you see the step of moving in together. If one of you thinks you’re doing it to save money or because it will be fun, and the other thinks it’s the next step toward engagement within a year, problems will arise, and it will be even harder to deal with them once you’re living together.

    • applesandcheddar :

      Thanks for all the advice. I am incredibly nervous because I am a really independent person and really like “me” time. I could spend days alone and not be bored. My SO on the other hand needs people around to be entertained, which I find a bit annoying, and I am worried he is going to want me to entertain him.

      The other sticking point is that I don’t have a car and don’t drive, and his place is about 2 miles from the nearest metro stop. He says we can work around only having one car (but I still need to learn to drive, unfortunately).

      • We only had one car when we first got married, and lived far from public transit, and it was a really big deal. You can’t divide and conquer when it comes to running errands, if one person wants to go out with friends the other person is stuck at home, you wind up dragging him along shoe shopping (because otherwise he’d be stuck in the house) and you then get dragged along for his [insert store he loves but is stab-your-eyeballs-out dull to you], you find yourself bumming rides from friends which was fine when you were 16 and only one of your six friends had a car but is less awesome when you’re a grown up. Is there at least a bus to the Metro?

      • Anne Shirley :

        The no car thing would be a huge issue for me. If he’s really committed to living together, why does it have to happen in his home? Why can’t he move into the city? I think sometimes we are too accepting of logistical issues. If he got a dream job in a new state, would he turn it down because of his house?

        • MaggieLizer :

          It’s a little weird for me that he’s OK with renting out his home but will do that in 1-2 years, not now. Is there some compelling reason he can’t rent it now, like he’s in the middle of renovations or something? If moving back to the city is really important to you, just make sure you both have a clear plan about how that’s happening.

          • Big Dipper :

            This. Some posters made the comment above that many people move out of the city into the suburbs intending to move back in, and never do. It sounds like you are really attached to living in the city. The “I’ll rent it out or sell in 2 years” plan would make me nervous. Unless there’s a really valid extenuating circumstance, this sounds like he’s not interested in moving into the city. It seems like a way to get you to move out of the city, and he’s delaying the return is that he has 2 years to convince you that suburban life isn’t so bad.

            Also, second the Zipcar rec

          • Big Dipper :

            Sorry, accidentally sent too soon. Zipcar can go along way to making you feel more independent if its available in your area. Or something comparable, like WeCar.

          • Leslie Knope :

            Thanks, Maggie, I was trying to find the right words to communicate that. What is the logic behind moving twice in two years? If there’s an overriding reason that you both agree on, then great! If not….I would think hard about everyone’s motivations.

      • As a fellow independent person, is is feasible for you to ride a bicycle or take a bus to the metro stop? Is it reasonable to take a cab as needed? Having one car and not being able to drive while living in the suburbs can be a big challenge for independent people.

        Do you have the time and money to take a driving class and buy a car? If so, I highly recommend it.

      • Anastasia :

        Is the 2 miles away metro stop in a “downtown” area, or is it a commuter metro stop? Another fellow independent person, I now live about 2 miles from downtown-y metro stop and the mini-downtown is sufficient for me to feel like I can still get out easily. It’s not the same as walking a block or two for everything or being at the heart of the metro system so you can get anywhere pretty quickly, but bus or bike gets me to the mini-downtown in 10-15 minutes, so you may not have to mourn your city life TOO much!

        I’ve shared 1 car in the suburbs for the better part of the last 2 years, and it’s not that bad, as long as you have some entertainment and public transportation you can get to without it. DH and I sometimes spend a lot of time together on the weekends doing errands that otherwise we would divide and conquer, as TBK mentioned, but extra time together’s not a bad thing. We also have to discuss our plans for the evening to deconflict or find alternative transportation if we both need to drive somewhere, but extra communication’s not a bad thing, either. I think I could count on my fingers the number of times we’ve been seriously inconvenienced by having only one car. You can work around it — especially if your SO is committed to thinking of it as the household car instead of “his.”

      • Buy a cheap bike! I did this and was shocked at how much freedom it allowed me for small things (grocery runs, pedicures, getting to the train). 2 miles is totally doable, even in cold or hot weather (sounds like you might be in D.C.?). I spent 100 bucks on my bike, it’s not very good, but i use it to get 3 miles or less and for that it works great.

        • Als0- does your city have zip car? I have been using zip car for the past 5 years and i love it. its enabled me not to have a car and its perfect for running errands. really easy to join and use, and very affordable.

      • Are you SURE you want to move in together? You’ve been together a while without living together, and it sounds like you’re pretty apprehensive about it. I have often thought that if I could somehow stay married to my husband but live in separate apartments, I would do it in a heartbeat! I need my alone time, but he just doesn’t, and our apartment is tiny, and it really grates on me.

        It sounds like you are the one having to make all the adjustments–leave the city, learn to drive, etc.–what’s your boyfriend giving up?

        • Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton do this, I think. She bought one house, he bought the one next door, and I think they built a connection between the two.

        • Anonymous Poser :

          Co-sign! I’m glad I’m not the only one who likes the idea of separate apartments. :-)

          I’d rate myself as somewhat independent, and living with someone else who has so much say (more than, for instance, a roommate would) over the living space still grates on me, TBH. ‘Burbs + not knowing how to drive + 2 miles from public transportation +1 car sounds…like a lot to deal with.

          • My mom and stepdad have separate bedrooms and it works for them. They both need their own space. We all need a room!

          • Oh my god, if I could just like, buy a duplex and each of us have one side of it, I’d be ecstatic.

            I think the one car thing is going to be a HUGE GIANT DEAL given you don’t know how to drive. I would no way move in until you can drive.

  16. Has anyone paid someone to help with laundry? I am trying to hire someone to come to my home once a week, do 3-4 loads of laundry and fold/hang the clean clothes. My cleaning lady doesn’t have time to do it. If you have done this, did you pay per hour, load, visit, or something else, and how much? Any other tips? TIA!

    • This intrigues me. I wouldn’t want to pay by the hour because there is a lot of down time in wating for things to wash and dry. I can get the clothes clean, but I would love to hire a laundry fairy to fold everything and put it away.

    • Do you have a wash-and-fold nearby? I live in NYC, and I often send my laundry out. They charge by weight and at many places you can get same-day service.

      • Good idea. I have one < a mile away, but I have heard that they are harder on clothes. Is that your experience?

        • There are certain things that I no longer give my current place, like delicates. I found that all of my bra hooks were getting mangled. However, I’ve been sending out my laundry for years and this is the first place where this has ever happened. (I stick with them because I have a drop off right in my building, which is way more convenient than taking my laundry elsewhere).

          You might be able to provide them with certain detergents/fabric softener. I don’t do that now, but at one point I thought I was having an allergic reaction to certain detergent and they were happy to accommodate me.

          They might be slightly harder on my clothes than if I were doing all of my laundry, but I haven’t noticed any greater wear other than the delicates issue.

      • I did this for a while (not in NYC) while my house was being remodeled and I was without a washer and dryer. A local dry cleaners near me did it. It was awesome, because all I had to do was drop off a big pile of laundry and it came back clean and folded more neatly than I would have done had I done it myself. I don’t recall it being outrageously expensive either.

        • I did this too when I was first starting out and did not have a washer/dryer. Best investment (where time > money) ever. At the time (10 years ago) it cost me about 20 bucks a week for mine and my son’s regular clothes.

          I ended up instructing them not to bleach or put on hangers as that was my preference. I loved getting my basket back all folded and put together.

    • Wash and fold service is by the pound (usually). I use a service (DC) that picks it up from my apt building or work and will drop it off again. It is amazing and not super expensive. Also a number of dry cleaners offer this service. Go to yelp and look around for your city or post where you’re at; I’m sure plenty of people could recommend a place (or twenty).

    • I pay my housecleaner to stay longer and do this plus clean. Costs a little more but sooooo worth it.

    • My cleaning people do this for me, and charge me an extra $20 when I have them do it because of the extra time. But I will leave a laundry basket or two of clean clothes up on the bed with hangars, and they hang up everything and put it away. It’s great! Not everything goes exactly where I would put it, but close enough for me.

    • I pay a wash-and-fold place $1/lb to do my laundry. It may be slightly harder on my clothes, but on the other hand, they fold it 100 times more nicely than I ever could so there’s that. It barely comes out to any more than paying for the crazy expensive coin-operated machines in my building and I don’t have to scrounge up quarters, so it’s completely worth it.

    • Maybe post it on Taskrabbit? For example, when I was a student with quite a lot of free time, that’s the kind of job I would have loved (I also like doing laundry). You can pay per task, not per hour.

      • This also reminds me of living in Tokyo. There was a locker for each apartment in the lobby of our building, and we would simply put our dirty clothes in a bag in that locker, and a day or so later they would magically reappear beautifully clean and tidily folded. Once a month there would be a bill in the locker. We never saw who picked up and dropped off the laundry. It was like magic!

      • This was actually a taskrabbit blog post a bit back. Some guy in SF compared the cost of doing his on laundry to getting it done by someone on the site, and said the cost wasn’t even that different (he did not have his own washer). I’ve used task rabbit before for other things and I’d absolutely recommend it. Everyone I’ve hired through it has been great.

  17. Anon for this :

    I posted about this over the holiday, but obviously not many people were here.

    Is anyone prescribed adderall or a similar drug for ADHD? I was prescribed it earlier this week after resisting it for a year, and am curious about other peoples’ experiences and thoughts. I had a very negative take on it, in part because it felt like “cheating” (and truly, a large portion of the population does perform better in the short term on it), and in part because I saw my special ed-teaching mother’s students medicated in to the ground when parents or the school system didn’t have time or energy to deal with them. I’m on a low-medium dose, and have noticed a few differences, but am still struggling with this all.

    • I took stratterra while in college and my 2L year, then couldn’t anymore because of lacking of insurance. I also was on adderall for a bit in my early days. I had all kinds of weird differences, ranging from sleepiness in the first few weeks, just that general space cadet feeling, then after a while that faded. After that, my side effects were mostly a fast heartrate, some digestive issues (probably because I had ZERO appetite, wouldn’t even think of eating for a whole day) and an overall meanness, or so my bff said (in more direct, blunt langauge!)
      I sometimes felt like it was a little bit of an advantage in taking it with school, but I literally couldn’t remember to do anything. I worked in retail, and I’d be putting together a display, get distracted by a customer, and forget I had been doing the display for HOURS. It was like things just fell out of my head. It’s really hard sometimes to live a normal life when you can’t remember things, or focus long enough to get through a conversation, so if there’s something that can make your life easier, or make you a better teacher, why not try?

      • anon for this :

        Yeah, things are definitely falling out of my head. Up until this point in my life I think I basically just moved quickly to make up for it, but with my new job, I just can’t. My family members and friends and doctors had often mentioned ADHD and medication, but when I got a mediocre review and a question about ADHD or something related, I figured it was time to throw in the towel. My biggest side effect so far has been heartburn/nausea, but this is the fourth day on it, and it’s already lessened quite a bit. My first day I was actually pulling my trashcan over in the office, just in case. I’m a distance athlete, so i’m curious to see what, if anything, it will do to my heart rate.

        • I wouldn’t worry too much about the heartrate, I think that might be something more to do with me and my sensitivity to stimulants and caffiene. Make sure you’re eating, that is something I hear is a common side effect, and maybe could lead to heartburn.
          I know it’s hard to admit to yourself that you have problems focusing or at work, but there are LOTS of people who take ADHD meds. You’re in good company :)
          After about two weeks, I think you’ll start to feel normal physically, and try to really look at what your head feels like. I remember reviewing for a test my jr year in college and amazed about how much I felt like was still in my brain! It was like someone finally turned on the lights.

        • Also, someone posted about the pomoadora technique…I’m probably buthering the spelling, but check that out. I’ve been meaning to start that myself, at work.

          • anon for this :

            Yeah, I have played around with that and should probably do more. I also definitely exhibit some symptoms more typical in childhood ADHD: actual physical fidgeting, running around, inability to sit still, etc. Those are harder to treat with techniques like the pomadora, unfortunately.

    • Don’t have it, but I would encourage you to reframe the way you’re thinking about medicine. If you had high blood pressure and were doing all the non-medical help (exercise, healthy diet) to lower it, you wouldn’t feel bad about combining a medicine with it, would you? Mental health is no different than physical health. Sure you can drug yourself into oblivion, that can work, but most people need a balance. So work with a qualified physician/specialist on non-pharma options you can do to help improve your ADHD, in combination with your low dosage. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

      • anon for this :

        Yeah, I suppose that’s a good point. My psychiatrist is med happy, but I knew that going in, and maybe I should also find a therapist or specialist to learn other ways to manage ADHD.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I have it and think I responded the first time. If you want to chat about it off line email me at projectmundaneart at gmail.

    • I am going to be on the other side of the fence here… I took it and hated it. It made me feel off- nausea, heart rate, headaches at the end of the day, a hard time sleeping.
      I did feel more focused though, almost like my brain was a radio btwn stations normally & the medication made me feel like I was tuned into only 1 station. Also, as a non-related plus it kills your appetite & my apartment was obsessively organized.
      I took it to get through law school & the bar & then stopped. I just didn’t feel like me when I was taking it and I felt like if I needed to take drugs to get through something, then maybe I shouldn’t be doing that thing.
      Just a different perspective.

  18. Hi ladies – any NoVA readers live in Crystal City? I’m looking to move there for a year in summer 2013 with SO for one year. Short commutes for us are probably highest priority – this location gives us good access to our respective Metro lines as well as easy commutes should we need to drive to work. I know the area quite well, but I don’t know condo/apt living – does anyone have any recommendations for a 1BR/den or 2BR apt/condo rental community with decent amenities? Budget is $2500. Thank you!

    • Hi! Try the apartments in Pentagon Row. One of my friends lived there and really enjoyed it.

    • If you want to post an anon email address I’m happy to give you my recommendations!

    • applesandcheddar :

      A few years ago I lived in the Crystal Towers (I think… everything is called Crystal something there) on South Eads. It is right across from the Crystal City Shops and I think the Marriott. You also may want to check out the River House Apartments in Pentagon City. I’ve known a few people who have lived over there and really like it.

      • Without going into two much detail the Crystal property (if its House not Towers) there are two; was literally the worst experience of my life. I can’t walk by there without getting angry.

        River House is awesome, though it changed management recently.

        But clearly we are practically neighbors (and love cheese :))

      • Second these recommendations – I lived in both in my DC/Nova time :)

    • Also check out the apartments along Crystal Drive (Crystal Place and Waterpark Towers) — they are older (some remodeled apartments), so run a bit cheaper than the others in the area, but are well maintained, well staffed, and quiet. It’s a bit of an older crowd than the other “Crystal” buildings on Eads/Jeff Davis. Also, all have W&D in the apartments.

    • Thank you! I knew this was the place to help me get started – appreciate all the leads and opinions.

    • Anon for this :

      The Meridian at Pentagon City is really nice, too. I have a large (little less than 1,000 sq ft) apartment with in unit laundry, 1br+den, plus one car garage parking and a storage unit for $2350. No complaints about the building.

  19. SV in House :

    Can anyone recommend someone (preferably in San Francisco/Bay Area) who can help me revamp my resume? I’m in a corporate legal environment, hoping for a career move. Thanks!

    • I met two career coaches at the CLUB SV holiday lunch (thanks everyone for encouraging me to join!):

      Elena DuCharme (www.elenaducharme.com)
      Julie Sara Kramer (www.bestexecutives.com)

      BTW, Bay Area Women, consider joining the Club SV (http://theclubsv.org/).

      • I am going to apply this weekend!

      • Mary Ann Singleton :

        K-padi, I’m seriously thinking about applying too. Has your experience been good so far?

        • Mary Ann Singleton :

          And is it worth the $350/year membership fee? Do they do reduced amounts for those of us who are just lowly associates?

        • Yay!

          I went to the holiday party in December and had a great time. It’s a lot of IP lawyers and a good-sized group of women who have been around the Valley for decades. The tragic shooting in CT occurred during the lunch and no one knew it had happened–because no one was checking their phones.

          We have a goal-setting event coming up in about two weeks. It scares the sh!t out of me because I’ve been struggling with this over the past year. But it’s something I have to do.

          Downside–the dues are expensive but I was able to use my firm’s CLE/professional development budget to cover it. Upside–for now, they allow each member to bring along a free guest to the events to attract more members. So it’s kind of 2-for-1. I don’t have a guest yet for the January event, email me if you want to go.

      • SV in House :

        Thanks, k-padi! One of these days I’ll make it to a meet up and thank you in person!

  20. Lots of people have talked about shopping bans/limits/budget, and somewhat in that spirit, I thought I would post my cumulative clothing spending for 2012. This includes all purses, belts, other accessories, jewelry, clothes, shoes, and sometimes skincare and makeup (although I wasn’t as good about tracking that). I used the same template as Jean from Extra Petite – I basically went through each month and logged in everything that I kept and I returned. Here is her spreadsheet:

    http://www.extrapetite.com/2012/05/spring-wardrobe-shopping-spending.html

    Highlights:

    - Spent $3400 total. About 1/3 of that was maternity clothes (mostly higher end boutiques, which I found to be worth it because they were really cute and the clothes have really lasted). In 2011, I spent about $2400, so I chalk up the increase to my maternity spending.

    - Most useful/favorite purchases:

    1) My first “grown up” purses, one Coach and one Kate Spade. I love them and I take care of them because they were expensive for me ($130 and $220, respectively)

    2) Tumi wallet set, which keeps my bag much more organized

    3) $40 Tahari sheath dress purchased on super sale at Nordstrom. Always get a ton of compliments when I wear it

    4) Leopard print Ivanka shoes

    5) Maternity shift dresses from Seraphine (super flattering, comfortable, very work appropriate)

    - Stupidest/most useless purchases

    1) Went crazy at the outlets this past June and spent almost $800 in one month. Bought a lot of mediocre tops and dresses from BR outlet, Ann Taylor outlet. Not the best quality and I was too lazy to drive back to return anything. I won’t make that mistake again and am really annoyed with myself that I did that.

    I’d love to see what others spent in 2012 and how, if you don’t mind sharing. Thanks!

    • Cornellian :

      Thinking about summing this all up makes me very anxious. I bet I spent 4 or 5K, without maternity clothes. I did start my first job and move to a climate which is on average 30 degrees colder than my last one, though. :/ Bad Cornellian.

      • I know what you mean, which is why I like the format Jean uses. It helps to keep you accountable. In the comments section, I started writing out why I was keeping something so that I could justify the purchase – for example, if I really loved the cut of the dress or if I needed some new black heels or I finally needed/wanted a grown up purse, etc.. And if I didn’t love it, I put that in the comments section and (usually) ended up returning it.

    • Interesting post! I track my purchases on Mint and ended up spending about $4K on clothes last year. In BigLaw, 5th year associate, loans paid off. DH thought that this was excessive (he probably spent about $2K, mostly in suits from Nordstrom). I’m very good about returning everything unless I love it, so at least my purchases are those that I use/love/wanted.

      • I track clothing purchases with Mint as well and add a note to each transaction (so for a Nordstrom’s purchase: “Camel pencil skirt”, etc.). I like being able to check how much of the monthly budget I’ve spent, and if it seems like an unusually high amount, I can click through the notes to see if there’s anything I haven’t worn that could get returned.

    • anonypotamus :

      This is a great idea – I have been tracking my general spending over the last few years to get a handle on finances and figure out where I can cut back to increase savings, and I have definitely had a few months where I’m like, “I spent how much on clothes?!?” But I really like the detailed list of exactly what was purchased and returned and why. I’m adding this to my list of resolutions :)

    • hellskitchen :

      I’ll play. I keep a similar spreadsheet and after I have worn something a few times I go back and record in the spreadsheet whether this was a good buy or a bad buy so I can learn from my bad purchases. I spent about $1100 this year on clothes, shoes and accessories. My fav purchases this year were a Tahari dressy coat for $40 and a Rachel Roy for Macy’s dress for $35.

      I also noticed that when I started tracking in Jan, I had a lot of small purchases but in the latter half of the year, I was spending only on quality items. This has been a great tool in curbing impulse purchases and spending on “fast fashion.”

      • Yes, exactly! Seeing how much I spent on fast fashion at the outlets was a real wake up call, given how cheap/not that great the clothes were. I am now committed to buying higher quality items, I just end up wearing them so much more.

    • espresso bean :

      I am slightly obsessive about my finances, so I track everything I spend in Excel spreadsheets. Looks like I spent about 2K on clothes last year. I work at a casual office, so I can wear everything I wear to work on the weekends, too, which definitely helps. Biggest purchases:

      *New pair of boots, which ate up a decent chunk of the budget but are proving invaluable in my chilly city
      *Lo & Sons OMG, which I was very hesitant to spend on but am so glad I did

      Purchases I most regret:

      I own way too many longish, open cardigans. They just look sloppy on me. I need to stop!

      Purchase I got a surprising amount of use out of:

      TopShop’s high-waisted skinny jeans in non-traditional colors and Joe’s dark cranberry high-waisted skinny jeans. Both function as neutrals and work well with all my grey, black, and taupe sweaters.

      Things I wish I had bought more of:

      Dresses and skirts. I have succumbed to my casual dress code to a frustrating degree. I miss looking like a lady!

      Purchases that surprised me most (both positively and negatively):

      Banana Republic merino sweaters do not hold up well at all. I bought two last winter, and they’re so pilly and ratty looking already. Disappointing!

      Forever 21 is very, very hit or miss, but it can be great for party attire. I got an adorable party skirt there that looked much more high-end than what it was.

      • I buy way too many sweaters (cardigans) and boots. I live in the south and, although I can wear some sweaters in the summer (and I do – it’s cold in the AC), I love winter clothes and I want all of the sweaters and boots. When I was doing my end of the year finances, I saw a charge to Anthropologie and could not remember for the life of me what I had bought. Sure enough, I sweater that had gotten lost in my closet and forgot I had. Yikes!

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      Mint says I spent $3200 on clothes, but I did not have any maternity or anything. I also started my first job, but did not move anywhere for it.

    • I love this. Mint caused me too many hassles, but I went through my credit card statements for 2012 and did a rough estimate – what I know I purchased for myself, returns, and things I bought with my cash/the account that only goes back 6 months. I think I’m under 3K for clothing, shoes/accessories, and beauty stuff. My biggies this year were my Clarisonic Plus (love) and a $275 Hobo bag that I adore. My cheapest winners were an open cardigan and a couple of dresses from Target. I definitely regret some of my Old Navy purchases that I never wore but never returned. Since I’m getting married this year, I’m using that as an additional reason to better track my spending for 2013.

    • I started a spreadsheet in September, but the budget officially started in October because I made the decision mid September. In my spreadsheet, I track clothing, book, and miscellaneous purchases. I have a budget of $250/month on clothing, $100 on books, and $150 on miscellanea.

      My 4-month total on clothes was @ $920 and books came in at @ $365. My most expensive purchase was a cashmere cardigan from Haute Look for $86. My favorite purchases were tall suede winter boots from Zulily for $57 and a maroon Calvin Klein sheath dress for $59.

    • I spent $10k this year. I gained 60+ pounds in the last 2 years, kept putting off shopping because “I’ll just lose some weight”, and faced reality. Due to a medical issue, I had to buy all new shoes too.

    • No Problem :

      Ha, I was thinking yesterday about starting a thread on this. I started tracking my expenditures in June of last year and spend just over $2k from June-December. I would estimate that I spent around $2,500-3k last year, since I didn’t buy nearly as much in the first few months of the year.

      I was frankly shocked when I saw the total. My salary is solidly mid-5 figures, so this is a lot of my disposable income that is going to clothing and accessories. However, I also bought some much-needed business professional and other wardrobe staples that will probably stick around for awhile and will not need to be replaced soon:

      2 suits, plus a skirt to go with a suit jacket I already had, plus a blazer
      3 dress shirts/blouses
      at least 4-5 summer dresses (pretty much all I wear in the summer is dresses)
      at least 4-5 pairs of shoes, including running shoes
      4-5 cardigan sweaters
      3 new purses, including an everyday purse that still looks brand new and a leather Coach wristlet
      winter coat (ok, Mom paid for that, so it’s not in my total spent)

      After reviewing these purchases and the content of my closets/dressers, I am setting a $200/month budget for clothing. I am also itching to do a thorough purge; I need to ditch at least 30 items to make up for the 30 or so items of clothing I purchased since my last purge in July.

    • I keep track of my spending on Mint, with a clothing budget of $300/month.

      I used to be really bad at impulse buying (*cough* Anthropologie, I’m looking at you…), but since instituting a budget early last year, have curbed that quite significantly. I now keep a list of “Allowable Shopping Items” on Evernote, and every time I purchase an item of clothing I have to enter it on that document, along with its price. Fairly similar to what Jean does, just a lot less structured. If the item was one of my permitted items, that item gets crossed off the list, and I note the date and the cost of the item. If the item wasn’t one of my permitted items, I still list it – I find it very handy to be able to see at a glance what I have been spending my money on.

      • hellskitchen :

        I once spent a Saturday afternoon listing every single item in my closet and categorizing the list by type of outfit (pants, skirts etc) and then dividing them up by Neutrals/Basics and Trendy. It made me realize that I had way too many black dresses and bright colored skirts but not a single black skirt and not enough work tops. I created a “Allowable Shopping List” based on what was already in my wardrobe. I also tried to create outfits from things that were not used enough and realized I was missing key pieces to create an outfit, so that stuff went into my shopping list. This has made shopping so much easier!

    • Sugar Magnolia :

      I only spent $1,200 last year. And that includes maternity clothes. I think this is attributable to buying a huge lot of maternity stuff on Ebay for $120, which was the lion’s share of my spending in that area.

      I also only bought one purse, a Fossil that holds my ipad, which was on supersale at Macy’s for only $30.

      Now that I am carrying around this extra 11 pounds post-baby, I have bought a few things for the interim period that hide my tummy. I will sell those items on Ebay when I am done with them (hopefully in a few months)

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