Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Solid wrap dress

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

Gap wrap dressHmmn: 216 glowing reviews sing the praises of this wrap dress (exclusive to Gap.com). At first I thought only the cobalt was $43.99 (was $54.95) but it looks like the black is also $43.  The dress comes in regular sizes (XS-XXL), as well as petites and talls.  Happy Friday! Solid wrap dress

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(L-3)

Comments

  1. Does anyone know whether the OG bag is only sold via the Lo and Sons webpage or also in physical stores?

  2. I got this in navy and black last summer. Love. It. Washes fairly well for the price point (I expect to get three summers out of them, wearing them each probably 6-8 times per summer (maybe more) and washing every 2 wears or so, which is pretty good for a $50 dress).

    For reference, I’m a 6 in the jcrew pencil skirts, hourglass shape, and the S fits very well. Cami required, but then that’s not really surprising for a wrap style. The stretchy fabric also clings to itself a little bit, which is great because the wrap is less inclined to slide over than on the DvF slippery jersey.

  3. Famouscait :

    I just overheard a conversation at work that I shouldn’t have, and I’m wondering if I should mention it to my Chief of Staff…

    A large re-org was just announced for my division, and part of that involves promoting “Joe” to a newly created Senior Director position, overseeing several high performing employees. I don’t work for or with Joe, but for several reasons, he’s always struck me as a rather arrogant, good-ol’-boy type. His position is technically interim, which is how my organization tries people out for a big promotion before making it official. This is his first supervisory role with my org.

    Since the announcement two weeks ago, he’s been in my office suite every day laying out his grand plans to two admin-level women who will be working for him. My office is library-quiet and you can hear conversations word-for-word. He’s been having conversations about his new reports that have been, for the most part, professional in topic and tone. However, this morning he had a totally unprofessional conversation in the hallway that was overheard by at least myself and another coworker (I know this, because she pinged me midway to comment on how he seemed like a “d*uche”).

    The conversation, at the very least, should have been held in private – should I mention it to our Chief of Staff? Or should I just keep my head down? Aside from the fact that Joe rubs me wrong, I would *never* want a coworker – or certainly my boss! – to be speaking like that about me within hearing of six other offices. What to do?

    • If the content of the conversation is a threat in some way to the company, mention it to the Chief of Staff. Otherwise, ignore and myob.

    • If it’s a conversation that would have been appropriate under more private circumstances (“I’d like to get X to take more responsibility for her work,” said to someone else in a supervisory role over X), then I would mention to Joe that it’s easy to hear in your office suite. If it’s something that wouldn’t have been appropriate under any circumstances (“X is smokin hot!”), then I would mention it to your boss or Chief of Staff or someone.

      Generally I avoid being a tattletale, but if it’s the latter type of situation, someone should really stop Joe before he secures the promotion, if possible.

      • Nailed it!

        • Famouscait :

          Thanks ladies, for your feedback.

          Godzilla: perhaps you could RAWR at him for me?

          Eleanor: the conversation was basically a b*tching session about this employee with someone who is like an admin assistant. Along the lines of “And if she can’t do the work, then she just needs to get the f*ck out of the way…” Joe is her new boss; the person he was speaking to will also work for him, but is an admin to both Joe and the topic of conversation.

          • Don’t touch this with a ten foot pole. Is it obnoxious and unprofessional? Yes. But no one who wants him for this job is going to push him out because of this incident, and you just wind up looking like tattletale. I would give it all a wide berth and let it sort itself out.

          • I agree with TBK. I don’t think that’s bad enough to warrant reporting. If he’s a jerk, it’ll come out on its own.

          • That is not definitely worth reporting, though I will note that my opinion is biased as I’m sure I’ve said the same thing in that language behind closed doors. The only things I would report are potential lawsuits i.e. s3xual harassment, workplace safety, fraud, corruption, etc.

          • Agree not to report. This just provides you (and others) with further information about what type of manager/leader he is.

          • Famouscait :

            Excellent advice ladies – thanks for weighing in. This is why I seek the wisdom of the Hive!

  4. Fantasy Shopping :

    I have a dress like this from LE. It is has a longer and fuller skirt, but it is what I wear when I need to be in something with the comfort of pyjamas. It is not fabulous, but is nevertheless diving.

    Q: what does one use with the large LV tote bag (open top)? Does a wristlet go inside? Just throw in phone / wallet / some cosmetics bag with personal items?

    For the past week, I have passed a high schooler with one and I am now completely intrigued. I last carried a purse in high school and then have gone overboard into LLBean products (so always a handy pocket for personal and other items). I am on Team Clutch for evenings, but want to join Team Tote (not an LV unless I hit the lottery) at least for weekends / non-messenger bag events. [For client events, I have an older black CH shoulder bag, which is generally safe and invisible.]

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      I carry a purse to work everyday (a cross body in a neutral color). I have clutches, but they’re strictly for going out because on a daily basis I have a book, my Kindle Fire, a notebook, a water bottle, my wallet, and various other items depending on the day. Had one large tote that I used when I had to take my computer with me everyday, but haven’t replaced it since the strap broke.

      OAN: Can you give a link to the LE dress? I like the posted dress, but the skirt is a little straight for my figure.

    • I carry a lot of totes (though almost all are have zipper tops or at least a compartment large enough for my wallet). They usually have at least one smaller pocket where I put my phone. I use a wallet and pouches/cosmetic bags (such as the Le Pliage Pouchette) for the majority of my smaller items and then just toss in larger items like my kindle as is. Usually I only carry a wristlet if I’m carrying my laptop in my tote and expect to leave it at the office when I go out for lunch. Otherwise, I intend to carry everything in the tote all day and don’t really need a wristlet.

    • I carry a tote everyday to work – I put a large wristlet/clutch type purse in it (in which I have a wallet, my work ID, and cell phone) for ease of use during the day. My friend made it for me – but you can get lots of similar things at stores or on Etsy (I like mine because its one of a kind.)

      I also carry my laptop and charger, a water bottle, sometimes a pair of shoes, and a scarf. Also some folders and some papers usually. Okay, I’m a purse hoarder. My tote does have side pockets where I *could* organize the stuff that goes in my clutch into their own pockets (and I used to just carry a wallet and everything else separate) but then I got the clutch and it was *so* much easier. I’m confused though, is this what you’re asking?

      • Fantasy Shopping :

        Yes — that was the gist of it. I had an unstructured bag once and I felt like I was always having to root around in it to find anything. And by root around, I mean practically empty out. Hello, personal hygiene items! Oh, there are my business cards / pen / chapstick / advil. I think I am just doing it wrong b/c I’m used to everything having a tightly defined space (and not rattling around in a pretty bag).

        But bag-in-bag for me needs to be done right (i.e., not ziplocks). I am addicted to LL Bean packing bags — will think of a sophisticated way to accomplish toting-within-a-tote.

        • I have something similar to these in different sizes for my purse contents. So, I have one with random small things I want to have on hand (e.g., tampon, tissues, emergen-c, advil and wetwipes), then I have a slightly bigger one for random papers that I don’t want shuffling around (Bed Bath & Beyond Coupon, Gift Cert. to X place, so on), and a little make up bag. That basically organizes the bulk of my small items in any bag and makes it really easy to switch bags, too.

  5. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    Love this (although the shoes are a bit distracting) but I can’t seem to make a straight skirt like this look good on my figure.

  6. Any recs for a good bikini wax place in the dc/arlington area?

  7. Is the double serge cotton pencil skirt from Jcrew the one that wrinkles terribly? Their factory site is having 50% off of final sale and I am tempted to get this one for just under $2o… http://factory.jcrew.com/womens-clothing/skirts/pencil/PRDOVR~37415/99102879867/ENE~1+2+218+22+4294967294+216~~~216+17~90~~~~~~~/37415.jsp

    • Yes, it’s the one that wrinkles. Mine’s awful.

    • The go on sale for low prices, and sometimes have good colors, but do not give in to temptation. The wrinkles are awful, and they’re not potentially intentional wrinkles, like with linen; the fabric is just really stiff, so the wrinkles are stiff and silly-looking.

      • Thanks guys! I was really tempted because the price was so low, but not worth it if I will be a wrinkled mess before I even get to work.

        • On an aside, I bought and recommend their Factory Summerweight Cotton V Neck Cardigan, now about $15 on sale. Ton of colors and really great for summer. I got navy and yellow and wear them constantly. They do wrinkle a bit if you just throw them in your purse, but I haven’t found a cotton cardigan that doesn’t. I should add, size down. They run large.

        • I was so excited by this skirt, and I bought it even though I then needed to get the waist tailored, and the wrinkles just make it a hot mess.

  8. It's Just Me :

    I wonder if this dress is majorly different than the Old Navy version (link to follow). I have the ON version from 2 years ago, and it is a workhorse in my wardrobe. Easy to wear, easy to accessorize, easy to throw on. Washes well (I hang to dry).

    And 1/2 the price.

  9. I’m looking to make a career change and I am interested in the field of neuroscience but I really don’t know where to begin when it comes to getting an idea of what job opportunities look like in this field. How do I get an idea of what working in a hospital as a neurologist looks like by just volunteering to work doing administrative tasks? How do I know what working in a research facility or at a university looks like? I don’t mean these questions to sound snarky, I am generally confused. I don’t know anyone with careers in the science so I really have no one to look to for advice. What is the best way to vet this idea if I really have no idea where to start?

    • Anne Shirley :

      Do you have a college degree now? Your school’s career services office can probably get you in touch with alums in the field and provide info about additional education you’ll need.

    • Maybe start with the Society of Neuroscience or a similar industry/trade organization to see what kind of jobs are out there and what qualifications are needed. Also, working at a hospital as a neurologist generally means being a physician whose speicalty is neurology. So, if that is your goal, then I guess you need to look at med school too.

    • I’m in science, although not bio related. A few things come to mind. First, that going into medicine and going into research are very different things. If you’re interested in the research end and you’re now in education there are a lot of summer programs to bring teachers into labs. Is your current job such that you might qualify? Is your undergrad degree in biology or something similar? It’s pretty routine at many university labs to hire undergraduate students who are thinking about grad school as part time lab techs. Again, perhaps the point could be stretched in your favor.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I agree you need to look somewhat at your background. For some reason, a whole bunch of my friends were neuro majors in college (I was not in the sciences). They’re doing a variety of different things right now – out of 10-12 college neuroscience majors I knew, 3 years out, my rough estimate is:

      - 3 in medical school (oddly enough, none pursuing a neurology specialty, as far as I know)
      - 1 in a PhD psychology program
      - 4 in pharmaceutical research for industry (1 of the 4 is actually in neurological pharma research, the rest are in other types of pharma research)
      - 1 professional winter sports instructor
      - 2 in clinical research for hospitals/academia
      - 1 in a PhD neuroscience program

      There’s probably more I haven’t thought of. Honestly, I think the best way is to reach out to your school’s premed committee, who is probably fairly well versed with matching up shadowing opportunities – it’s very common to require that people in healthcare fields shadow before applying, so many schools set up arrangements with alums for their students/graduates to get that experience. As far as research goes, part of that is honestly that you won’t know what that’s like until you do it – but it is worth reaching out to the school to see if there are alumni involved in science research. Working as a clinician and working in research are vastly different animals and it depends a little bit on you which you would do better in.

      If you do decide to pursue a shift into a neuroscience career where you need another degree, and you don’t have an undergraduate background in science at all, probably the best place to start is a post-bac program, which goes through a basic undergraduate science curriculum, for people who decide after college that they want to attend med school (or similar). It’s expensive, but there’s not a lot of choice in the pre-reqs you have to take before a school will admit you.

      However, it’s within the realm of possibility that you could get a job not actually doing neuroscience, but working in a pharmaceutical/medical device/healthcare company that deals with brain-related products in a non-research role (like in marketing, sales, etc) which would provide some of the crash course knowledge and would definitely be less expensive.

      Good luck! Career changes are tough but sometimes they are the right decision – but it’s definitely best you do a lot of research before embarking on them/investing a lot of time or money, so good for you! I hope it works out.

      • I was a neuroscience major. I worked in government funded research for 4 years, got a MPH/MBA, and moved into a totally unrelated field. I actually really liked neuro, but I was not interested in being a career lab rat and got into a great gig elsewhere.

        FWIW, I was a neuro major with all my premed reqs done, MCATs taken, etc. Took a break to test the research world, decided against research AND against med school. Have never looked back and am doing really well 10 years out, in a biz dev role for a health tech company.

    • Do you have alumni/sorority networks? I’d go to my school’s alumni page and do a scan through the career database. Do you know anyone who knows neuroscientists? Would any of those people be willing to put you in touch with someone? I think what you want is still to get a few informational interviews, just to get started. And really, you just need to find one person to talk to. People in a certain field almost always know other people in the same field. Once you talk to one person, you can end the meeting by saying “do you know of anyone else who might be willing to talk?” You just might have to be a little creative about how to find that first person.

    • Yay! Fruegel Fridays! I love fruegel Fridays!

      I wanted to change major’s in college. I started thinkeing I was goeing to be a doctor, b/c I thought I could be a good surgon. But as soon as I got to a chemistry course, I did NOT understand alot of what they were discusing. So after talking with my dad, I switched to social studies. YAY!!!

    • I was in biochem rather than neuro, but I can tell you what my experience in a university-affiliated research lab was like. Your supervisor comes to you with a narrow question (e.g. what causes this polymer to fold in this shape?). Everyone goes home and does research/reading for a few days to come up with any ideas. (To get an idea of the reading, get on Google Scholar and type in, for example, “RNA folding”). You get back together, present your findings, discuss possible hypotheses. Then you design experiments to test those. Order equipment/materials if you need any.

      Now comes the boring part. If you don’t have any underlings, it’s just going to be you in there in the lab running the tests yourself. In biochem, 9/10 times this involved pipetting, mixing, and then letting machines do most of the actual work. It would take a long time. You’d get back lots of numbers. You’d repeat this many, many times. Then you would get to do lots of math to analyze your results. Graph/chart/etc. Adjust the experiment if you need to. Present results. Throw out your hypothesis if it was wrong. Repeat the whole process for the next one. Throw in several days of begging for money and, if you’re a professor, lecturing to undergrads. If you eventually get interesting results, try to publish.

      Some people love this, but personally it drove me crazy. I felt like, at least in an academic/non-industry environment, you never FINISH, if that makes sense. One question leads to another down a never-ending rabbit hole of obscure data that might possibly someday come in useful to someone somewhere. If you like learning for learning’s sake, you might enjoy this. If you’re someone like me who likes to fix a problem now, then move onto something else, I would not recommend academic research. Just my opinion, though. YMMV.

      • If fixing problems is interesting, become an engineer! If the whole biochem thing is very interesting to you, become a biomedical engineer.

        • I don’t know, my best friend is a biomedical engineer (in academia, to be fair) and this sounds like a pretty decent description of his life…

          It also sounds pretty darn awesome to me. Maybe I should have gone into the sciences…

  10. For those of you who have gone through IVF, anyone care to share experiences with using donor sp*rm?

    • We used a double donor program (donor egg and donor sperm) through California Conceptions because they offered 90% odds of success over three tries in one year for a very, very good price. Plus they offer a 100% money back guarantee if you qualify (and most women do). I live on the other side of the country and flew out there for an initial saline sonogram to qualify for the refund (optional), then a again for my lining check and a week later,for the transfer. I got pregnant on the first try and am due in September.

      I highly recommend considering their program if you’ve ever considered adoption or if you aren’t tied to using your own eggs. In our case, with my eggs we would have needed a donor, so once we accepted that, it didn’t make sense to pay so much more (for worse odds) just to use my husband’s sperm.

      They sent us detailed profiles of a set of donors (you don’t shop for them yourselves because you share the resulting embryos with other couples), and they were so much like us it was uncanny. We can’t wait to meet our little girl!

      (And I detested very other RE we dealt with In five years of infertility treatments.)

  11. Ugh am I the only one not impressed with the JCrew Cafe Capris??? I bought a pair and wore them around the house for a bit to see if they’d stretch out. I didn’t wear them long enough. It’s 9:30am and they’ve already stretched out to nearly a size bigger. They’re wrinkled everywhere. These are brand new. I sized down prior to even buying. I usually wear an 8 but i bought a 6. Am I supposed to squeeze into a 4 and let the stretching do it’s magic? So disappointed.

    • Do you have the cotton or wool version? I have two pairs of the wool capris in my normal JCrew size (same as the dress pants and pencil skirts) and find the waist to stretch slightly, but not enough that I’d want to go down a size.

    • All around disappointed in J.Crew lately: holes in Tshirts (not worn often, hand washed, are you kidding me?); pilled cashmere w/in 5 wears (good thing I got it marked down a bunch); 3 pairs of shorts all the same tag size but fit way differently; sent back every suiting piece I’ve ordered online because either the material feels cheaper and/or sloppy construction (really, you’re trying to sell this stuff at full price for $130-$230??)

      • A Nonny Moose :

        Take them back. Really. I returned a pair of jeans that got a hole in the crotch and a necklace that had one of the jewels take back. I didn’t have a receipt, don’t have their credit card, but because it was faulty merchandise, they gave me a gift card for the lowest price the items had been at. Not as great as getting back everything I paid, but definitely better than nothing.

      • I’ve always found J Crew knits to be poorer quality than their woven items. Ann Taylor (not Loft) sweaters and tees wear a lot better.

    • marketingchic :

      I got the Minnie in stretch twill and hated them. They stretched out as you described, and after one wash (hung to dry), a hem fell out. Granted, they’re supposed to be dry cleaned but I’m a laundry rebel, and they were $90 cotton pants. Jeez.

      • Yeah I bought the cotton cafe capris because I didn’t want to deal with the wool. Not to mention the front and back pockets are too small to hold anything. Even the tiny pockets in Gap and Express dress pants can sort of hold my cell phone. The pants fit me like a glove when I first tried them and now they’re terrible.

        I tried the Minnie bc they’re supposed to be soooo amazing.. I’m 5’11″ so I ordered a tall because I’ve noticed there actually is a difference in the tailoring, but they looked so average and I could tell they would stretch out before wearing for very long so I returned them.

    • Marie Curie :

      I bought a pair of the cotton capris on eBay for $25 and I’m so glad I didn’t pay more … you are right, they stretch like crazy. They are fine when I put them on but half an hour later they start sliding down my hips. Meh. (Also sized down and got a size 0 which I never thought I’d wear because I have big hips … maybe I should’ve got a 00. yay vanity sizing?)

  12. I got a LinkedIn request from someone outside of my field and have absolutely no idea how she knows me or why she wants to connect. I know I can just ignore it, but honestly, if you were going to do that, wouldn’t you write something in the invitation to explain why you want to connect? So weird. I thought maybe it was someone from here, but couldn’t find anyone who would have my real name who fit this person.

    • I’ve received random LI requests too and figured out that some were from marketers or sales people. On the subject of LI, I’m tired of random skill endorsements.

      • Cornellian :

        I don’t display any of them… if you’re a lawyer it seems like potential advertising under professional responsibility, no?

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        eh, I like the skill endorsements. We have an ethics opinion here on them and it is fine so long as LI keeps the title they currently have and doesn’t move back to “specialties”. As someone with less than 10 years experience, I like anything that adds to my credibility. People looking at my profile have no idea if the person endorsing me is a former client or friend. I don’t ask for them but I’m not going to delete them if people do them. To me, it is like those random websites that give you random ratings that you never even signed up for. I have gotten clients from websites I never heard of and then I google it, and sure enough, my name is listed there, with a practice area and a “firm ranking.” Go figure.

      • LinkedIn Rant :

        I have an uncle whom I rarely communicate with who keeps recommending my skills on LinkedIn, and I hate it! I know he’s trying to be nice and he probably thinks it’s helpful, but it really isn’t. He knows nothing about my legal research skills, and he is a dentist so no one would take his recommendation seriously anyway. I just ignore them.

        • Exact same thing is happening to me with a family member and LI emails me about it every few days! I appreciate the sentiment, but why endorse me when we have no professional relationship and you don’t know anything about my field?!?!

          • I have the same problem with an old family friend who I haven’t seen or interacted with since I was about 5 or something. I just ignore them.

            What I think happens is that an LI pop-up window prompts you to endorse people (the same wway it prompts you to invite new contacts) and some people automatically click through. The more yuo endorse people the more it prompts you, probably. It has prompted me but I was attentive enough to see the “not now” button, which is smaller and less obvious than the “OK” button (or whatever they call it).

            I also never endorse anyone because it mostly prompts me to endorse people far senior to me and I think that would be ridiculous. The guy who regularly argue at SCOTUS (who I met once at a conference) doesn’t need me to endorse his “litigation” skills.

    • When this happens to me, I usually reply to the person and, as politely as possible, ask them to remind me how we know each other. Usually, I don’t get a response back, although once someone admitted that they were attempting to get linked to every attorney in the metro area! It seems that some people think this is an effective networking strategy, which seems crazy to me! I don’t link to anyone I don’t actually know.

      • That’s what I ended up doing. She just emailed me to say it was a mistake. She was showing her husband something and he clicked on a couple of things by mistake because he’d never been on LinkedIn before. I have to admit, I was wracking my poor feeble brain to try and recognize that name!

    • Silvercurls :

      This has happened to me also. The first time I wrote back to the effect of “I’m confused about your request because we are in such different areas.” The second time I just ignored it, but since that sender recently sent me a reminder about the original invitation I will probably send another “please explain how you got my name since we are in such different fields” query.

      Has anyone else had the experience of learning that an apparent connection listed on someone’s profile is really just a mistake on the part of LinkedIn? I suppose the proper response is just “oh, thanks for letting me know” but it’s annoying to invest time and thought (not much, but still!) into a request for an introduction only to learn that the supposed connection was just a mirage.

      • I’m not even linked in and I have gotten requests to connect. Not sure how that is even possible. And lately, have been getting a request from someone who is waiter at a cafe I have lunch in once in a while at my work email address. It’s very disconcerting but not sure what can be done…

      • The sender didn’t send you a reminder, LinkedIn did. I am so annoyed with the amount of reminders I get from LinkedIn. Also, I’m annoyed with people who give LinkedIn access to their entire address books and I get requests in my many email accounts. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

        • You can turn these off (or reduce their frequency) usually. If not, put them in a folder and look at if when you’re bored one day at work. Auto-filter works like a charm.

    • I have received several LI “opportunity available” messages from recruiters and noticed that they included an option to grant the sender access to my contact list with the people’s emails. I value my contacts’ privacy as much as my own and so did not allow this, though wrote polite replies.
      Pay close attention to the messages and link requests you receive. They may come from people who want access to your contacts.

      • Whaaat? Now I’m freaked out that I’ve done that accidentally – I’ll have to keep an eye out – though I don’t think I’ve clicked on any of those opportunity available messages.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      Interesting, because Linked In now requires you to enter the email address of people you want to connect with if you can’t fill them in to one of the standard “how do you know this person?” categories.

    • Kinda Related :

      There is a guy who is not in my field, not in my geographic area, with whom I have no connections in common, who keeps viewing my profile every month or more frequently for the past 6 months. There is no way to block individual users, but it’s kinda getting to me as there is no way we no eachother, and there is no professional connection (he’s a nurse in the midwest, I’m a trade attorney on the east coast). I assume the best course of action is to ignore it, but it’s starting to get on my nerves–any ideas? If he is a creep, I don’t really want to engage…

      • Maybe he thinks “linkedin” is the new match. com ?

        I literally report anybody i don’t remotely know or may be friends of friends or does not have a legit profile as spam on both fb and LI.

      • I think the more likely scenario is that he needs an attorney and you are turning up in his results. He could have just put in “trade dispute attorney” or something and you popped up – LinkedIn doesn’t know the substance of your work, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t have private individuals as clients or whatnot.

      • Or you have the same name as someone he does have a reason to look at.

        • Yeah, something like this. If he’s just looking at your public profile no harm. Technically anyone can look. You may keep popping up for him because he’s already viewed your profile and he forgets and just clicks on it… or something. Maybe he’s an author looking to develop characers for one of his stories. Who knows?

      • Yeah, my ex-H’s current wife has viewed my profile. I think it’s because we come up for each other as “someone you might know.” Ugh.

  13. Has anyone tried the Zip Top version of the Michael Kors Jet Set Tote (link to follow to avoid moderation)? As the name implies, it has a zipper across the top and also has open pockets on the outside.

  14. I also have this dress and absolutely love it. It is really flattering and comfortable. The fabric is a little hot for the humid DC summers, but I wore it all the time in the spring. The way the wrap hits is very flattering for those of us with a bit of a tummy.

  15. Theory / NAS FAQ needed :

    I’ve struck out with the JCrew 1035 suit. I thought of trying Theory pieces next.

    Are they part of the NAS (maybe just some of them)?

    Do the pieces (I am thinking: jacket / skirt / pants / dress) work separately or really only as part of suits?

    Also, if I am a pear, is this generally workable? Or just save my time / $ to load up on The Skirt and Taylor Curvy pants at the NAS?

    THANK YOU!!!

    • goldribbons :

      General consensus here is that Theory suits are terrible and generally not work-appropriate (due to lack of skirt lining, too much spandex, etc.).

      • I don’t agree with that consensus at all. And I think they are one of the few “suits” that make really excellent separates. Their pants/skirts don’t always work for me, but I have a lot of blazers that I mix with simple other pieces. Sadly, their quality has gone down a bit in the last few years (my Theory blazers from 5 years ago still look like new) but I still think they make some of the best suits around.

      • I’m so not a part of that “consensus.” In fact, I wore my Theory suit a *thissite* meetup!
        I have a black pants suit and I love it. The quality is great. And the cut and fit are perfectly work-appropriate. I don’t think the beautiful non-itchy wool fabric would be improved with a yucky synthetic lining like AT or BR puts in.

        And to OP’s question— I wear the black blazer with everything, not just the matching pants. I have a million pairs of black pants to wear, so I tend not to wear the Theory ones separately, but they’d be fine.

      • Is that consensus in your own mind? I’ve read this blog for years and although the cut doesn’t work for some body types, there aren’t many people who’ve questioned the quality of work-appropriateness. I feel like Theory is only of the only brands that keeps on producing the kind of professional clothes—modest sheaths, formal suits—that are increasingly hard to find.

      • Yeah – I don’t know if that’s the general consensus really. I think a more accurate description might be that Theory suits fit a very particular body type – that being the tall and lean. I have found that Theory suits do not fit me well at all, as a shorter person with wider hips. So as a pear shape – I would be worried that Theory wouldn’t work for you – and actually, this may also be why J-Crew hasn’t worked for you – they also tend to be cut for the longer and leaner. However, I think the quality on Theory is quite good – though they trend a bit more…trendy (for lack of a better word) but they always have a few classic options available.

        If you are more pear shaped and are considering Theory prices, have you considered either Brooks Brothers or Brooks Brothers Outlet suiting? That’s where I get all my interview suiting pieces and they work MUCH better for me. The Outlet line is cheaper, but I’ve found the quality to be up to snuff. For cheaper “everyday” quality suiting items, you might also try Talbots and Ann Taylor – both are cut a bit more generously through the hips than J-Crew – and thus might work better on your shape.

        Anyway – those are my tips (oh – but on Talbots – go to the store and try on before ordering probably – their sizes are finicky. Once you know your sizing there though, you can get some great deals.)

        On the flip side – if you don’t NEED suit pieces – the Skirt and the NAS Halogen pants are pretty great. :-) But based on what you say about your shape, I wouldn’t be wildly confident about Theory, though it couldn’t hurt to try, at least through NAS you can return it.

        • SoCal Gator :

          Great suggestion on Ann Taylor suits. They have a variety of cuts, including several that fit well on pear shapes and have a classic look. Never buy AT full price as they always have sales and promotions. I have several go to everyday suits from AT.

      • Do not speak for Me, goldribbons.

    • If you’re a pear, I wouldn’t waste your time with Theory. The dress/skirt/pants of a simple Theory suit will definitely work as separates, but I found that the material Theory uses gets shiny fairly quickly– another reason I don’t think Theory is worth it– so you’d want to be careful about dry cleaning everything at the same time.

    • Theory works more for straighter figures. I think the quality is not worth the price too. There are no classic Theory pieces included in the NAS but quite a few Classiques suits. They’re better for curves and are well made.

      • Checking out Classiques is a good suggestion. I am not curvy but always try on cute Classiques stuff at Nordstrom Rack just in case – sadly, they’re too hippy for me. But the one Classiques dress I got as a gift has held up really well over several years.

    • Disagreeing with goldribbons as to work-appropriateness. Theory is definitely work appropriate BUT the fit is very tricky for hourglass/pear shapes — Theory is notorious for flattering more straight figures, so what works on my coworker is instead inappropriate puckering around my hips if the legs fit, or $$$ of alterations if the hip size is good. The prices also seem ridiculous for unlined items. That said, the pieces made from the same fabric are designed to work as suiting.

    • I’m not sure Theory is the best way to go for pear shapes. I think they have more a-line or fit-and-flare style dresses and skirts this season (as that is what is popular), but their classic suiting pieces (sheath dresses, pencil skirts) don’t seem like they’d be friendly to pears — more for straight up and down shapes. People generally say they have to size up (sometimes considerably) in Theory also.

    • Everyone I know who loves their theory suits have pretty non-curvy figures (I shape)

    • SoCal Gator :

      I have to offer a different view. I bought a navy Theory suit last year at the NAS and it’s my favorite suit — the one I wear when I want to look my most professional. It fits me perfectly and is very well tailored. Having said that, I am very slender and can see how it would not work with a curvier frame. There are several lovely Theory suits included in the NAS in the store in went to in SoCal. Maybe different stores have different merchandise.

    • I love my Theory pieces, wear them separately and as suits and find them entirely work appropriate. So, to each their own. One thing I will note, though– the Golda skirt is very narrowly cut, and due to lack of lining, probably requires a slip. I don’t have one because, even with my slim hipped, straight up and down body, it does not fit right. But I love the Max C trousers, ankle pants and blazers.

      • I would agree with the Golda skirt being very narrowly cut. But I think as to the rest, OP should go try on the different pieces. Everyone here always says theory is only for straight figures, yadda, yadda, but I don’t have a straight figure and it’s one of the few lines that work for me without making me look matronly (a la many other suits). Yes, I have to size up but that doesn’t really bother me because it’s not like I am magically bigger in theory than I am in oversized Lafayette 148. FWIW, I have an hourglass figure, veering slightly toward pearish.

        • agreed re: theory. I am also not a straight up and down person, and Theory fit me fine (except for the Golda skirt which was a mess all around). I think more important with Theory, especially the dresses, is that you are the same size on top and on bottom. When I was smaller I was a Theory 6/8 on top and bottom. Now I’m a Theory 8 on top and a Theory 10 on bottom and it’s not a good look.

    • If you are curvier you can also try Classiques Entier, which is a Nordstrom house brand and has many, many pieces included in the NAS. I also like T Tahari or Tahari ASL and the Calvin Klein dresses.

      Lafayette 148 might be another option, although their stuff is spendy.

  16. Since people often ask for gift ideas here, I thought I’d share one thing I did for my husband for his 40th birthday— it was not his main “gift” but it was a big hit, and it would work as a gift for anyone.
    In the morning before I left for work (he took the day off) I left him a card and a separate paper with a list of 40 things I love about him (not fancily presented, just typed up with a little border). Some were serious and some were fun or small things. At first it was hard time coming up with enough things, but once I got going, I could have done even more than 40. It was really fun for me to do, and I got such a lovely phone call from him just now. He was really moved—maybe more so because I’m not very expressive about my feelings. He said it could be the nicest thing he’s ever gotten.

    Anyway, this might be a really obvious thing to do for people, but I thought I’d pass it on. I’d love to do something similar for my best friend or my mom now that I see how good it made my husband feel.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      On that note, yesterday I helped a friend make a “broquet” for her boyfriend’s new job. It was pretty similar to/loosely based off of this (but with different beers and some beef jerky and I think an Amazon card?), and I mentally filed it away as an adorable gift idea:

      http://i.imgur.com/WLPEe.jpg

    • Oh no, this post just made me realize my husband is going to turn 50 in a couple of months, and I have not planned anything. Darn. I will steal your idea; happy for any others. He’s not into birthday parties for himself, so I like the list idea.

      • A couple of MONTHS – you’ve got plenty of time. :-) If it was a couple of days – then you might be in trouble! Or maybe I just plan things for people’s birthdays WAY too close to the date.

        • One year I completely forgot (after dropping hints all day he eventually asked our daughter to ask me if I knew it was Daddy’s birthday — shocker), so I’ve been making more of an effort to remember ahead of time these days.

    • Nordies Lover :

      Awwwww! I love this idea.

  17. The gap solid wrap dress looks really nice. It can easily be dressed up or down. Great dress but it can be a little unintentionally revealing depending how your shape is.

  18. Oh I think this dress would like great on my clients who are top-heavy – Wrap dresses work wonders on them!

    zipstyleseattle.com

  19. Losing the will to live here. Only 68 minutes until the weekend…which will be spent working but whatevs.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      I hope you’re exaggerating, and if you’re not, I hope you seek out some help.
      Sorry if that was a major overreaction, but I don’t like to take comments like that lightly.

      • Oh gosh, apologies. It’s a common refrain in my office and I spoke without thinking. I spent the last month dealing with a major mental health issue with one of my charges and should be more sensitive with my language. Thanks for the reminder!

      • That’s a major overreaction. You might want to work on that. Losing the will to live is a common phrase, and since CB apparently has weekend plans, I think it’s way excessive to assume she needs help

        • A Nonny Moose :

          She said her weekend plans were to work. And many phrases that can be interpreted multiple ways are very tricky to interpret on the internets, as MANY previous discussions on this site have proven.
          It seemed worth 5 seconds of a risk of overreaction to let Cb know someone was thinking of her in case something was actually wrong. Depression and anxiety run high in many of the professions people are in on this board, and I know many people here struggle with mental illness.

          • It sounded like you were scolding her for exagerating. And that’s unnecessary.

          • No offence taken, it’s very kind of you to check in and it’s a good reminder to be careful with my language, particularly over the internet. I think we get used to the refrain of being ‘crazy busy, soooo depressed, just kill me now…’ and forget that those words can mean something more.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            I thought your response was kind. I also agree that one of the biggest issues surrounding suicide is people being afraid to speak up to offer to help someone or people always assuming the speaker is kidding. Kudos for taking the time to write a response not knowing how it would be perceived.

          • I agree that your response was kind. Plus who knows, perhaps CB isn’t losing the will to live but another reader may be. They may see the bit of kindness in your post and reach out.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          I think it’s good to be conscious of our language choices. I’m sure CB didn’t mean anything by it but it’s always good to have a reminder that what we say can be considering alarming/privileged/harmful/etc to others.

          I view it this way – sure, I CAN say whatever I want to. It’s a free country and all. But if someone honestly tells me that the way I am phrasing something makes them upset, or trivializes their own experience, and there’s a really simple solution (choose my words more precisely) then honestly, there’s no reason I shouldn’t do that. I would rather NOT hurt people when I speak, so I appreciate when people point out to me that my language may be doing that unintentionally.

          It’s no feat of mental Olympics for me to say, “Ugh, I wish I could buy that dress but it’s not in the budget” instead of “No way, I’m so broke-ass-po’ f’sho I can’t even deal – I’m like, applying for food stamps next month you guys, seriously.” and if the former is both more accurate, and more conscious on my part that the words I say affects others, and the way that those words come off is hurtful. Even though it stings when people point it out to me (usually because I didn’t “mean” anything bad) it also makes me more conscious and aware and I think, ultimately, a better person.

          • Agreed!

          • Yeah, this is silly. For a start, your analogy doesn’t even work. The second phrase is completely racist, for a start. If you start saying “f’sho” and “broke-ass po” and you don’t use those phrases ordinarily, you are mocking people who do use those phrases. Usually minorities.

            That’s completely different from a phrase like “losing the will to live” which isn’t identified with any particular class or racial group and thus cannot be mocking. The question then becomes: is it offensive to use hyperbole? No amount of internet privilege-shaming, hand-wringing, pearl-clutching is gonna persuade me that it is.

            And it doesn’t even make any sense. Sooo many people have some experience with depression. Are we really claiming that Exaggeration and Hyperbole Are Products of Privilege and depressed people never use hyperbole, they only ever report their exact emotional states because, you know, they are Depressed.

            Isn’t that more othering than anything else? You are literally acting like depressed people are so stupid that ordinary idioms are beyond them.

            When did all these causes get so whiny?

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            My point is it seems silly to me to argue about if someone should or should not be offended. If someone tells me something that I say is upsetting to them, it’s not worth it to me to continue to speak that way to prove some sort of point of “You shouldn’t be offended and you are overly PC.”

            The question to me is not – is it offensive to use hyperbole? The question for me is “Do I want to keep using language that other people find hurtful or trivializing after they tell me that’s how it makes them feel?” For me, the answer is no and I appreciate being told that.

            I don’t want to get into policing whether people should or should not be offended/concerned/upset – by anything. Particularly when the solution is fairly simple and probably better for me in general – saying what I truly mean. I don’t want to unintentionally upset people by my choice of language, so I appreciate it when people tell me that I have — that was the only point I was trying to make.

          • + a million to momentsofabsurdity, especially to this: “Do I want to keep using language that other people find hurtful or trivializing after they tell me that’s how it makes them feel?”

            I think this conversation actually worked really well (A Nonny Moose expressed concern about Cb, Cb explained she was ok but reflected on using potentially hurtful language, everyone is happy) — no need to turn it into an internet fight about PC language, please.

        • A Nonny Moose :

          As a further example of things not coming across clearly online, I really wasn’t trying to scold, at all. Sorry if it came across that way, Cb! I just wanted to make sure you were OK. :)

        • Anonymous :

          … but is “thug” racist?

    • only 33 more mins! Hang in there :)

      • Thanks! I think I’m going to take a walk in the beautiful sunshine (it’s 80 F! In Scotland!) before switching gears and settling in for some more work.

        Remembering this moment when I say, ‘no worries, I can have 3 jobs on top of my PhD’

      • Eek, I’m offended by your use of the words “hang in there”. The imagery of “hanging” potentially references suicide and the fact that this is a commonly used phrase does not absolve you of your responsibility to preemptively strip the English language of all color, grace and nuance. Please stick to factual neutral statements about your own state of mind.

        • A Nonny Moose :

          Seriously, I was checking in to make sure Cb was OK. I am fairly certain if Cb had not immediately responded by saying that she was using an idiom and was in fact fine, neither you nor “Woah” would have jumped all over me for checking in on her. Jeebus. I wasn’t scolding her, at all. Can we all please move on now, thx.

        • Seriously, chill. And no, I don’t mean stick yourself in an extremely cold environment and develop hypothermia.

        • In-House Optimist :

          I think Elle was being snarky? Maybe? Goodness… I think we all need a c*cktail. :)

  20. Related to previous comments about disappointment with J Crew and Theory, what brands or specific items with brands do you consistently find to be good quality? It can be good quality period (e.g. Ann Taylor used to be good quality for work clothes, more hit and miss now) or good quality for the price (e.g. certain sweaters from Target).

    • Cornellian :

      everything I’ve bought at Nordstrom and Brooks Brothers, to be honest. But it does seem like pretty much all brands have this problem. I love my suzi chin for maggy boutique wrap dresses.

    • Mind you I don’t have a lot of either, but DVF (for clothes) and LV (for bags) are worth every penny quality wise. I am rough on my stuff, and the pieces I have from both of those brands look as good as day one.

    • Just running through things in my head and, ugh, AT used to be so amazing! I have a skirt from c. 1999 that still looks brand new (and is classic enough that it’s still not dated looking) plus I have a black sheath dress from about 2006 that I still wear weekly (and have worn weekly, in all seasons, since I bought it). I also have a Brooks Brothers cotton jacket that continues to look brand new, as do a cashmere cardigan and merino sweater I got from their outlet. My large collection of J Crew Jackie cardigans wear really well, considering how much I wear them and that they’re basically cotton sweaters (which never last and never hold color, but these still look great even after a few years). Then there are the old stand-by sturdy brands, like LL Bean and Eddie Bauer. Not work clothes, but those things last forever.

      • I remember when even AT Loft sold work appropriate clothing. I have a suit that I bought there in the early-mid 2000′s that is 100% wool and lined for less than $200 (probably on sale, but still) that still looks great after years of regular wear. Nowadays it’s hard to find that kind of quality at regular AT.

        When I first started working, my entire wardrobe was AT (Loft and regular) and Banana Republic. Now I can hardly find anything I want to buy, since the prices have gone up and the quality has gone way downhill.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          Same here. I still have the first two suits I ever bought, which are both from AT Loft, and it’s been… 7 years, I think? I don’t even think they sell full suits most of the time anymore.

    • I’ve found the following brands to be of good quality (wear well, show good workmanship, last for 2+ years): Club Monaco, Theory, Boss Black, Gap, H&M COOP by Barney’s, Ralph Lauren cashmere. Obviously there is a range of price points represented, but I’d say that for the cheaper items, I get a lot more wear than expected.

      The following brands have quality issues and I only buy them on discount: J Crew, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, AT Loft, several of the Anthropologie brands whose names I cannot remember.

      • +1 to Club Monaco. The quality is good. I tend to forget about it, but then when I check it out I always find that I end up loving.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I’ve been really happy with the Nordstrom in-house brands like Halogen for clothing and Tarnish for accessories.

    • For coats and suits, Max Mara. For t-shirts and cotton knits, Uniqlo.

    • S in Chicago :

      Lands End Swimwear. Lasts forever. Other brands seem to only go a season. And even when I don’t swim much, the elastic breaks down so often with other brands. And if I time purchase right before 4th of July, I usually get half off and biggest selection. And they offer options in so many different shapes and lengths and cup sizes that I can completely customize what I want and have gotten to the point where I can order online now sight unseen and know what will be flattering. I seriously don’t know what my long torso/big chest self would do without their tankinis.

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