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  1. Hi,

    I have a question about taking vacation at a new job. Next month, I start a new job as a management consultant. I want to make a good impression and do not plan on taking any vacation for the first three and a half months. I would like to take two days off after New Years for a ski trip. The problem is that to get a good airplane ticket, I need to reserve my seat this week (before I have even started my job).

    How can I ask about the vacation policy without seeming lazy? I am thinking of calling my HR contact to ask about the schedule around the fall and winter holidays. Any advice?

    Thank you!

  2. Hi gals – thanks for the great blog, I’ve come to rely on it as I prepare for fall law firm interviews! Thanks for all the timely posts. I have a slight emergency – would it be possible for you to do a post on appropriate interview handbags? I’m looking for a structured bag in a lower price range (i.e., ideally less than $200) but still professional and nice enough to make a good impression. Also – I stupidly bought a dark gray pinstripe suit and a dark brown suit – no chance there’s some kind of bag that would look good with both, right? If not, I’m looking for both a black and a brown bag, so suggestions for either would be GREATLY APPRECIATED! I don’t know how you find all the great sales and styles that you do, but I’m always impressed! Thanks in advance -Amy

  3. Hi ladies,

    Thanks for the great blog! I know you just posted about interview totes in the lower price range, but it would be great to get a post on work bags/briefcases in the higher price ranges, perhaps in time for christmas? My boyfriend’s mom loves to give expensive gifts, and I figure it might as well be something I can get some use out of (not that I don’t love the $500 picture frame that sits atop my bookcase that I’ve had since high school.) I did a search and found the post where you were asking for recommendations, but the comments weren’t really helpful (I already know about Tumi and its not really fashion-y enough for me.) Thanks!

  4. This site is essential. I coach many bankers, consultants and legal professionals on career development, and personal branding and style is a big part of the equation. I love having this as a specialist resource on that front.

  5. Hi Corporette-

    I’d love to get your take on Project Runway’s challenge last night 9/17. Is it just me, or were the conrtestants’ judges’ ideas of appropriate interview and work wear a bit, um, strange? I realize the clients weren’t looking for law or banking jobs, but even in a more “creative” industry, don’t you still dress more formally for an interview?

  6. Hi Corporette,

    Great site! As a loyal reader, I wanted to provide some feedback. While I drool over the overpriced handbags and suits that you feature earlier on in the week, I really love it when you provide examples of lower priced items that working girls can actually afford. For instance, I am currently wearing the shift dress from Spiegel that you reccomended several weeks ago. I love that I didn’t have to spend my entire paycheck to look amazing.

    Thanks again!

  7. Hi! I loved the gray sweater that Cuddy wore on House last night (10/28) and in my searching, came across your column on Cuddy’s fashion. I was wondering if you have any idea who the designer is and where I could find it. Thanks!

  8. Hi! I’m a corporate lawyer and I love this site! I like your sense of style and would love to see more of your ideas on how to put things together, including items that are for sale, as well as your own outfits. My lack of creativity means I usually wear plain suits or button downs/cardigans with pants or skirts, but I like looking more put together when I can.

    Also, stories about office politics and colleague/boss dynamics are always interesting and helpful.

    Thanks for keeping this site!

  9. Hello Ladies-
    Thanks for all your great advice. I am a first year in law school, consequently I am broke. In reading your advice about dressing professionally for busty ladies, I met the same problem I always do. I am aware Neiman’s and Nordstrom’s have the better underwear departments, in terms of selection and fittings; but I still can’t afford it. Are there any suggestions for a wide selection in a more affordable price range?Again thanks for all your great advice!

  10. Hi. As the winter season approaches, I’m looking for winter snow boots to match up with my suits. As a drug rep, I need to wear a suit, but I also spend my day walking in the snow to get to medical offices. Can you do an article on winter footwear? Thanks

  11. Can you help suggest what to wear with a boyfriend blazer? I just got a slim, one-button wool boyfriend blazer (from Iisli – love it) and am not sure what would look best with it. Thank you!

  12. Anonymous :

    Dying at the office without a TPS Report on a winter Monday! Come back soon!

    Column idea: Summer dresses/ skirts and the office? Any alternatives to my standby white cardigan? Dreaming of warmer days. . .

    Another one — hair accessories for work.

  13. newassociate :

    I’m a new associate in BigLaw. My very experienced assistant tells me I need to put some personal things in my office. Right now there is a single framed print and that’s it. My diplomas and bar admission are getting framed, so they’ll go up soon. Books are all firm-issued. But there’s a large (5 foot wide?) space between my desk and the door. What goes there?? A small sofa or cushy chair?? Coat rack? Something else? Nothing? It would be nice to have something to nap on for an all nighter but the guys don’t have those…

    What about photos? Plants? Other?

    There aren’t a lot of women at my firm (surprise!), so I can’t really copy what they did. Help is appreciated!

  14. Hey Corporette!

    I am a 1L and am about to start interviewing for summer internships. I realized recently that one of my two suits has gotten big on me. Do you have any recommendations for tailors in the city who do good work, but are not ridiculously expensive?

    Thanks so much!

  15. What should a woman in her mid-20s wear to a black tie optional inaugural ball where she is not a member of a family hosting or being honored (i.e., is just one of the many guests attending)? Black tie optional leaves a lot of room for variation, and I would like to fit in but not look overdressed. Comments or suggestions?

  16. Hi. I love your commentary and fashion tips. However, I recently ordered the white on white shirt, and can’t remember the vendor. The shirt has yet to arrive. Is there any way you guys can check on this?


  17. Hi, I just bought a very cute, dark charcoal, 3/4 sleeves suit jacket from Ann Taylor that was monstrously on sale. Of course, they didn’t have any pants in my size from that suit.

    My question – can you wear a suit jacket and suit pants of a different color? How? Does one always have to be lighter or darker than the other? Or is this something I should give up on and send back…


  18. Hi folks – love your blog! I’m in a bind, hoping you might have some advice. I’m currently an at-home mom but I’m also an adjunct instructor at the university, and I do some occasional consulting. I got rid of most of my suits when I left corporate 6 years ago.

    I have a funeral to attend in two weeks, and don’t have much in the form of a black or navy skirt suit. I’d like to find something reasonable, conservative but hip and somewhat fitted that I can wear for future client meetings or teaching. I’d need to go to a store to try things on. I live near several malls – any suggestions on where to go? We have a Macy’s, Nordstroms, Banana Republic, etc. but looking on their websites, I haven’t seen much in my price range (about $200). Thanks so much!!

  19. I am totally clueless about how to wear boots to the office. I have a basic pair of below the knee, high-heeled (but not stiletto) black boots that I wear on weekends, but have yet to attempt to wear to work. After all the flak Dr. Biden got from wearing boots (the horror!) to the Inauguration, I’m starting to think that they’re never appropriate. ( )

    Thoughts? Outfit suggestions?

  20. newassociate :

    back again. my office is looking better, thanks.

    new problem:
    an 8th year i.e. someone very much the boss of me (isn’t everyone?) just found me on facebook and wants to be added. i took a look at his profile and he’s friends with most of the senior associates and about half of the partners in our group. we are friendly and he’s a nice guy, but we are not actually friends.

    i don’t know what to do. i like to keep facebook for just friends, so i don’t even add people that i am acquainted with, or people i used to know (like people from high school that i haven’t seen in years). but i don’t think that rejecting the invitation is a good idea considering that i am supposed to be trying to integrate myself into the group. and wouldn’t limited profile be obvious, like what am i trying to hide?

    is this the end of my facebook? there’s nothing bad on there, but it is my personal space.


  21. HELP!!!! I just got hired as a pharmaceutical rep. I have some questions about what is appropriate business professional attire.
    -Is a DVF jersey wrap dress ok to wear?
    -What is the rule on dresses that don’t have a jacket…ok or not?
    -If wearing a dress or skirt suit do I have to wear stockings?
    -Can I wear open back mules with stockings?
    -Can I wear a pant suit with pumps or slingbacks without stockings or knee highs?
    -Are sheer black stockings ok to wear w/ a black skirt suit?
    -Is a tweed jacket w/ slacks ok to wear instead of a traditional suit?
    -When do you wear the jacket, and when can you take it off?
    -Do you always have to wear a button-up blouse w/ collar under a jacket?
    I think that’s it. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  22. I’m a new attorney and one of the best things about what I do is getting to dress up for work everyday. I recently bought a navy blue suit that I love, but once I got it home, I realized I had no idea what color shoes to wear with it. Is it okay to wear black shoes with navy? I’ve looked around the courthouse, but where I work there are definitely a lot more male attorneys, and they seem to go for different shades of brown with their navy suits. Help!

  23. I’m trying to build my collection of jewelry and am wondering – what is work appropriate? I’m assuming dangly earrings are out, but how about chunky rings or those kind of structural necklaces?

  24. associate :

    Hi, I’m a third year associate who has been working exclusively with a partner and two senior associates. While our firm is large, we were essentially the only people in our particular specialty. The partner and one associate have decided to leave to start their own firm. The other associate and I are not going with them. The firm has been very supportive and clear that they want me to stay, but I now have to pick a new practice area. Luckily, I was in litigation and have some transferable experience.

    The firm has been clear that they will find a spot for me but that I have to be patient. They don’t really want me trying to find my own spot. I understand the need for patience and to let the powers that be do their thing, but I also want some control over and say in the situation. I do want to do my own investigation and find out if there are areas I would like. Also, some partners are better to work for than others, and I want to stay clear of some personalities. Do you have any recommendations for how to handle this appropriately?


    PS. I should add that I am very pregnant at the moment and will be going on maternity leave soon.

  25. Hi Corporette!!

    I’m a 1L, and I’m trying to spruce up my business/business casual wardrobe for my summer internship. My feet get really hot in the summer so I like to wear sandals, but in the last couple summers I’ve been stuck with less businessy, less professional, outdoorsy type Merrell sandals because I’ve been having arch support issues. Specifically, I’m wondering if you could suggest some work appropriate sandal styles that also have good arch support (or at least ones that I could put some arch support into)? I’m not afraid of some heel height but I usually max out around 3 inches, if that helps.

    Thanks! Looove your site!

  26. Help!
    Is it okay to wear ivory or off-white pantyhose with a brown suit in winter?

  27. HELP!
    I’m a 2L getting ready for a summer associate position this summer and I need help. The dress code at my firm is formal—so I’m guessing suits every day.

    Can you suggest affordable suits/combinations for the summer (such as 100 suits or so)?


  28. Daily reader here – love the site – thanks!! I have what may be a very odd question that I hope you and/or your readers could help with…Specifically, is there a “right” way to walk in heels?

    The reason I ask is that when I walk around the uncarpeted areas of the office, my heels make what seems to be a very loud clacking noise – and some other women do not seem to have this problem. Should I be walking more on the balls of my feet?


  29. I too love your blog. IMO your style choices are also spot on for women who simply prefer classic clothing – working or not. In my case, my work wardrobe after 30 years is pretty set. However, I’m currently in recession mode, i.e. my job has been misplaced. I find that my non-work clothes are just not suitable for walking around in the supermarket, given that in my community (high tech in Silicon Valley) I might meet someone there who would hire me. So I want to upgrade what would be my weekend wardrobe (if I were working). Can you help? I have my dilemma posted here. I thought you all might have some great ideas. I hope this doesn’t take you beyond the scope of your blog, but once we get to the executive ranks, I have found that networking etc. can extend the requirements and definition of “professional style”. Thanks in advance. LPC.

  30. Another 2L :

    I’m another soon-to-be summer associate in a New York law firm. Would love it if you could address dress codes given the current economic climate, and the boundaries of “formal wear” for women.
    Another 2L

  31. I love your blog. seriously – love it. I frequently check out things you recommend and love the websites. I have little time to shop and buy most of my suits online these days – so much easier with your recommendations (I am fashionally challenged!). thank you!

    I actually have a question for you. I am a mid-level law associate and my husband is a teaching physician at a local hospital. His boss is getting married in DC in April. It is the bride’s first marriage and it will be a huge event. The wedding is at 5 and then dinner and dancing at 6 at a country club.

    I have NO idea what to wear. Can I wear a black cocktail dress? I am so bad at these things and I want to make a good impression for my husband and look professional for my own benefit!

    this may seem like an elementary quesitons, but did I mention I am fashionally challeged?

    Thank you!

  32. oh. one more thing. I am barely thirty, but my husband is a good ten years older. I don’t want to look like a airhead, but I don’t want to look fourty either! ha ha. any suggestions would be appreciated.

  33. So, I’m a first year associate, and I’ve recently become a huge fan of “Damages” — or at least the fashion on it. I even find myself thinking, “Ahh, if only I could be like Ellen Parsons!” (minus the whole murdered fiance thing, of course). I think you guys should do a write-up about her character’s fashion choices! They are conservative, while at the same time pretty, and usually have a bit of personality or interesting details. My biggest office attire problem is figuring out how to look professional and like myself at the same time, and I think her character is a good role model for this!

  34. I want to second/ third all the 2L’s above asking for summer associate wear. I’m headed to a firm where the dress code isn’t quite formal. It didn’t seem like most of the women wore a suit everyday, but I don’t want to step on any toes, and the men were wearing suits and ties. How many suits does one need? 5? 10? 15? (I had at least 10 different work outfits in previous jobs, but 10 suits will be cost prohibitive at least at first). Do they all need to be black and navy or is a more causal grey or camel ok? How about ivory or dark green or burgundy? Patterned in some way? Linen? Seersucker? Skirts and/or pants?

    Then if I am wearing a suit, what on earth do I wear under it every day? The same collared shirt I wore to interviews (x10) or a sleeveless shell, or a short sleeve shell or sweater? Where can I get those? I’m sure some of this depends on location, weather, and office, but a starter list would be great!

    What should a summer associate wear to get the offer at the end of the summer in these “difficult economic times”?

    As a bonus challenge- I’m a size 18 in most lines, but don’t let that scare you too much. I’d love the advice even in sizes and stores I can’t do so I know what to look for!

  35. Hi C! Love your blog — I check it every day and frequently buy something that you suggest. My question is about blazers. It seems that a blazer/jacket really makes an outfit look more put together — you can go from the typical blouse/sweater with black/grey pants to something that looks a lot more professional. Do you have any suggestions about where to look for blazers that can go with lots of different outfits? Personally, I’m 5’9″ and usually need to lengthen my sleeves or order a tall/long size, but I’m open to suggestions for blazers in general.

  36. Thank you very much for this blog. You do not understand how helpful it is to someone with NO fashion sense a.k.a. me.

    I have one question…

    My boyfriend and I are in an argument over what is best to care on your arm for the financial industry. purse vs. briefcase vs. gear bag.

    Please keep in mind that I carry both a book and calculator in my purse.

    I saw your article on what is a good summer purse and I love it, but is a purse the best choice or should I go more for a briefcase?

    Thanks you so much!

  37. Recently I made the decision to move from a high-paying position to lower-paying but more personally satisfying career, which still requires professional, tasteful clothes. I’ll still be making a decent salary, but will not necessarily have $300 to drop on a pair of shoes or $400 on a suit. Problem is, the transition is coming just when my suit wardrobe could use a serious refresher– any ideas on less expensive suit basics, preferably well under $100 a piece?

  38. By the way, one issue I have is that I wear a small size (usually a 2) so sometimes department stores are not the easiest places to shop, especially in the lesser-expensive areas of the store.

  39. Stephanie :

    I am attending the annual banquet for Law Review and will be sitting with one of the firms I am clerking for this summer. The invitation says cocktail attire and I have a good feel for what that is. However, my question is whether or not that changes since this is a somewhat work related function. Should I avoid strapless? Should I avoid dresses that are too flouncy or feminine? I have several basic black dress options, but need to know which one to choose.

    Contrasting examples:

  40. I am in my second year at a firm in NYC and I have some orthopedic issues that prevent me from wearing high heels (or even the shortest of heel). Due to the same issue, I prefer shoes that offer as much ankle “support” as possible are ideal (if it were up to me, I’d wear sneakers all the time). I have a simple, comfortable pair of inexpensive black flats that I have worn every day at work for the past year, and I really need to fix this situation! I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t like heels, so it would be great if you could offer a few examples of comfortable flats that are appropriate for work (bonus points for budget options!). Thank you!

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