Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Boatneck Top

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

Everybody loves a good popover top, and this one at J.Crew Factory looks really great. It’s machine washable, too. (It is poly, but it’s priced accordingly.) I’m picturing it here in the deep azalea, but it also comes in navy and a very bright floral that’s kind of a fun print — as well as a nice polka dot. Note that it has buttons at the cuffs and a button closure at the back of the neck. Sizes are XXS–XXL, and it’s $39.50. Boatneck Top

A plus-size option is at Amazon.

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Comments

  1. AttiredAttorney :

    I actually bought this top in store a couple of weeks ago. The color is gorgeous and it looks much more expensive than it is.

    • Looks lovely!

      I’m a bit bummed on the plus size pick…which is a t shirt. There’s got to be a better option, retailers!

      • Boatneck non-tees seem pretty rare so I looked for some pretty pink non-tee tops

        https://www.macys.com/shop/product/inc-international-concepts-plus-size-paisley-print-peasant-top-created-for-macys?ID=5244025&CategoryID=34048#fn=COLOR%3DPink%26SIZE%3D%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D1813%26ruleId%3D87%7CBOOST%20SAVED%20SET%7CBOOST%20ATTRIBUTE%26searchPass%3DmatchNone%26slotId%3D19

        https://www.macys.com/shop/product/calvin-klein-plus-size-tie-bell-sleeve-top?ID=5379664&CategoryID=34048#fn=COLOR%3DPink%26SIZE%3D%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D1813%26ruleId%3D87%7CBOOST%20SAVED%20SET%7CBOOST%20ATTRIBUTE%26searchPass%3DmatchNone%26slotId%3D27

        https://www.macys.com/shop/product/calvin-klein-plus-size-pleated-neck-blouse?ID=4954346&CategoryID=34048#fn=COLOR%3DPink%26SIZE%3D%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D1813%26ruleId%3D87%7CBOOST%20SAVED%20SET%7CBOOST%20ATTRIBUTE%26searchPass%3DmatchNone%26slotId%3D12

        https://www.macys.com/shop/product/charter-club-plus-size-printed-boat-neck-top-created-for-macys?ID=5386214&CategoryID=34048#fn=COLOR%3DPink%26SIZE%3D%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D1813%26ruleId%3D87%7CBOOST%20SAVED%20SET%7CBOOST%20ATTRIBUTE%26searchPass%3DmatchNone%26slotId%3D57

        • Also this one does look like a tee but it has an embellished neckline and the color is pretty

          https://www.macys.com/shop/product/karen-scott-plus-size-crochet-trim-tunic-created-for-macys?ID=5300225&CategoryID=34048&RVI=Browse_6&tdp=cm_choiceId~z5300225~xcm_pos~zPos6

        • Yes! Good work, anon.

          I feel like the “boatneck” aspect of the og pick (side note: I’m not sure I’d qualify this as boatneck? Just, like, a top with a neckhole?) isn’t at all what makes it special. You nailed the other aspects really well, Anon!

      • Anonymous :

        +1

    • Do the sleeves puff at the shoulders? I love the polka dot print, but puff sleeves on my broad square shoulders look ridiculous.

      • AttiredAttorney :

        There is a slight gathering at the shoulder seams, but the material is so silky that it lays fairly flat. I am fairly broad shouldered and I still find it flattering. Also lays nicely under a blazer/jacket because of the silkiness of the fabric.

    • Anonymous :

      Love this pick!

  2. #TeamCanada :

    Anyone else obsessed with the Olympics? I usually watch them obsessively but the time difference is making it so hard this year. I know I can watch the primetime highlights but it’s not the same as watching it live.

    • Yes! I love the Olympics and plan on parking on my couch every night for the next 2 weeks!

    • Obsessed – the NBC Sports Olympics app on Roku is amazing. You can watch full replays. I’m working from home today and the Hamiltons are curling in the background.

      • #TeamCanada :

        The CBC Olympis coverage is even better here in Canada. :) They show all sports, not just whatever Canada is competing in.

        • NBC is doing the same, so have to give them credit for that. I have to admit I’m particularly obsessed with the Hamiltons, but I’m also a curler and now I’ve flipped over to the replay of the Canada-Finland match!

        • Minnie Beebe :

          Yes, this is one of the only things I miss about living in metro Detroit– CBC on basic cable during the Olympics. Their coverage is awesome!

          NBC has gotten better, especially since they have a suite of channels on which to show coverage.

          Which reminds me– I need to look up the biathlon schedule. It’s my FAVORITE of the winter sports to watch, and I’ll be disappointed if I miss all of it!

    • Linda from HR :

      I had every intention of going to bed at a reasonable hour, but then got sucked into the figure skating >_< and my boyfriend's into curling now, and I've done some curling too, so we're all about that coverage as well, and hockey is gonna be exciting too!

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Oh yes, me! The best trip I ever took was to the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. Loved every last second.

  3. I’m looking to up my skincare game just a bit (current “regimen”: Target’s Simple brand cleanser and moisturizer, occasional Amazonian clay mask). I’ve seen Paula’s Choice recommended here pretty heavily, but I’m overwhelmed by the number of products offered. I’m 27 and I’ve got pretty normal skin that’s usually pretty clear. Not particularly oily but the pores around my nose get clogged really easily. I also like to keep my routine as low maintenance as possible (i.e., I won’t use 6 products at a time). Any specific recommendations for Paula’s Choice or other products?

    • Anonymous :

      You need SPF every day. I would start with that. Then I would do some reading on beautypedia (it’s owned by Paula’s Choice so they do favour those products, but they review lots of other products too). It’s a really fantastic resource for product reviews and information.

      It sounds like you’re doing well. You might want to add a chemical exfoliant to help keep your skin clear. AHA, BHA, glycolic acid, whatever works for you.

    • Add a Paula’s Choice BHA exfoliant to help with the clogged pores and an antioxidant serum for general anti-aging.

    • If you were to ad only one step, I’d use the ordinary glycolic toner. It would help with overall skin texture and make whatever other products you use penetrate better. Also it’s under 10USD

    • Yup, sunscreen every day and an acid exfoliant for your pores

      • +1

        BHA exfoliant if you have larger pores and oilier skin. AHA if you have smaller pores and drier skin.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Best Paula’s Choice advice is schedule an assessment with one of their people. They’re not product pushy, and they’ll incorporate whatever you’re currently using into their recommendations.

  4. thinning eyebrow :

    I have one eyebrow that is noticeably thinning (and in a patchy way). Not relating to tweezing, which I only do for strays. Now I have to fill that one in or I am so mismatched.

    One day I will have a unibrow, but it will be b/c my left one remains and the right one has vanished.

    Has this happened to anyone else?

    • Anonymous :

      This happened to my brother, and it was because he had alopecia. This probably isn’t the case for you, but it may be something to validate with your doctor.

      • Anonymous :

        As a follow up, my brother’s doctor identified and diagnosed condition right away. Treatment was effective and he kept/grew back all good hair.

    • Is it the side that you sleep on?

    • Try sleeping with silk eye mask for about a month. There are some conditions that make your hair follicles respond to temperature.

  5. Out of the Box :

    Could we do a string on non big box retailers where you find work clothes? I have tops or dresses from Amour Vert, Elizabeth McCay, Julie Brown and J. McLaughlin. What have you found?

    • Anonymous :

      +1 Amour Vert

      I like Elizabeth McKay but haven’t done anything but look.
      We just went casual, so I like Gretchen Scott also.

      DVF shift dresses.

    • I was thinking of doing a similar string but with local or small-run companies. Most of her stuff would be weekend or casual office, but I have been buying clothes from Kelly Lane for years. Gorgeous knits sewn by people and they LAST.

      http://www.kellylanedesign.com/

    • Anonymous :

      i have great sweaters from modern citizen

    • If you are looking for things that not everyone has, I’d go with some European brands: 123, Cyrillus, Promod, Un jour ailleurs. Most people I work with don’t know about them

    • Other than the obvious (MM Lafleur etc), Brass.

  6. waxing, etc. for girls :

    I am part wookie. When puberty hit (early, like 5th grade), I became full-on furry. I didn’t know how to deal with it and my mom really had no idea. I quit gymnastics (which I didn’t love) b/c of too much bushy hair to contain in a leotard. And swimming invitations? Give me a week of notice to try to deal with hair outside of the bathing suit (nair, tweezing, shaving; none were good options; all had painful grow-out issues).

    For those of you with early daughters or who aren’t much older, what do people do now for girls?

    I finally got lasered so that I can just put on a swimsuit and go whenever (so everything outside of a modest bathing suit is gone; perhaps would need more grooming with a more showing suimsuit bottom). It is so awesome. But I was in my 30s and hate what I had to miss out on, esp. in grade school, and don’t want that for my daughters who will probably be going through this in the next year or so if on my timeline.

    Waxing will initially be awful. But I can’t see tweens as going in for laser hair removal either. What do people really do?

    • Anonymous :

      It’s absolutely ridiculous to teach girls that they can’t participate in activities because of normal body hair. Shaming girls for their hair is not the answer. And don’t put young girls through painful and expensive treatments! Good lord.

      More modest swimsuits, if they want to avoid teasing from other kids.

      • Anonymous :

        There’s the world we’d like to live in and the world we actually do live in.

        FWIW, I would not put the burden of changing that world on any girl entering puberty, esp. if they are much hairier than other girls.

        Left to its own devices, I’d need 3-inch shorts to avoid sharing that with the world. Or to move to maybe Canada or somewhere people aren’t in bathing suits / shorts so much at summer camps or when it is warm (we are in the SEUS). No thanks.

        • Anonshmanon :

          How about boyshort bikini bottoms? I had them because I was self conscious about my thighs as a teen, but they would also cover a lot of hair. Whatever peeks out is easily overlooked or might be trimmed.
          Links follow

          • Anonshmanon :

            https://www.target.com/p/women-s-swim-shorts-mossimo-153/-/A-52692841#lnk=sametab
            Even more coverage
            https://www.target.com/p/women-s-laser-cut-supplex-swim-shorts-merona-153-black/-/A-52962663#lnk=sametab

            You will find lots of options with this cut elsewhere too

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            “Easily over looked” – you forget how mean pre-teen boys (and girls) can be. I remember making sure I didn’t have a single hair showing because if I did, I certainly heard about it from the bullies. And I wasn’t even a hairier than normal type of person. I’m just one of the people that got picked on.

            My mom didn’t let me shave my legs until 7th or 8th grade and it caused so much bullying. And my leg hair was blonde! I would not make a kid go through that.

          • @Blonde Lawyer – SAME same same same. Such awful memories.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            My middle school had an indoor pool and swimming was a required (and often hated) part of gym class. Yes, let’s make kids just starting to go through puberty put on bathing suits in front of their entire class.

        • I’ve never had boy short bottoms that didn’t roll up.

        • If individuals don’t step up to change the world, who IS going to do it?

          • Clearly, this burden should fall on tweens who have no sense (that’s why they can’t vote or buy liquor or cigarettes or get tatoos).

          • Adults.

            Expect world change from adults and not from 10 year olds struggling with early puberty.

          • Ok. . . so adults, stop making kids feel bad about what is a normal, healthy body type. You aren’t born with these views. By bringing this up, you are still making your daughter feel like she isn’t enough as-is.

          • Underarm odor is normal. Do we just not teach them about deodorant? Or buy it? Just have them ask that the world accept them as is?

            I think it is too much to ask.

          • @[email protected]:32, you must not have kids. It’s not fair to make a 10-year-old a martyr to the cause of body acceptance. You can make a kid aware that society’s standards are artificial and unrealistic, and let her know that you love her and she is “enough as-is,” without forcing her to make herself the target of bullying.

            In our house, once a kid is old enough to shave safely, it’s her personal choice whether to shave or not. I never once suggested to my daughter that she start shaving, but as soon as she told me she wanted to shave I provided her with the most age-appropriate tools, taught her how to do so safely, and let her know that it was entirely her decision whether and how often to shave.

          • @11:47, there is a huge difference between introducing your daughter to age-appropriate hair removal methods and removing her from swimming/gymnastics because of body hair like in OP’s example.

      • Dear 9:24, I am now 44 years old. I still remember how awful it was being teased in 7th grade a swim party for having armpit stubble (dark hair so always will have a shadow). Garbage Pail Kid cards were all the rage and so I developed the nickname “Armpit Brit.” A modest swimsuit wouldn’t have done squat. You can keep the Good lords to yourself. I hope no other kid ever has to go through that. It’s a tough age.

        • I also remember this all too well. Dark hair and fair skin means I still have a shadow no matter how often I shave. I swam in a t-shirt until I was an adult because kids are mean.

          To the OP, a beard trimmer that cuts super close is probably a good solution for now, followed by waxing around 14-15 (high school age).

      • I’m in my early 30s and have friends my age who started getting waxed at 10 years old (Greek/Italian, with dark hair). Their moms took them. Seems a little crazy to me, who was so afraid of a bikini wax I didn’t get one until I was 30, but THEY were super happy to have had nonfurry arms and to be able to swim without embarrassment and they have zero qualms about their experience

        • Arms?!?! You are advocating having 10 year old girls wax their pits/legs/bikini line and ARMS?!?!

          I was a hairy kid. But this is crazy….

          • I get it. Laser didn’t fully take on my arms, but the 50% reduction makes me seem like a normal person, not someone who is noticeably furry.

          • Blech. You ARE a normal person!

          • I assure you that I am normal now. That amount of arm hair was not. I had more than grown men. It was awful for me and I am so, so much happier now.

            Feeling abnormal, if you’ve never felt it, is so, so awful. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

          • Linda from HR :

            I bleached my arms as a kid. When I shaved them, having bald arms made me feel weird. But I haven’t bleached in many years, I just don’t worry about these ol’ monkey arms anymore.

      • Let your daughters come to you. Don’t put your own hang ups on them. Board shorts and modest suits exist for a reason and are a helluva lot cheaper than a waxing regimen for a 10year old.

        I’m sorry you felt that you had to quit activities. I beg you not to let your daughters do that because of their natural bodies.

        • Maybe there are places where this would work, maybe somewhere more granola, but not where we live.

          It would be like, I don’t know, not buying them bras once they need them. Or teaching them how to deal with their periods.

          There’s a code out there. To ignore it, I think, is doing your daughters a disservice. They can chose what they do with the code once they can appreciate the consequences of their actions (which IMO isn’t in elementary school).

        • I read the question more as, “when my daughters come to me–and because of the world we live in, they almost certainly will–what are my options?”

        • Agree. I remember going to my mom (blonde, with thin fine hair- I don’t think she ever had this issue) and asking her what “people” do when their body hair extends around their swimsuit bottoms. She said that doesn’t happen to her because she “doesn’t wear skimpy swimsuits” and suggested buying a more modest suit.

          My pubic hair extends on to my thighs. There was no normal athletic swimsuit that would cover it- only shorts. Which you aren’t allowed to wear in gym or swimming lessons, and which kids know is a cover for bodies issues and tease each other about.

          The result was a long interval of experimentation with various drugstore solutions that I bought (with much shame) and avoiding activities such as swimming and trips to the beach that I had previously loved. I’m a weak swimmer today and wish I was stronger.

          I wish she had just told me “some people shave, some people wax, some people laser, some people use creams- lets see what will work best for you.”

    • Anonymous :

      I wasn’t that hairy, but I went through puberty early and needed to start shaving at 10. Underarm hair in ballet and swimming was too embarrassing. My mom got me an electric razor as she was afraid I’d cut myself with a blade. Its great you’re thinking of your daughters.

      I know several moms who let their tween daughters thread their moustaches. No idea if you can thread an entire leg?

    • Omg I wish you were my mom. I suffered myself and my mom had no answers because she had almost no hair, even though she also was dark haired, her body hair was naturally light and I’m a dark haired brunette everywhere and I was horribly made fun of.

      I’m in my mid 30’s and I’m not even sure why I haven’t looked into laser yet.

    • Anonymous :

      I was similarly hairy. I don’t think it started in 5th grade (9 or 10?) …. maybe 12.

      I would not send a 10 year old child for waxing. Just…. no. Too painful, and just not right.

      Honestly, I had to prep before wearing a swim suit. Just the way it was. I started with trimming with scissors and shaving. Currently conditioner works better than shaving creams/lotions (I learned about that here!) and after shaving, use baby oil. Nair is also less irritating now. But I still shaved the most often. And yes…. it could sometimes be ….. bad. Use very good razors. Teach to do slowly.

      And these days they have tons of swim suits that are swim shorts (especially for kids) that take the issue out of the equation. That is what I would recommend now.

      There are better things for soothing skin. And you could even visit a dermatologist once for advice.

      And try not to make it too big of a deal for your daughter. She will not be exactly the same as you. She will sense your anxiety, so try to be careful. Chances are it wont be as big a deal for her as it was for you. Ideally, let her come to you. Ideally, teach her the simple things, and let her know that other removal methods exist but they are painful and very expensive. It’s the truth.

      And no…. tweens don’t go in for laser hair removal. Adult women can’t afford laser hair removal!

    • My mom was cool and taught me how to shave armpits as soon as I asked her. Then I just followed with legs on my own. For swimsuit areas, I started using depilation cream as shaving there resulted in ingrown hair and waxing was painful. I still shave armpits cca every 2 days, use electric shaver for legs and keep using depilation cream for bikini area.

    • Even boyshort options would not have helped my situation. I spent countless hours as a child worrying, obsessing, trying (painful) things, etc. getting made fun of, etc. I will get my daughters lasered if their upper lip hair is dark and noticeable. I would also allow them to get laser if they had back, stomach or other hair that bothered them. Basically, I’m open to, but would never push, laser hair removal for conspicuous dark hair that causes my child stress. Just as I will get them braces even if they only need them for purely aesthetic purposes.

      • “I will get my daughters lasered if their upper lip hair is dark and noticeable” – I really hope you mean you’ll tell them once that they can choose to get it lasered if they want, and not that you’ll march them into a lasering place and make them have a painful procedure.
        I have dark upper lip hair and have never wanted to remove it. I am by no means a supermodel but I really like how I look naturally (in most ways, not just with respect to body hair) and I think it’s 95% due to my mom never criticizing my body or her own. Kids can be mean for sure but don’t underestimate how much girls internalize their mom’s body image issues.

        • I got my fur from my dad, so what was NBD for my dark-head-haired olived-skinned no-fur mom was a very, very big deal for me, who had a BFF with a pool. Every dang day of the summer. If you just want to crawl into a hole and have scars from trying to dig out ingrown hairs, you just want a magic wand to make life (temporarily) fair.

          It’s like cramps — they are natural, but there’s no way I’d tell my daughter to just embrace them as how you are made. Pass the Advil!

        • Linda from HR :

          Yeah, my mom making me go through painful hair removal would have been very upsetting at any age, but offering to pay if I wanted it would have been nice. Instead, she told me my options, bought me razors and shave gel, taught me about bleach.

          Parents are absolutely responsible for teaching their kids about hygiene and grooming standards, and how to deal with puberty (I mean, can we talk about the kids who never got the memo on how puberty makes them smelly and they need to shower more often? yeaaaah), but when it comes to the topic of body hair where the rules keep changing, moms should teach their girls what their options are but let them choose what they wanna do.

          • ^ yep, this. My husband’s parents didnt teach him about hygiene. He had to figure it out on his own after he was horribly bullied for being the smelly kid. It sucked.

          • Linda from HR :

            I swear I encounter adults who were never taught this, and never figured it out. They’re sensitive, shy folks and I think their parents worried about hurting their feelings, but when my dance partner has bad BO (like significantly worse than anyone else in class), I feel for them but it’s really unpleasant!

          • sensitive and shy :

            They may have never been taught hygiene by their parents, but since you said they are sensitive and shy, I wanted to mention that anxiety sweat can cause terrible BO (it can take multiple showers a day to keep up with it).

    • Board shorts over the swimsuit are an alternative to boyshort bottoms.

      • Wouldn’t it take you forever to go to the bathroom in that get-up?

      • Or board shorts with attached bikini liner (lands end) and a swim top. Not for serious/competitive swimming, but it works if you’re looking to have fun in the pool/beach.

    • My mom took me to get a leg wax when I was 12 but I hated it and it didn’t really solve my problem when I had to wait for hair to grow out in July. I would just show your daughters how to shave if it’s something they are interested in and let them take it from there. Nair is another option that I was happy with as a teen.

    • I would not have them try waxing because tween skin is more sensitive than adult skin and you have to let the hair grow out some before you wax again, which would show a lot. Maybe start with an electric razor?

    • My laser person told me that all many of the young girls who are in the local ballet school come to her. I was also hairy, and didn’t wear swim suits/do swimming things much, partly because of that. I would definitely go for lasering for them.

    • biglawanon :

      At the risk of getting eaten alive by other posters, I don’t get the big deal about exploring various hair removal options with your daughter, assuming she is interested. And you may need to bring it up to gauge her interest. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hair removal and I don’t get how girls are supposed to learn about it otherwise. It is a coming of age issue and it would be better for a parent to guide her through this than just let her suffer unnecessarily by being made fun of and made uncomfortable. My people are quite hairy, and it is normal for girls to begin waxing at a fairly young age (yes including arms) if other things like shaving etc. don’t help.

      Agree with others that boyshorts may not help. And does your daughter really want to wear those, let alone boardshorts over a bathing suit?!

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      I was bullied for being hairy. I had a moustache. I think it was a really good life-experience for me. I would let them go through it and let them know you support them at home. I am really happy that I don’t feel beholden to certain gender expectations and I feel that it has made me a much more confident person in the workplace.

      • I am so glad that the experience was good for you.

        However, I think if we take time to review the (substantial!) body of literature on bullying in children, it shows that being the victim of bullying is harmful, with potential outcomes including emotional withdrawal, lifelong anxiety and depressive symptoms, and impaired academic performance.

        Here is a meta-analysis showing the link between bullying and suicidal ideation and actions.

        http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2015/01/01/peds.2014-1864

        Alanna I apologize if I’m pushing back too hard on this, I just don’t want anyone to walk away with the idea that bullying is harmless when there is so much evidence about its deleterious impact.

  7. Anonymous :

    For the 5th grade – 9th grade years, try a trimmer (similar to a beard trimmer), and boy shorts style swim shorts. You can get cute ones now and a bikini/tankini style top to match and make it a ‘girly’ suit. High school is probably old enough to maintain a regular salon waxing or shaving routine.

    • Anonymous :

      – for waxing above – and try swim outlet for lots of variety in swimsuits. Definitely cute options with more coverage on bottom.

  8. I just want to comment that I’m so glad you are thinking about this for your daughters. I was so terribly embarrassed as a child by this and my mother didn’t do anything. She was a little old school and didn’t want me to shave at all, so I was alone. Now I either wax or if it’s just for the pool I use a Cleo palmperfect shaver. It’s cordless and very gentle. That might be a safe option for a kid? I don’t find that it causes ingrown hair, either, but it doesn’t last long.

  9. Blonde Lawyer :

    H13 – I commented on your post yesterday with the make/model and a link. The link is in mod but I reposted with just the make/model/item number.

    • BoHi, Blonde Lawyer! You must be beck to good health again! YAY!

      As for today, I am so happy it is FRUEGEL FRIDAY! I love Fruegel Friday’s and this Boatneck top! Though my relationship with Frank is one where I must cover as much of my body as I can when I walk past his desk. He loves to peek inside my neckline, so V necks are especially bad for me. If I were MARRIED, I could have my husband deal with him, or even a boyfriend (tho Sheketovits was a looser, who was kind of neutered when I asked him to stand up for me on anything).

      In any event I hope the hive has a nice weekend! I have been super busy signing papers with my dad for my apartement, which has NOT even been built yet! FOOEY!

  10. Just got (clear) braces this week. Had braces for 2+ years in middle school and needed them again — I wasn’t even a candidate for Invisalign, my teeth were so bad. So far it hasn’t been awful but I’m looking for tips, foods you loved, anything else that will help me survive the next 15 months.

    • I have had clear braces on for 2 years. I find it hard to eat salads in public (lettuce teeth anyone?) so I stopped using them as a lunch staple. I also found things such as popcorn and nuts (this includes power bars that have nuts) to not even be worth it as they get stuck bad. I also generally stopped biting into things. I use silverware or tear off pieces, it’s much easier on my top teeth which will begin to hurt when they start moving. Biting into thick sandwiches hurts me the most.

      Here is where I have no advice but would encourage you to look into – keeping the clear braces as clear as possible. Perhaps this will not be as bad for you since you won’t have them on as long as I have. Mine have yellowed considerably and it makes my teeth appear yellow. I had to get two new brackets on my front teeth at the one year mark and for a while it was like having two white teeth and the rest yellow. (My teeth aren’t actually yellow, the reflection from the brackets makes them appear that way.) I don’t know how this happened, I am a great brusher, take care of them, etc but I wish I had looked into the prevention more. I thought brushing regularly would be enough but it was not. I have tried all the tricks (baking soda, etc) to no avail but I get them off in a few months so I have given up. I would encourage you to talk to your ortho about stain prevention if you haven’t already.

      Last piece – you may have experienced this the first time but your sensitivity to cold may change so just be prepared for that.

      • Also, I don’t know what your dating status is but I found my SO right after getting braces and we have recently been talking marriage. I know mentioning this sounds ridiculous for some but I was genuinely worried about my dating life when I first got them on (just felt awkward and young all over again). So if that’s even on your radar at all, don’t worry about it!

      • Random note on keeping clear brackets clear – not sure if it’s still the case with the brackets, as I had them 20 years ago, but chicken broth (not homemade necessarily, but the canned Campbell’s kind) would stain them yellow. Just a word of warning.

      • Yes to salads! This is stressing me out to no end b/c I am trying to eat healthy and lose weight and, well, a salad with protein is my lunchtime staple. Not anymore…

        Thanks for these tips. I will ask about stain control — great thinking, something I hadn’t even considered.

    • I swapped out apples for applesauce cups (I really love apples, but…too painful). I swapped low fat/low sugar pudding for ice cream (because calories). I became a huge fan of soups–easy to eat and nutritious and a good way to get vegetables when veggies were too crunchy.

      Always take an advil or tylenol a few hours before going in to get them tightened. Always make sure you have a lil container of wax in your purse–hot spots and pokey wires come out of nowhere. Try to have your appointments in the late afternoon, so you can “sleep off” the pain, and not in the AM, where you have to work when your teeth ache.

      Know that it is temporary and it’ll pass. I had braces _forever_…six years. It was the worst.

    • Brace Face :

      Hello Sister!

      I got braces (first time, ever) on Friday too , at 31 y.o, and I am so far still trying to figure out my meal plans. So far, diet consists of smoothies.

      I got colored gray braces, after the dentist warned me that simple pleasures such as coffee or tea would stain the clear ones. Perhaps you can cut back on these.

      I have 12months to go before I get these out and TBH I have just about given up the prospect of dating in the next year. I just cannot visualize a guy being attracted to me with the bracket teeth going on. Bummer!

  11. I had a phone screen on Tuesday and it went extremely well. I was told to follow up if I didn’t hear anything in the next couple of days, unprompted , due to crazy schedules.

    Is today too early to follow up?

  12. Any recommendations for a primary care doc with after hours phone coverage for a terminally ill patient in Northern Virginia (close-in, so DC is fine too)?

    Bonus points if the doc makes house calls.

    Price isn’t an issue—I recognize that excellent after hours coverage probably means paying for a concierge doc.

    • Is the patient on Hospice? How advanced are they?

      There is a slight possibility of a house call for a Hospice doc (Palliative Care), but the nursing visits + talking to the Palliative Care/Hospice doc on the phone can often be enough. House calls for regular doctors just aren’t done in this country. My relatives all have concierge doctors, and even the priciest do not visit you at home. You have their cell phone numbers though, and can call them.

      Starting with a brand new primary care doctor when you are terminally ill is a little unusual. And to be honest, many (most?) primary care doctors are not well trained for end of life care. You really want a good Palliative care doctor at that stage.

      When my Mom was reaching end of life, we had a Palliative Care doctor and her primary care doctor (who had been following her for years and knew her pretty well) was happy to continue to advise us by phone. The primary care doctor pretty much only managed her diabetes at that point. The Palliative Care doctor managed her pain, breathing issues, sleep, mood, GI issues etc…

      I’m sorry to hear you are having to think about this.

    • Ulrich Prinz in Alexandria. He specializes in geriatric patients and is great.

    • I’m not sure if this is limited to only elderly patients, but MedStar has a house calls program that also offers after hours phone coverage. It’s called MedStar Total Elder Care, and I know they leave the District.

      Hugs. This is hard.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      My health plan includes a service called Teledoc. You can call, or facetime, to a doctor at anytime.

    • Thanks, all! The patient is a candidate for hospice, but likely won’t choose that option because it requires stopping life-extending treatment.

      • Some Palliative Care doctors now take patients just like this – while you are still on active treatment. This is now more common in Oncology clinics. Poke around a little…

        I had a parent with pancreatic cancer that started seeing a Palliative Care doctor when the disease became more advanced. But she didn’t join hospice and she still continued to see her specialists, primary care doctor and oncologist. The Palliative Care doctor was wonderful and was the only doctor who was available by phone and by email regularly, and the only doctor who really spent time with us…. listening to my Mom and making sure she was feeling as good as possible and making the decisions about what was best for her. Honestly, she lived a lot longer because she had a Palliative Care doctor.

        In fact, there was a famous paper published several years ago that showed that patients with advanced cancer who had Palliative Care doctors treating them along side their usual oncologist, while still pursing standard chemo treatments, lived longer and were happier than patients without a Palliative Care doctors.

        The only downside is that it is hard to find Palliative Care doctors. They are paid terribly, Medicare reimburses almost nothing for their visits…. even though they are probably the most important doctors you see when you have advanced disease. But Medicare will pay the surgeon, and the radiation oncologist, and for that crazy expensive chemo that will give you more side effects than survival….

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Palliative care teams do not have that same restriction but are also much more well versed in how serious illness affects a person than I’ve found PCPs to be. I saw a palliative care team a few years ago when extremely sick from a multiple-month treatment for an infection and they helped me figure out how to manage and continue treatment. I can’t recommend palliative care highly enough.

        • Anon—OP :

          Thank you, Anonymous and Sloan! I’ll check in with the oncology team to see if they can provide/hook us up with more palliative care (currently we just have access to someone for palliative care during office hours).

    • KateMiddletown :

      Just an FYI – if you work with a financial advisor/planner they can likely recommend a service that will act as a concierge for you.

  13. Well, my three+ decade long run is over. I just got my first cavity. One of the contributing factors, per my dentist? My sugar-free, supposed-to-be-carefree seltzer habit. Just a PSA, ladies. I know there’s been debate about this in the scientific community (ie, whether this is a legit concern), but I’ll be thinking twice before grabbing my umpteenth la croix tomorrow.

    • Interesting! I hadn’t heard that about carbonation but it matches with a few cavitites I had in my 20s during my diet coke obsession. None before or since.

    • Well your first cavity at age 30 puts you on the furthest end of the bell curve!

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Aw, man. I hadn’t heard this one. Quick google informs me the non-flavored ones aren’t quite as bad since they aren’t as acidic, so I guess I can switch to plain seltzer? And still better than the 4 cans of diet soda I was drinking… (Just don’t tell me Bai is problematic. It’s my caffeine replacement for my diet dr. pepper habit).

      • Yeah, it’s the carbonation that ups the acidity in your mouth. You want your mouth to be more basic, in pH terms…my la croix habit is basic in other ways (ba dum CHA!). That, plus my GERD (I swear I’m 32 and not 92), made my otherwise healthy teeth susceptible.

        Also, prescription toothpaste: it’s a thing, and I have it now.

        • Would drinking through a straw help?

          • Ooh, possibly! I think it must help a little, if it’s bypassing the teeth. Because it’s less of a “what’s in the beverage” and more of a “the mere presence can raise the acidity and erode enamel” issue, it probably won’t prevent it entirely…but I’m going to start drinking with a straw!

            Non-seltzer comment: Typing this comment took forever because 5 separate ads popped up over the bottom of my screen, covering the window and the reply box….ad blocker is not an option (strict, but counterintuitive, IT policy).

          • My reply is in mod. Because why not. Cr i t icized the ads, went into mod?

    • Baconpancakes :

      If you alternate seltzer with regular water, that pretty much negates the effect.

      I didn’t get my first cavity until 30 as well, but I think it’s more due to not going to the dentist from 25-29 (thanks, underemployement!) and taking up smoking (which I am embarrassed to have done, and have stopped, obviously, but when you’re working in food service, it’s just what you do).

    • My dentist also told me that women’s changing hormones as they get into their 30s can change the makeup of their saliva, which can cause more cavities even if you’re doing everything right. Plus many, many medicines cause dry mouth, which can also lead to cavities. So don’t feel too bad!

      • BeenThatGuy :

        +1 and after pregnancy. I had 6 budding cavities at my 1st post-pregnancy dental visit!

      • anon a mouse :

        Yep. I got several cavities in my mid-30s despite having great hygiene. I now pay a small amount for a fluoride treatment at each cleaning and that has kept them away.

  14. Happy Friday all! I am going on a ski trip for the first time (like ever!) this weekend. Any tips on what are easy to forget must-packs? We are driving there so I’d rather overpack than be miserably cold and wet, which is what I fear I would be. How do you keep your faces warm? Can you change shoes for the snack break?

    • Typically you wear your ski boots in the cafeteria

    • Yeah nobody actually changes shoes during snack breaks. I do, however, sometimes take off my boots once I’ve sat down.

      I could right a few paragraphs on what you should have. But definitely get a neck gaiter to keep your face warm and don’t forget to wear sunscreen everyday.

    • Try to dress in thin, warm layers vs. big puffy clothes. Take warm gloves. I love my Turtlefur and goggles– more than enough to keep your face warm under a helmet. Don’t worry about changing shoes, but do bring something for when you’re done– clean, dry clothes and boots. Enjoy!!

    • Get a neck warmer/buff. I have a fleece one that is amazing. I pull it up over my nose when my face gets too cold. And if you get too hot you can always take it off and put it in your pocket.

      Also- wear a helmet! I know it sounds totally uncool, but just do it.

    • Pack extra socks for when yours get sweaty/wet or if you need an extra layer for comfort with your ski boots.

    • ibuprofen for taking after you ski (since you’ll discover muscles you don’t usually use). and ski gloves if you don’t already have them.

    • This may depend a little on where you are skiing and the weather forecast (I’ve only skied in Europe!), but make sure you also take lip balm with SPF, which I often forget to pack!!

      I think a helmet, goggles and ski gloves are important, with a hat, shades and a slightly “lighter” pair gloves for when you have breaks. If it’s due to snow whilst you’re skiing then I’d also recommend something to protect your face, particularly when you’re on ski lifts or waiting around on the side of the mountain. A decent pair of snow boots for walking around in the evening are also useful. I wear tights under trousers if it’s cold in the evenings, thermal ones if it’s really cold. They’re light and easy to pack, but make a difference!

      Oh and don’t forget a backpack to put all of your spare layers, etc in. If it’s not waterproof then you might also want to get a dry bag (waterproof bag that goes in your backpack) to help keep things, well, dry.

      Hope that helps, and have a fantastic time!

    • +1000 to sunscreen and lip balm/chapstick with SPF. Even if cloudy. Snow reflects the rays as much as water and it’s so, so easy to get sunburned.

      And +100,000 to a helmet. I skied for first 20 years of my life without one and am embarrassed of that now (times were different, but still…). Not only does it keep you warm, but it’s so important for safety.

    • Thank you everyone, really helpful recos, surely didn’t think of a bunch of these! Leaving work early to find ski gloves!

      • While you’re out shopping for ski gloves (I personally prefer ski mittens because they are warmer), make sure you pick up some proper ski socks if you don’t have any already. They are SO SO SO important. Get Darn Tough, Smart Wool or some other wool type socks socks. Your feet will be freezing in ordinary socks.

        • Socks on socks on socks :

          Yes, and specifically Darn Tough/Smart Wool/similar *ski socks* (versus hiking socks, their crew styles, etc). The non-ski styles might be warm enough but are unlikely to be high enough (nothing in your boot but your foot and your sock!) and also might just be not quite right in terms of thickness.

    • biglawanon :

      Where are you skiing? What you should wear/bring is going to be drastically different for the NorthEast vs. California.

  15. PSA- it’s not too late for a flu shot. It’s not 100% but my dad is on day 5 of a hospital stay from flu, so if you’re not medically unable to get the shot do your part and try and help protect the vulnerable

    • This!

      I get the flu shot every year not just for myself but to reduce transmission within the community.

    • Thank you for the PSA. And hope your dad recovers quickly.

    • Even if you’ve already had the flue this season, still consider getting a flu shot. It sounds like there are as many as 4 strains going around, so the warning is that it is possible to get the flu twice this season.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Oh, EXCELLENT. Ugh. I’ve avoided it so far but it’s total luck.

        I hope he gets better soon! And yes, please, flu shots.

  16. New computer? :

    Reposting with some adjustments as I got in late yesterday…

    Should I get a new laptop? Or should I get some sort of tablet? Think my options are: full on new PC, Pixelbook, Surface, or just get a keyboard for my existing iPad mini. I literally only need one for 3 things: typing personal emails, creating docs I can’t do on my work laptop (like updating my resume), and maybe checking financial statements.

    I think I can do just the iPad, but does anyone have experience actually editing docs on it (especially MS word docs…can you tell I’m not really an Apple pro)? Thinking it might be too clunky and I should just get a Surface.

    • Last August Consumer Reports removed its “recommended” badge from Microsoft’s entire lineup of Surface PCs because the hardware was found to be “significantly less reliable than most other brands.” However, g00gling about this found other articles that Consumer Reports was wrong in their analysis FWIW.

      https://www.consumerreports.org/laptop-computers/microsoft-surface-laptops-and-tablets-not-recommended-by-consumer-reports/

      https://www.cnet.com/news/5-reasons-microsoft-surface-shoppers-shouldnt-panic/

    • Comment with links is in moderation but Consumer Reports removed its “recommended” badge from Microsoft’s entire lineup of Surface PCs because the hardware was found to be “significantly less reliable than most other brands.” last August.

    • I can only speak from my own experience, but I have two laptops – at home, I have a full-on wider screen laptop with Windows 10. It’s a little big if I want to carry it around the house, but it’s substantial enough that it doesn’t move when I type. I wouldn’t travel with it (just too big and heavy), but for home, it works for me. I’m often troubleshooting issues at home on multiple browsers, or I can watch a movie or episode of a TV show on a bigger screen without necessarily casting it to my TV. I use it for Quicken and bill paying and that kind of thing.

      At work, I have a tiny, light laptop 2-in-1 with a touchscreen (Lenovo Yoga) and I LOVE it for that. I use it for meetings around campus and for travel. I love the touchscreen and the size and weight. However, it’s not as great for use on an actual lap. It’s just too small and light. It’s fine for when I’m sitting at a desk or table.

      Here’s a link to the 2-in-1: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711H63FK?tag=amz-mkt-chr-us-20&ascsubtag=1ba00-01000-a0032-win70-other-nomod-us000-pcomp-feature-pcomp&ref=bit_pcomp_ask_sav0

    • if money is no concern, I’d just get an apple air.
      i love my ipad, and it’s great in a pink, but I just don’t know about editing docs. am going to try this weekend on my ipad pro and will report back.

    • if money is no concern, I’d just get an apple air.
      i love my ipad, and it’s great in a pinch, but I just don’t know about editing docs. am going to try this weekend on my ipad pro and will report back.

    • I once tried typing on my daughter’s iPad mini keyboard, and it was just too tiny to be workable for adult-sized fingers.

    • Anonymous :

      I think editing documents at a professional level is really difficult on an ipad. I would get a laptop for personal use– I would probably go with a PC because they are generally more economical than Apple, and I find they are just as good for what I need them for (email, editing resume, personal shopping). The only reason to shell out for an Apple laptop is if you are interested in some creative hobby like video editing, OR if you really value the convenience of your iphone photos/ other apple stuff automatically syncing with your laptop.

    • Anonymous :

      I have an iPad pro. I love it, but I rarely have to work outside the office. (My work does not pay for or provide me with a laptop, although they allow us to put a remote access app on our personal computers.) The iPad pro is great for reading/reviewing documents and sending emails out.

      It is terrible for editing a document because there is no way to use an external mouse. You just don’t get the same precision with a touchscreen or the pencil, and it’s slower to move your hands between the screen and keyboard than between the mouse and keyboard.

      I’m happy with my ipad pro because I use it 99% of the time for web browsing, reading, and watching Netflix, Amazon, etc. For a personal “fun” computer, it has a lot of advantages. It is not good for editing documents.

  17. Any recommendations for DIY estate planning materials (will, power of attorney, health proxy)? I am an attorney practicing in NY, but not in T&E. I’d like to wade through some simple self-guided materials and figure out if I need help or if can do it on my own. Has anyone used something they like? Or, now that I think about it, any good CLE materials out there on the subject? Thanks!

    • http://www.rurallawcenter.org/docs/Writing%20Your%20Will(1).pdf

      https://www.nysba.org/CustomTemplates/Content.aspx?id=3256

    • Don’t mess around. It’s not your area, and there may be no chance to fix it if you don’t get it right. It’s more than who gets your stuff when you die.

  18. Opinions: would you ever start putting less money in your retirement in order to save more money quicker to buy a house. I put in 10% and the company puts in a 5% match, and am considering going down to 6 or 7% for a down payment.

    • I think about this often but haven’t changed. I put about 15% into my 401k, which maxes it out. Fundamentally I think 18k a year is not enough retirement savings for me. Ideally I’d save more for retirement and a house. But I can’t so I at least stick with that savings for retirement and slowly progress on a house.

    • No. You’re giving away free money!

      • Just to clarify, the company match is automatic if I put in at least 3%, so I am will still get the match if I go down to 6 or 7%

    • I went down to the company match a few months ago (after maxing out for 10+ years) so that I could increase my cash flow for a move, home renovations, etc. I plan on going back up after paying for these life events. I’m comfortable with the decision. Mr. Money Mustache has an interesting blog post about whether one is saving *too* much for retirement.

      • Doing the same to afford fertility treatments. My SO also has a federal pension so we don’t both need $18k invested every working year to be healthy in retirement.

    • I just did this with the intention of it being for a defined period of time (6 mo). It’s actually going to end up being more to replenish an emergency fund after a down payment but same concept. I’ll lose out on some compound interest but for us it makes sense.

    • I did this, except I put literally no money in retirement the first few years I was working so we could save for a house (no employer match so I wasn’t leaving free money on the table). My husband was in school at the time, full-ride so no debt but also not saving for retirement. I feel like the conventional wisdom is that we should have huge regrets about this, but I really don’t. I’m now 35, we own our home almost outright and have been maxing our 401ks for several years and plan to for the rest of our lives, plus we’re saving a lot of money on top of those accounts. Will it be enough? Yes, if we don’t need decades of 24/7 care at the end of our lives, possibly not if we do but it’s not like an extra couple of years of savings would have gotten us to the $5M or whatever you need to pay for that kind of care out of pocket.

  19. Missing the Details :

    I have never been the most detail-oriented person – I’m just naturally at my best looking at the macro side of things. However, my boss is very detail-oriented. He sees. every. single. detail. that I overlook. Every time!

    I actually appreciate that he can see where I need to be stronger. The problem is that it clearly brings me down a notch in his book each time he catches an error. This morning he made a comment about how I “have to stop missing this stuff.” He’s older and has some s*xist tendencies. I want to do better.

    Do you detail-oriented ladies have any tips on how to slow down, proof better, and just generally pay attention to detail?

    • Candidly, is this the right role for you? As a long-time manager, if I’m telling an employee “you have to stop missing this stuff”, you may not be able to shed the reputation of carelessness that you have with this person.

      You need to figure out systems for yourself. Printing things out, reading backwards, reading out loud, highlighting, taking your time, reading things “fresh”. . . all techniques you can try. Plus, really knowing that these details matter. You don’t apparently have the luxury of being the big-picture person, at least right now.

      • Yes, definitely consider whether a big-picture person can be successful in this role. In some roles even little mistakes like this could have huge consequences and detail-oriented people are just a better match for the role. On the other hand, maybe these mistakes are not a big deal and the boss is making more of it than he should, although I guess that’s his prerogative.

      • Do you have a buddy in the office that you can run things past after you’ve done what folks here have suggested, to catch any lingering issues?

    • Check lists, check lists, check lists. Read things backwards. Read things out loud (conference/call rooms if you don’t have an office).

      I would say I fall in the middle of the detail oriented spectrum, which means I have had to train myself over the years and utilize the methods I mentioned above!

      • + 1 to checklists

        Create a list of the most common types of mistakes you make, print it, and tack it to the wall of your cube. Run through the list before you send things to your boss. Update as necessary.

        Also, you might consider subscribing to Grammarly. It is not perfect, but it catches a lot more mistakes than typical spelling or grammar checking so it might prove worth the investment. It also tends to err on the side of flagging too much stuff rather than too little so you can just ignore suggestions that aren’t helpful.

    • If this is editing errors, develop a checklist such as:

      – Punctuation
      – Run-on sentences
      – Capitalization, etc.
      and check for each one in turn, thoroughly, on each page of whatever you turn in.

      If this is logical details, like skipping a step in a plan, then you must slow down and question your own work product better. Ask yourself if you are missing a step or if your conclusions flow logically from what you wrote.

    • Printing helps a ton. Also, putting it aside for a bit and coming back to it later is what works best for me.

    • I think that is just it. You have to slow down. Build in time for editing. Read the document out loud, print it out and go line by line, or even go line by line backwards. Make sure you take some time away from the document because your brain will fill in the correct details if you have just worked on it. If it is data that is incorrect, figure out a process for double checking. Make yourself a checklist of things that need to be included and common errors and go through the checklist each time. Try and find another person (other than your boss) who can help edit.

    • Grammarly. Seriously, it helps.

    • I agree with the advice you’ve already received. I also suggest reading the document multiple times, looking for different things each time. Get the substance finalized first, then read it again for typos/punctuation, then read it again for formatting (consistent indentations, date, page numbers etc.). Sometimes I’ll also change the font size or margins just so that the lines break differently and I can make sure I’m not missing anything at the beginning or end of a line. I also ALWAYS reciew documents in hard copy. It’s time consuming to try to make documents perfect but slowing down and reading things multiple times is the only way that has worked for me.

      • Agreed. I prepare criminal indictments and proof them multiple times in multiple ways. First each page is checked for correct names, dates, and venue. The second check is for the correct criminal offense, corresponding code section, and that all the elements of the crime are alleged. The third check is a read through to make sure that they make sense and flow nicely. Then a check for grammar, spelling, punctuation and formatting. Then they are laid aside for a couple of days and given another reading. I’m sure there is some corresponding series of checks for what you are doing. If absolute perfection is required, read your document from back to front. If you are already being called out for errors, absolute perfection is required.

  20. Bought this suit. It’s gorgeous. But is it going to look dated in a year? It looks much less shrunken on me as I am only 5’2”.

    • http://www.brooksbrothers.com/Cropped-Stretch-Wool-Blazer/WJ00245,default,pd.html?dwvar_WJ00245_Color=DKGR&contentpos=70&cgid=0517

      • Interesting…. not the suit I was expecting.

        First – no, it will not look dated in a year. Because it is actually vintage inspired, and is not a contemporary trendy look. Not saying that in a bad way at all. Because vintage inspired looks in a neutral color can often be…. a little timeless? Just keep your blouse or shoes up to date.

        Nice purchase!

    • I think it actually looks really vintage and classic.

    • Totally endorse your choice :

      What a great-looking suit. I’d say it’ll eventually look dated, mostly because of the distinctive lapels, but I think you’ll get a lot of mileage out of it before that. The length doesn’t bother me–if this jacket length is what works for you, I think it’ll look fine long-term (i.e. it’s not so cropped as to scream “THIS IS FROM A DIFFERENT ERA!!!!”)

      You’ll also be able to change up the look significantly (and probably extend the amount of time you can wear it) by wearing the pieces as separates, switching out the jacket’s buttons, changing accessories, etc. I’d not abandon it for fear that it’ll look dated too soon.

      What’s the fit like, and what’s the color like in person? I’m considering a purchase…

      • Thanks for everyone’s perspective!
        The fit is actually less boxy than usual BB. I’m 4P in JCrew and the 4 fit with breathing room. 2 is tight in the chest. I will have to get sleeves shortened but I have super short arms. I think the model is wearing a size too small, you can see she’s got her shoulders slouched forward to accommodate her chest (therefore the miserable look pointed out by others, lol). This is really not how it looks on me, it hits mid-hip and has a loose curve.
        Color is not so much green but more like warm-ish gray. Should be flattering on almost everyone unless you have really cold coloring.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      No comment about the suit, but that model looks miserable.

    • I can’t find the skirt or dress that goes with the blazer. Does anyone have a link?

      • Totally endorse your choice :

        I looked, and I think the dress/skirt option must be sold out. They have pants in the sale section that seem to match, if that interests you.

  21. LL Bean Return Policy - RIP :

    http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2018/02/09/ll-bean-return-policy-gone/

    • I am a little surprised about this because I read an article on the policy last year that seemed like it would never be changed. That said, the article had examples like a guy returning a shirt he had worn for decades and getting a new shirt saying he hadn’t gotten his money worth for the shirt yet. After decades…Also a lot of people were buying things at Goodwill for a few dollars and exchanging them for brand new merchandise.

    • Another reason not to shop there.

      • Anonymous :

        That’s crazy. They had the most generous return policy and discovered it was being abused. If you like their stuff, I say you still shop there. It seems like if you have a legitimate problem they are still willing to work with you, they just don’t want to be taken advantage of. Sign of the times.

      • Anonymous :

        Did you read the article? People were gaming their incredibly generous lifelong guarantee and returning things they bought at Goodwill or garage sells for $2 and making LL Bean replace them with brand new, expensive merchandise. I’m 100% on LL Bean’s side on this.

    • A year is still very generous compared to most retailers. And they say they will work with you if it’s been longer than that. I suspect if you are a regular customer and they can tell you purchased the product from them and not secondhand they will continue to be very helpful. And it sounds like they will continue to correct real defects, so maybe you can’t return a sweater that pills after a year but if a $500 down jacket completely falls apart I’m sure they will recognize that is not appropriate and work with you.
      But yeah this is why people shouldn’t abuse generous return policies – it messes everything up for real, honest customers.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Interesting. We had an odd exchange a few weeks ago at an LL Bean. My husband had a jacket from there that is 10 years old or so and the zipper finally gave out and a few pockets had ripped. Other than that, it still looked great. We used to live near one of the big stores that would repair stuff like the zipper either for free or at a reasonable cost. So we took the jacket into one of the smaller stores to see if they would do the repair. They wouldn’t but gave us a gift card for over $100 toward a new coat. We made clear that we weren’t looking for a new coat, we just wanted to use their repair service that they apparently no longer offered. She insisted we take the gift card instead but then said something like “did this jacket not last as long as you expected?” which isn’t at all what we were saying. She looked like she was just checking off the box. My husband just said something like “I expected to be able to use the repair service to get this fixed. I’ve otherwise been very happy with the jacket.” She said ok, took the coat, and gave him the gift card.

      We walked away feeling like we had abused the system. We weren’t trying to get a new jacket. I ended up looking up their policy that night and seeing that they had done away with the “guaranteed for life” and changed the language to something about a handshake and contract and if you aren’t happy with how long it lasted, let’s talk. It seems they have now changed it yet again. I bet the clerk knew that was coming and that’s why she just pushed the gift card we weren’t asking for on us.

    • I’m torn. The yard sale stuff is clearly abuse. However, the guarantee was “for life,” so when I look at my slippers that are only a couple years old and have only been worn indoors (and only for a few months per year) and half of the stitching has pulled out, I think the motto of “lifetime guarantee” should apply.

  22. Travel Question - France :

    Husband and I are planning a vacation for June – I really want to go to Paris (I’ve never been), but H doesn’t want to spend the whole vacation in a city (also he’s been to Paris before and didn’t have the best experience, so he doesn’t want it to be our whole vacation for that reason as well). I’m thinking it would make sense to spend the second half of the vacation in the South of France somewhere – maybe Nice? (We have a pretty healthy travel budget, but I’m little concerned we’re not “fancy” enough for somewhere like Cannes or St. Tropez.) Any thoughts on Nice? Or suggestions for alternative (relatively) chill locations to combine with Paris?

    Also, I’m already having anxiety about what to wear – I know there’s no way I will ever be stylish enough to pass for anything other than American, but I’d at least like to look like I’m making an effort not be a total tourist. So, thoughts on style also appreciated. Thanks!

    • In June I’d go to Aix en Provence. It will be beautiful, far nicer city than Nice, easy base to explore.

      French people really are not magically stylish! Jeans and non workout sneakers in the day is fine. Nicer shoes and a couple dresses at night. No baseball caps, no shorts or flip flops unless you are on a beach, no athleisure.

      The biggest fitting in issue is how absurdly astonishingly loud Americans are! Keep an eye on that and you’ll have a wonderful time.

      • Travel Question - France :

        Would Aix en Provence work without a car? We’re basically looking for the second half of the trip to include lounging at the hotel, strolling around, and eating delicious food, and not much else (probably not how I’d do it, but since H and I started at “entire week in Paris” vs. “week at an all-inclusive on a beach”, we’re trying to meet in the middle).

    • I did Nice in May and used it as a base for day trips around the coast. So we did 2 days in Nice and then trips to Cannes (during the festival), Monaco, and Antibes (just a beach day) and it was great. An easy train ride. A friend of mine suggested Marseilles for the Calanques as well, but we didn’t have time to get over there.

    • How long are you going for? And what are your interests? There are so many regions… Bordeaux, Provence, Alsace. I also see a lot of people doing “nearby” trips from Paris such as Chartres, Loire Valley, Normandy & the Mont St Michel so you can still be outside of Paris but not so far away.

      • Travel Question - France :

        We’ll have 4-5 days for the non-Paris half of the trip. In an ideal world, I think my H would just want to sit on a beach or at a pool and do nothing the whole time, but he knows that will make me crazy, so our usual compromise is to pick somewhere walkable, with good food, some kind of interesting museum options (art/history/etc.), but a slower-paced place so I won’t feel like I’m missing out if he needs half a day to just hang out at the hotel.

    • Seconding Aix en Provence over Nice. We hated Nice. It is pretty tacky and touristy and really just lacks charm.
      I was also curious about marseille which is a quick day trip from there. Have fun!

    • Anonymous :

      June is a particularly beautiful month to check out Normandy or Brittany. Both are pretty short train rides from Paris, just a few hours, and then there’s a lot of gorgeous coastline, amazing seafood, and pretty gardens. A lot of flowers are blooming that time of year. Normandy has a ton of history, of course, every little town has its own D-Day museum and then there are the bigger beaches and cemeteries, plus Mont St. Michel is super cool. Brittany is maybe a bit more laid back, but with slightly better crepes. The biggest difference between the South and Normandy/Brittany in June is that it will probably be too cold to really swim in the north. Stay in a Table d’Hote, which is basically a B&B that also serves dinner.

      Reims is also a fun place to stay for a few days if you like champagne. The cathedral takes about a half-day to visit because of the museum with all the coronation jewels, and then otherwise just rent a car and drive around to all the wineries.

    • I’ll put in a plug for Corisca. It is beautiful and there are direct flights (less than an hour) from Paris! I recommend staying somewhere near Bonifacio or Porto Vecchio for a first time visit, but really the whole island is spectacular.

      Antibes would be my first choice in the south of France, and I agree that Aix en Provence is also very charming.

    • Anonymous :

      Tons of places to go that are on the coast and less fancy, and are awesome beach towns. Try Juan Les Pins, Antibes, or San Raphael.

      Most are accessible by train from Nice. And you can always take day trips to the fancy places :)

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        Antibes was really not nice. We stayed in San Raphael near Saint Tropez, and the beaches there were really lovely. I would rent a car. (A convertible Audi).

    • Skip Nice.

      Nice is not very nice.

      Lots of other good recs here.

  23. Would you be annoyed. Coworker gets the flu – probably Monday/Mon night; confirmed by a dr Tues. Stays home Tues-Thurs and is now in the office Friday. WTH?? Can’t you take the week off which means like 7 days of you being away including the weekend? We work in a nothing fed govt job with plenty of time off and work from home. She’s in an office down the hall – feel bad for her officemate who is germophobiv even normally. Rest of us down the hall with our doors half shut hoping not to have to interact and that she doesn’t stop by. Big deal or no?

    • No. She’s no longer contagious.

      • +1. If she feels well enough to come in and do her stuff, then she should come in. You are most contagious before you are symptomatic. Hopefully you were wiping down surfaces while she was out. That would have been more constructive than complaining about her now.

      • Not necessarily. Flu can be spread from one day before symptoms up to 7 days thereafter.

        • Exactly which is why we were all thinking if she comes in Monday – that’s 7 days right there. She was texting ppl yesterday saying she’d work from home today – great – why come in?? What’s with people??

      • She’s quite possibly still contagious (flu is usually contagious for 5-7 days beginning about 24 hours before you get ill) but I agree it’s unrealistic to expect someone to continue taking sick leave when they feel fine, which she likely does.
        OP, there’s flu virus on pretty much every surface in your office building from her and other people. Washing your own hands religiously, not touching your face, and getting lots of fluids and sleep will do much more to prevent you from getting sick than insisting a sick coworker stay home one extra day.

        • It wouldn’t be 1 extra day — it’d be 3 due to the weekend. I think it’s obnoxious behavior — we’re not talking losing your job if you stay home. It’s a job with a lot of sick leave, a lot of WFH flexibility and no one gives you a hard time or makes note of it if you use either. No tamiflu either.

          • But you don’t know her personal health situation. You may think you have a lot of sick leave, but maybe she’s trying to save that leave for something like maternity leave or a planned surgery later in the year. My job has “generous” sick leave too, and if I feel well enough to work and am not throwing up or running a fever, I come into work. Catastrophes happen and I don’t want to burn my sick leave when it’s unnecessary. What’s obnoxious is you trying to police your co-worker’s behavior. She’s a grown woman.

            And I’m currently immunocompromised, fwiw. I’m terrified of getting the flu but I don’t think it’s my job to go around telling other people how to use their sick leave. As I said above, the flu is everywhere – odds are someone in your office caught it from her or someone else and is currently spreading far more germs around than she is even if they’re not yet showing symptoms. If you really don’t want to get the flu, the best thing you can do is be vigilant about your own hygiene and WFH yourself as much as possible.

          • As Anonymous @12:30 pointed out, there could be things going on in her personal/work life that you are not privy too so I would try not to judge and do my best to limit any potential exposure. things are generally never as black and white as they seem to outsiders. Also why not WFH yourself and then you won’t have to worry about any coworkers.

    • anon a mouse :

      If she’s on Tamiflu she may not still be contagious. All the same, if your office has a WFH policy and there was no need to come in, I’d be irritated too.

    • I vote not big deal. I would be WAY more worried about your interactions with her on Monday pre-dx than today.

    • This same scenario happened twice in our office is the last few weeks. Our policy is no WFH and if you take more than 3 sick days in a row, you have to go on STD even if you have sick days available. So lots of people drag themselves in for that Friday. I don’t blame them though, I blame the system.

    • Anonymous :

      Relatedly, is it acceptable to take an other-people-are-in-the-office-even-though-they’re-sick day? I don’t want to get sick! Stop coming in when you’re sick, people! Especially those of you who can work from freaking home – there is literally no reason for you to be here gtfo.

    • Not just annoyed, ragey. It’s unacceptable given your office policy and that she can WFH. Disgusting lack of concern for others.

  24. DH and I are planning a much needed child-free vacation the last week in May. We will be flying from a major city in FL, and would like to limit our travel time. We are thinking about either an island in the Caribbean or Costa Rica. Safety is a big concern of mine, and we would like to go some place where we are not confined to a resort. We went to Hawaii (Oahu and Big Island) a few years ago and loved it – the hiking, the beaches, exploring the towns. Any suggestions on places to go?

    • Costa Rica is safe. Virgin Islands. Martinique. Bermuda. San Miguel de Allende.

    • I just went to Costa Rica for the first time a few weeks ago and I loooooved it and can’t wait to go back – and I am not a beach/relaxing vacation person usually. We spent 3 nights in Monteverde (hiking in the cloud forest, chilling in our awesome cabin, walking into Santa Elena for food/drinks) and 3 nights at Andaz Papagayo (b/c Hyatt points; I am not a resort person at all but it was beautiful and the Andaz Beach House beach/set-up was fantastic). From Papagayo we did day trips to Playas del Coco one day and Rincon de la Vieja (hiking) another day. Driving was pretty easy and not scary at all, including our drives in and out of Alajuela coming and going from SJO. Highly, highly recommend for easy, beautiful, amazing biological diversity, super friendly people and readily available good food!

    • Anonymous :

      Sounds like Costa Rica hits most of your wish list. As an alternative, maybe Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos? Direct flights from FL, very safe, take US dollars, plenty of types of accommodation from BnBs to all inclusives. It’s not as adventure-filled as Costa Rica or Hawaii, but there are great beaches, diving, SUP, kayaking, sailing, some limited hiking. It’s pricey, but you would be there during off season.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. T&C would be my vote for a kid-free vacation. Very romantic and beautiful place. Costa Rica and Hawaii are great too but there is a lot more there geared to kids (not that you can’t have a good couples vacation in those places).

      • +1 for T&C. DH and I went there for our honeymoon and would love to go back for a kid-free anniversary. We stayed in Grace Bay at Le Vele, which is basically a managed condo building. I loved that the pool and courtyard were between the reception area and the condos, so the units looked (and from the first floor, stepped) directly onto the beach. We went horseback riding and snorkeling and spent a lot of time on the beach and lazing about. DH isn’t dive certified, but the diving in T&C is amazing. We went to the grocery store on the first day and bought some basic food, wine, and ingredients for rum punch. And we went out for lovely dinners, and the food was amazing!

    • Harbour Island in the Bahamas is great. No ginormous resorts. Fabulous food and great for kid-free vacations. I would look at the Dunmore Hotel or Coral Sands.

  25. Mat leave/part time :

    I’m 10 weeks pregnant with my second and due in September. I’m a senior associate at a midsize firm in smallish city. I started this job almost a year ago after moving from biglaw in big city. I want to ask for a reduced hours schedule – probably 4 days a week in office and 80% of full time hours as my target. I also want to take off through the end of the year for maternity leave and am willing to take unpaid (so probably around 4 months off total). My office doesn’t have a formal policy on either issue and I’m the only woman lawyer at the firm with young kids. My question is how should I raise these issues? I’d like to start the 80% before the baby comes so I have time with my child now.

    Does it make sense to ask for it when I tell them about baby? And when do you have conversation about now leave? Is that later on in pregnancy or when you announce? I had biglaw maternity leave for my first and it was not an issue so there was no discussion of how long – everyone just took the full amount. Also my office is not known for being progressive.

    • I’d ask for the maternity leave you want when you disclose the pregnancy.

      I’m not sure I understand the 80% hours thing. You want more time with your child, meaning your older kid? If so, I think this is pretty independent from your pregnancy and not something I would raise at the same time you disclose the pregnancy. It’s a lot to ask for all at once, especially at a law firm. Can you disclose the pregnancy and ask about mat leave now or in the next few weeks and postpone the ask for reduced hours until shortly before you’re about to go out on leave?

      • Mat leave/part time :

        Yes I mean my older kid. I think that makes sense, it is a lot to ask all at once and I get that. I just have been feeling a lot lately like I’m not getting enough time with her and I keep putting off asking for the 80% because I’m scared of how it will affect my career. And then i see time passing by and I feel like if I don’t do it now the new baby will be here and I will have missed the opportunity.

    • I am a manager and handled exactly this situation last year. First: start conversations with your boss soon about planning for maternity leave if you want extended leave. Shortly before or during mat leave, start conversation regarding reduced time. Mention it and let boss figure out what can be done while you are out. It’s very helpful to have extra time here as a manager. I would not lump both together as they are basically irrelevant to each other, and starting the reduced hours convo too early may indeed compromise the quality of projects you are given leading up to mat leave.

  26. I keep it together and am I’m really well liked. People think I’m such a kind and generous person, but on the inside, I swear I’m just a crazy b*tch. Sometimes I wonder what is wrong with me. That is all.

    • I could have written this. I listen to some completely foul podcasts to feel “at home”. Check out The Whiskey Brothers. It makes me feel a little more sane knowing that there are people out there that just don’t have the social filter and say the things I think in my head out loud. Maybe we’re secret psychos but I like to think we’re just well adapted.

    • I’m right there with you, sister.

      Actually, I even tell people I am a nightmare, and they just laugh and think I’m kidding. If only they knew the truth…

      Don’t think there is anything wrong with you. Sometimes I think we just have more insight, and everyone else is in denial.

  27. Lana Del Raygun :

    Any recommendations for decent-quality basic button shirts with long enough sleeves for the gangly orangutangs among us? Right now my closet is mostly Lands’ End 3/4-sleeves but they look so awkward under cardigans, and LE doesn’t have any long sleeved shirts in tall sizes.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve had luck with the Perfect Shirt cut in Tall from Jcrew.

      Even if LE had Talls in the long sleeves you are looking for, they would only barely be regular length – no actually tall. I wouldn’t say they don’t have any Talls in long sleeves, though – I know I’ve gotten some of the flannel shirts in tall and they’ve been better lately about offering more Tall options. Their Talls just aren’t that Tall – more like the regular length BR provides.

    • biglawanon :

      I am ridiculously long-limbed and Boss works best for me. Not cheap, but can wear off the rack. They also aren’t button downs, but mock button downs that are pull overs with zippers on the side. I think they look cleaner.

    • Yes. Suck it up and buy British shirts from Hawes and Curtis. They are heavenly–so well made. I have very long arms and they are long enough for me. You’re welcome!
      They usually go on sale 4/200 or 3/99 (depending on the label). Highly recommend. They wash and wear beautifully and are 100% cotton.

    • givemyregards :

      I like the non-iron banana republic shirts in tall – I have really long arms, and actually had to return one for the regular length because it was way too long, which has literally never happened before.

  28. Anonymous :

    If my child and I are on one high deductible health plan and my husband is on another, is the limit for *all* our contributions $6900, or can I contribute $6900 for me and my child and my husband can do his own $3450? I think it’s the former but not 100% sure. And employer contributions count towards the limit, right?

    • I do not follow this question. “Deductible” is how much you pay or of pocket before the plan will pick up costs. If you have a deductible, it is typically either per individual, per family, or both. “Family”is whichever family is covered under the policy (you and kid).

      You don’t typically see “contributions” used related to deductibles. That’s terminology for things like an HSA (funds used to pay for out of pocket health expenses, typically offered with a high deductible plan).

      I’d recommend asking your HR rep.

      • Oh yeah, my question was how much can we contribute to our HSAs, but apparently I forgot to use the important word “HSA” in the original question. Sorry for the confusion!

    • Anonymous :

      This is the exact situation my family is in, and my HR department said I can only contribute $3450 if my husband is contributing the maximum as well –$6900 is the max per family. They’ve been wrong before, though, so I’m watching this thread closely.

  29. Anonymous :

    HSAs are held by an individual and the amount of contribution is based on the plan you are enrolled in, so I believe it is correct that you get 6900 to your account, since you hold a family plan, and H gets 3450 to his account because he holds an individual plan. And employer amounts are part of the limit, but aren’t deductible by you.

    • Anonymous :

      Or I could be wrong – from the IRS Publication 969

      Rules for married people. If either spouse has family HDHP coverage, both spouses are treated as having family HDHP coverage. If each spouse has family coverage under a separate plan, the contribution limit for 2016 is $6,750. You must reduce the limit on contributions, before taking into account any additional contributions, by the amount contributed to both spouses’ Archer MSAs. After that reduction, the contribution limit is split equally between the spouses unless you agree on a different division.

  30. very good

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