Wednesday’s TPS Report: Wool Tulip Dress

Boden Wool Tulip DressOur daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Boden has some great sales going on right now, including this gorgeous wool tulip dress — with sleeves! I like the nice high neckline, and the fact that the skirt is designed to be a much looser fit than one normally sees on this kind of dress. There are plenty of sizes left in the purple (pictured), limited sizes left in black, and all of the sizes left in a really adorable gray-and-black polka dot print. It’s available at Boden for $87, marked down from $218. Boden Wool Tulip Dress

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  1. I hit the sale yesterday and had a fairly decent go: cable knit jumper, breton tee, silk blouse, a shirt for my partner, a button-up shirt for our ring bearer and a Christmas present for my niece (adorable fox hat and mittens set on super sale). I resisted the temptation to order dresses as I know they never quite fit me properly.

    • What exactly about the dresses didnt work for you? I’ve had great success with Boden being TTS for me (maybe slightly vanity-sized, but predictably so) but I’ve only ever purchased tops (jumpers/knits). I’ve yet to take the plunge on a dress, so maybe their sizing is a lot different? I was planning to order the same size as my tops.

      • I think the waists are quite high and I have a pretty big ribcage relative to the rest of my frame. I find their sizing consistent (I wear a 8-10 US, wear a 12 UK) but the proportion is just somehow off. I love their clothes but the only dresses that work for me are the floatier ones, anything more structured tends to be huge in the bust / under the arms and tight through the torso.

        However, the quality is pretty great especially when you pick things up on sale, I’ve worn a dress probably 40 times and it’s just now starting to look a tiny bit worn (more likely a result of the insane industrial machines I had to use when living in Belgium).

        • You sound like me and I have the same problem with Boden, I just don’t bother with them anymore.

        • Anon in NYC :

          I also find that dresses can either be tight around the ribcage, or too tight around my hips but fit everywhere else (so it’s not worth sizing up). Like the above Anon, I just don’t bother anymore.

          • Ditto. I can’t breathe, there’s a “maternity pooch” in the waist and the hips are too tight. But I so love their styles. I wish they fit better.

        • I’ve got a small/high waist for my frame and find that the dresses work really well for me. I typically buy casual dresses so there’s a bit of stretch built in, and fit is usually TTS for me.

          • Halogen Suiting :

            I thought I had this problem, but Boden’s waists were even higher than mine. Add in a bit of a tummy and I look pregnant because the line is more maternity-wear on me.

          • I have a similar body shape (short torso, high waist so my ribcage is the narrowest part of me) and I LOVE Boden’s dresses. They are superbly flattering, long enough for my needs (especially when I buy tall), skims my hips nicely (I’m a pear), not too low in the neckline and wear very well.

        • Thanks – I have a very similar body size/shape so it sounds like their structured dresses might be out for me, too. Can anyone comment on how they compare to Brooks Brothers sizing? I have a size 8 sheath from BB that fits me perfectly, but I know BB is usually cut large to accommodate tailoring. If Boden sheaths fit any slimmer than BB in the torso/ribcage, I think that counts me out.

        • Diana Barry :

          Agree. HOWEVER, quality is great for price. I just had a Boden dress taken in at waist and hip and now it looks awesome. I buy for my ribcage and if it is an A-line or empire waist (esp for tunics etc) then it looks great. If it is supposed to be more fitted, then I usually have to take in the hip, EXCEPT with the Holborn dress (now on sale, I think) which was a little too va va voom for my office.

          Anyway, my strategy is to buy A LOT of dresses in different sizes (at least 6, 8, reg and long) and then return the ones that don’t fit.

        • I’m another one with a maybe slightly larger rib cage, but definitely long-waisted, so sometimes dresses with fitted waists (which I prefer given larger bust size) end up with the waists being at my bottom rib – and then I look PG as the dress hangs over the stomach area. Anyone have any luck finding stores/designers that tend to have things that are a little longer in the waist?

          • I’m in this same fit situation, but as well as a long waist I have relatively short legs for my height, so I tend to like the slightly-too-high-waists in things, to even things up – just I have to be careful that their ‘waist’ measurement will need to fit around my bottom rib area.

            Apparently Long Tall Sally is good.

      • This dress, particularly, has a lot of negative reviews– mostly regarding the location of the waist and the shape of the hip area. Reviews for many of the other dresses are great (I can’t decide whether to pull the trigger on the red wool skater dress).

        • I’m going to give this dress a go — the size I think I need is only $66. I have similarly shaped dresses and they work for me. Usually I have to get things altered in at the waist anyway. There are always returns!

        • I just ordered this dress last week and received it yesterday. I agree with its negative reviews: short-waisted and a strange pleating right at the hips that results in extra fabric in a curious place. (In the picture above, check out where it hasn’t been photoshopped by the model’s right elbow – see the bunching?) Nice quality – it’d be winter-weight wool by temperate U.S. standards. I’m a J.Crew size 6 and a 6 in this fit like a 4, so I’d size up. I’m 5’7, 150 lbs, and 35-28.5-38.5.

          This was my first order from Boden, and I wanted to make it worth it, so I ordered 10 dresses, all different styles. After trying on that many, I feel like I can definitively say Boden does not design for an hourglass figure, so if that’s you, don’t bother. It seems like their customer is flat-chested and short-waisted (which describes my mother-in-law – she loves Boden and has been raving for years – I should have known). All those dresses are going back. While most of them fit technically, not a single one of them flattered my figure.

          • Yup. Flat chested, high waisted and pear shaped. Boden fits me to a tee.

          • In the Pink :

            Yes, I’m an extreme hourglass and have had to give up on almost all Boden dresses the past two years…most are so much of a straight, small top, and empire seaming. It’s a shame because their fabrics are so wonderful.

            That being said, this year I got the Chancelry (sp?) dress, hemmed it up tons and adore it! Maybe it’s still on sale?

          • I’m hourglass and also love my Chancery dress, but it’s a bit long – might get it hemmed.

      • I’ve given up on Boden dresses after purchasing and returning quite a few because the waists were much too high on every single dress. Their quality is fantastic for the price but they’re just not made for my body type.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Boden fits me well so I can see why it wouldn’t fit others. Here is how I’m built in case it helps others decide. I’m 5’7″, mostly leg, very short waist, 32DDD boobs, carry some fat in my belly, practically non-existent hips, small butt, muscular quads, disproportionately tiny calves. I wear a 6 w/ boden dresses but a 4 in AT and BR dresses but most of my suit jackets are 8s to accommodate my chest.

      • Basically, Boden is one of the only places where dresses fit me. My hips are definitely larger than my waist. I have broad shoulders, no butt, 34D, and very long thin legs. I’m 5’10”, so I always get talls, and I believe the torso is lengthened proportionately.

        Maybe those who are longer-waisted might have more luck with the tall sizes?

      • christineispink :

        Blonde Lawyer – we are body twins except my calves are (sadly) not disproportionately tiny (sadly because I love wearing long boots but they never fit over my calves). I’ve been waffling on shelling out for multiple sizes but think I’m going to order a few dresses in a 6. Thanks for posting!

    • In the Pink :

      I have this dress in sort of a printed pique fabric from a few years ago. I love it. Had to have the waist taken in a lot for my hourglass shape. Also, I ended up having the sleeves removed … they were way too bulky under cardis and even under blazers. But I love the cut and their tailoring.

    • I have the same problem with Boden dresses. I have returned EVERY single one I have purchased so I’m not gonna try any more. I have broad shoulders (think swimmer) and a medium chest and a comparatively smaller waist/hip area and they seem to be cut for people who are smaller on top.

      Their skirts are okay for me though.

  2. St Tropez recs :

    My husband and I are going to be in St Tropez for a few days at the end of the month. Any recs on beach clubs for lunch, and/or nightclubs? I know it can be rather pretentious, so I want to avoid going anyplace where we’ll be ignored for ordering less than a magnum of champagne (maybe that’s everywhere :) ). I’m thinking Nikki Beach is a no for this reason, also assuming the scene is similar to the one in Miami.

  3. Red Beagle :

    Love this dress and many of the other Boden fashions, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet because I’m concerned that major alterations would be in order. I’m usually a size 8-10 depending on brand but curvy and short (5’4 on a good day). This dress, which is either very high waisted or hits at knee on the model and appears to have a super short waist compared to the bottom half, would probably be pretty close to mid-calf length on me and probably also require taking in at the hip if the top fit (I’m bigger on top than bottom and will usually wear about a size 4 in pants or skirts).

    • I find the sizing for Boden pretty consistent so maybe worth ordering a dress as a trial? I feel like a shill but there was a problem with my card yesterday and I spoke with the most helpful, charming sales associate.

    • Diana Barry :

      Boden also provides the length measurements for all of the dresses. Maybe a petite would work for you? I am 5’8″ and go between regular and tall on the dresses.

      • Red Beagle :

        I checked the length measurement and the petite on the dress would probably work. I think I might dip a toe in with a skirt first. There’s a ponte skirt in my shopping bag right now that looks really great and I will try it in a regular as that style seems to run short.

  4. Hungry Bird :

    Has anyone ever used the “emeals” menu planning/grocery service? I realize that I am supposedly a competent professional, but we are unable to get dinner on the table and every night realize that no dinner is ready and have to grab takeout. It is myself and my husband and two kids, and the idea of knowing exactly what we are eating each night, as well as knowing exactly why to buy at the grocery store, seems very appealing. I’m just wondering if anyone can speak to it from personal experience?

    Also I know there are some free ones out there, but this seems so comprehensive that it is worth paying $5-10 for…especially right now when we are racking up $80-100 a week in takeout on top of groceries.

    • I guess it depends on where you are feeling your time crunch. Do you not have time to sit down and menu plan once/twice a week? Or, do you not have time to actually prepare meals? Because a menu planning service will really help with the latter.

    • Halogen Suiting :

      It might be nice to have a service that factored in leftovers (roast chicken on Sunday and have for dinner; chicken quesedillas with leftovers on Monday) so that you got more meals for the effort.

      I think of 5 meals I could make quickly and try to rotate among them during the week (and they are really basic, in terms of skills and not many ingredients). Weekends are better on the quality / variety front (but I’m usually tired and want to eat out).

      Have a family problem of picky husband (so he is always welcome to make himself a sandwich) and insane schedule with/for children. Me, I am not picky but also OK with eating simply (i.e., what is wrong with a big slice of manchego and some peperoni for a light dinner, esp. if you throw in an apple?).

      • Ha, this is my ideal dinner. Apple slices, some nice cheese, and some pepperoni. Crackers and a glass of white wine if I’m feeling indulgent. Darn my husband and child demanding real sit down dinners!

        • +1

          • Halogen Suiting :

            Aw, thanks! Some by for dinner and we’ll open a bottle of wine.

            But seriously, we’re reading the Little House books and I wish I had a waste-not mindset like Ma Ingalls. I feel that I am inefficient and wasteful and should be able to cook a turkey or a large roast (the easiest sort of cooking: buy something and throw it in the oven) and use it for a variety of meals. Make do with what we have. You get the idea. [And I think it shouldn’t be limited by working outside of the home. Unlike Ma, I have refrigeration and grocery stores, so I think I can do better.]

    • 5dollardinners has a free week dinner plan

    • Hungry Bird :

      One of the things I like about emails is that it has different “types” of meal plans – slow cooker, low-carb, traditional meals, paleo, “nonadventurous/kid-friendly”, etc so it can be more tailored to what we would like.

      • Abby Lockhart :

        I haven’t tried it, but it sounds like a great idea to me if planning is the issue. I would also suggest looking at Real Simple if you are sensitive to the “how to repurpose leftovers” issue above. It has (at least used to have) a monthly feature providing a week of meals and a shopping list, with the idea of repurposing at the center. Not the best recipes I’ve ever used, but very practical, balanced, and tasty to me. Perhaps with a few issues and/or a few months of emeals, you would have a “stable” of go-tos your family enjoys and then you could just create a reference folder and cut off the subscription.

    • I do! I LOVE it! I found a web coupon that reduced the cost to about ~$4/week. For our family, the cost is worth it because:
      1) Neither parent is “wasting” time trying to plan meals for the week. This is beneficial because of the obvious time saving function, but also because if we don’t like the food it’s no one’s “fault” and no one wasted the time trying a new recipe.
      2) It is really easy for my husband to go grocery shopping without me–they have an iPhone app. So it’s nice that I don’t have to write out the grocery list, or try to sync an evernote to him, etc.–it’s already in his phone.
      3) It gives you side dishes.
      4) If you choose the 4-5 servings meals, and then only cook 1-3 meals, we’ve had plenty for leftovers and 2/3 of my lunches (husband is provided lunch).
      5) It’s really easy for either of us to cook/prep a meal–because we both have easy access to the meals. He doesn’t need to email me and ask what he can do–if he has 15min, he just does something (chops, pull out dry ingredients, etc.).
      6) We like the slow cooker because neither of us is into spending the limited time we have with our daughter cooking. He gets home and dinner is ready.
      7) We’ve switched back-and forth between a few different of the plans. The Clean eating slow cooker is out favorite, but when we want to try something else it is really easy.
      8) eMeals has great customer service. I had an issue where meals just weren’t showing up in my email… they took care of it no questions asked and credited me for the entire month.

      I imagine if you have go-to recipes you use over and over, that eMeals would be overkill. But, we like varying meals and occasionally will cook one of our staples instead of the eMeals plan.

    • I have seen bloggers review a service called Cook Smarts where they send receipes and it incorporates leftovers into new meals, but you shop and prep and then Blue Apron where they send you ingredients as well.

    • I didn’t know about it, but it looks good to me. I’m signing up for the Simple Gourmet plan for 2 as we speak. Code SCHOOL is good for 20% off.

    • I used a service called The Fresh 20. Premise is that every week you need buy no more than 20 in season items (to add to the stock of stuff they assume you have — but t hey tell you what it is so you know) to make 5 meals a week. You can sign up for vegetarian or gluten free or classic, etc. We did the classic. It ran out and we are now eating far more of the same stuff or this week even worse — one night was the pizza hut takeout from Target, last night was Subway… When I was using the service I’d buy the items and do the prep on Sunday and then it was easy to throw dinner together during the week. I think I am talking myself into re-upping!!

  5. Can anyone comment on the exit opportunities in private practice from a DOJ civil division position in the commercial litigation branch? Trying to figure out what the options would be post-DOJ.

    • Working for a law firm in their litigation department seems logical to me. But I – a mid-level associate in litigation – would swap places with you in a heart beat!

  6. Do people normally give nannies a raise upon the birth of a second child? If so, how much? We pay $600/week right now, which is pretty standard for my city.

    • In my city (Chicago), the market raise for a second child is typically $1-2/hour upon mom’s return to work after maternity leave. Annual raises are typically $0.50-1/hr.
      I think we did a total of $1.50-2/hr between my nanny’s anniversary (a month before DC#2’s birth) and my return to work a few months later, but don’t remember how we split it.

    • Diana Barry :

      Yes. I think we did about $1/hr more with the second child. We also tended to give bigger bonuses, smaller raises at the end of the year.

    • I would not necessarily give a raise just because there’s a second child, but factor that in when you do an annual review and salary increase (if you plan to do this). With two children, her duties will probably increase, but what happens if the older child goes to preschool and is out of the house for several hours? You can’t reduce her salary for that.

      When your boss gives you an additional project, you don’t automatically get a raise, but hopefully your additional work and accomplishments get taken into account in your annual review.

      One thing to consider, since taking care of two kids is more work than one, is reducing some of her other duties. If she’s currently doing light housekeeping, consider getting a cleaning person to take that off her plate. If she’s preparing a lot of meals, consider bringing in prepared meals occasionally to lighten her load. I have found that nannies really appreciate this. I would do this even if I was giving the nanny a raise, frankly.

      • I’m sorry but this sounds insane, I’ve never heard of not paying more for a second kid.

        • I agree. Ridiculous!

        • AnonInfinity :

          I don’t have a nanny (no kids), but adding another child does not seem the same as getting a new project at work. If my boss asked me to increase my workload by 50-100% but didn’t give me a raise, I would absolutely quit.

        • I think most nannies in my area would quit if they didn’t get a raise for a second kid. Perhaps it would be different going from 2-to-3 or 3-to-4 kids, but typically the 1-to-2 transition means a lot more work (even for parents and other caregivers).

        • anon-oh-no :

          I think it depends. We didn’t give our nanny/babysitter a raise when we had a second kid, but she was already getting the going rate for 2 kids. We also don’t give a yearly raise, but we give big bonuses at the holidays, birthday gifts etc.

          So this is just to say that its not as cut and dry as it may sound, especially to those without children/experience in this.

        • OK, based on the preponderance of the evidence, I am wrong. Even if one is giving generous annual increases and bonuses, it appears that it’s the normal practice to increase upon the birth of a child. Thanks for setting me straight! (no snark intended)

      • Anne Shirley :

        I would give her a raise or expect her to quit.

      • Seriously? :

        I don’t even have kids, but that sounds so wrong. You definitely should pay more for another child to be looked after. Heck, even dog sitters ususally charge by the number of pets. I think a dollar more an hour even sounds cheap–I guarantee a second little one takes more than a dollar extra’s worth of time and effort each hour. And I don’t even want to get into the “light housekeeping” discussion. Your nanny is there to care for the children. Yes, clean after any messes created during this care taking. But they are not a built-in housekeeper. I wouldn’t pat yourself on the back too hard for doing them this “favor.”

      • I am not a nanny, but I’ve done a lot of babysitting in my day. More kids = more pay if you get above about 2. Period. If you like your nanny, pay a buck or two more an hour to keep her. I know it adds up, but think of the stress of finding a new nanny. Peanuts in comparison!

      • I dont have a nanny, but a babysitter I use watches a friend’s 2 kids for $20/hour, but quoted the same rate to me for 1 kid. I was surprised but she said her rate goes up for 3 or more kids, so apparently some sitters and nannies charge the same for 1 or 2 kids.

        And to tesyaa’s point, nannies that my friends use are expected to do light housekeeping, even cooking for the family (not just for the kids), fold laundry when the baby is sleeping and so on. My supervisor’s nanny makes her tea when she comes home. This is very common in my area.

        • This is pretty common in our area too. Light housekeeping/running errands/etc. I think of it as, if I was home with my kids I’d be running to the pharmacy/picking up stuff for dinner/running a load of laundry/picking up the house/etc. Also not uncommon for the nannies to make baby food/prep adult dinner. Obviously if the child is sick this stuff slides, and a full top to bottom cleaning of your home +childcare + gourmet meals is not what a nanny is for, but I think expecting light housework/errands is pretty reasonable.

    • A family I worked for started a nanny share without asking me, of course no pay bump. I didn’t show up the next day. If you don’t give your nanny extra pay she may just not show up when she figures out what’s up.

  7. I'm sure this situation is going to out me :

    Help help help. I need to make a job decision and I have analysis paralysis.

    Job A: my current position. Pays very well, I run my own department and have an incredible team. My two direct organizational peers are amazing. I’ve been here roughly five years and have built great internal/external relationships during that time. Close to home (I have two small children) with an almost ridiculous amount of flexibility. HOWEVER: leadership at the org is not good. I have a meh relationship with my boss (CEO), who’s now pretty much a lame duck

    Job B: 35-minute commute. Initial offer was a 32% pay cut, although I did counter and was very honest about my needs. Even if they matched what I currently make, this job would be a longer (car) commute and I’d have increased costs (gas, parking). It would be a great career move for me in terms of exposure and colleagues, but it’s basically more job for the same/less money. I’d be reporting to someone I know, trust and respect, which is huge for me.

    Job C: 45-minute/1-hour commute. They offered me more money than I thought was humanly possible (and I’m trying not to get my head turned by the $, but it’s REALLY hard). I’m daunted by the long drive (see earlier comment re: two small kids) and the department I’d be moving to needs serious help. The person I’d be reporting to is pretty brash, but I actually really like his personality. This job is the biggest unknown (since I’m obviously in my current job now and I’d be reporting to someone I know in Job B).

    Both Job B and C know I have small kids and that flexibility is super important to me — and they’re saying they can accommodate that (but I believe there’s a difference between saying and doing, so I’m obviously proceeding with caution). Help me, wise hive. What do I need to consider? All of this has moved very quickly and my head is SPINNING.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I’m not sure about choosing between B and C, but it seems to me that if you were looking seriously enough to get two offers from elsewhere, your current job is a no-go and you probably wouldn’t be happy staying there in the long-term.

      • I agree. Job A seems like the best option, but it’s obviously worse in real life than it sounds on paper, or OP wouldn’t have gone out and gotten 2 job offers.

        Out of Job B and Job C, Job C looks like the better option, assuming you can handle the commute (I absolutely cannot handle commuting, and tend to move so I can be within 20 minutes of work). Job B is a bust because doing the same work for less money plus a substantial commute is not a good trend to start (given that you have 2 young children I assume you are not winding down your career).

    • Anne Shirley :

      Job A seems a clear winner to me. Everything is great except your relationship with a CEO who sounds like he is on his way out anyway.

      • A Nonny Moose :

        Yep I would definitely stay put. I wouldn’t trade flexibility and a short commute with young kids, and you don’t seem to need the extra super high salary since you’re already paid well and don’t mention being financially strapped.

        • +1. If you can take Job C’s offer to Job A and try to negotiate for a raise, that would be great, but don’t change jobs. You won’t have small kids forever — there will come an age when your kids want you out of the house! Cherish the time you have with your babies. (Only saying this because OP said it was important to her.)

          • +1

            Your life will become much more stressful in job C with that commute. Don’t do it. Quality of life is more important than money. Don’t do it.

            If you have these amazing opportunities now, I’m sure you will again in a few years when your kids are older.

            I honestly recommend staying put, especially if your boss is on the way out. You are in the dream job for many for someone juggling family.

        • SFAttorney :

          I agree. Stay where you are a couple more years since it’s ideal in many ways.

    • Diana Barry :

      How much more $$ in Job C? Would they let you leave early and then work from home in the evening if you wanted to?

      I would ignore Job B. Pay cut and farther away. Not worth it.

      Really look at your current job vs Job C. Commutes can be soul-sucking. If your relationship with your boss were actively negative, I would recommend going to Job C. But as it is, flexibility and a “meh” boss seems great to me. I also have a great amount of flexibility (3 kids) and it is INVALUABLE.

    • Personally, I don’t see how B is even an option. It’s a lateral move with a worse commute, no better hours/flexibility and lower pay – with no guarantee of a better work environment than you’re in now. For Job C, is there any chance you’d be able to move closer to the job and eliminate the commute?

      If it were me, I’d dig deeper on Job C and what it would entail day-to-day, how quickly they expect you to turn around the department, etc. As between A and C, go with your gut.

    • Stay put!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I would stay put. Enjoy the flexibility while your children are small.

      I agree Job B is a non-starter — further away for less money. No, thanks.

      In addition to the longer commute, Job C sounds like it has a fairly high risk of not working out. I always approach jobs in troubled organizations with extreme caution. If my predecessor couldn’t do the job, it may be because my predecessor wasn’t the right person, or it may be because the job wasn’t doable and anybody (including me) would fail at it. So when you say the department needs serious help, that raises red flags for me.

    • I'm sure this situation is going to out me :

      Ahhhhh thanks guys. I loved reading all of these comments.

      Agree that B is a non-starter — I like it because it’s at a cool org working for someone I know and trust, but the $ and work/life balance have to play out, too.

      The raise would be roughly $20,000 — so definitely not chump change, and in fact I would then be outearning my husband by about $10K. While we’re not strapped for cash, with two kids and a house we could definitely use the money! We’re also on the fence about having or adopting a third child.

      Have any of you stayed in a job that leaves you sort of “meh” in terms of satisfaction? How do you leave your bad feelings about work at the office? My job is a huge extension of who I am personally, so I take a lot of pride in my career and the last thing I want to do is devote time to something I’m not 100% thrilled about (simplistic, I know).

      • Senior Attorney :

        Don’t forget, the options are not “Take Job C or stay in the job I’m not thrilled about forever.” You can always keep looking for something that is a better fit and closer to home. Also, I have absolutely stayed in a “meh” job for family reasons and it was totally, totally worth it to me. Sometimes I felt a little twinge of injured pride, but most of the time I was ridiculously grateful for the flexibility and lack of job stress.

        And then when that season of life was over, another Big Job came along. Careers and lives are long, and your children will only be little for a short time.

        • Makes sense :

          Agree with this. I wouldn’t jump into (the uncertainty, commute, and unknown flexibility of) Job C with small kids. I’m not setting the world on fire with my career right now, but I have so much more time with my kids than I did in BigLaw. I feel a pang occasionally when friends discuss certain milestones, but then I balance that with the more serious feelings of regrets about missing out on time with my young kids that I had regularly in BigLaw.

          In short, I focus on the kid milestones, and remember that career milestones will come in time.

    • Just say no to a commute while you have small kids. No job is worth it when your current position is tolerable.

    • I have done the hour long car commute while I had 2 small children and it was so difficult. Much more difficult than I imagined. It made the day seem never-ending and was so tiring. That would be a huge negative to me.

    • What’s your current commute in Job A? I’d agree with everyone who said they don’t understand why you’d want to leave.

      • I'm sure this situation is going to out me :

        Current commute is under 15 minutes.

        I want to leave because there’s going to be a ceiling for me at this org in terms of success. Our leadership is horrible (like, write-a-book horrible) and while I can certainly coast, I’m not sure the frustration is worth it. Although, frustration combined with decent pay, a short commute and plenty of flexibility may, in fact, be worth it.

    • Agree rule out B, and I am not clear from the fact set whether job A is secure given the possible coming turnover of your supervisor – it may get better, it may get worse, might it go away entirely? I think the tradeoff on the longer commute/unknown mess to clean up/more money is a judgment call based on your risk tolerance (big mess to clean up plus unknown boss/company plus longer days does create risk) and how much more it supports your long term goals than your current role does. Also, does your spouse work near home? I find with young kids having someone relatively close in case of emergencies or even school events is a real help, but it doesn’t need to be you. finally, job C says they are flexible – DEFINITELY get some context around what they mean by that, it could be anywhere from “it’s fine to work from home if your kid is sick” to “you can leave at 7 even though the rest of us stay until 10 if you need to”

  8. Maid aversion :

    My husband has always wanted to hire a house cleaner for our apartment, but I’ve always been against it because I just can’t get over the thought of someone else going through my stuff. Does anyone have any tips for getting over this? Maybe guidelines for the cleaner that would help me be less anxious? Or maybe just tell me to suck it up? :) (First world problems, I know)

    • Anne Shirley :

      Suck it up or don’t get one. Giving your house cleaner a long list of do’s and dont’s suggests you’re just not comfortable having one. They’re there to clean, not root through your private drawers and papers. I mean, what stuff are you concerned about? Sex toys? I’m sure she’s seen them before and will ignore. Important papers? I’ve never know a house cleaner to decide to just open and rearrange the contents of drawers (except for the silverware, that often gets shuffled).

      • We have a locking filing cabinet for our important papers, and I don’t worry about anything else. I imagine anyone cleaning my house would rather get done and get out rather than spending extra time going through my underwear drawer.

        It helps that my extreme aversion to cleaning means I view my cleaning lady as a quasi-angel for leaving my house beautiful and smelling of ginger. Get a reputable service and I expect your discomfort will soon be displaced by loving your clean house that you didn’t have to clean yourself.

        • Amen to your last paragraph. I’d almost be willing to share all my financial information with my cleaning ladies in exchange for a clean, organized, good-smelling house that I didn’t have to do myself.

    • Hire someone with impeccable references or comes from a service that is bonded and insured. Put away private items in a closet or dresser drawer. What stuff are you worried about, and are you worried more about theft or lack of privacy?

    • I would just do it! We’ve had our apartment cleaned a few times now and if we could afford it I would never clean again. I’m sure if you specify areas that you would like left alone so you can clean them yourself they’d be more than happy to respect them. (It’s less work for them after all!)

      Maids clean houses all day so I’m sure everything blurs together for them. Much like gynecologists, GI’s and the like. I’d just think of yourself as apartment #8492838 on their list and know they probably aren’t trying to snoop or encroach on your privacy.

      • Wildkitten :

        Yeah – I’ve been told (by my dog walker, but I assume it’s the same) that they do NOT want to go through your drawers, so don’t put things they need in a drawer. Having a clean house without having to do the cleaning is so amazing and stress-reducing.

    • (former) preg 3L :

      Our (former) cleaning lady would NEVER go through our things — she would clean meticulously *around* any stuff that was out (other than dirty dishes). She didn’t do laundry, she didn’t put clothes away, she didn’t tidy up at all. We always had to take time to put our junk away prior to a cleaning so that she could clean more effectively. Our cleaning lady would literally vacuum around anything that we left on the floor and would ask us to clean off the bed (if we left clothes on it) before she would straighten the sheets. That was exactly the arrangement I wanted, and it worked great for us. What are you worried about?

    • Maid aversion :

      Thanks, guys! I appreciate the “This is dumb. What are you even worried about?” comments. I think I needed that. I am generally a really private person in all aspects of life, and my home is like my one me-only place. Probably time to grow out of that though.

      • I am obsessively private and, alas, a slob. Other folks here have mentioned a locking filing cabinet, but all I do before my neighbor lady comes to clean is throw all papers cluttering the surface of my desk (and kitchen table and coffee table and sewing table) in a cardboard box with a lid and throw the box on the floor of the closet. And I remove the laptop from its dock and put it in a drawer.

      • I schedule my cleaner to come on my work-from-home day. It’s a little distracting for the two hours she’s there, but it works out okay.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      How about a locking cabinet for things you are really worried about? We have some stuff in our house that we have a legal duty to keep out of the hands of others and we just lock it up when we have unattended service people in the house.

      • Halogen Suiting :

        This is a good idea in general: you don’t want birth certificates, SS cards, passports, tax returns, etc. where anyone who breaks in your house can get them. Think of it as an in-house safe deposit box.

      • You can get fireproof safes if fire’s a concern for you; I’m terrified of fire so when I have enough important documents and a place of my own one is definitely on my to-get list.

    • Developing country here. The norm is to have a maid or more but I grew up in a household with no maids. To manage housekeepers people go for 2 options:
      1- full trust, and in this case they rely on high recommendations from entourage
      2- total control, in this case the person has to be present when the cleaning person is doing her job
      Having a small cabinet for important papers is not enough because if you don’t trust the person, there are other things that matter: your medicine, your food, email account etc.

  9. I love the color/neckline/shape/ and sleeves of this dress but am worried it runs a little long. Does anyone else thing it would look better like an inch shorter?

    • Wildkitten :

      I find Boden dresses to be long (I usually order a tall, and I don’t from them). So you might have to get it hemmed, which is easy to do.

      • Agreed, I’m quite tall and I’ve regretted it the few times I ordered a tall size from them.

  10. Boden dresses never work for me given many of the reasons already mentioned (waist too high, mainly, which makes me look pregnant) but I wanted to put in a plug for a dress that DID work for my hourglas figure. I didn’t end up keeping it because I’m pregnant and won’t be wearing it anytime soon. The green is lovely.

  11. Billable hour advice :

    Good morning, ladies.

    I am starting a new job where I am going back to the billable hour (my last job was a nice break from the need to bill in this way) and am kind of freaking out about it. I am terrified of “messing up” and feel like I can’t even remember how I used to do this before, although I did in my first post-law school job.

    Do you please have any advice and practical tips on successfully recording as-you-go and arranging your schedule?

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I set myself up to succeed when I don’t record as I go because I found recording exactly as I go never ever worked for me.

      I use manic time to track everything I do on my computer which makes it easy for me to go back and record what I was doing. It is free. I actually do all my “entries” on it and export to an admin to enter into our time management software. You can set the system to mark when you have been away from your computer for more than 6 minutes. For that stuff, I go through my yellow notepads where I take notes from phone calls and office meetings to fill in what I was doing. I try to always put the date and time on my notepads. This helps if I am on the web during a conference call. My notes will tell me I was billing even though the software will look like I wasn’t.

      I also use my emails to fill in all the little .1’s. I keep another notepad near my inbox where I write down all the little letters I review and toss in the file bin or things I review and sign to be mailed. I catch a lot of other .1s that way.

      With my system, I can go days without formally entering my time but still have it all captured and easy to recreate.

    • Contemporaneous billing is a horrendous, evil struggle. The Toggl app/webs!te/desktop tool (which I first learned about here – thanks ladies!) really helps me with this. But you need to find what works for you. Some people prefer writing it down old school as they go along (I prefer the sheets with the time broken down into 6 minute increments), some use excel spreadsheets that automatically calculate the amount of time to the tenth of the hour, etc. Like the poster above, I also go through my emails at the end of the month to make sure I captured all of them – all of those 0.1’s add up! And remember to never short change yourself. Good luck!

  12. Well my Wednesday started with crying at the office. Tips for getting through the rest of the day?

    • Hot chocolate. Or steamed milk with a flavour syrup. That and ten minutes sat quietly usually helps reboot me.

    • Wildkitten :

      Makeup and eye drops! If you can go to a CVS and grab concealer, mascara, and Clear Eyes you can pull yourself together much faster than waiting for your eyes to return to normal. (I keep these in a drawer at work just in case).

    • Shoe shopping online? Indulgent treat of your choice (potato chips, cookies, chocolate)? Read through (which, if you do, you still be in tears, although tears from laughing your [email protected]@ off)?

    • Hugs! Hope the London Fog helped! To get through the rest of the day, I would make a to do list with every step of every task written out and just get through it. And then get home and watch some indulgent TV and have a glass of wine and some takeout.

    • Brunette Elle Woods :

      Glad I’m not the only one who has had those mornings! Hope your day improved!

  13. What I love about Boden above all other online retailers is that they put all the measurements online, so you’re ordering to see what looks good, knowing it’ll fit you. It’s why I go to Boden first if I want to do online shopping, after getting fed up with other places telling you what they expect your measurements to be but not what the ease is on the garment.

    • Halogen Suiting :

      I love Boden and have some beautiful things from there. This year, the one thing missing from the immense amount of data they give you is something that captures the distance from the shoulder to the waist — they were all in the wrong place for me. But their stuff is truly lovely and well-made, so if it works, you’re golden.

    • I love that, too, and try to compare a Boden garment measurement with the measurements of a similar garment I own that fits me well.

      I think I have the same problem with the more sheath-style dresses – they give me a pooch. Not sure why. The wrap dresses generally work better. I have a couple of their summer dresses that have short sleeves, v-neck, and a slightly higher than average waist. Those also work pretty well on me, I think because the skirt area is more drapey than fitted.

      • Ha! They give you a pooch because there is extra fabric there. I have a pesky beer belly, and Boden sheath dresses are the only kind that fit me, due to that generous pooch of frabric!

  14. DH and I will be going to Puerto Rico this month, spending a few days in Old San Juan and the rest of the time in Ceiba, on the eastern coast. We would love recommendations for things to do, places to eat, etc. If it matters, I am vegetarian and five months pregnant. Thanks!

  15. undercover anon :

    Lawyer ladies–do any of you have recommendations for resources on learning client development? Books, thoughts on finding mentors, pretty much whatever; they didn’t teach us this junk in law school and I need to learn in a hurry.

    • Anonattorney :

      Do you mean building a book of business, or more specifically tending current client relationships?

      • undercover anon :

        building a book of business. I think I can figure out client relationships from watching other attorneys at the firm but I have NO CLUE on the other part.

  16. I have a question for DC-area people: To celebrate a friend’s new job, we want to do a sort of mini-spa day – massages, facials, manicure/pedicure. Any recommendations for a place in the Rockville/Bethesda/Friendship Heights corridor, or along the Red Line between, say, Bethesda and Metro Center? Glover Park area also is an option, although I’m not sure we want to go to Georgetown and deal with traffic/parking. Price is a consideration, but we’re willing to shell out a fair amount (currently considering a place where 1-hour massage is in the $100 range).

    We were planning on going to Aveda in Bethesda, but they don’t have their nail people in on Mondays, wtf.

    Thanks in advance!

    • There’s an Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa in Friendship Heights (DC side), on Wisconsin, directly outside the Jenifer St. exit for the red line. They have a ton of packages, including this one ( that include a 50 min massage, mani/pedi, food, and some manner of facial?

      Best of luck! Let us know where you end up; I’m always looking for a great deal in exactly the same locations as you list (FH dweller here).

    • Lady Tetra :

      +1 to the Red Door!

      • There is also a Red Door in the Wildwood shopping center, just north of Bethesda on Old Georgetown. Not very metro friendly, but lots of free parking. (Joys of the ‘burbs)

    • Thanks, all. Red Door was on my list, good to know that people like it.

  17. I’m going to be a presenter for a webinar for the first time ever tomorrow – and it’s for about 150 people. I’ve practiced and practiced and did a run-through with the technology I’m going to be using, but I’m still nervous. Any tips?

    • If you think you’re speaking too fast, slow down. If you think you’re speaking at the right speed, slow down. If you think you’re speaking too slowly, you may be just right, but slow down just in case.

      My first director (for amateur theatre) gave me that advice when I was about 13 and it has stood me in good stead ever since, through public speaking, debating, and interviews.

    • Really try to ramp up your enthusiasm/energy level before you start. I’m naturally a somewhat laconic person, so I try extra-hard to be energetic when I’m presenting. I walk around, gesture, smile and nod at questions, and generally just try to model being an extrovert. I think it’s really made a difference in how my presentations are received.

    • Try to be more enthusiastic than usual because a webinar can be coma-inducing.
      Do not hesitate to ask people to mute their lines if they are calling in. Allow enough time for questions after every couple slides. Speak slowly especially if you have participants from abroad.
      Have some hot tea and a bottle of water nearby.
      Good luck you’ll ace it.

  18. Big purchase :

    I’m thinking about buying an expensive for me piece of jewelry. For those of you who have spent significant sums on jewelry, do you have any regrets? Is there anything I should look out for? How did you know that you would love it forever? I can afford it, although it will be a few months salary.

    • Ah, l’amour. For my pieces, I refused to buy them if it wasn’t love at first site. For a few pieces, I walked away and came back later.

      I wouldn’t spend a few months salary on a piece unless you are totally super in love. There should be plenty of jewelry in the student loan payment range. I have a friend who will spend $7k-$9k on a ring but she really stresses about the purchase and the money. I think it’s a personal call and that you should be comfortable with your purchase.

    • I got the Cartier juste un clou bracelet and I love it. I had fun with the shopping experience and I liked that it isn’t so in your face with a brand, but that to people who know, it is recognizable as Cartier. I also liked that it wasn’t quite as frequently knocked off as the Love bracelet. I liked that it was a re-release because it made me feel like the design had staying power and would be more of a classic. I also liked that it balanced being enough of a statement that if I don’t put any other jewelry on, it is enough to make me feel “dressed,” but I can still wear it every day. I never take it off.

      I debated getting something “fancier” but I realized that I didn’t want to spend so much money on something I would wear infrequently.

    • No regrets. Every time I wear the piece, I am so darn happy and it reminds me of how hard I worked for it.

    • I have no regrets about spending money on jewelry. I consider them as true investments which I can pass on to my daughter (I don’t have any kids yet, but that’s my dream). I would look for classic pieces which never go out of style. I also look for the resale value. Say if you don’t like it for any reason, you can sell it and get most of your money back. That way you will not feel too bad if you don’t want to keep it for any reason.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Make sure it isn’t something you are easily going to lose. For some reason, I always lose earrings. As much as I would love some real diamond studs, it is CZ for me and nothing over $50/pair. A fancy watch? Sure. I’m not going to lose that.

      • Blonde Lawyer, have you tried screw-in earrings? They’re a pain to put on but are definitely secure.

    • Ekaterin Nile :

      I recently bought myself a pair of diamond studs (princess cut, 0.75 carat each), which cost a little over $4,000. I wear them several times a week and adore them. Every time I see myself in them (mirror, reflection in window, whatever), they remind me of how hard I worked to be at a place in my life where I can buy myself a pair of diamond studs. I have no regrets.

      P.S. – Mine came with screw backs, which means they take a little longer to put in and take out, but I’m not worried about losing them. And of course, I added them to my insurance.

    • All my splurges have been on jewellery.

      I don’t know your style but I have NEVER regretted it. Jewellery always fits, you can wear it for years and it never goes out of style if you choose wisely. Just wear it with pride….”own it” as they say….

    • Not sure if you’re still reading but there are some practical steps you can take to put a floor on the cost of regret.
      If you are spending a significant sum on something readily fungible like gold or GIA diamonds, do try for a commitment from the jeweller to buy back the stones or metal at the same price. I recently bought a large-ticket custom-ordered item from a US jeweller who did provide the commitment (I had been given a heads-up to request it by the friend who provided the original recommendation).

      Otherwise buy with an eye to the re-sale value (check around vintage/ used sites for prices of similar items). My own experience is with jade, a gemstone which tends to have a lot of subjective beauty eg. more like opals than diamonds, and I have ‘traded in’ earlier purchases when more appealing ones have come up because I don’t want or need say 2 pendants, or bangles, in the same style. This is also a gemstone whose prices have exploded in the last decade as a result of rising affluence among traditional buyers, so I have ‘made money’ on my couple of ‘sales’.

      On the less practical side, once you’ve sorted out a good grade of precious metal or with a stone that will hold its value, my own advice would be to buy with an eye on design, individuality, personality. If you wear costume, what are the shapes and styles you love ? Does your new piece strike you as a wonderful piece of miniature sculpture ? Does it move with you, bring out your eyes, pop against your hair or skin colour ? Does it look as good coming into the room as it does when you are seated across a companion ? I love to see special personal jewellery on a woman; in contrast the ‘classics’ (‘classic’ pearl necklaces, ‘classic’ diamond studs etc) seem like a wasted opportunity. For this much money, get something special, not something that goes with your briefcase.

  19. Did anyone else see the Daily Show interview with Hillary Clinton last night?

    Politics aside, I really thought her outfit was spot-on: well-tailored black pants suit with tiny polka-dots and a crew neck shirt in a gray-ish graphic pattern. It looked great!

    • Wildkitten :

      I know lady pockets is a humorous critique on society, but I actually wish they would post more often because I genuinely love what some of the ladies wear.

    • Wild kitten, I agree, I actually like what lady pockets does and if it weren’t satiric I would love it even more.

    • That is a great site. I can see the reason for the snark, and I agree that it isn’t fair (and can even be sexist) to judge female leaders for their sartorial choices.

      But…and we’ve spoken here about this before…it is so so so hard to know what is appropriate, to find appropriate clothing, and to wear it correctly without openning up criticism about how mich was spent (see Sarah Palin and Mrs. Romney). Men get to throw on a navy suit, white shirt, and tie and call it good.

      I see lady pockets and I really want it both ways..The snark and links to shopping sites! I can dream…

  20. Can anyone who has early access to the NAS tell me if any of the Zella workout line is on sale? Thanks!

    • Miss Behaved :


    • Anonymous :

      Yes! Lots of Zella is included.

    • lots – I just got the live-in leggings and boy are they living up to all the hype. Super thick but lightweight and great coverage and really comfortable. I just ordered the live-in capris and another pair of leggings.

      • PinkKeyboard :

        I’ve been wondering about that. Great to know. I need to replace all my leggings. Can they pass as normal leggings with a sweater type tunic?

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