Thursday’s Workwear Report: Bow Trim Tweed Suit Jacket

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

To me, when this tweed jacket is shown with the matching miniskirt, it’s just too much — but as a separate, I think the blazer has a lot of promise. I kind of like the tiny bow details — they’re not too much for me — as well as the sedate color and the collarless style with the round neckline. It would look great with a basic column of black underneath it, like a black tank top or blouse with black trousers, or a pencil skirt, or even a sheath dress. It’s available at Nordstrom Rack for $66 (from $169), with a lot of sizes still in stock. Bow Trim Tweed Suit Jacket

Two plus-size options are at Nordstrom and Talbots.

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Comments

  1. First time in Canada for PhD interview - help? :

    I am flying to Canada for the first time in a few weeks for a PhD interview. I will be there for a few days to meet with faculty and current students, I’m really nervous but also looking forward to it as I’ve never left the EU before!

    I have a few questions if anyone is feeling up to helping me out:

    1. What is the weather like in Vancouver? Obviously cold but does that mean I can’t really visit anything or be outside for longer than absolutely necessary? I am not from a cold country and don’t have a good sense of this.

    2. What should I wear for the interview? I was thinking ankle slacks, blouse, blazer, oxford shoes. I don’t own any heels or makeup nor do I know anything about it so would likely look ridiculous if I tried.

    3. I’ve never taken a long flight – what’s it like? I am hoping the plane will be bigger, more leg room etc. than for 2-hour flights. Do I bring my own food? I’m a vegan (but will eat vegetarian food if needed).

    4. My European country has a very informal business culture (style of dress, how to address people, etc.). I don’t want to make a faux-pas or seem unprofessional! What are the rules in Canada?

    5. I will be there for a few days and would love to explore the city if I get a chance – if you had an afternoon or two to spend in Vancouver what are the must-see? (Keeping in mind a student budget)

    6. How do I stop being so nervous?! First PhD/”grown-up” interview, first long-haul flight, first time travelling by myself, first time leaving Europe/ on the American continent…this upcoming trip will be a lot to take in for me!

    Thanks so much to anyone who can help me out!

    • Anonymous :

      Canada is necessarily not the arctic wasteland you imagine it to be. Vancouver is the mildest city in the country. It won’t be super cold, but it will be wet. Bring waterproof boots and coat. Google the weather forecast to be better prepared.

      Canada is an enormous city with many diverse populations. There aren’t really any rules that apply to the whole country. It depends on your industry. Maybe someone in academia can help with regards to clothing.

    • No idea about the Canada part but for flying, international trips are long and uncomfortable. My tips are:
      – enroll in what expedited process program is available to you (in the US that precheck and global entry)
      – pick seats when you book and check in 24 hours ahead to move to comething better (and upgrade if you can, it’s usually cheaper at check in but not guaranteed) (seat preference is personal, if I’m planning to sleep, I like a window, otherwise an aisle)
      – its increasingly rare for a meal to be included with your flight, if it is you can preselect from various restrictions when you book. In general though, bring your own food and don’t rely on in-flight food
      – temps vary so layer, I always bring a soft large cashmere wrap that doubles as a blanket, but lately flights have been really hot, so plan for a variety of temps
      – noise cancel headphones are great for a long flight
      – bring your own entertainment (something to read or listen to)
      – bring your own travel pillow (lots of neck pillows on the market or buy at airport
      – check luggage restrictions, carry on at least one days change of clothes and toiletries (I try for carry on entirely but not always possible with long trips and winter)
      – get some kind of battery/charger to give your phone and electronics a boost, nowhere to charge in flight usually and airport plugs are hard to find

      • Anonymous :

        I think meals are required for international flights of a certain length. If OP is coming from Europe to Vancouver that’s going to be a looong flight. You’ll get a meal but it’s good to bring snacks.

        • They’re not required but most airlines give two meals on flights between Europe and North America. Some budget airlines like IcelandAir don’t, though.

      • cat socks :

        Lots of good advice for flying. In my experience, I’ve found long haul flights (e.g. from the US to Europe) do provide a meal, but you may want to check with the airline ahead of time to request a vegetarian meal.

        The last long haul flight I took was from Frankfurt to Toronto, flying coach. There was an “entertainment center” in the seat in front of me with lots of movies, TV, music. I think they handed out ear buds, but I brought my own with me. There was also a USB port to charge my phone on the plane. There was a small pillow and blanket on each seat but I also brought my own neck pillow.

        • First time in Canada for PhD interview - help? :

          I hope my flight will have an entertainment centre like that, sounds awesome! Regarding vegetarian requests, I didn’t have the option to select a meal when I booked and the airline operating the flight is not the airline through which I booked the flight, so I think I might have to leave it in the hands of luck!

      • Good suggestions. Re meals – I didn’t get a meal choice at check in but they typically have two meal choices on the flight, one with meat and one without (typically pasta with cheese).

        I always buy a giant water bottle at the airport before my flight. I don’t usually drink it on the plane but it’s really nice for when I land and feel dehydrated and crummy. One less thing to think about when you’re navigating a strange airport.

        • First time in Canada for PhD interview - help? :

          I’ll make sure to buy a big bottle of water, thanks for the suggestion :-)

      • First time in Canada for PhD interview - help? :

        Thanks so much Scarlett, those are really useful tips – especially the spare phone battery, didn’t think of it but will definitely come in handy!!

    • Anonymous :

      Things to do in Vancouver (weather dependent, but with the right clothing you can do almost anything) – Walk around Stanley Park and visit Granville Island. I was in Vancouver in the summer but all I heard from the locals is that the winter is very wet. I think your interview outfit sounds appropriate.

      • First time in Canada for PhD interview - help? :

        Just googled granville island and it looks so great, can’t wait to visit it! Thanks for the rec.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Vancouver weather is wet. but not super cold. The 14 days forecast right now runs between 4 degrees and 10 degrees. Definitely bring a foldable umbrella and some warm layers but you will absolutely be able to do and see outside things.

      Just walking around Granville Island and looking around the shops and the market is a great way to spend a few hours, and is free. There are lots of little restaurants there plus the market is amazing.

      Is your potential placement at UBC? The Museum of Anthropology is pretty amazing and well worth the entrance fee. The campus is also beautiful to just walk around.

      I would also recommend a visit to Richmond to walk around Chinatown and eat dimsum.

      • Anonymous :

        I don’t know where the OP is from, but “cold” is relative.

        I am from the SEUS. I took my winter coat to Vancouver for a trip in early October. It was adequate. All of the Canadians were hanging out in outdoor cafes and walking around. No one in my home city would do that if the temp were below, say, 65, without a fire pit or heating lamp. Canadians will be out and about — they are hearty people. I learned a lot looking in Holt Renfrew about how you can be chic in the cold, something I had never really figured out before.

        • Anonymous :

          Ha, when you live here there’s no choice, you just have to deal with it. It can get to -40 where I live and you suck it up and go on with your daily life. Vancouver is incredibly mild though.

        • anon canuck :

          haha Canadians are hearty people. I walked into work today in my full on winter gear feeling very hearty as it’s -19 F/ -28 C. My face was a bit chilly, but other than that, I was toasty

        • A delicate flower :

          I am amazed at how cold I feel in the upper SE US. It may not be that cold (to Canadians or Russians), but this damp cold chills me to the bone.

          I cannot believe that there is a whole country north of us. And people went there before Uniqlo HeatTech and indoor heating (non-fire-based). The guys on Highway Through Hell on the Weather Channel do not even *look* cold (whereas we are all hunched over and darting about to get back inside quickly).

          • Well, where I live (Ontario) it can go from -35C in the winter to +35 in the summer. It’s not always frozen. :)

          • I live in the lower SEUS, but I agree that the damp air makes a huge difference. On the rare occasions it gets cold (below 45F), it feels SO much colder than I remember it feeling when I lived in NYC. It’s like my coat does nothing for me because the damp air gets under my coat and stays there.

      • First time in Canada for PhD interview - help? :

        Yes, it’s UBC! I have a big interest in ethnography and anthropology (it’s not at all my field though) so I definitely want to check out that museum!

    • No advice on Canada, but for long flights:

      – Unless you pay for a better seat, you likely won’t have significantly more room (if any) than you do on domestic flights.

      – On long haul international flights, you typically get 1-2 meals. If there’s not an obvious way to request a vegetarian meal at the time of booking, call the airline and ask. THAT SAID I prefer to bring my own food because (a) sometimes the meal is served at a time I’d rather be sleeping, and (b) I prefer to eat fairly light when traveling and airline meals are usually pretty dense with only a small salad if you’re lucky.

      – General advice: bring a portable battery since it can be hard to find a place to charge devices; bring something non-electronic just in case; try to plan when to sleep on the flight to best align yourself with your new time zone; bring layers (long haul flights are colder); get up and walk around every once in awhile; wear shoes that “give” a little since your feet will swell even if you do; carry on your essentials and a day or two of clothing (if you need to check a bag at all); be mindful of the “what can be in your carryon” restrictions in Canada.

      • First time in Canada for PhD interview - help? :

        Thanks Cat those are really useful tips – I’m definitely bringing my own food now!!

    • Your interview outfit sounds fine for a graduate school interview. Keep your hair neat. Make-up is not essential. Maybe a simple pair of stud earrings.

      Vancouver is a wonderful city.

      Congratulations!

    • Anonymous :

      You’ll get a meal and can prob request vegan, I’d also bring snacks. The plane will be a bit mire comfy than Ryan Aur but not much, upgrade to whatever the airline calls economy plus if you can. Vancouver is temperate and rainy. Look up the weather but it’s typically warmer than London.

      Your outfit sounds casual to me, I’d def wear full length pants, but for academia it’s likely fine.

      • First time in Canada for PhD interview - help? :

        Thank you, I’ve flown RyanAir (Dublin->Edinburgh) and it was sooo bad haha.

        I will look for budget pants but my problem with full-length is that it always looks weird when it falls over my shoes (imo) I like when it’s tapered just above and you can see the sock a tiny bit…maybe Marks&Spencer etc. will have a hybrid that looks professional enough but I don’t risk walking over the hem.

    • academic here! I assume you’re interviewing as a PhD student, not a professor — if so, your outfit sounds fine! I’d suggest trying it on ahead of time with all the components to be sure you feel comfortable. It’s not makeup, but tinted lip balm might be an easy addition — I recommend Nivea “Kiss of Berry.”

      Bring an eye mask, earplugs, and a trashy novel for the plane. Also, if you bring your own headphones, they’re better for watching movies, etc.

      • First time in Canada for PhD interview - help? :

        Hi Lydia, yes I’m interviewing as a prospective PhD student! So nervewracking haha. I will definitely try on my interviewing outfit beforehand and make sure I’m comfortable. Thanks for the advice!

        • you’ll be great! good luck! If you get nervous, discreetly squeeze the pressure point between thumb and forefinger.

    • Anonymous :

      You can order a vegan or vegetarian meal on your flight – if you don’t see an option on the website, call at least 24 hours prior to when you leave. Airlines usually feed you well on a long haul, unless you are on a weird discount airline, but you can bring snacks if you’re nervous. I usually bring my own bottled water because flying is very dry, but don’t be afraid to use the call button or walk to the back of the plane to ask for water.

      I recommend bringing ear plugs and an eye shade if you plan to sleep in coach. Also check the forecast online before you go and pack accordingly.

      • First time in Canada for PhD interview - help? :

        Thanks so much, I’ll make sure to bring water and snacks. Didn’t have an option to select a meal so I will try ringing them beforehand, but since the itinerary is a bit complicated (various airlines are involved) I might have to leave it to luck!

        • In case it’s not obvious, buy your water (or bring an empty refillable water bottle) after security because no liquids can be brought through.

          Same goes for any food that is “wet” – pastes and gels are considered liquids, so peanut butter is out

    • Good luck on the interview! I know that can be really hard…

      What field are you interviewing in? That might help out a lot with clothing issues. I have a Ph.D. in the sciences, and while we didn’t do interviews we had recruiting weekends. I think that your ankle slacks, blouse, blazer, and oxford shoes will be fine. Plan on ironing/ steaming to make everything look neat. Academia is also less formal than other fields. See if you have an adjacent events – dinners or cocktails or tours around campus. Be prepared to have a nice shirt/ sweater for those activities. Make sure you have extra copies of your work/ transcripts/ resume/ research proposal. They might ask for them. I have a folder dedicated to this stuff.

      For long flights I have a few suggestions. Wear layers! You never know if the plane is hot or cold, and want to be prepared accordingly. Since you are vegan, check on your reservation and see if you can choose your meal. It may not be great, but most airlines offer vegetarian and/or vegan meals, but they need to know ahead of time. Call the airline if necessary. You may want to bring a favorite snack or two.

      For flight comfort, I would bring a refillable water bottle, a layer to keep warm, a pillow, an eye mask (if you want to sleep/ can’t sleep in the light) and ear plugs. Water bottle is really good for remaining hydrated, which helps combat the drier air/ jetlag. Ear plugs really help drown out the noise for me, and I will wear them even when not sleeping on flights. Also, bring your own ear buds/ head phones. Look for ones that are better at blocking out sound (Apple earbuds don’t work well for this in my opinion).

      You may not want/ be able to afford selecting a fancy seat. Check out the website seat guru to see if their are seats you want to choose/ avoid according to the flight number/ schedule. Don’t be too close to galleys/ kitchens if you want to sleep. They are loud! Same with toilets – lots of traffic. Normally they fill the plane front to back, so if you choose a sit in the back you may end up having a row to yourself. As soon as you can check in (24 hours before your flight) check available seats again – sometimes you can get better seats. Choose an aisle if you need to go to the bathroom a lot, a window if you sleep a lot.

      Some cities have free walking tours of the city. Google it, and see what you can find. Normally they are 2 hours and free, but ask for a donation at the end. I’ve had good luck with them. Also look on tripadvisor for ideas of what to see. If you take an Uber/ Lyft/ taxi somewhere, ask your driver what you should see. The talkative ones know their area and can offer good attractions and good food!

      • First time in Canada for PhD interview - help? :

        Thanks so much Scilady I definitely need all the luck I can get!!

        Thank you so much for your advice, I’ll make sure to print out my materials. It’s in a business school. The programme is over 3 days but I don’t know yet what it will entail. I think I will prepare 1 “interview” outfit and 1 less formal outfit in case there are other events. I am not even sure there will be a formal interview, I just assumed if they’re flying me all this way they’ll want an in-depth look at my qualifications and research project!

        The flying tips are also really useful, I never thought of all this but now I’m definitely bringing proper hydration/snacks, headphones, stalking the airline’s website for good seats etc!! Thanks again :-)

    • They will definitely feed you on a flight that long, but you should be sure to request a vegan/vegetarian meal ahead of time. Usually you can go into your reservation at any time and add that under “special requests”, and then you should confirm within 24 hours of the flight. For special meals, they usually pass those out to the assigned seats before they push the carts through the aisle, so especially if you’re sitting near the back of the plane, when they’re more likely to run out of meal options, you might want to mention to your flight attendant at some point before the meal service that you have a special meal, just to remind them.

      Long flights are VERY dehydrating. Bring an empty bottle and refill it in the terminal before you get on the plane, and every time they pass through with water, drink a cup. Also, long flights can be boring. I usually watch a movie during the meal service, then sleep as much as I can, but I will often wake up and still have several hours of flight time left. If you’re nervous, then you might want to use that time to write in a journal. With the darkness, and the hum of the engines, it can actually be very peaceful and meditative. I also make sure my Kindle is stocked with books, so I can read, or else watch more movies. Bring noise-cancelling headphones, if you have them, just in case there’s a crying baby. Depending on my mood, sometimes I actually really look forward to long flights as a way to catch up on movies I haven’t gotten a chance to see yet. I think my record number of movies in one flight was four…

      • First time in Canada for PhD interview - help? :

        Thanks so much for your tips – I’ll make sure to be vigilant about the meal service, it would be so depressing to wait for the meal cart to make its way to me only to be out of vegan meals!! Journaling sounds like a great way to defuse nervousness and pass the time, I’ll bring my notebook for sure.

    • So Graduate school interviews- come with questions, plan to spend time talking to profs you’re interested in working with. Read papers from people you might want to work with so you have something to talk about. People tend to remember enthusiasm and interest far more than what you wore. Practice your 30second elevator pitch/intro. In the sciences at least, business casual is the default- nice slacks and a sweater would totally work, but it will probably be cold outside and heated inside so wear layers. Professional schools (ie MD and JD programs) tend to be formal, whereas most MS/PhD programs tend to be more casual. Check if its an interview weekend or a meet and greet weekend. Also if you tour labs you need long pants (not ankle) and closed toed shoes. Comfy walking shoes >> heels- there’s almost always a tour/ walking between buildings and people in uncomfy shoes suffer. You don’t want to be that girl who was limping at the end of the tour Don’t worry about makeup if you don’t normally wear it- you want to look like what you usually do and feel comfortable. Definitely bring your own lotion and shampoo etc- nothing like having a surprise allergic reaction to the hotel’s stuff to make you memorable for the wrong reason. I’ll echo the phone charger battery suggestion- they’ve saved my bacon when lost in strange cities before. Good luck!

      • First time in Canada for PhD interview - help? :

        Thank you so much Nesprin for the interview tips – really really useful, I really appreciate it. (I’m copypasting your comment into my notes!)

        I’ll make sure to come prepared, show enthusiasm and wear shoes I can walk in! It’s a business school so I’m guessing my outfit will be ok (well, hoping my outfit will be ok! ha.)

        Good point on bringing my own toiletries – didn’t think of potential allergies to hotel stuff, yikes.

        • Oof if its business school, I’d call the department admin (look on their website for staff) and ask what people usually wear. My impression is more suit-y and formal.

    • – If you haven’t yet booked your ticket, try to fix it so you arrive a couple of days before the interview. Jet lag is no joke & since you’ve not experienced such a major time change you don’t know how you’ll react.
      – order a vegan meal with your flight. also, I’d take some snacks–dried nuts, chocolate. Buy something in the airport so that they don’t make you chuck it in the bin at the check point
      – in a few weeks, so late February, early March? Vancouver is one of the mildest places in Canada. So maybe 5C, some rain, some sun. Take a couple of pairs of comfortable shoes, oxfords are fine. If you want to buy some cute ankle rain/waterproof shoes that’s the max you’ll need. Scarf, sweater, your version of a winter jacket.
      – Vancouver is at the same time laid back and very formal, depends what sector you’re in, what kind of people you’re dealing with. Just as in the university, depends what department you’re in, and even each school has a different overall vibe. I would tend to more cuts, colours, behaviour & adjust as necessary. E.g. UBC politics is going to be quite different culture than SFU geography.

      • Anonymous :

        Hey, how do you know about SFU geography? I went there. I was the girl in the jeans and goretex. :)

    • If you have time, Vancouver has a very historic Chinatown area that is well worth visiting. The Sun-Yat Sen Classical Garden in that area is quite lovely all year round and IIRC, they have a student admission for under $10CN.

      There are a number of websites that map out a free walking tour of the area and then you can choose whether or not to go into some of the paying attractions. You easily can fill a morning or afternoon walking the area.

    • Vancouver is the most temperate part of Canada! It’s 4C/39F right now. https://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/bc-74_metric_e.html (The windchill where I am is -35F).

      Long flights: Pack snacks, especially fruit/veggies. Bring a refillable water bottle. Check with your airline about whether they provide food (Air Canada does, Westjet has meals for purchase.) For most airlines, you can select a vegetarian meal, but they vary in quality.

      Like Scilady says, sometimes the fancy seats aren’t ideal. On my last Europe-Canada flight, I picked the row behind the washrooms because there were no seats immediately in front of me. I’m so short that my feet dangled, and because there was no seats in front, there was no foot rest and I had to put my small bag in the overhead compartment…that was too tall for me to open on my own.

      Plan your route from the airport to your accommodations or your first stop, and keep a printed copy in your carry on, especially if you’re planning to take public transit.

      Good luck with your interview!

    • 1. Similar to England. Wet and (relatively) cold in the winter, but not frigid.

      2. Heels and makeup are not necessary for an academic interview. That outfit sounds fine to me as long as it’s smart and fits you well.

      4. Canadian work culture is fairly informal. When in doubt, you can always refer to someone formally, e.g. Professor X, and let them tell you to switch to first names. Issues of race and the language used to discuss them, including First Nations/native issues, may be a subject of more sensitivity or political correctness than you’re used to (depending on where you’re coming from).

      Canadians are also less direct in their communication than a lot of European cultures. It would help to know what your home country is in order to compare this kind of thing…

      Also, there is lots of good cheap sushi in Vancouver if you’re into that.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I went to school in Canada after living in the US my entire life, and I quickly learned to tone down things I thought of as just efficient that Canadians thought of as ‘rude’ — what comes to mind was once I addressed someone (trying to get her attention as she was walking away) by saying “hey” instead of “excuse me” and people were like :-o (I’m much older now and I don’t address people by saying ‘hey’ generally any more.) The point Anon makes above about ‘less direct’ plays into that too. So I guess my advice would be ‘company manners’ all the time, especially when you’re with interviewing people — though you surely know that already.

  2. Going Home After This :

    I’m going to a bachelorette party in Miami this weekend and I need a club outfit — help?? I don’t go to clubs…. ever, so I’m basically starting from scratch. I leave on Saturday so I need something I can buy at the mall today/tomorrow. Luckily I live in a major East Coast city and have most stores available to me (or Amazon one-day).

    About me: I’m carrying winter fluff and feeling kind of down on my body, a lot of my clothes don’t fit (or at least, don’t fit right) – I’m usually a 12, 14 in some dresses, now I’m a 14, maybe 16 (though the straight size/plus size line gets weird here) and am comfortable showing off my legs and try to cover my arms/tummy. Late 20’s.

    Any help/tips/suggestions besides going in to Forever 21/Zara and hoping I find something that doesn’t make me cry? (I have my wardrobe for the rest of the trip on lock, thankfully… just got too buried in end-of-year at work and next thing I know this is upon me and ahhh?)

    • Shopaholic :

      I carry basically all of my weight in my belly so I have some good tips dressing for clubs while still feeling good about your body.

      Do you have any miniskirts? I’m thinking of a bandage skirt maybe? Then I would wear a looser, slightly drapey top that covers the waistband of your skirt (not too long). I would top it off with a long necklace and heels.

    • I embraces a less overtly clubby look starting in my late 20s, even when going out. Just wear something fun that you feel confident in and don’t worry too much about it being “club attire.” The cold shoulder look could be fun if you want to cover your arms but still show a little skin (maybe this top with black skinny jeans https://www.loft.com/flounce-off-the-shoulder-halter-blouse/451918).

    • Honestly, if it were me, I’d focus on the accessories more. I’d get a plain black dress that you feel comfortable in, do a smokey eye, do my hair, and wear big, sparkly earrings or a necklace. Bonus points for great shoes and clutch.

      • Seconding this! A short shift dress (which will be forgiving of stomach/hips) is my go-to for any kind of going out. A shorter length I think helps balance the otherwise more conservative coverage to not feel quite so out of place in a club.

      • Shopaholic :

        Also re clutch – I would recommend getting a bag with a shoulder strap. Sometimes holding a drink and navigating a crowded bar is difficult enough without having to try to hang on to your clutch.

        My sense of dressing in Miami is that there is a lot of skin showing. You don’t have to obviously (do whatever you feel comfortable in), but you may feel less out of place if you’re in a mini skirt/dress.

    • A black swing dress with a cool neckline can easily be dressed up to look clubby and has the benefit of emphasizing legs and de-emphasizing tummy. I know you said no Forever 21, but this is the kind of thing I was thinking-
      https://www.forever21.com/us/shop/catalog/Product/F21/dress/2000242250
      Add strappy black sandals and your favorite sparkly jewelry and get out there!

      • Yep, this is what I would do, although I’m in my 30s. I had to go to a club for my much-younger SIL’s bach party, also not feeling at my best, and did a version of this. You don’t want to look like you’re trying to be 21, but you also don’t want to look out of place. Show your favorite skin, get some cool dangling earrings and a fun tiny shoulder bag, maybe a bangle or two, and have fun. The most important part is feeling comfortable and showing it – Miami style has lots of skin on lots of body types, so feel good about yourself and you’ll fit in.

        • Seconding the last sentence, wear something that feels good and rock it! One of the things I love about Miami is how body positive it seems to be compared to a lot of other cities, at least IMO.

      • Going Home After This :

        Not opposed to F21 at all — to the contrary, I am going directly there after work! Thanks for the link :-)

    • If you have a Love Culture in your mall I highly recommend for a huge variety of cheap clubby dresses – they have every shape and color you can imagine

    • A while back, there were a few threads/comments about jumpsuits in the 14/16 range. I think a jumpsuit could work here, if you’re strategic about the shape (and not averse to wearing them for bathroom-access reasons). I am 5’7″ and a 14/16, and own one jumpsuit, and thoroughly enjoy wearing it with a high platform/heel, so long as I don’t have to pee a lot.

      In your case, you might want to reverse the proportions and find a long sleeved, but shorts jumpsuit (there’s a name for this, that I am blanking on). Could be hot!

      Obviously, your jumpsuit mileage may vary.

  3. I’m looking to buy a poncho and could use some recommendations. I’ll be wearing it during the spring and fall, and in particular, my vacation in Ireland in the spring. I like the style of the barefoot dreams boat neck poncho. Any help appreciated!

    • Flats Only :

      They have beautiful woolens in Ireland, so it might be fun to hold off and buy a nice one there.

      • +1 I have serious regret about not buying a merino wool poncho in Norway. Alternately, a wool/cashmere wrap?

      • +1 I have a gorgeous hand knit merino wool poncho from a shop in Galway. Definitely buy there. Ask whether it’s hand knitted or machine knitted. Machine knit is fine but make sure they didn’t cut the knitted fabric (look for lots of yarn ends at the seams, this is not a good sign)

  4. CherryScary :

    Anyone work from home full time? I’m in the running for a new job that sounds awesome but is 100% remote. The job does build in regular all company trips so you can meet your coworkers (and they are billed as social events) but anything I should be considering? I will be moving in a few months to a new apartment that will have space that I could easily turn into an office.

    • The trips sound nice, but I would ask how the team stays in touch on a daily basis. Email? Slack or a similar tool? Phone calls? I would be asking a lot of questions about accountability and how the team stays cohesive. Maybe this is truly an individual contributor role, but I think those are becoming increasingly rare.

    • I do. It’s super chill. We use Google Hangouts a lot.

      There’s some drawbacks from WFH. Ask about what tech equipment they provide. For example, I found that I needed a monitor (I would like to actually have a second), should probably get a headset for calls (for minimizing background noise). Also, might need a faster internet!

      I would also ask about what systems they use. If you’re used to Microsoft/etc., I find that many of the “remote friendly” companies use G-Suite (I had to seek out a geriatric G suite class to figure out Google Docs and still hate it!)

    • I work from home full-time. My circumstances are different from yours (I’d been with my company 5+ years at its corporate headquarters and the transition occured bc we relocated for my husband’s job to a city where my company has no office).

      I really, really like working from home. I travel 1-2x per month, each trip is 2-3 days.

      In-house counsel for a large multinational.

    • I do; my company doesn’t have a physical office in my city. If you live in a small apartment, consider asking if the company will pay for or subsidize a coworking-space membership; these can be a good way to network and build connections as well.

    • I don’t, but I know a couple of people who do, and they said it’s pretty easy to go stir-crazy at home by yourself all the time.

      • YMMV. As a driven, self-motivated introvert, working from home is my jam.

        • +1000

        • Ha – +1 – I am WIPED for at least 1-2 days after my business trips since I’m so used to working at home.

        • Anonymous :

          yup

        • +1 I work from home full time and love it. My efficiency and time management are so much better at home without the Office distractions and coffee breaks, without the commute time, and with flexibility to plan my day around the tasks I hope to accomplish instead of a standard commute. Sure, there are trade-offs, such as how I have to make a conscious effort to stay in touch with coworkers using the collaboration tools the Office gives us, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything except maybe a lot more pay. My stress has never been lower while my production has never been higher.

        • biglawanon :

          This!

    • Lindsay123 :

      I work from home full time for a smaller company where everyone is remote. We have quarterly get togethers/ team building which helps keep in touch. Also weekly meetings, lots of email, conference calls, etc. definitely invest in your office setup if your company won’t offset cost. Put on “real” clothes everyday AKA get out of pajamas.
      Hardest thing for me to adjust to was not having the normal social interactions like a real office. It can be pretty isolating at first.
      And finally, be honest with yourself about managing workloads and distractions. I find I’m more productive at home, but there are definitely days where my brain is chasing butterflies and it’s harder to be accountable.

    • I’m not full time–I go in for a day every few weeks. Main thing is having a good communication system. We use email for formal correspondence and Slack for quick questions/comments/etc. Slack feels a lot like having a normal conversation sometimes. And I love Uber conference. It’s free and let’s me not only do group calls but swap screens back and forth (I believe you can also share documents in the moment but I haven’t had to use). I feel like it’s as close as you can get to being there in person.

      I love not dealing with a crushing commute and my laundry has never been better. And yes, there are days that I hop on email when I wake up and don’t shower until lunch–I’m in trouble if we switch to video calls. ;)

    • I did it for a year and a half & second the concerns around socialization if you’re an extrovert. It’s also really easy to get LAZY about your personal grooming (I’d put off taking a shower & sometimes could go for a couple of days without bothering to get dressed properly). I’d say this is a know yourself situation. Overall, not having to commute & having a lot of flexibility was great.

      All that said, I think the single biggest drawback & thing to consider is your personal career goals. If you are 100% remote, no amount of trips to the office to see the team will make you top of mind for promotions. And if you want to move up, you will likely need to relocate to whereever the company is if you want to stay there. Remote jobs can be great if you’re comfortable at the level you’re at, want to stay there & don’t have any desire for advancement at that company. They can be great stepping stones, but I wouldn’t take it if your goal is advancing in that particular organization. There are exceptions to everything, of course, but I’ve rarely seen people advance outside the motherships.

    • Know thyself but I mostly loved it. I worked from home for 5 years as a consultant. I traveled frequently to client sites, and occasionally to CHQ. On my initial team, almost everyone was remote and it was totally fine. When I became a manager, it was a little harder and my options for advancement were limited by my remote status. I was reorged to a team with most employees onsite, and it was a real challenge to manage them remotely. I ended up moving to my company’s city soon after that. It was a good decision, but I do miss WFH. You do have to be the kind of person who can focus, doesn’t mind spending a lot of time on the phone, doesn’t need a ton of socialization and won’t let housework distract you. I’m a focused introvert with low housekeeping standards so it was no problem for me. Cons are definitely that you are unplugged from the corporate culture and gossip. I had NO idea what was going on with the company when I was remote whereas now I am plugged in to different divisions and know all of the good info. That stuff is important to me as a manager but not as critical to my individual contributor role. I loved the ability to wear whatever I wanted and take care of chores while on boring conference calls. It was easy to work out during the day because I could change and shower when convenient rather than doing it all at once.

    • I do- I love it. It really depends on the role. If it’s one that’s designed to be remote and you have all the tools (IM/slack/video chats etc), it’s just a matter of your level of need to physically interact with people.

      If your role is one where your counterparts and peers are all in the office and you’re stuck at home with no VPN…that’s a different story.

    • I work from home 100%. I like it a lot more than going into an office. I have so much more time in the day with no commute – sooooo much more time! I’ve been exercising a lot more and cooking healthy meals. Daily life is much easier. Plus, I’m hoping the flexibility will be awesome if I have kids someday. My role is that of an individual contributor, so working remotely is not an issue. Although some people say it’s bad not to know about corporate gossip, I think it’s great to be disconnected from all that. I’ve spent too many years in toxic work environments and I’m happy to be out of the loop, in that sense. I will say that even as a highly motivated person, it can still be easy to get distracted, especially if I don’t have many deadlines looming. But honestly, I am hard on myself and would probably always feeling like I’m not doing enough, even when I’m in the office. To be less of a hermit, I’m planning on doing more active networking and volunteering. I was always too tired and exhausted to do much of that in the past (before working from home), so I’m excited for that new opportunity

  5. This jacket would not look good on me, but I LOVE it.

    • Anonymous :

      I think this looks simultaneously too young and too matronly. Pass

      • Shopaholic :

        This was exactly what I was thinking – you articulated it perfectly.

      • Anonymous :

        Agreed. Something about it just said “twee,” and not in a good way.

        I see what the designer was getting at and why Kat picked it, but something about the execution is failing.

        That said, I’m glad that Kat featured it… it seems like a lot of her picks lately have been basic and unmemorable, and this is both different and something that could easily fit into someone’s wardrobe without having to buy a lot of other stuff to match.

        • I’m the “pass” Anon above- I totally agree. Not every pick is going to hit everyone’s buttons, but I think this one was worth floating out there. As for design, I think if it was black with black bows, it would be a lot more subtle and wearable for more people.

        • Flats Only :

          I think it would read younger if it was more form fitting. The extra room in the sleeves and torso are what read matronly to me.

      • It depends on the fit. This short waisted hourglass would be all in for it if it came in my size; it would look great with a longer crewneck black shell and slim pants with a heeled shoe and be perfect for client meetings in my “halfway between business formal and business casual” law office.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Umbridge-in-grey to me.

    • I’ve said this before, but I feel like it’s important: the “marked down from” price is MEANINGLESS at outlet stores such as Nordstrom Rack. I think Kat should just leave it out of the post. They buy almost all their stuff directly from the retailers, who make it specifically for the outlets at a lower quality than their main lines. I stopped by a Nordstrom Rack store yesterday and was struck by how cheap everything looked and felt. There’s no way those items would sell at the “original prices” on the tags. Last I looked, several lawsuits were going on over this issue of outlets’ misleading marketing.

      I am not above discount clothes/fast fashion, but I think it should be called what it is.

      • +1

        I would rather get something of better quality from actual Nordstrom on sale than something from an outlet.

      • +1

        Madewell used to use “valued at” when stating the higher price and “your price” and I always rolled my eyes. Don’t patronize me, Madewell.

      • I generally agree–especially with places like JCrew Factory– but this is not always the case with Nordstrom Rack. I once bought a dress at Nordstrom only to see the exact same dress a few months later heavily marked down at Rack. I also bought a few really nice pairs of shoes at Rack that are sold at other full-price retailers for much, much more (e.g. I got an $80 pair of Aquatalia booties).

        • Yes, there is the occasional find that is truly marked down. I am most skeptical of items that appear on the website and have a full size run available, online or in store. Anything Kat would post here would likely be in that category.

  6. Lila Fowler :

    I’m in Warsaw for the next week for work. Any recommendations (food, shopping, attractions, products to buy)?

    I arrived last night after spending a few days in Krakow as a tourist and had a really nice time!

    • Warsaw is great! Eat as many kruschikis as you can (bow tie pastries), see an organ concert in one of the churches if possible

      • Lila Fowler :

        An organ concert is a great idea. I have been looking at some Chopin concerts. I’ll do some more googling unless you have a specific recommendation?

        • I don’t, it’s been years unfortunately. I went to a few though and they’re some of my favorite memories there.

    • Deep Velvet :

      Find some pictures of what Warsaw looked like right after WWII and then walk around the rebuilt historical centre. It’s not as pretty as Krakow but I am still in awe of how they picked themselves up and rebuilt their city from the ashes.

    • The Warsaw uprising museum is very well done.

    • Second the Warsaw uprising museum and there’s a newly opened interactive Jewish museum (Polin).
      A ballet in the national opera.
      Chocolaterie Wedel (it’s a chain).
      Polish jewelry stores – Apart, Kruk, Yes, Lilou.
      Services are quite affordable, so you may want to get some beauty treatments.
      Escape rooms are big recently, if you find some team to go with you :)

    • Probably late, but I lived there for a year and am miving there again pretty soon.

      Everyone loved the Uprising Museum and in case you manage, try Kopernik center (but it may be difficult to get in, it is often sold out).
      I admire how the old town was rebuilt using old photos and postcards (I think there were just a few building left untouched after WW2). It does not seem as much, but for me, standing in the old town square, I had goosebumps.
      I enjoyed shopping in Galeria Mokotow and Zloty Tarasy – check some local brands – not just fashion, but also footwear, jewelry and – skincare. There are many local skincare brands – Dr Irena Eris is their flagship brand (Pharmaceris is a dermocosmetic brand owned by the same company), I liked shopping at local pharmacy chain SuperPharm. I would also recommend trying out some of local estheticians for a facial.
      When it comes to food, you will not be disappointed – go to city center to Swietokrzyska or nearby streets for meals and drinks. I like pierogy filled with bryndza (sheep curd cheese) from local dishes and then lager beer and vodka of course (Zubrowka).
      I am not a fant of Wedel chocolate, but I cannot resist simple Prunes in chocolate (Inalways buy a few boxes for coworkers back in my office as well).
      Oh, and treat yourself to Inglot makeup at the airport on your way back (I highly recommend their eyeshadows).
      And if you are staying in a hotel close to Lazienky park, it is worth a morning walk.
      Enjoy and pls report back with your tips!

  7. What would an average white man do? :

    I am relatively new in my current position. I work in a group that is very collegial, friendly, and laid-back. I have particularly hit it off with a colleague of mine and we have a joking, brother-sister, type of relationship – serious when it needs to be (work-related), but we tease each other.

    Yesterday, as he was leaving, he teased me about something and I teased back, but my comment alluded that he wasn’t working very hard (e.g., wow, you’re working late today!!). It has been eating me up a bit about whether or not I should apologize. What would an average white man do?

    • Uh move on give this no more thought. Also be more professional. You are new coworkers. It’s a little much to have a brother sister relationship this soon.

      • +1

        Totally agree.

        Don’t be know as the jokester, or as the one with the (flirting…..?) relationship so quickly with male co-worker.

    • Yes, the teasing and the overthinking also may indicate you’re getting a bit of a crush on him? Be careful…

    • Are you for real?

    • What would an average white man do? :

      Thanks everyone. Yes, I am for real. This particular co-worker has this type of relationship with numerous folks at our company. I have seen it in action. He’s essentially the mayor of the company. I do not have a crush on him, but definitely want to be mindful of being professional.

      Thank you for those who took this seriously and provided input. Not everyone here works at an uptight BigLaw firm!

      • I don’t work in an uptight Big Law firm, and I have similar relationships with many of my coworkers, but I would never get so worked up about this that I’d have to seek advice from the internet.

    • Gently – just move on. An average white man would not give this a second thought; I’m sure he didn’t even notice unless you said something really vulgur.

      • Yesterday three of my coworkers had an extended conversation about my hypothetical bowel movements (using much coarser language) because I’m lactose intolerant.

  8. Gulp… I decided a couple weeks ago to go see a house that popped up on Fb that was a) a new build, b) in my neighborhood (5 blocks from me), and c) what *might* be affordable for me. Suddenly, I have a realtor (someone I know and trust) and I’m pre-approved. Yikes! Went to look at a few houses yesterday and went back to the new build with my realtor. There are lots of issues that need to be fixed (some larger, some small) and this developer is aggressively building and renovating in the neighborhood. This might be my only chance to buy in this area before things get built up and prices go up. I’m kinda freaking out. Trying to decide if this house is right for me. My realtor had some great suggestions for how to approach it and what needs to be fixed in the house. I’ve never done this before and haven’t moved in 22 years, so I’m still just trying to figure out if this house will work for my lifestyle. Any advice?

    • Will you have the cash you need to fix it up after you pay for a down payment? You can’t get a mortgage to renovate. (Apologies if this is obvious – it wasn’t to me right away). Are the issues structural or cosmetic?

      • No renovation is needed! I looked at one that was a total gut and just no. My realtor and I went over the things that the builder would need to fix – I was told at the open house that they know that they still have “punch list” items left to fix. Some are little (trim blocks opening a kitchen cabinet), some are bigger (master bath shower was not tiled correctly and the vanity is a mess and needs to be fixed or replaced).

        • So this might be a dumb question, but why would you want to buy a house from a builder that did that poor of a job?

          Larger issue: the house is in a good location, and the builder and realtor have you convinced that you need to grab this house RIGHT NOW, or it will be too expensive because it’s being built up. They might be correct about that, but you should probably consult someone whose job isn’t to sell you a house.

          • This is pretty standard, and the builder will fix it.

          • +1

            Why on earth is a new build a “total gut” job? Something is wrong here.

          • I think she said that others were a “total gut job” and she passed on those.

            My concern is that this is a brand-new house with problems along the lines of the bathroom needing to be redone. That’s just the stuff you can see – she has no idea what happens when she actually lives there.

          • RE nightmares :

            Run from this house. Trust me, you do not want to deal with a builder who builds crappy houses and who doesn’t have good quality control. This house will be a nightmare.

          • That’s why I had my realtor go back there with me. This is a specific situation where a very popular charter school is moving into what had been a blighted neighborhood and it is changing quickly. The only way to afford it is to get in while it’s new and still slightly a risk. The builder and the seller didn’t tell me that. I know because I live here.

          • If I recall NOLA’s neighborhood correctly, she’s absolutely right about the neighborhood, and I and a million other people would kill for that house. NOLA, good luck!

          • Thanks, SC! The new builds and renos in the neighborhood are coming up quickly. It’s exciting to think that I might be able to buy and still stay here.

        • If it’s a new build, I think you ought to demand that the builder fix those issues, or at least the major ones.

        • Your realtor should be encouraging the builder to fix the big issues now. The biggest headache about a punchlist (even with the warranty from the builder) is getting them to come back and finish (1) everything and (2) well. Especially hard after they have walked away with your money and are focusing on their other properties. Your ideal timeline would be: your realtor has real talk with them about fixing the big issues now; you include smaller issues on your punchlist that is agreed to in contract; you add anything else an inspector notices during attorney review and hire a lawyer that will advocate for you; you work with builder to do address small cosmetic preferences (i.e. many of them will paint the walls say 3 of your preferred colors, or you may be able to pick from 2 options of a tile they are considering, etc.) Good luck!

          Other just plain old buying tips: truly understand what you can afford because you don’t want to get caught in a frenzy. Ask yourself ‘what’s the catch?’ if something seems to good to be true and be honest with yourself. Remember that if you lose out on this house, there will be others.

          • Caveat: Only get an attorney to review if you’re in a state where that’s normal, don’t otherwise waste your money. For example I believe it’s fairly normal to have an attorney in on a standard home RE purchase, but definitely not in Texas or Atlanta.

          • Thank you – regarding the “there will be other houses” yes, I’m remembering that! I also emailed my realtor about getting more information other than “yeah, I think that’s do-able” about what the exact expenses would be for this house. He would make any offer contingent on the issues being fixed, plus anything found by an inspector. There is one safety issue that must be addressed or I would never live there.

        • In that case I would try to find out more about the builder’s reputation locally – does the company generally do good work that holds up well?

        • anon a mouse :

          If they can’t get the little things right, you shouldn’t have confidence in the big things. I would treat even little things like poor tile work as evidence that they do not closely monitor their subcontractors for quality control.

          I also encourage you to take a step back and consider whether this is the right choice for you right now? It seems like you saw a house and went from seeing an ad for one house to MUST BUY NOW. A realtor is not going to dissuade you from that mindset. There *will* be other houses. Instead of trying to decide whether this house is right for you, consider what your right house looks like, and then search for it. Don’t let the tail wag the dog here.

          • +1

            Lack of attention to “minor” details like finishes would make me VERY nervous that for example they used all the right materials for the plumbing.

            Everyone else involved stands to make $$$ if you rush and buy a house. Take a step back and think!

          • Adding: This is the reason that a lot of musicians have stupid/ridiculous sounding things in their contracts. Proof that the venue is paying attention. If there’s not a bowlful of red M&Ms as requested, who’s to say they constructed the stage properly?

          • No, my realtor is showing me other houses and they (husband and wife team) aren’t pushing me at all. We just want to be sure about this house before I move on from it. Yeah, I had the same concerns about confidence in this contractor. I expressed those to the realtor this morning. My realtor team has said that if I decide I want to step back, that’s fine and there’s no pressure.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            I, too, am really worried about the fact that the newly built home has big problems like the bathroom being messed up. We bought an older house (1950s) that was recently updated, and the old house is solid as a freakin’ rock, but some of the updating is kinda effed up — like they didn’t put the proper bends in the pipes, and put on an addition that blocked the clean out, etc. So far it hasn’t been anything catastrophic, but again, that just relates to the newer work — I’d be really worried if those were the folks that built my whole house.

    • How new is the build that it has this many problems to fix? Is it still under warranty at all?

      • Yes, there will be a builder warranty. I was told at the open house that they know there is a punch list. My realtor said that this is not uncommon. They have moved on to the next house and will come back and fix things once there is a list from a potential buyer.

        • JuniorMinion :

          It is not uncommon but it is evidence of lower quality builders (who often come in and take advantage of “gentrifying” neighborhoods). I’m from a city in Texas where you see a lot of this.

          A whole bathroom needing to be redone because the builder is sloppy would make me tell you to run. I saw a whole slew of hastily, shoddily contructed newbuilds in up and coming neighborhoods when I was looking for a house and if the items visible in a new home have problems then you can bet there will be invisible problems.

    • What are the big issues to be fixed? There shouldn’t be big issues on a new build (unless you are talking about preferences/taste issues).

      • Well, there are two things in the master bath that the realtor and I consider to be “big” things that must be fixed and they are nothing to do with preference/taste. One is that they put in a vanity that was a reworked piece of furniture and they created cabinet doors where, I guess, there were once drawers. The cabinet doors were not finished on the inside and they were hung really badly (like you open then and the fall down and look wonky on the furniture). Also, they didn’t put glass or a counter top on top of it and they painted it with matte paint and it’s already badly scratched despite the fact that nobody has lived there. We want them to either replace the vanity or fix the problems with it, which will require them to take out the installed sink, etc. So more than a minor thing. The other is just really messy tile work in the master bath shower. It doesn’t line up and sticks out oddly at the bottom. My realtor thinks they need to rip it out and do it again correctly. The other bathroom was fine.

        • Anonymous :

          Run. That is incredibly bad on the part of the builders.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            I completely agree. It seems like these are signs of letting form triumph over function, whereas a good builder will know how to execute both. I would be concerned that if there is such shoddy workmanship on areas that you CAN see, what is going on beneath the surface in the parts that you cannot see.

    • I am biased in that I don’t like new builds (I’ve seen so many crappy new builds), so that’s strike 1 for me. But also, we bought an old house and remodeled a couple of years ago. We have a good relationship with our contractor. His crew did a great job. We pushed them pretty hard to finish as we were living with friends in an 1100 sq foot apartment, so they never completed their punch list. For me this is strike 2. I think it would be a challenge to get the builder to even complete the punch list, but that’s my experience coloring my judgment. Good luck! I know what it feels like to house hunt in a hot market. Schools matter a lot so I think you’ve got the right frame of mind there. If you don’t just adore the house and have to have it, I’d probably pass. I LOVE my remodeled house but even then there are some days where I just wish I could go back to renting our crappy, 1970s duplex with its faulty wiring and plumbing issues. ok no I really don’t. The grass is just always greener I guess.

    • NOLA, I bought my post-divorce house much faster than I intended, because the house where I was living in basically a granny flat was put on the market and I got luck to find a place that was perfect for me (location and size, if not price) and available but not yet formally on the market. However, it was not new construction.

      I agree generally that the visible problems with the house might indicate other, unseen problems. But you can protect yourself not only with the warranty – my homeowner’s warranty recently had to replace my furnace, my air conditioner and my hot water heater in the space of four months; they’ll probably cut me off next year! – but also with a good, independent home inspection as part of the sale agreement. If the inspector finds defects that need to be corrected, they can be resolved before the sale is finalized. If he or she finds serious problems that are not easily fixed, you can walk away from the deal. Ex and I did this 25 years ago; we had a contract to buy but the inspection found huge problems with the foundation, among other things, and we cancelled the deal.

      And this is exciting for you – best of luck, whatever you decide.

    • Anonymous :

      If you haven’t moved in 22 years, you must like your place. Can you make an offer to your landlord to buy?

      • No, I can’t. I live in a double (two story, side-by-side) and cannot afford to buy the whole place. My landlord lives on the other side and she is one of the reasons I am thinking about moving. My place has issues that would have to be fixed – major problems like plumbing and electrical. And only one bathroom.

  9. I am trying to rock my inner Renata Klein (non-junior office type). We are business-casual, on a slide to pajama casual. That’s not me though. I am more of a suit girl, but need a middle ground. But not too twee (so I’d pass on this look).

    How do I do this? I think it’s a SV executive look, but I’m not sure that is or where to look for shopping / inspiration. Plus, I’m on the east coast. I’m aiming for polished and away from sloppy (what happened office-wide for Denim December).

    Our clients are in our building and routinely wear suits, so looking ship-shape is key no matter what the official dress code is. Plus, I speak a lot, so I need something I can re-use for that.

    • I’d go see a personal shopper and say you’re looking for polished business causal. I’m thinking you need well made separates all Lafayette 148 or Theory

    • I have no idea what you’re talking about (what is Renata Klein? What is an SV Executive) but if you want polished but not full suits, my go to is dresses with sleeves.

    • To the extent that it might matter for any advice, what age are you?

      I’m mid-thirties, and in these situations, I would go for vibrant hues – so a sheath dress in a striking blue, yellow, jewel tone, etc., or a jacket that stands out over slacks or a pencil skirt. Getting away from black, navy, and charcoal will make you fit in a bit better with the business casual environment, but you’ll still look polished.

      Also, wear great shoes. They don’t have to be 3″ black, navy, or taupe heels (unless that’s your thing), but I would probably go for interesting and fun shoes.

    • I love her look, too. I think it’s a lot of structure and darker colors. Here is an interview with the costume designer on her look: https://www.racked.com/2017/3/6/14802996/big-little-lies-costumes

      Not really sure how to parlay that into other looks, though. Maybe something like a black sheath dress with a coat like that Rebecca Taylor metallic tweed jacket?

    • Do you want most stylish or most easy? Most stylish, I second first poster above re the personal shopper (maybe try Nordstrom’s onsite personal shoppers). For most easy, I think sheaths (or subtle A-lines, whichever works best with your body type) plus cardigans, and long sleeve thick blouses plus ankle pants and interesting heels/jewelry (all work appropriate though), are the easiest work uniform. Nearly everything goes together. Switch the blouses for sweaters in the winter and boom you’re done. And this can be done at pretty much every price point.

    • Anonymous :

      I think you want modern separates with some edge. More The Kooples than Rebecca Taylor. I’d suggest Barneys or Bloomingdales, and have fun trying new brands.

  10. This has come up a couple times here but I haven’t seen many specific responses. I am really curious about how people actually start friendships with strangers they meet in public. A lot of advice about making friends focuses on places to go where there are other people—but I find I can quite easily pass an entire yoga class or solo drink at my favorite bar without speaking a word to anyone, or exchanging a few pleasantries that go nowhere. Perhaps it’s just a fatal personality flaw, but any practical, nitty gritty tips would be appreciated.

    • Try meetup.com to try activities in your area that force you to talk to people. I find language exchanges, women’s social book clubs (or wine clubs), and running groups that meet after runs for drinks are very helpful. Over time you develop relationships with people.

    • I don’t think many people are randomly approaching strangers in yoga class and saying “let’s be friends.” Clubs or meetups are a better bet because the whole purpose is to do something together. Friendships can happen more organically that way.

      • I do think at an exercise class like yoga it’s easy to meet people by hanging around before or after class, complimenting someone on a position, ask how they got so good, how long they been coming there, ect. If you go to a regular class and there there is someone you want to meet, you can put your mat by then, start saying hi, exchanging pleasantries. If it is meant to be, the conversation will progress and eventually you can ask them if they want to grab a coffee after class or something other activity. This method doesn’t work so well at every class.

        As for a bar, I think if you are sitting or standing next to someone, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask them what they are drinking/eating and if it is good. If they seem interested in engaging, you can ask if they have been there before, do they live in the neighborhood, ect.

        • For the bar, it might also be good to go to an activity/trivia night. Then you can sit around and make conversation with people about the answers and strike up a friendship that way.

    • I have made most of my friends through volunteering. Look for events or groups that essentially require people to consistently work together, like an event planning committee or other long-term project.

      I have never had luck meeting people at things like yoga for the reason you just mentioned – there is no real reason to interact with others outside of small talk.

    • I think it helps a lot to become a regular somewhere, so you see the same people more than once. I’ve never had the guts to ask someone out (for lack of a better term) just after meeting them once, but I’ve done it after having a few friendly chats at a yoga class or at a playground. It is extremely nerve-wracking! I say something like, “I’d love to (grab a coffee)(get the kids together for a playdate)(whatever). Do you want to take my number?” I always feel like I’m hitting on them, and it is sooo awkward. Try to keep your expectations low – one person who gave me her phone number never responded to my text suggesting we meet up, but then again I also made a couple of good friends this way. Good luck!

      • Cornellian. :

        I was just saying that making friends after 25 feels like I’m picking up people at a bar or going on internet dates.

        • new job who dis :

          I never really dated aggressively – but I think it’s important if you *actually want* to make friends to lean into the “awkward” “nerve wracking”-ness mentioned above. when you’re younger, friendships obviously come effortlessly, so the default-feel is that friends come in an easy, natural setting.

          Being an adult and making friends is hard – we all know that – but it’s a bummer when people shy away from that feeling and then clam up. I went on a group bumble BFF date with a few women (which was AWESOME) and every one of us made a joke about how it felt like dating and we felt awkward putting ourselves out there.

          Let’s get out there on some lady-dates team!

          • Can you tell me more about your experience with Bumble BFF? I’ve been thinking about doing it, but haven’t set it up yet!

          • to 11:56am: :

            I’ve found you’ll do a lot of swiping on women who won’t respond back, or women who mostly use the app to date but not make friends. I tried to keep my friend search local-ish because I know myself and I won’t travel crazy distances across my city to hang out.

            But you definitely have to reach out! I think the way to actually start a connection for me is not to text back and forth for weeks, but to actually go out! So I was chatting with two people – who suggested that they were chatting with other ladies – so we decided to do a group meet. Takes the pressure off of individual conversations and we all got a great chance to talk to several people. Now we have a group text where we offer up hang outs, but I also have individual connections with certain ladies depending on interests/hobbies.

            I did run across a few women who were rudely using Bumble BFF to pimp out MLM businesses or their own womens’ groups. Not into that, so I ghosted a few women when they added me to facebook groups *shudder*.

            also the chatting function on the app is not ideal – so if I was interested in hanging out with someone I offered them my cell number to put the ball in their court.

          • Group Bumble BFF sounds way better than one-on-one meetings!

    • Friendships and talking to people come easily to me, so here’s what I think works. (1) Being friendly and (2) consistency. When I say to be friendly, though, don’t be intrusive. If you were waiting in line to buy groceries and someone next to you asked you where you lived or commented on your cart, you’d feel a little creeped out, right? But if someone made a joke about the absurd headlines on the magazines in the check-out lane or made a joke about their own cart or about life’s quirks we all experience (“Why do I always do my food shop on Sunday when everyone else does?” or “I never doubt my ability to count to 15 more than when I am in the 15 items or less lane, I’m so nervous I’ll get kicked out if I have 16!”) it would be less weird.

      This is the friendly component and while it’s a good practice to try to be outwardly friendly in all situations, it is unlikely to actually create a friendship because it doesn’t have the consistency part to it. Unless of course you strike up such a conversation at the grocery check out that you exchange phone numbers and get together for lunch, but the easiest way is when these repeated encounters are built in, like signing up for a class that meets every week. I have some friends from my barre class that I would have never met in my social or professional circles. I am 30 and a lawyer; one is 44 and in finance, one is my age but a broadway actress, and the other is in her 70s(?) and is a dancer. We started chatting while waiting in line for class and became friends! Same rules apply: don’t start by asking someone their name and profession (if you are accustomed to meeting people as an adult through networking, this is hard to do) but rather ask “have you taken this class before? This is my first time!” and let the conversation flow from there. Don’t ask too many personal questions. After class, talk about the class (this is an easy general topic that is not too personal) like “wow, what did you think? My legs were shaking!” and talk about repeating: “You coming next week?” “Wow, great class! Are there any other good classes here you recommend?” or “I was going to go grab a coffee around the corner, wanna come?” Respect people’s time and space – people want to be friendly but to the extent they are comfortable. I find that most adults are happy to make new friends and meet new people but perhaps not immediately schedule long lunches together. And that’s ok! If someone doesn’t want to go for coffee, say “ok, see you next week!” And then when you do see the person again, try to bring up stuff you talked about before that isn’t too personal. Don’t ask “how’s work?” – that’s really a question best saved for people you know well and a boring question for those you don’t know super well. Ask “I have been meaning to ask you since last week – where did you get that water bottle?” or “OMG you were totally right – the morning after last week’s class, I couldn’t get out of bed my legs were dying!” or “Thank you for that awesome net flix recommendation! I’m hooked!”

      • Lots to Learn :

        This is very helpful, specific advice. Thanks!

        • Sure thing! My husband calls my ability to talk to people my superpower because from billionaires to shop girls to opera singers to homeless people, I just find it easy to talk to people and become friends. I do think it is a skill that can be taught and I do think it is really easier than it seems because at the end of the day, no matter your status, job, or wealth, humans are social creatures and like being included.

    • I’ve had similar experiences as yours. I wish there were more environments that facilitated forming new friendships. For example, if I owned a yoga studio, I would host a “social yoga class” once a week that would be aimed at people who want to go to yoga and meet new people. It would be a self-selecting group of people who are open to new friendships or at least being more social before and after the class. I think restaurants, bars, gyms, etc. that had these types of events would do well because there are so many people that feel the same way as OP. I almost wish there was some sort of visible signal (a bracelet, a button, etc.) that people could wear to indicate that they want to engage with other people or would welcome a friendly introduction from a stranger on the subway.

    • You have to be carful if you out at a place where they are serving drinks. When I went to Grand Central Station on my way home to meet a freind, we went to the Cambell Apartement, and as soon as I got in there, 3 guys with suits all came up and started to chat with me and offer me Votka Gimlets. I did NOT even know these 3, but they must have seen me as an easy shot. I declined, and the one guy got pissy b/c he said that no woman would turn down a drink from HIM, like he mixed it himself. I told him that for the price of a drink ($15), I would NOT do anything with him anyway, so he should save his money!

    • Linda from HR :

      I make most of my friends in social situations, not necessarily in public. If we hit it off, I connect with them on social media and then we arrange to hang out, get a drink or something.

      I don’t do yoga, but I make friends through social dancing, usually by chatting before classes and before dances start, and dancing together a lot, and the Facebook groups and event pages make it easy to locate their profiles. Yes, I realize not everyone uses social media, and I do understand that without it I would have a harder time making and maintaining friendships. Sigh sigh, tsk tsk, etc. etc.

    • I have a preternatural gift for making friends in public or weird places, and actually turning them into real friendships. Part of it is quantity: Out of, let’s say, 20 brief ‘connections’ in public, maybe one of those will turn into some sort of follow up. And of 20 of those follow ups, maybe one will result in repeated hang outs. And of 10 of those that result in repeated hangouts, maybe 1 will become an actual friend.

      If you’re only going to meet someone once and won’t naturally run into them again (for instance, at a party or a bar so you don’t have a shared class or friend group), there is absolutely a critical period to get in touch and actually see each other in person again if it’s going to have a chance of sticking. If you let it go, or you reschedule, you’re never going to see them again.

      So in short, you need to create a sufficient pipeline of in-public connections in order to have any ‘convert’ into real world friendship, and you need to nurture them with genuine enthusiasm but NO intensity (which would scare them off) at the right cadence. If you can’t tell, I’ve turned my friend-making talent into a career in sales :) Turning a stranger into a client and turning a stranger into a friend is not that different. Don’t give up, it takes lots of practice!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      So far my only successes have been with things that are explicitly group-y. Like, my Ladies’ Beer Club –> facebook friendships –> hey we should get a beer separate from the club. Sometimes.

      Tonight I’m doing something intimidating: I have a work-adjacent friend (family member of colleague) who I’ve done a few things with but always like “let’s attend this event that someone else planned” — but this time WE planned the outing. AND I invited a friendquaintance who I really like but never have a ~reason~ to see to come join us, because it’s right around the corner from friendquaintance’s place. Gosh I hope it’s good. Well, even if it’s bad, I know the beer will be good! (:

      None of this is advice, just some solidarity in that it’s hard when you’re older, and it totally feels like weird dates.

  11. Has anyone chaired a silent auction? Any tips? I’m trying to be thoughtful with the things I solicit, and I definitely have a few already, but I thought I’d ask just in case.

    I’m not a big spender myself, so don’t have strong ties to local stores. The nonprofit is relatively well known but not large. I’m trying to put together some experience bundles (i.e. dinner certificate plus tickets to a show?) but unfortunately don’t have the kind of connections to get anything unique (i.e. dinner with the chef plus wine pairing or whatever).

    Any unique ideas that worked well for you? Thanks hive!

    • Flats Only :

      Make sure you have a variety of price points. Not everyone can buy that $500 dinner, so make sure there’s something for $100 as well. List the actual value of each item, and set a minimum bid. Many people think that they should be getting a “deal” and will bid $50 for a $500 thing if they can get away with it. Even though what you are auctioning has been donated, you want to get at least the actual value of it. Don’t have too many big fancy things, “experience bundles, etc. If there are just a few they will seem more special and get bid up higher. Make sure there is a pen with the sheet for each item.

      • This is a total know your audience thing though. How much can people afford?

        Is the nonprofit staff running the event or are you really hands on? If you aren’t sure, get clarity from the staff about what they really need from you. They may need you to bring people more than get donated items, for example, and if they have a staff of any size they probably don’t want tips on how to format bid sheets, etc.

        Be careful not to get too many items – at a certain point you start dragging down the price for everything if there are too many items to bid on. Look at the fundraising goal, the total number of people, and start trying to get an idea of how you can put together sales to get to the goal.

      • Yes, have a minimum bid and have a “retail value.” I have seen them as “books” but the best silent auctions I have been to have a table set up (or multiple tables) with each bid description sheet in a frame. The item may or may not be there, too, but every item should have a description sheet and a bidding sheet. Most of them are in conjunction with an app, so the description sheet has the item number to bid on, but it’s fun to “browse” and I recommend doing the table even if you don’t do the app. The table should have pictures and props. People are visual shoppers and like to see and touch what they are buying even if it’s not something you can present. So if someone is offering up their lake house, put a vase of sand with a shells in it. Decorate the table like you would a dessert table (candles, balloons, flowers, ribbon, etc.) Have it in a well circulated area so everyone can take a look, preferably not far from the bar, and spotlight it with lights if you can. Give a little context about the item. Don’t just say “Dinner for four at The French Laundry” but build it up: “Hailed as a culinary genius and winner of multiple three-star Michelin ratings, Thomas Keller re-imagines destination dining at …”

    • Solicit, solicit, solicit. And follow up. Most people will say no, so you have to get out there and ask a lot.

    • I can’t remember the name of the app, but there is one that lets people follow items bid from their phones. Not sure how expensive or labor intensive it is to set up. If you have a lot of items, close the auction in stages. If you are getting a lot of small gift card donations that don’t logically go togther, put them in individual envelopes and tie them to ballons. People can then buy a balloon and get a mystery card.

    • Two ideas to consider:

      – a themed wine basket, if applicable (e.g., our church preschool with a St. Whoever name had a basket of “saintly wines” (all from vineyards with “Saint” in the name) donated – biggest item of the night)

      – Asking members if any of them own a vacation rental – a ski condo? lake house? Offer up a weekend when the family won’t be using it.

    • Also, don’t allow gift certificates or gift cards for certain amounts of money. In my experience, they tend not to do well once they hit the cash value, so they are sort of “capped” if that makes sense.

    • Are you the only person on the committee? If not, I would start by making a list of any and all retailers in your area and include all the companies of people on your committee. Circulate the list within the committee and have everyone (1) add their own contacts to the list and (2) indicate if they’re a patron of the retailer. Either they can make the ask or you can drop their name when you make the ask. (Our committee member Katie Smith loves your store and suggested that you may want to be involved).

      Also, you do have contacts to use – ask anyone who does your personal care (manicurist, hair stylist, etc.) or home care (cleaning person, lawn care) if they will donate. I always have the best success asking these people for items.

    • Horse Crazy :

      I’ve never done a silent auction for a nonprofit, but I’ve done many for fundraising events for clubs in which I’m involved. I absolutely agree that tangible items are better than gift cards – people rarely pay more than a gift card is worth. Even if you aren’t familiar with local businesses, do you have friends or family in the area who are? Maybe you could go in with them and they could help you solicit items. I have a friend in the wine industry, and she’s very helpful with getting donations from local wineries (bottles, gift baskets, coupons for group tastings, etc.). I also have a friend whose family has a vacation house in Jamaica, and they have donated a week at the house. Try to think of connections you have in your circles that could be helpful. I always bring a printed copy of my donation request letter when I go into businesses with my contact info and a description of the event and the club’s mission (i.e. what their donation will be supporting). I think going into the business in person is helpful, because they remember you and make a personal connection. Then follow up with a phone call a few days later. Good luck!!

    • And also consider what amount to gift certificates from service providers – CPAs, house cleaners, organizing services, etc., dog walkers (but not lawyers, it’s generally unethical). I am still using a CPA who I first used when he donated tax prep services to a silent auction at my son’s school about 15 years ago.

  12. Sourcing suggestions from the hive- Does anyone know of an extremely stripped down video calling device for calls with people with limited cognitive abilities. Basic scenario is relative’s dementia has progress and we are looking for essentially something that can sit on her countertop, we can call and she see us. Think the equivalent of if you would video call your dog during the day. Anyone aware of anything like that on the market? For various reasons, the usual solution (iPad plus facetime/skype) is too complicated and we really need something where our faces just pop up.

    • I can’t think of anything that would serve both purposes well. You would probably be best served with a Nest Cam (can set up cameras that are simply plug in and connected wirelessly, and can monitor all cameras from the app or online) and an ipad or similar device set up on a counter specifically to Skype or facetime in.

    • Is this person being left alone during the day? I think your first issue is that this person needs a care-taker. Sorry if this is too blunt, but if someone can’t figure out how to answer facetime, then they probably shouldn’t be left alone for significant periods of time.

      • +1

        Answering a facetime call technically isn’t any harder than answering a normal phone call.

      • Thanks for the concern. Supervision is adequately taken care of. Not to get too deep into it, this is a person who has been overwhelmed iPads, smart phones and computers even when completely with it. More just curious if anyone had seen a cool, simplified tech solution since lots of research is pointing to easy access to video calls for people in nursing homes is extremely beneficial.

        • Does it have to be a video call? Can you just talk on the phone?

        • No, sorry, and I looked. My mom has dementia and was also low tech at her best. I bought her an iPad but she couldn’t use it at all or even answer a FaceTime call. Also, to the people assuming your loved one isn’t being supervised/cared for- being in a assisted living or memory care keeps my mom safe, but it doesn’t mean there’s a caregiver near her iPad ready to answer a FaceTime as it comes in.

        • They do have video screens so you can keep an eye on pets (Petzi for example). The downside is that the camera would be on in that person’s home the entire time, essentially the home would be under video monitoring.

    • It sounds like you want something that would have been on the Jetsons once upon a time when everyone thought video calling was the future, haha. I really can’t think of anything that fits what you want. Maybe some combo of an ipad and voice commands?

    • I think the Amazon Echo Show might work for this–they have a “drop in” feature that I think might work this way. I don’t own one, though, so I’m not 100% sure.

    • Why not just try the dog thing? It seems like the simplest option.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Yes, actually! Amazon Echo Show. There’s a terrifying “Drop In” feature that lets selected contacts immediately start a video call. It seems perfect for parents with dementia, but incredibly invasive in basically every other situation.

      • Thank you. This level of dreadful invasiveness is exactly what I need and will probably regret as who knows, this may the one bit of technology she figures out that she can drop in as well…

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I was just going to say the exact same thing. You can turn off drop in and call her device still and she would just need to say “Alexa answer.” If that’s too much, leave drop in on. I think you might be able to have drop in work one way only too.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          I need to add one other complication for you. I just set up a regular dot for calling with my elderly not super tech savvy parents. You need a smart phone to set up the calling feature and you need to pair it with a cell phone that can accept a text. I was able to get it set up using my smart phone and my dad’s emergency cell phone as the number and get the text off that phone to enter into the app (via my phone) so that my dad’s dot can make and receive calls. The calls come from his cell number that does not need to be on. If your relative doesn’t have a cell, you can put a google voice number on your phone and use that as the phone number for it. When you set it up though, it will upload ALL of your contacts and there is no way to delete it from Alexa after she learns them, even if you unlink your phone, delete the app, all that stuff. Reportedly, you can call Amazon to delete it but I haven’t tried.

          So, if you want Alexa to know someone as “daughter” or “brother” instead of by name, you have to rename them in contacts before you pair it. If you are never going to have her call out with it, don’t worry about it and just go through the process so it will be able to receive your call / drop in.

          Technically, my mom could say Alexa, call Joe Smith and it would since Joe Smith is my contact but I’m not worried about my mom trying to call someone other than me or my brother with it.

          My husband is pissed because he has a lot of very important public official type people in his contacts that our Alexa now knows because we thought there would have been some contact book where we could pick and choose who was in it. Nope. He also thought he could undo it and just delete it. Nope. So now I just need to be careful to never ask her to call the governor. Hopefully she never mishears another name and confuses them.

          You can block other Alexa devices from calling yours. You will get a list of your contacts that have such devices and can block those. It will not block your device from calling their other numbers that were in your contacts.

    • Late to the game, but you can set up Skype to auto-answer calls from particular people. We used to use this when we wanted to be able to check on our separation-anxiety dog while we were out, but presumably you could do the same thing to set up a laptop or table at your relative’s house and as long as Skype is running, it will automatically connect you when you call.

  13. PSA – the Theory jacket featured yesterday is on sale from $475 to $285 and pants are marked from $285 to $171

  14. Anyone know what’s going on with J.Crew suiting? Are they phasing out the super 120s? Stock seems pretty slim lately. I know it’s not the highest quality but I love the unfailing ability to add another piece across the years and know for sure that it will match. I don’t think even Theory has that consistency with their constantly changing fabric types.

    • Oh man, I hope they’re not getting rid of it. I don’t care what anyone says about the quality, I ROCK that suit and get compliments every single time I wear it. I’d like to buy more pieces, maybe even duplicates…

    • Sewing anon :

      I do a lot of sewing and Super 120s fabric has appeared on a couple of fabric websites that I watch. That usually happens when manufacturers aren’t going to be using it anymore. I don’t know what that means for JCrew, but just something I observed.

  15. Just got an email about Jcrew closing a store in my area, and offering me $25 to go spend at another store.

    • Wow. It must be the beginning of the end if they’re closing stores.

      I haven’t shopped there in ages. If they had listened to customers (classic pieces in quality fabrics instead of overpriced polyester ruffled nonsense) they wouldn’t be having trouble.

      • Interesting article recently about Mickey Drexler and how they are re-orienting the store post-Jenna whatsername

        • https://www.wsj.com/articles/j-crews-big-miss-how-technology-transformed-retail-1495636817

          • And Drexler’s out now too. I don’t see the brand surviving unless bought out and restructured

      • I’m not so sure about that, pretty much every mall retailer is in trouble.

  16. Question about References :

    Questions about listing references. If you have been in the same job for a decade but have moved between divisions, is it appropriate to list multiple references from the same organization if they can talk about different skill sets? It seems that references from outside the organization would be so old at this point, that they might not be useful to an interviewer. Thanks!

    • I’ve done this a few times, with success each time, and been on the hiring side when this was done. I think it’s fine! On your reference sheet/if you have a place to describe the relationship or their title, make it clear that X person is from X division, Y person is from Y division. That will correlate to your resume and the varied responsibilities.

    • I think it’s totally appropriate. When sending the references, I would just say, “Here you go – I worked with X and Y in different capacities at Company; they will be able to speak meaningfully about my recent work.” As an interviewer, I would much rather talk to them than someone who hasn’t worked with you for eleven years.

  17. Suggestions for favorite natural makeup? Looking for a BB cream with good coverage, liquid eyeliner and mascara. Hoping to find eyeliner and mascara that are long lasting and are smudge free (which I realize is more difficult for natural). Also hoping to pay something roughly around drug store prices (it’d be great to get all 3 for about $40 total or less). Thanks!

    • By natural, do you mean cruelty free? If so, the blog phyrra dot net has a lot of cruelty free options.

    • If by natural you mean not chock full of chemicals as standard store brands, you might want to try a mineral powder; you’re not going to get that from a BB cream. For eyeliner and mascara, I’ve seen people successfully mix activated charcoal with mineral, coconut oil, or soft white shea butter (a very small amount) and apply with an eyeliner brush and mascara brush and it looked great.

      For lips and cheeks you can create natural berry or wine stain products from scratch. But store brand makeup is inherently not natural.

      • Burt’s Bees has a makeup line now, that’s probably as close to “natural” as you can get at a drugstore. Physicians Formula has natural mascara that is pretty good, too.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Ha I was assuming you meant a natural look, for which I am loving my Ordinary Serum Foundation mixed with my regular moisturizer. It’s cheapAF.

  18. Incompetent At Flirting :

    Can anyone recommend a dating coach in the NY area? I am a female professional in my late-twenties, graduated from a top Ivy League school, have a demanding job, but have been too academically/career focused that I did not start dating until about two years ago. Right now I don’t have issues getting first dates online but am struggling with getting past first dates. I have even been told by dates that I don’t know how to flirt. I think being conservative physically does not help either. Normally women are supposed to be the ones being flirty and it’s more acceptable for men to not know how to flirt. So I think I can really benefit from some coaching on how to flirt that is individualized and in person. I know the standard advice about touching your hair, smiling, and etc, but so far I am not improving. Thanks so much!

    • Three Day Rule in NYC?

    • Just a thought :

      I’m not so sure this is about not knowing how to flirt. The idea that you have to twirl your hair, or something of the like, to show you’re interested in a man is ridiculous. Maybe you don’t know how to show that you are interested romantically? Which doesn’t mean flirting. Do you feel a connection with any of these dates? If not, flirting isn’t the issue. It’s your inability to connect.

      (I don’t intend for this to come off as harsh. Rather it’s another way to look at the situation.)

      • +1

        OP, do you normally have some social awkwardness? Do you normally have trouble talking to people or making friends? It sounds like you’re keeping yourself at a distance which people will pick up on.

      • Agree with what I think the point of the above is. If you approach flirting as a series of prescribed steps, then it’s going to come off as inauthentic, which probably won’t lead to second dates.

        Try to have fun on your dates, talking about yourself and listening to your date in fairly equal measures. Check in with yourself from time to time to see how you feel. Do you like your date? Does he seem to be having a good time? Are you interested in what he has to say? Would you rather be where you are or home on your couch right now?

      • Incompetent at Flirting :

        You are getting at something. I struggle with showing romantic interest. I am not socially awkward at all and have no trouble making friends. But for some reason the more attracted I am to a man, the more standoffish I come across (e.g. Inability to sustain eye contact or smile). This problem is something that most women who start dating in high school get over with in college, but because I am starting so late that I am just trying to learn how to control my feelings. I know I don’t have an issue with social awkwardness generally because I often have to gently turn down some of the men I do not find attractive precisely because I am able to be myself with them in a platonic way. I do think it would be helpful to get individualized feedback though. Because what I am trying to understand is how I come across as standoffish to the men I am attracted to. Maybe counseling would help?

        In any case, any recommendation would be greatly appreciated!

        • Anonymous :

          I think finding a good counselor would help.

          Couple of guesses as to why you are doing this: you think your lack of dating experience somehow hobbles you (it doesn’t), and you respond by being standoffish. Alternatively, you think that dating is somehow really different from other social interactions; not knowing how to behave, this is the default behaviour.

          Other option: you do not understand what your real dating goals are, so you respond by pushing people away. It could be that you genuinely don’t want to get married or have a long-term relationship – and that’s fine! You do you. Or you could be dating because you really want to, finally, and the whole thing is such a mystery, and such a big change, that you push people away.

        • This is maybe a weird thing to ask, but how do you generally feel about expressing emotion?

          I have gotten similar feedback about being “standoffish”, which was so weird to me because I am usually pretty good at low-stakes social interaction. But I realized I have trouble being warm or flirty when I like a guy because it feels scary and dangerous – very vulnerable! It’s much more comfortable to make teasing comments or pull back altogether, which can come off badly to men if not balanced out with being friendly/flirty.

          I like the idea of counseling; you might try some of Brene Brown’s books about vulnerability if you think you are similar to me.

    • Don’t try to be someone you’re not. You’re not flirty and that’s fine. Just go on lots of first dates and there is bound to be someone who will appreciate the real you.

      • +1. Not everyone really flirts. Guys should be able to handle you just telling them directly that you’re interested, want to go out again, are inviting them back to your place, or whatever–no hair-play required.

        Carolyn Hax always points out that it’s self-defeating to try to change yourself in any way to attract a partner. Because even if you succeed, and end up in a relationship with them, you’re never going to be able to keep it up.

    • Are you having fun on these dates? I’ve had several first dates that didn’t involve much chemistry but were still fun, because we had stuff in common and they were nice people. If you aren’t having fun, it might be coming off as not flirty enough.

      Do not be surprised if you meet someone who really interests you and you suddenly start flirting. (Even if it’s dorky and awkward flirting, men will find it to be sweet.)

      You didn’t ask for this pep talk, but you’re going to get it: there’s nothing wrong with taking a while to date (in fact, late bloomers can make outstanding spouses), being conservative physically, or not feeling really attracted to a variety of people. Some people date a lot trying to find the right one, and some people just know really quickly that it’s not right.

      So my advice: focus on enjoying getting to know someone that you have things in common with, because getting to know new people can be fun. If you hit it off, great, and if not, just keep being you.

    • Maybe go on first dates where there’s movement–go for a walk in some gardens/green house, skating, gallery… Sometimes a dinner or drinks can feel like a meeting/interview. This could be a way for it to be less …. staid.

      If you’re having fun and there’s a good connection, it will come.

  19. Belle Boyd :

    I need to upgrade my smartphone – any recommendations on brands? I currently have an iPhone, but I am not Apple-loyal. I’d be okay with switching to Android. What brands/phones are good? Any I need to avoid at all costs?

    Also, any recommendations on companies for cellular service? Currently with Verizon and they seem crazy-expensive compared to other companies. I’m wondering if it’s worth switching or if it’s a “you get what you pay for” world out there. It seems the best deals are for multi-line accounts, but it’s just me and my poor, lonely phone. No deals for just one phone, it seems!

    TIA.

    • If you’re used to an iPhone, Android is pretty awful. I asked an acquaintance who works for the big G (who uses an iPhone, btw) why Android is so terrible. He said it isn’t the OS, but the crap that the different manufacturers and carriers pack the phones with. So maybe the pixel would be okay, but I’d get another iPhone if I were you.

      If you work for a large employer, they may offer a discount on cell service. I get 15% off my bill every month because of my employer. Check your benefits to see if they have deals.

      • Android tends to give you more options/price points on phones, though. So you aren’t locked into getting a $600-$1000 phone. There are definitely phones without much bloatware (I got a Moto X unlocked from Motorola and then took it to my carrier to start service).

        I’ve never had anything Apple and Android works fine.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          If you buy unlocked, just make sure it will work on your carrier. https://willmyphonework.net/ is good for that.

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            (And, I should add, because I am also looking for a new phone and am on Verizon–there are a lot of phones that won’t work on Verizon. Something about frequency bands. Someone more techy than me would have to explain it)

      • If you buy the android straight from google it has none of that. I’ve only ever bought google phones (Nexus 5X and now Pixel 2) and looooove them after switching from iphone. I also use google fi. Cheapest cell service around.

      • +1 I’m used to apple and tried to use an android for a while. Hated it. There’s a reason iPhones are so popular.

        I also have Verizon and shopped around. I found the plans to all be pretty similarly priced. Sprint was a little cheaper but has less coverage, most notably at my house.

    • Cornellian. :

      Do you use your phone for work stuff? I’d talk to IT and see if they have any insight about what works best with your software.

    • BabyAssociate :

      I have a Google Pixel and had 2 Nexus phones before and cannot recommend them enough. Look into Project Fi as a provider (I believe you have to have a Google phone to go this route), especially if you do any international travel.

      • Technically, google says you have to use their phones for project fi, but my SO tried his goolge fi sim card in his old iphone just out of curiosity and it worked. I think any phone capable of calling over wifi will probably work.

    • I just bought an LG X Charge and I love it. I previously had an LG phone. I like LG’s interface. I am only sad that they took out the pedometer. So far, it does hold a charge for days. It has a great camera and had only a medium amount of bloatware, much of which I deleted, some of which I cannot.

  20. Anyone following the Blaze Bernstein thing? Not getting much press but 19 yr old Penn student missing since Jan 2 and found deceased in a park near his Orange County home yesterday. Can’t stop thinking about it – in part bc I went to Penn and his family is like so many stereotypical rich, high expectations Penn families – and then there’s a gay son living a double life.

    • Yes it is terrible, but the story seems to have a lot of holes. There was another Penn freshman killed over winter break with his family in that plane crash in Costa Rica. (also a Penn alum).

      • Anonymous :

        Yes – which is why I’m constantly checking to see if there are updates, any new search warrants etc. Horrifying that he goes to a small park 10 min from home and disappears. I knew about the Costa Rica plane crash and Bridgewater (the hedge fund) had tweeted condolences bc the dad was a PM there. Just realized this morning that the middle son was a freshman at Penn – along with an older brother at Hopkins and a mom and 12 yr old brother at home. Horrible.

        • I mean, I agree it’s sad, but it’s a little odd that you’re constantly checking for updates.

          • Eeertmeert :

            Judgy, much?

            Some people, including myself, are fascinated by true crime. It only gets more absorbing when it hits close to home. It’s human nature.

            A friend of mine from college was murdered, and I still Google her from time to time to see if there are new elements to the case.

    • OC Engineer :

      This is about 2 miles from my office. I was aware / creeped out by it because of the proximity, but I didt’t realize it was getting national coverage.

  21. Things feel a little stagnant in my current job, so I’m hoping to be more proactive in figuring out my next step, rather than just waiting to see what comes around. In order to do this, I think I need to have a better idea of what would be a good fit. When I try to assess my skill set, I tend to focus on areas that need improvement and lump everything else into “fine” or “average,” even though I know there are areas where I excel. Any advice for how to get past my instinctive desire not to brag and really acknowledge my strengths?

  22. What should I wear to a basketball game (box seats) ? I’m a midlevel biglaw associate, and will be entertaining two clients with a junior partner, although there will be other lawyers there with their clients, too (I will likely be the only woman though … an issue for another thread). Game starts at 7pm–I’ll probably go straight from work but can change before I leave the office. Help!

    • I think maybe pants and reasonable shoes, although depending on the arena there might be elevators to the suites. Maybe a jacket or just a blouse/sweater.

    • Senior Attorney :

      And wear something in the team colors if you have it.

      • Anonymous :

        I vote against the team colors. It could come across as inauthentic if you do not actually care about basketball (nothing wrong with that, just guessing that’s the case based on the question).

        I went to a similar networking event last year and wore ankle pants, flats, and a sweater, which is a pretty typical work uniform for me. I added a simple gold necklace and earrings. If it helps to know, all the men wore slacks and a sport coat, no tie. A number of the clients wore jeans and a polo or button down.

        • Anonymous :

          For a pro-basketball team, I wouldn’t hesitate to wear team colors, even if that was all I knew about the team. I mean, you don’t have to, but I wouldn’t call it inauthentic to wear the local team colors even if you don’t know basketball. I wouldn’t wear a jersey or team gear, because I’m not going to buy sports team stuff for a team i don’t regularly see, but I would wear a sweater (to the extent I already own one) in team colors.

          For a college level basketball team, it might feel weird to wear school colors if I didn’t go to the school.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yeah, if you don’t care about basketball it’s no more inauthentic to wear a purple sweater to a Lakers game than it is to be going to the game in the first place. I see it as just a gesture of… what? Goodwill? Local spirit? Camaraderie?

  23. card game ID help please :

    Played a game at a dinner party a year or so ago and trying to figure out the name to buy it for a friend…

    was a card based game… cards had random items listed on them, one person was the focus each round, in which everyone chose from the cards in their hand what item that person would like best. The person of focus would then choose from the items (without knowing who chose what) which item they liked best and points were awarded for top answers.

    Anyone have any idea?

    • Sounds like Apples to Apples or Cards against Humanity.

    • If the cards were tame, it was Apples to Apples. If the cards were raunchy and offensive, it was Cards Against Humanity. Those are the only two games that I know that are like that.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        To elaborate on that, Apples to Apples is red and green; Cards Against Humanity is black and white.

    • Linda from HR :

      It’s most likely Cards Against Humanity, or one of the many variations out there (like Crabs Adjust Humidity). It could also be the new(ish) Cyanide and Happiness game, or What Do You Meme? Honestly a lot of companies have followed the CAH model in an attempt to make equally hilarious party games – some are fun, most are kinda meh.

  24. Linda from HR :

    Would I sound like a crazy person if I asked my coworker to email me when I needs something. He pops by my desk frequently, often asking me to come with him to his office or duck into a nearby conference room for a chat that ends up being pretty brief and, in my opinion, something he could have simply asked me over email. Sometimes it seems like he’s just looking for excuses to come by and chat, and other times he sees me heading to my boss’s office and insists on coming with me when neither of us invited him to the conversation and I’d hoped to talk to her alone.

    I don’t mean to shut myself off from him entirely, if he popped by once or twice a day it wouldn’t be a big deal, but when it happens a bunch of times it can be very disruptive since it’s always a surprise and it pulls me out of what I’m trying to focus on.

    • How about popping over to his space and telling him your second paragraph. I think that would come across as less harsh/anti-social.

    • Flats Only :

      I suspect he likes you, in the middle school sense of liking.

      • Linda from HR :

        I kind suspect the same thing, in a gut feeling kinda way, but I don’t have enough hard evidence to make that conclusion so I have to act totally clueless to that possibility.

    • The next time he asks you to duck into a conference room, etc., just tell him that you’re working on something right now and will connect with him later in the day. Ask him if he can summarise in an email so you can know what it’s about in advance.

      He isn’t “insisting” on coming to your boss’ office: you’re (sort of) letting him. Insist right back that this meeting is between you and your boss alone.

      Don’t fall into the trap of justifying, explaining, etc. – it’s completely reasonable to not have a third party in your talks with your boss, and it’s completely reasonable to not step out of your office (or cube) at a moment’s notice several times a day. Just tell him it’s not a good time, and just keep doing it.

    • Try saying no. “I’m in the middle of something but if you shoot me a quick email I’ll circle back.” “Actually I’m meeting with boss alone.”

      • Anonymous :

        +1. Don’t make a big speech about it, at least until you’ve tried to address it casually like this a few times.

    • “Hey ____, I love that you feel comfortable enough to drop by when you need something and I don’t want that to stop entirely, however multiple visits each day can really distract me. Are you able to email me when you think of things and I’ll respond when I can? If not, what about making yourself notes and then coming to chat with me at the end of each day/right before lunch/at x time? I don’t want you to ever feel like you can’t come to me, I just also need to find a better system for this so that I can be as focused as possible with my own work.”

      When he tries to follow you into boss’ office, you could say something jokingly like, “nice try, ____ but you don’t get to be the only person with 1-on-1 chat time with me!” or something more serious like, “did you need something? I’m about to go into a private meeting with -the boss- and I just wanted to make sure you’re all good before I’m away from my desk for a bit.” or “I appreciate the company on the walk to -the boss-‘s office but this meeting is just for the two of us. If you need something, please email me and I’ll respond when I return to my desk.”

      • I know you mean well but this is way too apologetic and justifying.

        Take your lane, Linda from HR.

        “I’m busy right now, I’ll catch up with you later” is a complete answer.

  25. Forever Student :

    Looking for suggestions for those of you who like classes and enjoyed being students. Giving some background because the ones I’ve seen online (join an organization, learn a new language, take up a new hobby) have already been checked off my list.

    I loved being in school. I went straight through and I am early in my career, so being a student is pretty normal for me. I studied philosophy in undergrad, so a lot of my friends are still students and I am a little jealous of some of the cool courses they are taking. I work in a secondary market large firm so auditing courses isn’t really an option due to our work schedule.

    I have considered getting an online LLM, but it’s so expensive and I don’t need it for my job–it’d be solely for the learning portion of it, which is not wise financially. I love my job and it is in a niche area, so it’s not for lack of intellectual stimulation.

    I’ve looked at MOOCs, but haven’t found many law/transactional related ones and most of the others I’ve liked are archived, so no teacher interaction. I have several hobbies that take time and do Jr. League–the trainings are definitely my favorite part. I am fluent in a second language and dabbled in a third while in undergrad, so not sure if a course in that is the answer either. I am very interested in theology as well, but an MDiv is way overkill and like the LLM, doesn’t really make sense financially. Same issue with the MOOCs for this topic.

    What are some things you do or would recommend when your intellectual curiosity is just begging to be fed some more?

    • Anonymous :

      Try teaching a CLE and enjoy the other side of the podium. Being a good teacher and managing your content and your visual aids will get your mind working in a new way.

    • Are you looking for a degree out of it? You could take courses on Coursera or the Great Courses for much cheaper than taking a class at an institution. Colleges like MIT and Yale have free online courses as well.

      • Some of the “live” courses on Coursera have some teacher interaction through e-mails. My boyfriend was actually a TA for a course on Coursera once.

    • BabyAssociate :

      What about taking an in person language class?

    • nerfmobile :

      If you are not looking for a degree, just classes, then look at any extension programs run by your local university or even nearby community colleges. Evening and weekend classes abound. Some of them have quite interesting topics, or you could delve into new fields in a lightweight way. History, Sociology, Poli Sci, Comparative Literature….

  26. I’m slip-sliding away

    I have sheer hose on with pumps and my feet are slipping around in my shoes. I almost fell down on the way in from the parking garage. Too late to change my shoes today. Any tips to keep me from breaking my neck?

    • Ps the shoes are not too big. I just feel like I’m trying to walk on ice.

    • Why can’t you just take the sheer stockings off?

      Otherwise if you have access to liquid rubber or gel shoe pads (back of shoe or sole) via a CVS / Riteaid or something similar, that should work.

    • hairspray on your heels?

    • Anonymous :

      If it feels like the shoes are just a little too big with tights/stockings on, I’ve sometimes stuffed the toes of my shoes with Kleenex. Not a great solution, but it helped stop my shoes from falling off my feet for a few hours.

    • Anonymous :

      So this is weird but I started wearing those no show socks underneath my hose to prevent tears, etc. And I’ve found that when I wear them my feet don’t really slip around. I guess because they make my footprint in the shoe bigger? not sure but they win in my book for two birds, one stone!

    • Stick a strip of double sided tape inside your shoe, under your foot.

  27. Does anyone have any suggestions for a long weekend in Austin, TX in late February? My best friend and I are meeting up there to celebrate our 40th birthdays. Location was chosen for logistical reasons, and I have no idea what to do there! I’m planning with her husband – it is a surprise for her. We both like the outdoors (hiking, canoeing/kayaking, biking) and wine, if that helps. Places to stay, eat, or suggestions for what to do would be greatly appreciated!

    • While Austin has a great big reputation, it’s actually kind of small if you’re used to major cities.

      You can do Stand Up Paddle Boarding on Lady Bird Lake.

      You have to drive out quite a ways to get to good wineries or any hills to hike, so keep that in mind.

      For nightlife (or even afternoon-life), hit up Rainey Street. It’s a street of 1900s houses that have all been turned into open-air-ish bars. My favorite is Banger’s – a beer garden with a little stage for musicians, great beer, and German sausage platters.

      6th Street is the college bars and it has a slightly-more-tame-than-Bourbon-St vibe. Do what you will with that info.

      You can watch the bats fly out from under the Congress bridge downtown.

      Stroll through the offbeat gift shops on South Congress. (I wasn’t that awed, but others are.)

      Optional: stand in line for eternity at Franklin BBQ. Opinions vary as to whether there’s just as good BBQ at places without such a long wait.

    • +1 to everything Anon at 1:55 said – it’s a big small town. SUP or canoe rentals are fun and cheap.
      Other outdoor activities include:
      Hiking around the Greenbelt, which is basically the greenspace around the river. I like to start at Gus Fruh because you can park in the neighborhood. You could walk to Barton Springs from Gus Fruh (~3 mile walk) but it will be COLD.
      McKinney falls also has hiking and a bit of climbing.
      The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower center is cool but it probably won’t be that exciting in February. You never know though.
      Enchanted rock is cool but it’s an hour+ drive outside of Austin – the bonus is you could hit up some wineries while you’re out there.
      I’ve actually never hiked around Mount Bonnell but it’s supposed to be really pretty. The drive certainly is (used to be my commute…sigh)
      For food/wine I like Olive and June in North Campus; Asti or Foreign and Domestic, both in Hyde Park. I think they have wine? Honestly I was too poor when I lived there to give good wine recs, sorry. Easy Tiger has good mixed drinks. I don’t think they serve wine.

      If you enjoy walking I’d get an Airbnb in Hyde Park and walk around, making your way south to UT’s campus to see the turtles/tower/architecture and then down to downtown and/or the Capitol. You can just Yelp places to pop in and get a drink or a snack along the way. I’d definitely stop at The Driskill. I might even stay there (if I could afford it). Barton Springs resort is really nice, but it’s outside the “city” so you’d have to drive 30+ minutes if you wanted to go to Rainey or 6th or basically out to dinner/drinks at all.

      I think the two must-see items there are the Capitol (this is honestly like a 30 minute thing but you can wander around as long as you like) and the Continental Club, but I’m really into music so that may be a bust for you. Enjoy!

      • I’m the anon at 1:55. Texans love to tell you that their state capitol building is bigger than the U.S. Capitol. Because of course it is :) It’s really beautiful, though, and open to the public. Here’s the info on free tours: http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/plan/tours/tours.html

  28. Any Missouri 'rettes here? :

    Our govermor . . . . unbelievable. No, I take that back. Totally believable and depressing.

    • AnonMidwest :

      Yes, sigh. And I just can’t deal any longer. The number of people victim shaming and defending that creep are … well to use a polite word, disappointing.

    • Anonymous :

      Yep!!
      Gotta love those family values.

  29. Any Missourians here? :

    Reposting to avoid wording that got moderated . . .

    Our govermor . . . . unbelievable. No, I take that back. Totally believable and depressing.

  30. When asked in an interview why I’m looking to leave my current job, is it appropriate to say compensation? Below market pay + no bonuses and no raises…

    • I’d err on the side of “seeking new challenges” or other such fluff.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. It should be more about wanting new responsibilities than just wanting $$$. Even in Big Law and other super high-paying professions, people don’t want to hire someone who is only motivated by money.

    • Anonymous :

      Nope. They may ask the question “why are you looking,” but you need to answer the question as though the employer asked “why do you want to work for us in particular.”

    • As long as you’ve been at the current role for a decent period – I’d say at least a year if entry-level, at least 2 years if beyond entry-level – then you can frame it as “no room for advancement.” Be ready to discuss how you’ve grown in your position and want to move to the next step on the ladder, which isn’t available where you are now.

    • Anonymous :

      Voice of dissent here.

      If you are making substantially below market (salary plus bonus), frame it as enjoying the work, learned a lot, etc., but you are making $X below market.

      I did that in interviews – comparable jobs, much more pay – and basically said, “Enjoy the work, great colleagues, learned a lot, pleasant work environment, cannot continue to make $40k/year.” The problem with saying “below market” is people think you’re walking over 10% or so.

  31. Traveling Alone :

    I’m newly single and don’t want to let my vacation days go to waste this year. I’m thinking of going to Portugal and maybe Spain this year. Has anyone been to either country? Any suggestions on things to do and how to fight off that lonely feeling when traveling alone?

    • Anonymous :

      Portugal was amazing. Lisbon was friendly and easy and safe and magical.

    • BabyAssociate :

      Definitely go to Portugal! I’ve been to Lisbon and Porto, both very safe and easy to get around. If you go to Lisbon, be sure to take a day trip to Sintra.

    • Went to Portugal (Lisbon and Porto, with a Sintra day trip) last year. I LOVED it. I stayed in the Yeatman in Porto and they treated me wonderfully (like, as a solo female diner, I’m used to getting bad tables in restaurants – no, they gave me an amazing table overlooking the river and the sommelier – who was a woman – was really excited that I was interested in Portuguese wine and spent a ton of time with me).

      In Lisbon, I stayed in several hotels operated by Heritage Lisbon Hotels, all in historic buildings. My favorite was As Janelas Verdes. I would have loved to stay in Solar do Castelo (inside the historic castle), but it was booked.
      I did a very cool daylong tour where you ride in a motorcycle sidecar, which I highly recommend.

    • Anonymous :

      I spent two weeks in Spain traveling solo (one week in the top half of Spain and another in the bottom half :) ). Its VERY easy to do in Spain, especially with the great rail network. I never felt unsafe (although I was never out past midnight).

    • I did Portugal solo. I did a few days in Lisbon, day trip to Sintra, and a few days in Albufeira. I actually didn’t love Portugal or solo travel though. I felt safe traveling in Portugal but I felt like there wasn’t that much to do. I enjoyed a couple of walking tours, the Jeronimos monestary, and the day trip to Sintra, but Lisbon doesn’t have sites that you MUST SEE the same way that other European cities like Paris or London do. I also thought solo travel would be this great, empowering experience, but I actually just found it kind of lonely. You could stay in a nice hostel (Lisbon has some very nice hostels) which might make it feel less lonely. You could also sign up for a few guided activities (food tours, bar crawls, etc.) that would give you a chance to connect with other people. I know a lot of people love solo travel, but I just felt like the trip would have been more fun with friends.

  32. just another thing... :

    I’m pretty sure I just fractured or bruised a rib coughing. I was fine a few minutes ago, then was turned around in sort of a weird angle, coughed, and all of a sudden it hurts under my left [email protected] when I breath in. It’s not getting better or worse after about 30 min.

    I’ve had bronchitis for weeks, so this is sort of a long time coming.

    Question is, do I call/go to a doc? I’m pregnant, so I can call my OB, but this isn’t’ their deal. The pain isn’t excruciating. It’s annoying and feels like a pulled muscle sort of… and if my local CVS-minute clinic had an x-ray, I’d go there (but I’m not sure i’d risk the x-ray with the pregnancy in this scenario). I don’t have a PCP. This doesn’t seem like an ER sort of thing. I would imagine a walk-in is both mobbed and lacking in X-ray (again, not even sure I’d do an x-ray).

    Ideas? I’m totally and completely slammed today, so I want to make sure (a) there is a need to be seen and (b) i do it in the most efficient way. I’m thinking of taking tylenol and putting a heating pad on it [I’m WFH] and carrying on with my day–is that insane?

    • Linda from HR :

      Hm . . . I’d figure every doctor has to go through general medical training before they specialize. I could be wrong on that, but it’s probably worth calling your OB and asking, if they’re unable to give you an answer they probably have an idea of who could help.

      If you have insurance, there may be a number you can call to speak to a nurse practitioner about your situation, and they would probably be able to tell you whether this is an ER situation (in which case your copay might be significantly lower because you called) or they can tell you where to go for appropriate help.

      Urgent care clinics do have X-rays, but you might be correct in thinking they’d be mobbed and there’d be a considerable wait, but if that’s where a doctor or nurse practitioner tells you to go, go and just bring a book or something.

      • Just another thing... :

        But…I have $hit to do today is my point ;). I’m not interested in spending 3 hours of my day to be told I need an x ray that I’m going to decline.

        I think I’m answering my own question here. Back to the pity party!

    • Is there a reason you think you hurt a rib, not a muscle? That would seem much more likely (I am not a doctor, but have had plenty of nasty coughs that led to strained rib muscles). Either way, I don’t think there’s very much you can do about it. If you weren’t pregnant, I wouldn’t bother doing anything at all, but in the interest of taking all possible precautions, it could be worth a call to your OB if it’s not getting better.

      • Just another thing... :

        Yup, could be a muscle too. It’s right exactly where my underwire is on the left side. I have insurance. I’m just weighing any possible benefit to being seen vs the hassle it will cause me, especially because I’ll likely opt out of any X-ray. Google says there’s not much to do here.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Try the heating pad plus Tylenol. If it gets much worse, if you have trouble breathing, or if you can’t lay down, then yes, go to an urgent care.

      I have a chronic lung condition and I’ve done this approximately three hundred times, give or take. Even if it is a bruised or fractured rib, they can’t really do anything about it. Heat plus OTC pain meds is really the best they’ve got. The only concern is if you legitimately broke it and it causes a pneumothorax, but nothing you said suggests that and you’d be having trouble breathing. IANAD, but I would just keep an eye on it. Maybe try a hot bath. Oddly enough, I’ve also found the Cobra pose or a modified Cobra can help with this kind of thing.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I also agree it might be a muscle strain. It’s apparently very, very difficult to actually crack a rib coughing. Bruise, yes. Crack, no. But it is very, very easy to strain a muscle coughing, and I’ve alsays felt it in the same area you do, as do others I’ve talked to with the same condition as me.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Sorry, slight edit: don’t go to urgent care. The flu season is horrific and I would not step foot in an urgent care or ER unless I was 100% sure I was dying right now.

      • just another thing... :

        ok, you’ve made me feel better about being too lazy to go anywhere. Nothing is getting worse, except when I cough, cold season stinks. gonna go fashion myself a corset from a heating pad and try and stay productive.

        Seriously, this was the last thing i needed today!!

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Wrap a scarf around the heating pad and clip the pad to it with binder clips and then tie the scarf in front.

    • Anonymous :

      This happened to me when I was pregnant with bronchitis. Hopefully you just pulled something, which is what I did. I’m not sure that they can do much for that, but I do think you should call your OB. I ended up having a chest xray to confirm it wasn’t pneumonia causing my problems (thankfully, it wasn’t), but before any kind of x-rays i would think you want your OB to confirm it is necessary.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I don’t know if this is the right answer, but under all the circumstances you list, I’d call my OB and ask her what she thinks I should do.

    • My concern is that you shouldn’t have bronchitis for weeks, especially when you’re coughing hard enough to pull a muscle (which is what I’m quite sure you did). Are you treating the bronchitis? Call your OB. She can treat you for this. You’d want to see her anyway to make sure you take the right kind of antibiotics. You don’t want this to turn into pneumonia, if it hasn’t already.

      • Just another thing... :

        Actually I’m almost better, which is why it’s hilariosu that *now* is when I pull something! But yes, I did see the OB for my monthly and asked about the bronchitis.

      • That sounds pretty typical for how long bronchitis lasts, ime.

    • If it persists, I’d go see someone. I actually moved a rib out of place from coughing! I ignored the pain, and things got more and more out of whack (since everything is connected), and eventually I couldn’t turn my head! I fixed it through physical therapy, which would have gone much faster had I gone to a doctor sooner! Hopefully this isn’t what happened – a small muscle strain is much more likely.

    • You don’t want to get an x-ray when pregnant (based on my experience, I don’t think a dr. will perform an x-ray on you if you’re pregnant unless its absolutely, 1000% necessary). In any event, as others have said, its likely a muscle strain, not a broken rib and, even if it is a broken rib, there isn’t anything that can really be done for a broken rib. You just have to rest and wait for it to heal, so no need for you to try to get an x-ray. If the pain is severe, talk to your OB about what meds you can take.

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