Putting Workwear to Work for Halloween


It’s that time of year again: the leaves are changing, the air is crisp and pumpkin spice is everywhere. With October 31st fast-approaching, Kat asked me to create a few fun outfits to show you how to put your workwear to work for Halloween. (Yep, it is possible.)

So, I chose a cast of characters (two fictional and one very real, very eccentric designer) who not only have iconic style, but are also well-known for rocking head-to-toe black. Check out the inspired looks below…

(Curious for more ideas for making Halloween work at work? We previously discussed Halloween costumes in 2013 and 2010 open threads, and I shared a big list of ideas for office costumes a couple of years ago. – Kat)

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9 to 5: The Movie Discussion

9-to-5-corporetteWelcome to our first movie discussion here on the blog — as noted a few weeks ago, I thought it might be fun for us to review a few movies about working women through the years that you may or may not have seen.  Today we’ll be discussing the 1980 movie 9 to 5.   Our next discussion will be of Working Girl, on November 1 — it’s available for streaming on Netflix, from your local library, and on Amazon. (Here’s a link to the trailer, and to the Rotten Tomatoes page, where it has an 84% fresh rating.) 

So let’s discuss the movie 9 to 5!

(Warning if you haven’t seen it — spoilers ahead!)

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Professional Women and Insomnia

insomniaDo you have trouble falling asleep? Staying asleep? Going back to sleep? If you’ve ever discussed your insomnia with friends and noticed that most of them are women, it’s not a coincidence: Unfortunately, women are more likely than men to face insomnia for several reasons: hormonal fluctuations due to menstrual cycles (and then menopause), discomfort from pregnancy, and medical conditions that are more common in women, such as depression and anxiety, fibromyalgia, and restless leg syndrome. (Is it also because women bear more emotional labor and more often act as the default parent? I’m no doctor, but I feel like this must play a part…) If you’re dealing with insomnia, what have you tried that’s worked, and what hasn’t? How long have you been struggling?

This infographic from the National Sleep Foundation shares the basics of insomnia: it involves difficulty falling asleep, returning to sleep, or staying asleep; affects about 40 million Americans every year; and is considered chronic insomnia when it happens at least three nights a week for at least three months. (Acute insomnia commonly occurs because of temporary stress and usually goes away without treatment.) According to the Mayo Clinic, causes of insomnia include stress and anxiety; medical conditions (such as chronic pain and overactive thyroid); life changes (such as travel or altered work shifts); bad sleep habits (such as using your bed for things other than sleep and sex); certain medications (such as some antidepressants and antihistamines); caffeine, smoking, or alcohol; and eating too much before going to bed.

Besides following helpful sleep habits and improving your overall health — as these tips from the Mayo Clinic and WebMD detail — you can also try these home remedies for insomnia:   [Read more…]

How to Buy Suit Separates

How to Buy Suit SeparatesI’ve always said that suiting separates are far, far more flattering and versatile than discount bin suits (you know the ones, sold on the same hanger with a single size, some for very inexpensive prices) and we’ve seen an explosion in recent years with a TON of options for suiting separates.  Jacket, skirt, and pants, sure — but there may also be multiple jackets with cuts, buttons, and collars, ankle pants as well as trousers, a matching sheath dress or vest — I’ve even seen short shorts. So let’s discuss, ladies: how do YOU buy suit separates? Which pieces are your favorites to buy first (pencil skirt and collared jacket? ankle pants or trouser pants)?  Do you buy as many pieces as you can afford and dry clean all your suit pieces together so they wear the same, or are you open to “sale stalking” pieces from a matched suiting set, ready to swoop in if they go on sale? If you fluctuate between sizes, do you often buy two different sizes to keep in your closet and pull out the day of?

UPDATE: Ah, I’m seeing from the comments I’ve been unclear, so let’s set up a hypothetical. You need a new suit and go to a store like Talbots and find a beautiful suit on the mannequin — you love the color, the fabric, and hey, you need a new suit. You ask the clerk and she tells you there’s a pair of trousers, a pair of ankle pants, a sheath dress, a pencil skirt, a flared skirt, a collared jacket, a collarless jacket, a duster vest, a fitted vest, a pair of Bermuda shorts — all in that beautiful fabric and, wow, they all fit you perfectly. (Hey, it’s a hypothetical.) Do you buy ALL of those pieces at once? If you decide to only buy three pieces (say, pencil skirt, trousers, collared blazer), do you stalk the others to wait until they go on sale? (If you later saw one of the pieces on deep, deep discount — like the Bermuda shorts — would you buy them if only because you already had other matching pieces? Or at a certain point do you say NAH, I’m good, I have enough matching pieces for that suit.) If you buy three or four pieces and it becomes your favorite suit, would you ever go back to buy other matching pieces?

(Pictured: just a few of the suiting options that Theory has offered over the years — I’ll try to update the post later when I’m not having tech troubles to show some of the other great examples for suits with a thousand matching pieces.)


Working Girl, 9 to 5, & Other Office Movies

working-girl-9-to-5-moviesLadies — what are your favorite office movies, particularly for women? Which ambitious movie characters inspired you while growing up, and/or who has inspired you recently? Which movies would you want to discuss with other readers?  I’ve mentioned my favorite fashion movies before, and we’ve had a few discussion threads about specific books, but as fall weather sets in, I thought it might be fun to start a discussion series of “working girl movies.” The idea for this partly came when I watched The Intern months after it came out and then spent two hours looking for an earlier Facebook post where I knew some entrepreneurs I know had discussed the movie — but it’s been bolstered by sadness/shock when I talk to younger women who haven’t seen Working Girl. GASP.

Now, I must insist we discuss Working Girl and 9 to 5 — not only are they fun, funny, and uplifting, but they’ve stood the test of time. Don’t take my word for it, though — here’s a post from 2015 on Yahoo about how Working Girl “really is the perfect movie,” and a New Republic article from 2015 on the “enduring relevance” of 9 to 5), just for two examples. So our first movie discussion will be of 9 to 5, scheduled for October 18. That said, I’m curious to hear your thoughts on which other movies you’d like to discuss with Corporette readers. I think there are a few ways we could do this:

  • Try to find a movie from every decade to watch that represents women in the workplace, for example:
    • 1940 – His Girl Friday (another one of my favorites, but I feel like there may be a better option — I’m open to suggestions)
    • 1950s – ? (I feel like we can do better than Monkey Business but sadly that’s what’s coming to mind…)
    • 1960 – The Apartment (haven’t seen but I found it on a list of “top office comedies” — I’m open to suggestions)
    • 1970s – ?
    • 1980 – 9 to 5 (we’ll discuss on October 18)
    • 1989 – Working Girl
    • Late 90s/Early Aughts – ? (Devil Wears Prada was 2006 but could work… How do we feel about Legally Blonde (2001) as part of this discussion? Too much school, not enough office?)
    • 2009 – Up in the Air (haven’t seen yet, but found on the same list)
    • 2015 – The Intern (this may be too entrepreneurial-focused — thoughts?).
  • Chuck the “decades” idea out the window and just watch and discuss a few good office-oriented movies — for example, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead has some amazing “dressing for work” scenes and some amusing “lady in the workplace” things to discuss (We’re right on top of it, Rose!) — but it’s from 1991, so it’s very close in time to Working Girl. I’d also love to add Office Space to this list, but the only women in the movie are Aniston’s waitress character and Nina (“Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking!”).
  • Take a heavier load and add documentaries or dramas to the list. This is totally not my bailiwick, but I’m totally open to suggestions. Norma Rae? Historical dramas like Elizabeth?
  • Add TV series to the list and watch a few key episodes. Murphy Brown? Mad Men? Mary Tyler Moore? The problem here is that a movie is much more contained with character development and everything else.
  • Just focus on the “inspiring hard-working women characters” theme instead and add movies like Clueless to the list (or, hey, Hunger Games).
  • Add books to the list. (But hey, who likes reading, amiright?) (kidding)

All right, ladies, what say you? What movies would you like to discuss? For the moment, let’s start the discussion on October 18 with 9 to 5 — you can borrow it from your local library or rent/buy it from iTunes or Amazon. (Oooh, and Working Girl is available on Netflix, for those of you who want to get ahead in your assignments.) Here’s the blurb from Rotten Tomatoes, where it has an 83% fresh rating: “Three female office workers become friends and get revenge against their boss, a sexist egotistical lying hypocritical bigot, and in so doing create a more efficient and pleasant work environment.”

How to Find the Best Planner For You

plannerWe’ve gotten a few requests for a post on how to find the best planner for you — and I know the readers have been talking about it a ton! — so I thought we’d have a post today. How do you find the best planner for you? Reader J asks:

Can you do an update on the perfect planner post from 2012? I find that I need to use Microsoft Outlook for my corporate calendar to keep in sync with work commitments and colleagues. I dabbled with the Bullet Journal but couldn’t make that work and yet I feel like I need/miss the writing down aspect of using a paper journal.)

In our older post, readers recommended Levenger Circa, Staples Arc, Filofax, Russell + Hazel, Quo Vadis, Moleskine, Cavallini, Planner Pad, Exacompta 24, Erin Condren Life Planner.  In addition to those, readers more recently have recommended the Bullet Journal, ShePlans planners, and the Simplified Planner. I’m still figuring out my own system, so I can’t wait to hear what recommendations you guys have today!

For my $.02, I use a ton of different systems and haven’t found one good one that takes care of everything.  I use a Google calendar for most things and send invites to anyone who needs to know about trips/outings/visits/etc; the calendar entries have any important things relating to the calendar entry — a description, an address, questions I want to ask — if it’s a flight I have the airport, airline, flight #, estimated landing time, etc.  On my iPhone I’m a big fan of the app, Tiny Calendar, that syncs with Google calendar. For blog planning purposes we use Trello, which comes with a calendar and is an easy way to keep track of a lot of different tasks; we love Slack too but we’ve found it hasn’t worked the best for general planning purposes. Personally I use Remember The Milk to keep track of different to-do list items.  On the paper side of things I splurged this year and bought an Erin Condren Life Planner — it’s a beautiful, beautiful planner, but I primarily use it for recording cute things the kids have said and (more recently) trying to put a checkmark on each day that I’ve exercised or eaten well — for those simple tasks for 2017 I already bought a $.99 planner that will do the same thing. I love the idea of The Five Minute Journal for planning my day (pick three things to do at the beginning of each day, and at the end of each day recording what went well and what could have gone better.  I’m also a fan of a giant to-do list on a notepad in front of me — every few weeks I cross things off and move it to another list.  (I’ve experimented with having this giant list in RTM and keeping a printout in front of me so I can check things off — for some reason I prefer just having it on a paper notebook.) I’ve also experimented with laminating pages of paper that have spaces for me to think about goals for the month/week/day — more recently I also tried to laminate pages that have a little box for all of the different aspects of the business I should be thinking about, but that hasn’t worked out so well.

I’m curious to hear what you guys say — what planner are you using currently; what have you used in the past? What do you love about your system(s), and what do you hate about it/them?  Do you feel like any system can work if you’re diligent with it, or that planners are personality-driven and you need to go through several to find the best planner for you and your personality? 

Psst: we’ve also talked recently about best practices for Evernote, as well as the best apps for working women

Further reading:

  • Daily planners: paper or electronic? [Washington Post]
  • Passion Planner aims to be the cure for millennial angst [Washington Post]
  • The Tech-Savvy To-Do List: A Bullet Journal [Wall Street Journal]
  • How to Organize Your Entire Life with Trello [Lifehacker]
  • 10 calendar apps for Android and iOS that will help you organize a chaotic day [Yahoo! Tech]
  • 10 #BossChicks Share Their Favorite Planner for a More Organized Life in 2016 [Huffington Post]
  • It’s 2016. Why Can’t Anyone Make a Decent Freaking To-Do App? [Wired]

Pictured: Pixabay.