Introducing… CorporetteMoms, a Request for Guest Bloggers, and Some Kat News

SO. I’ve kept a few creative endeavors on the down-low, and now is the time to share! (Gulp!)

CorporetteMoms

The CorporetteMoms Newsletter

Longtime Corporette readers may remember that when I announced my pregnancy with Jack (now 2.5 years old) I ALSO announced that I’d be starting a new newsletter, devoted entirely to pregnancy, navigating maternity leave, and the return to work. Ahem. I never actually got around to starting it, but it’s always been in the back of my mind as one of my major goals for expanding this site. So, first up: I am FINALLY starting the CorporetteMoms newsletterThere will be two subscription options:  one for if you’re pregnant (along with a free eBook with my very best tips for dressing professionally while pregnant), and a second if you’re a working mom interested in news, deal alerts, and other updates.

CorporetteMoms.com

In the process of developing the newsletter, though, one of the things that frustrated me was the huge variation in how the emails looked in different programs — so it was important to me that each post have a home on the web.  So: I am also announcing the launch of the CorporetteMoms SITE, now live at http://corporettemoms.comThe newsletter and site will have a lighter publishing schedule than we have here at Corporette, but there will be at least an Open Thread and news roundup every week, as well as deal alerts for women’s and kids’ clothes and gear. (Because CorporetteMoms has its own database and lives on a separate server for now, it’s likely that we’ll be testing forum software (!) there first… so stay tuned for that announcement, hopefully soon.)

A Call for Guest Bloggers!

But wait, there’s more — I’d LOVE to get some of you guys to be guest bloggers for the CorporetteMoms site. Yes, you! My hesitation in launching a site for working mothers has always been that a) there’s a TON of parenting and mom-deal sites out there (to say nothing of mommy blogs), many of which are doing amazing work (and are addictive reads for me), and b) my own work/life balance is an unusual one. But after a lot of thought, I realized that as an editor I could contribute to and facilitate two kinds of conversations:  professional maternity-style posts, and posts about work/life balance from REAL working women. So: [Read more...]

How to Deal with Political Talk at the Office

How to Deal with Politics at the Office | CorporetteHow do you handle a lot of religious and political talk at the office — particularly if you disagree with it?  Reader S wonders:

Could you do a post about politics at the office? I am a moderate liberal, and my approach has always been to avoid discussing politics at work at all, except when necessary to serve the needs of a client (i.e., analyzing a judge’s leanings or referring a client to a PR/lobbying specialist). I now find myself in a small-ish firm (about 35 attorneys) in a conservative, evangelical region, and political conversations are very common in my office. Some of the partners with offices near mine are constantly making derisive comments about president Obama and his policies, the liberal agenda, the liberal media, etc. Sometimes the critiques venture into gender issues. I find many of the things they say to be pretty offensive. I try to avoid participating in the conversations as much as possible so they don’t ask me what I think, but I can’t help overhearing them. Do you have any advice on how to handle this situation, short of (or until) leaving the firm?

Yeouch.  We’ve talked about election politics at the office many years ago, as well as pressure from coworkers to give to charities at the office (which sometimes veers into the political realm), but we haven’t talked about either in a really long time.  (We’ve also talked about how to handle it when your coworkers are sexist pigs.)

I’m curious to hear what readers say here, but in this particular situation, this sounds like a Fit Issue.  A big time, capital letters, serious fit issue.  It sounds like you don’t agree with or respect their opinions regarding politics or religion, and you feel like your opinions wouldn’t be respected either.  Not only is it unpleasant and awkward at work, but honestly I think your career prospects are also limited, because Fit is a major reason why people get promoted (or don’t).  So: for you, it’s time to move on. [Read more...]

How to Wear Heels (If You’re Used to Flats)

How to Start Wearing Heels | CorporetteHow can you wear heels, if you’re used to flats? Which are the best first heels to buy? How do you make the transition smoothly and effectively? Reader J wonders:

I have always been a flat, practical shoe kind of person with some style. For example, Merrill boots in the winter. But, I am really trying to increase my presence in the world and have read that shoes with more lift indicate more power, money, etc. How do I find higher shoes that won’t kill my feet after all these years of being practical? Advice appreciated!

I’m curious to hear what readers say here. We’ve talked about the best brands for comfortable heels, specific ways to make heels more comfy, and how to look professional in flats (even how to wear flats to court), but I have a few more thoughts on this:

a) Obviously, you don’t have to wear heels to be professional. Personally I think heels look better with most work-appropriate clothes (full-length trousers, pencil skirts, sheath dresses, etc), and I find them more comfortable, on average, than a lot of work-appropriate flats, but you don’t need them to be “professional.”

b) Ask yourself WHY you want to start wearing heels. For Reader J, she’s trying to “increase her presence” — I’m not sure heels are the best way to do that. Heels can make you taller, and I’ve always thought they made my legs look thinner, but I think it would be a long road (because I’m going to suggest you take it slow if you do start wearing heels) before you’d get to the kind of heels that are outfit-defining, personality, statement pieces. For example — Erin Callan was known for her 4″ Louboutins and similar heels — but I’m not sure a 1.5″ heel is really going to “say” that much more than a flat would. It’ll make you taller… it might make your legs look better than flats… but it isn’t going to increase your presence (unless you’re clomping down the hallway in them, in which case I’m not sure that’s a good thing).  Like I mention above, I think heels will enable you to wear more outfits that will in general look sleeker, and those will increase your presence — but I think more credit is going to the sleek wardrobe than the mere fact that you’re wearing heels.

c) If you decide to start wearing heels, start s-l-o-w-l-y.  Don’t try to go from wearing, say, flat boots (where obviously your foot and vamp are fully encased) to 4″ pumps — it isn’t going to end well.  Look for low heelsunder 2 inches! — at first, to get your feet used to some height.  (Both of the Hunt roundups linked have a lot of suggestions for specific low heels that are pretty much perennial styles, like the Stuart Weitzman Poco, also pictured at the top of this post (and on sale — was $298 now $158, available in sizes 4-12). After you master that heel height, consider going higher (I’d stay under 3.5″ for the next round, perhaps aided with platforms (no bigger than 1″; bonus if they’re hidden).  Personally I don’t think anyone needs to go higher than that unless you’re taking pictures or shooting film (I’ve found out the hard way that 3″ heels look fairly frumpy on film!) — for actual life, I think the 4″+ heels are for the true heel lovers out there.

A few other tips:

  • For my $.02, check out the comfortable mall stores first — places like Aerosoles, Easy Spirit, and Macy’s comfort boutique — and avoid other mall shoe stores that specialize in trends/affordability first (sometimes sacrificing comfort and quality).
  • Scratch your soles — if the soles aren’t rubber, make sure you wear them outside enough to get them scratched.  It’ll give you more traction.
  • Look for strappy pumps if you have trouble walking in traditional pumps.
  • Look for chunkier heels (possibly even wedge heels) — the skinnier the heel the harder it is to balance.
  • Go bare.  If you’re still in the breaking-in stage, consider wearing them sockless (no trouser socks, no pantyhose) — for some reason that always helps me.  (Of course, know your office — bare legs are not appropriate everywhere, particularly with skirts.)
  • Know your inserts.  Get to know the various inserts from Dr. Scholl’s and the like available to you.  For example, I have narrow heels so I always have to put in heel inserts.
  • commuting heels Find comfortable commuting shoes — possibly even commuting heels that are lower versions than your regular heels.  (I was obsessed with this picture in a recent Inc. magazine article on executive assistants — Barbara Corcoran switching into identical but lower heels after a talk show!) I always suggest a general six-block rule for heels:  Your heels should be comfortable enough to walk at least six blocks, but I’d be surprised if anyone (at least, anyone with their podiatrist’s blessing) is walking for miles in heels.

Readers, if you’ve worn flats for years and then transitioned to heels, how did you do it?  Readers who started wearing heels when you started your career, how did you start?  What are your best tips for wearing heels?  Readers who love flats, which are your favorite work-appropriate brands and styles — and what do you wear with them? 

Emergency Preparedness — What’s Smart, What’s Crazy?

Emergency Preparedness Plans | CorporetteAre you prepared for various emergencies?  When do you think emergency preparedness crosses the line from smart to crazy?  We joked the other day about “Nine Ways to Prepare your Office for a Zombie Attack,” but that got me thinking — I’ve read a ton of advice lately about emergency preparedness plans for situations you never want to be in, and while some of it is a bit out there, most of it I’m glad to have read. Maybe it’s the former lifeguard in me (or the mama) but it calms me in a weird way to know what to do and have a plan of attack, and I often find myself discussing it with my husband afterwards, teaching him what I’ve learned. Maybe I’m crazy, but it seems like there are more and more of these stories, too. (For what it’s worth, we have had a serious discussion on here about the best self-defense tips for women.)  Ladies, do you like these stories? Or do you think it’s crazy prep for the paranoid?  (After all: may none of us ever have to use any of this knowledge!)

These are some of the stories that I’ve read and thought were really helpful — have any to add?

  • What To Do If You Fall On the Subway Tracks [Gothamist]
  • How to Stay Safe If You’re Caught in a Mass Shooting [Lifehacker]
  • How to Survive a Plane Crash [Smarter Travel, via Huffington Post]
  • How to Survive a Fall Through the Ice [Lifehacker]

Another fun topic: what emergency supplies do you keep in your homes? [Read more...]

Tool of the Trade: Hukkster

Kat's Latest Favorite Shopping Tool: HukksterI’ve shared some of my favorite online shopping tools with you already (Shop It To Me‘s addictive emails (also new: their sleek new iPad/iPhone app), Shopping Notes, and ShopSense) but I don’t think I’ve written a few words on one of my favorite newish shopping tools: Hukkster.

Basically, you set up an account, and download a bookmarklet to your web browser.  Then, as you go about your online travels, when you see a product you really like, you click the bookmarklet, and (after you sign in), you get a dialog (pictured below) asking you what size, what color, and what level of sale you want to know about (“on sale,” 25%, 50%).  [Read more...]

What to Wear When You’re Out of Town & Working Late

What to Wear When You're Working Late | CorporetteWhat should you wear when you’re planning to work late — and you’re traveling?  Reader H is gearing up for trial and wonders what to wear in the war room after hours:

I am going to be attending a two week out of town trial with two partners at my firm. During the day we will all be in suits, but in the evenings we will likely be working late. I will want to be in comfortable clothes, which for me would constitute yoga pants, but do not think that would be appropriate with my boss. Any suggestions?

Interesting question! We’ve talked about what to wear on the weekends, what to wear for a month in court, and traveling for work, but not this question.  I was in exactly this situation a few years ago — and I’m not sure I made the right decisions.   [Read more...]