Fun but Impractical: Shopping for Special Occasions

Impractical Fun ShoppingHow do you stock your closet full of “fun” clothes when your time and energy is usually spent in working clothes or lounging clothes? Is there a way to shop for special occasions — on a budget?  Reader A wonders:

I spend most of my clothing budget on work clothes (I’m a DC lawyer) and casual weekend wear (even going-out clothes are fairly casual here, imo). But when something “special” comes up – a bachelorette party, new years eve, a trip – I feel like I never have anything fun or sparkly or special to wear. I’m wondering how other ladies stock their closets full of things that are frankly, impractical, 99% of the time. Do you buy things on sale when you see them, not knowing when you’ll wear them? Shop specifically by occasion? For example, I have a pair of very sparkly, very high, peep-toe pumps at home that I found on sale, with no occasion (or even outfit) in mind to wear them. The practical part of me says to return them and save the cash, but then I wonder if I’ll be kicking myself the next time I have a fantastic party to attend and nothing to wear.

This is an excellent question, and while we’ve talked about shopping habits (including moratoriums and “crop rotations”) and shopping for non-essential items, we haven’t talked about this specifically with impractical, fun clothes. (For example: the necklace pictured above is definitely fun — but how often will you wear it?  (And: can you wear it twice?)  Erickson Beamon Girlie Queen Necklace, retails for $1728, but available for rent for $250 at Rent the Runway.[Read more...]

How to Throw a Dinner Party… for Work Purposes

How to Throw a Dinner Party... And Invite Your Boss | CorporetteWhat are the rules regarding dinner parties — and do they change if you’re inviting a boss or an existing or potential client? Reader M wonders…

Idea for a post/thread during the holiday season: what is the modern-day dinner party, and how can it positively/negatively affect your career? I’ve had a couple situations where I’ve thrown dinner parties for older colleagues or bosses, and I’m afraid that I don’t really know the all the “rules.” Is there still a stand-around cocktail and appetizer time when your party is work-related? Do I need to have all the food done by the time guests arrive, or can I still continue to cook a bit? What do I need to wear – jeans and a sweater, or do I need to upgrade to business casual? I’m specifically talking about smallish (6-12 people) dinner parties where a boss, partner, or existing/potential client is on the invite list.

I’d love to discuss the best way to do this for working women who don’t necessarily have a ton of time to cook or clean, and how I can portray myself, my home, and my family in a positive and professional way (that still stays true to who I am).

Wow. We’ve talked about what to wear to your boss’s holiday party, as well as what to talk about at parties, but we’ve never talked about throwing your own dinner party for your boss and clients.  I can honestly say that I have NO idea on the rules here, and am fascinated to hear what the readers say. Having lived in small NYC apartments for the majority of my adult life — and being, personally, about as far from Martha Stewart as you can get in the kitchen — I can say that on the rare occasions I’ve thrown a dinner party, it’s been with friends close enough that we could all laugh about it when the kitchen catches fire and we order pizza (should it happen, which, knock on wood, it hasn’t… so far).  Having to cook for a boss or a client sounds like my own private version of hell.  (Weirdly enough, though, we have thought about having my husband’s boss over for dinner with her husband, but just the four of us.  I can’t find the right words to explain why this is so different in my mind than the prospect of inviting my own boss over, for a dinner party, but it really is — something about not wanting my boss to see me as just a good little wifey, perhaps?)  [Read more...]

Halloween at the Office

Halloween at the Office | CorporetteHalloween is one week away, ladies! We’ve talked about office-appropriate Halloween outfits in the past, but I thought I’d start an open thread to see what’s happening this year: Are you dressing up for office-related Halloween events? What will your costume be? Is Halloween generally a source of stress for you, or a fun time?  (Personally I love the idea of being Rosie the Riveter as a smart costume… maybe next year!)

I’ve seen a ton of articles circulating lately on smart, non-slutty Halloween costumes for women, so I thought I’d round up some of the links below: [Read more...]

How to Campaign for Flexible Working Conditions (Or, How to Change the Company Policy That Requires You Lug a Heavy Laptop Around)

How to Campaign for A More Flexible Workplace (Or: How to Ditch Your Company Laptop)How do you campaign for accessibility and flexibility in your workplace when the policies are less than ideal?  Yesterday’s post on how to lighten your tote bag got me thinking — I was so intrigued by the commenters who noted that they have to carry a huge, bulky laptop to and from the office because that is the the only approved way to get access to the office system.  When I was working in BigLaw, my firm used Citrix to give everyone access to the Docs Open system and other office programs — there were even times you could access document review programs from home.  (Ah, glory days.)  The only thing we needed to access the system was a small, flat device (a 2″ by 1″ fob) that displayed a long number that changed every thirty seconds. When you needed to log into the system, you entered the current security number.  That was five years ago, so it honestly didn’t occur to me that companies with information security issues would not be using something similar to Citrix in 2013.  (Even the Department of Defense has a better remote access option, according to a 2011 Lifehacker article.)  Maybe there are good reasons Reader R’s company isn’t using a secure remote system — but maybe it’s just an old policy that hasn’t been reevaluated in a while or from the right perspective. 

So readers, let’s talk about this — how do you change an office policy to make the conditions better for you (and those who come after you)?  Sheryl Sandberg talked a bit about this in Lean In — regarding how she insisted that the Google parking lot have spaces reserved for expectant mothers — and this was kind of mentioned in a recent NYT article about workplace flexibility  — but I can’t seem to find much else about this topic on the Internet.  For my $.02, here are some ideas… [Read more...]

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How to Fit Exercise Into a Busy Day

midday-workoutsAfter we linked to our last open thread on midday workouts, a bunch of readers expressed an interest in having another discussion on how to fit workouts into a busy day.  For my own $.02, in my ideal world I get my exercise out of the way first thing in the morning, my socializing in with friends in the evening, with a long day in between to do lots of work.

But of course, that’s easier said than done.  You may have work commitments in the morning, or prefer to use the time for other personal development.  And as a new mother, the thing I’ve realized since having a baby is that your concept of “me time” changes drastically once you have a kiddo.  Particularly that “morning/evening” time — if it isn’t already committed to work, that time quickly becomes blocked as “family time” — either because you genuinely want to see your child(ren), or you literally have no one else on hand to care for them (unless you have a nanny around the clock, lucky you).  So a midday workout is the only way a lot of people can fit in exercise at all.

So if you have to have a midday workout, here are a few ideas: [Read more...]