Workwear Hall of Fame: Mehira Linen Blazer

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

mehira-linen-blazerThis fun leopard blazer first caught my eye over at Zappos, but for once Saks has the best price — not only is it marked from $298 to $238, but it’s eligible for their Friends and Family sale, so the price comes down to $178. (They also have it in a pale pink “mink” and a creamy “porcelain.”) I like the mix of linen and leopard print — it seems fun but also like a versatile basic. The Mehira cut seems to be a Joie classic (although some have buttons and some do not) — they have it in a “caviar” print at Nordstrom, and there are very limited sizes of other solid colors (navy, black) around the web. Off Fifth has a chambray linen version marked down to $130.89. Ladies, what else do you like to buy at Saks during their F&F sales? Joie Mehira Linen Blazer

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]

2016 Update: The Mehira blazer has been around for years at this point in different colors and fabrics (crepe, linen, chambray, etc), and it always sells out — so we’re adding it to our Workwear Hall of Fame.  Look for it new at Nordstrom, Saks, and Bergdorf Goodman — it may also be deeply discounted at places like Nordstrom Rack and Off Fifth. Check out more picks for summer blazers, here.

classic summer blazer from Joie
(L-all)

Comments

  1. Anne Shirley :

    A leopard print linen blazer is not a versatile basic. There is nothing basic about it at all. It may coordinate with a variety of pieces, but unless you want to be known as leopard-blazer-girl, you’re going to wear it once a fortnight at the very most.

    • This. I’m too basic to call this a basic. I like my solid colors and tame patterns! Haha

    • Agreed. Even if I could pull this off, I think I could only wear it once. I like the pink one better; it’s a pretty shade without being too baby-girl. Although it’s a mystery to me how pink is “dusty mink.” Why not dusty pink? Are minks pink?

      • What do you mean you could only wear it once? Like once ever?

        • I was being a little facetious, but I dress in more of a blend-in fashion, so I’d be hesitant to wear something so distinctive more than once in front of the same people. There’s nothing wrong with re-wearing clothing, often, but I’m more comfortable doing so with my more plain (what I would call “basic” but I see you consider it something else) pieces and changing up the combinations and accessories. Basically I just don’t like being looked at— so this blazer is probably just not for me, period, even though I think it’s cute.

          You seem kinda defensive about the blazer, though. Didn’t mean to offend.

    • Gosh, kinda harsh. I would call something you can wear every two weeks (your conclusion) pretty versatile. It also depends on how you define a basic. A basic, to me, does not mean a solid color. It means something that you can build a wardrobe around (i.e., the base of a wardrobe), and this would qualify.

      • Anne Shirley :

        Really? You’d build a wardrobe around a novelty blazer? It’s cute and all, I just think “basic” has a meaning, and cutesy printed blazers aren’t it.

        • hellskitchen :

          +1. It’s too cutesy. At first glance, I thought it was a cute pajama set and wondered why that would be a Tuesday TPS choice

        • I think whether this is a “basic” is a matter of perspective/semantics; I’d call it “classic” though – the cut is very simple, blazers are classic as all get out and leopard print is hardly that out there, esp. in black and white. You could wear this in a dozen different ways and b/c it’s black and white, it doesn’t actually scream “Leopard” … Certainly, if you’d be known as anything, it’d be “snow-leopard-blazer-girl” …

          I think this would look really cute with a white top and red pencil skirt, or with a pale pink sheath dress I have that always looks a little meh on its own. I don’t think I would buy it unless it was on much steeper markdown (I prefer regular leopard myself), but I can see how someone could really make this look amazing.

          • This is more what I was trying to say. Basic may not be the exact right term, but classic is. Thanks, AIMS.

            Also, I think the blazer would look less like pajamas if it weren’t with the matching pants. AIMS’s suggestions for styling sound perfect.

          • Agreed. It’s a matter of style. Some people are a little bolder. I don’t like this particular blazer but I’d consider the concept of it a basic.

          • Agreed! I love leopard specifically and prints generally, so I’d get a lot of use out of this. But then, my wardrobe is built to accommodate pops of big print on a semi-daily basis; I can think of 5-6 everyday work outfits that I could make with my current wardrobe + this blazer, right now. I think it would actually look really great in place of the boring black cardigan I’m wearing today :) So for me this blazer is an absolute wardrobe classic.

            I can see how that wouldn’t be true for everyone. But that’s cool, because we all have different styles.

        • I’m with Anne Shirley on this one.

          Separately, it looks boxy and very Chico’s clearance rack to me.

      • I don’t think it’s harsh, it’s just her opinion.

        • But she basically said, “Kat, you are wrong. This is not a basic.” How often do people really state their opinions like that in real life?

          • I still don’t think it was harsh. It’s just a blazer, for crying out loud. Had she said “anyone who purchases or wears this jacket is an idiot,” then maybe there would be something to take offense to. But getting riled up because someone disagrees with your held definition of basic, especially as it relates to fashion (which is so subjective) doesn’t really strike me as warranted.

          • As someone who bristles at certain commenters’ “direct” style sometimes, I didn’t think anything sounded harsh about the opinion that this isn’t a “basic.” I mean, clothing is a pretty low-stakes game. When it’s about families & relationships etc., people understandably take tone very personally, and a little sensitivity would be kind (although not required; internet strangers, etc.). Who gets offended about a blazer comment, though?!

          • I don’t know about sig, but I obviously wasn’t offended. I don’t own it, I don’t plan to buy it, etc. If I were Kat, though, I might be. It isn’t just a piece of clothing. It’s a piece of clothing that she picked and endorsed. And people are saying how ugly it is. I just think that’s harsh.

          • Often, depending on your peer group, your job, and your disposition.

            When I tell a CFO, whose hand is basically outstretched for $$$, that his company’s strategy is a bad idea and will cause them to lose money, making them a bad investment for my organization, I’m telling him not to win snarky-harshy-points, but because I’d like to not see that company go off a cliff, dragging investors with them. If he wants to get in a huff, it’s his ego that’s blinding him, and his stomach lining dissolved by acid, not mine.

            Have we [women] really become so supersensitive and yes, I’ll say it “wimpy” that merely being contradicted is now considered “harsh”? This kind of whining (from women about the discourse of other women) imprisons women in gender roles. Because it implicitly demands that your female peers dance around your fragile ego or else be called “harsh.” This is the crap that perpetuates the situation where when a guy does that, he’s “confident.” Ugh.

          • + 10,000 to Susedna.

            You know how you can ask yourself, “would a man have to deal with this” to decide if something is a ridiculous gender based request/assumption? Yeah. Let’s all envision a bunch of men sitting around getting their feel-feels hurt because Jim told Alex that his burgundy suit was a great basic and then Joe told Ben he didn’t think burgundy was a a basic color. So Jim got really upset on Alex’s behalf and told Joe he thought he was being super harsh.

            Good lord.

          • I think that it’s worth bearing in mind that this isn’t Kat’s personal blog. It’s a business. I think that a businesswoman can handle this kind of feedback.

          • Ugh. We don’t all have to be nice. Seriously every comment that isn’t surrounded by “so this is just my opinion, and it could totally be wrong because like, what do I know, but I personally, dont feel like this is a basic and would maybe prefer something more basic but I totally understand where you are coming from and I still think you personally are just amazing. hugs!!! dont hate me!!!!” gets labled at mean. Glad to see that a lot of commentators are defending being blunt. I state my opinion bluntly all the time. I belive I used the phrase “this is a terrible idea” and “this is a f*cking terrible idea” at least twice this week. I am not a nice person. I am a kind, caring person. But not a nice one. And thats in real life! I can’t believe someone is actually asking an anonymous commentator to be nicer to the owner of the blog when stating their opinions, when the comment WASNT EVEN MEAN.

          • “It implicitly demands that your female peers dance around your fragile ego or else be called ‘harsh.'”

            Yes. THIS.

          • Okay, got it. Message heard. What I said was crap and wimpy.

          • This is an interesting discussion. I +1 to Susedna and cbackson.

            However, something I do note in almost every one of Kat’s posts is that she rarely writes without equivocation. I assume it’s because she is not seeing the items she posts in person, but there are a lot of “it seems” and “it looks like…” Kat, I mean this lovingly — it’s OK to state your opinions directly and strongly!

          • It’s been interesting reading these perspectives. Personally, preg anon, I don’t think what you said was crap and wimpy. Because tone does matter, online and in person. It matters in how people receive what you have to say. It matters in whether or not people will listen to you. It matters in whether or not people will *want* to listen to you.

            I say all of this as a kind-of recovering blunt person, so I know both sides of this question, to a certain extent. And I have found that, almost without exception, people are SO MUCH MORE WILLING to listen to me when I’m not coming in guns blazing with “ur doin it wrong.” Because if you start off by hitting people with big stick of “ur doin it wrong,” they get defensive and their first reaction is to get their backs against a wall and defend themselves (god so many mixed metaphors, sorry). Their first reaction is not to listen to you and really care about what you’re saying. There is absolutely a time and a place for bluntness. I still consider myself a blunt person (way more so in real life than online); others would agree. But…….honestly one of my biggest ares of growth has been internalizing the idea of catching more flies with honey than with vinegar. I don’t think that means we have to dance around hard subjects, and that we can’t call people out. But there are call outs and there are call outs, whether it’s about someone’s differing taste in a blazer or choice of partner.

            Those are my two cents. Disagree away. (And none of this is intended to be in any way, shape, or form an OMG, I could be wrong, don’t hate me, hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! post. Because, ew, are you joking.)

      • I actually fell in love with this blazer in a grey leopard print when Aria on Pretty Little Liars was wearing it (don’t judge):

        http://wornontv.net/27966/

    • I know people who consider leopard print a ‘neutral’ – so they might consider this a basic.

      • Anne Shirley :

        Ugh peoples!!! Sigh. I’m off to the cave of the fuddy-duddy’s.

      • Wildkitten :

        Maybe it’s the cat in me, but leopard is my favorite neutral – and I still think this blazer is a bit too funky to be a basic.

      • a passion for fashion :

        I totally consider leapord a neutral, which is what I assumed Kat meant by “basic.” And I think this would function more as a neutral than some other leapord prints hanging in my closet.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Team Leopard is a Neutral here. I don’t have a leopard blazer, but I do have two leopard cardigans and a leopard skirt. And a leopard handbag and two pair of leopard shoes. And, uh, a leopard belt.

        Wow. That sounds like a lot when I type it all out like that!

        Anyway, I am not a fan of this particular blazer but I have a large wardrobe and seldom wear any particular piece more than once a fortnight anyway, so I ain’t mad at it for being leopard. I’m just kinda mad at it for being kinda Chicos-tastic.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Oops. Make that three leopard cardigans. Forgot the one with the rhinestones around the neckline… ;)

        • I have a leopard collection too Senior Attorney and consider the print a neutral but then I’m not a hide in the shawdows type of gal.

    • Fourthed. Animal print is not basic, even in shoes, much less a blazer.

      • a passion for fashion :

        To each her own, I suppose. I certainly wear my animal print shoes as a neutral — particularlly the brown based ones like a leapord print.

        In fairness though, the styling shown does look like pjs. But it only takes a small bit of imagination to figure out how you could wear this so it did not look like pjs. Styling is like paint in a house — it can always be changed and really shouldn’t be the basis for concern.

    • And it looks like a pajama top. A pajama top my mom would buy me for Christmas, because she likes “fun” pajamas.

  2. next LA meetup :

    Saturday, June 7 at 11 am at Blu Jam Café! See you there :)

    • I wish more people lived in Omaha so we could have a meet up here. Have fun ladies!

      • kjoirishlastname :

        Try southwest virginia…I’m pretty sure I’m the only one.

        • Don’t feel bad — I am in Charlotte and I think it’s just me. We are big enough for an NFL franchise. Where is everyone???

          • kjoirishlastname :

            Lol–we don’t have any professional sports teams! We’re barely a blip on the map. Most everyone from Virginia thinks that the state ends somewhere around Charlottesville. Or Roanoke if you’re really well-aware. Truth be told, there’s like 4 more hours of Virginia west of me.

      • I used to live in Omaha and I miss it so much sometimes. People in DC just don’t get it!

    • Love this place! Will try to make it!

    • Oh! I can probably make this one. Do you guys have an email list I should get on for it?

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yay! Hopefully nobody will be rushed to the emergency room this time and I will be able to attend!

    • Lawyer costume :

      I wish I could make it! I’ll be out of town that weekend. But I’ll email to be on the list.

    • I will be there!

  3. Some poor sucker will wear it to work with the matching shorts.

    During the spring sales, I buy tights and other winter items. Although I am very tempted by this dress http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374306418048&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524446634292&R=808895266026&P_name=Joie&N=306418048+1553&bmUID=km5W5F9

    • I may have ordered two winter coats from Lands End (I’m only keeping one, I swear) because I am officially sick of my long warm one from this winter. It will get donated next winter unless I can’t find something I like better.

      • Wildkitten :

        I ordered like 10 things from Lands End last week and am returning 9 of them. It wasn’t as magical a place as I had hoped from the website pictures.

        • That’s a pretty typical result :) The catalogs always suck me in. Luckily, I’ve got one of their Inlets within walking distance, so I’m good with returning things.

    • Wow! That’s a beautiful dress.

    • I’m really curious about this. So many retailers are selling short suits. Who is the client? Why have I never met her on the street? I don’t think she is real, but why would they purposefully lose money?

      • I wouldn’t say “purposefully.”

        Stupid retailers and stupid CEOs lose money all the time, never purposefully. :-)

      • short suits :

        It’s too cold for shorts in Seattle at the moment, but I fully expect to see them on the leggy gazelles who work at the Nordstrom corporate offices in a month.

        • Seattle Freeze :

          Haha! I worked for another tenant (staid, stodgy, business formal) in that building a few years ago, and while I envied the Nordstrom ladies’ more creative dress code, I did see many wacky outfits.

      • I’d wear one. Maybe not to the office but to brunch, a morning wedding or any weekend dress up event for an alternative to a dress. Not all clothes have to be for work you know.

        • a passion for fashion :

          I’d wear one too — but not to work. The situations you just described sound lovely for such an outfit.

      • I am actually a little afraid that short suits will someday become acceptable workwear (like pants on woman have) and maybe even so common that you will look frumpy if you don’t wear one….Because I *hate* shorts of all kind on me and I *really*hate* the look iof tights under shorts, and if short suit become de rigeur I will hate work fashion completely.

        Luckily this dystopian world I am imagining will *probably* never come to be….right??

        • Fellow shorts-hater here. (I own one pair, I wear them for yard work in really hot weather.)

          I really hope it never comes to be. On the plus side, I am getting old enough that by the time it came to pass I will probably be old enough to continue wearing my skirts and be happily “frumpy and out of fashion”.

        • No way, this will never happen. Because most women over 25/30 don’t look great in shorts.

          (I used to wear short shorts to law school classes. Some of my close classmates/friends had an intervention and took me shopping. I still appreciate it.)

      • I think if you work in the fashion industry as a 20-something it’s probably ok to wear to work.

  4. New Attorney :

    I have been working as an attorney for a little over a year now and I do not think I have been developing fast enough. I don’t know as much as I should about my area of law. However, the other two attorneys in my office do not provide any help or guidance even though they do not seem pleased with my skill set at this point. I know this is common in small offices, but does anyone have any advice or suggestions on how to learn more on the job or anything they found helpful in the beginning of their career? I am also looking to leave this office as soon as possible, but I’d like to stay in this area of law.

    • CLE should help. Check with you local bar association and keep an eye out for trade shows that often offer free CLE. Treatises and law review articles can be very effective too.

    • AnonInfinity :

      What do they have problems with? Your substantive knowledge? Are you messing up little things? The way you handle a particular part of the process?

      Depending on your area–geographically and substantively–you might have different options. I follow blogs that are devoted to my practice area to stay up on current trends. My bar association has tracks at its annual meeting where you can learn all about different areas. You might be able to find that kind of information through the American Bar Association as well. My state supreme and appeals courts also only issue a few opinions every week, so I try to read those in any area that touches my practice. If you’re struggling more with litigation strategy or the process, there are some good trial books out there. The books written by Mauet come to mind.

      It might help to let us know what substantive area you practice and what you’re having problems with, and maybe some folks can point you in the right direction.

    • It also sounds like time for a meeting with each of your colleagues to ask for their feedback. Better sooner, than later. The fact that you are motivated and concerned will be reassuring to them, and they might start giving you pointers.

      • Agreed. It’s uncomfortable, but so very helpful if you make it a routine to ask for feedback. Good and bad feedback is enlightening.

        At my last firm, the partner that I worked for primarily eventually told me, in one of our feedback meetings, that he didn’t became a lawyer to also become a manager and that he didn’t really care how or if my career progressed. And that is (partially) why that is now my “former” firm.

    • Can you find a mentor outside of your firm? Not necessarily for the substantive practice part, but in terms of development resources? Some to ask about the best CLEs to go to, or a good reference, or some benchmarks about what your practice abilities should look like after the first year?

      Maybe set a meeting with your attorneys about what your goals should be over the next year – what do they want to see you do more/less of for the firm. Have they said anything about what you need to start doing better? Have you had any sort of review? If they haven’t instigated one (and I think small firms probably aren’t the greatest at this), lead your own review – what you think you’ve done well and what you know you need to work on, and solicit feedback from them on your thoughts. [Or don’t – you obviously know best how this would fly in your firm. But if there is a chance that it would be seen as taking the initiative for guiding your own career development, I would advocate for that.]

    • New Attorney :

      I mostly do estate work and I often encounter unique situations where I need more guidance and advice rather than making a mistake. I have been to several CLEs, but they only go over the basics. I am trying to network as much as possible in order to eventually switch firms. I do not think my bosses will be any help. They are generally rude and unprofessional. The paralegal has advised me that their attitude will never change. At this point, my goal is to learn as much as possible about the area of law and then find another position. I’m just having a difficult time learning on my own and staying motivated/positive.

      • New Attorney :

        Also, when I do ask for advice, the two attorneys will have different opinions! That is just frustrating, confusing, and not helpful.

        • I'm an associate :

          This happens to me a lot. I try to keep in mind each of my supervising attorney’s specific preferences when doing an assignment for them. You cannot please them all, but learning everyone’s quirks is part of the game as an associate.

      • CLEs are only ever going to give you the basics. Find another attorney outside your firm but inside your practice area and see if they’ll be a mentor. They won’t be there to tell you how do solve specific problems (that is your job, as an attorney), but they might be able to give you resources on how to find all the info that you need to give informed advice.

        And for the unique situations – sometimes you just have to do the research and make a call. There may not always be a “right” answer.

      • Olivia Pope :

        Thoughts:

        1. In law, there often is not a “right” way to do something. There are multiple ways, each with their pros and cons. The balancing act is what our clients pay us for. (Of course, there are definitely some “wrong” ways)

        2. Find some high-quality blogs in your practice area. I’m not an estates person, but I bet there are some estates-specific blogs that could help you understand that area.

        3. Look into trusts and estates groups in your area (a committee in a bar association of some sort)? If there isn’t one, maybe start a meetup to meet new people in your field.

    • I’m in a very similar situation but unfortunately have no advice. All I can do is sympathize. I’m making small mistakes while trying to grasp the larger concepts–assuming that’s the “easier” mistake to be making (mechanical mistakes on papers as opposed to drafting the entirely wrong motion). I’m not given any instruction (or when I am, they are actually wrong (pointing me to the wrong example document)). It’s the most frustrating thing I’ve experienced. I’ve been told that anything short of perfection is failing–which would motivate me if I were working with people who were perfect. But, because they are human, they make the same kind of mistakes as frequently as I do.

      I’ve come to terms with the fact that I work with “do as I say and not as I do” people who also have unrealistic expectations (is that just law firms in general?). My mentors both in the firm and out of the firm agree it’s an unrealistic environment, placing demands on me that the other associate in my group is not subject to. Though, they do emphasize that doing better overall is the end game no matter what, so even if I work in a draconian environment, it’s still my career that I’m responsible for. I try to remind myself that I do have plenty to learn from them even if the work environment is not so great. I’d like to lateral to another firm, but want to wait for the two year mark to do so.

      In the vein of development and area of law knowledge, I take it upon myself to read a few articles about what I’m drafting and what current case developments there have been. I’ve been told that as a first or second year, that kind of knowledge is not expected of you. Staying current on recent cases, as much as possible, and then your general work you do everyday is what builds that knowledge slowly over time.

  5. Moving on from biglaw :

    Yesterday’s threads on law school/biglaw got me thinking – the litigators among you who left biglaw, what did you end up doing and why? Most of the biglaw litigators I know ended up in government or at a nonprofit, but I am curious about other possible career paths. Thanks!

    • You may want to check out Life After Law: Finding Work You Love with the JD You Have, which profiles 30 ex-lawyers on very different post-law career paths – Kat is one of them.

      http://www.amazon.com/Life-After-Law-Finding-Work/dp/1937134644#

      Full disclosure: I wrote it, but I still hope it helps give you a sense of the huge number of alternative ways to use your JD.

      • Liz, I loved your book! I have recommended it to several of my friends as well. I especially liked how you talked about your own experiences and overcame the obstacles you faced. So many peoples’ narratives sound like they just got lucky and fell into their dream position, but your book provides more honest and detailed accounts about the challenges people faced and how they managed to handle those obstacles and ultimately reach their goals.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I’ve said this before, but I moved to MidLaw and became a partner, then went to work for the government, where I toil (happily) to this day.

      I have a (male) friend who left law altogether and went into business (cable TV), made a ton of money, and retired at 50. That would’ve been nice but apparently I missed the meeting where they explained how to do that.

  6. Since we’re on the subject of jackets, what do you think about the new trend of totally open jackets – i.e. no closure at all – no buttons, zipper, etc. I am really bugged by them but maybe that is just my age showing (47). I know retailers have been doing a lot of things to skimp on labor costs but this just seems too much to me. Like why don’t you just throw a blanket over your shoulders and go to work?

    Or is it just me?

    • I agree- I wish some of the newer blazers at least had a hook-and-eye closure so that when you’re walking down the street the lapels don’t flap in the breeze.

      • I have a ponte monsoon one that I quite like but it doesn’t have a collar and is cut to wear over dresses.

    • “why don’t you just throw a blanket over your shoulders and go to work?”

      Wait, are you saying that Snuggies aren’t professional?

    • Senior Attorney :

      I think it depends on the styling. I have a purposely-oversized jacket with no closure and it doesn’t bug me at all. Maybe the length in front keeps it from flapping in the breeze.

    • I agree but I think it depends on the type/style of blazer. Formal blazer? No way! But I have a longer, open, rolled-cuff boyfriend blazer that I often wear over (nice) jeans or cords on casual days, and it doesn’t have a closure. It doesn’t seem inappropriate given the style of the item, but I totally get what you’re saying when it comes to more buttoned-up (haha) pieces of clothing.

    • I’m basically half your age (24) and hate them too (although the idea of wearing a blanket at work is totally appealing).

    • I think these tend to look like something my mom’s generation would wear.

  7. Anyone want to help me shop for my wedding shoes? I would like opentoe, small wedge (under 2 inches) or flat but I’d rather a small wedge with some arch support, and I would love them to be royal blue. I honestly thought there would be so much to chose from! I have designed a pair on milk and honey (blue silk) but I was hoping to spend closer to 100 than 200. I am wearing a ball gown so I am looking for fancy-ish shoes but comfort is most important! I am a 7.5 wide or sometimes an 8 but I have a wide foot.

    • just Karen :

      I did royal blue shoes for my wedding and what I actually ended up doing was taking a pair of comfortable ivory leather shoes I already owned by never wore (any time I might wear ivory I would rather wear nude) and having a local shoe shop dye them royal blue. I already knew they were comfortable and they turned out beautifully. I don’t think the dye on the leather would hold up to a lot of wear and tear, but for my wedding being able to wear something I knew was comfy was priceless – maybe check your closet?

    • This is actually a pretty tall order, I think— particularly the *low* wedge part. I feel like you can get a low heel, or higher wedge, or a flat.
      What about any of these? You can customize the blue color as an option:
      http://www.elegantpark.com/catalog/Flats-Peep-Toe-Bridal-Evening-Shoes_c8–v2271_v2282

      • Oh, or these (the “Anette” if link is not direct), speaking of dyeables:
        http://www.dyeables.com/?pg=bridal&sub=pump&id=15310&sstr=&nr=0&nom=&width=

    • What material are you looking for – sounds like silk, would you consider satin?

      • Yes would def consider satin and leather too. Thanks for the link Nellie- I was hoping to avoid dyeablles but my eye has def been on the Annette.

        • Also my follow up is does anyone have suggestions for places to dye shoes in dc?

          • There was a place in Tysons that did dye as well as general shoe repair, but that was several years ago. When I used them I was unhappy about the final color vs what I expected, but they were color fast against a summer event with bare feet in the shoes for hours, which is more than I can say for most of my bridesmaid shoe experiences, when I ended up with dyed feet and streaked shoes.

    • TN Law Girl :

      Have you thought about two pairs of shoes? A stylish pair for the ceremony and something more comfy for the reception? My wedding dress was also a ball gown and to be honest, you couldn’t see my feet except for when I was walking down the aisle. So for the ceremony I wore blue shoes similar to these:

      http://www.davidsbridal.com/Product_Satin-Sandal-with-Ruffles-by-Coloriffics.-Giselle?cm_mmc=GMCPLA-_-Sandals-_-Satin%20Sandal%20with%20Ruffles%20by%20Coloriffics.%20Style%20Giselle%2C%20Blue%2C%209.5-_-10124410&utm_source=GMCPLA&utm_medium=ProductFeed&utm_term=Shoes_Women_Sandals&utm_content=10124410&utm_campaign=SatinSandalwithRufflesbyColoriffics.&mr:referralID=b4ed0871-ca42-11e3-bca4-001b2166c62d&gclid=CKe3q-_N9L0CFfNxOgoduDoA0w

      Then I immediately switched into something more comfortable for dancing (plus my husband is the exact same height as me so I didn’t want to tower over him in heals)… hot pink chuck taylors! My feet were super comfy, my guests got a kick out of a bride wearing sneakers, and I’ve got some really cool photos of me and my girls in our color-coordinated chucks (theirs were purple).

    • These are the closest I could find with your requirements:
      http://www.6pm.com/calvin-klein-bree-black-metalic-python-print?si1406616=&channel=196&mr:referralID=79d06d58-ca49-11e3-87fe-001b2166c2c0
      http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/american-rag-carllie-demi-wedge-sandals?ID=818025&PartnerID=LINKSHARE&cm_mmc=LINKSHARE-_-2-_-21-_-MP221&LinkshareID=J84DHJLQkR4-60QEFCHrKYpvpmUrSTbToQ

    • There are a bunch of blue flats on Zappos, but none are open-toe.

      I wore pretty silver shoes for the ceremony, then changed immediately into blue moccasin-type slippers. No one could really see them.

  8. Former Partner, Now In-House :

    Sheath dress + matching jacket = suit

    Yesterday a woman interviewed in our offices, and she was wearing a black suit comprised of a sheath dress (either sleeveless or short-sleeved, I could not tell because she did not remove her jacket) and a two-button suit jacket. Nude hose. Black patent pumps. Pearl necklace and studs. She looked so elegant and effortless, it inspired me to add more dress + jacket = suits to my wardrobe.

    So, where do you suggest I look?

    • Theory does a good sheath. I think Milly, too, but not so much with thesuit jackets.

    • This is my go-to look actually (and no, I didn’t interview yesterday, so it wasn’t me!). I am tall and lean, but short-waisted, so I always feel that a conventional suit breaks up my body at odd places. I have found that a sheath dress and jacket is much more flattering to me as a suit.

      I have the aforementioned Theory sheath and jacket combo, in three colors. I also have a JCrew version in another color. For less formal occasions, I will combine other sheath dresses (which I wear nearly every day) with a blazer of a non-matching color (for example, I have worn a maroon sheath with a camel blazer in the fall, purple with light blue or gray, etc.). Some of these are blazers that I already own from other suits, that I purposefully “mismatch”. So you may be able to look within your own closet. I consider this my work “uniform” and sometimes will add scarves or fun shoes for interest.

      The one caution that I have is that you really do have to pay attention to the length of your jackets in this look. The wrong length can come across as “off”

    • AnonInfinity :

      I’ve gotten sheath dress/jacket combos at Banana Republic in the past few years.

      • And, if you buy pieces over multiple seasons, but check the fabric, you have many coordinating pieces as they usually have the same fabrics for a couple seasons.

    • Boden has a few dress-blazer looks that coordinate and look incredibly chic if fitted property (their dresses don’t fit everyone, so that’s why I say this). I find that Boden doesn’t fit me perfectly in dresses, but minor tailor alterations make it look sharp.

    • J. Crew Emmaleigh dress with matching jacket is my go-to for interviews. I did buy a petite jacket to go with the dress because I thought the regular jackets were too long for the dress (luckily my arms are fairly short, though they seem to have decent seam allowance and you could let the sleeves out about an inch if your arms aren’t short). The dress has pockets, but I leave them sewn shut.

      • +1 I swear by these. and I love wearing long sleeve blouses or button downs underneath if I want to take off my jacket.

        • I wish J.Crew would make the Emmaleigh with elbow-length sleeves. If they did, I’d order one in every color. I do own one of the sleeveless versions, but it’d be nice to be able to wear just the dress to work w/o needing something underneath (I don’t do bear arms at the office).

        • CLE question :

          Which is the matching jacket? I find their suiting jackets to be really long. Do you just order a size larger and in petite? Or the jacket that has the 3/4 sleeves (the Sidney)?

          Also, JCrew, if you read this: can you bring back the Origami dress in something other than wool crepe?

          • The Emmaleigh is the same as the 120s suit line and yes the huge drawback is that it’s sleeveless.

            Mine have held up under some abuse so from my experience the quality is better than their other things.

          • I think I got the 1035 jacket? The regular is definitely too long, but petite worked great. Yes, order a size up and in petite.

            And I wish everyone would puts sleeves on all their dresses. Is it really that hard to add a sleeve?

      • hellskitchen :

        Is the quality of this dress similar to their knits and sweaters? For me, the latter pill horribly and/or develop holes, so if the rest of their stuff is similar quality, then it would be a no go.

        • I think the danger is more that the cut won’t work for a range of body type. I can appreciate the love for the Emmaleigh (and if it works for you, great!) – but it did not fit me right AT ALL. The waistband was in the wrong spot (I’m short-waisted so I’m not surprised) and since my hips and bust are different sizes (14 and 10, per J crew) that fit was off as well (again, not surprised – that’s just the way I’m built). I would have needed to do a ton of tailoring to get it to fit – and at that point, I might as well make my own d*mn dress.

          Fabric wise – It’s the same as the rest of the suiting, as far as I can tell. So take that for what it’s worth.

          • hellskitchen :

            Thanks… that’s helpful. JCrew stuff doesn’t usually work for my body type so I don’t want to hold out hope for this dress.

          • The rest of J.Crew’s dresses don’t work for me and this one surprisingly did. I’m pear shaped, if that helps. Haven’t had it long enough to tell how it’s going to hold up long term, but I agree with the “it’s the same as the rest of the suiting.” I have an older super 120s suit from them that has held up pretty well. (the stretch wool suit I have, on the other hand, not so much).

    • Maddie Ross :

      I’ve got a couple from Talbots.

      • CLE question :

        Talbots used to be my go-to for these, and then they seemed to have changed patterns on me. :( My latest batch wasn’t quite the right fit any more (but I will keep trying).

        Have an Ann Taylor dress + jacket that is lovely.

        • Maddie Ross :

          Hmm, well, mine are all 2-3 years old, so I can’t comment on a new design. But that stinks that it changed.

          • CLE question :

            I think they may have vanity-sized a bit. There’s no way I’m smaller. And a lot of stuff isn’t in the stores, so you just order and see if the package gods are smiling on you. I did get a lovely blouse (but so wanted the jacket + dress + pants to all work out so that I’d have my travel-for-work few days worth of outfits that all worked together). I will give it a try b/c I have never had to tailor my Talbots clothes (and likely would for JCrew / Theory b/c I have a stomach / hips / thighs).

    • I really like The Limited’s Collection suits, which have matching dresses, pants, skirts, and blazers and match colors across seasons. http://www.thelimited.com/product/collection-wear-to-work-sheath-dress/3358972.html

    • I have some from Macy’s. They’re poly, not wool, but they have the matching pants, too. I think it’s the Alfani line.

  9. SV in House :

    This seems like it should be Networking 101, which I should know by now, but I don’t. I have a networking lunch today with a GC that I have never met before. A mutual friend introduced us and the GC was kind enough to suggest lunch. I have networked with friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, but this is my first outing with a 2nd degree connection. He knows I am looking for a job and would like to talk to him about his career path, but what else should I put on my (mental) agenda. I am hoping that he’ll have a favorable impression, think of me when he hears of something, and potentially put me in touch with others. Suggestions for how to make it seem like a good use of his time?

    • New Attorney :

      Will be interested in the responses since I’m attempting to network also!

    • If he mentions anyone else he knows who could be useful for your job search, ask if you can use his name to contact that person for an informational interview, too.

    • Wildkitten :

      Be on time. Be grateful. List to what he has to say. Take notes. Follow up on his suggestions.

      • +1,000! follow up on his suggestions. There is nothing more annoying than someone asking for your advice and then them totally ignoring it, particularly when you are taking time out of your day to help them.

    • Remember that HE suggested lunch, so it’s not as awkward as you think. Everyone loves to talk about themselves, so certainly ask him about his career path. Take notes and ask follow-up questions. In that process he might suggest people you should meet; I also don’t think it’s taboo to ask if there are people he thinks you should meet or CLEs you should attend, or other things you should do, but it depends on the conversation. Finally, if you want him to have a favorable impression of YOU and think of you when he hears of things, don’t forget to practice your pitch. What makes you a desirable candidate professionally? What personal characteristics make you someone people enjoy talking to and working with? Have these short stories practiced and ready (both work and personal stories). It’s been my experience that people want to know you have the skills and are professional enough that you won’t embarrass them if they recommend you or introduce you to people. But MOST importantly, it’s people having a personal connection to you and liking you to want to take that extra step for you. That’s key. This is not an interview; don’t be unprofessional of course, but take advantage of the fact that it’s informal and connect on a persona level and you’ll see a more lasting connection.

  10. I really want to start a “what are you wearing today?” thread and *participate*, but I’ve introduced so many coworkers [10+] to this site that if I did participate, I’d be easily outed.

    #firstworldproblems #sillycorporateproblems

    • kjoirishlastname :

      I’ll start. Just for you.

      Today is “bummy day” for me. Don’t judge me: I wore jeans & Keens and a blue organization logo polo yesterday, underneath a logo zip sweater jacket. I went home at noon cuz I felt terrible. Slept for 3 hours, did some gardening and just called it good. Today is: jeans, CORAL organization logo polo & keens.

      I am going to Goodwill today for spring/summer shirts. I wonder what I should look for.

      • I’m wearing a mauve silk long-sleeved dress, black tights, and black flats. I’ve been forcing myself to work my way through my closet (reversed hangers) and this is definitely being washed and sent to the charity pile. It feels so frumpy on.

      • Not judging, just envying. :-)

        I’d love to go to work in jeans and Keens. *le sigh*

    • Equity's Darling :

      I’m wearing my green smoothie that I made for breakfast, brought to work, and spilled all over myself 4 minutes ago.

      Clothing wise- navy pencil skirt, gold tipped nude flats, turquioise silk shell and cream cardigan.

    • I’ll go!

      I’m wearing navy suit pants with a french blue flowy shell, and a 3/4 length white and navy patterned cardigan with silver flats.

      • Navy 3/4 sleeve sheath, lavender one button blazer, and nude-for-me pumps.

        • ExecAssist :

          This sounds amazing Fiona! I bet you look great.

          I’m wearing grey pinstripe pants, silky royal blue top, grey boyfriend cardigan (I like the feel of it streaming out behind me as I stride down the hall) and 4″-high strappy open-toed wedges.

    • KS IT Chick :

      Another one …

      Khaki ankle length skirt from Eddie Bauer
      Green tank shell
      Navy blazer
      Brown heeled booties (I call them my a$$-kicking shoes, for the extra oomph they give me walking into meetings)

    • I am a vision in neutrals today: black pencil skirt, boxy cream shell (untucked), striped tan and cream sweater jacket (hits right above hem of shell), light pink druzy statement necklace, nude patent como corso Del pumps.

      • Also neutral in a boxy, cream shell, light brown slacks and light brown and taupe oxf0rds. I brought a purple sweater for a pop of color when I’m in the freezing cold conference room but I’m generally in cream and brown.

    • I’m wearing a maroon ponte sheath dress with elbow-length sleeves from Target, a chunky long silver necklace, nude skinny belt and nude heels. I didn’t like the dress when I first bought it, but every time I wear it I get several compliments. Go figure!

    • Senior Attorney :

      Because it’s never too late to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I am wearing a red pencil skirt, coral pink cotton sweater, coral pink pumps with rainbow striped heels, striped scarf in shades of red/orange/pink/purple, and white blazer. White watch, pearl earrings, red satchel.

    • Black and white floral print skirt, black v-neck sweater, black and white snakeskin pumps. Wasn’t sure if/how to accessorize so I’m just wearing a tiny blue sapphire pendant necklace (which I found while packing my gym bag).

    • I’m wearing a khaki ‘double breasted’ (what I call it in my head – a faux wrap with 2 rows of buttons down the front) pencil skirt, white with navy, teal, black & tan patterned cowl neck blouse & a teal cardigan. Bare legs. And I’m proud to say I sewed the skirt & blouse. Oh, and black/grey flats. Not sure if the shoes really go, but they were the best I had. I so, so, so need to replace my black flats!

      • Sounds great!

      • ExecAssist :

        You sew! That’s awesome! I’ve so far made one dress and one skirt that I’d wear out…though they’re both light cotton fabrics. I have a ton of patterns sitting at home waiting to be used :/

    • Amelia Earhart :

      Grey midi skirt, basic black V-neck t-shirt tucked in, bare legs and black suede closed toe wedges.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I’m wearing a red sleeveless jersey dress (my first ‘designer’ purchase – Ralph Lauren) and snakeskin pumps, with a pearl bracelet and non-matching owl earrings and earlier sported with a PINK velvet zip-up hoodie because I was cold and it was the only thing I had in the office to wrap up in.

      In my defence (i) my office is v business casual and nobody cares and (ii) I was straight off the red-eye and into the office this morning so my ability to coordinate outfits (or generally function) leaves something to be desired today!

    • I’ll play! I wore a navy Banana Republic pantsuit this morning for an interview — and since it was second round and I was feeling daring, I wore a fun yellow, navy and green patterned shell underneath.

      Now I’m typing this from my kitchen table in black leggings and a long-sleeve medium blue tunic.

    • Navy blazer over a bright pink sheath dress with a kelly green belt, bare legs, nude shoes, pearl studs and thin gold necklace.

      • In the Pink :

        Grey boden shift dress with black flowers (dill?) on it, black jacket, 9 west black pumps, white pearls, silver/pearl earrings, silver/pearl bracelets, nude hose (what else would designed Sargent-At-Legs wear), cranberry briefcase … couldn’t figure out a way to get more color but a cardi and I needed to wear a blazer today.

    • I’m wearing a black jersey dress and dark periwinkle cardigan with black wedges with a little crossed ankle strap.

      I was going to wear jeans since it’s the first day back from break, but went to Dat Dog for dinner last night with friends and end up with the toppings from my Chicago dog in my lap. After twice through the washer, the mustard stain is not completely out. I treated with OxyClean and left them to wash again when I get home. So frustrating! If I’d realized what it was, I probably would have more aggressively tried to get some of it out at the restaurant. Both my friend and I ended up with toppings in our laps. Plastic utensils. Bleah.

      And to add to my frustration, I have a brand new computer (yay!) but haven’t gotten everything to work yet. Feeling hamstrung. Everything I’ve tried to do technologically this morning has failed.

      • Mixing equal parts Dawn dish soap and hydrogen peroxide makes an excellent stain treatment. I don’t know if it’ll react with the Oxiclean so I wouldn’t suggest adding it to your already treated pants without washing the first.

        • I have Palmolive with Oxy so that’ll be my next plan of attack. I have peroxide but I was afraid it would discolor the spot. I just couldn’t do any more because it was late last night and early this morning.

    • Navy polo, khaki shorts, flip flops. (I’m working from home. Don’t get excited.)

    • lucy stone :

      Baby pink 3/4 cardigan, hot pink scoopneck tee, jeans, tan/hot pink Cole Haans. I’m moving offices today and wanted to be comfy, but I have a navy suit ready for my meeting tonight.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      Rainy & chilly this morning, so no dress or skirt – today it’s ink blue ankle cords, an orange/blue/navy ikat print silk top, orange merino cardigan, & greyish taupe heeled oxfords. Also some very pretty new orange & gold earrings.

    • Wildkitten :

      I’m wearing leopard. Surprise.

    • Anonylicious :

      I’m wearing a white pencil skirt with a blue floral pattern, a blue knit top, these really cute gold and beige heels by Anne Klein, and a slip that keeps riding up and is driving me to distraction. Also nude hose and a black and rose gold men’s watch.

    • Anon because this would out me :

      One of my many Lands End ponte dresses (this one is gray tweed and I probably wear it once every other week), with a fuschia BR cardigan that has held up amazingly well, and an Old Navy skinny belt. Kind of regret my bare legs as it’s colder than I thought.

    • New white top from anthro with lace sleeves, teal necklace, small gold hoops, glasses, black cuffed jeans, leopard loafers, gold and silver watch.

  11. Ladies, I need shoe help. I am looking for leather pumps with with a 2.5 or 2.75 inch heel that I can wear to work. Must be 100% leather interior and exterior (otherwise my feet get stinky). Open to any basic colors like nude, gray, pewter, or even garnet (I already have black).

    I have already tried and returned shoes from Ivanka Trump, Cole Haan and Alexis. Any other ideas??! This should be easy but it’s not.

    • CLE question :

      Have you searched on amazon for Taryn Rose shoes?

    • The heel is might be too low for you, but Joan & David Gardner?
      http://www.6pm.com/joan-david-gardner-black-patent

    • Ann Talyor’s shoes are well padded and all leather, and they have a variety of heel heights.

    • Look at LL Bean Signature Leather pumps. They tend to rotate colors throughout the year. http://www.llbean.com/llbeansignature/llb/shop/73649?feat=792-GN1&page=leather-pump&subrnd=1

      • Posting separately to avoid moderation. Also check out Geox and (surprisingly for me) Miz Mooz – both have very nice leather linings. MM are a little more out there, style wise, but they still have some fairly simple designs you can find & they are very comfortable. I’m presently eyeing these for myself: http://www.6pm.com/miz-mooz-madrid-pink

    • Anonymous :

      The Flex pumps from Michael Michael Kors are the best, and fit your description. They come in pointy toe and round toe too!

  12. Mommy Tracked & Frustrated :

    Any advice for what to say (or maybe more importantly NOT to say) in an HR meeting? I feel like I”m being held back at work and not given appropriate assignments. My career has not progressed very much and I’ve been with the company 10 years. I’ve been passed over for positions & promotions that less qualified men have gotten, and it’s extremely frustrating. Especially since one of those men is currently my supervisor and treats me like an intern, is really condescending, calls 50 year old female project managers “girls”, etc. I have glowing reviews every year, but the only thing lacking is experience in certain sides of the industry or any management of subordinates, and I have little control over my assignments to obtain that experience. I work in a male dominated industry and subtle and overt sexism is still rampant.

    • Why are you meeting with HR? Who initiated the meeting? You? HR? What do you hope to achieve? Is this because you want to lodge a complaint about your manager? Are you there to talk about grievances you have about the firm in general?

      One factor to consider is the role HR plays in your organization, and how much clout it has.

      (1) If your HR operates like the Maoist “Let a thousand flowers bloom” campaign (pretends to be warm and fuzzy, gets people’s guards down, collects grievances, and names, and then lists them as troublemakers), be very, very diplomatic, and avoid outright complaints about anyone. Just look forward, hopeful, focusing on opportunities to develop and grow.

      (2) If your HR has no power whatsoever, and is otherwise, a shimsham paper tiger (as they often are in industries like yours), see my advice for #1.

      (3) If your HR has some measure of power, over your dept and others, then maybe, just maybe approach the topic of upward mobility for women. Still, be wary, be diplomatic. Never forget that a company’s HR and a company’s senior management will often have a very different agenda than you, and different motives for making this “HR” chat available.

      • Mommy Tracked & Frustrated :

        Extremely helpful! I have so many complaints at this point that I was having trouble narrowing my focus and trying to stay diplomatic.

        Every single woman I know well that works here feels the same way I do. It’s not in-your-face discrimination, but they keep us out of certain roles that are typically required to advance and get noticed. I obviously won’t say the word discrimination, though!

        I initiated the meeting as a follow up to a question regarding the EEO policy we are forced to sign. I think I am going to stick with the general opportunities for women angle and my career path. Thank you!

    • +1 on everything Susedna said. I’m still not clear on why you’re meeting with HR. As Susedna said, they’re loyal to the company, not to you. In your position, I think you have two things you can do:

      1) Talk with your supervisor(s). Say that you’re hoping to be promoted into X position. Be explicit that you want to move up and you want to do it soon. Ask what a reasonable timeframe would be from your current position. Also ask what you need to do to get there. I understand you don’t have control over getting this or that kind of experience, which means you need someone who does have control over that to want you to get the experience. Does management see you as a viable candidate for the next step up? If they do, they’re going to want you to get the experience you need to take that step. If they don’t, it doesn’t really matter what you do; you’re unlikely to get that promotion. Which leads to…

      2) Look for a job elsewhere. Seriously. If you’ve been there ten years and have gotten passed over more than once, it’s time to consider your options someplace else. Maybe your management just doesn’t see you in a more senior role. If they’re all a bunch of sexist a–holes, it would be lovely if they just woke up one day and said “hey, we’ve been ignoring the women!” and then saw how awesome you were and gave you a promotion. But I doubt that will happen. I realize you say your industry is male-dominated, but that doesn’t mean that no employer wants to promote women. Oftentimes, sexism or no, there’s no way to take a step up without going to another employer. It’s just how the work world works.

      • Mommy Tracked & Frustrated :

        Our HR person isn’t based out of this office so when they come to town they often meet with people to catch up and have in person discussions.

        I think you are spot on with the powers that be just not thinking I’m Management potential, which is so frustrating because I know at one point I was on that list, and I have no idea what got me off of it. I think it’s partially because the bosses I’ve worked for most of my career are no longer with the company or in different offices. So even though I have the experience and am great at my job, nobody “knows” me. I guess in that way I am also trying to advocate for myself since I don’t have anyone else to do it. Basically seeing if there is something that go me off the list and if I can get back on or if its futile and should put all my efforts into finding something else.

        I have been making an (admittedly half-arsed) effort to make a move for years, but am not having any luck. This is despite my being highly recommended by my former boss who is a current employee of a competitor in one case, yet I can’t even get them to call me in for an interview. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

    • I am a woman in (niche) engineering for the oil & gas industry, not in the US. And I hear you when you write about sexism, although I am quite happy myself with my career development. Would you mind sharing your industry?

      I agreee with the commenters above re. HR. I don’t trust HR, probably unfair but true (and thanks to the Susedna above for explaining the maoist strategy for uncovering troublemakers!).

      If you ever decide to search for a job elsewhere, I think smaller companies can sometimes be friendlier for working women, at least in my experience. Because the company I work for is small they can’t pay as much as much bigger companies, and they are willing to trade that for more flexibility, less travel, etc… So while I would make more money elsewhere, I am gaining experience (both in management and on the technical side) I wouldn’t be gaining elsewhere. When my kids grow older I can possibly capitalize on this experience by going back to a big company. And, truth be told, I have what I consider a fair compensation at my current employer. And a healthy, happy workplace too. I don’t know if my comment makes sense to you.

      I send you good vibes. Keep your hopes up!

      • Mommy Tracked & Frustrated :

        It does make sense. I am also in the engineering world but on the construction side of things.

        I think I am at that point where I am going to have to take a pay cut if I want to make a move. Other companies know that we have better pay & benefits, since a lot of people move around, and are not willing to interview me or make an offer because they know they can hire someone similarly qualified with lower salary expectations.

        • If you’re interested in moving on, as TBK suggested, you may have to be explicit in your cover letter that you’re aware of the salary difference, but that’s OK, since the new company will, in theory, offer better benefits, the opportunity to move up, etc. (Ask A Manager has suggestions on how to do this). Is there any way to reestablish contact/check in with these past managers who saw your potential in the past and moved on?

        • OMG, I feel for you. That’s got to be super-frustrating. It’s never fun to give something your all, and learn that the rules were made to benefit others.

          I’m a finance geek and out of my element here, but wanted to kick off a brainstorm with you about alternate career paths. I’m also going to take a step away from the compensation angle, and focus on your very understandable frustration with the poor personnel management at your current company.

          (1) Are some of your skills transferrable to that of energy / utility companies? Energy companies hire chemical engineers, but they also need a certain amount of civil engineering. Utility companies build stuff all the time, and their stuff definitely falls under construction/civil engineering. Energy might have a lot of the same “cultural” issues with women not being promoted; utilities may be better, but have had their share of unionization issues that might impact you, or be completely orthogonal to your career track. Unclear. You’d probably know better than me about the prospects there.

          (2) Consulting — there are a lot of consulting companies, not just big McKinsey-type management & strategy consulting firms. Many of these firms love engineers and folks with any kind of STEM background. Is there any way you can network your way into consulting?

          • Mommy Tracked & Frustrated :

            This is a great idea. I have a huge network of friends in other areas of engineering, but haven’t really tried that angle. Duh!

        • Are your salaries so good that you would need to take a pay cut? Because if you can land a higer position at a competitor, maybe you would still making the same or more money… At my very small company I am head of a team and I probably make more than what I would make as a project engineer at a bigger company. But a team leader would make more at a bigger company.

          You mentioned your former boss works at a competitor and that they won’t interview you… Can you get him to coach you? And maybe you should check the askamanager blog if you are not familiar with it.

          I can imagine construction is much tougher for working moms than my field, which is much more office work and involves lots of calculations…

          I send you good vibes again and will page you if I think of something else!

          • Mommy Tracked & Frustrated :

            Thank you, great suggestions. I do keep in touch with my former boss and we have lunch often. He has advised me to move on, that its a waste of talent, etc and has gotten me connections for several jobs but they have all fallen through for one reason or another.

            I am going to start to network in other areas and put out more feelers, try to get in touch with those over the years who have mentioned “if you ever need a job call me” etc. I know it seems so basic and logical that of course you should do that… but it’s all I can do to show up for work and take care of a 20 month old right now. I know it’s partially been a lack of effort on my part and I need to put myself out there because a job isn’t going to fall into my lap.

            Thanks so much, everyone. This has been really inspiring!

          • Good luck! Know that we’re hoping for good things for your career. I hope you check back in and let us know how things are going no matter what.

            Your story is one of many that make me want to shake CEOs who write self-congratulatory books about how they climbed to the top because they were oh so brilliant and perfect.

            They need to be reminded that most of them got there because of a combo of: male privilege, being the guy who played golf with the *right* powerful guy in charge, and dumping all the childcare and home responsibilities on a series of frustrated wives. They also need to read this URL:
            http://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/06/07/the-just-world-fallacy/

            (I’m not a successful CEO, but I read that link every now and then, largely to remind myself not to get too bloaty-headed with unwarranted pride about the things I have accomplished in my life. )

          • Mommy Tracked & Frustrated :

            You guys are not even going to believe this, but I just got a message on linked in from a smaller more specialized company that is looking for a project manager and I look like a great fit. The good vibes worked!

          • you wrote:

            Mommy Tracked & Frustrated :

            04/22/2014 at 4:26 pm

            You guys are not even going to believe this, but I just got a message on linked in from a smaller more specialized company that is looking for a project manager and I look like a great fit. The good vibes worked!

            You made my day!!!!!! (Ha! Here you have an engineer all happy cause her internet good vibes worked)

            Again: Keep your hopes up. Remember you 20 month old will grow and things will be easier. If you will, get back and keep us posted (I try not to spend too much time here, but I will come back and check for your handle).

        • I think if there are specific position where you know lots of women applied, and a man got hired who wasn’t as qualified, then I’d talk to HR about that. They may not be able to comment on a particular hiring decision, but it sometimes helps if they know that people are noticing.

          This is only relevant if your HR dept is someone who you think can help, of course. Some organizations won’t change no matter what.

  13. I love this blazer, but the manageing partner think’s it look’s like a schmata! He is so WRONG on this, but I think he says that b/c he does NOT want me to wear this b/c he does NOT think the judge will like it. I am goeing with Lynn to the CELLAR tomorrow and will speak to her about spending to much time with Mason. I realy think he is useing her for sex, b/c he does NOT seem to deal with her much during the day. She is much more into him then he is to her (exept at nite of course, but that is another story). The manageing partner is happy with my new cases, and I made 13 motion’s for extensions b/c the other firm gave me a batch of cases with deadline’s due to expire! FOOEY on them! They must be trying to make me FAIL so they keep the cases. I know a guy from that firm and was NEVER impressed with him. He took the bar w/me in Albeany and I think he was stareing at me there. FOOEY on him also. Dad has been nice since I was out there–he has not even brought up my tuchus for a few day’s. I think he knows I know that I have to get my tuchus size down if I am to wear a batheing suit this summer in the Hamton’s. I do NOT want a big tuchus any more then my future husband doe’s. I have to walk today to make sure I have room for the pasta tomorrow at the Cellar with Lynn. YAY!!!!

  14. Polo shirt dress? :

    Do you think it’s ok to wear a polo shirt-style dress (with collar and buttons) on days when men tend to wear slacks and polos (not because what they wear dictates but just as a gauge of the level of casual-ness on some days)?

    • kjoirishlastname :

      I would, but see my above post re: jeans & keens. You can certainly dress it up with a belt, cardi & pretty scarf.

    • Polo shirt and separate skirt, yes. Polo shirt dress – no…feels too casual to me. That’s running a running around on Saturday vibe.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I wouldn’t. I view those dresses as quite casual and more along the lines of what I’d wear to a picnic.

      • To me they always look like you forgot your pants, lol.

        I think my answer depends on whether they guys tuck their polo shirts in. I worked in a biz casual office where guys wore polos and khakis (or jeans), untucked, and a polo dress would have been fine. I’ve also worked in one where guys wore polos or short sleeve button downs with khakis tucked with a belt. Dress would’ve been too casual.

    • No.

    • Charlotte York :

      I would not. Those dresses are way too casual for all but the truly casual workplace. They read lunch at the country club.

    • Anonymous :

      I have a Ralph Lauren navy one with long sleeves that goes to the knees, and I wear it on Fridays with great success.

  15. Looking for dresses under $75, short sleeves, size 10. I run a nursing home, so I see my people day after day and I need to beef up my variety.

    • Wildkitten :

      Lands end has an assortment of ponte dresses with pockets that would fit the bill.

    • CLE question :

      Land’s End ponte sheath (and most other LE dresses)? There’s usually a sale on. Lots have sleeves.

      • Wildkitten :

        Yeah if you have time, wait for them to go on sale. You won’t have to wait long.

  16. off to goodwill :

    wish me luck.

  17. Help! At what point do you all transition worn-out clothes from work to “other”/play/donation pile? I wear my clothes for a long time and I’m not particularly tuned in to “worn out”. Like shoes. I read somewhere that they should look new (generally speaking) at work, but I get scuffs and heel tears on a daily basis.

    • Wildkitten :

      If they are broken (holes) I just throw them out. I donate if they’re in good shape but I don’t want to wear them anymore myself.

    • Senior Attorney :

      And shoes can often be rehabilitated at the cobbler. Cleaning, shining, repairs.

      • Anonymous :

        I do this, but I’m being literal about the daily damage to my shoes – cobblestone/brick sidewalks at my office. Should I really be budgeting for more frequent repairs? (I probably repair torn heels when there are a few small tears, so maybe once a year)

        • Senior Attorney :

          I have been known to use a Sharpie on heel tears. Also, if you’re beating up your shoes that bad, maybe a different kind of heels are in order?

    • Scuffs I polish out myself before the next wearing unless they are patent leather (those I let the cobbler do). Heels I get repaired as soon as they happen (well, I make a bag and take several pairs in together). General maintenance I just keep an eye on and get new caps whenever the old ones shift or get worn. Shoes I rarely donate, but will if I just end up not liking them so long as they haven’t been worn much.

      Anything with holes, fallen hems, or repairs I’m not willing to pay to have done usually get tossed. Anything that looks worn (e.g., shiny, pilled, stained) also gets tossed. Anything that I might still wear but don’t want any more is what gets donated.

      • ExecAssist :

        “Shiny” can be avoided by ironing on the wrong side or laying a handkerchief (or other piece of cotton cloth) over your clothing when you iron (so iron never touches clothes).

    • When my clothes get:
      –stretched out
      –faded from their original color
      –stained and can’t be cleaned (armpits, from food, etc.)
      –go out of style (especially if it was remotely on trend to begin with).

      If you’re unsure, I’ve also found it helpful to have one of my more critical (but well-meaning!) friends help me go through my closet.

      • Traveller :

        BTW – I learned a good tip here about cleaning the underarms of yellowed shirts with a mix of dish soap, hydrogen peroxide & baking soda. Let soak & then scrub with a nail brush.

        Brought some otherwise good shirts back to life. It’s a bit harsh on the fabric & will fade some colors, but worked well on sturdy white cotton button downs. Worth a try if the shirt is destined for the discard pile anyways.

    • I switched from stiletto heels to Vara-style heels for trips to cobblestoned cities.

  18. Navy Pinstripes/In the Pink :

    So, I have a navy pinstripe jacket from a suit.

    Can I, at all, wear it as a separate? If so, with what? I know that matching the navy is going to be impossible, so I am open to ideas. No jeans though. (Sorry, I know this makes it more difficult, sorry)

    • Maddie Ross :

      I think the answer is “maybe.” For me, pairing suit jackets with other items depends on the suit fabric and the cut. Boyfriend cuts and shorter cuts, to me, are easier to pair. A traditional jacket is harder. Seasonless wool is the hardest to pair, to me, too. It just screams suit and makes it look like you forgot the companion piece. All that said, navy pinstripe would seem to pair well with lots of colors – items in the pink/beige family especially.

    • I had a navy pinstripe jacket that fit me much longer than the matching suit pants did, and I did get a lot of wear out of it with jeans! For non-denim options, though, I wore it with floral dresses, especially a blue one with a small print that really worked well with the pinstripes, and it also worked with a white top and tan bottoms. I think you could wear it with brightly colored pants, too–red, pink, and green are all possibilities. Fit is important, too. If it’s closer-fitting I think it will be versatile, but I do have some suit jackets that just look odd with dresses or shapes other than the traditional trouser.

    • I would try grey slacks and a patterned shirt in a neutral or possibly a deep red if that suits you and probably navy or cardamon shoes.

    • What color is the stripe?

    • This depends on the jacket and how boxy or formally it is cut. A more tailored blazer might look ok casually.

      A former colleague of mine used to wear suit jackets with tight (light-colored) jeans to court with pumps. It looked terrible.

  19. I need some advice, please! I am very young for the position I hold in my organization and I am also a female in a male-dominated field. I also look very young for my age. I recognized very early on that this might present somewhat of a challenge for me and have attempted to offset this by dressing a little more formally and maintaining a high level of professionalism. However, this has created two problems: 1) I am fairly confident that the people who I manage think I am stiff and stuck up and 2) the higher level people still treat me like a little girl at the adults table. I just came back from a big meeting where the Director and his new client shook hands with everyone at the table but tried to high-five me. Yes, high five me. I tried to initiate a handshake, but it got so much worse… he tried to fist bump me!

    Is there any way I can address this without coming off too harshly? Am I being overly sensitive about this? I am also concerned because I was also called “sweetie” and “sweetheart” several times and have called people out on it and asked them to maintain a certain level of professionalism. Those people no longer call me sweetheart, but I’m pretty sure they think I have a stick up my butt. Am I caring about this way too much?

    • Dude, you are not overreacting. AT ALL.

      As a fellow chick in a very male-dominated field, I completely understand what you’re going through. Nobody ever called me sweetie or sweetheart, though (I am a fire-breathing lizard however).

      The way I see it, especially in work environments like ours, being considered tough and harsh and as someone not to cross is better than being viewed as someone who’s “a sweet young thing”. Be tough, scowl, rawr, whatever you have to do. Let word get around that you are no-nonsense. You have plenty of time to be nice later. As you can imagine, being nice in the beginning and trying to command some authority later on is an uphill battle.

      Be so amazing at work that they don’t even associate your gender as part of your identity. Scare them.

      • Thanks, Godzilla! Haha it was great advice and really made me laugh at the fire-breathing lizard bit. I’m definitely erring on the side of being too tough, but it gets me so frustrated when I see my male co-workers joking so easily with their coordinators and they don’t have to have the same tough facade as I do.

        I think the next time someone tries to fist bump me, I will either reach out and shake their fist or stare at their fist like I’ve never seen a hand before in my life. Gahh…. if someone tries to chest bump me, I might just tackle them instead.

        As for being amazing – I will make every effort to do so! :)

        • We’re pioneers. We’re training men on how to deal with women in a professional setting. And also trying not to set unreasonable expectations so that other women can follow the trails we’ve blazed.

          When they try to fist bump, deadpan a “what are you doing?” in a really serious voice. Later on, crack jokes about that person to your coworkers. Men love gossiping/talking smack about others. Like Sydney says, a few F-bombs go a long way. Outman the men.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I used to be the only woman in an office in an extremely male-dominated field (construction industry). My situation might be a bit different because there was a level of physical work that everyone had to help with occasionally. 2 things helped me. First, I did my best to prove myself physically right from the start. That meant jumping in and getting my hands dirty right away. Once the guys knew I could do it and wasn’t stereotypically “girly” about it, they respected me for it. It helped that I knew how all the systems worked so I was able to jump in and help with shipping or receiving when things got busy and move big, heavy boxes around. I just did it without making it seem like a big deal, which it really wasn’t even though some of the guys seemed a little shocked.

      The second thing that helped that may be more helpful for you was to have a coworker on my side. In my case, he had been working there forever but was around my age. He was completely respected by all the other guys as well as our customers. On the occasions where someone treated me inappropriately and he was around, he would speak up for me if whatever I said didn’t work. He did that on his own, but I likely would have felt comfortable asking for his help dealing with someone if I hadn’t been able to fixit on my own. Is there a respected coworker you trust who could help? Even a casual “dude, shake her hand like a normal person” or jumping in to respond to someone as “sweetie” by someone who is respected can be helpful.

      Good luck! I know it’s not easy!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Oh I totally second Godzilla’a points too. Especially her last sentence.

        One more thing I forgot to mention is that office culture can be extra important here. If the guys swear at work and you’re comfortable with it then an occasional swear word that you wouldn’t normally use at work can help. Also going for drinks after work if they all do helps. These things seem to help stop them associating you as an “other.”

      • Thanks, Sydney Bristow. I am not really close with any of my colleagues, but I think this would be a really great approach!

        • Yes! The swearing – why didn’t I think of that??? While I’m not much of a swearer myself, when in Rome…

          Also, most of my colleagues are generally quite a bit older than me. Do you think befriending them would still work?

          • Sydney Bristow :

            Yeah I think so. Anything you can do to get them on your side and see you as just one if the team (one of the guys, really) can help.

          • Thanks!!

    • anonymama :

      I think if you are going to say something, it should be in a light, smiling manner. If someone calls you sweetie, smile and say in a laughing manner, “I haven’t been called that in years!” or “Not even my husband/boyfriend/grandmother calls me that!” In truth, acting more relaxed and comfortable will make it seem more like you belong, and it sounds like you are acting a little bit stiff in trying to be taken seriously. I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong in calling them out, but you need to finesse it a little to better prove your point, that you are capable and belong at the table, and are “one of them”. (Of course, this is assuming that everyone generally means well and isn’t trying to intentionally insult you or be condescending, but is just older or oblivious to what is appropriate these days).

      • YMMV but I don’t think this would work. OP is trying to convey professional gravitas. They could easily construe this type of reaction as “hey, she likes it!” when they are literally belittling her.

        I’ll preface this by stating that I’m a jerk; if somebody called me “sweetie”, I may say any of the following:
        a) Uh….thanks honey (in a super sarcastic voice)
        b) Sweetie? Who’s Sweetie?
        c) Thanks BILL (super serious voice, extra connotation on the person’s name)

        Of course, be comfortable, be yourself, but be your best professional self.

        • Wildkitten :

          I think if you say “I haven’t been called that in years!” *smile* The creepster creep will think he’s flattering you by creeping. I’m with Godzilla. Smash the creep.

        • Lol, I love it Godzilla! The partner I work with called me Princess the other day in front of all the male associates. I just said “Princess? Really? Is that what we are going with now?”

    • I agree that you are not overreacting. I think you can continue to take the steps you are to appear professional and serious. Once your message has gotten through (and the higher level folks stop treating you like a child), you can start to show a human side by making small talk about sports or your hobbies, or in other ways seeming like “one of the guys”.
      But right now, it’s a good idea to continue to project a strong, professional, no-nonsense woman.

    • Read the book Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois Frankel. You probably won’t agree with 100% of what’s in that book, but it really helped me in a situation like yours.

  20. hoola hoopa :

    curling product recommendations?

    I’m looking for a product to enhance curling iron curls. I have naturally wavy hair, but when I curl my hair it goes limp/straight after just a few minutes. I’m currently using hair spray (sauve) and have tried light to heavy application with no different affect.

    I had my hair styled for a wedding a few years ago and the stylist got my hair to curl and last all day with some sort of product that came out of a spray can. So I know something exists! I should have thought to get the name of the product.

    • Wildkitten :

      Hair spray?

    • You may not be curling it properly. Make sure the hair is pulled straight or ribbonlike going into the iron, or else it will curl all tangled and not hold together as a curl. The hair outside of the iron should be hot. Many people let it out while it’s still cool. I let it hold for at least 10 seconds to fully heat my thick hair. Finally, once you let it out, you can pin the curl with a duck clip for another minute to let it cool in the curl position. I have *very thick hair and this process will make those curl stick.

      Sometimes I’ll put in some BB Brilliantine beforehand and a spray of Elnett afterwards. But if your hair is wavy, it should hold that curl and it’s probably bc you aren’t curling it right. Good luck!

      • hoola hoopa :

        I think my technique is right (sounds exactly like what you describe), but I’ll try using the clips during cooling.

    • I use this before I curl to protect/prep my hair:

      http://www.redken.com/products/styling/heat-styling/hot-sets-22-thermal-setting-mist

      and follow with lots of this:

      http://www.kenra.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ID=40

      If you are curling your hair properly it will stick with those two products.

    • Orangerie :

      Try Bumble & Bumble Does it All Styling Spray or KMS Free Shape Spray. Both have worked well for me when I anticipate my heatstyling to need a little extra staying power. Definitely follow up with a coat of hairspray; I like the John Frieda Luxurious Volume kind (turquoise canister).

      I second anon’s recommendation to let your hair cool before raking your fingers through it.

      • hoola hoopa :

        Will try – thanks! The B&B sounds exactly like what I’m looking for.

    • I have the same issue and while it’s not a product, I find that if I use steam rollers, my curls last so much longer. Longer to the extent that I can throw it up in a ponytail the next day and it has a nice 50s “Barbie” bounce to it.

    • A bit late here, but in case you are still reading – I’ve heard good things about Paul Mitchell’s Hot Off the Press Spray.

    • learn to curl it with a straightening iron – it will last so much longer & hairspray isn’t necessary.

    • Hairstylists often spray each curl with hairspray before using the curling iron.

      You could also try a mousse or gel or serum. Different products work for different people.

  21. I think I have a dress problem. I was cleaning out my closet and I have way too many dresses. I pretty much wear nothing but. I don’t have a single pair of jeans or pants that I actually like. And yet I just put a super fun dress in my Rue La La cart…. After ordering 2 dresses on Friday and buying 3 dresses a week ago. I think I need to institute a ban. They’re all very different – some for work, some casual, some for play – and none are very expensive, but how many is too many?????
    But maybe I should just return one of the others and get this one?? It is just so cute.

    • This is the dress I am pining for. In case anyone want to enable me or discourage me…
      http://www.ruelala.com/event/82478/1411239226

      • Love that dress and it’s a good deal! So I’m here to enable :)

        I too am a dress person. I almost always wear dresses to work. If that’s what you get the most use out of, then go for it, especially if you’re not in a rut (i.e., are only wearing ponte sheaths).

        I don’t think there is a rule for too many. As long as you have space for it, you can afford it, and you get use out of it, then go for it!

    • Wildkitten :

      I mean – if all you wear is dresses all you should own is dresses! But, as much as I love hot pink, I suspect it is a trend that is on its way out, if you want an excuse to not buy that particular dress.

    • If your dresses are getting use, and you still have enough room in your closet for all of them to fit * in the closet, I don’t see a problem. :-)

      *all the dresses fit in the closet if they’re not so jam-packed against each other so tightly that you sometimes accidentally hang one inside the straps of another, getting everything tangled, or, you can’t pull out one dress without pulling out 3 others at the same time accidentally.

      ….not that I know anything about overly jammed closets.

      *whistles*

    • And here I thought I was the only one with a problem. I love dresses too. That is all I ever want to buy and wear everywhere. I say go for it.

    • If wearing dresses all the time is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

  22. Thanks!!

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