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The Hunt: Sweater Sets

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

Well, we were surprised when we started hunting for twinsets for this feature. To us, twinsets are a great summer basic — they’re the perfect solution for a deathly hot commute (you just wear the tank or tee and throw the sweater in your bag or over your shoulders) and then when you get to the office and the uber-airconditioning, you can be nice and warm in your cardigan.  Sure, we get a lot of use out of them as separate pieces — we wear the sweater top on top of white shirts, or we wear the cardigan by itself over dresses. Still, we like to buy the set as a whole — it’s a better addition to the closet that way; it ties your wardrobe together and extends it and gives you another option for a work-appropriate outfit.  Also: great for travel.

So we were surprised at how hard it was to find a collection of twinsets for this week’s The Hunt. Furthermore, there was a huge price gap — anything that had the least bit detailing was going for $1000 plus, with everything else just being a basic. Very interesting! Please tell us in comments — do you still wear sweater sets? Would you buy them if they were easier to find in stores?

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Weekend Roundup – Wall Street chicks, Money, Tiny things, Ink stains

– Women on Wall Street: A rare breed. [The Street via Feministing]

– Above the Law has added a section to promote your charitable benefit announcements. [AtL]

– Nice article on how to retire with absolutely nothing. (Wait, that isn’t your goal? Oh.) [Motley Fool]

– If you’re happy, that will apparently advance the goal of retiring with absolutely nothing. [Money]

– We love tiny purse-sized packets of stuff, and accordingly love Minimus. They’ve just put together a bag of everything you’ll need on your wedding day. [Minimus]

– Clean ink marks off your hands with a teabag. [Lifehacker]

Weekly Roundup

– Floorcloths: just what your office needs to brighten it up. You can walk on ’em and clean ’em, but they’re beautiful and cheerful. [Hilary Law via Apartment Therapy] (At left: #20.)

– Lifehacker readers vote on the best personal finance tools. (We vote for MS Money.) [Lifehacker]

– Just what every young professional needs: a guide to power napping. [43 Folders]

– This site has a nice collection of links for those trying to decide whether to rent or buy. [Brazen Careerist]

– Oooh, a new Sarah Haskins video (the reporter who brought you the “Target Women: Yogurt” report. [Feministing]

– Great profile on Kelly Cutrone, the fashion publicist on The Hills: “[A]s a powerful female whose authority is never questioned or mocked, she is a near-anomaly on television. She boasts a what-the-fuck attitude that betrays punk-rockish roots.” We’ll admit it, we’ve got a girl crush. [NY Observer]

– If you haven’t seen it: LinkedIn is, like, way popular. [NYT]

– Six vacation spots to see before global warming destroys them. Make the time! [Smart Money]

Poll Results: We Are Not Fashion Police

why you shouldn't play fashion police at workSo about a week and a half ago we asked: At what point do you tell a colleague if her attire is inappropriate? In our theoretical situation she was wearing a see-through miniskirt…

– 51% of you would tell her only if you were good friends with her or were in some way responsible for her

– 37% of you said you’d tell her if it was something she might not realize (undergarment issues, etc)

– 18% of you said you’d NEVER tell her, under any circumstances

– 11% of you said you’d call HR and make them tell her

and 3% of you said you’d only tell her if she would embarrass the company.

If you haven’t taken the poll yet, it’s still open…

Photo by striatic, courtesy of Flickr.

10 Things to Know About: Wearing Button-Down Shirts

(Welcome! If you’re new here, please consider signing up for our email list, or checking out our Top Posts since 2008.)

Someone was telling us recently that they didn’t wear button-down shirts, didn’t even know how to wear ’em. So, here ya go…

1. If you’re going for the crisp cotton look, go for non-iron. Brooks Brothers makes a great fitted non-iron shirt. Thomas Pink (very high end, typically thought of as a man’s store) makes amazing button-down shirts for women, also, with interesting prints and a lovely fit.

2. Collars and jackets: Collars should stay on the inside of the jacket, not splayed open on the outside.

3. If you have a white shirt, try not to put it in the dryer in order to avoid yellowing. Actually, in our experience the iron-free shirts look best when hung dry. (Just pull them taut, a bit, when they’re wet and you’re hanging on the hanger — it always seems to help the fabric figure out where to go.)

4. If you’ve got a French cuff shirt, do not bother with those tiny knots you can buy at places for $10 — you’re wasting your money and time, because they take forever to put in. Instead, make an investment in a good pair of cufflinks — Thomas Pink has great ones; Nordstrom also has some beautiful ones right now.

5. Tucking: If you’re wearing a fitted, button-down shirt (such as the ones from Pink) you can experiment with how it looks untucked. The key is that it can’t be too long — it should hit mid-hip, and no matter what should not be longer than your suit jacket. Silky shirts should always be tucked.

6. If you want a very clean tucked-in look, there are some stores that make leotard-like button-down shirts. See, for example, Victoria’s Secret or Donna Karan.

7. Non-traditional style idea: Wear a short-sleeved button-down shirt beneath a vest or even a t-shirt. (We’ve given up trying to wear anything but silky button-downs beneath full-sleeve sweaters — the static cling gets us every time.)

8. Non-traditional style idea, Part 2: Wear a camisole/tank top underneath the button-down shirt, tuck in the shirt, and only button it up halfway, so people can see the camisole beneath. See Allison Janey in West Wing.

9. Gaping: If your shirt is gaping, this could mean a few things. A) You need a larger size, and should take it to a tailor to get it to fit you the way you want it to. B) You need to wear a camisole beneath it, so when you turn to the side people don’t get a view of your bra. C) You can experiment with Hollywood Tape and so forth to keep it from gaping — we’ve found the camisole is just easier.

10. Beneath the slightly sheer white shirt: Wear a bra that matches your skin tone, and a white camisole, no matter how convinced you are that no one can see through it. We’ve tried the nude camisole, and trust us: white just looks better.

Etiquette Flash: What Your Drink Says About You

what your drink says about youThe question repeats itself often throughout the summer months: What’ll you have? What can I get you? The subject, of course, is alcohol. Whether you’re there for the summer or for the long haul, you still want to make a good impression at parties. Thus, behold: The Corporette Guide to Drinking.

Photo by DOS82, courtesy of Flickr.

Our 2-second tip: The best kind of drink is the one that is sipped infrequently. In other words, try not to get drunk until the after party.

Wine. This is always a safe choice. It may reflect a lack of imagination/decisiveness on your part, however.

Wine Spritzer. This says, “Dieter,” loud and clear. It can be helpful if you’re determined to make it to the after-after party, however, because you’re drinking a weak drink that’s already diluted.

Beer. Again, always a safe choice, although it may reflect a certain desire to “hang with the boys.” We don’t suggest getting this unless you’re actually at a bar and can choose bottle or draft.

Champagne. Party time! Excellent! There is a time and a place for champagne — black tie events, specific celebrations — but in general, champagne can get you drunk far too quickly and leaves the nastiest of hangovers. Also, at mass-catered affairs you’re unlikely to get good champagne, so why bother?

Colored drinks. Most colored drinks are, unfortunately, girly drinks. It also shows that you’re a bit high-maintenance (appletini? really?), especially if the party is at someone’s home or at a bar with limited options. Avoid at all costs. The one exception is the screwdriver: The vitamin C in orange juice is great for energy. If there is a special drink being offered for the party, however, trying it shows that you’re game and open to new suggestions.

Drinks mixed with tonic or club soda. These are great options, provided you’re talking more than drinking. The glasses (generally a lowball or highball glass) are safe, and communicate from afar that you’re not afraid to drink with the group, and that you’ve got a touch of class. Gin and tonic is a great summer drink, as well. If you’re on a diet go for vodka soda with a twist — tastes great and soda lacks the calories that tonic has.

Martini. Go classic here, or not at all. Vodka or gin, with an olive or a twist (or possibly an onion). Nothing colored pink, nothing flavored. Sip — do NOT drink. Only get it served “up” if you don’t tend to make a lot of gestures when speaking.

Whiskey/Bourbon. Like the martini, a classic drink, and like the gin & tonic, it generally comes in a safe glass. Only drink it if you’re familiar with it, though, and can drink it without wincing. This also tends to have a “drinking with the boys” feeling, but it says you’re up for drinking with the executives/partners, not for drinking with the guys on the baseball team.

Rum and Coke. Maybe this is a regional thing, but we say: drinking it is one thing — it’s a dark drink and no one can really tell what you’re drinking. But being overheard ordering it could be embarrassing. After all, isn’t that the choice of most 19-year-olds?

Shots. Unacceptable unless the person in charge starts it. Otherwise, save ’em for the afterparty.

Diet Coke. This drink says that you’re a party pooper and/or a dieter and/or a bad drunk. (Party foul, anyone?) Still, being suspected of being party foul is better than actually being party foul, so do what you need to do.

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