Coffee Break: Easy tote

Givenchy easy toteI always think of one of my favorite fashion movies, How to Steal a Million, whenever I hear or see anything Givenchy — Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole are planning a big heist to steal a sculpture (“it’s valued at a MILLION DOLLARS!“) and O’Toole decides Hepburn should dress up as a member of the cleaning crew at the museum.  “What does this accomplish?” she asks grumpily.  “Well for one thing,” O’Toole deadpans, “It gives Givenchy the night off.”  Sigh.  It’s a marvelous movie, everyone should see it. (Oooh, and there’s free streaming with Amazon Prime!)  ANYHOO: I’m digging this “easy tote” from Givenchy, new to the sale section at Farfetch — it looks like a great, structured little tote for work; almost a more feminine version of a briefcase. It’s leather and suede, and on sale for $1,151 (was $1,645). Givenchy easy tote

Here are a few more affordable options if you’re on the hunt.

(L-all)

What to Wear Underneath Unlined Pants

unlined-pantsWhat do you wear under pants and suits that are unlined? Are you for or against the current trend of unlined clothing? Reader K wonders:

I have a question I was hoping you could address. As a slim, athletic woman I love Theory suits because they fit me like a glove. However, I’m peeved that the skirts and pants are unlined — which has already been noted on your site. I’ve found a number of slips that I can wear under the skirts, but I’m having trouble finding something to wear under the pants. All I’ve found is super-tight shapewear that feels uncomfortably tight at the waist, especially when sitting. Do you have any suggestions?

Great question, and I’m curious to hear what readers say. (We’ve already talked about how to reduce static cling in general.) For my $.02, I’m actually in favor of the move toward unlined pants, for a bunch of reasons. First, I often would find that the lining of my suiting clothes would be the first part to break down, sometimes even shredding — it really decreased that confident feeling of “I look put together today.” (Maybe I’m alone here, but if my underpinnings are in poor shape, no matter what else I’m wearing, everything else feels raggedy too!) Plus, the lining was often a cheap polyester — so while the pants or dress were washable, the lining wasn’t. (OR, the lining would need to be laundered way before the rest of the pants needed a wash.) Also, as someone who often needs to get pants hemmed (yay for being between regular and petite sizes), the lining in pants was just another layer to hem.

A few options for you to wear underneath unlined pants:

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Thursday’s TPS Report: Ottoman Rib Cap Sleeve Sheath Dress

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

Halogen Ottoman Rib Sheath DressLadies, I present a unicorn: a machine washable dress that is highly reviewed, comes in multiple colors and size types, and is under $100.  I like the flattering pieced construction, the inset waist, jewel neck and cap sleeves.  The dress is $98 and comes in regular, petite, and plus sizesHalogen Ottoman Rib Cap Sleeve Sheath Dress

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

Update: FYI I see that 6pm’s featured sale today is for career separates — lots from Calvin Klein, Anne Klein, Jones New York, Pendleton, and more, all up to 84% off. (!!) They have a pretty good selection for plus sizes and petites as well.

(L-all)

Suit of the Week: Reiss

womens-interview-suitFor busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

The dress is what caught my eye here first — a nice high V with darts, an inset waist, wide shoulders… I love that you can wear it with or without belt.  But the rest of the set is pretty hot as well: the fitted blazer (love those darts in the back!), the tapered ankle-length trousers, the simple skirt (pictured at top). I’ll take it all right now, s’il vous plait.  The blazer (Topaz Blazer) is $425, the dress (Topaz Dress) is $340, the pants (Topaz Trousers) are $230, and the skirt (Topaz Skirt) is $195.  Also note: this is a great example of wearing black with navy.

Here’s a more affordable option, and here’s a plus-size option.

navy-women-suiting
(L-all)

Tales from the Wallet: Financially Preparing for Baby

financially-preparing-for-babyWe’ve talked about some of the major financial milestones that can affect your life, like wedding and grad school — but we haven’t yet talked about how to financially prepare for baby. (We have talked in general terms about family planning, as well as when the “best” time to get pregnant is.) So here are the questions: how can you prepare financially for a baby?  What considerations should factor into the decision to start trying?  Mamas, what are your best tips for the women still just pondering it? 

First, a story.  I remember being pregnant with my first child and reading a story somewhere about how babies were so expensive.  Yeah yeah yeah, I thought.  Sure, there are big purchases like a stroller and a crib.  But a baby shirt is like $5! Diapers are like, what, $20 a box?  NBD.

Stopped laughing yet?  I didn’t get it — in a big way.  CHILDCARE is the huge expense for children.  It really escaped my notice that if I wanted to work for 40 hours a week, then someone would need to watch the baby for 40 hours a week.  In most states, public school doesn’t kick in until kindergarten — aka, age FIVE.  So that’s five years of childcare — per kid — that you need to figure out.  We’ve talked about the pros and cons of different childcare arrangements over at CorporetteMoms, and last week we talked generally about parental budgeting — but I thought we’d bring the conversation over to Corporette.

For my $.02, for those of you just considering a baby, I would say:

  • Lock down health insurance.  I would strongly, strongly, strongly advise you to get health insurance (a good policy!) before you consider having a baby.  Doctors’ visits add up, as do ultrasounds, visits to specialists, and the ultimate labor and delivery bill.  (I believe my copay was $1000 for each pregnancy, but for my relatively uncomplicated births I recall seeing that the hospital bill for Jack was $16K, and for Harry it was $14K…. I definitely would not have wanted to be facing either of those numbers without insurance.)
  • Know your maternity leave policy. Note that you are only eligible for FMLA leave if “you have worked for your employer for at least 12 months, and have worked for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.” We’ve also talked on here about negotiating for maternity leave at the interview stage, as well as (on CorporetteMoms) what an ideal maternity leave would look like.
  • Consider getting short-term disability.  Pregnancy may or may not be covered — and it may not be covered as a preexisting condition — so it’s best to think about this before you get pregnant.
  • Know if any vesting periods apply to you.  Stock options, pension plans, 401K matches, etc — if any of those employee perks may apply to you, take a look so you know what the situation is. If you’re only ten months away from being fully vested in a big perk, you may want to wait to start trying for another month or two.
  • Get a budgetary cushion.  You will need some cash for doctors’ copays and baby essentials, and you’ll eventually be able to roll that cushion over for childcare expenses.  In a perfect world I would suggest you have at least $1K-$5K cash, but obviously a lot of people have gotten pregnant with a lot less and been fine.
  • Talk to your doctors.  Finally, if you haven’t yet started trying to conceive, a minor note — talk to your doctor (and have your partner talk to his doctor) before you start.  My doctor suggested I get some more shots (the MMR vacine, if memory serves) that I could not have gotten while pregnant or nursing, and I also had genetic testing done. Unexpected health complications can be expensive, so being proactive here can really help.

Meanwhile, once you’re pregnant, I would suggest:

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Wednesday’s TPS Report: Boat-Neck Cap-Sleeve Dress

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

DvF Boat-Neck Cap-Sleeve DressLast Call is having a pretty great sale — save up to 75% off end of season and an extra 25% off new spring items. For today’s TPS report I’m liking this lovely boatneck dress from DvF, available in three colors. The “purple haze,” pictured, has the most sizes left (and is $171 with the extra 25% off), but the black and lighter blue are marked $139, but only lucky sizes remain. The dress was $328 originally, is 39″ long, and lined — I think it would look great by itself or with any number of cardigans or blazers. It’s $139-$171 at Last Call. Diane von Furstenberg Boat-Neck Cap-Sleeve Dress

Lots of great plus-size pieces on sale at Last Call as well — here’s a nice blue dress.

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

(L-4)