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Work-Appropriate Nails: Length, Shape, Color, and More!

work appropriate nailsHere’s a topic we haven’t discussed in FOREVER: nails and the office. What’s your definition of work-appropriate nails? Do you think there are any definite nail DON’TS for the office? What is your favorite nail polish color and nail shape to wear to work? And, readers — as busy women, do you prefer gel or acrylic over regular nail polish? Reader L has a great question:

I have read a good deal of advice online about work appropriate nail colors, but I cannot find much on length and shape. I like to wear acrylics that are modestly long and rounded in order to enlongate my stubby fingers. They are short enough to look natural, but they are about a centimeter past my finger tips. I also always wear nude or light pink polish to soften the look. I will be starting at a somewhat conservative firm in the fall. Can I keep my nails?

We’ve talked in the past about finding a nail salon near your office, nail care for the minimalists, and the best nail colors for work. But we’ve never talked shape/length, and even our work-appropriate nail color discussion was many moons ago. So let’s talk, ladies!

For my $.02, I’m hoping Reader L meant a millimeter instead of a centimeter — holding up a ruler against my very short nails, a centimeter past my fingertip looks like it would be double the length of my nail.  (#NoNosferatuNails!) (Admittedly, my ruler is neon pink and see-through, so, uh, perhaps the measurements are off?) I’m going to take a hard line position and say that if your nails interfere with regular typing, they’re too long. In terms of the best shape of nails for work, I think it really comes down to preference.

In terms of color, I think colorful nails have come a long way towards being work-appropriate; when I started this blog we were debating whether dark red nails were professional! I still think it’s very much a “know your office” thing, though — so I’d advise women to stay away from wackier colors and designs if it’s your first week on the job or if you have a big meeting with new clients.

Ladies, what are your thoughts on work-appropriate nails? What length do you like to keep your nails? What shape and color are your favorites to wear to work?

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Tailoring Alterations for Women: What to Ask For to Look More Polished

Tailoring Alterations for Women | CorporetteWhat are the most helpful alterations a tailor can make for professional women? What tailoring alterations really make an impact in looking polished? Reader L wrote in with this question, and I thought it might make an interesting open thread:

I’m 99% sure you did something on this years ago but could be worth reviving a post on what tailors / shoemakers can to do help fit or fix your clothes (i.e. Adding extra belt or shoe strap holes, protective soles, sewing in those bra strap holders, etc).

Great point! We have talked about the most common suiting alterations, as well as the most common tailoring alterations, but not in a while. I know some people get every single thing tailored; personally I’m probably on the lower end of the spectrum, where it has to be a pretty special item for me to take it to the tailor. I’ve had pants and jeans shortened, a waist or two taken in, the bustline of an empire dress moved down so it laid better, and added extra strap holes to belts or shoes (although if memory serves a friend just had one of those hole-punchers). (But I’ll fully admit that a lot of my pants were hemmed by my mother, especially in my younger years!) Reader L’s note about bra strap holders is a brilliant idea — and I probably should get the sleeves on most of my blazers (and possibly a good winter coat or two) shortened — although in more recent years I’ve been buying petite blazers, for just that reason.  Ah yes, and I’ve also tried to replace the lining of a winter coat, many moons ago, although that was more of a DIY effort and turned into a huge PITA. Another DIY alteration I’ve done a few times is to sew pockets closed. (If I buy them sewn closed I often keep them closed!)

As we’ve noted in the past, a big tip for any tailoring is to make sure that you’ve washed the item BEFORE you’ve had it tailored, as certain types of cotton and other washable fabrics can shrink.

What about you, ladies — what are the things you ask your tailor to do most often? Do you have any a-ha moments to share regarding tailoring alterations — things that once you heard about you thought were brilliant ideas (like Reader L’s idea for bra strap holders), or “not worth the time and energy” lessons, like me with the coat lining? If anyone has any favorite tailors in your city, please feel free to shout them out in the comments also.

(Ooh, and here’s another question — what tailoring alterations for women (or men) have you learned to do yourselves? Anyone have any favorite tutorials to share?)

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6 Resume Rules for 2017 That You May Not Know About

Resume Rules for 2017We’re only in the second week of the new year, so this is a great time to talk about resume rules for 2017. This time last year, readers talked about whether or not they apply to jobs when they don’t meet all the requirements (also see our imposter syndrome post), and a few years ago Kat answered a reader email about unusual ways to get your resume noticed.

Here are six resume rules for 2017 that you may not have heard:

1. Know that the “one page” limit no longer applies. Depending on your career and circumstances, it’s OK if your resume runs longer than one page. To figure out whether to make your resume one, two, or even three pages, check out these guidelines from Monster. No matter what, though, keep it concise — and make 100% sure there are no typos!

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Tales from the Wallet: How to Set Financial Goals for the Year

How to Set Financial Goals for the Year | CorporetteLadies, do you set financial goals for the year? I started setting explicit financial goals when I left my cushy BigLaw job a few years ago — I had been so comfortable there that I could easily move every other paycheck to an interest-bearing money market fund, and then I took a job at a nonprofit, making about a third of my former salary. Suddenly faced with the prospect of austerity, I decided to set financial goals for the year.

Every year, I’ve kept my goals short, choosing just three or four, and I’ve gone back at the end of the year to see how I did. In 2010, my goals were to “1) bank all Corporette income, 2) renovate kitchen within budget, 3) max out 401Ks, and 4) pay down at least $10K of (my husband’s) student debt.” A few years later, when my first son J. came along, the goals were to “1) save 10% of our income, 2) max out J.’s 529 on top of our savings, and 3) assess all investments and figure out fees, performance, etc.” (That last one was a doozy and I wrote about it in our post on asset reallocation.)

(Pictured: Everyone says Comme des Garçons makes the best wallets — this gorgeous red continental wallet looks lovely.)

The “save X% of our income” goal is a mainstay on the goal list for me (sometimes 10, sometimes 15) and I’ve usually done a bit of planning to figure out how to get there. For example:

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The Hunt: Winter Coats That Work As Hard as You Do

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.

We’ve talked before about how to buy a great winter coat — but we haven’t done a roundup in a while! Which winter coats have been your favorite this year, ladies? Do you vary your coat choices based on your outfit (e.g., wearing a longer coat with a skirt/dress)?  Do you buy a new coat each season, or once every few years?  How many coats do you keep in rotation at one time — and what do you do with the older ones?

For my own answers, I still love my dark green Cinzia Rocca coat that I got a few years ago — but I also wear my Primaloft coats from Lands’ End if I’m running around with the kids (I have a shorter one as well as a longer one), as well as a few wool coats I inherited from my grandmother. I definitely vary my coat based on my outfit — I would never wear a shorter, hip-length coat with a skirt or dress. Just due to closet space limitations, I’ve kept my coat collection pretty small!

Before we get to the roundup for today, here are a few general categories to consider for winter coats for work:

Pictured below: the Hall of Famers readers swear by: one / two / three / four

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6 Awesome Online Classes for Working Women

Online Classes for Working WomenIf you’re looking to do some online learning with a level of commitment somewhere between earning a graduate degree online and watching a TED-Ed video explaining why cats are weird, then one-off courses may be for you. In the past we’ve talked about learning a language, using online resources and books to become a better manager, and finding out more about yourself through personality tests, as well as the best TED Talks for working women, but we’ve never devoted a post to online learning in general. Today we’re sharing a general roundup of online classes for working women — please add your own recommendations in the comments!

What’s your favorite way to learn new things and develop your skills online? Are there any online-learning sites you would or wouldn’t recommend? What are your favorite online classes for working women?  (For those of you lawyers who are saddled with CLE requirements, do you have any public sources that you LOVE for interesting videos?)

If you’re interested in boosting your career with some new knowledge and strategies, here are eight intriguing online classes for working women that are offered by popular online learning sites:

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