Thursday’s TPS Report: Canterbury bells pencil skirt

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

J.Crew Canterbury bells pencil skirtWe’re in a pencil skirt kind of mood today, and we’re loving this on-trend skirt from J.Crew — florals continue to be everywhere, and we like the lovely pattern on this (inspired by “a vintage scarf the designers fell in love with”) and the basket-weave cotton.  We’d go for a tone-on-tone look and wear it with a navy top and, perhaps, a navy blazer or sweater.  It’s $98 at J.Crew. Canterbury bells pencil skirt

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  1. I just bought this skirt and I love it– the material has a great feel and it’s very flattering. Would the skirt only look good with white or navy tops? Could another color on top work with this skirt?

    • Anonymous :

      I’d have to see it together, but I’m thinking maybe an orange top. I’m all about orange + navy this season. I also think green would work with it – and on a hot day would be a very refreshing color scheme.

    • Yellow, salmon, orange, purple, khaki, and brown would all look great IMO.

    • I think white would look wondeful. Very crisp. I think some shades of gray may work really well, too, but you might have to play around with the colors to see what’s best.
      Great skirt!

  2. Legally Brunette :

    This is lovely, although I’m not at all loving the top that is paired with the skirt. I would probably pair this with a white or navy blazer so that it didn’t look too casual in the office.

    Unfortunately, I’ve come to the realization that JCrew pencil skirts simply don’t work on my curvy frame. Give me a Classiques Entier pencil skirt any day!

    • I’m not even curvy and they aren’t working lately. They “updated” their pencil skirt shape this season. It appears to me that the “update” was making the skirt shorter, wider and narrowing the waistband. The result is that I’ve tried on a number of cute-looking skirts only to be sadly disappointed with the fit. Bring back the “old” pencil skirt J.Crew!!

      • Cosign. As a longtime, loyal JCrewer, (and a tall gal), I am annoyed that their skirts (which do not come in tall) all now make me look inappropriate if I wear them with heels….

  3. Sigh. JCrew, if you are listening, this is probably the 5th skirt I’ve seen in recent weeks that you’ve touted as being in a “slightly shorter length” for the season/the trend.

    PLEASE MAKE LONGER SKIRTS! Or tall options! I heart your suiting but I haven’t been able to buy one of your skirts in years :(

    • Ditto. I can’t buy stuff in this length. Make talls! I am currently wearing a BR pencil skirt that is still about an inch above my knee (about the highest I will go for work) and it IS a tall.

      Pretty pattern! I can’t stand the brown (?) top though.

      • surrounded by lawyers :

        Haha–meanwhile the vertically challenged among us are thrilled that we can finally have the full selection of J. Crew skirts, rather than being limited to petites. Usually their regular-length pencil skirts hit at the deadly mid-calf zone on me, and a lot of them don’t come in petites.

        We all face our own struggles, I suppose!

        • Yes! I’m loving being able to shop the wide variety of ‘regular’ sizes ;-) Don’t worry tall folks – I’m sure that by next season the cycle will have shifted

        • Here’s the thing, though — if you’re short, you can always get a skirt hemmed to fit. If you’re tall, you’re SOL!

          • Yes… but who wants to add $10 – $20 to the cost of every item of clothing? And some skirts/fabrics are not hemming-friendly

          • Man, if JCrew told me that I could pay $10-20 extra to have an extra 4 inches of length on my skirts, I’d place an order today. I agree that being too tall or too short for “regular” lengths is problematic, but at least the too-shorts have the option of hemming at least some of the time.

            And I’ve tried letting out hems, btw. Never works.

          • Not always without losing the kick pleat in the back, which can change the appearance and the wearability of the skirt.

    • How short are the “new” skirts? I am assuming the model is taller than I am & it look like a totally appropriate length on her.

      • They are 21 or 21.5 inches.

        I actually think they used shorter-than-average-model-height models because I’m 5-8 and these skirts hit me a few inches higher on my leg than they do on the models, and I’m fairly willowly so it isn’t that I have curves throwing off the fit.

        • J.Crew frequently uses clothes that are sized specially for the models for their website and catalog shots. You can almost never trust that what you buy will fit the way it does on the model, even if you are lanky yourself.

  4. housecounsel :

    Such a pretty skirt . . . the brown t-shirt is so wrong!

    • Amen – it takes so much away from the fit and pattern of the skirt.

      I would go with navy or some variety of yellow/orange/melon.

    • SO wrong. I have to squint to see the niceness of the skirt!

    • Not only is the color wrong, but the slouchy way it is half tucked in is just awful. What demographic are they trying to reach? “Hey, this style makes the model look unkempt and color blind! That’s perfect for my work place!”

      • surrounded by lawyers :

        I’ve noticed they do that a lot–show even their most polished work clothes worn somehow messily. I don’t know about y’all, but it does “work” on me as a customer. It’s much more fun than looking at the clothes the way I will actually style them–i.e. office-appropriate and far less glam.

        • Same. I have yet to wear socks & mary janes with my skirt suits but it does make think they’re suits are a bit more stylish than I would if they were paired with a white button down & a 2.5 inch black sensible heels.

          • surrounded by lawyers :

            I don’t tend to strike the sassy poses of J. Crew models at work either…

    • Agree. Love skirt, hate top.

  5. PSA: I just bought this Halogen silk shirt from Nordstrom, and I love it. The cut is wonderful, especially for those with curves looking to hide cleavage, as the neckline is appropriately high yet interesting. I got a Medium and it fits perfectly on me (36D). The sleeves are also a wonderful length with interesting detail. Comes in black plus two prints, and in plus sizes (it would be very flattering in plus sizes, I think). I bought the black and Makai Moss. On sale for $36 (though add in dry cleaning costs).

  6. I have been eying this for a long while. I agree with the other posters that orange, green (I have an olive cardigan that I am imagining would look great with this), or yellow would be great with this. I might also try to pair it with a cardigan that matched the blue in the skirt (which to my eye, looks like it is slightly on the brighter/greener side of navy), for Emma Pillsbury-esque look.

  7. How about a nice RED top with this skirt. Could be cute.

    I tried thinking about it like this: If the skirt was the “vintage scarf” that inspired the designers, what would I wear that scarf with? Something red, I think.

    • I always get nervous about navy, white and red together… I love America but I’m not interested in looking like the flag — there’s just something a little costume-y about patriotic-themed outfits

      • I don’t like writing off color schemes entirely. I’ve seen people this summer wearing red and blue, and it looks fabulous. Plus, it’s not like the skirt is stars or stripes – the flowers with red would be nice.

    • I think a red top could look nice with this.

      • I agree that red could be nice as well. I wore red, white, and blue together yesterday and loved the outfit, even if it was Bastille Day and I looked like I should be waving above the nearest French bistro.

        In fact, I think almost any bright color could work well, and pretty much anything would be better than the awful shirt that J.Crew pictured.

        • I wore a navy pencil skirt, cream top, and red patent peep-toe shoes yesterday… totally forgot it was Bastille Day. Whoops. It *is* one of my favorite color combinations, though, as long as the colors aren’t exactly flag colors (i.e. cream top with some chiffon texture on it, vs. plain white).

  8. Too matronly for my taste.

  9. Pardon the threadjack – I’m flying from the west coast to Denver today on business to attend a depo and just about fainted upon seeing that the temps for today and tomorrow are in the 90s.

    I’m hoping someone can confirm for me that Denver is a pantyhose-unnecessary type of town? Is it common for the a/c to be on full blast in offices, so I actually should dress normally? There’s little in the way of “weather” where I live (60-80 year round, pretty much) so I’m clueless about dressing to work in heat.

    • Denver’s pretty casual and Coloradans are not exactly known for a sense of style. You should be fine without hose. However, 90 degrees in Denver does not feel particularly hot because it’s dry, plus for the most part people drive everywhere; you don’t to worry about getting sweaty and gross. Do wear sunscreen as you’ll burn faster than usual at higher altitudes.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      You should be able to get away with no hose, but I disagree that 90 degrees is not particularly hot. I am in Denver and it is sweltering. Luckily I spend all day in a government office so the AC is always blasting. It gets nice at night, but this past week, during the day, the air has been stagnant and every time I’ve been outside I feel like I am suffocating.

      Also, I don’t know if you’ve been out here before, but I came from a sea-level town on the East Coast and experienced nosebleeds every time I come back from home. Also have a water bottle and drink often. If you’re not driving, RTD is great because they always have the the air conditioner running.

      As far as dressing goes, I have been avoiding pants like the plauge. Dresses and skirts all the way. Hope this helps.

      • Any other tips for first time visitors (how to deal with the climate/altitude type tips, not sightseeing ones)? I’m going to Colorado in a few weeks for a wedding.

        • Makeup Junkie :

          Drink water, water, and more water. Skip any and all booze too, I learned the hard way that just brings on altitude sickness for me

        • The other thing I would add is that it is CRAZY dry. If you wear contacts, do not forget eye drops, and make sure to moisturize at night (and use lip balm). When I first moved to Denver (no longer live there), my eyes, skin, lips PARCHED!

          And, no, no pantyhose in Denver. It’s a VERY casual town.

        • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

          Also, if you’re coming from sea level I would, from personal experience, advise against any strenuous work outs on your first day. Passing out on the treadmill in front of 20+ strangers oddly not as much fun as it sounds.

        • Bring a water bottle you can carry with you and drink water all the time (this is a habit that’s stuck with me even though I left home years and years ago). Moisturize. Wear sunscreen. Bring chapstick. Be aware that you may get drunk on less alcohol than you do at sea level. Be aware that unless you’re in very good shape you’ll need a day or two to adjust to the thinner air and you probably should not do strenuous exercise for a few days.

    • I am from Denver, but don’t work there now so I can’t speak to the dress code. However, I agree that 90 in Denver is not nearly as miserable as it is in humid places. It’s hot, but definitely not unbearable. I had never even HEARD of a “heat index” until I moved out of Denver. Wish I still lived there…sigh. The advice to wear sunscreen and drink lots of water is solid though.

      • Female Atticus :

        I live and work in Denver. While it is a casual town/state overall, I think you should still consider your audience for the hoses/no hoses decision. I work in a small law firm and hoses are generally only worn to court or when meeting with clients.
        In terms of the heat, it really helps that it is a dry heat. I don’t get too hot in hoses and a skit suit and I have to walk 15 mins to the bus station at 5:30pm. My experience is that everywhere has the AC on high (some places I’m getting cold-ridiculous in this heat!).
        Remember the altitude and expect to handle your alcohol differently. Drink plenty of water and bring lotion, eye drops, etc because it is SO dry.

      • Seriously. I am from Colorado and I live in DC. I had no idea what ‘hot’ meant when I lived in CO. I was just there a few weeks ago and the weather felt glorious.

        • I’ve never lived where there’s a “dry heat,” but I agree, the humidity in D.C. is ridiculous. I recently spent a few days in Vegas and didn’t mind the 103 degree heat. Upon returning to D.C., the 90 degree heat felt stifling.

    • Is any city pantyhose-necessary?

      • DC for sure. Many places it’s necessary for those in conservative professions.

        • Odd. I’ve had a completely different experience in D.C. (in government and lobbying). I’ve found D.C. to be the least formal of any city in which I’ve lived.

          • Really? I think the consensus on this site has been that DC is the most buttoned-up, conservatively-dressed major city and the least fashion-forward. That’s definitely been my personal experience. It’s 95 degrees outside and I’ve noticed at least 10% of my colleagues are wearing a black suit today.

          • I’ve thought that the opposite has been the consensus. I mean, we’ve noted several times that seersucker suits are OK in D.C., even on men, which I don’t think would be the case everywhere. I’m not making the case that it’s a fashion-forward city, which I think can be very different than informal. I haven’t seen one woman in my office in a suit today. In fact, I rarely see women in full suits at all. My boss (a senior associate) and I were discussing this last week; she doesn’t even own a suit. Only one female partner at my work regularly wears them.

          • Weird. I see most people wearing full suits every day. This seems to be doubly true on the Hill, although I don’t work on the Hill. The fact that suits are so mandatory that on hot days one wears seersucker instead of no suit at all indicates to me that DC is more formal than most places, where people would just not wear one.

          • We’ll have to agree to disagree on what seersucker indicates. The people I see in seersucker suits often come to work in something other than a suit, so I’m positive that’s not their thinking. I’m not on The Hill, either, but the women I know who do work there practically never wear suits. The men wear them with more regularity, but often wear an unmatching blazer/pant combo. Of course, during recess, most everyone I know on the Hill wears “nice jeans” or khakis every day.

          • @Kimbo
            Are you a lawyer? If not, that probably explains the discrepancy.

          • No, but about 1/2-2/3 of the partners where I work are.

      • D.C. is definitely not a pantyhose city. I can’t remember the last time I wore them and the only people I see wearing them are old church ladies.

  10. Little Lurker :

    I think this skirt is lovely!


    I had a very frustrating exchange yesterday with a peer/friend that I wanted to share with you all. (Yes, it was on Facebook — this is how my generation communicates.)

    This girl is a rising senior at my college as well and has known she wants to be a lawyer since high school. She is on her second summer internship in a law office somewhere in Manhattan. She comes from a very wealthy family in New York and as such is connected to several high-powered people in law, but I believe that she earned the position herself: she is incredibly smart and hardworking.

    The following status update and ensuing conversation is still irritating me 24 hours later:

    GonnaBeALawyer: “dear boss, i may be a lowly summer intern, but asking me to run personal errands after work for you? kind of low. especially when you’re not paying me. no love, me.”

    RecentlyGraduated: “best kind of labor is free labor”

    Little Lurker: “i hope you said no!”

    GonnaBeALawyer: “more like, i said “do you need this by today” and “absolutely, i’ll do that for you””

    OtherPerson: “kiss *ss. :)”

    GonnaBeALayer: “oh 100%. but i want a great recommendation so *shrug* what can a girl do.” [three people “liked” this comment.]

    AAARGH. This seems inappropriate to you all as well, right????

    I haven’t pursued this point because I know she’s unlikely to listen to me: “well, you don’t want to be a lawyer, so you just don’t understand!” This despite the fact that since the age of sixteen I have held 4 internships and 3 jobs in a variety of industries and know very well what intern culture is like. And I feel like this crosses a line.

    I don’t dispute the importance of interning, but I am as concerned by a boss who expects her interns to run personal errands for her on her own time as I am by the fact that my friend is willing to DO IT!

    ((Besides, wouldn’t she rather get a rec that says “This intern is conscientious with lots of initiative” than one that says “This intern does my dirty work for me and is great at following orders”???))

    What do the Corporettes think? Does it make a difference whether she’s in BigLaw or not? Am I overreacting? Is there a way I can tactfully suggest that I think she’s on the wrong track?

    • My biggest concern with what you posted is that she’s posting this all on a public forum as a status update. I assume she’s like most young 20-somethings and has 700 friends or so, yes? That shows a real lack of judgment!

      But, yes, it’s inappropriate for her boss to ask her to do personal errands, depending on her interning job description.

    • Why is this bothering you so much?

      • Agreed, I am mystified as to why you are wasting time and energy fretting about this – especially given the fact that you have very little information as to (a) the type/extent of the request and (b) the relationship between your friend and her boss. Boss could have asked her to drop a letter in a mail box on her way out. Save your energy and mind your own business.

      • This. Let her do as she likes. You do what you think makes sense for you.

    • I honestly thought you were going to be upset by the fact that she posted this on Facebook, rather than what she was asked to do. I agree that the boss should not have asked, but really, it’s happened to everyone and unless it’s the only thing she does (or it becomes a repeat occurrence), it’s not as big of a deal to me as it is that she posted it on facebook…

      • Exactly. Facebook is the problem. If you want to tactfully suggest anything, it’s that she shouldnt be doing this online.

    • Not only am I concerned that “GonnaBeALawyer” posted this on Facebook, I’m concerned for you, Little Lurker, that you participated in this conversation on Facebook.

      I would be worried that this paints you with the same broad brush of “those who blithely discuss work issues in a searchable, archived public forum.” Even though you aren’t doing the actual complaining about your boss, you are engaging with someone who has the bad judgment to do so.

      My advice would be to not respond to these sorts of updates on FB, but privately, if at all.

      Of course, you didn’t ask for my advice, but it’s free :-)

    • I don’t know what exactly you/she are considering “after work” – I doubt the partner viewed his request as “after work” unless he was asking her to do something at, say 9pm. 6? Not “after work” in a big law context.

    • anon - chi :

      She’s still in college, right? College interns in law firms are not the same as summer associates. I think it would be pretty inappropriate to ask a summer to do this sort of task, but lawyers will send a college intern out to grab their lunch, drycleaning, etc. This girl did the right thing by saying, “Yes, absolutely, let me go do that for you,” although obviously you should NEVER NEVER NEVER post complaints about work online.

      I’m similarly unsure why this is bothering you. If it’s just that you don’t want your friend to be taken advantage of at work … I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. It would be one thing if this was the only type of task she ever got all summer, but otherwise I wouldn’t worry about it and wouldn’t actually consider it inappropriate.

    • I’m not in law, but I’m in agreement with my fellow Corporettes. This is not that big of a deal. If it becomes a far-too-regular thing and it’s all she’s doing, that could become a problem. I also agree that the bigger problem is that fact that she, you, and others felt it appropriate to post about this on Facebook. And I’m not that much older than you.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I am shocked that she posted this Facebook. That is completely inappropriate and she is sure to NOT get an offer if she or anyone she works with sees it and reports it to management. People simply do not have common sense on what they post on social networking sites these days. Yes, she’s in college, but she should know better. As her friend, I would encourage you to set her straight on what she should and should not be posting on FB.

    • Don't FB what you wouldn't want seen :

      An anectdote about posting on social websites:

      When I clerked for a federal judge we partcipated in our replacements’ hiring. We, along with the judge, narrowed the field down to the top 8 for interviews. Then my co-clerk and I tried to find them on Friendster (this was 2006 before FB took off). Seven out of the 8 had Friendster pages and 2 of those had photos of themselves binge-drinking, playing flip-cup, etc. Those 2 did not get invited for interviews. Although former frat partiers can make excellent attorneys, to post photos like that in a public forum while building a career shows a lack of judgment.

      • Amen. People should know better. What you put into the public sphere is free game for people to look at and judge, especially when it comes to getting something as competitive as a federal clerkship.

      • Delta Sierra :

        I once needed an geological engineering firm to do some work for me. Googled a local one to see what I could find out about their work. First hit was one of the social networking sites, photos of one of their young employees partying; he’d named his place of employment in his entry.

        Think, people, think!

      • I’d actually like the advice of corporetters about whether I should untag some pictures of myself on facebook. None of them are inappropriate (no sex, drugs, or alcohol), but I do have a lot of immature ones from my first few years of college. Things like me mock wrestling with friends or lying on a sofa (fully clothed) with my fiance. They’re all locked so that only my friends can see them, but I’m wondering if I should take them down entirely. Every time anyone mentions making sure you don’t have anything bad on facebook they talk about to alcohol abuse, so I have no idea if my pictures are appropriate or not.

    • I don’t think it is a problem that it is posted on Facebook – as long as she’s locked down her Facebook profile is locked down security-wise, it’s not necessarily a public forum, unlike posting on this blog, for example. So difficult to say without knowing that if there is a lack of judgment involved.

      • Right; it might not be any different than bitching to a few friends via e-mail; we don’t know.

        • The difference is that she might be “emailing” 700+ friends, some of whom may not be her “friends” as much as acquaintances and who might not think much of talking about this to others….

          • Well, of course – I’m just saying for all we know she had her privacy settings set so that only half a dozen people could see the status message. Obviously tons of people don’t use facebook this intelligently, but I’m sure some do.

          • I’m with JD, regardless of your “privacy settings” what happens on FB doesn’t always stay on FB, unfortunately.

            A friend of mine posted a bitter rant regarding her husband’s long hours while he was working on a project. Too bad she had forgotten that she had friended one of her husband’s co-workers. Word got back to his boss and hubby was none too happy with her.

            My FB postings tend to be pretty bland and innocuous. If I have to have a bitch session, I’ll do so over cocktails with my close friends on my patio.

          • Of course, the same thing could happen if one of your friends mentioned your complaints over cocktails to her husband who mentioned it to a co-worker, etc. The internet makes this stuff easier to get out, but it doesn’t create the issue. Discretion is important everywhere, but I don’t think any medium of communication is per se a terrible one for any purpose if you’re careful.

    • GonnaBeALawyer was right about doing what her boss wants, so long as it’s within the realm of decency. Summer interns are there to learn, and their work generally does not bring much of a benefit to the company. In return the boss is dumping annoying tasks on her, because the boss doesn’t have time to do them herself and having the intern do them is convenient. Yes, it’s rude and would be better for her to ask her assistant to do the errands, but GonnaBeALawyer is in no position to tell her so.

      I agree with what everyone said about Facebook being an inappropriate outlet for one’s work-related updates.

  11. I agree that it crosses a line, but as an intern I would have had a very hard time bringing this up with a supervisor. I think as long as you get sufficient real experience, the other stuff is probably not worth fighting. That said, if there is no substantive work being given-it’s easier to bring that up (I won’t get credit if…).

  12. housecounsel :

    Seriously, it was the fact that all of it was posted on Facebook that bothered me, and nothing else.

    My dad told me that if you always do a little bit more than you’re expected to do, you will always have a job. Never failed me.

    • Agree.

    • It’s failed me once. I started a job where I was much better than the prior people in the position, so the employer just thought he could raise the bar to an unreasonable level and then tell me I wasn’t working up to my potential. Seriously? You just can’t up the job requirements 200% without giving any increase in pay because the person is a little more dedicated than prior employees.

  13. The skirt photo: decent of them to tuck the top in a little bit so we can see what the waistband is like. Hate when they photograph something with an overblouse and you’re left guessing about it.

  14. Little Lurker :

    Thanks all for pointing out that my comment may not have been appropriate to post publicly.

    I’d also like to thank N and v for pointing out what is certainly true in my case — while I technically have several hundred “friends” on FB, I don’t take friend requests lightly and have only accepted colleagues who became my friends IRL. My privacy settings are quite restrictive, and it’s possible that people who aren’t friends with me cannot even see my comment, let alone access my profile (definitely not).

    Although I don’t know what GonnaBeALawyer’s privacy settings are, I highly suspect that they’re similar to mine. While I have heard lots of horror stories similiar to the Friendster one posted above, I humbly posit that some of my generation is quite conscious of our behavior online, and that we aren’t all foolish 20-somethings making silly mistakes.

    Still, even though I stand by my comment, I recognize good advice when it’s offered and I won’t post some such thing again. Do you think I should suggest that my friend do the same?

    • rising 3L :

      even if you are blocked from non-friends, if you post on their wall/status/pictures/notes etc all of their friends can see it. just fyi

      • Great point. I read another website that is based on making fun of clips/screenshots of wall and other FB conversations. People send in interesting/amusing comments from their friends’ walls and who knows how many people see them! For the most part anything identifiable is blurred out, but if you’re familiar with the event/scenario in question, it wouldn’t be hard to attach it to a particular person.

    • >>Do you think I should suggest that my friend do the same?

      If she’s a good friend and won’t take offense, yeah.

    • Why can’t you just mind your business & do the needful for your FB stuff? You’re not her keeper, are you?

  15. I think it’s odd that you are perseverating on this relatively minor action of an acquaintenance/distant friend.

  16. rising 3L :

    also keep in mind that if she got her job through her connections (which she could have) then chances are she might run in the same crowd as some of the lawyers’ kids. They could be her “close” friend and be privy to the status update and then tell their dad/mom how ungrateful she is that she has an internship at a firm in NYC (that many law students cant get internships at I’m sure) and it will look VERY bad for her.

  17. This skirt fabric has a large floral print like an upholstery or slipcover fabric. Certain of the flowers are placed very close to the crotch. Has anyone ever seen a painting by Georgia O’Keefe? Do you relate to the concept that an open flower caries some strong sexual symbolism, at least for men and also for many women? I live in silk print skirts and plain short sleeved tops (wore that today), but I am very careful about the prints. I don’t want to wear any print “suggestive” of something I do not want to suggest. Just a thought for those who are not up on their Fine Arts 101. Remember what I said about how clothes look at a distance – they are often viewed that way.

    • Um, big difference between big blue round flowers and this or this

      I think you’re ok, the skirt has regular flowers, not vagina flowers.

    • You have really unfortunate flower issues. An appreciate of Georgia O’Keefe and Fine Arts 101 understanding of the symbolism in her work does not make me see vaginas in all flowers.

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