Thursday’s TPS Report: Sweater Jacket

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

Halogen® Sweater JacketThe Nordstrom Anniversary Sale continues (my picks here and here), and there is still a lot of things on sale (and some seem to have more sizes available than they did before). For today’s TPS I like this zigzag sweater jacket — it’s fun but has a tailored look to it as well. I think it looks great styled with purple and black here, but I would add a second color somewhere in the mix — perhaps a yellow brooch or a red cuff. The zigzag sweater jacket is available in regular and petite in XS, S, and M — the price is curently $64.90 but after August 6 it’ll go back to $98. (The sweater is also still available in rust, size M only, and charcoal, XSP only.) Halogen® Sweater Jacket

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

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  1. Love it! Just went online and bought it, and a pair of curvy denim trousers while I was at it!

    • argh, this must be mine!

    • I really like this too, but couldn’t find a description of the fabric on the website (I can’t wear wool). BLP, did I miss something and do you know what this is made of?

  2. Corporettes,

    I need some advice. Last month I moved back to the metro DC area after working for one year and three months in the bay area. My experience with my former employer was the job from hell! I was a tranactional attonrney for an IT company and suffered nasty salespeople, an abusive screaming boss, and suck up colleges, who in solidarity with the asshole boss, completely shunned me. And when I mean completely shunned me, they would all sneak out the back door to have lunch together so I didn’t have to be invited! So nice to be back in high school again!! To top this off, I was working so hard that I did not have time to make friends or do anything fun.

    I had been looking for a new job since January, but my employer beat me to the punch, and I was let go “for not being a team player”??? However I moved on, and moved home back to the DC area. I found a long term contract job in DC with a large software company within two weeks that pays me more or less what I was earning in the Bay area, working with people that I generally like. I am also getting some interviews for permanent in-house jobs.

    My problem, however is this: I am still very angy and ashamed at the shabby way that my former colleagues treated me. Sometimes when I think of it, I literally quake with anger.

    Have any fellow Corporettes had this sort of experience at work?

    • I have not been through what you describe, but I want to say that I’m really sorry that happened to you. There is absolutely no excuse for adults to behave like that, and you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in this situation. Angry, yes, ashamed, no. It sounds like you have been through something that was pretty traumatic, so it’s not surprising that you are suffering some lingering emotional effects. I think you should give yourself some time to process everything and get settled in DC and your new position. Hopefully, with time, you will feel better. But, if at any point you feel like your negative feelings are interfering with your ability to move on, it might be a good idea to schedule a session or two with a counselor who can help you process productively and not get stuck in a rut of bad feelings.

      • I second this. I think people often assume counselors are a last resort but no need to suffer if talking to someone a few times could make you feel so much better.

    • I haven’t had an identical experience, but I worked in an extremely abusive environment (although I wasn’t personally targeted; it was everyone), and while I wasn’t let go per se my contract wasn’t renewed on very short notice after I’d been told it would be. Once I got over thinking it was all my fault and I was incompetent, I was angry for a long, long time. All I can really say is that time heals all wounds. Also, if people ask me about that organization, I don’t hesitate to tell them it’s a godawful place to work and they shouldn’t even consider applying.

      • I had a similar experience and although I also wasn’t the target, it’s hard not to absorb the hostility and negativity of the office culture. Time will make it so you JSFAMO and realize you are so much better than all of that. And, everyone else probably thinks that organization is whacky…people are more perceptive than you think. Glad you are out of there!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Paging Bunkster… she has epic stories of her job from hell.

      My sympathies, tdevil.

    • Have you considered getting short-term counseling? I went through something similar at my previous job and it shook me to the core for awhile. It helped me to talk through it with a neutral party (EAP) who could reassure me that no, I wasn’t crazy and yes, it was reasonable to feel angry and betrayed. I think it helped me end those endless thought loops in my head and made it possible to start a new job without fearing that history would repeat itself.

      Big hugs to you. I never would’ve guessed how much a job could warp my self-esteem and view of the workplace in general until I went through an experience like the one you described. It was one of the hardest-learned lessons of my 20s. I have no doubt that you’re awesome, hardworking and an asset to any employer. You WILL come out on the other side of this!

      • Anon for this :

        Has anyone found good strategies to cope if they need to stay in the job? I acknowledge it would be better for my mental health to leave, but I am in a niche industry and have to keep group health insurance.

        • Anon for this :

          Adding, I am in therapy already. Not enough hours to discuss this and my other topics generally. I’m looking for more “on the ground” tactics.

      • Agree with all of this. I think sometimes we’re not encouraged to admit how personal the effects of an unhealthy work environment can be, but it’s serious stuff. It can take a long time and a lot of reflection to thoroughly recover. I wish you the best. As you can see, you’re in good company here.

    • I’m sorry you had to experience this. I was in a similar situation at my last job, although not as severe as yours. I was so thankful to get a new job so I could quit. It took me weeks to realize what an impact that bad situation had on my self esteem, and then months to build it up again. Success in my new job really helped.

      If you are still having such a strong reaction after a few months, I agree with the others, that counselling might be a good step for you.

    • I understand :

      I had an experience like that at a law firm. I won’t mince words: I’ve never completely recovered from it. It may help to speak to a therapist, but s/he has to be someone who actually understands the past environment, as well as someone who has concrete ideas for how you might move forward, personally and professionally.

      Best of luck.

      • Thanks for all of the sympathy fellow corporetts! Oddly enough one of my former tormentors has applied for a job at a company where my friend is general counsel. I told my friend quite frankly what I thought of her. I hear that she is puzzled, completly puzzled why after three rounds of intervies she hasn’t recieved an offer. You know what they say, karma is a b!t@ h!!!

      • karenpadi :

        This. I worked for nightmare partner for 10 months and completely lost all confidence in my ability to do my job. I was an anxiety-ridden mess 3 years ago. Therapy helped (I did cognitive behavioral therapy). Time helps.

        Big, “on the ground” things that helped:
        1. Redefining myself as “not being married to work.” I’m committed to my job and my career but it’s not how I define myself anymore. I’m a crazy cat lady who is trying to run a 5k and help mentor young women in my profession so that they don’t have the same experience I did.
        2. Remembering what I’ve done right in the last week or month. Sometimes, I just need to remind myself that my clients like my work, the partners I work for like my work, and I’m not in danger of losing my job. I’ve kept a list of specific instances at times.
        3. Saving enough money to leave my job tomorrow and be OK for about a year. It’s an arbitrary savings goal, yes. It gives me the psychological freedom to say to myself “I don’t need this job. This job needs me!”

        • This is very helpful.

          I am in your position 3 years ago. I just hit the 10 month mark, and just gave notice (and am serving out the rest of my notice period).

          I cannot tell you what an effect this job has had on my psyche. I don’t recognize the person I was a year ago, and not in a good way.

          • karenpadi :

            I hope it does help. I’m really sorry you are in this place.

            For now, take care of yourself. Give yourself time to heal. Lots of time. Seek therapy. My recovery has been one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. It will be one of yours too.

    • So sorry you had to go through something like this.

      Yes, not exactly similar, but I have experienced extremely petty and awful behavior at work, with management leading the charge. It was harassment, so a little different, coupled with the fact that I was let go after noticing fraud at the investment management company and bringing it to mgmt’s attention. I felt like I did the right thing, and worked hard, and was punished for it. It was very traumatic and damaging. I had nightmares (while still at the job and after), wholly dreaded going to work and really, really was truly unhappy for the first time in my life. It all seemed very futile.

      A layoff or firing is just as emotionally traumatizing as a bad breakup. You go through all the mental cycles–“what could I have done differently?” “If only…” “Oh, well, I don’t need them anyway….” And, just like a breakup, it takes months and months to gather things back up. I can honestly say that it took me years, and a lot of help from sympathetic friends, to get my head fully right again.

      I would second the comments of another commenter who said that you need to kick a$$ at your new job, and your confidence will come back. And you can get good recs from this new job and move on to the perfect job for you in a year or so. Honestly, it took me years to be able to look back and realize that the people at that job, and how they acted was reprehensible.

      It will get better…it’s a “time heals all wounds.” Again, sorry you had this horrific experience, and a cross-country move on top of it all.


  3. Corporettes,

    I need some advice. Last month I moved back to the metro DC area after working for one year and three months in the bay area. My experience with my former employer was the job from hell! I was a tranactional attonrney for an IT company and suffered nasty salespeople, an abusive screaming boss, and suck up colleges, who in solidarity with the [email protected] boss, completely shunned me. And when I mean completely shunned me, they would all sneak out the back door to have lunch together so I didn’t have to be invited! So nice to be back in high school again!! To top this off, I was working so hard that I did not have time to make friends or do anything fun.

    I had been looking for a new job since January, but my employer beat me to the punch, and I was let go “for not being a team player”??? However I moved on, and moved home back to the DC area. I found a long term contract job in DC with a large software company within two weeks that pays me more or less what I was earning in the Bay area, working with people that I generally like. I am also getting some interviews for permanent in-house jobs.

    My problem, however is this: I am still very angy and ashamed at the shabby way that my former colleagues treated me. Sometimes when I think of it, I literally quake with anger.

    Have any fellow Corporettes had this sort of experience at work?

    Read more:

  4. Nothing like a good sweater blazer. I do see a lot more sizes on sale then after the first sale weekend. Personally, I fancy this one – might be my time to break my “I am not buying into the Peplum trend rule”


      • Thanks everyone, that is really helpful. The gray is lovely but definitely too casual for me. I was thinking about the black. It’d be cool if the zipper were more hidden. It think I’ll just try it.

      • I bought this on the first day of the sale in black. The quality of the wool is OK– could be softer, but for the price, it is good (I’m comparing it to a boiled wool jacket I bought a couple of years ago from Lafayette 148, which is much softer but much pricier). The fit is nice. I usually wear a 12/14 on top (H shaped, with broad shoulders and no real waist) and I got the Large. The only thing is, there are zipper details on the sleeve and because the zippers are “bulky” zippers (as opposed to more delicate zippers), this adds a weird weight and feel to the sleeves. Also, when I type, the noise of the zippers on the desk can get annoying (but I’m sensitive that way). I do love, love, love the peplum since it gives me an illusion of hips! The “unstructured-ness” (compared to a suit jacket or blazer) does not emphasize my broad shoulders so that is a real plus too! Good luck!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      If that was buttons instead of a zipper, I would so marry that.

    • I got it. It’s gorgeous. I can’t wait for fall to wear it.

      • The only thing I don’t like it the zippers on the cuffs. The arms are slightly long on me, and the zippers make it impossible to shorten or roll them. Of course, I have t. rex arms, so that will probably not be a problem for most people.

    • I also got it. Love it. It’s a subtle peplum.

      • Is the gray too casual for work? I love it but don’t really need another black blazer. I’m concerned the gray looks like a sweatshirt.

        • I think it does. But hard to know what it looks like IRL. I love boiled wool and it’s really pretty but it wouldn’t work on me.

        • Also interested in an answer to this question!

        • I tried on the gray, and while the cut is lovely, I did find that it looked/felt like a sweatshirt (albeit, a stylish one). I also did not like the zippers, it looked too casual.

        • Same issue same concerns. I’m interested to hear responses.

        • It looks very casual IRL. I received the new skirt yesterday and have to say that I love it. The old one did not work for me at all. Too bad they don’t just make both styles.

    • Is boiled wool back?

    • anon in SF :

      I bought that one in store. Its great. But, it runs a bit big. You may want to size down.

  5. I would like to throw a big THANKS to whoever suggested ordering the wrong size for NAS items out-of-stock, with plans to return later when they re-stock. As it turns out, I ordered a size down on the Stuart Weitzman Adaptable Flat (540895, in gunmetal) and they run a bit big, so they fit perfectly!

    It’s a strategy I wouldn’t have thought to use and it turned out for the best. Yay, C-rettes!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      That was me, your resident Nordie’s kung fu black belt. So glad that worked for you!

      • Hai Ya! ;o)

      • Thanks from me, too! I just did this yesterday when the purple Halogen sweater blazer I wanted was sold out in my size; I’m hoping it’s back in stock when I can actually wear it and I’ll do the exchange. I wouldn’t have thought of this, either, thanks SF Bay Associate!

  6. yey for August! :

    PSA: J.Crew has a secret code out, 30% off all sale – SHOPNOW. I got the icon trench for $166!

  7. Has anyone seen or tried on this jacket in person?

    I need to exchange the Calvin Klein ponte dress (two sizes, and neither is quite right) for something, and I kind of love this jacket, even though it’s not really work appropriate.

    • Haven’t tried it on, but I just wanted to say I really like that jacket! Not everything in your closet needs to be work-appropriate :)

      • +1 to that!

      • With a black pencil skirt, I’d totally wear that to work.

        • me too. Just ordered it specifically for the office. Not sure what’s not work appropriate about it, other than it’s a tad on the “edgier” side. I am on the west coast though . . .

  8. Finishing up my clerkship at the end of the month. What should I get the judge? We get along well and I have had a good experience, so I want to get him a little something before I leave, but would like to keep it at or under $100. Alcohol is not my top choice because I know he doesn’t drink much, if at all. Thoughts?

    • A sincere thank you note and homemade cookies, or nice bread with olive oil. I would stick with something simple and inexpensive.

    • I believe that according to the rules of federal ethics that they can’t accept anything of value from a subordinate over a value of over like $20 or something (someone with more recent memory of this can correct me, if I’m wrong). I agree with rosie that I’d stick with something cheaper but with more of a personal nature.

      A nice hand written note and perhaps a book on a subject that you know he’s interested in — maybe with some notes written in the front about why you thought he’d find it interesting?

      • Wow this didn’t even cross my mind, but I bet you’re right. Thanks for pointing that out!

    • Really nice coffee and a hand-written note would be my pick.

    • Does your law school bookstore sell office/desk gifts? I got something like that for my first judge, which cost around $40. I thought it would be a good way to remember me (he joked that I just wanted him to remember where I went to school). I must say, though, that he seemed more excited to receive the baseball cap I bought him from his country club. So know your judge!

      Thank you notes are also a good idea. Don’t forget his secretary if you had a good/close working relationship with her.

      • +1 on don’t forget the secretary. I gave small gifts and TY cards to my judge, his secretary, and my co-clerk (who is a permanent clerk) at the end of my clerkship.

  9. For the first time, I ordered some items from Nordstrom. Sadly I did not move fast enough on a couple of things. So, my question – is it worth checking back daily to see if they’ve restocked or do I just have to wait and perhaps pay full price?

    I know during their sale time, Boden items pop in and out of the website regularly, just wondering if it was the same for Nordstrom.

    And, this zigzag sweater was one of the things I ordered! I feel so chic and [email protected]@rett@-approved!

    • Yes, check back. They update the online inventory daily as returns come in.

    • PSA re The Skirt :

      Order now! I ordered The New Skirt (sorry, TCFAG, I vote for caps) in a color that was back-ordered until October. But I ended up receiving it before everything else in my order because they processed it from a store.

    • downstream :

      I would check back frequently and I would also try calling a store – oftentimes there will be stock in-store that’s not showing up on the website, and a SA should be able to search all the stores to find what you want.

    • Strongly recommend using the LiveChat. The Cole Haan Cora boots were sold out in black in my size. I used the chat feature, and the woman found them for me in about 30 seconds and they’re being shipped as we speak!

    • Hmm, will try the Live Chat. I also put my mother on the case – she works near a mall with a Nordstroms, in a part of the country where my size is more likely to be in stock!

    • SoCal Gator :

      So bummed. Just got an email from Nordstrom cancelling my order for a cute ivory polka dotted blouse. I bought it accidentally in an XS and returned it when the salesperson said she found it in a Small. Apparently not.

      • I returned the ivory polka dot shirt I bought in small, so maybe you’ll get lucky!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Ladies, buy the wrong size of the right item. The right size will be restocked after NAS, and you can do an even exchange for the size you really want.

      • Really? Do you think it makes sense for me to purchase the wrong size of a pair of boots?

        • SF Bay Associate :

          Yes, that way you get the discount on the boots you want in the size you need. Buy the wrong size, leave them in the box, stick receipt in box. Check back periodically. When they have your size in a few weeks/months, go to the store and exchange for the size you want. It’s super duper easy. Trust me, I know kung fu.

    • You can also try calling customer service, as they check inventory both online and from a store. My roommate was able to score discounted Tory Burch boots that sold out online almost immediately by calling their customer service team. They ended up shipping to her for free from an out of state store.

  10. The Nanette Lepore top everybody loved but thought was too expensive is on sale at Neiman’s for $86! I just bought it.

  11. phillygirlruns :

    okay. this is from NM’s “cusp” marketing and classified as a “work dress.”


  12. Love this sweater jacket! I may have to order it, but am trying not to shop, due to my ridiculously high electricity and water bills this month. I really hate summer.

    Of course, I already broke my shopping moratorium by ordering this dress today, but am now wondering if the print is too wild for my business casual office that skews conservative. Maybe with a black blazer? Ann Taylor is having 30% off everything (code “friends”) today.

    • Seattleite :

      I’d swap out the self-tie belt for a leather or patent belt (or leave it off).

      Whether the print is too ‘wild’ I think will depend on your own coloring and level of contrast. “High-contrast” (very fair skin, dark hair) women would look good in this type of print. Low-contrast woman may look like the print is wearing them. (Somehow, I don’t think this guideline applies to women of color, but can’t articulate why.)

      Anyway, I’d wear it to my bus-cas office. Says the woman who just bought a leopard print dress.

      • I would wear it.

        I haven’t heard of the “contrast” concept but it makes sense – I’m fair-skinned and dark-haired and if I didn’t stop myself my whole closet would be full of prints like this!

    • Not too wild at all, although the swirly pattern does give it a bit of a “Magic Eye” look, so I’d break it up with a colorful cardigan.

    • 2/3 attorney :

      Seriously, “Tender Echoes” is what they had to call that print? Maybe this dress is the quirky best friend to the romantic-comedy protagonist from above.

  13. Quick rant about our dress code at my office…

    We’re in biotech, so business casual + jeans is the norm. However, due to the indiscretion of some former employees who didn’t know how to buy jeans without holes in them, we’re not allowed to wear jeans. Which is fine. Especially for guys it’s still very casual- khakis & a polo or button down, no jacket. As has been talked about on this site, that’s a tough look to translate to women, so I usually dress “up” a little bit, erring on the side of suit separates, dresses, and occasionally leggings or twill pants- but styled very nicely so even if they are “trendy” I still look very professional (always wear a blazer or button-down on top if I’m not wearing suit separates on the bottom)

    What drives me up the wall is some of the other girls here- they will wear the bare minimum to meet the dress code, and look like crap. One girl has a standard outfit of flowy hippie skirts and saggy looking knit shirts, which she pairs with a pink sweatshirt if she gets cold. Another tends toward jeans-styled (5 pocket) khakis and t-shirt-type tops. I don’t think the point of a dress should should be following it to the technicalities- yes, neither is wearing jeans. But they don’t look professional, either. (To add to this, they don’t do their hair or makeup)

    It pretty much just drives me nuts that even though they “meet the dress code” they still don’t look professional, which totally defeats the purpose of a dress code. OK, rant over.

    • Unless it effects your work (i.e. they interact with clients who view it is unprofessional) I wouldn’t pay attention to how others dress. I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way, but it sounded a little cool girl judge-y – i.e. I dress well and they don’t.

    • The purpose of the dress code is literally to meet the bare minimum. make sure all parts are in place and covered and to set the bottom line. The purpose of a dress code is not to make everybody fashionable

    • I don’t think make-up is necessary in order to look professional. The majority of women I encounter in my work don’t wear any visible make-up, even the senior ones. You sound like you need to chill.

    • Amelia Pond :

      At least they are “meeting the dress code”. The gals in my office have completely thrown the code out the window. My office has the same guidelines and I dress similarly to you. However instead of hippie skirts, the other gals wear super skimpy outfits. Today we have a red mini skirt with a lace-backed top (obvi she is not wearing a bra), a strapless jersey dress without a cardigan, and hot pink shorts. None of this is dress code but the director has given up. So be glad the other gals are at leasting pretending to follow the code!

      • OMG! Where the heck do you work!? Also: Where do those girls think they work? (Don’t answer that.)

        • Amelia Pond :

          They did draw the line at a sheer blouse with only a tube bra underneath. So things are looking up!

    • You probably drive them up the wall, too, because you’re setting the fashion bar higher than they want to reach.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Right! I’m waiting for their post:

        OMG, there’s this woman we work with, and even though we have a super-relaxed dress code, she dresses much more formally than it requires, plus she comes to work every day with full makeup and “done” hair, and then she, like, totally looks down her nose at the rest of us who are, I hasten to add, in full compliance with the super-relaxed dress code! It drives us batty!

    • Does their clothing affect your ability to do your job? Does their clothing affect their ability to do their jobs? No? Then lay off. Seriously.

      Not everyone prioritizes clothing or makeup or spending an hour every day straightening their curly hair. I don’t want to jump on the finger-pointy mean-girl bandwagon, but seriously–it is none of your business how they dress, as long as they adhere to your employer’s dress code. Please go spend all of this time and energy on something productive, that will make you feel good about yourself.

    • LadyEnginerd :

      Um, you’re in bioTECH. You’re lucky they aren’t rolling into work in vibram five fingers, a geek joke tee (from think geek, of course) and pajama pants. I’d save any external efforts to change their look for if they have to meet with clients or go to a conference.

      Internally, this stuff bothers me a little too after years of trying to show that justbeacause I’m in tech, that doesn’t mean I’m a total social pariah. Girls can be pretty AND smart. They already have the smart thing down, and clothes/basic grooming is the easy part. They’re letting sisterhood of STEM ladies down!

      • But just because STEM ladies can be smart and fashionable doesn’t mean they have an obligation to be.

        • LadyEnginerd :

          Absolutely. When I see a woman in tech dressing really poorly (like I did in high school) I still get a twinge of what I felt like in high school (social outcast who would never be popular or have fun friends). It’s an entirely internal response and I wouldn’t ask for them to change how they dress if it makes them happy and they aren’t representing the organization externally. I don’t even judge them per se. I just remember what it was like before I realized I deserved to feel pretty, which was pretty awful, and cringe a little inside.

          • goirishkj :

            Your reaction isn’t limited to techies–I’m a liberal arts type turned lawyer and your post summed up how I also feel sometimes. I STILL occasionally have a gut reaction that I’m fat and ugly because that’s how I felt in HS. The part about deserving to feel pretty rreally resonates with me since that’s how I feel as a grown up.

    • Women in tech have a real problem dressing professionally because we don’t see many good examples around. It sounds like there are three women in your working group. You admit that you feel a little overdressed and it sounds like the other two are trying to interpret the female equivalent of the male casual outfit of khackis+shirt and maybe not doing so very well.
      Disclosure: I work in tech and am currently wearing jeans and a tshirt. It’s very tough to know what to wear when you’re one of the few females in yoru working group.

      • Women in tech and science also have a problem dressing professionally because if you dress too nicely or take some time to do your hair and/or make-up, you can be seen as not serious about your work. It may be “mean girl” to comment with frustration on the very poor dressing and grooming of one’s colleagues, but it goes the other way too.

        And no, I am not going to show up in baggy stained khakis, ill-fitting short-sleeved button downs, and hair dripping wet from the shower just to get people to take me more seriously. I’ve accepted the trade-off of having to work a little harder in exchange for wearing nice shoes.

        • Tech is a strange, strange place, isn’t it. I screwed up my courage to wear a skirt to work for the first time in my 15 year career. None of the men said anything, but one of the woman I’m friendly with (and have known for almost my entire working life) came over and said ‘I can’t believe you’re wearing a skirt!’ She wasn’t being mean, she was just that surprised;

        • Also, I’m not sure if the men really notice the details of what we do. I suspect they just think to themselves ‘Terry looks nice’ without realizing it’s because I took the extra 20 minutes to put on makeup, fix my hair, etc.

          • Oh yes, women-on-women scorn is much more common than men-on-women. I think you’re right, they don’t particularly notices or just don’t want to go down that road and have an innocent compliment misunderstood.

        • I complete agree that in the technical world it’s a tricky balance to looking professional versus overly-fashion-focused and girly.

    • Also, not to pile on, but your post called them “girls” not women. Are they under 18?

    • I did not interpret this comment to be b*tchy. Anonahol is correct; just because you’re technically meeting the dress code doesn’t mean you look professional. Pairing knit tops with flowy skirts doesn’t seem especially professional to me, either.

    • Sorry, that came out really mean. I just find it annoying that the purpose of our dress code is to look professional for clients & investors that the managing partner brings by (we’re a small start-up) and I can’t wear jeans or sandals, because those are the banned items, but others can wear sweatshirts, hippie skirts, etc (not explicitly banned items, but to me, as unprofessional as sandals and jeans). If we were all just off coding in our own little world, I wouldn’t care, and I would probably wear those items too.

      and maybe I should just stop trying, since I’m in tech. I will always be a nerd…

      • Nah, I know what you mean. My school had a really strict dress code, half for “modesty” and half for “professionalism.” But while you can make rules about dresses and skirts, you really can’t keep people from looking sloppy. It irritated me to no end that a nice, chic pantsuit would not meet the dress code, but that girl wearing a frumpy khaki button down skirt, tee shirt, and birkenstocks with socks did. Such is life.

      • It sounds like their clothing does affect your work. If you’re a start-up and the managing partner is bringing by the exact people who have the power to grow or kill your business (i.e., investors and clients), then poor appearance could mean your company goes under. That also means that it’s not just the health of the company but your livelihood that are at stake. Start-ups are fragile like that. If yours is small, do you have the standing to talk to whoever is in charge and voice your concerns that the office isn’t projecting the kind of image that’s likely to make it sucessful? Sometimes the sort of people who are very detail focused (like techs) are not as sensitive to the bigger picture. Also, if the heads of the company are male, they may be less sensitive to asthetics (MAY be — I realize this is a stereotype but I do think that overall, men are less likely to be attuned to these things even if, obviously, not all men are that way) and/or may feel uncomfortable commenting on female employees’ appearances.

      • MissJackson :

        It seems to me that the problem is your dress code. If the goal of the dress code is to make people look “professional for clients and investors” but the dress code permits “unprofessional” items, then the dress code is falling short, yes? That’s not really the fault of the other women, it’s the fault of the dress code. Unless you’re in a position to modify the dress code, I think you have to try to let this go.

      • “Purpose of the dress code is to look professional for clients and investors” – not necessarily.
        Startup investors might not be shocked by techies at a startup looking nerdy and/or hippyish. In fact, someone looking polished and tailored might throw them off.

        If the “manageing partner” says something about cleaning up for the client visits, you’d be justified in talking to your coworkers; otherwise, stop judging.

      • Research, Not Law :

        I do understand. I had a position with a strict dress code a few years ago and was also frustrated by how a professional, put-together outfit wouldn’t meet code but some coworkers were fine even though they were sloppy and not at all professional. It wasn’t that I minded how they dressed, I just really wanted to be able to wear what I wanted since the tightly-enforced dress code didn’t really seem to be working anyway. Why were my sleeves being measured when coworker looked homeless?

        Now that I’m back in a position where I can wear whatever I want, I really don’t care what my coworkers wear. It was the dress code and not my coworkers’ attire that was bugging me.

        LOL, and keep trying! Even nerds can be stylish! Just give you coworkers a break. ;)

    • I have noticed that at some work places the tightening of a dress code or introduction of a new one makes people dress worse than before at times. I think it is because when people are suddenly forcibly pushed out their comfort zone by implementing standards they find oppressive and thus either rebel by doing only the minimum to meet these standards or are just simply at a loss of how to merge those standards with their personal style. E.g.: When an old workplace suddenly banned jeans, girls who had looked very stylish before in dark trouser style denim suddenly started wearing yoga pants to work because those were some of the only black pants they had and they didn’t want to buy new things, because jeans is what they would wear on the weekend and all they knew how to dress in. Nobody ever ran around in torn denim anymore but in sum the staff looked a lot less professional.
      It is a bit similar to being fresh out of college for a lot of young professional women. You know you are supposed to don suits and slacks, but since it is nothing you’ve worn on a regular basis beforehand it can feel a bit like a uniform that you throw on with lackluster care, because you just don’t know yet how to do it better.
      I think employers, especially in those fields slightly outside the corporate area should frame dress codes around softer criteria: pressed, wrinkle free, breathable fabric, structured jackets, no holes and then enforce those. Then again, I am also of the firm opinion that as an employee you should at least be mindful of how your appearance reflects on the paycheck provider who ultimately feeds and clothes you.

    • All sizzle. No steak.

    • karenpadi :

      I wouldn’t stir the pot.

      One anecdote. I was in an internship like this where I had invested in nice clothing to wear to the office and tried to look really nice. I was the only female intern and all the guys rolled in to work in something picked of the floor of their bedroom.

      Near the end of the internship, the department was having a super-high level meeting with a high-ranking public official. Guess which intern was the only intern to be invited? Yeah, me. According to the department head, and I quote as closely as I remember, “I just don’t know that the guys are going to be presentable.”

  14. Thanks to everyone who suggested shoes for me yesterday! I almost bought one of the recommended pairs but then they had run out of my size. Instead, I was wondering what you all think of these? Will the “fabric” outside thwart my attempt to get shoes from “natural” materials for my stinky feet? (They also have them in all leather, but I took TCFKAG’s advice to heart and thought I might try something *gasp!* not all black.)

    • I would say these are fine since they’re lined in leather. Often fabric shoes aren’t, which makes them the same as wearing synthetic leather shoes.

    • lucy stone :

      I think you should be okay. I have a lot of Born shoes and they never stink despite my never wearing socks.

    • Those are cute! And I almost recommended them, but I wasn’t sure what you would think of a pattern. You should buy them, I think they’ll work.

    • Oh wow.. I have a pair almost just like that (also from born). I got them years ago and absolutely love them (terrified of the day they finally wear out). They don’t smell for me either and I also never wear socks.

      Question: My Born flats with the small heel are 9.5. I ordered 2.5″ born heels in 9.5s also, but were too big (bought cole haans instead in a 9 that fit perfectly). If I order these flats, should I err on the side of big or small (I hate returning things!)?

      • I went from a 7/7.5 to a 6.5/7. The SA at Nordstrom said they are starting to vanity size shoes.

    • SOLD. Will report back once they arrive.

      • Also, I have no idea why I am so drawn to bows. I don’t go out of my way to buy things with bows – they just find me.

  15. I saw this swacket in the store and it looked cute. Unfortunately, most cardigans don’t flatter me so I didn’t try it on.

    Pregnancy threadjack – at what point did your feet start swelling and does it go back down or stay constant? I was standing up for an hour during a happy hour yesterday and suddenly my feet starting spasming, to the point where I had to sit down. And this morning my heels feel awfully tight. I’m 14 weeks along. Am I better off buying a few larger sized shoes or does the swelling go down at some point?

    • The swelling will not go down– if anything, it’ll get worse as you get farther along. That being said, since you are having a winter baby, the cool weather (assuming you live in a cool climate in the winter) will help. Winter is hard to be finishing up your pregnancy from a foot perspective b/c your feet will definitely swell and you won’t have the sandal option to help you get through it. My feet were swollen for weeks/months after I had the baby– for many reasons– so I kept wearing my “swollen feet shoes” for awhile…

    • I wore a shoe a half size larger the whole time.

    • No kids, but from what I’ve heard you don’t want wear your shoes! They will stretch out and when your feet eventually stop swelling up they won’t fit anymore. I would get some pregnancy shoes.

      • Diana Barry :

        FWIW, my feet went up about 1/4 to 1/2 size and got a little wider, and did NOT go back. I used to wear an 8.5-9 and now I am a 9 to 9.5, and usually wide width now.

        • This.

          During pg, I had a lot of swelling/edema. At some points I was literally wearing 1.5 sizes larger than normal – I just went to Target and bought inexpensive slip ons. Once – and only once – I got guff from my boss at 7 mos. I gave him such the evil eye it never was mentioned again.

          Anyhoo, after 3 pg, permanently 1/2 size larger feet, and a little wider. Which, btw, was a great excuse to my DH when I kept buying new shoes after all was said and done! Brand new shoe wardrobe! Expensive but fun.

    • Thanks ladies, this is helpful. I’m just wondering what size/sizes to buy right now. I’m currently an 8 in shoe size, so maybe I’ll buy a few 8.5s for now and see if I need to go up even higher later on. A 9 normally falls off my feet.

    • Keep an eye on your blood pressure. 14 weeks seems awfully early for the swelling to start. Not to scare you or anything, seriously. It’s probably just one of those things. But when I had preeclampsia I swelled up like a balloon. With my second (no pre-e) the swelling didn’t start until third trimester. And yes, it stays the same or gets worse until delivery. Good luck with your pregnancy.

      • Yes, my thoughts too. It does seem a little early. But could be totally normal–everyone is different.

        The first time my ankles swelled up, they would go down a bit if I drank some water and propped my feet a bit. After a while, though, they just stayed puffy. BUT–good news: the first thing I noticed after I delivered was that I had my ankles back! The puffy isn’t forever.

      • Hmm, this is interesting re: preeclampsia. I recently had my genetic screening done and found out a few days ago that while I am negative for Downs Syndrome and Trisomy 18, I do have a low Papp A level, which could lead to some problems later on (including preeclampsia, and premature delivery). I’m trying not to be too worried because the doctor says that many women who have this go on to have very healthy pregnancies.

        On the plus side, my blood pressure is very much under control (if anything, it’s on the lower side of normal, but still within normal range). But it’s good to stay on top of it. Thanks for the tips!

        • Just to hopefully make you feel better, I also had low Papp A but ended up with no issues at all. My daughter was 4 weeks early but was a healthy 7 lbs. No problems otherwise (pre-e, etc.).

      • sugarmagnolia :

        My feet started swelling very early about 15 weeks or so, and are still experiencing that issue at 30 weeks. Some of us are just unlucky. Extreme swelling can indicate pre-eclampsia, but there is not (as far as my doctor knows of) a correlation between early swelling and pre-e.

        For example, my last BP was 100/65. :)

        As one of the fellow unlucky people, I advise putting feet up whenever you can, and getting a lot of exercise via walking. My feet are less swollen if I walk at least 2 miles a day.

    • Maybe switch to flats and see if that helps with swelling? 14 weeks seems kind of early, but pregnancy affects everyone differently and the hot weather doesn’t help.

      My advice with pregnancy fashion is to not buy anything until you need it. The body goes through so many changes that it’s impossible to predict what you’ll need until you need it. Which, of course, sucks when you find yourself suddenly missing critical pieces of clothing, like work pants that fit at 38 weeks, but you’ll save money by not buying stuff that doesn’t really work.

      It’s tempting to buy cheap-o shoes during pregnancy, but I’d recommend finding the most supportive pair you can find in your price range. Even if that means you buy one good pair instead of two or three. Pregnancy is uncomfortable enough; why add to it with hurting, achy feet, which is easier to control?

    • Pregnancy introduces a larger volume of blood into your body and the volume increases the further along you get. I have low-but-still-normal BP that got lower during pregnancy and found that fluids pooled in my fingers / feet if I stood in one place for a long time. It was much worse in hot weather (one summer baby, one fall one).

      The pre-eclampsia is why your BP is taken at every visit (and you may want to keep a mental note of it). But you may just be swelling b/c PG + summer + standing = swelling.

      I am up 1/2 a size after 4 PGs, but that may just be b/c I’m older and your feet ligaments stretch out as we age anyway. The marginal shoes didn’t fit anymore, but many fit after even if they didn’t at the end (and AVOID pregnancy-related shoe purchases that you can’t just slip on — at the end, you may have to have someone buckle your Mary Janes for you and tie your sneakers).

    • I’m at 31 weeks, and my feet have only swollen on days when I wear heels and am on my feet a bunch. I do have a couple of pairs of shoes that are too tight now… and they were ones that were on the tighter side before pregnancy (and of course include my one pair of cole haans… sigh… I’m hoping that my feet go back to totally normal after the baby, but I know it’s very possible that they won’t.)

  16. TJ: I had a job interview last week and I think it went well. I also expect I will hear a response one way or another from this company very soon as the start date for the position is rapidly approaching.

    My issue is how to deal with my current horrible job. You would think that a little hope would make me more tolerant of the dysfunction and frustration I experienceon a regular basis here, but it has had the opposite effect. I fnd I don’t give a shadow of a F*** about my work rightnow and I need an attitude adjustment. I am so tense waiting to hear! Any tips on how to focus?

    • I wish you every luck, but… Stop waiting. Sadly, getting back to the candidate is no longer obligatory for employers.
      Which makes your need to be positive and focused in the “here and now” even more urgent.

  17. Cannot stop shopping... :

    AMAZING dress: fitted but comfy, hides everything, double lines so no lines. Plus “on promotion” (not on sale, the salesperson pointed out) at Anthro:

    Work appropriate (maybe) with a blazer. But definitely for weekend, going out. I would never ordinarily go near a dress like this– I have major mom gut– but the salesperson brought it to me b/c she thought it would look cute on me. It does! (Also in multiple solid colors.)

    • that’s gorgeous! do you think it’s appropriate for an outdoor wedding, or is the print too busy?

      • Cannot stop shopping... :

        It is great for an outdoor wedding. I don’t think the print is too busy– paired it with a narrow sparkly belt last night and it was so cute. Though it can hold its own without a belt, there are lots of cute ways to style it without one.

        • wow – in my shopping cart! But on the fence about sizing. I’m a 5’4 hourglass and usually a S in sweaters and 6 in pants at J.Crew – is S the way to go here?

          • Motoko Kusanagi :

            I may, or may not, have just ordered 8 of these dresses in various colors/sizes, because it is lovely and I want it to work.

            So, thank you!

          • I think Anthro runs a touch large. Not like a whole size, but if you’re between sizes, I’d go with the smaller one. You sound like a S.

          • Cannot stop shopping... :

            I would go S for sure. I’m a 2-4 in most clothes, was skeptical of XS salesperson brought b/c of aforementioned mom gut and it fits like a dream. S should work!

          • Roxy at Effortless Anthropologie recently did a review of this dress and I believe had some sizing comments – not linking to avoid moderation, but you may wish to check it out.

            I agree, I am trying to hold off on purchasing as well because I love this!

          • thanks! hopefully they are not all sold out by tonight — left my birthday month discount card in my desk at home :(

    • Also: I shake my fist at you for tempting me to covet beyond my clothing budget!! I love that dress!

    • I want this SO bad… but it’s not available at Anthro-EU, and I won’t be back in the US in time to return it if I order it to my mom’s house and it doesn’t fit. Ah well, at least I don’t have to decide which color to get (as my inclination would have been all.of.them.)

      • Did they change the policy? Last I heard they didn’t have one and took it if you had a receipt or it was on an anthro card.

    • just Karen :

      Beautiful!!! Going by the store on my way home from work tonight. I’ve had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket for a while now – this would be the perfect use for it. Thanks!!!!!!!

  18. Road to Somewhere? :

    Everyone, thanks so much for the great suggestions yesterday about our family trip! I am looking forward to checking the options out — especially intrigued by Tahoe, as I have always thought of it as 3 hours from San Francisco — had not occurred to me that it is close to Reno. (Duh)

  19. Ladies! I’m planning on a trip to Savannah, GA in late September with my friend for my birthday. Any suggestions on where to stay, what to do, where to eat? I haven’t been there since my trip with my Girl Scout Troop in 1997, so any and all suggestions would be much appreciated.

    • Downtown has some great hotels and B&Bs. We have done Priceline and gotten the Avia (v. cool hotel) and the Hilton (dated, but perfectly adequate). The Bohemian hotel is right on the river and has a cool rooftop bar. Nice dining: Noble Fare (my favorite of this list), Local11Ten, Alligator Soul. Haven’t been to Elizabeth on 37 or Cha Bella, but those are recommended. Pink House is nice and open for lunch. Crystal Beer Parlor is a lot of fun.
      Savannah is big on history and walking tours abound. For evening activities, look at Savannah Slow Ride or a ghost tour. The historic district has no open container law and allows you to walk around with your adult beverage. I recently moved to Savannah so I may be able to answer more specific questions as well.

      • That Slow Ride thing looks really fun actually. I’ll have to check that out.

    • Motoko Kusanagi :

      Mrs. Wilkes has delicious Southern cooking, served family style (you’ll be sitting at a big table with strangers, which is part of the fun). Arrive EARLY (think 10-1030am), prepare to wait, bring cash (no cards). Yum.

      Ghost walking tours.

      Stroll around all of the squares. You can do a few house tours, too, which are fun.

      I enjoyed my trip out to Bonaventure Cemetery, if you like beautiful old cemeteries.

      I stayed at the Marshall House and loved it.

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      Read Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil before you go! (If you haven’t already.) Reading that book added a whole new dimension to my Savannah visit a few years ago. There are tours based on that book as well.

    • I second the recs for Local11Ten and Mrs. Wilkes. Not to be missed! Check out the gift shop at Savannah College of Art and Design for amazing items made by the art students there. Great one of a kind items.

      Take a drive out to Tybee Island for a great beach. There is also a restaurant on the water there with delicious seafood and live music. Can’t remember the name but the island is so small you’d have little trouble googling it.

  20. Paging Salit-a-gator! :

    I was doing some google-fu last night and saw your comment (from May, I think?) and others’ responses re cute walking shoes/sandals for your big Euro-city vacation during the summer. Can we get a field report on what you bought and whether it (or they) worked?

    • I am an insane traveler (going to country #62 next week) and these are the best shoes ever for traveling, no exceptions. You can dress them up but wear them all day/every day, they are insanely light. They have gone to Cambodia when I was in my 20s backpacking and sleeping with cockroaches but they somehow still work for my luxury vacation to an African safari!


      • Paging Salit-a-gator! :

        I actually do have the maha breathe in black – which I didn’t even think about for some reason – thanks for helping me shop my closet! Which ones do you have? Were they enough support?

        As a side note, I want to go on your luxury African safari…was it as awesome as it sounds?

    • Do you remember when in May this was? I’m looking for some stylish but comfy shoes for a NYC trip coming up…

      • Paging Salit-a-gator! :

        Here is the link to the thread: Search for “Salit-a-gator” to get to the right string.

        I ordered five pairs of shoes from zappos based on these recs.

    • I don’t think I contributed to that particular thread, but I need to give a shout out to my new favorites — Ecco Groove sandal in sand grey metallic. I am usually a 9.5/10 (more often a 10 these days) and the 40 was a little too small (but I have really long 2nd toes) and the 41 was maybe a skosh bigger than I would’ve liked, but otherwise perfect. I wore them straight out of the box for a weekend of (European) city sightseeing, and they were the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. Zero issues with rubbing or blisters or sore feet. They are not the s3xiest sandals out there, but in the metallic they were a good neutral and don’t look overly sporty. They are now my summer go-to shoes for anytime I need to be walking around a lot, and I think they look cute with shorts, jeans, dresses, etc.

      I mentioned this in a post last month as well, but I also have the Ecco Bouillon (the t-strap one, basically the same styles as the Groove but more narrow with a smaller, less-cushioned sole). They aren’t AS comfortable, but they are still better than most of my shoes, and on the plus side, they are a little more streamlined, so they look more delicate or dressy I guess.

    • I just posted the other day about some sandals I bought on sale from Naturalizer for this very purpose. I haven’t worn them for a full day of walking yet, but I have worn them to and from work to make sure I didn’t need to break them in before heading to Europe, and they’re insanely comfortable. I got them in the brown, and they look cute with shorts and sandals, but the little bit of gold also dresses them up enough to wear with summery skirts or dresses.

  21. I was rummaging in my purse to find a notebook and realized that I have: 1 weekly/monthly planner – 2 small notebooks – 1 notepad – 1 large size post-it pad – 2 medium size post-it pads.
    All this in the smallest size Longchamps LePliage bag.
    I am officially a nerd.
    I just don’t understand why despite having numerous lists on excel, and word etc. I still have this need to physically jot down things on paper.

    • I had a similar moment recently with toothpaste/floss/toothbrushes. I laughed out loud about someone’s (I think it might have been you) comment on American’s being obsessed with dental hygiene. I thought, “you are obviously talking about me.”

      • And yes that was me.
        On the upside, I picked up these habits so I’m the crazy person who lugs 10 pounds of Listerine on 3 airplanes to get back home overseas.

        • My parents came for a visit in the spring and they brought deodorant and crest. You like what you like. I’ve seen people’s teeth and I blame it on the fact that they have Colgate but no Crest.

          I have a clinique giveaway bag with staedtler pens, highlighters, post-its and index cards in my bag.

          • Equity's Darling :

            I love Staedtler – they were sooooo much cheaper to buy in Germany/Austria than they are in Canada, sigh.

          • I also loaded up on Deodorant and Crest and Sharpie highlighters, and I have a stash of Staedtler graphite 779 0.7 mm (and refuse to write with anything else)

    • I prefer a paper planner because it makes it easier for me to see my longterm schedule and avoid scheduling conflicts so I don’t think that makes you a nerd. ;-)

  22. Diana Barry :

    Hey ladies – does anyone have a Talbots coupon code or free shipping? I am eyeing several of the jackets on sale. :)

    • I don’t have one, but I’ve always had pretty good luck finding something with retailmenot dot com.

  23. I braved the world of international shipping, placing an order for some cute tops and casual dresses from Garnet Hill. Not too bad. Sadly the adorable sneakers I bought don’t work so we’ll see how returns go.

    Now I just need to make a cotton mariniere striped dress appropriate for Scottish weather.

  24. Thank you to Gem and BlueToo from Rose in Bloom :

    Thanks for encouraging me to book for Hadrian’s Wall! While we have been able to find accommodations, it appears that we might not have been so lucky had we waited. Now I just have to hope that I estimated distances between sites correctly. . .

    BlueToo, I emailed you back about meeting up. Hope it works out!

  25. Does anyone have a reccomendation for a Resume Writer? My writing is pretty decent, but somehow I am terrible at marketing myself. A little background – Staff Attorney at biglaw in DC trying to move back home to California – so a California based, legal market specific resume writer would be ideal. The idea kind of hit home when I read somewhere about resumes not making enough keyword hits to make it through resume collection databases.

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