Bargain Friday’s TPS Report: T Tahari ‘Mia’ Blouse

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

t tahari mia blouseHappy Friday! I like the look of this silk shell from T Tahari — the rosettes and other decorations at the neck are interesting but not too much, and the floral pattern is beautiful. I’d wear it with trousers and a long, open boyfriend cardigan for the office. Was $99.50, now $29.97 at Nordstrom Rack (sizes S, M, and L still available). T Tahari ‘Mia’ Blouse

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  1. It might be a bit “night” for some offices, but I could see it working well with a black suit for when you have one of those after work formal dinner functions and want to have a good transition top. I also like the styling suggestion.

  2. Legally Brunette :

    I agree that this looks like a little too much “night.” It’s pretty, though.

    Any recommendations on warm pajamas? The weather is dipping and my bedroom is freezing. Not looking to spend a lot of money and am not concerned with them looking super cute – just warm. Thanks!

    • Get a pair of flannel pants. Very toasty. I got a pair at Uniqlo last year for about $10. The red plaid makes me happy; the flannel keeps me warm.

      As for the top, I am not a huge fan of black/red combos or of prints like this, but I like the styling suggestion. I think wearing this with a black suit could be slightly too formal and/or too “matchy,” but with pants and a long cardigan, the look becomes much more interesting. Great idea, Kat!

    • surrounded by lawyers :

      I like flannel pants as well, but if you’re super cold you might want to go up a notch with thermal leggings. Most department stores and clothing retailers make them, and they’re fairly cheap as well. Matching thermal shirt optional.

      • Just don’t go to Target for said thermals. (Then again, you can’t, because said thermals are probably gone on winter closeout seeing as it’s JANUARY and time to move in the spring stuff.) I bought a cheap pair of thermal leggings there a few years ago and they were terribly-cut – just didn’t fit my hips and butt in any natural way. Nowadays I get my silk baselayers at REI.

        • Amen to getting this stuff from REI-I went out on a limb and bought thermals at walmart-$7, and I got what I paid for. No room in rear, too much in front. And they weren’t on backwards.

    • somewherecold :

      I like flannel pajamas with a fleece or hoodie on top if it’s really cold. And warm socks go a long way–either fleece or I just got a pair of Life is Good Snuggle socks, and those are really nice. My favorite flannel pants are from Gap (I think they are from last year, they can be capri length with a button, but they are nice and long when they’re not buttoned–I don’t like having to go up a size to get the right length), JCrew outlet, and an old pair from Victoria’s Secret. I saw flannel and fleece pajamas at Costco last month, but I haven’t tried them.

    • One winter natural gas prices were outrageously high here, so we kept the heat off in our house at night and it was freezing. So I slept in thermals, a sweatshirt, and the thing that kept me the most warm was a knit hat. It was kind of strange at first to sleep with a hat on, but it worked!

      • Hat’s are great for keeping warm! Whenever we do winter/late-fall camping I always sleep in a hat. It makes a WORLD of difference. I also do a light knit hat when I’m sick and can’t shake those horrible chills.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Thanks ladies. I figured flannel was the way to go, but was not sure if there was a brand in particular that folks could recommend. It seems like there are a wide variety and more expensive isn’t necessarily better.

      • skippy pea :

        I would also wear socks. Nothing beats socks. You might even end up taking them off when you get pretty warm.

      • Macy’s was having a ridiculous sale on pajamas last week. It might be worth it to go over there and pick up a pair (I just a got a pair of Nautica, pretty happy, for about $15) to try them out.

      • I totally swear by Old Navy. Cheap, warm, comfy, and they last.

      • I got some amazing thick flannel pj pants from Sierra Trading post for about $10. They typically have lots to choose from, and I’m not picky about brand or color for pj pants.

    • Another thing that you may want to consider…..flannel sheets. Crawling into them on a cold night is like heaven. It’s a struggle to get out of bed in the morning, though.

      • somewherecold :

        Also a flannel duvet cover is a good way to increase the warmth of your bedding without buying a whole new comforter. I had one from LLBean in college (fyi, LLBean is having a sale right now on winter bedding and clothing).

        • But don’t mix the flannel sheets and the flannel jammies unless you sleep perfectly still. There’s a velcro effect. Toss and turn a few times, and you’re a flannel mummy.

      • I have an electric mattress pad. I turn it on about 10 minutes before bed, crawl in, and turn it off. If I get cold during the night, I turn it back on until I warm up. Low cost and very snuggly.

        • This! And I combine it with flannel sheets. Very, very hard to get out of bed, especially on a Friday. Like today. Sigh.

          I have found the mattress pads expensive, though … $150 – $175ish for a king size.

      • Love flannel sheets. Also, the flannel pjs on sale from pajamagram are good, don’t shrink, and wear well. I have some fleece like pjs from Pennys last year and they do the same. As for socks (which I wear year round in the house) … the winter pairs are usually athletic socks in the house. But in bed…only these and these will warm you up well …

        VARMA of Iceland, angora socks. Seriously soft and warm. Just follow the directions to turn them inside out for the washer/dryer. After a few years, I have to use a sweater de-fuzzer or scissors on them. Reliable and you’ll never go back to domestic socks for sleeping again.

    • I suggest investing in a good down comforter. You’ll never worry about warm pajamas again.

    • I’d suggest getting a dog :-) Mine sleeps with me every night and the heat from her keeps me extremely warm. Totally kidding (well that is unless you want a dog, then by all means go for it).

      In all seriousness, I’d suggest either flannel pajamas or I just bought a pair of fleece pajama pants at Costco. Very cozy and warm, especially when paired with the “cozy socks” that you can find various places.

    • We have a wool duvet and it is the warmest thing ever to sleep under. Warmer than down and no issues with thin and thick spots after years of use.

    • Buy a down comforter. I don’t turn my heat on and still get hot sometimes at night. It traps body heat amazingly well, and you won’t need the flannel pajamas. I just sleep in a sleeveless shirt and shorts.

  3. Sorry to threadjack so early, but I wanted to get commenters’ opinion on these shoes:

    I was planning on wearing them to a wedding, but do you think they could work for the office as well, if everything else in the outfit is conservative? They are a little pearlized.

    Does anyone have any experience with Talbots shoes? Quality, comfort, etc.?

    • I’m a shoe fiend, I can vouch for the high quality of Talbot’s shoes. The manufacturer they source them from is absolutely fabulous. Leather soles and insoles, excellent cushioning and fit. Pound for pound, I’d rate them higher for overall quality, fit, and comfort than Stuart Weitzman and Cole Haan. One of the best fashion sleepers out there, IMHO. (Also check out Ann Taylor shoes. Very good too!).

      Cute top, Kat! I’m a “dramatic” type of girl who walks the fine line between classy and brassy. I’m notorious for “too [much],” but not “too, too” I *do* have standards! LOL.

    • These shoes seem totally fine for the office to me. They look completely professional.

    • Boston atty :

      I’d wear them to the office, sure. They’re very cute. Talbots shoes have been fairly comfortable for me. Well made too.

    • The shoes look absolutely office appropriate, even if the rest of the outfit isn’t conservative.

      • Agree completely. I wouldn’t feel like I needed to wear a conservative outfit with those shoes (in my office, at least). I own a pair of Talbots shoes and I think the quality is excellent.

    • skippy pea :

      Oh those look cute! Too bad (or good?) they are not available in my size.

    • Pretty shoes!

    • I have those shoes from Talbots! Actually, they are in clay, and I wear them a lot. I generally wear with khaki pants/red pants. They are my more casual shoes that I wear in the office and rarely to Court.

      they are super comfortable, and GREAT quality.

      I love Talbots shoes. I bought a pair on clearance at an Outlet while in Law School in 2006. I have had them re-capped, and re-soled. They are still in great condition and going strong (just generally need a good polish), but they haven’t cracked or come apart, and the footbed is still cushion-y– one of my favorite pairs of heels.

    • Thanks everyone! I ordered them after all the reassurance you gave me.

    • I think they’d be great for the office. Nice find.

  4. Sorry for the early threadjack! I’m attending the orientation to the profession program in New York today for people who have passed the bar exam but are not sworn in yet. I never decided what to wear, and the snow today is adding a new complication.

    Is it appropriate to wear dark wash jeans, a sweater, and a jacket/blazer to something like this? The problem of wearing black pants or a skirt is that I can’t wear my dress shoes in the snow and none of my snow appropriate shoes will fit in my bag once I get to the program.

    I looked to see if there was a dress code, but couldn’t find anything. I know when we get sworn in, the dress code is business professional because it is an official court appearance, but there is no mention of this program. It is being held at the courthouse in the jury room.

    • No, it is not appropriate to wear jeans to a professional event held at the courthouse. Wear a suit or at least a jacket.

      As for the shoes, either take a cab or bring a larger bag or tote to carry your boots in.

      • Concur – take a bigger bag. Or wear sneakers in the snow.

      • What’s wrong with wearing dress pants and snow-appropriate boots underneath? Not snow boots, but nice dress boots (ankle or higher) that you could wear outside.

    • Boston atty :

      I agree with above. Some black leather boots should do the trick. Wear fleece or wool socks, tuck your suit pants into them while commuting, then take them out and put them over them. If they’re nice enough (not too many buckles etc), you could also wear them with tights and a suit skirt, but pants would be warmer.

    • No jeans!! Pants and a blazer, or else a suit.

    • When I went in Brooklyn, I got dressed up and most of the people there were in jeans, FWIW. And it was not a snowy day or anything.

      • Really? That is where I’m going. Second Department. Was it this year?

        Thanks for the advice everyone. I guess I knew what the answer was going to be, but did not want to face it.

        • Wear something formal. I wear skirts in the snow with boots (easier than tucking pants, imo), I think you would be fine with a simple black pair.

          Even if some do wear jeans, I don’t think you should imitate them. Being dressed professionally in this setting is always better. You never know who you will meet.

          • surrounded by lawyers :

            Just want to endorse this principle for lots of other situations too. You can always look around and find people dressed less formally than you are–but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good idea.

          • This, even in casual settings. If your clothes are outside the norm in any way, dressier is always better than more casual. Either way, people are noticing your clothes. Wouldn’t you rather they remember you as a little too dressed up than too casual?

            One of my work environments is literally a disaster area (I occasionally do technology deployment in disaster relief scenarios.) We get dirty, but have a dress code. Some folks wear their ugliest, nastiest, schleppiest clothes, and I admit it influences whether I promote them into certain roles.

      • Yep, I went to 2nd Dept. in December. Honestly, you could’ve shown up in sweatpants and no one would notice or care. It’s just a revolving door of lecturers in the giant jury duty room talking at the crowd with their PPT slides and handouts. There is no professional interaction whatsoever.

    • Just out of curiosity, do you know how frequently they have these? I just moved back to New York this week from out of state, so I’m having my application transferred from the third department, which doesn’t require this orientation, to the second, but I’m worried I’ve missed all the classes and am going to have to wait until like the summer. I can’t look online until my application has officially been transferred, which will probably take a week or two.

      • It looks like there is 1 or 2 every month. The schedule is available here:

      • Forgot to add, a friend of mine is trying to transfer her application as well and it has taken weeks. She called a few days ago and all they said was that it would happen when it happens.

        • Great… Well, at least they have the orientations regularly. Thanks for the info!

  5. Threadjack: my boyfriend asked me for some engagement ring suggestions (exciting!). We’d like an ethically sourced ring (conflict-free diamonds, ideally recycled gold or platinum) and I’ve found some companies online but have no clue about their quality. Does anyone have any experience/suggestions? Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

    • You could ask Ellen what type of ring Allen got her! But seriously, I would recommend you go to Tiffany’s or Harry Winston. They have the best selections and though you’ll probably pay a tad more than on 47th Street, you should have confidence in the providence of the diamonds.

      • This may sound unromantic, but my husband shopped around a LOT and found the best prices were on BlueNiledotcom (not a rep, just telling our experience). Their diamonds are conflict free and beautiful. You can still have a lovely day poring over rings at a beautiful store, and then buy it from the website. Tehy send it in an unmarked box so your neighbors / mail carriers don’t get sticky fingers.

        • My best guy friend, consulting with me in order to surprise his fiancee, also bought from Blue Nile. He was able to design the ring himself and the stone was excellent quality. They had good guarantees in place in case you ended up not being happy with the purchase. Highly recommend.

    • Anon in DC :

      I’m not engaged/married, but I have earrings from Brilliant Earth and I’ve been really happy with the quality. Of course, like with any diamonds, you get what you pay for, and better clarity and color will mean a higher cost. The pair I have is mid-range in terms of cut, color, and clarity and I’ve been really happy with them.

      Congrats on the upcoming engagement!

      • Second Brilliant Earth. Their gold/ platinum is recycled, and the diamonds are from Canada, a source that’s much easier to trace than some African countries. Our wedding rings are from BE — as well as those of many friends — and we’ve been very happy. If you’re anywhere near SF, you can visit the showroom to try things on.

    • Very exciting! If you’re asking about the quality of the diamond, I would recommend this site:

      There’s a tool, the Holloway Cut Advisor, where you can enter some information about the angles of the diamond and it can give you an idea of the objective quality of the stone. But of course, diamonds look different to people and you might really like a diamond that is not objectively “the best” on paper.

      For conflict-free diamonds, the only resource I know about is

      A preemptive congrats!

    • somewherecold :

      Congrats! I am also looking for an environmentally-conscious and ethically-sourced ring. I have been looking at brilliant earth (Canadian mined diamonds) and green karat (lab created diamonds). If you are ok with getting a diamond that is Kimberley process compliant but no more, I liked the selection of settings and stones on blue nile. From what I can tell, Kimberley process is required for all diamonds in the U.S., but it is not at all environmental and may not address governmental corruption issues, and it is important that the jeweler you purchase from has a conflict diamond policy if you decide to go with conventional diamonds (I would love to hear other thoughts on Kimberley process certification, because I may not have it right and have been trying to figure it out).

      Right now I am leaning towards an estate ring. While the diamonds probably weren’t conflict free, they are already out of production and the only energy required will be whatever it takes to do the resizing, since the ring is already made and there will be no new materials. My fiance and I randomly walked into a jewelry store, looked in the estate case, and saw something we liked. Otherwise I don’t think estate rings would have been on my radar.

      • I heartily second going the vintage diamond route.
        Even so-called conflict free diamonds can have conflicts. And, you’ll be getting a much more unique/interesting ring than everyone else. I have had a number of friends get engaged in the last few years and everyone’s rings more or less look like the same 5 designs. Couple that with just seeing everyone’s rings at work, on the train, etc., and it’s all gotten a bit generic imo (all beautiful, but still). So if you’re thinking about this sort of thing, I would say vintage is a really great option.

        • somewherecold :

          Thanks, AIMS! Do you (or anyone else) know how it works buying a vintage ring, in terms of getting it independently appraised, which I assume is a good thing to do?

          • There are usually jewelers that specialize in this sort of thing (re-sale & estate sales), and some bigger jewelry houses sell their own past creations (I think Harry Winston sells their vintage designs, e.g., though, of course, HW is very pricey).

            Look at reputable jewelers in your area (you may have to look at independent retailers), and ask around. I wouldn’t do this online unless you know you can return without issues. There’s probably lots more info available online.

            I would think that any jeweler you want to actually do business with would either let you appraise, have reliable certificates, and/or have a good return policy. If someone doesn’t, don’t shop with them.

            Congratulations on your happy occasion!

      • Don't use Green Karat! :

        I cannot advise strongly enough against using Green Karat. We ordered our wedding bands through them (they were going to be recycled gold), and they never showed up! I got nervous when I didn’t hear anything from them a few weeks before the wedding, so I tried calling. When I finally got through to someone (had to call a few times) I was assured the rings would arrive in time. Sure enough the wedding day came and went and the rings never showed. We ended up using my in-laws’ rings for the ceremony, so it wasn’t a disaster, but highly aggravating, obviously. Afterward I called again and gave them a piece of my mind. The guy apologized but didn’t offer a shred of explanation for why they dropped the ball.

        Green Karat seems to have the right ideals, but my experience was that they were very flaky and (obviously) unreliable. I would not recommend trusting your wedding jewelry to them.

    • Thanks for feedback!! Estate is great, but not what I want. I’ll check out the other sites.

    • Check out I got a Canadian mined diamond engagement ring from him. The diamond is an unusual cut and superb quality. He also custom designed the setting with my husband, and he is very active in the conflict free diamond policy world.

  6. Preggo Angie :

    Love the shirt, and right in my price range. Too bad there’s this big ol’ baby inside of me.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Grab it, keep receipt and leave tag on – the baby will be out soon enough and then you can evaluate how much you love it. As long as it’s new, tags attached, with receipt, Nordstrom won’t even bat an eye if you return it 6 months from now.

      • Did you get it, SF Bay Assoc? Twitchy fingers… ;-)

      • This!

      • Yes, and it can be nice to have something pretty hanging in your closet to look forward to wearing. As SF Bay Associate said, with Nordstrom there’s not much risk. :)

      • Preggo Angie :

        You temptress… I know, I’m so close to buying it, but if all goes as plans I probably won’t be wearing it until 1+ if breastfeeding goes as planned. It does not look like a shirt that would make it easier to nurse.

        So close….

        • Hate $8.95 shipping on $30 blouse (sniff). It’s slowing my trigger over here…

  7. i'm nobody :

    Definitely a suit! when i did it at the First Department almost 10 years ago, they sent a man home (and chewed him out in front of the hundreds of us waiting in the hallway) because he wasn’t wearing a suit and tie. it was vicious but it stuck with me.

  8. i'm nobody :

    this was supposed to be a reply to Jen L above; what’s going on with the busted site?

  9. Does anyone have a Boden free shipping code I could use please??

    • So I bought the bullet and bought this chiffon ruffle dress. Anyone have it, and if so, thoughts?

  10. To me that top is not just night but nightgown – it looks like nightgown fabric, not blouse fabric. But, at that price you can buy it and wear in just once, so what the hey – you will find a use for it on some occasion. Putting a strong color against black brightens the color perceptually – so this top is going to look very bright.

  11. I have a question inspired by yesterday’s thread on whether to use “Dear” in emails. When “meeting” a colleague online for the first time, do you use their first name or Mr./Ms. Lastname? What about when this is a potential colleague (i.e. you’re interviewing or networking). For some reason it seems terribly stuffy to me to use Mr. So-and-so, but also a little too informal to start with the first name introduction. Right now I’m in a situation where I have to be the first to email, so I can’t follow their lead. Any advice? (if it helps for context, I’m on the west coast, communicating with an east coast legal non-profit)

    • Use the full name until they respond with either a) signing off with just their first name or b) call you by your first name.

      An exception would be anyone in a position of authority like e.g., a judge. Then you should probably always refer to them as “Judge” — I think of it as they’re first name, if you will.

      Better to be a bit stuffy than risk offense.

      • Caveat: on second thought, sometimes first name is probably okay, e.g., if you are on the same level & already working together & the environment is such that if you met them in the elevator, you would call them by the first name, and everyone else goes by first name. In other words, you have to know the culture.
        I think with networking, that’s not really the case all the time & you don’t necessarilly know the culture, so if you’re interviewing/networking, err on the side of formal.

    • I usually use Mr./Ms. in this situation. I think it’s always fine to use first name – I’ve never encountered anyone who wants to be called Mr. or Ms. after the first introduction – but you may not know what name the email recipient prefers to go by (e.g. Meg not Margaret, or by a middle name, etc.). If you’re sure of the name, I’d go ahead and use the first name.

      If you go with Dear Mr./Ms., I think it’s fine to switch to first name in your second email once you’ve seen how he/she signs off on his/her email to you.

    • Thanks!

  12. I rather like it! I think it would look really nice paired with a black suit – and would still look very nice if you took off the jacket for dinner/drinks after work.. The only thing I find off putting about it is the raw edges on the collar and sleeves – a very minor detail, but those raw edges can start to look kinda crappy after a few wears.