Wednesday’s TPS Report: Printed Open-Front Blazer

BCBG Max Azria Printed Open-Front Blazer | CorporetteOur daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

This isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I like the abstract print, the asymmetrical shawl collar, and the twist on the traditional blazer shape. The blazer is part of a great sale, too: it was $228, but is now $133 at Saks Off Fifth (limited sizes, alas). BCBG Max Azria Printed Open-Front Blazer

Psst: Check out these lower-priced and plus-size options.

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


  1. Declining quality :

    I’m so tired of buying clothes from “better quality” stores (JCrew specifically) that turn out to have shoddy craftsmanship and poor quality. I have two merino wool sweaters from JCrew (both less than a year old) that I’ve only worn a few times and both have random holes in them now. I’m ready to hunt down quality brands for natural fabrics, including wool, leather, cotton, etc, and preferably made with good labor practices (as far as it’s possible to know these things, of course). I also really like a simple, minimalist, casual chic (like Parisian street casual) look. Can anyone recommend some brands or perhaps boutiques in the Boston area? I’d like to stay under $100 for something like a sweater if at all possible (which makes it difficult to consider some of the more well-known minimalist brands). Also, good fashion blogs would be appreciated! TIA!

    • “Random holes” could be moth damage. Not defending JCrew quality here, but are you sure of the source of the holes?

      • Declining quality :

        I don’t think it’s moth damage because I haven’t noticed issues with any other items of clothing (including two older JCrew sweaters), but that’s definitely something to keep in mind.

    • I have stopped buying JCrew due to bad quality. I have skirts worn only a few times with the hem completely falling out. Shirts with similar hem issues. I had a Perfect Fit t-shirt in which the armpit seams came undone after the first wear.

      • Agree–had two seams in the b-hind come out in JCrew skirts last year (which were new, and not tight). Yes, my tailor fixed it, but….don’t charge me an arm and a leg for something that I end up having to wear a sweater over due to shoddy construction. I was lucky I even HAD a sweater with me both times. Sheesh!

    • I hear you. The material on my Banana suit was so terrible that after one wear I returned it. Thankfully they gave me a no-hassle full refund… it was as if they had heard the complaint before.

      I’m in an office that is business professional and suits are expected every day. I don’t have the means to fill my closet with, say, Theroy at this point. I do have two higher end suits and am slowly building that arsenal, but I also need something a la JCrew/Banana price point and style to help fill holes in my professional wardrobe. I’ve just been so disappointed as of late.

      • Anonymous :

        How about consignment? Higher quality, much lower prices.

        • Red Beagle :

          +1 to consignment and designer resale shops. I’ve gotten designer items, barely worn or still with tags, for about the price of new Banana, JC rew, Ann Taylor and the like with much better quality. Or you can get a classic cut of a J Cr ew item from a few years ago when quality still mattered…

    • Same. In the last few years, I’ve had two hems come out after a month or so on two banana pointe sheath dresses, a button pop off a j crew pea coat after two wears, ann taylor hems on shirts fall out entirely (at least four shirts), and strings galore hanging from various hems.

      Also, come on banana- if you expect me to spend 140 on a dress, please line it.

      • The hem just came out on one of my BR ponte fit and flare dresses. Apparently dry cleaning it (it was a dry clean only dress) just dissolved whatever adhesive they were using. Stupid.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Yea, I would give someone lots of money if they could come up with a good quality, reasonable priced women’s work wear line. Someone here asked about a dress a few weeks ago from a small, new company that was basically trying to do this, except now I can’t remember the name and didn’t save the link since I was at work. The company’s name was like a street name in Soho or something else New York-related. Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

      • newly in house :

        Of Mercer? I like their line quite a bit – although I had to call customer service to make sure the measurements on the website matched garment specs, etc.

      • In House Counsel :

        I think it was NUMARI — I have it on my radar to try them to help rebuild my work wardrobe once I’m done w/ having kids in the next year or so.

      • I thought Quincy, which was featured on here maybe a year or so ago, had excellent quality. Unfortunately, they didn’t stick around.

    • I’ve basically stopped shopping at J-Crew, Banana, and AT (probably some others) because of quality issues. Unless I can get a really good price on something casual that I don’t so much care about quality. Or sometimes the outlets.

      On the flip side, I’ve found that White House Black Market has moved far up my list of fave places to shop because the quality is surprisingly good. And also Target (though their quality sort of fluctuates.)

      • (former) preg 3L :

        +1 to WHBM! I always forget about them, but I’m consistently impressed. Also, The Limited has been filling my needs for blouses/shirts lately.

      • +1 to whbm as well. also they have petite sizes that are actually small (i’m looking at you BR)

      • I love the looks in the Boden catalogue; what’s their quality like?

        • I find the Boden quality fairly consistent and good – but the fit is another story (especially their dresses – they are generally for the quite short waisted) – but if you find that their stuff fits you, I think its a good option. Their shoes and blouses are my faves.

          Though never pay full price – they constantly have sales.

        • prof on a bike :

          I love Boden, and I think that their stuff is some of the best quality out there at that price point. For example: the necklines on t-shirts are stabilized so they don’t stretch out, they have actual wool blazers instead of all poly stuff, even jersey dresses are often lined with (stretch) lining. I also like that they give the actual garment measurements on their website so you can tell how much ease something has. I agree that the fit is a bit different compared to other retailers (shorter waisted, narrower shoulders) but fortunately for me these things work quite well on my body type.

        • +1 to great quality. I am high waisted and pear shaped and I am a huge fan of their dresses that fit me just right. Emphasize the narrowest part of me and skim over my hips and thighs. Tall options for most items as well. They have good sales and clearances.

      • Love WHBM. J.Crew has been declining for years as has Theory. I’ve bought good quality sweaters (Vince, Splendid) at the Rack for under $100.

      • You’re making me want to stop back in the WHBM near me again! Thanks for the good recommendation!

    • Well, you have to spend way more than $100 to get a good quality sweater. Vince makes fantastic sweaters but they are in the $300-400 range.

      • The only problem with this, though, is that then I would only be able to own one sweater for all of winter. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask that sweaters last through a season for less than $100.

        • It is though. For something made with high quality fibers, by skilled workers who are paid a living wage, $100 isn’t really reasonable. For something high quality and lasting, check out Brora.

          • Agreed. The 100 or less price point is usually fast fashion. That said,check out everlane – their stuff is boxy but good quality and reasonable.

          • I’d love to see some actual data on what a sweater should cost rather than what a store wants it to cost.

          • I think you’re the first person today to mention workers being paid a living wage. The focus of the thread primarily seems to be on quality.

          • Yeah. I just happen to believe paying your workers well and treating them with dignity is essential to creating a quality product.

          • Declining quality :

            I actually mentioned labor practices in my original post, too – I’m definitely interested in paying more for brands that are not only better quality, but that also actually pay a living wage.

          • I’m glad someone other than me mentioned Brora. I talk them up so much, I feel like a Brora shill.

          • LOVE Brora. So much. I used to live down the street from the Notting Hill Brora and I would literally change my route to the Tube (completely out of the way) in order to walk by and window-lust after sweaters. Sweaters which I would eventually break down and buy. Ugh. So not good for the wallet, but their stuff is quality. I have a few sweaters from there that are 10+ years old!

        • Different Anon :

          I think this highlights the problem with Jcrew, AT, and BR. They are putting themselves in a terrible middle ground where the price is not cheap, but the quality is. People who can’t afford to, or just don’t want to, “invest” $300 in a sweater that will last a decade are going to switch to stores like H&M, Uniqlo, F21, and to the extent they’re not already shopping there, Target. Why pay $100 for the Jcrew label when it has the same quality and ethics as H&M?

          • That’s how I feel! I paid $100 for a pair of sandals from B&N, and two large metal pieces came off within the first couple days of wearing them. I took them to a shoe repair, who fixed them, and now a different metal piece is loose. It would have been better to pay $25 to get a pair of sandals from Target. They’d probably last longer too. They were waaaaay overpriced considering the quality.

        • SallyStruthers :

          I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect decent quality for under $100. Will they last YEARS? Probably not, but more than a season? Yes, yes they should. I know this because I have J. Crew and Banana sweaters that I certainly paid a lot less for (even adjusting for inflation) that have lasted far longer than the newer versions.

          I think many people on this blog just try to justify insanely expensive wardrobe purchases by pretending that their clothes will last a lifetime. Styles change and I can still spill a glass of wine on a $300-400 sweater or have it catch on my keys.

          • Totally agree with this. I do not believe it is unreasonable to expect a decent sweater for less than $100. I demand nothing less than woolly mammoth sweaters for $400.

      • Meh, I scored a Vince sweater on sale but it died quicker (elbow wore out) than any of my Uniqlo/Jcrew cashmeres!

        • Quality is not only about durability, it’s about the shape, fit and drape of the garment. No Uniqlo/JCrew item can even come close to Vince on those measures.

        • I actually have a few Uniqlo merino wool pullovers that I’ve owned for 5 or 6 years – they are still in great shape. They pilled a bit but that is easy enough to take care of. I can’t speak to Uniqlo’s labour practices but in terms of a lower priced, decent quality garment, I’ve been pretty pleased.

    • Everlane is the brand that comes to my mind. It skews a bit casual for work, but you say you’re interested in a Parisian street look, so you might be in luck. I’ve found their items to be well-made, inexpensive, and flattering.

    • Its not inexpensive, but I can’t say enough good things about Emerson Fry. Their quality is amazing and it seems to be exactly the aesthetic you are looking for. I only have two things from them, because $$, but both of them are absolute workhorses.

      • Ooh, loving this stuff.

      • They seem like they have pretty good customer service. I haven’t bought anything from them, but they were very helpful with sending me measurements on coats I was thinking about buying.

    • I have cashmere from Land’s End that is anywhere from 1-7 years old and they all still look good, all seams intact, minimal (if any) pilling. If you get a sale, they can be ~$100. LE also makes non-cashmere wool and cotton sweaters.

      • Lady Tetra :

        Second this! Some may find them too boxy, but my LE cashmere sweaters have lasted longer than any other sweaters and haven’t pilled at all. Plus if you get them 40% off they are not a bad price.

      • Not cashmere, but I have a silk shirt from LE that has held up beautifully. And everything else holds up quite well too.

        Though this is another brand that I would say to never pay full price on. They always always deeply discount their stuff (though some stuff sells out before the sales, so if you really really love something, I guess buying it promptly is reasonable.)

        Actually, now that I think about it, my Irish-Catholic upbringing means I don’t really believe in paying full price for anything. One time my mom almost had a heart attack when I was in high school and brought home a pair of JNCOs that I had paid full price for. And whenever I have something new and show my mother, I immediately tell her how much I saved. So…yeah. Don’t pay full price people!

    • Have you looked into etsy or your local market. Artisan knitters are a great resource, but a sweater does still run around 200.

    • Along the same lines, I bought my first Theory suit during the Nordstrom anniversary sale and returned it because I was so unimpressed with the quality. The skirt was unlined! Is this how they always are? Side by side, my JCrew Super 120s suits looked and felt much more expensive and of better quality than the Theory suit, so I couldn’t justify the price. Not sure if this is a recent downgrade in Theory quality since I’ve never been able to afford Theory until recently, but I think I will be sticking with my JCrew suits for awhile longer. Although I agree that JCrew’s quality is also pretty bad on many items, especially knits/sweaters…I’ve been really impressed with their suits.

      • packing advice :

        I had the same thought when I bought my first Lafayette 148 slacks – I could not believe I was spending so much on an unlined slack. My mother would roll over in her grave if she knew! The sales lady assured me that because of the spandex in slacks now, they do not line them. I wonder if it is the same reason your Theory suiting wasn’t lined.

    • Ralph Lauren makes the best cashmere sweaters. They often go on sale, too.

      • I had a Lauren by RL cashmere sweater that lasted 10+ years. Found it at an outlet for under $100.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I swear, I feel like quality is just totally hit-or-miss no matter where you shop. I’ve bought pieces at Target that have lasted for years, while much more expensive pieces from Nordstrom or J Crew have died early deaths. But then other times the Target stuff is crap and the J Crew stuff is great. And to make it more annoying, you can’t always tell which will be which until you’ve had the piece for a while. It’s crazy-making.

      Oh, and I like today’s pick, although I think it would be a bit much on short, busty, short-waisted me.

      • Hildegarde :

        I agree with this. Sometimes the Target items are high-quality workhorses; sometimes they are crap and fall apart. Sometimes (though less and less) the J.Crew items are high-quality; sometimes they fall apart. Sometimes I can tell the difference before I buy them (at least I think I can), but sometimes I can’t.

        I’ve found Boden to be consistently high-quality, but I have the same fit issues with most of their dresses others have mentioned: much too short waisted, and tight in the hips when it fits everywhere else. I’ve been thinking about getting tall size dresses from them (though I’m not sure they even have them; haven’t checked), with the hope that the waist would be in the right place, even if I have to shorten the hem of the dress. Has anyone tried this?

        • I’m 5’8″, so I’ve tried several Boden dresses in their tall sizing. Without fail, every single one has a waist that is way, way too high on me. Admittedly, I’m very long-waisted — but everything from Boden is an empire waist on me — sadly, even the “Tall” sizing. Really disappointing, as I love much of their style.

          • Word. Boden’s sizing makes me wonder if people in England all have really really high waists.

          • Their “tall” sizes are just extra length in the skirt. They make no other adjustments. It’s very frustrating.

          • Hildegarde :

            I guess getting a tall and having the skirt hemmed wouldn’t solve my problem at all, then. The length on the regular sizes is fine for me; it’s just the waist that is too short. Just adding length in the skirt seems like a terrible way to make a tall size dress.

        • I just went to the Boden sample sale in Boston (which, BTW, was fantastic!). Anyway, I found that some of their styles which look so chic on the models are just not cut properly for me, even though I see them and want them. But I have found that some of their A-line dresses are more suitable, and their more stretchy knits. It’s a trial and error thing–they do have different dress cuts. That said, I am short-waisted, and find that _sometimes_ the regular is better than the Tall, so i do think that they adjust the waist some, but not enough for people with not-short waists who are Tall. (I;m not sure that last sentence made any sense, but…even in their Talls, they cut them not that long in the waist!).

    • Not sure if JCrew will honor this, but I have had success with getting money refunded by Madewell, even after the return policy is over and without a receipt. I simply posted a one star review and they contacted me immediately to have the item shipped back to them. I’ve had a world of trouble with trying to find quality items, too- it seems more expensive just means higher cost, not better craftsmanship. Such a bummer!

    • I am not sure about shipping, but I get simple silk shirts and basic items from a french brand called Cyrillus.
      Their clothes are never exciting but simple and easy to wear?

  2. Wanderlust :

    Not so much of a fan of the BCBG blazer, but I adore the lower-price pick! Seems like it would be perfect (professional and cozy) for a freezing office.

    • I actually like it– one of Kat’s first geometric picks I’ve been into. I like the the shoulders look structured– that’s usually one of my main issues with pieces like this.

  3. I can’t manage to pull off these loose blazers/shawls without looking completely dumpy. Must be my small frame – I always think it looks cute on the model but it never seems to translate.

    Follow up to my question yesterday on franchising – for those of you that work for a company remotely, how did you find these positions? I never see job postings that allow for that kind of flexibility, and I haven’t gotten any responses from my applications to out of town postings that don’t seem to have any real reason that they must be performed from that specific location. I’m pretty self motivated and would do really well in a remote position, but it doesn’t seem to me that companies are really open to that.

    • Miss Behaved :

      I work from home 2 to 3 days a week. I knew going into the job that I could work from home occasionally, but it wasn’t until almost a year after I started that they announced that everyone on my team could work from home regularly.

      In our case, it’s because office space is limited and we work in IT.

    • Two things:
      In my current role, I work remotely. I was hired and started working out of a local office, but as my role expanded, so did my team– and they began to become spread out all over the country. My travel responsibilities increased, as did my time spent working late (I’m east coast, but I started working more and more with people in PST and CST time zones). My local boss left the company and my new boss was based in a west-coast office. She didn’t care where I worked as long as stuff got done. I still have an office in the office near me, but I let everyeone use it as a work area/ mini conference room and only go in when I’m seeing clients or have crazy white-boarding to do. So, long story short, my current work-at-home arrangement evolved from an office-based job over time.

      Second, and perhaps much more useful to you, I hire people that work from home. I don’t advertise them as “remote” location, but rather, give an option of several locations. If all candidates were totally equal, I’d prefer my team work in one of our 3 main offices. That said, all candidates are NEVER equal, and I have hired 3 of my 4 recent hires as remote. One came from a competitor and was a perfect fit– she wasn’t interested in moving, and I didn’t care since I’m not near the office anyway. She got a salary bump, but the bigger win in luring her over was the remote work option. Another came from consulting and was used to high-mileage travel. I found most of these candidates through my network, but one applied to the job directly on our company’s website. The location portion of the job description said something like “region A, region B, or region C preferred”

    • What field are you in ? My company posts jobs with Virtual as one of the locations.

      • Financial services, which seems to be a little less flexible than areas like IT.

        • Back office jobs with big banks (credit approval, treasury mgmt, portfolio mgmt) are often remote jobs.

          • +1

            I work in a back office of a large financial institution writing internal technical documents. I work from home 2, 3, or sometimes (rarely) 4 days a week. The job was not advertised as that but my team works for days on the bulk of the document before we need ‘our client’ to give us feedback. Some of my team works in different provinces and never sees their client face to face, (not easy to create rapport) plus I like the interaction with others. It’s just the commute and parking in a major city that I hate.

    • I had to relocate for my job, which I really didn’t want to do at the time, but now over a year later I am getting ready to ask if I can move back “home” and work remotely, and I am 95% sure they will let me. This would not have been an option if I asked as a new hire, but now I have established myself and have relationships, so I feel like I am in a position that I can ask for this. So, sometimes it’s putting in a some time, and then going remote.

  4. Anon For This :

    I need help with quoting clients. I have a “range” and not a flat rate for every project, depending on the complexity of the job, ect. Lately when I am explaining my ranges basic vs complete ect, people who are requesting a complex service always take the rate for basic and run with it. Then they get offended when I point out that they are requesting a complex service at a basic price. I am not entirely sure, I am just frustrated. I don’t want to only put my high rate because I do have a number of basic clients, but it seems like complex clients try to take advantage of me.

    • Anonymous :

      I wouldn’t give a range, or I would aim high. The complex clients you want to work with will understand.

      • Anon For This :

        I’m just scared of scaring off my basic clients (who I actually have a higher profit margin on). Complex clients while intellectually stimulating don’t pay the bills. Do you have a tactful way of telling people that you don’t give up front quotes and require a few details on a project?

      • +1. Start with the top end and let them talk you down based on the lack of complexity in a given project. Propose $X for services A, B, C, and D. If they balk and the number, tell them you can cut out D and it will cost them $Y.

    • (former) preg 3L :

      Do you have your “range” posted somewhere? I would take it down. If your price is that variable, just advertise “prices available upon request” so that you can have more control over client expectations. OR, put only your high rate, and give your clients a “basic” discount — it will make them feel like they’re getting super high quality work for a reasonable price.

    • Give them a particular estimate for their project and tell them what that includes. Say if the project exceeds X (median of your range) you’ll let them know at that point where you are and approx. how much more it will be to complete.

    • are you an attorney? How are these clients learning your “range”?

      • Anon For This :

        Media and marketing. Usually clients ask for quotes up front and won’t give details so I tend to say that basic management is x, content creation is y, starting from scratch is z, ect…

        • Wildkitten :

          Your clients ask for quotes up front and won’t give details? That’s like walking into McDonalds, asking what lunch costs, not telling them what you’re going to order, and then demanding one of every item on the menu. That’s now how pricing works!

          • Anon For This :

            It’s a big problem, companies don’t know what a ‘media blast’ or rebranding actually entails. Plus every company thinks that things are a lot simpler than they are

          • Anon For This :

            It’s a big problem, companies don’t know what a ‘media blast’ or rebranding actually entails. Plus every company thinks that things are a lot simpler than they are.

          • So spell it out.

            Package A (200-400)
            10 tweets
            One hour consultation
            5 page action plan

            Package B (600-800)
            New logo
            Integrated social media support
            10 hours of website changes

            You have to teach your customers what you are doing.

  5. May I just say that Emma Watson’s stylist was KILLING IT with that Dior dress for the UN speech?

    • Agreed. Her entire look was polished and professional. She always looks great, but lately I am really impressed.

      • Yay! Kat, I am not a big fan of open blazer’s. They usueally signify that my tummy is to tight to button it, and that is NOT attractive to the men I am trying to attract and MARRY! FOOEY!

        As for the OP, I am very well presented with my own clotheeing. As for the OTHER OP that does not know how to present a bill, it is simpel. Just do not give your cleint’s a price range. The manageing partner told me to tell my cleint’s that I bill by the hour, and I am MOST efficeint, so NOT to worry. I used to refer them to the manageing partner for follow up, but now that I am a partner myself, I do NOT refer them any more. I have gotten 3 new cleint’s since July, and NONE have compleined about my billeing’s, and I am now billing out at $795 per hour. I am so efficeint b/c I use the same breif’s and just change name’s and date’s, with all of the case citeation’s being the same (yay!), but they think it is tailored JUST for their lazy worker who is pretending to be unabel to work. So for a breif that I charge about $4500, I can get the work done in less then 1/2 hour or about $350, makeing all the rest pure profit the manageing partner says. Dad say’s he is wrong b/c that is ONLEY gross profit, out of which we must pay our expenses, including all of the salearies, and other expenses, including all of my trips to GCT for cakes and cookie’s at Junior’s and Zarro’s. YAY!!!

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yes! And the red lips? Fab.

      The speech was amazing. She is an impressive young woman.

      • I saw someone on the internet say “Emma Watson is a woman that Hermione would look up to” and I think its totally true. I love how she’s grown up into this stylish, talented, smart, and passionate woman.

    • I love her style!!

  6. UGH. I bought the redesigned Tory Buch Revas to replace my old ones (the redesigned ones now don’t have the elastic backing). I cannot find the right size, they don’t fit right, and the logo placement is off. I’m thinking of returning and giving up. Are there other dressier black flats that anyone would suggest that could replace my Revas (they don’t have to be TB).

    • Salvatore Ferragamo?

      • A Scented Kindle :

        These are so beautiful, but expensive! I suppose not a jr. associate shoe, unless on steep sale. Any other similar recommendations?

        I have a pair of Tory Burch heels that I love but most of what she produces is too out there for my tastes/ office and seems too expensive for the quality.

    • Once you try Ferragamo you will wonder why you ever wore Tory Burch.

      • I got a pair of Ferragamos on pretty deep discount at Nordies Rack in NYC and I am so in love that I want to get rich just so I can ONLY wear them forever.

        I’d be the best rich person. Seriously. I’d be the perfect combination of frivolous and sensible.

        • Senior Attorney :

          “I’ve never been a millionaire but I just know I’d be darling at it.” — Dorothy Parker

      • Miss Behaved :

        My grandmother had about 30 pairs of Ferragamos when she died and not one of us (5 daughters and 5 grandaughters) wore her size (8 Narrow). The Goodwill in Harvard Square got lucky that weekend.

      • Ferragamos are the best, esp. if you have a narrow foot. I have some that are ten years old. ( I take good care of my shoes.) They have gone up a lot in recent years, but they are still worth every penny. Stuart Weitzman are great, too.

    • AGL and Ferragamo

      • packing advice :

        Agreed. Wearing my Ferragamos today. My AGLs are some of the most comfortable flats I own. I also like that the label/brand does not jump out at you, so chances are your clients/colleagues will not know how much you spent on them. Paid full price for my Ferragamo flats, got my 2 latest AGLs at Nordstrom Rack.

      • Anyone have a ferragamo link for what they’re wearing? I can’t help but think of my grandmother in those shoes & am intrigued if they’re so comfortable but wondering if there’s an updated style I’m missing.

        • I wear the Varina. I think the Vara is a bit frumpy, although I’m considering buying some. But I like a slight edge of old-lady in my wardrobe – I feel like it actually looks very fresh in a funny way.

    • If you search, you can find Ferragamos in the same price range as Revas, e.g.

  7. Threadjack: A friend and I are training for an out-of-town half-marathon in November. She proposed it, and I was pretty excited, because I have done a few in the distant past and I needed some motivation to get with a regular exercise program. We’re running separately during the week and doing our long runs on the weekend.

    My midweek runs are going pretty well, and I’m adding mileage, but when we do our long runs, my friend can’t run for more than a few minutes at a time. Last week we ran eight miles and started out at her suggestion running 8 minutes/walking 2, then kept shortening the running until it was more like 6 running and 3 walking. I am only running, no walking, during the week, but I know the long runs are what count the most and I’m not building my endurance like I need to when I walk.

    At this point, I’m not sure she’ll be able to finish the race, and I’m not sure I will either — I envision that we’ll start together in some sort of run-walk pattern, she’ll quit, and then I will have trouble finishing because for whatever reason it’s really hard for me to run continuously after I’ve been taking walking breaks.

    I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what my motivation is, and really it is to do a fun thing with my friend. I can choose another race to run in a couple of months.

    I just can’t shake some resentment that it is so hard for me working FT and with three kids, getting up at the crack of dawn to run, while she is a SAHM and has a lot more flexibility to fit in her runs–and maybe she isn’t? And the other part of me is already resenting that our (or my) time is going to be terrible, which doesn’t really reflect my effort/ability–I know it’s just a race, but when you have so little time to myself, it feels like it should count more, you know? Going out of town for the race and dealing with all the childcare arrangements is starting to feel like a hassle/cost that’s not worth the results. And then I feel like a terrible friend.

    Any thoughts or advice would be welcome.

    • This is so obnoxious. If you’re seriously going to pass judgment on her oh-so-simple SAHM life because she can’t run as fast/as much as you, you ARE being a terrible friend. Get over yourself.

    • Tell her you are ready to start running continuously on your weekend runs, and then do just that.

    • Or maybe you could focus on maximizing a good time with your friend (whose choices and life you judge a heckuva lot for someone you call a “friend”), and then sign up for a different race where you can work on your time/conditioning/etc?

    • Either you’re running for time or you’re running to spend time with your friend. You can pick one.

      I’ve run a lot of races with friends, and it’s pretty unusual that we run together at all. We usually just hang out pre-/post-race. It’s just too hard to match up running styles/times/breaks.

      • This- my friends and I all run at very different paces, and we run races together all the time, then enjoy the apres race events tgether.

        As the slower person, I am 100% happy to have them run ahead, I hate feeling like I’m slowing someone down, and honestly, I don’t need the “support” to get me to the end of the race.

        One half marathon I did, a very fast friend did the 10k, and then looped around to run the second half of my half with me, at my pace, and it worked well- she got a great 10k PR, and I had company without feeling like I was slowing her down, but I would have been fine on my own.

      • locomotive :

        Agree. I’m a slow runner (and frankly, I don’t really like running itself. I like the cardio and feeling fit though), SO is a very fast runner. When we run races together, he runs with me and we chat and do the whole thing together. Then he goes and runs a really fast great other race and I cheer at the finish line! He doesn’t view the running with me as a competitive thing so much as a ‘hang out with locomotive’ thing.

    • When I agree to race plans with a friend we always agree to start the race together but run our own races. No matter what your training is like, some days you’re on, some days you’re off. You could have identical training experiences and not be able to keep pace on the day of. Don’t feel bad about saying “Let’s start together but see how we feel!” A good friend will encourage you to give it all you’ve got, but you might need to be the good friend who recognizes that your support will get your friend through the race. It’s really up to you to feel out what is more important to you/your friend.

      Because it’s an out-of-town race, you’ll still have plenty of time to experience the expo/hotel/pre-race/post-race together, but it’s worth suggesting that you each have your own running experience (this is assuming you didn’t go into this with the feeling that you’d run side by side all the way through the finish line).

    • Different Anon :

      To be honest, this is why I don’t run with friends. We may sign up for the same races, but we train on our own and hang out before and after the race, but from the time the gun goes off until the finish, we each run our own race.

      If that doesn’t sound like enough friend-time for you, what about making your joint runs a short run and doing the long run by yourself (and running the race separately)? Can you take over talking during the run so that it will tire you out more and her less? She may be able to run longer segments then, or even if not, it will increase the cardio component for you to be talking and running the entire time.

    • It sounds like you and your friends have different goals for this race. She, running her first half, just wants to finish. You, running your 3rd or 4th half, want to race. It can’t be good for your friendship for you to resent her (and her more modest running goal). Can you have an honest chat about it with her? Maybe instead of doing your weekend runs together you could meet for brunch after your run.

    • Spirograph :

      This is why I have never liked training for races with a friend. Sometimes I’m the one who can’t keep up, sometimes the other person is, but either way it is frustrating. I run my own races, even if my friends are running the same one. We hang out before the start, we celebrate after the finish, but on the course we go at our own pace.

      I think you need to decide what you’re doing this race for – are you doing it as a social thing with your friend, or are you trying to PR or meet some other goal? If, like you said, the social aspect is more important to you, just let go of your pace. I’ve walk-run several races because I didn’t train well enough or had injury problems; I’ve never quit one, and your friend probably won’t either, she’ll just be slower. Especially if she’s made it through 8 miles, she can do 13 – it’s all mental at that point.

      If your race goals are more important, modify your training plan to do another longer run without her (if you’re walking a lot of the long runs with your friend, you probably won’t overtrain), just cut the long runs together entirely and meet up afterward. Then talk to her about running separately on race day and make plans about where to meet up at the finish. She might be relieved, too.

    • Is she stuck on a mental block about running more than X minutes? So many running programs start with a run/walk component and it is hard to get to the point where you are running continuously. Could you help her slow her pace to the slowest jog rather than a walk during those increments just to get her used to the continual run?
      I’ve even heard of people that run marathons that still have a walking break as part of their training and race strategy and finish just fine so I wouldn’t say her strategy is doomed. I think you have to decide if you want to PR this race or just finish it. Does she expect to be side by side the whole time or does she just want to have the non-race time as fun friend time.

    • Clementine :

      Woah! I don’t think you’re being unreasonable at all. I’m going to split this issue out into two pieces- the physical/running piece and the friendship piece.

      1. Yes, you will be able to finish. Honestly, if you can run 6-8 miles, you can run a half marathon. Start slow, make sure you keep your blood sugar up (page me if you want some tips on how to do this), and you will finish. I would suggest that you do a long run and maybe run a few miles continuously before you meet up with your friend- it might end up being a super long run for you, but doing the run/walk while tired will add to your fitness level. Your mid-week runs build the base and speed, the long runs are what teaches both your body and your mind to deal with the sucking and keep going. If you’re physically moving for 2+ hours, you are learning both psychologically and physically how to keep your legs moving for this length of time.

      2. I’ve trained with people who were much less dedicated than me and honestly? Now I’ve found a few groups who I run with. I won’t run just with one friend because I like having the flexibility. I also like to run with people who push me to go faster sometimes. I get the resentment that you’re feeling too- with a demanding job and everything else it’s really hard to go run while it’s still dark out and if you feel like your training partner isn’t keeping up their end of the bargain it’s FRUSTRATING (yes, Ellen Caps). It’s even more frustrating when you know that they have a more flexible schedule than yours and even MORE frustrating when they are half-a$sing it. I say, run your race. Start with your friend, let her know you’re going to try and do X and smile and be happy and see her at the finish line.

      I’m a competitive, driven person in all aspects of my life and running is no exception. I’m never going to win the Olympics, but I like to set goals and reach them. I think you’re like that too. You’re driven and working your butt off and somebody is throwing a wrench into it. I know I wouldn’t be thrilled.

      • I really appreciate all the feedback so far. I have been having so many conflicting feelings about this and it’s helpful to see everyone’s responses.

        This is not her first half–she’s done a couple before, which is why it seemed like we’d be a good fit. And about her SAHM status — she’s not having to get up at 5 am to run, and I am. Her kids are all in school from 8-3. That’s just the way her schedule is and she has more flexibility. Not judging.

        And P.S., I’m super slow myself. Just hoping to crack 11 minute miles.

        • Wildkitten :

          So what?

          • You are right. We’re not running together during the week because our schedules are different. Our respective schedules are not relevant, but the early morning runs by myself do feed into my feeling of how hard I am working at this during the week and feeling derailed by how our weekend runs are going.

            My goal is to run as much of the race as possible, and finish. I will talk to my friend about what her goal is.

            Thank you for your thoughts. I really appreciate them, from all angles.

        • You need to let go of your expectations. Training with other people can be super annoying, but there’s no reason you have to run step by step together. On your long runs together, go to a track and run laps at your own paces, if continuing to train together is a big thing for you guys. Start together, but run your own race.

        • Her body is not your body. She may be less fit, and hence unable to match your pace and endurance. What does the SAHM part have to do with it?

        • Maybe she’s even slower and you’re going to fast or she needs a :30 or :60 walk break to catch her breath. Maybe you guys could start out together and then just meet up at the end for these longer runs and get coffee/refuel to catch up afterwards. It sounds like either you’re going to be a) staying with your friend, no matter what her pace, and therefore not caring about hers (no regrets) or b) you’re going to run the race that coincidentally your friend is also participating in. You’ll see each other at the start and finish and that’s it. Don’t make her feel bad for her choices and figure out which ones are most important to you and convey those to her.

    • Wildkitten :

      My BF and I train together, travel together, eat together, but between the starting gun and the finish line we each run our own race. We can still get plenty of quality time together for a destination race weekend while spending those 2.5 hours apart.

      • +1. My BF knows that I will take off like a shot as soon as the gun goes of and will be waiting for him with water once he crosses the finish. Trying to run”together” would make zero sense.

      • Wildkitten :

        Are you running Rock n Roll Las Vegas by any chance? There is so much to look at and see on that course that going slowly is super fun. And you can do 18 minute miles and still finish within the course limit – so you can basically walk the entire thing, and many people do.

    • Not a runner, no advice on that front. But, as for the resentment, I think it is a normal reaction to FEEL frustrated and disappointed with people when they don’t live up to our expectations, especially when we feel it would be easy/to their benefit to do so, aand especially when we think that they have agreed to make a certain effort, and they aren’t making that effort. I don’t think you should be criticized for feeling that way. It’s how you handle your feelings and whether or not you make it your friend’s problem that is important.

      So to that extent, it doesn’t really matter if it seems like it would be easy for her to practice more and keep up with you; the fact is, she isn’t doing it regardless of the reason. If you feel like she has broken some kind of pact you made together, you might want to discuss that with her. If it’s just that you agreed to do this fun activity together and it isn’t fun for you when she doesn’t try as hard/take it as seriously as you do, that may or may not be worth a conversation with her – you just have to think about the pros (possible resolution) and cons (possible hurt feelings) and your relationship and decide whether its worth it. FWIW, if you do have a conversation I wouldn’t get into a discussion about her schedule because as I said above, how easy it may be for her is not the point.

      Finally, in your shoes, I would personally ask myself if this is really about running or if it is about the fact that I am jealous of the other person’s seemingly easier schedule/life. Again, feelings of jealousy are normal and natural; how you deal with them are what matters.

      • Tried to respond, but got “posting too quickly.”

        I wholeheartedly agree with the last paragraph. That’s the read I’m getting from OP responses.

      • +1 to Dulcinea’s comments:
        – You can’t help how you feel (and your friend can’t help how her body works when she runs–maybe she’s just not as athletically focused as you are)
        – “regardless of the reason” the train together/run together experience has not happened and will not happen
        – so now the question is how do you move on in a way that maximizes positive outcomes for both of you?
        – having a long detailed conversation with your friend may just result in a lot of collateral damage to her feelings, your feelings, and/or your friendship…
        – it’s probably easier for you to tell your friend that you want to stop _running/training_ together but you’re still interested in finding other ways to get together, whether that’s for coffee before or after your runs or starting the race together and then meeting up after you’ve each done your own thing.

        It’s easy to see the good parts of someone else’s life. Other people’s troubles sometimes fade into the background unless you know the full story. The so-called happy SAHM may be worried about raising a child with special needs, about reentering the job market after being out for several years, about whether her employed-outside-the-home-spouse still finds her interesting, or about whether EVERYONE working outside the home still finds her interesting!
        I’ve been a SAHM (although usually a SAHM looking for the next job) twice: once with an infant, once with a tween. Some parts are really nice–like taking your kid to a playground or browsing through a consignment shop in mid-day–but other parts are really awful (see above).

        • espresso bean :

          This comment is so spot on. I tend to always glamorize the best parts of my friends’ lives and gloss over their struggles. Doing that makes it easy to get resentful, but it’s not fair, nor is it a healthy way to look at the world. I have two SAHM friends, and when I have a rough day at work, I really envy them, but I know that sometimes they envy me for having a career. The grass is always greener.

      • Thanks, Dulcinea. I appreciate your wise words.

    • I did this a number of years ago for a full marathon. I did my daily runs alone, most medium distance (12 miles) alone, and my long runs with a buddy who was running his second marathon. He was much much slower than I was and wanted to walk more than I do. I ran his pace but we did my walk breaks, 3 minutes every hour. This led to my best time ever and qualification for Boston!

      Don’t feel bad about your resentment. It is perfectly normal in your situation (I work full time as well.) I agree with the advice to tell your friend that you need to cut out at least half the walk breaks and maybe go more slowly to allow her to do that.

      Good luck. Also, rest a few weeks afterwards and then run one that you can really race, if that’s your desire.

  8. TJ–Daily reader, but finally feel the need to post…Just reaching out to see if anyone else has gone through this, especially after reading Emma Watson’s speech at the UN. I just started my second year working for a small firm in the south. I was so excited for this job because it’s the field that I really wanted to go into, but things don’t always live up to your expectations. My boss (the main partner) has been inappropriate with me from the day I started–no touching, but conversations, including texting me outside of work hours, cross the line continually into completely inappropriate topics and I have not initiated anything. I try to ignore him like a guy at the bar that won’t go away, but that does not always work, especially when I have to work on a case with him. Things have come to a head in the last couple of weeks, and I’m considering leaving. The firm is set up with no HR or anyone I can go talk to regarding this problem. Is this behavior by men still rampant in the legal world? I clerked for the most wonderful judge my first year out, and maybe I was spoiled, but I’ve been shocked at my treatment. There’s nothing worse than feeling that you were not hired for your merit as an employee but as someone attractive your boss thought he could flirt with.

    • I’ve worked for a handful of firms of varying sizes in the south and I would say that this behavior is the exception. Sometimes there is still the occasional off-color joke or comment, but those are usually eye-rolled and brushed off. I’m sorry that this is happening and hope you find something else soon.

      • I’m very sorry this is happening to the OP, too, and I hope she is able to find a different job soon because she should not be getting the treatment she is getting. That is terrible.

        That said, I’m not sure what this has to do with the south. At all. D-bags exist worldwide; no use inadvertently maligning any particular region.

      • Agreed with Mascot that your only recourse is probably to find a new job, unfortunately. This is also what Ask A Manager has said to people in your same situation. I’m sorry :(

    • I’m sorry, that really sucks. Do you keep logs of this harassment?

    • Leave. Why stay in that position? I worked for a firm with a similar partner in charge and I know of only one woman to stay more than two years. At least seven women left after being forced to work with him.

    • southern anon :

      Ugh, this breaks my heart for you. I’ve lived in the south all my life and work in the south now as a lawyer. I’d say this behavior is NOT common, although it definitely happened to me. It started exactly the way you described: small firm, rampant texting outside of the office, inappropriate topics of conversation. For me, it ended in him trying to cheat on his wife with me (NO). I wasn’t working for this firm when this happened, but I had worked there in the past and hoped to return after a clerkship, so I maintained the connection. We remain cordial but it has affected my relationship with that firm. You want to avoid that. I am fairly convinced that men use their power in the work place over you to push boundaries they otherwise would not. Responding appropriately is tough because you’re dealing with your supervisor! If you call them on their behavior they’ll just gaslight you and blame you for making the relationship awkward at best, or punish you at worst. It’s not easy like with a dude in a bar. Like you, I felt terrible because I felt like I’d been hired based on how I looked. Ugh, I easily could have written this entire post :(

      I’d recommend looking for another job and logging his behavior. Try to back off texts outside of work. It will never get better with him. He will never stop. Based on my experience, he knows exactly what he’s doing and will not respect your boundaries. Best to get out before it effects your career, and then maybe drop a line to his boss if you believe you can after you have new employment lined up. It’s not fair, but you have to look out for yourself first. Know that most places, even in the s*xist south, aren’t like this. It will get better.

      • I’ve been logging his behavior best I can ever since he told me about his history of affairs, including one with a former employee. I have all his texts saved. He is smart enough to not email me, and says the worst things to me in person–my appearance, my clothing, belittling comments about women in general, comments on sex, stories about strip clubs, etc. He says that I’m his “friend” which is how he justifies to my face having these conversations. He asked me to go with him to a deposition next week, a trip involving flights and hotels, and I was planning on bringing a recorder with me, but I’ve managed to wiggle my way out of the trip. Two months ago, when I found out that he wasn’t just a harmless old creep and did actually pursue affairs with his employees, I attempted to put up more boundaries, but he is one of the “punishing” types, as I was called in to his office with one of the other partners last week to talk about how I’m not dedicated to my career because I don’t put in enough face time at the office even though I’m always there during office hours and bill far beyond my requirements. I stay out of the office on weekends unless I absolutely have to because I don’t want to be alone with him. I’ve been less assertive than I typically would be because he is the boss-he is the one that we’re supposed to report to if there is a problem in the office. There is no one above him. This is only a snapshot of what is going on, but gives the feel for what I’ve been dealing with. My hands are tied and fear of losing my job has been part of his power over me. But, I am hopeful that I can find something else quickly and soon before this continues to escalate.

        I’m starting to feel a bit dumb for not dealing with this sooner. Too naive to know better, and too scared I’d lose my job…what a mess.

        • Wildkitten :

          Time to get a new job!

        • Senior Attorney :

          Don’t feel dumb. It’s not your fault.

          Find a new job and put this loser behind you.

        • This sounds horrible, and you should definitely get out. I do love that you draw a distinction between a “harmless old creep” and something more sinister – that tells me you are not overreacting in the least.

        • southern anon :

          :( :(

          Don’t blame yourself!!! I felt dumb too but you have to get over that. He knows what he’s doing and he knows it is wrong. He’s intentionally using his power over you to push boundaries. It’s new job time, pronto. You deserve to be treated like an equal professional, full stop.

        • Find a new job, leave, and then have an attorney send a demand letter asking for a settlement in lieu of you filing a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC (assuming your firm has more than 15 employees).

        • Don’t feel dumb. This is too much for one person to handle. Can you call your old judge for advice? Talk to an employment law lawyer? Be careful recording as it may be illegal. Sorry you’re having to deal w this.

          • Although threatening action is tempting, when I left my similar firm, they made it very clear that “this is a very small community” and basically said I’d be done if I did anything. I replied with a snide “yes it is” and moved on. But I’m quick to say is never work there again when asked by women.

            Sorry, replied to wrong anon.

        • +1 to all the suggestions to get outta there, gracefully, effectively, and without p*ssing off your awful boss. This won’t be easy and it isn’t fair, but don’t feel dumb. You’ve been doing your best in a difficult situation.

          Other ideas for possible help (don’t pursue if you aren’t sure about confidentiality):
          Discuss the situation with another woman lawyer in your community? Or your local / regional / state bar association? For all you know, there may be other past employees who’ve had this kind of aggravation. They may have ideas re how to escape without getting this d*ck angry so that he tries to sabotage your work.

          Go to askamanager (dot) org. Maybe she’ll feature your question–or you can ask it yourself on the Friday open thread.

          Finally, a crazy idea: can you get a MAN to speak for you? Not very feminist but it might be strategic. (The only way some men will HEAR to a woman’s message is if she finds a guy to say it for her. Stereotpyical example: woman tells mechanic “the car won’t go into second gear. Mechanic dismisses her concerns until the woman’s father/husband/boyfriend/whoever says “the transmission is shot.” Then all of a sudden the mechanic makes an appointment to fix the car.) I guess it would work best if the man is a judge or a law school dean or state legislator. You want someone who can intimidate your boss just by being connected to you.

          I know the idealistic response to this is: that’s not fair to all the women who don’t have this kind of a man in their lives. True enough. But life isn’t fair and all of us use the resources available to us, even if everyone else doesn’t have the same blessings. Better for you to get out of this situation personally and professionally intact, so you can make a future contribution to other women’s lives. It doesn’t help change the world if you get hurt and have to take time on the sidelines to recover.

          Good luck.

    • Where is Ellen when you need her?

    • Don´tIgnore :

      Don´t ignore his behaviour – ignoring could mean encouragement to him. I work in an almost all-male office. Whenever any of my male colleagues observe a female colleague ignoring behavior that may be crossing the line, they later on ask me why the colleague did not simply say something. Totally insensitive and not politically correct at all, but apparently standard male thinking (I live in Europe, but have worked in the US, Africa and Europe).

      Personally, saying something immediately upon the incident has always stopped the behavior. And is has not harmed my career (as far as I can tell). It might have even helped to build the reputation of being tough enough for higher-level jobs.

      So next time he starts off with an inappropriate topic, just say: “Look, this is not a topic I wish to discuss.” Then, continue the conversation with something job-related.

      Always stand your ground!

      P.S. With the one boss who did not stop: I asked his wife to ask him to please be more appropriate to avoid “misunderstandings”. Did so in his presence – the look on his face was one in a million!

    • I had a similar experience, but just after an internship ended. It was someone I really looked up to and thought of as kind of a mentor; I also had received a lot of praise for my work during the internship. To be hit on afterwards rally made me question whether any of my work had really been good, was this all just a big set up, etc. FWIW, the guy was from San Francisco and in a very liberal lefty progressive kind of law practice, so it happens everywhere.

      • southern anon :

        “very liberal lefty progressive kind of law practice, so it happens everywhere.”



        • Agreed. In fact I think lots of liberal-leaning men think they’re in the clear for this kind of stuff precisely because of their politics, like somehow they’ve already proven their credence to equality so their behaviors all get a pass.

          I was similarly harassed by a progressive liberal partner in DC, and similar to the OP’s situation, he was at the top of the totem pole and supposedly the person I needed to report problems to! I actually left without having my next job nailed down, and I don’t regret doing so. It was a period of uncertainty, but I had a lot of recovering to do. Things have worked out so much better since I got out. I also made sure I would never need him as a reference or networking connection.

          Hang in there, OP. This stuff is horrible, but you will get through it, and you’ll probably be a great support to others dealing with similar issues.

    • cavity maker :

      yes. sorry. it fuxing blows. I think that women have been ignoring it and hoping it goes away. it’s a double edged sword. complain and your career takes a hit. don’t complain and practice continues.

  9. Lawyer timekeeping app :

    Any suggestions for a timekeeping app that I can use on my phone (or possibly on my desktop too) for tracking hours? I did some searching but it seems like many are designed to generate bills, whereas I just need something to track my hours so that my secretary can enter the time in our billing system. Or does anyone have a good pen/paper way of doing it that makes sense? I’m in a transactional practice with many deals going on at once and I’ve yet to find a method that works.

    • No suggestions, but I am wondering about this. Do some/many of the major timekeeping programs (like TimeSlips) also have an app for phones?

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I just have a spreadsheet in word with 6 columns-case name, start time, end time, minutes, time unit (.1 multiple), description. I write down (or type–I usually just leave it open on my desktop) start and stop time and at the end of the day, figure out how many minutes I spent from the start and end time, but realistically there’s no reason my secretary couldn’t figure it out and add it up for me.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      There is an app called hours tracker. I think you will still need to copy it from that to your secretary though. Not sure if it will let you do a direct export.

    • Freshbooks :

      www DOT freshbooks DOT com

  10. modest treat rec :

    I would like to give myself a small treat today for reaching a minor milestone.

    Emphasis on SMALL, as in $100 range.

    I would appreciate any recommedations.

    • A massage.

      A fun dress.

      A good nightcream.

    • Mani/pedi or maybe find a nice inexpensive restaurant and go for a meal with a friend?

    • Take yourself out to your favorite lunch.

      Or treat yourself to a nice bottle of wine tonight — the kind that you wouldn’t normally buy because its $$.

      Gel manicure.

      Fancy hand scrub.

      Cashmere scarf.

      New lipstick.

    • A blowout from one of those blow dry bars

      A cute, feminine robe or loungewear set

      Some fancy exercise classes (Pilates, barre) that you wouldn’t normally pay for

      Take a friend or two out for drinks to celebrate. A friend of mine took me out to brunch to celebrate when she passed the CPA exam. I totally thought it should have been the other way around, but she insisted and said she got a lot of joy out of treating her friends, and I think there’s something to that. Also, it was years ago and I still remember it.

    • The last time I spent money on something to celebrate was for a fountain pen. I use it for signing important documents, writing letters & cards… So whenever there is a professional or private milestone event, I´m reminded of all the milestones before. The best investment ever!

      P.S. An even better treat is having time for myself, i.e. leaving work early.

    • Take yourself out to a nice restaurant for dinner or appetizers and drinks. Especially when the weather is nice, I love to bring a book and chill outside with a nice glass of wine and nibbles.