Wednesday’s TPS Report: Puffed Sleeve Scuba Sheath Dress

Betsey Johnson Puffed Sleeve Scuba Sheath Dress | CorporetteOur daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Betsey Johnson is the surprise heavy hitter of the season! Several of her sheath dresses sold out during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and now there’s this: a classic sheath dress in a fun color (dark teal), with a nice little vintage vibe. Sleeves, fully lined, no crazy slit, non-exposed zipper… it’s checking a lot of boxes. It’s $138 at Nordstrom, sizes 2-14. Betsey Johnson Puffed Sleeve Scuba Sheath Dress

Here’s a plus-size option.

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



  1. It’s so rare that I actually have tried on a pick that I thought I would help others by sharing my thoughts. This dress is beautiful. Great color, great cut. It fit really well. But it is too low cut for my professional setting. I considered whether I could have the neckline altered, I liked it that much. But I thought such an alteration might ruin the dress, so I passed. I think my friend who works in a more creative field did not think it was too low cut, so perhaps it will work for someone else.

    • Anonymous :

      There was a recent article about how dickeys are making a comeback. Maybe this? [Some were pretty collar-type things, not all the stuff my Dad would wear.]

    • Wildkitten :

      I think necklines like this work fine on people who are not well-endowed. I’ve also seen flat-chested people wear bib necklaces with necklines like this to reduce the exposed skin. But I think that only works if the dress is already pretty “modest” with your particular body.

      • Yes–for someone tall and willowy, a necklace would make this modest. On me, this would be downright vulgar (and not at all flattering)

      • Not well endowed, so I think it just comes down to personal comfort level on the neckline. I think if it was just even a half inch higher it would have been OK. But perhaps a bib necklace would do the trick. If not at a law firm, I might have bought it. But I hope someone else will snap it up and enjoy.

      • In this camp, and I would do a tank top underneath just to reduce the possibility that my bra would show if I bent over.

    • How puffy did you find the sleeves? I love the dress, but the sleeves concern me: 1) on my broad shoulders + small chest, puffy sleeves can make me look like a linebacker; 2) it’s hard to put a jacket over a too-puffy sleeve.

      • I had seen the dress in pictures and also was worried about the puff of the sleeve. I thought it might take the dress in a bridesmaid direction. But I did not find the sleeve too puffy. I think if you wanted to wear something over it you would have to think about the top layer since a more fitted sweater would not work. But a jacket or looser sweater should work.

    • Great dress, Kat, if your super slim and have small boobies, like my sister. But for women like me with boobies and a tuchus, this is to revealing. FOOEY b/c it is cute and we all would envision ourself as the model. Unfortunately in real life, it’s our bodie’s that betray us.

  2. MZ Wallace TJ :

    [I don’t dislike this dress, but I have a feeling that it would show every bite I ate for lunch.]

    I usually carry all of my large quantities of work stuff in a large tote I got at a conference (which is fine in my line of work) and carry a small purse just for essentials. MZ Wallace has been calling my calling my name for a while (and I have a gift card now — yay). I think I could go with a Baby Jane and be fine with a small purse replacement. But it seems like everyone here has the larger purses (and I use a larger purse on weekends when I am running around more with my children; no more diaper bag, but still a lot of stuff like bandaids and wipes and umbrellas). If I only get one MZ Wallace bag, would you recommend going larger b/c they are lightweight? [I have an OMG and don’t use it as a purse b/c it looks funny empty but is awesome for travel and day trips.] I just don’t want to get a Baby Jane and then kick myself that I didn’t go larger.

    [And it’s a sign — I’m in the SE US, so no stores here sell them, and I’ve seen 3 in the past week: a Belle, a Baby Jane in red, and something else larger. It is all I can do to not go up to the person and start asking them all sorts of questions about their bags.]

    • Wildkitten :

      Why not get the smaller MZW and use your Lo & Sons on the occasion you need a larger bag?

      • That’s what the practical me thinks but:

        (1) life is rough and tumble, especially on weekends. I want to keep my OG (sorry — it is the huge one) looking nice enough to pass for work trips with clients, and

        (2) the Bea bag is soooo pretty.

    • I am actually not sure whether my first MZ Wallace is a Baby Jane or Jane without it in front of me, so I can’t be super helpful on that front. I suspect it’s a Baby because I can’t quite fit a folder in it. It’s great for everything else–quite roomy for its size because of the depth, I love all the pockets, and it’s a total workhorse that shows barely any wear after a couple of years of steady use.

      I did size up for my next MZW and bought the Willow because I wanted a larger tote to carry some work materials. I LOVE it and do use it more often than the smaller bag. It’s so light and versatile. Doesn’t overwhelm my frame (I’m 5’2″) or hurt my shoulder and back, construction is excellent, and it’s just the right size–not so big that it looks odd empty and not too small for work/toddler paraphernalia.

      And just another general plug for the brand: I have the Baby Jane in a black tweed and the Willow in camel nylon and at this point, I basically switch back and forth between the two depending on what I’m wearing and barely touch my other bags. They really are great quality.

      • National_Anthem :

        Somehow I misread this as “I suspect it’s a Baby because I can’t quite fit a toddler in it.”
        … I need more coffee.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I have the Kate (basically the largest structured bag they make, I think), and honestly, it still looks good when its empty because of the shape and structure of the bag itself, so I think you’d be fine going up a size. (The Kate is a little too big to look “purse-like,” but I’ve seen the Jane in person and I don’t think it looks overly oversized for a purse-replacement.)

    • anon a mouse :

      I have several MZW bags. The Baby Jane would be fine if you want a small purse, but be aware that there isn’t a strap to wear cross-body, so if you’re running around with kids you might want something to keep your arms free.

      The Kate IMO is the best bag they make. It’s well-designed and holds a ton, but keeps it all at your fingertips. The Belle is enormous – it would fill a very similar function as the OMG. If you want something smaller, you might also look at the Paige or Hayley. (or if you want much smaller, the Janie.)

      • Chi Squared :

        I have a Kate that I use to haul my clunky 15″ work laptop around on weekdays, and as a diaper bag on weekends. Now that the baby is a toddler, I don’t need to carry as much on weekends, and I’m trying to decide between the Paige and the Hayley for my 2nd MZ Wallace bag. I’m worried the Paige is too small for my stuff and the kid stuff I’ll still need to carry, but the Hayley is too big to pass as a purse on my very petite frame – it’s not that much smaller than the Kate. I’m leaning towards the larger bag b/c there’s always more stuff to bring that would fill out a slightly too large bag, but you can’t magically expand the capacity of a too-small bag.

    • I’d go Jane over Baby Jane.

      Where in the SE US are you? Nordstrom’s in Atlanta carries MZ Wallace.

      • So does Bloomingdales.

      • Sadly, I’m not in ATL. :(

        I have really been digging the Bea (mistyped earlier for Belle). It’s so pretty! They are all so lovely — it is truly hard to choose.

        I keep thinking that I’ll have time on an NYC trip to go to the mother ship, but I can’t seem to make it there (or the big DVF store, either). In person would be so helpful when comparing all of the bags, so I’m hoping to get it right the first time.

        • The Bea! That’s what I have, not the Baby Jane or Jane. It’s the smaller of the two that I commented about above. Whoops. I thought the photos didn’t seem right. Sorry–I shouldn’t post with preg brain and no coffee. Anyway…it’s great. Someone commented about the lack of crossbody option as a potential downside to consider with kids, but the handle drop is such that I can easily carry it over my shoulder.

  3. Anonymous :

    I’m honestly just so excited for the Pope’s visit. And I’m not even Catholic. Anyone on here going to get to see him in person?

    • Anonymous :

      No, but the commute this morning was awesome – I guess everything was teleworking. So he can come whenever!

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, 66 was amazing a little while ago. It was a ghost town.

        • The commute was great! I am considering sending a thank you tweet to OPM for keeping the roads clear for those of us whose employers don’t allow telework.

    • Yep. I live and work in Center City Philly so no transport worries for me! Even if I only see him on a Jumbotron it will be fun to experience.

    • That’s what I heard from my VA->DC colleagues! I live close to where I work, which is within the district but far enough removed from the center of the city that you wouldn’t think it’d be affected…and my commute took the longest. I usually bus to work but my bus runs along and crosses Mass Ave so many times that it just could not stay on schedule with the re-routes. So I took a bus in sort of the right direction and walked the remaining half mile. At least it’s gorgeous out!

    • Also not Catholic and also excited about the visit! Looking forward to watching news tonight and YouTube of speeches!

  4. I really need some advice. The 2 yr long contractor role (attorney working as contractor to in house counsel) that I have been working on is ending at the end of this month. I have been looking for a perm job since summer and have even made it to a couple of final round interviews, but nothing had panned out. I am at the edge of despair, not even wanting to send more resumes or prep for interviews, because, hey it’s not going to pan out anyway! I really could use some guidance and a virtual shoulder to cry on

    • DisenchantedinDC :

      This is rough. I know it’s hard when you feel beaten down on the job search. I just always remind myself I don’t have to be perfect, but to break it in to one manageable chunk a day. One job application. Half an hour spent updating your resume. Sending one to two networking emails.

      It will work out eventually! Just be persistent. The job search is part network, part luck and part numbers.

    • Ugh, job searching is the worst. It’s a total crapshoot and the only thing that helps me when I’m looking is trying to remind myself is that all it takes is that one application breaking through to the interview stage. This part is the most random and the least about you and your skills – it’s just catching someone’s eye. At this stage, other than any networking opportunities, really the volume of applications you submit is the only thing within your control, so just apply as widely as you can and try not to feel discouraged – easier said than done, I know. Good luck!

      • So true! Keep putting them out there and something will catch eventually. Keep your head up and good luck!

      • This is so true. I went from having no prospects to starting my new job in 2 weeks last year after being laid off. Hang in there!

        • Not really no prospects, but no interviews on the horizon and no interviews I was waiting to hear back from.

    • Job hunting is horrible! My sympathies!

      One thing to check, is your cover letter AMAZING? Check out Ask a Manager if you haven’t already. She talks a lot about good cover letters and how important those are to set you apart. Good luck!

    • Agree with the sentiment expressed above that it’s a number game so the more touches you make, the better. I think sending out resumes isn’t going to be as productive as getting out there and meeting anyone and everyone at anyplace that is of interest to you for a coffee meeting. There are a lot of job openings that get filled without ever being posted publicly, so you want to be top of mind when someone you are acquainted with hears about such an opportunity. Good luck!

  5. Have Cole Haan shoes just completely plummeted in quantity? I used to swear by the Air Juliana 45s and had them in every color, but recently they seem so different. My workhorse black pumps, which I’ve had for 6 weeks, just had the heel snap off (the heel, not the heel tab cover!). What the heck? My Payless Karmen’s are better :(

    Is this just me, or is this a recurring theme? Are they just not worth the money anymore?

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Don’t know about the quality overall, but I do know the company recently parted ways with Nike, meaning they’ve lost the right to the “Air” technology and had to re-design a lot of their staple shoes. I’d guess the apparent decline in quality/comfort is a result of the transition.

    • I bought a pair this summer and the soles fell out immediately. They were barely glued on.

    • Little Red :

      Yeah, I don’t even bother looking at Cole Haan shoes anymore. The quality tanked a few years ago and I haven’t bought anything new from them since.

  6. Cranky rants :

    I will preface by saying, I am uber cranky today to begin with.

    There were three women murdered, in three separate locations, by a solitary (white) man near my city yesterday. There is barely a peep about it in the national or North American media. If this was a Muslim who had shot 3 white people, it would be ALL OVER the news. I also suspect if it was a white man who’d shot 3 men (of any colour), it would have gotten more play.

    Walking to work this morning, through downtown and I catch the distinctive whiff of weed. It’s 8:30 am. To my left is a small construction site and to my right is a taxi stand. WTH people? Are those not jobs it would be better to be NOT impaired for?

    • I’m in your city and I do find it upsetting as well. I am usually not a big fan of the heavy criminal laws but if he had been in jail for assaulting these women was anything done to protect them once he got out?

    • I don’t smoke pot much (I prefer wine) but I think you’re a bit too worked up about it. I know plenty of people that are highly functional who like to smoke a bit, including one of my best friends who used to smoke before going to her lawyer job and she did fine.

      • I don’t really care about this in that I don’t care if marijuana is legal, but I think it’s a sign of immaturity and irresponsibility. On your off time? Sure. But if I started taking a shot – or a handful of Xanax – before work every morning, people would turn a side eye. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a vehicle with somebody who was impaired.

        • False equivalence. Weed and alcohol affect the body totally differently. A HANDFUL of Xanax??!!! would make me completely unable to stand upright, much less drive.

          • I was being cavalier when I said a handful. I have reviewed research on this and would certainly not want anybody with less than their full mental acuity and awareness driving a vehicle I was in or sharing the road with.

            Your time, your house? Knock yourself out. Your freedoms end where other people’s begin.

        • Totally agree with this – super immature. Also, similar to one of the commenters below, smoke (cigarette, pot, whatever) makes me asthmatic, not to mention that it smells TERRIBLE. Keep your smoke and smell inside your own residence please!

          • Anonymous :

            Unfortunately, in multifamily dwellings, there’s really no such thing as keeping it inside their own residence. My former downstairs neighbors smoked heavily every Saturday and my bedroom and clothes absolutely reeked of it. And this was not an old building.

      • Eh, I think this is a slippery slope. I am pr0-legalization for recreational use (and obviously any other use, including medical), but you shouldn’t have a beer with your breakfast if you’re heading into work, and so you shouldn’t smoke, either.

        • And – sitting at your desk typing stuff is pretty low risk in terms of bodily damage. Driving a vehicle or operating heavy machinery is another story.

          • Yes, this.

          • But how do we know that it was a construction worker or taxi driver that was smoking? It could have been the janitor or the cab passenger just as easily, no? Or someone walking on his/her way to wherever.

          • Yes. This. Major assumptions in your vent. Unpack those. Could have just as easily been the business man in the back seat of the cab or walking down the street as it could have been the gritty construction worker.

        • I did look around. There were no other pedestrians and I would have seen someone getting out of a cab because I was walking towards that direction. I also cannot IMAGINE a cab driver allowing a customer to smoke weed in a cab??

          For the record I have no real issues with recreational use, but think probably smoking at work or on the way to work is bad judgment.

          Regardless, as I noted, I am cranky today, indeed.

      • I mean I’m not saying I would do it – I just don’t understand why this is enough of an irritation to vent about on a website.

        • Try getting a head-full of pot fumes every time I go out into my own backyard. Our patio is at the fence line and so is the backyard neighbors. I really react negatively to the fumes – as in coughing, sneezing, etc., and there’s not a darn thing I can do about it … except stay inside. So let’s talk about infringing on others, please. We live in suburban neighborhood w regular sized lots, fwiw.

          • Well, depending on where you live, you could call the cops. Just sayin.

          • and then the neighbors would know that one of three houses complained and likely ours as we share the longest fence. With poor judgement on their part and who knows what else, why would I want them to be angry with us? So calling the police is not an option…

      • Wildkitten :

        If I was really upset about something I would totally take half a xanax and go to work. Different people respond differently – I know other people who take half a xanax and fall asleep. I guess I’m always a bit too high strung for it to take me down that many notches.

    • I heard about the murders on my way to work this morning on the radio. I was shocked and saddened. I’m in Calgary.

  7. What do people think about dressing modestly as a virtue? For example, is it a value you would want to teach your children, or something you find off-putting, or something in between? When I say “dressing modestly” I mean modesty in itself as a virtue separate from the idea of dressing appropriately for an occasion, place, etc.

    • I feel the same way as I do about other people’s religious beliefs…i.e. you do you, but I don’t believe there is a stand along “virtue” to dressing modestly, but if you do, knock yourself out.

    • I have a hard time separating the concept of modesty from appropriate-for-the-occasion. Which I guess reveals that I don’t really see modesty as a stand-alone virtue. I mean the idea of my kid dressing in a super-revealing way makes me a bit squirmy (but that’s probably at least in part because my kid is one year old and I can’t imagine it). Yeah…I guess I don’t care much about modesty, except in so far as I hope my kids show good judgment in general, including dressing appropriately and caring about other people’s feelings.

      • I had a hard time asking this question without imposing my own issues with the concept, but I was raised to value “modesty” so as to not tempt the boys, whom God made to be “visual creatures.” I have yet to see an instance of modesty discussed that isn’t fundamentally gendered, even if in the abstract it isn’t necessarily so- girls just have more parts that people care about being visible.

        • I think that this is what ultimately bothers me about most concepts of modesty. I have a similar background, but I’ve come to a VERY different place in terms of how I think about this (one that is rooted in the idea of my body as awesome and worthy of love, rather than as a source of temptation).

    • I don’t think I can define modesty without reference to the circumstances. To me, the core of modesty is respect for the body and for the role of the body in particular situations. The first part, to me, means that you should love and respect your body and dress in a way that makes you happy and comfortable. For me, this is religious – the body is a gift from God, and God wants us to love our bodies and treat them well. To me, there are not objective standards for that – that is really about approaching dress from a perspective of love and self-respect, not about hemlines.

      The second prong, to me, is about judging what is respectful of others in a given situation. Showing a ton of skin at a funeral is immodest because it may take the focus off of the purpose of the gathering; showing a ton of skin at the beach is normal. That’s because of the effect in the given situation, not the clothing choice itself. And it isn’t always about skin exposure – for example, really ostentatious jewelry could be immodest in a particular situation. So could excessive informality in dress, or a host of other choices.

      So I guess what I’d say is that I challenge whether or not modesty, as a concept, really exists in a non-situational way.

      • I agree with this – I was trying to type something similar and failing miserably at putting it into words.

      • “I challenge whether or not modesty, as a concept, really exists in a non-situational way.” Agreed. I feel like there are more concrete virtues, such as honesty and kindness, that have almost universal application. Is it appropriate to be kind? The answer is almost always yes. Modesty seems more like a situational awareness concept to me.
        I agree the rest of what you said too.

    • I think it’s great if you want to also teach your daughters that their bodies are shameful and that men can’t be expected to control their lust. And I wonder why focus on dressing modestly so often instead of being modest in the humble sense- living simply, giving to others, working to serve those in need.

    • I think that valuing yourself as more than a piece of meat is a virtue. Women have so many gifts – kindness, intelligence, the ability to be a good friend, the ability to deliver a swift kick in the pants, the ability to kick butt at work – and I think that it’s right to dress accordingly.

      That isn’t to say that you can’t look smoking hot for a date, but, yeah, no need to act as if your body is your main asset.

      • But why is dressing in a way that shows your body “acting as if your body is your main asset?” Isn’t it just acting as if your body is AN asset (which it is?) Why would doing so negate any other qualities that you have? Why is showing your body off treating yourself as a “piece of meat,” any more or less than covering up your whole body with fabric? With all due respect, isn’t there literally zero basis for either of these statements outside of your own biases?

        • I agree. I guess, for me, there is not a way of externally determining what constitutes modest dress that I find comfortable. I believe in dressing in a way that reflects love of and respect for your body, but what that translates to in terms of actual clothing is, in my view, an entirely internal determination. External metrics for this are almost always rooted in the idea of the body as somehow lesser, shameful, or sinful (which does make sense, given that the US is an historically Christian culture and Christianity inherited from Near Eastern gnostic traditions the concept that the flesh is inherently evil).

          • This last point is a huge oversimplification/misrepresentation and makes nonsense of the incarnation. I don’t deny your point that Gnosticism lives in some “christian” subcultures, but the notion that the flesh is inherently evil is not a truly Christian belief.

          • Anonymama :

            It may not be a “truly Christian belief,” but it is definitely a pervasive theme in American Christian culture, and has been since the puritans.

          • Well, I’m oversimplifying because I’m not sure that this is the right forum for an extensive discussion of the influences of Gnosticism and Manicheanism in Christian thought. That said, as a devout Christian, I agree that this particular influence in Christian theology is not in accordance with what I view as the core message of the incarnation. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t present – I’d actually argue that this conversation demonstrates that it is. Our tradition is 2,000 years old. Lots of ideas have crept in over time – and indeed, have been enormously powerful – that, in my view, dilute or even contradict the core message of Christ’s incarnation and death.

        • Grow up. By this age, you should have figured out that people are as they are, not as you want them to be, and that *everyone’s* clothing sends a message.

          I also would have expected that most adults understand that behaving like people in Group X behaves will cause other people to think you share characateristcs with Group X. In an ideal world, yeah, everyone would get to know your true self. In reality, women show cleavage and leg to get male attention, so if you’re showing cleavage and leg around the office, people think you’re trying to get men to drool over your body. Deal.

      • How does dressing immodestly have any impact on my other womanly gifts? Why does it “accord” with the fact that I’m intelligent to cover my knees and elbows? How much have you bought into your patriarchal faith that you don’t see how anti-women your position is?

        • Frankly, this is so inherent in our culture that many people of no faith at all will still draw the same connection that bridget did. There is a religious origin to many of these ideas, but they’ve thoroughly permeated secular US culture.

          • This is a good convo that I wish woul dhave started sooner to get more opinions going.

            I disagree with most of what’s been said here. I agree with that woman from The Office (Rashida Jones? Is that her name? The one who dated Jim for a while.). We act like dressing how we want is liberating, but it actually so often is coming from a place of buying into the patriarchy itself. LIke why show a ton of cleavage? Do you REALLY like to show that? Does it REALLY make you more comfortable? Or is it really that you just like the attention you get from men? I dress more modestly now, but I know for sure when I was younger and wanted to dress less modestly, it was because I wanted attention from men.

            Someone said above about covering knees and elbows. That’s totally different. But showing your body parts just allows men to continue objectifying us. I know that is their problem, but if it isn’t really coming from a place of freedom and comfort and satisfaction in yourself, then we shouldn’t be doing it.

          • Trust me, men are perfectly capable of objectifying you when you’re covered from head to toe.

            What’s more, I don’t actually understand the logic here:

            “Someone said above about covering knees and elbows. That’s totally different. But showing your body parts just allows men to continue objectifying us.”

            The fact that I’m not even clear on what “body parts” you’re referring to (cleavage? collarbones? leg above the knee? how *much* leg above the knee?) demonstrates the degree to which it’s impossible to really come up with an answer to this that doesn’t deeply depend on your own opinions (and biases) about the body and female s*xuality. There are cultures in which showing your knees would be deeply shocking. What’s the difference between that and “body parts,” in an objective sense?

          • Also, there’s not something inherently wrong with wanting attention from men (or from women, if you’re into the ladies). That isn’t, in of itself, problematic.

          • Anonymous :

            But we aren’t talking about whether an adult woman with her boobs out is making an empowering choice. We’re talking about instructing children to dress modestly. I don’t know if wearing a mini skirt empowers me, but I’m real sure skirts below the knee on little girls are just about shame.

          • @anon at 12:27pm:

            The burqa and the thong are two sides to the same coin.

        • My knees and elbows are showing right now, but I am still dressed modestly and appropriately. Are you so narrow-minded and bigoted that you cannot reconcile modesty with respecting women?

      • Bridget is the worst- consistently the nasty woman on this site so take this advice with a grain of salt

  8. I wish places like Nordstrom would include a filter for clothing that doesn’t have to be dry cleaned. You can sort by price, size, length, etc., but not dry clean/non-dry clean. I won’t buy anything that has to be dry cleaned and such a filter option would make my shopping so much more efficient!

    • I hear you, but.... :

      I also handwash many things that say “dry clean”. So using such a filter would remove potential candidates…

  9. What do you all think about really saturated/ bright lipsticks for the office? I am a govt attorney, so business casual but not crazy conservative. I’ve been in a total bright lipstick phase (I don’t really wear any other makeup) and never thought twice about it until this morning, when it suddenly occurred to me that really no one else in my office wears any noticeable makeup (as in, there are people who wear a lot more makeup than I do, including heavy/noticeable makeup, but not “statement makeup”). I definitely don’t think anyone notices/ cares about it, but I do want to appear professional and not fashionista-y. But my bright lipsticks give me so much joy!

    • Bright lipsticks don’t fly in my conservative office, unfortunately :( I would love to rock a fuschia

    • I think if it is worn with an otherwise muted outfit/accessories and coordinates (so not a color that clashes with your sweater), it would be fine. I would probably also stick to more traditional colors for work (pinks and reds rather than a bright orange). I would have it be the one statement thing about my look, so I wouldn’t wear it with a super flashy necklace or a bright pink shirt.

    • I’m in the same environment, and wouldn’t give bright lipstick a second thought. Keep doing it for all the joy it gives you!

    • Diana Barry :

      Of course! I rock a red lip or a red-orange lip a lot of the time. I wear only mascara with it (if anything) and my outfits are always buttoned up. NOTHING wrong with it IMO.

    • I wear bright lip stick as I’m dark skinned and don’t wear any makeup. I groom brows, apply lipstick and dust on translucent powder. But if you are the type who wears a lot of eye shadow etc, it may be too much.

      • OP here – I’m dark-skinned too – I’m not really sure if that has the effect of muting bright lippy or making it pop more, but I do like the effect. The only other makeup when I do a bright lips is tinted moisturizer…if I’m wearing eyeliner I do lip balm or a my-lips-but-better shade (aka my interview/court lipstick).

        Thanks everyone – I am now happily rocking a bright fuschia lip (without which my black pants/grey top/ grey and black blazer/black shoe outfit was…not the most exciting).

      • In House Counsel :

        Slight threadjack but would love some lip color suggestions since I’m similarly colored…

    • I know a federal judge who wears a bright red lip with her robe every day. looks awesome.

    • Rogue Banker :

      If the rest of your makeup/look is chill and classic, bright lips are a go. I think of it as one statement thing per day – pick one of bright lips, serious eye makeup, or statement jewelry, and everything else stays more delicate/less noticeable.

    • Do it! I work in a similar environment and often rock hot pink lipstick.

      I also work with a woman who wears bright blue eyeliner with the rest of her makeup subtle and it looks surprisingly chic. If I were better with makeup application I would try to copy it.

  10. Thinking about buying in DC and looking to get pre-approved. Anyone have referrals?

    • It doesn’t really matter where you get pre-approved – you want to shop around for rates again when you’re ready to buy. For realtors though I highly recommend Josh Oliver of Capital Estate Group.

      • In my competitive market (northeast), this is bad advice. Your preapproval will 9 times out of 10 be your final lender. You simply don’t have time to find a new lender.

        • I think it depends what you’re timeline is. If you are looking to buy like right now, then yes, I would say to get preapproved by the institution that will ultimately be your lender. But OP says she’s just thinking of buying, and in DC it can take 6+ months to find the right place, and rates are likely to change a lot in that timeframe.

          • The last home sold in my area in DC sold in 2 hours so there would be no time to shop again for lenders. No specific recs for OP except to focus on rate not the company.

    • I swear by John Downs of Caliber Funding – we used him for our house (recommended from our agent) and I’ve sent many friends to him for purchases and re-fis.

  11. I work at the flagship office of a large firm on the east coast. Our dress code is business casual.. I generally wear a sheath dress or pencil skirt/ankle pants with shell + cardigan, and pumps. I will be working out of our LA office for a few days starting tomorrow and I’m trying to figure out what to pack without overthinking it. No client meetings- in fact, I probably won’t see anyone except on my way to the bathroom. But I want to fit in. Can I go with my regular work wear or do you suggest a different take?

    Also- trying to figure out what to bring for weekend clothes. So far I have a couple maxi dresses, a jean jacket, espadrilles and flat sandals. Any other suggestions?

    • This sounds almost exactly like what most women in the LA office of my big law firm wear. CA is more casual than the east coast in general, but your outfits sound like true business casual as opposed to borderline business dress. And LA is much more stylish & fashion-forward than the rest of CA.

    • Same advice as above regarding fashion forward and more colorful than the esst coast. It is also just more relaxed, as in no one wears hose or is very matchy. And everyone has their subclasses sunglasses on the minute they leave the office.

      Keep in mind it’s going to be hot here through the weekend. I would opt for shorter dresses over maxis of you can… A jacket might not even be needed.

    • Senior Attorney :

      It is going to be wicked hot here this weekend so be prepared. Your weekend list sounds fine but I second the suggestion for shorter dresses, and I might add a nice pair of shorts and a tee or tank or other lightweight summery top. (Although beware the frigid a/c so for sure bring the jacket for indoors.)

    • Check out the blog Cupcakes and Cashmere for some weekend wear/LA ideas.

  12. I’m attending a professional conference in early November in Los Angeles, wondering what kind of weather I can expect? I live in the Midwest, never been to California. I’m trying to decide what I’ll need to wear. Will it be cool enough for merino wool cardigans? I was thinking of taking several, wearing with silk blouses and slacks or skinny pants & flat loafers for daytime. I’ll also have a couple of evening events, was thinking of wearing a pleated knit skirt and lightweight wrap sweater, with tights, for the more casual one, and an Ann Taylor wrap dress for the dressier one, wondering if I’ll need a jacket in the evenings. We’ll also be doing some sightseeing, any tips on what to wear?

    • Weather should still be warm during the day (low-mid 70s) but people like to blast the AC indoors so I definitely recommend a cardigan or blazer for inside. The daily temperature drop is huge in California, so you almost certainly need a jacket for evenings.

    • I think you pretty much always want a jacket in the evening in California. On any given day, you may not need it, but you want to have one with you. If you’re really limited on packing space and won’t spend much time outside, you could be okay with a merino cardigan, though. Layers are your friend, so what you’ve listed sounds good.

    • As the date gets closer you may also need to prepare for rain. (There is a prediction we might actually get a lot this year. Fingers crossed!) But we wont know until a week or so in advance. The weather has been so wacky lately!

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yeah, it could be in the 90s or cold and rainy. You just have to sit tight and watch the weather reports.

  13. TechTroubles :

    So I somehow managed to “star” every email in my gmail account. Anyone know how to undo this? Also is it possible to undo this and still retain the previously “starred” emails?

    • First, check if you did it for every email or just for those visible the first page. If the later, it probably wouldn’t be too onerous to go through and fix it manually.

    • Meg March :

      You can select them all, then go to the “More” dropdown (to the right of the delete, tag buttons) and select Remove star. This wouldn’t retain the previously starred, but if you know which ones should be starred, you can just unselect those emails before Removing.

  14. Shoe update :

    Hi all, I want to update my shoe collection for fall and I need some shopping help (I currently only have three pairs of heels for work: black leather, black patent, and nude patent). I’m looking for (1) a round toe cognac pump in either leather or suede (not patent), and (2) a forest green suede pump, either round or pointed toe. Anywhere between 2.5 and 3.5 inches in height (I don’t think I can do 4), and under $150, ideally under $100. Comfort is important. Any recommendations? TIA :)

    • I got your (2) earlier this year from DSW – it’s an in-house brand called Kelly & Katie. Just looked online and it doesn’t appear they have them anymore, but it may be worth a trip to the store. I discovered the brand during a random shopping trip and was really happy with the styles, colors, and comfort. Be warned that the sizing is a little off – two pair fit perfectly in 7.5 while the third pair I slip out of, even with heel grips.

      Here’s a link to their version of your (1), though faux leather –

    • Saw lots of suede dark green pumps when searching out on nordies, dsw, and zappooooos for a friend of mine earlier this week.

    • SuziStockbroker :

      I think the Coffee Break pick from yesterday came in cognac suede….

  15. I’m starting to think about refinancing my law school loans. I’ve been paying them off for 3 years now (2 years in IBR, 1 year paying the minimums, I’m in big law now), and the balance is probably still like $190k (I’m too scared to look). They are all federal (mostly grad plus at 8%, ugh, and some Stafford at 6.8% or so). Where do I start? Should I go to my own bank first? Or go with one of the specialty student loan refinancing banks?


    • Was in the same boat :

      I also had grad plus and stafford, at 6.5 and 8%. I refinanced through SoFi and got an awesome rate (3.1%). I was 4 years out from law school, so refinancing for a new 10-year term also spread the payments over more years than the 6 I otherwise had left, and my minimum payments went down by a lot. Let me know if you would like a referral link.

    • Your own bank’s rates are likely to be higher than the current rates, even with perfect credit. I’m not sure why, but the regular banks and credit unions are really uncompetitive in the student loan refinance market.

      Your best bet will be with SoFi, Common Bond, or Darien Rowayton (or DRB) as the big three specialty refinancers. I’d use SoFi as your first option because, like your federal loans, they will forgive your loans if you die or are incapacitated. CommonBond is the next best option, with DRB last. The main differentiator that makes me rank Common Bond over DRB is that DRB requires you to open a checking account with them to get the ACH 0.25% interest rate reduction. Common Bond lets you pay out of your current account and get the discount.

      If you don’t get approved for the lowest rate with the first one you try, you may consider shopping the others, but otherwise just start with SoFi. Save the others for if you decide to refinance again down the road, perhaps because you can qualify for a lower rate, rates have gone down overall, or you want/need to change your loan term.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d start by figuring out what on earth you’re thinking paying the minimums on a BigLaw salary.

      • the minimum still amounts to $2800 a month, so it would be difficult for me to pay much more.

        • Anon at 12:31 :

          Refinancing to a significantly lower rate will help you lower that minimum by quite a bit, and as “same boat” notes above, if you go with a 10 year repayment, it should also lower your minimum (assuming your time in IBR did not cause your balance today to be above what it was when you initially when into repayment).

          SoFi sometimes offers a 5 year variable term, which you may consider if the interest rate is significantly lower than the 10 year and your payments would be manageable. If the payments would be too high for you to feel comfortable, do the 10 year and continue to pay at least $2800. The danger in refinancing is getting a lower minimum payment and spending that money elsewhere (exceptions I could think of are baby on the way or higher interest rate CC debt from what I’m guessing were lower-earning IBR years…car, improved lifestyle, house down payment fund, not so much).

          • Anon at 12:31 :

            Can’t edit to add: Quickie math tells me that if you refinanced $190k at SoFi’s current lowest advertised rate offered for a 5 year term (1.90%), your monthly payments would be ~$3320. If you did the 10 year term, the lowest rate is 2.7% and your monthly payment would be ~$1810. You’d pay about $18k more in interest overall with the longer term/higher rate making only minimum payments. But you’d have the option to go went ahead and pay $2,810 on that 2.7% loan, so basically your current minimum payment, and you’d have the peace of mind of a lower required payment and would only pay about $8k in interest over the 5 year loan. You’d have it paid off in about 7 years. As your salary goes up and you get bonuses, you could throw even more at it and reduce the difference even more.

          • Very helpful, thanks!

          • Anon at 12:31 :

            Argh, miss the edit function again. I don’t know if I worded the interest comparisons very well, so in short:

            If you did the 5 year loan @ 1.9% and paid the minimum of $3320, you’d pay approximately $9,000 in interest over the loan term.

            If you did the 10 year loan @ 2.7% and paid the minimum of $1810, you’d pay approximately $27,000 in interest over the loan term, so $18,000 more than if you did the 5 year term.

            If you did the 10 year loan @ 2.7% interest but paid an additional $1000/mo on it, to get you to $2810/mo total and roughly your current payment, you’d pay approximately $16,500 in interest over the loan term (until you repaid early during year 7). This saves you $10,500 from just paying the minimums on your 10 year term, and is $7,500 more than you’d pay if you did the 5 year term. Since you said the $2800 is about your max capacity right now, this seems like the safest option. As you earn more and get bonuses, keep throwing that extra at the loan and you’ll pay even less in interest.

          • Anon at 12:31 :

            (And yes, I am avoiding drafting merger resos, does it show? ;) )

          • looks like the best rate I can get with fixed rate loan is closer to 4%. Would it be advisable to take the 10-year variable rate loan at 2.7%? Variable rate scares me…

          • Anon at 12:31 :

            I went with variable. I will caveat the reasoning that follows by saying that my refi amount was “only” $45,000 and if the variable rates were to skyrocket, I have an emergency fund that I could use to wipe out most of the remaining balance, so any increase would not hit me hard enough to make the higher fixed rate worth it.

            Still, I think the variable is a better deal because: The LIBOR rate that the SoFi variable rates are tied to would have to return to 2007-08 levels for your variable rate to go up to that 4.0% fixed rate. While interest rates are certainly going up at some point, they aren’t going up that fast tomorrow. And even if they get to that point while you are still in repayment, consider that you will have gotten the benefit of the lower rate in the early year(s) (while your balance is the highest) so the variable rate would actually have to go up higher than the fixed rate (how much requires a lot of assumptions on timing of rate increases) for your *overall* average rate over the loan term to be higher than the fixed rate.

          • Anon at 12:31 :

            I ran some numbers and assumed level monthly increases for simplicity (I also assumed you’d be doing the $2810 payments).

            The LIBOR rate would have to go up at least .054% every single month from now until payoff for fixed to be a better deal, which would put it at 6.52% in your last month. It has not been that high since the end of the year 2000, and even then it only stayed there for a few months. The last time the rate was above 6.5% for at least a year was 1990-91.

          • thanks @anon at 12:31!!! super helpful and I really appreciate it.

      • Anonymous :

        Wow this is way meaner than I meant to be, sorry! I just mean first figure out what you can really be paying, and it has to be more than the minimums, even if that means other big changes. Getting a lower interest eats helps, but it’s only one part of the package.

      • Now I’m thinking of refinancing my SoFi fixed rate loans to variable. Click my name for my story refinancing with them. I’m very happy with the result. While they don’t offer IBR, they have many of the same protections as federal loans. They are discharged on death/disability and there is emergency forbearance. There is also a career center to help you if you lose your job though I thankfully have never had to use their service.

  16. I’m on light bed rest the next couple of weeks (or until this baby decides to make her debut & stop worrying us :) !). Any recc’s on what to do? Books, tv, etc? I’m working from home this week, but already starting to go nuts & worried about next week.
    I don’t have cable so has to be on Hulu, online, amazon prime, netflix or HBO.

    • Current (and recently binge watched) TV obsessions: Scandal, The Last Ship, Narcos, Call the Midwife. Also coloring books for adults are a relaxing way for me to pass time. I also like big puzzle books with a variety of things like cross-word, word search, Sudoku, etc., but sometimes I don’t want to think that much.

    • Yesterday I recommended the Missing Maura Murray podcast. Everyone I’ve told about it has gotten so obsessed they’ve listened to all 10 episodes (so far) in just a few days…

      Otherwise, I’d say:
      Empire and Finding Carter for campy shows that are on Hulu.
      That’s off the top of my head…
      There’s also a great 4 episode series called The Promise. I’ll get back to you with a longer list in a bit.

      • I loved Empire & Finding Carter (and all of those MTV shows like Awkward)! Will check out Missing Maura Murray.

      • I also love a lot of foreign shows…

        Spiral (French show. First 3 seasons on Hulu, 4th season on Netflix, more to come)
        The Fall (British show, first 2 seasons on Netflix, more to come. Stars the guy from 50 Shades of Grey)
        Happy Valley (British show on Netflix. I’m watching it now)
        The Bridge (the original Danish show on Hulu, 2 seasons so far)
        An Honorable Woman (on Netflix. 1 season so far)
        Broadchurch (British show on Netflix.)
        The Protectors (Danish show. 2 seasons on Hulu)
        Silk (Britsh show about QC on Hulu)
        Scott and Bailey (British show about 2 female cops on Hulu)
        I also second the praise for Miss Fisher!

        And Bloodline, which isn’t foreign, but is really good and is available on Netflix

    • Manhattanite :

      Last Tango in Halifax, Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries

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