Suit of the Week: Tahari Arthur S. Levine Envelope-Collar Belted Pantsuit

We have a feeling this post is going to be a controversial one, but: This envelope-collar belted pantsuit by Tahari Arthur S. Levine strikes us as a perfect example of what to wear to a staff holiday party.  It’s festive, without being in-your-face seasonal or glitzy.  It allows you to maintain a sense of authority yet still party with the secretaries and paralegals and other people you may have to supervise.  If you wanted to make it more stylish, you could swap out the patent leather belt for a wide corset-style leather belt; you could also wear an over-the-top cocktail ring or add a few brooches (in an artful way) to the wide collar.  On sale at Lord & Taylor for $179 (was $280).  (Note also that if this is your first holiday party and you don’t entirely trust us, you could wear a black or red sequined t-shirt beneath the suit and remove the red jacket if your staff party is more festive.)

Poll: Holiday Presents for Administrative Assistants and Secretaries

holiday presents for secretariesA number of readers have written in asking about holiday presents for administrative assistants. We tend to agree with Above the Law’s advice last year — cash is the way to go for holidays. Still, we thought we’d poll people to see what they’re giving (and how much):

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Reader Mailbag: Hostess Gifts?

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on hostess gifts, but you may also want to check out all of our posts on holiday business etiquette.
A few days ago a reader wrote in with a burning question:
As a new associate, I have been invited to a young partner’s holiday “open house” (what the invitation says). Should I take a hostess present (his wife sent the invitations) and, if so, what can I take besides a bottle of wine? I’m guessing a lot of us are having the same issues so a post on this would be great!

We’re sorry to say that we’re stumped on this one. On the one hand, a nice bottle of wine or champagne is never unappreciated. On the other hand, we’ve been to enough parties at partner’s houses that we can see there being a catering staff on hand, which would make the bottle of wine seem inappropriate. Our $.02 is that we’d probably arrive with nothing, gauge the situation, and send flowers after the fact if you think they’re called for. Get two or three other associates to chip in on something really nice, and thank the hostess for a nice time.

Readers, comment away — would your advice be different?

Photo credit: Wine bottles wrapped up, originally uploaded to Flickr by librarykyle

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