Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Notch Neck Ponte Sheath Dress

Blue Sheath Dress: Classiques Entier Notch Neck Ponte Sheath DressOur daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Oooh: what a great looking dress. Sleeves! Lining! An interesting neckline that isn’t too high or too low! Nice. It’s available in three colors, sizes 0-16, for $228. Classiques Entier Notch Neck Ponte Sheath Dress

Here’s a plus-size option.

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



  1. Pasta sauce :

    Does anyone have a favorite homemade pasta sauce recipe? I have started making my own pasta and I would like to dress it up with something homemade and delicious.

    • This one is so easy — you don’t peel the tomatoes; just put them in the blender: Put 1 lb of tomatoes in blender, puree. Briefly saute 2 crushed garlic cloves in 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Add tomatoes plus some salt and pepper. Cook (uncovered) over medium heat until greatly reduced and as thick as you want the sauce to be. At the very end, stir in 5 tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs, such as basil, parsley, or oregano. I use whatever is on hand, usually a combination of the above. Turn off heat just as you add the herbs. Tips: do not burn garlic; use fresh herbs; use ripe fresh tomatoes.

      • How long do you usually cook for the reduction?

      • Yay! Kat, I love the color of this sheathe dress, but for $228, you should have put it up on Pricey Monday’s! With my 50% clotheing allowance, however, it is ONLEY $114. THAT I can aford! YAY!!!!!

        Anyway, I LOVE pasta sauce recipe’s and I have my own, which is alot like the OP’s. But I use alot more garlic b/c I love Garlic. Sheketovits used to complain that I smelled like garlic for day’s, but he smelled alot worse then garlic. FOOEY on Sheketovits. It is my view that you are happier when you eat what you want and like, not what other peeople tell you what to eat and like, and I like alot of Garlic in my pasta sauce, which I sautee first. That is the trick, mom say’s to great pasta sauce. One of these day’s I am goieng to make my own pasta but I must wait until I have a REAL large kitchen in my new home, AFTER I am MARRIED.

        Yesterday, I slipped on the schlush on the corner of Madison and 38th Street, and fell on my side. FOOEY! I wish I had fallen on my tuchus b/c I have more padding there then on my side. I am recuperrating so Dad say’s I can take cab’s for the rest of the week, but I MUST use the stationery bike and elypical machine in my home office for AN HOUR, he say’s. He is right, but I am now in the market for a 32″ HTDV. It does NOT have to be a smart TV. Does anyone in the HIVE have a recomendation for a good HTDV? I have a 54″ HTDV in my liveing room and a 40″ HTDV in my bedroom, so I figured I would scale down a littel more for my office. YAY!!!

    • This sauce is supposed to be amazing:

    • ChandraNH :

      over very low heat lightly (and slowly) caramelize sliced or minced garlic (1- 2 cloves) until golden (not brown) along with a teaspoon of red pepper flakes (can leave out if you’d like), a teaspoon of dried basil (or oregano) and 1/2 tsp of dried mint.

      Once garlic is browned, turn heat up and add a can of crushed tomatoes (28 ounces), give it a stir and add pinch of the herbs from above. Turn down to simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt at the end.

      This is the sauce we use for everything.

    • Anonymous :

      Mark Bittman’s weeknight bolognese from how to cook everything fast.

      • Once fresh basil is in season again, Mark Bittman’s pesto recipe is also easy and delicious, but I wouldn’t pay arms and legs for out of season sad looking basil right now.

      • Coach Laura :

        Try Mark Bittman’s recipe in NYTimes Cooking (online recipe) Spaghetti and Drop Meatballs With Tomato Sauce. Delish. 25 minutes.

    • Diana Barry :

      1-2 onions – dice
      1 T grated/fine dice garlic (I use Trader Joe’s garlic mashed in a jar, v easy!)
      Few glugs olive oil -> heat over low-medium heat until onion starts to brown.

      Add about 1/2 cup white or red wine – boil off for 1-2 minutes.

      Put in 28 oz can of diced/pureed/crushed tomatoes.
      1 tsp dried basil (plus other herbs as you like)
      1 tsp to 1 T sugar
      Salt to taste
      Pepper to taste

      Simmer 20 minutes at least.

      I usually make this in a Le Creuset dutch oven so I can cover it for the simmer.

      • Diana Barry :

        And actually, I probably don’t use a full tablespoon of garlic – maybe half a tablespoon?

    • I use the sauce from this recipe. It’s a lasagna recipe, but when I make the lasagna I just double the sauce and use the leftovers on spaghetti and other pastas.


    • If you want meatballs to go with that pasta, I highly recommend Giada’s Simple Tomato Sauce. I add more veggies in it to make it more of a primavera dish too. foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/simple-tomato-sauce-recipe3.html

      Or Rachael Ray’s Spaghetti with Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs (can be made with or without mozz): rachaelraymag.com/recipes/spaghetti-with-mozzarella-stuffed-meatballs

    • http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/pasta-with-pancetta-and-tomato-sauce-recipe.html

      This is one of the best sauces I have ever had, and I LOVE Italian food and have spent a pretty significant amount of time stuffing my face across Italy. I add in mushrooms to mimic pasta alla trasteverina and fresh spinach for some extra veggies, but it’s still a stunner made exactly according to the recipe. I’ve road-tested this thing through multiple dinner parties (including some extremely finicky gourmand-types) and it always receives rave reviews.

    • For red sauce: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2009/02/filetto-di-pomodoro-1-ww-pt.html. Freezes beautifully.

      For “Crap, I have nothing in my house for dinner except a lemon and some cheese”, I nearly always make this: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/lemon-spaghetti-recipe.html. Shake all ingredients up in a mason jar, pour over pasta, maybe add some nuked up frozen broccoli or peas, done.

    • Mmmm homemade pasta. The few times I’ve bothered to do it, I just reduce a little while cream and butter, then add the cooked pasta to the sauce pot to briefly absorb. A shower of sea salt, nutmeg, or fresh herbs snipped, cracked pepper, lemon zest – whatever you have around that is as nice as your pasta. And some Reggiano Parmesan. Yum.

      I also like the Marcella Hazan slow tomato sauce but I think delicate homemade sauce should be lighter.

      In the summer when I have fresh tomatoes I love to cook them lightly with some great olive oil, then run through a food mill. This is a great way to make a sauce from sweet fresh tomatoes. Add basil or other fresh herbs (I like chives too) and sea salt. Serve with a dollop of good olive oil or fresh ricotta or goat cheese.

      I am so freaking hungry now.

  2. Anonymous :

    I messed up at work. I know what I did wrong and I’m going to take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again, but… how do you bounce back from a big mistake? I apologized, but I feel like I’m walking on eggshells.

    • You quickly resume doing good work, and stop focusing on the mistake. The more you bring it up, or try to make an excuse for it, or apologize…. they more insecure you will seem. It will also make the mistake linger in people’s mind. If it is something you need to “make up for” by working extra hours or assisting others to make it right, you do that.

      You can do it! We all make mistakes. It’s just that most guys don’t call them mistakes……!

    • BeenThatGuy :

      I’ve had this happen to me and it’s horrible. First, forgive yourself. You’re human and we all make mistakes. Second, make sure the senior most people are in the loop on how you will make sure the mistake won’t happen again. Third, make yourself extra visible right now. Show your colleagues that you’re still the same old reliable/dependable/competent woman you have always been.

      Chin up!

    • fake coffee snob :

      Something that works for me if I’m stuck thinking about something that I can’t get past is to journal it out. I just open a word document or an actual journal and do some stream-of-consciousness writing for ten minutes. For some reason, getting it down on paper helps me get it out of my mind.

      It happens!

    • It sucks, I know.

      Do you have a follow-up meeting any time soon or a one on one? After a mistake and I’ve already apologized, I’ll mention at my next one on one that because of X mistake, I started doing Y instead (make a checklist, have Jane proof it, whatever) and that’s significantly helped and will prevent X from happening again.

      Say it very matter of fact as just another thing you’re working on. That’s hows you took it seriously, figured out WHY you made the mistake, and have taken steps to prevent it from happening again.

      Mistakes happen. Just show you won’t make the same mistake again.

    • Thanks y’all. I really appreciate the advice. I already feel better about it and like I have more control of the situation.

  3. Ponte fuzz :

    I have a ponte dress that is starting to fuzz from where my seatbelt hits it after a year of wearing (not in heavy rotation — I want to “save” it for b/c the dress is otherwise amazing). I have a really short commute, so it’s mostly steering (evil parking deck) and parking. It’s enough to make me wary. Can any car commuters comment on how this brand holds up or other durable ponte-makers?

    I have to older Talbots ponte dresses that I only wear in the summer. They’re from 2012 and still look like new.

    • I’m so wary of ponte now, I have a few very cute dresses with fuzzy patches from where my backpack or handbag rubs. It might just be a fact of life with ponte?

    • I think it depends on the fabric. I’ve seen two fabrics called ponte – one with a heavy weight and beautiful drape, and one that’s much thinner and is sometimes used in casual clothes. The heavier weight, which I’ve found at LE, Talbots, and higher end labels, doesn’t pill for me. The thinner stuff, which I’ve found at Target, does.

      • Anonymous :

        I find that with ponte, the very heavy kind can lay funny at the seams. Like the inside seam allowances don’t always lay flat or somehow they get lumpy. And that doesn’t always take well to an iron.

        I love it in theory. But I’ve started to go back to anything in tropical weight wool, especially if it has sleeves and is lined.

        • Wildkitten :

          I think this is a result of the ponte shrinking and the stitching not shrinking. Is that possible?

        • I also love tropical wool. I will buy other knits if the cut is especially flattering and the price is right, but I find they just don’t last and look polished like tropical wool!!

        • I’ve noticed this too. On one dress, I actually ironed the seams flat inside the dress with sticky tape and that fixed the problem.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      I definitely find ponte holds up less well than wool, for example. Pilling, fading, overall losing its shape. I assumed it was because I delicate wash-hang dry ponte, whereas I dry clean wool dresses. I’m willing to pay that price, though because while wool holds up, ponte is stretchy, comfy and washable.

      I’m assuming Classiques ponte is just as nice/nicer than Talbots? Any thoughts?

    • Have you tried a gentle depiller/fabric shaver? I have a mini one off Amazon that was $8 that makes even my sort of cheap ponte dresses look brand new

      • I was about to suggest this! I use a sweater shaver, helps but it’s not perfect. Maybe it’s time for me to replace.

        • What brand of sweater shaver/depiller do you all have/recommend?

          • I have this little guy (under $6 now as an add-on item on Amazon!). It works extraordinarily well on cashmere, thin t-shirts, whatever. I’m pretty rough with it and I’ve never had a poor result or had it damage the fabric. It’s very gentle and just makes everything look brand new.


      • I have a fabric shaver too and it’s one of the best purchases I’ve made recently! it’s so satisfying to use.

        • YES. I’m a thrift store fantatic and I find such gorgeous cashmere sweater son the racks that I guess people donated because of heavy pilling.

          5 minutes with my little depiller, and it looks brand new!

        • I am a bit nervous about using it on ponte. The pills are tiny, so it there is less of a margin for error compared to my sweater pills. I think it would be like taking sandpaper to something that is aready fuzzy and getting a hot mess, especially over any seams.

    • I stay away from the very soft ponte. The general rule I’ve learnt from knitting is that the softer the yarn/ fabric the more it will pill.

  4. This dress is amazing. Wears great, flattering, looks formal on. I wear it all the time.

    And I’m size 16 and it makes me feel slim.

    • Wildkitten :

      Great endorsement! What shape are you? I’m am apple – would this just make me look preg?

    • And how is the sizing? I’m a busty 12-14, wear 12 pants and skirts but usually 14 in dresses for the bust. I bought a different Classiques Entier sheath recently (I think it might have been one of Kat’s picks) and the 14 would not even zip up, it was a horror show. Was it a fluke, or do I need to really size up in this brand?

      • Size up. I wear 14 in Ann Taylor dresses and consistently 16 in CE.

        Wildkitten- hourglass, so not sure how it would do on apple, sorry.

        • Thanks!

          • Anonymous :

            I am sometimes an 8 in other brands (Ellen Tracy) but this dress was definitely a size 10 for me; even then I thought about whether to go up, but decided that the weight of the fabric (it does not hug lumps or bumps, which is great) meant I could get away with a slimmer fit. It’s a great dress – I have it in Black and Navy, and would consider it in this blue if it was still available in my size! It’s a great dress – once you find your size, you just put it on and forget about it – no tugging, no sucking in, etc.

  5. For those of you who sew (I am hoping to learn):
    1) Where do you think a dress like this (fitted seams, sleeves, interesting neckline) would rate on the scale of difficulty with lining and without?

    2) Roughly how much fabric would you need to make this type of dress in a size 6 -10? If you wanted to make it from a non-knit natural fiber (like a tropical wool) about how much would you expect to pay for the requisite amount of fabric?

    Thanks for any advice!

    • It’s been a while since I last sewed something to wear so I’m somewhat guessing here…

      1) Somewhat difficult. Obviously moreso with a lining, but labor/time intensive either way.
      2) Maybe 3-4 yards (without lining)? You definitely need to use a pattern, and the pattern will tell you how much. You could probably find wool at JoAnns for anywhere between $13-20 per yard.

      Definitely take classes!

    • I have been sewing since I was a kid and would never, ever bother trying to make a dress like this, especially a lined one. It’s definitely not a beginner project. Sleeves, necklines, linings, and zippers all take practice. It’s difficult to get a dress to fit right without an experienced helper to pin it for you. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly difficult and costly to find fashionable patterns and high-quality fabrics. I sew simple dresses, pajamas, and Halloween costumes for my daughter, and the cost to make each item is usually similar to or greater than the cost to buy a comparable item. If you are just starting out, you’ll also need a decent sewing machine (not a Singer from Target unless you want it to break right away–I have a $250 base model Babylock that has zero bells and whistles but is reliable and does what I need it to do), and a fair amount of other equipment (scissors, cutting board, etc.), which adds up fast. Sewing may have been a way to save money on clothes when we were kids, but not anymore. If you want to learn to sew for fun and personal satisfaction, take a class at your local sewing machine or quilting shop first. Then start slowly with a pair of elastic-waist pajama pants. Covers for couch pillows are a good way to learn how to install a zipper. Then try a simple skirt. Then something simple with sleeves. Etc.

      • I agree- I don’t sew, but I knit, and between the time, and the cost of quality wool, I 100% recognize that it is a hobby that I love and do for fun, and because I enjoy making my own things, but it is not cost-effective in any way. In fact, it’s actually kind of expensive (though my love of hand spun alpaca wool from Paragua is probably a big part of that expense issue).

        • I work on the basis that my sweaters or socks are more expensive than standard off the rack ones but they are a hundred times cheaper than custom made ones would be. Handknit socks are my favourite luxury item.

        • anon a mouse :

          As a counterpoint, even though the cost might be the same as a storebought dress, if you have issues with fit in off-the-rack clothes, something like this might work okay. My mother had a very curvy frame and basically had 4 dress patterns (2 summer, 2 winter) that she made all her dresses from. The fabrics were all different textures and prints so you wouldn’t know unless you really paid attention – but each dress fit her perfectly.

          I can only dream of such technical ability… it takes real talent (and a dress form) to finish sleeves without puckering and get the fit spot-on.

      • +1 – not a beginner’s project. Maaaaaaybe an “average” difficulty pattern, though the seaming detail on the bodice would take it up a peg.

        If you want to start sewing, I agree with the above – PJ pants, skirts (good for practicing with linings) and I’ll add summer/casual clothes to the list. Start with using stable fabrics (woven cottons, interlock/ponte knits) before moving on to rayons, silks, chiffon, etc. Definitely take a class, or find an experienced sewer to spend time with you because while the patterns come with instructions (order of construction), they don’t explain technique (at all). Things like finishing seams, trimming seam allowance, clipping curves and corners, pressing every damn seam after it is sewn, how to troubleshoot fitting issues (narrow shoulders, sway back).

        I sew because I have clothes I want that I don’t see in stores, or know the fabric/notions will be somewhat cheaper (and I already own most of the equipment – sunk cost). Like the time I found a $600 polyester georgette floor-length dress and said “I can totally make something like that” and did – in silk ($100) and machine washable (because I pre-washed/pre-shrunk the fabric). I also had to cobble together a pattern from a top and skirt I drafted, do the math about how much fabric I needed (overlay and lining) decided how to best construct the garment (lots of inside-out and backwards thinking).

        Sewing always gives me an appreciation for the timing/technique going into making clothing – and makes me look at the construction details when I buy things :)

      • Yes, I'm a Viking :

        +1000. I actually make Renaissance/reenactment clothing from scratch for festivals and events, which are super involved, complex projects. And I still don’t make any of my work clothing. It’s just not worth it. Sewing is great for easy homegoods, but not really for clothing.

    • Oh – and always read the measurements on patterns – the Big 4 (Simplicity/McCalls/Vogue/Butterick, etc) still use older size measurements, so a size 12 in ready-to-wear will be more like a 16 or 18 in sewing patterns.

      • Conversely, I find McCalls pattern sizing ridiculously big. If I make a pattern to fit my measurements it ends up needing to be taken in by ~1-2 inches.

        Advice: make a muslin (rough draft) out of cheap fabric of the same consistency as your final version (knit for knit, woven for woven) and make all of your changes on those pieces, then use them as your pattern pieces. I’m really short-waisted, and generally shorten pattern pieces by about an inch before cutting a muslin, then try it on, see if it fits, and adjust again if necessary.

        • Yeah – you have to know how much ease is built in, it’s not well labeled, and it is not consistent. Sometimes you get finished garment measurements (either on the envelope or on the pattern tissue), but not always.

          I just finished a New Look pattern (in an adorable polka dot fabric) to find out it was a smidge too small in the shoulders and upper arm, but I was still in the “right” size for tops (based on the bust measurement). So I had to grade up most of the pattern pieces to get the right size. Luckily, the too small first garment will fit my mom, and it let me know that I still really liked the finished product – it just needed to be bigger.

          And the muslin piece is a hidden cost of making clothes – you either end up making a garment (almost) twice or can risk having something not fit at all when you’re done. Sometimes you luck out and get a wearable muslin. Or you can tissue fit the pattern to see where the adjustments need to be made.

    • Thanks, everyone! I should have clarified, I wouldn’t try starting out with this type of dress as my first project, I was more trying to get a sense of the cost as a way to motivate myself to finally get started on learning! I am becoming more and more dissatisfied with what’s available clothes-wise in my price range, and I have less and less patience for shopping/bargain hunting. My thinking is like Runner 5’s – if I can make something that’s perfect (for me) for slightly higher cost than something that’s good but not great off the rack, I’d be happy with that. Also interested in learning to do my own alterations for the same reason, but it seems I would need a dress form exactly my size to be able to do that? (Or a helper who can pin stuff *exactly* as I like it, but I think that might be harder to find.).

      • You can get an adjustable dress form for a relatively reasonable price; that way you can make it exactly your size.

        Personally I have a size problem in that my hips are two sizes bigger than my upper body, so the only way I’ll ever be able to get simple shift and basic a-line dresses to look right is to make them myself.

      • Anonymous :

        I would get a skilled helper rather than a dress form for fittings.

        The adjustable dress forms will help a little, but only for change bust, waist and hip measurements. There is a lot more work (and expense) involved in getting a dress form to match the other arts. The vertical distance between your hip and waist measurements, for example, are not adjustable. I do find a dress form handy for some things, but I do not use mine for fittings.

        Simple alterations – take in a seam, hems, etc – should not need a dress form or even a helper. Try on the clothes inside out and pin out the seams to where it seems good, baste stitch (longer stitch – easier to tear out if you get it wrong, but holds in place for the time being) and then try it on again to see if it fits the way you want. If it does, then do a final stitch and finish the seam as appropriate. If not, repeat until you are satified.

        Other alterations, like adjusting the fit of the rise your pants, will be more complicated (and not helped even with a dress form). These are things that I wouldn’t recommend doing without a lot of experience or oversight anyway.

    • Anonymous :

      Difficult due to fit, lining and stretch material. I wouldn’t take on this project (and I sew most of my own clothes).

      (You may want to talk to a tailor though and/or get a quote. I’m not a professional.)

      If you do decide to go for it, be sure to make a practice toile with some inexpensive material. Particularly if you’re using a ‘new to you’ dress pattern.

    • I am a bit late to the discussion, but I sew… Sometimes I have more productive ‘sewing spurts,’ and sometimes I don’t sew for a while. I have made dresses like this, and it is an intermediate project. I am hourglass shaped with a larger bust and a smaller back, and I enjoy sewing dresses that come with premade bust adjustments. (Simplicity has a collection with different bodice/ bust ease). It does take lots of tweaking to get the right fit, but if you purchase a cotton with slight stretch, or wool with some spandex, fit can be more forgiving.

      Sewing is actually more expensive than buying the item. I have made silk blouses, with silk lining, or wool skirts with rayon lining, and the cost is higher than say the sale price, but the item is completely finished carefully with french seams, and I often pre shrink the material, so I can hand wash the item later. I have received compliments on some of the things I sew…so my fear that the item may look “off or unfinished” has lessened over time. It does take lots of failed projects, and practice to make something you like to wear, and sometimes when I finish a dress, it looks good, but not on me, so I give it away and start over.

      A dress like the one shown probably needs one and half metres…Canadian here… more or less depending on the width of the material.

      Collette patterns (check out their blog and sewalongs for instructions) has some neat sewalongs with really clear instructions if you are a beginner…you don’t necessarily have to use or buy the patterns if they don’t suit you, but it is a great resource. By hand london, and sewaholic have some sewalongs too, and I think colette has an easy free downloadable top called the sorbetto that would be a good beginner project.

      Happy sewing!

  6. I’m interested in starting Latisse or a similar product. Does the hive have any advice for me? I know my PCP sells it in her office. I also know I can get it many other local places (some more proximate to my house/work which is appealing). Does it matter? If you’re using it, how much are you spending and did you get instructions on how to make a bottle last?

    • I’ve used LiLash and the person who gave it to me got it on Amazon, I think it was $60 for one tube. It did lengthen my lashes, but I probably could have used it more consistently. I also found that it didn’t lengthen them evenly… they certainly didn’t have that uniform false lashes look. It is definitely true that when you stop using it, your eyelashes will go back to their previous length. Another side effect for some people with light eyes is that it might change your eye color to brown… that didn’t happen to me, and I won’t pretend that I was that careful to avoid getting it in my eyes.

      Overall, I might use it if I had a special occasion I knew about months in advance (I was using it for my wedding). Otherwise, it seems too much of a hassle/too expensive to use long-term.

    • L’Oreal makes one. It comes in a mascara-type package. You can find it down at the bottom of the mascara display. Worked well for me when I used it. (While I have super pathetic lashes, I ultimately decided I just did not need another step in my life and dropped it.)

    • I’ve used RapidLash and I really liked it. My eyebrows are okay to begin with, but I noticed that they were longer and that the bits I accidentally pulled out with my eyelash curler grew back pretty quickly. My lashed looked thicker too. I got lazy though – you need to be really consistent with putting it on every night. I would absolutely use it again.

    • I use Latisse. I get it from my dermatologist. She does cosmetic procedures too.

      I buy the larger bottle and it lasts about 6 months.

      I bought some very fine tipped little disposable eyeliner brushes on Amazon and use those instead of the thick brushes it comes with.

      The package will tell you to add a whole drop to a brush, then use it on one eyelid and discard. I think most regular users ignore this. I put a single drop into the cap, dip in my tiny little eyeliner brush and do one eye, dip again and do the other. Right at the lash line. if there is moisture left over in the cap I dip some more and use it on my brows.

      Once my lashes grew longer, I cut back to every second or third day.

  7. What is your favorite place to buy rugs?

    We’re looking for a new rug for our (small) living room. I’d prefer something woven/made of natural fibers/ethically sourced that’s also not going to break the bank, but I don’t know if I’m looking for a unicorn here. I’ve never paid more than $150 for a rug (our current one being the same one I bought right out of college) so I don’t know what’s reasonable.

    • Manhattanite :

      I bought a wool one at crate and barrel. Got the floor model so it was discounted. They let you buy and then return 12 inch (?) square samples so you can try out the colors at home.

    • Clementine :

      We have one from West Elm that I’m happy with. We’ve had it about a year and it’s holding up well to dogs/life in general.

      • +1 to West Elm. I have also ordered from ecarpetgallery and liked the quality. They offer free shipping and 33% off if you are a first time buyer.

    • I can’t speak to ethically sourced, but I have bought 5 or so rugs from RugsUSA (dot) com and been very happy with all of them. They always have sales and have an enormous inventory which is searchable by material.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        RugsUSA has a huge inventory and constant sales, but their customer service is terrible. I won’t buy from them again.

        • Fair enough! I’ve never had an issue that required me to work with customer service.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I got most of the rugs for my house from Home Goods. My designer bought a bunch of them and brought them to the house, and I picked the ones I liked to keep and she returned the rest.

      Costco also has some nice rugs, as does Home Depot (of all places).

    • I got a surprisingly nice one from Urban Outfitters.

    • FLOR tiles! You can mail them back for recycling and they are made of recyclable materials.

    • PamBeasley :

      Can’t beat Ollie’s for the price to quality ratio of rugs. I’ve never found a place that comes close.

    • Thanks all!

    • Overstock dot com for not that fancy, but great sales.

      I also have a great, really nice wool rug from Cost Plus too.

      I would also be careful to spend a lot on a wool rug if you are going to have kids. My friends just had to redo all the rugs in their apartment due their toddler son’s wool allergy.

    • Lot of luck at Wayfair. Don’t know if you can filter for everything you’re looking for, but customer service is amazing.

    • I have two beautiful rugs from Overstock. They let you filter by material, weave type, etc. which is helpful.

    • I just furnished a house more or less from scratch and bought a lot of rugs, including area rugs for wood floors and for a screened porch as well as door mats. I got them ALL online; my main sources were Home Decorators dot com, Overstock and Rugs Direct (similar to Rugs USA but with, I thought, less deceptive “on sale!” pricing. Shop around if you find one you like, you might find the same rug (sometimes with different names, so search by product number) at very different prices. I did have an issue with Rugs USA being back-ordered on a few items — so annoying when a site lets you order and doesn’t indicate something is out of stock — but they were responsive to inquiries and let me cancel those parts of the order. I found two of the back-ordered rugs in stock (and cheaper!) online at the hardware store Menard’s.

    • Anonymous :

      Craigslist! I have a persian rug problem and have found some gorgeous, gorgeous rugs on Craigslist for a small fraction of what they’d cost new.

  8. Tis the busy season at work; everyone is slammed, including me, but I have this coworker who complains incessantly to me. I’m not sure if it is because she thinks we are close, but I’m starting to get annoyed at her non stop complaining and negativity. I have a lot of work too, but I’m not complaining, I’m just dealing with it. I recognize that we may just have different ways of relieving stress , but are there any ideas on how to get her to stop and redirect her complaining elsewhere and not to me? Thanks!

    • Someone here gave me good advice for this – Tell the coworker “I want to hear what you have to say, but I’m really busy at the moment. Perhaps we could get lunch or a drink after work sometime this week to talk about it.”

      • Even if I don’t want to meet up with her for lunch or dinner since I know she’ll end up ranting about it?

      • I think this advice only works if you want to hear what your co-worker says. It kinda sounds like you just don’t care about listening to her. If that’s the case, maybe you need to be a bit more direct.

        • I don’t want to cut off the relationship. I do care about her as a coworker, but she complains repetitively about the same issue. I guess, is there any way to set a boundary so there is a limit to the complaining I hear from her? I can understand ranting cause I do it too, but complaining repetitively is just not something I like since it brings my day down too.

          • I mean, just in general, she’s a complainer. If she doesn’t complain about this, it is something else. I usually don’t work together with her directly except we were recently placed together on the same project so it is like when I hear her complaining, I grow despondent at my outlook too since I’m working on the same project under the same leadership as well.

            Thanks for you thoughts so far. It is helping me reorganize the situation.

          • Could you just tell her that? Something to the tune of “Hey, can we please not talk about this? I feel similarly about X, and when I think about it it makes it hard for me to focus/stay optimistic/etc”?

    • “I’m slammed and can’t chat right now.” Delivered with a pleasant tone of voice (at first, at least).

    • workingmomz :

      I would just say something like “ugh I know we’re all slammed. I’d better get back to it so I’m not even more behind!” Then exit the conversation.

      • Yea, I’ll try this repetitively then and see if it works out. Thanks all!

  9. How do you keep in touch with all the various contacts you’ve made over the years?

    I feel like I’m constantly just catching up with people, and like I’m always behind on maintaining my network.

    • Coach Laura :

      If you use LinkedIn, make it a regular part of your day. Read an article from Forbes, for example and forward the article to a friend with the comment “Thought you might find this interesting.” Congratulate people on new jobs.

      Then, set it up so that each Tuesday, you email four contacts from LinkedIn suggesting lunch, coffee, drinks and keep a running list of those you’ve contacted until you’ve gone through the whole list, then start again. If you have 400+ contacts, make a list of the “high-value” contacts (those that you know well, worked with before and/or are close to you in location and/or industry). If you set up a routine, maybe you can lose the feeling of being “behind” because you’re making regular contact with people.

    • I make a conscious effort to meet for coffee or lunch with people at least once a week. It’s hard when you’re busy but it pays off. Just get it on the calendar.

  10. Ciao, pues :

    For those of you in government, are job titles fungible? For example, if a state government ad is for a “Program Monitor,” and states that a variety of experience (enforcement, legal, research, etc.) is accepted, could a candidate negotiate a different job title, say “Program Monitoring Attorney” to reflect a particular skill set? Or are those things set in stone by the govt bureaucracy? I’m coming from outside of govt where job title is totally fair game in negotiations and have no idea if that would be laughable in government.

    • Wildkitten :

      It depends. Sometimes they only want people who are really acting as lawyers for the government to have the atty title. Sometimes you can get it changed. So, I think it’s okay to ask if this is a situation where the title is negotiable. I think it also helps if you can make an argument for whey you having the attorney title is good for them, not just good for you.

    • Clementine :

      It also depends on whether you’re talking about a Federal job or a State job. I know that in some states, there are specific civil service exams required to be titled a ‘Program Manager’ versus ‘Senior Program Analyst’, even if the actual duties are very similar.

      Local government has been more flexible in my experience. Ask, but if they say it’s not possible, it is likely true.

    • Dwight Schrute :

      I am Assistant Regional Manager, not Assistant TO the Regional Manager.

    • I work in state government and it depends, but is really unlikely. The process is so bureaucratic that it would be unlikely, except for a very good reason and would probably require re-listing the position so would also cause a good amount of delay.

      • Ciao, pues :

        That’s what I was afraid of. Thanks, everyone. I’ll ask if it’s possible but not posit it as a firm negotiation chip.

  11. Wildkitten :

    Which DC Ann Taylor is best for suiting?

    • I think I vote for Metro Center or Pentagon City. Metro Center is a little more corporate but a little smaller; PC is a little larger but also stocks more weekend wear, so it’s a wash I think.

    • Friendship Heights and Farragut are hit or miss, I’d call ahead if you want specific styles/sizing.

  12. This has a hidden zipper!

  13. help: working long hours :

    How do those of you who regularly work 60+ hours a week do it? I’m on a crazy project where this schedule is expected for the next month or two. After only two weeks, I’m totally burned out. I have no energy to do anything social and I dream about spreadsheets. How can I make this easier on myself?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Are you doing it over the course of 5 days or 7? It may sound counterintuitive but I do better if I squeeze it into 5 days. I’ve been working 65 hour weeks for awhile now and do my best to work as little as possible over the weekend. I’m much better if I have 2 full weekend days (or at least 1.5). Then I can be social and/or personally productive one day and totally relax on the other.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Oh and I can’t help on the dreams, still haven’t figured that one out.

        But on other things, my husband makes dinner most of the time, I do all my laundry in one shot on a weekend day first thing in the morning, and I let my housecleaning slide just a little bit. I try to keep things tidy but don’t really worry about it until the weekend during laundry.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Sorry, one more thought. We also get virtually everything delivered. Amazon Prime pays for itself pretty quickly. We also get groceries delivered, which includes simple nearly prepared meals that require very little work. Not ever needing to run to the grocery store or Target saves a lot of time and mental head space.

      • +1 to everything Sydney said!

        When I was working 60+ hour weeks, I just accepted that I wasn’t going to do anything besides work and sleep (aka dream about work) on Monday-Thursday. I didn’t think about chores or socializing at all, and hopefully with those hours you can expense your meals. (It helped that I was usually traveling, but did the same thing when I was in town.) On Friday night maybe go out and socialize, or sometimes just go home and watch TV with takeout! Then I would try to be disconnected for as much of the weekend as possible, and use that time to sleep and rest, do any chores, and weekend socializing. I found I was okay up to ~65 hours or so – after that, I would start getting really sleep deprived and/or have to do heavy weekend work, which made me sad.

    • Can you afford to outsource?

      Having groceries/fresh meals delivered, a maid, a laundry service etc can free up more of your at-home time for actual re-charging rather than errands.

      When I was making a good income but worked 80 hours a week, I had a personal assistant–just an intern from the local college I paid $15 an hour (plus cash for gas) for 10 hours a week to help me out. She delivered packages, picked up drycleaning, ran to the grocery store, made appointments, etc. It made my life so much more tolerable.

    • How I triage- (1) if you can manage it, have one no work day on the weekend, (2) if that’s not a reality, then take off earlier on Friday and have a good night, or (3) set one non-negotiable thing per week and stick to it (i.e., running in mornings, drinks with friends one night). Just being able to carve out some time for yourself helps so much with being able to manage working crazy hours.

      • If I knew I was working for more than half a day on the weekend, I always left by 4ish on Friday (if possible). I needed Friday night free for my mental health.

        • I did something similar when I was finishing grad school. I’d be writing/revising/preparing for 8-10 hours every day, so Friday night was declared to be the “no work allowed” day — although, in fairness, I did not declare this. My SO did because I was turning into a totally different person.

    • 1. hire a house-cleaner
      2. make sure your significant others (partner, close friends, family) understand the situation and will moderate their expectations accordingly
      3. be gentle with yourself

  14. I’m entering therapy (in large part because of you all!) (LOL that sounds hilarious when you read it one way) and I need a cover to tell my coworkers. The highly recommended therapist is partly retired and only has Tuesday daytime appointments. What excuses have you used?

    • Can you say “ongoing doctor’s appointment” or “ongoing personal appointment”? That’s what I do, but I guess I don’t really care if people think it’s therapy or something else. I found it easiest to put something on my calendar as a recurring event so that I didn’t have to constantly worry about making excuses. Conveniently mine is at a lunch-ish time. You could also see if s/he would do a day-time appointment at the end of your day so you wouldn’t have to go back (or early in the morning, before work).

      And I hope it helps you as much as it’s helped me!

    • Honestly, in most offices people won’t even notice you being gone. But if you want an excuse in case someone does, you could tell them you are having dental work done. I had to have a bunch of dental work done for a cracked tooth (it was near weekly appointments for 2-3 months). That could buy you several months worth of excuses. I would try to schedule a standing appointment near lunch time and just tell people you workout over lunch, have a regular lunch date, are doing PT for a minor injury, or you have a standing appointment to get your nails done on Tuesdays.

    • “Doctor’s appointment.” You don’t owe anybody an explanation as to what kind of doctor.

      • +1 million.

      • No one can legally ask you and anyone asking just say “thanks for checking on me but I’ll be alright.”

        • No one can LEGALLY ask; that doesn’t mean there aren’t nosy or clumsy coworkers who will ask either to be nosy or just bc it comes out. And then you’re left saying “i don’t want to discuss” which is totally ok but in some offices that makes you the standoffish b—- even though THEY are in the wrong for asking. Go with PT – it’s easy.

    • Senior Attorney :

      +1 to “regular doctor’s appointment.” And good for you for getting the help you need!

    • Echoing above, I always say I have a doctor appointment. No one bats an eye. I go every other week, never been an issue.

    • Physical therapy. Then no one was worried I was suffering some serious medical issue, and no one gossiped about whether I had some mysterious illness, but understood that if I missed an appointment, I would have to pay a lot out of pocket, so they generally would let me keep the appointment.

    • If you have family locally – parents, spouse, kids, etc. – feel free to blame them and say “it’s a family thing, every week for the next couple of months and then every other week after that.”

      Once I got to know my boss in a small office and she was like “WHAT is this appointment that keeps messing up my week?!” in a friendly way, I swear, and, in a small cubicle office, I just pointed to my head, and she “got it”. But then we could compare meds, so YMMV…

    • “Ongoing dr. appt” or ongoing “personal” appointment are both code for therapy — just an FYI. If you don’t care, that’s fine, but if you really want it to be on the down low do NOT go with either of those. I like the PT idea the best — no one knows it’s therapy; no one is gossiping about why you have so many doctors appts and whether you have something significant or contagious; and no one is gossiping or suspecting that you must be seeing a lawyer to divorce your husband or using Tuesdays as an interview day to quit your job or whatever. PT is totally innocuous as it’s very easy to say you hurt your knee training for a half marathon or hiking or whatever.

      • Anonymous :

        Funny, I would have never thought that it meant therapy as I’ve had a few occasions where I’ve had to go into the dr weekly (chiro, PT, dentist, dermatologist). But lately, it’s become a running jk in my office because anyone with “ongoing dr appointment” that’s a lady, always announces they are pregs a few months in. I say go with dentist or pt- you don’t have to answer questions, but sometimes not answering questions leads to more questions… where as a quick response, closes that avenue off.
        BTW congrats on getting help. I’d also urge you that if you feel this dr isn’t helping you, you try out someone else– sometimes it takes a few tries to get a good fit.

  15. Executive Presence Books :

    Hi Hive!

    Today on our one-on-one walk, my boss tasked me with researching books on “executive presence” or “gravitas”. I need to bring him 3 recommendations next week. He sees this as an area I need to work on.

    So… my very wise Corporettes… what recommendations do you have for me?

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      I would start with this :)


    • Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

    • The whole book isn’t on executive presences, but Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office has a big section on paying attention to postures, mannerisms and speech patterns to bring your overall impression from “insecure girl/young woman” to “confident businesswoman”.

      And when I looked up NGDGTCO, these books were in the “people also bought” section (but i haven’t read them myself):
      The Well-Spoken Woman: Your Guide to Looking and Sounding Your Best
      The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance

      • Wildkitten :

        The Well-Spoken Woman is for communications professionals, not regular professionals. Read the Confidence Code Atlantic article instead of the whole book.

    • anon a mouse :

      The military is big on command presence, which might not perfectly translate to your industry but should help. Someone (here?) recently recommended this book: It’s your ship: Management techniques from the best damn ship in the Navy. I haven’t picked it up yet but it sounds like it might be up your alley.

    • Presence by Amy Cuddy. She also has a good TED talk

    • Anonymous :

      This list on Goodreads has some interesting looking titles:


    • Anonymous :

      I’m a big fan on books regarding “service leaders.” We had a book club at my work & read a couple of books regarding this type of leadership.

  16. Hi ladies – I know there’s been a lot of discussion on BC options lately and would appreciate your input. I just started on Loestrin (this is about my second week) and have had continuous bleeding for those two weeks. Has anyone else experienced this? TIA!

    • I have been using LoEstrin for about 10 years with no issues, but my first ever BC was Yaz and it gave me major spotting issues (and mega mood swings). Usually the doctor will ask you to try one type of BC for 3 months and if issues such as yours persist, they will recommend a new type for you.

      • Anon for this :

        I agree with giving it a shot for a few months and trying something different if it doesn’t resolve itself. I had spotting (basically two periods per month) on Loestrin, then Minastrin, for over a year before changing to a different doctor who recommended trying a triphasic (ortho tri cyclen), which resolved the spotting issue within a month or two. Everyone’s body chemistry is different so unfortunately there can be a bit of trial and error to find the right BC.

    • I have used loestrin (now minastrin) for years and love it and never had that problem. What has your doctor said? I’d say that it’s an art rather than a science in prescribing the right one to the individual.

    • Anonymous :

      If you started in the middle of your cycle, I think that is pretty common. If you didn’t, I’d give it a month and see what happens before calling your doc.

  17. Did you know that all you have to do is sell a bunch of Arbonne to get a Mercedes????? OMG, if I hear this one more da*mn time I’m going to lose my mind. Everyone around me is selling multiple level marketing garbage and it’s freaking annoying. Rant over.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      So many friends I grew up with are doing it too. One of my sisters started for about a week, realized she didn’t want to be annoying and got out. Another sister was approached on Facebook about an mlm with diet pills. I just about lost it at her telling her not to get involved. Once I calmed down she told me there wasn’t a chance in the world she’d do it.

      The whole thing is so icky to me. Instead of being a friend, I’ve become a business contact. I only have one friend who doesn’t bug me. She sells Mary Kay but aside from telling me that once years ago, she’s never mentioned it again. I know where to go if I want to buy it.

      The super annoying thing is being invited to the Facebook parties and automatically getting all the updates. No I don’t want to buy your jamberry things and actually I think using an essential oil diffuser at work is a horrible idea!

      Sorry, this has become one of my pet peeves.

    • Anonymous :

      Completely agree. It is disturbing how many seemingly intelligent, reasonable people get sucked into mlm schemes. The essential oil scam is the most frightening, as many of the sellers (who have no medical training whatsoever) about how to treat illnesses, fevers, and the like. They are frighteningly anti-doctor and are convinced that Big Pharma runs the world. Many of my relatives have started using these oils, and I’ve said to tell them repeatedly not to ever use them on my children.

      Also, they are constantly talking about how “blessed” they are to stay at home and have a $100K income. Right. I’ll believe that when I see some tax returns.

      • The essential oils thing makes me crazy. I am part of a “real housewives” FB group for hate reading purposes and people are forever asking for help with their children’s medical issues (don’t get me started). There is always at LEAST one person who goes, do you have access to any essential oils? FOR BABIES. Stop. Just stop. Go to a doctor. Please.

        • Anonymous :

          Wait I’m not totally up on knowledge of essential oils. Are they bad for you in general (not to treat an illness)? I was just shopping around amazon and was thinking of buying an essential oil diffuser just because I dislike scented candles / open flames. Sorry if this is slightly off topic! I agree that scams like these are horrid.

          • Anonymous :

            I think they are fine to use on their own, but are not a legitimate alternative to medical treatment by a licensed physician.

          • I have no issue with oils used with a diffuser (just not in the office). The essential oil mlm scam is to use them to cure medical ailments. That, I have an issue with.

          • Anon Again :

            Some of the oils are especially dangerous for children or pregnant women (tea tree oil, eucalyptus, etc.). You should never ingest these oils. Some of the oils can also cause severe skin irritations or reactions (lavender, peppermint) even if just placed on the skin. Most credible physicians or health care providers don’t recommend using essential oils for anything other than aromatherapy, stress relief, etc.

            The amount of misinformation spread by these mlm companies (looking at you Doterra and Young Living) is astounding.

      • Anonymous :

        YES!!!! People in my mother’s group tell me to “just put straight thieves oil on your baby’s gums”. Ummm nooooo! I give him Tylenol, that’s it.

    • I know R+F is a little different, but I have had two women who I respected (lawyers who went to better schools than I did) reach out to me multiple times in re: R+F. No, please leave me alone. You didn’t reach out to me regularly until you wanted to sell me something. Go away.

      • Anonymous :

        R+F is the one that is huge in my network, and it drives me crazy. I grew up with the women who are hocking it, so I know they have never had acne or other skin issues in their life and basically have always looked like a Gerber baby, but yet they’re now claiming to all of us that “their skin was a disaster and what a difference [insert product line of the week here] has made!” Add in some heavily photoshopped before and after photos, and some manufactured excitement about what a flexible income stream it is and it’s not too late to get in on it, and the template is complete.

    • I almost got sucked into selling Cutco knives when I was in college. These scummy companies really know how to prey on people desperate for money, and it doesn’t help that you have all these well-meaning people encouraging their job-seeking friends and relatives to get into it because “you can’t be too picky” and “a job’s a job.”

      I mean, my mom was a Tupperware lady when I was a kid, for extra income (she had a corporate day job) and I can see how some of these marketing schemes could be fine if you did them on the side. It becomes an issue when people pick it up as their main source of income and then get pushy and desperate to sell something that, as it turns out, very few people actually want to buy.

      And the companies who do this are awful. Giving people a chance to earn supplemental income is fine, but they make people pay a huge amount of money up front and convince people the product’s in such high demand they’ll earn that money back tenfold very quickly, which just isn’t realistic for most people.

  18. I posted about this on the Friday thread but I finally received the last job offer of a few offers I’ve been waiting on, and it’s by far the best! I’m so happy I held out and also that this process is almost done, interviewing is exhausting! It’s a 40%+ salary bump and has great benefits, and it beats the other offers by at least 20%. I’m trying to enjoy this before the work starts and I have to adjust to a brand new job and all the challenges that can bring.

  19. Socksberg :

    ^Thanks everyone!

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