Coffee Break: Ann Taylor Pumps

Ann Taylor Perfect Elle pumpsWe’ve heard raves about these “perfect” pumps from Ann Taylor, and they’re on sale this week — were $155, now marked to $99, take an extra 30% off with the code FRIENDS. And they still have normal sizes left! Not bad — not bad at all. Perfect Elle Pumps



  1. YesTimGunn :

    It seems I wear an ‘abnormal’ size then. :(
    Actually, now I have a question: Is this becoming a trend, in other commenter’s experience, that such retail clothing chains are cutting shoe sizes off after 9? I needed flats on an emergency basis at a conference last month and struck out at H&M and Zara (who only went up to 9) before finally being saved by the Gap (who still go up to 10.) At the time I thought maybe it was an LA stockist thing.

    Lovely pumps, though. :)

    • I have the opposite problem – sometimes I need size 5, which many stores have been telling me they don’t carry anymore

      • You must try Nordstrom. They consistently have a table of hard to find sizes (5, 11, 12). I’m on the large end of the unusual spectrum, but I feel for my friends on the small end too!!

    • If it’s any consolation, I (size 7) constantly seem to stumble on ridiculously fantastic deals available only in sizes 5 or 10 (see, e.g., Brooks Brothers website — $300 shoes marked down to $20-30).

      I know its small comfort, but just a thought :)

    • I used to wear a size 7W – I always had to get an 8 since very few shoes come in wide or narrow…

      Now all the great sales I see are in size 9 or 10 — there was no clearance size 7 the last time I went shoe shopping – it skipped from 6 to 9!

    • As a fellow 10, I feel your pain.

  2. I’ve had Ann Taylor pumps in the past, and they were stiff things with low cushioning and no flexibility in the sole. This was five years ago, so maybe they have improved over time.

    • The leather is soft and malleable–if anything, too much so. They are among my more comfortable shoes width wise, but the soles could use some more cushioning.

    • That is how I remember my AT shoe experience, too – extremely uncomfortable, not the greatest quality.

      • I bought this shoe in a great burgandy color last Fall. . . and they hurt like hell after an hour. Granted, my foot is wide in the front/toe, but I’m used to squeezing into medium width heels and Cole Haan’s Air Carma never give me problems.

        It is a nice-looking shoe though, so if you’re not going to be walking a lot, the discomfort may be mild enough to bear.

    • legalicious07 :

      I cannot wear AT pumps! I got an adorable pair in this (or a very similar style) in the color Porcini awhile back. I had to return them! This is always my plight with AT shoes. They (along with Enzo Angiolinis and most Nine West creations) are the most uncomfortable shoes I’ve ever tried! Too bad I have champagne feet on a beer budget!

  3. have these in two colors, LOVE THEM. i got mine at 40% of full price, the extra mark down is a great deal!

  4. Dang I’m wearing these shoes right now. I bought them last week when it was only 25% off. Today is my first day wearing them and my feet don’t hurt yet! (I have a desk job.)

    This is my second pair of Ann Taylor pumps. Well the other ones were Ann Taylor loft. After about 8 months of daily wear, the heel is worn down and the metal is showing. I bought them for $20, so I just bought another pair instead of fixing them. Anyway, I think the shoes are really well made, comfortable, and great work shoes. My sister who hates toe cleavage with a passion, would disapprove of the little bit of toe cleavage sticking out.

    • legalicious07 :

      Can’t you get a price adjustment if it’s only been 1 week? I’d contact the store and try. The worst they can say is no…

    • If you’ve worn the same pair of shoes daily for eight months, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to experience wearing down of the heel. Your local cobbler should be able to replace the heel tap for less than 20.00.

    • @ legalicious07- Will they do discounts if it’s code based? Sometimes stores won’t do it for me. But you’re right, it’s worth a try.

      @ Lynett- You’re right, it’ll probably be less than $20, but I’ve been itching to buy a pair of rounded toe shoes and move away from pointy toed. Also, I’ve been waiting for the previous shoe to wear down . . . so I could go shoe shopping.

  5. Anonymous :

    how do these fit? I’m usually a size 11 and recently purchased two pairs of AT shoes, both of which were too large (one about 1/2 a size, the other a full size).

    • I’m a 7 1/2 and could probably use an insole to make it more snug. I’m a pretty consistent 7 1/2, but size down when they have whole sizes.

      They’re pretty loose. But, I tried the 8 and it was falling off my feet when I walked. The 7 was just too tight. The foot opening is pretty big, so if you’re foot is narrower, you might have a hard time keeping your shoes on.

    • I usually wear an 8 but am more likely to go up to an 8.5 than down. That said, in these shoes, I had to buy a 7. So I would consider going a full size down, but perhaps you can order them in 10.5 and 10 just to be safe.

  6. Just a reminder. Just realized tomorrow is administrative assistant’s day. Get thee to your flower delivery website of choice.

  7. Does anyone know if these shoes run narrow?

    • If anything, they run wide. But not too wide. I’d say normal with extra stretch.

      • Anonymous :

        I tried them on in the store last night. I usually size between a 9-9.5. I definitly was a 9, with a bit of room. I could have maybe squeezed into an 8.5. I liked them, but they show a lot of toe cleavage. In otherwords, not just the big toe and next, all the way accross. Still cute, but, since I just bought a pair of black pumpis the other day, I passed for that reason.

        I did pick up a pair of patent taupe slingback peep toes. I just had to ask them to apply the friends and family discount, didnt have to show anything.

  8. So I have some sad news, ladies. My husband recently found out that he is getting laid off. The company has asked him to stick around for a few more months, luckily, and he also will get a few months of severance pay.

    For those of you living on a single income or who are dealing with a similar situation, what are you doing to save money? We were taking a look at our finances the other day. I have always perceived myself as being fairly frugal, but I was surprised to see how much money we are spending on eating out/socializing and clothes (largely due to recommendations on this site, I suspect!).

    Also, if anyone has tips on being a supportive partner to a laid off spouse, please share. He is actually not as devastated as I expected (he hates his job with a passion) but he is naturally feeling sad.

    Thanks all.

    • divaliscious11 :

      My advice would be to cut all unnecessary spending now! Plan to sock that severance inthe bank, and really try to cut down to your income alone. Also, he should start freshening his resume and looking now…it may take more than a few months to find something new. I have a co-worker going through this now and it is making her crazy because her husband is on ‘vacation’ and she is stressed because she rightfully thinks it will take some time to find a job, and while he too, got severance, that doesn’t last forever. Look at both your spending habits, because unfortunately, part of your support is that you have to spend like you are being laid off too…. Maybe start with the small stuff now, 9less eating out, making coffee at home, bringing a lunch 2-3 days a week etc… Everyone I know who has been laid off this time around has said it has taken at least twice as ong as they thought it would take to find a job, and many are still unemployed.

      When I was still contemplating accepting my promotion and relocation last year, I started looking and jobs were scarce! The last 2 job changes for me look to offer/hire lasted roughly6 weeks tops. I looked for 6 months last year …nothing…

      • A twist on this advice: “practice” living on one income, right now. If you do monthly budgeting, start with May. That way, you’ve got a couple months of practice while there’s still a safety net of salary to catch you as you adjust, miscalculate, etc. If you cut back once you really are down to one salary, a mistake will cost you and could send you into a tailspin.

        Beyond that, take stock of exactly where your money is going. Then figure out what’s set in stone and what can be cut. When I took my pay cut, we trimmed our cable (couldn’t ditch it since I need the internet connection to telecommute), cut cleaning people to bi-monthly, drastically reduced our eating out and cut our clothing budget. We also do more entertaining at home vs. going out with friends.

    • So sorry to hear that anon! I don’t pretend that my advice is good for anyone else, but I’ll tell you what my fiancee and I do. We are actually both working, but I’m finishing up law school and not making too much at my clerking job and my fiancee does not have a very high-paying job either. However, we find sticking to a strict budget to be very helpful. The key is to include enough things in your budget that don’t feel like you are missing out on anything, but you are not spending more than you can afford to. In addition to the basics like rent, phones, cable, etc. we also include toiletries, clothing, groceries, and entertainment and spending money. We use our entertainment money to go out on a date twice a month (dinner, drinks, movie, whatever) and our spending money is just a little bit that we each get every month just to have some money in our pocket to get whatever we want. It’s only $100/month but I spend mine on little things that make me happy like magazines or nail polish or a book or for days where everyone at the office is ordering lunch and I don’t want to be the odd one out. Oh! That reminds me, I also bring my lunch to work everyday unless I know there is something going on at the office. That saves a TON and I’m always shocked at how many people I work with buy their lunch every day. Anyhow, the point is to put all of the basics you can think of into your budget because otherwise you’ll be tempted to spend money on things anyway “just this once” and it will wind up breaking your budget, and then we put whatever is leftover from our income after the budget into savings.
      Hope this helps and hang in there!

      • ” The key is to include enough things in your budget that don’t feel like you are missing out on anything, but you are not spending more than you can afford to.”

        I couldn’t agree more. Before I got laid off, shopping was my joy. After I got laid off I knew I had to cut back (and I did), but not shopping at all would be so depressing to me because it was a constant reminder of being unemployed. So I budgeted enough money to buy something small every few weeks – no more $300 dresses, but a sweatshirt or tanktop or something. It’s like dieting – if you deprive yourself completely of the one thing you love, you’ll just become obsessed. If you cut back and do it in moderation, you’ll feel much better.

    • Some of the best advice I heard is that you have some expenses that are fixed – mortgage/rent, student loan payments, car payments – so the expenses that you can cut back, you have to really cut back. Obviously if you can move to a cheaper place or lower your student loan payments, you should. Otherwise, probably the easiest way to save money is to cook. When I got laid off I started cooking (before, my husband and I would order in every single meal) and we saved almost $200 a week.

      Also look into whether he’ll be getting unemployment – the $400 a week (or so, it varies by state) is very helpful.

    • I’m sorry for your husband’s layoff – ditto the advice to start behaving as if the layoff were today, both in terms of reducing spending and in terms of looking for new work. It may be tempting to say “I shouldn’t start now because I have a committment for three more months” but don’t do it! If he’s offered a replacement job that keeps him from completing the extra months, there’s no obligation to stay!

      When my hub was laid off, we were already both maxing out our 401ks. It was enormously reassuring to realize that the first $15K or so that he was earning was not $$ we had to cut from our budget. And that if we needed to, we could ‘increase’ my income by decreasing my contribution. Do your new budget early – if you need to reduce/eliminate your 401K contributions, it may take a month or more for the change to take effect. Also, don’t forget that it will cost you to add him to your ins. Be sure you know your employer’s rules for doing this.

      I don’t mean to sound smug, but we’ve always lived below our means and it really helped us weather this with less stress. And having gotten used to living on less drew our attention to the fact that we could do it. Once he was securely re-employed (and it was as close to secure as anything is these days), we realized that we truly could afford for me to go back to school. I did and recently returned to work – much happier.

      Supportive: realize that even if he didn’t love the job and no matter the business reasons, it’s an ego blow. I’ve read WSJ articles that talk about the insecurity lasting well into the next job.

    • Been there. I am so sorry. It’s so hard to see your husband be sad and not be able to help.

      Saving money – different people have different theories about this, but we went into “emergency mode” and put spending on lockdown. That meant NO eating out, NO money on clothes (other than a couple of things my husband needed for interviewing), NO going out. It was easier for us to just stop, cold turkey, than it would have been to “cut back.” It’s too easy to justify things as “well, it’s only $15” – do that a few times and you can spend a lot. It really wasn’t as hard as I thought. We started using the Crock-Pot a lot and I got creative with recipes. There are some old threads on Corporette that will be helpful about that. We also started being really strict about shopping from a list and we cut out more expensive things, like salmon and shrimp (that was the hardest part for me – for years I had been able to get pretty much whatever I wanted at the store, and it was hard to see specials on seafood and pass them by). We did not cut things like cable but we considered it – we made an agreement that if he was out of work for more than three months, we were going to cancel it, but he got a job after 2 months.
      The one thing we didn’t do was cancel our 10th anniversary trip to Hawaii, which was almost completely prepaid anyway, and we wouldn’t have gotten much money back after last-minute cancellation fees (he got laid off a week before the trip). I was worried about going, but in the end that was the best thing we could have done – it allowed him to get away from things and have some time just to relax and think things through. So if you have a vacation planned, unless it will really hit you financially, I’d still take it. My husband was actually in worse shape while he was sitting around the house unemployed than he was on our trip.

      As for being a supportive spouse:
      – It will be hard, but try to avoid asking about his job search unless he volunteers something. Even a question as simple as “did you send out any resumes today” starts coming across as judgmental after awhile. If he is a conscientious, motivated person, no one wants him to get a job more than he does. He knows you are invested in his job-hunt success and he will keep you posted.
      – Looking for a job is not something that is going to take all day. Especially in the first couple of weeks, don’t make him account for how he spent every minute of the day. It is not realistic to think he is either going to spend all day sending out resumes or all day cleaning the house or running errands. He needs some downtime. If, however, you get to a place where he is in “downtime mode” all the time (aka still in his pajamas when you get home more than a couple days in a row) it’s OK to say something, just be careful how you say it.
      – I tried to stay really upbeat and not spend a lot of time talking to my husband about how stressed I was. Girlfriends are good people to vent to during this time.
      – Do what you can to be supportive, but don’t seem pitying. Be careful about what you say. This sounds crazy, but when they’re not working and you are, they have a lot of time alone in the house to stew over things and sometimes a minor comment will get blown up into something significant. I’m not saying it’s OK, I’m just saying it happens.
      – Recognize that losing a job is different to a man than it is to a woman, even if (let’s say) you made more money, or he hated his job. There are a lot of ingrained societal messages about men being providers that men have internalized without realizing it. Men are often a lot more emotionally connected to their work than women are, because for a lot of men (my husband being one of them) work is their primary social outlet, and once they get laid off, people they have worked with who are still at the company don’t always keep in touch. In my husband’s case, he was close friends with his boss, who had to tell him he was being let go. My husband was angry and his boss felt terrible, and they didn’t speak for several weeks, which just made my husband feel socially isolated and his boss feel even worse. They worked it out, but the temporary loss of that friendship did not make my husband feel any better about the layoff.
      – You may have spending on lockdown, but still make time to go do fun things. Pack a lunch or dinner and have a picnic in the park. Rent a movie and make popcorn. It’s not going to help his head-state if he believes you guys are stuck not having any fun, and it’s his fault.
      – When the inevitable job rejection comes, don’t spend a lot of time analyzing it, even if he wants to. That wasn’t the right job for him. The right thing will come along at the right time. Don’t dwell on the negative and don’t let him do it either, it doesn’t help anything.
      – Overall I would just say, be gentle with him. If my best girlfriend lost her job, I would be careful with my words, supportive, and upbeat. My husband is my best friend and he deserves the same treatment.
      Very best of luck to you both. :)

      • I’m not married, but man, this is some awesome advice.

      • A corollary to my last point. Nagging or being sarcastic with your spouse is nothing more and nothing less than a way to vent your own frustration. It makes you feel better temporarily, but it can cause rifts in your marriage that may not ever heal, ever. And small rifts build up to big breaks that can end a marriage over time. I don’t believe in being a doormat but men are different than women. They always have been, and they always will be. No matter how pro-feminist they are, men do not enjoy being treated like incompetents, or children. Just like in business, there is always a calm, rational way to discuss something and come to a mutually beneficial agreement that all parties can live with. My best tip? When you speak to your husband, ask yourself – if you used a similar tone and similar words with a coworker or client, would it get you disciplined or fired? If so, you probably shouldn’t be talking to your life partner that way.

        • Dude, women don’t enjoy being treated like incompetents or children either! Good advice, but why make it specific to men?

      • A, fantasic advice. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      • Awesome advice, A!

        OP, for the budgeting portion, I would add that giving yourself a CASH budget can be extraordinarily helpful. A budget a great, but a debit/credit card can be deathly. Pay food, clothes, and entertainment via cash because those vary the most. Pay everything else via check, debit, or auto-deduct . Then give yourselves a weekly budget. Every Monday morning, I take the weekly budget out in cash at the ATM (or in ‘cash back’ at the grocery store). Then, that’s my cash for the week. I spend it on food, clothes, movies, unexpected happy hours, crap-your-birthday-is-this-weekend-of-course-I-have-something-moments, etc. And if I run out, then I wait until the following week to pull out more money. A belated birthday gift is better than an overdrawn bank account. I promise.

        I created an Excel spreadsheet (while also using to double check against). On the spreadsheet I account for everything that comes out of my checking account via auto-payment or check (rent/mortgage, cable, electricity, water, gym). In this, I also include my weekly budget cash withdrawals and my auto-deduction from checking to savings and/or 401k. I then account for the monthly necessities that come out of my budget via debit card- prescriptions, gas, etc. I only use my debit card for things like gas and prescriptions. I then see exactly how much should be left. I make a goal to end the month of May with $xxxx in checking account.

        I have found it to be a GREAT system. I’d be happy to share it in additional detail, if you’re interested. let me know.

      • OP here. A, this is all wonderful advice, thanks so much. This is actually the second time my husband has been laid off and I made many of the mistakes you talk about here — as in nagging him about getting another job, telling him to do a bunch of stuff around the house when he just needed time to unwind and relax, etc. In retrospect, I feel terrible about how I acted and I want to make sure and not repeat the same mistakes.

        • Anonymous :

          Great advice so far. One more- with the cash budgeting, set aside an amount for you and him that is your own. (We each have a seperate small checking account – we put a couple hundred in a month, depending on what we have). that way, you arent second guessing each others expenditures. I can buy shoes since I bring my lunch to work. He chooses to spend his on books, and electronics. We dont argue about whether either is a “waste” and he doesnt feel like he has to run everything by me since Im the only one working.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      My SO is currently unemployed (one of the members of the lost class of 2009), so we have been living on my income. is a wonderful tool. It opened my eyes to how much I was spending on all sorts of things, including lousy sandwiches and soups for weekday lunch – now I bring my lunch every day, even if it’s boring frozen food from Trader Joe’s. Boring/lousy and cheap > lousy and expensive. We also eat at home 6 days a week. Since he’s home all day, he does all the grocery shopping and cooks every night. We eat seasonally with the farmer’s market (no blueberries in February), and have rediscovered inexpensive classics like red beans and rice – the Cooks Illustrated recipe is a real winner. It’s amazing how inexpensive and delicious beans are. We’ve cut out fancy groceries like expensive fresh fish in favor of frozen (the TJ’s frozen fish is surprisingly good) and buying more in bulk at costco (so long as the math works out).

      As for being supportive… I have to say, it is not easy. The economy is terrible, so I remind myself that it’s not my SO’s fault that he’s still unemployed. Our deal is that he has to be trying to find a job. Networking, having coffee/lunch with former colleagues, sending out resumes, doing something, every day. Certainly not all day, but I need him to make an honest, fair effort. This can be difficult as the search lengthens, but I encourage you to talk about, and insist on continued effort of some kind.

      It’s also hard to bite my tongue when I come home from a long day to dirty dishes all over the kitchen, because my first instinct is “I worked all day… how is it that you without a job were so busy that you couldn’t clean up after your meals??” It’s a fine line to avoid emasculating your partner, but not feel like you’re being taken advantage of. My SO is a progressive guy, but few men want to feel like they are Donna Reed. I strongly suggest you have a talk a few weeks after he ends work (after his “vacation”) about expectations and household chores so that you don’t get frustrated by the gap between what he does and what you think he should be doing. We still clean the bathroom and kitchen together, but daily dishes, and cooking, and errands are now his job.

      Your husband also needs a reason to get out of bed every day, something to work towards. My SO is using the time as a chance to work out a lot and train for a century ride. Whether it’s volunteer or get in shape or whatever, there needs to be a reason for him to get up and dressed, not only for his sanity but for yours, too.

      • Anonymous :

        I totally agree! Make a deal that you wont nag, if he shows and shares his honest fair effort to get other employment. This has been the hardest part for me.

    • I’m single – so as an income of one I’m always nervous about having a cushion “just in case” since if something happens to my job, it’s still up to me to pay the mortgage.

      – As pre-emptive tips go – I automatically transfer money into a savings account each time a paycheck is deposited in my account
      – Bring lunch
      – Always use your supermarket’s card (they can look up your phone number) – and if you have the time, pick out the coupons in the paper – not a big deal, and you can save $20 or more with a couple minutes (also try online – there are whole sites devoted to coupons and you can just print the ones you want)
      – Try shopping with just cash if you tend to spend more than you thought on a credit card
      – will show you the cheapest gas prices in your area
      – Rent movies or watch them on tv instead of going to the movies
      – Take a look at your credit card statement and think about each item – if there are monthly items you can cut
      – Do you really watch all those tv channels?
      – Wash clothes in cold water (better for the color)
      – Keep an eye on your thermostat – setting it a degree cooler in the winter or warmer in the summer (or leaving it off entirely) can save A LOT of money

      Good luck !

      • AnneCatherine :

        Same here. Single, one income (not a very large one, either), living in a city with one of the highest costs of living in America. It’s hard. I just don’t do or buy what other people do or buy (I don’t go out, don’t eat out, don’t buy magazines, new shoes, clothes except for a new suit once a year or so OR, if I get a code from Talbots, e.g, for 40% off sale items, then I’ll buy the $60 cardigan with 40% off and/or free shipping (yes, this site is hard to read sometimes, so tempting!! :-) ) . I also live in a city with effectively no public transportation, where a car is a necessity for what I do, but, I drive a 10-year-old car I’ve had since law school. I also remind myself that that “only $20 [junk] bracelet at Kohl’s” is really part of my light bill, and I wouldn’t want to pay $55 for it if I overdrew and had to pay a fee. I’m sooo sorry this happened to your husband and I hope he finds a job soon. Unfortunately, things are set up nowadays to where you almost need two incomes to live any kind of comfortable life, but, with a little planning ahead while he still is getting money, I think and hope you can have a “cushion.” I agree, it’s better to withdraw cash than to rely on a debit card. Make sure to actually balance your account, not rely on the Internet. It helps to see it written down, makes it less imaginary. Also, cooking at home is a big one. Good luck!

    • My best friend and her husband recently went through this, and I definitely learned a lot from listening to her vent about their experience. My advice would be first, make sure you find out exactly what unemployment benefits he’s entitled to, and file for them in a timely manner. Make sure you understand every detail of his severance package, and if they’re asking him to promise to stay on for a while (i.e. not start looking for a new job immediately) perhaps he can even negotiate better terms. Especially make sure he understands how much, if any, of the employer contributions to his 401K have vested, if he gets to keep employer contributions to an HSA or FSA, if his insurance continues during his severance or if he’ll have to use COBRA or get on yours, etc.

      Then, I would advise you to plan for the worst. I know some people who were laid off who found jobs within a few months, but others who have been looking for a year. Start trying to live on only your paycheck before his paychecks stop. If you can’t do it, figure out what the bare minimum beyond your paycheck you need (make sure you account for any extra insurance or other costs you will have once he stops working, and subtract costs that will end such as his commute costs or his lunch money). Sock the rest of his paycheck and severance away in savings. Put only the amount of your monthly budget in your checking account each month, and don’t touch the savings again until the end of the month.

      In my friend’s case, she makes a lot of money, and his unemployment presented no financial hardship at all for them. Nonetheless, being supported by his wife left him feeling emasculated and frustrated. He’s not the type of guy you’d expect to feel like that, and I think it even surprised him. So be prepared for that possibility, and perhaps have ideas for things he can do to make him feel like he is “contributing” to your relationship. My friend’s husband went back to school for a graduate degree; being a stay-at-home dad or even taking on some home repairs would be good ways for him to keep busy if he starts to feel useless.

    • Hardest tip of all: let him do his own search for a new job. It is SO tempting to get involved — and obviously be there for feedback and support if he wants it — but it’s absolutely counterproductive to try to be directly involved in that endeavor. He may do it in a different way than you would, but it’s his career, and you just have to let him handle it. I’m sorry you are having to go through this — good luck. Thank goodness you are working, too.

      • This is so true. I participate in some other blogs/message boards where the wives are sending out resumes for and making follow up calls on behalf of their unemployed husbands. I can only imagine how emasculating that must be for the men that they are married to.

        • holy crap. my own husband was out of work for a year, and the most i did was do some research on career coaches for him after it had been 10 months. i can’t IMAGINE how infantilizing that must be for the husbands. absolutely agree with the above re: not nagging and asking. particularly do not ask about “have you heard anything yet?” after phone interviews or whatever: if something positive is going on he will tell you, and having to report “no, nothing” or “i got rejected again” is just going to make him feel more like a loser.

      • I can see both sides of that one — it’s hard to watch someone you love flounder, and painful since you’re tied economically (and frustrating) – but a confidence killer for the person who needs to find the job

        • Honestly, even if it seems to you that you are totally justified in interfering (which sometimes you will be), you might as well not, because it will backfire. I have seen this in more than one of my best friends’ marriages.

      • This is so true. I did this to my husband the last time around and it got on his nerves.

    • Hi anon, sorry to hear that, I hope your husband finds a better job that he will passionatly love.
      Now on frugality: I am broke, really broke so I know a thing or two about being frugal while preserving a decent amount of social signalling.
      First thing: do not give up on your outings, instead go for a simpler choice on teh menu rather than the French specialties. Try some happy hour deals, drink less alcohol and more sodas and teh like and you will realize that you still go to the same places, see the same people but the bill is much lighter.
      Second thing: Take great care of your clothes, this is something I have just started to do. You take care of your clothes, then you can reuse them and they look new and you don’t have to buy more. You can instead spruce up with some bright accessories.

      Be picky about what you are willing to give up. I am willing to let go of expensive meats and go on a healthier diet while saving some money, but I still indulge in my premium teas because they make me feel like a million bucks.

      I hope this helps a bit.. I am still dealing with this new situation myself and so far I am very content.. not thrilled but just content enough to have a smile on my face.

      For the part of being supportive, I guess you should try not to be condescending but I really do not know how this works.

      I hope that helps a little

      • OP here. Houda, I totally agree on not giving up everything, otherwise you’ll just feel really deprived. I obviously need to cut back on some major expenses, but I’m not willing to give up on good quality produce, for example.

        • Thank goodness it’s almost time for the farmer’s markets to open! That can help a lot on the good, affordable produce front. Maybe even a $3 bouquet of fresh flowers to perk things up.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            @jcb: I never thought about it, but I guess that’s true – farmer’s markets aren’t year round everywhere. We go every week, all year, to get basics, though of course there’s a lot more variety in the spring/summer/fall. Lucky me for living in the San Francisco area.

    • Original poster here. Thank you SO much for all of the very timely advice as well as the words of support. I really appreciate it. I probably should have included more information about our current practices. I make it a point to bring lunch almost every day of the week, but I do go out for lunch from time to time to socialize with colleagues. I’m not a coffee drinker, so no Starbucks trips for me. I also cook a LOT, so we eat at home almost all evenings during the week.

      My downfall is that we eat out a lot on Friday and Saturday nights with friends at nice places, and that starts to add up. I have also got into a habit of buying nice clothes (mostly always on sale, but still) and obviously that starts to add up too.

      Our major expense at this point is our home mortgage. I’m in the very fortunate position of having no law school or undergrad debt, so at least I don’t to worry about that. Our cars are paid off too. Finally, I work in big law and earn a generous salary, so we can get by on my income for some time. No kids either (but I do want to get pregnant soon).

      All of your suggestions are excellent, and I will take them to heart. Thanks for being such a supportive and helpful bunch of women.

      • In that case, I even more strongly recommend the cash-budget-method.

        • try meeting your friends for brunch instead of dinner, way cheaper. also try inviting them over instead of going out to eat.

          • Legally Brunette :

            That’s a great idea, Martha. Forgot about how expensive alcohol can be with dinner.

    • I’m the soon-to-be laid off spouse and thanks to all for the comments. I still remember when my dad got laid off when I was a child, and it certainly affected the way I spent money once I started working–I was hesitant to spend all that I made just in case it happened to me. When I found out, we went into “lock-down” mode and cut out most extras. We’ve been trying to change the way we grocery shop. Luckily, I have until the end of May so we have a little bit of time to adjust to our new normal but it is extremely frightening. Thank you for the reminder that it is OK to keep some “luxuries”.

      As background, I’ve often been accused of having a “masculine” personality. My husband is a PhD student and does most of the housework while my job had been to provide for us financially. The impending job loss has been a HUGE blow to my ego as I based quite a lot (probably too much in retrospect) of my self-worth on this job. I know that I feel like a failure for not being able to provide like I had promised, especially since this will impact all sorts of plans my husband and I had made, as well as (possibly) his degree plans. We have accepted that even if I find something, it will certainly involve a paycut, and we expect that this paycut may be half (or more) of my current salary.

      What I want most from my husband is support, but honestly, I’m not sure what kind of support I need. Letting me know of jobs he finds that I’m qualified for IS helpful to me (I can’t look at job sites all day long and even if I did, I may miss some). However, it is a fine line before I feel like he’s judging me. There is a limit to the number of resumes that I can send out in a day and I really am trying as hard as I can to find something. Also, one of the flash points for me is when he starts pointing out the minimum salary I can accept because I feel a lot of pressure to maintain our lifestyle while he gets to hang out in grad school for a while longer. I know we can’t stop talking about the future but when he starts talking about future plans I get angry because I know it is MY job to pay for those plans and I’m not sure how that’s going to work right now. When he starts talking about those future plans, it almost makes me feel like he doesn’t realize how serious the situation is right now. I also feel jealous because he gets to do what he wants (grad school) while I have to find SOMETHING to pay the bills. And given the circumstances, I don’t have the luxury of being picky.

      Good luck to you and everyone who is going through this right now. I keep reminding myself that plenty of people I know personally who are extremely successful have gone through this at some point in their careers.

      • I’m very sorry to hear about your lay off. I can definitely understand how it is a blow to your ego. Most of us are overachieving professionals and our work often tends to define us because we spend so many of our waking hours here in the office!

        Having been laid off at one point myself, I would suggest that in addition to the normal job search activities (networking, sending off resumes, etc.), make sure you do some activities that are important to you and are NOT job related – i.e.: do you have a hobby that you would like to spend more time doing, or have you always wanted to volunteer? Are there friends you haven’t seen in a while and would like to hang out with more? Doing these types of activities is healthy for your own well being, and gives you a sense of purpose that is unrelated to your job. You really can’t spend all day doing a job search because frankly, sometimes there isn’t that much to do. Make sure you exercise and get out of the house often, even it’s only to have a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Best of luck.

      • I’m so sorry to hear about your layoff. Best of luck to you. I have a job, but my SO is a few years younger than me and makes less money than I do, so I understand a little bit about your frustrations with a spouse who wants to make expensive plans. My only solution is to encouragingly push him to apply for an MBA (which he wanted to do anyway), and let him know that I want him to shoot for high paying jobs when he finishes. There should be more discussion, not necessarily on this website but in general, about how couples like us navigate the relationship waters.
        Maybe you can suggest that your spouse gets some kind of part time work to pick up the slack. My sister and brother-in-law are both PhD students and they each teach at least one college level class per semester and occasionally give speeches for cash. Even if your hubby is able to tutor some students, that would help pick up the slack a little bit. If you start to talk to your hubby about how HE could make some money, at least he should get the picture that he should have lower expectations at least for now about future plans and his current lifestyle.

        • Thanks to A and Clerky for the advice–Clerky, the more I talk to people, the more I realize how common the layoff experience is. There’s hope in seeing that people survive and move on to bigger and better things and end up just fine. One of the things I’ve already considered is doing volunteer work if I can’t find paying employment right away. I used to volunteer a lot, but have gotten away from it while working. Also, our gym membership was paid in advance, so we can’t really cut it. Which is good–I can take some of those classes that looked interesting and fun but were scheduled while I was at work!

          Also, I realized that I made my husband look like a selfish ogre. Really he isn’t! I don’t want to give any wrong impressions–he really is a wonderful guy which is why (a) I married him and (b) have remained married to him! It is just that I’m the worrier and planner in the relationship and he’s the dreamer. Most of the time it works, but right now that dynamic is a little stressful. Plus, his parents were in fields where they were never laid off. We never went without during my dad’s layoff, but even being a kid, it affected me, despite my parents’ best efforts to protect me from the stress. He luckily never has had that experience (until now) and I had wanted to protect him from it. He’s looking at part-time jobs in addition to being a TA next fall so he’s looking at bringing in money. I think he likes to dream about future plans as part of a coping mechanism that it will get better, but it just stresses me out because I don’t know HOW it is going to get better. Again, it is the planner vs. the dreamer.

          Anyways, I guess my intent was to give the OP a view into the mind of someone going through this. I know everyone copes differently, but hopefully some insight into my mind might help her support her husband as well.

          • microentrepreneur :

            This is terrific advice for anyone facing a layoff, but I wanted to add one more thing that helped me during spells of unemployment and looking: volunteering with a professional association related to either the previous job or the hoped-for job. That kind of volunteering can provide good networking opportunities, add to a professional resume, and can also be an ego boost at a time when it’s sorely needed.

      • OP here, very sorry to hear about your job. I was laid off from my first job and it was an ego blow to some extent, but I had enough confidence in my abilities and kept reminding myself that I was smart and educated and would land something else. I would encourage you to surround yourself with positive people, whether it’s your husband or a good friend(s) or both. You really need people to be your cheerleaders and to remind you what a rockstar you are. :) I will be crossing my fingers for you and hoping for the best. Keep us posted.

    • I’ve gone through this a couple of times with my husband and other posters have covered just about everything. The only other thing I would add is that you have to be careful about your expectations of what he will do while he’s home. Our biggest fights were about things like my expecting him to take on more of the at home things while he was at home so that I could work more. This is really something you have to negotiate.
      I also found it helpful to find a trusted female friend and vent like crazy to her. It meant I didn’t get snide or sarcastic at home even when all I wanted to do was scream at him. And I could share my fears with someone without irritating my husband (who obviously already had his own fears). She acted as cheerleader (you can do this) and as a clear head (have you considered).
      The final thing is if you are both in the same industry (my husband and I are) you have to be extra careful what you say at work. My stock response of It’s unfortunate, but we have prepared for this, seemed to work well.
      My husband also told me later he appreciated that when he’d ask me “what do you think about X”, I’d tell him to “consider the offer and see what it is, ask lots of questions, but don’t feel you have to take it. Look for something that fits what you want. ” it certainly wasn’t how I felt, but a more measured response seemed to be better.

      I know you don’t have student debt, but for others who may, I would ask for the deferment sooner rather than later as it takes time to get them to agree and you can always go back to paying sooner.

  9. I have these shoes and love them. They are very comfortable and seem to me to fit true-to-size.

  10. I’d say they are about a 1/4 size large, unfortunately (not a full half size) — I have two pairs, and have to put foot or heel pads in to make the 8.5 (my regular size) fit me exactly right — otherwise, they are excellent. These are VERY soft and flexible. So if you run between sizes, definitely go to your smaller size.

  11. Love love these shoes – have them in both leather and beige patent. Overall, much more comfortable than other shoes of comparable height. Very elegant round toe (almost almond) and looks like a more expensive shoe than it is! I find they run fairly true to size. My foot runs slightly on the wide side, and they stretched out nicely.

  12. i have these shoes & I love them. I think they’re Louboutin knockoffs (and not as comfortable) but at 1/12th the price, who cares? I got a full size smaller than I normally wear. They were a little tight but they stretch (I wore them with gym socks under my desk for a day).

    • Ha! I just LOLed thinking of that image. Gym socks and high heels, very classy. :)

      I have these shoes in nude patent and I love them! (Note: I purchased my actual size and skipped the whole gym-sock situation…)

  13. 2L Student :

    Just ordered them! I hope I like them!

  14. constructlawgirl :

    If you are looking for an awesome black pump, I have these in silver and black.
    They are undeniably the most comfortable pump I have ever owned, and I highly recommend them!!

  15. I have these in five colors and love them. I take my normal size.

  16. sorry about the wide hijack…

    Just received a Spanx Braleluliah in the mail. Love the fabric and what it does for lumps and bumps in the back.

    Sadly, I am more than a 34D…it’s the cup business. Are there any brands out there that have similar types of fabric in a “tshirt” bra? Help me out, Corporettes! Every one I’ve seemed to try (even at Nordstroms) results in a muffin bra over the cups…what’s a gal to do?

    I am not perky nor firm anymore, after medical malpractice w/hormones. Long story short, they have to be covered up alot to avoid the muffin top lump.


    • It sounds like your cups are too small. This has been widely discussed here lately–get fitted. Either at Nordstrom or My Intimacy (do NOT go to Victoria Secret). Tell your fitter what your issues are and what type of bra you are looking for. If you have problems with or questions about the bra(s) that your fitter brings you, speak up.

      • do Nordstrom Rack also do bra fittings? No Nordstrom in New York yet, and I feel like My Intimacy is likely largely out of my price range, whereas Nordstrom may have a bigger price range (Nordstrom Rack is opening in Union Square in like two weeks–yay!)

        • wow the subject-verb agreement on that sentence was not working well… (It’s been a long day). DOES Nordstrom Rack also do bra fittings, not do…

          • I’m not sure if Nordstrom Rack does fittings. Intimacy is expensive, but look at it this way, how your foundations fit determines how your clothing fits. What point is there in spending a lot of money on good suits and dresses when your girls are sitting too low or you’re wearing a bra that makes it look like you have four breasts instead of two? A good bra will cost you around 60.00 to 70.00, you’d probably have to buy at least three once you’re properly fitted, initially, and they’d last about a year if you take good care of them.

            Once you know your correct size, you can always purchase from online stores such as herroom, figleave and barenecessities which are a little cheaper than the brick and mortar boutiques.

          • lawyergrrl :

            No Nordstrom in NYC, but TownShop on the UWS has been doing fittings forever. Also Bloomies.

        • Bloomingdales will do fittings. And you can also always measure yourself or have someone measure you to get an idea, then go try on bras in 5 or 6 different sizes. A fitting isn’t an exact science anyway – I wear two different bra sizes depending on the brand.

        • Another MJ :

          There’s a Nordstrom in the Westchester mall in White Plains, or Linda’s Bra Salon on Lex at about 64th (but their bras tend to the expensive side).

        • If you are in the city, I recommend La Petite Coquette. They’re very helpful with sizing.

        • If you’re not shy, and you’re in NYC, try Orchard Corset on the LES – it is a hole in the wall where a nice granny type basically eyeballs and squashes your girls, and then picks exactly the right thing for them at a non-extortionate price. It’s not fancy, and the “dressing room” isn’t much more than a shower curtain, but I got some great stuff there a few years back – and need to make a follow-up visit now that my bebe is a big girl who doesn’t nurse anymore!

          • I second orchard st. corset center! Be warned though that it is NOT for the shy, especially if the husband who runs the store is there – he will eyeball your boobs and tell you what size you are. Given that he’s a super-Orthodox Jew, it’s a little odd. But worth it. The woman (his wife) who runs it is super-nice and all their bras are half-off (they are older season styles).

    • OP here – I get fitted about every two years, but I have yet to find the tshirt bra situatuion. I buy something that feels and looks ok while standing and then when I wear it all day long, sitting at the desk and walking the halls and working in general, it is uncomfortable and then the muffin tops seem to be there. I liked the material/fabric of the spanx…so I will try again on the fittings. Seems that so much is all heavy-duty lining/padding, which just makes it more difficult….as yes, the letter after my 32 or 34 is tremendous. My DH still argues that is it that letter! We have good independent stores here for fittings and there is a Nordstroms, so I will try them both again. Texas is known for having “everything big,” so I am hopeful :)

      • Do not fear the later letters of the alphabet! Go into E, F, G, H and so on. It is a lifesaver, or rather, a boob-saver. Keep the band size tight around your ribs. Make sure the wire of the cup fully encapsulates each breast and lays flat against your sternum and beneath your pit.

        I wish I lived or visited NYC so I could go to this awesome-sounding corset place! I want my bubbies eyeballed and squashed and sized just right!

        (Generally a 32G here. Currently pregnant so the sizing is all over the place.)

    • Unbelievabra has molded cups, and different cup sizes. I bought one of the full ones, made like a camisole, and it had good support.

  17. I adore Ann Taylor pumps. I have this pair, and a similar pair in the ground pepper snakeskin pattern. Absolutely recommend them. Very comfortable and office appropriate!

  18. on the lost job thread- sorry to hear this. I’ve been through that and it was hard on our marriage, but we got through it. Just know there will be hard days and it impacts the ego/balance of power perceptions we have as a couple. Try to understand how awful he feels and be okay with him doing what he needs for himself, no matter how annoying it seems (you did nothing all day and couldn’t take out the trash?…) Networking is probably the best use of his time, but hardest when you feel deflated. Remember that he will work again- easy to forget that if it takes months. Good luck and I hope this phase passes quickly.

  19. They’re cute but that is some size heel! I love how high heels like those look, but walking in them for more than a few minutes makes me feel like I’m on the fast track to becoming a podiatrist’s retirment package (and wearing orthopedic shoes at age 40!)

  20. housecounsel :

    I love Ann Taylor clothes, but hate its shoes. Every pair I’ve ever had has had zero cushioning and been horrifically uncomfortably.

    For a great T-shirt bra, try Chantelle Senso, style no. 2701. It’s not the Bralleluia (sp?) but it smooths everything out nicely and comes in the cup sizes Victoria refuses to acknowledge. I think it fits me better than any other brand and I’m a 32 (you would be shocked at the letter).

    • Ann Taylor recently overhauled its shoe designs — they have new designers, etc . . . and the styles/quality/comfort are dramatically different than they were even a year ago.

    • I’d also recommend the Le Mystere Tisha bra 9955 (for full figures) or 955 (for average-sized figures) as a great t-shirt bra. It smooths everything out amazingly and the wide band on the full-figure bra negates any possibility of back fat.

  21. I bought my first pair ever of AT shoes a couple months ago… the heel peeled within 2 weeks (and I don’t walk that much). I returned them to the store and got another pair and the heel cracked and peeled on those in 2 weeks. I did return the 2nd pair for in-store credit, but I will never buy AT shoes again. The salespeople were awful, to boot.

    • Wow, that stinks. And what a different experience than the one I’ve had with my AT pumps. I am SO hard on my shoes, and my AT pumps seem virtually indestructable, especially for shoes that look so delicate.

      On a related topic, I just got some Cole Haan Nike Air Carma pumps (on sale at zappos), and they are awesome! I ordered 1/2 size up from my normal size.

  22. housecounsel :

    Cole Haan pumps are gorgeous and comfortable and SOOOO worth the money, and I also order a half-size up.

  23. I just ordered these shoes (I’ve been eying them at the store for a few months now) and the sale price got me.

    Just as a note…there is also free shipping if you order more than $100, so I added a few cardigans and the Promotional code applied to the entire order. I saved 50 bucks plus shipping!

  24. Have them. Love them. But can hardly walk in them. It’s my fault, not theirs.