Coffee Break – Leather Obi Waist Belt

ASOS Leather Obi Waist BeltI’m digging this leather obi belt from ASOS. You can use this to spice up your usual sheath dress or cardigan, or even to add an interesting detail under a blazer (almost like a vest, but… not.) I’d probably skip the bow and just knot it, but that’s me. The belt is $26.51-$33.14 in regular and plus sizes. Leather Obi Waist Belt



  1. Gah, why are you trying to sabotage my shopping ban, Kat? Why!?

    • I’m really diggin it in a lighter color:

  2. Anita (formerly S) :

    You’re our only hope, Obi Wan.

  3. Research, Not Law :

    I think I’d have a hard time taking a coworker seriously if they were wearing that. Leather across the midriff and a big bow? Maybe I’m just not picturing the right outfit.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      I have two obi belts from the Limited (red and black) and if you simply knot it, rather than making the full bow, it is very nice.

      • The Limited one is reversible, too. The other side is satin, which I think can soften the look a little vs. the leather. I have that one in black and really like it. I tend to tie it in a half-bow off centered.

    • My coworker is actually wearing one today and I was noticed how cute it is! She has it with a skirt/top/sweater though, not just a dress. I think a dress + obi belt only could look a little too Memoirs of a Geisha. and yes, she just knotted it casually, like you would a robe, and I think it looks fine.

  4. Migraine Sufferer :

    I love this belt! I only wish it came in brown too.

    • just Karen :

      I got a dark brown version from the Limited a year or two ago…right now they have camel and red in the same price range as the ASOS belt.

    • There are four colors on the mango site (faux leather)—leather-obi-belt/?id=66650300_81&n=1&s=nuevo&ie=1&m=&ts=1344284982311

    • Migraine Sufferer :

      Thank you both!

  5. I’m going to Paris – with a weekend trip to Brussels – for two weeks in the end of August/beginning of September. There have been plenty of Paris threads (some of which I’ve bookmarked), but I can’t remember any Brussels thread. Does anyone have any advice for a weekend in Brussels?

    (I talked it over with my friend who will be meeting me in Brussels… and we were equally blank, and then we both said “Fries.”)

    Also, I will be on my own in Paris for about two days as I return from Brussels early on the Sunday, and waiting for my sister , who’ll come late on the Monday. Does anyone have any tips to things to do solo in Paris?

    • I’ve never been to Brussels but I always enjoy the NY Times 36 Hrs in X Place columns as a jump off for ideas. Go to NY Times –> Travel –> Select Destination (Belgium: Brussels)

      For Paris alone, I would just wonder the streets, get a bit lost, drink wine and eat baguettes, go shopping at an outdoor market, wonder around the Rodin museum (unless you want to save that one for your sister) and just generally do all that Woman in Paris with Journal stuff that makes for great movie montages in Sabrina, etc.

      I am sure you will have a great time.

      • L from Oz :

        Last time I was in Brussels, it rained non-stop and we went from pub to pub via places for fries, waffles, and then fries again. Washed down by beer and/or hot chocolate.

        Fantastic, even if I didn’t want to eat again for a week. But I’m not sure how helpful that is as a tourist rec. (To be fair, we also squeezed in the comic museum. I enjoyed it, though I’m not sure I’d recommend it to everyone.)

    • Always a NYer :

      I’ve never been to Brussels but I heard it’s beautiful! Any chance you can share the links for the Paris threads? I asked one of the questions last month but wasn’t successful in finding the old ones. Thanks and have a great trip!!!

    • Frite Flagey! :

      The very best fries in the city are out of the stand at Place Flagey, and there is a great bar right by it called Cafe Belga. You can get there by the tram.
      Make sure you make it to the central Grand Place as well – off of that is the very touristy but still fun Delerium bars – one for beer and one for absinthe.

    • Definitely go chocolate tasting. I also really love Conde Nast Traveler’s website, concierge dot com. They have great destination guides too, bearing in mind that they trend toward the fancy. And, of course, Lonely Planet dot com has city guides you can buy, as pdfs or you can just go to their forums and get tips or read past threads. Bon Voyage!

    • Brussels is about food, food and more food. Just Food. Seriously, there isn’t *that* much to do compared to other European cities, but the food is ridiculous.

      But definitely wander around the super old buildings in the Grand-Place, many from the 1500s, its super touristy, but so beautiful, and the windy little streets. All the big museums are clustered together up at the Place Royale, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts is big and often has cool exhibits, and the Magritte Museum next door is kind of overkill for one artist ;o), but it is fun. Oh, and the Museum of Musical Instruments is right there, too, and is really fun.

      Other than that, if it is nice out, there are a few really beautiful parks. But as others said, Brussels is often rainy, kind of like the PNW. So, I always just eat ;o)

      Definitely find a Pain de Quotidien, they’re kind of a little coffee/lunch/cafe chain, but you can get a basket of bread & chocolate, and they bring you all the chocolate spreads, nutella, dark chocolate spread, speculoos spread, and it’s this awesome excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast or lunch ;o) . And find a good patisserie: croissants. And definitely hit up a bistro for some steak frites, mmmm…. Really, I’ve found it hard to get bad food in Brussels, so if you just check out some restaurant guides for places close to where you will be you should be good.

      Oh, there is also a HUGE antiques/flea market on the weekends in Brussels, check that out if it’s nice out and you are looking for more to do (and if you see my uncle’s booth, say hi). But honestly, I could lose two days just in the museums and wandering around the shops in the Grand-Place, and sitting in cafes with a cappuccino or a glass of wine and a book. And I always got some little boxes of truffles for presents when I got home, those are usually a hit.

      Have fun!!! Eat some bread and chocolate for me!

      • Le Pain Quotidien has locations in the US, if you don’t know, so you can get their chocolaty goodness here too.

        • oh, believe me, I do ;o) not in my town, but I go to the one on Capitol Hill everytime I’m in DC. ;o) mmmmmm…choocolate……….

    • Brussel has a beautiful castle and castle grounds. The main square with the gothic town fall facade is a beautiful to sit at and have an amazing French waffle and coffee. All the bars and restaurants are basically in the same little quarter downtown and are pretty crowded even during week days. Turn in there at night for a Leffe and have mussels with fries. The Belgians do them best. Oh well, ok, the Bretons are pretty good at them, too. There is a nice farmers market going on close there on weekday and Saturday mornings as well.

      If you find you get bored in Brussels, you can easily catch a train to Antwerp (the fashion capital and home to such infamous names as The Antwerp Six bka Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemester and Walter von Beirendonck et al) or Amsterdam.

      • Re: Mussels, it depends on when you’re going. In Belgium they tell you to only get mussels in months that have an ‘R’ in them, that’s the good mussel season. Belgians don’t eat mussels outside of mussel season. So, if you’re there in September: Totally Eat All The Mussels! August, I wouldn’t, I would go bistro and get like steak and frites or rabbit or even other seafood/shellfish.

        And like I said, if it’s your first visit, you can easily fill two days wandering around Brussels, but it’s true Bruges is awesome, and it is so close on the train. So, if you have an extra day, I would so highly recommend that. And buy a hand-made lace something while you are in Bruges, srsly, find something and buy it. It’s incredible.

    • Check out, she’s our family photographer who moved to Belgium and has been documenting places to go, trips, etc. I’m sure she’d answer any questions you have via email as well, she’s super nice.

    • The public transport system is surprisingly good and easy to navigate, and you can get a 1-, 2- or 3-day ticket for a fair price.

      Definitely go to the Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Museum), they’ve got loads of gorgeous art and the bulding itself and the light is lovely. Stand before the Fall of Icarus and recite Auden’s poem, I dare you. Also, if you are into comics and read French, the comics museum is worth a visit. he museum shop is a dangerous place though. If you like Art Noveau, visit the Horta Museum. And finally, if you think the future was better back in the old days, you’ll love the Atomium.

    • If you’re in Brussels, consider spending a day or an afternoon in Bruges. It’s beautiful and charming and only about an hour away from Brussels (by train). About ten years ago I spent a day or two just wandering around Bruges by myself, and it was absolutely one of my favorite European cities.

    • So you obviously know all about the super-fabulous food (don’t forget about the waffle carts!! Glorious!), so I won’t tell you about that. But if you’re nerdy like me, don’t forget about all the EU stuff, like the parliament building, the EU Commission, things like that. I seem to remember that you can go on a tour, but I didn’t go on the tour so I may have just made that up. There’s also a comic book museum in Brussels (which is home to Tin-Tin, by the way) that’s pretty cool if you’re into comics and the funnies. It goes through the history of the genre.

      Solo in Paris – my favorite thing to do is to walk, in almost any direction, and explore. It always seems like there’s something really cool/odd/eclectic that makes you think, “Man, you can only find this in Paris.” Those things will probably be next to the cutest and most charming bistro that happens to also serve the most awesome cafe au lait and quiche that you’ve ever tasted. And your waiter will want to practice his English that he learned recently and you’ll have an awesome conversation. So, for me, solo in Paris = go where the wind takes you. :-)

      • Belgium: also the home of the Smurfs. Original name: The Schtroumpfs.

        • Waffles, waffles, and more waffles!!!!! They taste totally differently than American Belgian waffles–it’s a yeast-based dough. There are two kinds–the square kind that looks like the American version, and Liege waffles. Personally, I thought the Liege ones were SO MUCH BETTER than the other kind. You can get some and bring them home and reheat them, and they are almost as good as on the spot. Fries are good, too. And chocolate, though if it’s hot out, you may not enjoy the chocolate as much. But because it can’t be said enough–(LIEGE) WAFFLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • omigosh, YES. Basically the fries and the waffles are the best from the street vendors, the Liege waffles are totally the better ones, that is a great point I forgot to mention. Basically eat All Of The Street Food, it’s the best. But don’t leave without eating a real Liege waffle.

    • Waffles! Brussels is amazing, I am headed there in September and can’t wait to be back in the city.

      Solo in Paris? Shopping, any museums or exhibits, just poking around the left bank.

      • La Victorienne :

        For Brussels all off said above + watch out for the weather, it could be sunny and 25°C or like today 12°C and rainy or any mix between both. Pack a good rain coat and a warm jumper. I don’t know if you like heels but most street have cobbelstones in the centre (same for Paris btw).
        You could visit museums (art, chocolate, beer, …) or some historic buildings. Under the Place Royale there are the foundations of the old 16th c castel of Charles V. It’s like a giant cave and you walk through de cellars and the original street. The entrance is at the Bellevue Museum next to the Royale Palace.
        The big shopping street are: Rue Neuve and Rue des Fripiers in the center (mainstream), Avenue Louise and Avenue de la Toison d’or (pricier with the nicer stuff), the trendy stuff are in the rue Dansaert and around.

        Bruges and Antwerp are easy to reach by train. Bruges is lovely for sightseeing and has quiete a lot of shop in touristic aeras. Antwerp = shopping, belgian fashion, sightseeing. Ghent is also a nice city with a lot to see and to do but you can only do so much in one WE.

        Paris: more shops (big stores for fashion Galeries Lafayette, Printemps), museums, walks in the streets, fine eating,… The weather should be slightly better with less rain.

        Enjoy your trip!

    • Can you skip Brussels and go on to Bruges…?

    • Paris: I would just walk where my feet take me; check for special exhibitions in the museums around that time; Sample pastries and cheeses; Ines de la Fressange’s book is a good source for more ideas. If you speak French try to get tickets for the theater. What do you like? Three days in Paris on my own is the best birthday I could wish for…

  6. Love this belt over dresses and tunics… just not at work :).

  7. I like this belt a lot! I don’t think it would look out of place, knotted, in context of a more conservative outfit, esp. under a blazer. I think there’s a tendency to overthink these things when looking at them in the abstract, whereas they don’t really jump out at you if tied into an actual (respectable) outfit.

    How’s ASOS quality? There was a very similar belt I lusted over in (I think) the Garnet Hill catalog but it was substantially more. I’ve never bought anything from ASOS…

    • I bought the ASOS “p*ssybow” blouse from last spring – for the price it’s what I expected, cute but synthetic and not terribly breathable. I’ve had it cleaned twice and it’s fared OK, but I don’t think anyone would mistake it for a more expensive piece. I’d be a little leery of “leather” statement pieces at this price point — it’s too easy to disguise the sheen (and smell, for that matter) of cheap leather in a photo online.

    • I have a belt like this that I got from Loft. It looks thinner than this one (although I can’t find a way to figure out how wide it is from the pictures/description) and is quite versatile.

  8. Can anyone suggest a good popcorn popper? I don’t like the one I have (blanking on the name right now), but I love love love popcorn for dinner.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      My friend has a whirly pop that I love love love. I learned how to make popcorn on the stovetop in a pan though, and that’s been great. It’s hard to describe how to do it, but a YouTube search might help. It takes a few tries to get the hang of it, but once you do then it’s easy and yummy. I like to try different oils to get a different taste.

    • I LOVE my whirley-pop. It’s a stovetop popper with a lid and a handle to stir the popcorn the whole time. It’s fast, easy to control, and nearly never burns. The stirring mechanism also makes it easy to season the popcorn in the pot itself (because usually if I try to toss popcorn with salt or butter when it’s already in the popcorn bowl, it makes a huge mess).

      However, I have a gas stove, and once I used it on a kind of crappy electric stove and didn’t love it as much. I think being able to have constant hot heat is important to the popcorn reaching its deliciousness potential.


      • Research, Not Law :

        Another vote for whirly-pop. I’m a popcorn fiend and adore mine. It’s ~12 years old, but looks like the one bvt linked. I’ve used it with gas and electric with good results.

    • You don’t need a popcorn popper. Just put 1/3 of a cup of popcorn kernels into a brown paper lunch bag, fold the top over two times, staple once, and put into the microwave. Microwave until the pops get less frequent. You get perfect air-popped popcorn with no gadgets cluttering your counter, and perfect microwave popcorn with no gross chemicals. You can season the kernels with oil before you pop, but you don’t have to.

      • I bought the paper bags to try this technique, but haven’t done it yet. Apparently the staples are so small they don’t react in the microwave.

        • MissJackson :

          I was just about to ask about staples in the microwave! I’ve been contemplating the whirly pop, but maybe I will try this first.

        • You don’t need to staple. Folding the top down a couple times works fine.

          Here’s the original post that inspired the internet to try making popcorn in the microwave:

      • This is an outstanding idea. Can’t wait to try it. Brown paper bags are now on the grocery list. Thank you!

    • Not an electric popper, but I use a metal bowl, covered w/ pierced foil and move it constantly over the stove burner for about 3 mins. 1/2 cup kernels + 3tbs of oil. Never burns, all kernels pop, and it’s one less appliance to store.

      • This is essentially a homemade version of the whirley pop, and does work great. I just prefer having the pre-made item, and the wooden handle makes it easier to keep the popcorn moving without accidentally burning yourself, IMO.

        • That is true, and I am prone to kitchen clumsiness. I just use hotpads or strong kitchen tongs. After I bought my ice cream maker, I have really been trying to limit appliances/single purpose items (kitchenaid, cuisinart, coffee pot, toaster, pasta roller, etc).

      • And everyone should make this: (I substitute pecans for peanuts)

    • I make the easiest, best-ever popcorn with a plain old pot on my stovetop. Just coat the bottom of the pot with vegetable oil (not olive oil, it adds a bad flavor). Then, coat the bottom with whatever seasonings you like. I prefer “Italian” or “Curry” seasonings from the spice aisle at the grocery store, but I have also used truffle salt before and it was delicious (though pricey!). Then, coat the bottom with popcorn kernels. Cover, and set on medium heat on your stovetop. Let it pop until the popping stops (no need to count). It comes out PERFECT every time, no burned kernels. I receive so many compliments on this, and everyone is shocked to see how easy it is. Enjoy!

      • No, no, no! Olive oil makes for wonderful, healthier popcorn – I find I use it now and don’t need butter – 2T. olive oil in the Whirley Pop and a .5 cup of popping corn, just add some popcorn salt and it’s delicious.

        • I mix. 50% vegetable oil to 50% butter or olive oil. Then you get the benefit of the higher smoke point of the vegetable oil along with some of the flavor of the other oil.

        • Canola oil is perfectly healthy! Olive oil is not inherently “better” than other oils, despite all the hype (really, there have been articles about this). Maybe you like the taste of it, but I think it adds too much flavor that is not typical “popcorn” flavor.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I’ve done it with sunflower oil, peanut oil, and grape seed oil before too. You need an oil with a high smoke point. I’ve wanted to try coconut oil because I’ve heard that’s what movie theaters use, but haven’t seen it at the store.

        • I’ll try with coconut oil (you can actually get it at some Targets). I guess I would need to soften it up/melt first and then use it.

        • Anonymous Poser :

          Do you have a Whole Foods or other natural foods store? Maybe an Indian grocery would have it…
          You probably already know this, but it is solid at room temperature, so if it’s pure coconut oil, it won’t be coming in a bottle. ;)

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Thanks guys! I’ll check Target, Whole Foods, and an Indian grocery store. I knew that it was solid, but I’ve been assuming it will be in the same section as the other oils. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong spot though.

        • attiredattorney :

          Trader Joe’s carries a fantastic, cheap, organic coconut oil.

  9. TCFKAG – I just wanted to let you know that my work’s net nanny software has decreed that your Tumblr is full of teh p0rnz. Whatever you decided to do with your Tumblr, you are obviously doing it right. :)

    (But seriously, where else will I go for pictures of pretty things? * shakes fist at net nanny software *)

    • Its probably the pictures of attractive olympians and Matt Bomer I insist on sharing. :-)


        Cullen Jones, amirite? And Nathan Adrian? We are getting married just as soon as I figure out how I can meet him.

        • Assuming your net nanny lets you, may I suggest this blog post?

          • OMG, how have I never looked at this blog before? The captions are hilarious. Also, I am going to miss the U.S. men’s swim team. That is all.

          • The interview with the four relay swimmers after they won the gold was seriously the most distracting thing I’ve watched in my life. My eyes just could. not. figure out where to look.

        • sweetknee :

          I LOVE Matt Bomer. I am embarrassed to say that he was the main reason I paid $ 8.50 to see ” Magic Mike”. Too bad he recently came out of the closet. . so totally destroyed my little fantasy. ( Like he would go for a 41 year old litigator with bat wing triceps !)

          • He has always been out

          • Meh. Unobtainably handsome men’s sexual orientation does not really impact my ability to crush on them. They were pretty out of “my league” anyway! :-) Let’s be honest, we’re not even playing the same sport!

        • And *I* Need Matt Bomer!! ;o)

        • As long as we’re sharing Olympics crushes, Nick Symmonds is my boo.

    • BTW y’all. Sumbit more questions. Its fun. :-)

  10. Would love to wear this belt. But I believe one needs a waist to do that. Just got my first Skirt from the NAS today. Thought I would give it a try since the redesign sounded like it might actually work for my body. It fits in the waist but is way too big in the hips. Different skirt, same story. If the item of clothing fits my waist, it is inevitably too big in the hips. And if it fits my hips, then it will be too tight in the waist. Oh I was so hoping that the Skirt would work for me…

    • Totally agree that to wear this, one would need a waist. Also, one would need to live in a climate where wearing a wide leather belt would not cause you to collapse in a sweaty heap.

    • Honey Pillows :

      I dunno, I have trouble with wide belts precisely because my waist is so much smaller than my hips. Obi-style belts end up folding in on themselves. I’m pretty short-waisted, though.

      • I have a feeling it would work best on someone long waisted with a more defined waist.

    • Jcrew No. 2 pencil skirts. the waist and hips are basically the same size.

      • I will be checking out the Jcrew No. 2…

      • MissJackson :

        I was going to suggest the same. I’m in the same boat w/r/t hip and waist proportion, and J. Crew pencil skirts are the only thing that I’ve found that fit properly without alteration. Note: wait for a sale, they happen relatively frequently.

    • You dont need a waist if you wear it under a longer blazer or cardi. I Think it would acutually create the illusion of a waist worn that way.

      • Definitely — I have a very boyish figure, and find that a belt worn under blazer/sweater does make me look curvier.

    • Anonymous Poser :

      I would love to be able to wear this belt, too. I can’t tell you what it is about my body that makes it not work, but from the side, I end up looking like a segmented worm (which might be redundant) when I wear an obi belt.

  11. Would love some vacation destination ideas for a 10 day vacation in early October. I will be 5 months pregnant at the time, and would like to travel on a plane no more than 7 hours each way (I’m on the east coast). I’d love a combination of beach/sightseeing, and would like to stay away from any place where there is an abundance of smoking (this is what worries me about traveling to parts of Europe). My husband and I love history, good food, and warm(er) weather. This will be our last vacation before the baby arrives, so I’d like to make it count. In Europe, we have already been to Spain, Italy, France, Turkey, and Greece. In the Carribean, we’ve been to Aruba. Thanks!

    • Merabella :

      I don’t know if you could go for 10 days, but Charleston would still be warm have beach spots and has a great history. Also great food.

      My other suggestion would be Key West.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        While I love Charleston, I’m not sure it counts as warm enough for beach weather in early October. It can be, but on the other hand, it could be highs in the low 70s, which means the water is colder (I guess this depends on your cold tolerance-that’s too cold for me to get in the ocean). Though really, you could spend 10 days just eating in Charleston.

    • Motoko Kusanagi :

      The flights are more like 10-11 hours from the east coast, but if you’re up for it, how about Israel?

    • What about the Yucatan (assuming Ernesto doesn’t do too much damage)? I went for a week last year (drove around- the roads are safe and the drivers IMHO were very courteous) and felt like I could have easily gone for 10 days. There are nice colonial cities like Merida, ruins, beaches- pretty much everything you’re looking for. The only downside is that you may still have a chance of a hurricane.

    • Puerto Rico. With 10 days, you could spend a few days in San Juan (multiple forts of historical interest), and then I would go out to Vieques or Culebra for beach. You could also go to El Yunque National Forest and out to the west, where there are supposed to be nice caves, but we haven’t made it there yet. If you end up staying on the east coast, I recommend the Ceiba Country Inn for a night or two–we had some good food around Fajardo, and you could take a ferry to Vieques afterwards.

      • while normally I would wholeheartedly second the Vieques recommendation, lots of restaurants there close down September-November and reopen for the holidays. Beautiful, though!

      • I went to the Caribbean at precisely this time of year last fall and many restaurants, rental places (for bikes, mopeds, etc) and shops were not open their regular hours, if at all.

    • Have you been to Cyprus? Or Morocco?

    • Anne Shirley :

      Ireland, London, Vancouver and Rockies, yellowstone, Scandinavia.

    • Maybe Lisbon, Portugal and the Algarve? I went to Lisbon a couple of years ago a bit later than that in October and it was lovely… fabulous art museum (maybe called the Galbenkian?) and some nice shopping and historical monuments (a castle at the top of a hill (there’s a trolley up) and a large monastery). Great food! Much cheaper than other parts of Europe. I don’t remember if there was a ton of smoking, though, so I’m not sure if that would be an issue. The Algarve is supposed to have fabulous beaches and also some pretty historical towns. Might be worth looking into… congrats on your pregnancy!

  12. e_pontellier :

    So, ladies, I’m down in the dumps. Rising 2L here.
    I knew my chances of getting interviews at OCI were slim (Law Review and 2 yrs’ paralegal experience but 3.2 GPA) but now it’s official: no OCI interviews for this girl. All I’ve wanted for the last 5+ yrs is to work at a big firm. I knew law school was a risky financial investment so when I was offered a 75% scholarship, I figured that would really help me pursue my dream. Now I just feel stupid. I’m trying to keep my chin up, network my a$$ off, and get those grades up, but I really feel like I won’t be able to find a firm where I’ll be happy. Sorry to be a downer on such a cute belt thread.

    • Don’t feel stupid. You are in tremendously good company, and there is no way 90% law students (everybody who isn’t going to BigLaw) are all just idiots. The market sucks, and many law firms are, unfortunately, grade snobs. You took a risk on law school, but it sounds like you are doing it in a relatively economic and prudent way (I really hope your 75% scholarship didn’t vanish). You did your best, and you will be a lawyer, and although a BigLaw career may be out of the picture, there is no reason for you to believe you won’t find yourself very happy elsewhere, and be glad you were forced to explore other options. This board and MANY others are riddled with people who always wanted to work at a big firm, got there, and then got chewed up and spit out. You’re just skipping that step. :)

      Internet hugs and sympathy going your way. It’s a bummer and a disappointment even if there is a silver lining in your future, and that sucks.

    • BigLaw is not the only, or even the best, option. It’s so hard this time of year. OCI (and the following call-back weeks) are brutal. Classmates will stupidly chatter before class about “oh, this is my fifth trip to New York — I mean, I already got the offer from Skadden so can’t I just say no to all the other callbacks?” It’s rough. And, yes, the money in BigLaw is great and the summer associate gigs are pretty sweet. Okay. But you have a 75% scholarship so you don’t *need* the $160k starting salary. And the work itself at BigLaw can be mindbendingly awful. What do you want to do? In terms of the work, not the place. Do you want to try cases? Do you want to close deals? Do you want to advise the high and mighty on the intricacies of tax law? You will do almost none of this in the 3-5 years the typical associate spends in BigLaw. Get the hands-on, in the trenches experience someplace else. Government is a great option. So are cash-strapped non-profits. The pay will be lousy. The hours may be as bad as BigLaw. You will have no support staff and no shiny office building. BUT you will get amazing experience. And then, in five years, if you still have your heart set on BigLaw, you suddenly have something all those people who got jobs through OCI don’t have — hands-on experience. Find the right firm, and they will snap you up. (Okay, if your school is not in the top 15 at least, you might have to get further into your career. More like 15 years and come on board as a partner. But you can still do it.) You’ll have to work harder, but the opportunities are still out there.

      • Also work on those grades. I know it’s not easy. I often felt like my grades were completely random and unrelated to my actual understanding of the material, but do whatever you have to do to get them up. 3.2 is decent, but now is not the time for decent.

        • e_pontellier :

          I completely agree that I need to improve my grades. I did 1L working full time, taking evening classes, got married in the fall, got 5 stitches the day of one of my finals (which I still took), and have now quit my day job, so that should help.

      • Amelia Bedelia :

        This is good advice. If you spend three years at a niche nonprofit or govt specialty, you will be attractive to big law. Just find a specialty like exempt orgs / tax / securities and pit a few years in the trenches. My big law shop just hired a fifth year from chief counsel (IRS) that we would have never hired straight out of law school. She had the perfect area at the IRS though.

    • Why is working at a bigfirm your dream?

      you are not stupid! Most lawyers dont end up at biglaw

    • anon atty :

      Although finding a BigLaw job is certainly harder than it used to be, all hope is not lost. if that is what you really want to do, find a less traditional way to get there. it will take longer, but it is not impossible. i didnt get my big law job until after i clerked for 3 years — in state court. Eventually, i was in the right place at the right time at a networking/alumni event in a different city, and long story short, i got a job. then you have to make sure you make it count.

      • This! I was no-offered by a big firm in the summer of 2009 and thought my career had suffered permanent damage. Three years later, after two years of clerking in state court, I accepted an offer from a a different big firm, in a different city, from which I had turned down a summer associate offer in 2008. I still think you should be open to non-big law possibilities, but I agree with anon atty that if Biglaw is what you really want, there are non-traditional ways to get there — though you will have to stay on top of your networking to go this route.

    • OCI is rough on everyone, even people with mind-blowing credentials. Just remind yourself that you are not what is on your resume; you are more than your GPA and your journal and your cover letter and your interview suit. I thought that OCI was a little bit like sorority rush (go ahead and judge). If you think its for you, you give it your all. In the end most people feel bad about themselves. If you were true to yourself, you might not end up where you thought you would be, but it can still be in a good place. If you were true to yourself and you don’t end up anywhere, then nowhere was a good fit (either way). If you weren’t true to yourself, you may end up in the place you thought you wanted to be, only to find that to fit in you have to be someone you’re not and that you don’t want to be.

      It sounds like you’re doing well. Keep working hard and putting yourself out there, and you’ll find a job with a great fit, though maybe in an unexpected way. Just don’t give up and remember that OCI doesn’t define you.

    • I don’t know if this still works in this economy, but when I was in law school, students who didn’t get OCI interviews would still hang around outside the interview rooms, and if someone missed an interview, or if the interviewer was willing to stay late (and many did), then you could get a quick 5 minutes or even just hand them a resume, and maybe get a lead that way.

      Not that you need to, as others have said — Big Law isn’t the only option!

    • I’m sorry you’re disappointed – hugs. Are there mid-sized firms doing OCI? You should get in touch with your Career Services team asap, and ask them for their help in targeting firms who are not coming to campus, and also if there’s anything that can be done to salvage OCI.

      • Sorry, I should clarify – when I say “salvage OCI” I’m not trying to imply that it will be a waste of time if you don’t have any Biglaw interviews (I don’t think it will be at all). It’s just that you sound so disappointed without them.

      • Yeah, the mid-size firms did a sort of “second round” OCI at my school. A little lower pay, a little less shiny, but also a little less hours and awfulness of lifestyle. And they were still pretty nice gigs. In the end, my pals who went with these firms are much happier (and more likely to still be at the same desk) than the ones who flew the biglaw jet.

    • I graduated a while back, but I am a testament to that strange path careers take. My summers in law school were spent with law school clinics/legal aid/tiny firm jobs. Moved back home to take the bar in my home state and didn’t get a job until that August with a state court clerkship. Spent several years in small shops post-clerkship, one of those small firms merged into BigLaw, spent a couple of years in BigLaw, then left for a much smaller place after I got some great experience. Point being, you can find where you are happy and there are multiple paths to where that place is.

    • There are other ways to find great jobs or transition into biglaw. Let’s face it, most people don’t really enjoy those first few years, so there may be some benefit to taking the long route to biglaw- either by doing a clerkship, starting out in a smaller firm that may offer hands on experience more quickly, government/non-profit work, etc. I had a coworker who had the most amazing job (in-house for a multinational corporation). He graduated from an evening program at a third-tier school and was able to get the job by being in the right place at the right time. The reality is that you can still have a great career even if you don’t get OCI interviews, but you’ll just have to work harder for it.

      What you can do now is work on that GPA. My GPA was significantly higher in 2L/3L than it was in 1L, as was my class rank. Apply to clerkships in 3L, as it sounds like you are in a good position to have a shot at appellate level state clerkships. Many federal judges these days don’t hire clerks right out of law school. Lots will hire mid-year and will look for people who already have clerkship experience or who are a few years out of law school. Also look into opportunities like the federal honors programs. For a while many agencies weren’t hiring, but it seems like most agencies have restarted their honors programs.

    • I know law school doesn’t tell you this, but there are other ways to BigLaw. Yeah, OCI is the major one. But otherwise, network your butt off. There are big firms that aren’t even doing OCI, or doing a very limited version, so it’s not like you had every opportunity to get an interview anyway. Keep your options open and research.

    • e_pontellier :

      Thanks everyone. I’ll work on the grades and networking, and try to find some other career paths. I really appreciate all the support!!

  13. Anon in NoVA :

    TJ: I met a recruiter at an alumni event and we corresponded via email several times following the event. The purpose of our emails were to get her my resume and also to just casually converse about where we went to school, how we might have crossed paths, etc. At the time, she was not hiring for positions I was a fit for (or interested in) so she said she would pass it along to her colleagues who were.

    I just saw on LinkedIn that she is hiring for a position I am very interested in (and differs from what we discussed at and following the event). The job listing on LinkedIn says to send a resume and only provides a place to upload a resume, not a cover letter. I have her direct email and would like to use the already existing email chain to let her know I would like to throw my hat into the ring for this position; however, I am not sure how to approach it. Something like this ?? Hi Jane, I saw that you have posted XYZ position. I am very interested blah blah please find my cover letter and resume attached. ??

    I feel weird about sending a cover letter doing the usual gush about how great I am for this position when she and I have discussed what I have been doing the last four years and she already has met me and talked to/emailed with me somewhat casually. But I am aware that I could be completely written off if I do not put a cover letter together. What is the best approach? HELP!

    • e_pontellier :

      FWIW, I’ve been told that a short, concise email (especially to someone who already knows you in some capacity) with a cover letter attached (for them to print, as a complete application) is the best of both worlds.

      • I’d do a cover letter and treat it like applying for any other job. “Hi Jane, I saw this job on LinkedIn and I’m interested in the position. I uploaded my resume and have attached my cover letter to this e-mail.” Keep the e-mail short; 2-3 sentences. Good luck!

      • That’s right. Never let the email substitute for a real cover letter. Besides, your resume says what you’ve been doing. The cover letter should say why you’d be great for the particular position, pointing out the particulars.

  14. Whenever I’m engaged in conversation with someone important while walking into my office building, I forget to show my ID and the security people have to stop me. I guess concentrating on putting together words in a coherent fashion and not tripping over myself are better uses of my brain power, but it’s so embarassing having to be reminded to show my ID. Gah.

    • eastbaybanker :

      I made a similar mistake today. I tried to have a conversation with someone important and simultaneously dial into a conference call I was leading. Too much for this monotasker to handle, apparently.

    • Score another one for the multitasking myth.

    • How is this at all embarrassing? You must be really really self-conscious, and in this case, it is unwarranted. This is a minor lapse and not at all a big deal. Don’t sweat it! I can assure you that 99% of those you would be talking to didn’t even notice this occurred.

  15. Anonymous :

    Question for the tech savvy ‘rettes…

    I use MS Outlook 2003 for my email at work. I have noticed that occasionally, the fields by which I can sort my emails (e.g., to, from, subject, etc.) will randomly change. For example, I went into my sent mail folder earlier this afternoon, and instead of “to,” everything included the “from” column – not useful, since all the messages are from me! Various sub-folders, both in my inbox and sent messages, have done this. Any idea why and how to make it stop???


    • Yeah it means you clicked the sort by tabs up at the top. Just click what you want to sort by (I’m guessing date, so click “sent” or if its who they are to, click to

  16. you guise, after working (a long miserable day) on Sunday, I was Two Seconds away from wearing yoga pants to work today… Two Seconds…. le sigh

    Also, i wish i had more time to hang out here right now, but I am leaving on vacation on Wed, so I am super crazy slammed with work that has to happen before I leave, this is why I sometimes hate vacations. :o( … so if I’m not around for a couple days, I’ll make up for it by being all up in your faces during my vacation!!! ;o)

    • I was operating all day today; so I wore my jeans in to work (since no one will see them). And since I’m preg, it’s like I’m wearing yoga pants. I LOVE maternity jeans.

      And we’re going to Yosemite this weekend, and I’m so excited, it’s like a mini vacation!

      • SoCalAtty :

        Yosemite! My favorite place ever! If you can, try and get a reservation for the Ahwahnee Sunday brunch. It is amazing. A close second to the Ahwahnee dining room is the Mountain Room over near Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. Very good food. Check on the Yosemite website for reservations, because it is still summer/peak season there and you might need them.

      • ooo, Yosemite! Have Fun!
        I’m just going to be exiled to mid-Atlantic suburban wasteland to see my parents…

        • heeeeeeeeeeeeey, watch it! Which wasteland?

          • awww, I’m sorry, no offense or generalizing of all suburbs intended! It’s just my parents’ particular suburban neighborhood, and the fact that when I’m visiting I don’t have access to a car, and it is literally impossible to walk anywhere, if there was anything besides strip malls to walk to, so I feel very trapped there. ;oP

          • haha – no offense taken. :) I only asked where to see if you’re close to my wasteland!

          • OOoohhh!!! I see! :o) lovely NOVA, to be exact. I hope the weather stays reasonable in the 703, i just can’t take the heat waves coming from northern CA.

          • let me know if you want to meet up :D I’m in NoVA, too.

          • omigosh, really?! you wanna meet up with little ol’ me? ;o) I would love that if we can work it out, like i said i am probably stuck without a car, but I would love to meet you, eek!… Email me at zoradances at the gmail and let’s try to figure something out.

            Same goes for anyone else in NoVA who might want to join us, i’m there this week and next. Wow, i love this community!

    • I know that feeling exactly, and this is why I own ponte pants. They look reasonably business casual, but feel like yoga pants for those days when I just don’t wanna.

    • Try the Sierra Sky Ranch when you leave the park… Super cool little place, off the beaten track, AMAZING prime rib!!

  17. recent grad :

    Finance-Related Threadjack – For my 4 year old nephew’s birthday I’d like to open a savings account for him. He has way too much “stuff” and I think it would be nice for him to have some extra money when he goes to college. Can any of the ‘rettes suggest a good savings account or something that would be good for this situation? TIA.

    • Do his parents have something that you can just contribute to? My DH and I contribute to an existing Vanguard account for his nephews (that their parents set up for them).

      • Research, Not Law :

        I was thinking this, too. We have something already set up for our kids where we put monetary gifts.

        If they don’t, won’t, or you otherwise don’t trust them with the money, then I’d do treasury bonds. Their state may also have a college investment plan. I’m blanking on the official name of these.

        • My DH’s uncle gave him bonds every year when DH was a kid. They were all timed to pay out while DH was in college. We were dating at the time, and I can tell you it was very helpful for him to have extra cash every few months. On the other hand, he spent the extra money, mostly on upgrading from PB&J and Ramen to real food, and it was the birthday money from his grandfather that had been invested in mutual funds that helped us buy our first house. (And, having typed this, I’m reminded how fortunate he is to have had such wise and generous relatives.)

          So, help your nephew out however you wish. Whatever you choose, I’m sure it will be appreciated in the future.

        • Savings bonds are safe, but from what I’m seeing right now, the interest rates are barely (if at all) keeping pace with inflation. The old wisdom that they are a good long-term investment might be going outdated. Just something to think on. For my 2 cents, a 529 plan is the way to go. Each state has its one plan or plans, and many states offer state income tax exemptions for money that goes in. If your state’s plans are no good or the tax incentives aren’t attractive, you can always use another state’s. I’ve heard Virginia’s are considered quite good.

    • We have an account for our son with our state’s 529 program. If your nephew doesn’t have one yet (assuming your state has a program) you can open it and other famiy members also can contribute. I’ve done it all online for years.

      But get the kid a small book or something, too — a 4-year-old will not get excited about a college account to give you the hug you deserve.

    • My mom gives my kids good old fashioned savings bonds. The kids dont get too excited about those, so she also includes a number of new one dollar bills equal to their age. This year my son talked for weeks ahead of his birthday about what he was going to do with his NINE dollars. The idea is, the bond is for saving. The dollars are for right now.

      • That is such a great idea! I might try that for nieces and nephews.

      • My grandparents did that for us too on birthdays and Christmas. Those bonds meant I managed to avoid taking out any private loans to pay for law school.

  18. CleveAnon :

    Ladies, I know it’s late in the day, but I could really use some advice.

    I have an internal interview scheduled on Wednesday for a job I’d really like to get and stand a pretty decent shot of getting. One of the interviewers is my current direct supervisor. I’m prepped for the interview, my suit is pressed, I’m ready to nail it.

    My grandfather died this afternoon, and in order to take time off for the wake later this week I’ll need to clear it with my supervisor. This leaves me in kind of a quandry. Do I:

    a) Put in for the time off tomorrow morning, running the risk of the interview being skewed in her eyes because of my grief?
    b) Put in for the time off after the interview, running the risk of inconveniencing her with a shorter lead time and irritating her with non-disclosure of this event?

    • I’m so sorry for your loss.

      I think you should tell her sooner rather than later. I don’t think she will judge you more harshly in your interview because you are grieving, or that it would hurt you in any way (unless you truly are grieving to the point that you feel like it really would affect your interview performance – and in that case, it’s probably better that she know why you are uncharacteristically out of sorts, and best if you could reschedule the interview). During the interview she will have had immediate evidence that even in extenuating circumstances, you are as responsible and considerate of others as possible. If you phrase it as “I just found out, and I wanted to let you know as soon as possible,” etc., I don’t think this could work against you.

      If you wait to tell her after the interview, you will possibly be inconveniencing her at exactly the time she is reflecting on the interview and making the hiring decision. I don’t really see any upsides to this option.

      Good luck.

  19. Migraine Sufferer :

    Any one ever use nutrisystem?

    • Wannabe Runner :

      One of my friends did it. She lost like 20+ lbs. But put it all right back on after Nutrisystem.

      Fad/crash/short-term diets just don’t work.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I did. It just wasn’t worth it for me. Too expensive and you still have to buy fruits, milk, and veggies on top of it. I also didn’t lose any significant weight.

    • My sister and her husband did it. I think it worked, but they didn’t keep up with it. The food looked so gross – mostly dehydrated stuff.

      • Sweetknee :

        I have tried them all. To me, weight watchers works best. If you are going to go the “prepared food” route, go with Jenny Craig. Much better food.

  20. Hey ladies,

    Has anyone had any good or bad experiences with Tinley Road? I have just recently discovered them but gosh, their stuff is cute, affordable and looks perfect for my lifestyle. Would love to hear how quality, fit, etc. is.


    • I bought one (link to follow). I’ve worn it to work a few times. It’s a cute style and I’ve gotten a compliment every time I wear it. That said, it is tight in weird places (sort of…around the ribcage?) and it wrinkles so easily. Even when its freshly pressed in the morning it looks pretty terrible by noon. I think I paid less than $50 for it. For that price, I’m satisfied but I’m glad I didn’t pay more.


    • I just bought a dress from that brand, and earlier in the summer I bought a top which I have worn multiple times and washed a couple times already. No complaints, love it.

  21. For the Kate Middleton Fans :

    Thought TCFKAG and others would appreciate this:

    I guess I don’t understand why she needs an ID at all? And it’s hilarious that it just says HRH Duchess of Cambridge.

    – Bluejay

  22. This is like a FANNY PACK!!! FOOEY! Why would I wear something that calls attention to my TUCHUS???? I do NOT Wang to call attion to my tuchus.

    If I wore this the Manageing partner would take this as a license to look at my tuchus. Besides he will not reimburs me for the 20% for this so DOUBEL FOOEY! Even if I wanted it which I do NOT thank you very much!!!!

  23. Thanks to Kat’s post on cleaning (and DH being out of town) I just started the first step in the fly lady system. Shined the sink! She’s right I do feel like I’ve accomplished something.

    Now for the TJ…

    What vacuum do you think is the best for getting up pet hair/my long fast shedding hair?

    • Dyson, no question asked. My Dyson Pet is very old, was secondhand when I got it and works wonders on my dogs’ and child’s hair.

  24. I would pair this with a textured white dress that has a coral stripe down the front.

    … and then I’d run around yelling “Sushiiiiiiii!”

  25. I totally have this belt, except in blue (here it is in action:

    I’m still figuring out ways to wear it, but it seems to work well with a more neutral dress. It adds a spot of visual interest.

    One thing to watch out for, at least in the color I bought: the leather dye will rub off on your clothes (the label even warns of this).

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