Workwear Hall of Fame: Jeanne Wrap Dress

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

DvF Jeanne Two Printed Wrap DressI’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: when you see a DvF dress marked down to $140, that is the time to seriously consider buying… and Last Call has a number of DvF dresses, marked down to $119-$209.  The blue petal print is pretty here, I think, but not overly floral, and the Jeanne dress is a Hall of Fame workwear piece for a reason — it’s a classic. The pictured dress was originally $398, but is now marked to $140, and available in most sizes. New Jeanne Two Printed Wrap Dress, Lace Petals

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





  1. Anonymous :

    Wow I know this is DvF but it’s ugly. Just my personal taste. Question – I need a lipstick for my wedding day. What specific brand / product would you recommend that will look great but require minimal or at least quick and easy touch ups? Price not an object. Thanks!

    • I used a Revlon ‘just bitten’ stick on my wedding day. I’m not normally a lipstick person as it dries out my lips so I loved that these were more of a stain than a lipstick. I didn’t reapply once all night and it looked great.

      • I love those Just Bitten stains. I’ll use that and put a clear or slightly tinted gloss on over the stain and it lasts for hours.

    • Bobbi brown creamy matte range. Apply and blot twice. Make sure you have a lip balm layer beneath.

      • Bobbi Brown creamy matte. It’s the best. Go to any store that carries it, try on the shades, find out what fits best for you.

    • Agree, not a fan of this pattern. The Jeanne already reads as dated to me with the collar, but the print makes it full 70s. Sometimes there’s a reason this stuff hits sale en masse.

    • Thank you all! Very helpful

    • lawsuited :

      Consider the MAC Patent Polish Lip Pencil. It’s actually a crayon so very easy to apply, and is beautifully glossy but surprisingly long-wearing. Depending on your skin tone, you might like some of the less out-there colours like Innocent, Kittenish, Patentpink or Ruby for your wedding day.

  2. DVF -- ocean print :

    There are a lot of items in this print on the Last Call site. I love it — light blue / maybe a hint of burgundy. It is wrong that I think “this would be perfet for a Pi Phi” still? And that’s my only hesitation — my sorority had different colors.

    • You are not alone – I can never wear Wine & Silver Blue again.

      • DVF -- ocean print :

        I forgot! A sorority doesn’t just have colors, it has Specifically Named Colors.

        Blush and Bashful

    • Anonymous :

      Yes. That is wrong. Break the ridiculously coordinated chains.

    • Yay! I love DVF! Great pick! And she is MARRIED to Diller for along time. I hope I am her in 50 years!!!

      Myrna’s friend whose a schlub automaticly thought I’d service him because he’s an I-banker. I said I would ever do that, nor would I let him touch my boobies! FOOEY on schlubs like him. He was gross!

      • SuziStockbroker :

        I LOL’d. But you are not wrong about these guys.

      • But she wants a rich guy that will make enough money that she can stay home and give up work, even though she likes it and is good at it (see discussions elsewhere on Is Ellen A Feminist?).

        So, although your advice is true, I doubt Ellen has the same priorities and motivations that we do. Actions speak louder than words – Ellen SAYS IN ALL CAPS THE KIND OF GUY SHE WANTS – but then she goes after the same old, same old.

        Poor imaginary inspired-from-true-life Ellen. You can do better.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      LOL! You’re not wrong. I don’t wear Red. Or Crimson. Or whatever they call it, ha.

    • My mom’s a Zeta (circa like…the 1960s) and she still makes sure to let me know every time I accidentally wear Turquoise Blue and Steel Gray in front her.

    • Ha, only wearing our colors and avoiding other house’s combos was definitely not a thing in my sorority. But maybe that’s because we were brown and light brown (excuse me, “mode”–which I don’t miss trying to sell to PNMs as “it looks really cute with pink!”)

    • Senior Attorney :

      So funny you should mention this. I was noodling around the internet the other day and somehow found myself at the Greek Chat forums reading threads about rush, in particular rush in the SEC. Oh. My. Gawd. So much craziness…

      • Greek Chat is so insane – I never would have survived SEC rush. Sorority life at my school was very laid back, though, and an overall positive experience for me.

        • Anonymous :

          OMG I could read those for hours.

          I was greek at a nerdy state school (so: smart football team that isn’t on TV), so my rush was very laid-back (I was from the northeast and new no one in a sorority ever, packed mainly play clothes for undergrad, and did not know about recommendations from alumni). Our school was ~50% greek, but not a big deal if you were in a house or not or our house or not (e.g., all of the girls who lived in sorority court would smoke on our porch if we were out smoking).

          For my daughters though (and stepson), our current state is very ACC/SEC heavy and I wonder what this will mean for them. I’d like them to look at any rate.

    • Wildkitten :

      Yes! I can’t wear other houses’s symbols, even if like, anchors are really cute and all the rage one season.

      • I can do stars (Theta) or a fleur-de-lis (Kappa, but also: NOLA, Saints, things that are French) as long as it isn’t blue. Anchors (DG) only OK if on swimwear / something for summer. Owl (Chi O) is too generic, as is the arrow (Pi Phi). Don’t like lyres (Alpha Chi). Cannot remember anyone else’s symbol. But a quatrefoil will 100% forever be for Phi Mu. :) And I have the Lilly scarf to prove it.

  3. Does anybody know of a sleep tracker type app that is good? I have heard there is something that you can download and then put your phone under your pillow and it tells you how much sleep and how much good sleep you’re actually getting?

    I’m “asleep” for enough hours, but I wake up tired every morning.

    • Have you talked with your doctor? Maybe you have sleep apnea or another sleep related problem that causes interrupted sleep? Sometimes a sleep study is needed.

      Are you taking any medicines that might be making you tired?

      May also be time for a good physical exam, checking your thyroid, B12, hematocrit etc… if you haven’t had it done in awhile.

      I knew someone who was using one of the fitbit type trackers that would also monitor sleep patterns. I’ll try to find out which one… But those can’t do much more than just monitor movements. You really need to be hooked up to an EEG to know what is really going on with your sleep.

    • I use Sleep Cycle – it also has a smart alarm built in, so it’ll start at a certain level based on my REM sleep stage about 30 minutes before I actually need to be up. Of course, it doesn’t account for the fact that my cats have learned that when the alarm goes off, it’s breakfast time, so snoozing those extra minutes doesn’t actually happen…

    • The App is probably Sleep Cycle. I use it and it does a good job tracking. I do sleep alone + cat (husband snores in another room) so that may factor into the tracking mechanism.

    • I had the same issue as you w/r/t being asleep for enough hours, but always waking up feeling tired. I tried Sleep Cycle and did not really find it useful. Basically, it had me in solid “good” sleep the entire night. It didn’t even detect all of my bathroom breaks. Frequently, I would sleep-hurl the phone off the bed and the report the next morning would just show a steady bar of good sleep followed by an immediate change to “awake.” No bumps to indicate the fitful sleep that caused me to throw the phone in the first place (it was in the center of a queen, so I know it didn’t just slide off).

      I was also really annoyed at the alarm function always waking me up a half hour earlier than I needed to be up, and I didn’t feel any more rested from it supposedly waking me in the “proper” part of my cycle.

      I think the app is something like $3 so it’s still worth giving it a shot, but I just say all of this because if you try it and the app tells you you’re sleeping great, don’t get frustrated that you’re imagining your fatigue. The app just may not be working for you, and you might need to explore other options with your doctor.

      • THanks – this is exactly my thought. I will see how it goes and go to a doctor afterwards if it doesn’t answer my question. I just want to try this first.

    • christineispink :

      this is more than just an app – but i love my misfit shine so much. i wear it on my wrist all the time and it syncs up with an app on my phone to show me how much i’ve moved and my sleep patterns. not sure how the tech works but it’s incredibly accurate (at least compared to how i feel) regarding my deep and light sleep and it always tracks as “awake” my random bathroom trips in the middle of the night. i’ve use the historical data to start sleeping more (went from 4-5 hours to 6-7 hours) and it’s definitely made a difference in how i feel.

  4. I think DVF dresses look good on straight figures. I am curvy though not fat and they just made me look awful. Long sleeves made me look matronly. You need a figure like the duchess of C to look good in dvf.

    • I’m very curvy and I love them! You do have to have a waist – I’m very hourglass.

    • I am not built like the DofC (except when I was 12), but I am still moderately leggy. I think DVF works for leggy, but I can’t fill up a wrap, so it’s Team Reina for me.

    • Nah, I’m definitely more curvy these days than the Duchess of C and I still love my DvF wrap. I think it has more to do with hip:waist ratio.

    • Agreeing with the above responses. I’m a hella hourglassy 10/12/14 depending on brand with over a foot difference between hips and waist, and I get the most compliments in my DvF wraps (including the featured one here). The taller half loves them, and they’re super comfy.

    • I think wrap dresses look great on curvy types. I’m curvy and they emphasize my waist. That being said, I’ve been really disappointed with DVF lately. She stopped lining her sheath dresses and the jersey in wrap dresses seems much thinner and less forgiving. Of course, the prices have stayed the same.

      • Yeah, I bought a new wrap dress that doesn’t seem nearly as high quality as the one I bought just a few years ago.

  5. Naked Manicure :

    Thanks to those of you who recommended Zoya’s Naked Manicure last week in the bare nails discussion. I bought the starter kit along with the shiny top coat (separately) and used it for the first time last night. My nails look natural but better. I can see how using the kit alone (without the shiny top coat) would make your nails look and feel like you are not wearing nail polish. I’ll be curious to see if helps improve my nails with time like it claims because I have some splitting and ridges, although taking biotin has helped with splitting.

  6. Boy this has been quite a morning for me. Two job rejections and it is only 10 am! Anyone else having a crappy day?

    • I’m having a really crappy summer that just keeps getting worse at an alarming pace, if that makes you feel any better.

    • Glad to hear there’s a few folks like me on this site – not currently overachieving on the career end :)
      Good luck, friend.

      • OMG, me too. I have applied for so many jobs and nothing is turning up. I feel like we should have a separate site (or support group) for wannabe-overachievers….
        So, OP–it doesn’t change your situation, but know that you are not alone!

        • Wait…I just used the dreaded “site” word and didn’t appear to go into moderation. Is this not an issue anymore?

    • Also having a crappy day! Had to take my cat to the vet today (little monster is fine) and he PEED ON ME on the way there. Definitely my worst day in a while! There is no graceful way to exit a cab covered in cat urine…

  7. Quick question about hoop earrings –
    How big is too big for work? I just recieved a very nice pair of hoops as a gift but they are about 1 inch in diameter. Is this too large to be work appropriate? They are not heavy but I don’t want to look too *fancy* at work (versus conservative businesswoman). Thoughts?

    • I don’t know how big is too big because I’m not allowed to wear hoop earrings. Two years ago Regina told me hoops earrings were her thing and I wasn’t allowed to wear them anymore. And then for Hannukah my parents got me this pair of really expensive white gold hoops and I had to pretend like I didn’t even like them and… it was so sad.

    • Anonymous :

      I think that’s about as big as you could go without looking unprofessional, but 1 inch doesn’t seem too large. Also, I love this community

  8. My Benefit big beautiful eyes palate took a tumble this am and is in bits. I like it so I thought I’d buy a duplicate but curious if there is anything better out there?

    • There’s apparently a way to re-set broken eyeshadow with rubbing alcohol, I believe. In case it broke in big pieces that are still distinct colors.

      • Good thinking. It’s 4 years old (I know, I know) so I should probably accept that it’s had a good run.

      • Yes, spraying with rubbing alcohol has saved many a broken palate for me.

    • I’ve not looked at the Benefit palette in person but it might be worth trying the Topshop smoky eye palette? I use mine very regularly and love it. They’re on feelunique in case you can’t get to/ don’t want to go to Topshop

  9. I picked up a white Foxcroft button down from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but its really sheer. I’m having a hard time figuring out what to wear under it. If I wear a nude cami, it doesn’t look like I put anything on under it. A white cami makes spaghetti-strap lines that really stand out to me. I tried a basic white t-shirt underneath, but then it was weird that the sheer arms were only sheer up to the shirt-sleeves line. What do you put under sheer button downs?

    • I think nude is the way to go

    • I use pale pink under a lot of my whites. It is less harsh than white next to my pale skin tone and doesn’t look like underwear.

  10. Life Insurance :

    Is taking life insurance a good idea? My husband and I are 36 and 32 yrs old respectively and we do not have kids yet. I heard that it could be pricey (~$400 per month?) and I wanted to know what the hive thinks. Also any recs for good plans?

    • Maddie Ross :

      IMO, life insurance is only a necessity if you do not have kids if you could not sustain a semblance of your current lifestyle, or one you would be content living, on one income alone. That would certainly be the case if one person stayed home, but also the case if there is a large income disparity (in which case you would need life insurance on the higher earner). The only other reason to get it if there’s not an income disparity is if you think you may have kids in the future and want to lock it down now while you are still healthy and premiums are low.

    • Do you have a mortgage or other debt? If one of you passes, life insurance can help alleviate that burden.

      Are you looking at term or whole life insurance? If you just need something to help handle debt incase of death, then term (which should probably be way cheaper than $400/month) is probably all you need. Does work offer coverage?

      • +1 I have life insurance to pay off our mortgage. Figure out if either of you could handle the bills if the other one died and buy enough to cover the difference. Either of us would be hard pressed to cover the mortgage without the other’s income.

    • Whether life insurance makes sense depends on your circumstances. If you’re going to have kids in the next few years, you might as well go ahead and get it now. But for almost everyone, term life insurance is the only kind that makes sense, and it should be WAY less expensive than that. For a comparison, my husband is the same age as yours, and as a healthy non-smoker, he pays less than $20 per month for a policy that will cover our mortgage plus a couple years’ living expenses. Obviously what you pay will depend on the term, the amount of coverage, health, etc. But $400 seems like it’s not quite the right ballpark.

    • My husband and I have no kids but term life insurance…the rationale being that if my husband died, I would likely be a wreck and I would want to take some time to figure things out before making huge decisions (what do with the house, his car and things, where to live, etc), and vice versa.

      Everyone handles grief differently…I know when my brother died, I was a zombie for 6 full months and couldn’t function well–it was a full year before I felt “normal”. I can’t image what losing my husband would do to me, so term life insurance gives some comfort in that I will be able to mourn as long as I need to.

      We don’t have a huge policy–about 250,000 on each of us–enough so that after taxes, the surviving person would have a couple years to get their shit together and figure out a path forward without worrying about money. It costs $40 a month for each of us, so $80 total.

      We did a 15 year term (we’re both 30) because at this point, we don’t have huge savings ore retirement. By the time we are 45 and our term is out, it’s expected that we’ll have much more of a nest egg and emergency funds to serve the same purpose.

    • $400 a month is nuts. We are 30 and my husband was able to get $200K of term life insurance from State Farm for about $250 per year. Women are cheaper. We chose 200K because that’s the amount of our mortgage, so if one of us died the other would be able to pay off the mortgage and slowly get back on our feet without worrying about house payments. The surviving spouse would eventually go back to work since obviously 200K won’t sustain that person for life. We don’t have kids.

    • That seems pricey! I have a $1m term life policy, which has to be renewed (at a higher price, of course!) after 10 years. It costs somewhere between $300 – $400 for the full year. For reference, it’s just for me, and I was probably about 34 when I bought it. No major health issues. I’m in Canada, if it makes a difference. I would suggest you definitely shop around, and try a broker.

      For me, life insurance makes sense. I have a policy through work but I am in a field where I am likely to change firms relatively frequently. I don’t want to be in a situation in the future where I am uninsurable because of a future health problem, and either lose my insurance or am forced to stay at a job that I don’t love, in order to keep the insurance policy.

      Also, because I make significantly more than my husband, and if I were to die he would not be able to cover expenses on his own, like mortgage payments. So it made sense to get a policy for me. I wouldn’t want him to have to worry about selling the house if I were to pass away.

    • I agree that life insurance is a good idea if you have a mortgage or other debt that won’t be released on your death. But also consider buying a good long term disability policy – because long term caring for someone who can no longer work can be very expensive.

      • +1 – you’re more likely to need disability insurance at an early age than life insurance.

    • Whoa, that’s a lot of money for life insurance. It should be about 1/10th of that.

      I have a policy through work that comes in increments of my annual salary (ex. one times my salary, two times, etc., up to ten times). I’m unmarried and childless, so I pay about $4 a month for a policy that equals my annual salary. It’s not really necessary, but, yeah, $4 a month to know that my family gets a nice chunk of change if I pass away – and they can do whatever with it.

      But you’re married. If you’re a two-income family, both of you should price out policies and get something that at least ensures that the surviving party isn’t up the creek without a paddle if something happens. Losing a spouse is bad enough – you don’t need to lose your home and financial security, too.

    • I’d definitely look into critical illness cover, especially if you have a mortgage

    • Also adding: life insurance is not included in your probate estate and is usually not taxed. That means your spouse gets the full value of the policy relatively quickly, and creditors of the estate cannot touch it (unless they are your creditors as well).

      • +1 – Just be sure to name primary and contingent beneficiaries. It’s tax free if the premiums are paid with after-tax income (not pre-tax), but I think most employer offering will only offer after-tax anyway.

    • I would definitely look into disability/critical illness insurance even if you decide you don’t need life insurance (and if you don’t plan on having kids and you/your partner can maintain your lifestyle on one income, you might decide it’s not worth the expense). It’s worth talking through the pros and cons with a reliable broker, though.

    • New Tampanian :

      I get life insurance through work. I’m single and don’t own a home. However, my step father co-signed my private law school loans. I didn’t want them to go after him for the money if I passed and have it be a crazy burden (which it would).

    • I have not begun to look into life insurance; however, I know several people that have. $400/month is likely not for term insurance. It was explained to me as the similar to the difference between renting and owning–term life insurance puts money into something that you have no equity in (unless there’s a death); on the other hand, whole life insurance is more like an annuity in that you have equity in the policy regardless of a death (hence why it is significantly more expensive). My boss purchased whole life insurance when her son was born and was able to use it to pay for his college.

      The different policies serve different purposes and you should discuss the pros and cons of each with the broker.

  11. Repost from yesterday since I posted so late on the thread:

    Where were you in your career development/ how did you feel about it in your late 20s? I’m 28 and just feel like I’m working so hard but still so much further behind where I feel like I should be at this stage in terms of experience and moving up in seniority. I know I’m supposed to be junior and not very important, but I’m trying to get a sense of whether where I am and how I feel is normal for my age/stage of development.

    • This is 100% how it is to be about 28-32 in your career. Its a really rough period in my opinion, where it seems like you aren’t where you “should be”, and if you have friends in varying industries and of varying ages that other people are passing you by. Or, the counter, that no one should be trusting you with this level of responsibility!

      • Thanks, that’s helpful! You think things start to change around mid 30s?

        • Haha, different poster, but no – if you’re in a small company, you may get stuck below the executive team who is not going anywhere. Just a warning. I feel far more outpaced now than I did at 28-32.

    • I had just started law school after doing something completely unrelated for the first 6 years post-college.

      I can’t think of anyone I knew personally who was “successful” in their late 20s. I no doubt looked good to outsiders – married, owned a couple pieces of property, husband’s career was going well, I was going to law school (a decently big deal in my family and circle). Give it a couple years, and today I’m junior in my new profession, divorced, and I sold off all that property.

      I think Hollywood or society has this way of saying that you have to have X accomplished by whatever time. I remember noticing growing up that there were all these teen tv shows and movies talking about how high school was supposed to be the greatest time in your life, and I thought then that it was a bunch of nonsense, that I had other things planned. Then you get older and it’s all about how you’re supposed to be junior vice president with a house and a perfect husband by the time you’re 30. Also nonsense. The thing I love most about getting older is letting all those silly “ideals” disappear. Life takes turns and doesn’t follow the linear path depicted in movies. You’re right where you’re supposed to be. But if you feel like you aren’t, you’re in charge of your own life and can change it.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I didn’t even graduate from law school until I was 29 and 8 months (and my son is just starting grad school at 28-almost-29), so I feel like if you’re working in your chosen career at 28, you’re ahead of the game.

      • Yep. I just got out of grad school and just started working in full time in my field then.

      • @SeniorAttorney: Again, you are my internet twin. :)

      • I graduated law school at 28 (see some of yesterday’s comments about working somewhere before going to law/grad school; I did that and agree 100%) and started actually working in a firm, after a clerkship, just before my 30th birthday. You are fine.

        • Also graduated law school at 28 – firm for two years, gov’t for two years, lost in life for two years, now working in a JD preferred position in a large corporation and will probably wait to gun for a promotion until my boss retires in a couple years :)

    • I spent the majority of my 20s not doing anything related to what I’m doing now. I got into grad school for a liberal arts topic in my mid-20s, but thankfully didn’t receive any funding, so decided not to go. I instead completely shifted gears and spent my mid 20s putting myself through all the classes I had to take in order to become a CPA. I worked as a bookkeeper part time while finishing up the CPA exam and started working in public accounting a month before I turned 29.

      Occasionally, I feel really far behind. I have coworkers only a couple years older than I am who are senior managers because they went straight from college into public accounting and have 10+ years of experience at this point. What is especially weird is that we are in the same place in our lives with a lot of other things (mortgage, married for 8 years, kids, etc) but I am so far behind them in my career. And the people who are at the same place in their careers are at a really different place in their life (just got engaged! party til 2 am! have crisis because I just turned 24 and that sounds So Old!). But I don’t think anyone stays in a job or in a career for their whole lives anymore, so I figure it’ll even out at some point.

      • There are people your age who are where you are professionally or further behind without a mortgage, marriage or kids. If you compare yourself to them, maybe you’ll feel better.

        • There will always be someone “better” and someone “worse”.

          You’re right that the trick may be to compare yourself to the right pool, says the sadface clown.

          Stop comparing yourself to other people, and focus on yourself, says the Ringmaster.

    • In my experience, progress comes in bursts. Someone leaves, or you find a new job, or things shift around, and suddenly its your turn. But, it might be a few years of waiting around feeling stagnate until that happens. And then you feel incompetent for a little while, and then you figure it out start the process over again.
      Which isn’t to say that little incremental progress doesn’t happen, it’s just harder to notice when people around you announce big things.

  12. I figured out a really good indicator for whether I like new clothes enough to keep them. . . if I don’t want to wear them the day after I bought them – if I’m not excited enough to put them on – I should just take them back. It’s working really well for a few things I bought this summer. In case this helps anyone else who hates clothing shopping.

    • Yes, this is why I’ve stopped buying things at the end of season clearance sale unless I looooove them – because otherwise by the time it comes to wear them the next season they have lost all the “oooh, new clothes!” novelty since I’ve been staring at them in my closet for months, and then I still have the urge to go buy something new because I’m bored with what it in my closet.

      Items that I’ve been sale stalking all season and now on super sale? Buy. Another pair of my favorite jeans that I was willing to pay full price for at the beginning of the season? Buy. Yet another black shirt that i am kinda meh on but is really cheap – pass, unless I am willing to toss out another black shirt in it’s place. A funky patterned shirt when I don’t usually wear patterns but its a really good deal and maybe I should step out of my comfort zone and besides its so cheap? I should have passed, wound up wearing twice and then sending to Goodwill.

  13. Presents for kids :

    I have a cousin who’s turning 7, and I’ve gotten a lot closer to her and her siblings this year so I would love to send her something for her birthday. What are 7-year-old girls into these days? I was thinking books, but I’m not sure what her reading level is… I remember being very into the Ramona series around that age (or maybe slightly older?). Or maybe something art-related? She is very imaginative and loves to draw. Her parents are really not into “STUFF” (which I think is great) so I don’t really want to send her toys. Also, should I send something for her siblings too? Their birthdays are later in the year and I plan to get something for them then as well, but I haven’t gotten any of them presents before so they won’t necessarily know that’s coming and I don’t want the other kids to feel left out. Should I just ask their parents?

    • I got my (now 9 year old) stepdaughter a subscription to Ask magazine when she was 7 – sister mag to Cricket, which was a favorite of mine as a kid. She LOVES it, and we still subscribe. Don’t know if your cousin is into animals or science, but it has become a staple in our household! She also gets NatGeo Kids, but I’m not as big of a fan of that one. (She likes both.)

      If she likes to draw, maybe a fancy “real” (like from an art store) drawing pad and super nice colored pencils?

    • I think books are great. Even if the books are a little older reading level than she is I think that’s fine – She can grow into them. Or she’s reading over her reading level.

      I got a book of Shel Silverstein poetry (A Light in the Attic) when I was around that age. It was definitely a book that grew with me, so that would be my recommendation for a book.

      If you are planning to get the other kids something when their birthdays roll around, then don’t send anything at this point. It is perfectly acceptable to let kids learn that everyone doesn’t get a gift at the same time. As long as you aren’t obviously favoring one child over another over the course of a number of years, they’ll be fine.

    • I think it’s fine to send only the 7 year old a present, but as was mentioned in another thread about whether to get all siblings a present – let the parents know its coming so that they can mitigate it with the other kids (“it’s big Sis’s birthday, Auntie So-and-so will send you your own present on your birthday”). That way you can also check with them about shipping (maybe UPS never delivers to their place because it’s a condo and they’d rather you send to their office, etc).

      As for books, you could ask the parents. My 8 year old is a boy, but he likes Magic Tree House. He also is into arts and crafts and drawing, so he likes origami books and paper, the “Learn to Draw [animals, cars, cartoon characters, etc]” books. Amelia Bedelia is also fun for a 7 year old. Ramona might be right, or it might be a little advanced – there are some pretty big leaps in reading ability around the 1st and 2nd grade levels, so it’s worth asking if she is doing “Easy Readers” still or if she’s at full regular chapter books. Or if the parents read to her – I know a friend recently read the Ramona books to her 7 and 5 year old over the summer.

      If you live nearby, my kid’s favorite gift is “fun day with auntie all by myself”. My sister will take my kids out on a weekend near their birthdays to do an activity of their choosing, like the zoo, children’s museum, a street fair, a movie, a paint your own pottery place, etc and then out to lunch or for ice cream. Some years she has also made a photo book about that day.

    • MINECRAFT is huge with kids right now, boys & girls.

    • Books are great. My 7 year old daughter is reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books and the Frank Baum Wizard of Oz books. She too loves art, and a little art set and some drawing paper is great. I would not buy something for the other kids. Totally not necessary.

      • SuziStockbroker :

        At 7-9 my kids loved the Magic Treehouse books, both the boy and the girl.

        I think she had kind of outgrown (or was outgrowing) the Ramona books by then (she reads well above grade level though). The Little House on the Praire books and The Secret Garden (and by the same author, A Little Princess) were favourites.

        The “special day with aunt” is a wonderful idea. I do that with my goddaughter, and she LOVED it when she was little (still does, she turned 20 this week).

    • Presents for kids :

      Thanks for the ideas, everyone! I’ll check out those books and art supplies and I will give the parents a head’s up about sending the present. I would love to do a special day with her, but unfortunately I’m a plane ride away. I’ll see them over the holidays, though, and hopefully I can take some time to do something individually with each kid.

    • My son is almost 8 and has loved reading Tintin and Asterix all last year.

  14. I have a funny question for you, ladies. In a long-term relationship/marriage, do you ever notice little things change in ways such as not bring as gigglingly adoring every morning (“good morning, honey! kiss kiss kiss) (sometimes, of course, but not every morning)? To be clear, I mean little things that make you feel “when did we become ‘boring’ and ‘like everyone else’? I think I have problems – I guess I always irrationally expected to be all like-when-first-met for decades down the road. Help! :)

    • I think it can go on phases but honestly 8 years in and he still gives me butterflies and he wakes up every weekend saying my god how did I get so lucky.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Great question. In both my marriages the honeymoon/infatuation period definitely went away relatively quickly. I just thought that was normal although in hindsight both of those relationships burned hot and fast and after the infatuation wore off there was not a solid base for going forward.

      With New Guy, we’re almost a year in and still acting like teenagers, but the underlying relationship is really strong too (kindness! respect! what a concept!) so it will be interesting to see how things develop…

    • I don’t have the same butterfly feeling all the time (though I do sometimes). But I usually don’t feel like we’re “boring” either. It’s more like when we’re spending quality time together I feel a sense of deep comfort, like I’m with the one person who understands me best in life.

      • (should add that we’ve been together almost six years, married for 2)

      • +1 to deep comfort
        I’ve been with my SO for 9 years, so no, I don’t get butterflies anymore, and I don’t think he does either. But cuddling at night before bed, hugging when he gets home, or even just watching tv with him, it all feels like home.

    • I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 5 years so I’m not sure if that’s long enough to really answer, but I think you shouldn’t compare your relationships to others if you can help it. Are you happy with your SO? Most days are you happy together? If no one judged you, which they aren’t, do you enjoy the Netflix and same dinner routine? Not to harp on single people, but I’ve been called boring dozens of times by some of my single girlfriends for doing exactly that and genuinely enjoying it.

      If you need a little spicing up, I’ve had good luck with little surprises like making them their favorite dinner/breakfast, getting baseball tickets to surprise them, or a day-trip. Those activities can make you feel like you did at the beginning of your relationship or give you a chance to reconnect outside your normal routine. It could also help if you had a little space, try picking up a hobby or volunteering and working on something you enjoy. That way you have something new to talk about and seeing your SO a little less may make time you spend together more special. I personally do this when I’m feeling anxious like you are, and I always feel better afterward.

    • We’ve been together for 16 years and the relationship has certainly changed. I don’t wake up giggly anymore but when anything bad/stressful/exciting happens, he’s the first person I want to contact. No matter how bad of a day I’m having, he makes me feel safe and secure.

      • +1. We have been together for 12 years and this is how I feel as well. I also still sometimes get butterflies like when we plan a special night out and I am getting ready (I admit part of that might just be that I am excited to have a night alone with him–we have three small children.)

    • Oh gawd, how awful to be “boring” and “like everyone else” (eye roll). Every relationship had its ups and downs, but I think at least for me part of the great thing about being in a relationship for a long time (15 years, married for 10) is that the butterflies are replaced by a more comfortable, relaxed sense of knowing, we have seen each other go through the best times and the worst times and have been able to share it. I’ve never really judged my relationship in comparison to everyone else’s though, so I think it matters more if you feel like something is missing from what you want.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah this just sounds so immature. As does constant adoration and kissy noises.

    • Hi there. I’ve been with my husband for about 19 years, married for 15. We have 4 young children. Of course it’s not “adoring” every morning! Most mornings it’s about sleeping as long as we possibly can, then rushing to deal with children who need to eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, get to school. We barely even look at one another, and if we talk it’s about dividing the work!
      We have joked with a lot of our friends that at this stage our marriages feel less like a love affair and more like we’re running logistics and cleaning companies. It often feels like we are managing a subversive group of monkeys rather than having a romance. I think that’s just the reality of this stage of our lives.
      Even without the kid dynamic, long term relationships do not seem to stay as exciting and butterfly-inducing as they were in the beginning. To be clear, what we trade for that passion is trust, familiarity, genuine teamwork, and understanding of each other (as the other response said). Of course, at the same time we love being together, enjoy laughing together, and generally adore one another. It’s just not like it was in the beginning when we couldn’t keep our hands off each other.

    • If a ‘Good Morning’ and a kiss first thing in the day is what keeps marriage “alive” for you, then I suggest making it a habit.

      I’m rather partial to a ‘Hey babe, how was your day’ with maybe a quick side hug after work. It’s nothing huge, but a small amount of physical contact and effort to re-engage at the end of a work day is important to me.

  15. BR lightweight wool suit warning — I bought two BR lightweight wool suits in March when I started my new job. I wear each one once a week. This morning, I found the lining of one of the jackets is completely ripped. The seam down the back has broken apart with frayed lining fabric on either side, and the side seams are close to ripping as well. The jacket fits me well — not too tight — so the ripping is just regular wear and tear. I’m so disappointed in the lack of quality. The suits look good and are a classic and flattering cut, and 95% wool. But I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone given the lining didn’t even hold up for 6 months. I think I’ll be saving up for more expensive suits going forward. I had always thought $300 suits were good for mid-grade everyday wear, but they’re actually very expensive if they don’t even last a year.

    • J crew add-on: My J crew suit jacket’s elbow started showing visible wear less than a year in — and I definitely didn’t wear it even weekly.

    • If it’s just the lining, you can take it to a tailor and get it repaired.

    • I too had a bad experience with BR lightweight wool suiting. Two different pairs of black pants shrunk lengthwise at the drycleaner, leaving an inch of lining sticking out. And I have shiny threads sticking out of the jacket on the back of the arms. This is after less than a year of light wear. Quality has plummeted, unfortunately. That suit used to be my go-to.

    • This is making me sad because my favorite work attire is BR tropical suiting (dresses/skirts/jackets/pants). When everything else (AT/BB) gives out or looks bad because the material quality is poor, BR’s suiting has held up (but I also haven’t bought anything since last spring)

  16. men's shopping help :

    Looking for a cool/nice/hip/versatile sportcoat for my SO. Size 42L (prefer slim fit), looking for under $200. I literally don’t know where to start, other than Nordstrom Rack, which wasn’t inspiring me. For being an A+ lady shopper, I know basically zero about shopping for men’s clothes!

    • Jcrew, BR, Lands End (do they do business wear anymore?)

    • Hickey Freeman has great online and in person sales and their quality is fabulous. Sometimes available on flash sites such as Gilt etc. Quality sport coat under $200 is a tough sell though.

    • Macys on a sale day.

    • Clementine :

      My husband is a 40L, likes a slim fit and has had really good luck at Jos A Banks for this type of stuff.

      Hit one of their ‘buy one, get 47 free’ sales that they run just about every weekend.

  17. bonus anon :

    I’m in salary talks (IT, not a lawyer) and roughly 10-15% of the total package is bonus-based. Specifically I would like to know if there are tax implications I should be aware of, or anything else that would make the bonus portion of the salary favorable or unfavorable. Obviously consulting google too, but would love to have some practical knowledge/advice.

    • Assuming the bonus is cash (and not equity), it doesn’t change your overall tax bill vs. if you received the same amount categorized as salary instead. Your withholding may be slightly different though, as companies often use the 25% flat-rate withholding method on bonuses. For higher earners, that means not enough is being withheld and it may push them into owing in April if their regular paycheck withholding isn’t high enough to make up the difference. For people in the lower tax brackets, it generally means a bigger refund but feeling like the cash-in-pocket part of your bonus is a lot smaller percentage of the total than a normal paycheck.

    • Anonymous :

      On the flip side, if the company doesn’t use the 25% rate and that paycheck with bonus is taxed at whatever rate you should be in if you earned salary + bonus every pay period, you might get more withheld than expected, but a larger return.

  18. A word of caution on Last Call – I recently ordered a DvF wrap dress that was listed as the Julian Two, material listed as silk. The dress I got was the Julian mini, and the fabric content was 90% cotton, 10% silk. I ended up returned because it was not what I expected.

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