Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Solid wrap dress

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

Gap wrap dressHmmn: 216 glowing reviews sing the praises of this wrap dress (exclusive to At first I thought only the cobalt was $43.99 (was $54.95) but it looks like the black is also $43.  The dress comes in regular sizes (XS-XXL), as well as petites and talls.  Happy Friday! Solid wrap dress

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  1. Does anyone know whether the OG bag is only sold via the Lo and Sons webpage or also in physical stores?

    • From their website: We sell almost all of our products online directly to customers, but if you are interested in finding out whether we offer our products in a location nearest you, or you’re a retailer interested in carrying our products, please email us at [email protected]

  2. I got this in navy and black last summer. Love. It. Washes fairly well for the price point (I expect to get three summers out of them, wearing them each probably 6-8 times per summer (maybe more) and washing every 2 wears or so, which is pretty good for a $50 dress).

    For reference, I’m a 6 in the jcrew pencil skirts, hourglass shape, and the S fits very well. Cami required, but then that’s not really surprising for a wrap style. The stretchy fabric also clings to itself a little bit, which is great because the wrap is less inclined to slide over than on the DvF slippery jersey.

  3. Famouscait :

    I just overheard a conversation at work that I shouldn’t have, and I’m wondering if I should mention it to my Chief of Staff…

    A large re-org was just announced for my division, and part of that involves promoting “Joe” to a newly created Senior Director position, overseeing several high performing employees. I don’t work for or with Joe, but for several reasons, he’s always struck me as a rather arrogant, good-ol’-boy type. His position is technically interim, which is how my organization tries people out for a big promotion before making it official. This is his first supervisory role with my org.

    Since the announcement two weeks ago, he’s been in my office suite every day laying out his grand plans to two admin-level women who will be working for him. My office is library-quiet and you can hear conversations word-for-word. He’s been having conversations about his new reports that have been, for the most part, professional in topic and tone. However, this morning he had a totally unprofessional conversation in the hallway that was overheard by at least myself and another coworker (I know this, because she pinged me midway to comment on how he seemed like a “d*uche”).

    The conversation, at the very least, should have been held in private – should I mention it to our Chief of Staff? Or should I just keep my head down? Aside from the fact that Joe rubs me wrong, I would *never* want a coworker – or certainly my boss! – to be speaking like that about me within hearing of six other offices. What to do?

    • If the content of the conversation is a threat in some way to the company, mention it to the Chief of Staff. Otherwise, ignore and myob.

    • If it’s a conversation that would have been appropriate under more private circumstances (“I’d like to get X to take more responsibility for her work,” said to someone else in a supervisory role over X), then I would mention to Joe that it’s easy to hear in your office suite. If it’s something that wouldn’t have been appropriate under any circumstances (“X is smokin hot!”), then I would mention it to your boss or Chief of Staff or someone.

      Generally I avoid being a tattletale, but if it’s the latter type of situation, someone should really stop Joe before he secures the promotion, if possible.

      • Nailed it!

        • Famouscait :

          Thanks ladies, for your feedback.

          Godzilla: perhaps you could RAWR at him for me?

          Eleanor: the conversation was basically a b*tching session about this employee with someone who is like an admin assistant. Along the lines of “And if she can’t do the work, then she just needs to get the f*ck out of the way…” Joe is her new boss; the person he was speaking to will also work for him, but is an admin to both Joe and the topic of conversation.

          • Don’t touch this with a ten foot pole. Is it obnoxious and unprofessional? Yes. But no one who wants him for this job is going to push him out because of this incident, and you just wind up looking like tattletale. I would give it all a wide berth and let it sort itself out.

          • I agree with TBK. I don’t think that’s bad enough to warrant reporting. If he’s a jerk, it’ll come out on its own.

          • That is not definitely worth reporting, though I will note that my opinion is biased as I’m sure I’ve said the same thing in that language behind closed doors. The only things I would report are potential lawsuits i.e. s3xual harassment, workplace safety, fraud, corruption, etc.

          • Agree not to report. This just provides you (and others) with further information about what type of manager/leader he is.

          • Famouscait :

            Excellent advice ladies – thanks for weighing in. This is why I seek the wisdom of the Hive!

  4. Fantasy Shopping :

    I have a dress like this from LE. It is has a longer and fuller skirt, but it is what I wear when I need to be in something with the comfort of pyjamas. It is not fabulous, but is nevertheless diving.

    Q: what does one use with the large LV tote bag (open top)? Does a wristlet go inside? Just throw in phone / wallet / some cosmetics bag with personal items?

    For the past week, I have passed a high schooler with one and I am now completely intrigued. I last carried a purse in high school and then have gone overboard into LLBean products (so always a handy pocket for personal and other items). I am on Team Clutch for evenings, but want to join Team Tote (not an LV unless I hit the lottery) at least for weekends / non-messenger bag events. [For client events, I have an older black CH shoulder bag, which is generally safe and invisible.]

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      I carry a purse to work everyday (a cross body in a neutral color). I have clutches, but they’re strictly for going out because on a daily basis I have a book, my Kindle Fire, a notebook, a water bottle, my wallet, and various other items depending on the day. Had one large tote that I used when I had to take my computer with me everyday, but haven’t replaced it since the strap broke.

      OAN: Can you give a link to the LE dress? I like the posted dress, but the skirt is a little straight for my figure.

      • Fantasy Shopping :

        Mine is from a year or two ago and has long sleeves and is gray, but it looks like something that they probably do from time to time. It is like this:

        My guess is that they may have it again in their fall lineup.

        • Mary Ann Singleton :

          I have two of these from LE. Feels like wearing jammies, but doesn’t look like you’re wearing jammies. I love them.

    • I carry a lot of totes (though almost all are have zipper tops or at least a compartment large enough for my wallet). They usually have at least one smaller pocket where I put my phone. I use a wallet and pouches/cosmetic bags (such as the Le Pliage Pouchette) for the majority of my smaller items and then just toss in larger items like my kindle as is. Usually I only carry a wristlet if I’m carrying my laptop in my tote and expect to leave it at the office when I go out for lunch. Otherwise, I intend to carry everything in the tote all day and don’t really need a wristlet.

    • I carry a tote everyday to work – I put a large wristlet/clutch type purse in it (in which I have a wallet, my work ID, and cell phone) for ease of use during the day. My friend made it for me – but you can get lots of similar things at stores or on Etsy (I like mine because its one of a kind.)

      I also carry my laptop and charger, a water bottle, sometimes a pair of shoes, and a scarf. Also some folders and some papers usually. Okay, I’m a purse hoarder. My tote does have side pockets where I *could* organize the stuff that goes in my clutch into their own pockets (and I used to just carry a wallet and everything else separate) but then I got the clutch and it was *so* much easier. I’m confused though, is this what you’re asking?

      • Fantasy Shopping :

        Yes — that was the gist of it. I had an unstructured bag once and I felt like I was always having to root around in it to find anything. And by root around, I mean practically empty out. Hello, personal hygiene items! Oh, there are my business cards / pen / chapstick / advil. I think I am just doing it wrong b/c I’m used to everything having a tightly defined space (and not rattling around in a pretty bag).

        But bag-in-bag for me needs to be done right (i.e., not ziplocks). I am addicted to LL Bean packing bags — will think of a sophisticated way to accomplish toting-within-a-tote.

        • I have something similar to these in different sizes for my purse contents. So, I have one with random small things I want to have on hand (e.g., tampon, tissues, emergen-c, advil and wetwipes), then I have a slightly bigger one for random papers that I don’t want shuffling around (Bed Bath & Beyond Coupon, Gift Cert. to X place, so on), and a little make up bag. That basically organizes the bulk of my small items in any bag and makes it really easy to switch bags, too.

  5. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    Love this (although the shoes are a bit distracting) but I can’t seem to make a straight skirt like this look good on my figure.

  6. Any recs for a good bikini wax place in the dc/arlington area?

    • A Nonny Moose :

      Karina at Aveda Georgetown. Amazing.

    • Since I am bad at planning ahead, I always saw whatever female was available at the Pentagon City Red Door. Never had a bad experience.

    • Tammy @ Polished in Georgetown

    • In-House Optimist :

      Bliss at the W in DC was great (Metro Center metro stop, can’t remember the cross streets F and 14th maybe?). Anyone there is great. I haven’t been able to find a good once since I left the city, so I feel your pain. :( Good luck with the search.

    • Anonymous :

      Vera’s Revival Oasis (17th & I NW, Farragut West). Hard wax, virtually painless, amazing.

    • Aida Spa in Old Town, Alexandria. Not DC/Arlington, but still in the area. Awesome, quick.

    • Anonymous :

      Chi at Red Door Pentagon City. She’s wonderful.

  7. Is the double serge cotton pencil skirt from Jcrew the one that wrinkles terribly? Their factory site is having 50% off of final sale and I am tempted to get this one for just under $2o…

    • Yes, it’s the one that wrinkles. Mine’s awful.

    • The go on sale for low prices, and sometimes have good colors, but do not give in to temptation. The wrinkles are awful, and they’re not potentially intentional wrinkles, like with linen; the fabric is just really stiff, so the wrinkles are stiff and silly-looking.

      • Thanks guys! I was really tempted because the price was so low, but not worth it if I will be a wrinkled mess before I even get to work.

        • On an aside, I bought and recommend their Factory Summerweight Cotton V Neck Cardigan, now about $15 on sale. Ton of colors and really great for summer. I got navy and yellow and wear them constantly. They do wrinkle a bit if you just throw them in your purse, but I haven’t found a cotton cardigan that doesn’t. I should add, size down. They run large.

        • I was so excited by this skirt, and I bought it even though I then needed to get the waist tailored, and the wrinkles just make it a hot mess.

  8. It's Just Me :

    I wonder if this dress is majorly different than the Old Navy version (link to follow). I have the ON version from 2 years ago, and it is a workhorse in my wardrobe. Easy to wear, easy to accessorize, easy to throw on. Washes well (I hang to dry).

    And 1/2 the price.

    • It's Just Me :

    • The Gap one is made from a thicker material and is more forgiving.

    • I have the ON version, and I love it, but definitely hang dry. I also wear a slip under mine – so the thinner material isn’t an issue. They also come in talls – which I usually buy.

      I tried the Gap one on, and the thicker material just didn’t hang as well on my body. To each her own.

  9. I’m looking to make a career change and I am interested in the field of neuroscience but I really don’t know where to begin when it comes to getting an idea of what job opportunities look like in this field. How do I get an idea of what working in a hospital as a neurologist looks like by just volunteering to work doing administrative tasks? How do I know what working in a research facility or at a university looks like? I don’t mean these questions to sound snarky, I am generally confused. I don’t know anyone with careers in the science so I really have no one to look to for advice. What is the best way to vet this idea if I really have no idea where to start?

    • Anne Shirley :

      Do you have a college degree now? Your school’s career services office can probably get you in touch with alums in the field and provide info about additional education you’ll need.

    • Maybe start with the Society of Neuroscience or a similar industry/trade organization to see what kind of jobs are out there and what qualifications are needed. Also, working at a hospital as a neurologist generally means being a physician whose speicalty is neurology. So, if that is your goal, then I guess you need to look at med school too.

    • I’m in science, although not bio related. A few things come to mind. First, that going into medicine and going into research are very different things. If you’re interested in the research end and you’re now in education there are a lot of summer programs to bring teachers into labs. Is your current job such that you might qualify? Is your undergrad degree in biology or something similar? It’s pretty routine at many university labs to hire undergraduate students who are thinking about grad school as part time lab techs. Again, perhaps the point could be stretched in your favor.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I agree you need to look somewhat at your background. For some reason, a whole bunch of my friends were neuro majors in college (I was not in the sciences). They’re doing a variety of different things right now – out of 10-12 college neuroscience majors I knew, 3 years out, my rough estimate is:

      – 3 in medical school (oddly enough, none pursuing a neurology specialty, as far as I know)
      – 1 in a PhD psychology program
      – 4 in pharmaceutical research for industry (1 of the 4 is actually in neurological pharma research, the rest are in other types of pharma research)
      – 1 professional winter sports instructor
      – 2 in clinical research for hospitals/academia
      – 1 in a PhD neuroscience program

      There’s probably more I haven’t thought of. Honestly, I think the best way is to reach out to your school’s premed committee, who is probably fairly well versed with matching up shadowing opportunities – it’s very common to require that people in healthcare fields shadow before applying, so many schools set up arrangements with alums for their students/graduates to get that experience. As far as research goes, part of that is honestly that you won’t know what that’s like until you do it – but it is worth reaching out to the school to see if there are alumni involved in science research. Working as a clinician and working in research are vastly different animals and it depends a little bit on you which you would do better in.

      If you do decide to pursue a shift into a neuroscience career where you need another degree, and you don’t have an undergraduate background in science at all, probably the best place to start is a post-bac program, which goes through a basic undergraduate science curriculum, for people who decide after college that they want to attend med school (or similar). It’s expensive, but there’s not a lot of choice in the pre-reqs you have to take before a school will admit you.

      However, it’s within the realm of possibility that you could get a job not actually doing neuroscience, but working in a pharmaceutical/medical device/healthcare company that deals with brain-related products in a non-research role (like in marketing, sales, etc) which would provide some of the crash course knowledge and would definitely be less expensive.

      Good luck! Career changes are tough but sometimes they are the right decision – but it’s definitely best you do a lot of research before embarking on them/investing a lot of time or money, so good for you! I hope it works out.

      • I was a neuroscience major. I worked in government funded research for 4 years, got a MPH/MBA, and moved into a totally unrelated field. I actually really liked neuro, but I was not interested in being a career lab rat and got into a great gig elsewhere.

        FWIW, I was a neuro major with all my premed reqs done, MCATs taken, etc. Took a break to test the research world, decided against research AND against med school. Have never looked back and am doing really well 10 years out, in a biz dev role for a health tech company.

    • Do you have alumni/sorority networks? I’d go to my school’s alumni page and do a scan through the career database. Do you know anyone who knows neuroscientists? Would any of those people be willing to put you in touch with someone? I think what you want is still to get a few informational interviews, just to get started. And really, you just need to find one person to talk to. People in a certain field almost always know other people in the same field. Once you talk to one person, you can end the meeting by saying “do you know of anyone else who might be willing to talk?” You just might have to be a little creative about how to find that first person.

    • Yay! Fruegel Fridays! I love fruegel Fridays!

      I wanted to change major’s in college. I started thinkeing I was goeing to be a doctor, b/c I thought I could be a good surgon. But as soon as I got to a chemistry course, I did NOT understand alot of what they were discusing. So after talking with my dad, I switched to social studies. YAY!!!

    • I was in biochem rather than neuro, but I can tell you what my experience in a university-affiliated research lab was like. Your supervisor comes to you with a narrow question (e.g. what causes this polymer to fold in this shape?). Everyone goes home and does research/reading for a few days to come up with any ideas. (To get an idea of the reading, get on Google Scholar and type in, for example, “RNA folding”). You get back together, present your findings, discuss possible hypotheses. Then you design experiments to test those. Order equipment/materials if you need any.

      Now comes the boring part. If you don’t have any underlings, it’s just going to be you in there in the lab running the tests yourself. In biochem, 9/10 times this involved pipetting, mixing, and then letting machines do most of the actual work. It would take a long time. You’d get back lots of numbers. You’d repeat this many, many times. Then you would get to do lots of math to analyze your results. Graph/chart/etc. Adjust the experiment if you need to. Present results. Throw out your hypothesis if it was wrong. Repeat the whole process for the next one. Throw in several days of begging for money and, if you’re a professor, lecturing to undergrads. If you eventually get interesting results, try to publish.

      Some people love this, but personally it drove me crazy. I felt like, at least in an academic/non-industry environment, you never FINISH, if that makes sense. One question leads to another down a never-ending rabbit hole of obscure data that might possibly someday come in useful to someone somewhere. If you like learning for learning’s sake, you might enjoy this. If you’re someone like me who likes to fix a problem now, then move onto something else, I would not recommend academic research. Just my opinion, though. YMMV.

      • If fixing problems is interesting, become an engineer! If the whole biochem thing is very interesting to you, become a biomedical engineer.

        • I don’t know, my best friend is a biomedical engineer (in academia, to be fair) and this sounds like a pretty decent description of his life…

          It also sounds pretty darn awesome to me. Maybe I should have gone into the sciences…

  10. For those of you who have gone through IVF, anyone care to share experiences with using donor sp*rm?

    • We used a double donor program (donor egg and donor sperm) through California Conceptions because they offered 90% odds of success over three tries in one year for a very, very good price. Plus they offer a 100% money back guarantee if you qualify (and most women do). I live on the other side of the country and flew out there for an initial saline sonogram to qualify for the refund (optional), then a again for my lining check and a week later,for the transfer. I got pregnant on the first try and am due in September.

      I highly recommend considering their program if you’ve ever considered adoption or if you aren’t tied to using your own eggs. In our case, with my eggs we would have needed a donor, so once we accepted that, it didn’t make sense to pay so much more (for worse odds) just to use my husband’s sperm.

      They sent us detailed profiles of a set of donors (you don’t shop for them yourselves because you share the resulting embryos with other couples), and they were so much like us it was uncanny. We can’t wait to meet our little girl!

      (And I detested very other RE we dealt with In five years of infertility treatments.)

  11. Ugh am I the only one not impressed with the JCrew Cafe Capris??? I bought a pair and wore them around the house for a bit to see if they’d stretch out. I didn’t wear them long enough. It’s 9:30am and they’ve already stretched out to nearly a size bigger. They’re wrinkled everywhere. These are brand new. I sized down prior to even buying. I usually wear an 8 but i bought a 6. Am I supposed to squeeze into a 4 and let the stretching do it’s magic? So disappointed.

    • Do you have the cotton or wool version? I have two pairs of the wool capris in my normal JCrew size (same as the dress pants and pencil skirts) and find the waist to stretch slightly, but not enough that I’d want to go down a size.

    • All around disappointed in J.Crew lately: holes in Tshirts (not worn often, hand washed, are you kidding me?); pilled cashmere w/in 5 wears (good thing I got it marked down a bunch); 3 pairs of shorts all the same tag size but fit way differently; sent back every suiting piece I’ve ordered online because either the material feels cheaper and/or sloppy construction (really, you’re trying to sell this stuff at full price for $130-$230??)

      • A Nonny Moose :

        Take them back. Really. I returned a pair of jeans that got a hole in the crotch and a necklace that had one of the jewels take back. I didn’t have a receipt, don’t have their credit card, but because it was faulty merchandise, they gave me a gift card for the lowest price the items had been at. Not as great as getting back everything I paid, but definitely better than nothing.

      • I’ve always found J Crew knits to be poorer quality than their woven items. Ann Taylor (not Loft) sweaters and tees wear a lot better.

    • marketingchic :

      I got the Minnie in stretch twill and hated them. They stretched out as you described, and after one wash (hung to dry), a hem fell out. Granted, they’re supposed to be dry cleaned but I’m a laundry rebel, and they were $90 cotton pants. Jeez.

      • Yeah I bought the cotton cafe capris because I didn’t want to deal with the wool. Not to mention the front and back pockets are too small to hold anything. Even the tiny pockets in Gap and Express dress pants can sort of hold my cell phone. The pants fit me like a glove when I first tried them and now they’re terrible.

        I tried the Minnie bc they’re supposed to be soooo amazing.. I’m 5’11” so I ordered a tall because I’ve noticed there actually is a difference in the tailoring, but they looked so average and I could tell they would stretch out before wearing for very long so I returned them.

    • Marie Curie :

      I bought a pair of the cotton capris on eBay for $25 and I’m so glad I didn’t pay more … you are right, they stretch like crazy. They are fine when I put them on but half an hour later they start sliding down my hips. Meh. (Also sized down and got a size 0 which I never thought I’d wear because I have big hips … maybe I should’ve got a 00. yay vanity sizing?)

  12. I got a LinkedIn request from someone outside of my field and have absolutely no idea how she knows me or why she wants to connect. I know I can just ignore it, but honestly, if you were going to do that, wouldn’t you write something in the invitation to explain why you want to connect? So weird. I thought maybe it was someone from here, but couldn’t find anyone who would have my real name who fit this person.

    • I’ve received random LI requests too and figured out that some were from marketers or sales people. On the subject of LI, I’m tired of random skill endorsements.

      • Cornellian :

        I don’t display any of them… if you’re a lawyer it seems like potential advertising under professional responsibility, no?

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        eh, I like the skill endorsements. We have an ethics opinion here on them and it is fine so long as LI keeps the title they currently have and doesn’t move back to “specialties”. As someone with less than 10 years experience, I like anything that adds to my credibility. People looking at my profile have no idea if the person endorsing me is a former client or friend. I don’t ask for them but I’m not going to delete them if people do them. To me, it is like those random websites that give you random ratings that you never even signed up for. I have gotten clients from websites I never heard of and then I google it, and sure enough, my name is listed there, with a practice area and a “firm ranking.” Go figure.

      • LinkedIn Rant :

        I have an uncle whom I rarely communicate with who keeps recommending my skills on LinkedIn, and I hate it! I know he’s trying to be nice and he probably thinks it’s helpful, but it really isn’t. He knows nothing about my legal research skills, and he is a dentist so no one would take his recommendation seriously anyway. I just ignore them.

        • Exact same thing is happening to me with a family member and LI emails me about it every few days! I appreciate the sentiment, but why endorse me when we have no professional relationship and you don’t know anything about my field?!?!

          • I have the same problem with an old family friend who I haven’t seen or interacted with since I was about 5 or something. I just ignore them.

            What I think happens is that an LI pop-up window prompts you to endorse people (the same wway it prompts you to invite new contacts) and some people automatically click through. The more yuo endorse people the more it prompts you, probably. It has prompted me but I was attentive enough to see the “not now” button, which is smaller and less obvious than the “OK” button (or whatever they call it).

            I also never endorse anyone because it mostly prompts me to endorse people far senior to me and I think that would be ridiculous. The guy who regularly argue at SCOTUS (who I met once at a conference) doesn’t need me to endorse his “litigation” skills.

    • When this happens to me, I usually reply to the person and, as politely as possible, ask them to remind me how we know each other. Usually, I don’t get a response back, although once someone admitted that they were attempting to get linked to every attorney in the metro area! It seems that some people think this is an effective networking strategy, which seems crazy to me! I don’t link to anyone I don’t actually know.

      • That’s what I ended up doing. She just emailed me to say it was a mistake. She was showing her husband something and he clicked on a couple of things by mistake because he’d never been on LinkedIn before. I have to admit, I was wracking my poor feeble brain to try and recognize that name!

    • Silvercurls :

      This has happened to me also. The first time I wrote back to the effect of “I’m confused about your request because we are in such different areas.” The second time I just ignored it, but since that sender recently sent me a reminder about the original invitation I will probably send another “please explain how you got my name since we are in such different fields” query.

      Has anyone else had the experience of learning that an apparent connection listed on someone’s profile is really just a mistake on the part of LinkedIn? I suppose the proper response is just “oh, thanks for letting me know” but it’s annoying to invest time and thought (not much, but still!) into a request for an introduction only to learn that the supposed connection was just a mirage.

      • I’m not even linked in and I have gotten requests to connect. Not sure how that is even possible. And lately, have been getting a request from someone who is waiter at a cafe I have lunch in once in a while at my work email address. It’s very disconcerting but not sure what can be done…

      • The sender didn’t send you a reminder, LinkedIn did. I am so annoyed with the amount of reminders I get from LinkedIn. Also, I’m annoyed with people who give LinkedIn access to their entire address books and I get requests in my many email accounts. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

        • You can turn these off (or reduce their frequency) usually. If not, put them in a folder and look at if when you’re bored one day at work. Auto-filter works like a charm.

    • I have received several LI “opportunity available” messages from recruiters and noticed that they included an option to grant the sender access to my contact list with the people’s emails. I value my contacts’ privacy as much as my own and so did not allow this, though wrote polite replies.
      Pay close attention to the messages and link requests you receive. They may come from people who want access to your contacts.

      • Whaaat? Now I’m freaked out that I’ve done that accidentally – I’ll have to keep an eye out – though I don’t think I’ve clicked on any of those opportunity available messages.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      Interesting, because Linked In now requires you to enter the email address of people you want to connect with if you can’t fill them in to one of the standard “how do you know this person?” categories.

    • Kinda Related :

      There is a guy who is not in my field, not in my geographic area, with whom I have no connections in common, who keeps viewing my profile every month or more frequently for the past 6 months. There is no way to block individual users, but it’s kinda getting to me as there is no way we no eachother, and there is no professional connection (he’s a nurse in the midwest, I’m a trade attorney on the east coast). I assume the best course of action is to ignore it, but it’s starting to get on my nerves–any ideas? If he is a creep, I don’t really want to engage…

      • Maybe he thinks “linkedin” is the new match. com ?

        I literally report anybody i don’t remotely know or may be friends of friends or does not have a legit profile as spam on both fb and LI.

      • I think the more likely scenario is that he needs an attorney and you are turning up in his results. He could have just put in “trade dispute attorney” or something and you popped up – LinkedIn doesn’t know the substance of your work, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t have private individuals as clients or whatnot.

      • Or you have the same name as someone he does have a reason to look at.

        • Yeah, something like this. If he’s just looking at your public profile no harm. Technically anyone can look. You may keep popping up for him because he’s already viewed your profile and he forgets and just clicks on it… or something. Maybe he’s an author looking to develop characers for one of his stories. Who knows?

      • Yeah, my ex-H’s current wife has viewed my profile. I think it’s because we come up for each other as “someone you might know.” Ugh.

  13. Has anyone tried the Zip Top version of the Michael Kors Jet Set Tote (link to follow to avoid moderation)? As the name implies, it has a zipper across the top and also has open pockets on the outside.

    • Here is the zip top version with saffiano leather:
      It’s on the Macy’s website under the name Michael Kors Jet Set East West Top Zip Tote in a variety of gorgeous colors. I’m strongly considering the Iris color when I get a new job, depending on the size of the assigned laptop.

      There’s also a version in regular leather, but I’d prefer saffiano leather because it’s more durable.

      • I’m interested in hearing responses as well. I am forever on the lookout for a new work tote. I love the one I have but the specific style isn’t sold anymore.

  14. I also have this dress and absolutely love it. It is really flattering and comfortable. The fabric is a little hot for the humid DC summers, but I wore it all the time in the spring. The way the wrap hits is very flattering for those of us with a bit of a tummy.

  15. Theory / NAS FAQ needed :

    I’ve struck out with the JCrew 1035 suit. I thought of trying Theory pieces next.

    Are they part of the NAS (maybe just some of them)?

    Do the pieces (I am thinking: jacket / skirt / pants / dress) work separately or really only as part of suits?

    Also, if I am a pear, is this generally workable? Or just save my time / $ to load up on The Skirt and Taylor Curvy pants at the NAS?

    THANK YOU!!!

    • goldribbons :

      General consensus here is that Theory suits are terrible and generally not work-appropriate (due to lack of skirt lining, too much spandex, etc.).

      • I don’t agree with that consensus at all. And I think they are one of the few “suits” that make really excellent separates. Their pants/skirts don’t always work for me, but I have a lot of blazers that I mix with simple other pieces. Sadly, their quality has gone down a bit in the last few years (my Theory blazers from 5 years ago still look like new) but I still think they make some of the best suits around.

        • Carrie Preston :

          Me either. Theory suits fit me like a dream and I loathe lined pants.

      • I’m so not a part of that “consensus.” In fact, I wore my Theory suit a *thissite* meetup!
        I have a black pants suit and I love it. The quality is great. And the cut and fit are perfectly work-appropriate. I don’t think the beautiful non-itchy wool fabric would be improved with a yucky synthetic lining like AT or BR puts in.

        And to OP’s question— I wear the black blazer with everything, not just the matching pants. I have a million pairs of black pants to wear, so I tend not to wear the Theory ones separately, but they’d be fine.

      • Is that consensus in your own mind? I’ve read this blog for years and although the cut doesn’t work for some body types, there aren’t many people who’ve questioned the quality of work-appropriateness. I feel like Theory is only of the only brands that keeps on producing the kind of professional clothes—modest sheaths, formal suits—that are increasingly hard to find.

      • Yeah – I don’t know if that’s the general consensus really. I think a more accurate description might be that Theory suits fit a very particular body type – that being the tall and lean. I have found that Theory suits do not fit me well at all, as a shorter person with wider hips. So as a pear shape – I would be worried that Theory wouldn’t work for you – and actually, this may also be why J-Crew hasn’t worked for you – they also tend to be cut for the longer and leaner. However, I think the quality on Theory is quite good – though they trend a bit more…trendy (for lack of a better word) but they always have a few classic options available.

        If you are more pear shaped and are considering Theory prices, have you considered either Brooks Brothers or Brooks Brothers Outlet suiting? That’s where I get all my interview suiting pieces and they work MUCH better for me. The Outlet line is cheaper, but I’ve found the quality to be up to snuff. For cheaper “everyday” quality suiting items, you might also try Talbots and Ann Taylor – both are cut a bit more generously through the hips than J-Crew – and thus might work better on your shape.

        Anyway – those are my tips (oh – but on Talbots – go to the store and try on before ordering probably – their sizes are finicky. Once you know your sizing there though, you can get some great deals.)

        On the flip side – if you don’t NEED suit pieces – the Skirt and the NAS Halogen pants are pretty great. :-) But based on what you say about your shape, I wouldn’t be wildly confident about Theory, though it couldn’t hurt to try, at least through NAS you can return it.

        • SoCal Gator :

          Great suggestion on Ann Taylor suits. They have a variety of cuts, including several that fit well on pear shapes and have a classic look. Never buy AT full price as they always have sales and promotions. I have several go to everyday suits from AT.

      • Do not speak for Me, goldribbons.

    • If you’re a pear, I wouldn’t waste your time with Theory. The dress/skirt/pants of a simple Theory suit will definitely work as separates, but I found that the material Theory uses gets shiny fairly quickly– another reason I don’t think Theory is worth it– so you’d want to be careful about dry cleaning everything at the same time.

    • Theory works more for straighter figures. I think the quality is not worth the price too. There are no classic Theory pieces included in the NAS but quite a few Classiques suits. They’re better for curves and are well made.

      • Checking out Classiques is a good suggestion. I am not curvy but always try on cute Classiques stuff at Nordstrom Rack just in case – sadly, they’re too hippy for me. But the one Classiques dress I got as a gift has held up really well over several years.

    • Disagreeing with goldribbons as to work-appropriateness. Theory is definitely work appropriate BUT the fit is very tricky for hourglass/pear shapes — Theory is notorious for flattering more straight figures, so what works on my coworker is instead inappropriate puckering around my hips if the legs fit, or $$$ of alterations if the hip size is good. The prices also seem ridiculous for unlined items. That said, the pieces made from the same fabric are designed to work as suiting.

    • I’m not sure Theory is the best way to go for pear shapes. I think they have more a-line or fit-and-flare style dresses and skirts this season (as that is what is popular), but their classic suiting pieces (sheath dresses, pencil skirts) don’t seem like they’d be friendly to pears — more for straight up and down shapes. People generally say they have to size up (sometimes considerably) in Theory also.

    • Everyone I know who loves their theory suits have pretty non-curvy figures (I shape)

    • SoCal Gator :

      I have to offer a different view. I bought a navy Theory suit last year at the NAS and it’s my favorite suit — the one I wear when I want to look my most professional. It fits me perfectly and is very well tailored. Having said that, I am very slender and can see how it would not work with a curvier frame. There are several lovely Theory suits included in the NAS in the store in went to in SoCal. Maybe different stores have different merchandise.

    • I love my Theory pieces, wear them separately and as suits and find them entirely work appropriate. So, to each their own. One thing I will note, though– the Golda skirt is very narrowly cut, and due to lack of lining, probably requires a slip. I don’t have one because, even with my slim hipped, straight up and down body, it does not fit right. But I love the Max C trousers, ankle pants and blazers.

      • I would agree with the Golda skirt being very narrowly cut. But I think as to the rest, OP should go try on the different pieces. Everyone here always says theory is only for straight figures, yadda, yadda, but I don’t have a straight figure and it’s one of the few lines that work for me without making me look matronly (a la many other suits). Yes, I have to size up but that doesn’t really bother me because it’s not like I am magically bigger in theory than I am in oversized Lafayette 148. FWIW, I have an hourglass figure, veering slightly toward pearish.

        • agreed re: theory. I am also not a straight up and down person, and Theory fit me fine (except for the Golda skirt which was a mess all around). I think more important with Theory, especially the dresses, is that you are the same size on top and on bottom. When I was smaller I was a Theory 6/8 on top and bottom. Now I’m a Theory 8 on top and a Theory 10 on bottom and it’s not a good look.

    • If you are curvier you can also try Classiques Entier, which is a Nordstrom house brand and has many, many pieces included in the NAS. I also like T Tahari or Tahari ASL and the Calvin Klein dresses.

      Lafayette 148 might be another option, although their stuff is spendy.

  16. Since people often ask for gift ideas here, I thought I’d share one thing I did for my husband for his 40th birthday— it was not his main “gift” but it was a big hit, and it would work as a gift for anyone.
    In the morning before I left for work (he took the day off) I left him a card and a separate paper with a list of 40 things I love about him (not fancily presented, just typed up with a little border). Some were serious and some were fun or small things. At first it was hard time coming up with enough things, but once I got going, I could have done even more than 40. It was really fun for me to do, and I got such a lovely phone call from him just now. He was really moved—maybe more so because I’m not very expressive about my feelings. He said it could be the nicest thing he’s ever gotten.

    Anyway, this might be a really obvious thing to do for people, but I thought I’d pass it on. I’d love to do something similar for my best friend or my mom now that I see how good it made my husband feel.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      On that note, yesterday I helped a friend make a “broquet” for her boyfriend’s new job. It was pretty similar to/loosely based off of this (but with different beers and some beef jerky and I think an Amazon card?), and I mentally filed it away as an adorable gift idea:

    • Oh no, this post just made me realize my husband is going to turn 50 in a couple of months, and I have not planned anything. Darn. I will steal your idea; happy for any others. He’s not into birthday parties for himself, so I like the list idea.

      • A couple of MONTHS – you’ve got plenty of time. :-) If it was a couple of days – then you might be in trouble! Or maybe I just plan things for people’s birthdays WAY too close to the date.

        • One year I completely forgot (after dropping hints all day he eventually asked our daughter to ask me if I knew it was Daddy’s birthday — shocker), so I’ve been making more of an effort to remember ahead of time these days.

    • Nordies Lover :

      Awwwww! I love this idea.

  17. The gap solid wrap dress looks really nice. It can easily be dressed up or down. Great dress but it can be a little unintentionally revealing depending how your shape is.

  18. Oh I think this dress would like great on my clients who are top-heavy – Wrap dresses work wonders on them!

  19. Losing the will to live here. Only 68 minutes until the weekend…which will be spent working but whatevs.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      I hope you’re exaggerating, and if you’re not, I hope you seek out some help.
      Sorry if that was a major overreaction, but I don’t like to take comments like that lightly.

      • Oh gosh, apologies. It’s a common refrain in my office and I spoke without thinking. I spent the last month dealing with a major mental health issue with one of my charges and should be more sensitive with my language. Thanks for the reminder!

      • That’s a major overreaction. You might want to work on that. Losing the will to live is a common phrase, and since CB apparently has weekend plans, I think it’s way excessive to assume she needs help

        • A Nonny Moose :

          She said her weekend plans were to work. And many phrases that can be interpreted multiple ways are very tricky to interpret on the internets, as MANY previous discussions on this site have proven.
          It seemed worth 5 seconds of a risk of overreaction to let Cb know someone was thinking of her in case something was actually wrong. Depression and anxiety run high in many of the professions people are in on this board, and I know many people here struggle with mental illness.

          • It sounded like you were scolding her for exagerating. And that’s unnecessary.

          • No offence taken, it’s very kind of you to check in and it’s a good reminder to be careful with my language, particularly over the internet. I think we get used to the refrain of being ‘crazy busy, soooo depressed, just kill me now…’ and forget that those words can mean something more.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            I thought your response was kind. I also agree that one of the biggest issues surrounding suicide is people being afraid to speak up to offer to help someone or people always assuming the speaker is kidding. Kudos for taking the time to write a response not knowing how it would be perceived.

          • I agree that your response was kind. Plus who knows, perhaps CB isn’t losing the will to live but another reader may be. They may see the bit of kindness in your post and reach out.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          I think it’s good to be conscious of our language choices. I’m sure CB didn’t mean anything by it but it’s always good to have a reminder that what we say can be considering alarming/privileged/harmful/etc to others.

          I view it this way – sure, I CAN say whatever I want to. It’s a free country and all. But if someone honestly tells me that the way I am phrasing something makes them upset, or trivializes their own experience, and there’s a really simple solution (choose my words more precisely) then honestly, there’s no reason I shouldn’t do that. I would rather NOT hurt people when I speak, so I appreciate when people point out to me that my language may be doing that unintentionally.

          It’s no feat of mental Olympics for me to say, “Ugh, I wish I could buy that dress but it’s not in the budget” instead of “No way, I’m so broke-ass-po’ f’sho I can’t even deal – I’m like, applying for food stamps next month you guys, seriously.” and if the former is both more accurate, and more conscious on my part that the words I say affects others, and the way that those words come off is hurtful. Even though it stings when people point it out to me (usually because I didn’t “mean” anything bad) it also makes me more conscious and aware and I think, ultimately, a better person.

          • Agreed!

          • Yeah, this is silly. For a start, your analogy doesn’t even work. The second phrase is completely racist, for a start. If you start saying “f’sho” and “broke-ass po” and you don’t use those phrases ordinarily, you are mocking people who do use those phrases. Usually minorities.

            That’s completely different from a phrase like “losing the will to live” which isn’t identified with any particular class or racial group and thus cannot be mocking. The question then becomes: is it offensive to use hyperbole? No amount of internet privilege-shaming, hand-wringing, pearl-clutching is gonna persuade me that it is.

            And it doesn’t even make any sense. Sooo many people have some experience with depression. Are we really claiming that Exaggeration and Hyperbole Are Products of Privilege and depressed people never use hyperbole, they only ever report their exact emotional states because, you know, they are Depressed.

            Isn’t that more othering than anything else? You are literally acting like depressed people are so stupid that ordinary idioms are beyond them.

            When did all these causes get so whiny?

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            My point is it seems silly to me to argue about if someone should or should not be offended. If someone tells me something that I say is upsetting to them, it’s not worth it to me to continue to speak that way to prove some sort of point of “You shouldn’t be offended and you are overly PC.”

            The question to me is not – is it offensive to use hyperbole? The question for me is “Do I want to keep using language that other people find hurtful or trivializing after they tell me that’s how it makes them feel?” For me, the answer is no and I appreciate being told that.

            I don’t want to get into policing whether people should or should not be offended/concerned/upset – by anything. Particularly when the solution is fairly simple and probably better for me in general – saying what I truly mean. I don’t want to unintentionally upset people by my choice of language, so I appreciate it when people tell me that I have — that was the only point I was trying to make.

          • + a million to momentsofabsurdity, especially to this: “Do I want to keep using language that other people find hurtful or trivializing after they tell me that’s how it makes them feel?”

            I think this conversation actually worked really well (A Nonny Moose expressed concern about Cb, Cb explained she was ok but reflected on using potentially hurtful language, everyone is happy) — no need to turn it into an internet fight about PC language, please.

        • A Nonny Moose :

          As a further example of things not coming across clearly online, I really wasn’t trying to scold, at all. Sorry if it came across that way, Cb! I just wanted to make sure you were OK. :)

        • Anonymous :

          … but is “thug” racist?

    • only 33 more mins! Hang in there :)

      • Thanks! I think I’m going to take a walk in the beautiful sunshine (it’s 80 F! In Scotland!) before switching gears and settling in for some more work.

        Remembering this moment when I say, ‘no worries, I can have 3 jobs on top of my PhD’

      • Eek, I’m offended by your use of the words “hang in there”. The imagery of “hanging” potentially references suicide and the fact that this is a commonly used phrase does not absolve you of your responsibility to preemptively strip the English language of all color, grace and nuance. Please stick to factual neutral statements about your own state of mind.

        • A Nonny Moose :

          Seriously, I was checking in to make sure Cb was OK. I am fairly certain if Cb had not immediately responded by saying that she was using an idiom and was in fact fine, neither you nor “Woah” would have jumped all over me for checking in on her. Jeebus. I wasn’t scolding her, at all. Can we all please move on now, thx.

        • Seriously, chill. And no, I don’t mean stick yourself in an extremely cold environment and develop hypothermia.

        • In-House Optimist :

          I think Elle was being snarky? Maybe? Goodness… I think we all need a c*cktail. :)

  20. Related to previous comments about disappointment with J Crew and Theory, what brands or specific items with brands do you consistently find to be good quality? It can be good quality period (e.g. Ann Taylor used to be good quality for work clothes, more hit and miss now) or good quality for the price (e.g. certain sweaters from Target).

    • Cornellian :

      everything I’ve bought at Nordstrom and Brooks Brothers, to be honest. But it does seem like pretty much all brands have this problem. I love my suzi chin for maggy boutique wrap dresses.

    • Mind you I don’t have a lot of either, but DVF (for clothes) and LV (for bags) are worth every penny quality wise. I am rough on my stuff, and the pieces I have from both of those brands look as good as day one.

    • Just running through things in my head and, ugh, AT used to be so amazing! I have a skirt from c. 1999 that still looks brand new (and is classic enough that it’s still not dated looking) plus I have a black sheath dress from about 2006 that I still wear weekly (and have worn weekly, in all seasons, since I bought it). I also have a Brooks Brothers cotton jacket that continues to look brand new, as do a cashmere cardigan and merino sweater I got from their outlet. My large collection of J Crew Jackie cardigans wear really well, considering how much I wear them and that they’re basically cotton sweaters (which never last and never hold color, but these still look great even after a few years). Then there are the old stand-by sturdy brands, like LL Bean and Eddie Bauer. Not work clothes, but those things last forever.

      • I remember when even AT Loft sold work appropriate clothing. I have a suit that I bought there in the early-mid 2000’s that is 100% wool and lined for less than $200 (probably on sale, but still) that still looks great after years of regular wear. Nowadays it’s hard to find that kind of quality at regular AT.

        When I first started working, my entire wardrobe was AT (Loft and regular) and Banana Republic. Now I can hardly find anything I want to buy, since the prices have gone up and the quality has gone way downhill.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          Same here. I still have the first two suits I ever bought, which are both from AT Loft, and it’s been… 7 years, I think? I don’t even think they sell full suits most of the time anymore.

    • I’ve found the following brands to be of good quality (wear well, show good workmanship, last for 2+ years): Club Monaco, Theory, Boss Black, Gap, H&M COOP by Barney’s, Ralph Lauren cashmere. Obviously there is a range of price points represented, but I’d say that for the cheaper items, I get a lot more wear than expected.

      The following brands have quality issues and I only buy them on discount: J Crew, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, AT Loft, several of the Anthropologie brands whose names I cannot remember.

      • +1 to Club Monaco. The quality is good. I tend to forget about it, but then when I check it out I always find that I end up loving.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I’ve been really happy with the Nordstrom in-house brands like Halogen for clothing and Tarnish for accessories.

    • For coats and suits, Max Mara. For t-shirts and cotton knits, Uniqlo.

    • S in Chicago :

      Lands End Swimwear. Lasts forever. Other brands seem to only go a season. And even when I don’t swim much, the elastic breaks down so often with other brands. And if I time purchase right before 4th of July, I usually get half off and biggest selection. And they offer options in so many different shapes and lengths and cup sizes that I can completely customize what I want and have gotten to the point where I can order online now sight unseen and know what will be flattering. I seriously don’t know what my long torso/big chest self would do without their tankinis.

      • I recently ordered a Lands End girls XL rash guard for $10 to fit my small chest/short torso :)

  21. Cornellian :

    Does anyone have any recommendations for tinted moisturizer/BB/CC/DD/EE/FF/etc. creams? I have normal/dry very fair skin, am not super prone to break outs, want more coverage than my laura mercier tinted moisturizer gives, and sunscreen.

    • I like the Skin79 creams. I have fair skin and it has nice coverage and I think my skin has improved since starting using it.

      The Laura Mercier in the palest colour works for me but is also too thin.

      • Cornellian :

        That’s what I use, Laura Mercier in the lightest color. I feel like the formulation has changed and/or my skin is getting worse.

        Maybe I need to try a light foundation.

    • I use the smashbox CC cream – I’m quite fair as well with tons of freckles, so wanted more coverage than the tinted moisturizer as well. This was recommended for me at Sephora and I’ve really liked it so far!

    • I like the Laura Mercier silk creme foundation…better coverage than the tinted moisturizer but still not at all heavy, esp. if you apply with a damp sponge. I’m very fair with skin on the dry side as well and have been wearing this for years.

    • I like my Maybelline BB cream.

    • I love the clinique bb cream, which I find goes on a lot smoother and looks nicer than tinted moisturizer. I have never worn foundation before but love this. I have to layer it on top of regular moisturizer, but it leaves my skin really soft and doesn’t make me break out. I amextremely fair but not at all pink complexioned — slightly sallow — and shade II works amazingly well.

    • I have recently been trying out a number of BB and CC creams and tinted moisturizers. So far my favorites have been:

      Tarte’s Amazonian Clay BB Cream – This by far has been my favorite!
      Clinique’s BB Cream
      Clinique’s CC Cream
      Hourglass Foundation(I don’t think this one has sunscreen, but great coverage, however the lightest color was still too dark for me – I am also the lightest color in the LM Tinted Moisturizer)

      Things I didn’t enjoy
      Stila’s Tinted Moisturizer or BB Cream – really didn’t do much for me – It had very little coverage, and I didn’t see much of a difference between wearing it and just regular old sunscreen. YMMV.

      I have about 10-15 that I have been testing. I have combination/sensitive skin, but these have worked well for me because 1. have great coverage, but not too heavy, 2. haven’t caused any breakouts (which sometimes happens with new stuff for me), 3. haven’t caused too much oil on my t-zone (which happens with my combination skin).

      I have been super duper nerdy and have been keeping a notes matrix on how each works and if I get any commentary on my make-up when I wear them.

      • What???? That’s AWESOME. You should share your matrix with us when you’re done (I love matrices!!!!)

    • I used to use Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer as well and switched to Smashbox BB cream and Peter Thomas Roth CC when I wanted more coverage. Both are great. I think Smashbox has more color options. I believe there are only two colors available in the Peter Thomas Roth CC cream and, if you are very fair, the light to medium may be too dark for you.

    • I am also quite fair skinned, and love the coverage/texture of Bobbi Brown’s BB cream. The lightest color is a great match for my pale skin and for the first time my neck matches my face. A pea-sized amout = 1 application, so the tube lasts a long time. The texture of my skin has improved with use, as well.

    • I was very unimpressed with all the BB creams I tried until I got the black Dr. Jart one. Amazing! You can get a sample at sephora to see if it works for you. In the winter I add a little light moisturized under it because my skin gets dry but summer time I just use as is.

    • I went through all of the possible tinted moisturizers and BB creams at Sephora and didn’t find anything I loved. There was one I liked but it wasn’t the right tone for my skin (very fair, peachy). I ended up with MAC BB prep+prime and I love it.

    • i like smashbox bb cream under the laura mercier tinted radiance moisturizer, which is my day to day. if its the weekend or gym time i wear the smashbox by itself which is nice and i think there is some spf in it as well.

    • Midtown ATL Lawyer :

      I am also very pale and had a really hard time finding a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen that I wasn’t allergic too (after Origins discontinued the one I’d used for years and replaced it with products containing oxybenzone and avobenzone, which I am massively allergic to and are in everything!). The Maybelline BB cream initially worked well for me color-wise and it wore well during the day, even on hot and sticky days. However, after several days of wearing it, my skin broke out in little zits, so I had to stop using it (but my skin is very sensitive).

      I finally found Josie Maran’s tinted moisturizer, available at Sephora, and it is the single best tinted moisturizer or foundation that I have ever used (even better than Prescriptives’ Virtual Skin, which was my previous favorite). The lightest shade works perfectly on my skin and gives just enough coverage to mute my freckles without making me look made-up. I usually wear it with a little concealer under my eyes and a touch of powder, and it wears great all day. I’ve had no problems with reactions, and it has SPF 30 too (non-chemical sunscreen!).

      In case anyone might also be looking for a good daily moisturizer that uses non-chemical suncreens and won’t turn your skin white, I’d also recommend Josie Maran’s Argan Daily Moisturizer with SPF 40. It absorbs instantly into my face and neck, has a nice berry scent (no gross chemical sunscreen smell!), and doesn’t leave any residue on my collars (unlike the Neutrogena Baby Sunscreen, which worked well as a sunscreen but turned my skin white and left white residue all over my clothing). I even think that my overall skin texture and condition have improved since I started using the daily moisturizer and the tinted moisturizer every day.

  22. Woods-comma-Elle :

    I’m very excited that I can finally afford to live by myself (this is EXPENSIVE in London) and have found a nice little studio to move into. Usually everything here is furnished, but this one only has a bed, sofa, wardrobe and a sideboard so I will need to get other stuff like coffee table, cushions, soft furnishings generally etc. I’m really excited about this and starting to look at ideas in magazines and web etc., but I’m really not sure how to find the ‘red thread’ for what I want my place to look like as a whole or decided on a colour scheme (the existing furniture is neutral). Any tips for doing this for the first time?

    • Cornellian :

      I am following this with interest, as I’m moving in a month or so and have close to a blank slate.

      Have you looked at apartmenttherapy dot com ?

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      I am obsessed with for furnishing, decorating, and DIY inspiration. I just did this project ( and it went exactly how they said.

    • Carrie Preston :

      Pinterest is great for this.

    • Second apartment therapy. Seriously – GO HERE FIRST. This site is fantastic. They have a special competition every year for small spaces. Here are the entries, go through each one and look at the floor plans and features and how the rooms look.

      Good luck! London is SO expensive.

    • Congratulations ! I’d try an actual book store with a good design section and browse-able magazines, if you want to look through a lot of stuff quickly to figure out what you like. Perhaps look up some stuff on lighting, window treatments and related effects as well – these aren’t as obvious as buying new furniture but can make a big difference to a basic space.

    • I am a banana. :

      Check out Design Sponge. They have great “home tours” and color themes, and you should check out their city guide for London. Posting link below for mod.

    • I would go through a bunch of decorating magazines, catalogs, etc., and pull out the pictures that appeal to you. Take all the photos and put them on a bulletin board and see if you can identify the common thread, or what jumps out most. Use that as your common thread.

      Another way to do it is to think in threes — two main colors (a dominant and secondary), and an accent. There are lots of websites that will give you options.

      Another idea — go find a patterned cushion that you really like and just use the color scheme in the pillow as your theme.

      • A Nonny Moose :

        The Perfect Palette is great for your second point. You can sort by pairings of a color you know you want to include; if you must have sky blue, you can sort by her pages that pair sky blue with one or two or more other colors. It’s oriented towards wedding planning but it’s great for interior design as well.

    • Also, designsponge! You might have to scroll through the website to weed through all the other non-apartment stuff (like weddings, crafty things), but even those are nice to get ideas for color/texture/pattern ideas.

    • Moonstone :

      One easy way to pick a direction on the color scheme is to go to a fabric store and see what colors and patterns you are drawn to. Almost every room I have ever decorated was inspired by a textile. If you buy a yard or so of a couple of fabrics that most interest you, you can use them later as gigantic swatches to choose paint colors; that really makes a small place look coordinated. Also, you can turn the fabric into a throw pillow or table topper. Drape them over your sofa and live with them for a few days before committing to one color scheme.

  23. I just watched a girl come to our office for an interview in a sundress. It had short sleeves, but was a sundress, nonetheless.
    Does no one own a suit anymore? And why didn’t she know that casual Friday doesn’t apply to interviewees?

    • Probably because no one in her life has ever worked in an office before. I already know that if I hadn’t come along, my stepdaughter would have no earthly idea about approriate business dress/office etiquette. For me it was ingrained because my dad had the type of job where you wore a suit to work every day and we occasionally had to go sit in his office and do homework when we were kids. The only offices she’s ever been inside belong to doctors and dentists.

      • In-House Optimist :

        This. I just had to have the same conversation with my sister, who was going to interview for an office job dealing with a multitude of professionals in colored jeans and a blouse (I saved her – she borrowed a suit and was immensely thankful afterward). I think she got used to working in a very laid back culture (at her first job out of college, the dress code was flip-flops, jeans, and tshirts) and didn’t realize that most places aren’t like that. She really thought she *was* dressed up because she was wearing a blouse and heels. She thought only lawyers had to wear suits (le sigh) … and now that I’m out of BigLaw and inhouse I dress pretty casually, so that probably didn’t help. She’s also 23, so I cut her some slack instead of clutching the pearls. :)

      • Yep. This is the kind of thing that makes it hard to break into the white collar professional world if your family members aren’t there already. Instead of being judgemental it would be a lot more kind (and useful) to just specify the dress code when you schedule someone for an interview if it’s important to you. That way they have time to buy or borrow a suit or separates and they gain a little knowledge about what’s considered standard for your industry.

    • Well, depending on what her position will be, she may not own a suit or have the money to buy one. Even if a law firm, it wound’t be unheard of for an admin position to no wear a suit for an interview.

    • So – she wouldn’t have worn a sundress – but my mom is a social worker with over 30 years of experience and has job hunted in the recent past (yay social services cuts at every level due to budgetary crises…)

      Anyway – she wouldn’t wear what you consider a traditional “suit” to interviews either. Partially because of age and partially because of the types of places she’s interviewing.

      So yes, I think that lawyers and traditional professionals generally have to wear “suits with a capital S” to their interviews – but people interviewing for other types of jobs don’t necessarily HAVE to wear a traditional suit. And in some industries it might even be looked askance at (like…what ARE you wearing.) I mean – not at a law firm likely – but if an applicant for an administrative assistant position came in in a blazer over a more flowy dress – I certainly wouldn’t freak out.

      And when I was just out of college – even as the daughter of two professionals – I didn’t own a suit and had to borrow suits and/or other “job interview” appropriate wear from friends. And I know for sure that for a few of my interviews I hit the low end of the interview appropriate end of the spectrum.

      So I guess what I’m saying is – as a job hunter – give her a break – its tough out there!


    Can someone just really clearly lay out what numbers you need to pass the NY bar? BarBri is so confusing considering that it’s so much money (not that we pay). What scores do we need in MBE/Essays?

    • I don’t know the numbers but what helped me de-stress was this: if you do well enough on your MBE you don’t need to do that well on the essays. The MBE is only 6 (7?) subjects. Study those and wills and you will be fine! It made it much more manageable for me to focus on studying for just those major subjects and then add on the others as opposed to thinking I had to learn 16 (?) for the exam.

    • I cannot help you with this. Google can probably be much more helpful with this. Also – what can be most helpful with this is realizing that knowing this information is probably not going to change your approach whatsoever in preparing for the exam.

      The Bar Exam is a test of minimal competence yes, but the first time you take it basically everyone overshoots. Just keep your head down, keep taking practice questions and practice essays, and don’t worry too much about specific numbers – honestly – it’ll come together in the end.

    • 665 total weighted score.

      “The answers to the five essay questions and the MPT are each graded in accordance with a predetermined marking formula, and the grades attained by the applicant on the respective questions are the raw essay scores. The total number of questions answered correctly by an applicant on the 50 New York multiple choice questions is the raw score for that portion, and the number of questions answered correctly on the MBE questions is the applicant’s raw score for the MBE portion.

      Through psychometrically approved scaling procedures, the raw scores attained by the applicants on each portion of the examination are converted to scaled scores on a common scale of 0 to 1000, and the three scaled scores are then weighted and combined to yield total weighted scaled scores on the same 0 to 1000 scale. The relative weights assigned are 50% to the written portion (40% essays and 10% MPT), 10% to the New York multiple choice, and 40% to the MBE portion.

      The essay and MPT answers of each applicant who receives an initial total weighted scaled score of 655 through 664 are re-read and re-graded by graders other than the initial graders. The examination scores are then recomputed to determine each applicant’s final scaled score. There is no appeal from this final score.”

    • Anonymous :

      I’m not 100% positive, I’m pretty sure that a passing score changes slightly from year to year because the NY bar is somewhat curved. I think that’s why Barbri can’t tell you exactly what you need to pass.

      But as mentioned above, I wouldn’t stress out about the exact score, its not helpful. And I completely agree with AIMS, I’d focus on doing as well on the MBE as you can.

    • Try not to think about it :

      I spent so much time during bar study calculating potential scores/minimum passing scores/reading pass statistics and trying to calculate my liklihood of passing that I failed the NY bar.

      At one time I could list 10 succesful people and which bad they failed and when.

      Really focus on getting the best score you can on the MBE, focus on preparing for the most-frequently tested subjects for NY. You can’t go wrong doing more practice questions – do practice questions over re-reading outlines or flash cards or any other study techniques. I know it’s terrifying to go into this without knowing what will happen, but you have to find a way to come to terms with the uncertainty and just focus on doing your best.

      DEFINITELY to practice

    • Thanks guys, just getting to the point where it all feels like it’s not passable! will knuckle down and practice.

  25. Ladies, I need some makeup brushes. Mostly for eyes, but another blush brush and possibly something to use for foundation. Any suggestions? I was thinking of going to Target and getting the sonia k brand, but wasn’t sure if I should shell out for something a little nicer.

    My makeup routine right now is minimal, but I’m trying to branch out. Also, if someone has a go to smokey eye tutorial that won’t make me look like I ran into a doorknob, please share!

    • I have a Sonia K powder brush and really love it. Sonia K is definitely good quality. I have MAC brushes for my eyes and my blush brush is also MAC. Sephora has good brushes too.

      • I am a banana. :

        I own MAC, BareMinerals and Sonia K brushes and agree that the quality is similar. Will be buying Sonia K from now on.

      • Nordies Lover :

        I second the Sephora brand brushes

    • Smashbox has tutorials on their website for a variety of smokey eyes. I am still using a set of brushes I got at Costco and like them. For eyeliner, the Laura Mercier brush is really nice.

    • Veronique :

      For brushes on the cheap, I’d highly recommend e.l.f. Studio. I own a blush brush and eyeshadow brush from the line and they compare favorably with my MAC, BareMinerals, Stila and Urban Decay brushes. I’ve had them for several years and they still look great and haven’t lost any bristles, which is more than I can say for some of the more expensive brushes that I’ve owned. You can find them at Target for about $3/brush or $10-15/set.

    • Thanks for the advice! I will check all this out. Trying to look more ‘polished’ lately.

    • Sigma brushes are basically MAC dupes (duplicates) and much cheaper. Sonia K is very good as well. I would get a blending brush and a crease brush for your eyes. Sonia K’s crease brush is great. Get a Sigma dupe of the MAC 217. I have 5! You can use them for everything (concealer, blending, crease etc).

      Also, don’t buy a foundation brush before buying foundation! You need to match the foundation to your skin type (dry, oily etc) and THEN get a tool which works best with that foundation. I have soooo many foundation brushes but have dry skin so now just use a beauty blender or my fingers.

  26. Um, removing olive oil from leather? :

    Yes, I just did this. Spilled olive oil in my (unlined) leather tote. Plus a little balsamic, to be honest. Huge dark spot on the side. Does anyone have any cleaning tips?

    I brought it by my usual miracle worker dry cleaners / shoe repair place, and getting it professionally cleaned will be expensive and may not work, so that’s off the table. It’s a Banana Republic Paige Pinking Shears tote that I bought on sale for $60, so it wouldn’t be worth it to spend a lot of money, but I would like to salvage it at home if I can…

    • A Nonny Moose :

      Uggh, that is horrible. No personal solution; have you tried purse forum?

      • A Nonny Moose :

        • Um, removing olive oil from leather? :

          Thanks, I’ll peruse–looks like a good resource regardless!

          • 2 things: leave it out and see what happens. I had a similar snafu last summer when an olive oil bottle broke next to, and got oil on, my leather sandals last summer. I was totally annoyed and then after about a week of just wearing them, the stain magically disappeared.

            Or, look on Martha Stewart dot com. I feel like I saw something about salt or baking soda and oil stains on there.

    • I think you’re supposed to pour corn starch or baby powder or something on the oil stain so that it will soak up the oil. I’m half-remembering this from Ask A Clean Person.

      • Yes, this. Also give it some time, as AIMS notes below. The oil should absorb into the leather. This can take a while, though. I once spilled a lot of oil on a light tan leather bag and it was gone 2 years later (after I had stopped checking and put the bag in storage).

        Crazy thought, but depending on how the area with the spot looks now you could also try applying oil to the entire bag and then letting it sit out for a while. For a less expensive bag I would probably try this; it would darken the leather but if it is a natural leather it might look nice on the right bag.

        • +1 to conditioning the bag, though you may not want to do it with olive oil. Lexol leather conditioner is amazing and you can get an even color.

        • Um, removing olive oil from leather? :

          Ha, I’m glad to see these comments–this is what I thought about doing originally and then wrote it off, thinking it would be crazy. Thanks for the Lexol recommendation.

      • I am a banana. :

        Try face mineral powder? It’s made to absorb oils…I use it in my hair sometimes instead of dry shampoo and it works like a charm.

    • Just read something online about using cornstarch. Wear gloves, rub it in, remove the excess with a broom or vacuum. Repeat as necessary.

  27. Possibly… but I also grew up in an environment where no one worked for corporate anything (My mom thought accountants were the bookkeepers in the back of the auto shop)- and found myself hilariously overdressed vis-à-vis my peers for my first interviews. Perhaps I had a weird set of expectations, but even in college (not that long ago), there was some coaching as to how one should dress.

    • No, not everyone gets that in college.

      • Also, what I thought counted as a suit in college is vastly different from what a law firm appropriate suit is. I had one of those cute short sleeved ones from the juniors section! I also remember a certain GAP blazer with polka dots on it that I wore to several interviews for administrative assistant positions.

        • This.

          I purchased my first suit for my college admissions interview. It was from Bebe. I think that pretty much says it all.

          I got in despite the suit :)

          • Wow. You wore a suit to the interview!!! I went straight afterschool so it was probably just school clothes (jeans + top). This might be why the Radcliffe alumn did not like me. ^_~

        • I totally had a short sleeve (cap-sleeved?) blazer that was polka dotted that I wore to work as an admin assistant job in college. I thought I was like, totally nailing professional attire.

  28. SoCal Gator :

    Looking for a black cross-body bag that I can use for every day. Need to fit in a rather large Lodis clutch style wallet, cellphone. Looking for a more classic style without a lot of hardware embellishments. Any suggestions? I did not see anything I liked at the NAS. Budget is $150 or less.

  29. A client’s elderly father recently passed away. She is senior and I see her in person 4 – 5 times a year and interact over email a few times a quarter. We’ve known one another in this capacity for about 5 years. She isn’t my main day-to-day contact.

    I can send her a sympathy card, correct? I’m never sure how to react in these situations.

    I will also need to email her soon, within the next week. I’m thinking I should send her a card first but not mention anything in the email (hopefully the card would arrive first?) We mainly talk about business but have also discussed personal matters, mostly around children. Her father passed away suddenly just after I last saw her.

    I know this stuff is typically case-by-case basis. Any advice? Also, she is Jewish and I am not. Any special considerations? Thanks.

    • I don’t think you need any special considerations for the note – I’d just aim for a non-religious one that is more generic sympathy, condolences, etc. Certainly no crosses and unless you know her level of religious observance (and even then) I’d suggest avoiding any cards with references to Gd or religion.

      These things are always tricky but I think a sympathy card would be appropriate. You could certainly add a line in your email, I was so sorry to hear of your father’s passing, my thoughts are with you and your family, sort of thing.

    • You can send her a sympathy card but I wouldn’t. IME, work can be a “break” from grief. So sending cards to her work reminding the person of her grief can prevent her from taking that break.

      When a personal tragedy happens to someone I only know professionally, I usually respond to the email with “My condolences. Please let me know if there is anything I can do while you are away.” When they return to work, I usually say “I’m glad you are back and I hope everything is going well.”

      Of course, it’s a know-your-office, know-your-client, know-the-person judgement call.

      • Yeah, I should also have said I would never send a sympathy card to a person’s business address — totally agree with K-padi about work being a break from grief. So you could only even consider sending a card if you know them well enough to have their home address, or if it wouldn’t be weird to ask their assistant for the address so you can send a card.

        • Well, all communications go to this person’s home address/email account. I agree that a sympathy card generally shouldn’t be sent to a work address.

          I’ll look for a non-religious, neutral and simple card to send.

          Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

    • Tricky. You should certainly express your condolences, but whether to do so in a sympathy card that you mail or whether you do it in an email is a judgment call based on the relationship with the client. I don’t have a great test for which to choose, although personally I tend to think “is this a person who if I knew they were in town for some reason, I would suggest getting together for a drink or coffee, or do we not have that kind of relationship?” If yes to a drink/coffee, then yes to an actual sympathy card. If no to a drink/coffee, then that makes me realize that I really have a business-only, not personal, relationship with the person (even though we might sometimes chat about our families or vacations), and therefore an email is more appropriate. The age of the person is relevant too — with a younger person, I’d be more inclined to go email, if the person is older and more formal, more inclined to go with a card.
      Normally I’d say it never hurts to go out of your way to send a sympathy card to someone who might not necessarily expect one from you (like a neighbor that you don’t know very well), but a client is the one place where I hesitate. Because the last thing you’d want is for the client to open the card and think “why on earth did Meep send me a card, I really don’t know her very well, she must be sucking up to me to get more business” (which of course you’re not, but you don’t want to run that risk).

    • Anonymous :

      If you end up not sending a card, be sure to briefly mention it next time you speak to this person, even if it’s been a while. They’ll be touched that you knew and remembered.

    • I think that expressing sympathy for the death of someone’s father is a no-brainer. You don’t have to do it, but I can’t see being offended by it. Even if it were someone with whom have a strong personal relationship. I think email sympathy is a little informal for such a solemn sentiment.

      • It is better, much better to express condolences, in some way, even if it feels awkward, than to pretend that nothing ever happened. With a business acquaintance, I would make a brief mention of sympathy for the person’s loss, without asking for details, unless the acquaintance made it clear they wanted to talk more about the subject.

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