Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Cashmere-Blend Top and Skirt

Giorgio Armani Long-Sleeve Stretch Jersey Top | CorporetteOur daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. This week of TPS reports comes to you from Stephanie Rahlfs of Adventures in the Stiletto Jungle, who also shared a week of her picks back in 2011. Welcome back, Stephanie!

My personal style is squarely in the modern minimalist camp. I love luxurious separates that paint clean lines on the body. But, I find that most of my favorite minimalist designers are weak in the professional work attire department. The best pieces from labels like Helmut Lang, Acne Studios, Vince, and Alexander Wang are either too conceptual or too casual for the office. It’s disappointing.

This Giorgio Armani cashmere blend skirt and top combination, however, manages to turn a clearly minimalist silhouette into something work appropriate. The barely below-the-knee length skirt and modestly cut blouse are right on point for a professional workplace, on a day where a traditional suit isn’t a necessity, and the cashmere-blend jersey is dressy enough to take it out of the weekend-wear category. The top and skirt are $3,345 and $1,795, respectively, at Neiman Marcus. Giorgio Armani Long-Sleeve Stretch Jersey Top + Bias-Seamed Jersey Skirt

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



  1. I have something like this, but with pants. I call them my Office Pajamas and I’m never going to give them up. I think that my OPs are a knockoff of something called a galatzine set, which is a thing of the 60s that people should bring back.

    Now, could Talbots or somewhere do a version of this that I can afford?

  2. Anne Shirley :

    Picks like this are why I read fashion blogs. Not my style, not my budget, but wow. Really gives me something to think about.

    • I agree. I don’t think this would work for my office (people wouldn’t “get it”) and this level of minimalism is not my personal style, but it’s got me thinking about how I could pair other pieces. Etc., a swingy simple top like that one over a pencil skirt, and perhaps with a long pendant, would be a nice change from my normal patterned blouse uniform.

      • I think it would be gorgeous as separates. A slim fit top with the full skirt would be gorgeous.

        • I would totally wear this – for my full exec mode. It is a modern version of a suit, and perfect for California. Also just about as beautiful as fashion gets. Huge thumbs up.

  3. Anonymous :

    If any other Corporettes are observing Ramadan this month, Ramadan Mubarak! On a slightly more horrifying note, our summer intern, upon hearing that I was fasting, took it upon herself to shove her breakfast pastry in my face saying “yummy yummy”. She thought it was hilarious, however my colleagues did not, and now it appears that she is to have a meeting with HR this afternoon. Too much drama for a Monday!

    • Yay for good colleagues and HR!

    • Wow. That’s incredibly obnoxious. Just…..wow.

      • Not going to be asked back :

        You can be sure that this event will be taken into account at the end of the summer.

    • Wow – that’s unbelievable. I’m glad your colleagues and HR are taking it seriously. Hopefully she’ll learn something. I have experienced some pretty absurd comments at work (I’m a religious Jew and also have dietary restrictions and occasional fast days) but nothing quite that ridiculous and immature. Ramadan Mubarak to you!

      • Do you all think that this is a matter of the person having no idea what Ramadan is (perhaps against a backdrop of all sorts of cleanses and fasts that people do not for religious reasons) or religious fasting in general?

        I say b/c I’ve heard similar comments about people who were, of all things, Catholic.

        Do people just not know? Or are people that awful (this sounds awful — even if it were a vanity fast or a diet, who but a jerk does things like this)? Both?

        • I think regardless of the reason someone is fasting, it’s juvenile to taunt with food. It could be religious, diet, medical testing prep, who knows. So, I don’t think the why of the fasting matters.

        • I think that it doesn’t matter whether someone is refusing food because of a religious reason, because they just don’t like that particular food, because they aren’t hungry, or because they are like that Fruititarian in Notting Hill and think that carrots have been murdered – shoving your food in their face and saying “Yummy yummy!” is 100% unacceptable behavior.

          • I’m only asking b/c of the HR involvement. My understanding is that they do get involved with religious-type animus, but (unfortunately) not with mere jerks. We are stuck with the jerks.

          • HR can get involved with whatever they want to get involved with, including jerks. They may not be required by law to get involved, but they are certainly free to do so if they are interested in keeping a nice workplace.

          • Anonymous :

            I’m not sure I agree with this. If OP had been fasting for a non-religious reason, the intern’s comment would have been inappropriate because she’s an intern and she’s teasing a superior, not because the comment itself was objectively horrible. If I started a cleanse, I can guarantee you my friends and coworkers would let me know when they had a delicious burger or pizza or whatever.

        • I would hope that there is not a person who is able to get into college and secure an internship that has no idea what Ramadan is. I mean, I honestly don’t know much about it myself, but just knowing it’s a religious holiday should be enough to know that any kind of joking is off limits.

          However, we once had a new hire that would NOT shut up about bacon to another new hire. Someone finally had to take him aside and explain that it’s not OK to badger someone about them abstaining from a particular food for any reason, especially a religious one. It’s shocking to me how ignorant people can be, but maybe I’ve just not had a ton of exposure to WASPs.

          • “It’s shocking to me how ignorant people can be, but maybe I’ve just not had a ton of exposure to WASPs.”

            You do recognize that this is a very ignorant statement, right?

            Signed, a white anglo-saxon protestant who d*mn well knows what Ramadan is.

          • Not a WASP, got into college, etc, but also did not know about ramadan until after graduation when my students wanted to hang out in my classroom during lunch while they were fasting so that they didn’t have to sit in the cafeteria not eating. Of course, I did not taunt students with food, but did ask about their traditions.

            I think it is possible to grow up in communities/cities that have certain types of diversity and not others.

          • I had never heard of Ramadan until partway through college – there was not a single person in my high school that celebrated it (at least publicly – there may have been one or two students, but they wouldn’t have wanted to draw attention to their “otherness”, but that’s another story). I hope I wouldn’t have been foolish enough to do what this intern did, but I certainly would have given you a “huh?” look the first time I heard “fasting for Ramadan”. I also was unfamiliar with all Jewish holidays outside of Hannukah, and didn’t really understand what Kosher meant either.
            People only know what they are exposed to – you can’t hold that against them. Acting like this intern did – yes that was totally wrong. But “world religion” isn’t a class in most high schools, so unless a person has a diverse friend base at some point in their life, they aren’t going to know these things.

          • Anon Worker Bee :

            I’m not sure why WASPs are more likely to be ignorant about Ramadan than Christian African Americans, Catholic Hispanics, atheists, etc.

          • IDK, I had had no exposure to Ramadan when I started college. I came from a small town, and I had barely been exposed to Catholicism or Judaism.

            Now, that said, I believe I learned quickly and respectfully and never would have acted like this intern. Nothing excuses that type of behavior.

          • What does being a WASP have to do with anything?

          • I was initially offended by the WASP comment too, as a non-ignorant WASP, but I kinda see the point. As a non-WASP in this country, you don’t have the option to be ignorant of what Christmas is, that a bunch of us care about Jesus, or that Church is a thing one does on Sunday morning. As a WASP, I probably could go a while not really getting Ramadan, being unclear on who Muhhamed was and why he had a mountain, and when Muslims go to church-or do those folks call it church?

            I’m not ignorant, and I’m grateful to the teachers in my public school who taught me not to be , but ignorance isn’t as easy an option when you aren’t the dominant culture.

          • I meant it only as it applies in the negative sense, as in isolated wealthy jerk types. I thought that it was a phrase that just because you meet the definition of the acronym, that doesn’t mean you are a jerk or that the negative stereotype applies. Much like all poor white people are not hillbillies, all rich men are not misogynists, etc.

            The offending person in this case was a New England upper class dudebro type and that was the most applicable thing I could think of. Honestly didn’t realize it was offensive. Sorry!

          • To Burgher :

            I’m anon from 11:07am and I wanted to say thank you for apologizing. I think you can just call him an ignorant d-bag instead :)

          • I don’t think you need to have Muslim, Jewish or whatever community friends etc to know what these religions are. I assume people do read books as kids or as young adults and get exposed to a lot of things that way. I find it rather sad that educated ladies on this site found out about a lot of things only when they reached college, and cite the reason as growing up in small towns or whatever.

          • not the same thing :

            But I never even saw a crab cake until I was in law school. I had a lot of book learning, but not this.

    • AnonLawMom :

      Wow. I hope that person does not get an offer to return to your company. That is unbelievable.

    • I’m fasting too. Wow that is … crazy. I’ve never heard or experienced anything like that. Speechless.

    • Ramadan Mubarak! It’s nice to see the sense of community on here =)

    • Ramadan Mobarak. In Morocco, that intern could have ended at the police station.
      I hope you all cope well with the long fasting hours.
      I have changed my schedule to work 6 hours in the morning, then nap in the afternoon until Iftar, then I work some more at night.

  4. Anonymous :

    If there are any Corporettes out there observing Ramadan – Ramadan Mubarak!

    • This WASP, who has known at a high level what Ramadan is (but not the right greetings), for what, 35 years? says Ramadan Mubarak back to you. If that is appropriate. WASPs like to be appropriate and courteous to everyone. Also open-minded.

      Breaking down multiple stereotypes and cultural barriers, FTW.

      • Thank you Lisa.
        From a Moroccan who absolutely loves your blog though it is culturally irrelevant for my part of the world.

  5. I find this oddly prison matronly and yet stunningly beautiful all at the same time. I want to live the life where I would wear these clothes.

    • Lovely but not on me :

      I can visualize my petite but chesty body in this and it wouldn’t work at all – people wouldn’t get it, as someone else said, but it is an intriguing look, especially on someone tall with a ruler shape.
      Also, if I had $4.5k to spend, it would be on a really nice purse.

    • +1

    • marketingchic :

      I see it as Claire Underwood Casual Friday. Fierce yet flowy.

  6. Thank you! :

    Thank you Kat for the edit feature!!

  7. Something about these pieces together is very A Handmaid’s Tale. Separately, they’re absolutely beautiful.

    • That was my first thought too. It’s not something I would wear but it’s an interesting pick. I’m excited to see more minimalist picks this week!

    • I thought the same thing! It’s gorgeous though. Only the richest man’s handmaid would get to wear this.

  8. Ugh, quick vent? We got burgled last night. We’re safe (slept right through it) and stuff is just stuff but not how I wanted to start the week.

    • Glad you're safe :

      That’s the worst thing ever. It’s happened to us, too – grab and run mid-day when we left the home office door open and the dogs weren’t in the house. Hope you get through the aftermath (police report, etc.) okay. Important thing is that you are safe.

      • Thanks for the thoughts everyone, police were just here. No real sign of forced entry, not sure if I find it more or less reassuring that someone regularly trolls around trying patio doors versus forcing them open. Poor cat is a wreck as he was in the living room where they were.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          We use SimpliSafe alarm system. You install it yourself (super easy), no contract, and the monitoring is $14.99/month or so. Since it is not hard wired, you can use it in an apartment. We have been very happy with it. It alerted us (and the police) when my door blew open in the middle of the day and the police were able to shut it before my pets escaped.


          • Wow, thanks for this. I will be moving to a new house soon and had been considering an alarm system but didn’t want to get involved with expensive contracts. This looks like just the right thing!

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            The other thing we do is we have the motion sensors on the first floor only. We then use the remote control to set it for “away” once we are upstairs for bed. That way if anyone came through a window (we don’t have entry sensors on all the windows) it would trigger the alarm. We can turn it off remotely before we go back downstairs.

    • Amelia Earhart :

      Ugh, that’s awful, I’m sorry!

    • That’s awful. Glad you’re okay though. I live in a small subdivision in Johns Creek where many of our neighbors have video monitoring (including us) but I am still so paranoid. I hope you or a neighbor caught them on camera. I’ve had too many coworkers and friends burgled, especially ITP. Although we may move back into the city, this is a big reason for us to stay OTP.

      • Wow — how bad is property crime (in Atlanta, I’m guessing)? I know it is bad in Memphis per my sister (fugitive ran through her yard and the police followed, along with a helicopter; it seems that the drainage ditches that run throughout Memphis really encourage this sort of thing).

        My (large southern) city gets a bad rap for crime, but this is another thing entirely.

        I’m so sorry for the OP. Our house was burgled (daytime) when I was a child and it was just awful to arrive home to. I kept looking for the guy who took our stuff (inside the house and then later when out and about).

        • Better than some cities, worse than others, overall improving. We live ITP (and have for many years) and so do most of our friends. Few have had problems.

    • Yay! Pricey Monday’s! I love pricey Monday’s and this Armani suit! Right now, I can NOT quite aford to buy this, tho the manageing partner’s brother kept askeing me if he could take me shoppeing in Bridgehamton.

      As for the OP, hug’s to you. This is terrible. I think You need to get the Sloman’s Sheild and they will protect you. The manageing partner’s house in the Hamton’s has it and they use it 24/7, even when they are there. So no one can come in w/o getting let in or the alarm goe’s off. But you have to remember the code or it will buzz on you even if you go from the INSIDE to the OUTSIDE! That hapened to me 2x when I went out to the pool to swim. FOOEY!

      It was very nice out there, and we went out on the boat both Saturday and Sunday. The manageing partner has a guy to help him with the boat, who live’s in town, and he went out with us on Saturday to make sure the boat was 100%. He even offered to show me how the engine room worked, but I did NOT want to go down there just with him b/c it was dark and smelled like gasoline. FOOEY!

      The manageing partner’s brother took me into Bridgehamton and wanted me to pick out some art for his new apartement. I went, but said I needed to better understand his taste’s b/f I could pick out anything for him. He said that if I liked it, he would like it, so we went around but I did NOT find anything that realy jumped out at me. He made me promise we would try again the next time we went out there. He did find an apartement in my buildeing, but he said if he get’s aproved, he would need for it to be GUTT-RENOVATED. That is good b/c that mean’s he cant move in for a while, even if the Board aprove’s him. He kept ooogeling me, particulearly when I was out at the pool, weareing Margie’s batheing clothe’s. I did have a coverup so he could NOT see that it was a littel to big for me. The last thing I need is for men to see me with a bikini bottom that look’s baggy and saggy!

      I have a VERY busy week at work so I may NOT get to p’ost as much until after I file my 11 breif’s with the court. Fortunateley, I can do that ELECTRONICALEY! YAY!!!!!!!!

  9. Anon Assoc :

    Billing TJ. What billing software does your firm/company use? Or more generally, does it have a timer or do you have to manually keep track of it? Do you like it?

    • AnAssociate :

      DTE and Elite (but being phased out). Outdated, from somewhere in the dark ages and absolutely terrible.

      Comes with timers though which I never knew was optional until I started reading this blog, so I should be grateful.

      That said, I’ll be glad when it’s gone. Any other software will do.

    • iTimekeep fopr time-keeping. Web-based and smart device compatible which is nice and it exports into the billing system (Aderant Expert- too clunky for easy timekeeping).

    • We use Aderant. It has a timer, but I don’t like its timer function so use my own. I do generally like Aderant.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Firm uses Tabs. I use ManicTime (free) to track my time and it exports into an excel spreadsheet that an admin then puts into Tabs for me.

    • We use prolaw. It has timers and we also use it as our billing, filing and conflict check software.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      DTE. It has a timer, but I never use it. I’ve always just kept a spreadsheet open on my computer to put in stop and start times. I tried using the timer when I joined this firm, but I couldn’t remember to actually stop and start it. I tally up my time from my spreadsheet and my secretary enters it into DTE for me. My old firm used TABS and then Client Profiles (somehow in conjunction with TABS, though the attorneys entered everything into Client Profiles).

  10. Actually, many minimalist/ modernist designer lines like Celine, Jil Sander, Armani, Helmut Lang, carry work-appropriate clothing every season, often suits, sometimes classic separates, like a great navy blazer. You do need to look for it though – it won’t be on the runway and may not get picked up by a local department store. But if you’re a serious customer, the staff at the designer’s own boutique will keep an eye out on your behalf for the wear-able stuff and in my local branches at least, these are what drive the sales numbers, not the conceptual pieces (or the sexpot evening wear).

    • anon-oh-no :

      I was going to suggest Marlowe, which I have recently discovered in Chicago. Its all very monochromatic. They apparently only have like 4 stores worldwide and Chicago is one of them. The stuff is gorg, but at this price point. I have a few pieces that totally fit the minimalist bill, but are very work appropriate. They actually even make suits, though i have yet to try one.

    • Do you recommend any affordable versions of these styles? I dream of dressing like an architect or art professor, but it’s easier to knock off florals or stripes than atypical contstruction.

      • H&M has a sister store called COS which is coming (or recently came) to the US which has minimal, structured pieces. Haven’t seen any of it in person, so I can’t speak to quality. Also, and please don’t shoot me with the frump gun, but a lot of Eileen Fisher is like this. Not always affordable, but it does go on sale in both the boutiques and department stores.

        The “problem” with minimalist, edgy styles is that quality really shows. You should buy the best you can afford when going down this style road.

        • Eileen Fisher's Not so Bad :

          I’ve had one or two pieces from EF that weren’t frumpy at all, but I have had trouble making them work at work as they tend to be very unstructured. Great fabrics but they still come off rather casual and often (but not always) frumpy.

      • For the classic styles, Armani’s secondary labels give a good approximation of the house tailoring style in cheaper fabrics than the main label – Emporio seems to have carried the classic long-torsoed 1- and 2-button jackets for years and years, although I haven’t looked for one recently. Likewise Max Mara and its secondary labels.

        Dunno about the conceptual stuff. Here be monsters, I usually think.

    • LOVE this! I will totally check out Marlowe when I’m next in SF. Thanks for the rec!

      • anon-oh-no :

        they have sales a few times a year. i’ve gotton to know one of the sales associates over the past year, so she emails me (photos and all) when stuff is on sale in my size. its still expensive, but i always feel awesome when i wear it. and because the pieces are subdued, they are not particularly memorable, so i can wear them more often.

  11. Very disappointed by the ruling this morning.

    • Agreed.

      Apparently they’re 100% OK making money off the companies that manufacturer the products they so vehemently oppose. Hypocrites

      • +1

        Did the Court not take that into account? Does it fall into the whole “we won’t inquire into whether a belief is sincerely held?” realm?

      • To be fair, the ruling doesn’t close the door on a challenge to the sincerity of a corporation’s beliefs. They assumed that Hobby Lobby’s beliefs were sincere because no one challenged that premise.

    • cavity maker :

      me too.

      • Just so everyone knows that not everyone agrees, I’m pleased with the ruling.

        • cavity maker :

          I don’t understand why you would post this here instead of starting another thread?

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I was only reading out this case on Skimm this morning (thanks to whomever recommended it here), but I will be very interested in seeing how this would be interpreted. Take, for example, a public listed company – could a majority shareholder in, say, IBM, block these types of payments if they disagree with contraception? At present I’m finding it hard to see where this will end so I look forward to reading the decision (though I did notice that it only applies to birth control – but just for now? Until someone else sues for some other reason?)

      • The opinion applied only to contraception and only to closely-held (as opposed to publicly traded) corporations.

      • The decision was limited to a closely held company whose owners sincerity in their religious beliefs was not challenged and limited to birth control. Were the court faced with a corporations whose share are traded on the open market, I think they clearly signaled the result would be different. And the opinion specifically notes that religious objections to vaccines or blood transfusions would likely be decided differently, on the grounds that the test they uses balances how compelling the governmental interest is with how restrictive the measure is. It sounds like vaccines and blood transfusions are more compelling to the court than birth control.

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        Thanks, both, that’s helpful info and I will definitely be reading the decision.

      • Woods Comma Elle, I believe a public shareholder can do no more than oust the directors of the board.

        By the way, where is your cousin Ellen? I want to know how she made out with her date with the brother of her boss in the Hamtons?

    • Same.

    • Corporations are people, my friend.

      • That actually wasn’t the take away from Hobby Lobby though. Here, because the company is closely held by individual owners, people are people. Hobby Lobby is a limited liability corporation and the ruling didn’t extend to regular publicly traded corporations.

      • As the definitions sections of many titles of the U.S. Code will tell you, including title 26.

      • Corporations are people, and women aren’t.

      • But won’t be nearly as tasty in the soylent green…

    • Between this ruling and last week’s ruling about buffer zones, I’m seriously disappointed with SCOTUS right now.

      • I was pretty much expecting this decision today. The buffer zone decision was surprising to me and I’m very frustrated by both decisions.

        • +1. At least I can be thankful for the cell phone decision.

        • I was surprised the buffer decision was so close. I thought for sure it would be 9-0 or 8-1 like the west boro baptist case. I’m pro-choice, but the buffer zone laws have always felt too restrictive to me.

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            It was 9-0, technically. Just a lot of concurrences with different opinions on how they got to the 9-0.

            (Hey, an edit feature! Thanks, Kat!)

          • You wouldn’t feel that way if you’d ever had to go through it.

          • I’ve been freaked out by protestors outside a Planned Parenthood when I went in to get birth control and they were outside the buffer zone. I personally think it is a reasonable restriction. I’m interested to see how they adjust to the ruling. Maybe back to an 8-foot moving buffer zone like Colorado?

        • +1. I was more surprised on the buffer zone decision. I was disappointed with that decision. I know this community as a whole is against today’s decision, but I am not very sure about this. They are not prohibiting their employees from using birth control, they are saying they will not pay for it. So I am not sure of they are enforcing their religious beliefs on their employees. I am more concerned about the way this can be extrapolated, for example, if corporations can go to court arguing that gay lifestyle is against their beliefs, so they don’t want to hire them etc that can amount to open discrimination. Also, I am not a lawyer, so I don’t know the intricacies of law. I am interested in these cases as a woman as the decisions may impact me directly.

          • At the moment, as a matter of federal law, employers CAN openly and explicitly refuse to hire gay people. (There are a few intricacies here with respect to gender identification and manifestations of that identification, but pure sexual preference discrimination is completely legal.)

          • Anonymous :

            Employers can already openly discriminate against gays in most states. No federsl law prohibits this.

          • Oh..I was not aware of this. I just used it as an example. But can this ruling be used to defend not hiring people with different religious beliefs or different lifestyles than the employer?

          • Anonymous :

            The point is they don’t need to use this ruling to avoid hiring someone with a different ” lifestyle.” Religious belief is protected under federal law from discrimination. Hobby Lobby can’t refuse to hire you because you’re Jewish. They can refuse to hire you because you’re gay , or like musical theater, or drink socially, or raise llamas.

          • Flying Squirrel :

            Not a lawyer, but I think that decisions like these need to consider more than the direct transactions of the case. So it’s not just whether Hobby Lobby is being forced to pay for something they feel violates their religious beliefs, but also whether upholding their right to exercise their religion places an undue burden on their employees’ right to pursue medical care as they would like including using contraceptives…or maybe the standard is privacy with regard to the employee’s relationship to their doctor. I honestly don’t know if refusing to pay for contraception would place an undue burden on a woman to get it (though I would argue that neither does SCOTUS), but that is a consideration that needs to be taken into account.

            I haven’t read the opinion yet, so maybe this is addressed, but what’s to stop a Jehovah’s Witness from paying for health care that includes blood transfusions? And what makes contraception fundamentally different from a blood transfusion? You might say that no one needs contraception to survive (though birth control pills can be prescribed for other reasons), but do we really want the courts being the arbiter of what medical treatments are “necessary” and which are “choices”? Is pain management necessary or a choice?

          • cavity maker :

            also, the impact on women who will need to pay out of pocket for birth control disproportionately affects women. men won’t, and other “optional religious” coverage for men will be covered (i.e. blood transfusions, viagra, etc).

            if women don’t have access to birth control, how can they control when and if they have children and plan careers and education.

            additionally, many women use birth control pills as treatment for other medical issues (i.e. migraines, poc, endrometriosis), and allowing a ban of coverage for private employer discounts those uses and also affects those more greatly.

            I disagree hugely. Also, employers/corporations/closely held corporations shouldn’t be making decisions about what I need for my healthcare, that should be between me, and my doctor. FULL STOP

          • “They are not prohibiting their employees from using birth control, they are saying they will not pay for it. ”

            Do you understand how insurance works? Hobby Lobby is no more “paying for it” than they are paying for it if a woman uses her own salary to purchase birth control. Insurance is part of compensation. It belongs to the employee, not the employer. Dictating what an employee can spend that compensation on is the same as dictating what they can spend their salary on.

            I’d still like to know what happened to the principle that a corporation is distinct from its owners. As RBG pointed out, it’s convenient for Hobby Lobby to hide behind this principle when they’d like to enjoy limited liability….

    • Has anyone discussed Hobby Lobby’s maternity/paternity leave policies? Their position in this case makes me curious.

    • I am pleased with the outcome. As an employer I should be able to decide what benefit package (including insurance coverage) to offer my employees. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to work for me. I don’t think there should be a one size fits all mandate forced on businesses.

      • Ciao, pues :

        We have one-size fits all mandates on employers for all sorts of things: minimum wage, safety and health, etc. The government routinely sets floors for businesses.

      • Anonymous :

        Really ? Why should you get to decide that? Do I as a taxpayer get to decide which businesses get to use roads? Or the police force? Or have access to the justice system? Cry me a river about your poor burdened employer self and call me from Russia when you’ve just lost half your income in bribes.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I wish health care and employment were not tied together. We only get into this absurd scenario because we at one point married the two. I don’t think it is fair to look at health insurance as separate from health care. Yes, one could conceivably pay out of pocket for medical care but more often than not, it is cost prohibitive. (I’m talking about general medical care here, not contraceptives – getting to my point in steps.) This puts the employee in the position of having to investigate his/her employer’s religious beliefs before accepting a job. If religious beliefs are protected, why do we want an employer and employee having this conversation?

        Why just contraceptives? The Court is limiting its ruling (so I hear, haven’t yet read it) to say that exceptions won’t be made for vaccines or blood transfusions. That sounds to me like they are picking and choosing which religious beliefs are worthy of protections and which aren’t.

        I tried to flip it to view it as something personal to me. What if I as an employer had to pay for puppy beatings. How would I feel about that? But at the end of the day, I have to pay with my tax money for many things that I don’t support – the death penalty, war, Guantanamo. We don’t get to pick and choose based on our beliefs – I don’t like making an exception for contraception.

        I also have an issue with the concept of a religious employer when they are allowed to be for profit and take up a large portion of an industry. Hobby Lobby has competitors at least. Where I live, the Catholic Church has a near monopoly on the health system for 40 miles in any direction. There was a glamour article about this when a girl almost died after she could not get a medically necessary abortion in my town for an eptopic pregnancy. The hospital said her life was not yet in danger and didn’t even have the necessary equipment or staff trained in the procedure. She had to travel an hour and a half north to get it done.

        I think standards of medical care that are religion blind should be established as minimum standard of care for both hospitals and insurance. We make plenty of other minimum standards that may infringe on certain religions. We just seem extra afraid to do it when it means women have rights.

        • Flying Squirrel :

          I posted above, but I think it’s worse than picking and choosing which religious beliefs are worthy of protection…they are actually choosing what type of medical care is worthy of protection. Transfusions are clearly necessary so we wouldn’t allow an employer to refuse to pay for them, but contraception is apparently not. Okay fine, maybe it’s most often a choice (though leave aside there may be people for whom pregnancy would be life-threatening), but is the court really equipped to make these kinds of judgments? Where does something like pain management fall on the spectrum? Or plastic surgery following a major accident? Or medical abortion (e.g. D&C to remove a missed miscarriage as opposed to waiting for your body to naturally expel it)? Or, I don’t know, any type of care that one might receive that improves quality of life? Not a lawyer, so maybe I’m missing something, but I’m really not happy about the idea that SCOTUS singled out contraception.

          • Basically, at what point is the Court practicing medicine without a license. :)

      • baseballfan :

        Totally agree with this, and it is a major reason I am pleased with this decision. HL is not forcing any beliefs on anyone; they are saying they should not be compelled to pay for certain things. If any of their employees want an IUD (for example), they are welcome to get one and pay for it.

        Considering that birth control is elective, I actually don’t see the necessity of its being covered under insurance at all. (Treatment for endo and other conditions is obviously a different matter). However, that is probably a debate for another day.

        I think that many people who take issue with this decision are not fully informed about how narrow it really is (This from having wasted 2 minutes of my life taking a quick peek at comments on the Yahoo news story). I don’t think that applies to readers of this site, but there are definitely plenty of those people out there.

      • Why? Why do you, as the almighty employer, get to decide? I understand that we fetishize employers (“omg, the Job Creators(tm)!”) in this country, but really? Insurance is a part of compensation. Should you be allowed to ban your employees from purchasing pork with their paychecks (after all, its compensation you provide) because it violates your religious beliefs? I second what everyone else has said regarding the numerous other minimum standards that we impose on employers.

        Also, hello, have you seen the job market recently? No one can just “go work for somewhere else.” That’s not a solution and you know it.

    • anon - ditto :

      As someone who just had surgery for endometriosis and was prescribed BCP to help control it, I am more than annoyed. Is there a build out for people like me who are being treated for a condition? I skimmed the majority and Ginsburg’s dissent, where she mentioned that BCP is also used to treat actual medical conditions. Did the majority address this at all?

      For the record – I think all BCP even for pure contraceptive form should be covered by health insurance plans, but the above issue really stood out to me based on my personal experience.

      • That wouldn’t be addressed in this decision because Hobby Lobby was only against certain kinds of birth control (I think Plan B and IUDs, though not 100% sure) because its owners falsely believed that these things amounted to causing abortion.

        • Philanthropy Girl :

          You are correct. This ruling addressed only 4 out of 27 types of birth control available. These 4 included only those that many pro-life individuals believe to cause a termination of pregnancy, including the prevention of implantation after fertilization.

          To the best of my understanding, Hobby Lobby still will provide their employees insurance that covers over 20 different types of birth control.

      • Spirograph :

        This is an interesting point. My sister was also prescribed BCP for non-contraception, medical reasons.

        Although I disagree, I can understand Hobby Lobby’s point of not wanting to pay for morning after pills that the owners consider tantamount to abortion, but most hormonal birth control pills prevent ovulation. I believe most birth control that is prescribed for non-contraception medical reasons is usually in that form, so I’m not quite sure why a distinction between hormonal BCP and morning-after coverage can’t be drawn… although I suspect that could be a problematic precedent, in itself. Does the nature of the legal challenge necessitate an all-or-nothing kind of approach? (I’m not in law, obviously)

        • Why should an employer get to exercise “its” religion by deciding how a medicine/contraceptive works? The morning after pill prevents ovulation, it doesn’t cause an abortion–but because Hobby Lobby “thinks” it’s an abortion (despite medical evidence to the contrary!), it can also exercise its religion (which doesn’t explicitly say anything about contraception) against that false perception?

        • Spirograph :

          After reading a little more, and skimming some of the decision (but again, I’m not in law) it seems like the only thing that really changes here is that now the government will likely pay for that contraception coverage instead of making Hobby Lobby do it, itself. Also, if I’m reading right, HL is still required to cover BCP, just not the 4 forms of birth control (IUDs, Plan B, etc) it finds most objectionable? So my original question is moot.

          Now, I think this is a distinction without a difference. They’re still paying for those types of contraception, it’s just that they (along with everyone else) are paying for it indirectly via taxes rather than directly to the insurance companies. At issue is not whether birth control should be available to a woman for free, since that’s already written into law with the ACA, it’s whether corporations can pick and choose which laws they have to follow when their religious beliefs and laws conflict. I’m still sorting out how I feel about that.

          On a side note, it seems to me that the end result of HL not paying for this contraception inches healthcare coverage further toward the government just taking care of everything…and many of the same people who are cheering the decision as a victory against the ACA are opposed to “government-run healthcare” and don’t see the irony.

      • Anonymous :

        I take BCP for non-contraceptive medical reasons. I also have prescriptions for allergies, migraines, and acne. I see no reason why my BCP should be exempt from the standard insurance copay when my other equally legitimate medical issues require a copay to treat with medication.

      • Anonymous :

        Trying to play Devil’s advocate here so bear with me – Even if you’re using BCP for non-contraceptive purposes, it still has a contraceptive effect. How could you alleviate your employer’s concerns about the contraceptive effect of BCP so that you could use it for the non-contraceptive purpose you need it for? Would you have to remain abstinent? Represent to your employer that you will be abstinent? What would the consequences be if you promised to remain abstinent but then weren’t? Would the employer be able to fire you?

        • I feel like this underscores how invasive this policy is. Why does an employer get to decide what medical treatment/contraception its employees use based on ITS religious rights? What about the employees’ rights to choose their own health care based on their own religious beliefs (or lack thereof)?

          • Anonymous :

            “Why does an employer get to decide what medical treatment/contraception its employees use based on ITS religious rights?”

            Because the ACA requires that employer to provide coverage. If we got rid of the nonsensical employer-provided health insurance system we have today, which only exists for tax reasons, we could get over this nonsense.

          • Perhaps but that’s not the world in which the Supreme Court made its ruling. And the ACA mandates employers to provide that coverage (i.e. to allow insurance-holders to make their own medical decisions)–the Supreme Court is the one allowing them to make the decision not to.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Their religion may provide exceptions for medical use. I grew up in a very Catholic home and needed birth control at a young age for medical reasons (chronic cysts.) My mom was not happy about it but was told by I’m assuming the priest (thanks mom, for discussing my medical conditions with your priest), that they were within “Catholic Law” letting me use birth control because it was for a bona fide medical condition. I don’t know if that is the actual Catholic Law but it was what she was allegedly told.

    • Flying Squirrel :

      I suspect that the outcome will be drug companies getting FDA approval for these drugs to be sold under a different product name for non-contraceptive indications (right now I think all of the non-contraceptive use is off-label). It will be a great way for them to extend their patents…and make insurance-covered $$! And since we all now have medical insurance, no one will care that drugs that should be available as cheaper generics are not.

  12. Has anyone used eShakti before? Some of their dresses look work appropriate (in a more casual office) but not sure that the cotton poplin fabric that everything seems to be made of will work in winter, or if it’s really only a summer fabric. Will post link of the dress I’m considering below.

    • Considering this dress, but modified to elbow length sleeves and a v neck. Could this be work appropriate in a casual office?


    • The point of this dress seems to be the sweetheart neckline so I’d worry about modifications looking odd. Cotton poplin is for sure a summer fabric. I think trying to push this sundress into work wear is stretching too far and you won’t be satisfied with the end result

    • There’s a sewing blog called Lilac and Lace (I think) that just reviewed an eShakti order she had.

  13. Translation Assistance :

    So, I wasn’t able to get any of the hundreds of people I supposedly work with to help cover my work during my maternity leave. Many weren’t trained (this isn’t rocket science) and of those who were, most everyone was “busy.” I got help with about 25% of my workload and had to do the other 75%, remotely, with a newborn (and AT THE HOSPITAL).

    Can anyone translate that into a reason for why I’m leaving my current (well-regarded) employer that won’t scorch the earth?

    • So, why did you do it? Don’t pick up your phone, don’t answer emails, don’t do the work? I think answering that question in your own head will help you frame this for future employers.

    • Anonymous :

      Prefer a more team-based environment?

    • Seeking alternative workplace environment. If asked to elaborate, vaguely suggest that you would like an environment where coworkers and management are more supportive and operate more as a team.

    • Ciao, pues :

      I asked a similar question last week about needing to get away from a bad work environment and most people responded that I should turn the question into the positives of the new opportunity rather than the negatives of the job I’m leaving.

      • Spirograph :

        +1 to this. I would not even address that question directly, just say that you appreciate the experience you’ve gotten at your previous position, but could not pass up the new opportunities to do XYZ in the position you are interviewing for.

        Separately, maybe I’m a terrible employee, but I put up an out-of-office reply and did not respond to e-mails or phone calls from my office when I was on maternity leave. Granted, in my line of work, there’s not much I *can* do remotely, but I wouldn’t have even tried. I wasn’t getting paid, why should I do the work?

    • Are you even allowed to do it if you are out on FMLA after having just given birth? That doesn’t seem right.

    • Can you just say that you have kind of grown out of that job and there is not much headroom left for you to grow?

    • Why did you even do this? For sure, if you had not answered email or checked your phone, someone would have picked up the slack. Trust me.

      • Yeah its not up to you to cover everything. You get someone to assign your work out. What if you were in a coma? I realize that sounds terrible but just think about it- what if you got hit by a bus and went into a coma. They would figure it out right? The whole company wouldn’t collapse and have to close up shop. You chose to answer those emails. if this comes up again, just don’t answer them. Write your memos before you leave, put up your out of office, tell you supervisor you are making her your out of office contact unless there is someone else she would like to be (there is), and don’t answer.

    • Philanthropy Girl :

      I work in a small town, in an even smaller industry. Everyone knows everyone, so saying anything that might be a negative about a former or current employer is out of the question.

      I try to focus on how a new position will play to my strengths, such as thriving in a team-oriented environment, opportunities for professional growth, more effective use of my training and skills.

      And I’m so sorry your leave didn’t go the way it should have.

  14. Ciao, pues :

    Is it necessary to withdraw an application for a position that you have not been called for an interview yet? To my knowledge they haven’t started interviewing, but a colleague made a call on my behalf. Seems premature/ presumptuous to withdraw at this stage, but I wonder if the personal call makes a difference at all. I have notified the colleague who reached out to recommend me.

    • Out of respect for the HR person managing applications, I would. It would be frustrating to process the application, possibly factor your interview into their schedule, and then get a “no, thank you.” It might also move someone else into consideration who might not have been otherwise.

      • I would think the OP would get a phone interview before she’d ever get an in person interview – and that phone interview would be the point at which I would as “Thanks, but I’ve already taken another position.”

        Honestly, prior to that phone interview point, it is a bit presumptuous, and probably a bigger headache to find and pull the name then prior to being on the phone list. HR should understand that people are job hunting and that they may lose people between the application and interview stage.

    • Another Lawyer :

      I’m curious why you need to withdraw your application. Could there be an instance where they will interview you and you will be wowed by the people or the organization? Could you possible use another offer to help you leverage a different offer? Unless you are too busy to job search, I think it might be worth exploring, since I’ve found that job descriptions often wildly vary from the actual job.

      • Ciao, pues :

        Ah yes, to clarify: I accepted a position elsewhere.

        • Another Lawyer :

          Oh, in that case you probably should withdraw your application if you may want to apply to them again sometime in the future, but it’s not strictly necessary.

        • Absolutely you should in that case. You’ll clear up an interview slot for another candidate.