Suit of the Week: Hobbs

hobbs suit included in the bloomingdales' friends family sale 2017For busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

I’m really loving Hobbs suits lately! I like the piping on the jacket, as well as the colorblocking on the dress — it’s interesting, flattering, and not at all Star Trek-y or “budget” looking. If the high neckline of the dress gives you pause, I’d either do a short, round necklace just above the crew neck (such as a pearl necklace), or — especially for the holidays — consider pinning a brooch to the lapel of the jacket or the collarbone-area on the dress. The jacket (Marlene Piped Wool-Blend Jacket) is $335, and the dress (Marlene Color-Blocked Wool-Blend Dress) is $295.

Psst: This suit is included in the Bloomingdale’s Friends & Family sale today, where they’re offering 25% off a large selection of items (this suit is included!) — and on everything else, Loyallists get a $25 gift card on every $100 you spend. Great time to consider buying a big handbag or other purchase that will not likely go on sale!

Looking for a similar option in plus sizes? This option from Le Suit has similar piping, while this affordable plus-size blazer and sheath dress set has a similar sedate, sophisticated vibe. (The affordable set also comes in regular sizes: jacket, dress, pants.)

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  1. Anonymous :

    Is it crazy to reach out to the person who used to hold the job you’re interviewing for (on linkedin – we’ve never met) to ask questions about the position? I’d be replacing that person – but they left the position voluntarily. I have a few “day to day” questions that I didn’t ask in the interview with the manager (such as, what are the hours really like? WFH available? etc)

    • If I got a request/message like this on linkedin, I’d most likely reply and help you out, sure. In the message, just be open to not getting an answer or understanding that the person’s time is valuable, but yeah.

      If I got an email that didn’t make clear where they got my info, and/or wasn’t on its face respectful of the fact that I might not want to respond/be able to, not a likely candidate for a response.

      That’s just me.

      • to add a clarifying note, in light of the below responses: I’d answer whatever I felt comfortable with, which would likely not be all your questions, and you have to be prepared for that.

      • I think it is fine. When I came into my job serving subpeenies, I found out that they had another woman, who quit, so I GOOGELED her name and called her. She told me the boss was a schmoe, but I needed work b/c I had a law degree but no job, so I took it. She was right. The boss was a schmoe, and I put up with a lot of harrassement, but I did get paid for my work. Once I met the manageing partner, it was sayanara to the subpeenie firm. It’s now many years later, and I am working harder then ever, but at least bringing home the bacon as Dad says. I do NOT even like Bacon! FOOEY!

    • I wouldn’t do it if I never met the person and had no connection, but if we had mutual acquaintances I probably would. The WFH question is definitely one you should ask the hiring manager, not a third party, since things may have changed or the previous occupant may have had special circumstances.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve heard of people doing this though TBH if a perfect stranger reached out to me, I wouldn’t respond. I have no idea how you’d use or spin any info I gave you, so why would I risk it?

    • cat socks :

      You can ask these questions in the interview. Check out Ask A Manager for some scripts on how to do this. I’ve seen posts on there about how to find out about work culture. Check out the “interviewing” category.

      • I mean this out of true curiosity and not snark – can you actually ask these questions in a big law interview? I was always told not to express interest in “work life balance” and really just appear willing to do *whatever it takes* but my hours at my current firm are reasonable, and i want to make sure that I’m not signing up to work until midnight every night, (if thats this firm’s culture) but I didn’t know how to ask the hiring partner that…

        • After being in big law for a while, I think it’s a safe assumption that if the firm is actively looking to hire, it’s because they are insanely busy and you should be prepared for long hours.

    • If someone contacted me with questions like this, I would be very hesitant to answer them and would probably not respond. It puts this person in an awkward place, especially if they are still with the company or connected to the company (and if not, how did you get their contact info?)

    • I’ve done this before multiple times. The first time I didn’t know the person, but the legal community for my niche practice is pretty small and she was willing to help me out. She wasn’t particularly candid, but I appreciated it. The second time I had a personal connection, and the third I had an introduction. I’ve also accepted calls from people to talk about my position/former position. I think it’s pretty case specific. If I had anything negative to say, I wouldn’t say it to a total stranger.

    • New Tampanian :

      I think this is going to depend on your industry. In mine, it would be completely normal unless you knew that the parting of ways was ugly.

    • Thanks everyone for your responses so far. I was thinking more of a “I’m interviewing for your old job and would love to chat about your experience, if you’d be open to it” – that way they could say no, if they were uncomfortable or not answer at all

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I did this after I had a job offer, but what I did was track down our mutual connection and ask for an introduction. “Hey G, I see you know A. I was offered the position A used to have. Could you put us in touch?” and G said, “Oh yeah, A’s a great guy. I’ll send an email.”

    • This seems sort of crossing someone’s privacy and has the potential of backfiring if the person you reach out to feels the same way and mentions it to people still working there. You run the risk of first impression with new peers being one of stalker/potential slacker. You also need to look longer term. Are you going to be asking this person questions or advice once on the job? Will they dole out advice regardless? This is like asking someone’s ex—even though friendly divorce—to fill you in on all the good and bad. Just has some really bad potential for both you and the one who left. You’re likely to come in with prejudices you wouldn’t have otherwise had. Don’t do it. Far more bad than good likely to arise.

  2. Our office’s receptionist/admin has picked up smoking again, and now the reception area smells like cigarettes.

    Do you have any recommendations for something that will get rid of the smell? (I don’t just want to mask it with another scent, which will be just as annoying). Bonus if it’s discreet.

    • There are some good air purifiers on the market that really make a difference. Not exactly discrete, though.

      Wirecutter recommends this one:

    • Agree that an air purifier is the only thing likely to really help. Ideally one with a large activated charcoal filter, so completely the opposite of discreet.

    • Flats Only :

      Since she has to go outside to smoke, and is probably wearing her coat since it’s cold out, make sure she’s not keeping her coat in the reception area, as it probably holds onto the smell.

    • Anonymous :

      Meet with her and give her the following choice: 1. Job or 2. Smoking—can’t do both. And the choice is up to them.

      • anonymous :

        While this is technically not illegal, it is nearly guaranteed to earn the OP some grief in the form of some kind of regulatory-agency complaint or a threatened lawsuit for wrongful termination based on grounds unrelated to the smoking. Just like dumping a boyfriend or cutting off a friend, firing an employee is not always the jump-to answer for complex situations.

        • Plus, we have no idea if OP is in a position to hire and fire the receptionist.

          • I can’t hire/fire her. The good news is that she’s probably not going to be around too much longer (she is a contractor who is clearly job hunting, which is fine with me).

            Her coat is certainly part of the problem, but the only other place for her to store her coat is in the shared coat closet, where the rest of the staff stores their coats and backup jackets, so making those smell like smoke instead of the reception area isn’t a net gain.

            I’ll hope that she moves on quickly, and keep that filter as a backup plan. Thanks all!

      • Anon, at 5:16. She can quit smoking, hopefully. What will you do about your awful, hateful soul?

      • You are insane. How about we give you the following choice: either 1. lose weight, or 2. job. Can’t do both.

  3. Anonymous :

    Not sure if people are following, but it appears that the Ca GOP congressmen are finally taking notice of the fact that getting rid of the state and local tax deduction really hurts their constituents. Apparently there’s some movement towards adding a SALT deduction back in though with a cap or in combo with a property tax deduction — ie you can deduct up to 10k whether it’s for SALT or property. It’s better than nothing – fingers crossed it happens. These 11 GOP CA reps can stop the entire tax plan in the house – hope their citizens are pushing hard.

    • Dad is furius at Trump for this. He is goeing to loose a lot he says, and that he should have moved to North Carolina a few years ago. He even is mad at me for NOT getting MARRIED so that he could have moved already. I told him how could he teach at Colombia if he lived in North Carolina? He did NOT have an answer other then to say he could have teached at DUKE! FOOEY b/c he still would want to see Rosa and her Kid’s, and he could NOT do that except by SKYPE! DOUBEL FOOOEY!

  4. A very close friend is expecting to hear the final verdict on her immigration status in the next 2 weeks. She’s been in this country since college and has no desire to leave (she would be forced to go back to a pretty bad family situation and have no career), but it will all depend on if her work visa status comes through. 45’s constant commentary on immigration hasn’t helped matters, and has caused her particular case to be delayed for months. I know that what she’s feeling is a million times worse than my nervousness. How can I stay calm enough to offer support and comfort for her? Is there anything I can possibly do, other than being a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on?

    • Baconpancakes :

      Maybe flowers? Making her feel like she, personally, is a valued person, separately from her immigration status, might be a good start. (If you’re in DC, Philly, Austin, or NYC, I’ve been really happy with UrbanStems – and they do same day delivery. Otherwise, I’m trying out Bouqs – I have a coupon code for $15 off if anyone wants it.)

      • I really like Bouqs; have used both to send flowers, though. I like that there’s more variety on Bouqs, and the delivery area is pretty wide. I had a bouquet that was sourced in the hinterlands of Central America delivered to a very, very, very small town in the rural south without a hitch.

  5. Baconpancakes :

    What are your goals this month? And do you differentiate between “Goals” and “Aspirational To-Dos” in your personal life? E.g. my goals are to get out holiday cards early, set up skype dates with my far-flung relatives and friends, finish two knitting projects, find a good morning ritual, and bake something new – but those feel more like to-dos. Professional goals and to-dos are more clear cut.

    • New Tampanian :

      I think as long as the to-do isn’t something mundane like “brush my teeth” or “pick up meds” then their goals. Those things you listed are DEFINITELY goals. My goals this month are all over the place. My biggest ones are related to the podcast I started. So, getting the website up to date (I’m woefully behind) and recording some new episodes before year end are big ones – along with a strategy for 2018. I also want to do an overall personal strategy/plan for 2018 that encompasses health, social, day job, etc. If I start the new year having at least thought about the plan, I’ll feel prepared. Oh and I also want to go down to Siesta Key for at least one day before the end of the year.

    • 1) to make it to January

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I have a To Do list (that includes xmas cards and wrapping gifts) and a ~goals~ list (“introduce Friend to Activity” and “update scrapbook”) and then habits I track (“clean desk every day before I leave.”)

      I should start brainstorming my Fun 2018 list. It’s gonna be hard to top 2017’s Chrome Manicure. (-:

    • wildkitten :

      I use Lara Casey powersheets to track these and It’s a product I enthusiastically recommend if you’re on the market. I’m in like year 4 or 5 of using them.

    • Find a new job.
      Quit my job.
      Don’t have a complete meltdown more than once a week.
      Finish the work on my cases so I can GTFO.
      Don’t cry at work (…okay, don’t cry at work /every day/).
      Sleep enough and without nightmares about work
      Stop worrying my insane client is going to shoot me on the way into work.
      Not lose my s*it at our HR person for being an evil dictator.
      Not lose my s*it at my colleagues for their ridiculously privileged views about health insurance

      Those are not sarcastic, but in terms of more positive things:
      Start CBT
      Get into my exercise routine again after being too sick for over a month to go to classes
      Finish 8 books to hit my 2 book a week goal for the year
      Use some $ I got from my grandparents that I just got to pay off my private student loan
      Interview well for and get a position on a nonprofit board whose work I support
      Renew my car tabs

      • Hang in there. I have been in a similar position (crying at work…and at home, complete meltdowns, hating my job, couldn’t sleep because thinking about work). It is horrible. And if you can find a new job that’s reasonable, there will be light at the other end. I finally got out of the bad situation and found something I’m much more suited to. And all those problems went away. I’m crossing my fingers this happens for you too! Until then, huge internet hugs.

  6. Florida Bar Exam :

    I’m interested in taking the Florida Bar Exam next July. My firm completely supports me and is encouraging me to go for it. I will be working full time and studying at the same time. Does anyone have any advice on when to start studying, what would be a good study timeline while working, and what study materials and/or programs were helpful? To make things slightly more complicated, this will be the first bar exam I ever take. (I am lucky enough to practice in an oddball state that allows law school graduates from my state to be admitted to the state bar without a bar exam.)

    • I used Themis when I studied for the bar. It’s all online, which sounds like it would be good for your schedule. I think the bar prep companies provide timelines for various scenarios (i.e. while working vs. studying full time).

    • Anonymous :

      Start as early as you possibly can…like seriously, start studying now. Studying for the bar exam while working is tough. Just as an anecdote, I studied full time for the California July bar (right out of school). I treated it like a 40 hour week job, worked hard from 9-5 but took every evening and weekend off until maybe 2 weeks before the test, and walked out of the bar exam feeling very confident that I had passed unless something crazy happened, like I misaligned the bubbles on the MBE. Several years later I took the February bar of a different state (with a much higher pass rate), and even though I felt like I gave up all my nights and weekends from Christmas onward and took a 4 week unpaid leave of absence from work right before the bar during which I probably studied 60-70 hours/week, I went into the test feeling totally and utterly unprepared. My BARBRI scores were abysmal and the actual bar itself was worse. I felt like there were at least 3 out of the 6 essay questions where I had absolutely nothing relevant to say. I walked out of the test absolutely sure that I failed. In the end I did pass, but it was just such a 180 degree experience from my first bar exam (and in a supposedly much easier state). Not trying to scare you, but I would really want to start as soon as possible so you have as much study time as you can, and definitely try to take at least a few weeks off work before the test.

      • I studied my tuchus off for the bar b/c Dad told me he would NOT support me if I did NOT, and he was right. He is buying me an apartement now, and I am a partner, so go figure! YAY Dad! He was a great motivator for me to become a lawyer. Now if ONLEY he could get me a HUSBAND!! If the HIVE have any ideas, I am all ear’s! YAY!!!!!

    • Anonymous :

      I really liked Barbri, because they have a whole set of background material that you can work through before you start the “formal” bar study. I would recommend that you do that now, and bring yourself back up to speed on the basics over the next few months, and then start seriously studying by April. To fully study for a bar exam takes hundreds and hundreds of hours, there are no shortcuts, and the earlier you can get started on that, the better.

    • You should ask this on the Top Law Schools Forums, and search the Bar Study forums there for prior FL stuff. Good luck.

    • wildkitten :

      I used Kaplan but people really like Themis. If you’re paying for it yourself I wouldn’t do Barbri.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I loved Themis. You can start early (although, not this early- more like March/April) and they rearrange what you need to do based on what you’ve done so far. You have a certain # of assignments per day. For me, it was 8-10 (I think? I kind of immediately blocked that whole thing out) and I started studying at the end of May/beginning of June. I put in 7 hours a day (with some putzing around in there) and finished 85+ percent of Themis. 3-5 tasks a day is completely manageable after work/during lunch, and you could do 3-4 M-F and a full day Saturday and half day Sunday and be in good shape if you started in May, I would think.

        I’d get ahold of your local Themis rep and talk to them about their ideas. I LOVED my themis rep.

      • Balt AssocAtty :

        I used Kaplan for MD (first bar, passed the first time) and then DC (second bar, UBE, passed the first time). I took the DC UBE while working full time/over full time and while transiting from my old job to my new job. It will consume any free time you have outside work so I second start as early as possible. I started reviewing outlines and whatever material I could get my hands on in February/March. If you know anyone who took it previously, see if they still have their books. Also figure out what your best schedule is: I would go to work early and do an hour/hour and a half of lecture/study before everyone else got in. Then I didn’t feel too bad about only doing 2.5 hours of lecture at night. Also if you do on demand, you can listen to the lectures at different speeds. I found the slightly faster than normal speed worked better for me and it cut back on time. I did essay and MPT practice on weekends, fit in MC whenever I had down time. Kaplan also has an app that you can do flashcards on so I would do that when I was just sitting waiting for filings or when I had a few minutes before meeting clients at work. Good luck!

    • I would start ASAP. I have never worked and studied for the bar exam, but I always liked having at least 6 weeks. I took two bar exams separately. If working, I would want at least 10 weeks to study which means you should really start now! You also have to factor in the holidays if you celebrate any.

  7. Apple pie! :

    Anyone have an excellent apple pie recipe they want to share/link me to? Supposed to bring one to a party this weekend.

    • Anonymous :

      This is my go-to apple crumb pie recipe. It’s delicious:

    • Anony Mouse :

      Dutch Apple Pie (Apple Crumb Pie) is the best!

      I use this recipe with a few adaptations.

      1. Use half Granny Smith apples and half Pacific Rose (if you can find them). You can cut down the sugar by a quarter cup.

      2. If you like spiced apple flavor, add the following instead of just cinnamon:

      1 tsp. ground cinnamon
      1/4 tsp. ground clove
      1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
      1/2 tsp. ground ginger
      1/2 tsp. allspice

      3. Add 1/4 c. chopped roasted pecans to the topping

    • Anonymous :

      This was the most popular pie at Thanksgiving this year (out of more than 10 options; pie is the centerpiece of my family’s Thanksgiving dinner traditions) – I love that the crust is more interesting than your standard pie crust thanks to the molasses, and the pie is strong enough on ginger flavor to really stand out.

  8. Test

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