Tuesday’s TPS Report: Pickstitch Asymmetric Jacket

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

Lafayette 148 New York Pickstitch Asymmetric JacketI seem to be in the mood for something asymmetric, as almost all of the suggestions I’ve earmarked to consider for today have an asymmetric feature.  For today’s TPS I’m liking this unusual navy jacket from Lafayette 148 New York — it looks like a great basic to keep in the office and throw on over neutral outfits based in navy, gray, or white, as well as over more colorful outfits (purple or cobalt pants, anyone?).  The deal is the best I’ve seen: the jacket was $548, then marked to $299, but comes to $179.40 (price good through 1/8).  Lots of sizes left.  Lafayette 148 New York Pickstitch Asymmetric Jacket

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


  1. Button-downs :

    What are your favorite brands of silky/silk-cotton button-down shirts? I’m looking for something slightly less stiff than a traditional button-down, but that can still be worn as part of a professional outfit. If it’s under $50-$70, even better, and if it fits women with larger arms, that would be the best. Thank you ladies!

    • I bought this a few seasons back but I bought a silky buttondown with a bow collar from Lands End and really like it. It comes out of the wash (or the sink if travelling) beautifully and it is just a nice basic piece.

    • Try Uniqlo. they have silk blouses for $50.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Their silk button-downs are very loose through the stomach/waist relative to the chest, fyi (they’re almost triangle shaped). They weren’t fitted enough for my taste, but if you like your shirts looser, they may work.

      • Button-downs :

        The ones at Uniqlo look perfect – thank you for the tip!! I’ve never purchased anything from them before and that wouldn’t have even crossed my mind. I do like my shirts looser, too, so hopefully the fit will work for me.

  2. I love Lafayette jackets! I dress very conservatively, (think preppy) but I have several Lafayette jackets that are just the thing to perk up my look. I just may have to get this one.

    • Lafayette Q :

      I’ve never gotten the preppy vibe from their catalogs (but I think I should like them, like it’s a bit better than the mall stores). Could the models smile? Do you really like their things? I want to be sold on them, but it’s so expensive and the people look so unhappy wearing the clothes.

      I think that part of the reason I adore JCrew and even Talbots is that the catalogs are generally really good and the people seem happy.

      Lafayette reminds me of SNL’s Sprockets sometimes.

      • I love Lafayette 148 clothes. Everything I’ve gotten has been beautiful–beautiful fabric, beautiful execution, beautiful fit (for me). The catalogs and online pictures do not do justice to the clothes IMHO.

        • AnonConsultant :

          Agreed. I have one Lafayette 148 skirt and it’s extremely well made and fits well. Definitely worth trying.

          • I have a Lafayette pants suit that I still wear but the pants got a shiny look after the first dry cleaning. It makes me hesitate to buy something similar again. They are a lightweight wool. Anyone else experience this? I don’t think the problem is my dry cleaner.

    • hellskitchen :

      I love this jacket. LOVE. I wish more manufacturers made interesting jackets that do not look like they are part of a suit or a ladies-who-lunch outfit. I am tempted but even on sale, I have never paid this much money for a jacket. Those who have more experience with this brand – do they fit bustier, curvier figures or are they cut more like Theory (for straighter figures)? How long do the clothes last?

      • They definitely fit bustier, curvier figures (I’m actually plus sized, so definitely on the bustier, curvier end of the spectrum but I think that holds true for the brand). I find the jackets very figure flattering (some of the blouses can be a little, well, blousier). I’ve got stuff from L148 that is several years old, and it holds up well.

  3. Bargain hunter :

    I have this jacket in black and white and I love it. It runs a little big, in my opinion – I’m a L/12 in most jackets and I have this one in a 10.

  4. I went to Thomas Pink over the weekend to do my annual sale shirt shopping and was really disappointed to discover that they’ve recently changed designers. Everything is now boring pastel and plain colors! :( Now where will I get fun-colored, high-quality shirts?

  5. Am I the only one who thinks the asym look looks really sloppy? I just can’t bring myself to like it…

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I think it needs to be really obvious/severe in order to look intentional. If its only slightly asymmetrical then I think it can look sloppy.

  6. S in Atlanta :

    Sorry for the TJ ladies, but I am hoping for some expertise.

    My friend’s husband is having some visa issues so he may not be able to attend the birth of their child, and she’s asked me to be there for her. I’ve been working with her on day of preparations, etc, but can anyone recommend resources/prep that I can do on my own? Like good books or checklists or something? I’ve never been through this myself, so I’m not really sure where to start. Thank you so much.

    • My husband was not at the birth of our child (she was born 4 weeks early and he was across the country). My MIL did a great job being with me during labor, and we’ d had a number of discussions about it beforehand. Based on that background, here are my thoughts.

      I would have a couple of conversations with your friend about her birth plan (if she has one). Does she plan to get pain relief (epidural or other)? Does she want to avoid interventions (episiotomy, pitocin, etc.)? Does she plan to labor at home some or go to the hospital early? Does she or her baby have any health problems that you should be aware of? I would also think about touring Labor & Delivery with her beforehand. Also, it sounds silly, but if she is attending any childbirth classes think about attending those with her. Finally, you may want to suggest that your friend hire a doula, who will have been through childbirth many times before and can be a more experienced support in this situation. You can still be there as a friendly face.

    • Actually, reading any of the books directed towards dads might help. They usually have a chapter on what to expect in the labor/delivery process. If you can go to the hospital tour, that is helpful, especially if you are the one transporting her when she goes into labor.
      You’ve probably already crossed this hurdle if you are close enough for her to ask you, but keep in mind that there are some pretty messy/intimate parts of delivery. By the time I delivered, I felt like the entire world had seen me naked so I didn’t care. However, if you are squeamish or anything, this may be the time to figure that out. Hospitals generally make the support person sit down/not watch the epidural insertion. The rest of it, however, is as involved as you want to be.

    • I suggest you skim the labor/delivery section of a comprehensive pregnancy book like What to Expect When You’re Expecting or the Mayo Clinic guide so you have a sense of the different stages of labor and common interventions (e.g., pitocin induction), but I wouldn’t worry too much about it. It sounds like your friend is primarily looking for moral support. If she really wants an advocate/labor coach, I second the suggestion that she look into hiring a doula.

      One point you might have your friend ask her OB/midwife is whether you should have a medical power of attorney. My guess is no, but it would be good to know if the OB thinks the delivery team will look to you to make decisions in case of an emergency.

      Finally, it’s worth checking whether/how your friend wants you to faciliate having her husband be a part of the delivery. I delivered my kids without pain relief, so my attention was completely on myself and the 2-foot radius around me once I was in heavy labor/pushing. If my husband hadn’t been in the room, I would never have been able to work out the logistics of calling him/Skyping at key moments.

    • Flying Squirrel :

      The Birth Partner by Patty Simkins may be helpful.

      • Seconded. It was my husband’s favorite of the books he read, and while it’s probably most used by fathers, it’s specifically aimed at anyone who will be the support person at the birth. It’s very supportive of low-intervention birth, which may or may not be what your friend is aiming for, but I think it would be useful for you to read in any case (wouldn’t necessarily recommend that *she* read it if she knows she wants an epidural, etc).

      • THIS. Was just going to recommend The Birth Partner. Also, talk ahead of time about (1) what makes her comfortable when she’s in pain, (2) what makes her comfortable when she’s anxious/stressed, and what her hopes are re: pain medication and interventions during birth. Some women would rather have a C section if the baby needs help coming out, some women would rather have vacuum/forceps intervention. Also ask if she wants you to stick around after the birth for any amount of time. A doula (labor support) typically leaves an hour or 2 after the birth and returns 4 days later to check on the mom — does your friend want you to help her get home from the hospital? Stay with her for a few days? Good luck to both of you!!

      • This book is awesome. Professor Bhaer is loving it.

        • I just have to tell you that, every time you mention your SO, I picture Gabriel Byrne.

  7. Told work I’m pregnant and it is such a relief to no longer worry about hiding it! Really opened back up a lot of my closet too. :)

    • I know, right? I was dying the last week or two before I was able to tell. It was such a relief to put on maternity clothes and not worry every day if what I was wearing made me look pregnant. (Not that all the older ladies didn’t already know anyway. Somehow it’s impossible to hide pregnancy from a woman over 50.)

  8. Seeking opinions :

    On this dress for a 40-something with a short neck.

    • It’s cute, but in general I don’t understand turtlenecks with short sleeves – in what temperature would that be comfortable?

      • Agreed that a short sleeved turtleneck is impractical. Would you end up wanting to wear a long sleeve t-shirt under it? That could be cute, but a weekend look IMO.

    • Nice. I doesn’t read young to me.

  9. Woods-comma-Elle :

    A good friend at work has become engaged and a group of us work-friends are planning a present for her. We were thinking fizz and a card and someone then suggested flowers, but any out-of-the box ideas from anyone of engagement presents they’ve received/given that were particularly awesome? We’re not looking to spend loads, but it will be five of us participating.

    • This has been mentioned a bunch of times but a Waterford ring holder is a great engagement gift. This is the one I have: http://www.ross-simons.com/products/WT75195.html?sku=GCEN%20WT75195&utm_source=GMC&utm_medium=Feeds&utm_campaign=PMD_Retargeting&cm_mmc=Google_CPC-_-GMCRetargeting-_-PMDigital-_-null&gclid=CKn2hP-o7LsCFTRo7AodsA4Amg

      • Add to the ring holder a gift certificate for a manicure or DIY supplies and a bottle of jewelry cleaner.

    • lawsuited :

      It’s not out of the box, but when we got engaged DH’s parents got us a resturant and movie gift card with a note that said something like “Remember the romance during this special time”. They do it most years on our anniversary too, and it is the best gift.

    • Stationery? :

      When we were engaged we received a lovely set of Crane’s stationery with our first names- perfect for writing engagement present/ shower thank yous. They’ll probably get a set with Mr. and Mrs. with their invitations but this is nice for before they are actually married. I’ve given the same gift many times since.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Thanks, all, love the ringholder idea, especially as the lady in question is a bit scatterbrained, and I found a great one shaped like a dacshund!

  10. Relocating :

    Hi. Does anyone have experience relocating and navigating salary adjustments based on COL? Currently, I work in a very large midwestern city , and I considering relocating a very, very large east coast city.

    How did you, or how would you navigate salaries and COL? From my light Google research I have learned that there would be a 40% increase. That sounds enormous to me. Nonetheless, I don’t want potential employers to see my current salary and think “Well, look at this, we can get one for cheap!”. Thoughts?

    • I would be very surprised if employers didn’t take the difference in COL into account. Everyone who lives in HCOL cities in the east knows how crazy expensive our cities are and are pretty well aware that salaries elsewhere are commensurate with lower COLs. (Believe me, when you feel poor on a six figure salary, you know your city is not like the rest of the country.)

      • I’d also be aware that the company’s COLA may not match your actual increase in COL! My company does +3% for Boston, DC, Denver, and Chicago, +7% for SanFran and NY. Baseline is Scottsdale and St. Louis. We have some other offices but not sure on the COLA.

        As an example, the difference between 100k in St Louis and NYC is astronomical. Not 8%.

        • frugal doc... :

          +1 on this

          In fact, you often do much worse salary in my industry in major cities because people want to work there.

    • Are you applying for positions through formal processes that require you to disclose your current salary in your application or something?

      When I relocated, I broached COL once we were discussing salary at the end of the interview process. The first thing I said when salary was raised was “because of the increased cost of living in [new city] I’d consider a reasonable starting salary to be $X” and we went from there. It seemed reasonable to me, and them, that I would expect at least the same take home salary in order to consider taking the position.

    • Yes, NALP does salary surveys so check that out and someone (pretty sure also NALP) fairly recently did a buying power report showing how $X in salary translates into other areas, e.g., $100k in NYC = $150k in X. Used NYC as the base then ranked cities. You can shoot me an email if you can’t find it. Good luck!

    • Relocating :

      Great advice, thanks! Unfortunately, some apps “make” me fill in my salary. I would *hope* the person reading my app would be smart enough to know that it is cheaper here than in my (hopefully!) new city. And yes, the COL in NYC is astronomical, even compared to where I live. Other than NALP, can anyone recommend a reliable COL calculator?

      BTW- the reason I have schpilkes about this is because a while I ago interviewed for a job in NYC, and the recruiter seemed gobsmacked at what my current salary is, and she made NO mention of COL. She was a recruiter from a recruiting firm, not internal.

      • This CNN COL calculator seems pretty accurate:

        • One thing to keep in mind is that these calculators assume you’ll be living just as you are now. But, for example, if you currently live in Minneapolis, you will NOT have the same size house if you’re moving to Manhattan. You will likely not keep a car. But you may have other expenses you might not currently have (e.g., you might decide to send out your laundry if your building doesn’t have any in building or in unit).

          • Relocating :

            Right, absolutely. I just feel like employers use it as a chance to “get one on the cheap!”. I live in a pretty large midwestern city and my parents are constantly astonished by my “tiny” apartment and that some places are “just 5 miles away according to Googlemaps”. Ugh, my tiny apartment is as much as mortgage from where I am from and 5 miles is a long way in a dense, urban area.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        You would THINK people would realize what a vast difference the cost of living is, but I’ve realized some of my friends who grew up in NYC have absolutely no concept of how much cheaper it really is to live elsewhere (or about life in the suburbs in general. My favorite comments thus far have been: “Why can’t people just take the bus if it’s snowy and they can’t get their car out of the driveway?” and “but what are you going to do about parking when you take the bar in [not major city]? You don’t want to have to pay for parking all day.”) So maybe the recruiter really is that clueless.

      • Don’t underestimate how expensive city living is. My rent in a large east coast city for a tiny studio apartment was several times my parents’ mortgage in upstate NY. I would use a calculator, but also talk to people in your industry in the city you are applying to.

        • Relocating :

          To be clear…I already live in an urban area, and my SO lives in NYC. I’m quite familiar w/ prices of housing, groceries, transit. I was wondering about the COL adjustments to *salaries* specifically and how this is handled. I have looked at COL calculators, and I was wondering which ones were more reliable.

          • As mentioned above, I don’t think the COL calculators will match what the company actually offers for COL. I work at a large consulting firm, and all offers coming out of undergrad and b-school are the same across the country, no matter where you live.

  11. NewAssociate :

    Threadjack – I’m a first year associate and I have had a pretty light work load for about a month now. I make myself available for every assignment, have never turned something in late, and have had no bad reviews on work I’ve done. Usually its “good job” or nothing. I have tried a few approaches in asking partners for work–from e-mailing to asking in person. Is there a better approach to asking for more work? I am worried about not meeting my billable hours

    • Did you start this fall? It often takes several months to really bring the new associates in to the fold. It’s not uncommon to not be too busy simply because you don’t know enough to do all the projects that need to be done.

      Also, does your firm’s fiscal year end on Dec 31st? Older lawyers could have been hoarding hours to make sure that they met their billable targets.

    • Varies by firm but it is generally expected that it will take a bit to get going, and it sounds like you’re trying to get work in the meantime which is key. Also use the down time to learn something new or see if there is an article you can write for your firm’s marketing efforts. Keep in kind at the beginning, if people are busy, it takes time for them to pass off and explain work. If there is a fellow associate you trust, get their take too. Good luck and hang in there!

    • It’s the holidays. Unless you’re in a practice that’s trying to close deals by year end, things are always incredibly slow between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. You’ve got another 51 weeks left in the year to make up your hours. I really would not be stressing about this right now. Get your CLE done for the year, read industry publications, read up on the firm’s biggest clients/industries, organize your office, establish a good filing system with your secretary. If by month’s end things haven’t picked up at all, you might want to try to get some intel on what’s going on with the firm’s business. Are things slow for everyone, or just you? Are there any big cases coming in where there might be a slot for you? But for now, just relax. You’ll have plenty of things to worry about later in the year. No reason to start worrying about billables on January 7.

      • Also – if you are in a practice that has a year-end frenzy, the beginning of January is typically *very* slow because everyone is recovering.

    • My experience was that if I developed a rapport with partners talking about files they were working on, then they would assign work on that file to involve me. Once I’d done something a few times (articles of incorporation, for example), I’d tell the partner I particularly enjoyed preparing articles of incorporation so could they please think of me next time that task came up, and they usually would.

      Now that I sometimes delegate work, it is easier if juniors communicate a special interest in some work or other because then I tend to think of them when it comes up.

      • NewAssociate :

        Thanks to everyone for their comments. I will keep them all in mind. I have a mentor partner and I will go to him if things haven’t picked up by the end of the month.

    • This happened to me and I basically sat in my office and convinced myself I was going to be fired. I finally approached a partner whom I trusted and phrased it as “here is what I am doing, is there anything else I should do to try to get more work.” He told me the slow times happen and it wasn’t a big deal and reiterated a lot of the advice mentioned above (write articles, learn about your area of work/a related area of work, etc.). He also said the first years weren’t expected to meet their billables for the first year, but this is practice group/firm specific, as I have heard other first year associates in other practice areas in my firm got heat for not hitting their billables.

  12. 16 handles :

    Does anyone have recommendations for a good CPA in the Manhattan area? For reference, I need competent advice on some relatively complicated sponsorship and gift issues; first-year associate in biglaw. Thanks in advance!

  13. Diana Barry :

    So I have been watching Almost Human – it is a very silly show but Karl Urban is my new TV boyfriend. So prickly and dangerous (cf. Bourne movies) yet still lovable! ;)

    • No shame in the Karl Urban love! EOMER 4EVA!

    • I have all the episodes on DVR just waiting until I have a night at the house alone. Glad it’s worth watching! I love both Karl Urban and Michael Ealy.

    • Yup – that’s one of those shows that really work for us – my action/sci-fi loving husband loves the action/sci-fi angle, I appreciate the eye candy and the fact that it makes no apologies for being completely ridiculous and fun.

      (We’re also really liking Sleepy Hollow, for much of the same reason, which came as a surprise to me. The lead actor there is just …mmmm)

      • I love Sleepy Hollow! It has excellent scenery, and I really like the rapport between Abbie and Ichabod – it’s believably more than simple friendship, but something other than romance, which is rare on TV.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Sleepy Hollow is amazing. I mean, it’s an absurd premise, but the actors totally sell it.

      • Arrow is the show we watch that has action for dh & eye candy for me.

    • Little Red :

      I watch all these shows and the male eye candy is one of the reasons. The other reason is I’m a geek so anything sci-fi/comic book/fantasy pretty much always appeals to me.

  14. Bachelorette Viewers! :

    Ok, I know we’ve had the discussion about ombre hair before. What are your thoughts on the attorney on the bachelorette’s ombre hair? I can’t remember if she had it dyed that way in the “courtroom action sequences”… which would be a good thing (that I couldn’t spot it) or could mean she took the opportunity of a break from work to take a risk with her hair. Any deep thoughts on this world-changing issue?

    • I thought it looked terrible. It wasn’t a good ombre dye job – her hair was just dark on top and bleached on the bottom. No transition between the two tones.

    • I didn’t notice it in the courtroom reenactment either, so I think your second guess is probably accurate. It was a lot lighter at the end, so I think it would have been noticeable at the end of her ponytail. Do you think they are really holding her job for her? My experience, even in rural areas, was that there was no shortage of law grads that wanted in at the DA/PDs office.

  15. mascot paging NOLA :

    And anyone else who is familiar with New Orleans hotels.
    1) I am going to a conference next month being held at the Sheraton on Canal Street. That hotel is booked so I’d like another hotel close by to stay at. Thoughts about the Westin, JW Marriott and Marriott proximity/quality wise? Other suggestions?
    2) For the weekend following the conference, my spouse is joining me for a get-away wknd. Recs for hotels and restaurants? We like good food and wine and are past wild nights in bars stage of our lives. I’d like to stay under $300/night for a hotel. Thanks

    • I just went to NOLA for a weekend vacation! Loved it. Sylvain was my favorite dinner, hands down. Cochon was lovely as well.

    • Hey I’m in meetings right now. Will get back to you later.

    • Gulf Coaster :

      Brunch rec – Slim Goodie’s on Magazine St. (crawfish omelet) or Surrey’s Uptown

    • anon in tejas :

      I have stayed at the Royal Sonesta, Monteleon, and International House recently. My favorite is the Monteleon, and the most economical was the International House.

      I love New Orleans. Tons of great places to eat and enjoy. Be sure to take in some live music if that’s your thing.

    • We’ve had guests stay at the Intercontinental on St. Charles. It’s about a 5-minute walk from the Sheraton but a little away from Canal Street and the Quarter so is somewhat quieter. I believe it was recently renovated as well. I don’t have much experience with the other hotels you mentioned, but I love the lobby of the Westin – huge windows with river views.

      As for restaurants in the CBD/Quarter, I’d recommend Cafe Amelie for brunch (especially in nice weather). If you’re looking for a nice dinner, I love Bayona and Herbsaint, or if you’re looking for something more casual, Cochon, Domenica, or Peche.

      • Okay, I’m back. mascot – SC is here in NO, too, so she knows. I also like the Intercontinental. It’s a good location. I think DC Jenny stayed at the Marriott in the FQ for her pre-wedding trip with her girlfriends (see how I avoided that word?). Also, for boutique hotels, I like The International House Hotel: http://www.ihhotel.com/ I’ve been in the rooms – they’re small but it’s a pretty hotel in a good location with a nice bar. There’s a hotel right across from the Intercontinental that’s not bad, too (although it may have changed hands – used to be Hotel Monaco). That’s connected with John Besh’s brasserie called Luke. Any John Besh restaurant (Luke, Domenica, August) is great.

        Uptown/Mid-City restaurants – La Petite Grocery, Patois, Coquette, Ralph’s on the Park (awesome – so worth it).

        Slim Goodie’s is good for breakfast but it’s really a diner and I think it’s cash only. Lots of little restaurants along Magazine that are good.

        We mentioned Stanley for brunch in the FQ recently.

        Haven’t been in years, but GW Fins has always been good. Haven’t been to Cochon in awhile but it was very good. Bayona is also really good.

        • The hotel right across the street from the Intercontinental is a Hilton. NOLA is right that it is associated with John Besh’s restaurant Luke.

          By the way, several of Besh’s restaurants have great happy hours – Luke has half-price beer, wine, and specialty cocktails + 50-cent raw oysters; Domenica has half-price wine and maybe other drinks + half-price pizza (the roasted veggie pizza is my favorite); and Borgne has a special as well, but I don’t remember the details.

          NOLA’s uptown recs are great too! I just had a great dinner at La Petite Grocery, and I’ve gone back to Coquette several times this year, which is saying a lot.

          • Oh and I forgot – a friend and I happened into Coquette looking for a happy hour over the summer and Coquette was great! Delicious gougeres and great drink specials.

    • The JW is nicer than the Marriott, if you can get in. It’s smaller and has normal elevators and a more intimate feel. The huge Marriott is . . . huge and a pain and full of loud people.

      • Also, if you are a Marriott person, the Renaissance Arts is a nice hotel; a bit out of the way but it’s cute & small. I usually stay at the JW for location, though.

    • Thanks ladies. I haven’t been in years and I am looking forward to going back. And the food, always the food.

    • One of the best meals of my life came from Brigtsen’s.

      • I love Brigsten’s! I always forget about it, but every time I’ve been, I’ve had great meals, and they are so warm and inviting!

    • I have stayed in the Hotel Monteleone before it and it is wonderful. Affordable, historic, and it has a rotating Carousel bar in the lobby. Also, 1 block from Canal Street.

  16. New to this game :

    Threadjack – is it weird to be a bit put off by a request to meet with a rep from an executive search firm (male) in the sitting area of their hotel suite? I’ve verified the recruiter and confirmed that the job they are “hunting” for is legitimate. I am just paranoid?

    • Eh, it’s a bit odd, but maybe it is a big suite. I did OCI interviews in a hotel room, not a suite, years ago and thought it was odd. Perhaps suggest meeting in a quiet coffee shop or a corner of the lobby, assuming you don’t have secrecy concerns.

    • anonforthis :

      Yes, I think you are paranoid. Tell someone when and where you’re going if you’re worried about it.

      • I would disagree about this being paranoid. I think it’s very much a ‘trust your instincts’ (“The Gift of Fear”) situation. If something about the recruiter makes you uncomfortable to be in a hotel suite with him or if you just feel uncomfortable with the scenario in general, then try to have the meeting moved to a location where you will feel comfortable. Interviews are tough enough on their own without adding situation discomfort.

    • I don’t think it’s weird. From traveling extensively for previous work, I have a personal policy against meeting with ANYONE in a hotel room. Even if I know the person and am not worried about their conduct, I don’t want to give the appearance that something might/ could happen. (In my previous line of work, the jokes about “you interviewed in a hotel room, huh??” would be incessant.)
      I think you can research a close safe space and tactfully say “I would love to meet with you! I have a personal policy against meetings in hotel rooms. Could we meet in the Starbucks in the lobby/across the street/whatever?”

    • If the hotel is large enough to have sitting areas in rooms, does it have conference space or a business center? While I interviewed in hotels during OCI in law school, the beds were removed and everyone was in the hotel at the same time.

      • New to this game :

        Thanks for the advice! I think I will suggest that we meet in the hotel restaurant – it has booths, and is far enough away from my current employer and the usual places me or people in my network tend to go. I think I would just be uncomfortable with the hotel room scenario, which would prevent me from focusing on the conversation I am having with the recruiter.

    • What kind of male recruiter would think it’s ok to meet women recruits in a space like this? You would think this would be something that would be pretty obvious – you want to make the recruit feel comfortable.

  17. Random question for the lawerly ladies.
    Is natural resource law something one could do outside of a large law firm?
    I’m asking because I am sort of in that field right now and I want to reach out to some people and see if I can get a job working at a firm doing that (there are a few openings), however, I eventually would like to be a solo and was wondering if that is even possible.

    • ex enviro :

      What kind of natural resource law? I did CERCLA litigation for several years. I worked with many solos, but most had worked in larger firms or in-house with the involved parties before.

    • Yeah, it’s definitely possible. You just have to think about your client base and your particular niche and find one that fits. E.g., some large clients involved in high-stakes cases are going to want more malpractice insurance than you’re likely to have as a solo. But there are plenty of solos in a variety of natural-resources related fields. (One thing to consider is municipal or publicly owned clients; those are sometimes more receptive to small firms and solos, I think.)

      • Right now I work for a quasi-publicly owned entity (gas)… the job I’m thinking about applying for (and I think I would at least get interviewed for because of a personal connection) is in water… so that is very interesting. Thanks guys.

  18. Clothing expenditures open thread :

    Ok ladies, now that 2013 is behind us, let’s do an open thread on how much we all spent in 2013. Please list:

    1) Total clothing expenditures
    2) Total beauty expenditures
    3) Favorite purchase
    4) Purchase you most regret
    5) Your industry/type of job

    My info:

    – Total clothing: $2800. This was less than last year, when I spent closer to $4000 (but a good amount of that was maternity clothing)

    – Total beauty: $3800. This includes pedis, manis, waxing, facials, and most significantly, hair extensions

    – Favorite purchase: Paige Premium skinny jeans ($185). First pair of skinny jeans that I own, I love them and wear them all the time. Also AGL flat ($325). Felt absurd spending that much money on flats but they are really comfortable.

    – Most regret: Hair extensions ($2K) – too much upkeep. Also Lands End faux wrap dress ($30). Did not break the bank but material is too casual for my big law job.

    – Big Law, mid level associate

    • Oooh, I like this thread:

      – Clothing: $5K – higher than normal due to some nice suit purchases
      – Beauty: not as good about keeping track of it, but probably around $1500
      – Favorite purchase: bright green Boden retro dress. I feel so pretty and ladylike when I wear it and it’s a good color for me.
      – Most regret: all of the nursing tanks I bought and never used (baby couldn’t latch so I switched to pumping right away)
      – Big Law, senior associate

      • I had this same issue, but I lived in nursing bras while pumping (before going back to work). I never used all those cute nursing cover-ups, but I wore those nursing tanks 24/7.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Cool thread! I just did the math and was pleasantly surprised.

      Total clothing: $1534.78 (lower than I had guessed but I return a lot of things I order online)

      Total beauty: $200ish for 2 haircuts, mascara, and the Naked2 pallete

      Favorite purchase: $280 for my black London Fog Wool Blend Belted Trench. I love it, feel great it in, and it keeps me warm.

      Most regret: I normally return things if I don’t love them but I was on the fence about 2 Banana Republic tops and then wound up missing the return window. I’ve worn one of them once or twice and never wore the other one.

    • Let’s do this again next year to see if I succeeded in cutting back clothing spending…

      -Clothing: $3,800
      -Beauty: $1,800 (laser hair removal money was the biggest purchase)
      -Favorite purchase: bright orange Jcrew peacoat from my favorite consignment store
      -Most regret: three pairs of hose for New Years Eve that were all ripped by New Years Day :)
      -Accounting and consulting, associate

    • Diana Barry :

      Clothing – hard to tell, I don’t separate my clothing from the kids’ or DH’s on mint. Total for all of us was about $5K. So maybe mine was $2500?
      Beauty – about $1000 on Sephora, $250 on pedis, $300 on waxing
      Favorite purchase – Anastasia brow powder – had never used brow powder before and it is AWESOME.
      Regret – J Brand skinny jeans that got a RUN in them, which I bought at a boutique with a terrible return policy. I have to send them back to the company and complain.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I don’t have my files with me at work, but I can estimate.

      — Clothing: about $4,000 including shoes and accessories
      — Beauty: about $2,600 (not counting the tummy tuck!)
      — Favorite purchase: inexpeinsive white flared midi skirt from Zara, which I have worn at least once a week since I got it in the summer. Runner-up, white satchel from Banana republic on sale for about $150.
      — Most regret: Don’t really have one. When it comes to clothes, if I make a mistake, I JSFAMO!
      — Government, senior law-related.

      • If you don’t mind sharing, how much was your tummy tuck and how long was the recovery period?

        • Senior Attorney :

          It was about $9,000 for everything including two nights in an aftercare facility, which I totally recommend (it was an outpatient procedure). The recovery period? Well, that’s a complicated question. My surgeon told me I’d be ready to go back to work in two weeks, but plastic surgeons always lie about recovery time. I took a month off work and was very glad I’d taken that long. I did nothing but lie on the couch and doze and watch “Breaking Bad” for two solid weeks. Third week I was up and around a little, fourth week I was able to go to lunch and maybe one errand a day.

          I went back to the gym after six weeks, gently with the trainer. Went back to boot camp class after maybe eight weeks, which was too soon. (Quote from my surgeon: “Don’t do situps. You don’t need to do situps. I gave you a flat tummy!”)

          It’s now just over five months and I still don’t quite feel like myself. My cardio is still not what it was, I can’t do situps or planks like I could, I still have a little swelling, and I’m going to need a small revision because although my belly button finally healed, it’s too tiny and needs to be enlarged. And of course I have a gigantic scar going 60% of the way around my body (mercifully below the bikini line).

          That said, it was totally worth it and I would totally do it again (although I am happier than I can say that I don’t have to!). I had a large weight loss a few years ago and my tummy looked like a shar pei — now it looks like a young person’s tummy! Plus he was able to life my, uh, lady parts so they look perky instead of saggy, which was really the thing that tipped me over the edge and made me decide to go ahead with it.

          Bottom line: cosmetic surgery is not for the faint of heart but my experience was massively positive, all things considered.

    • AnonConsultant :

      – Total clothing: $2,018. A little higher than I’d like, but I did splurge on a pair of Frye boots, Theory trousers, and a Lo & Sons bag. Also, I had to purchase a bridesmaid dress for a friend’s wedding.

      – Total beauty: $497. This includes makeup, hair cuts, and shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, etc.

      – Favorite purchase: The Frye boots (~$300). They’re beautiful and I want to wear them every day.

      – Most regret: A pair of navy heels that were on sale (~$75), but I’ve never worn. I wear heels only on special occasions, so why I thought I’d suddenly wear them to work all the time I’m not sure…

      – Consulting, 2nd year.

      • Can I ask which style Frye’s you went with? And which color? I’m plagued by indecision…

        • AnonConsultant :

          I went with the Melissa Button Boot in Cognac. The calf circumference is a little bigger than I’d love, but after 1.5+ years of ordering and returning other boots, this is the happiest I’ve been about a pair of shoes. I also ended up ordering a half size down to account for the footbed stretching with the breaking in process.

          • Thanks so much! Coincidentally, I’ve been trying to decide between the cognac and bourdoux colors of the Melissa Button! Hah! I’ll need the extended calf version, so roomy in the calf is a positive for me. I also really appreciate your sizing tips!

    • Clothing: $2,000
      Beauty: $200 (haircuts where I live are $30 to $40 at the most expensive places).
      Favorite purchase: Grey pencil skirt. I hadn’t owned a grey skirt before and it’s amazing how much more versatile it is than black or navy. I also really, really love my lace TOMs.
      Most regret: ELF nail polish that literally takes hours to dry and then chips off immediately (I think it’s just a bad color, because I own other polishes from ELF and they’re fine). Also a sheath dress I bought at Ross because it had sleeves and was only $7, but which is way too short to wear to work and is colorblocked in a way that makes me look 20 pounds heavier than I am. At least both my regrets were super cheap.
      Mid-law, 3d year associate

    • Miss Behaved :

      – Clothing: $2,071.77, but I budgeted $2,700 so Yay!
      – Beauty: @ $1,000 I don’t budget it, but I really only spend money on my hair every 3 months
      – Books: $1,093.65, but I budgeted $1,200 so another Yay
      – Best Purchase: I was really good this year, but right now I’d go with my DV black suede booties and the 2 asymmetrical fleece wrap cardigans from Nordstrom. It’s cold outside!
      – Biggest Regret: An orange sweater dress from JCrew factory. It just doesn’t hit right at the waist.

      IT, Business Intelligence Analyst for a University

      • I really need to budget better and keep track my expensese more closely. Do you use an website/app or do you do it yourself?

        I’m thinking of going the spreadsheet route to track expenses and update it every week. I don’t like the idea of linking a website up with my bank account…

        • I think you can use sites like ynab and mint without linking. So you manually enter but get the benefit of the website’s organization and stuff.

    • 1) Total clothing expenditures – $2,300 for everything (bras, tights, gym stuff, jewelry, etc.). I started tracking in the middle of the year last year because I mostly shop online and wanted to make sure I got credit for returns. It’s been enlightening.

      2) Total beauty expenditures- I don’t track, but I’d estimate $500. I only had 3 hair cuts, and I don’t use much make up or expensive hair stuff.

      3) Favorite purchase – Black ponte sheath dress from Banana Republic (on super sale for $35).

      4) Purchase you most regret – I didn’t do too badly this year, but I have a pair of green ankle length jeans that stretched out horribly every time I wore them.

      5) Your industry/type of job – Biglaw senior associate in an East Coast business casual firm.

    • Just started using mint to track my purchases in July, but I think my spending has stayed rather consistent, so I’ll just double the amounts.

      Clothing/Shoes/Accessories – $1250
      Beauty – $550
      Favorite Purchase – yellow Hunter wellies
      Biggest Regret – everything I purchased online that was on a deep discount but final sale. They are inevitably not pieces I love and I rarely wear them, and even though they were really inexpensive, they weren’t even worth the closet space.

      Depending on the time of year, I was a 3L in law school, studying for the bar, and a judicial clerk since August.

    • 1) Total clothing expenditures : ~$1500. This was me “not really going shopping” lol. I did sign up for Gwynnie Bee, which is almost half of the expenditure.
      2) Total beauty expenditures: ~$600 I try to mostly do my own manis/pedis/facials, but I get a wax every month.
      3) Favorite purchase: an extra-large chambray shirt from J Crew that worked so well w/ white skinny jeans or leggings, and as a cover up.
      4) Purchase you most regret: I bought a pair of fair isle knit leggings from Target that I had to return because I figured out they were Junior’s (doh!) and did not fit. Basically I regret that they didn’t make them in adult sizes, lol
      5) Your industry/type of job: software engineer, medical devices

    • – Total clothing: ~$300(!!). I was pregnant for 9 months of 2013, so I only bought a couple mission critical pieces on the cheap (hello, Target maternity jeans and the old navy yoga pants I wore exclusively during month 9!). I had a maternity wardrobe from kid #1 to draw from, work in a fairly biz casual environment, and received some pieces as gifts from mom/MIL etc.

      – Total beauty: ~$500. Mani/Pedis and haircuts only, for the most part.

      – Favorite purchase: I actually got them as a gift, but I got fleece lined tights :) Also bought an awesome new tote bag for work.

      – Most regret: not sure

      – director level @ software company

    • Budgeting is on my constant “I wish I did more of this,” so these numbers are really just shots in the dark.

      – Clothing: $1,000 (this could be a little high, and half of it could be shoes…)
      – Beauty: $400 ($250 was for my first-ever complete makeup “setup” from Sephora. I finally feel like an adult.)
      – Best Purchase: A red polka dot shell from Land’s End that goes with everything, is three-season, and I wore at least once a week. My Crocs-that-don’t-look-like-Crocs flats (which are a godsend to my plantar fasciitis).
      – Biggest Regret: The red jeans I bought for $19 that I love but DH detests. I have yet to wear them. The purple skinny jeans I bought for $9. They’re a bit too tight and I feel like a high schooler.

      Editorial, Boutique Ad Agency

    • Looks like I spent 2.5K on clothes and $500 on Sephora/MAC-type items. The clothes is a bit more than I hoped but it may not include all the returned clothes.. I’ll have to go through Mint and check to make sure everything is tagged correctly.

      I think my favourite purchase was a 3/4-sleeve black polka dot dress from Ann Taylor which has been great for weddings and other dressy parties. I bought it full price at $100ish, because I needed it in a hurry, but it’s been great. In general, AT and Loft opening here have been great for my wardrobe – I got some good tops and skirts there this summer/fall. Biggest regret would be forgetting about things that need returning (but this only happened with one Old Navy purchase, so not a huge loss) and tops from BR that shrink after washing on cold/gentle and hanging to dry! I’ve learned my lesson and now buy a size up instead and am also more reluctant to buy t-shirts there.

    • Budget needed ASAP :

      I kind of wish I hadn’t done the math to play this game, because I now realize I am in dire need of a budget because I had no idea I was spending this much. New year, new opportunity, right?

      -Clothing: $18,425 (astronomical in writing, but I did have to re-buy my entire wardrobe (including shoes) after losing 95 pounds)
      -Beauty: $9,250 (hair/wax every 4 weeks, mani/pedi every 2 weeks, plus makeup, hair stuff, etc. from Sephora or the salon)
      -Best Purchase: Enzo flat riding boots in black and walnut – on sale at Nordstrom in the fall and I wear them pretty much non-stop when I’m not at work
      -Biggest Regret: I had 2 pair of custom Manolo stilettos made in a navy patent and a leopard suede – both color/style combos that I had been unsuccessful in finding ready-made. Not only did they take 8 weeks, but they’re custom so not returnable and ended up not being as comfortable as the ready-to-wear Manolo pumps that I thought they would be. I’ve had them 3 months now and still haven’t worn them. I’m sick just thinking about the wasted money.

      Junior partner, mid-law

      • Lafayette Q :

        Yay — a fellow partner!

        I am feeling like I underdress for my job but am borderline overdressed for my office (business casual; guys usually wear khakis; not enough women to have a clothing role model). Can you share what brands / stores you like? I feel like I need to up my game at work.

        • Budget needed ASAP :

          I’m litigation, but don’t have to wear formal suits every day. I wear a lot of structured dresses from DvF. Can make some dresses from Milly or Kate Spade work, with the right styling. Hugo Boss is another go-to brand, and the Elie Tahari line works (although I have to size up for that line from my usual size). I’ve been buying more pieces from Ted Baker and like the style, although the sizing is weird so I’d go to a store to figure out your size before ordering online.

      • Thank you for posting! I was starting to feel kind of bad about my clothing spending after reading all of these, but I also did a similar “need to re-buy entire wardrobe thing. For me, it was restarting work after grad school and also not having proper professional clothes before. I think I’ve spent at least 10,000, including a 7,000 one day spree in NYC last month. The amount of money kind of terrifies me, but it feels SO GOOD to finally have proper work clothes where I NEVER have to worry about whether I’m appropriately dressed.

    • Lafayette Q :

      – Clothing: $2,500 (mainly play/mom clothes: in my city, I don’t do activities with my children in my gym clothes anymore — yay!)

      – Beauty: $1,200 (Botox for frownies, some touchups for laser hair removal)

      – Best Purchase: Akris suit @ consignment store; DVF dress on ebay

      – Biggest Regret: Hard to narrow down, but I dropped off a ton of clothes at the thrift shop yesterday. Still languishing in my dresser: various tummy-control boy-shorts that all seem to have seams that are noticeable in pants / pencil skirts or the legs roll up.

      BigLaw Partner

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        Man, if I became a biglaw partner I would spend so much money on clothes, so props to you for only spending $2500/year. Are you in NYC?

    • JustSummedUpFromMint :

      1) Total clothing expenditures – 3200, yike I didn’t realize it went this big. But it includes everything, work/gym/shoes. I also got some good quality down coat, snow shoes and gloves for the crazy winters in my city. I lost about 20 lbs weight and had to replace several essential work clothing items such as skirts/pants that no longer fit. That probably explains the high amount. No more shopping till spring.

      2) Total beauty expenditures- 300 for makeup, skincare and haircuts
      3) Favorite purchase- found jimmy choos black leather pumps with comfortable heels and almont toe for 200$ (marked down from 565) at nordstorms, amazing shoes for a great price.
      4) Purchase you most regret – few button down shirts, skirt/blazer from jny, too boxy, hardly ever wear them.
      5) Your industry/type of job – finance industry, 7 years experience, business casual.

    • It would take me a. long. time. to get these numbers. Might be the kick in the bu*t I need to get my financial house in order and track for 2014.

    • 1) Clothes – about $4900. yikes, but I’m a second year attorney who bought a few upgraded suits to replace the cheap ones I bought first year and bought a few wool blazers and silk blouses too. I had to buy two new winter coats due to weight gain (old ones were from 2008 though), and I’ve had to buy a lot of new quality dress shoes due to foot issues. I also bought sorels and an mz Wallace bag.

      2) Beauty – Probably about $700-800. I bought a new $100 blow dryer, do my own nails/toes and have a cheap hairdresser, but like somewhat expensive makeup, skin and hair products. I don’t get waxes, facials, massages or anything like that.

      3) Favorite purchase – I can’t think of something amazing. The new wool suits and silk tops I bought are much more comfortable than my synthetic ones. I’m glad to have more comfortable shoes for work. I’ve also come to really discover my color pallette and am trying to limit my wardrobe to a few colors, so I enjoy wearing “my colors.” I did buy a bright pink mini skirt on clearance at gap that I wore a lot this summer.

      4) purchase I most regret – a $30 silk top at banana in a color and neckline that don’t quite work for me. A $20 pair of evening shoes from payless I bought in a pinch that had I had to take off before I got to the event. One suit from talbots that doesn’t quite fit me right. I still wear it a bit, maybe a tailor could help. An amazing $60 dress from ann taylor that I do love, but wish I bought the other color option.

      Mid-law, junior associate.

      I feel like I spent too much on clothes, but I think a lot of it was upgrading I needed to do for work or because of weight gain and foot problems. I probably couldn’t have cut down below $2500, so in the grand scheme of it, saving an extra $2500 this year would not have been life changing.

    • I’m glad we’re doing this because these numbers disturb me. This is based on Mint and I’m not great at re-categorizing, so they may be off by a little bit…

      1) Clothing: Just over $4,000. YIKES. I lost some weight so I had to replace some clothes, and I’m still building up my work and personal wardrobe after being super broke in college and law school. And I had a few expensive purchases (dresses to wear to weddings; new boots). However, I almost exclusively buy things on sale and don’t feel like I spend that much and am generally trying to save/pay down loans, so the total is alarming. Aiming for much lower next year.

      2) Beauty: $450 at sephora and $345 on haircuts (4 of them). I do my own nails and don’t get waxes or facials. Not sure how to cut this down. Maybe I need to find cheaper everyday makeup.

      3) Favorite purchases: A sleeveless navy dress from Asos that is perfect for dates (was only $34, score!); tall tan boots from Jcrew that I wear all the time on weekends (purchased on ebay for $180); a bright, fun, patterned Milly makeup bag that was a bit of a splurge for what it is ($45) but I use it almost every morning at the gym so it makes me happy every day.

      4) Purchase I most regret: This year, actually, nothing comes to mind. I’ve gotten much better at finding things I actually wear and that look good on me. Perhaps a BCBG dress ($300 but on sale for $150) that I bought for a wedding in the spring. It looked fantastic and was fun to wear but it’s a bright color and a little overly flashy/low cut for me to wear to most other weddings (it was totally fine for this one — I think I was one of the most conservatively dressed women there), and I sadly don’t have the kind of lifestyle where I have the need for a bright fancy cocktail dress. I hope I can find a way to wear it again…

      BigLaw, mid-level associate.

      • DC Lawyer :

        I think I’m doing this to make everyone else feel prudent.
        1) Clothing – $11,000, and kind of normal for me. I’ve been trying to cut back as I’m thinking of retirement in a few years. But it’s a hard habit to break.
        2) Beauty – $4,000. Mostly maintaining dark blond hair in the face of increasingly gray roots. I buy all my makeup from Paula’s Choice, so I’m not extravagant on that.
        3) Favorite purchases — St. John and Lafayette 148 tweed jackets (an addiction).
        4) Purchase I regret – Arche sandals at full price. I’m constantly looking for comfortable shoes. I should stick to Beautifeel.

        Corporate VP.

        • Seeing all the qualifiers as to why you spent such and such amount(esp if the poster perceives that she’s at the high end of expenditures on clothing) makes me sad.

          I just wish women would do more things unapologetically and without feeling like we need to justify.

          I mean, we’re all posting under nicknames on the internet for heavenssake. I am sad that we, collectively, as a group, care that much about the judgment/approval of strangers (even indirectly.)

          • Same here. Unfortunately there are some super judge-y posters on this site.

        • FinanceGirlinBK :

          DC Lawyer- I’m at somewhat similar levels as you. I used to feel guilty about the amount, but I really love clothes and am meeting my savings goals, so I’ve stopped beating myself up. I’ve been working on upgrading my wardrobe and buying fewer but higher quality classic pieces (with a few trendy items thrown in).

          1) Clothing – $8.5k. This includes clothes, lingerie, bags, shoes, and jewelry. I’ve been at roughly this level for the last three years.
          2) Beauty – $3.1k. This includes makeup, hair products and cuts (just switched to the Devachan regimen from Drugstore, so costs likely higher next year), mani/pedis, and waxing
          3) Favorite purchase – New designer bag (~$2k) that I’d been coveting in a gorgeous navy blue. It makes me happy every time I use it.
          4) Purchase I regret – I usually buy and return tons of stuff all year (do all my shopping online) and am typically very good at returning, but missed deadlines on a few items this year, so they were a total waste of money. Not a lot, but frustrating!

          Senior analyst at an investment management (hedge fund industry).

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      1) Clothing spend: Around $2k. Needed some updates to my work wardrobe.
      2) Beauty: Also around $2k. This includes haircuts, pedis, all beauty products and cosmetics.
      3) Favorite purchase: Can I say my horse? Definitely the biggest splurge in my life.
      4) Purchase I most regret: some shoes from Nordstrom Rack that are killing my feet.
      5) Biglaw, midlevel associate.

    • 1. Clothes: $5,223.48, although I have about $600 of refunds that haven’t been processed yet. Still, I budgeted $2,000 and I don’t even have an excuse as to why I spent so much, so not great.
      2. Beauty: $887.70, although that includes all personal items (like tampons). I actually wish I’d spent more on getting better hair cuts, highlights, etc that would make me feel more put together, but I guess I spent my money on shoes. Budget was $1,200, so underspent there.
      3. Favorite purchase: A pair of Steve Madden booties that I bought so I could stand all day for one event, but ended up wearing a lot (and still do), my sparkly dress for the company holiday party (but who knows if I’ll ever wear it again), a couple of the more flattering sheath dresses I bought from Nordstrom (I realized Calvin Klein petites fit me perfectly), J Brand skinny jeans to replace my pair that got a hole in them, my sparkly strappy silver shoes, even though I don’t have enough places to wear them.
      4. Purchase you Regret: I have a lot of these too. Anything from Ann Taylor that I didn’t return (I fall in love with a lot of their clothes online, but they do not fit me correctly! I do not allow myself on their website anymore), a pair of Stuart Weiztman shoes that I bought on final sale online and couldn’t return, a few sheath dresses from Nordstrom that I kept because they fit but I don’t love and thus don’t wear, the two faux leather trimmed sheath dresses that I actually love, but I’m not sure how to wash at home and am too lazy to take to the dry cleaners, my Louboutins (love the way that they look, but are way more uncomfortable than most of my shoes that cost 1/3 of the price, although I’m wearing them now, so at least they get worn unlike the other things)
      5. Job: CPA in public accounting (mid-level)

    • 1. Clothing $4,751.10
      Work Clothes $1,712.05
      Non Work Clothing $1,156.08
      Underwear $485.70
      Work Shoes $391.45
      Workout Clothes $328.03
      Accessories $302.43
      Dry Cleaning/Tailor $375.36
      2. Beauty $4249
      Hair $1,937.37
      Facial Products $1,062.42
      Nails $703.46
      Make up $300.94
      Perfume $192.02
      Spray Tan $53.38
      3. Favorite purchase Vegan Leather Leggings
      4. Most regretted purchase White Blazer on Sale from Banana that was still $200+ and doesn’t fit or go with many things
      5. Associate small firm

    • Lady Harriet :

      1) Total clothing expenditures: $242.26, plus about another $220 or so in presents from family members
      2) Total beauty expenditures: I don’t separate this out in my budget from things like deodorant and conditioner, but I’d guess around $15 plus about $20 or so in gifts from family.
      3) Favorite purchase: Light pink Lands’ End short trench coat. The sleeves are a tad short, but it’s super cute and I was thrilled to find a good coat for the mild Florida winters. It was $2 in my favorite thrift store.
      4) Purchase you most regret: Royal blue silk pants I found in a thrift store. They’re gorgeous, but too small to comfortably wear right now, plus the waist seems to have been taken in poorly by a previous owner. At least they were also only $2 (from the same store, where everything is $2, unless there’s a sale!)
      5) Your industry/type of job: University research assistant, part time at this point. Looking for a new job, since I really need something full time!

  19. Watch repair in NYC? :

    Can anyone recommend a reliable watch repair place, ideally somewhere near the UN or the UWS? The watches aren’t fancy (Skagen) but are well loved so I’d rather not risk them on a complete unknown.

    • I’ve had a good experience with both Swiss Watch Repair Center, http://www.swisswatchrepaircenter.com/about.html, and Central Watch, located in Grand Central Station (google it, avoiding second link to not go into moderation). Neither place is open late and has some quirky hours so call ahead to make sure they’re open if you decide to go. Central Watch was the more expensive of the two, but they were also able to fix an antique watch that the gentleman at Swiss Watch repair told me he couldn’t do. But he’s great and very honest.

    • Related, where do you guys go to replace watch batteries?

      • Senior Attorney :

        I go to Sears. There’s one close to me and it’s easy peasy, in and out.

      • I have a ridiculous number of watches — I wear mostly bangle watches, have them in lots of colors and can never resist just one more in, say, purple faux suede (today’s is enameled in shades of purple, blue and teal) — and I always went to the Dakota kiosk in a local mall. However, this cost about $10, which frankly seemed too much considering that some of my watches only cost about $15, and I finally figured out that I can buy watch batteries at the hardware store and replace them myself. You just need a tiny tool to pop off the back of the watch; I use the screwdriver from an eyeglass repair kit. Costs less than $3. Of course, if your watch is actually a quality piece, you might not want to do this.

    • I recommend Macy’s! I think I spent $30 but I trusted them more than I have other places.

  20. One of my new year’s resolutions is to start working out more and I’ve found that cute exercise clothing helps motivate me. I really like the style of Athleta, but find that the clothing doesn’t really work with my shape – mainly, that most everything is tight in the hips. Does anyone have suggestions for a good alternative?

    • Check out Lucy – they have several different pant fits, but I haven’t tried any of their tops.

    • Jaclyn Day posts on her blog about athletic wear. She has a pretty tall/thin body shape, but is pretty thorough in her reviews. She’s also great about answering reader questions and will help you find something if you ask.

    • bananagram :

      Moving Comfort – they were recommended to me at my local running store when I was struggling with the same problem.

    • Have you tried on Athleta clothing? Their waistbands are super wide. It might not look like it because they’re stretchy, but I have 40″ hips and I’m only a size medium.

      • Thanks for the insight. I find that the pants are fine, but it’s the tops I always seem to sruggle with. I’ss see a top I love, but then it’s too tight across the hips when I try it on. I’ll give some of the recommendations a try.

    • I have quite a bit from Athleta but my favorite work out items are actually from Old Navy.

  21. Reselling clothes? :

    I recently did a big closet purge and while most of the stuff I plan to donate, there are a few barely-worn suits/dresses/blazers I have from places like Ann Taylor and Banana Republic (although some are from the factory stores of those brands), which I was thinking of trying to resell or consign in the hopes of getting back some of the money I spent. I have absolutely no experience reselling clothes – does anyone have any tips/advice, or know if it’s even worth the hassle for these brands? I’m in the DC area so if anyone could offer specific stores to check out, that would be helpful too. Thanks!

    • I liked Second Time Around in Georgetown when I lived in Arlington, and Wardrobe Rescue in Vienna now that I’m further into nova. I’ve consigned with both stores with success. Second Time Around is larger and they have a harder time keeping track of the clothes in my experience (I had one dress turn up missing for a few hours when I came to pick it up). Both stores will absolutely accept AT and BR, and it is very low-hassle – you come in and shop for about 20 minutes while they look through the items.

      • What is your experience with the “financial return” on these items? Do you think you get back $0.xx on the dollar spent? I wonder how it compares with Goodwill’s guides for tax purposes (where I usually donate).

        • I’d estimate between 0.10 and 0.25 on the dollar spent. This goes up if I got a good sale on an item when I initially purchased it. Each store has a different pricing and pay-out policy but both the stores I mentioned explain their policy online. I’m interested to hear how this compares to Goodwill, as I may be itemizing my tax return for the first time this year!

    • WestcoastLawyer :

      Try thredup dot com. I’ve sold some things there. They are pretty picky about what they accept, but it’s not consignment so you don’t have to wait for it to sell. They send you a big bag which you fill up and send back (they pay the shipping). It takes a while for them to go through everything, and you have to pay $10 if you want them to send back the items they don’t accept, but I never do because for me anything I’m getting rid of will go to Goodwill if they don’t take it. For a full bag of stuff I usually get between $60-$100, so not a lot, but it’s better than nothing and the easiest option I’ve found.

    • I consign clothes a lot, but it isn’t for the money. If you’re doing it for the money, then it’s better to sell them on ebay.

      But it at least gets them out of my closet and I at least get more than I would at Goodwill. I think expecting 0.25 to the dollar is probably a high estimate.

  22. I am a first year associate at a medium-sized law firm. I am getting married in April and was wondering if I need to invite anyone from work (April will be my one-year mark with the firm)? Right now I am leaning towards no. I am in a practice group with approximately 20 attorneys (only a few associates). I do not see or speak to anyone outside of work and it does not seem like anyone else really socializes outside of work either. Most of what I read on the topic was along the lines of “they probably do not want to go anyway so do them a favor and do not invite them”. While I will probably have to announce that I will be out of the office for the wedding and honeymoon, there has been absolutely zero wedding talk so I doubt most of them even realize I am getting married. Does anyone have any advice on this?

    • Absolutely don’t need to invite anyone from work.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Based on what you’re telling us, I think your plan is the best way to handle it. I agree that if you don’t socialize outside of work, you are probably doing them a favor by sparing them — particularly if there hasn’t been any wedding talk.


    • Diana Barry :

      No, definitely don’t invite them.


    • It’s ok not to invite them. But don’t talk about it too much.

  23. Flying Squirrel :

    TJ: Need Bay Area legal advice.

    It looks like we are going to need to fire/terminate our contract with our contractor…who is months behind schedule with no indication of any progress and has done shoddy work for the projects he’s worked on (none of which are complete).

    So far he’s willing to work with us on figuring this out, but we’d also like to understand our legal obligations and rights. Can anyone recommend an attorney (East Bay preferred if it makes a difference). Even if someone could tell us what kind of attorney we should be looking for, that would help.


    • I live on the opposite coast so I can’t give you a name but you are looking for someone who practices construction law. Your scenario is unfortunately very common.

  24. Has anyone tried Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip cleanser? If so, comments? Or, alternatively, can anyone recommend a good face cleanser for combination skin? I’m looking for something a little more powerful than my very gentle Fresh Soy Cleanser, but would like to avoid products specifically formulated to treat acne.

    • Flying Squirrel :

      I still swear by Origins Checks and Balances. Every once in a while I try something else just because (including a slip cleanser, though a different brand than what you mention), but I always come back to it. It’s not harsh, but it leaves my skin feeling clean.

      If it’s helpful, I use it with Clinique Rainwear moisturizer at night and Origins Perfect World moisturizer in the morning (though some people find the latter greasy, I find it works if you use it sparingly).

    • I’ve tried a lot of cleansers and really LOVE plain old cetaphil.

      • I do like Cetaphil in the morning but it just doesn’t do enough to combat my greasies + makeup in the evening.

        • I’ve found the First Aid Beauty cleanser to be the night time alternative to Cetaphil. It removes everything (including eye makeup if you use a little extra in that area), but is gentle and doesn’t dry out my skin.

          • I second this. I’m a long time user of Cetaphil in the morning (in shower) and Fresh soy cleanser at night and was looking for something with a bit more to it than the Fresh. I got a sample of the F.A.B. from Sephora and absolutely love it. It’s gentle but still gets the job done, especially on the eye makeup.

        • If you haven’t tried it, Cetaphil makes a version for oily skin that might help with the greasies and makeup. This is the version I use and I usually just follow it up with a nighttime cream to remoisturize.

      • Miss Behaved :

        I alternate between cetaphil and this cleanser:

        It’s also available on Amazon.

    • Surprisingly LOVE oil cleansers, specifically Josie Maran, for my combination and acne prone skin. Removes makeup fabulously. I saw that Ulta seems to have a store brand but haven’t tried it.

    • AnonConsultant :

      I us Burt’s Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser. Strong enough to remove makeup and oil, but doesn’t irritate the dryer parts of my face.

    • Philosophy’s Purity made simple or Clinique face soap for oily skin. Also, try the Clinique toners or a toner with glycolic acid. I used to use a DDF face wash with glycolic acid but I think they discontinued it.

  25. Restaurants in Chicago!

    So, as I mentioned in a previous thread, four of us are going to Chicago (two from upstate NY; two from Wisconsin) for a celebratory weekend. I don’t know why I feel the need to say this here, but we’re not bumpkins; my friend and I went to NYC for law school and I’m from the tri-state area. But I digress. I was wondering if those of you familiar with the Chicago food scene would give your feedback/input on the following restaurants, which I have selected for our trip:

    Thursday night, late dinner: Sepia
    Friday night, early dinner: Sable then Buddy Guy’s Blues Legends
    Saturday brunch: Publican
    Saturday dinner, then drinks: Blackbird, then Aviary
    Sunday brunch: Table 52

    My main concern is actually Blackbird because I’ve heard it’s very cozy and noisy, but the food looks so good. Thoughts?

    • First Year Anon :

      I went to Sepia and really liked it. A bit out of the way (in an up and coming area), but not a big deal.

    • I had a great meal at Blackbird back in September! We did the tasting menu, and overall the food was delicious, especially the cheese and dessert courses. The service was also excellent – relaxed but attentive and “correct” (according to the Michelin standards), with great timing between the kitchen, bar, and servers. The restaurant is small and noisy, I guess, but we could hear each other easily and had a great time.

      • Awesome, thank you. I don’t care if it’s a little noisy and I also don’t care if it’s a little squished. I DO care if I have to yell so my tablemates can hear me. It’s the little things…

    • I really enjoyed Publican last fall, although that was partially due to our really sweet waiter who comped us our appetizer that was late coming to the table, and then offered us a couple of tastings of some special beer. It’s a very meat-heavy menu, but lots of fun. Excellent french fries!

    • Sorry, but this in the wrong place.

      Table 52 is amazing. It has a really great Southern atmosphere, and the food was authentic and to die for. I went in the summer and they had blueberry cheesecake ice cream for dessert, and I swear it was the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Enjoy!

    • I would go to Blackbird and check out the scene when you get there. If it’s too noisy or you’re not feeling the vibe, you can try next door at Avec, which also has long waits but I found wasn’t as crazy. I would actually not recommend Aviary for drinks though unless you’re just getting one. They’re extraordinarily expensive (up to $22), and while they had a pretty cool presentation, they weren’t nearly as good as some of the $12 cocktails I’ve had at Violet Hour up in Wicker Park. I’d recommend heading over to Maude’s Liquor Bar, just a few blocks away, instead.

      • FromChicago :

        Aviary is really good if you are going there for 1-2 drinks, very creative presentation and awesome cute bartenders.

        If you are in that West Loop area, I would also recommend CH Distellery (564 W Randolph St), they have amazing co*ktails, make their liquor in-house and very resonably priced.

        Violet hour in wicker park is also great for speakeasy environment, it can be kind of difficult to locate. Other places closeby in Logan Square would be Scafflow and Whistler, amazing drinks.

        If you are in River North area near the loop, check out Three Dots and Dash, great tiki drinks. They also have these bowls of mixed drinks to be shared with 3-4 people, those are fantastic, strong and you have been warned.

        • Thanks for both of your comments on Aviary. We are only planning to go there for drinks because, as you point out, the drinks are insanely expensive. If we don’t get in, whatever… I am sure we’ve all had delicious alcohol and there is other delicious alcohol to be had in a city the size of Chicago.

    • Blackbird is great! It does feel a little crowded – the tables are on the small side and they do pack them in there – but it’s still a ton of fun and great food. Second the Avec recommendation if you are looking for something that feels warmer but still has great food.

      Sable is delicious. Publican is great. Another option in West Loop is Au Cheval, which is amazing (maybe for late night food if you’re out in the area).

  26. Baconpancakes :

    Did I miss the planning for the white elephant terrible gift swap? I have a couple of winners to throw in.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I was talking about doing that and haven’t had much time to post lately. I was also happily surprised with most of my presents but could post some old doozies. Anyone else can feel free to take the lead on this!

      • Baconpancakes :

        Aw man, I got a fantastic one. I’ll post in the coffee break thread about starting one.

  27. Table 52 is amazing. It has a really great Southern atmosphere, and the food was authentic and to die for. I went in the summer and they had blueberry cheesecake ice cream for dessert, and I swear it was the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Enjoy!

  28. My husband and I are headed to San Francisco for my birthday Thursday – Sunday. It looks like the weather is going to be nice: ~60 degrees with no rain. I have no idea what kind of clothing to pack! We are exploring the city on Friday and then going to Alcatraz on Saturday. I would appreciate any tips! Would I look totally out of place in flat, knee high boots?

    • I don’t think you would look out of place in flat, tall boots at all. SF is generally pretty casual. I would just say whatever you pack, bring something warm because mornings and evenings get pretty cold quickly (and for this reason, layers are ideal for venturing outside during the day too). Also, make sure boots are comfy – I walk a LOT all the time and SF hills are something else altogether.

  29. I’ve recently been told I’m going to be working on a high-profile project at work (exciting, yay!) that will require me to go out and meet with departments in the university. I currently own 3 suits, black skirt suit, blue-grey skirt suit, and lighter grey pants suit (with a very small black and white checked pattern, reads light grey). I’m looking to get one more suit in a slightly more fun color or pattern. Which brands would serve me well?

    • Congrats! I’ve actually had good luck with “fun” suits by Tahari (whichever line is sold at Macys and the like). Enough details and color to feel slightly different, but at good prices.

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