Thursday’s Workwear Report: Short-Sleeve Button-Accented Sheath Dress

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

This looks like a pretty basic dress to me, but the reviewers seem to be raving about it — so maybe it’s that elusive dress that always fits, always looks good, and more. It’s available in both red and black, and says it should be “hand-washed” (which to me means “washing machine with Woolite,” at least after the first few weeks) — and it’s $64 full price, available in sizes XS-XL. Nice. Lark & Ro Women’s Short-Sleeve Button-Accented Sheath Dress

This plus-size shift dress has a simple goes-with-everything vibe as well.

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



  1. AttiredAttorney :

    Got an email from MM LaFleur today that says they’re expanding their best selling items to include sizes 18-24! While some of their items fit me perfectly in a Large or 14, I was sad that a number of their dresses didn’t fit my hips in a 16. Having an 18 option will certainly help!

    • Marshmallow :

      Yay! I have always loved them as a company but thought it was odd they didn’t have a better size range.

    • That’s great!

      I hope they do the same for tall sizes at some point (but, to be honest, I think tall ladies still have more options than 18-24 ladies when it comes to business clothing, so I’m happy they took this step first).

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

    • all about eevee :

      How wonderful! When are they doing this? A few weeks?

      • AttiredAttorney :

        2016 was a heck of a year for MM, and people took notice! Fast Company dubbed us the go-to brand for “professional women who hate to shop,” FGI nominated us for a Rising Star Award, and Business Insider gushed over our styling services. We even launched a press page to show all the love we got. is ambiguous on that. Sounds like just some time during 2017. Full text below:

        We don’t believe in resolutions (because it’s better to be bada** all year round), but I wanted to share how we’re going to make 2017 our best year yet. Presenting, our #betterthingstodo:

        Pop up in 14 cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Diego, Denver, and Phoenix.
        Open our DC Showroom (our first brick-and-mortar outside NYC!).
        Add MM-designed shoes and bags to our collection.
        Launch our best-selling styles in sizes 18-24.

        • anon anon armani :

          I tried MMLF in the past and didn’t like anything in the bento box. I’m a solid size 12, hourglass. What would you suggest I try again re: sizing? I need structure … especially in the waist. Fit and Flare works best as a result.

          It seemed to me that their consultant didn’t pay attention to any of my needs.

          I really want more solid fit and flare dresses. All I seem to find are prints (Off Fifth, Nordstrom, Boden).

          Thoughts appreciated.

          Also, how can I keep track of their pop up shops? Just register again online?

          • Anonymous :

            Meh; I find the quality blah. I think you can find better fit and flares in solids at NORDSTROM and and even ann taylor if you are okay ordering and returning any made out of cheaper fabrics.

    • lucy stone :

      Stoked! I am probably about a straight 18 now so I’d be willing to try this if they have good returns.

    • Question: is anyone here familiar with the Winfrey Top and Soho skirt from MM La Fleur? I got them in the mail yesterday and can’t decide if they’re office appropriate/worth the $250 for jersey clothes. I kind of feel like an overstuffed sausage in them. For reference I’m a brand new attorney at a small law firm.

      • Marie Kondo :

        I’m not familiar with those specific items, but if they don’t bring you joy, send them back!

      • Delta Dawn :

        I got the Soho skirt in my first Bento, and I sent it back. I thought it was too slinky, too night-out, and too tight (not in a too-small way, but in a too-clubby way). They sent it with an accompanying sleeveless top that, when worn together, looked like a dress– the whole ensemble was ruched and almost looked like a maternity dress. I returned both.

        I also received the Lydia in that box, adored it, and now have it in three colors. I am a definite MML fan; I just didn’t like those items. I think you’re right to send them back.

        • Maternity wear! yes! I think I am rather thin, at the very least a normal, healthy BMI, but I looked pregnant from certain angles in this outfit.

  2. Star Light, Star Bright :

    I’ve never bought myself “real” jewelry before, but I have a small yellow gold pendant on its way that I would like to wear on a delicate gold chain. Can anyone recommend a good place to buy a chain? A department store? A jewelry store? I’m overwhelmed by the options. The pendant is solid gold. Should I get a solid gold chain too? Or gold plated silver?

    • numbersmouse :

      Solid gold chain, preferably same quality as the pendant (ie. if the pendant is 14k, get a 14k chain). Won’t matter where you buy it, if all you want is a basic gold chain, so go for the cheapest option. Other people may be able to tell you where that would be exactly; I’ve never bought fine jewelry in the US so I don’t know, but I’m betting it’s not at the jewelry store. Maybe TJMaxx or similar?

      Also, Valentine’s day is in less than 6 weeks, so if you’re willing to wait, I bet you can find some good sales on jewelry.

    • Paging Ru :

      Where do we buy the gold?

      • You rang?

        What kind of gold is your pendant? There are a few ways of going about this – match the gold *exactly* or go for an intentional contrast. So if your pendant is yellow gold, go for rose gold or white gold. Don’t do silver, silver is the worst. Also, skip gold filled or gold plated. It will eventually look terrible. The only caveat to this is gold plating on gold – say 18k over 10k or 14k. It’s cheaper than solid 18k and the eventual fading won’t look as terrible.

        Also, how thick of a chain do you want? Do you want a pattern or a simple thick chain? What kind of clasp (I’d say a lobster claw type clasp is best). How big is the loop on your pendant? Do you want the pendant to pop or have the whole thing be goldgoldgold?

        Prices depend on how much gold you want (18k vs 14k vs 10k (10k is garbage imo, fyi)) and how heavy the actual piece is. You could potentially bargain at an independent jewelry store. Or just use coupons at a department store. I’ve purchased jewelry from all of the usual suspects and it’s all good, depending on what you purchase.

        • Star Light, Star Bright :

          I don’t know if it’s too late for you to see this, but the pendant is 18k gold. It’s actually the superstar charm meant for a Tiffany charm bracelet, so the loop is big. I want a delicate but interesting chain… and definitely gold gold gold.

          I was thinking maybe this?

    • I’ve had good luck with bluenile

    • Amazon

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I got a silver chain from Amazon that I’m really happy with so I second this recommendation.

    • Costco?

    • Ross-Simon, watch the clearance sales.

    • Frankiecat :

      Vrai and Oro, is a new ethically sourced jewellery startup (no middlemen similar to MM and Everlane) that has really nice items. I’ve purchased a few things and have been super happy.

    • Try an Indian jeweler.. a jewelry store in the Indian/South Asian district.

      • Star Light, Star Bright :

        I live in a small city in the south. Unfortunately we do not have an Indian/South Asian district. We are lucky enough to have two Indian restaurants!

  3. Reposting from yesterday, when my question sat in moderation for most of the day. I am not currently using linked in (added space in hopes of avoiding moderation). How should I go about getting started? Best ways to phrase connection requests? To whom can I send a request? Pitfalls to watch out for? Most effective ways to use it?

    I do consulting-type work where clients are often semi-collaborators on my projects, if that matters. I have no previous social media experience.

    • AttiredAttorney :

      I think most of the advice in these comments still hold: .

      Overall, I wouldn’t over think it too much. Don’t start off adding people you’ve never met before – stick to people you have actually worked with on projects. Don’t “phrase”connection requests at all – just use the standard/automatic language linked in provides. Once you’ve added a few connections, linked in starts suggesting people you might know. I go through this suggested list once a week and check the people I do know and add them just by selecting the little check mark box. From the app, there’s no message required.

    • These days, I feel like if you genuinely know the person (i.e., have worked together and they would respond to your emails), you can just send a connection without any special note. Totally fine to just add everyone you’ve worked with in this regard. You’d need a special note if you don’t actually know them or are trying to network.

    • Ugh, pretty annoying this site still won’t change policies so people don’t sit in moderation all day. Maybe readers complaining for another 5-6 years will do it.

  4. anonymous :

    I ripped a small hole in the seam of my cashmere sweater this morning. How do I fix it? Can I sew it up the same way I would a different material?

    • Marshmallow :

      Bring it to a very good tailor and ask to have it re-woven. There are also services online that do this. Do not try to sew it because you’ll have a noticeable puckered area. My neighborhood tailor was able to fix a sweater for me this way and it was about $15.

    • Yay Kat! This is a beautiful dress, and at $64, it is a STEAL! I will show the manageing partner today, though it is to chilley in the office today to wear w/o a warm cashemere sweater! Which lead’s me to the OP. Be very careful with the seam. Depending on where the hole is, you want to make sure that you know what you are doeing if you MUST sew it yourself, but you ALSO must have the right thread. If you bought your sweater from Nordstrom, they usueally give you a package of extra cashemere thread to use so that you do NOT look like you did it yourself. I would NOT do it myself, but would bring the sweater to a local tailoring shop where there are women who know what they are doieng to fix it for you for mabye $25. It is much cheaper to let some lady do it RIGHT for $25 then for you to mess it all up yourself! Rosa and Dad taught me along time ago that we ALL have our special skills — mine is LAW,and we must always go to specialists to get the job done. Dad says that Rosa’s special skill is homemakeing. I know she has 3 kids and Ed to take care of so I guess they are right. Rosa has a beautiful home, which Ed pays for, and he is now happy with Rosa so does NOT go out at night. That is great b/c Rosa needs him to pay all the bill’s. YAY for them! I hope to have my own Ed to pay the bills for me soon. I am RESOLVED to find a guy to MARRY me this year! YAY!!!!

    • Anonymous :

      I have successfully mended the seams of sweaters, when all that is damaged is the seam and not the knitted fabric. If you take tiny stitches exactly where the seam originally was, it should work.

      If the hole is in the knitted fabric itself, reweaving is necessary.

    • Yes–the very best repair will come from a French reweaver. Look for this on Yelp. Small to medium holes have cost 20-40 for reweaving for me, and you really cannot tell. Hopefully you have some yarn from when you bought it. If not, the French reweaver likely will have it. Good luck!

      • You don’t necessarily need a reweaver if it is just the seam. Look at the fabric. Is it a hole in the fabric itself? then go to a reweaver. If it is just that the thread putting the two pieces of fabric together is ripped out, you can hand sew this yourself. Use tiny stitches as mentioned above, and try to sew them so that you still have a little stretch – don’t pull the thread too tightly. If you’re not an experienced sewer and you see open loops of any variety, take it to the tailor.

        • Anonymous :

          Use similar “thread”/wool to the sweater, not sewing thread (polyester, silk, or cotton), which tends eventually to cut the sweater and make another hole.

  5. Marshmallow :

    Here’s a very random hunt: anybody know a good place to buy a couple of nice-looking ponytail cuffs? Metallic or tortoiseshell would be ideal. I’ve had good luck at J. Crew before but they don’t seem to have anything right now. I can’t use the circular kind that goes all the way around because my ponytail is too thick, so I’m looking for a ponytail holder with a metal half-circle. I’ve struck out at the drugstore and Amazon, too.

    • Anonymous :

      Not sure what your budget is, but Jennifer Behr makes a few different ponywraps

      • BabyAssociate :

        Sorry, I am Anon above

      • Marshmallow :

        These are beautiful! Considering it had not even occurred to me that a pony wrap might cost north of $40 or so, those are totally out of the budget. But something to leave on the wishlist for a few years from now…

        • BabyAssociate :

          I know, the prices are….steep. A few of her pieces have been on my mental wishlist for a while now, I really want to be the kind of person who wears fancy hair combs!

      • Minnie Beebe :

        Wow, everything is gorgeous! I’m kind of in love with the Scarab earrings, though I’m not sure where I’d wear them. Also, I’m probably not cool enough for them. But they’re amazing!

    • I like a lot of the France Luxe hair pieces/ponytail holders on Amazon. They’re not the cheapest, but they’re durable.

    • Oberon makes nice pewter hair jewelry. I wear their barrettes all the time, but just this week I’ve switched to a ponytail band with a metal disc on it. Not the kind of cuff you’re looking for, but I thought you might still be interested.

      • Second Oberon. I have several of their barrettes and they are better than any other hair accessories. I’ve had a few for several years.

        I looked at their website and I like the ponytail holder with the ginkgo leaf pattern. Very pretty and professional looking. If I hadn’t just chopped my hair off I’d probably be buying it today.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’ve seen some on Etsy as well.

      Personally, I use the France Luxe ones and typically order from Nordstrom or Amazon.

    • Anonymous :

      Next time there’s a crafts fair in your area you should check it out. I’ve found gorgeous barrettes at ones near me. More expensive than drugstore, but less than the linked (albeit gorgeous) website.

    • Marshmallow :

      France Luxe looks like exactly the thing. Thanks!

    • Have you tried JCrew in-store? They almost always have a tablefull of hair accessories that aren’t on the webs1te.

    • I’ve also had luck at Ulta and other beauty specialty stores (think Sally Beauty Supply – for some reason Sephora isn’t as good on this front) – they have a great selection of decorative hair accessories like headbands and nice ponytail holders.

    • Ulta or BeautyFirst generally have a decent assortment at decent prices.

  6. Since I can’t really gloat about this in real life: I just paid off a credit card, moved around some money and am otherwise set up for a financially successful 2017. Day-to-day cash management hasn’t been a strong suit, but I’m feeling good (and DH is on board, too!). Woohoo!

    • That’s fantastic, well done!

    • pugsnbourbon :

      Nice work!

    • Great work!!!!

    • Hooray! 2016 was a struggle financially, so I’m also excited to get everything moving forward in 2017. My emergency fund is back to full strength, which means I can finally start making progress on my down payment fund again. But if 2016 had a silver lining, it’s that I downloaded YNAB and took a serious look at where my money was actually going, instead of relying on a natural inclination towards frugality + guesswork. I couldn’t have finished 2016 in the black without YNAB and an existing emergency fund.

    • go you!! What a great way to start the new year

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Congratulations! That’s an awesome way to start 2017!

  7. cake batter :

    I tried a Lark & Ro dress but hated it. The fabric was so thin and insubstantial that it seemed indecent to wear it as clothing!

    • pugsnbourbon :

      Caveat about the reviews that Kat mentions – all eight of them are from “Amazon Vine” shoppers, who receive free products specifically for review.

    • Yep – I totally agree that the fabric is very thin.

    • I got a Lark & Ro cardigan for Christmas. It had pilled a lot by the end of the day, and my husband even commented on it. Maybe other pieces are different, but the sweater was poor quality.

  8. BabyAssociate :

    Question for DC ladies: any recommendations for a cleaning service/person?

    Small 1 bedroom in the Dupont Circle area, looking for biweekly (maybe even monthly, but not sure that makes sense).


  9. Brooches & Age :

    So, I’ve collected some brooches lately. Just capped my collection off with Alexis Bittar’s amazing bow brooch from his fall line. What’s the hive’s thoughts on wearing brooches on jackets? I don’t want to look dowdy nor old-lady. Hoping that such fierce and modern pieces take care of that worry. FYI, I’m well established in my career and have had my own business/practice for over 25 years, so there’s that and my naturally grey-ing hair which raises these concerns in my mind. Thanks.

    • I’m 32 and I’ve been wearing brooches on jackets since I was 26. When brooches had a moment a couple of years ago I’d wear them in a little cluster on dresses too. I’ve only ever had one (jerky) person comment negatively on it and he was promptly shut down by partners of both genders who complimented my cameo brooch. I tend to wear a lot of vintage and vintage inspired pieces, but I keep everything updated, tailored, and well-maintained.

    • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

      I wear brooches a lot. I have picked up quite a few vintage brooches at antique stores or even thrift store and I think they really add a nice element to a sweater or cardigan or even just a blouse. Mine tend to be somewhat botanical rather than modern, but I’ve never had a negative comment on any of them. Wear your brooch with pride!

      Today, for example, I have a silvertone flower motif brooch with a little fake pearl as the center of the flower.

    • The blogger at blue collar red lipstick wears them all the time and makes them look chic.

      • Yes, check her out. I especially like that she does clusters of brooches– I think it’s harder to go dowdy that way.

  10. Texas next week :

    I’m packing for my first ever work trip next week, a class at Texas A&M. I got some great advice last time I posted, and thank you very much to those who responded. But one more quick question:
    Can I wear grey tights? I generally hate showing my bare legs, so I’ll decide about packing skirts based on the tights.

    • In-House in Houston :

      Check the weather. It could be really warm and you might not want to wear tights. It was 80 degrees here at Christmas. It’s cold now, colder this weekend, but next week it’s supposed to warm up back in to the 70s.

    • Anonymous :

      I think it depends on the weather while you’re be there. Over the weekend it looks like the highs will be in the 40s, which is definitely tights weather but next week it’s climbing back into the high 60s and low 70s and tights would look weird.

    • Thanks, I’ll watch the weather report. At home I’m in the midst of the worst winter weather of my life, so I’m having a hard time visualizin 80 degrees!

      • nylon girl :

        Hi from Houston, I wear tights here in the winter all the time despite 70 and 80 degree days since it’s so cold inside. Even when its hot outside, I have an extra pair in my bag to put on in case office is cold. Whoop, go Aggies!!!!

        • +1

          If you’re going to something that’s set in a big conference room, they’ll probably put the thermostat at about meat locker temps, so the actual weather might not be the best way to decide what to wear. I’d bring the tights just in case.

        • Whoop!

    • Whoop! While you are there check out Layne’s Chicken for some good chicken fingers (its a classic!). I would wear tights. If you are in Rudder Tower or the Memorial Student Center (MSC) I would prepare for it to be quite cold, everywhere else is normal office cold levels. A lot of people in Texas (myself included) dress for the season we are supposed to be in rather than the current temperature, so even if it was 80 degrees and I saw you in tights I wouldn’t really think much about it.

      • And go to the Dixie Chicken for a burger and beer. It’s rumored to be the most beer sold per square foot in the country.

    • Texas next week :

      Thanks! And thanks for the restaurant advice too :)

  11. Anonymous :

    So, this weekend I had an… encounter with a close friend. I had some people over, he was the last one left and stayed several more hours, alcohol was involved (I used to be a bartender, and a pretty decent one if I do say so myself,), etc. We’re good friends, and we have a friendship that includes supporting and working through some intense stuff, but haven’t known each other that long, less than 6 months. I’m senior to him in our career field, but he’s maybe a decade older than me and I always thought that lent itself to our dynamic really well.

    There was no gardening involved, but we both were interested and my impression was that he didn’t feel right doing it that night considering we had been drinking to excess. I was thinking this would just be casual and said as much (we’d be mismatched as romantic partners for a lot of reasons.)

    I haven’t heard from him since he let me know he got home that night. I reached out twice, once basically to say, “hey, do we want to talk/say about anything in the light of day?” and another a couple days later with small talk about work. He didn’t respond, I feel like I’ve done everything I can and I need to let it go, etc, but it really makes me sad. Our friendship may have been “young” but I enjoyed his company and we talked on a daily basis. Maybe he just needs some time/space to process, maybe I’ll never hear from him again…. it just sucks. It doesn’t help that work is extremely quiet right now so I’m having trouble really throwing myself in to distraction that way.

    Mostly just a vent/looking for a little commiseration.

    • I’m sorry you’re going through this. It sounds like you both acted with integrity and open communication on the night in question, and that you’ve done everything that you should have done since then to keep your friendship going. You know this, but the ball is in his court now–he knows where to find you when and if he’s ready to talk. It’s still hard to know all of this, and still deal with that crushed-diaphragm feeling of disappointment. I’ve been there. It sucks. The only thing you can do is try to find ways to distract yourself, let yourself feel what you’re feeling, and wait for it to pass.

    • It’s the uncertainty that’s that hard part for me….but it sounds like you handled it really well. I’m sorry.

    • I may be reading too much into this, but it sounds like he wants to be more than friends and you pretty much shut that down. That’s why he’s avoiding you now.

      • I agree with this. He is probably licking his wounds a bit and needs some time to process it. I know rejection well and it hurts your pride and while he may come around and you will continue to be friends, I would doubt the relationship will be as close as it was before. Sad, but that’s been my experience with this sort of thing.

      • Yup. I had something really similar happen with a friend recently, I thought it was very obvious that we were friends who had a couple of “encounters” and nothing more, it finally lead to gardening one time and he disappeared after I tried to talk about the casual nature of things….while talking about it with some girlfriends who are also friends with (he can’t actually 100% ghost me because of our social circle) they suggested that he was super into me and wanted more. I was totally clueless. Consider this possibility! Things are still weird with him, which is sad for me. I still don’t know for sure what happened. I would give your friend some space and try again in a couple of weeks, tell him how much you value his friendship when you reach out to him. Honestly the biggest lesson I learned is to never talk about feelings when you’re drunk, no matter how casual the situation may be or how obvious it seems to you.

      • OP for this :

        I’m not sure you’re not right. This whole thing ended outside my house with him wrapping his arms around me while waiting for his cab and asking me to please go back inside before he was tempted to go back in with me. And for me that was the moment when this went past just FWB.

        Despite what I see as big incompatibilities…. if that was really what he wanted, I wish he would have just told me, and maybe I would have been willing to try and feel that situation out (I mean, he’s already a somebody I am close with emotionally and I’m already s*x*ually attracted to him obviously). I’m not sure that’s what it is, and I don’t think there is anything left to resolve here by reaching out and saying that.

        Cosign to whoever said don’t talk about feelings drunk. I feel like I have a rock in the pit of my stomach.

        • Life would be a lot easier if people were more open about how they feel in general. But I have also found that men are often reluctant to cross that bridge with a female friend unless the female friend has also expressed interest. Again, no one likes rejection.

        • Either way, he might need more than a few days to process whatever he’s feeling. Obviously that’s not fair to you, since you’re left out in the cold wondering what happened (and not promising, either, if you did want more). Give yourself some time.

  12. cost of living blues :

    Has anyone from a HCOL area ever decided to relocate to a LCOL area purely for financial reasons? DH and I are from a HCOL resort area (think Jackson) that we truly love and have always intended to return to, but have moved to a LCOL city an hour and a half away for work. We’re coming up on the two-year mark in the LCOL city and are torn about what to do. We love the lifestyle in the HCOL town, but looking at real estate and our financial future, the numbers are so, so painful. We’d get a modest COL salary bump if we moved back, but it wouldn’t come close to making up the difference in real estate prices or the amount we’d need to retire. LCOL city is perfectly fine and we’re both surprised by how much we like it, but it’s not like we’re in raptures, and we both miss HCOL area a lot. But the money is hard to get around.

    • What do you miss about HCOL area? If it is culture/shopping, can you visit regularly to get your fix? Did you really take regular advantage of all that the HCOL area offered or did you just eat at the same 12 places and appreciate the occasional concert, art show, etc? We made a move from a big city to small city and still miss certain things about the big city. But, our day to day quality of life is better and financially it is slightly more affordable.

      • Anonymous :

        I also vote for regular visits. Is LCOL inexpensive enough that you could afford a pied a terre in the HCOL? If it’s a resort area, you may be able to rent it short term when you’re not visiting. Otherwise, maybe find an Air BnB you really like and book in regularly so it feels a bit more like ‘home’ when you visit.

      • We miss the mountains and easy access to the outdoors, and our community. Our current city does have outdoors stuff, but it’s just not the same. The cultural and food scenes are pretty comparable, and are not game-changers. We actually stopped going back as much because it was too painful and kept messing with our transition, but we have family there so fortunately there’s a free place to stay whenever we want to head over for the weekend. We could both be doing a better job of finding friends in our current city, which would probably help a lot; DH can be a hermit outside of his college and high school friends, who he talks to constantly, and I just haven’t found a group I click with despite being active in various workout-related things.

        • Given the friend situation, have you considered putting a time limit on it, and really full tilt leaning into making friends during that time? It’s the start of a new year, maybe give yourself 2017 to see if you can establish yourself socially in your new home and check back in after a year and see how you feel. It takes a long time to establish a new social circle! I would definitely get involved in stuff outside of work, try to connect with any far flung connection you have (friends of friends, your cousin’s college roommate, etc.) and see if you click – I’ve made some really good friends in my city this way. A lot of people are surprisingly generous if you just reach out and say “I’m x’s friend, I’m newish to your city, would you show me your favorite spot to grab coffee and hang out a bit?”. If someone said that to me I would hop into social tour guide mode. Good luck!

      • I don’t know…we moved to a LCOL area 1.5 hours from a major city thinking “no big deal, we’ll just go to the city all the time.” We’ve gone literally once since we moved here three years ago. It’s just a little too far for a day trip (especially with traffic) and hotels are so expensive in that city that if we’re plunking down that kind of money, we’d rather cough up a couple hundred bucks for plane tickets and go somewhere we haven’t been. So this is a nice idea in theory, but I think you generally need to go into a move expecting that you’re not going to get to the city that much.

    • Anonymous :

      We did (from very HCOL San Francisco Bay Area to a very LCOL small Midwestern city). There are lots of things I miss about the Bay Area, but now that I own one, I wouldn’t trade being able to have a nice single family home for anything in the world, and I know I could never have that in the Bay Area. So for us we haven’t really felt the pull to go back. I could see how it’s a tougher call if you relocate from a medium-high COL place to a medium-low COL place (like maybe Boston-Chicago) so the difference isn’t quite as extreme. But houses in the Bay Area cost 10x what they do in our town, so it’s an easy decision to stay. We also LOVE to travel, and even though our salaries are what many on this s!te would consider modest (<$150k combined), our costs of living are so low that we have an insane amount of money left over after fully funding our retirement, saving a lot and paying all our bills and we can spend ~$20k a year traveling, which we definitely could not do if we lived in a HCOL place.

      • Unfortunately it’s not quite that extreme, which would make things a lot easier! For our budget here, we could afford an updated house in a nice neighborhood, but would be looking at townhouses or condos in the HCOL area.

      • Chicago is not a “medium-low” cost of living place in comparison to Boston because Chicago is over 4x larger in population than Boston, meaning there are areas that are part of Chicago (just like LA) that pull the average down. To live in the city of Chicago and be able to work in the city of Chicago (i.e. be able to take public transportation), the areas become much smaller and you are looking at rent starting at 1,800. That’s lower than San Francisco and New York, but certainly not “medium-low.”

        • Ok fine, ‘medium-low’ is not the right term. But it’s cheaper than Boston. I’ve lived in both places and still have friends in both.

          • I live in Chicago, and lived in Boston for 12 years.

            Medium low is totally appropriate for Chicago right now when comparing amongst the popular large American cities…. especially as the poster said Boston is medium high. It is still an utter bargain.

            Everything is relative.

        • I know this isn’t the topic, but Chicago *is* drastically cheaper than comparable cities, I think. I worked in the Loop and rented a lovely, well maintained 1BR apartment in a cute neighborhood (with heat included!) about 3 blocks from the train (didn’t own a car, took cabs maybe once a month) for under $1,000. And we weren’t even getting the best deal amongst our friends!

          • anonymous :

            It definitely used to be! Also had a 1br/1ba for 1,000 but that was 10 years ago. That same building is starting at 1,900 right now and it’s not even updated!

          • Huh! I moved away about 2.5 years ago — I should see what the rent is there now.

          • Chicagoan :

            I rent a 750 ft^2 condo in the south loop for $1500. I moved here from Long Island (about 10 years ago). This is anecdotal but my 30% pay raise from the move felt more like a doubling of income. My mother, on the other hand, who lives in Missouri, can’t believe how expensive it is.

          • A 1 br/ 1 ba apartment starts around $3500 in San Francisco. Chicago may cost more than it used to, but it’s still a relatively cheap city compared to SF/NY.

    • Anonymous :

      We moved from HCOL to LCOL shortly after we got married, when we realized we were never going to be able to buy any kind of house in a decent school district without being completely house-poor for the rest of our lives. We do miss the cultural aspects of the HCOL areas where we used to live, most people here have a limited life experience and a narrow worldview, and it’s tough being nearly the only mom with a graduate degree and a professional job (or any job at all). We are also pretty much locked into the LCOL lifestyle because we haven’t been building tons of equity with value gains on an insanely expensive house in an HCOL area. Despite all that, I don’t regret our choice. Our area is slowly becoming more progressive with a steady influx of other families fleeing HCOL areas, and once we are no longer dependent on suburban public schools we may choose to move into the city where we would find more like-minded people. The lack of traffic also greatly improves our standard of living.

      • Fortunately we’re in an urban area that’s quite progressive, so we aren’t fighting the narrow worldviews, and even if we moved over the city line it would be to an inner-ring suburb that still skews progressive. It’s great to hear that you don’t regret your choice and feel like you might the right one for your family.

    • Veronica Mars :

      This isn’t the same, but I’ve spent 3-6 months in a few very HCOL cities in different times of my working life, and as much as I fell in love with some of the cities, I would never do it. I love living in a LCOL/MCOL area that I grew up in–knowing that financial security is so much more possible here is a big factor. Plus, I find that I prioritize being able to afford better rental options now and home buying opportunities in the future (I couldn’t get a postage stamp for my current rent in a HCOL area).

      • The financial security piece is huge. I just feel more comfortable here, knowing that we can be making progress towards real, meaningful goals while still having a nice lifestyle, without worrying about every nickel and dime. But I miss my people! The more I write, the more I’m realizing that this is a complete rational vs. emotional issue. I think rationally we both know that it makes sense for us to stay here, but emotionally we want to move back SO much.

        • It’s also rational to consider your emotional needs/desires when choosing a place to live. Your feelings matter!

        • But just remember if you move back then you might emotionally feel stressed out about the financial picture in HCOL and it would also become an emotional issue. it sounds like a trade-off to me….you might just need to pick which thing you value more.

        • I didn’t realize how much of a toll the constant low-level background stress of living in a HCOL for the few years I did so took on me until I left. The constant feeling that you’re one emergency away from disaster is … not great.

          If most of what you miss is the people, focus on trying to meet new people in your current city! It’s really, really hard, but in all honesty I don’t think you’ve been living there long enough to really build a social circle from scratch. Compare the 2 years you’ve lived where you are now to the lifetime it took your husband to build his high school and college friendships. 2 years isn’t that long for building adult friendships. You need more time to develop them.

          • Veronica Mars :

            I agree, and that’s what I was going to suggest to the OP. I actually didn’t have a large social circle and connections in my city outside of my family because of reasons, so I had to put a lot of effort into meeting people and getting involved. And now, by far, the biggest thing that makes me want to stay here aside from the LCOL city (I’ll say LCOL because I looked it up and in comparison we’re doing really well!) is the connections I’ve made through my church, volunteering, work, etc. I really love the community here. But it did take a couple years to get there.

    • +1 to what mascot said.

      I currently live in a HCOL city (think Boston/NYC) and would love to move about 45 min- 1 hr away if my job didn’t require me to be closer. It depends on your lifestyle, but I find that most people living in a big city have their favorite spots and only ever explore when friends visit or some other motivation arises, so not all that often. While it may seem like a hassle to travel an hour or more for a Saturday or Sunday in the city, think about how often you actually ventured more than 15-20 min away from your expensive apartment anyway. Additionally, more often than not, it can take an hour or more to get from one part of a city to another if it involves switching subway lines, etc.

      • Our HCOL area is more of a small resort town, and traffic is still easy in the city where we are now. We both hate traffic and the logistical struggles of accomplishing life in “real” cities like NYC or SF, so unfortunately this is not something that factors in since we’re already avoiding it like the plague!

    • I’m stuck here as well. I’ve only ever lived in HCOL areas (Bay Area, NYC) and I’m actively researching towns that can give me what I want at a lower price. Like others here, I’m so tired of the traffic and the rush and the smog and the high prices for every little thing, including the tiny apartment I’m writing this from.

      • Try Richmond! We have a lot of big-city amenities, punch above our weight for arts and food, have all of the major white-collar industries, and are two hours away from DC if you want to spend a weekend in a big city…but it’s cheap and livable.

        I’m actually in a semi-similar situation with the OP and am reading all of this with interest.

    • I’m sticking it out in HCOL (Berkeley) but I’ll tell you about my best friend. She moved to a LCOL city in the South and she’s basically stuck there. She misses her friends and family and the culture of the Bay Area, but she can’t afford to move back. She owns a 3 bedroom house there. She couldn’t afford the rent on an apartment here. It sucks. And truthfully, none of us really want to go visit her all that often. In 5 years I’ve done it once. It’s just not that interesting a place to visit. She comes out here for family visits, but the costs of the trips end up being all on her.

      I think you’re in her shoes, and I think it’s unlikely you’ll ever return.

      • Your friend’s problem is that she needs new friends. When you visit a friend, you go to visit a person not a place. If you don’t to visit a (best!) friend because her area is boring, you’re a crappy friend.

        • Thank you! I’m glad you are such a wonderful friend with unlimited vacation time and funds to buy expensive air tickets to small cities that are hard to get to. How nice for you.

          • Well, she’s paying to come see you. So it sounds like ultimately she values the friendship more than you do, no? Since she’s using her vacation time and spending her money to come to your city?

          • Her family is here. She comes here to see her family.

          • I definitely don’t have unlimited time or funds, but when I think about visiting a friend I don’t say “But they do’nt live in a vacation destination so I don’t want to go…” I think “Do I want to see my friend, and can I afford this trip?” It’s not the visiting once in five years that’s unreasonable if that’s what fits your schedule/budget, it’s the “I don’t want to go because she lives in a boring place.”

          • Anonymous :

            Yea, wut? I would be more than happy to travel to see my good friends and do nothing but sit in their living room, catch up, drink wine, watch Pitch Perfect, whatever. I don’t need to be entertained by my good friends or the places where they live when I visit. And I do not have unlimited time or money.

      • It’s not that extreme for us, which as I said above, makes it harder. We’re not the difference between, I don’t know, Birmingham, AL and SF–it’s more a medium-LCOL, fairly under-the-radar state capital (think Columbia or Helena) vs. medium-HCOL, popular resort destination where prices are high, but not NYC or SF high. We could move back tomorrow if we found jobs–we’d just be much further away from owning a home, would need exponentially more money to retire, and would spend probably $400-500/month more for a comparable rental, which would cut into our fun money.

        But it’s honestly nice here. We like it more than we thought we would, and DH was pretty opposed to moving to the “big city” at all. Again, if it was awful it would be an easier decision.

    • Following – made the NYC to DC move 18 months ago and I think about this all the time – should I go back to HCOL NYC or not?

    • In line with this post, what are the best mountain towns at a reasonable price? I miss the mountains too, but Jackson, Truckee, Sun Valley, and the other well-known mountain towns are all so expensive. I’d love to find one with LCOL and at least some decent jobs.

    • Anonymous :

      You only live once, and the longer you wait, the harder it will be to go back. There are probably other levers you could pull- take the salary bump and move back to the HCOL area, but with a slightly longer commute? I’d rather rent forever in a place I love than own a home in a place where I don’t love my life.

  13. Hunters - Gloss or Matte :

    I’m looking ahead to spring (I need to think about something besides snow) and I want to buy some Hunters now while they are on sale. Unsure about Gloss vs. Matte though. I have small kids so the boots will be abused to some degree. What’s going to show scratches more? I was thinking of a dark purple or is a classic black better?

    • There was a poster (here, maybe CapHillStyle? I can’t remember) that talked about the rubber blooming on the glossy ones, so you had to keep cleaning them to keep them glossy. She recommended going with the matte ones.

      • Hunters - Gloss or Matte :

        Thanks – I definitely don’t have time for specifically cleaning rubber boots so matte it is.

      • I have a pair of matte navy blue ones that I think are pretty classic (well, as far as rainboots go) and go with a lot of colors. I haven’t had a problem with the rubber blooming on mine.

      • Delta Dawn :

        That was me a few days ago! I had glossy and finally got rid of them because of the powdery residue that kept returning. Got some matte ones and love them.

    • I have the glossy ones and have not had any problems keeping them shiny.

    • This is unsolicited, but if you’re still reading: I was considering a pair of glossy Hunters and discovered (and then promptly purchased) a pair of Ugg wellington boots (with the signature fuzzy footbed, amazing!) instead. The Ugg pair are not discernibly Ugg-ish except for a small metal logo, and the fuzzy footbed + much cheaper price of $80 made it a no-brainer for me. Mine are super-comfortable and waterproof so far.

      • Hunters - Gloss or Matte :

        Thanks! Not wedded to Hunters so I’ll look at those too. I just need for rainy days that is not the same thing I wear for yard work.

        • In House Lobbyist :

          I found a pair of dark purple Tommy H ones at a discount store and I love them. They were cheaper and fit a little more sleeker than Hunters. I was on the hunt for rain boots and have been really happy with them.

  14. housecounsel :

    I can no longer deny the fact that I shop at least somewhat compulsively. I’m clearly getting something out of it other than a cute sweater. I declared a six-month moratorium on buying clothes for myself, to recover from Christmas overspending and right the ship. It’s only been a few days and I found myself online shopping for table linens. I haven’t cared about table linens since my wedding.

    I’ve spent years running up credit card bills and paying them off with semi-annual bonuses. This has kept me out of debtors’ prison but it’s no way to live, and I’ve recently taken a lower-paying (but amazing in a thousand other ways) job.

    I’m unsubscribing from the millions of SALE!!!! emails I get. I’ve deleted the Anthro and Nordy’s apps from my phone. I’d be grateful for any other suggestions.

    • Anonymous :

      Figure out what need/feeling this shopping is filling/distracting from! Otherwise you’ll be back to it when the moratorium is over.

      • Concur. For me, it’s not just the hunt to find something, it’s the thrill of getting presents throughout the week. This time of year is really hard for me because I was on “present” overload for a month (even if most of the packages were for other people) and now I’m feeling bereft. Somewhat paradoxically, signing up for a subscription box helps. If I know I have a present coming then I’m less likely to try to find something else.

      • This. Kat once wrote something to the effect of “do I need a million sweaters or a hug?” Totally true for me.

        I’ve found that I’ll shop needlessly for things because I’m dissatisfied or bored with something else in my life- either big scale or small scale. When I am feeling engaged and busy and loved and confident, I don’t spend time or energy thinking about stuff. I’ve let shopping fulfill different “holes”- when I’m not engaging my creative side (I’m an artist in addition to my day job), I shop for pretty things (art, jewelry, kazak rugs…) or clothes to satisfy that urge. When I’m feeling down about dating/not confident, I’ll scrounge around for clothes I feel pretty in (believe me, the fact that I don’t have that one sundress is not the reason I’m single). Boredom/lack of productivity at work = well hey, I achieved something! I bought a new sweater! That was something to do! Shopping is a quick fix when you don’t have the time/energy/bandwith/awareness/ability to fill the holes.

        Also, use unroll me to capture sale emails (and other junk emails) so you never see them.

        • Also, a new habit for me is to physically write down, by hand, whatever I spend. It forces me to confront and acknowledge my spending, which using my debit card does not. I guess it’s the same effect as a calorie tracker…. do I really want to input 150 calories for that cookie? Do I really want to write down that I spent another $80 on f’ing cardigans and $50 on random crap at Target?

    • In-House in Houston :

      I was in a similar boat and finally paid of all debt except my mortgage. But now what I found that I’m doing is shopping eBay for bargains. I only shop for brands I know will fit (clothes and shoes) and purses. I got a gorgeous Cole Haan leather bag for $50…seller used only a few times and felt it was too big to carry daily. So now, I’m only spending a fraction of what I used to, but I’m still buying things I don’t need. I too unsubscribed from all emails and am not shopping for 6 months. What I did over the Christmas break was go through my closet and purged. What I saw was a ton of clothes I’d forgotten I had (thank you, eBay) and realized that I honestly have too much (even after the purge). Have you done this yet? It might surprise you. I also purged other closets and found table clothes still in wrappers that I never used. I think I’ve finally realized the problem I have and that even if it’s a $20 blouse on eBay, I don’t need it!!! I don’t know if this helped you, but just know you’re not alone and really ask yourself if you need the item before you buy it I think you’ll see that the answer is almost always “no!” Good luck!!

    • Install a website blocker extension on whatever web browser you use, then add all of the s!tes that you shop on. I use StayFocusd. You can block the s!te entirely, have a timer that cuts you off at 10 min/day, or lots of other options.

      Whenever ads for your favorite stores pop up on other s!tes, click through to options and make them go away by saying they’re not relevant to you. Those ads are my personal weakness – I’ll be reading the news and all of a sudden an ad for 50% Ann Taylor pops up, and down the rabbit hole I go.

      I use the “1 in, 1 out” rule as well. If I buy something new, I absolutely have to get rid of something that I already own.

      • Not exactly the same, but I turn non-essential but reasonable purchases into rewards for good habits I’m trying to create. For example, I’ve identified that I want to get two new sheets of sets to replace older sets that are rough and worn. I told myself that I can’t order them until I go to the gym 10 times. I also told my boyfriend about this which helps as an external reinforcement because he will make fun of me if I cave and order them before 10 gym visits. I do a similar reward for bringing lunch all week or going to bed before a certain time.

        For clothes, I make myself mentally build a set number of outfits with a piece of clothing before adding it to my “want” list. I also sometimes reverse rationalize it by asking what I think the piece is worth for what it adds to my closet. Too often I find myself buying moderately expensive clothing just because I think that it’s a fair price for X brand without realizing it’s just like something I already have or it’s not really my style.

        I also use Hermione’s “1 in, 1 out” rule, but right now I am practicing “1 in, 3 out” to serve as a further deterrent post-holidays.

    • Broken record, but download You Need a Budget (YNAB) and use it to track your expenses. It doesn’t have to be prescriptive or limiting, but personally, it makes me accountable because I can see exactly how that $26 dress at Old Navy is taking $26 away from my retirement or down payment fund. It helps me make sure that how I use my money aligns with my values and long-term goals, instead of getting so caught up in the “But it’s on sale!” trap.

    • Read the Marie Kondo book and do a proper purge at home. It’s funny, but ones you see the benefits of having less, all that shopping seems increasingly less tempting.

      Also, make the budget, see how much you can afford and stick to it. Credit card should be always paid at the end of the month from your salary – treat it like a debit card, forget about the credit part of the name :)

      I also create wish lists and needs list. Needs are purchased as soon as I have money for them and there’s a good offer, but wish lists items don’t need to. I may buy them when I have some extra cash, suggest to somebody as my b-day gift, etc. You always need something to dream about and there’s no point in buying immediately everything you’ve ever wanted :)

    • Spend some time going through your closet to simplify and organize it. I did this as part of my new year’s weekend and I feel like I have a bunch of new stuff now. I found two structured cardigans with tags still on that I bought in last year’s clearance sales, so I actually do have a couple of new items!

      I am also not planning to shop again – at least for winter clothing. I have enough! My deal with myself is that I can buy spring/summer clothing if I find I have specific holes in my wardrobe, but only after I reorganize my closet with spring/summer clothing. I have two exceptions for winter clothing because I’m always looking for the perfect charcoal skirt and shoes to go with it. Other than that, no shopping.

      I’m Bullet Journaling so I wrote it in my goals for January and I’m planning to carry it over to February and March. Have you tried something like that? Having written goals helps me be more accountable.

      Lastly, I also noticed that I was checking out jewelry on a flash sale thing last night. I think this is just habit on my part, so I needed to delete those apps from my phone. It’s something I do while my husband watches TV that I am only half interested in.

    • Seconding (thirding?) the suggestion for – that’s been hugely helpful for me to curb my shopping. If I don’t see the sale emails come in, I’m not tempted, but if I do happen to be out and about and pop into a store, I can still click on that summary to see if there’s an additional coupon or something.

    • I also am a compulsive clothes shopper; I have found that clothing rental services help me a lot! I’m mostly an online shopper, so when I feel the urge to browse and look at clothes, I just look at the rental services and add more stuff to my “closet” or whatever. It’s also a nice / exciting boost when the clothes arrive.

      I use Rent the Runway Unlimited and Le Tote. I constantly think about canceling the RTR subscription because it’s more expensive and I want work clothes rather than party dresses. But I haven’t done it yet.

    • I make lists of what we do need, and buy just from the lists. So we get boxes still but they contain what we actually need to function, not random stuff that happened to be on sale.

  15. palmtrees33 :

    What is your firm’s time entry deadline? Is it daily, weekly, monthly, something else? My firm just switched from weekly to daily, which seems completely unreasonable to me, but I’m wondering how common it is. Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      You’re “encouraged” to do it daily, but there’s also a weekly deadline and no one hassles you as long as you do it weekly.

      • Same at my firm. And if you’re 100% on time for a year they give you a nominal cash reward.

    • Daily is encouraged, twice weekly is mandatory. You get a couple of free excuses each month and then they allegedly take action. I think partners get fined for not entering it. Non-partners who entered it on time and are exceeding their hours for the month (even by a small amount) get a monetary reward.

      • wow, a reward would totally motivate me…
        We have an “ideally daily, at a minimum weekly + additional end-of-month deadline (which often captures just a few days)” system

    • Sydney Bristow :

      We are encouraged to do it daily, but technically I think you can be a few days behind before anyone bothers you about it. I think I’m lucky that this is the only place I’ve worked where I have to bill my time, so I started off from scratch and just built the habit of doing it daily. Granted I don’t switch tasks too often, but I use the timers for our software and take a minute to input my description as I go along. Then it just takes a minute at the end of the day to double check and run a spell check before closing it out.

    • I was last at a 1000+ attorney firm, and it was daily encouraged, but weekly required. And you were required to enter at least 8 hours every workday, so even if you didn’t bill 8 hours, you had to enter a non-billable number for the difference.

      • I think that the 8 hour day minimum is helpful. I worked at a firm that did that. It also gave you place to record when you were having to do a bunch of non-billable stuff. The weekly reports to the partners showed billable and non-billable time.

        • Really? I hate that so much. Like yes I’m slow this week so I’m planning a vacation and cleaning out my personal email and readings this s i t e – things I couldn’t do when I was billing 250+/mo for the past 3 months. I do not feel the need to lie and say that I’m totes catching up on industry reports this week.

          • Yeah, I would hate this. The nature of law is some weeks you work 80 hours a week and some weeks you work 30.

      • Diana Barry :

        Similar, but our minimum isn’t enforced. So if I bill 4 hrs I can just enter that, but if I am out sick I have to enter 7 hrs of sick time.

      • BabyAssociate :

        My midsize firm requires an 8 hour minimum. Weekly required, additional end-of-month requirement too.

    • palmtrees33 :

      Does anyone’s firm financially penalize associates (dock bonuses, etc.) ?

      • Theoretically they can according to our written policy. Adherence to time entry rules is one of the criteria that people can be judged on during the review and for bonus purposes (not sure if they actually do).

      • Not a financial penalty, but supposedly it’s a consideration in the partnership decision. As in, if you are an otherwise good candidate but your time entry habits are lousy then you won’t make partner. Not sure if it’s an idle threat or just another excuse to turn people down for partnership.

      • Mine does. We’re required to have all of our time entered by X time on Y day of the week every week (and on the first of each month). You get 1 warning/year, but then your bonus is docked enough to really hurt.

      • Both associates and partners get fined for entering late. We enter 2x per week, and get two passes every six months.

      • consulting not law :

        my firm “required” weekly, one of my friend’s had to do her’s daily and if it the day was submitted late it was taken out of vacation time.

      • Mine does. We are required to enter 2x per week for the days since the last time entry deadline (and at the end of each month) by X time on the deadline day. If you miss it, you get a couple of “freebies” for the year. Then it’s $25/day not entered and $100/day not entered for the month-end deadlines, and they just deduct the fine from your next paycheck. Even if you enter your time on the deadline day but it’s after X time, you will be fined. Most of us have started setting outlook reminders on deadline days so we don’t rack up hundreds of dollars in fines!

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Monthly. Mine is due at the end of the day today for Decembwr…I’m usually pretty good about it, but I’ve got three days from last week where I didn’t timekeep at all. Eff.

  16. My husband is traveling this week so I’m on solo parent duty. I went to do dropoff this AM (older one to Kindy, baby to daycare) and…my car won’t start. DH’s car is at the airport. We actually have a 3rd car BUT it (a) doesn’t have car seats installed and (b) I can’t find the keys (I looked). DH is *in the air* so cannot answer my frantic texts about the location of keys for 3rd car.

    We live about a mile from the elementary school, so I bundled everyone up (it’s a balmy 26 degrees here in the Boston burbs) and walked to do Kindy dropoff. I’m too far to walk to daycare, so I’m now trying to get work done, had to take a day of PTO, and have my 7 month old with me. who, by the way, I had to take to the doctor yesterday BECAUSE HAS A DOUBLE EAR INFECTION.

    I really hope your day is better than mine, and thank you for letting me vent. I haven’t even found out why on earth my 4 year old perfectly maintained car won’t start (it’s not the battery). I can’t even right now.

    • Ugh, sorry. I’d give up on trying to work from home. If you’re using PTO you’re officially on vacation and you should enjoy the baby cuddles and read or watch TV while the baby naps. If you’re actually getting work done from home, don’t make them force you to use PTO.

      • From a technical standpoint this is true, but I have stuff to get done. It’s not my boss pressuring me.

        Also, add to the list a blow out (thanks, antibiotics) that went out of the clothes and off the blanket onto my rug. :-)

    • So sorry for the terrible morning! Do you have AAA?

      • Yes. They could tow it for me, but it isn’t a battery issue so they can’t just come Magically jump it. I actually have a battery charger sonic mound
        DIY if that’s the issue.

    • What a rough morning! Hopefully something will go your way soon (antibiotics kick in, the mystery car keys descend, car wakes up)!

    • Is there a place where your husband keeps keys so that he “doesn’t lose them?”

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Pretty much every time I have a car problem it is when my husband is traveling. He rarely travels so it is totally Murphy’s Law.

    • Honestly – the 26F does sound balmy to the -8F we’ve currently got :)

      I second the recommendation to take advantage of the PTO, stop working, call AAA if you have it (or local mechanic shops if you don’t) and focus on taking care of the kiddo and solving the mystery of the non-starting car.

      Your husband will land eventually and will (hopefully) remember where the keys are, you can switch out the car seats and use that care while the non-starting one gets addressed. It’ll be ok!

    • ponte python's flying circus :

      Ugh, sorry! I completely feel you. Look at it this way, you might well still be taking PTO with the baby anyway if baby has an ear infection. :( Hope things are looking up now!

    • I give you props for bundling up and walking to the elementary school. You’re still thinking straight and getting things done, not succumbing to the bad day. Good job, lady.

  17. I have lovely in-laws, there is no fodder for justnoMIL here but I don’t have much of a relationship with them. One of my new year’s goals was to work on this. I don’t need a super close relationship but I think it’s important to my husband that I’m a bit more involved and engaged with his family. We’re expecting a baby so this is perhaps even more important. I think they feel bad because they never talk to me. Any hints on doing so?

    A bit of background: My family is tiny (really just me and my mom and dad) and lives half a world away so I think sometimes I’m sensitive about them wanting to / unintentionally supplanting my parents.

    I find visits a bit stressful as they are unstructured (what do you want to do? I don’t know, what do you want to do?) and my MILs are really effusive with their compliments and almost sickly sweet in a way which I’m sure is genuine but makes me quite uncomfortable. Maybe I’m put off with how much they like me / how much they want me to like them? They also talk on the phone a lot and because there are loads of them, sometimes I resent coming home to find my husband glued to the couch for the evening.


    • If it’s important to your husband to be more engaged, can you schedule weekly or every other week phone calls on speaker phone with you, your husband, your MIL and FIL? We tend to do these on Sunday afternoons, so we chat about how the weekends went, what we’re making for dinner that evening, some news, and then we wrap up from there.

      It helps to stay connected and because it’s a speaker phone call, you don’t have to do all of the emotional heavy lifting of keeping the conversation going. Let your husband take the lead and chime in as the conversations flows.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Perhaps you could also suggest doing some calls on Skype or FaceTime. I hate talking on the phone, but for some reason that seems easier to me, especially if it is a group call. Then you could come in and out and participate a bit as you do other things you need to do.

        • That might be easier. We are getting rid of our landline so will likely need to move to mobile anyways. I’m not fantastic on the phone so maybe that would be better,

    • Veteran MIL :

      Are your MILs into texting or email? I suggest texting or emailing them a couple of times a week (or whatever frequency works for you), just to check in and update them on how things are going. I hate talking on the phone, but if you don’t, maybe get on the phone “just to say hi” for a few minutes periodically. Once the baby comes, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to text/email or otherwise share baby pics. As a MIL myself, I can tell you that daily grandbaby pics are not too often!

      • lawsuited :

        +1 to texting. I text my MIL a few times a day when I have the time and inclination and it helps her feel connected without the time and social pressure of a scheduled phone call. I am also pregnant, so I’ve been texting her a little update after each appointment (not TMI medical updates but “OB says all is well with baby and me, and baby weighs 3lbs now!”) as well as photos of the ultrasound views and my growing belly.

        Also, my in-laws live a lot closer than my own family, so we see them a lot. Initially, I shared your concern that a close relationship with my MIL would replace my relationship with my own mum. But really, love multiplies rather than divides and I think should have as many loving and supportive relationships in your life as you can. Although she will never understand me like my own mum does, my MIL had provided me with a lot of love and support over the years, and I’m very grateful that I didn’t close myself off to that. I think as you get to know them more, the syrupy sweet discourse will be replaced with something more genuine, but it’s a great sign that their instinct is to be sweet rather than sour!

    • Are you geographically close enough to do weekly dinners?

      • +1

        But I would start with once a month family dinners. It is a great tradition once kids come along, and if there is extended family… potluck.

    • Since you know they like phone calls, I would try to schedule a weekly phone call with them that you can do during an otherwise unproductive time. Thanks to time zones, I can call my MIL every Tuesday morning at 7 am while I’m driving to work. I listen to her talk about the lives of people I’ve never met for 45 minutes, but I know it makes her really happy.

    • Some ways for actively bonding more have been mentioned already. In addition to that, it seems to me that your attitude is holding you back somewhat. They certainly won’t replace your parents, but what about throwing the trepidation overboard and accepting the fact that they are your family now, too?
      Another detail that caught my attention was your MIL overwhelming you with compliments. This could be one of these situations where your in-laws express themselves in a different love language than you. If you accept that fact you won’t feel more flattered next time they make a sugary compliment, but you might appreciate thought.
      The part about unstructured visits I totally get, I also get stressed by unstructured group decision-making processes. Maybe having one or two standard suggestions available would help with that.

      • I think it is an attitude and love language thing, thanks for noting it. I just feel very overwhelmed and claustrophobic which is definitely my neuroses, They like to know every little detail about our lives (exactly what we got for Christmas, really boring details about where we shop and what we do) and while I don’t think they are doing it intentionally, it feels quite instruive to me. I think they were used to being involved in my husband’s everyday pre me and maybe they are reacting as well. And maybe it just takes time for me to trust that they are well intentioned, they aren’t going to use this info for evil.

        Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this, I feel like this is a my head issue rather than a them issue and most in-law advice assumes the worst about the in-laws. My husband’s brother is a lost cause though after griping repeatedly about our cat (prevents his family of 6 coming to stay in our two bedroom apartment)

        • Anonshmanon :

          Wow, it’s like looking back six years! I had the same personal boundaries-problem with my in-laws when my partner and I started dating. They wouldn’t even pry for super-personal stuff, but tiny details that were completely irrelevant. I basically got used to the fact that they tick really different from my folks. But they truly mean well.
          So, I am here to say you will get used to it, and I feel for you.

    • Second setting up weekly calls/skype sessions if they are out of town. Do that NOW, before the baby comes. I don’t know about others, but once my LO came into the world, I had/still have ZERO desire to spend time talking on the phone in the evenings, even after he goes to bed. My family knows if they want to talk to me, it has to be during my commute home.

      Also, perhaps it’s time to take initiative and plan out visits so they aren’t as stressful. You could involve them in the process. Send them an email with a list of activities (whether it is a restaurant, walk in the park, etc) ahead of time. If they don’t pick, you pick your favorite and plan on doing that. Or make your husband do it since it’s his family.

      • It’s not just you. I used to talk on the phone quite a bit, but now (after 2 LOs) if you’re not available during my commute, we’re not phone friends. I just do not have the appetite for it at all in the evenings. I don’t understand why, but it’s been 4+ years and hasn’t changed yet.

    • Just curious. Is your husband actively trying to become “more involved and engaged” with your family?

      • Oh my husband loves my family to death. They live far away and he misses them when they leave, maybe more than I do so no double standard.

    • I wouldn’t stress it too much now. It will be easier when the baby comes – it sort of gives everyone something to talk about and structure the visits around. Up until then, could you try informal texting with your MIL? E.g. “just out at X store and saw the sweetest little socks! hope you’re having a great day.” And keep them updated on ultrasounds and so on and of course on any milestones of your own. It takes time but a good in-law relationship is so worth it – my MIL is my greatest lifesaver and best help. We are totally different people and I never thought we would be this close, but I really adore her and so does my baby.

      • Sorry, just hit enter and realized this is totally gendered and MIL specific – but my FIL is not really in the picture so I have no insight there. My husband usually has a good relationship with my dad/his FIL though as they have found areas where they can connect and discuss – think shared academic interests.

  18. Bridesmaid Vent :

    I’m annoyed. When I got married, I asked each bridesmaid individually for her budget and then chose dresses within the lowest budget ($150, which was what the bulk of my friends answered anyway).

    Since my wedding last year, I’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid in three weddings. For each of them, the bride unilaterally chose a dress that was above what I thought was reasonable to spend. The first time it was a matter of $30-50 so I let it go. The second time, $50-70 and a family member so I let it go. Now, I just received a link to a variety of dresses from $250-350 and up, and asked to let the bride know if I had any favorites. I have already told this bride (who was a bridesmaid of my own) that my personal budget was between $150-200. And made a point of remembering how I asked each friend for her budget when I was the bride choosing the dresses.

    So, what do I do? This is extra awkward because I’m probably the highest earner in the group and it’s easy for friends to think I have piles of money lying around. They don’t see the student loans and medical debt I am dealing with, and I don’t particularly want to delve into my personal finances. But I have no interest in spending $300 on a bridesmaid dress. And I’m a little grumpy, honestly, because I compromised what I would have wanted to be considerate of my own friends– including this bride.

    • Since nothing is purchased, can you respond to the bridge that while these dresses are lovely, they’re also expensive. Indicate you’d like to keep the budget closer to $150 and then send a link or two with dresses you like in that price range. There’s no way you’re the only bridesmaid balking at spending $350 on a single occasion dress.

      • Bridesmaid Vent :

        I may text her individually. The link was sent to all the bridesmaids so I don’t know if a group email is the best way to resolve this.

        • If you’ve never voiced a budget preference to the bride, then she’ll never know you have one. Best case scenario is that she offers to pitch in some cash toward the purchase of the expensive dress if that’s what she has her heart set on.

          • Bridesmaid Vent :

            Yeah see, I already told her in person before these dresses were chosen that my budget was $150-200. So she’s ignoring what I already told her. Ugh.

          • She may have forgotten. Jeez, if you hate her this much, you really should just decline to be in the wedding. If this person is actually a good friend, then why are you assuming that she has bad intentions at every turn? She’s busy, she’s planning a wedding and your budget is not the most important thing on her mind right now. Why don’t you gently remind her about your budget and see what happens rather than flipping out about what a terrible person she is?

          • Assume good intentions. Maybe she forgot? Doesn’t hurt to ask her if she has any other options in mind that might be closer to the $150-$200 range.

          • Bridesmaid Vent :

            This conversation only happened about two weeks ago so it is unlikely, but possible, that she forgot. Yes, I will text her (gently). She may have forgotten or thinks there just are not good options.

            Anonymous, you are the one flipping out, not me. I never said nor do I think she is a terrible person. At worst, I think she’s caught up in the excitement of planning a wedding.

          • I’m with OP on this one. I’m sorry, but a friend telling you they can spend max $200 on a dress is not something you forget after 2 weeks. It’s far more likely that the bride is just ignoring OP’s request.

          • newbinlaw :

            Nope. I am a bride right now, as well as a bridesmaid, and the cost of dresses I’m looking at for my bridal party is TOP of mind because I already find it so uncomfortable to force someone to spend X amount of money on something. She’s not too busy to think about this, it is a very obvious thing. & $250-300 is on the high end of most BM dresses (I would know, I’m knee deep in this stuff right now) so she knows exactly what she is doing. I would absolutely remind her and be forceful.

        • The other bridesmaids may be happy to have you speak up about the price, and may join you in your objections. A group email may work, with the right enthusiastic tone, and a link to an equally pretty but less expensive dress.

          • I really don’t recommend this. I’d talk to the bride individually first. If I got a group email from my bridesmaids that said “this dress is too expensive” I’d be hurt – not that they thought the dress was too much, but that they all went behind my back to talk about the problem before approaching me (doubly so if you don’t know the other bridesmaids and are essentially reaching out to strangers before your supposed good friend). Approach her individually and give her a chance to find something that suits your budget before you gang up on her.

    • What you did is nice, but in my experience what your friend is doing is the norm. I’ve never bought a dress that was less than $200, most have been closer to $300 and I have never been asked for my budget. I wish everyone were as thoughtful as you were but unfortunately that’s not reality.

      • +1. I’ve bee in six weddings and have never been asked for my budget or given any input on price.

        • +1

          I’ve also been in six weddings, and never been asked my budget. And my weddings were many years ago (fortunately they dwindle down….) and even way back then your request for a $150 dress was unrealistic.

          I also learned the hard way better to turn down being in weddings if you can’t afford it. It can be very, very expensive.

          • I don’t think it is unrealistic. I was in a wedding last year and while the bride did not ask about our budgets, the dresses were in the $100-150 range (I think I spent about $170ish after alterations). They were all lovely (same color, different styles) and the wedding party photos are beautiful.

    • Well, assuming good intentions (which I’m trying to do in 2017) maybe she is planning to contribute or pay for them? So I would respond and just iterate your position. It sounds very reasonable to me.

      • Bridesmaid Vent :

        That would be lovely but I feel like she’d tell us if she was? Their wedding across the board is just totally OTT (famous NYC venue, flying all over the country for a certain dress, etc.) so I know her family could do it. It just doesn’t occur to them, I think, that others don’t have their resources.

        • With this information, I’d definitely assume good, but clueless intentions on the part of the bride. She probably remembers that you gave her a budget, but is just assuming that the extra cost is not a big deal to people. As in, she may view a budget as a “guideline,” which can be overruled if the perfect dress that perfectly fits the vision of the wedding is not within the guidelines. If she is a good friend, and you otherwise like her, then she may just need to be gently told that you really can’t change your budget and can’t purchase the dress. Let her make the call as to what to do with that information.

    • Honestly….. You pay, or you drop out and realize this may affect your friendship, or you reveal a tad about your financial constraints.

      We are talking about relatively small differences of price in the scheme of things, considering your income. Only you can decide what you value more.

      Realize now if you have a budget, stay out of weddings.

      • Bridesmaid Vent :

        This is unnecessarily harsh. “If you have a budget, stay out of weddings?” Really? How about, if someone is close enough for you to ask them to be your bridesmaid, you should care enough about them to be respectful of their (very reasonable) budget?

        • I’m not sure $150 is really a reasonable budget for bridesmaids dresses though. It depends where you’re located and kind of wedding. If the bride is having a formal black tie wedding in NYC, it will be really hard to find halfway decent dresses at that price. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to bow out of a wedding if you really can’t afford the dress, but I also don’t think it’s unreasonable that the bride initially asks that you buy a $250 dress.

          • +1

            The OP said yes to multiple weddings when her finances are tight. She can’t have it all.

          • I had a formal black tie wedding. Most of the bridesmaids in my wedding were on a tight budget, which I knew because I was friends with them. I chose a dress that was about $120 at the time (6.5 years ago). I looked on the website for that brand, and a similar dress would now be $140-160.

            I’ve been in a lot of weddings. The most I’ve spent on a bridesmaid’s dress was about $250-300, which I could afford. I think a lot of brides get caught up, and they’re spending so much money that the numbers stop meaning anything. But if I had a nickel for everytime I’ve heard, “Oh, but you can wear this one again, so it’s OK if it’s expensive,” I could buy myself another bridesmaids dress. I wish all brides would just accept the fact that these dresses will not be worn again.

            Between the two of us, DH and I have probably spent $20,000 being in other people’s weddings (more than $10,000 in the fall of 2015 alone). This part of my life is over, and I am so, so happy to be just a guest at all weddings going forward. We just went to an out of town wedding a few weeks ago, spent a grand total of $700, got some time to ourselves, and saw some friends from college. It was fantastic!

        • Anonymous :

          BV, you’re not being unreasonable….it sounds like you are a really good friend and I don’t fault you for having those same expectations of other close (bridesmaid-level) friends. I would probably just get out of this wedding now though, because it sounds like it’s going to be one expensive OTT thing after another. Especially if this is a fairly large wedding party. IME the other bridesmaids will complain that you aren’t participating and it will all degenerate into pettiness.

      • Perhaps blunt, but I don’t think overly harsh. What you did for yours is extremely thoughtful, but not at all the norm. I have only been a bridesmaid a few times, but IME even my lovely friends didn’t care much about what the bridesmaids wanted. If you can’t afford the dress and your friend can’t assist, then you can’t be a bridesmaid IMO.

        • This. What you did is NOT the norm. It’s great, but you can’t hold other people to the same standard. What this bride is doing is totally normal. $250 sounds cheap to me, actually, for the kind of wedding she’s having. It would be one thing if she were asking you to spend $500, but $250 for a formal bridesmaid dress is really just not that expensive. And not strictly following every ‘maid’s budget is totally common. She may have looked for dresses in your budget range and not been able to find any she likes. The difference between the top of your range and the bottom of her range is only $50, which is pretty trivial.

    • BabyAssociate :

      What about asking her if it would be possible to rent the dresses? I didn’t even know that was possible (outside of Rent the Runway), but I’m in a wedding in the fall and the bride presented that as an option.

      • Was just going to suggest this. I’m a little surprised at people saying $150 is an unreasonable expectation for a bridesmaid’s dress, but I’ve only been in 2 weddings so I don’t really know. But if budget is important to you, these days you really don’t have to buy a dress.

        • BabyAssociate :

          $150 has always been my uppermost budget for a bridemaid’s dress. I had no idea it was an unreasonable expectation either.

          • +1. I have mostly been asked to spend about $150-200. Once, $250, which I thought was insane. For our wedding, we picked a simple dress for bridesmaids that cost about $125 at David’s Bridal. I’m sure everyone will gasp at David’s Bridal, but it looked great in the photos and everyone was happy not to spend a fortune on something they wouldn’t ever wear again. My priority was affordability.

    • Right off the bat, you can’t hold your choices against them. You chose to compromise your vision to accommodate budgets which is a very kind and considerate thing to do. But that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to have every other bride do the same. You can grumble here as much as you want and we’ll grumble right along with you but at the end of the day it’s the bride’s wedding and she gets to pick the dress (within reason – my opinion would be different if she was asking you to drop $500+).

      The $250 options are only $50 above your budget, just like the other two weddings right? What you’re experiencing is that bridesmaid dresses are just expensive – which you know from your own wedding. It’s totally understandable that you don’t want to buy three brand new $250 dresses in one year, but it’s sort of not the brides’ fault that the prices are what they are.

      I’d use this as an opportunity to have another conversation with the bride about your budget constraints. It’s one thing to have to splurge a bit for the dress but if she’s having an OTT wedding then the dress probably isn’t going to be the only splurge. It might just be out of your budget to be a bridesmaid in so many weddings in such a short time frame. If that’s the case then it’s better to tell her now than let it drag out.

      • +1. I would cough up for the dress without complaint but let the bride know right off the bat that because your finances are tight you can’t travel to attend a shower or bach party (if applicable). You can live with $50 above your budget, you can’t live with hundreds or thousands of dollars above your budget, and she sounds like someone that would ask her attendants to travel to Turks and Caicos or someplace like that for a bach party.

        • Bridesmaid Vent :

          Yes! I actually already turned down a request for a group vacation– no, not a bachelorette party (she’s having one of those too), just a “girls’ long weekend” in another area of the country. I did not feel bad about saying no to that one…

      • Bridesmaid Vent :

        I think I would be less concerned if the dresses were more concentrated toward the $250 end of the range. What concerns me is that they quickly go up dramatically after that. Nothing is purchased yet so I guess while we are deciding I can try to suggest styles on the lower end of what she sent.

        • Yup, do that.

          And don’t agree to anymore weddings. This sounds too stressful for you, and honestly, I’ve seen too many friendships explode over issues like this. I still think your venting is a bit disproportionate to the situation. And you certainly do not seem happy with what most of us are stating. That should tell you something.

          And if these folks were bridesmaids in your wedding, then just go with the flow my dear….

    • Brunette Elle Woods :

      Honestly I would just talk to her about your budget. If she’s local, ask to meet up for a drink this weekend and explain to her your financial constraints. If she is such good friend to ask you to be in her wedding, then she should understand and make accommodations. Maybe have an expensive dress, but let everyone pick their own accessories and she can cover costs of hair or makeup.

      Also, being a bridesmaid should not require you to blow your budget! It’s her wedding, not yours! I hate this requirement placed on women to go above and beyond for someone else’s wedding. If you can afford it great, but friends shouldn’t be expected to pay. I’m never being a bridesmaid again unless it is for my sister!!

    • Move to the UK where the bride & groom pay for the wedding party’s outfits?

      Either way I don’t think you can hold others to your standards. Just because you took that into consideration, doesn’t mean that you can expect others to do the same. Maybe look at the bigger picture – hotel costs might have been higher for your wedding or someone else may have had a more expensive travel costs, you can’t compare like for life.
      (Sorry don’t think that was as eloquent as I would have liked it to be)

    • Oh weddings! I have been a bridesmaid in 10 and hate this whole demand-what-other-adults-wear thing so that’s why I am not having a bridal party. I have never re-worn a bridesmaid dress.

      I think you either push back and say, “Wow, these are gorgeous! Do you think there are any less expensive ones? I am in three weddings this year, so would be happy to help you look for some.” But … I think that’s the best you can do. Honestly, though, it’s entirely possible that she might pick a $300 one and you will have to decide if you say that you can’t be a bridesmaid anymore. She might cut you out, though. I think you might also have to consider that even if you are in the wedding but don’t go to showers, bach parties, etc. she might still cut you out of friendship. It stinks, but it’s a reality you might be looking at.

      You were considerate in thinking of your maids’ budgets, yes. But you still required people to spend money on you (which is sort of the only situation where this is done). I think you have to remove your wedding from the current situation.

      At the end of the day, you are an adult who decides how to spend her money and time, but also realize that some friends and brides don’t see it that way and may be upset with you.

    • What’s up with all the replies telling her to suck it up and spend $350 on a dress, and that’s totally “reasonable” – are you the same people on the budget threads bragging about saving 115% of your income in a HCOL area? Get real. Weddings are a racket. When you’re planning one, you get int to this Disneyland mentality where $750 looks like a good deal for a cake (a cake. you eat it and it’s gone) and $350 is reasonable and expected for a dress you don’t like and will wear exactly once. Stop the insanity.

      • BabyAssociate :

        Agreed. I do live in a HCOL, but $350 for a dress (especially one that you’ll only wear once) is ludicrous. The expectations for weddings have gotten totally out of control.

        I’m with you OP, stand your ground and reiterate your budget, but be willing to bow out if need be.

      • Of course weddings are a racket, and I wouldn’t pay $350 for a bridesmaids dress ever. Which is why I would say no to being a bridesmaid here. I don’t have any friends that would unfriend me if I said, hey, this is out of my budget, I love you, but I am going to have to decline.

      • PrettyPrimadonna :

        I was thinking this exact same thing. LOL.

    • Bridesmaid Vent :

      Alright, thanks everyone. To be clear, my annoyance is coming from the fact that I had already expressed a budget to her and she disregarded it. Some options were only $50 over which is fine, but she also sent Monique Lhullier. There’s “dresses are generally expensive” and then there’s a whole other level.

      I’m going to email her, gently reiterate my budget, and send her links to a few options that are within her suggestions but on the lower end. Whatever dress she chooses, I will buy. I already said no to a destination event and I will say no to any further OTT requests.

      At least if she chooses an insane beaded BHLDN or Llulhier gown, I can wear it to one of the other handful of weddings I’ll be a guest at this year? Honestly if I’m going to spend that kind of money I hope it’s a kick ass dress.

      • Bridesmaid Vent :

        I find it hilarious that this comment did not wind up in moderation because of the last line. That’s it, carry on.

      • If that is what you are deciding, then decide that’s that and move on. Don’t let yourself be disappointed if you don’t re-wear it just because it is designer (it might still look like a bridesmaid dress out of that wedding’s context). I was in a wedding once where we had Vera Wang bridesmaid dresses (in this situation paid for by the bride’s father because it was family), and I still never re-wore it. YMMV.

      • Last weekend, DH and I were taking our kid to the park, which is also a beautiful wedding venue in our city. I saw two women in matching wedding dresses (pretty much the BHLDN April gown) and was very confused. Then I saw another woman in a YUUUUGE, fluffy, white gown and realized that the first two women were bridesmaids. When did this become a thing?

        • I think the Victorians did that…the theory being the maids dressing as a decoy would lure bad mojo away from the bride or some such nonsense.

    • Frankly I cannot believe people are still doing the matchy-matchy bridesmaid thing. It is SO dated. Every time I see a bridal party like that, I think of The Wedding Singer. If you must have “attendants” let your friends wear their own clothes! It’s so silly and cheesy.

      • I think mis-matched attendants are going to become the hats-and-poofy-sleeves of the ’10s. It’s going to be dated in 30 years when your kids look at your wedding photos. Weddings are pretty much a silly and cheesy event in totality – who holds flowers to walk down an aisle? Who does a special dance with their parent? Who actually sits and listens politely to a teary string of inside jokes and then cheers at the end of it? You’re asking the people close to you to inconvenience themselves to celebrate you for an entire day, asking them to wear matching clothes isn’t necessarily beyond the pale here.

    • Every time I read a Bridesmaids thread, I’m happier and happier that when I got married my only attendants were my two brothers.

  19. Work earrings :

    What are your classic/favorite work earrings? Particularly interested if you wear them a lot. Links appreciated!

    My hair is now very short. I had stopped wearing earrings years ago (allergic to everything) but with my short hair I feel like I need …. Something ….. To help my face look a bit more feminine.


    • I wear these or a similar pair nearly every day:

    • Veronica Mars :

      I’ve recommended the two-tone Duragold crossover hoop earrings before and I love them as much as when I first got them. They’re now called Amazon Collection 14k Gold Satin Polished Crossover Hoop Earrings and I put the link below. I also like wearing 1ct moissanite studs every day (many retailers, but a simple 14k gold martini stud always looks great). And lastly if you’re willing to take your earrings in/out, I like having 10mm freshwater pearl studs, and I’d look to Pearl Paradise for those (although I got mine secondhand that originally came from Pearls of Joy and they’re great quality as well).


    • Sydney Bristow :

      I have a pair of white topaz earrings with a sort of muted gold backing. They were a gift from a friend who is a jewelry designer and she isn’t currently making them so I don’t have a link. They go with everything though. It seems like the color changes a bit from brighter white to gray to slightly blue depending on what I am wearing. I highly recommend something similar.

    • classic freshwater pearls! Have been wearing them since high school and have always felt they struck a good balance between stylish/professional. Appropriate across a wide age range as well.

      • Work earrings :

        Thanks for this. I have a pair of Tahitian pearl studs, but they seem too ?big now that my hair is so short.

        • Veronica Mars :

          Pearls too big? Not possible unless they’re over 12mm. I think bold big pearl studs look great.

    • I wear gold or rose gold studs, pearls, or Tiffany silver studs most days. I talk on the phone a lot at work and big earrings are painful to wear when you have a phone pressed to your ear.

      • Forgot to mention, my gold studs and pearls are from local jewelers. I prefer to get my quality jewelry from local stores rather than big department stores or Amazon etc.

      • Work earrings :

        Thanks for this. Good points about the phone…. I will need to experiment.

        • Anonymous :

          This is why I don’t wear studs; look for earrings with any other kind of back than a post and you won’t run into the phone issue.

    • I wear these probably at least a couple times a week.

      I’m a fan of swarovski because 1) no diamonds = no guilt 2) rhodium plating means no tarnishing and 3) reasonable prices, especially if you wait for a sale.

    • I have some David Yurman small half hoops that have both silver and gold, and they’re my “safe” earrings for any situation.

      I have a tendency to get obsessed with one pair of earrings and wear it all the time until I get sick of it, but I always go back to the Yurman hoops for when I need to feel professional and pulled together.


        these are my earrings

    • I got some vrai and oro baguette studs for christmas and i really like them. They’re very small, professional but a little interesting.

    • Anonymous :

      I wear these most days:

      Business casual workplace. From this blog I’ve started realizing that they might be a bit ‘much’ in more conservative offices?

    • AttiredAttorney :

      I wear these tricolor metal knots at least 3/5 days a week.

  20. Anon for this :

    So this is embarrassing but I’m on a new health kick for 2017 – lots of veggies (and beans in my soup) plus eggs in the morning and my stomach is not happy. Will this pass in a day or two? I just feel so uncomfortable and bloated…

    • New Tampanian :

      Try gas-ex or something similar. It’s probably just gas.

      • New Tampanian :

        Oh and also make sure you’re drinking a ton of water. You’re adding fiber into your diet and that could be causing the bloat.

        • Anonymous :

          I find drinking tea at a meal and eating eggs (other than hard boiled) gives me a problem.

    • How are you cooking your eggs? I realized a few years ago that I can eat eggs any way but hard-boiled. Cut down on the stomach problems for me.

      As for the general discomfort, that’s the point in dieting where I always slip up. I’ve heard from doctors and my fitness-minded friends that it takes a full two weeks to adjust, and in that time you’ll experience fatigue, dizziness, GI problems, etc. In law school I tried to go paleo right before finals and when my trainer told me about the effects on your energy level I promptly went to the grocery store and bought a pack of Oreos. Hang in there!

    • For sure. Any time you make a major change to your diet, your gut bacteria has to get used to the change and it can make for a rough couple of days.

    • Yeah, you’ll get used to it eventually. Also, it helps to rinse canned beans.

    • Gas Ex.

    • It’s probably the fiber. Most of our diets are way too low in fiber, so eating “right” and upping the fiber is a shock to the system. You want to up your fiber intake gradually, so I’d back off the beans and stick to just veggies for a few weeks.

    • This will pass. Your body is used to digesting simple carbs (assuming) and now you are throwing in all this fiber and complex carbs. It will likely take about a month until things become entirely regular.

    • Anon for this :

      Thank you all so much. I’m so craving a big bowl of pasta but i’ll try to keep going (and maybe slow down on the beans for a few days).

  21. PSA the Kindle version of Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office is $1.99 today on Amazon. It has its flaws, but also some useful info (particularly for those just starting out in their careers, and especially in more male-dominated fields). Frequently recommended on this s!te.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      The No A*sh*le Rule book is also on sale today. The daily Kindle deals today are business related books if anyone is interested.

      Deep Work by Cal Newport is also on sale. I read and liked that book a lot. I follow his blog and have read his other books and think he has some really great ideas.

    • Also, Disrupted by Dan Lyons is on sale, and it’s one of my top books of last year. Hilarious, insightful and way too true if you work with or for startups at all.

    • Anonymous :

      Nice, thanks for the heads up. I just downloaded my library’s copy of Lean In, but they didn’t have Nice Girls…

      Perfect timing.

  22. I need to learn to cook fish. I have some deep ingrained fear of food poisoning from not cooking it right (based on no actual experience). I’ve read a lot of descriptions of what cooked fish should look like, but has anyone come across any good visual aids? Videos, pictures, etc.? I feel like this would be much more helpful and help convince me I’m cooking “right”.

    • This makes no sense. You’re far less likely to get sick from undercooked fish than from undercooked poultry or pork. People eat RAW fish! (Not grocery store fish, but still…you are not going to get food poisoning if your fish is slightly rare). Salmon is pretty easy to tell when it’s done, because it changes color from a deep translucent pink fuchsia to a pale, opaque pink.

    • Get an instant thermometer (Thermpop if you want an affordable one, Thermapen if you want to splurge for the best of the best). Poke it into the fish and you will be 100% sure that it is at a safe temperature. I think it varies on the fish, but I usually use the salmon range which is 125 for a good safe medium-well.

      • Thanks, this is a great suggestion.

        • pugsnbourbon :

          We just got one of these for Christmas (I am a chronic chicken over-cooker) and it’s LIFE-CHANGING.

          Ickiness from fish is more likely related to the quality/age of the product purchased, or a potential sensitivity.

          • +1 to it being life changing! I never have dry chicken/beef/pork anymore (well, unless I forgot it in the oven) I would honestly put it up there as the best $100 I’ve ever spent in the kitchen…maybe in contention with my Le Creusets.

            Also, yes, make sure you get the freshest fish possible. If it smells bad, it is bad. Fresh fish barely smells like anything.

    • YouTube is your friend here.
      And here’s my short version advice: the flesh should lose its translucency, will flake or separate when you put a fork in it and move the fork sideways a little bit, and it will be firm instead of a bit bouncy to the touch (press on the raw fish so you can know what that feeels like) If the flesh begins to crack open on the surface you are probably starting to over cook it.

    • more important than how you cook it is the quality of the product you’re using. get wild fish as fresh as you can and you significantly reduce the risk of any under-cooking related illness.

  23. Has anyone bought bras from Lively? I’m very flat chested, but with a wide rib cage and I’m trying to up my bra game for 2017. Is the elastic on the band comfortable? I always seem to run into a too tight band, because the cup size is never small enough in whatever size I get.

    • I have not, but Nordstrom sells a 6 pack of different types of bra extenders that I love if you want to widen your bands.

    • I tried them — also flat chested with a large rib cage and their bras did not fit me. Cup size was right but the band on the small was too tight.

      • bugger. have you found any bras that are comfortable? On top of the big ribcage / small and shallow chest thing, I have nerve damage around the area where the bra band sits, so it’s been a struggle for the past couple years to find a good bra. Honestly I’ve been getting away with thick dresses and wearing the nordstrom seamless cami this winter but I know I need bras for other situations.

        • Third Love is decent, but not perfect.

          I just got two of these Calvin Klein ones in the mail and my mind is blown by how comfortable they are.

          They don’t have the lift that underwire bras do, but they’re not as flattening as other wirefree bras I’ve tried and they’re so. freaking. comfortable. Also, the price point is quite agreeable. I’m sad that they don’t have cute colors and patterns but WHATEVER at least they freaking fit and I don’t feel the urge to yank them off and throw them across the room as soon as I get home.

          • pugsnbourbon :

            Oooh, thank you for this rec. My favorite bra died a very sad death (didn’t know underwires could break) and the replacement I bought isn’t working out. These look very smooth and soft.

          • I just replaced all of my bras with these! I’m obsessed.

  24. I’m building my dream house and yesterday was given my office close date, in mid February. I’m SO excited in so many ways, but worried and scared in others, and don’t really feel like I can talk about it in real life without coming off negatively for bragging or talking too much about my own (very first world) problems. Think I’m just looking for a little support – this has been a long process and now I’m definitely having cold feet.

    • Why can’t you talk about it in real life? I mean it’s a little gauche to share the total sale price but you can certainly tell friends how excited you are about the house, and also about how nerve wracking it is to wave goodbye to a huge amount of cash at once. Anyone who has ever bought a house will get that feeling.
      (And probably not the case but worth thinking about anyway – is it more house than you can actually afford? I think pre-closing jitters are pretty normal, but if you’re really having serious cold feet about the purchase it’s worth asking yourself that question.)

      • Honestly, its not the cost. It is the size of the change in my life – moving sides of town, how it will impact my relationship (I started dating someone just after committing to the house, and we aren’t ready to live together, but everyone keeps asking me and him if he’s moving in), the actual logistics of moving and selling my current place, etc. I do talk about it, but definitely don’t want to do so ad nauseum.

  25. Sharing a great article about the challenge women face when men think we are romantically interested just for being friendly. I actually had this conversation with a close friend last night. He shared that he was concerned we need to maintain our friendship boundary because “others” had asked him if we are intimate. We aren’t. I was troubled that my friendliness had been mistaken for something more. I feel like I can’t win. If I frown, I’m told to smile or remove the “resting B face”. If I smile, its misinterpreted. Has anyone else been in this situation?

  26. Tampa Tailor for Formal Dress :

    I need a Tampa area tailor to let out a beautiful red gown that I bought from Rue and is just a teeeeeny bit too tight up top. It takes 2 people to zip me up and then there is lots of overflow.

    I would like to get it taken out if possible but I don’t want to bring it to my general dry cleaner/tailor. They do a fine job with simple hemming stuff. I haven’t used them for more intensive tailoring.

    Suggestions please!! I’m hoping to be able to wear it to whatever anti-inauguration ball/party I go to in DC.

    • I’ve used Sew Fast in Hyde Park for tailoring several suits, but it’s been awhile.

    • I wasn’t thrilled with Sew Fast when they tailored a couple suits. I highly recommend Dorca’s Dressmaking on Kennedy. She has tailored a couple dresses for me, including my wedding dress, and did great work.

  27. Out of Place Engineer :

    If you had a $600 gift card to spend at Neiman Marcus (but not valid at Last Call) what would you get? I’m hesitant to buy an “investment” piece of clothing, as my post- baby weight is still fluctuating. I already have a great Burberry trench. I work at a business-casual office, mostly wear pencil skirts + knit shirts. I was thinking of a nicer watch, but would love to hear your ideas!

  28. Following spending a day cleaning my car out; what do you keep in your car and how do you keep it organised?

    • Ha, the following will let you know my priorities in life:

      -Car charger (plugged in or in glove box)

      In driver’s side pocket:
      -Hand lotion
      -Extra gloves

      In glove box:
      -Collapsible water bowl for my dog
      -Extra poop bags for my dog
      -Extra treats for my dog

      In back seat (which is covered by a washable dog seat cover):
      -Dog’s special “car toy” (a squeaky Ewok)
      -Seat belt for dog

      In trunk:
      -Extra towels for muddy doggie feet post-walk
      -Bag of emergency supplies (flares, fix-a-flat, etc.)
      -Extra fleece jacket
      -Box of random documents that I need to shred

      • Oh man, now I realize I am vastly under-equipped to travel with my dog!! :)

        I just got a new-to-me car, so I am trying to keep the inside clean.

        I keep a phone charger, napkins, pens, a small notepad, and duct tape in my console. There is an extra set of gloves and a winter hat in the driver’s side door and I keep extra headlight bulbs and fuses in my glove box. The dog’s car seat (go ahead and laugh) is in the front passenger seat and I keep an extra bed for him in the backseat. The trunk has a container with hand warmers, cleats, and other junk that I haven’t forced myself to sort through. I also keep a horse cooler in the trunk as a spare blanket. I have a first aid kit as well in the trunk. Oh, and my reusable grocery bags live in the trunk.

    • In my center console/glove compartment: phone charger, sunglasses, chapstick, some loose change, kleenex, ice scraper
      In trunk: duffle bag containing jumper cables, basic tool kit, portable tire inflater, blanket, gloves

    • Not sure if you mean organized or clean, but I had a real problem with trash collecting in the car – I started keeping a plastic bag near the console to collect it and I also put an old kitchen trash can in the garage that I practically trip over when I get out of the car. Making an effort to remove trash at the end of every day makes has made a big difference.

      • AttiredAttorney :

        x2 for trash can in the garage. I also throw junkmail into this can as soon as I walk in from the mailbox.

    • Anonymous :

      Center console: “car cookies” for toddler (gerber arrowroot cookies)
      Glove box: mini note pad, pencil, diaper, wipes, baby sunglasses, water bottle
      Driver door: water bottle, trash (trash gets cleaned out daily after work when I pull into my garage at home)
      Trunk: roll of papertowels, ikea baby potty, umbrella, blanket

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      All Year:
      Emergency kit- one of the ones you can buy at a car parts store, with extra first aid supplies
      Army blanket folded up below the mat in the back, above the spare
      A weird….quilted pad thing if I have to kneel on the side of the road
      Car charger and iPhone cord
      Small first aid kit in the passenger side door
      Pen and small notebook
      Hand sanitizer and an eos lip balm

      Chains (which I have no effing clue how to put on, but if I’m chaining up on the pass, the likelihood is that a hundred other people are in the pull off zone doing the same thing who could help)
      Winter gloves
      Ice scraper and brush

    • Anonymous :

      Usually about 10 empty water bottles, 7 pairs of shoes and 5 empty coffee cups

  29. Looking for flats :

    I’ve been wearing the same few pairs of shoes at work for a couple years now and I desperately need new ones. I’m looking for flats that fit wider feet. Preferably some that come in some brighter colors as I tend to wear a lot of grey and black and navy clothes, and preferably around $100/pair. I just got some really lovely ones from Boden but they’re too narrow and I’m going to have to send them back :(

    • following because this describes me exactly

    • Online sources: marylandsquare (has frequent sales),zappos, and JCPenney. Search by size and width. Zappos has free shipping. JCPenney was a surprise but I found a pair of propet fishermen sandals.
      I’m not fashion-forward so am happy with options on these sites but YMMV.

      • P.S. You can also search marylandsquare and zappos by style, heel height, and color. It’s such a thrill to actually FIND options (after years of hearing “yes, we have wide shoes–we carry C width” that I often search just for fun!

    • Anonymous :

      Try Corso Como.

      • Second this. I bought the “Mince” T-Strap flat this fall. I also suffer from the narrow heel wide ball of foot thing, with the addition of a not insubstantial bunion on one foot. The Mince flat is more attractive in than it looks in the pics. It does flunk the bright colors twat. The things I really like are a padded footbed and the fact that the straps are all functional so that can be tightened up toward the ankle and loss ended in further down. Accommodates the blasted bunion on one foot and not the other. Bonus: Nordstrom has them mated down to $75.

    • Bali Elf has leather shoes in lots of colors. They will customize to your foot’s measurements.

    • OTBT, Clarks, Trotters. On the pricey end I’ve had good luck with AGL and Donald J. Pliner. I feel your foot pain about tricky feet.

      • Realistically, I wear a lot of Mary Janes, since the a wide enough toe-box often means a too narrow heel.

    • lawsuited :

      I have the same feet as you, and own the MK Fulton flats in 5 or so different colours because they are the only flats that don’t rub my feet somewhere.

  30. I bought some Lark&Ro when they were hugely marked down last week — they were all weirdly tight in the shoulders and arms — which is not a problem I run into with other clothes.

  31. Sloan Sabbith :

    I read Eligible over the weekend after seeing it recommended here, and LOVED it. I spent a pretty solid portion of NYE evening (and the rest of the day) reading it. Any recommendations for books that are similar, or just other books that people absolutely love? I’m trying to read more in 2017.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I have heard from multiple sources that Homegoing is the best book that was read in 2016 so that’s my next pick.

      • TO Lawyer :

        I have also enjoyed the other books by Curtis Sittenfeld (although I haven’t read Eligible yet) so that may be a good option if you haven’t read them!

    • Anonymous :

      Her other books, Prep and American Wife, are great (I liked Eligible too). I was lukewarm about Sisterland, but it wasn’t bad, just not as good as those three.

  32. Anonymous :

    Are there ladies in here who only wear pants to work? I have several dresses and skirts but they just sit in my closet because I don’t find them comfortable. For those that prefer pants for your professional outfits, what are your favorite brands/style? Mine are Uniqlo Smart Style Ankle (which are full length on me because I’m short)

    • lost academic :

      Yes. And now that we’re losing The Limited I don’t know what to do. I don’t like wearing skirts, period. And there’s nothing I’ve ever seen that suggests to me that skirts or dresses are somehow magically more professional than pants. They are just not.

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