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Workwear sales of note for 3.22.23:
- Ann Taylor – Up to 40% off full-price pants and shirts; extra 30% off all sale styles
- Athleta – 20% off shorts, swim, linen & more
- Banana Republic Factory – 40% off everything; extra 15% off purchase
- Boden – Up to 50% off
- Brooks Brothers – Clearance styles to 70% off. Some pretty serious markdowns!
- Express – Extra 40% off clearance for up to 60% off
- J.Crew – 25% off your purchase; up to 50% off special-occasion styles
- J.Crew Factory – Up to 50% off everything; extra 15% off 3 styles; extra 20% off 4 styles; extra 50% off clearance
- Sephora – Up to 50% off select beauty
- Talbots – 25% off regular-price dresses, skirts, accessories & shoes
Some of our latest posts here at Corporette…
And some of our latest threadjacks here at Corporette (reader questions and commentary) — see more here!
- What are your favorite parts of a typical day?
- At what point in your life (age, income level, whatever) were you able to take an annual vacation?
- What shoes can I keep at the office to go for mid-day walks (that go with everything)?
- How do you release stress or trauma that’s stored in the body?
- What are the best “networking for women events” you’ve ever been to?
- I feel like we’re burning through any savings we acquire…
- I hate my job and make 30% of what DH makes – should I quit?
- What do you keep in your office?
I was advised on here a little while ago to wait to buy cashmere since it’ll go on super sale (I think the poster said after thanksgiving and into december. I’ve been looking at the sweater pictured for quite some time. Do the prices (either at Lord & Taylor or for simliar quality cashmere elsewhere) go considerably lower than this, or would the cashmere sale-stalkers among us suggest I jump on this?
Lord and Taylor I think is related to Macy’s but is regional, and if I remember correctly they do some deep discounting around the holidays starting with Black Friday.
About 1 week before Christmas, for the last 3 years, the price has dropped for one day only to $49 or $49.99. And there was free shipping with any order over $99, so 2 sweaters arrived before December 25. Once it was Dec 24 at 6 PM, but that was still in time to wrap and put under the tree. You really have to stalk the website though every day.
Occasionally Macy’s will also do this ($49.99) on Black Friday, and sometimes (at least twice that I recall), the coupons worked also – when you purchase before 9am.
Yay Kat! I love Lord & Taylor and this Cashemere Sweater, and now that it is on sale, I will be goeing over to buy a few. This is one of the FEW V-neck sweater’s that I can buy b/c of Frank. Usueally, he says to me “buy more v-neck sweaters”, but I wont b/c he ONLEY like’s V-neck’s b/c of the V and what is between them for him to stare at! FOOEY on Frank! Why cant he stare at his wife’s boobie’s, and leave mine for my boyfreind, if I ever get one. DOUBEL FOOEY!
Dad told me today that I need to get MARRIED quickley b/c he wants to relocate out of LI before the housing market flatten’s. I told him why cant he keep the house, but he say’s he want’s to roll over the gain and he can afford to stay at the Mandarin Oriental every time he come’s back to see me and the Ritz up in Weschester when he goe’s to see Rosa. He said he would have considered staying in my home office, but there is NO LONGER a bed in there and he does NOT want to jeprodize my deducteion with the IRS for that part of my apartement! He is so considerate, b/c I do NOT like him noseing around my apartement — he found some of Alan’s old stuff in my apartement and wondered just how much time Sheketovits was spendeing with me. (and now he want’s him back? OMG, I get confused with him). TRIPEL FOOEY!
Myrna and I am goeing to spend Thanksgiving up with the family–this year, we are all heading to Chapaqua where Rosa is hosteing. Suposedly, she’s hired 3 peeople — one to be the Chef, one to help and one to clean up. Hopefully I will NOT be focussed on by Grandma Leyeh and Grandma Trudy–both now think I should NOT be so picky now that my egg’s are goieng stale. I can NOT beleive they are now all talking about me doieng the “horizontal Hora” with the next guy I meet. FOOEY b/c I am NOT that kind of girl! Yes, I want a baby soon, but NOT that way. Myrna say’s I could get married any day I want, but NOT to the looser’s that would marry me. If the HIVE can help find me a winner, I am all ear’s! HELP!!!
I’ve seen cashmere at Lord & Taylor and NM Last Call for about $69 – sometimes even lower than that at L&T if there’s an extra discount code.
Over the last 3 years, about 1 week before Christmas, their cashmere goes on a super secret sale for $49 or $49.99, all styles and colors. And then there has been free shipping on orders over $99, so 2 sweaters can arrive by Dec 24. You have to check daily though.
Yes, that’s how I got two nice sweaters last year at that price. But they didn’t arrive before Christmas, which is OK because they were a gift from me to me.
Thanks all! I’ll wait for a more felicitous time to hunt.
FOOEY! Lord&Taylor does not ship to Canada.
The Bay had the same sale last year with Lord and Taylor cashmere in December
This sweater reminds me a bit of the “cerulean blue” that was the subject of discussion by Miranda Priestly on TDWP. That particular shade of blue doesn’t exactly work with my skin, but I do like me a good v-neck pullover. I go to charcoal or cream or other neutrals, though.
Hey, on the subject that came up a few days ago re layering for warmth, I remembered an article I read and bookmarked. So far, all I’ve tried is the thin silky blouse under the sheath (wearing one today under a black drop-waist sheath with nude fishnets and white pointy-toed boots) but I am intrigued by the other ideas. Link to follow:
So all of these fashion bloggers I follow have posted what to wear to Christmas party guides, and they are all full of c*c k t * i l dresses. So that leaves me wondering: Am I the only one not getting invited to glitzy Christmas parties??? We get invited to parties, but usually people are wearing jeans, boots, and sweaters. My firm has started doing its fancy party in January (which I totally prefer), leaving me without an excuse to dress up! Is it the city we live in (Houston)? Those of you who live in SF, NYC, etc., do y’all go to fancy parties? Is it our friends? Or is it just that I’m not a fashion blogger?
I think you should just dress up to your regular jeans-and-boots holiday parties. Next year you will not be the only one in a glamorous dress.
We have a glitzy company party, and I sometimes have one additional fancy party to go to, plus NYE. Most people in DC dress up for NYE, and most companies have glitzy parties here. And even if it’s a casual party, I’ll probably wear a sparkly sweater and glitzy shoes with jeans. I’m ok being a little overdressed, and I do think it encourages others to feel like they can dress up a little, too!
Also, which fashion bloggers have the best guides? (Looking for a new sparkly sweater and glitzy shoes!)
Yeah, I don’t really go out for NYE anymore, but people do dress up for that. And my firm’s party is black tie but it’s in January. I just want a chance to do c ! c k t * i l dresses!!! And to answer your question, most of the ones I’ve seen are for dresses not sparkly sweaters, but Gal Meets Glam had a pretty one. I can’t remember who else off the top of my head.
Boden had both some really cute sparkly sweaters and shoes, I’d check there. Ann Taylor also had some nice blush options.
I have often wanted but never gone to a fancy cocktail dress holiday party! I keep meaning to host one just to give everyone a chance to wear sparkly dresses and dress up like the models in the Bay winter catalogue. So sparkly. So festive.
Agreed! And on that note, I mentioned a few weeks ago that we are thinking of having a baby-friendly NYE party. I was thinking I might make it a dressier dress code, but would people think that was annoying or fun? Could I just put “festive” so people could sort of wear whatever they want?
If you’re going to put “festive” just don’t have a dress code because that doesn’t mean anything!
I’d indicate that sparkly attire is welcome by a) calling it a cocktail party b) sending out a great invitation with gold champagne bubbles on it from paperless post, and c) telling your friends “omg so excited about my pretty NYE dress”.
I think this is a “know your crowd” situation. Some people derive energy from getting dressed up, and others (like me!) just want to chill out after a long year. I would love to go to a baby-friendly New Year’s Eve party if it meant drinking wine in my favorite jeans with good friends in a baby-proofed house. I’m sure other people would love the chance to get dressed up, though.
My friends did this as a housewarming – everyone loved the chance to pull out their dresses.
Everyone dresses up for my company holiday party here in Atlanta. I recently bought a red dress for the party, but after reading your post I’m considering returning it and getting something sparkly instead. NYE is normally a sparkly occasion as well, especially if you’re going out.
Or get sparkly shoes and a rhinestone hair accessory and blingy statement necklace and clutch!
There is no such thing as too much sparkle.
(former) preg 3L
Baconpancakes, will you find a link to an awesome rhinestone hair accessory so I can buy one? :)
Fancy Hair ...
Not bacon, but do you have a Charming Charlies nearby? They generally have a large in store selection.
I suggest headbands so they stay in place.
Tried to find all levels of blingyness and price. I wouldn’t spend a lot on this unless you love it and plan to wear it for years. http://www.amazon.com/Rhinestone-Pointed-Elastic-Ponytail-Holder/dp/B00BY2X44C/ref=sr_1_8?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1416509935&sr=1-8&keywords=rhinestone+star
Great idea! I have gold shoes that I’m definitely wearing if I keep the red dress. Maybe a sparkly clutch is in order, too!
Depends on who is throwing the party. Like, I’ve been to glitzy holiday parties when I used to work at a big firm – though I still was more comfortable in what I thought of as sparkly business wear (like a sparkly skirt with a blouse and cardigan or a black dress with a sparkly blazer.)
If I’m invited to holiday parties by friends, they are almost exclusively jeans affairs.
Husband's Holiday Party -- attire Q
Husband has a big and long holiday party at a new job for the entire very large company. Dinner will be served. The dress code left me confused (included “coctail / festive attire” as well as “no jeans”). I have met one other person there before (executive). This is a company that I would’t mind knowing people at better (could be a client some day), so I don’t want to wear a cocktail dress. I want to look like a competent professional out socializing.
So would you wear:
Pretty skirt suit and silk bouse? (Not sure whether the men wear suits for this though — they usually don’t).
Red tartan kilt, riding boots, sweater?
Black wool pants and jacket?
First Year Anon
Suit is overkill. I would go with option #2. If it was me and my wardrobe, I would wear a nice wrap dress.
No more edit function? I actually meant to +1 to the Anon who posted below – I would go with a sleek sheath with some sparkly or interesting jewelry (probably a statement necklace). Although I think a wrap dress could work too. I definitely wouldn’t go “business formal” when the invite says cocktail/festive.
+2 Wrap dresses are usually a safe and appropriate choice when the dress code is confusing.
I would not wear any of that to be honest. I would maybe wear a sheath dress with some fancy jewelry (with sleeves is probably fine). I would skip the suit
+1. If you still want the focus to be on looking professional (while looking like you belong at a party), wear a fancier work dress with sparkly jewelry. Colour is good too.
I agree; none of these choices sound right. Anything suit-based is not festive enough, and a kilt and boots sounds too casual. Any of the three options people have posted so far sound good: wrap dress (on the fancier end of wrap dresses), sheath dress with fancy jewelry and heels, or a conservative c*cktail dress.
Agreed. All those options are too business and the red kilt is too day. I’d wear a wrap dress with fun heels and sparkly jewelry or a pencil skirt with a fun blouse.
Yep. This is a holiday party not an interview (or whatever event you’d wear a kilt to). These options all just seem out of touch. If you want to look more professional, I’d do a semi-conservative LBD. Whatever you do, keep with the actual theme of the party.
If the message included the words “cocktail/festive attire”, then you should wear a conservative cocktail dress.
Agree – to still project professional, stick to a jewel-toned or black silk/satin, avoid lace, avoid sequins, wear close-toed shoes, but don’t wear anything you’d wear to work. The invite specified “[email protected] attire,” so wear that.
Where is the party being held? Little black dress, festive shirt with dressy pants and heels. My experience is that the men will be in suits or at least coat and tie for this type of party. Have you gotten contrary information on that?
This is the same dress code as my (large) company’s holiday party. Men wear suits, and women wear knee-length conservative cocktail dresses in festive materials (so, no wool sheath, but yes to a lace dress where your legs and décolletage are covered up).
Husband's Holiday Party -- attire Q
Thanks all! The party is being held at some large company facility that I’ve never been to. If it were Boeing, it might be at a nice hangar / company museum (different industry, but perhaps you get the idea) done up for a party.
I think that all of my c*cktail dresses are either summer or there’s some reason I wouldn’t wear them to this (back breaking out; need to go braless; etc.). [And I was nursing at the last winter c*cktail party I went to, yikes.]
Long tartan taffeta skirt and velvet top (or Carolina Herrera style with white french-cuff shirt)?
Or just DVF for the win?
I have no idea what the men will be wearing. Usually they (men and women) all have to wear shirts with logos on them (up to and including upper management).
Just buy a dress if you can- Macys has a ton right now.
(former) preg 3L
All of those look perfect.
I love the long skirt + white shirt option!
NO TARTAN (Ellen caps necessary)
DVF is fine, but you could also do a shiny black, navy, or jewel toned simple, c*cktail dress. The invitation said c*cktail/festive because they want you to wear something possibly festive, but definitely appropriate for a c*cktail. I know it’s tough because you don’t know these people and you haven’t been to one of their events before, but it’s generally safest to follow the dress code exactly.
If they can read invitations and understand how to follow dress codes, men will wear suits or dress pants + button up + tie (maybe + sweater). Those who are really pushing casual might be in khakis.
Taffeta tartan to me screams Christmas / NYE festive attire. Not true? Maybe I imprinted too much on Talbots as what grownups wear growing up?
Same thing with velvet.
Taffeta tartan also screams Christmas attire to me, but like this: http://www.dillards.com/product/Ralph-Lauren-Childrenswear-324-Months-Plaid-Dress_301_-1_301_504823975?df=04355245_zi_red_multi&categoryId=590773&scrollTop=200
I love tartan, but I feel like tartan and velvet together reminds me of the 80s Christmas dresses my mom made us because we couldn’t afford the mother and me ones from Talbots, which I love and like preppy, imprinted on during my childhood. If you really don’t want to buy a dress, which I can understand, wear a DVF with sparkly jewelry.
You absolutely should wear a co ktail dress! That is the dress code. Just pick one that isn’t super revealing. Your choices are all really going to look dowdy when everyone else flows the dress code.
Husband's Holiday Party -- attire Q
The invitation also said “no jeans.” If it has just said “c*cktail attire,” that is pretty simple. It’s like “black tie optional; no jeans” — guidance only at the extremes.
Also have heavily beaded mini-caftan. It is festive at least.
If you want to make a good impression, buy a suitable cocktail dress. Mini caftan? Long taffeta? I worry you will look like everyone’s mom circa 1989.
Something like this :
plus 1. In the nicest way possible it sounds like you need a style upgrade. Don’t wear a long taffeta skirt or a mini caftan. I would def go out and get a cocktail dress. I cant see the one linked but usually anything maggy london is a safe bet.
Have to agree with cc. The options you’re naming all sound like they’d make you stick out in a not-so-good way. Dress code says c* c ktail. So do a c* c ktail dress. The links already posted for Macy’s – many quite affordable – are all good. Or if budget is very tight, maybe a thrift store or ask a friend if you can borrow something.
It probably says no jeans because they want to make it clear to people (probably men) that, at the very least, they need to wear pants that nicer than jeans. I assume this is because they’re general work environment is fairly casual. Don’t read into it.
Regarding no jeans- my husband worked for a global manufacturing/engineering conglomerate, think GE, and we went to his annual party each year. The invite list ranged from the c-suite to the techs that worked in the fields and the warehouse folks on the loading docks. So you would see a wide variety of attire, but the universal theme was to get everyone dressed up, but not to a level that many would be uncomfortable with, like black tie or suits for all.
Husband's Holiday Party -- attire Q
Thanks — this is very helpful. I had been worried that the c*cktail attire / jeans combo would result in a casual party with some 20-somethings showing a lot of skin. All set for proper fancy grown-up at my age/stage attire.
Oh- it totally might! But you’ll look great in a nice cocktail dress and they will all look silly.
LBD with sparkly jewelry or shoes
Sparkly sweater with dressy skirt
Sparkly skirt (Kat posted one a few weeks ago) and neutral top.
None of these- it will be weird if you show up in a suit. Not going to even touch the kilt suggestion.
Just pick something that is not revealing- Macys has a ton right now
This has come up before, I think, in the context of Silver Linings and stinky sneakers, but what do you do for your heels that have come to smell, well, not-so-nice?
Since I wear these to work I don’t want to put baby powder or kitty litter or anything else potentially messy in there. I don’t know if Silver Linings and the like will work after the fact (I imagine they are supposed to be put in to prevent any odor before it starts). And I’d like to avoid Febreeze if I can; it doesn’t get along with my skin, and I don’t think my knee highs are a thick enough barrier.
I’ve used “Odor Eaters” in my leather-lined heels before without issue. It’s not curative, though. The smell always returns by within a day or two. I’ve also tried white vinegar and Lysol to similar result. Tried tea bags and crushed charcoal bags, left in them for an entire week, too. No dice.
I have a pair of Prada flats that I don’t want to throw away, but that I just cannot wear without feeling yuck about the smell.
I used to have a big problem with this. One of the nice side effects of starting spironlactone for my skin is that it is less of a problem… yes, embarrassing.
I keep a dryer sheet in every shoe. I make sure shoes dry out/air out well after each wearing (don’t keep in sealed boxes if odor is an issue). I keep baking soda boxes and cedar planks in my closets.
For a particularly smelly pair – have odor eaters spray around. Dump some baking soda into the shoe, spread around, leave overnight, dump out. Sometimes it just has to be done, or you dump the shoes. Let me tell you, you don’t ever want someone at work to be able to smell your shoes….
Try to get all leather shoes – this minimizes the problem. Don’t wear shoes barefoot. Some of us just can’t get away with that….
I used a couple of drops of tea tree oil on a baby wipe to wipe out my shoes with some success. I also swear by using the Dr Scholls foot spray on my feet since I wear my shoes with barefeet all the time.
For my go-to shoes, I dab a cotton pad with some rubbing alcohol or tee tree oik, and rub the inside with the pad after each wear. That will kill the bacteria responsible for odor.
In between wears, I let them completely dry, then stuff them with dryer sheets.
I have a UV light device that kills the living organisms in shoes responsible for odors. It’s called Steri-shoe. I got mine on Amazon, but my podiatrist’s office sells them for the same price (that’s how I heard of it). Bonus, it also eliminates the organisms that cause athlete’s foot.
First Year Anon
Do you find it works? I have this same issue!
I bought it more for getting rid of chronic athlete’s foot (apparently I’m highly susceptible) than for smell issues, but I read the amazon reviews and the reviewers seemed quite happy with the od0r-fighting results. I have one pair of shoes I struggled with smell-wise. I gave it several treatments in a row, and that seems to have done the trick. I’ve also eradicated the athlete’s foot (using this in addition to other measures). I’ve had it for a few months, and I use it every day when I take off my shoes. At first I hesitated to buy it given the price ($120), but now I’m convinced it was a good investment.
This is excellent! This is really smart…. a little pricey, but worth it if this is a long term problem.
I cleaned my shoes with a mixture of vinegar and water. Spray and wipe completely and let dry before wearing. You might have to do it a couple of times it the smell is bad. Vinegar is a natural cleaner and shouldn’t discolor the leather. Moving forward, use antiperspirant on your feet and liners in your shoes. I know it sounds strange but it works on your underarms and it also works on the bottoms of your feet. Life changer for me.
there are these things they sell at bed bath and beyond. I think they are called “stink-ease” or stinkies or something like that. basically they are a small bean bag filled with baking soda (so it doesnt get in your show) and they work wonders- for my worst ones i left them in there for about 3 days.
Need to Improve
Tea tree oil diluted in water and sprayed in every night.
I missed the followup discussion yesterday but Engineers Without Borders is a great organization. It’s structure is loosely based on how engineering projects work in “the real world” – projects are nominated by Peace Corps volunteers, various communities, etc., and if accepted, are entered into EWB’s national database. Individual EWB Chapters, whether professional or university chapters, bid on the project and the best team wins the bed. Design, travel, construction, community outreach, all of those good things are the next steps.
There’s a lot that goes into these projects and not all of them are international. Fundraising, marketing, blogging and other social media, education, health surveys, understanding the political and social norms, and so much research and documentation. So. Much. The best way for anyone to get involved is to contact your local Professional Chapter and attend a general meeting.
On the topic of Holiday parties, how do we feel about bandage dresses and Herve Leger? I feel like I work too hard on my body to not take the opportunity to wear dresses like that.
For a work event? No. For funsies? You do you.
for work events? no way. for personal? go for it unless you’re worried about looking too showy for some reason. Probably not my pick for a neighborhood c*cktail party, but for a NYE date? definitely
For socializing, I think it’s totally fine. I mean if you know you are going to show up to a party where everyone is wearing nice jeans a sweater, then it would be a bit weird. Use your judgement. but definitely not for a work holiday party.
I feel like they are getting a little dated at this point; I mostly see them on the college kids dressing up for clubs. I suppose it is know your area, they may be still on trend in less fashion forward parts of the country.
I feeike they’re overdone, tasteless, and great for dressing up like a Real Housewife. But they’re not inappropriate if you find a good occasion. Just a personal preference.
Then what would you suggest as something to accentuate a fit body?
Or, you know, just wear clothes like everyone else and relax a little? Or walk around with your workout routine taped to your back, I suppose.
Hahaha Marilla this response is perfect.
I don’t feel like I need to dress to accentuate the fact that I work out and eat well. I do it for me, not for my adoring fans.
Uh. Almost all clothes are designed to accentuate “fit bodies.”
Not really pencil skirts and sheath dresses can hide most things.
Not true at all. It’s just the opposite.
just wear stuff that’s designed to fit a little tighter than most things.
Fur coat with nothing underneath.
What becomes a legend most.
Rest in peace, Lauren Bacall.
Any non-bodycon dress will allow people to see the muscle tone in your arms, legs, and possibly back and shoulders as well. A fitted sheath could show that you have a flat stomach and toned rear. What specifically are you trying to accentuate?
Gah, moderation for bachelore-t-t-e. Double post.
There are plenty of options that are body hugging but not as body conscious as an Hervé Leger… I think of HLs as bachelore-t-t-e party/ clubbing/ Vegas dresses (and I agree that they probably hit their peak a few years ago).
The best dress to show off your in shape figure is very dependent on your figure and what exactly you want to show off. In general, think body skimming, not bandage.
A keen intellect and good sense of humor?
I would first suggest that dressing to show off all the goods is exactly what I consider tasteless.
This reminds me of my mother who made a big scene about the wrap dress I wore to Christmas only to later admit she was just jealous she no longer maintains herself the way I do.
So clearly, anon in the bandage dress, you just want to show off, make other people feel jealous, and you want people to validate you. People here are telling you that seeking such validation with a bandage dress will come off tacky, like your attitude.
Actually totes not jelly of your Perf figure!! You go ahead and dress like a hooker.
Oh, honey, yes you are jealous, you can’t even control yourself. Dress like a hooker? Wow. You sound unpleasant.
So when you asked what people thought of HL dresses, you actually didn’t care to hear what people think of them, you just wanted to share with us all how hot you are ?
Hi Alan. Welcome.
Pro-tip, bandaged-dressed-anon: no “fit body” can make up for such an ugly personality.
Do it. Certain HL styles are perfectly fine for work events.
Virtual shopping request: I live in the Bay Area and need a coat. I don’t want a wool winter coat, because it just doesn’t get that cold here. But I do need some sort of a trench coat or lightweight winter coat to wear to work. I want something with a shape and something professional looking. Does this exist? I’m plus sized and all the options just look awful or shapeless or way too warm. My visit to Nordstrom was a total failure. Help!
This is a great classic trench available in plus
Wrong. You live in Stars Hollow, Connecticut.
Does it bother anyone else that winter only seemed to last for, maybe, three weeks a year on that show? Like, really, it’s Connecticut – I’m pretty sure there’s snow longer than that around there…
OMG YES. And they never wear appropriate winter clothing even when the episode is supposed to be set in winter. I’m rewatching old episodes on demand and there are episodes set in January where they’re walking around in jeans and blazers with no coat/hat/gloves.
happily ever after with Luke Danes of course.
Agree with the commenters above. Not for work, but you do you for personal events.
I would add that, while it’s great that you’re proud of the body you’ve worked hard for, wearing something tight and revealing isn’t the only way to show off your hard work.
[This was meant to be a reply to Lorelei, above]
I have this trench coat and it’s GREAT and perfect for Bay Area weather (I wore it when I was out there on business last month). It has a detachable liner and detachable hood, and with the liner it’s relatively warm but not too warm. It has a great shape and looks very professional (and much nicer/more expensive than it is). I have it in petite, but it comes in plus sizes too:
Ditto. Very flattering.
Keeping the Peace
I need some advice on a situation I’m not sure there is a happy resolution for…
Dh and I have “fancy” kitchen items. Not crystal and china, but nice wood cutting boards, nice chef-style knives, stainless pots and pans, nicer cast iron pans, and some staub dutch oven type stuff. DH was raised in a house where pretty much everything was hand washed, even stuff that was dishwasher safe, and his mom still has the same pots and pans she had 60 years ago because she takes care of them in a borderline crazy way.
I, on the other hand, was raised in a “if it doesn’t make it through the dishwasher, it isn’t something we need in the house” type environment. We had like, 4 nonstick skillets used for everything. DH and I have gotten ourselves to a happy place where I have learned to cook and clean our nice things, and DH has learned to give a little (eg. he doesn’t freak out when I put our $1.99 wood spoons or our tupperware in the dishwasher). Fast forward to……my mom, who taught me all my (bad) kitchen habits.
Mom likes to visit and “do us favors” by cooking meals for us. Her heart is in the right place, but her cooking and cooking habits are not. If it were just eating her cooking, I can (and do) deal; I grew up on it. But she is really awful about our kitchen equipment and ruins something pretty much every time she cooks. Off the top of my head, she’s chipped a vegetable knife by using it to cut bone-in meat, she’s put a wooden cutting board in the dishwasher totally and forever warping it so it’s unusable (not flat), chipped our staub dutch oven, used stainless steel to clean our cast iron pans and the outside of our skillet taking off the finish, and used the hand mixer in the kitchenaid bowl totally scratching it up. It’s impossible to ask/get her not to cook; we’ve tried. When DH or I are home, we “run interference”: “oh, you did all this cooking; here, let us clean!” or “oh, don’t use that pan; it’s super heavy and a pain to clean” or “let me clean this one, it needs a little TLC”. However, we now have a kiddo and she comes up to babysit overnight sometimes. She always tries to “surprise” us by cooking, and EVERY TIME she ruins something. We don’t have enough “mom proof” cooking stuff to just hide the nice stuff when she comes over, but we can’t get through to her that some of our stuff needs more TLC than she’s used to.
Any thoughts on how to navigate? Do we just put away the fanciest stuff and consider anything else she ruins the cost of maintaining good relations?
I’d just tell her next time you see her heading for the kitchen. My mom has not trouble doing that with us in her kitchen. She’ll say “that needs to be hand washed” or “don’t put that in the dishwasher”, etc.. and she’s very stern about it. I’m sure your mom doesn’t WANT to ruin your stuff.
Keeping the Peace
That works, and has been our strategy. But the real problem is when we leave the house. I feel so silly swapping out/putting away dishes and things when we go out for the night and she comes over to watch the kids…i mean, it is ncie stuff but replacing it is not going to bankrupt us.
And yes, we’ve told her OVER and OVER and one time I tried to even leave instructions…but I didn’t spell everything out and thought it was assumed you don’t put a 2″ think cutting board in the dishwasher…but she did :) She had to re-arrange all the little plastic dividers to get it there but she did!
It’s frustrating and drives DH INSANE…but I do kind of just laugh at this point.
Hire a babysitter and don’t leave her home alone. The cost will probably be about the same in the long run though. It sounds like you’ve got a good thing going with the sitting and an issue with the kitchen stuff. In this case I think you might have to choose.
I would get a set of mom-proof stuff (seriously, kitchen ware is not that expensive if you don’t have nice stuff) and hide the stuff that you’d be really upset about getting ruined (or stuff that’s more expensive). Don’t say anything about anything else. also, is she aware that stuff is ruined when she’s done with it?
Agree. I’m more like your mom (though I’ve had cheap pots that have lasted for decades, and I swear I have Rubbermaids older than many commenters here), but I understand the desire to have nice things and to keep them nice. It doesn’t sound like she’s capable of taking good care of expensive things even if she tries, so if you don’t want to supervise her constantly, just get stuff for her own use.
Former Partner, Now In-House
Just this morning, I used a Tupperware (R) that I have had since before 1990.
I got married in 1988 and I still have some left from our first apartment.
This is probably what I would do. Also, try to step back and keep some perspective: you have a mother who wants to help, whose heart is in the right place, and whose greatest flaw is apparently that…she doesn’t take care of your kitchenware properly? That sounds like a “happy resolution” right there, for many of us. I’m sure it’s exasperating, but seriously, I was expecting something much more dire from your lead-in to this post.
+1 Great perspective and well said.
Keeping the Peace
Ha, my first line WAS “i know this is not a bad problem to have and will sound obnoxious”….but I took that out ;)
Since she’s cooking for you, can you insist on doing the dishes?
Tell her she’s not actually helping you out because she’s treating your kitchenware like crap.
Really though, do you want her to stop cooking and cleaning or just stop ruining your stuff?
Keeping the Peace
Ideally…both :) But I know it would crush her if she couldn’t “help” so we’re hoping to just get her not to ruin the stuff.
She cooks a lot of stuff that we don’t really eat, so it just sits around in the freezer. I once tried to ask her not to and quickly backed down; she wants/needs to do this for us, so we let her and we eat what we like and don’t eat what we don’t like (and have told her, nicely and repeatedly, and with other suggestions of what we DO like).
When she’s babysitting overnight, can you haveprepared food automatically delivered so she won’t be tempted to cook?
Does she know that she’s ruined some of your kitchenware?
If you have a reasonably good relationship, it will certainly stand up to you saying “look Mom, last time you were here, you ruined our cutting board by placing it in the dishwasher. I love that you help us out by cooking, but we’ve invested some money into our kitchenware, and certain precautions need to be taken”. If she’s used to $20 nonstick pans, she might not realize that yours was actually $120. Just tell her!
I agree with this. Unless she is hopelessly dense, I don’t understand why an honest conversation isn’t in order. Even if it’s just “Mom, you ruin something every single time you cook and I am going to have to INSIST that you either stop cooking or just agree to leave the cleanup for me because your cleanup methods are wrecking our stuff.”
But really, my vote is for a set of Mom-proof stuff. Again, with a conversation: “Mom, these are the utensils we want you to use when you cook at our house. The other stuff is ridiculously delicate and I don’t want you using it because you’ve ruined some of it in the past. If you use this stuff neither of us will have to worry about any of it going in the dishwasher or whatever.”
Because there’s no way to list all the precautions for every single item in the kitchen. General guidelines are probably not enough. (Some people don’t generalize well, and with specialized items, it may not even be possible to provide generalized guidelines).
In that case, then the answer to the OP’s question, which was this:
“Do we just put away the fanciest stuff and consider anything else she ruins the cost of maintaining good relations?”
Is yes. Yes, do that. And be very grateful.
I promise when your baby is grown and your mom is gone, you will look at that scratched-up KitchenAid mixing bowl and smile at the memory of your mom staying overnight with your baby.
I think the “just tell her” advice depends a lot on the mother. Some people just aren’t able to take any kind of such commentary when they’re trying to help without feeling crushed. If this were my mom, there would literally be nothing I could say that wouldn’t make her burst into tears or otherwise be upset.
Well, in that case you need to decide whether her bursting into tears/being upset means you can’t tell her. Maybe you tell her, she cries and is upset, and then the situation gets better because there was actual communication even though it wasn’t super fun in the moment.
I will get a set of Staub for your mother to ruin if she will come babysit for me for the weekend AND cook for me AND cleanup afterwards.
You have hit the jackpot in the mother department.
Invest in some kitchen crap from Marshall’s or the grocery store and relax and enjoy.
FWIW, I put my wood cutting board in the dishwasher all the time. Maybe it’s an expensive hot house flower, but that seems like it’s more the board than your mother at fault. [And no handwashing is going to get a cutting board clean like a DW can. Just get the cheap ones you can put in the DW.]
Oh, this is just like my parents. Get a set of mom-proof cooking items and politely let her know which items are ‘special’ and show her the ‘easy-care’ items. If she’s like my parents, she’ll appreciate having familiar and indestructible items and gladly leave the other stuff alone. Obviously continue to offer to do dishes, but it should be rare to come home from work and find the expensive wood salad servers in the already-run dishwasher and the cast iron soaking in soapy water for who knows how long.
And, ultimately, my parents cook for us, provide free childcare, and are giving/loving people – so I replace some kitchen stuff every now and then and feel fine about it. I think if it as being my own fault for wanting high-maintenance kitchen gear.
I have nothing to add to the advice here (I think it’s pretty well covered), but I winced in remembered horror as I read your post. The last time my mother visited, she threw my entire bag of dry clean only cashmere sweaters into the washer and chipped my good Wusthoff vegetable knife cutting a steak.
Gail the Goldfish
Last night I asked BF to hand me a knife to cut steaks. He handed me a paring knife. “I have three levels of knifes: butter knife, not butter knife, and really big not butter knife.” Sigh.
I have one of those happy problems that’s still a bit of a problem. I’m in BigLaw, and after a VERY busy last few months at work (250-300 hours/month), I’m looking at smooth sailing and relatively easy hours until the new year (barring any unforeseen events). Because I’ve billed so much the past few months, I’m not too worried about having lower hours, but I do still have work to do and I do need to be productive when I’m in the office. So far this week I’ve been averaging billing one hour for every 1.5 hours in the office, which is such a waste of time — leaving at 9pm when I could have left at 6 if only I made myself stop taking breaks! I’m so used to being so stressed out on tight deadlines that I’m having trouble forcing myself to work now that my deadlines are all longer term. I used to be so much better at time management! Anyone have any strategies to help me focus now that everything is not due RIGHT NOW?
I’d say it’s normal to need some time to stabilize / decompress following several months of nonstop work. But practically speaking, I’d recommend (1) summoning up a dose of patience and compassion for yourself, perhaps by imagining what you would say to a best friend / loved one in this situation, (2) scheduling fun things for yourself (whatever that means for you) and calendaring them in advance, so that you have hard/concrete – albeit personal – deadlines to create an incentive and structure for getting the work done, and (3) Pomodoro technique for batching the actual work during the day, and allowing yourself reasonable breaks but no more. Good luck!
Need to Improve
It is totally normal to be unproductive after stretches like that. I am in the same situation right now. Just force yourself to do your 1.5 hours of work for the day BEFORE 5 so you can leave early. Make a to-do list at the beginning of the day, say “these are the 2 things I need to accomplish today” and get them done, taking breaks in between, then go home. And do not feel guilty! You earned it.