Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Mia Ottoman Dress

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

I’m sure we’ve featured Boden’s ottoman dresses before, but this one caught my eye (on a Facebook ad or something) because it’s just so perfect. I love the texture to the pattern, as well as the seams and darts, and I like the inset waist and even the sort of round detail at the neck. It does have an exposed zipper in the back (accentuated with a long tassel, even) but it’s machine washable and fully lined, and it just looks like a really great dress. It’s $140 and is available in five colors in petite, regular, and long sizes 2–18. I think it looks like a hit. Mia Ottoman Dress

For plus sizes, here are two sleeveless options in stripes and a floral.

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Comments

  1. This dress is beautiful . . . except for the exposed zipper. This “trend” has been around for years, and I have yet to purchase a dress or shirt with an exposed zipper. To me, it cheapens the entire outfit. It is past time for designers to retire this “trend.”

    • Anonymous :

      I think it’s one of those features that is cheaper for the manufacturer than the alternative (a smaller, concealed zipper). So it’s not even so much a trend as it is a shortcut, and may not go away! Similar with how many wool/winter dresses are sleeveless. It’s cheaper.

      • Well, there’s also a strong demand for sleeveless wool and winter dresses. I suspect desire for an expose zipper is neutral at best, but there are a lot of people, myself included, who don’t want sleeves.

    • Anonymous :

      I hate the trend as well. Wondering how easy it might be to switch the zipper out to a hidden zipper. Probably not cheap but if it doesn’t need drycleaning the cost per wear is still low.

      • Legally Brunette :

        I had the same thought. Has anyone tried switching an exposed zipper on a dress for a hidden one? how much would something like that cost?

        This dress has me swooning, but the high waist on Boden dresses never work for me. I know this is a common complaint, but I guess they have figured out their target audience and are sticking to that. It’s a bummer because their colors are so beautiful.

        • It’s a pain to replace zippers, even if you were replacing with a similar one (like because the previous zipper broke). The zipper is easier to install (by machine) if the rest of the seam isn’t already finished.

          Invisible vs not – you are going to have seam allowance concerns. As in whether there is enough seam allowance to close the gap AND install the new zipper.

          And…not all fabric is suited for using an invisible zipper. Thicker fabric really don’t work well, and when you have a waistband/seam like this, you up the bulk of fabric at that point and makes the invisible zipper harder to use (and to look nice, honestly). This is likely a heavier weight stable knit, which isn’t as suitable as a wool gabardine/suiting to using an invisible zipper.

          Which is probably part of why they’ve gone with a visible zipper. I will note that it’s very neatly topstitched, the zipper tape isn’t exposed (just the teeth). The only cheap-out is that it isn’t a lapped zipper. Which covered the zipper, but didn’t really hide it’s existence.

          • Ah – this explanation is great. I’m wearing a Boden ottoman rib dress right now that has an invisible zipper but just has a simple seam at the waist. I can envision an invisible zipper could be very bumpy with the inch wide waistband.

      • Count me in also. These zippers make an otherwise well tailored dress look cheap, and it also encourages sleazeballs to grab and try and unzip me, right in the office no less! I told the manageing partner about Frank’s anticks, and he has tried to put a stop to it, but Frank always wants me to squirm like I am beholden to him like he owns me and has a RIGHT to undress me! Can you imageine? I am a partner now and he still treats me like a 15 year old high school student. FOOEY on him!

        It is NOT professional, Mom says and I agree. I told Dad about him about Frank a year ago and he was very mad so I do NOT bring it up any more with him. FOOEY on men that just want us to take our clothe’s off for them. It does NOT work both ways, as I have aboslutely no interest in takeing any man’s clotheing off b/c I already know what is underneathe, and, to the women in the hive who have not already expereinced men w/o clotheing, trust me, it is virtueally NOTHING to be lusteing after! DOUBEL FOOEY!

      • It might not be possible to change out the zipper. Most zippers, invisible or otherwise, are covered with a fold of fabric–the exposed zipper garments may simply not have enough extra fabric in the seams to allow for a covered zipper.

        You could take a garment to a good tailor for an estimate, but I wouldn’t cut the tags off the clothing before you get a verdict.

    • Ouch! That hurts :

      For us old ones, the tassel on the zipper is a godsend. I don’t think that invisible zippers would allow for a pull to be put on the zipper tab. Yes, I hate the brashness of the big exposed zipper, but my shoulders and wrists are indeed happier every morning. I think all but three of my dresses are from Boden. The ottoman fabric is a gift to the ageing body.

    • Omg get over it princess. No one is thinking about unzipping you.

      • +1000

      • Ouch! That hurts :

        I wasn’t suggesting that. Im suggesting that the pull on the zipper (which people don’t like) is something I like. It allows Me to zip up and unzip my dress myself. Due to orthopedic issues with my wrists and shoulders. I’m no princess. I got these chronic injuries remodeling and now repairing our house – ourselves, myself … and my DH. It’s no job skills for a princess.

        Sheesh. I was just pointing out that there may be some utility for the exposed zipper with the tassel for someone other than yourselves.

        Gosh.

      • RollingMyEyes :

        Seriously? Who pi$$ed in your Wheaties this morning?

        • Anonymous :

          I kind of had the same reaction. Because EVERY time a dress with an exposed zipper shows up, someone makes this comment (about not liking exposed zippers).

          My argument against them is that I don’t like cold metal teeth against my back, and I’m guessing, that there’s not a guard in the dress (so you have fabric against the skin). But I don’t feel to comment every time this comes up. I just know this is a dress that’s not for me.

          And I DO think the high-contrast nature of the exposed zipper has toned down. It’s no longer a big stripe of black (zipper tape) and teeth in the middle of different colored dress. So this is miles better than the earlier versions of the technique.

    • I have this dress is green and it is beautiful and so flattering. I HATE the exposed dresser, so I wear it less than I otherwise would, but I am still looking forward to breaking it out once the weather cools.

    • I don’t understand the hate on exposed zippers. I think they look fresh.

    • Ohh, yeah, you really got Boden there with your sarcastic quotation marks.

    • Agreed. I will never wear a dress or shirt with an exposed zipper in the back. It pulls and breaks my hair.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. I’m ambivalent about the aesthetics of an exposed zipper, but I’m tired of them catching my hair and pilling my cardigans.

    • The dress looks great, but does not appear to run above a size 10 in petite. Once again, no cusp size petite options . . .

  2. jogger pants :

    I wasn’t the OP, but yesterday late afternoon someone asked for recs for cute jogger pants. I’m also interested – any thoughts? I’m looking for more of a performance material than a sweat material. I haven’t purchased a Lululemon article of clothing in over 5 years, but I really like the look of their Street to Studio pants. Other ideas? Thanks!

    • Check out the women’s “dry sweatpants” from Uniqlo.

      • I recently wore these every.single.day of a vacation to a place where it is currently winter. They worked for everything from nice dinners out to hiking.

    • Athleta has some I like a lot. Lucy activewear used to have great ones, but they got folded into The North Face, so maybe check there too.

    • KateMiddletown :

      I would give anything for sweatpants-appropriate weather right now.

  3. Anyone want to help me plan a European vacation? DH and I would like to take a 7-10 day trip (kid-free) to Europe next June before we TTC baby #2. I’ve been to southern Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, while DH has only been to Berlin. We are open to going to Germany again (he has extended family in Berlin), but I don’t have any strong desire to visit Austria or CR again. I like to see the sights (especially historical ones), but DH prefers to spend a lot of time relaxing. We live near the beach, so beaches aren’t essential. Good food is critical. If it matters, we will be traveling from a mid-size city in Florida, so there are few direct flights to Europe.

    Any suggestions?

    • Greece!!!!

    • Anonymous :

      France. Paris for most of it with a two night trip to somewhere else that catches your fancy.

      • This would be my recommendation as well.

        Though Barcelona and Mallorca is also a fun 7-10 day combo vacation.

    • I’d say Italy or southern Spain. A mix of cities with lots of history, cute towns, good wine and food (unless you’re vegetarian. Then good food in Italy, but Spain is more of a struggle). Weather will be good but not overwhelmingly hot, and June is pre-massive tourist crush season.

    • Anonymous :

      Italy – Cinque Terre + Rome and/or Florence

      Spain?

      Greece – Athens plus one of the islands?

      June is a great time for southern Europe – it’s warm but not oppressively hot. All the tourist stuff is open (unlike say March in the Greek Islands), but not crowded like July/August.

      If you’re looking for less heat – maybe England/Scotland?

    • Anonymous :

      For good food and sight seeing, I would put Italy, France, and Spain at the top of your list.

    • I would do anything for a full week in Barcelona. Food + weather + people + sights + cafe life.

    • Italy – you could do Rome (sights) and then a coastal area (relaxation). Great food of course. And super romantic!

    • I’d do Krakow and Budapest! Both lovely cities, and Budapest has all the different baths to try–it’s heavenly. Krakow is absolutely stunning. It’s like Prague, before Prague was overly-Disneyfied with tourits.

      • For food and relaxed atmosphere, try Italy [Alto Adigio with the Dolomites or Lago di Garda], Portugal or Spain [but Barcelona is now so full of tourists non-stop as is Prague in CZ]. Routes less travelled – Budapest [but food is not so great], which can be combined with Vienna, I would avoid Bratislava on the Slovak side, nothing to see, but you can venture to Slovak mountains [Tatra mountains are great this time of year] and forests [great hiking in central part of the country]. I love Prague, but he tourist influx is already too much and the high season starts in early May, but my friends say it is still worth it. You can combine it with visit to Sumava national park for hiking, Karlstejn castle, Krumlov for sightseeing and southern Morava for biking. Poland is amazing – Krakow is overrated from my experience, try Wroclaw instead or add it to the mix [Polish food and gastronomy is interesting, they are big-time foodies, but laid back and the cuisine is quite light, at least vs Czech]. I think Romania is also an interesting choice – Bucharest and then the countryside. I would also recommend Amsterdam, Copenhagenand Scotland and Sweden [great hiking, but I do not enjoy Swedish cuisine]. For what is worth, I lived in Slovakia, Czech republic, Hungary and Poland for quite some time and travelled Europe through and through.

    • Greece for sure. 24-48 hours in Athens and then pick two islands. We went to Chania in Crete and then Santorini. Though Greece can be very busy that time of year. Or you could do Rome + Florence + Venice. Portugal is also very doable in 7-10 days.

    • Anonymous :

      Copenhagen! Norwegian has direct flights from Florida.

  4. here to say: :

    AYANNA PRESSLEYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!

    needless to say I’m excited. why is she so gorgeous.

    • Anonymous :

      I almost posted the same thing before I saw yours! Have heard her speak twice in a panel discussion format- she is incredibly impressive. She knows her stuff inside and out

    • I am super stoked as well. It’s not my district but I’m on a chat group with people who are. A lot of them were emphasizing Capuano’s seniority as the main reason to vote, which I thought was a bull reason, and I didn’t think she could win. I’m SO EXCITED she did!

    • I used to live in Capuano’s district, but I haven’t kept up with the race there. As far as I know, the candidates aren’t all that different in terms of their political positions, right? Nevertheless, I’m excited to see some upsets and I hope the Democratic Party leadership gets their heads out of their *sses this time to acknowledge it and plan for it.

      • Yes, that’s true about their positions. Capuano was as reliably liberal a voter as one could want. I actually have some qualms about that particular upset because from my reading Pressley couldn’t identify any issues that separated her from him, but ran on the premise that a majority-minority district should have a minority representative.

        • That sounds legit to me.

        • Yeah, so what’s your problem?

          • I am definitely still processing these issues, but the twinge of trouble that I see is this: we like to say we are voting for candidates on their merits and views, rather than solely their identities. Especially when Congress rewards longevity, replacing someone who carries those benefits for your district AND subscribes to all your positions simply because of identity is slightly troubling to me. I wonder what’s next and isn’t it a little dangerous to kick the “good” old white men out just because they aren’t younger black women. And now the district gets less muscle in terms of potential committee chairmanship, etc., if the Dems take the house. Again, if there were policy differences, I’d have no issue whatsoever.

          • I think its fair to point out that a district wants someone that look like them for 1) comfort that they are actually represented and 2) knowledge that no matter how he votes, a person with a significantly different background simply won’t see many issues the same or put himself on the line for issues that don’t affect his personal community. Not specific to him, but we all know a woman will fight harder for issues that can personally affect her body, or a POC will fight harder seeing themselves portrayed terribly and killed in the streets – an old white guy just doesn’t have the personal reason to be so motivated. Also, seeing yourself represented is just as important as being represented (see response to Crazy Rich Asians)- especially when it motivates traditionally apathetic populations to participate and vote.

            Also, how else are we going to get more Maxine Water’s?

          • Nope. That’s wrong and racist. Try harder.

          • People want change. Let’s face it, the current slate of democrats have been fairly ineffective. The party needs new blood, and yes, if minority voters want to be represented by someone who is from their own background, that’s a perfectly legitimate way to vote.

        • How much longer should younger people and diverse candidates wait? Also, she’s 44.

          I met Ayanna at a conference and a political event. I’m not in her district, but she really impressed me. She is super smart and articulate. Go Ayanna!

          • Anonymous :

            Can we not with the “POC is so articulate and well-spoken” crap?

            Of course she is articulate, why wouldn’t she be??

          • Because a lot of people in general aren’t articulate? Even a lot of her peers running for office?

          • Anonymous :

            I’m the anon @ 12:28, and I’m a WOC, and I met her at a Latinx conference.

            She is, in fact, articulate. Not articulate for a WOC, but articulate for a super intelligent human being.

            Many, many politicians and candidates are not, in fact, articulate, especially when speaking extemporaneously during a Q&A at a conference.

        • Cookbooks :

          I live in this district, and while I voted for Capuano, I do like Pressley. I kept up with the race, and I felt that while she did think that having a minority representative could be beneficial in a district like ours, what she tried to focus on was that the differences between them were not the issues themselves so much as it was how they approached the issues. She wants to take a different tack, to lead the way she did in city council–by coalition.

        • Anonymama :

          But as reliably liberal as he was, I also had never heard of him as being a particular leader on any issues. I mean, I am okay with replacing someone who is fine but mediocre at a job with someone who has the potential to be a real leader, someone with more energy and a bigger future. Especially because I think a lot of the racial inequities in our system are exacerbated by this kind of thinkomg: well, the guy who’s always been there is fine why should we change anything? When clearly something actually needs to change for anything to be different.

    • here to say :

      also just to add – I hope everyone has seen the video of her finding out about the win.
      Her husband so excited for her, yelling. All the staffers yelling we won. Ayanna bawling.

      omg it’s too much girl power, I cry just thinking about it.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I’m not anywhere near this district, but I love this. You know how in polls everybody says they hate Congress but in practice they keep re-electing their same old representatives? This district finally stepped up and voted for actual change! Woo hoo!

      • Anonymous :

        People didn’t actually hate Capuano though. I voted for Pressley, but I would’ve been perfectly fine if he won again. There’s basically zero daylight between his positions and hers.

  5. Another Houston question :

    Both the Magnolia and the Hotel Icon are available; which one is the nicer hotel?

    • Anonymous :

      They’re both very nice but different vibes. The Icon is a little funky and eclectic; the Magnolia is more traditional luxury. I would pick the Icon but you can’t go wrong.

    • Anonymous :

      Recently stayed at the Icon and really enjoyed it. It’s nice but not stuffy, they provide free transportation, and even the food at the bar is quite good.

  6. I’ve started dating a great guy, and while I’m enjoying it, I’m anxious about being vulnerable. Any tips or stories on getting past this? I know it’s the only way to get to the good stuff.

    • Anonymous :

      This is very little to go on . Some more information would be helpful. Being vulnerable about what? In what setting? And where does the anxiety come from (e.g., past abuse, fear of being seen as weak, fear of not being treated well, etc.)

    • I really appreciated Brene Brown’s writing/speaking on this, either through her TED talk on vulnerability or her book Daring Greatly.

      • +1

        Was going to recommend this. Brene Brown is amazing.

        OP, the frustrating part is that there’s no tips, or short cut, if this is something that you struggle with. It’s real emotional work that you have to do. But on the other hand, take comfort in the fact that just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean you’re doing anything “wrong.”

      • +1,000

  7. Galapagos :

    Anyone been and has a good tour company to recommend? Any other tips? It’s been on my bucket list forever, but I’ve limited budget, so trying to prioritize maximum wildlife/nature viewing in the minimum days. Any ideas to keep it pocket friendly would also be very appreciated.TIA!

    • DoesntBelongHere :

      I went on a National Geographic tour – highly recommended! Since Ecuador limits/controls the number of companies that go there I’m not sure how budget friendly they can be. I’m guessing the savings could come from transportation to Ecuador (if you have points or find a cheap flight).

    • I went with G Adventures and had a great time. I’m heard good things about the National Geographic tours and others, but the cost was too much. G Adventures was significantly cheaper, and I can’t imagine a greater trip. The boat was only about 14 people and 10 or so staff, and they took great care of us.

      Regardless of the company you use, chose a small boat. There are a ton of restrictions on how many people can go to an island, and there is nothing like being on an island alone with the 12-15 other people from your ship.

    • I went to the Galapagos for my dream vacation and it was wonderful. I was on a “big” ship on a Celebrity cruise. I chose that because I was traveling with kids (11 and 14) and my DH gets seasick. I figured that there was better chance of kids having people to hang out with and less chance of seasickness in a larger, more stable vessel. Even with 99 passengers, all excursions were with small groups as mandated by the Ecuadorian government. The ship was like a mini cruise ship – restaurant with open seating, lounge area, grill open for lunch. There was a crew of naturalists on board and each evening before dinner there was a presentation on the next day’s excursion. The multiple guides also allowed for choices for a more physical hike/climb or a gentler walk/boat ride. Each choice was amazing. I could go on and on…

    • This deal was in today’s travelzoo top 20: $2999 – Galapagos to Machu Picchu: 12-Night Adventure w/Air

      https://www.travelzoo.com/vacations/south-america/-2999-Galapagos-to-Machu-Picchu-12-Night-Adventure-w-Air-2662434/?utm_source=top20_us&utm_medium=email&utm_content=2662434&utm_campaign=us_top20_2018_36_deal%3a2662434

    • Lila Fowler :

      Yes, I have some recommendations:

      1. You make a choice between a land based or a boat based trip. I would recommend the boat (that’s what I did) so you can see more islands. I understand you may see several islands via day trips on a land based trip but you are more limited in what you are exposed to and I wanted to see all the diversity

      2. Going with smaller boats = better. Some of the islands restrict landing permits to boats with fewer than X passengers, where X is around 14 or so

      3. Be very careful about the boat itineraries. Some companies make multiple stops to the airport/same islands in a week long period and you want a boat that goes to the maximum number of different islands and not repeats.

      There is a very dated but good book that talks about things to look for – I’ll see if I can find it.

  8. Back to school shopper :

    Any advice on helping DH transition to a more casual work wardrobe? He’s still rocking the khakis and button down look all the time. He’s a teacher so he doesn’t have to dress up but he also doesn’t want to be super casual either. Any ideas for pants, outfits, stores would be greatly appreciated. I’m at a pretty business formal firm so I’m having trouble advising him on a polished but more casual look. He wants to fit in with the younger teachers more (who are much more casual) but not look quite as casual as some of them.

    • Anonymous :

      I was recently trying to figure out why one of the guys I work with comes across as well dressed. He dresses very casually — usually t-shirt and jeans, or a plaid shirt and jeans. Or a t-shirt, canvas jacket, and jeans. Finally, I realized it’s because all of his clothes ::fit::. Nothing sags or bags. None of the fabrics are schlumpy or worn out. So that’s my suggestion — wear exactly what the younger casual teachers are wearing, but make sure it fits well. Get it tailored if needed.

      • ^ This. Also an iron helps. I’ll never forget when an ex boyfriend explained to me that he didn’t need to iron because he only wore patterned shirts that “hid the wrinkles.”
        Dude. You’re not hiding anything, you’re just making an otherwise nice shirt look bad.
        I’m sure your husband isn’t as bad as that, but keep in mind that neat, ironed, and well-fitting clothes go a long way toward making a casual look seem polished.

        • Anonymous :

          LOL I hate to iron and I have also justified my wrinkles that way.

        • My better half does well at the Banana Republic Factory Store. Khakis or some kind of trouser, polo shirts (dri-fit are nice) and he likes the Cole Haan shoes that look like an oxford on top and an athletic shoe sole. It’s a nice business-casual middle ground.

      • Along the same lines as properly fitting, pressed clothes – I think the European men nail this by wearing neat, leather shoes. i.e. not clunky, scuffed, cheap shoes or trainers. Even with jeans, they looks so smart in a shiny brogue.

        • You can definitely go too far with this look, though, especially if you’re not actually European. Wear nice shoes, but don’t look like you’re playing dress up.

    • Anonymous :

      My husband’s workplace is pretty casual and he shops at Bonobos a lot. I like their look. He gets a lot of his shoes from Cole Haan. They have some nice-looking sneakers that are good for a casual workplace.

      • My husband loves Bonobos! Other faves are Club Monaco, J Crew, and LLL/Nike for true sweats and activewear. He wears a suit and tie to work every day and has to keep it conservative (client-facing in finance), so on weekends he adds a bit more personality. For casual wear pants, he wears jeans 99% of the time (or shorts in summer). Chinos are fine, but try to get a little more inspired with colors other than drab khakis – my husband has a pale blue/gray and olive green that are different without being wacky. For dressier outfits that aren’t suit-and-tie, he wears non-suit slacks or sometimes a more modern blazer but no tie (Bonobos has a patch pocket canvas blazer that is really cool). I think the key to the bottoms looking modern is having a straighter/slimmer leg (and no pleats). Khakis of the ’90s and ’00s look dated now because the leg was so wide, especially through the thigh. Same goes for shirts – slim cuts are in and more contemporary. I think men have become more comfortable with their clothes being a little more tailored to their body, whereas before it was just swimming in clothes. (Ever see golf footage from 10-15 years ago? It looks so dated because the clothes are so baggy!) I have also noticed that the preferred men’s polo isn’t cotton pique anymore but a sleeker cut in more technical fabrics (LLL has one that I have seen on lots of friends and coworkers). Shoes have become more modern too. Contrast the modern low-profile fashion sneaker and the sleek loafer with a flexible sole of today to their more dated counterparts (the white athletic ‘dad sneaker’ and the same-old heavy loafer). Your husband likely grew up learning that jeans were not nice enough and that the only space between a full suit and sweats are khakis (i.e. the full on country club look with the loafers and navy blazer with gold buttons) but business casual and casual wear for men has really expanded that area and introduced a lot of cool stuff in more tailored fits. He can still wear the same concepts, just a bit more updated in fabric, fit, and color. Lastly, I have been watching Qu33r Eye lately and I’ve noticed my husband has picked up the styling tips they give (i.e. the ‘french tuck’ or how rolling the sleeves of a button-down change the look a little bit). Of course, I’ve made these suggestions before, but I think hearing it from men and seeing it in action was what pushed him to try them.

    • What’s wrong with khakis and button down? My dad was a teacher and that was his uniform, sometimes with a sports coat, even. I think maybe what he needs to do is update the pants/shirts he is wearing to something more modern? “Khakis” come in many variations. JCrew Factory has some nice “younger” versions. Same with shirts; he can still wear a button down but make it more casual by choosing a plaid or some other pattern. Throw in some polo shirts for warm weather and some sweater for cool and voila.

      • +1 on the types of khakis. Not sure of his age, but I’m upper 30s and my husband still wears those horrible cargo shorts that were popular in the early 200s when we were in college. A more fitted, streamlined cut would help him look more pulled together, but he’s stuck on those damn cargo shorts. At least I’ve got him wearing real shoes instead of those awful Nike slides.

      • Anonymama :

        I think her point was there’s not really anything wrong with it, it’s just not exactly modern or stylish, which your comment completely supports (I don’t know how old your dad is but I’d guess he’s not one of the younger teachers?) (Also I’m sure your dad is perfectly lovely and dresses just fine but I think it’s hilarious and adorable that someone says they want to look younger and cooler and you say it’s totally cool, my dad wears that all the time!)

    • Anonymous :

      Nice dark wash jeans (not too tight, not too slim, hemmed appropriately) or chinos (check out J Crew), cool sneakers (like vans), and casual button down shirts with the sleeves rolled up, would be my suggestion. Avoid t-shirts, dress shoes with jeans (terrible look IMO), and short-sleeve button downs.

    • Anonymous :

      I helped my husband with the same and we found that skinny chinos from Banana Republic plus a slim fit textured shirt from Charles Tyrwhitt is a flattering and appropriate outfit for most situations. It can be dressed up or down depending on belt and shoes.

    • My husband was dressing for church this past Sunday and he put on khakis and a dress shirt and we couldn’t figure out why the look wasn’t working. We finally put our finger on it when we realized that the look now seems to be khakis + polo shirt or jeans + dress shirt, not so much khakis + dress shirt anymore.

    • I’d also suggest dressing casually, but edgy. My husband wears checkered or some plaid shirts in brighter colours, or picks up khakis in a more vibrant shade of blue, or grey. Cool shoes like leather shoes with a runner sole, or neat boots work too. Everything fits my husband well well, even though it is casual. He always manages to look neater than me in a casual ensemble, than I do in a dressier outfit.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Coton Doux has super fun print shirts and they sell them at Amazon. My husband has one with little bicycles printed all over it and he gets tons of compliments on it.

    • ABC pants from Lululemon to replace the khakis. Fitted, patterned shirts, maybe with some texture. Chucks or whatever casual sneaker that’s obviously not a workout shoe he prefers. Husband wears this uniform a lot.

    • The uniform hasn’t changed, only the small details to it. My hubby is very about the “in” styles as a bid to look younger than his years (it works + the skin regimen). Brighter, bolder shirt patterns (ex. pink, green an purple plaid; navy button down with small red rose pattern), modern cut pants that hug the bottom a tad more and taper at the ankle (basically slim cut). For the love of everything good, no pleats. No sneakers, no “church” or formal shoes, but in between (think sperrys with leather or suede accents).

      I don’t think I’ve seen anyone where a polo except on the golf course in years. Unless you’re the IT guy forced to “dress up”, khakis and polos just aren’t really done.

      • I’m so curious where you live! A polo shirt + khakis is the business casual staple for men in D.C. (And no one here would wear a dress shirt with flowers on it, though I’ve seen what you’re talking about in Austin.)

    • Every time I’ve been in Europe on vacation, I’ve noticed how consistently put-together both the men and women look. A few things that help for men:

      – Ditch the khakis in favor of a fairly slim-cut dark-wash jean.
      – Wear nice light brown leather dress shoes with the jeans
      – Tailor everything if it doesn’t already fit
      – If you choose to wear an undershirt, don’t let it show at the neck (that reads so American to me)
      – Don’t wear huge, chunky plastic eyeglasses. They read more trendy and are usually less flattering.

      TBH, it also helps to be trim and fit. Wish it weren’t true (since I am certainly not where I’d like to be), but it just helps those tailored looks come off as sharp.

  9. I think this dress has been available previous seasons as well, and I bought it off of ThredUp. The fabric is really substantial, it looks great being worn, and is holding up well so far. (And I do throw it in the washer and line dry it.)

    • I have a previous, short-sleeved version of this (with a hidden zipper!) that looks great after a few years of washing and even drying.

  10. Can someone help me figure out how to get out of constant m-o-d-e-r-a-t-i-o-n? I remember there finally being a note about this but can’t find it and the policy isn’t helping because I seem to be on the ‘forever’ screened list.

    • Supposedly if you entered your email address, they’d screen you once and green light you, but that hasn’t helped me. Has it helped others?

    • Put in an email address.

    • The email address hasn’t helped me either. I also haven’t received a moderation message even with the email address, like it says.

    • No advice, I’m in the same boat. Maybe because I’ve gone anonymous once or twice?

      I get not having an appeals process, with a community of lawyers that can be tedious for the mods and they just don’t have the time or energy, but it would be nice if you were removed from that list if you have a good commenting record for a number of months, or a year.

    • Putting in an email address does seem to help my comments appear faster. But it’s still not immediate.

  11. I am looking for a work appropriate tee with a built-in shelf bra. Any recommendations? I want to be able to wear it both with a suit with no blouse over the tee, and as an undershirt.

    Uniqlo has some but it doesn’t look like I can wear them with a suit.

    • That’s simply not work appropriate at all.

    • Is there a reason you want a built-in one and not a regular bra? You’re never going to get the same amount of support – that’s why they’re generally only built in to super casual tshirts. If you’re over a A cup, you probably shouldn’t be doing this with a suit, it’ll look very obvious (and pointy tbh) and like you got dressed too quickly and forgot your undergarments.

      • The pointy factor has nothing to do with cup size.

        The body suit with a business suit look is only appropriate on TV shows. No one actually dresses like that in real life.

    • I agree with prior responses that this is not the best work look, but I know there are often medical reasons wearing a bra is uncomfortable or impossible. I suggest you check out a tennis or golf store to see if they have anything that works.

    • I’m nursing and it would be super convenient. Right now I’m wearing nursing camisoles with shells over them but the camisoles and shells are wearing out and I need to think about replacements.

      • Can you just buy a couple of nursing bras? Target has some that feel the same as the top part of a nursing tank. Basically no structure to them, just a soft band that has clips at the top like a nursing tank does. I’m nine months into nursing and have been wearing these under shells. I just pull up the shell (as I imagine you do with your current system), clip down the flaps, and pump.

    • I realize I’m looking for a unicorn garment.

    • Anonymous :

      Amazon

    • Bravissimo has tank tops with built in underwire bras. I’ve had the best results ordering from them if I speak to a representative about the fit and we go through whether this brand will work well for me.

  12. A colleague at work that who is also a friend agreed to a schedule change / trade off on a work related item. This involved her to reschedule some of her own personal non- work appointments. I want to thank her and since I know she is a foodie of sorts, I was thinking of a gift basket from whole foods. I started second guessing myself because my husband mentioned she would perhaps prefer to select the items herself, since she likely knows what she already likes, and to perhaps pick out one smaller item and give a gift card alongside said item. I know I’m overthinking this, but I’m really grateful to her, and I want to give her something she will enjoy. What would you do?

    • I’m a foodie, and I think I’d like a basket of your choices. I mean, everything from Whole Foods is going to be good, so it’d be fun to try new things that you like.

  13. I know it varies relationship to relationship, but I’m wondering what is common/normal (all of my friends have been with their significant others since school and that’s just not the same as meeting someone on a dating app). So, I’ve been on a few dates with a promising guy, and we have another date planned for this week. But I’m worried because he never wants to do anything on the weekends, and I’m not sure what that means. There have been some reasons (he was out of town, I had friends in town), but should I be reading anything in to the fact that he only wants to go on 1 date a week? How many times a week do you go out with a new guy?

    • Once a week seems normal to me. Why do you think he doesn’t want to go out on weekends? You said there have been reasons in the past. Ask him to go to a specific weekend event – there are tons of beer festivals right now – and see what he says.

      • I did invite him to do something one weekend early on, and he turned me down. Maybe I will try again? I have tickets for an event next Saturday, so that would provide a good opportunity.

        In the past, many guys have invited me on multiple dates within a week. So, I guess I’m worried that it means that he isn’t interested. On the one hand, I like a guy who is involved with stuff. On the other hand, I want him to want to spend time with me and I haven’t gotten that sense from this guy. But I’m horrible at reading if guys are interested, so who knows. I guess I’m just reading in to it because he is the first guy I’ve actually been interested in a while and I’m worried he doesn’t like me.

        • Unless he literally told you, no way I’m not giving up my precious weekend time to hang out with you, I wouldn’t read too much into him not being available one time on a weekend. Maybe he just had other plans. Yes definitely ask him to the event you have tickets for.

    • I think you’re borrowing trouble. He might want his weekends to relax, see family, do hobbies, etc. Once a week when you’re newly dating someone seems normal to me.

    • If you’re past the 3rd/4th date and he only wants to hang out once a week and only during the week not on weekends, I’d be wondering what’s up. Hang out once a week if he’s busy? Sure – but why never on weekends? It’s a natural time for busy people to have a bit more free time. If he’s busy on weekends, why not a lunch + after works drinks during the week?

      • +1.

        Every relationship is different, but my now-husband and I met on an app and originally met on a Thursday for drinks, saw each other again the following Tuesday (which ended up lasting 4 hours), Friday (3 hour dinner), and Saturday (first overnight).

      • +1. After 3 or 4 dates, you should have enough of a sense about whether you like the person or not. IF both parties are interested in something long term, then you should both be interested in spending more time together. And then you make time to spend with each other.

        But if after a month of seeing a guy, he doesn’t want to make time to see you (or call/text)? Then move on. He’s not interested in a long-term relationship.

      • Never on weekends is a red flag. Is he married? I had a guy who went out with me primarily on Fridays so his Saturdays were free for going to bars with his friends looking for a presumably hotter girl. He told me
        this when he broke up with me. Weekends are the “A” spot. Do not be his “B” girlfriend.

    • Uhhh…he’s married. Sorry–but this is really obv.

      • If you haven’t been to his house or if he hasn’t been express about where he lives – like we should go to xyz restaurant, it’s my favorite sushi place near my apartment – then him being married is a real possibility.

        • But when does that become a factor? I’ve gone out with many guys 2-4 times, and never seen their place or invited them to mine. Isn’t that invite because an invite for s*x, and it would seem weird to me to invite someone over if you are not at that stage yet?

          Having no idea where in the city a date lives? weird. Not seeing their place when in the very early stages of dating, pre-s*x? seems normal to me.

      • In this case I’d give benefit of a doubt. Assuming three dates, she said one weekend was a no-go because she had friends in town, and him the same for another weekend, that’s…one weekend where he didn’t want to make plans with a woman he barely knows and has been on a few dates with. Completely normal. I’d think something was up if it continued however.

      • Uhhh… no it’s not obv.

        I often find that when I’m first starting to date people I don’t get to weekend dates with them for a little bit. People are really busy, they have plans booked in advance/travel plans, or don’t want to give up a weekend night for a second date. It can take time to incorporate someone new.

        If it gets past 4-5 dates (especially if you’re intimate) then yes, that might be a concern.

        • I just looked at my calendar and I have no time to schedule any more weekend plans for the next three weekends. Single BTW. It wouldn’t be because I was married or avoiding the person, it’s because I already have plans. One weekend refusal doesn’t seem like a big deal if they are otherwise hanging out regularly?

      • I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion, but it’s one of many possible explanations, and that’s why it’s a good idea to ask why they’re never going out on Saturday night. A man can easily have dinner with other women after work, and use working late as a cover.

    • Go with your gut. If someone’s really into you and emotionally available, they’re going to do everything in their power to make you feel good about seeing them – keeping you at arm’s length with once-a-week weekday dates wouldn’t cut it past the second date or so for me, personally, unless there was also an effort to explain why. There’s a reason you’re feeling off about this. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

      • Good grief sometimes people are just busy. They’ve been on “a few dates.” Once a week after a few days isn’t arms’ length.

        The constant need to throw women into insecurity spirals because men aren’t following some protocol (seeing you x times, doing “everything in their power to make you feel good”) is irritating. She hasn’t even expressed this concern to him yet.

      • Senior Attorney :

        See that’s what I think. I feel like if he really likes you then he’s going to move heaven and earth to see you. And if he doesn’t do that, then he’s just not that into you.

        • I don’t think that’s fair. Maybe he already has other plans. He should cancel everything in his life because he’s just so smitten with someone he barely knows? Frankly I wouldn’t want to date someone who treats other people like that.

          • Agreed.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Where on earth did I say that? No, he’s not going to cancel everything in his life, but maybe he’s going to bring you along, maybe he’s going to meet you for breakfast or lunch or coffee, maybe he’s just going to text or call a lot if he’s super booked up.

            My point is if you think he’s not that interested you’re probably right.

        • I normally really appreciate your advice, but I really think this sort of comment is damaging. If it had been a couple of months or they were exclusive, maybe, but the idea that someone should be so into you after a few dates that they move heaven and earth to see you is not realistic. It reinforces traditional gender roles and puts women into the position of constantly wondering about their importance to a man based on factors that may be outside his control, breeding anxiety and insecurity.

          • Senior Attorney :

            That’s an interesting point.

            All I know is that when I was dating I decided I wasn’t going to waste my time with anybody who wasn’t crazy about me. There were a couple of guys who were calling here and there but quite plainly not crazy about me, and then somebody came along who was. And it was obvious. I didn’t have to wonder. (Even though I still did sometimes because I’m just that neurotic…)

            That’s what I’m saying. Maybe “move heaven and earth to see you” isn’t the most elegant way of putting it. But yeah, if your gut feels “off,” listen to your gut.

          • Anonymous :

            Eh – I think if you are interested in someone, you make time to see them. Maybe it’s not move heaven/earth, but it IS expressing interest.

            If you have a really good date, isn’t your instinct to say “when can we do this again”? And make it as soon as schedules permit because being around that person was so much fun? 3 weeks with someone you met online may not be enough to cancel other plans, but I think you should have enough of a sense to want to make time and say “Hey, I’m pretty booked up, but I really want to see you again. Can we catch lunch/coffee/movie/meet me at the bar?” etc.

            It can absolutely take longer than that to warm up to a person, but I think those aren’t the meet cutes that apply to online dating. Online dating is playing a numbers game for more immediate chemistry. The slow burn is for friend circle (friend of friend) or college or volunteer orgs or hobby groups, where you get lots of exposure over time, without it being the one-on-one nature of a date.

            #theoryofdating

        • Anonymama :

          I don’t know, I’m really a slow warmer upper when it comes to people, so it seems totally normal that someone could like you in a way that could potentially grow into something deeper, even if they are not immediately so super into you. I feel like according to your advice no one would ever date me?

    • You met this guy online. There are lots of serial daters online. After a few dates, I doubt you’ve become exclusive or have even had that conversation.

      I would assume he’s still meeting other people unless he has told you he isn’t. So, maybe he’s saving the weekend for other dates. Maybe he’s been dating someone for longer than he’s been dating you and she gets Saturday and you get a weekday.

      I wouldn’t write him off, but I also wouldn’t be like, “omg my boyfriend is cheating on me” after just a handful of dates. If he’s dating other people, that is expected and normal at this stage.

  14. Anonymous :

    Yesterday afternoon’s thread on stepparents was really shocking to me. I’m single and at an age that I guess I need to be open to dating guys with kids. It never occurred to me, though, that a guy might expect me to put his kid through college. And at the same time, someone mentioned (I think correctly) that you can have zero say about how a parent raises their own child. So as a higher-earning stepparent, I’d be expected to shoulder all the financial responsibility for a kid but I can’t tell them to do their homework or go to bed or not lose their damn mind every time they don’t get what they want? Because honestly that sounds awful.

    • I am also at an age where it seems like a lot of guys online have kids, and that scares me. I honestly don’t know how I’d handle it. I wouldn’t want to be the fun babysitter or the mean stepmom. Are there any 35-45 year old guys who don’t come with exes and children left??

      • Are there any 35-45 year old guys who don’t come with exes and children left??

        Not many, especially over 40. As in I literally can’t think of any that I know.

        • +1. I live in LA and when i was online dating a few years ago (before I met DH) in my late 30s, it was very, very difficult to find guys w/o kids. It was just a personal preference of mine b/c I had seen friends’ relationships with exes who had kids end really, really badly and I knew I was just not up for that – I get attached very easily as it is and I could only imagine the heartbreak of having to detach from a child I loved.

      • Yes. Many of my good friends. They are smart, have good jobs, have nice families, are a lot of fun to be around, lack a temper but have a lot of patience… and they get ignored by women.

        • How do I find them? Literally. Do you have a burner email? Where are they geographically?

        • I think I’ve found the “nice guy” / incel lurker.

          • +1

          • Nice try.

            No, I’m a woman, engaged to a great guy – said great guy is even trying to fix up my man friends.

            I also have a few very, very wonderful woman friends who can’t find anyone, because apparently a lot of men are too forking stupid to know a great person when they find one.

          • And Peggy :

            Let’s not indulge this thinking too much. Just because someone is a truly great person doesn’t mean anyone who doesn’t date them is an idiot. Two people can be awesome, intelligent, kind individuals but not have any chemistry, attraction, or compatibility between them. There are quite a few men who chose not to date me for one reason or another, but I don’t think they’re stupid for not giving me a chance, or for giving me a chance but breaking up because what we had wasn’t working for him; similarly, I’ve rejected and dumped a few men in my time that were objectively good people, but I just wasn’t feeling it with them.

            If your friends are good people but feel like they’re being ignored, maybe they need to bring more to the table. Being nice is nice, but you need more, you need to be interesting, you need to find people who not only have similar interests but share values as well, and you need to be confident without being arrogant.

          • And Peggy, perhaps you could refrain from insulting my friends or implying that they are not interesting people, mmkay?

      • Right, I want to be an adult who expects and enforces appropriate behavior in her own home. Like, no, you don’t load the kid up on sugary treats right before bedtime. If you don’t care about their sleep schedule fine you’re their parent I guess that’s your prerogative. But when you start interfering with my down time and sleep schedule – because the kid has a meltdown at bedtime and is up all night – I should get to have a say.

      • It depends on where you live. In DC, I see and know a lot of them. In smaller cities, maybe not.

    • No I don’t think this is right. Certainly when the child is living in your home you can tell them to go to bed or do homework. And many guys wouldn’t expect you to put their kids through college.

    • Basically none of what you said here is accurate. There’s a lot to unpack and correct, but it would actually make more sense to just talk to the hypothetical boyfriend, when he later exists. You will probably not encounter someone who “expect(s)” you to “shoulder all the financial responsibility” for their child but won’t let you tell them to do their homework. And if they do, you should dump them.

    • I’m a step mom to a 12 year old (and have a 2 year old with my husband) and those are two pretty crazy extremes. I definitely do some parenting to our 12 year old – she expects it, even! – but my husband and her mom make major parenting decisions. They have never expected me to shoulder costs, but I often offer – I paid to send her to camp this summer because I thought it would be fun for her. I’m happy to do it, because I love her, and she’s my step-daughter – emphasis on the word daughter. It’s possible to have a loving step-parent relationship and I think you’d be crazy not to love your step-kids just like you would (hopefully) love any kids who are present in your lives.

      • Yes, exactly! There is a lot that is wrong in many of the takes here, and I’m so glad others who (like me) are stepchildren themselves piped in to say it. But one HUGE thing that’s missing is that before you get to money and discipline and all these hypothetical situations, you get to love. You shouldn’t enter into a relationship with someone with children if you do not love their children. Which, honestly, like you said, is really not that hard. Certainly the situation is not easy, but you’re getting a beautiful, interesting, fun child as a part of your life. Start by celebrating that!

        I’m so glad you have such a wonderful relationship with your daughter. She (and her mother and father) are lucky to have you in her life.

    • I think reading about step parents on line gives you all the extremes. In reality people find all sorts of ways to make these relationships work. I wouldn’t reject dating men with kids just because of dramatic declarations about it you read here or anywhere else.

    • IDK

      I bet a lot more people here were stepkids than will be stepmothers.

      From the kids’ side, they go through a lot. That’s got to be hard, even in a good or easy divorce. Since that’s not always the case, adding a lot of $ in somewhere (but not everwhere) is going to create some problems.

      To go back to a kid example, if you walk into a room with a lot of toys and you say “I’m not sharing,” that is your right, but no one is going to be happy, either. That’s a dance the person with the toys will have to decide how to do and it may not work so well. Or it might (one of my richest friends married a guy with two kids about to go to college).

      Ultimately, if you are a stepparent, the goal for the stepkid is independence. If you spend no $ on them ever and the end result is that they are still living at home when they are 30, maybe that’s not a good result. OTOH, the ROI (both time and emotion, nevermind the $) is limitless, so allow for the upside potential. I have two bio-kids and a step kid and they are all fantastic and wonderful additions to my life and my extended family.

    • I … don’t think that’s true? For the big parenting decisions, yeah, it’s probably needs to stay between the parents. But I can’t see how a stepparent wouldn’t be hands-on with the everyday stuff of raising kids.

      Financially, I don’t have a clue how that works for most people, but I would err on the side of treating the stepkid as my own — because it’s the right thing to do. The kid didn’t ask for re-marriage to be on the table.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I’ve been staying out of this because I don’t have any firsthand experience, but this seems like the one of the few sane takes I’ve seen. To my mind, marrying someone = creating a family with them. And if someone is the parent of a minor child, that kid is part of the family you are creating. The distinguishing between bio-kids and step-kids for stuff like ‘how much is the family putting toward your college’ type question is just… ugh I can’t imagine how it would feel to be that kid and hear that.

        • I’m not sure this is a fair comparison, at least if both parents are still in the picture and are both saving for stepkid’s college. Stepkid would then have 3 adults saving for his college. Newkid would only have 2 adults. Of course new kid would need a greater contribution from “the family” because there isn’t another income in the picture.

          • This doesn’t work quite as logically as it sounds. It’s the justification my stepdad used for why my mom shouldn’t contribute anything to my education or financial needs. And by that I mean he complained about the food they bought to feed me when I visited them. I had a $20 back to school shopping budget one year, where his and my mom’s bio kids were treated like normal kids. I ended up just going to live with my dad who was a great single parent, but the “oh well there are 3 parents vs 2” this was something of a scapegoat. I ended up just having 1 parent and don’t really have a relationship with mom or stepfamily because they made it clear that I wasn’t as important. Or not important at all. I also had to clean up after all of them and stuff. It was very cinderella. Anyway, I’m over it now, but it’s not a place/group of people I’d like to go back to.

            The thing is, most stepparents like this think they’re being loving and normal people. I think people can be pretty oblivious to how their actions impact others.

        • joan wilder :

          This exactly. My father remarried when I was ten and I never felt anything other than loved and welcomed in his new home with my step-mother (who brought her own kids to the marriage). I can’t imagine how hurtful and how hard it would be for developing self-esteem and identity at that formative and awkward age to feel excluded, or worth “less” in my own home (or part time home, as custody was shared).

    • Stepchild here (albeit grown adult in mid/late 30s).

      I absolutely expected that a step-parent was able to tell me to go to bed, when to be home, what chores I had to do, etc. But that doesn’t really come until the step-parent has moved in and is a step-parent; a parent’s SO simply does not get to make demands of the children.

      Financially, the best thing you can do is to communicate to the kids what the deal is. Your stepkids will have a source of support your own children do not – their mother. Keep that in mind. But communicate. Tell them how much money they are getting from your side for college and what the requirements are (grades, chores, working summers, etc.). In fact, parents should do this anyway, so the kids can plan (and not get their hearts broken when their dream school is unaffordable).

      I went to the public high school in a very middle-class town. My half siblings went to a very ritzy private high school (the ones that cost as much as private college). Good for them – I wish I had that option, but am not envious of them for having it.

      A big age gap helps. Things change so much over time that it’s just hard to be jealous of someone at such a different point in their lives. But also remember that if your kids get stuff that their older half-siblings did not, the younger kids need to be very, very cognizant of that, and their own responsibilities and duties in keeping sibling harmony.

    • I’m guessing a lot of people giving all the advice on the extreme ends haven’t been a parent, step parent, or married. Not spending money on a specific child doesn’t work. Not having any say in how a child acts in your own home doesn’t work. When you marry someone you merge lives, finances (however the couple decides to do so) and families.

      In situations I am familiar with, whether or not one spouse earns significantly more than the other or not, like many others have mentioned major decisions are between the two bio parents (schooling, medical, child-rearing overarching approach) but the stepparent has full authority as a parent on the day to day falling in line with those big decisions, including doing homework and punishments for non-severe offenses. And the parents of step children arrange their finances by “family expenses” and “joint” whatever that means to them.

      If you’re a high earner and don’t want to spend ANY money on your stepchildren (what are you gonna do, make them sleep in a hotel cause you bought the house?), you really aren’t open to merging families and should probably stick to childless partners – as a kindness to yourself and future stepkids.

      • Of Counsel :

        Thank you for this. Every time this subject comes up on this site, I feel the need to call my step-father (emphasis on father) and thank him for being a kind and decent human being who never, ever once made me feel like I was not a part of his family (and ripped shreds out of his brother’s wife who suggested I was not; it is one of the very few times I have seen him genuinely angry).

        There are so many variables (age of children, co-parenting arrangements, financial status of biological parents, relative earning power of everyone) that it is impossible to give a one-size-fits-all solution. But if your first thought is that you do not want “your” money going to support “his” kid, then please just do not marry him. You will be doing a genuine disservice to everyone involved.

    • Then don’t do it. Nobody’s forcing you to.

  15. Yay — I’ve finally found a women’s tennis league (USTA) that has games at night, so I’m playing semi-regularly.

    I’m going in as a 3.0 player (I played in high school but rarely get to the courts b/c BigLaw + kids). I know a real beginner only should be a 2.5 player. But it seems that I’m getting my butt kicked by players who play 3-5x/week (while still being on a 3.0 team).

    I know that getting better is a mix of just playing more and playing against people who are slightly better, but I’m not doing an actual lot of playing when I’m losing sets 6-0 (past two matches) compared to a prior match that I won (but in a wonderful struggle of a game where lots of points went to deuce and I really felt my playing coming alive). My one prior adult league moved people up a level after they had two “winning” seasons to keep things competitive.

    Maybe what I need is an age-adjusted league for rusty 3.0 players who play weekly if that and who are 40+ with serious desk jobs?

    • Man, this is one of the things that makes tennis really hard to play casually. You can’t be too much better or too much worse than your opponent. I don’t have a solution, just commiseration.

    • In my experience 3.0 has an *enormous* range of players in it, from people who started playing from scratch a year ago to people who played seriously for years. And if you’re in a good tennis city, 3.0s may be losing a ton so they’re not getting moved up quickly, even as they’re getting better, which means that if you are a new player (or a very out of practice player), you’ll spend a ton of time as a 3.0.

      Honestly, what I found with tennis was that I didn’t improve at all unless I was playing (or at least hitting/practicing) 3x per week. And I never made it out of 3.0, even when I was doing that.

    • How much are you playing? In order to maintain/ improve you should hit the court 3x a week. If you have the ability to just go out and hit (no scorekeeping–just rallies) that helps a ton (and it only takes about 30 minutes to see improvement. Also understand that the same types who ruin kids sports are present in USTA. Players routinely game the system to make sure their team gets to Districts/ Nationals etc. Somehow there is a group of tennis players that seem to think that if they just win the 3.0 league–their next stop is the U.S. Open. Absurd.

      The best piece of advice that I can offer with the whole thing is to stop worrying about the score and embrace the joy of play. Tennis is a lifetime sport, you are blessed and lucky to be able to play. Don’t worry about winning–just play and have fun with it. The rust will wear off, you won’t feel the pressure of winning and before you know it, you will be crushing all comers and headed up to a 3.5 ranking.

    • commiseration– I was put at 5.0(!) because I played D3 college tennis and THAT wasn’t happening, so I just took a few years off USTA until I aged out down to a 4.0. In the meantime, play non-USTA leagues– there are lots in every city and tend to be less competitive.

    • Can you look at this league as a way of making connections with women you’d like to play with on your own schedule just for fun/exercise, or are you invested in the competition of it? From the outside (I never played but my mom was in doubles leagues throughout my childhood), tennis leagues seem so incredibly annoying. Alternatively, you said you were struggling to find leagues that played at night — when I was in Biglaw with a kid, I actually found mornings (~9-11 am) to be much more reliably open than evenings– are there leagues that play during those time slots that you could consistently block out on your calendar? I always felt as though clients (and colleagues) didn’t even question my having a “meeting” during a chunk of the business day but were quick to assume I wasn’t committed to the job if I tried to enforce boundaries on evening time.

    • Anonymous :

      There are housewives who play literally everyday. There is no hope for a professional working person to beat them. That’s why I gave up on tennis sadly.I was too annoyed about never having the time to get better.

  16. Rent the Runway Unlimited Update – I posted about this a few months ago when I subscribed, and thought I’d report back. After 3 months, I ended up cancelling. It was great in theory, but I ended up losing a lot of time in transit (almost a week turnaround per piece, door to door) and had mixed results with the clothes. Too many items that were beautiful on the model but either didn’t fit/flatter or were very worn by the time I received them. Not sure if my body type is just finicky with many brands, but it seemed like sizing was all over the place (2 in one brand, 10 in another) so that I had trouble nailing the right piece on the first shot.

    I did get a few big hits, but not enough to justify the monthly cost. On the plus side, I did get introduced to a few new brands that I loved and wouldn’t have otherwise considered (Joie, Trina Turk, etc), and it did cause me to break out of my usual staples at work occasionally. I’d still encourage trying it, especially if you’re in a big city with fast shipping.

    • Curious about where you live? I’m in NYS and return items by fed ex on Monday, get to pick new items on Tuesday and usually they arrive Thursday (sometimes Wednesday if the shipping gods smile). I usually have four new items to wear every weekend and sometimes keep something great (a jacket or jewelry) for multiple wears. I will say that you need to really read the reviews to see how things will fit (can be time-consuming).

      • I’m in Atlanta. E.g., I drop off at UPS Monday, they get to RTR on Wednesday (sometimes Thursday), I pick new items Wednesday night or Thursday, it takes a day to fill the order, and they arrive the next Monday/Tuesday. So I lose a full week each way shipping, meaning half the membership period for any slot is lost on shipping if I keep items for a week. If they found a way to reorder when I send back rather than when they receive them and “check them in”, I’d probably reconsider.

      • The slow turn time kills me too. I send something back last Friday and granted, it was a holiday weekend, but it’s Wednesday and I still haven’t even gotten to pick a new item yet, which means I won’t have something until at least Monday. 10 day mail-to-receipt turnaround has been pretty normal for me. I wish they did it like Le Tote where you get to choose something new as soon as the return label is scanned.

    • Anonymous :

      Understand it may not be worth the cost for some, but don’t let the turnaround time dissuade you! You don’t have to send back everything at once, so you can stagger your shipments to avoid a gap between items. I started sending back 1-2 pieces as soon as I wore them (or sending back things that didn’t fit right away). That way I have new pieces being delivered while I still have some to wear. You end up with two delivery bags that way, and if you time it right, you won’t have huge gaps between deliveries.

  17. Good conference dresses? — I know this has been asked a lot, so sorry for the repetition. I’m running a big (300 person) conference later this fall and would like a simple dress. I’m not presenting but may be in front of the crowd directing traffic, etc. My preferences are dark grey (dogs make black difficult for me), and not a high neck line. I’d prefer at least short sleeves to sleeveless. Washable is a bonus (See: Dogs and Kids). Thank you!

    • Prolific Speaker :

      It depends a lot on your budget. Will post a few links in additional comments, but in general I like Banana Republic/BR Factory for this. I tend to buy more from ThredUp/Poshmark to get colors/cuts because dresses with sleeves only seem to be available in fall/winter (stock up over the next few months!). The BR Factory ones are nearly always machine washable. WHBM has a bunch that look great at a similar price point, but not too many with sleeves at the moment. It’s hard to go wrong with Nordstrom also.

    • Prolific Speaker :

      https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/tahari-bi-stretch-sheath-dress-regular-petite/5049616?origin=category-personalizedsort&breadcrumb=Home%2FWomen%2FClothing%2FDresses&color=new%20black

      https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/tahari-ruched-surplice-crepe-sheath-dress-plus-size/4929398?origin=category-personalizedsort&breadcrumb=Home%2FWomen%2FClothing%2FDresses&color=black

      https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/eliza-j-jersey-sheath-dress/4620108?origin=category-personalizedsort&breadcrumb=Home%2FWomen%2FClothing%2FDresses&color=pine

      https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/maggy-london-solid-dream-crepe-sheath-dress/4813820?origin=coordinating-4813820-0-3-PDP_1-recbot-also_viewed&recs_placement=PDP_1&recs_strategy=also_viewed&recs_source=recbot&recs_page_type=product

      https://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/product/seamed+sheath+dress/570243477?color=1332&catId=cat6179299

      https://www.dillards.com/p/calvin-klein-solid-sheath-dress/508059315?di=05396783_zi_indigo&categoryId=894&facetCache=pageSize%3D96%26beginIndex%3D0%26orderBy%3D1

      https://www.dillards.com/p/antonio-melani-slim-elbow-sleeve-sheath-dress/508157048?di=05425302_zi_black&categoryId=-10005&facetCache=pageSize%3D96%26beginIndex%3D0%26orderBy%3D1%26facet%3D-132831041111141163283108101101118101%7C-1325147523283108101101118101%7C-132761111101033283108101101118101

      https://www.nordstromrack.com/shop/product/1370132/tahari-fold-over-neck-sheath-dress?color=NAVY

      I don’t think any meet all your criteria (gray especially was difficult – I think it’s a little early in the year), but hopefully serve as helpful brainstorming and inspiration.

  18. How common are “push presents”? My friend is about to have a baby and we were just discussing it, so I wondered what the hive had to say.

    • I think its a new thing and a fad. I don’t know of anyone who has received or given a “push” present. It’s just a gift to a friend to commemorate a special time in their lives. Making it a “push” present seems cheesy and insincere.

    • My kids are 8 and 9; we joked about this stuff back in the day. None of my friends or I did this.

    • Don’t know anyone that got one. I wanted a necklace with my daughter’s birthstone so I got myself a ‘push present.’ It was $30 on Etsy though so not exactly a big ticket item.

    • anon a mouse :

      About half my friends received them (DC). Usually of the very sparkly jewelry variety. Personally I think it’s kind of a weird concept, but you do you.

    • I do not run in a circle where push presents are a thing, thank goodness.

      • BigLaw Sr Assoc :

        Same. I had to Google what it was. Barf. My husband giving me a present because I gave birth feels incredibly gross, whatever the gift is called.

    • It seems pretty common to purchase something to commemorate your child’s birth. But the term “push present” is just so awful.

    • My friend who just had a baby got one (necklace with birthstone of child) but prior to that I had only heard about it on the internet.

    • That term is so vulgar but my husband did give me a gift when our first child was born: a set of diamond solitaire earrings. It was a lovely gift and a nice upgrade from my simple silver studs I wore daily. I just had my second baby – no gift this time! But the earrings were sort of a one time thing – I didn’t expect something similar this time.

      • Haha, I didn’t get anything for baby no. 2 either. I didn’t explicitly get anything f0r baby no. 1 either and we had talked about and made fun of the awful name and concept. But my husband bought both kids a gift from a “jewelry store for important occasions” and the oldest, being a girl, I got the same gift, too. It was very unexpected and sweet. It was also funny because, being very practical, I asked him if I could exchange it for something else as there is no point in me and daughter having the same pair of earrings. He was somewhat offended but has since gotten over it. We now have two pairs of studs, mine with her birthstone.

    • Hate the term “push present.” I like the idea of some kind of meaningful keepsake for child’s birth, like a piece of jewelry with their initial or birthstone or something, but that seems more like a first mother’s day gift than a day of birth, in the hospital gift.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I hate the term…like I don’t deserve a gift for having a c-section?

      That being said, I got diamond hoops as a gift from my husband after our son was born, mostly for having not gone completely insane during three months of bed rest.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I agree that the phrasing is gross and I think it’s just one of those weird scammy things that makes a nice (or at least not-terrible) idea into a Thing You Must Do (see also, Babymoon, bridesmaids getting ready in matching floral robes, photos with chalkboards that say things about a kid’s developmental milestones, br3astfeeding-themed-jewelry).

      I don’t like the idea that the man is giving the woman a gift *for* pushing out a baby. It’s gross. But I wouldn’t say no to a hamsa with a garnet in it for me to wear while thinking about my baby.

    • Eh, I think the term is new, but the concept isn’t. My dad gave my mom jewelry when she had us kids (so 40 years ago). My husband gave me jewelry when our kid was born. I’m not going to hate on gifts to celebrate milestones.

    • I think the term “push present” is new (and obscene and gross) but the idea of a gift for the birth of a child is not new. Usually it’s a piece of jewelry with the baby’s birthstone. My February daughter is now a teenager and wearing the amethyst ring her dad bought for me shortly after her birth.

    • I am 7 months pregnant and DH says he plans to get me one, though I told him there is no need (and i’m not really a sparkly jewelry person anyway). Most of my female friends did not get one.

    • Thanks, everyone! To be clear, my friend and I also think the term is pretty gross, and we both decided we would rather have a first Mother’s Day present. As Rainbow Hair said, it seems kind of Pinterest-y (although I probably wouldn’t turn down the diamond earrings!). Thanks for sharing!

    • I received a sapphire and diamond ring for my first that I wear every day and a Cartier Ballon Bleu for my second. Each birth was a significant milestone in my life, and I’m glad I celebrated it. I don’t care what other people think about it.

    • I specifically asked for and got a nicer than usual xmas present a few months after my daughter was born. It’s a thin gold band with diamonds and sapphires (her birth stone) that I wear stacked with my engagement and wedding rings. I sort of mentally consider it to be related to her birth, but it was not a straight up “push present”.

      I have no idea if any of my friends got a push present. It has never really come up in conversation.

  19. Horse Crazy :

    My cat has started scratching the door to the bedroom at 5:30 in the morning (he isn’t allowed into the bedroom). Has anyone successfully stopped this? It’s driving me insane!

    • No. My cat goes through phases where he spend a lot of time yelling in the middle of the night, and then he magically shuts up for a while until he decides to yell again. I ignore him utterly at night because I read that would help and it … sort does intermittently.

    • let him in!

      • +1 to this but also to Torin’s comment. I have not ever been successful at getting my cat to stop doing what she wants to do. But I love her stupid, fuzzy face anyway.

        • Horse Crazy :

          Yeah, we’re probably going to acquiesce…I always tell him, “you’re lucky you’re cute!”.

    • east coaster :

      Double-sided tape on the door where he usually scratches. They don’t like the feel of it on their paws. You may want to put a layer of painters tape first if you’re worried about damaging the door.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      DO NOT get up and feed him. My husband did this and now they expect breakfast early but they only wake him because I was not silly enough to encourage that bad habit.

      I have never successfully convinced a cat to leave a particular door alone once he’s got it into his head he should be allowed through it. For a brief, beautiful moment I thought I could keep my closet a cat-free zone when we moved into this house, but it turns out my tuxie is strong. Even with a super heavy duty magnet lock (pocket door) he could get it open. So I’ve learned to live with it. Cats are the bestworst.

      • Horse Crazy :

        Mine is a tuxie too, and he is SO STRONG! We gave him a flea bath a few months ago, and I couldn’t believe the strength he had when he was hanging onto the side of the tub with his paws – we couldn’t pry him off. We might cave and let him in, but that means getting rid of the plants in the bedroom because he will eat them haha.

    • Equestrian Attorney :

      I also started out with lofty principles about not letting the cat in at night, and then gave up because she would meow and scratch the door. She now sleeps with us and is generally quiet until I get up. I did buy an automatic feeder, though, so she gets kibble at 6am – it was totally worth the money.

      • Horse Crazy :

        I think we are probably going to acquiesce…and also buy an auto feeder! We’ve been talking about it for a while. Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      We did something like sleep training with our three cats, where we would not come out until they had been quiet for a certain number of minutes – we started with five, I think, and gradually lengthened it to something like 15 or 20. It was super hard (and I think one of them was way less patient than the other two, but we needed all three to get on board), but totally worth it. Every so often one of them would do this again so we had to do a modified repeat every few years. (and now, sadly, we are down to one cat who is very very good about this… I miss my naughty boys!

    • My cat did this for 1.5 years. We tried ignoring it for 3+ weeks (no luck), we tried sticky tape (some luck, but eventually started again), we tried tin foil taped to the door (no luck) and we tried an automatic water gun (no luck).

      We finally tried one of the heat-sensor activated air guns (made for pets) and our cat is terrified of it. Now, we don’t’ even have to turn it on, we can just place it in front of anything we don’t want him on. Magic! You can buy them on Amazon.

  20. My mother in law wants to “whisk away” my husband to Paris, for five days. (her words, not mine) She is lonely and has no one to go on vacation with. He has the time, as he’s given notice at his job and doesnt start the new one for about a month. I can’t figure out why this is sitting weird with me- is it normal for an adult married man to go on a vacation with his mom?

    • Sure why not? Seems like great timing. How lovely for them to be able to do this. You’re surely not internationally insinuating incest?

      • +1 completely normal. It’s his Mom, not an ex-girlfriend. This might be a good moment to internally reflect on if you have any unsettling sexual jealousy or competition with your mil. Their trip might be a good time to grapple with that.

        • Honestly? oy :

          I thought there’s been engaging conversation on this site about raising boys to be sensitive, thoughtful men. raising boys to be feminist men. the kind who wouldn’t blink at spending time with their mothers without unnecessary judgment and weird societal pressure.

          yet here you are accusing him of Buster Bluthing it with weird sexual vibes?
          yall need to sort it out.

          marriage as a social unit who can’t go on vacations away from each other? the smugmarried is too much.

          • +1 million. Shocked by some of the anti-feminist responses.

          • Anti-feminist and smugmarried all in one post. Let’s add wedding registries for the trifecta.

            Sometimes I just can’t with this crowd.

          • Please also see post above: How Should I Dress My Husband?

    • I think it’s sweet, unless he’s doing it at the expense of taking you to Paris (or on vacation wherever you want to go). I’m an adult woman and I go on vacation with my dad frequently because my mom and husband aren’t that into travel. It never occurred to me that it would be weird.

    • Yeah this is weird. Very Buster Bluth.

    • I think the vacation is normal, if he’s off work anyway and it’s not cutting into previously established plans with you. But the language is definitely weird – the only person who gets to whisk me away to Paris is my own spouse. When I take my kids in the future, which I plan to do, we’ll just be going on a trip.

      Is there an element of jealousy here, because you’d like to have the time/money to go to Paris for 5 days with your husband? If so, absolutely understandable, but probably not a reason for him not to go.

    • Why not? I’d love to have time to go on vacation with my mom. I imagine DH would be the same as they both enjoy art museums. DH and I use up all our vacation with our kids.

      My mom regularly vacationned with my grandma after my grandpa died. Mom had more vacation time than Dad so it was a great way to use the time.

    • It’s rude to not invite you. A married couple is a social unit and should be invited to things together, unless it’s a very specific thing like a girls’ night/bachelor/ e t t e party. A family vacation by definition includes spouses; it’s not like a girls’ night.

      That doesn’t mean she needs to pay for both of you of course. She could say, I plan to pay $X for the two of you – maybe the functional equivalent of only paying for DH but phrased in a not-rude way.

      • I’m guessing the mother offered to whisk only son away because she knew her son would be “funemployed” for a month, but the OP is working. If anything, it is probably an oversight by the mother.

        I’m not completely agreed that a couple as a social unit should be invited to EVERYTHING together – its not a wedding and involves a substantial money outlay by the mother. Parents are allowed to have special things with their grown children without the accompanying spouse – but I agree that vacations are generally a family affair. As devil’s advocate though, I think a lot of people would have a different viewpoint if this were a “mother-daughter” trip. Let’s try not to be sexist on stuff like this, a mother and son can have a special relationship as well.

      • “A married couple is a social unit and should be invited to things together, unless it’s a very specific thing like a girls’ night/bachelor/ e t t e party. A family vacation by definition includes spouses; it’s not like a girls’ night.”

        What?? Why are “girls” trips exempt but not trips with your parents? Most adult women I know occasionally do trips with their mom without their spouse. Is that ok, because they’re both girls? This attitude is so weird and sexist.

        • Let’s not call people sexist for no reason, shall we. I said a girls’ trip/bachelor e t t e party – obviously referring to trips with friends. I also said a FAMILY vacation – y’know the kind with FAMILY – by definition includes spouses. So no, I don’t think MIL would be in the clear if OP’s spouse were a woman. I also know literally zero women who go on solo vacations with mom without first clearing it with their spouse.

          • I don’t know why trips with friends are more ok than trips with parents. Also I consider my mom my best (non-husband) friend so to me a mother-daughter trip is a girls trip.

            I agree that you shouldn’t go off on any kind of vacation without checking with your spouse if you have one, but it didn’t sound like OP objected to her husband going on vacation at an inconvenient time. She objected to him going with his mom at all. The responses would be VERY different if she’d said “DH is going to Paris with his mom over my birthday weekend.”

        • That struck me wrong too. And I’m married. Married couples are still people. I think it’s sweet mom wants to take her son on vacation. He should go. And OP should get over herself.

      • I disagree… a married couple is a social unit, sure, but they’re also individuals who are allowed to keep up individual relationships. I’m not a package deal with my husband for every single social outing or opportunity for fun/travel/etc. I’m still my own person and so is he.

    • I don’t see why not. I’ve taken many trips with my parents as an adult. Is it the Paris aspect? If so, it’s just a city, not some romantic bubble.

    • I wouldn’t necessarily use the phrase “whisk him away,” but otherwise, it’s not weird. Sitting at home for a month before starting a new job in lieu of going to Paris with family would be weird.

    • The phrase “whisk away” is weird, but I agree there’s nothing weird about a mother and son traveling together. I think it’s nice.

    • I have to admit that this attitude is part of why I was thrilled to have a daughter. I love to travel and DH doesn’t and I definitely hope that my adult child will be a travel companion for me some day. I’d love to travel with either a son or daughter, but I know mother-daughter trips are more socially acceptable than mother-son trips (not agreeing, just saying that’s reality).

    • Never too many shoes... :

      As someone planning five days in Italy with her mother, I do not think it is weird at all. In fact, as the mother of a son, I think it is lovely and hope he wants to spend time with me as an adult.

    • My husband and mother in law are going away for 5 days together in a few months. I was invited, but didn’t want to go to this specific location and I don’t have as much time as my husband off of work. My mother in law is divorced and doesn’t have anyone else that wants to go to this specific location with her and it’s a place my husband loves. I think it’s sweet.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      This is normal. My husband has traveled with his mom without me, and I’ve traveled with my mom without him.

    • I recently went on vacation with my mom to a place we have both wanted to visit. I don’t think it is the least bit weird!

    • Totally normal. Would you not go on a trip with just your dad? I’d love to do that!

    • I have a 15 year old son and I hope he would still want to travel with me when he’s an adult. He’s one of my favorite travel companions right now – he’s less busy than his older sister and if he isn’t in school, loves to tag along on a business trip with me occasionally just for a change of scenery.

    • Depends entirely on his/her, your/his, your/her relationship.

      If it were MY mother-in-law, it would be a power play in that she knows we are saving for a trip to Paris, and she would take pleasure in undercutting our “first time in a romantic city together” vibe by getting there with him “first” and taking away the newness of it.

      If your mother-in-law is not a selfish manipulative hosebeast, then sure, it’s fine.

      • Horse Crazy :

        Only commenting for hosebeast! I found a new perfect word to describe my future sister-in-law…sigh. Thank you!

    • I’m sure your MIL would love to go with her spouse, but you say she’s lonely so it sounds like she does not have a partner. So she has invited her son. I truly, truly hope that when my two little boys are grown, and maybe their dad has passed away and I’m all by myself, that my adult sons are not married to someone who would question their spending time with me. That would be truly lonely indeed.

    • I would definitely make a stinkface (in private) if my MIL said she wanted to “whisk away” my husband because I think the phrase is off-putting in any situation. If I heard anyone say that in real life, I would silently judge them. It seems like something only a slightly narcissistic person would say – the kind of person who wants to make a spectacle of how wonderful and generous they are and how grateful the recipient should be. But my MIL is my BEC and I often struggle to give her the benefit of the doubt – I’m guessing you might be in a similar situation, or you wouldn’t have pointed out the phrasing.

      However – I think adult children traveling alone with a parent of either sex is great (so long as your husband actually wants to go). Just make your stinkface in private and enjoy the alone time. If you’re jealous that your husband is getting to go to Paris , plan your own trip later in the year with a family member or friend (or solo) when you do have time off.

    • I would definitely make a stinkface (in private) if my MIL said she wanted to “whisk away” my husband because I think the phrase is off-putting in any situation. If I heard anyone say that in real life, I would silently judge them. It seems like something only a slightly narcissistic person would say – the kind of person who wants to make a spectacle of how wonderful and generous they are and how grateful the recipient should be. But my MIL is my BEC and I often struggle to give her the benefit of the doubt – I’m guessing you might be in a similar situation, or you wouldn’t have pointed out the phrasing.

      However – I think adult children traveling alone with a parent of either sex is great (so long as your husband actually wants to go). Just make your stinkface in private and enjoy the alone time. If you’re jealous that your husband is getting to go to Paris, plan your own trip later in the year with a family member or friend (or solo) when you do have time off.

  21. This question is primarily targeted at those of you living in the wildfire-prone West. I was backpacking over the weekend in an area closed to campfires (which was made very clear to all campers in the printed materials, signs, and a lecture from a ranger). Then the next night, a group of two men backpacking near me made a fire. I didn’t want to say anything and start a conflict with men who have just demonstrated they don’t respect rules (especially not in an extremely remote area), but I was nervous all night because it got super windy and the conditions seemed prime for a fire. While nothing happened (thankfully), my question is whether I should have ratted them out to the ranger afterwards. I feel like I should have, but my husband was hesitant and it just didn’t happen. Thoughts?

    • I would have not said anything at the time but told the ranger afterwards. They could easily have been only on the first part of their trip and be making many more fires.

    • Yes, next time please do. Even if they’ve already gone, the rangers probably want to check that the fire has been properly put out and there are no lingering sparks.

    • Totally respect your decision not to confront them. Most people would just get defensive, but especially those who already made the calculation that they are exempt from rules. But yes, ratting them out to the ranger would have been fine and a good thing to do.

      To be clear, I don’t like in the West (although I have in the past) and I haven’t gone camping in 10 years. I am however an attorney and a rule-follower.

    • I might’ve said something. Depends on the vibe of the situation. I would definitely have ratted them out regardless. They’re making a decision to risk burning everyone around them in their tents while they sleep. Burn bans aren’t just cause the rangers don’t want anyone to have any fun.

    • Horse Crazy :

      I certainly don’t blame you for not confronting them – I probably wouldn’t have either, but I would 100% tell the rangers. An illegal campfire burned 200,000 acres not too far from me a couple of years ago.

    • Anon Westerner :

      Follow your instincts on the safety/advisability of discussing the matter with them. However, regardless, please rat them out to the rangers so they can check the site and catch up with the other campers if appropriate.

  22. Gift help? :

    We’ve been subletting an apartment for a few months while ours is in the midst of some renovations. The people we’re renting it from are strangers to us. They have been out of town for a few months, and have a 3 year old and a newborn. We’re moving out / they’re returning in a few weeks, and we’d like to leave them a small gift. Nothing edible, and I don’t see any alcohol in their apartment. Should we just pay for a cleaning service and leave it at that? Any other ideas welcome!

    • Unless they gave you an incredible break on the price, you don’t need to leave anything. They are your short term landlord, its super weird, like “thank you for taking my money at fair market value”. Don’t waste your time. Leave the place clean and in the condition you moved in and you are okay.

    • Honestly, I wouldn’t do anything – you’re renting. This isn’t a favor to you. I’d just make sure you leave the place reasonably clean (I probably wouldn’t even pay for a cleaning service – I don’t do that when I move out of a rental apartment).

    • Oh my god you do not need to give a gift for everything. You gave them something already– rent, as consideration for letting you live in their space. Doesn’t seem like they did anything special for you at all?

      • The inclination on this s i t e to give a gift for everything is baffling to me. Different love language, I guess??

    • Totally agree that you don’t have to do anything, but it’s nice that you want to. I subletted my apartment for a few months and in addition to leaving the place very clean, my subletter left flowers for me in a vase on the dining room table. I thought it was sweet and nice to come home to (although flowers don’t work that well if you know they won’t be home for a while).

      • Yea, I think a little thank you note could be nice and appreciated, but no need to spend money.

    • Gift help? :

      Okay, thanks all! Appreciate the thoughts. Yes, I agree that we don’t need to leave a gift. I may just pay for a cleaning service anyway because I don’t want to scrub the tub, but nice to have feedback that nothing is really expected.

      • Senior Attorney :

        As a landlord, I think paying for the place to be cleaned is the best gift you can give!

  23. Jumping off the comment earlier about the young guy who dresses well because everything fits him well, how can I improve this for myself – in other words, what are the ingredients for being polished at work and on weekends, which I don’t seem to have naturally.?

    • Betterandbetter :

      Step #1- proper foundation garments! Seriously. If you haven’t in awhile get a bra fitting and make sure your other underpinnings are doing what you intend them to do. That’s seriously half the battle. Also make sure you are wearing said proper foundation garments when trying clothes on.

    • I think the secret is that no one has it naturally. You put a certain amount of work into figuring out what works, and after a while, it becomes second nature, like any skill. Some people put the work in at a much younger age so it seems natural their whole adult lives.
      The ingredients are knowing what works on you; understanding fit; understanding quality; and then being insanely picky about what you buy and how you maintain it all. The book How To Get Dressed was a good start for me.

      • +1. I just randomly saw this this book at the bookstore this weekend, and I felt validated — I wear slips, and cotton shorts to smooth, rather than compress, and she says this is a great way to,have things skim you and lie well Since she is a costume designer, I’m pleased that she agrees with what I hav ealready beenn doing for years.

    • So a few years ago I decided I was finally going to figure this out (how to look polished). Below is what works for me for getting a polished office look with minimal effort. I still haven’t figured out weekends…

      — Light, natural makeup that evens out your skin tone. I find eyeliner, mascara, BB cream, powder, and blush make me look noticeably more “polished.” From observation of others and experimenting on myself, this is the most important element of “office polish.”
      — Great haircut that looks like a “style” (if you like to wear your hair up, you could play around with some updos on youtube and pick one like a gibson roll that you do every day or something like that)
      — Limited color palette of flattering colors; pick a neutral color that you use as your base and then a few accent colors. Dark colors are more forgiving of cheap fabric and also more forgiving of lumps and bumps. If you’re spending less on your clothes, then I would go darker. Avoid patterns.
      — Find a silhouette that works really well for you and use it as your work uniform (e.g., sheath dress). This allows you to look good all the time but people stop really noticing what you’re wearing on a day to day basis, but you just look polished all the time. As a bonus, this also makes online shopping easier because you know exactly what shapes you’re looking for and you’ll develop a sense of what brands and fabrics work best.
      — A couple pieces of simple, non-trendy jewelry. Doesn’t need to be fine jewelry or expensive. I typically wear earrings, a necklace, a watch, and maybe a ring or two.
      — For shoes, go with whatever your neutral base color is. Same for your bag. A black, leather bag is always good. Doesn’t need to be expensive and you’re better off with minimal hardware and a classic shape.

  24. YNAB help? :

    I remember someone on here (…Emeralds, maybe?) offering to help with YNAB. I just can’t seem to figure it out, and I feel really stupid and defeated. I would be super glad if someone could answer some questions for me – I know they have extensive stuff online but I feel overwhelmed and I’m not finding the answers I’m looking for easily. And their “quick start” is just making me feel dumb.

    • Don’t feel bad you’re not alone. I tried, I really did but eventually gave up. It honestly is really best used for people that use cash or debit for all transactions, or who manually enter in credit card transactions. I use my cc for everything (for the points), and after exploring the help section and working with a YNAB help desk person, figured out that you have to do a number a work arounds for it to work right using cc – it didn’t seem worth the effort. I use Mint now, which was designed to work as people actually use their money and accounts, not based on a hypothetical, in and out, no credit system.

      • Anonymous :

        Hmm – the YNAB reboot (web-based, not the comp based Classic) has better CC interface (with auto-download), so the experienced has changed.

    • There’s an active subreddit for YNAB- maybe try there and see if someone has answered the question. I’ve been using it for a couple of months now and am just now getting the hang of it. I still don’t fully get the credit cards ins and outs, but I do have a much better sense of where and how we spend our money which was my main objective.

    • I had to listen to some of their online webinars more than once to get it. But once it clicked, it was really, really the best budgeting tool for me. I hope you can find the answers you’re looking for!

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I don’t have much advice, but I am so glad you posted this. My wife and I just set up YNAB and I felt REAL dumb. I think I get it now – agree that webinars are helpful.

      • I have tried it before but this time I found a 3 month trial so I am really trying to give it the old college try. I’m frustrated because I get paid monthly and right now I’m in the bad habit of paying a bunch of bills the day I get paid, and budget to zero in that way. I don’t understand how I’m supposed to get to zero while I try to catch up.

        • Anonymous :

          Like, how to budget to zero, while still saving for future expenses? Or saving money for next month, so you are living paycheck to paycheck?

          Budgeting to zero means that you’ve assigned every dollar a job. So some of those dollars will have a job of paying a bill and it goes out the door. But the job of other dollars will be to sit in your Buffer line so that you can spend it later.

          So, in this case, “budget” really just means “plan”. Where do you plan to put your money – towards bills or towards savings/goal?

    • Hi! Still happy to help, just wasn’t around my desk this afternoon. Post a burner email in the PM thread and I’ll email you!

    • Hi! Still happy to help, just wasn’t around my desk this afternoon. Post a burner email in the PM thread and I’ll email you!

  25. For the gluten-free eaters – have you given up sandwiches, or have you found a good gluten free bread? I miss my toast and jam but I have been far less than impressed with the crumbly frozen Udis, Rudi’s type GF bread. Any recommendations?

    • Mrs. Jones :

      I gave up sandwiches–never found good GF bread.

    • Against the Grain bagels are the best! They are in the frozen section, but you pop one in the microwave. I’ve even cooked it on the grill to eat with a burger. They have a normal bagel texture.

    • I like the frozen GF English muffins even though they don’t have the “nooks and crannies.” I make my own bread and use the flour in everything. When you’re making sauces, you can substitute corn starch (just use a little less than the recipe calls for). You can often buy sandwiches with GF bread, though there’s usually a surcharge (ditto some pizza joints). It’s a huge life change but manageable.

    • I am not, but my father is and I think he’s found that either baking his own or buying from a bakery that specializes in GF products is the way to go. Otherwise, he eats salads or lettuce wraps. That said, Udi’s pizza crusts are decent.

    • Coach Laura :

      I don’t eat much gluten free bread because it’s expensive, I don’t like to eat many refined carbs and it’s not usually that good. I do love Trader Joe’s GF bagels and keep them in the freezer for weekend breakfast specials. I microwave them on 30% power to defrost and then toast them, top with avocado or a fake egg McMuffin with cheese and bacon. TJ’s GF sandwich bread is ok but not that special. For special occasions I get bread from a local independent GF bakery, which also has the best hamburger buns.

      • Canyon Bakehouse bread – IMO having tried most GF breads, this is the best. Our Whole Foods carries it.

    • joan wilder :

      I love Trader Joe’s gluten free raisin bread. I’m not gluten free in my diet but I buy it because I just really like it.

    • I’ve been GF for 5 years. I feel like GF sweets are doing well these days but the bread is just…not there. I haven’t given up sandwiches but definitely eat them a lot less than I used to. Udi’s is…fine I guess. I do buy it when I can’t find other brands. I like the Three Brothers multigrain GF bread a lot but can’t always find it. And if I am near a Le Pain Quotidien, I always stop by and get a loaf of their GF bread to go.

    • eertmeert :

      Franz Gluten Free bread (white, multigrain), hot dog/hamburger buns. Have the chewy texture, especially when toasted, and good texture. This is my favorite.

      Newly discovered Trader Joe’s GF bread, and it is good too. A close second (mostly cause I have to deal with the Trader Joe’s parking garage mess, lol).

      I notice that GF breads in general taste better toasted, or used for french toast ;)

  26. Public Speakers/Trainers :

    Wondering if there’s anyone else in this hive who does this work whom I might be able to network with. I’ve been doing this work for a while but find it tough to connect with those in the same/similar type of work, though I’ve tried to do so online and via local mixers.

  27. Mini rant: I feel like we suddenly have the WORST junior associates. All sorts of tasks are getting dropped and work is totally getting phoned in. Today one of them told me he based something on a three week old version of a document because he “couldn’t find a newer version”. We have a central document system where the agreement is definitely saved and up to date. He had the document ID from the old version so he could have looked it up that way, plus the document is titled “Party A/Party B Purchase Agreement” so if he had searched for either party name it would have come up. I am really, really hoping that whatever is going on is just some end of summer funk. Ugh.

    • I don’t want to necessarily start a rant about millenials, but seriously, we have the same issues at my firm.

      • FormerlyPhilly :

        +1
        In higher education, definitely noticing this with new faculty and junior administrative hires.

      • As a person on the tail end of what could reasonably considered millennial (I’m 24, and I think I’m not even one by many standards) please stop using “millennial” to mean “young.” Millennials are 40 now.

      • Seriously with the millennial comment… *eye roll* I’m sure you were perfect at 25. Please find some other lame way to degrade individuals without resorting to the millennial rhetoric

        • Anonymous :

          I worked much harder at 25 then the current crop. I was by no means perfect and I made lots of mistakes, no doubt, but my work ethic was much better. I didn’t feel entitled to the job – I needed to prove myself.

          • I was lazy and entitled at 25. Things are much different at 37. People afforded me grace, and I am better for it.

          • LOLOL you know this is what people have been saying about anybody younger than them for literally thousands of years? If you think this new group is somehow worse than any other in human history, you’re bonkers.

    • How junior? Inability to navigate the document management system was a pretty common issue for brand-new first-years at my old firm, especially if they had never worked in an office before.

      • Still a first year, but he got here end of September 2017. Our new 2018 first years haven’t started yet. All our 2017 first years definitely know how to use the document system at this point.

        • Makes sense. Ours would start in August and I’d be lecturing them by November that they really needed to save their work in a place where someone else could find it.

    • With very few exceptions, we have the same problems at my firm too. Just a complete lack of initiative. The only interest seems to be in getting things off their plate as quickly as possible, regardless of whether they are returning quality (or even accurate) work product.

    • 1) You are referring to generation Z. If you are older than 25 and younger than 40, YOU are a millennial.

      2) Did you ever consider that your firm hires poorly or you haven’t trained your associates well?

      3) Maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t attribute the feature of one person to an entire group *cough that’s what racists, bigots, and misogynists do * cough * don’t be like them * cough

    • Anonymous :

      The juniors at my firm are out of control. They constantly tell me they don’t have time to do something (while I’m billing 19 hour days). I can’t get anyone to take ownership of anything. I shudder to think what’s going to happen when they’re running projects in two years.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m guessing this is actually Gen Z. I find that young people are just not that computer savvy. They grew up with mobile devices and the simplified consumer-friendly interfaces of modern OS design, whereas the software and file systems used in the professional world would generally look at home in Windows 3.1. They’re used to relying on search engines and hidden optimization features, not manual organization or labeling. I’m not saying your juniors literally didn’t know how or have no excuse, but I do think there’s a generational gap in how people relate to technology.

    • It’s not a millennial thing (and please, 39 year olds are not millennials); it’s a law school thing. Look at who enrolled, or rather, did not enroll, three to five years ago. People figured out how messed up the profession has gotten, and a lot of the smartest and hardest working kids have not pursued law as a career.

    • BigLaw Sr Assoc :

      I haven’t noticed any horrific issues, but junior associates are given way less responsibility on average than when I was a junior (with exceptions for those with initiative). I am in lit, and when a first year told me she was working on her first filing (after nearly a year of being at the firm) I was speechless.

  28. House-Party :

    DH and I just moved into a new apartment in a city we have been living in for just a year. I’ve been thinking about having a house-warming party.

    1) Is it weird to have a house-warming party for an apartment you are renting?

    2) We live in a fairly small building and i’d like to invite our neighbors. They seem nice but would you be weirded out by such an invitation?

    3) Having no real friends but a bunch of acquaintances, I am worried no one will show up. I don’t know what my question is here–I guess how to best prevent no-shows or last-minute-cancellations and if just one or two people stops by, how to handle it?

    4) Is this the kind of thing I could invite my boss to? She’s mentioned coming over for a housewarming after everything is ready but would doing it as part of a big party be weird? It’s just three of us in the office and I would invite the assistant (and both their families) as well.

    • Another anon :

      Not weird at all to have a housewarming party for a place you’re renting. Totally fine to invite neighbors, acquaintances, boss, etc. I’d do a cocktail hour on a Saturday from 4-6 p.m. with beverages and some appetizers. For beverages, I’d serve a specific cocktail, beer/wine, sparkling seltzer. I’d do fancy finger food for appetizers.

      In terms of getting people to come, I’ve found people are most likely to come when the party window is short and early evening. That way they can stop by on the way to dinner plans and they know it won’t be a whole evening commitment. And it’s totally fine if only a few people come over!

    • Anonymous :

      Not weird at all. It’s your home, which is the point of the party. I think that’s great to invite your neighbors, not weird at all. And people will show. Especially if you invite neighbors. If it’s a small group, all you can do is roll with it. Maybe just make sure you aren’t scheduling in a way that doesn’t conflict with a big sporting event or other big event relevant to your area.

    • Anonymous :

      1) Nope

      2) No, I would not be weirded out…but I’m the person always throwing the parties and inviting my neighbors and the person from the bus stop, etc, etc.

      3) Plan to make it low-key to begin with. “Hey, we’re having an open house next Sunday afternoon. Drop in between 3 and 5 if you can come! We’d love to see you.” That way, your expectations and others’ are lower.

      4) Sure, if you have that type of relationship. I invite my boss over (we’re the same age; I entered this field later).

      Disclaimer: I’m a southerner. I invite just about everybody over for any reason. Husband’s in grad school? Class party! Memorial Day? Neighborhood cookout! Super Bowl? Chili night!

    • Senior Attorney :

      1. No!
      2. No!
      3. People will show up and you will be lovely and gracious to those who do, whatever their number!
      4. Sure!

      • Thank you for your kindness and generosity!

        Open invite for any Rette’s interested in making new friends in LA

        • I’d love to –I’m in Pasadena but can get to Hollywood, Downtown, Glendale…

          • In case you are still checking this- please give me your email address. Will check back tomorrow

        • Senior Attorney :

          Celia, I’m in Pasadena, too!

          Time for an Upper East Side meetup, maybe?

          • I believe Senior Attorney has my email from when we tried to do LA meet-ups a few years ago. We had a group email, right?

      • Horse Crazy :

        +1

      • I agree with Sr Attorney :

        It is never weird to do something nice – and having people over is doing something nice! (unless you are trying to sell them something – ha ha). I worry that people will not show up every single time I entertain, and people always show up. The thing is, no one will know exactly how many people you have invited.

        Go forth with your housewarming with confidence!

    • 1 – no, 2-not at all, go for it, 3-that’s a concern but just roll with it and don’t be weird about it to anyone who does show, also keep seating limited so it doesn’t feel like an empty party, 4-I’d vote no, don’t invite your boss.

    • Veronica Mars :

      A less pressure-inducing way to host a party like this is to call it an “open house” and give a set timeframe (2-3 hours) that people can drop by. That way, you can relax if there’s only one or two people there at a time.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Definitely have a party and invite neighbors, boss, and whomever else you want. Enjoy your new place.

  29. Social Media Purge? :

    Should I unfriend people I haven’t spoken to since high school? Sometimes they’ll pop up on my feed and I won’t even recognize their married name.

    • Anonymous :

      For me, it’s not about when I met them but whether I click with them. I’ve actually found that I’ve enjoyed being FB friends with people from high school who I haven’t spoken to since then because they turned out to be really cool adults! And I’ve unfriended a fair number of law school classmates that I really didn’t click with/turned out to be crazy/not nice/etc but had friended at the beginning of 1L because that’s what we were all doing.

    • Anonymous :

      You should do what you want, but I personally feel bad unfriending someone unless they’ve done something really bad to me. I hide people whose updates I don’t really care about.

    • Do it! I’m off Facebook but my rule was that if I wouldn’t recognise you in an airport and want to have a catch-up coffee, I wouldn’t be your friend.

    • Anonymous :

      I would keep them and hide them for nosy reasons.

    • Yes. I’m liberal with my defriending. Not even “muting”. My latest threshold is that if my seeing your post or your name causes any negative reaction/memories/thoughts/eyerolls/humblebrags I can’t handle – big or small – you’re gone. No room for that negativity in my life.

      One exception is for people I see on the regular (ie: oversharing neighbor) and most immediately family members. They get the mute.

      It’s freeing. Try it!

      • Is it Friday yet? :

        Same. About a year ago, I deleted half my friends list, with the criteria that if their posts made me feel bad and I hadn’t spoken to them since HS/college/whatever, they got the boot. I kept a few people that I don’t speak to anymore that are generally interesting people that typically make insightful or inspiring posts. It was soooo liberating to get rid of the high school classmates whose posts unfailingly made me feel terrible – and many of them made me feel terrible in a hah, I wouldn’t want your life in a million years no matter how #blessed you think you are, kinda way.

        And I spend less time on social media, because my feed is more curated, so I’m not scrolling through the detritus of people I dislike.

  30. I can’t decide whether to keep these shoes or not….are they worth the $350 price tag? I’ve never spent that much on a pair of boots. My old Cole Haan knee high boots are 6 years old and I definitely got my money out of them. Any other knee high boots that you love that don’t cost as much or should I just keep these?

    • You might ask again in the afternoon thread but we’ve had heated discussions about whether knee high boots are still current. The consensus seems to be – if you live in a cold snowy climate and need them for practical reasons, wear the knee high boots. If you’re asking for advice on what is current and want to update your wardrobe, knee high boots are not the way to go.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m totally down with knee high boots (but am nearing 40 at this point and am only marginally stylish any more – though I also think that we’ve been through several years of short boots now, so we’re due for a shift back to tall), but I think Aquatalia are just the ugliest looking ones.

      • Another anon :

        +1

  31. Gah…apparently in moderation…here is link to the boots:

    https://www.dsw.com/en/us/product/aquatalia-dena-boot/442427?cm_mmc=CSE-_-GPS-_-G_Shopping_Boots%20%26%20Booties-_-New_Boots%20%26%20Booties&cadevice=c&gclid=CjwKCAjw_b3cBRByEiwAdG8WqmjQB3eTF9RWhCCp6q0Bz291IWSvKrlU4imtOHdeOqyfFOLX_hxZjhoCocgQAvD_BwE

  32. Has anyone left a company they worked at 10 plus years and regretted it? Or moved on and loved it? I am being pursued by another company and it’s a step back in career but not money. But I’ve been told environment there is really great, and mine now is not. Looking for insights on anyone mid 30s whose made a change. I’m on the fence and unsure what to do!

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