Bargain Friday’s TPS Report: New York & Company’s City Style Twinset

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. We begin the week in splurge mode, with our most expensive suggestions, and wind our way to Friday, where a less expensive item of clothing might be just what you need to make it to the weekend.

City Style Twinset Cardigan SweaterCardigans are a basic of the summer for us, and we’re loving the very pretty blue (darker than the one pictured) cardigan on sale at New York & Company. It’s a silk/cotton/nylon blend, it’s sure to lay nicely, keep its shape, and breathe throughout the summer. The cardigan is now marked to 14.78 (was $36) (City Style Twinset Cardigan Sweater); you can also pick up the matching shell for a mere $10.78 (was $26) (City Style Twinset Shell). Shipping is free if you spend more than $75 with code 3089.

Our First Ever Giveaway: Tell Us What You’re Getting Your Assistant and Enter to Win a $100 AmEx Giftcard!

Administrative Assistant’s Day is next Wednesday — which, in our experience, can be a difficult time for women lawyers and executives. Women tend to get to know their assistants better (and BE known better by their assistants), so any lack of a gift or a lesser gift than expected tends to be taken as a personal slight — whereas if men forget (or purposely give cheaply), the secretary thinks, well, they’d forget their own heads were they not attached.  Which is another problem in and of itself, because any woman who shares a secretary with another person or a group of people knows that it almost always falls to her to remind the others in the group.  Maybe we were oversensitive here, but who knows:  Our tactic was always to remind the men in our group that Administrative Assistant’s Day was coming up, and then to assign it to the most junior among us to collect the money and purchase the gift.  (Fine, maybe the “assignment” was really more like asking nicely if he or she could take care of it, but either way we made sure that the sole woman in the group wasn’t the one organizing it every year.)

We’ve always been a fan of giving flowers for this particular holiday, but according to new survey results (conducted by American Express), the assistants would prefer cash — in fact, 79% would prefer a $25 reward to spend in any way they want rather than a $40 floral arrangement (20%) or $30 in chocolate (1%).  Among the assistants surveyed,

feeling valued is important but if they are to be rewarded in the form of a gift, it’s important that they can put it to use.  According to one administrative professional, ‘Much as I love flowers, they usually die within a week.  A gift card allows me to choose something that will last longer or to indulge in something I wouldn’t normally purchase for myself.’

Our advice?  Get a small floral arrangement (so the office as a whole recognizes what a great manager/boss you are) and a gift card (so your assistant actually likes you). Anyway, you lucky readers, you — American Express contacted Corporette with these very interesting survey results — and the offer to give away five gift cards, each in the amount of $100.  Here are our rules (and this is our first time doing this, so bear with us):

1.  Comment below, on this thread, and tell us what you’re planning on getting your assistant this year (or what you’ve given her or him in the past that went over well).  You must give us a valid e-mail address to enter, as that’s how winners will be contacted.

2.  We’re still going to moderate the comments and approve them manually, (as always, anything non-spam will be approved) — but the comment must be received in our mailbox by Monday at 10 a.m. E.S.T.

3. You may only comment once, unless you share the contest on your blog, your facebook, your twitter, or your favorite forum, then come back & leave a second post telling me where/how you shared — then you’ll be considered to have two entries.

3.  Winners will be randomly chosen and we’ll contact the winners to get your address.  We must be able to contact you by Monday afternoon (2 p.m. E.S.T.) to get your mailing address; if not we’ll select someone else randomly.  We’ll also announce it on the site on Monday morning (not posting e-mail addresses, but referring to the winning comments).

4.  Gift cards will ship from American Express and should be in your hands by Wednesday.

You can also visit to order a Gift Card for Administrative Professionals Day on April 22.

Thursday’s TPS Report: White House|Black Market’s Elysee Peplum Jacket

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. We begin the week in splurge mode, with our most expensive suggestions, and wind our way to Friday, where a less expensive item of clothing might be just what you need to make it to the weekend.

17White House|Black Market is having a great spring sale right now, including this peplum jacket, which we’ve been seeing everywhere of late. (A refresher: a peplum is technically a skirt attached to a jacket; in its 2009 incarnation we’re seeing short flaps on the frontside of the jacket extended from the waist down. It gives the jacket more flounce and accentuates your waist.) We like this for a basic black jacket to keep in your office this summer and throw on over — well, everything — if you’re not already wearing a jacket or cardi. It’s on sale — now $99, was $158. Elysee Peplum Jacket

Suit of the Week

There are a lot of dowdy suits out in the stores right now, which we don’t entirely understand — with the economy being what it is, why is no one selling smart, great suits that you can wear to that second-round interview or look uber-professional in if you’re fighting to keep your job?  (If you haven’t realized it yet:  if you have a job, you’re fighting to keep it.)  But, that said, our choice for suit of the week is a bit unusual because it’s from Victoria’s Secret.  Stretch cotton in classic putty or black, with a ladylike but cute pencil skirt and a cute upturned jacket collar with three-quarters sleeves.  It’s a classic suit with just a bit of a twist, and for those of you looking for less expensive suits, this one definitely fits the bill:  the jacket is $98 and the skirt is $59.

Poll – How Casual A T-shirt Can Be Worn Beneath a Suit?

tees-beneath-suitsLast week, we were surprised to see comments saying that a t-shirt is not appropriate to be worn beneath a suit, and we thought, a) perhaps we’re talking about different things, or b) perhaps we’re terribly wrong. So we thought we’d explore.

For our $.02: Agreed, agreed, you can’t wear a Yeah Yeah Yeahs concert shirt beneath a suit, nor can you wear the kind of v-neck from the Gap that you would paint a garage in. And of course, a silk or cashmere sweater or button-down shirt is preferable. But, we would say that a “dressy” cotton t-shirt like the ones we linked to that day, or very classic tees in a thick cotton or machine-washable fabric (e.g., a crewneck without a ribbed neckline), are totally acceptable to wear beneath a suit, particularly in a solid color like white. Our reasoning here is that we’ve just never studied another woman’s clothing that closely beneath her suit. Is it too tight? Too sheer? Too old-school rayon shell-like? If it isn’t any of those things and the suit looks good, the top generally fades into the background. It’s there to provide the woman with an option to take off her jacket if she needs to, but — as we’ve said before — we generally think you should keep the jacket on if you’re roaming the halls or going to meetings. In addition to being acceptable, there’s a benefit — if it’s machine-washable, it makes a working woman’s life that much easier.

which-tees-can-you-wear-to-work can-you-wear-tees-to-work which-tees-go-best-beneath-suits

But enough of our two cents — what do you guys think?
tee beneath suit

Psst: Check out our guide to the best tops under suits!

Wednesday’s TPS Report: Banana Republic’s Silk Pleated V-neck Dress

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. We begin the week in splurge mode, with our most expensive suggestions, and wind our way to Friday, where a less expensive item of clothing might be just what you need to make it to the weekend.

Banana Republic’s Silk Pleated V-neck DressWe love this silk v-neck dress from Banana Republic — the ruching at the sides guarantees a good fit of the drawstring waist, but it’s also guaranteed to be incredibly comfortable. High neckline, ladylike hemline — throw a cardigan or cropped blazer on top of it for the office, and rock a wrap with it when you go out on the town for drinks after work. We especially like the shark grey color. Available at Banana Republic for $150. Women: Silk pleated v-neck dress – Shark grey