Poll: Are knee-high boots appropriate for work?

2017 Update: Check out our most recent round-up of the best knee-high boots for commuting to work, as well as our last discussion of whether boots are acceptable for work.

Yesterday was the first day of autumn — hooray!  Already around New York City we’re starting to notice women wearing dresses and knee-high boots, mostly barelegged (but some with tights).  Today we passed a girl wearing knee-high black boots, a happy yellow mini-dress, and a cute cropped black jacket.  She looked absolutely adorable.  But we also thought she looked totally inappropriate for work.

A few years ago we thought knee-high boots were 100% acceptable for work, provided they weren’t over-the-knee boots (like Julia Roberts’s in Pretty Woman).  But after a few years of working in a conservative office, we’re not so sure anymore.  Condoleezza Rice took heat a while ago for wearing black knee-high boots — even The Washington Post accused her of being too sexy, too dominatrix-like or Matrix-inspired.

But hey… maybe we’re old-fashioned.  Or crazy.  So, we thought:  Poll.

Office Staples: Toiletry Edition

As hundreds of new lawyers, MBAs, and other professionals head to work for the start of their jobs, we thought we’d round up some supplies that everyone needs in their office.  In future editions we’ll tackle office supplies and gadgetry, but for now, here’s what you should pick up on your next trip to Drugstore.com.

pharmacy drugstore finds to stock your office with

1.  New-Skin. Yes, it’s an electronic world, but there are still far more papers to deal with than you’d think — which means papercuts abound — which means every open wound increases your chances of getting sick.  Our preferred method of dealing with papercuts is to apply a liquid bandage like New-Skin.  It dries quickly, stays on all day, even after you’ve washed your hands, and it doesn’t leave that gummy residue on your nails and fingers.  We recommend New-Skin Antiseptic Liquid Bandage, available at Drugstore.com (as is everything listed in this article) for $6.19.

2. Purell.  This is another great way to ward off colds — and it’s particularly helpful to keep at your desk if you commute to work via public transportation (you can clean your hands the minute you get to the office), or if you shake hands with a lot of people during the course of your job.  If you get one with aloe, it won’t dry your hands out as much.  Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer with Aloe, Moisturizers & Vitamin E, available at Drugstore.com for $3.51.

3.  Thermometer.  The higher up the food chain you go, the more you’ll find that a little head cold is not an acceptable reason to stay away from the office if work needs to be done in it.  That said, it’s generally poor form to come to work (or stay at work) if you’re contagious.  Obviously you’ve got a thermometer at home to know when you’re running a fever — but it can be helpful to have one at the office for those occasional stretches where you’re practically living at the office, or where you suddenly feel lousy in the middle of the afternoon.  We’ve always done well with a digital one, like the Vicks Comfort-Flex Thermometer, available at Drugstore.com for $12.99.

4.  Preservative-free eye drops. Long hours of staring at the computer = dry eyes.  For some women this is a particular problem.  Our suggestion:  invest in preservative-free drops.  If you use the drops only occasionally, then you’ll be happy to open up a new vial of eye drops.  If you use them frequently, you’ll be glad you’re not overloading your eyes with preservatives.  We recommend TheraTears Lubricant Eye Drops, Single-Use Containers, available at Drugstore.com for $12.79.

5.  Visine, Clearasil, and cover-up. Yes, we’re recommending you get both Visine and preservative-free eye drops.  This is because several eye doctors have warned us against frequent use of Visine — something to do with the preservatives and the chemicals that take away the redness.  But, that said, Visine can be great for those embarrassing times when you’ve got a zit or some other red spot on your face — use a Q-tip (or wrap a tissue around a pencil eraser), soak the cotton with the Visine, and dab it on your red spot.  Visine — it gets the red out.  We also recommend keeping Clearasil and cover-up on hand. Visine Advanced Redness Reliever Eye Drops, available at Drugstore.com for $7.29.

6.  Floss. You probably won’t use this one a lot, but you’ll thank us for that rare time when you do use it — like when you’ve got something in your teeth and have to run to a partner’s or executive’s office.  We recommend Glide Dental Floss, Comfort Plus, Mint, available at Drugstore.com for $3.99.

7.  Eye-makeup remover.  There are a lot of reasons for keeping eye-makeup remover with you in the office.  We most commonly use it on those those nights when we’re stuck in the office in front of the computer — maybe it’s just us, but our eyes feel tired, and our mascara just feels gross and heavy after sixteen-plus hours of wear.  Another big reason for having eye-makeup remover:  occasionally, emotions may screw up your eye-makeup.  Whether you’re crying for joy, sorrow, or frustration or anger (and hopefully you’re doing this behind closed doors), your eye makeup may need to be redone entirely in order to “save face” when you stick your head out of your office.  We’re fans of Nivea Visage Eye Make Up Remover, available at Drugstore.com for $5.99.

8.  Advil. Just give in to the idea that you’ll likely be at the office when you get a lot of headaches/cramps/aches, and invest in an economy-size bottle.

9.  Tampons and/or pads.

10.  Basic make-up (if you don’t already carry it in your purse).  On the rare day that you can get to the gym, or when you walk to work, or when you need to re-do your makeup, you’ll be set.

Are we forgetting anything else?  Please fill us in, in comments…

Weekly Round-up

Liking these posts? Follow Corporette on Twitter — this is the edited version of what we’re reading! (We also Tweet if we hear about a good sale.)

– We were kind of disgusted with this article: “The Brokenhearted Babes of Wall Street.”  Yick.  [NY mag]

– Awesome! Women in law — including the lawyers — make $.78 to every $1 a man makes.  This reminds us of that funny old Laurie Anderson song (video embedded below — fast forward to around 2:05 if Laurie isn’t your cup of tea but you still want to figure out what the heck we’re talking about.)  [Above the Law]

– Sad news: Charles Whitebread, which was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise boring summer of watching videotaped BarBri lectures, has passed away.  More info at AtL.

– Meetings got you down?  Try this video game.  Yes, it’s dark and violent, but some days you really do feel like you’d rather kill yourself rather than attend another meeting.  [Five Minutes to Kill (Yourself)]

– Finally: on a lighter side of things, New York Magazine features 130 different kinds of eyeglasses, if you’re on the hunt for a new stylish pair.  [NY Mag]

Poll Results: Day to Night Transitions

desk to dinner style2018 Update: We still think this is a great discussion on day to night transitions — you may also want to check out our recent post on what to avoid in “desk to dinner” dresses.

About a week ago we asked you how you handled the much-talked-about day-to-night transition — do you change outfits entirely?  change elements of your outfit to make it less business and more fun? Pictured.

The poll is still open, but here’s how it’s looking thus far:

  • 33% of you maintain elements of the same outfit, but change to denim or a more dressy skirt if you’re going out on the town
  • 30% of you wear totally different clothes than what you wore to work
  • 21% of you scoff at the idea of being able to get out of the office to enjoy a night out on the town. (Our unsolicited advice: C’mon, guys, you can do it! Youth is fleeting — and you can sleep when you’re dead.)
  • 14% of you wear the exact outfit that you purchased thinking it would be a good day-to-night transition.

Since the majority of you wear elements of the same outfit, we couldn’t resist recommending this top and these shoes — wear the Velvet Leaf Dylan Blouse Cut Out Sleeves in Royal Blue (available at Revolve Clothing for $105) with a regular black suit with a pencil skirt and pumps, and before you leave the outfit, ditch the jacket and change into more trendy shoes such as these Nine West – Dasolina (Dark Purple Suede) (available from Zappos for $99).

going out top

Poll: How short is too short for a skirt?

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on how short is too short for a skirt at the office — but you may also want to check out our more recent discussion on when is a dress too short for work (including what’s a modern length, and if the perfect skirt length is different for tall or short people).

How short is too short for a skirt at the office? Can you wear shorter skirts if you wear dark tights? Does it matter if you wear heels or flats with your dark tights? Conversation was sparked by yesterday’s workwear report, and we thought it might be a good idea to try and get a consensus on this:  how short of a skirt can a professional woman get away with?  See our uber-fancy diagram, and vote below.

Kat’s $.02 — D would probably be my limit, but only with dark tights… I heard a rule long ago that the higher your skirt the lower your heel should be; I’ve always found success with that.

2017 Update: The vote is closed! The official question to readers: when does a skirt become too short for the workplace? The answers:

  • 31% of readers said the skirt length shown at C is fine — just above the knee.
  • 18% of readers said the skirt length shown at D — about one hand above the knee
  • 12% of readers said the skirt length shown at D is fine, but ONLY if you’re wearing dark tights
  • 6% of readers thought the skirt length shown at F was fine (fingertip length!)
  • 4% of readers thought any skirt length for work was fine
  • 4% of readers thought the skirt length shown at E was appropriate for work — about one hand longer than fingertip length
  • 5% of readers thought the skirt length shown at B was fine — mid-knee
  • 4% of readers thought the skirt length shown at
  • 3% of readers thought the skirt length shown at E was fine, but only with dark tights
  • 2% of readers thought the skirt length shown at F was ok, but only with tights
  • 1% of readers thought the skirt length shown at A was the only acceptable answer (phew!)

[Read more…]

5 Things to Look for in a Nail Salon… Near Your Office

How to Find a Nail Salon Near the Office | CorporetteIt’s something every working woman needs from time to time:  a manicure.  Your primary salon should not be one near your office.  But sometimes, you just have to grab a manicure during the working day.  (True story: A lot of these tips come from an offhand conversation I had with a senior female partner at my law firm!) Here are the unofficial rules for looking for a nail salon near your office…

2017 update: you may also want to also check out our post about the best work-appropriate nail polish colors.

1.  Look for a nail salon where you won’t be visible from the sidewalk. Sure, you’re entitled to a lunch hour — everyone understands that! — but it’s an entirely different thing for your boss (or worse, a subordinate you’ve just dumped a load of work onto) to realize you’re spending your free time primping and pampering.  Look for a nail salon where the stations are set far away from the streetfront windows, or else aim for one on the second floor. [Read more…]