Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Paneled Stretch Wool Sheath Dress

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

This colorful dress from Diane von Furstenberg looks really gorgeous, and I love that it’s on sale, of course, at 40% off. I also think it’s really fun; I love the purple and the overall Mediterranean, sort of Pucci color combination. It’s a great update on the sheath dress if you want something a little different, and you could wear it with a navy, lavender, or cobalt cardigan or blazer. It comes in sizes 2–12 and it’s $178, marked down from $298.  Paneled Stretch Wool Sheath Dress

Looking for something more affordable? It’s hard to beat this $34 sheath dress, also available in lucky sizes for plus sizes.

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  1. After hearing them raved about here so many times, I’m looking at buying a Lands End ponte sheath dress. Can anybody tell me how they run? I have a coat from Lands End and I had to go down by 2 sizes. Are the dresses the same?

    • Depends on your shape and where you are in the size scheme. Generally, yes, they run a bit larger and you can size down a bit on the numbered sizes (YMMV on the s m l xl sizes). Readers last week noted that on the smaller end of the scale, the 0 fit more like a 2 or 4 and was tough to go smaller. I’m a cusp sizer on the higher end of straight sizes, wearing a 16 at most mall stores; I can get away with a 14 or a L (if the cut of the ponte works for my shape; if not an XL is a bit boxy but it works).

      • I see. I’m a pear but I also carry some weight in my stomach. Usually wear a size 8-10. I originally bought the coat in a large (since I want to be able to wear some layers underneath) and ended up needing to size down to a small.

        • I do find that the coats are accommodating of a broader shoulder/arm, so that makes sense. I just wish they had better fit details/reviews to help that decision process!

    • cat socks :

      For reference, I’m 5’0″, 135 lbs and I carry most of my weight in my stomach area. I have the 8 petite because I find it’s not too tight around my stomach.

    • Mineallmine :

      I have a few, and be warned that the dresses can fit slightly differently. The variations were slight but still noticeable when comparing different colors of the same version, and more dramatic between versions (e.g. sleeveless vs sleeved). I recommend ordering a few and only keeping the ones that fit you best. I was the same size as usual, and they aren’t as oversized as the LE coats at all. I like my dresses a bit loose but still flatteringly shaped, so YMMV – if you want the dress to hug your curves more, size down. I’m a hourglass/slight pear, straight size.

      I do like them, but I find they shrink a bit in the wash (cold, air dry), enough to be a bit more clingy than I like so I have to stretch them out again. One hasn’t really wanted to stretch back out again, so I wear it with a longer blazer.

    • Anonymous :

      Be aware its above the knee. The description does say that, but I didn’t think much of it. However, I’m 5’8″, and its really verging on too short for work without tights.

    • I think their stuff runs extremely narrow through the hips/butt. Lands End – in my opinion – is not for the busty or those with junk in the trunk.

    • Lands end lover :

      I have several Lands End ponte sheath dresses, and carry weight in the tummy and can verify that if you are larger busted or have any behind ( have both) you are better going with your normal size and getting it tailored down on the waist, since, around 8 and above, the sizes start getting more generous, but the bust and behind will fit pretty well. I’m 5/3 and a petite hits me about a half inch above the knee; the regular on a 5’3 petite gives a cute intentional midi look.

    • I have not historically loved Lands End, but I did order a ponte dress from them and I LOVE it.

      Again, historically I found their sizes to run very large, but this one was just perfect. I ordered a size 4, and it fit perfectly, with my mom tummy and all. I would say it possibly runs slightly large, but not very.

  2. The Lands End sheath is awesome. I have it in b+w, and the white is truly opaque. Matching jacket in lucky sizes also on sale; does not look like LE, it’s so nice.

  3. lawsuited :

    A member of my husband’s family was just diagnosed with breast cancer. At this point, all that my husband and I know is that she will be leaving college and moving back to our area for treatment (we don’t know what her treatment will consist of). My love language is gifts, so the only thing I can think to do is put together a care package for her. For the moment, I’m thinking a travel mug, tea and a cashmere wrap. Any other suggestions or ideas that better than my own?

    • Anonymous :

      That sounds lovely.

      Only other suggestion is to look for any resources for younger women facing BC. Many resources are aimed at older women and younger women often have unique issues and considerations. Rethink BC is an organization aimed at younger women in Canada but I presume there is an American equivalent. Might help her to be able to connect with younger women facing a similar diagnosis.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        This is very sweet, both of these ideas. I imagine she’ll be overwhelmed, and it would be so helpful for you to have done some research for her. <3

      • Thank you for this! I will find the right moment to tell her about Rethink BC (we are in Canada).

    • My friend was starting breast cancer treatment around the time of her birthday, and I sent her a Hooty the Owl, which can work as a hot pack or a cold pack. I also use mine as a travel pillow. It is super-cute. If she likes cute things it might be a hit.


      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I don’t even particularly love cutesy things and I love love love my Hooty the Owl. I wish I’d had it while going through chemo-level treatment.

    • I’ve heard good things about this book as a resource: https://www.amazon.com/Silver-Lining-Supportive-Insightful-Breast/dp/1476743711

      • With the caveat that I have neither had cancer nor read that book, the “silver linings” in the title is pretty off-putting to me. Maybe the text of the book is phrased much more delicately than the title but trying to convince a recently diagnosed cancer patient that there’s an upside to her diagnosis seems like a bad plan.

    • Maybe some books or a Kindle gift card? Not cancer specific books, but ones that would get her mind off of things.

      Some sort of cozy blanket or oversized sweater would be nice too.

      • Maddie Ross :

        Barefoot Dreams sweaters are just the best. So snuggly warm.

      • Oh, and warm socks!

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I was on treatment that was described as “chemo-level” a few years ago (although not chemo) and here’s what got me through:
        A blanket for every surface in my house I could cuddle with. I prefer microfiber.
        A big, cozy sweater. I got a Gap cableknit and wore it multiple times a week for months.
        Graham crackers. They were the only thing I could keep down and the sugar helped my blood sugar not drop like crazy. Ymmv.
        Warm socks that aren’t necessarily the fuzzy socks you see all the time. I liked the Gap thick socks that come out around now.
        Slippers and a robe. I had neither before this treatment and loved both. I got moccasin slippers (Minnetonka) and a fleece robe from Target. I kind of lived in the robe at home.
        Real PJs. It somehow made me feel “together” to be wearing matching pajamas even if I was curled in the fetal position throwing up. My aunt got me three pairs from Target right at the start of treatment and I’m forever grateful.

        Things that were not helpful:
        All the ginger stuff. It’s supposed to help nausea. It made me a thousand times worse and I still can’t deal with it almost two years later.
        Meal replacement shakes. See above.

    • Marshmallow :

      The gift box company Box Fox is doing an October breast cancer care box that donates all proceeds to Komen. (I forget if Komen is the one I’ve heard complaints about, but FYI be aware if you’re concerned about that.) It has fuzzy socks instead of a scarf but otherwise sounds similar to what you’re looking for.

    • Although I have not had cancer, I am BRCA1+ and had a prophylactic hsyterectomy and bilateral mastectomy at age 49. If she has a mastectomy, a large U-shaped bed pillow (sort of like pregnancy body pillows but U-shaped) and Softee camisoles for immediately after surgery are very nice. also any pajamas or gowns that button all the way up (it’s hard to get anything on or off over your head for quite a while after this surgery). Warm socks and kindle books or audible membership for those who listen to books.

  4. Rainbow Hair :

    Oh love this dress!

  5. Blue Dress Blues :

    What do I wear with this JCrew Factory dress? link in reply to avoid mod.

    Fit is great, I wasn’t sure on color but DH liked it and I’m trying to not just buy grey/black everything, so I kept it. No clue what to wear it with. Black tights and blazer feels too high contrast. Do I just save it for next summer?

    • Blue Dress Blues :


    • Grey shoes and blazer? Red shoes and red scarf/wrap? I love the dress.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I love this and had my eye on it, too! Any kind of gray would be beautiful with it, I think.

    • Anonymous :

      I would wear it with navy in the fall/winter and a bright colour like yellow in the summer.

    • If you want to lean into that gorgeous cerulean blue (…cerulean? Devil Wears Prada in my head…), and you don’t mind a little bold/fun, there’s a jacket at Loft that is navy with blue flowers. It could really zing!

    • Blue Dress Blues :

      Thanks all!

      I’ll try it out with navy blazers tonight – I guess just hose and not navy tights? Definitely need to pick up a grey blazer though – I think I only have a grey pinstripe and my go-to grey cardigan needs to be relegated to weekend wear.

      Will keep red belt/shoes in mind if I wear it for date night.

    • You could also try black blazer and grey tights or hose. I have this dress in royal blue and love it. I usually wear it with a black, grey, or a black and white striped blazer and no tights, since I only wear dresses when it is warm if possible.

    • Teal looks great with olive.

  6. black/white tops for cooler weather :

    I have a lot of black / white (or black/white + another color or two or black + colors or white + colors) tops for warm weather. But it is hard to find them for cooler weather (and 90% of my pants / skirts are black).

    Any good leads? I feel like I am striking out at my usual places (Boden, Uniqlo, BR).

    I need sleeves and hate button-ups. I have 1 bell-sleeved top, so I don’t need more.

    • Anonymous :

      Ann Taylor

    • Black Haus White Market?

    • This Target blouse comes in both black and a black and white polka dot.


      Also, I personally really like the stuff at BHWM and have bought several blouses there that have held up beautifully, so I’d check there as well.

      Are you considering lightweight sweaters as well?

    • My first comment is awaiting moderation so don’t know if this will go through as well, but if you wanted something with a more interesting graphic print that would work well even outside of a black and white color scheme, these seem to fit the bill:


    • I have two suggestions for you waiting in the ModBot Realm but I’ll also second the Black House White Market suggestion, I’ve gotten a variety of blouses there and am impressed with how they’ve stood up.

      Would a lightweight sweater work for you? Or do you need something to go under a suit jacket?

    • black/white tops for cooler weather :

      OMG — WHBM is OF COURSE where I needed to look.


      Clearly I need more caffeine.

      • probably not….. I just looked. Nothing good. A bit of flow-y, peplum, bell sleeves etc.. and not much sleek/chic in black and white

    • I have been eyeing the UK department store John Lewis lately, although I haven’t made a purchase. There are a lot of interesting greyscale tops when you apply the “pattern: abstract” filter. Some examples:


      • black/white tops for cooler weather :

        These are perfect!

        How does this brand fit? Any other issues to be aware of (launders poorly; runs very large or small)? Happy that they would ship to the U.S.

        I’m 5-4, so petite-ish, but these tops look like they would 100% work so well with my existing black items.

        • Anonymous :

          In general, add 2 sizes to a US size to get a UK size (US 4 = UK 8, etc). But regarding these particular tops, I don’t have any direct experience — I have been admiring the John Lewis selection online for ages but haven’t risked buying, since return shipping would probably be a hassle. If you buy some, please report back on your experience!

  7. Anonymous :

    Got my Marycrafts dress yesterday – thanks for the recos here that encouraged me to buy one. Overall, I liked it and will keep it, but a couple of notes:
    – It’s really, really similar to the Lands’ End elbow-sleeve ponte sheath dresses I have. The Lands’ End ones are a little softer, actually. The only reason I’m going to keep the Marycrafts dress is that it came in a color I didn’t already have. I got all my Lands’ End dresses on sale at the end of last season for not much more than the Marycrafts dresses cost, so if you love these, check out Lands’ End.
    – The one I ordered was pretty fitted and I’m glad I took the advice here (and in the Amazon reviews) to size up two sizes. I am usually a 14 and I ordered an 18 and it fits nicely, although my husband was pretty enthusiastic about it so I may save it for date nights or only wear it with a blazer or longer cardigan. It hit me right above the knee, which I love.
    I will probably order another Marycrafts dress if I find a silhouette and color I like – Lands End has so far only brought their ponte dresses out in a limited range of colors, which is a drawback (although I see the range of colors is larger this season) I recommend trying Marycrafts, if for no other reason than returns on Amazon are so easy.

    • Thanks for this helpful review. I don’t care for those LE dresses at all so it confirms that I probably wouldn’t like the Marycraft dresses either.

      • usuallylurking :

        FWIW, I didn’t care for the famous LE ponte sheath either but loved the first Marycraft I ordered so much that I’ve ordered another 2. The Marycraft fits so much better. I went up 2 sizes the first time per recommendations here and on the reviews but could have gone up only a size. That’s what I did on the second order.

      • Triangle Pose :

        Same as usuallylurking, I think the LE ponte dresses look totally dowdy and frumpy (for me) whereas the Marycrafts dresses are much better fitted to my shape, nipped in at the waist, better pencil shape, tailored well and not bulky or thick.

  8. Today is Boss’ Day apparently…I’m hiding under my desk from the party planning crew who is asking people for “donations” toward gifts (for 4 bosses?!) and wants everyone to sign 4 cards

    • Anonymous :

      “Oh gosh I didn’t realize! Unfortunately I didn’t bring cash and don’t carry my checkbook. Happy to sign the card though!”

      • and for the tech savvy office, “I don’t have Venmo either!”

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I have to say that I snort laughed at checkbook. Does anyone still have such a thing in 2017?

        • Yes. I even use it for office donation type things like this so I have a record of having given the money. :)

          (I’m over 30, by the way. What about you?)

          • Never too many shoes... :

            I am 10+ years older than you, January. But I know literally no one who uses checks (cheques?) – apparently, I do not even know how to spell it.

            I wonder if this is a bit of a Canada/US difference as I have seen people use them to pay for groceries in the States which I have never seen at home…

          • I can understand paying all your bills online, but how do you give money at weddings or for other celebratory occasions? At least in the US you’re never supposed to put cash in an envelope, since it’s incredibly simple to steal. Maybe Canadians are more honest :)

          • In the US, and I zelle’d my last two wedding gifts.

        • Um…. yes? It’s how I pay my property taxes and other large important bills that don’t take credit cards or charge a fee for using the credit card. What a weird question.

        • BabyAssociate :

          Nope, not a weird question. I definitely don’t have one and have never carried checks around with me. The rare occasion and need an actual check, I get request the bank draft one for me online (it’s free).

        • Yes. For sending gifts of cash, paying the lawn guy and the cleaning service, reimbursing friends when the sum is large or it has to be mailed. I mail my disabled brother a check every single week. What do you all do?

        • Yes, of course I still have such a thing.

        • I do not have the book but I always have two blank checks tucked into my wallet.

        • I have a checkbook, but I only use it for our cleaning service (who has no online payment system) and wedding gifts. Every other bill I pay is online. I don’t carry my checkbook around since I use it so rarely.

        • I have a checkbook. I don’t carry it with me, but I use it to pay repair people, the lawn service, babysitters, doctors whose offices don’t take credit cards, and other bills where the business charges a fee to use a credit card.

        • Canada is not U.S., your comment doesn’t apply to a different culture. You definitely seem the type that assumes if it’s not done your way it must be inferior. It’s only Tuesday, please don’t be trolly already.

          • It wasn’t trolly in the least. How on earth is she supposed to know that people in the US still use cheques?

          • Anonshmanon :

            Believe it or not, this forum has an international readership. Nobody in Europe uses checks, either.

          • Amberwitch :

            I remember living briefly in the US back in 1999, and being wildly surprised that salaries were paid by check back then. At that point checks were largely obsolete in Denmark already.

          • Amberwitch :

            Oh, and having to pay cash instead of using debitcards was very strange as well.
            It has been years since I carried cash regularly. Paypal, debitcard or mobilepay all the way these days,

        • Yes. I pay my rent by check (I have a landlord and not a management company). I pay my bills (electric/gas) by check because the bill-pay set-up annoyed me for some reason. I’ll do online bill pay if it charges my credit card, but not if wants to connect to my bank account. The person who cuts my hair only does check or cash, and I really don’t get to the ATM that often.

          That all being said – I usually leave my checkbook at home, since that’s where I pay my bills. And I am under the age of 40.

          • Heck, I still pay rent by check because my management company charges, like, $20 to pay it by credit card online.

        • Former Retail :

          I still need to use them for school and church related things for my kids but even the school finally introduced an online option this year.

        • Yup, I do. I paid a photographer for family photos with one last week. I’m in my 30s. I don’t do venmo. If venmo had existed when I was in college, I may have gotten on board with it.

          • I had to canvas for funds for our class room. I am in a financial center and half of the moms work for banks too big to fail. It was about 90% venmo and zelle for funds. And one check (that I mobile-deposited).

          • I’m amazed that half the moms in your area work at all, let alone in Big Jobs. I’m one of three working moms in a class of more than 20. :(

        • AquaeSulis :

          I’m in the UK and haven’t seen cheques in quite a few years. I think our banks have stopped supplying them automatically.

        • I recently (maybe 2 weeks ago?) heard a piece on NPR about checks. Essentially, US citizens write more checks than any other country. One of the contributors to the story was Australian and she said when she came to the US she had to learn how to write a check to pay her rent.

          So, it’s not usual for US citizens to use checks. Probably not as commonplace as it once was with the advent of Venmo, etc., but I know that for certain things (paying our cleaning lady), it’s the only method of payment they accept. And many utilities in my area charge a fee if you use a credit card, so it’s cheaper to pay by check.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            I am fascinated by this discussion! So it seems like it is a little bit of a country thing.

          • @ Never too many shoes….

            I’m Anon at 11:39 and I found it fascinating as well. I just assumed other countries used checks as well, which is obviously not the case. My take away from the discussion is that the US still uses checks in large part because our banking isn’t as centralized as it is in other countries. I can’t seem to find a link to the show to give more details, but it was certainly an interesting story.

          • I am Australian and over 30, and have never owned a cheque book. I pretty much pay everything on my debit card.

        • This is definitely a US/Canada thing. As a Canadian, I left cheques behind in the 20th century. Moving to the US this year, I get looked at as if I have 2 heads when I say I haven’t used checks in 15+ years. So far have held off needing them, but its a default ask in many situations. No easy/low fee email money transfer here.

          • That explains it! I didn’t know that there’s no EMT in the US!

          • Senior Attorney :

            I don’t even know what that is! To me, EMT is Emergency Medical Technician!

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Senior Attorney – it is email money transfer (although I personally do not call it EMT for the exact reason you stated).

            When online banking you can just literally email money to another person (you add a question and answer to serve as password) and then they get an email, choose their bank, answer the question and the money gets deposited. For many banks, there is no fee, so you can use it even for small amounts.

          • Anonymous :

            There is a new, easy transfer here. It’s called Venmo, and has been put into place in the past year as a bank-to-bank transfer system. Sometimes banks call it a different thing. You access it through your online banking or your bank app. I’m with Chase and it’s called QuickPay there. If a person isn’t signed up, it goes through the process that “never too many shoes” describes. If you are signed up already through your bank, you just give the person sending the $ to you the email address you are using for it, they key it in to their online banking system, along with the amount, and the money gets transferred from their bank to yours. You get an email saying “So and so sent you money.”

          • @Anonymous at 1:24 PM – you’re talking about Zelle, not Venmo. Zelle is bank-owned, accessible through your bank account if your bank participates, and is a direct bank account to bank account transfer system in many cases (some transfer go via card). Venmo is a card-based system and is not bank owned.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Yeah, I know about Venmo (which is not card-based — it sends money bank to bank). I guess that’s similar to EMT although it’s through an app, not email. I love it!

          • @Senior Attorney: Not to seem overly pedantic on this, but this is what I do for a living – Venmo is primarily a debit card-based system. You can connect your bank account to it, in which case the transfer move by ACH, but most Venmo transactions run over a debit card rail. Even if you are using ACH, Venmo (as a non-bank third party) initiates those transfers.

            Zelle, which is truly bank to bank for major institutions, is closer to what the Canadians are describing. In a Zelle transaction, funds are available in the recipient’s bank account immediately (literally within seconds every time I’ve used it) – there’s no need to cash out a Venmo balance or to wait for an ACH to go through – and no non-bank third party, which some people care a lot about from a security perspective.

            And that’s your payments nerd infomercial for the day :-)

          • Senior Attorney :

            Huh. I just use my bank account for Venmo. Lean something new every day…

        • My dog walker only takes checks or cash. I usually write her a check because I fail to remember to get cash. I can’t remember paying anyone else with a check recently though. My county allows payment of property taxes electronically and all my other bills are CC or EBT too.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          I’m 22 and use a checkbook for paying people back when they pick up something for me from Costco, for the collection at church, and for karate classes.

        • My mother still writes checks at the grocery store. Slowly. Maddening.

      • This wouldn’t work in my office, since the organizer would say “Oh no problem just get me the money when you can” especially for a small amount. I’d probably just cough it up but you could also directly say you don’t want to participate. The evasive thing doesn’t work at all though.

    • I would be honest and say, “I don’t believe in gifting up, so I am going to pass. Thanks for asking.” Then I would go back to whatever I was doing. My boss would be pretty horrified if we gifted up to him.

      As to the check question, I have always had a checkbook. None of the people I have to pay in the horse world use any sort of technology – checks it is! The city where I live charges a credit card fee for our sewer/trash payments – they get a check too. I also use them for gifts (weddings, etc.). I never carry cash.

    • Anonshmanon :

      We just sign a dorky card. I feel that this is appropriate, since a) we have a good boss and b) they genuinely enjoy the appreciation.

  9. Email tone :

    Apologies if this posts twice – I recently received feedback that the tone of my emails can sometimes be curt. A specific example was given – two days before I was to leave the office for minor surgery, I was asked to take on a new case that I would take primary responsibility for. I emailed the originating partner, “Thank you for thinking of me, I’m very happy to work with you. Do you know when the new matter will come in? As a heads-up, I will be out of the office for medical reasons from [date] to [date], and I do not expect to have email access during that time. I’ve already spoken with my colleague, Capable Associate, copied here, and she is available to assist in my absence. Do you have time to speak before [date] so we can be sure everyone is up to speed before I leave? Best, [OP]”

    Apparently that email was curt. I felt like asking, would you have said that to a man? Some days I feel like I can’t win. But I’m trying to take the feedback at face value and work on the tone of my emails without coming off inauthentic or sickly sweet (like some of the emails I get from juniors that frankly pain me to read). Tips and tricks on how to be authoritative yet not “bossy” or “curt” or whatever other negative adjective is only ever associated with women?

    • nasty woman :

      That is an extremely polite, thorough, and professional email. It even contains niceties. Ughgh no advice for you because I don’t know how you could have worded that better.

    • Blue Dress Blues :

      That’s not curt at all. If anything, it’s super accommodating with the arranging for the involvement of the other associate. Sounds like someone was grumpy that you weren’t available.

      • Just for clarity – the “feedback” came from a different partner than originating partner that I emailed. Feedback partner knew the background of the surgery issue; he couched his comments as a more general feedback on my work but then gave that example. So I don’t know if he just picked a bad example and maybe there are other examples that he just wasn’t thinking of? Or if it’s a general impression of me? I do think I come off as… direct?… when I’m focused on work.

        • If you come across as very direct in person, he may have read that tone into the email. The words alone, taken at face value, do not seem at all curt to me. But I don’t know you and how you come across face to face.

      • Anon in NYC :

        +1. Grumpy that you weren’t available, and they wouldn’t do the same thing with a man. I’ve been there. That sucks. Sorry.

    • First Year Anon :

      Not curt at all. Partner is upset you couldn’t work on the file and knows he/she has no valid reason to be, so he/she made up this reason to be mad at you.

      • Yep. Kind of like when my boss was upset I took my full 12 weeks of maternity leave, so when I got back, he scheduled a performance review in which I was dinged for “not being available enough” in the previous 6-month period…that I had been out on leave for half of. Petty people find their ways to get revenge.

        • UGH!! My bff’s boss demoted her in title, responsibilities, and manager, but not salary, when she returned from maternity leave. He has been even more of a d!ck that he used to be – e.g., requiring her to hang around during lunch in case he needs something now that she sometimes visits her kid during her lunch break (he never did this before). It finally pushed her over the edge to look for a new job.

          It enrages me.

          • That’s illegal if she’s protected by FMLA– she is entitled to come back to the same salary AND an equal (but not necessarily the same) title.

          • Of course she is, and she did. He didn’t demote her until 2 months after she returned. I worked in that office and HR seems unconcerned with any of the many issues which make it a toxic workplace aubject to lawsuits. It’s a terrible place to work and it has very high turnover.

    • Anonymous :

      Your e-mail was in no way curt. In fact, it was the opposite. You went out of your way to explain the situation and provide a solution. I’m not sure what I would do in your situation – probably look for a different job.

    • Hmm. I don’t think that’s overly curt. It does strike me as rather on the formal side for addressing a professional colleague. And what could be giving the “curt” impression is that’s a TON of information in a very condensed email, which creates a sense of an onslaught of business with no small talk. It might help to stick to one or two points per email, since busy people often seize on one issue and overlook the rest. So in this case, something like: “Thanks for thinking of me – I’d be very happy to work with you. Do you have time to speak before [date] to go over this matter? I’m out on medical leave from [date range], so it might be helpful to go through the details before I’m out.” The bits about the assistant and the email and asking about when it will come in can all wait for the in-person meeting or phone conversation (or even a follow-up email after they respond).

      The caveat here is that I’m in the corporate world and not law, so I could be totally off base about your field’s expectations.

      • Blue Dress Blues :

        This is a good point. I read it as OP condensed the text for posting here but the email contained three separate points and I would have put each on it’s own line (Thanks/Out of Office/Colleague Suggestion). I used to think it was silly to have three paragraphs for a three/four sentence email but sometimes it is necessary when conveying a lot of information.

        That doesn’t mean it was worth mentioning as ‘curt’. It’s not.

      • (adding a note to re-emphasize that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your email, and that in theory, information-dense and to-the-point should be a good thing. But we all know you sometimes have to play the game, so my advice was given along those lines, since you indicated that you wanted to give it a shot)

      • +1 to everything, including coming from corporate world. I actually think you’re being too stereotypical female here. Way too much information in an email, and too accommodating. I just want to know you’re going to get it done and arrange for someone else to cover it while you’re out. Tell me in person about the specifics.

        I don’t think I’d call it curt necessarily, more just giving the impression that you’re trying to avoid a meeting or don’t understand the distinction between initial yes/no emails and later detail meetings. (I have some on my team – they will send an email for EVERYTHING, even when they need to just walk three cubes over and talk it out. Argh.)

      • +1 to the email sounding a little too formal or stiff, but it’s not curt.

      • +1. Seems overly formal for an internal email to a colleague. (My reference point is an NYC biglaw office.)

        Same outcome if the email was written by a man.

    • I agree that this “feedback” is very gendered – and my first instinct is that they would not have said it was curt to a man. I think First Year Anon is on the money in their analysis.

    • That email would be considered slightly curt in my super friendly west coast big law office. I would have peppered the email with accommodating words like “unfortunately” “sorry” etc. I’m viewed as a confident and decisive senior associate and I’ve never seen those types of filler words as undermining my own authority.

      I disagree with most of the email tone advice that I see on this s!te, though, as overly formal and curt. Maybe those posts are written by NYC posters.

      • In my California big law office this email would not be considered curt at all and women (they are always women) who constantly apologize do not advance at the rate they should.

      • Yeah, I worked on the west coast before law school and got this feedback. I started adding exclamation points etc. Then I moved to the east coast and was told that’s too girly, I need to be more formal in emails. My law school professors (and tons of workshops, articles, etc.) told me to stop saying “sorry” for existing and stop qualifying my opinions with “I think”. Now I’m getting the “curt” feedback again. It’s such a hard balance.

    • I get this feedback a lot and my natural writing style is similar to yours. Super specific advice, but I have learned to go back to my email and add at least one exclamation mark. So, for yours, I’d make the first sentence, “Thank you for thinking of me!”

      • GAH I’m sorry you have to do this. It is so, so gendered.

        Just imagine this conversation, “Josh, your emails come across as curt. Add an exclamation point every paragraph or so!”


        • Never too many shoes... :

          Even the idea of that makes me giggle.

        • Ha! I’m 10:09. I totally wasn’t expecting empathy, but thank you so much! I’m so used to it now that I don’t even think about it, but you’re right on all counts and this made me laugh.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Josh, have you considered framing your requests in a nicer way? Some of your subordinates feel like you come across like you don’t care about them, so could you try framing your requests differently? Like, instead of “I need this project done by the 15th, so let me know if you need help on it, thanks,” say, “Would it be possible for you to get this done by the 15th? That would be great. If it’s too much for you it’s ok, I can get you more resources.”

      • Right?!? At this company my emails morphed from direct to exclamation points, upbeat apologies over nothing, and even smiley faces if I’m writing to the owner who is known to read tones that aren’t there. (She–yes, she–tosses them around her emails like confetti.) Trust me, I don’t want to be this person, but this is the type of person my company loves.

        “Sorry, I was away from my desk this morning! I’ll work on this and get it back to you ASAP! :)”


        My female office partner and I compose our more ridiculous email responses out loud to each other in sing-songy voices. We always end with “Thaaaaaanks!” and hit send. It’s a running joke.

    • When you’re saying yes but also no, I pick up the phone or stop by in person.

      • Thanks I think that’s probably part of the problem. The first impression should be “Yes I want to work for you” not “Maybe I can work for you.”

        • I really struggled with this as a junior associate. I felt like I was saying yes but people were hearing no. So now I just say yes. And separately I address any “yes, but” issues.

    • Just adding another vote – that is not curt!

      Our firm has an actual problem with a legal secretary who sends curt emails. They tend to be emails like – “[No salutation] We need the document by the end of the day or else we cannot keep the appointment on Friday” [No sign off]. Like she sends this to opposing counsel. When she was out of the office, I asked the office administrator to add an email signature (in addition to the block) so that now all of her emails have her name at the bottom. That is curt (rude, infuriating, etc.!) and my feedback to her has nothing to do with her being a woman.

      You are fine.

    • Agreed that this is gendered feedback. Also, so what if it’s “curt.” It’s email. It should be short and to the point.

    • Add pictures of bunnies and unicorns to your emails. That is the only way.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Oh, if you have a letter “I” in your name, perhaps you could add a heart instead of a dot. It might make you seem more approachable.

  10. Favorite Sites To Waste Time? :

    Good morning. I’m facing a ton of downtime at work. Favorite sites to browse?

  11. Anonymous :

    Going to be out of the office for a couple days for egg retrieval, so I know roughly when but not exactly. Don’t want to tell my boss what it actually is but also she’s a great person I genuinely like and I don’t want her to be worried about me. What story do I tell?

    • anon a mouse :

      If you want to give her a heads-up, you could say that you are likely to have a medical procedure soon, but you are waiting to hear more about scheduling and that it may happen on short notice.

      A friend didn’t want to tip off her boss, so she just called in that morning and said she had to have an emergency medical procedure and would be out for 2 days.

      Good luck!

    • Favorite Sites To Waste Time? :

      Are you me? I’m doing this right now. I spoke to my (male) boss face-to-face and told him that I am undergoing an “elective medical procedure.” I followed up with an email and said, “I have appointments on A and B date; if you agree, I’d like to work from home on those days. I will need to go to the doctor’s office daily or every other day from X date to Y date. I hope to structure in a way that I’ll go in the mornings and arrive in the office by mid-morning. Depending on the doctor’s schedule, I’ll need to take two sick days between W date and Z date. This should mark the end of my altered schedule.”
      I’ve updated my personal calendar and have updated our group’s calendar. On the group calendar, during the range of retrieval dates, I’ve said I may be working remotely. I hope that will cut down on the meeting requests, but I assume that there will be a couple of meetings that I’ll just need to reschedule last-minute, when it comes time.
      I was emotional in our face-to-face meeting; I should have gotten out that emotion before talking to him. I assured him that I’m not sick, don’t have cancer, etc., but that this is something I need to take care of. He was supportive and kind, and didn’t ask any questions beyond if I’m okay.
      This is what I’ve done so far – if anyone else has suggestions regarding something I’ve missed, I’d appreciate it.
      Good luck to both of us!

      • I would just caution that anyone that is slightly familiar with the IVF process would almost immediately know that that’s what this was — which may be fine for you, but just be careful if it’s not.

        • Anonymous :

          Yep; I’m doing IVF egg freezing right now and I knew without a doubt one of my employees was too based on the pattern of late arrivals and sudden absences.

    • I have to take a couple days off for a medical procedure. It’s nothing serious but something I need to take care of.

    • I said that I was going to be out for a surgical procedure (minor) within the next week and was waiting on some tests to come back before it could be scheduled. Good luck!!

    • Thanks all! And good luck to everyone else.

    • Good luck! I have had several recently and people are much less curious than I feared. “Minor medical procedure sometime next week” covered it. And you may not need much time off… after my last one I was back to work that afternoon (sigh).

    • You will know about 36-48 hours in advance — if it were me, I’d probably just make sure not to schedule anything too important for those days and then take a sick day for “the stomach flu.” I’ve also said in the past that I had to have a minor medical procedure and then say that they squeezed me in early due to a cancellation (to explain the short notice) and leave it at that. You won’t have to miss more than one day of work in 99% of the cases.

  12. Hey all, it’s me, the poster with a newly-out trans husband. I need more advice.

    Husband has struggled with depression in the past and I think he’s slipping back into it, exacerbated by the emotional toll of discovering/working out his gender identity. He’s really struggling at work. I’ve encouraged him to talk to his supervisor and go through his EAP, but I don’t think he’s done that.

    Anyone have experience seeking FMLA/intermittent FMLA for depression?

    • There shouldn’t be any problem with taking FMLA for mental health, but he needs to actually deal with his issues. And you deserve to demand that. He has thrown a massive bomb into your life- he owes you actually going to therapy.

      Do not wind up a year later with him loafing about your house doing nothing and you’re on the hook for alimony.

      He’s looking out for himself. You should be doing the same. Do you want a wife? Do you want to have a sexual relationship with a woman?

      • This comment is pretty judgy and even if she doesn’t want a sexual relationship with a woman, I don’t see why she has to leave ASAP. I don’t see why alimony payment would be different now versus a few months or years from now unless she’s expecting a giant inheritance or stock payout soon. I think it’s wonderful she is supporting her spouse and is invested in figuring out if/how the marriage can continue to work.

        • If he goes from working and contributing to unemployed with no income it might.

          • Taking FMLA isn’t the same as quitting your job. A lot of jobs will pay you sick leave when you’re out on FMLA and even if the time off is unpaid, you have a job to go back to. Totally different than quitting with nothing else lined up.

          • No of course not. But leaving with out a plan can too easily turn into not returning to work.

        • I don’t understand how it’s judgy.

          If my husband came out as trans and wanted to transition to female, I would wish him the best and try to assist him with getting the help she needed. But the marriage would be over, period. I am not interested in women as s* xual or romantic partners and I figured that out a long time ago. That would not change if the woman in question was my husband.

          • But OP has posted here before and expressed her desire to stay in the marriage or at least to spend some time figuring out if staying in the marriage will work for her. So when you say “dump him ASAP” it sounds like you’re criticizing that decision. What you would do is irrelevant, since OP is not you.

          • No one said dump him asap though. You’re responding to my initial comment and I didn’t say dump him I said be careful.

          • I haven’t actually seen any posts related to this before, so it’s possible that some replies are based on just the info presented in this specific post and are not criticizing a decision the replier is not even aware of.

        • It’s not judgey, it’s straightforward. A lot of people here get their undies in a bunch when people don’t couch their language in the softest possible terms and frankly, y’all need to learn to deal with it.

      • I have to agree with this. What is the goal of taking FMLA time? Is it to allow more time for daily therapy sessions or support groups? If it is not structured and specific, you do run a risk of having him sit around growing more depressed, seeking constant validation from trans groups on the Internet, and neglecting normal life and relationships. It’s going to be a hard time for both of you no matter what, but from what I’ve heard anecdotally about these transitions (after years of marriage), it’s really important to maintain your life and for him to maintain his and to not reject everything (job, family life, hobbies) that existed prior to transition.

        Maybe that’s not where your situation is going (and I hope it’s not), but I do think you should both be wary of FMLA time without specific goals and schedules in mind. Is it really going to be a temporary break from work?

    • No direct personal experience but FMLA can definitely be used for mental health issues.

      I strongly encourage you to insist that he use the time for a treatment plan. There’s using FMLA to not work, and then there is getting help/treatment. He needs both.

      • Thanks for this response (and the responses above, I realize I’ve posted a lot of about this). I’m heading toward a tough-love plan of action – things could get a LOT worse but we can get out in front of it and mitigate some of the fallout.

    • FMLA can be used for this but it’s well worth this being discussed in therapy first. It may be that FMLA makes sense if there’s a plan in place to deal with the mental health issues. It may also be that having no requirement to leave the house, bathe, dress for work, have a schedule, etc. may make the depression worse.

      It sounds like things feel super chaotic for each of you (understandably so) so working with a therapist to put some plans in place to keep some consistency in each of your lives and in your life together can be helpful and bring relief.

      In the meantime, I hope you’re also talking with someone. (I can recommend someone who specializes in trans issues/situations if you post an email address here.) You have lots to think about and work through on your side, as this impacts you as well. <3

    • Having just taken intermittent FMLA in order to take care of my aged folks for a bit, I strongly recommend just going with the continuous FMLA. The paperwork for intermittent is a lot more trouble and I didn’t end up being able to work while out on leave as much as I had hoped I would. Certainly not enough to make it worth it.

    • Moonstone :

      With people I really dislike, I avoid eye contact and take copious notes or at least focus my gaze a little away from their face. It’s slightly harder for people to see how much I despise them if they can’t see my eyes. Good luck.

  13. Advice for interacting with someone you can’t stand? In this case it is opposing counsel. We spend a lot of time in small spaces (mediation, arbitration) and I sincerely dislike him. I could go on and on but the adjectives I would use are oily and smarmy.

    Unfortunately I think my dislike is showing through on my already-RBF and it can’t help me with the arbitrator/mediator.

    • He’s opposing counsel. No one expects you to like him. You just have to treat him with professional courtesy.

      • +1

        Why would it ding you with the arbitrator/mediator as long as you’re professional and courteous? We don’t all have to like each other. We just have to be polite.

    • What works for me is to make it into a sort of game. So with someone like this I would enlist a friend to hear about this person’s worst, most annoying offenses and then for every time he does something smarmy or gross you get a story to commiserate with your friend over.

    • Don’t forget that he’s winning if he gets you to act emotionally. This is all a tactic to get you to make a misstep.

      • And the lack of desire to handle this kind of game playing is why I had to switch from litigation to transactional. I couldn’t hack it.

    • Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, the judge usually eats up his schtick, which includes a lot of really obvious flattery . They’re both older man, and they seem to relate to each other more than either of them relates to me. I think this hurts me.

      • (PS different arbitrators every time, but they’ve all been older white men, as is opposing counsel. His routine has worked on all Of them

      • Ugh. No advice, but lots and lots of sympathy. Old, gross dudes are the worst.

        • Thanks all for the advice & sorry for the typos. English is my first language but iPhone isn’t. :)

  14. When is an MBA worth doing? It’s something I’ve considered as a means to change careers.

    • We need more details on your education, your background, and your plans to really answer. Short answer is otherwise “it depends”.

    • That is a common reason why people do it, but it is like law school in many factors:
      – It is incredibly expensive. Is it worth $150-200k to change careers or can you do that for less money?
      – It may not be the right school. There is a cache to certain schools over others and many hiring managers feel the same way, so you may be dropping money on a degree at a school that managers don’t really care about.
      – It might not be necessary. If you aren’t pursuing very targeted classes that directly relate to the career you want to change into, many hiring managers see it as a bandaid for people who don’t really know what to do. Couple that with not going to a top school and it could be an unnecessary endeavor.
      – It could very likely be a lost opportunity cost. If you go fulltime, can you live without salary for two years? Maybe more considering you may not get a job right away? What about if you do get a job right away in the field you want to change into, but the starting salary is lower than what you make now. If you go parttime, can you handle that commitment? My husband just completed his and it has been SO.MUCH.WORK. for him but (1) his company paid for it and (2) it is at a top MBA program and (3) it directly relates to the work he wants to be doing in the future both at his company and 20 years down the road and (4) he has autonomy to pace his classes when he wants and choose his classes so that they directly relate to what he does at work and will be doing after the next promotion and (5) we do not have kids yet and he has enough seniority to adjust his work schedule when need be for school – not something he could do if he were more junior – and not something he could do if his company weren’t on board with it.

      Really think about if it is necessary to change careers and if you absolutely want to change careers. The biggest factor to consider would be lost salary for fulltime and the possibility of it taking years to get back to that salary or what going parttime would mean for you. And sadly, if you can get into one of the top schools – I believe that means the most with employers.

    • b school thoughts :

      MBA holder here. In my mind, here are the type of people it significantly benefits:
      – Those who need an MBA for advancement at their current company and their employers will sponsor them (pay for it)
      – Those from any background who want to do a career change into a very few specific industries: investment banking, consulting, marketing for consumer packaged goods
      – People who have a military or non-profit background who want to break into the corporate world
      – People who went to a lower ranked school for undergrad and get into a top tier b school to build a name-brand resume for access to more “prestigious” jobs

      I generally advise my friends to not go until they are 100% certain what they want to do afterwards AND they feel that they have exhausted every other option to try to get into that role without the MBA. If they are sponsored, funded by family money, or given a hefty scholarship the equation changes a bit in favor of the program.

      • Anonymous :

        I agree with b school thoughts. I am a CPA more than half way through a part-time MBA program (2 classes at a time for 2 years) but would not pursue this degree if my employer did not cover the tuition. Completing the program will not increase my salary but could benefit me later in a job transfer. The curriculum is not particularly difficult but is very time-consuming while working full-time. Think weekly quizzes, homework, group projects, in class presentations with powerpoint decks plus a mid-term, final and possibly a research paper or two per class.

  15. Just wanted to post a recommendation. No idea on actual quality as it can be hit or miss, but was browsing Jcrew factory s*te last night and they have some very cute sweaters – specifically a ballerina wrap sweater like the DvF one that’s been around for a few years (except this one actually looks softer) and a lovely-looking sweater jacket. I’ll post links separately.

    • The wrap sweater: https://factory.jcrew.com/p/womens_clothing/new_arrivals/sweaters/bellsleeve-wrap-sweater/H2997?color_name=antique-white

      • And the sweater blazer: https://factory.jcrew.com/p/womens_clothing/new_arrivals/sweaters/sweaterblazer/G9309?color_name=cabernet

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I love that sweater, especially in the grey…

      • KateMiddletown :

        I adore this wrap sweater. It doesn’t look too casual, either – I would be able to get away with this over a vneck silk shell, I think?

      • Wow, I love that. I don’t really need another grey sweater (I think I have 5), so maybe I’ll get it in black. The pink is strangely compelling also.

      • And I just bought it… (plus another cardigan and a dress). I wanted all 4 colours of the wrap sweater though.. I decided on grey but it was a tough decision for sure. They’re gorgeous! Thanks for the recommendation (not sure my credit card thank you though!)

    • I have had terrible luck with JCrew Factory sweaters. In my experience, they’re awful quality.

      • And I’ve found their quality to be on a par with, say, Banana Republic, Gap, or Loft. Maybe some of the Macy’s brands. I don’t buy J Crew proper very often, so can’t really compare. Not the most fabulous, pass-it-down-to-your-kids quality, but decent for the price.

        I have the sweater blazer. It’s a fairly thick, substantial knit. I feel like it might run a tad long – I’m not quite 5’4″ and I think it came to the tops of my thighs? I haven’t worn it yet, because it hasn’t been cold enough (grr, global warming robbing me of proper boots weather!!).

        • I have the sweater blazer. Got it from a J.Crew Mercantile store, which is J Crew Factory not in an outlet setting. Wore the blazer for the first time yesterday- it is a little long, but warm and substantial. I also could not get the lapel on the left side to lay flat. Probably an issue just with this particular sweater, as it was hanging kind of funny in the store. They steamed it for me when I purchased it, but I’m going to have to pin it to keep that left side down- no issue with the right side!

        • Agree “decent for the price”. I bought a few cardigans about 2 years ago and they are still going strong. But I know they won’t last forever.

  16. Can anyone offer recommendations for ponte dresses for those who are very slim? Unfortunately the Lands End dresses are too big, but basic ponte dresses like that are exactly what I am looking for. TIA!

  17. Vicarious shopping help! Any recommendations for oversize chunky sweaters I can wear with jeans and boots? I recently transitioned into a casual workplace, and this seems to be the norm here. Also, everyone looks so comfy that I’m jealous. Trying to find something to get me through just this season. Price point hopefully $75 and below please. For reference, I’m 5′ 3″ and pear shaped with a small waist.

    • How about the bell sleeve J Crew sweater linked above? I am hoping it will show off my waist. I don’t know how casual you can go, but I have a serious weakness for Dale of Norway ski sweaters. I usually buy them on sale at sierra trading post or REI.

      • And as a last one to round out the suggestions, this more fitted version in a corded-style seem nice, there are tons out there that are super baggy right now so I like that this one is a bit more fitted.


        While I was looking I saw tons of options on Nordies, J-Crew, and a few other places so I think you should be able to find some good options out there right now.

    • Not sure if you’re looking for something long or shorter so I have a couple options, posting separately to avoid the you-know-what.

      • Traditional looking chunky sweater but the buttons and the colors make it more unique.


    • Leith Easy Circle Cardigan – for a long option example.


    • Well, my last suggestion is stuck in the mod-lounge so the link will come through later but there’s a nice, more fitted cable knit sweater at Target right now and it comes in ten colors.

    • Wearing a great sweater today :

      Jcrew open-front sweater-blazer has been my go to this fall! I have the “heather khaki” color, but it is also available in black and charcoal.

    • https://www.simons.ca/en/women-clothing/sweaters-cardigans/sweaters/cable-knit-high-neck-top–6867-16510?colourId=66

    • Interlaced-rib turtleneck – https://www.simons.ca/en/women-clothing/sweaters-cardigans/sweaters/interlaced-rib-turtleneck–6867-16286?colourId=45

    • Anonymous :


    • Anonymous :

      I feel like I keep seeing oversized sweaters at H&M

  18. I have an interview for an in-house position coming up. Does anyone have any advice on things that I should include in my prep? I am currently in private practice and have come up against(ish) the company often in proceedings.

    • Think about in-house’s role in a company and how it is different from outside counsel. I asked a similar question a while back and somebody said something really helpful about needing to readjust your thinking about what a “win” looks like. And then be prepared to explain why you’re excited to transition to this kind of role.

  19. Tights help??

    I need to find tights that do not pinch my stomach. Commando seemed like the perfect thing, but while they feel absolutely amazing, they do not stay up. What are your most comfortable tights recommendations?

    • Try Heist. I got them at the end of last season and only wore them once or twice, but I seem to recall liking them. I have the same issue with Commando, especially if I wear them with boots.

    • I love Hue tights.

      • Hmm, I’ve tried those and even sized up, they’re uncomfortably tight in the stomach. Maybe I need to size up again?

        • TO Lawyer :

          I also carry weight in my stomach and I don’t find them too tight. Are you buying the ones with control top/shaping ones? Those ones are tighter on my stomach than the other ones, I’ve found.

      • These have been great for me, too, and I carry all of my weight in my belly.

    • I love Berkshire fleece lined tights. I’m plus size, but there’s also straight sizes available. You can get them at Nordstroms or on Amazon. They don’t roll down or pinch my stomach, and they are opaque. I’ve had one pair two years, and several others a year, and they haven’t ran or gotten holes.

  20. Is a “master hair designer” little more than a self-proclaimed title? What does it actually mean when someone says they are a master hair designer? – Do they teach? Have they taken some sort of specialized education? I recently had a very bad haircut and have been referred to someone with this title. Feeling skeptical.

    • That sounds like a title the salon uses. It might have to do with the stylist’s years of experience, or it might just be a way to justify charging a higher rate for that person.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yeah, at my salon they have titles similar to that (“master stylist,” “senior stylist,” “stylist,” etc.) and it just denotes the pecking order in the salon (and the prices).

    • Why don’t you ask?

  21. How long to stay? :

    How long do you have to stay at a job to get “full credit”, so to speak? I’m two years into a great job (law), but….I want to move across the country and this job can’t come with. Does 4 years sound right?

    I know you can get away with one short stint on your resume, but I’ve already used that card to take my current job.


    • This is interesting and I’ll be curious to see other’s replies. I’d say three years is ‘full credit’. And for me, past 4 years without some internal growth at an organization is a red flag. Early 30s, public policy for context.

    • In my industry (not law) it’s pretty common to move on after 2-3 years even if there was nothing wrong with you or the job. It’s only less than one year that is considered a short stint.

    • Two years is fine. If you’re in a jurisdiction-specific practice then it’s probably better for you to move sooner rather than later. People become progressively less willing to train you the more senior you get.

    • HR Consultant :

      This has changed so much since I started working 20 years ago. Back then, not staying for 5-10 years in a position was looked at askance. Now, it’s pretty uncommon to see 10-year jobs on a resume. No one bats an eye at a 2-year stint unless all you have are two-year stints, and I have had more hiring managers balk at candidates who had long-term jobs with no growth than managers who were concerned about “job-hoppers.” The nature of work has changed – we’re now basically all just temps – and so I wouldn’t worry too much about it as long as you’re not bailing out of every job you take at the one- or two-year mark.

      • Ugh, I’m looking at 3 two year stints in a row right now… I hope that doesn’t look bad! Two year job between college and grad school, two year job out of grad school before moving, two years at a firm before moving in-house, and this job just isn’t going to be a good place for me for more than a couple years…

        In other words, for me two years is my full credit and I think there are good reasons for that tenure!

        • Former Recruiter :

          This seems normal to me and wouldn’t bother me. Your in between job had a natural ending – grad school. Leaving your first post-grad school job can be explained by moving. Your next set, firm to in-house, is a natural career progression.

          What would give me pause more than the years at your prior jobs is that you moved once after grad school and now you are moving again. Can you give reasonable explanations for that? I would want to hire you thinking you’d stay put for a little while (even if you don’t plan to).

          • Oh sorry, I just meant I’ll need to make another move because my current in house role isn’t challenging and has no opportunities for advancement. There will hopefully be a natural career progression next! Thanks, this comment was comforting!

    • I’d also say that if it is clearly reflected on your resume that you moved or covered in your cover letter that you are planning to move across the country, I think most HR directors and the like will understand that sometimes people move and change jobs for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with their job performance or their commitment to the field.

    • 2 years is long enough, to me, especially if the reason you’re leaving is to move across the country. Now if you left a job every 2 years 3 or 4 jobs in a row in the same city … that’s a different story.

    • Coupled with a geographic move, I think 2 years is “enough” in law. Anything less than 2 years makes me think the person may still have been ramping up (and I’ve found that repeated 1.5-2 year stints can, in some cases, signal performance issues).
      … but coupled with a geographic move, I wouldn’t blink at a 2 year stint on a resume.

  22. Cornellian :

    Is anyone in Phoenix? I’ll be in town from Thursday – late Saturday. Would love restaurant recommendations, or maybe favorite hikes? I’ll have a rental car, and have never been to Phoenix before.

    Also would love to meet up with a fellow corporette if anyone is around.

    • I moved away a long time ago but we still visit frequently. CIBO is yummy and charming Italian. Dos Gringos is a popular local Mexican chain. The Farm at South Mountain is one of our favorites and great for brunch. Lots of good food options. Camelback is the classic Phoenix area hike. There are also many hiking options at South Mountain. Papago park is centrally located and has really neat rock formations. Well worth a visit.

      • Equestrian :

        If you like Mexican food (and I mean real Mexican food), try Barrio Cafe. It’s in kind of a weird location (outside downtown Phoenix), but the food is AMAZING. Probably one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to.

    • Here now! :

      I’m here right now! I just went to Last Chance on Camelback and HOLY COW. It’s a Nordstrom-family store – I guess it’s where everything goes that they don’t sell?? Maybe someone from Phoenix has a better characterization. I stumbled on it during downtime as it’s on the same block as my hotel. What would I give to have that store in my hometown…. if you have free time and are in the mood for some outrageous bargain shopping, I highly recommend! Bought some Chloe flats for $45!! Kate Spate purses for $50. Burberry trench for $85. Mind = blown.

  23. I got allergy testing done today, and I’m severely allergic to cats. I have two. I’ve had cats my entire life minus 4 years of college, and I’ve also had allergies and asthma. I’m pretty devastated because the doctor suggested I consider rehoming them. She also wants me to do weekly allergy shots for a year to a year and a half to help. Have shots helped anyone? I really don’t want to rehome my cats.

    • If you don’t want to rehome them definitely try the shots!

    • I have also had cats all of my life, and also tested as allergic (cats and mold, that’s it! haha). My symptoms are mild – sneezing a bit in the morning — and my asthma is heat and exercise induced, so I laughed and told them I have no plans to rehome my cats. They didn’t suggest shots for me, however, as the morning sneezing doesn’t bother me as much as having to rehome my cats does. I have had new cats bother me more – a bf’s or other cats that I don’t live with, but that is temporary so I never bothered to do anything about it.

      Does taking an allergy med like Zyrtec help?

      To answer your actual question instead of talk about myself – a friend did the shots for his cat allergy and he said they have helped him.

    • How bad are your allergies?

    • FWIW, I have a cat allergy and find that I can acclimate to any one individual cat with time. So with my old cat, she didn’t really cause me to have allergies unless she was particularly close for some reason (e.g., for a long trip in a car where she’d shed more from nervousness and we were in close quarters). I could deal with it by taking a Claritin or Zyrtec. I’d definitely try the shots before rehoming.

      • Also: did you have the blood test done or the skin test? I found the blood test to be inaccurate. I was off the charts for somethings that I don’t have a bad reaction to and I tested somewhere in the middle for things that make my lips and eyes swell up. So just something to consider if you’re not actually experiencing this as badly as your tests suggest.

    • If you don’t already have one, an air purifier has helped me so much. I recommend the GermGuardian 5350, it’s actually pretty good looking.

      • coffee bean :

        +1 — I came here to make this rec. Get a really good air purifier, perhaps one on each level of your house or one dedicated to your bedroom.

        I vacuum every day with a cordless Dyson (smallish house, takes maybe 10 minutes) and vacuum the couch and chairs with a handheld attachment every few days (takes maybe 3 minutes). That plus the air purifier really eliminates any smell in my multi-animal house (which I’ve gotten verification from my MIL on – that’s how I know I’m not just acclimated to it!).

      • I rarely use my furnace (California…) but if you do, I recommend replacing the filter there as well. 3M Filtrete makes one for pets

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I hope this isn’t an insensitive question, but how bad are your allergies? If you’ve had cats your whole life and your life is +/- fine, like you aren’t debilitated by the allergies… just keep ’em whether the shots work or not? (I apologize if this is insensitive. I don’t think it is but I don’t much about allergies! I just want to say like, you don’t necessarily *have* to solve this problem.)

      Yours Truly,
      A Cat Lover Who Might Be In Denial About Allergies

      • +1 Everyone in my family has cat allergies and we have 10 cats between us. You just deal with it.

        • Well…that really depends on the allergy. I have very severe allergies to cats. Every time I am remotely in the vicinity of a cat, I have miserable allergy symptoms (even with meds) – sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, inability to breathe, etc. When I was younger, I had several life-threatening asthma attacks from being around a cat. I could not own a cat without putting my life and certainly my quality of life in danger. Obviously I would never adopt a cat, and people who have adopted a cat probably have much less severe allergies than I do (although it is a documented thing that allergies can worsen over time). But “you just deal with it” is not advice that works for all allergies.

          • But she’s saying this is a person who has had cats her whole life yet has just discovered she’s allergic to them. She is suggesting that this particular person can “just deal with it” because they have been dealing with it forever already. It’s not about you, it’s about the people who already have cats and whose quality of life has not been in danger.

          • Anonymous :

            Ok, but like I said, allergies can worsen over time. It’s possibly to have a mild allergy to something and later develop a very severe or life-threatening allergy to the same thing. I don’t know if that’s the case with OP and hopefully her allergy can be controlled with shots or medicine, but it is certainly possible that it can’t, so “just deal with it” seems like kind of a flippant reaction.

          • Anonymous :

            And you can also grow out of allergies – it goes both ways. If it took a test for the OP to figure out she’s allergic to cats, then it’s apparently not the life threatening. And can just be dealt with, if rehoming is something she wants avoid.

    • Cornellian :

      I would do the shots, up your cleaning routine, keep the cats out of your bedroom, and not get more cats when these pass.

    • I was in the same position as you, and couldn’t imagine giving up my cats.

      I did the shots for a little while, and they helped tremendously. I also followed my allergist’s recommendations for what to do in the home (frequent dusting and vacuuming with allergy filter, reduce fabrics in the home–get rid of most rugs, only have rugs and fabrics with a low pile and wash often with hot water, use allergy cover on pillows and bed) which has also helped significantly. I don’t put my face near my cats and I wash my hands after I pet them. I had a pretty severe allergy + asthma, and I’m currently medication-free with little to no symptoms.

      • +1

        Not allergic to cats, but am violently allergic to dust mites, and this cleaning routine helps immensely. This and an allergy specific air filter like recommended above should help immensely.

    • I’m allergic to cats since I have to. I don’t choose them, they choose me. I am too soft hearted and I always take in strays. Anyway, what I do is I don’t let the cats sleep in my room, and I always always wash my hands after petting one.I find the allergies really show up in my eyes, particularly with cats. Good luck

    • OP here. I take Singulaire daily for allergies and asthma, and it helps. I also take Flonase as needed. My asthma has been getting worse, thus the allergy test. I didn’t think I had a cat allergy. I’m actually quite surprised, but I may be accustomed to my cats. I’ve had the 2 for 9 years.

      I had a scratch skin test. Dustmites were the only other “severe” reaction, which isn’t surprising. I sneeze and get itchy eyes when dusting.

      I’m going to do the shots and look into an air filter. Thanks for the suggestions.

    • I know someone with a cat allergy. She ended up having surgery for a deviated septum, and cats (and other allergens) bother her much much less. At first, she was considering some kind of balloon procedure, where they insert a balloon in your nose to stretch out the passage, but it turns out her septum was deviated. Something you may want to have checked out.

    • I really hope these accommodations do the trick, but if you do end up rehoming them please know that the cats will be fine. My parents got all their pets from rehoming situations (often for health issues, as you describe). The pets were all beloved and cared for for the rest of their lives with us. The pets came to us from a 1st or 2nd degree connection (e.g. friend of a friend).

    • I am allergic to lots of stuff, including cats. I found that the shots helped my allergies, but had other side effects. I started to have joint pain and was really tired all the time. After ruling out other potential causes (depression; other medical issues), I went out on a limb and stopped taking the shots. Low and behold the symptoms went away. So basically, just monitor your reaction to the shots.

    • After having a cat for 3 years and suffering from recurring sinus infections, I was tested positive for cat allergy. Doctor recommended to rehome the cat – I rehomed myself instead (moved out from my parents for work). My allergy got much worse and if I do not take Flonase and Allegra before visiting parents, my throat swells and I have severe troubles breathing. But Flonase and Allegra work perfect for me. Basic antihistamines alone do not do the job for me.

  24. Cornellian :

    I’ll be in Phoenix this Thursday to Saturday night alone. Does anyone have any recommendations for restaurants or short-ish hikes? Anything I shouldn’t miss? I’ll have a rental car.

    Also would love to meet any local ‘rettes who are interested.

    • Camelback Mountain… short but steep and the views are to die for.
      Estrella Mountain Regional Park is also good if you’re more towards Goodyear.

  25. Has anyone else been having issues with the Ask a Manager page and a virus warning popping up? I plan to ask a tech support friend I have, but wasn’t sure if it was just me or if others have noticed it as well.

  26. New York City dining advice? What’s a good place for dinner before the opera? I’m looking for somewhere that’s an easy walk (in heels) from the Lincoln Center.

    Is eating right at the Met a good option? Their website has a prix fix menu for preshow (and intermission) dining, but I’m usually a little skeptical of the quality of the experience in “captive audience” dining situations. Anyone tried it?

    The opera is the only thing we have specifically planned. I’d love any other suggestions for a long weekend in November. Thanks!

    • Bar Bouloud.

      • +1 for Bar Boulud, that is where we always go. I am going to the Met in November, too, to see “The Exterminating Angel.” Have fun!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I was just there and walked the High Line for the first time. Definitely worth it even if you have to bundle up in November.

      If you’re into history, I love the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and there’s a great Vietnamese restaurant right down the block called An Choi.

    • The Smith is good, right across the street. So is Bar Boulud. I also really like Shun Lee Café (not the Palace). Those are probably my 3 go-tos before any show at Lincoln Center. All are very close. The Smith is probably the most casual of the bunch, depending on whether that matters to you. There’s also PJ Clarke’s, Ed’s Chowder House and Atlantic Grill, which are all tasty and all close by.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      I don’t think the Smith is very good. Bar Boulud or Boulud Sud are excellent, as is Lincoln Ristorante under the center. They also have very good ice cream outside in a little cart (but I haven’t checked recently to see if it gone now with the weather).

    • I love the Rosa Mexicano right across Columbus from Lincoln Center.

    • Awesome. Thanks for the ideas, friends! They all look delicious.

      • PS – We’re staying right in the neighborhood, so may have occasion to hit several of them.

  27. I just learned that I made a major error in a final project report, which was discovered by the client. The client is understandably livid. I have investigated the extent of the error and made a plan to apologize and correct it, but I am mortified and have completely lost confidence in my ability to do my job. The project director is acting very reasonable and understanding, but I feel like an incompetent piece of garbage who is either going to get fired or get a terrible performance review, which will undermine everything I’ve been working for over the past several years. I also wonder if this is the universe’s retribution for two things I’ve recently done: yelling at my daughter for making careless errors in school, and discovering intentional misconduct by someone at another organization, resulting in severe consequences for the perpetrator (to be clear, I was not out looking for the misconduct or to get anyone punished, I just happened to stumble upon what was a very obvious case of misconduct in the course of doing my job). Maybe karma is putting me in my place. Ugh.

    • The first tip would be to take a deep breath. If the error is fixable, which it sounds like it is, then in three months this will be a distant memory. If it’s not-fixable, well, you can go from there with client to figure out how to best mitigate the problem. And if your boss is being supportive, for now at least let yourself be convinced – so often we view our own errors much more harshly than we view the errors of others. I.e. you could very well be putting a lot more emphasis on this then anyone else dealing with it is.

      As for the karma thing – I think everyone with kids has at some point yelled at them about schoolwork, if it’s really making you feel that bad, apologize to her and explain why you were upset.

      For the last thing, this seems if anything like proof that maybe karma *doesn’t* work the way we think it does because if it did, good things would be happening to you because you were an honest person who took what could have been a risky professional step to report something when you saw misconduct. Workplaces need more people like you and fewer people who just keep their mouth shut and put their head down in the face of obvious malfeasance. So on that one, you should really give yourself a pass.

    • Take some really deep breaths. You’ve gone into all-or-nothing thinking and it’s taking over your rational thought processes. (And, um, if the “universe” is going to call you an incompetent piece of garbage and ruin your job and life for yelling at your daughter, then the “universe” has a darn lot to answer for, because there are people who have done things a whole lot worse than yelling at their kid, and their lives are cooking along just fine.)

    • You got this :

      Karma is not a thing. Things happen because people make decisions, consciously or subconsciously.

      You made a decision in re: to what ended up being an error. Your client made a decision about how to react. The project director made a decision about how to react. Now you are making a decision about how to react to all of the above.

      This a thing. You will fix it as best you can and it will pass. You are NOT an incompetent piece of garbage. People make mistakes all. the. time. What matters is how people react and recover from them.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Hugs for this. I’ve been there.

      Don’t let yourself say ‘I’m garbage.” You made a mistake. It SUCKS. But it was just a mistake. Literally everyone makes mistakes. No one becomes garbage because of a mistake.

      We know that perfection is impossible — which means that everyone makes mistakes. You can’t expect perfection from yourself.

      You’ll get through it, I promise.

  28. AZCPA - Stitchfix #2 Review :

    So, I think I give up. My first Stitchfix was a complete miss, but I tried again because they both refunded the styling fee on the first box and waived the fee on a second box. I linked a Pinterest board and provided a ton of detail on my style and the shapes that work for me.

    Style wise, I think this was pretty good. Colors and fabrics I liked, with the sorts of details I’d choose. There was a pair of pants, a coated skinny jean, that I actually loved. However, they were just way too warm for me and I could tell I’d be miserable wearing them for more than ten minutes. There was a dress I liked and it fit well, but honestly looks like every other dress in my wardrobe, so I’m probably not keeping that either. The two tops were the opposite of the shapes I asked for, so are definitely going back. I’d even pinned a recent StitchFix top I’d loved, but they didn’t send it or anyhting similar. The final piece was a moto jacket – it was a bit small on me, and while I debated exchanging it for a larger size, I ultimately don’t think I’ll wear it enough to bother.

    So I’m 0 for 10. I could see StitchFix being good for someone who isn’t sure of their style, but I think my desires are just too specific for it to work.

    • I cancelled my StitchFix when they told me they couldn’t guarantee a size exchange, but that was a couple years ago. Has that changed?

      And my impression is that Stitchfix is good if you like quanitity over quality – if you’re a fashion blogger who needs new outfits every week, it’s a good option. If you want your tops to hold up to repeated washing, you’re out of luck. Most of my SF clothes had strings hanging off within one wearing (even before washing). It felt like Forever 21 quality for Nordstrom prices.

      • AZCPA - Stitchfix #2 Review :

        They indicated I would get a size exchange, but I haven’t actually pursued it yet. Funny you mention on the prices, as that’s something I left out of my review. For my second box, I’d opted in to the designer options, and significantly boosted the price range for each type of piece, along with including a mention in the notes to the stylist (which the stylist responded to) that I’d rather be over the listed price point and have perfect items than have lower priced pieces, and they still sent fairly inexpensive pieces.

    • I found racks full of StichFix clothes at a local bargain place back home in the Southeast. I’ve never used the service, but even at $12 a pop at Bargain Hunt, I didn’t find a single thing I’d wear. The quality was about the same as Target.

  29. Due to staffing constraints, I don’t have anyone at my office who can proofread my writing. As such, I often find sloppy mistakes in my writing when its too late. It’s really hard for me to edit my own work because after reading the same document over and over, I kind of stop noticing details. I was thinking a checklist might help, and I can check every document for everything on the checklist as a way to edit/proofread my own writing. Has anyone tried this or have any suggestions? Specifically for legal writing.

    • I know several people in this position hire someone to read/review, either via signing an NDA for client protection or by redacting names. It may be worth asking HR whether you can do this or whether they have someone. I can recommend someone if you provide an email address!

    • Senior Attorney :

      One thing I always do is put the document aside overnight so I can look at it with a fresh eye. Also, I’ve heard the suggestion to read it backwards.

    • It’s hard for me to edit my own work too. Things that help me:
      – Taking a break between finishing my “last” draft and editing. Overnight is best, but it’s not always possible.
      – Reading the document backwards, starting with the last sentence. If it’s a particularly long document, I take another pass through starting in the middle (where I tend to zone out).
      – Making a checklist and scanning the document for particular weaknesses or quirks. Sometimes, the checklist depends on the boss and their particular quirks.
      – Reading through specifically for consistency (in punctuation, styles, how you refer to parties or terms or laws, etc), especially if multiple people have contributed to a document or you’ve written it through multiple sittings.

    • Definitely do a checklist. Let the document sit as long as you can before the final read and sending. The more time you can give, the more you’ll see.

      Sometimes I read the document out loud, with my finger pointing at each word, and making myself say each word. That helps me notice stuff. I also have to print documents and not look at them on a screen — I gloss over stuff on a screen.

    • I have to actually print something out to proofread it. Something about seeing it on paper with a pen in my hand, as opposed to staring at the computer screen, helps me look at it a bit differently.

      I also agree with the advice above to put it aside overnight or for a few hours if you can before trying to proofread.

      • New Tampanian :

        +1. I find that if I trace along with the pen, I catch more as well.

      • Calibrachoa :

        And if printing out is not an option, try changing the font and font size / layout – it has a similar effect

    • Read backwards (from period to first work of the sentence). Focus on work endings “-es”, “ed”, etc. Read outloud. Take a break and come back.

      Are you a lawyer? If so, you just need to learn to do this. Decide and do it without wasting more time/energy. If you’re a non-lawyer, you probably get a pass.

    • +1 to printing it out and reading it backwards as good tips. You might also try printing it out and reading it with a ruler. Putting a ruler under each line forces your eyes to focus on one line at a time.

    • No Problem :

      Depends what kinds of errors, but I edit a lot and do the following:

      Definitely print it, because you will see many more errors that way. Run the Word grammar and spelling check. You’d be surprised what it finds. Also do global searches and/or replace for things you might capitalize incorrectly, names or terms of art with unique spelling or punctuation (like a hyphenated word vs. non-hyphenated, Alison vs. Allison), common acronym mistakes, errors you’ve made in the past, etc. Check headings for uniform numbering and/or formatting, as well as paragraph formatting. And lots more. But the more you can think to search for globally, the more you can weed out errors.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m late, but no one else mentioned text-to-speech. Windows and MacOS and Microsoft Word (and Android and iOS, for that matter) all come equipped with decent text-to-speech accessibility features these days. The computer will read exactly what it sees, so unless it’s a sounds-alike error or an issue of unpronounced mechanics, you will hear the typos as you follow along.

    • Anonymous :

      I used to do technical proof reading for a scientific journal. I was taught to read it several, once out aloud, once silently, and then backwards.

    • As a lawyer, a huge part of our job is proofreading. It is just something you need to get good at. I always print out and check that way. I will also leave it overnight if possible so that I come back to it fresh. If it is a particularly complex document, I will read it aloud.

  30. Does anyone know if sizes at Banana Republic are comparable to those at Banana Republic Factory? Thanks!

    • Not specifically, but if you call the Factory store and ask, most of the associates will know. I buy at a WHBM and Ann Taylor outlet occasionally, and every associate has always been able to tell me how the sizing compares. (WHBM carries both regular and outlet clothing in their outlet stores, so you even have to know which section of the store it’s in to know which size will fit.)

    • I have found them to be pretty similar, although BR Factory might run a tad smaller than regular BR. Optimally, order your regular size and maybe a size up. This is for dresses and tops, though, I haven’t ordered pants from either BR entity in a few years.

  31. My husband’s sister is quite a bit younger than we are, very immature for her age and interacts with her brother (and thus by extension with me) primarily by arguing and “correcting” what we say. For the most part this is annoying but pretty harmless. But my husband and I are expecting our first baby soon and of course she has declared herself an expert on all things childbirth and raising children (despite never having had a child herself). She has extreme and completely unreasonable stances on all the “controversial” issues. For example, epidurals will cause disaster during labor because women aren’t “meant” to give birth lying down, formula is poison, etc. For the duration of my pregnancy, we’ve been able to manage this by basically giving her no information except “the baby is healthy and due on X date” so she just makes these judgy proclamations in the abstract, not in relation to us, and we ignore them. But when she visits soon after the birth, she will obviously be able to see for herself if I’ve had a c-section, if I’m nursing or formula feeding, etc. and from past interactions with her I suspect her statements will switch from the general (e.g., “formula is terrible”) to the specific (e.g., “you’re hurting your baby by giving him formula.”). Any suggestions for coping with these comments? I know the obvious is “just ignore her” but I feel like that’s easier said that done for me. I can imagine these statements making me really hurt and angry, especially with post-partum hormones coursing through my body and with my own feelings of guilt that are already present if, for example, nursing doesn’t work out for me.

    • This is not helpful, but I’d honestly want to tell her to STFU. Or have your husband tell her to STFU. That kind of thing enrages me.

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        This was my first thought as well. Shut up and don’t talk to me about it again. *shrugs*

      • Delta Dawn :

        Absolutely tell her to shut up. And husband should tell her to shut up. She also won’t be able to tell if you’ve had a c-section unless she is in the hospital room at a vulnerable moment, which I would prohibit.

        • Anonymous :


          You don’t owe her your birth story. “I was satisfied with the medical care I received” “Baby and I are both happy and healthy” are complete information.

    • I am a seasoned (grizzled) mom, so bear with the tone, but honestly some people need to be put in their place.

      “I didn’t ask for your opinion, and I am not interested in hearing it. Keep it to yourself.”


      I know it’s hard, but you have to draw a line. Otherwise, people will judge every choice you make as a mother and drive you to madness.

    • No, the obvious is “you’re being rude and hurtful, stop. I didn’t ask for your advice and I don’t want your opinion.”

      • This. And your husband should say it afterwards. And if she objects “if you can’t be respectful towards us in our own home, you are not welcome in our home”

        He needs to be protecting you from this BS. You have a baby to take care of, he needs to protect you from the cray cray.

        • also, don’t have her visit soon after birth. See her when you visit the in-laws. Go home if she is awful.

          • Unfortunately it’s really important to my husband that she (and their parents) be allowed to come see the baby soon after the birth. We already had a pretty big argument because he wanted them to come immediately after the birth and I wanted to postpone it a few weeks so I’ll be more physically recovered. I basically had to put my foot down and say “Childbirth is like major surgery (and maybe literally major surgery if I have a c-section), I get to say who is living in my home while I’m recovering.” But once I’m physically recovered, I don’t see how I can prevent them from visiting — it’s his baby too and I understand him wanting all of them to be able to come meet the baby.

          • Anonymous :

            I would insist that he is present not at work. If he wants them to visit, then he should be at home with them, not leaving them alone all day.

            Protect yourself and your baby, including your mental health. Completely valid to take baby for a walk by yourself, or co-sleep with baby for naps if you don’t want to be around them. You and baby come first.

          • Yes he can want them to meet the baby. That does not require them staying in your house when you’re in the middle of a major life adjustment. I would give him two options:

            1) They need to stay in a hotel, and have defined hours that they come visit at your house. Their visits must end if they do not respect you and your choices.
            2) If they absolutely must stay at your house, then you get an option to kick them out if they do not respect you and your choices. It doesn’t matter if they have plane tickets 3 days away, they will need to find alternate accomodations. That is the tradeoff for staying in someone’s house.

            You and your DH need to set some boundaries asap. It will NOT be good for your kid to be raised around people who feel free to disrespect his/her parents. It’s basic manners – if someone hosts you, you are gracious. You do not get to criticize their choices while using up their toilet paper.

          • Legally Brunette :

            The only person who stayed with me immediately after birth was my mom, who was doing everything else so that I could focus on the baby. So all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. Her help was so appreciated and invalualbe. But I would have gone crazy if I had a SIL visiting who was this annoying and not helpful to boot. I really would urge you to think about them staying in a hotel and at a MINIMUM, have husband there all day while they are visiting.

          • @Legally Brunette, my mom is coming for two weeks after the birth to do just that and I’m sure her help will be invaluable. I told DH no in-laws staying with us until one month out, which will hopefully give me a chance to recover physically and for us to get in something of a routine after my mom leaves. It may sound counter intuitive but I think I maintain more control over timing if they stay with us – if they are staying in a hotel they’ll show up right after the birth which would be more stressful for me I think.

    • Don’t let her come visit.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Your husband should really be the one to shut her down (not just ignore her), since she’s his sister and since you’re, you know, the one to actually have the baby. But either way, it should be something along the “Thanks, we have this under control”/”We’re not in the market for parenting advice right now, actually”/”You’re really stressing me out, so let’s talk about something else”/”Please stop bringing this up”/”This conversation is over”/”I’m leaving now”/”Please leave” spectrum, depending on how much aggression you can/want to muster.

      If she won’t shut up but you have to have her around because of family politics, can you get your husband (or a friend, if it’s too draining for him) to run interference by saying “Gosh, I never heard that about formula! Can you come in the kitchen and tell me more about it?”

      I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. :(

    • Mrs. Jones :

      You and husband need to tell her to keep her thoughts about you and baby to herself.
      I hate that situation for you. Ugh.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I formula fed by choice, so I have some experience with dealing with people’s judgment on this issue (as well as a C-section, epidural and, gasp, returning to work without taking the full year of available maternity leave)… I am obviously the *worst* mother ever.

      My best advice is to be polite but do not engage in discussion. Her – “formula is poison”, you “pass the guacamole, please”. Her “why have babies if someone else is going to raise them”, you “this is an unusually warm spring, eh?”…and so on. She will get bored. In my experience, anything that even suggests that her points are supportable (even if only by nonsense pseudo-science) puts you into a never-ending debate spiral. You do not need to justify your choices.

      When you eventually lose your temper, try “your mother br+stfed you and look how that turned out”. It is very satisfying.

      • Baconpancakes :

        This reminds me of a helpful suggestion that will surely amuse: whenever conversation is awkward, slip in a piece of small talk from Pride and Prejudice.

        “What a superbly featured room and what excellent boiled potatoes. Many years since I have had such an exemplary vegetable.”

    • “Look, [sister’s name], we obviously disagree with you and you’re not going to change our mind. Talking about it any more will just make all of us upset. Let’s just enjoy this time together and not discuss [controversial topic].”

    • So you already have a lot of really good responses as to what to say and how to deal. The following may or may not apply to your SIL but I’ve found that people with opinions like these often say these things because they think that’s what one should think and if you just tell them you’re doing something else and aren’t interested in a debate about it, they will STFU. Again, more of a know your SIL situation but I have some people in my life who have said things along the lines of hospitals are inhumane places to give birth, it’s all a big business, blah blah, and when I said nothing to avoid controversy these remarks just continued. When I said something like “I would never be comfortable delivering at home, glad it worked for you but certainly not for me” it ended the conversation. No idea if this would work with your SIL but something to consider.

    • So, I think you’ve got great advice already on telling family to mind their own business. But I do think you also need to focus on not caring. Or, maybe a better way to say this is, decide what you REALLY care about with respect to your baby’s birth and it’s infancy. The moments fly, and I think a lot of us miss out b/c we focus on what others are saying, whether trying to conform or fighting back. Neither are enjoying your baby. I guess what I’m saying is, even though your SIL doesn’t deserve it, try not to care for your own sake.

    • I don’t have much to add but here you go:
      1) Don’t let anything she says get to your head. Be confident in all of your choices as a parent.
      2) Your husband (or maybe your husband’s mother? both?) should talk to her and put her in her place. You’ve gotten some good examples of verbiage to use. And yes, limit your conversations with her. Just because she’s family, doesn’t mean you have to be friends.

      Also, I can’t help but wonder, does she have friends? Typically people who are that judgemental don’t have very many friends, or don’t hold on to them for long.

      • I don’t think she has a ton of friends, but she generally behaves a lot better around people she’s not related to. I think this is a combination of reverting to very immature, childlike behavior around family and also thinking she’s something of an expert in this particular subject (she has a graduate degree related to child development, so she’s not a medical professional, but she has more interest and expertise in newborn care than the average childless 20-something). She was not nearly so obnoxious about wedding planning, for instance.

        • Anonymous :

          Whenever your DH isn’t around, try to arrange for a friend to drop by for a visit to keep sister on her better behaviour.

        • Flats Only :

          This is a valuable clue. She’s not crazy, and has a reason to think she knows something. All the other advice is still good, but I was imagining a know-it-all 13 year old who had spent a lot time googling.

    • “Thank you for your thoughts. I’ve decided to follow my doctor’s (or medical team’s” advice instead of yours”.

      Might not work but sometimes people get the message to back off when you say something like “I understand that you think the best thing for us to do is XYZ”.

      Good luck. She sounds infuriating.

    • You have lots of great advice, I would only add that if you decide to nurse, think about nursing the baby in a separate room so that you have more privacy and get a break from sister. I had LOTS of visitors immediately after birth and found that I was too self conscious to properly nurse in front of others, which set up nursing issues later when baby was a bit older. You can just say that baby feeds better when not distracted by lots of sounds and noises or something like that.

      • Anonymous :

        “You can just say that baby feeds better when not distracted by lots of sounds and noises or something like that.”

        This was 100% true for my baby. A great nurser but needed a quiet room with just me.

  32. Any recommendations for a long, cozy cardigan I can wear this fall for the last couple months of my pregnancy and then this winter when I’m home on mat leave? Something like Barefoot Dreams but at a significantly lower price point, since I don’t spend that much on clothes, especially casual clothes I can’t wear to work.

    • https://www.target.com/p/maternity-long-sleeve-cardigan-isabel-maternity-153-by-ingrid-isabel-174/-/A-52350074#lnk=newtab&preselect=52300663



    • Ooh, I want one of these too. Following.

    • Anonymous :

      No personal experience with this but it is deeply discounted ($20) and has good reviews:

    • Anonymous :

      Whatever you get, make sure it has big pockets. You’ll want them for your phone, nursing pads, remote, etc. while on leave!

  33. “Thanks for your concern, we and the baby’s doctor/my doctor are fine with x”
    “Yes, I agree that feeding the baby is important. How wonderful that we have several good options to choose from”
    “We will just have to agree to disagree” and change the subject.
    “If you are going to continue to disrespect my boundaries and my choices, then I will need to cut this visit short”

  34. Calibrachoa :

    I have my halfway-through-my-6-month-probation talk with the boss at some point today, wish me luck?

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