Tuesday’s TPS Report: Blue Cotton Blend Tweed and Chain Trim Blazer

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

Rebecca Taylor Blue Cotton Blend Tweed and Chain Trim BlazerThis lightweight cotton blend tweed looks like a great blazer for summer — wear it with navy, black, white, and gray, or add a pop of color such as bright yellow or green to the mix. I like the “lightly structured shoulder,” as well as the chain trim and fringe detail. It was $425, but Bluefly has it on sale for $260 — lots of sizes still left. Rebecca Taylor Blue Cotton Blend Tweed and Chain Trim Blazer

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]


  1. I can see why this is on sale. Not a fan.

    • Agreed. I could get behind the fabric/color, but the weird thing around the waist and the shoulder pads are definitely a no-go, IMO.

    • I liked it until I saw the white on the underside of the sleeves.

      • Didn’t notice that until your comment. Yikes. Otherwise I didn’t think it was so bad…

      • Same. This is a no for me.

      • Manhattanite :


      • Agree. That really ruins it for me. Other than that, I think it’s lovely, though I might try to see if a tailor could sew a navy ribbon trim under the chain on the waist to give it more definition. Too much to do to make it look cute for the price. A cheaper alternative and I’d be all over it.

    • Definitely not for me. The shoulders and color blocking are especially problematic.

    • Me too. Not my style at all.

    • I like the Ann Taylor blue tweed jacket featured here recently much better: http://www.anntaylor.com/oceana-tweed-jacket/343939?colorExplode=false&skuId=16097292&catid=cat2030037&productPageType=search&defaultColor=0388
      It’s also marked down under $100 now. The white stretch material just seems odd to me.

    • The way it comes together below the waist also looks odd–like there’s too much material and the sides join together to stick out like a belly fin.

    • Traditionalist :

      I think this looks like an attempt at a fancy jean jacket. No thanks.

  2. Breakdown :

    I work at a medium sized firm and a partner just went on vacation for 3 weeks and left me 20 files to manage in her absence. I am a very junior associate. I practice in litigation and she practices real estate. So far she has only been gone one day and I have received 8 calls from clients and related parties on various issues arising from these files. I don’t have the first idea where to start to answer their questions and I don’t know how I will get through three weeks. I already cried in my office this morning out of frustration. I don’t understand why the partner didn’t leave these files with someone who knew this area of law. Would it be wrong for me to pass the files to someone else? I really can’t teach myself how to do this area of law in 3 weeks while also managing my own (heavy) workload. When the partner left, she said that for most of the files I wouldn’t have to do anything while she was gone. Gross misstatement of the facts. Someone called this morning looking to close a transaction before the end of the week. I’ve never worked on a real estate closing in my life. Why is this happening to me.

    • Whoa. This is Not Ok. And frankly almost borderline malpractice. Get yourself to the head of your office stat and explain the situation. It is not your fault. You are rising to the occasion. But you cannot practice real estate law!

      • Yes, this has “Alert the carrier” type malpractice potential (on her part, not yours). Absolutely go to the office managing partner, or some other partner you trust and explain the situation.

    • Oh no! Definitely take Nancy P’s advice, because this is ridiculous. There are real clients who deserve someone who knows real estate law. This isn’t your fault, and the whole thing is absolutely ridiculous. Your firm is going to have a lot of very unhappy clients if this isn’t resolved.

    • Also agree with all of the above. If you haven’t yet done so, keep notes of all the calls/purported deadlines that you have just learned about and go to the managing partner. It’s totally fixable as long as the partners in the office know about the situation from the beginning.

    • Definitely seek help and punt when the clients call. Don’t feel pressured to answer their questions and tell them instead that you have to review the file or research the question. The partner definitely should have done more to prepare for vacation.

    • Breathe. Get a partner involved. I disagree with the people talking about malpractice (if you start practicing real estate law perhaps but you aren’t doing that). Clients decide to do things all the time that partners don’t know about. Doesn’t mean you deal with it, it means you either call partner on vacation and disrupt it or you get another RE partner involved. Watching files is just babysitting and bringing in the right people if something comes up. This is common not insane.

      • This. Take a deep breathe, send a reply to the 8 clients saying you got their messages and will answer their questions shortly, then talk to someone.

    • Thanks everyone. Here is what I did:

      1. Talked to a partner. Totally unhelpful. He said don’t worry, you can handle it. I asked if I could give some files to someone else. He said that the partner wanted me to do this work and that she would come looking to me for answers when she came back.
      2. Took Anon and K-padi’s advice to try and do it myself. Sought out answers one by one from other people, emailed clients back, tried to put out as many fires as I could on my own.

      By lunch time, I felt like I had started to manage things and that it was going to be ok. By the time I got back in my office from a very short lunch, I had a dozen new emails, some new issues on the files from this morning and some issues popping up on files I haven’t even looked at yet. I am now ready to have breakdown #2. Is the only answer to quit my job? I haven’t had one minute to look at my own files so far today, there’s no way I can do this for three weeks.

      • Can you speak with the partner on your own files? If the person is a mentor in any way, I would approach it as a request for advice. If not, you need to give a heads up that you will have a hard time managing your own files if this continues.

        Have you spoke with the managing partner? If the first partner was unhelpful, I would identify the partner who is either the most likely to be helpful or is in charge of the office and speak with that partner

      • You need to RELAX. This is work, period. Quitting your job over one assignment is foolish. Yes, you’re stressed and put in an uncomfortable position. Not great, but you have to deal with it at least for the moment. Respond to the issues as others have suggested and talk to other coworkers who have experience in that area. If things keep cropping up and you are trying to dog down answers and still can’t, then go back to the partner. Saying this is too much without giving a good solid try is going to make you look like a special snowflake. Not saying that’s right, I’m saying that will be perception.

      • Maybe I’ve missed this, but have you contacted the partner who left the files with her? Presumably she wants to know if a deal is unexpectedly going to close this week.

      • Not a lawyer, so take this with a grain of salt, but… It sounds like you’re doing really well, that your biggest problem is you’re frightening yourself. The morning calls freaked you out but after a few hours you felt like you were on top of it. Don’t let the afternoon calls/emails restart the pattern! It sounds like the partners there have every confidence in your ability. You should have some in yourself!

  3. Yes–you need to speak with someone. Probably the first person would be this partner’s secretary, to get her contact details so you can ask who she would prefer you pass them to. If that’s not an option, speak with another real estate partner. Tell him you need to meet today on an urgent matter. Also, if your firm has a staffer, this is a great time to get him or her involved. As to answering the questions, also see if there is a real estate paralegal in your firm who could help–he or she would be able to navigate things much faster than you would.

    There’s a difference between “stepping up” and getting dumped on. You got dumped on. Malpractice could be involved. Speak up and get this off your plate.

    • I agree about reaching out to the partner and asking who should handle these issues. Also, advise the partner that clients are making specific requests that need a certain expertise. If there isn’t a response, reach out to another real estate partner in the firm or the managing partner. I’d do all of this over email so you have a trail of your trying to appropriately manage the work.

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        Yes, agree with all of this. You have to CYA, in writing.

        Practising in an area you don’t know is against professional ethics rules where you don’t have a more senior attorney supervising or are able to get the relevant competence by studying, which clearly in the available time you are not able to do.

        This is TERRIBLE behaviour from the partner and please do not feel like you have to fix this and figure out how to do everything. Go ask for help – this could expose the firm to huge liability, let alone result in you getting in trouble with the state bar. I don’t want to freak you out with that comment, just that you have to look after number one.

        Chin up, deep breaths and keep us posted on how it goes!

        • Also agree. Partner should have, at the very least, given you a list with the appropriate contact person for each matter. Since she didn’t, she needs to interrupt her vacation to do that now. Definitely contact her, in writing, memorializing each issue that’s come up/ conversation you’ve had, and asking who should handle it, and also ask her to identify a point person for all the other matters she dumped on you. And definitely punt when speaking to the clients, just say she is out and you need to get back to them after speaking to a senior, do not feel pressured into saying anything at all more than that.

          • Definitely agree with ezt’s comment. If the other partner you reached out to was not helpful, get in contact with the Partner on vacation ASAP. At the very least, send her an email highlighting all the main points/issues that have been raised and make sure she understands that you are doing your best to follow-up on the issues but that you are in over your head and that you need her assistance or someone else more senior’s. Make it HER problem and not yours. If she ends up not responding or refusing to help, keep sending her status update emails periodically so you can CYA. This really isn’t YOUR problem but at the end of the day, if it becomes a blame game, you want to have evidence that you’ve reached out to her and to other partners in your firm regarding her cases.

  4. Blonde Lawyer :

    There was a poster a few weeks back whose child had a severe allergic reaction at preschool. I was randomly thinking about you today. Did you figure out what it was? Was the school able to accommodate it?

    • That was me! All is good. We went through allergy testing and realized that he is allergic to tree nuts and cat hair. The doctor thinks that he was cross-contaminated from something he ate that morning from a bakery that had tree nut residue, or something like that. We now carry epi-pens everywhere we go and have yet to have another outbreak. We’re relatively lucky that we cook most meals at home, so the transition to a tree-nut free house has been rather seamless.

      Unfortunately, it looks like the little guy also has sleep apnea and we’re about to have his tonsils taken out, as well. So if it’s not one thing with kids, it’s another.

      But thank you for thinking of me!

      • It’s good to get the tonsils taken out when a kid is little. I wish I had mine removed when I was younger because they’re now problametic but the recovery is much worse for adults.

        • As an adult who had mine out recently, I consulted Dr. Google prior to the surgery and almost backed out, I was so scared. Fortunately, the recovery was so much easier than I expected. I was eating regular (mostly soft, but some crunchy) food within 3 days. And I haven’t had a sore throat in over two years *knock on wood* as opposed to the biweekly ones I had pre-tonsillectomy.

          • I had mine out at 27 and it was AWFUL.

          • Had them out at 19 and it was by far the most painful experience of my life, but I’ve been much healthier since. My grandmother used to brag about how every doctor wanted to take them out when I was a toddler, but they shopped around until they found a doc who said they could stay. Apparently,I had the largest tonsils any doc had ever seen. I know it’s scary, but If I had a kid in that situation, I would absolutely have her tonsils taken out. I understand it’s more painful as an adult, plus I used to be terrible sick all the time.

      • My daughter had her tonsils out when she was 3 and her recovery was very easy. The first day she ate ice cream and popsicles and took a little nap. By that evening, she was ready for regular food and was running around like normal!

      • I’m glad the little one is doing well! I have a bad allergy to cats and though I’m very fond of them, they are even more fond of me since they seem to *know* I’m really allergic. The more I do to not pet or touch them, the more they want to rub themselves all over my clothes. The only good thing about my cat allergies was that they lessened with certain animals I saw frequently, so the cat at the house where I babysat during high school didn’t make me break out in hives every time.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          LOL this is so true. My cat is a big doofus and usually is in the room but watching us from the floor somewhere. If someone allergic to cats comes in our house, suddenly he is this love bug lap cat trying to snuggle. I read somewhere that cats are just @$$h0les like that.

      • Very curious to hear how the recovery goes – my 2-year old is scheduled to have his tonsils out and I’m already hearing horror stories about the recovery.

  5. anon for this :

    Hive, I need help.

    I’m 33. I have been dating a wonderful man for three months. We have tons in common and are compatible both in terms of common interests and values. He is ten years older than I am and divorced with older children. I have never been married. We just had the kids/marriage talk, and he wants marriage, but no more kids. I also definitely want marriage, but I don’t know about kids. I’ve never known. I’ve been single most of my adult life, so I was always able to put off that decision. Now I have to face it, and I have no idea what to do. If I were dating someone who was pressuring me to have kids, and soon, I’d probably be freaking out in a different way. But if I move forward with him, it will be knowing that I will not have children (assuming we work out long-term).

    Do I end things with this man on the chance that I’ll meet someone else who shares my ambivalence to children? Should I keep dating him and see how I feel (maybe I’ll feel a stronger urge to have kids, or maybe I’ll fall so hard for him I won’t care)? Is that fair to him? Is it fair to me?

    I’m asking here because opinions from people who have been in similar situations AND don’t know me or the situation would be really helpful. Like so many of us here, I’m a practical person who always tries to do the “right” thing, whatever that might be, but in this situation, nothing feels right. Thanks so much in advance.

    • Two people close to me have gone through something similar. The first was my mom when she met my dad. He said he did not want more kids (he had three from his first marriage), but for her, having kids was a deal-breaker, so she told him that. Over the course of a year of dating, they worked it out and agreed to have two kids together. I’m the second of those two kids, and I think in the end my dad loves having all these kids, even though he was opposed to the idea at first. (And fwiw, I’m very close with my half-siblings and we all have wonderful holidays with a house full of people).

      The second person was one of my good friends. Her boyfriend was also divorced and did not want more kids, but he was 100% firm on this. She was ambivalent, like you, and over the course of a year, came to the conclusion that she did want kids, and they had a sad, very difficult breakup.

      The point of these two stories is that you should take the time to work through both whether he definitely does not want kids, and whether you do. Have a lot of open, honest conversations with him and with your friends about what you want, and allow your feelings to unfold from there.

      And if he is 100% set that he doesn’t want kids and you realize that you do, take him at his word and leave him. Compatibility on kids is one of the biggest things in a life partner, and it’s ok to leave a good guy if your life/family needs are not aligned.

    • I think you need to do some more self-reflection to decide if you really want kids. If you haven’t decided by now, why do you think you will suddenly have some realization about it in a few years? Think about yourself in ten years – do you naturally see yourself with or without an elementary-aged child? How do you feel about the lives your friends with kids have? Are you generally comfortable being alone or do you thrive on taking care of others?

      Not saying these are the right questions or the only ones, but they’re starters.

      • This. Nobody can tell you how you should be feeling about potential kids. You need to do some reflection and as a practical matter, at 33, that’s something you should figure out sooner rather than later.

      • anon for this :

        That’s the problem. I can see both lives so clearly. I can see myself as a nurturing mom and as part of a double-income-no-kids couple traveling the world.

        I wish I just knew! Thank you, though. These thought-starters are really helpful. I’m going to take some more time to think about this.

        • Anne Shirley :

          Can you see yourself as a no income retired can’t travel the world couple with no kids? What about as an overwhelmed impatient mama who can’t take any more jam hands. Picturing the life choices when they aren’t going well might help clarify.

          • Yes to this… it’s easy to picture yourself in the ideal of any situation, but more realistic to assess how you would deal with the most difficult side of either situation – as a stressed-out mom with 11 thousand things on her plate, or being the only couple in your group of friends with no kids, doing holidays on your own when everyone else seems to have kids?

            But ultimately, you have to decide whether you want kids or not. But I think for some people part of the decision on whether they want kids or not is dependent on who they end up with as a life partner, so consider that maybe with this person you would be okay not having kids, but maybe if you were with someone else you would end up with kids, and be happy either way. There is no “right” decision here, just two different paths that you can choose to go down.

          • Or as a stepmom whose kids are living in your basement during college summer breaks and after they graduate? I don’t know how much older his kids are, but even if they are older, you would still be their stepmom – are you ok with that? Have you met the kids?

        • Wildkitten :

          In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book on marriage (Commitment) she wrote about how awesome it was going to be to get to have stepchildren without having to have her own children. So, that might be a compromise you could make with yourself, if that is appealing to you.

    • I think it might be different if you *knew* you wanted kids. But since you’re not sure, it puts you in a more ambiguous position. A friend of mine was in your situation twice in her late 30s. She dated two different guys (one pretty seriously) who were older with grown children and didn’t want kids of their own. She ultimately broke up with both of them because she was certain she did want a family and knew that she didn’t have time to waste. She decided to bring up the idea of kids early on. She ended up marrying someone else when she was 40 and they have a daughter. However, given your own ambivalence, you aren’t where she was. Ultimately, you have to make that decision for yourself.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      When I’m faced with a big decision like this, I like to try to think about how I’d feel in the worst-case scenario.

      On the “hold out for kids” side of the equation, the worst-case would be something like, you break up with this guy now, don’t meet a guy of similar caliber who also happens to share your ambivalence about kids, and end up with no guy and no kids. Or you do meet a guy who’s less anti-kid, and you have a kid together, and it turns out to be a disaster and you break up and you’re left single-parenting. How do you feel about those possible scenarios? Are either of those an instant “heck no, that sounds like a nightmare”? A “no, I absolutely cannot live with that outcome”?

      On the other hand, say you choose the guy, the two of you have a good run, and you break up six or seven years from now – you’re single with your child-bearing years behind you. How would you feel about that? Would it be okay, or are you thinking “wow, that would so not be worth it”?

      Maybe I’m overly pessimistic, but it helps me sometimes, when I’m feeling ambivalent about something and don’t know what I want, to turn to thinking about which outcomes I definitely *do not* want to live with.

      • Anne Shirley :

        Worst case for me would be sticking with this guy, getting married, realizing you do want kids, he never agrees and you either divorce or have a sad and bitter future. I’d rather be alone with no kids than lonely in a marriage wanting them.

      • KKH, this is a really thoughtful approach. Still hard questions, but a good way to frame it. I also agree that finding someone who is equally ambivalent wouldn’t be helpful.

    • You have to decide if it’s a deal breaker for you. IMO couples have to have the same deal breakers. If you have to have kids and he absolutely does not want to have kids (because having kids should never be something that is forced or people go into unwillingly) it won’t work. Opposites attract but not on values and huge, huge issues.

    • I don’t see how instead dating someone who is also “ambivalent” about children would be any better- you still may ultimately end up on opposite sides on the issue. I would be honest with him that kids may be something you want, but at 3 months I don’ think you have to make this decision for the both of you just yet. You may ultimately not want kids or he may change his mind. Or you may find that his kids are just enough for you.

      • Exactly. If you are ambivalent about having kids, how would dating someone who absolutely knows they want kids or who isn’t sure present any less of a problem? In each case, you may ultimately want the same thing or you may not.

      • I disagree. I am ambivalent about kids, and I would rather date someone is also ambivalent about kids because I feel like that way, we could make a decision together.

    • If you met someone who was as ambivalent as you are about future children, it doesn’t guarantee that your ambivalence would lead you to the same place. You could decide you do ultimately want them and your SO may decide he doesn’t or vice versa. So I agree with others that you have to figure out what you want for yourself first. But ultimately if you’re ambivalent now, I don’t think there is anything ultimately wrong with saying I am okay with the present situation since everything else works for me.

    • Been there, done that :

      I was pretty much in this exact situation six years ago — he was older, divorced, with a child and didn’t want anymore — he wasn’t even keen on getting married again. I was in my early 30s and on the fence about kids. so I figured, eh, we’ll see what happens. Then about a year or so into it, my biological clock finally went off and I realized I wanted kids. It didn’t help that he seemed to be less amendment about no more kids (the biggest indication of this was that he had one of the biggest case of baby rabies (well toddler and little kid rabies) of anyone, man or woman, I’ve met!).

      But he had his concerns (age, the idea of a ‘new’ family, etc) and I had mine.

      And then we decided to go for it — now we’re married and have a little one on the way — and he’s about 90% thrilled and 10% terrified. (Which is less terrified than I am, actually!).

      I did contemplate breaking up with him over the marriage/kids thing, but it never felt right. Logically I probably ‘should’ have, but I was never emotionally ready to do so.

      So, I think it may be too early for you to decide, especially if you are ambivalent about kids. Instead, it should be something to revisit every so often, and keep yourself honest about wanting kids if you do, don’t ignore those feelings. But also be open with him.

      Another thing to keep in mind — how do you get along with his kids (if/when you meet them) and what role does he expect you to play? For me, while my step-daughter and I get along swimmingly, I don’t have a motherly relationship with her, and we’re both completely fine with that. It took my SO longer to get comfortable with that.

    • I was in nearly the same situation–he just didn’t have kids. He doesn’t want kids, I was ambivalent. Right after the conversation, I will admit that I was very troubled. The next morning, I woke up with a huge sense of relief that stayed with me for about a week. Deep down, I guess I didn’t want kids all that much! Give it time, listen to your gut.

  6. Ugh, this is hard. Since you don’t know how you feel about kids, I really think you should talk this out with him. Tell him you are unsure, and see if he is okay with continuing to date, understanding that the end might come (actually, it might come regardless of the kid issue, so…) and it might hurt both of you, but you would still like to date and see where it goes.

    That’s really all I have. Sorry I couldn’t be more help!

  7. Anon for this :

    How do you work with someone you don’t particularly like/trust? I’ve been staffed on a new case with another associate at my firm (who is my level but 10 years older) and I’ve noticed in the past, she makes comments about me that are slightly disparaging to the partners we work with. Anyways now we’re both on this case with some tight deadlines and she’s trying to be helpful but it actually seems like she’s trying to show all the partners that she’s working and telling me what to do.

    I don’t want to act like a brat obviously but also don’t want to be too nice. At the same time, the work needs to get done and there is a lot of it to do.

    Any advice/suggestions? TIA!

    • Do not try to “get back” at her by disparaging her to the partners, as then you are sure to look like a brat. Share as littile of our output as you can with her, and crate a direct line of communication btw you and the partners on this case. Force them to formulate their own opinion about your work product.

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        +1 – she only gets to boss you around and “manage” you if you allow her to boss you around and manage you. If you’re the same level, there’s no reason you wouldn’t both maintain individual lines of direct communication with whoever is actually your manager. Same-level associates typically don’t “report in” to each other, so there’s no reason for you to be running your work by her first, nor is there any reason for her to be dictating what you should/shouldn’t be doing. When she slips into dictator mode, just push back – “Actually, Karen, I think it makes more sense for me to focus on X task, since I’ve already done Y & Z,” or something like that.

      • Sorry, but i think this is horrible advice: “share as little of your output as you can.” This is how mistakes happen, how clients get overbilled, and just a bad way to practice in general.

        Also, dont underestimate partners. We see when associates are acting like you are describing. But we also see when associates are behving badly and we don’t want to have to police this type of petty stuff. So if you dont already have a line of communciation with the partner and there is no need for one (if there is a need, then by al means . . .), then dont set one up just to best your colleague.

    • Diana Barry :

      How was the case assigned to both of you? Do you each have defined roles or assignments? To whom are you reporting? If it’s not clear, you need to go back to the assigning partner to gain clarity on which tasks are yours and which are hers, or if they expect you to work together. Then you follow up with an email and CC EVERYONE in order to confirm. Then when you have progress updates, email everyone again so that the partners are kept in the loop about your work.

    • AnonLawMom :

      Don’t play her game. Do good work. Treat her respectfully and collaborate where it makes sense. But keep a keen eye on making sure that your work doesn’t go through her to get to the client or partners unless it’s necessary (or awkward). In my experience, these types of people try to do two things: (1) take credit for your good work and (2) highlight your mistakes. Try not to let her do either.

  8. How do you decide when to let a friendship go? Or when is a friendship too one-sided? Also, does this change when you are “couple friends” and you and your SO both really like the SO of the friend? Or can you just take a pause, and lower your emotional expectations and therefore emotional investment in the primary friendship, but still enjoy each other’s company?

    I’m going through a situation where I feel criticized and attacked by a friend who I’ve always accommodated. Upon reflection, I see that I am the one who does the reaching out, initiating plans, 99.999% of the time. So it’s fairly easy for me to wind down the friendship – just don’t have to suggest so many plans together. But I also don’t want to give up too easily. What’s the right balance?

    • I had this (though not as ‘couple friends’). I started by just not initiating things, and over time we did less and less together. We spent time together at things organized by other people but I no longer reached out.

      And then a few months later (coincided with the end of high school so easy to do) I just deleted her number off my phone and unfriended her on Facebook… it took her months to notice, which I think said it all.

    • A close friendship is a give and take. If you feel like you’ve been doing all the giving, step back and see if the friend steps up. I don’t think there is a point to inviting negativity into your life on a regular basis. I think it might be fair to say (once) “Friend, I’ve noticed a lot of negativity coming from you lately and its really impacting how I feel about our time together” but if you don’t notice a shift in attitude, that would be the time for me to take a breather.

      You can still keep them on the books (as it were) as a friend, but adjust your expectations about what you are going to get out of that relationship. Sometimes friendships run their course and aren’t meant to be life long. Or they are good for you at a certain place in your life, phase out, but become relevant somewhere down the road.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I have been through this recently with my longtime BFF. We were as close as sisters for years, and then we both hit a rough patch in our lives at the same time, and she got super super flaky and as an experiment I stopped initiating things and she never reached out to me. There was a long period of no contact, then I tried one more time and we got together a few times, and then… back to nothing from her and frankly at this point I’m over it.

      If and when she reaches out I am open to whatever develops, but I feel like I have done my best and am okay with letting it go. It’s sad but as Mpls says, there’s no point in perpetuating a relationship that drags you down.

      As for the SO aspect, you may have to let the couple friendship go. But your SO is a big boy/girl and if he/she wants to pursue an independent friendship with the (former) friend’s SO, he/she is of course free to do so.

      • Senior Attorney :

        In the alternative, you can adjust your expectations to just “couple friends” and enjoy occasional “couple dates” without expecting anything else from this person in the way of friendship.

        And if you really value the friendship and want to try and get it back on track, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sitting down with her and doing as Mpls suggests and giving her a chance to change her evil ways.

    • Lyra Silvertongue :

      I’m having this issue right now. DH and I are couple friends with the people in question. We’re fine with the male friend, M- who’s extremely non-confrontational- but things have really devolved with the female friend, B. We’re part of a group of 6 people (3 couples) and B attacked me repeatedly one night via text with what was indubitably misdirected anger. I have tried several times to repair the friendship. I sent B an immediate apology text (for “hurting her feelings,” though the circumstances were unclear to me), sent another one later in the week when I hadn’t heard from her, and even sent an email trying to get clarity and closure on the matter so we could just move on. B lives in a rural area a few hours away with very weak cell phone service, or I would have also tried calling. No response from her. We have hung out with the couple only twice since and it has, IMO, been incredibly awkward.

      Other complicating factors:
      1) DH and I are in the wedding party for this couple’s wedding in August.
      2) B has since gotten closer to other female of the group, L (they initially did not like each other) and they are kind of “freezing me out,” as junior high as that sounds. B also clearly has resentment that she was not included in bridal party of L (though that wedding ended up not happening).

      We were the couple who normally initiates things, and I also realized that I was the “listener” of the group and the friendships feel very one-sided. I don’t even think these people “know” me at all, in hindsight. I’ve put lots of time, money, and effort into their special events and they seem to feel no need to care about mine or even express gratitude. DH says to just stop reaching out- no more messages, no funny FB posts, nothing. On the surface, I’m fine with that approach, but I feel like we will “lose” whatever we do; i.e. if we stop planning things, they will blame us for “ending the friendship.” I KNOW that’s not logical or fair and in all honesty we probably won’t be losing anything that matters if that is the case, but it still hurts. And I just can’t help thinking- aren’t we too old for this kind of BS?

      TLDR: In the same situation and it SUCKS.

  9. I got the internship! (conditional to references etc)
    I don’t know yet whether it’ll be London, Birmingham or Edinburgh, but I’m very excited!

  10. I have a question prompted by yesterday’s necklace post:

    Does anyone think it is unprofessional to wear a necklace to work that will bounce (even if silently) against your chest when you walk?

    I keep thinking about the comment made to Joan in Madmen about the pen she’d always wear around her neck.

    • I probably wouldn’t. But that’s more because it would annoy the crap out of me.

    • Anne Shirley :

      No. I have boobs. There is bouncing.

    • I don’t know if I’ve ever noticed it on someone else, but *I* feel self conscious about it, so avoid it for my own peace of mind (it only took one morning of trying to subtly pin my long chain necklace down with a notebook to swear it off when wearing more snug knits). Now I wear them mostly with button-front shirts or other looser fitting styles so that there’s less of a bounce (and any remaining sway is less dramatic / Joan-esque).

    • Diana Barry :

      Nope, but if I am wearing a long necklace I often hold it so it doesn’t swing up and hit me in the face. :)

    • I remember that comment from Mad Men, but consider the source and context. It was wildly disrespectful and creepy (as are lots of other comments still made by real men in real offices). I don’t think you can base your dressing decisions on how a few gross guys may respond. Joan’s a great example, in a sense, because her clothes have never been inappropriate–it’s her body itself that elicits ludicrous reactions from immature people. As if we could choose not to ‘wear’ our curves to work.

    • It’s not unprofessional, but it does annoy me as the wearer. Even my lanyard/id badge annoys me.

  11. I have a terrible, honk-like, deep cough from bronchitis. I get it every year, but this is my first year at my new job so they are unaware of it. It’s really loud and essentially constant. Many people have said I sound terrible. I left work a little early yesterday to get to the doctor to get some meds, but it usually takes a few days or even weeks to clear up.

    I feel like I’m disrupting my whole office (we have an “open door” policy, so I’m not sure if shutting my door would be appropriate). Also, the cough isn’t contagious, but another associate is pregnant and I think feels worried that I’m spreading germs.

    I have to be out of the office for a conference Thursday and Friday so I feel bad taking a sick day right before then, but at the same time I don’t feel great and also feel like I’m annoying the whole office. Any advice?

    • Anon in NYC :

      If you’re not contagious and safe to be at work, I would partially close your door so that it’s still slightly ajar but the coughing won’t disturb people as much.

      If you don’t feel well, you should take a sick day. Yes it’s unfortunate timing, but you’ll get more value out of the conference if you’re well rested and on the road to recovery.

    • I would be forthcoming and proactively tell the pregnant associate (and any others) that you aren’t contagious. If you want to shut your door to dampen the noise, put a sign on saying “come right it” or something like that.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I agree with this. You might even put a parenthetical note on the sign saying “Not contagious — it sounds worse than it is!”

      • Wildkitten :

        While your medical information is your business, you might want to add a little more information. I don’t trust it when people assure me they are “not contagious.”

    • Meg Murry :

      Can you work from home? An ugly cough and feeling under the weather seems like a good reason to do so.

  12. I know that I’m about to write something that has been written on this blog in a thousand different ways before, but I suppose I feel uniquely miserable enough to seek out advice from the group just for my own situation. I’ve gained weight, and woke up one morning last week and realized that nothing fits. That’s not an exaggeration — I don’t have a single pencil skirt or pair of pants that isn’t inappropriately tight. This must have happened gradually, over the past six months, but somehow it just felt like I woke up and everything is too small.

    This has already happened once — about two and a half years ago, I realized I had gained weight, and replaced my entire work wardrobe. I’m now torn about what to do. It may be time to buy new suits again — my old theory suits have very shiny sleeves (As an aside, I certainly won’t be buying theory again — disappointed about how long they’ve lasted.)

    I’m so upset with myself for letting this happen. I’m not sure what to do. Also, my body type is such that when I put on weight, pencil skirt and pants made out of suiting material don’t look good. I have very large hips and derriere and a small waist and it seems that no amount of tailoring in the waist can avoid the dreaded “whiskers” or “smiles.” I went to Hugo Boss yesterday to try on suits and in order to find pants that weren’t inappropriately tight, I had to size up to a ten (but my waist is a size two). The tailor insisted that he couldn’t take them in that much. I left in tears. I feel like nobody’s body is like mine, and I will never, ever look professional with the body I have now.

    Since it seems that my body size/type doesn’t look good in suits anyway, would it be pointless to buy new clothes? Should I just focus on losing the weight over the next few months, and accept that I will look inappropriate until then?

    Or should I accept my size, buy new suits, and if I do lose weight then just get them tailored? My suit jackets, as I said, are very worn at the elbows (Although the skirts and pants are fine).

    My other somewhat-related question is– if I DO buy new work clothes, what work clothes I buy? My dilemma is — I work in an officially business casual office, but the men almost always wear suits. The women rarely do. I haven’t really been wearing suits — just the bottoms, without the jackets (because my stupid theory suit jackets got so shiny quickly). I think I would feel more comfortable wearing suits every day, because I do want to be as formal as the men in my office, but this means that replacing my wardrobe would be even more expensive.

    So, what to do? And how to do it without feeling horribly depressed?

    • I have a small waist and ample bottom so I sometimes run into a similar problem with work clothes. I find dresses to be the easiest solution. Dresses – especially wrap dresses – also tend to be the most forgiving with weight fluctuations. If I were you, I would buy a couple of new dresses that you can wear with blazers now and then figure out how you want to proceed.

      Clothes aside, are you comfortable at your current size? If you aren’t, start trying to make small changes in your life to go back to your former size. It’s much easier to lose 6 months worth of extra weight than 6 years. The weather is getting nicer so this can be a good opportunity to start taking more walks and eating more salads. If that helps you get into your old clothes, great. If you can be happy and healthy at your current size, that’s great too. Upgrade your shiny theory suits and don’t let the size of your clothing dictate how you feel about yourself. If you do choose the latter course, branch out from brands like theory and Hugo Boss which are not always cut for curvier figures. Try different brands – suiting fabric can actually be incredibly flattering and forgiving, you just have to find a cut that works for you. Try Elie Tahari or Classiques Entier, which gets recommended here a bunch..

      • Thanks, AIMS. I don’t *love* my current size, but I only really begin to feel miserable when I try to wear my current clothes. It also seems that all suiting material, no matter the composition or quality, shows everything. (I realized with horror yesterday, when looking in a three-way mirror for the first time, that my cellulite actually shows through my pants.) This effect is less — but doesn’t entirely disappear — with larger clothing. So I think that the only thing I can really do in order to look professional is lose weight. I do know what I need to do in order to lose weight. It’s simple –eat less and exercise more (and the past six months I have been eating tons and exercising little). I believe I can do it.

        • I just want to caution you on the thought that the only thing you can do to look professional is to lose weight. I work with plus-sized women in a formal business setting who can suit up with the rest of them. I encourage you to hold out for clothes that work for you, not clothes that work for everyone else and therefore you must look like everyone else. Best of luck.

          • +1. It may take you a little more time to figure out what works for your body now, but you are not hopeless and believe me at a size 10 you’re definitely not going to be banished from wearing professional clothing. My lord, I’m almost double your size and yes it takes time, but you can find clothes that fit and look good.

            You should find clothes that fit you now and then figure out how to make some changes (if you want to). Work with a stylist to figure out what will work and find a tailor who isn’t an a**hole.

        • Meg Murry :

          If you are seeing cellulite through your pants, maybe foundation garments might help smooth out any lumps and bumps and help you squeeze back into your previous work clothes? A good pair of Spanx (size so that it skims over the body, not squeezes the life out of it) helps me feel more confident in snug clothes. Or look for lined suiting pants (which I’ve heard is difficult from some of the previous posts here, but not impossible)?

          As someone who’s been through multiple wardrobe sizes, I feel for you, and I hope you can find a way to balance your mental health and body size happiness with your wallet.

      • What I know about fashion could go on the back of the proverbial matchbox, but here’s a suggestion anyway(sorry if it sucks). I wandered into Hobbs yesterday (bank holiday here woohoo) and they had a knee length dress which might suit you. There are wide ties/straps (really bad description, sorry) which are wrapped around the waist to define it and so if you are trying to emphasise a narrow waist, it will really cinch in. It has a full skirt and is just below knee-length. It comes in various colours including the blue here which looked lovely in the shop window

        http://www.hobbs.co.uk/product/display?productID=0114-5411-3655L00&productvarid=0114-5411-3655L00-BRILLIANT BLUE-14&refpage=dresses

    • There’s a lot going on here. Do you want to lose weight, or are you mainly upset that your wardrobe is both ill-fitting and getting worn out? It’s hard to know how to answer this post.

      If it’s a clothing issue – I do think there are probably brands that flatter your shape, and perhaps other suit-wearing commenters can weigh in. Certainly, sheath dresses and matching jackets might fit better and be easier to tailor than skirts, if your hips and waist are different sizes.

      As for wanting to wear suits every day, it sounds like you will need to make an investment in new suits whether you gained weight or not. If money is an object, can you start with just one suit (or dress + jacket) and save up for more?

    • a passion for fashion :

      If you do decide to get new clothes, try Tom James (or a similar custom place). They will make the stuff for you. It is pricey (though some levels are on par with Hugo Boss) and it takes a month or so to get stuff made, but they will keep working until it fits properly. I dont love all of their stuff and it is generally pretty conservative, but I have had good luck with their dresses and slacks.

      I’d also focus on the weight for a while becuase it sounds like it is really bothering you — try a food tracking app like myfitnesspal and a workout app like gympact.

      But in the meantime, I’d probably buy some less expensive items to hold you over — I like Halogen for this purpose. You can get slacks for 40-60 bucks and a blazer or two.

    • I meant to add – is there a possibility you’re actually depressed? There have been times I’ve unexpectly gained weight, but my reaction was annoyance, not depression.

    • also miserable :

      Reading your post, my thought was: she should just start watching what she eats and exercising, and buy two basics (maybe one cheap-ish pair of black pants and a black skirt – or a black dress (a dress might be easier given the complications surrounding your waist to derriere ratio)) to get her through the next couple of weeks. Presumably, if something fit last week then something will fit in a few weeks’ time if she starts today.

      Before you think I’m too matter-of-facty, here’s the kicker: I am in a very similar situation. Nothing fits (only I’m an apple, not a pear). And I needed to do something about that yesterday. So, to the extent that posting anonymously on the interwebs will help me with accountability, today is the day. Mindful eating and daily exercise, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Because I feel your misery and I don’t want to wake up tomorrow and read something like this from someone else and feel their misery too. Thank you. And good luck to you.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I’m sorry. I am all too familiar with that horrible feeling. What about sheath dresses? Even if you have to buy a size to fit over your hips, I feel like dresses are much easier to take in at the waist (generally the same with skirts too) and are more forgiving for weight fluctuations. You can definitely buy suits that have matching dresses. Or, if you just want to wear a jacket every day (as opposed to a full suit), you can buy a variety of fun blazers.

    • Step 1: Ask yourself if you have the desire, time, and willpower to lose weight. From the sizes you provided it doesn’t sound like your weight alone is going to cause you to have any health issues, so it’s really a matter of personal aesthetics/preference. There’s not a right answer.

      Step 2: If you answered “yes” to my first sentence, buy some transition pieces until you start losing weight, in accordance with the guidelines below. Now would not be the time to invest in suits. If “no,” follow the below to invest in a new wardrobe.

      Step 3: Find the brands that flatter you. Theory is not going to flatter you if you are curvy. Spend some time on Google, find some bloggers that look like they have a similar body type as you. See what looks good on them, and then spend some time at stores trying stuff out.

      Step 4: Wardrobe refresh.

    • Kontraktor :

      I have struggled with this similarly, especially as somebody with less mainstream proportions (my hips and chest are more in line with a 6 but my waist is large comparatively and really more like an 8-10). 10 or even 5 lbs can make the difference between something fitting and not fitting at all, so you are not alone in terms of experiencing this. :-)

      I had a similar ‘wake up’ moment a little over a year ago and really got serious about committing to an activity routine to be healthier and hopefully start fitting into my clothes. Losing weight definitely requires balancing good eating with an activity level that’s right for you.

      That all said, here are some ideas to try re weight loss, clothes, etc. How clean do you eat now? If you don’t eat that clean, focus on cutting out things like juice, soda, candies/gum, coffee fraps, lots of alcohol, etc. All that kind of stuff that can literally add 100s of calories over the week. It’s a really great starting point to make some massive calorie cuts. If you don’t really have those kinds of cuts to make, perhaps look at replacing 1-2 meals a day with something cleaner; for example, plain greek yogurt and fruit at breakfast, a salad at lunch, more ‘normal’ dinner. Some people have success minimizing carbs (I try to casually; if I have pasta for dinner for example, I try to eat no other bread products during the day). I think a good way to approach is to look at what your ‘vices’ are and address little by little with adjustments. Portion control is a huge issue for me, so I have been trying to focus on that. I’ve also been replacing breakfast with fresh made juice for about the last month (but good quality fresh juice ala what Whole Foods sells can be a good option too) and I think that’s actually helped a lot in terms of me not overeating and controlling calories.

      Regarding activity, definitely try to find a way to get moving! When I first started out, I had a goal to literally just ‘move’ at least 30 minutes a day, whether that was walking, running, dancing around the house, whatever. As a next step for me personally, finding a fitness class I could take, pay for and commit to was motivating, so I signed up for Bar Method and have been doing that ever since. As I’ve gained strength there, I’ve started running about 3 miles at a time, 1-3 times/week when I am not going to bar. It’s pittance to some, but it works for me easing into a lifestyle change and not overdoing it. I recommend starting small, trying to integrate some activity in every day to make a habit and find something that works for you that you feel motivated to stick with.

      Finally regarding clothes, I wouldn’t recommend replacing entire wardrobe. For skirts, you can continue to wear if you just unzip slightly and wear tops that are tucked out. You could always try a maternity band if desperate times call for desperate measures. You could also look into button extenders for pants. Not a great long term solution, but if you are committed to change and committed to getting things to fit again, I think it’s fine as an interim. If you were going to buy some new things, I think you should focus on a few key items you can wear frequently; ex, make sure you have a black pair of trousers, a black pencil skirt, a couple of forgiving dresses that you can snazz up with various jackets and cardigans. Before I really got going, I also had only a few items I could wear so I just wore those frequently and tried to alternate tops/sweaters/accessories as best as possible. If you buy new things, try to focus on things with a little give that can accommodate weight fluctuations a bit better; think things like ponte/stretchier material, drapier blouses, slightly boxier jackets, shift dresses, A-line skirts, etc. This will help you get maximum wear out of your clothes if you do fluctuate up or down. I will gladly buy something a little looser or less form fitting because it means if I get that 5lb fluctuation, the item won’t be rendered useless.

      Does any of that help? These are basically the things I have done in the last year and I’ve lost about 12 lbs and some inches, so it’s slow going for me. But, that’s okay with me, these are just strategies I’ve found useful as I’ve dealt with that rather long journey :-) Take things one day at a time and focus on finding ways to change that are personally motivating and meaningful for you, I think that’s where success lies.

      • As someone with a similar shape to the OP, unzipping skirts would not work for me, since the tightest part is around the hips/butt, below the zipper. The waist area is probably where the pants still actually fit. In my case, the only option is to just buy a few new pieces.

      • While I wouldn’t recommend replacing an entire wardrobe, I also wouldn’t recommend wearing ill-fitting clothes for longer than, say, a few days in a moment of desperation. Even if you just go to Target or Kohl’s and get a few cheapo skirts and dresses you will look (and feel) much better than wearing stuff that doesn’t fit.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I just want to give you a big hug and tell you that you are an awesome person regardless of your weight!!

      As a yo-yo dieter for many years, I have two things to suggest:

      1. You can’t hate yourself thin. Do whatever you need to do to love yourself right now. That probably means buying at least a few fabulous new outfits that fit the body you have at this very moment. If your clothes are uncomfortable you will feel awful, and feeling awful is not a good way to make anything positive happen.

      2. As I gained weight over the years, I often thought “I wish I weighed what I weighed back when I thought I was so fat.” Losing weight often seems like a very big mountain to climb, but at least while you are psyching yourself up to climb that mountain, perhaps you can concentrate on holding steady and not gaining any more weight. Yes, that means stepping on the dreaded scale every day. There was a study a few years ago that showed people who weigh themselves daily tend to maintain their weight lower than those who don’t, and I believe it. I know when I’m out of control with my food, the daily weighing is the first thing to go and then next thing I know I’m up 5 pounds or 10 pounds or more. Try not to let that happen to you any more.

      3. (This is really number 1 again.) Love yourself. You are not the size on the clothing label or the number on the scale. This is probably going to be an ongoing battle but it is manageable and you can do this!! Don’t let it keep you down!

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Buy new jackets, and pair them with wrap dresses/a-line skirts/etc. I have a few a-line-skirt suits, and I don’t feel any less professional in them than I do in a pencil skirt. If you don’t want to buy a whole new wardrobe right now because you’d like to try to lose some weight first, just get a few things in very basic colors that you can mix and match – maybe 2-3 blazers, 3-4 dresses/bottoms. Google “capsule wardrobe for work” for inspiration as far as which pieces you’ll get the most mileage from.

      For now, maybe stay away from the suiting – it sounds like you don’t *need* to wear suits to work, and you can get the same more-formal effect with blazer + coordinating dress or bottom.

    • Dresses, I think, with blazers? I sympathize with the gradual weight gain/clothes too tight, but don’t beat yourself, and DEFINITELY don’t make do with a wardrobe that makes you feel bad. Maybe lower waisted pants would tailor more easily, but honestly if your office is business casual I wouldn’t be spending Theory money on suits anyway (really, the men wear suits and actually wear the jackets? I don’t often see that even in business-businsess offices anymore). I would find pants that flatter and match them with cardis and blazers, and wear dresses that either wrap to flatter your waist or skim over your curves, with or without blazers or cardigans. And the dresses will ease nicely along with your weight loss if that’s what you decide to do. Find looks that flatter how you look now and rock them!

    • Other commenters have been really helpful about the rest of your post, so I wanted to add to help the ‘what do I buy?’ part.

      The Boden Chancery dress.
      It was last year’s, so look on eBay.
      It is a thick ponte type fabric but the shape is amazing. It fits from the waist upwards and then it’s a flared-but-not-too-flared skirt. I’m 5 ft 9 with a 31.5 inch inside leg and the Long comes just past my knees. Very forgiving for weight fluctuations.

      • Dangit Lily, I never looked for Boden dresses on eBay before, but now I want all the things. There’s that grey silk velvet dress that I lusted over for months! In my size! For a third of what it cost originally! Argh.

    • I just wanted to add that:
      1. I don’t think the “whiskers” at the end of the day on a pencil skirt are from ill-fitting, but rather because you’re sitting and actually creasing the skirt.
      2. If you can see cellulite through your pants, it’s either the fabric or fit that is not working, not that “professional fabric” doesn’t work for you.

      I also agree that transitional pieces are worth it, and that if you’re only unhappy with the way your clothes fit you right now, get some new ones that fit better and then tackle the other issues. Good luck!

    • Silvercurls :

      Hugs. I can’t tell you whether to accept your size or not but I certainly share your aggravation about clothes not fitting because of a weight gain! In my case I know that I need to lose weight for health (a valid reason, thus not easily dismissed) and vanity (a less valid reason & thus a less powerful motivator).

      I think I’d approach this problem by getting some assistance. Not exactly outsourcing as per Wildkitten’s suggestion…more like getting some expert advice.

      Can you consult with your doctor to get a sense of medical urgency? There’s a difference between “yes, go ahead and lose ten pounds” and “you’re healthy, but you could prevent some future problems if you gradually increased exercise and lost some weight” and “OMG you are in medical crisis.” (I’m exaggerating for effect here.)

      If eating is stress-related, can you work with a therapist to find other approaches to life’s aggravations?

      If it seems impossible to work exercise into your life, can you meet with an exercise coach? Or just decide to do more walking?

      Also, if you can find (at a consignment or thrift shop, or at a sale at a moderately-priced vendor) one or two basic pieces to combine with whatever other clothes are the least badly fitting, you could at least buy yourself some time to consider your options.

      I’m not trying to minimize here, or be inappropriately humorous, or trigger any issues of body discomfort or eating disorders.

      My own situation is that I simply need to commit to sustaining some long-term changes in my eating, exercising, and worrying habits. It’s not easy! While I don’t always feel deprived, sometimes I do. My challenge is learning to manage those times when I tell myself “I don’t care about the long-term consequences, I want it [favorite high-calorie food] NOW.”

      If all else fails and you need some humor, tell yourself what I tell myself: “At least I’m not going to become one of those smug individuals who comments on and judges the eating and exercising habits of other folks! :-)
      Good luck.

    • Hang in there! Might I recommend buying a few workhorse pieces in heavier, structured fabrics and in your current size so you have work-appropriate clothes as you decide whether you want to lose the weight or not?

      I emphasize the heavier fabrics thing because some suiting fabrics and shapes are very revealing of things we may not want to reveal (pantylines, cellulite, etc.)

      I am in a similar situation – this morning, I got on the scale after many months of not bothering, and confirmed that I weigh about 10% more than I did last year. A year’s worth of delicious restaurant meal-excess, plus copious amounts of my own cooking and baking have led me to this point and while I don’t regret it one bit, I am trying to avoid having to buy more clothes. What has been a godsend, though, are my pants and skirts in heavier fabrics!

      Good luck!

    • Hugs. You are definitely not the only person shaped that way. I am so sick of squeezing into pencil skirts in fitting rooms and feeling like my hips are going to rip the back seam, while there’s enough room in waist to tuck several tennis balls. Pants are even worse. So I live in dresses (especially jersey, which sounds as though it might be a bit too casual for your office) and a-line skirts. The skirts that are the most flattering on me have a wide waistband (to emphasize my waist) and flare out from there (to hide my hips). If you’d like a cheap wardrobe stopper while you see whether your weight is stable, there are some a-line dresses at H&M cut from suiting material (with matching blazers) that fit me pretty well.

    • I have a similar issue and have a similar build as you. I finally broke down last week and bought a couple of skirts to get me through while I see if I can lose some weight. Try the Ann Taylor Loft Curvy pencil skirts. Everyone else’s pencil skirts just make me look like I’m in an early stage of pregnancy, but these work with the hip/waist ratio and slight stomach. If you don’t have to wear suits for work, I wouldn’t replace them just yet until you see if you can lose a few pounds since they’re pricey. Of course, I’m also the same person that still has a box of clothes labeled “too small, donate if don’t fit by January 2013,” so I’m not the best at accepting weight gain and letting go of old clothes…

      • I have a pear shape, and I’ve never been able to wear pencil skirts. I mean, they’re shaped liked pencils, right? And so is the body wearing them. Straight up and down. Otherwise, you have a gaping waistband and tight saddlebags. I have found A-line and full skirts are the way to go, since they emphasise the waist.

    • miserable :

      Thanks, everyone. A lot of helpful advice here, and I very much appreciate everyone taking the time to comment. In reading these posts I realize that what I dislike most about my body is not my size, I suppose, but my shape –when I gain weight, I’m full of lumps and bumps and curves and cellulite. And as angry as I am with myself, I’m also angry at the standard of professional clothing that is built around men’s bodies. I wish so badly I could just throw on suit and look professional. All the men in my office, whether slim or not, look perfectly professional in a mid-price, well-tailored suit.
      But unless you are toned, smooth, and/or skinny, it just doesn’t work that way for women. And I resent that when men gain 10-15 pounds, no one will accuse them of dressing “inappropriately.” (I’m sure people think my clothing looks sl*tty–men never have to deal with this. I just want to wear a sign around my neck that says, no, I am not wearing skin-tight skirts because I am a giant ho-bag. I’m wearing skin-tight skirts because I ate in too many restaurants over the winter.)

      • Silvercurls :

        Go back to the good advice from Senior Attorney and stop _imagining_ that anyone is calling you such horrible names! They probably aren’t. If by tiny chance they are, that means they are [all kinds of awful insulting terms]. Either way you don’t need to worry what they think. Take care of YOU, and privately imagine them in a boiling moat with alligators.

      • Penny Proud :

        Just wanted to add – make your goal finding clothes that look good on YOU. Not other people.

        I just test drove a suiting dress that matched a suit I already owned. It is amazing how much better I looked than when I wear pants or pencil skirts, even those of the same size. Serously, I want this suit (with the dress) in every single color. And it was a bigger size than I used to buy, but I looked so good! I want to use Ellen caps, honestly.

        I also gave up on finding well-fitting work-appropriate pants or button-downs. They just do not work on me. I can admire the way they look on other women with the knowledge that I will never buy more.

  13. I am trying to eat more vegetables with my meals. My usual dinner these days is some sort of protein (chicken or fish, mostly) with a vegetable side. The problem is I’m getting tired of my standard veggie recipes (sauteed kale with garlic; honey mustard brussel sprouts; roasted carrots — all of which are awesome but I need more ideas!). Can anyone recommend a good cookbook for interesting vegetable side dishes and/or let me know your favorite recipes? Most of the veggie cookbooks I see are for main dishes, not sides, but I (unfortunately) love meat and fish so I don’t want to have completely vegetarian meals (most nights). TIA :)

    • Off the top of my head, mashed cauliflower, sauteed asparagus with parm, roasted red peppers (with or without hummus), and lemon-pepper roasted broccolli.

      Also have you thought about incorporating your veggies into a sauce? Kale pesto and veggie-loaded marinara come to mind. Or do the reverse of what you are doing now – have a veggie-based main (spaghetti squash, portabella) with meat sauce.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Beets!! I made an amazing salad last night from sliced roasted beets with sliced oanges and red onions and I loved it so much I wanted to marry it. I got it from Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/151503974939223862/

      And speaking of Pinterest, it’s a great source for recipes. Just type “vegetable side dishes” in the search box and go to town!

    • Anon in NYC :

      The Oh She Glows cookbook looks really good (vegan, but you can obviously modify), and I like It’s All Good from Gwyneth Paltrow (has meat and fish recipes, but a lot of tasty veggie side dishes).

      Some veggie ideas: cauliflower mashed potatoes, cauliflower “rice” (pulsed in a food processor and either sauteed or microwaved briefly to soften. Used as a base for stir fries or Indian food, or really any food with a sauce). I like to just simply roast veggies with oil, salt and pepper: brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus. A recent favorite is roasted sweet potato topped with pesto. Another recent experiment, blanched asparagus and peas mixed with pesto. It can be eaten at room temperature, so can be made in advance.

      • Kontraktor :

        I like Oh She Glows as well, and also Everybody Likes Sandwiches for good vegan/veggie heavy ideas.

    • I'm Just Me :

      Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop. I take this book to the farmer’s market during the summer to help me figure out what to buy and what to do with it. It’s really gotten me of the rut of “the same veggie side dish all of the time.” Also, mix up what you are doing … the honey mustard Brussels sprouts … try that mixture on carrots. Sauté the Brussels sprouts with garlic, etc.

    • Both Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything (you can get the app) and Alice Waters’s Art of Simple Food have tons of great veggie side recipes.

      For some additional ideas:
      — roasted or sautéed asparagus with garlic
      — sautéed spinach and mushrooms
      — roasted cauliflower
      — roasted sweet potatoes (actually Mark Bittman has a great recipe on his website for a sweet potato side & it’s easy to make ahead, too)
      — fatoush salad
      — roasted radishes (so so good!)

      • +1 on How to Cook Everything. It’s organized by ingredient, so it’s easy to figure out what you might do with a given veg. His recipes are also usually pretty user-friendly: interesting options (and many customizable base recipes) but not totally overwhelming, e.g., Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian which I have yet to cook from even once.

    • Kontraktor :

      Roast chickpeas are a new favorite of mine. Dry some off from a can after rinsing, toss with olive oil and spices of choice, and roast around 425 until done to crunchiness level of your choice.

      I always like pan-steamed (sauté first in a little oil, pour a tiny amount of water in, steam with lid on until there is no more water, brown slightly at end) green beans or broccoli done with a little garlic, chili flake and maybe a tiny bit of parmesan cheese.

      Blanched asparagus with a little butter and lemon. Roast cherry tomatoes. Cole slaw (can make with vinegar to be a little more healthy). Green lentils tossed with green beans/potatos/other veggies of choice for lentil salad. Gratins of all sorts (brussel sprout, leek and sweet potato gratin are 3 favorites and can easily be made for one in a small broiling/gratin dish). Love grilling zucchini and yellow squash. Last night we roasted carrots, parsnips and celery just with olive oil, salt/pepper and thyme.

      It would seem I love veggies. :-)

      • Senior Attorney :

        OMG I am totally making roasted chickpeas ASAP!

        Also, OP, roasted green beans are great. In fact, roasted pretty much any veggies are great.

        • Kontraktor :

          I am a roast chickpea convert. I like to toss mine with salt, paprika, cayenne and maybe a little cumin. The consistency of them is anywhere from sort of dry to super duper crunchy. Sometimes I turn my oven to 450 if I want them ultra crunchy.

        • Wildkitten :

          I love them but chickpeas aren’t a vegetable – right?

          • Orangerie :

            They are a legume, which is technically part of the vegetable family.


          • Senior Attorney :

            Well, they’re not meat, anyway. ;)

    • /Veganomicon/ has a whole chapter of vegan sides. /Plenty/ is a gorgeous cookbook with lots of great dishes. And Deborah Madison’s /Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone/ is a literal treatise of veggie dishes.

    • A few quick veggie sides (I never find the time for roasting):

      Saute snow peas or snap peas and add soy sauce & sesame oil. Also good with toasted walnuts

      Buy pre-cut broccoli slaw (I get one with broccoli, carrots and purple cabbage). Make into a slaw with vinaigrette or an asian ginger dressing (I like to add peanuts with the asian one) or sautee it with garlic and onion. I also use this for fried rice dishes — saute the veggies with garlic and ginger, throw in cooked rice and a protein and season.

      Cut brussel sprouts in half, saute with olive oil/spray until browned/caramelized, then add water or broth to steam covered until tender.

    • In moderation for using the dreaded e-t-t-e in connection with salad dressing. :(

      Saute snow peas or snap peas and add soy sauce & sesame oil. Also good with toasted walnuts

      Buy pre-cut broccoli slaw (I get one with broccoli, carrots and purple cabbage). Make into a slaw with vinaigr-e-t-t-e or an asian ginger dressing (I like to add peanuts with the asian one) or sautee it with garlic and onion. I also use this for fried rice dishes — saute the veggies with garlic and ginger, throw in cooked rice and a protein and season.

      Cut brussel sprouts in half, saute with olive oil/spray until browned/caramelized, then add water or broth to steam covered until tender.

    • These are all awesome ideas, thanks everyone! Loading up my Amazon cart with cookbooks and now I want to skip out of work and go home and make some of these… :)

    • Just read my current Cooking Light magazine last night and there was a feature on 28 less-than-25-minute side dishes that looked like all vegetable recipes – several looked very tasty! http://www.cookinglight.com/food/quick-healthy/short-order-sides-00412000087925/

    • Meg Murry :

      Totally separate from your cookbook question, but fresh local produce season is almost here (or is here in warmer climates than my own)! Join a CSA and you will get a box of local produce every week, then look for recipes to use with the produce box. Or if you are cooking for just one, see if your CSA offers small shares or if a friend wants to split a box with you. Fresh, local in season produce tastes so much better than out of season produce – I’ve become a total locovore snob – I always thought I hated veggies, but it turns out I just hate out of season or frozen and then overcooked veggies. Raw, local veggies are my favorite thing ever – you will never buy asparagus from the grocery store again once you’ve had it straight out of the ground.

    • At Trader Joe’s they have those little frozen cubes of garlic and various herbs. I may never ever cook a vegetable in any other way since I did this the first time. I just perish from joy every time I eat it:

      1. Select vegetable. Green beans are perfection, but really any vegetable you like will work.
      2. Sautee on stovetop in some olive oil or butter with some salt
      3. About 2 minutes before they are done enough, add one or more cube of frozen garlic and one or more cube frozen basil (or other herb cube). Toss until the cubes melt and coat everything with deliciousness.

  14. Hi Hive! I’m not in finance, but I get to visit a lot of trading floors. I sometimes see a few mid-20-something ladies working on the floor (by few = 10%, but that may be on the generous side). But no ladies older than that. Where do people go? To B-school (or law school) or somewhere else? I’m curious what the career path is like if you start on a trading floor.

    In case it matters, these are fixed-income trading desks and the people have to do some bond structuring as well as trading. I’m sure that there are other parts of these jobs.


    • Hedge funds, smaller buy-side shops, into investor relations or prime brokerage…not that many women start out in fixed income and fewer still “come back” if they go off to do an MBA…it’s just not a female-friendly environment, and unless you have a truly enlightened boss, it’s much harder to get ahead as a woman on a trading floor. Other paths can be moving into “traditional” finance roles at a company, moving to straight investment banking, or…leaving altogether to have kids.

      There’s something about trading for men that is a weird testosterone rush, but not that many women have the same “fire.” (I’m sorry that this is so grossly sexist and stereotypical, but I worked in banking, and as a fixed income analyst, so…I know!)

      • Thanks! I’ve always been curious. I really like high-adrenaline high-time-pressure situations (as much as I get them in my field). In my job, I do have to deal with traders/structures and I haven’t had a problem standing up to them, pushing back, talking them to things (like getting to yes). Maybe it’s b/c I’m tall or reasonable good at math, or from NJ, but it never intimidated me (and I think that ship has sailed for me, but I mentor high school kids (mainly girls) and can’t explain a career path beyond “I’m sure you could do something after working at Goldman”).

        IIRC, a few ladies on the desk about 5 years ago either came from computer programming / modeling and maybe went back to that (so there is more behind the scenes for quants / coding than I realize).

        • To offer a different viewpoint: two of my firm’s four traders are women, and one of those women manages the group. We are an small-ish equity only shop though; I have no experience with fixed income desks.

    • I work in finance, not a big bank. I have an engineering/maths background and I design and write code for trading systems for equities where nearly everything is automated these days and the human traders simply montior and keep an eye on the systems. Most of the decisions are made based on statistical models. I am not directly a trader, but good software development skills along with statistics and finance knowledge definitely opens lots of avenues. In my role, I deal with traders all day long, but I found most of them pretty reasonable guys especially if you handle them right, are straightforward, don’t waste people’s time. I haven’t experienced a lot of male douche bag trading floor behavior atleast where I work, I am the only female in the group but it could be a different environment at a big bank or more non-automated/traditional areas of finance.

  15. Question for tax-savvy readers :

    I haven’t been able to find this answer through google search or irs.gov.

    My husband and I filed married filing separately for 2012. It just worked out that way for us. We filled together this year, so that I could claim the credit for my graduate school tuition (I started grad school in January 2013.) I noticed my total charges looked low for 2013 – turns out that I had been billed for Spring 2013 tuition in December 2012, and that’s how the school reported the charge.

    I’d like to refile our 2012 taxes as married filing jointly, so I can get that part of the credit. It would work out to about $500. Is this doable? Is it a hassle, should I just forget it?


    • You can pull up a 1040X on the IRS website. It’s not too late to amend. I haven’t worked on this issue specifically, but do amended returns from time to time.

    • CPA here. What does the 1098 from your graduate school say for tax year 2012? Tuition per your 2012 tax return should agree to your school’s 2012 Form 1098 because the IRS matches the documents.

      What credit did you take for 2013? I’m guessing the Lifetime Learning Credit? I’ve seen a number of returns where Turbo Tax has allowed taxpayers to take the American Opportunity Tax Credit even though grad school tuition is not eligible for the AOTC.

      You can amend a tax return using Turbo Tax. I’ve never used Turbo Tax to do it (I have pro software) but I know it’s an option.

      • Anonymous :

        Your first paragraph is not true. The IRS recognizes that some schools bill at year-end for spring tuition that is not incurred or paid until the following year, and essentially gives the student the choice in what year to “use” the expense, so long as it’s only used once.

        As an aside, it really peeves me that colleges are allowed to report expenses when billed and largely all use this method without any explanation of how it can cost the student a $2000 tax credit. Because the maximum amount of expenses for which you can get a benefit is capped so low ($10k for LL), with current tuition costs, most students only need one semester of expenses to get the full LL credit. Take the example of student in a 2 year program starting in fall 2014. They should get a full $2000 credit in 2014 for the fall semester, a $2000 credit in 2015 for spring and fall (with much of the second semester cost unusable), and a $2000 credit in 2016 for their final spring. Instead, most students end up taking a $2000 credit in each of 2014 and in 2015, and nothing in 2016 because they blindly follow the 1098-T reporting their expenses in those years.

  16. Thoughts on the comfort of the Jcrew Martina wedges for comfort?

  17. Negotiations, the reprise! :

    I posted a few weeks ago about BigLaw negotiations coming off of two years of clerkships, and received some great advice about coming in below my class year versus with my class. (4/7/2014 TPS Report.) Thank you so much for your collective wisdom! I am now (astoundingly, gratefully) in the position of weighing several offers. To a large extent, it’s about fit at this point, as well as the type of work I’d be doing. But are there any other things I should be considering, asking for, talking to associates about, etc. at this point? FWIW, I saw the 4/29/2014 TPS Report comment where another poster asked about something similar, but she didn’t seem to be deciding between firms. Thanks in advance!

    • Diana Barry :

      I would say CULTURE is A #1. Talk to some associates. Do people come in early/late or leave early/late, and does that match your habits? Are there screamers or other jerk partners? Is it a sporty firm where you have to play tennis at the retreat? Is the dress code closer to business formal/business casual, and does that vary by group? What are the ACTUAL billables that people have? (some firms are 2000 and done, some firms the unstated minimum is more like 2200 if you want to be in good standing, some firms people get 1900 and are still in good standing) Is the office filled with introverts or extroverts, and which are you expected to be?

      • Also, if you can find out, if you think you will be there > 2 years:

        What is the 4/5 year weed-out rate like; what are the business development expectations; how are credits awarded; at what point do you need to feed yourself (yes — even for litigators — at some point, you will be in sales), etc.

        It’s very easy to be an associate (in the sense that you just have to work), but it’s much harder to be a partner (esp. if junior partners are just people paid associate rates that they then have to use to pay self-employment taxes). If you care about the long view, that may matter a lot.

      • In addition to culture, which I think is very important, if you have a preference for a specific practice group at all, try to figure out how robust that practice area is in your particular office or whether a practice group is really hard to get into. There’s one practice area in my firm where you have to make an effort outside of the normal process to get work in that area (like, going to practice group lunches, etc.). There’s another practice area that has been really slow for the past few years. My firm also does not usually staff matters between offices, so while it’s really cool that Office A has all of these trials, most people in Office B are never going to work on them.

  18. Completely disagree that women don’t have that same “rush.”. It’s that the trading desk is a very clubby atmosphere where the rules were made by your predecessors (all men) for people like themselves (men!). I think of the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair where the Thomas Crown says to the awesome Rene Russo character (Catherine Banning) that it’s like poker; the men won’t let you (women) into the game. When there’s this much resistance to a new group being let in, the rational response for many womnen is to move to a different line of work where they won’t have to spend so much energy swimming against a hostile tide.

    More broadly, I really am concerned that people, the media, and social scientists keep wanting to get a neat/easy/simplistic explanation by chalking it up to DNA and other “essentialist” factors when social, environmental factors are so large and impactful in the question of behavioral differences between men and women.

    • Oops. Stupid posting too quickly error issue got my comment unthreaded. This was meant for the poster who asked about trading desk environments.


    • That’s interesting. Most of my male relatives were engineers and I didn’t have any brothers, so I think I just grew up with #s and thinking that I could do things. And not being coddled.

      I am reminded a bit of the discussions of “adversative education” during the VMI / Citadel cases. Socratic method was as close as I got, and it was something that I liked — a total mind challenge (not for everyone though). What I took away from that is that some environments aren’t for everyone and maybe they are even less favored by women than men. But they are just fine for some women (and men).

    • God, I love Rene Russo in that movie. I love everything about her. I think that character had an incredibly significant impact on me in my formative years.

  19. Application question :

    I want to apply for a position that I know is open at Place A, but I’m concerned about my current employer (Place B) finding out. It’s a very small legal community and there are individuals at Place A that are related to or otherwise know people at Place B. Do I just risk it and apply? Do I send the hiring partner an email asking if my application can be kept confidential prior to sending my materials? Do I ask about confidentiality in the same email where I include my resume, etc.? Any help would be so greatly appreciated. TIA!

  20. If a heel on a shoe (that has a stacked heel) is ground down on one corner of the heel further than the rubber part, then can a cobbler fix or replace that part or is it beyond fixable? It’s not an expensive shoe, but the top part has not worn down for me to want to replace the entire thing.

    • hoola hoopa :

      Yes, they can fix it.

    • It depends how far it’s worn down, but a cobbler can fix it and it will look OK. Usually they charge $5-$10 extra for an overly worn heel (on top of the regular heel price of $8-$10 or so).

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