Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Dip-Dye Cashmere-Blend Cardigan

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

Dip-Dye Cashmere-Blend CardiganGreat sale on this cashmere/silk blend long cardigan from Piazza Sempione!  Love the strawberry color, the skinny arms but voluminous body, and the fact that you can wear it as a layer in a cold office, as a jacket on a warmish spring day, or belted as part of your outfit proper.  It was $750 — now marked to $262 at Last Call by Neiman Marcus (sizes S, L, and XL still available). Dip-Dye Cashmere-Blend Cardigan

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  1. Anonymous :

    I’m sorry but this looks like a laundry mishap. A pricey laundry mishap.

    • I actually really like it, but — full disclosure — I have been known to wear my laundry mishaps out in the past :)
      Not sure I would wear it to work, but love the colors and the look.

  2. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    I’ve never like dip dyed garments that are darker on the bottom. Reminds me of when my friend accidentally dipped her sweater coat in the toilet.

    Threadjack: After weeks of stalking, I was finally able to get this skirt (http://bit.ly/h3Yput) in Talbot’s 50% off sale. Are there any other styling suggestions beyond what is on the website (button down or pullover sweater on top)? What about shoe suggestions? And am I correct in assuming that this would only work at work on a casual Friday?


    • Haha. That is a hilarious image.

    • I would save it until a Friday, but really depends on your office culture. Anything “jean” in color–even if it is a different weight of material or styled in a professional way (such as a sheath or blazer) still says too casual for most days to me. But I tend to err on the side of formal.

    • This’d be fine in my bus cas office. It says it’s linen, not denim. I think it’d look great with a fitted blazer over a white crewneck shell.

      And LOL at the dipped in the toilet mental image. Suddenly I like this sweater a whole lot less.

  3. AnonInfinity :

    I had a post this morning in my Google Reader about the title of the book that Kat recently posted — “Nice Girls Just Don’t Get It.” One of the authors did a quick run-down of why they chose that title for the book and a disclaimer that not all women are “nice girls.” I thought some of you might find it interesting or informative after the discussion last week.


  4. Sorry for the early threadjack, but I am about to graduate with a JD and a Master’s degree and have an interview for a regulatory compliance position in the field I’m getting my Master’s in. Does anyone have any suggestions for convincing the interviewer why they should hire me, right out of grad school, when they are probably interviewing people with more direct experience in the field?


    • Fed Gov or private?

    • I don’t mean to be rude but YOU need to know why an employer should hire you over someone else. You need to think that you’re awesome and that you deserve this job and a potential employer would be missing out on someone fabulous if they didn’t hire you. We have no idea what makes you great – only you do. Be confident and let that confidence shine in an interview. If you think some imaginary person is more qualified than you for whatever reason, it’s going to show in your demeanor and you won’t look your best. So put on your big girl panties and rock that interview.

      I really love the community we have here but some of these questions make me shake my head.

      • This!

      • Ok, I was more looking for a response from someone who has been on the other side of the table. I know why I’m awesome. I’m just looking for tips on how to articulate it effectively in a specific situation.

        • I have been on the other side of the table. My comment still stands.

          • Magdeline :

            I think what she was looking for was if there are any specific qualities/experiences that she should highlight based on what specifically employers are looking for. I don’t think it was a question to warrant head shaking at all.

            Your original answer was quite helpful though; confidence is definitely one of those qualities.

            Good luck, gref!

    • The key is to have an idea of what you want to convey to the interviewer about why they should hire you. Think about what skills and experience you do have and make sure to convey this during the interview, as well as the fact that you really want this position and are willing to work hard for them if they hire you.

    • Perhaps I can refine the question a little bit–does anyone have experience interviewing a field of candidates, many of whom are experienced in the field, one or two of whom are newbies? Anything that the newbie has said that is particularly helpful or hurtful?


      • Anonymous :

        I’m going to somewhat piggy-back off of Ru, but I think the problem here is that YOU don’t think you have enough experience for the job. If you did, you wouldn’t be asking people for tips on how to effectively convince people otherwise.

        Here’s my take – they probably had lots of applicants. You got an interview. They’ve already seen your resume – they know you don’t have years of experience. Focus on YOU and what makes YOU great regardless of what other people may or may not bring to the table.

        Honestly, if you are looking for someone to give you an “I may not have X years of experience but I believe my ABC will be of tremendous benefit to me in this role yada yada” it is just going to sound canned.

      • Full-time work experience isn’t the only kind of experience that can be relevant for a position. Emphasize other experience you have that is directly or indirectly relevant – for instance, student organizations, part-time work, volunteering, coursework, even hobbies. Especially highlight anything that’s not on your resume or may not be immediately obvious from it.

        Good luck!

        • I’ve found that talking in very specific terms about interesting projects you’ve done, whether in previous jobs or in graduate school, is helpful. They’re probably going to ask you to highlight some of your past work or projects, either directly or indirectly. Take that opportunity to give clear and compelling details. Own your answer. Don’t ramble on, but don’t cut it off at a few words, either. Speak with confidence and show your legitimate interest in the topic in a way that is also interesting to the person you’re talking to. You’ll come across as engaging, focused and authoritative, all the while giving them some specific experience to latch onto.

          I say this as someone who has been on both sides of the table. As the interviewee, it’s pretty easy to talk about something you spent a lot of time doing and enjoyed, so that will put you at ease. As an interviewer, I am looking for a candidate with something to tell me, maybe even something to teach me. Definitely someone who is enthusiastic about the work they have done and able to show it.

          Also agree with previous comment that if they’ve asked you to interview, they’re obviously not too concerned about your relative lack of experience. (Who knows if it’s “relative” anyway — you don’t know who else applied!)

  5. Diana Barry :

    I am not a fan of the dip-dye look – it looks too close to tie-dye for my taste (and I can’t stand tie-dye). I only like things that are more ombre colored so the variation is subtle.

    • I agree, and I think this wouldn’t work in a lot of offices.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Another vote against dip dye. Those items always ended up on clearance when I worked retail.

  6. I love the red/pink color but agree that it looks like a laundry mistake. Wouldn’t work for my office.

  7. I confess that I loathe this look, also ombre of all sorts. I have never seen it done in a way that looks at all sophisticated.

  8. So wouldn’t wear this to the office.

  9. Jurastudentin :


    I am graduating from law school in a few weeks (cue: shouts of joy and sighs of relief). After the bar, I will be working at a great firm.Unfortunately, its dress code is business formal.

    The work clothes I have so far are: 3 suits (black, gray, and khaki (which is not wool)), a variety of blouses, skirts, slacks, and a ton of work shoes.

    I generally do not pay full price for any of my work clothes, so I would like to continue this trend. Any suggestions as to what I should be looking for when trying to further build my work wardrobe?

    Thank you, ladies!

    • Anon-ee-mouse! :

      Non-suit blazers and jackets will help extend your wardrobe, as well. They’re especially useful when paired with pencil skirts, dress pants, etc. I find a lot of my classics at Talbots (I’m tall and they have “long” length pants and jackets), and even the “trendy” pieces there are well-made and likely office appropriate. Sign up for their emails and they ALWAYS have sales. I just bought a navy wool-blend suit last week for $200 total.

      • Diana Barry :

        Query – I thought “business formal” meant full suits at all times. No? To me a jacket and non-matching bottom is business casual…

        • To me, business formal requires a jacket but it does not have to be part of a matching suit while business casual does not require a jacket at all.

          • Anon-ee-mouse! :

            Bonnie, that’s my understanding of business formal. Jacket/blazer required but it doesn’t have to be full suit every day.

          • If that’s business formal, then what would you call places where a full suit is always required?

          • I think it’s the same category. I wear business formal clothing to court but it varies on why I’m going to court. For a stautus hearing, I’ll wear a sheath dress and jacket or a coordinating but not matching jacket and skirt or pants. While for a jury trial, I wear a conservative matching suit. Business casual is appropriate for witness meetings but not something that is court-appropriate. Business casual for me is business formal with a cardigan instead of a jacket.

        • All the law firms I know of that require business formal mean full suits at all times.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I’m in almost the same position! Luckily (?) my firm is business casual unless you’re going to court, but it’s just maybe 1/2 step down from business formal (e.g. most of the women wear either a nice cardigan or a blazer every day).

      I eagerly await the replies. My tentative plan is to go to an outlet mall at some point after the bar exam but before starting and stock up. But I’m not exactly sure what I need to stock up on.

      And *happydance* about graduation!!!

      • my advice would be to NOT stock up right away – as long as you have a few pieces, make do with those for a while and feel it out. You will know better what you need after a few weeks/months of working, based on what other people are wearing and what your comfort level is working full days (you may not truly need full suits every day; you may discover you hate wearing button-downs or can’t wear heels 3″+ all day; etc.)

        • Agreed. You can probably get by for a while with what you have until you see how people actually dress at the office.

          • AnonInfinity :

            You both raise a good point. This will give me a good reason to ask for a shopping trip for my birthday (October — starting the job in mid-August).

    • My recommendation is to buy all the pieces of a suit (…those which work for you, obviously) when you do buy a suit. I’ve had phenomenal luck with this at both Ann Taylor and Talbots, where sales are common and quality is pretty good. Owning the jacket (or two, if there are different styles!), plus the pants and skirt, and perhaps the sheath makes life SO much easier in the morning. Really stretches your wardrobe and allows you to be flexible.

      I’m also known to pay more for suits and buy more fashionable, less traditionally conservative tops, blouses, etc. to mix in. Makes the budget happy. Favorite places for things like this are the Talbots/AT/Banana sale section, Target (Merona Collection), and TJMaxx/Marshalls.

      Good luck, and CONGRATULATIONS on graduation! Go get ’em ;)

    • If you do not already have a couple of nice winter coats, consider purchasing them in the off-season, on sale, when you find something you love. I like to have at least one long and one shorter, either hip or thigh-length. Having a good-quality, attractive coat is important. As a younger associate, I find I run into clients and senior partners in the lobby and elevator bays more than I do around the office.

    • I’m a big fan of Saks Off Fifth, Nordstrom Rack, Century 21, and yes, I have suits from Burlington Coat factory. I also have some shift dresses that when I wear with a nice cardigan look better on me (and more professional) than some of my suits. You’ll get to know your office better, but my bet would be those would be alright. Congrats!!

    • Try outlets. Ann Taylor outlet often has suit sales- $150 for 2 pieces, $200 for 3. I got a suit there that was a wool blend and have been happy with it so far. I agree with Kellyn that getting three pieces if you can really adds a lot of versatility to the suit. You can probably also do a dress with a blazer. If you get a nice black or gray sheath dress, you can often pair that with different blazers/cardigans for different looks.

      • This! My super secret shopping secret is picking up business clothing from outlets where most shoppers are vacationers looking for “fun” clothing not work clothing. I have found that the Las Vegas outlets are a treasure chest of work related steals – last time I was there I picked up a glenn plaid theory skirt suit for $170. I also noticed that the Vegas Brooks Brothers outlet had great finds.

    • What you have now is pretty good! I would recommend getting at least one classic suiting dress. If your office is very conservative, then look for a sheath that comes with a matching jacket. I find dresses to be one of the easiest thing to put on in the morning, and they are also great for going work to evening, too (and for those work-related events where some people will be wearing cocktail attire and others will be in suits). A basic black sheath dress can be great if you have a post-work occasion — discard blazer, change shoes (or not), add some bigger earrings and voila!

      Now may also be a good time to stock up on some cashmere sweaters to wear under suits as a lot are on sale. These are my go to tops in the cold months.

    • somewherecold :

      I always want more non-sleeveless shirts to wear under suits and cardigans. Something that is a little nicer looking (fabric, trim, etc.) than a plain t-shirt that I can wear on its own if I get warm. Sleeveless tops seem to be the easiest to find, but I don’t like wearing them on their own and they make whatever’s on top (cashmere sweater, suit jacket) more likely to need cleaning after I’ve worn it than if I have something with a little sleeve.

    • Final Stretch :

      If you’re night already registered, I’d suggest joining “Shop It To me” (not linking to avoid posting delay). At least once each week, I get an email including a suit that’s well under $100, which leaves room in the budget to have it perfectly tailored.
      I’m in the same position that you are. My wardrobe goal after one full year of practice is to have 7 full suits (I’d prefer skirt & slacks, but it’s hard to find deals that way), 4-5 trousers and 5-7 blazers that I can mix and match.
      I love the input to have a few great coats. I have one coat that I feel sharper in than I do in any suits, and I think another would make a big difference in helping me stretch my look. I’m thinking the same rule might apply to handbags.

    • I’d recommend that you hold off on buying too much before you start. I know you’d like to avoid paying full price, but it will end up being more costly if you buy clothes now that you never want to wear. You may find that your group/floor is more or less casual than you expected or that you never wear your skirts, etc. I’d suggest you get 2 more blazers/jackets that you can wear with bottoms you already own and one more suit (b/c you won’t be able to wear the khaki one very far into the Fall).

      • I second Kay’s thoughts on this topic. Pretty much every young female lawyer I graduated with has ended up regretting the first few suits they bought, if solely for fashion reasons. I was clearly trying to dress for the lawyer I thought I wanted to look like, not like the associate I was, and ended up with suiting that just wasn’t true-to-me. I have heard the same from many of my friends. You’ll look at your first suits a few years out and wonder what you were thinking. Therefore, I say, the fewer you can get away with in your business formal environment when just starting out, the better. If you can borrow or get hand-me-downs from some friends, this works wonders to flesh out that just-starting-out wardrobe without feeling like you’ve paid a ton and/or are stuck with a pricey fashion mistake.

    • SmartShopper :

      If you’re in the NY area I would suggest going to work for at least a week to get a feel for your office and then taking a Saturday to go to Woodbury Commons. They have outlets that can be fantastic, especially in between seasons. The Theory outlet carried the exact same things at the same time as the Saks in NYC for 40% less when I went last August. My entire work wardrobe is based around the pieces I got there.

    • Second all the great suggestions above. I would also spend some time figuring out your sizing at major stores that sell online. You’re going to be busy and might not want to spend what little downtime you have battling stores and the malls on the weekends. Online shopping will be your friend. Find a place with stuff that you know fits you and that has a good return policy.

    • If you are an on line shopper, Overstock.com has tons of inexpensive suits – they may not be your go-to pieces for key days but they work for when you have to wear a suit every day…

  10. quick vayK :

    Any recommendations for a quick, warm get away from DC? My fiancé and I want to get away for 3 to 4 nights this august, before our fall wedding. There are so many deals on the travel sites, I sort of don’t know where to begin. Id like something beachy and mindless, but not a cruise, and my budget is to stay under $2k. Any ideas, recs?

    • Puerto Rico always seems to have cheap hotel/flight combos from D.C. And is, of course, lovely.

      • (For reference, some friends and I booked a flight and four nights in a nice resort for about $500 last year. Food wasn’t included, but obviously wouldn’t get you above $2000!)

    • I second the Puerto Rico recommendation. I think a big plus is not having to go through customs for a quick getaway. I stayed at the Intercontinental on Isla Verde and was pleased. It’s an older hotel, but close to the city for dinners, etc.

      There is a new St. Regis that is about 45 minutes away from the airport. We plan to stay there when we go back. It’s a gorgeous beach and has the rain forest feel as well. The golf course was amazing but expensive.

      Good luck and congratulations on the wedding!

    • In my opinion, you should avoid most of those traditional “warm” destinations during August. The temperatures are absolutely brutal and it’s the height of the hurricane season. I went to places on Lake Michigan for several summers and it was absolutely amazing. The weather was much more bearable and there was a lot to do. There’s a reason why warm-weather destinations are not popular in summer, and that’s because the weather is just brutal.

      • somewherecold :

        That was my thought. I don’t think I’d want to go from D.C. in August to roasting on a tropical beach in August. What about a Cape Cod B&B or something? Still beachy and warm, but not necessarily roasting temperatures.

        • You can get a great deals on hotels in Miami during August. It is hot but it’s not that bad since you’ll be spending a lot of time in the ocean or pool.

      • That hasn’t been my experience with Puerto Rico or much of Central America (though I’m sure it is true for many places). In a lot of tropical places, August is (a) the rainy season, which means it’s humid and rains hard for a couple of hours in the afternoon, and (b) not that much hotter than winter, just less of a contrast from the place you’re leaving. But both those things can be not that big a deal depending on your personality, I think.

      • Second. I visited Puerto Rico (which I would otherwise) recommend towards the end of August a few years ago, and it was HOT. Sometimes to the point of not really being able to do anything because its too HOT. (And this was coming from the mid-Atlantic, where I do understand heat and humidity).

        What about somewhere closer, like Rehobeth or Virginia Beach? Smith Mountain Lake, VA? Cape May?

        • Cape May is really lovely, and has been my go-to beachy spot for a quick getaway from DC for years!

    • Virginia Beach. It’s not exotic and has a lot of families around, but I loved it when my husband and I went a few years ago. I don’t remember how much it costs, but it has great swimming beaches.

      • I have to dissent on this one. IMHO Virginia Beach is crowded, the beach is not very nice, the hotels are overpriced and the traffic getting to the beach can be horrible. It took us 6 hours to drive what should have been 2.

    • Bermuda! It’s a direct flight from DC, two hours and you’re there. Unlike the Caribbean, it’s more seasonal, so August is summertime but not sweltering. You’d have to find a good deal to stay in your budget for hotel & food though.

    • If you’re outdoorsy, how about the West? Easy direct flight to Denver, rent a car, drive up into the mountains, stay at a nice resort near Aspen, Vail or Breckinridge or somewhere, go hiking during the day, enjoy beautiful views. I also love southern Utah – fly to Salt Lake, rent a car, stay at a B&B in Moab, have a fabulous time hiking and rafting. Another option would be Santa Fe or Taos, which I also love – fly to Albuquerque.

      • Anonymous :

        moab has the probability of being killer-hot in august

      • Teacher-Turned-1L :

        Vermont…you can get great deals at the mountain resorts in the summer, and it’s beautiful (and refreshingly cool and breezy compared to D.C.) You can probably take a direct flight from D.C. to Burlington. Also, Maine is always great in the summer, and you can fly direct into Portland, but it’s a bit of a drive to some of the nicer spots “down east” (even though it’s a great drive if you take Route 1!)

  11. Anyone try this dress on? Looks very cute, work appropriate, has sleeves (!!)and has rave reviews.


    • This does not look work appropriate to me. I don’t think animal prints are out-and-out a no-go, but I think they work better as an accessory (shoes, belt, etc) than an entire garment for the office. This looks like a good dress for a night of dancing, not a day of typing.

      • This is totally work appropriate, even in a conservative office. Its not animal print, and is basically a neutral. Consider wearing a cardigan over it.

        • From Nordstrom’s – “An off-center twist at the waist shapes killer curves into a stretchy knit dress patterned with a swirling zebra print.”

          So, if zebra print isn’t animal print, then what is it, exactly?

          Sorry but this looks like something that Claudia Kisha would have worn over yellow leggings with one feather earring, one fruit basket earring, and purple high tops with black and white laces.

          • AnonInfinity :

            Oh, Claudia! She was always my favorite because I loved imagining her outfits.

          • Google “What Claudia Wore” for a laugh.

            “For example, today she was wearing an oversized white shirt under a black vest covered with a design of shiny beads. (She sewed the beads on it herself.) She wore neon green leggings and black ballet slippers (on which she’d sewn a matching bead design). From one of her pierced ears hung a dangling earring made from the same beads and on the other ear she wore a small green hoop earring. It was an original look that only Claudia could make work.”

          • Tired Squared :

            Hahaha … I remember desperately wanting feather and fruit basket earrings when I was little though!

    • I think the conservative cut of the dress does make it work appropriate although I’d probably wear a belt and blazer with it to break up all that pattern.

      • found a peanut :

        Yes, the dress would look much better with a black blazer or sweater. This dress is cute too, but does not have the sleeves or the rave reviews:


    • Pear shaped :

      I bought this dress, and it’s coming to my home today so I’ll report back on how it is. I too was worried about the print being too loud for work. The main reason why I bought it is because the fit seems to work for a lot of women with pear shapes, and as a pear shape, I find it so hard to find flattering dresses.

    • downtownist :

      I think it can be work appropriate but would need to be toned down with either a black blazer or a black cardigan. I wouldn’t wear it alone.

  12. Threadjack: NYT article about women’s sizes: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/25/business/25sizing.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha23

    • This is a great article. And I was surprised at first that it was in the business section – not style. But then I saw that the industry 1) recognizes that women buy less because sizing is such a crap shoot and 2) someone is taking an entrepreneurial approach to helping you figure out what size you are at each retailer. Hooray!!! Also, no surprise that the entrepreneur is a woman!

  13. Halogen skirt :

    I know a lot of people were raving about this skirt. It’s now on sale.


    • It’s also available on the rack portion of the site in charcoal for 19.97 in limited sizes.

    • I have this skirt in purple and green and LOVE it. It is very cute. It runs on the big side, so I ended up sizing down 1 size.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      It runs a size large and fit nicely. I ordered the purple one now available on the website, hoping it was the nice eggplant color that was available last fall. Instead, it’s a light purple color (pretty much as shown, like the light purple highlight color in Word), and far too pastel for my personal taste.

      • The color is more of an orchid. I actually think it’s a pretty color. It’s very springy. I wear it with a print top and it looks very nice. You can kind of see it in this woman’s blog post (taken from The Daily Sophisticate): https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wA2HVg46EMQ/TW-mc4uQZJI/AAAAAAAAFJs/P4vXSzNXgMg/s1600/march+006.jpg

  14. Every time someone links to an item on the Nordstrom website, I just get the site but not the specific item when I click on the link. Is this just me? I can see that the link does have the name of the item in it, so I am not sure why this happens.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Same here!

    • But if I cut-and-paste the link into a new window, it works. And it seems like this has only been happening recently.

    • The site gets blocked for me when I click on a link because it’s redirected through some ad service. I just copy and paste the link.

      • same here. That’s how Kat makes her money so there’s no good way of stopping it, but yes – referral links are now blocked at my office.

        • Yup – referral links also blocked at my office. If the link doesn’t work, I can usually do a search and find it on my own.

  15. Not a fan of this one. This looks like something my Mother-in-Law would wear.

    I do like dip dye, but not for work.

  16. Threadjack, I need some advice about a friend problem.

    I have a group of three girlfriends, we are all very close. It’s one of those things where we all met each other about the same time, and everything just gelled. We all really “get” each other and have a great bond.

    This wouldn’t be a problem. Except one member of the group has other friends that she keeps periodically inviting to the core group’s gatherings. The problem I and the other two women have with this is that when you have really close friends, sometimes you have really sensitive things to talk about that you only want to share with the people you are genuinely close to – n0t friends-of-friends you don’t know that well. Our one friend, however, just keeps inviting tag-alongs to our gatherings, despite gentle hints that sometimes we don’t appreciate the random fifth person being there. The “inviter” friend is a genuinely sweet and soft-hearted, and part of the problem is that many of the tag-along friends she invites are kind of emotionally needy, whiny, dramatic, etc. What ends up happening is that none of the other three of us want to really talk about anything serious, and the needy guest dominates the conversation, and then someone will say they need to go home early, and that’s it. We’re busy women and it ends up feeling like a waste of time to have tried to get together when we can’t actually TALK to each other.

    As I said, we’ve tried to talk to Inviter Friend about this whole thing, but she either says “I’m sorry, I accidentally mentioned it and X then insisted she wanted to come along, and I couldn’t say no” or tries to stick up for the outside friend, saying she’s just trying to help them out, they need support, etc. In a way, I’m sympathetic, but in another way, I kind of feel that this is like dating – either there’s a “click” or there’s not, and we have a group that has “clicked” and the people Inviter Friend keeps bringing along definitely do not “click” with us – they are a completely different type of person than the four of us are.

    I totally understand that the above makes my friends and I sound like a bunch of snobby b*tches, and I want to emphasize that we are always really super nice and polite to the tag-along, regardless of how they act. But I spent half this weekend on the phone with the other two friends in the group, discussing this issue, because we are having a get-together tonight and – sure enough – Inviter Friend is bringing another tag-along. One woman is fed up and wants us all to email something to Inviter Friend after we leave tonight. Just trying to figure out what to say, and thought this group of smart women might have some advice. Thanks!

    • Diana Barry :

      I would say again to Inviter Friend, nicely, that you really want to hang out with HER and the 2 other friends, when you make these kinds of plans, and you feel like when she invites other people to the gatherings, you can’t properly talk to her/the others as a foursome. I would also say that if she keeps bringing along the taggers-along, that she won’t get the next invitation from the 3 of you!

      BTW, it doesn’t sound mean – I know what you mean about wanting to catch up with only your friends and not the people they ‘accidentally’ bring along!

    • Have you talked to the inviter yet to find out why she might be inviting others? I know I have one group of friends who are all married with children and I am still single. It does not bother me, but I can imagine it might bother someone if she’s the only single one or the only one who is married with kids. My thought is that someone who is always inviting others (as opposed to once every few outings) probably has a reason why she does not want to be in the smaller group anymore. I do feel with that group tha I am different than the other three, and maybe that’s a point your friend is trying to get across to you but she has yet to succeed.

      • Agree with this, too. I have been in a relationship for a really long time, and a few years ago one of my friends who was single at the time definitely started to prefer hanging out with other single friends. It was sad, but understandable.

        • Inviter is married with no kids, as is one of the other women in the little group – myself and the fourth woman are married with kids, but not the type that talk only about our kids. The Inviter really is the extremely supportive, cheerleader type (which is why I love her and she is such a good friend to us) who is always willing to try to help other people. Some of the folks she’s had come along with her are, for example, people who are out of work and trying to get a new job, people who are in career transitions, etc. All of us are later-career and have management/executive jobs and some of the subtext has been, help my friend get a job/with career advice. But, dude, the whole point of happy hour with your best girlfriends is to either A. not have to talk about work or B. get to talk about work things you would never speak about to anyone else, like how hot you think your male assistant is. :) When the fifth person is there, we all have to feel like we have to keep our “game faces” on. Inviter is one of those genuinely good people who I am not sure actually HAS a “game face” – she just is who she is, all the time – and so maybe the disconnect isn’t as clear for her? I don’t know.

          • Your inviter friend sounds likes my husband. He is always inviting lost sheep to everything. All. The. Time. If we plan a dinner party for 4, I assume we will end up with 8 by the time my hubby finishes with his last-minute invites. Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner, Easter dinner, afternoon at the zoo with the kids, game night, whatever, he always invites some random acquaintance he runs into at the grocery store, on the way home from work, etc. He cannot be cured. He knows I get freaked out by this from time to time (it’s hard to plan, and I’m not an extrovert like he is!), but he can’t help himself (“but he just lost his job,” “but she didn’t have plans for the holiday,” “but they don’t have very many friends and need to get to know people”). I’ve learned to go with it. He is just very generous and wants to be kind to everyone. Now I just buy twice as much food as I should need with the original number of invitees and send everyone home with leftovers if his last-minute additions can’t make it.

            It has been nice for me to meet a lot of new people this way – I’m not the type that would branch out socially on my own.

    • Is X the same person all the time? Inviter Friend might consider her to be part of your group now, or a really close friend.

      I don’t know if I would send a “group” email to Inviter Friend – it would be hard to get the tone of such an email right, and would probably seem like the three of you are ganging up on her, which isn’t the point of the email.

      Is there someone in your group who is closest to Inviter Friend? I think a separate phone call after tonight’s get-together might be good. Something along the lines of, “It was so great to see you, but I was a little bummed that X was there, because I wanted to just hang out with you, Ann, etc.” And then the next time you are planning a get together, I think someone could slip a line into the email like, “Can we keep it to just the four of us?”

      And, if you know that Inviter Friend plans to invite X to the next get-together, I think a more direct approach would be warranted. Like, “Inviter Friend, I was really hoping to just see you, Sally and Lucy. I don’t want to hang out with X, and would prefer if you didn’t invite her.”

      • Is X the same person all the time? Inviter Friend might consider her to be part of your group now, or a really close friend.

        No, there are a few different people involved. One is a woman who is very nice but is a lot older than the rest of us, like she has grandkids and the two of us who have kids have kids under 5. I am a big user of the “f-word” in my personal life and it makes me feel like I am cursing in front of my grandma.

        I don’t know if I would send a “group” email to Inviter Friend – it would be hard to get the tone of such an email right, and would probably seem like the three of you are ganging up on her, which isn’t the point of the

        I agree.

        Is there someone in your group who is closest to Inviter Friend?

        Yes, me. Which is why I was on the receiving end of the calls this weekend.

        I think a separate phone call after tonight’s get-together might be good. Something along the lines of, “It was so great to see you, but I was a little bummed that X was there, because I wanted to just hang out with you, Ann, etc.” And then the next time you are planning a get together, I think someone could slip a line into the email like, “Can we keep it to just the four of us?”

        And, if you know that Inviter Friend plans to invite X to the next get-together, I think a more direct approach would be warranted. Like, “Inviter Friend, I was really hoping to just see you, Sally and Lucy. I don’t want to hang out with X, and would prefer if you didn’t invite her.”

        I like all this advice. I don’t want to make Inviter Friend feel like a bad person or like she messed up, but I think for everyone’s sake, we need to stop trying to hint and just come out and say what we mean.

    • somewherecold :

      I would say something to get across that you value the time you spend together, the four of you, so you’d like to make sure that you have that time together, and inviting other people every time you hang out makes it so you can’t pick up where you left off and let down your guard as much as when you are including someone new. While it’s understandable that Inviter Friend might want to have her friends know each other or introduce new friends that she thinks will get along with you, those need to be separate get togethers (if you’re open to that).

      I think Mel D’s point is good, though, and she might have some reason why she’s inviting others that you’ll need to address–she’s feeling like the odd one out, she feels the friendship becoming more casual, etc..

    • Can you maybe schedule some events occasionally where invitees can come? (That also helps underscore when others aren’t invited.) By doing a few “girls nights” vs. “close dinner party” she may get a better sense of when more the merrier is welcome, and when it’s not. And at the same time, she won’t feel like she has to exclude other people in her life simply to be around you. I don’t think it’s bad to want to expand the circle. But definitely still need to hold on to the one-on-one moments that you guys find so valuable.

      Doing both types of activities may help all of you get the balance you’re seeking (and if the three of you bow out of some of the “girls nights” that’s OK, too). A division may naturally start to occur then after awhile.

    • You don’t sound mean at all. I think you have tried to nicely point it out but your friend either doesn’t get it or doesn’t want to!

      You need to let her know nicely that she may get dropped off if she brings tag-alongs to the upcoming get together.

  17. I also am not a big fan of this dip-dyed look, it is both too casual and dated. My mind boggles at the idea that the original price on this was $750.

  18. Threadjack: I need some help on where to shop for going-out clothes. I’ve been so focused lately on work clothes, or work-to-evening clothes (i.e., sheath dresses), that I have completely neglected regular going out clothes. This past weekend I was invited to a casual house party, and I found that I had zero cute shirts/casual dresses.

    Where do you ladies shop for cute Saturday-night shirts (that are still appropriate for someone in her late 20s)?

    • Tired Squared :

      I usually find Express stuff works for weekends … I bought several cute patterned skirts, and a few dresses and tops there last summer.

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