Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Helen Suiting Dress

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

22Love this sheath from Diane von Furstenberg today — the puff cap sleeves look lovely and chic, and the seaming details are interesting. Personally I prefer the “navy” (which, honestly, looks to me to be more of a dark green) but the “cayenne” (pictured) is nice as well. It’s $365 at Saks Fifth Avenue. Helen Suiting Dress

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line.



  1. For some reason I can never get puff sleeves to look right on me. I wonder if it’s that I have a large bust and broad shoulders so it draws attention to my less well proportioned body parts. I love the Cayenne color though it may be too much for my conservative office. I’ve been sick of being stuck in shades of black grey and navy so it would be nice to add a bit of spice to my wardrobe. If my for the price and the sleeves I’d probably buy this for that reason alone.

    • Lefty lawyer :

      Please, puff sleeves may be in style (again) at this moment, but they are not “chic.”

      • Please.... :

        Almost anything can be chic, as long as the woman wearing it is chic. I saw a makeup artist wearing a black lace blouse with puff sleeves and thought she looked extremely chic/put together.

  2. Chi-town bound! :

    Hello midwest Corporetters- I’m heading to Chicago for the first time next week with my boyfriend. We’re going to be there for 6 days and are staying just off Magnificent Mile. Looking for any and all eating/shopping/tourist attraction tips and suggestions you guys can offer! We hope to mostly walk and take public transit around, as needed. Also, I noticed there is a premium outlet mall in Aurora, is that worth going to? We would rent a car for a day and drive out there if you guys think it is worth it. I’m particularly interested in work clothes (obvious?) TIA for all the help!

    • If the weather is nice, I strongly recommend the walking tours from the Chicago Architecture Foundation. They can be a great way to get to see the city in a different way. I live in Chicago and really enjoy them.

      • The architecture boat tour is also good.

        • I loved the architecture boat tour, but don’t forget the sunscreen!

        • Second the rec for the Wendella architecture boat tour on the river. They also have one that goes out on the lake, but the river one is the can’t miss one.

    • I lived in Chicago for 2 years, and loved it.

      I love Mia Francesca for great Italian food and Vermilion in River North for great and interesting Latin/Indian fusion food. Vermilion is probably walking distance to where you are, Mia Francesca is a quick ride on the L or in a cab (it’s in the Lakeview area). Cafe Iberico is also a very fun scene and has great and inexpensive Spanish tapas (in the Goldcoast area I think, and it should be walking distance from where you are). Have fun!

    • I don’t live in Chicago, but I strongly recommend going to the Art Institute. It is a really wonderful museum.

      • It’s been years since I went, but I remember loving the Museum of Science and Industry as well.

        • the body worlds exhibit is at the MSI right now, if that’s something the OP would be interested in!

      • The new modern wing at the Art Institute is amazing and you should have lunch at Terzo Piano on the top floor (outside if it’s nice) – really worth the $$. I believe the aquarium is just starting a new jellyfish exhibit which sounded cool to me. Hit up Gilt Bar or The Purple Pig or the Publican for the gastropub style fare that is so trendy in Chicago right now (of course the Girl and the Goat too if you can score a reservation). Avec is fabulous small plates if you get there early or don’t mind waiting – it’s my favorite restaurant in Chicago (chorizo stuffed dates…mmmmm). Off the mag mile a couple of blocks is my favorite italian place Coco Pazzo Cafe (much better than the more expensive Coco Pazzo in my opinion). There’s also the contemporary art museum just off Michigan Ave too…

    • If the weather is decent, check out the lakefront path and just walk and enjoy the views…Art Institute is well worth it. Mia Francesca is overrated in my opinion (as a Chicagoan). Its good, but there is tons of great Italian in the city. However, if you do go to Mia Francesca, Birds and Bloaks is nearby and its a cute gatropub with unique cocktails — upstairs is more restaurant-y. Downstairs more lounge-y. Pops for Champagne is cool (if you like Champagne) and often has live jazz music. If you want a unique vegetarian meal that is nice, check out Karyn’s on Green or Green Zebra. But are easier reached by cab. You could walk to Topolobamba or Frontera Grill (Rick Bayless’ restaurants) if you can get in. If you can’t, Salpicon is good Mexican. Probably can’t get into Girl and the Goat, but most people love it. Contemporary Art Museum is right off Mich Ave and its always interesting. I wouldn’t go out to Aurora for the outlets — its a hike. Check out Nordstrom Rack on State Street. I believe there is another Nordstrom Rack somewhere and if the Filene’s Basement on Michigan is still around, it always has historically had good brands (though a bit of mess to navigate).
      Take the blue line el to Damen and walk up Damen Ave — cool boutiques (although some are chains). Take the brown line to Armitage and walk east on Armitage to Halsted and check out those boutiques. Steppenwolf always has great plays. The Lincoln Park Zoo is a unique city zoo. Cubs games are always fun (not sure if they are in town). If you like steak, Keefer’s is a great steak/seafood place that isn’t a chain and within walking distance. House of Blues Gospel Brunch is fun. Or head to Damen (see above) and go to Toast (very popular).

      • the other nordstrom rack is north of the loop on chicago/michigan (right next to the chicago red line stop, 2 blocks from the museum of contemporary art and 5 blocks from barneys)

    • My reply is stuck in moderation — trying again:
      If the weather is decent, check out the lakefront path and just walk and enjoy the views…Art Institute is well worth it. Mia Francesca is overrated in my opinion (as a Chicagoan). Its good, but there is tons of great Italian in the city. However, if you do go to Mia Francesca, Birds and Bloaks is nearby and its a cute gatropub with unique drinks — upstairs is more restaurant-y. Downstairs more lounge-y. Pops for Champagne is cool (if you like Champagne) and often has live jazz music. If you want a unique vegetarian meal that is nice, check out Karyn’s on Green or Green Zebra. But are easier reached by cab. You could walk to Topolobamba or Frontera Grill (Rick Bayless’ restaurants) if you can get in. If you can’t, Salpicon is good Mexican. Probably can’t get into Girl and the Goat, but most people love it. Contemporary Art Museum is right off Mich Ave and its always interesting. I wouldn’t go out to Aurora for the outlets — its a hike. Check out Nordstrom Rack on State Street. I believe there is another Nordstrom Rack somewhere and if the Filene’s Basement on Michigan is still around, it always has historically had good brands (though a bit of mess to navigate).
      Take the blue line el to Damen and walk up Damen Ave — cool boutiques (although some are chains). Take the brown line to Armitage and walk east on Armitage to Halsted and check out those boutiques. Steppenwolf always has great plays. The Lincoln Park Zoo is a unique city zoo. Cubs games are always fun (not sure if they are in town). If you like steak, Keefer’s is a great steak/seafood place that isn’t a chain and within walking distance. House of Blues Gospel Brunch is fun. Or head to Damen (see above) and go to Toast (very popular).
      Other good restaurants: NoMi, Naha, Kamehachi, Adobo Grill, Vinci, any Rosebud, Italian Village is a classic, anything in Greek Town

    • This is also something unique – you can can get there on the purple line, get off at Linden. Its a few blocks away:

    • Went with some girlfriends a few years back, we enjoyed: mia francesca, second city, art institute (it was free on a weeknight we were there). Have fun!

    • Chicagoite :

      I live in the area (Hi! I’ll wave at planes overhead in case you’re in one!). I agree with the suggestions so far. Re the outlet mall: I’m not much of an outlet mall person, so take with a grain of salt, but IMHO the Aurora outlet isn’t much special, and probably not worth the expense of renting a car. You can get better deals online. I find prices at the outlet malls around here are still influenced by the high cost of living, and better deals can be found farther out even in regular stores.

    • These are all good suggestions you’re getting. Agree with anon that Mia Francesca’s isn’t that great, and that Aurora mall, while a great outlet mall, isn’t worth the drive if you’re just in town for a few days. It could take you a couple of hours to get there from downtown if the traffic is bad.

      As for restaurants, there is no way you’re going to get in to the Girl and the Goat (I am going there next week – with a res that we made in February). You could try the Purple Pig though, which is right on Michigan and gets great reviews. Also, the Publican isn’t too far and has an amazing brunch (and really good dinner, too). Other great brunch places: Toast on Webster and Halsted (in the Armitage/Halsted shopping area, which is definitely worth looking around); in the Damen/North/Milwaukee shopping area, my favorites are Bongo Room and Silver Cloud (didn’t know there was a Toast there as anon suggested above, but I do like the one on Webster). I second the Rick Bayless restaurant suggestions above, you can probably get in to Frontera Grill at least. And if you’re looking for something more low-key, Xoco next door is a newer offshoot of his and has some pretty incredible tortas and soups. Grahamwich is another good sandwich place that is newish and worth checking out. For great sushi in the areas you’re going to be in, I’d recommend Sai Cafe on Armitage/Sheffield (same shopping district), right by the brown line stop. IMHO, Adobo Grill and Kamehachi are past their prime. And NoMI is closed until late summer, sadly, so don’t go there!

      • Sometimes when you’re on vacation, it’s easy to get reservations at usually packed spots because of your ability to be flexible. 1:30 lunch on a weekday? Sure! So I wouldn’t write anything off without calling to see what’s available.

    • The Aurora outlet mall is way too far to bother with, and it’s an outlet mall like a million other outlet malls you’ll find in far suburbs. Absolutely not worth your time, at all. (Who is even giving you advice to go out to Aurora? It’s not even a real suburb — it’s way the heck out there.)

    • The Chicago botanical gardens is GORGEOUS. It definitely requires a car to get out there (it’s in a suburb) but we love it every time we go.

      • Actually, you can take the Metra to the Glencoe stop and there is a shuttle to the Botanical Gardens for $2. Super worth the trip!

    • I haven’t read all the suggestions, but here are some of the things I liked from my recent trip:

      The zoo!! It’s free, fairly convenient, there are lovely gardens outside… if you have a nice day, it’s totally worth it.

      Architectural boat tour – not cheap (maybe $25-30ish?) but I found it pretty interesting and I’m not an architecture person normally.

      I went up the Willis Tower – also not cheap ($12-15ish?) but I thought it was fun. (I live in NYC so tall buildings are nothing new for me, but I still liked it.)

      I found Chicago to be a very walkable city. We did lots of ~2 mile walks while we were there (often just going from point A to point B – not any sort of walking tours) and found them very scenic and interesting.

      • North Shore :

        Sears Tower, please. (And in D.C., it’s still National Airport to me, too . . .)

    • Rather than the Sears (Willis) Tower, which you have to pay to go up and that’s kind of it, I highly recommend getting drinks in the Signature Lounge of the John Hancock building. No cost to get up if you buy a drink. Cocktails are expensive, but the view is great, and you can hang out at a table and enjoy a nice night with your friends.


      • Order wine (or beer). They are not skilled at making drinks up there. You pay for the view and they don’t worry that the food/drinks aren’t good. You can’t screw up wine or beer :)

  3. Currently drooling over these PS shoes… they strike me as office appropriate with pants or a skirt, wearable year-round, and non-boring yet surprisingly versatile. Just had to share my latest crush:

    • I love!

    • Very nice.

    • Cute, but 4.5 inch heals for work? Are you in law? or something more creative? Aside from the comfort factor, I would have to think that might fly only with the most conservative suit. Otherwise, you get a little dirty librarian thing going on.

      • I’m in law, but no one ever seems to notice the height of heel I have on – I’m short, so I usually wear really high heels (but yes, with conservative suits). I’m also mid 20s, maybe that helps?

      • Gorgeous. I think they’re definitely appropriate with a conservative suit. I have to draw the line at about 3.5″ for comfort for me though.

      • Anonymous :

        They are lovely and totally not too high for work

    • Pretty, but just looking at them makes my back (and knees, and calves, and quads…) hurt.

  4. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to wear on your feet with flats? My feet were spoiled all winter with socks and boots, and now they’re getting sore and blistered with the transition to no socks.

    I’ve seen people wearing little footie socks that don’t show outside your shoe. Is it tacky to wear those kinds of socks with flats? If not, does anyone have any recommendations on brands? TIA!

    • Moleskin is your best friend when it comes to blisters. Just cut the moleskin to size and apply where your feet blister. Also, BandAid makes a blister-block stick that works wonders. It’s like a little deodorant stick you just roll on and wait for it to dry. I always keep a stick of it in my purse and my desk at work.

    • I’m not very good at sticking to this lately, but I used to do this each night: generously coat feet, heels, ankles, etc. with Aquaphor, then immediately cover with socks (the “immediate” is so you don’t track it all over your floor). This does fantastic things for moistening up the tough spots on your feet, and I find I’m much less likely to blister if my feet aren’t dry/cracked to begin with.

      • Whoops! I forgot a key step, although you could probably figure it out: you then keep the socks with Aquaphor underneath on until morning to let the moisture soak in.

    • I use Dr. Scholl’s foot powder in my flats to keep my feet “slipping around” and not stuck in one spot to blister.

      • Anonymous :

        Bodyglide is the original, cheaper Blister Block– Bandaid copied w cuter packaging & higher prices, FYI. You can get Bodyglide in bulk very afforably.

    • I use Hue brand sock liners – I think mine are the Cool Contours line. You can get them at any department store or online.

    • Low cut hosiery peds are sold pretty much everywhere, including grocery stores. I like the ones with the cotton lining for the soles. I rarely wear flats or sneakers without them.

  5. I can never get those “no-show” socks not to show. They’re always peeking out somehow, and that always seems sloppy to me. I recommend moleskin or the band-aid blister stick.

  6. I’m wondering if longer, fuller skirts are back in style and work appropriate. They used to be my summer wardrobe staple, long full skirt and light weight twin set, just because they were so cool and comfortable in our summer 90+ degree, 90+ humidity heat, but I stopped wearing them to work a few years ago because they seemed to be out of style and dated looking. Thinking of something like this with a black cardigan and white tank. Obviously I wouldn’t wear it to court, but on non-court days, I’d love to wear something like this.


    • I love the look of this type of skirt, but the only way I can imagine pulling it off is styled the way it is in that link–with a tank. I would definitely wear it on the weekend with flat sandals or maybe espadrille wedges, but I’m not sure how to successfuly style it for work. Depending on your figure, once you add sleeves and closed toe shoes, I think it could veer into “frumpy” territory.

      • I think its possible to do it with a white tank and black baggy cardigan and look modern…but its a tough look to pull off if you are more of a trend follower than maker.

    • I think that’s a very pretty skirt. I agree the style can look dated, but the fabric and type of pleats make that skirt look more modern.

    • I think you could certainly do it if your office is not too formal, but you would certainly look more casual. Maybe try it on a Friday? With nice heels and a nice blazer?

      I wear silk skirts on my non-formal days but shorter length (i.e., silk a line knee length) and keeping the skirt around the same length as my “suit” skirts somehow feels more work-appropriate, as opposed to trendy which is what I think you might get with the longer skirt (or dated, depending). But I love long skirts in the summer and have many that I wear off-hours, trend or no trend.

      • I think you’re right, it would probably be to casual for my office. FWIW, it would hit me about mid-calf, which is my favorite length for skirts, but not really the style right now for professional wear. Love this skirt, though, and might get it for weekends.

    • i think a good way to update the look (calf-length flowy skirt look, that is) might be to get pieces that are a little bit more on-trend – like this, maybe, with the structured pleats?


  7. Ugh! Can I vent for a minute?

    When I was laid off two weeks ago I wasn’t allowed to return to my desk to get my things, so someone from HR brought them to me.

    This morning I went to get something out of my work bag (that I had not gone though until now) and realized that someone had put a full coffee mug inside it.

    It spilled and ruined the bag.


    • That is awful. I’m so sorry that happened to you. I understand concerns about people stealing things but the least they could have done is accompanied you to your office to collect your things. I keep some personal stuff in my office (medications and medical supplies) that I would rather my coworkers not touch.

    • That is so rude. What a thoroughly rotten thing for one human being to do to another. I can’t even fathom what kind of horrible and classless person would be like that to someone being let go. I hope you are somewhere new soon. Many hugs and good thoughts your way.

    • Unbelievable. I believe I’d be mad enough to send HR a bill for the bag.

    • How can you not be allowed to get your things? My purse and plenty of personal files are in my office. This is just so rude. I understand being accompanied for a brief moment to grab the pertinent things and the rest being sent at a later time but not being allowed at all? Honestly, what a terrible place!

    • Um, that’s insane. A full cup of coffee? Is the person also an idiot?

      I would actually consider sending an e-mail or a letter to the HR department (cc’d perhaps to a boss or something) explaining what happened and asking that they compensate you for the destroyed bag. Was your cellphone or anything in there?

      Seriously…that sucks.

      • another anon :

        I agree. Even if they don’t end up compensating you, HR probably knows who collected your things and will hopefully reprimand that person. It’s not like that’s something that someone could have done by accident. (Seriously, who does that? A full coffee cup?)

      • I completely agree with this. What a horrible thing to do! I’d send a letter(and photos) not only to HR but also to someone higher up on the food chain.

    • Anonymous :

      OP Here — Thank you for all the kind support.

      I’m politely demanding they replace the bag. Will update when I know more.


      • Do update us! This is shocking.

        • Yes, it is. I think it’s clearly inappropriate and retaliatory to put a FULL cup of coffee in someone’s bag; any normal human would empty the coffee first, and then at least DRY the mug before putting it in with papers. Really, really juvenile and immature. I’m flabbergasted.

      • On to greener pastures for you.

  8. HELP!

    My boss has informed me that the managing partner is going to offer me a very, very minimal raise. I believe I deserve more and my billables are in line with more. How should I go about negotiating a higher raise???


    • karenpadi :

      Most law firms use the rule of thirds for associate compensation. First take your hourly rate and multiply by hours (billed or billable–depends on the firm).

      According to the rule, one third goes to the associate as salary (usually firms don’t consider benefits as part of the third), one third goes to the partners, and one third goes to overhead (rent, staff, etc.).

      I’ve had the most success with figuring out my “third” and going from there. Some variation that I’ve seen is where first years may only get 25%-27% (training buffer), mid-levels get 33%-35%, seniors get 35%-45%, and of counsel get 45%-55%.

      • Wow, thanks! That is really useful information.

        Man, so that’s why partnership is so attractive…

      • Anonymous :

        Thank you so much! This is so helpful. They will never go for this b/c it would be a 100% salary raise but it does help me to argue that the offer on the table is a tiny raise compared to my billables.

  9. Threadjack: Anyone have any “cost saving ideas” for a wedding? I’m going to a bridal brunch on Sunday (in lieu of an engagement party) and the hostess has asked that all attendees come with a ‘cost savings suggestion’ for the bride to be.

    I’m not even close to being married and this is my first friend to get married, so I’m pretty clueless in this arena. Help!

    • Anonymous :

      LOL! This sounds like a corporate-inspired idea!

      Serious idea: Put the lights on timers, buy clothes second-hand, and check your tire pressure (underinflated tires reduce fuel economy).

      Goofy ideas: Use hamster-wheels to generate electricity and reduce the electric bill, steal internet from the neighbor’s unsecured network, and make your own clothes from old curtains.


    • Is this cost saving ideas for the wedding itself, or cost saving for life in general?

      For the wedding, there are a TON of DIY websites that show to do really cute programs, favors, and decor for a fraction of the cost

      For life in general, I suggest skipping the drinks at bars. Usually WAY over-priced, just enjoy your own happy hour at home before heading out for dinner or dancing! For some REALLY crazy tips, direct her to the Early Retirement Extreme blog by Jacob Lund Fiskar… he has a whole series of posts about meals under $1 per serving!

      Enjoy the lunch :)

    • While my husband and I had by no means a truly cheap wedding, we did employ some cost saving devices.

      My biggest piece of advice is for the couple to have a serious conversation about the 2 or 3 aspects of the wedding that are most important to them (Food, music, open bar, decorations, etc) so that that budget more for them and less for other things. For my husband and I, it was food and photos. To that end, we scrimped in the following ways:

      1) No favors. No one is coming to my wedding to get a free tulle sac of jordan almonds
      2) Flowers: my family and I went to the local farmers market the morning before and picked up bulk flowers and did the center peices. They turned out lovely (though not fancy) and were 1/10th the cost of professional flowers.
      3) No DJ/band. We built and Ipod list and put my brother in charge of it, using the location’s PA system
      4) Bar bill: we had a family style lunch with poured wine as an option. Cocktail hour was two special cocktails with wine and beer.
      5) No videographer. Just not important to us.

      Those were some of our methods. I think the key is to figure out what is important to you and spend money preferentially on that.

      • For some reason this just cracked me up –

        “No one is coming to my wedding to get a free tulle sac of jordan almonds”

        I completely agree!

      • Wow, EC MD, we must be wedding-planning twins! I also did (1), (2) (though I did get fancy flowers for my bouquet, my mom’s corsage, and a couple other things), and (3) (except that we had the wedding outside so borrowed brother’s DJ equipment).

        For pictures: found someone cheap online who took decent photos; no fancy album (she did it on Snapfish or something).

        The one thing we splurged on was the food.

        • Anonymous :

          My friend gave each guest two drink tickets.

          People who wanted more could either pay or swap with the non-drinkers.

          It worked really well.

          • Anonymous :

            thats just tacky. having people pay for drinks at a wedding, even if the first two are free, is not a good idea. just do beer and wine if you want to save costs on alcohol. Or find some place that lets you bring your own stuff in. We paid for a basic bar, then then let us bring out own top shelf stuff in which saved tons.

          • I don’t think it’s tacky. But my family doesn’t drink and doesn’t expect alcohol at a wedding.

          • It may not be tacky, but for many people coming to a wedding it is very disappointing. I would think it’s better to save on many other expenses (flowers, music, etc.) and not have people feeling disgruntled.

          • Agree with AIMS. The likelihood that someone is a little disappointed that they’re not getting unlimited drinks at a wedding is MUCH higher than the likelihood they’re disappointed in your decorations!

          • To be fair, people shouldn’t be coming to your wedding for the free alcohol either. While I understand there may be different regional or cultural expectations about what food and beverages are provided, I think it’s tacky for somebody to expect he or she to be entitled to anything at a wedding- afterall, it’s not that person’s wedding! The person should be there for the bride/groom if they really want to be, not for some promise of free food/beverage/favor/whatever.

          • Come on people, if you are going to a wedding for free alcohol, there are better ways to get it. It’s up to the bride and groom to spend money as they see fit and can afford for a wedding. The reality is that open bar is extremely expensive. I don’t think there is anything wrong with limiting alcohol- be it by drink tickets, limiting the selection to beer and wine, or just having a short (1-hour) cocktail hour where there is free alcohol.

            My thought is that the people who are going to be offended by lack of an open bar are probably the same people you might not want to have at a wedding anyway.

    • – Get small, edible favors instead of purchasing the usual engraved favors that guests likely won’t use or even keep (think jordan almonds or mints tied up in cute tulle or fabric).
      – If you’re doing a meal at the reception, steer clear of beef. Many people don’t eat red meat these days, and it’s usually very expensive.
      – Let the iPod be your DJ at your reception – then you pick the music, and DJs are expensive.
      – Many locations offer a substantial discount for a weekday (even Friday) wedding.

      • Anonymous :

        Do not have a weekday wedding. If you cant afford the place on the weekend then do it somewhere else. I think it’s insane and tacky to ask a guest to take a vacation day.

        • agreed! don’t even get me started about using vacation days for destination weddings (not that I ever actually have, but they must expect someone to!)

        • found a peanut :

          I’m sorry, but not all people can have weekend weddings. My family has a lot of religious Jews, so a Friday night wedding was out and a Saturday night wedding would not have given my mother enough time to prepare. So we got married on Thursday. Between Thursday and Sunday, Thursday is clearly the better choice.

          • How is Thursday a better choice? Any guests traveling to the wedding would need to take off three work days. I’ve been to many Jewish weddings on Sundays of three day weekends. Even a Sunday of a regular weekend would be less disruptful than a Thursday. The wedding is about celebrating the couple but the couple should try to accommodate their guests. We went to a wedding once on Friday of Memorial Day weekend in a location that could only be accessed on the same highway with the beach traffic. I’m sure it was cheaper for the couple to get married on a Friday instead of a Saturday but it was inconvenient to all of the guests, many of whom missed the ceremony because of the traffic.

    • If she wants flowers, suggest simple do-it-yourself flowers – those professional arrangements can be INSANE! Get simple glass jars/vases at Crate & Barrel, maybe tie a nice ribbon around them, and stick in an $8 bunch of tulips. If you do 10 of those, that can be ~$200, compared to literally thousands of dollars if you get fancy “arrangements.” I’ve also seen people fill glass jars/vases with shells they’ve collected themselves for beachy weddings.

      • Re: flower arrangements, she could also do silk flowers. I know some people are leery of them looking terrible, especially in photos, but mine turned out beautifully. I had two other friends that used silk, and their bouquets looked great as well :)

        You could also substitute photos of the couple for flowers as table centerpieces. Again, saw this for a friend and it was so cute! They had some b/w and color photos of them throughout their relationship, and they’d stuck them in metal photo “trees” instead of frames.

      • Valleygirl :

        On the flowers – we ended up using Costco for our wedding (flowers were delivered to us the day before) and total it was about $800 for 1 bridal bouquet, 5 bridesmaid’s bouquets, 10 boutonnieres, 2 corsages, (all in terracotta roses) and 6 large ziplock bag sized bags of rose petals (we did a sprinkle of rose petals on the table tops with silver candelabras). I asked a few florists about this locally and was quoted a min of $2500.

        Also got our super swanky invites from Costco too.

      • You can use anything as a centerpiece. A friend of mine did a lovely centerpiece with green apples stacked in vases. Think outside the box- fruits, vegetables, branches. I’ve also seen gorgeous paper flower and origami bouquets.

    • Anonymous :

      Hmm, maybe suggesting getting a family cell phone plan for the two of them instead of carrying two individual plans, and seeing if there are any discounts available on the service because of their employers (this helped us cut a significant amount off our cell phone bills).

      And a rant on a related note: Are wedding festivities getting more and more expensive for the guests? My friends keep planning weddings for holiday weekends, which drives up all the related travel costs. And things like bachelorettes have gotten out of hand too. I’m attending one this weekend where we’ve been told we’ll each owe $70 per person for dinner and should chip in for a hotel room for the bride (I opted to commute an hour back home afterward rather than incur hotel expenses on my own behalf, and the bride only lives 30 minutes from the restaurant/bars).

      • Yes, totally agree that wedding costs are getting out of hand! Did you even get a choice in the location/events for the bachelorette party? When I was planning bachelorette parties, I asked a few of my friends about the pricing to make sure I wasn’t too high or low, so I’m surprised you didn’t get consulted at all.

        • Anonymous :

          No consult. And since it’s a set menu, I can’t just order something cheap. Oh well, at least it saves from having to divvy up the bill at the end of dinner.

          Not realizing that the question was cost-saving for the wedding, here are my tips in that respect:
          Check eBay for everything from centerpieces to wedding dresses (snagged mine unworn for $1200 off the sticker price)
          DIY place cards/favors – we wrapped caramel apples and attached the guests’ names, so it worked out to under $100 and looked awesome for our fall wedding
          Think outside the box. We hired an elementary school music teacher my mom worked with to DJ the wedding. He wouldn’t play anything with too much profanity, but he was cheap and fun.
          Find a venue/caterer with a dollar minimum rather than a person minimum. When we got more regrets than we’d anticipated, we didn’t have to pay for people who couldn’t make it just to meet the quota, we just upgraded our food selection and added a “liquor up your cappuccino” bar for the dessert table. We spent the same money we would have, but it meant we could have better stuff rather than throwing the money away.

          • Anonymous :

            And one more thing – ask around to see if your friends have any wedding supplies they’d lend or sell at a discount. Nobody needs three dozen vases or overlays after they’re married, and when was the last time you needed a crinoline?

        • anon for this :

          Totally agree. My husband got pressured into going to a bachelor party this weekend for a wedding we are not even invited to, and its going to cost as least $500.

    • Skip favors.

      If there is a photographer you love but can’t afford, ask if they have an apprentice that you could use. They are usually experienced photographers working with someone to learn that person’s style. We did this, she was amazing and in the same style as the photographer we wanted, but 1/2 the price.

      Don’t do an open bar, but rather work with the caterer to create a signature cocktail that works with your wedding/preferences. The caterer will probably be able to do that much cheaper per drink because of the quantities involved. Serve that, beer and wine. No one will complain.

      • That’s a great idea about the bar! For our rehearsal dinner, we also didn’t do an open bar but let people order what they wanted and then just picked up the tab. For us that worked out to be much less expensive because we knew that most of our guests would not drink, and those who did would only have 1-2 glasses.

    • After sitting at my desk for a full five minutes trying to recall what I received as a “favor” at any of the umpteen weddings I’ve attended, and drawing complete blanks, I’d go with “skip the favors”. I don’t think they are that important (never have) and it seems like an easy way to accidentally spend a lot of money!

      • lawyerette :

        This. I skipped it and no one missed it!

        • Me too!

          If you can’t give up the favors though, I vote for something edible. The one “favor” I do remember was brightly wrapped Godiva chocolates. They looked pretty on the plate and were obviously delicious!

          • Anonymous :

            I remember only one — a homemade CD of the wedding music.

          • The only favor I remember was caramel honeycrisp apples from a local orchard. Come to mama.

      • Ditto. I skipped them and no one cared (or at least didn’t tell me about it).

      • The favors I remember are the bad ones – like the Christmas ornament with “Jocelyn & Nick, 4/4/2011 – Love 4ever” stamped on it. Those get left on the table and/or chucked.

        • Anonymous :

          I definitely left Alabama with my foam beer coozie stamped with the couple’s names and their wedding date. I was not leaving THAT on the table.

          • Ekaterin Nile :

            I got a foam beer coozie as a favor and use it all the time! It’s the most useful favor I ever received.

            That being said, we did not give out favors at our wedding and I couldn’t care less if I ever receive a favor.

      • Valleygirl :

        our favors were the sweetheart boxes of candy hearts (wedding was on Feb 13) which we used as place cards – putting the guests name and table number on the To/From lines. It was a kill two birds with one stone sitauation – otherwise, there was no way I was going to spend $$ on favors for people to chuck.

        The one fun favor I remember getting was a scratcher lotto ticket.

      • I went to a wedding where the bride and groom announced they’d made a donation to charity in honor of the guests, in lieu of favors. Very classy, and yes, that’s the only “wedding favor” I can still remember.

    • Just finished reading Bridal Bargains by Denise and Alan Fields. Great book, and here are just a few of their ideas: (1) never say the word “wedding” in getting quotes from places, and shop for favors, shoes, bridesmaid dresses, etc. at non-bridal shops, (2) get a small fancy cake, and have a much-cheaper sheet cake cut in the kitchen, (3) rent a limo from a company that caters to weekday trips of corp. executives, (4) ask about hidden fees, and get all fees in writing, along with a guarantee that they won’t go up (or won’t increase more than, say, 5%) right before the wedding.

      • Ditto on the cake. We got a sheet cake at Sam’s Club for $40 and a small formal cake for cutting from a local bakery for $400. Everyone said the sheet cake tasted better.

        I also didn’t get any dresses from a bridal shop. And we didn’t have a limo.

    • This depends on your bride’s style, of course, but my sister wanted a very simple, elegant gown (instead of pouffy, princess-y). She ended up finding asleek bridesmaid dress that she loved and ordered it in white.

      Also, if she wants a veil, there is no reason to buy one. Someone with some sewing skills can make one. I was lucky to have my aunt offer to make mine. I got exactly what I wanted for just the cost of the materials – a fraction of what one would have cost at a bridal store.

      • Yes, make the veil. Seriously, it’s a piece of tulle attached to a comb. There is no reason to spend $200+ on it!

    • Thanks – you ladies have given me a ton of great ideas! I really appreciate it. :)

      • One more! Sell the wedding dress after. I sold mine on preownedweddingdresses.com, and I got back half of what I paid.

        (I guess another version of this tip would be to actually buy your dress on a site like that. I didn’t know about the site beforehand.)

      • Rent the Runway has bridal accessories and bridesmaid dresses

    • http://offbeatbride.com/ has brilliant suggestions.
      Also, ETSY for the things that they can’t take on as DIY projects but would like to–e.g. save-the-date postcards and invitations, dresses, veils/fascinators and cake toppers.

    • General wedding cost-saving ideas:
      -breakfast, lunch, or brunch receptions are cheaper (because fewer people have them, food costs may be less because people may not plan to eat as much, alcohol may not be expected); if things are really tight, consider a cake and punch reception or a potluck
      -scour sample sales, eBay, pre-owned dress sites, consignment stores, or even large chain stores for dresses and attire
      -don’t think you need to buy bridal party attire from a bridal store (you can get outfits for everybody at any clothing place)
      -price compare for every service; do not be afraid to utilize small businesses or independent vendors (who might offer lower costs due to working from home, just starting out, etc.)
      -if you are not bound by religious/cultural requirements to house your ceremony in a certain location, consider places like parks/public spaces (ex., historic homes/sites can often be rented out cheaply) for ceremony and/or reception locations
      -DIY small things like favors, programs, etc.
      -DIY bigger things like flowers, food, etc. if you’re up for the challenge/have family members who can help
      -set aside money every month for your wedding fund so you’re only having a wedding you can afford (and/or, buy little here-and-there things with your regular spending money so your fund money can go for bigger, more prioritized purchases)
      -borrow or buy used when possible (check Craigslist for things like linens, vases, or wine glasses- often people will have bought tons for their own weddings and are trying to sell them to recoup even the smallest bit of money)
      -sacrifice things you think are silly or unncessary; don’t have them because you ‘think’ you ought to

      Most importantly, prioritize what you really want, and do this early. You might not be able to have everything, but planning for the couple of things you’re going to splurge on makes organization easier.

  10. L from Oz :

    Nice dress, although it has about as much to do with my life as getting to work on an elephant…(I’m trying to imagine wearing DvF while cycling to work – I suppose they do it in Copenhagen and Amsterdam, but my bit of Europe is less trendy).

    Although I’d be grateful to be able to wear anything fitted right now! I’m off sick, waiting for test results, and wearing one of two emergency nightshirts bought after I somehow tore several muscles in my stomach quite badly! (I thought it was a strain – apparently not.) Looks like I’ll be spending spring in garments with elastic waists…at least that gives me an excuse to buy at least one Desigual skirt I couldn’t otherwise justify. Bright side and all that.

    • Ouch. That sounds horrible.

      • L from Oz :

        Well, it’s not up there with the poor poster who smashed her leg to pieces, but it’s unbelievably uncomfortable. And I can’t wear most of my regular underwear or trousers – I see more emergency shopping in my future, which would be fine if I wasn’t in pain…

        • Wishing you a speedy recovery, L!

          • L from Oz :

            Thanks for the well-wishes! Doctor just rang with the test results, and that part of the deal has turned out well (minor treatment required, no horrible further tests etc for the moment), but the muscles are a problem. Need to go downtown to pick up some medication and can only wear a really ratty pair of yoga pants and walk at the pace of a very elderly snail – not good for morale!

  11. Threadjack: I thought I’d posted this on the weekend thread, but it seems to have never shown up, so here’s me trying again!

    Have any of you ladies started a family while in professional school? I’m in my late 20s with no kids yet and desperately wanting a career change, but I’m looking at 6 years of full time school and worried about it totally messing up our family planning. Is it possible to be a good student while being a good mom to an infant/toddler or two, and if so, how did you manage? Any words of warning, encouragement or advice?

    • I saw your question along with a number of responses on the weekend thread. I have no personal experience in this regard, but 5 or 6 women from my law school class chose to have children during law school because they felt they would have more control of their schedules during school than during practice.

      • It DID post? Well that’s frustrating! I just looked through the comments again and it’s still not showing up for me. Maybe on my computer at home… Thanks!

        • It’s on page 2 of comments. See the “Next page” arrow at the top of the comments page.

    • Lawyering Mom :

      I had my first baby in the middle of my 2L year of law school. It is FAR easier to have a child during school compared to while working. When you’re a student, your time is your own.

      • In House Mouse :

        So true! And taking a semester, a summer, or even a year off won’t set you back much in school. It’s a different story when you start working.

        Like Lawyerin Mom, I had my son in the middle of my 2L year. I took a leave of absence spring semester, stayed home over the summer, and went back to school when he was 9 months old. I graduated 1 semester later than the rest of my class, but I don’t think it held me back professionally at all.

        Another factor to consider is child care. Most of the day care centers we looked at didn’t even consider accepting babies under 6 months old. I know of some people who really struggled to find “interim” child care for the period after the 4-month maternity leave, but before the 6-month day care start date.

        Good luck! Remember, there is never going to be a *perfect* time to start a family. It will be a huge adjustment no matter what.

    • I answered your original question but I didn’t know that you’re going for six years. Yes, definitely combine grad school and kids. The Chronicle of Higher Ed has an online forum for academics. The “Balancing Work and Life” and “Grad School” forums could be quite helpful with discussions with people who have been there, done that.

  12. TheOtherCoast :

    If you had a job interview at a law firm (big law– and I’m not straight out of school), and you already knew several of the partners and associates who interviewed you, and the firm pursued you, and they told you 1-2 weeks for a decision due to vacation/trial schedules, how long after 2 weeks do you wait before discreetly inquiring as to when you might expect a decision? I’m in a position where my current job is actually ending (through no fault of my own, which the firm knows) and would like to start pounding pavement if this opportunity does not work out, though this would be my first choice. . .

    • I would follow up one week after the end of the time frame they gave you and continue or start “pounding pavement” otherwise. Worse case, you get multiple offers and can tell the first firm that you have other offer deadlines but are still hoping to hear from them.

  13. I really liked the idea of this dress, but the back dips a little low.

  14. scheduling an interview :

    I have an interview coming up in a few weeks. It will take up most of the day, and they will be interviewing people every day that week from Monday through Friday.

    I will be able to request a date soon, and have several thoughts running through my head: (1) Are candidates usually more memorable towards the beginning or the end of the bunch? (2) Are standards likely to be lower towards the beginning, because the interviewers haven’t yet seen that many candidates? (3) Are interviewers likely to be more exhausted by Friday afternoon? (4) In case I can’t get a slot on Monday or Friday, which day in the middle of the week should I go for?

    I am probably over-thinking this, but I really want this job! I’d welcome input for any of my questions :-)

    • karenpadi :

      I wouldn’t worry about the day of the week. Most interviewers have an evaluation form that has to be turned in by COB. In marathon interviewing sessions, I write down things to mention in the eval during the interview and finish the eval before starting the next interview.

      If you can schedule your interview throughout the day, I’d consider the interviewer’s schedules. If the schedule won’t be packed (e.g., extra slots where there won’t be an interview), I’d avoid the first and last interview of the day (unless there are interviews in the second and second to last slots). I’d avoid breaking up any “downtime” (e.g., if no one else is interviewing between 2 pm and 4pm, don’t take the 3pm slot, take the 2pm slot or the 3:30pm slot). Kudos goes to those who fill up short gaps (e.g., if there’s an interview at 10am and 11am, they take the 10:30 slot).

  15. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8439399/Your-skimpy-skirts-and-high-heels-just-wont-do-trainee-solicitors-told.html

    Someone may have already linked to this, and it may already have been discussed, but I thought this was interesting.

    • Thanks for posting. Am I the only person who doesn’t think the shoes in the picture have a very high heel?

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